In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party battled a great golden dragon briefly after it assaulted them on the bridge leading to the Serpentine Keep; however, it soon lost interest in the party, and took to flying about Ortague at will. Entering the great castle, they soon took to exploring it, hoping to find weapons with great firepower to defeat the dragon and possibly claim an Immortal Soul. While they have not yet found anything that would be of much use against a dragon, Tourmaline has found a map of the castle as well as blueprints for constructing a catapult. Meanwhile, Abenad claimed a remarkably smooth and velvety cloak while exploring the castle's armory, upon which the ghost of a pony called Touchstone appeared to him. Mistaking Abenad for the previous owner of the cloak, Lord Shaper, he provided Abenad with an inventory of the castle's armory (although this was outdated; Touchstone was the Chamberlain of the castle hundreds of years ago). Maali also acquired a set of heraldic plate mail armor; although intended for young knights in training, it will doubtless be key to his survival in the future. In time, the party gathered in the Great Hall of the Serpentine Keep, where the old king would have held council. Upon entering, both Tourmaline and Maali were witness to strange events: both Maali's amulet and Tourmaline's right hoof started glowing, as if something nearby were calling to them… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 (absent) >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 4/5 >Archie is at 5/5 >Gopal is at 5/4 >Old thread: http://mlpg.coms/609597.html#640356
>>642118 >>642120 >>642121 >>642122 >>642123 You all stand in the Great Hall, pondering where to go next as you look about; the walls are decorated with stained glass windows bearing images of great serpents, and the Viper's Chair itself is carved to look like it is made of dozens if not hundreds of snakes. In the center of the room is a varnished wooden table shaped like a map of Rin, presumably used for planning war strategies. Behind the throne is a flight of stairs leading to an upper level, while on the left and right walls are sets of closed wooden double doors. Suddenly, Maali's amulet takes on a life of its own for a moment, tugging at its cord and straining to move in the direction of the nearby Grand Tower. It nearly throttles the deer before it falls inert again, albeit still glowing brightly. Tourmaline suffers a similar affliction, involuntarily moving in the same direction before regaining control.
>>642120 >>642123 >>642120 >>642123 In summary: the party broke through the barricade they had been trapped by, and interrogated their changeling assailant. He told the party that his name was not Starshine, but Clement; he was a Shell of Light that had been stalking the party for a while, but lost them once they reached the Masked Ones. He later participated in the sacking of the Masked One camp under the command of Marshal Waymar. More importantly, he revealed several facts about the Shells: they number 900, they have little power in western Rin, they are dealing with an insurrection led by the earth pony known as Doom, and their financial support from Sarnath is growing thinner by the day. In addition, they are undertaking an operation called the Relocation Program, where those they take prisoners are brainwashed and given new lives in the city of Lomar, in the easternmost stretch of Rin. Clement also spoke of a dragon lurking in the Serpentine Keep, the castle at the heart of Rin where the kings would rule. He also mentioned a place called the Dreaming Spring in the north, where the water has certain magical properties, as well as a terrible witch that had taken control over Mount Venn and ruled the north west of Rin. Upon divulging this, he was set free by the party, vowing to return to his home city in Sarnath. After this, the party investigated the hidden engravings you had found earlier. After some testing, they opened it up and found a secret passageway leading to some sort of shrine to the All-In-One. They passed through it and eventually arrived at the Serpentine Keep; however, the bridge leading to it was soon razed by a monstrous golden dragon, which briefly attacked the party before beginning to scout the ruins of Ortague.
>>642124 Abenad gets a shield from the armory, strapping it around his shoulder for some additional protection. After that, he heads over to everyone else and cranks Maali's antler for a Natural Remedy. >shield acquired, hits/wounds at 7/5 >>642127 >>642128 >>642129 >>642131 With Tourmaline heading out, Abenad shrugs at the rest of the group and follows behind her.
>>642126 You see that the necklace was pointing towards the top of the Grand Tower, which is adjacent to your location.
>>642130 You conjure three orbs above your head that follow you about as you move with the rest of the party.
>>642132 You acquire a medium metal shield decorated with a blue caduceus. It seems like a standard shield, widely used throughout the known world.
>>642131 Maali's amulet is made of enchanted vines, with a bright green gem acting as a pendant. It is normally inert, however, and does not move with a will of its own.
>>642127 >>642128 >>642129 >>642131 >>642132 You follow the pull and leave the hall, beginning to ascend the Grand Tower. It certainly lives up to its name, a great circular pillar of stone that seems to pierce the clouds above. As you go up the cobble stairs, you pass at least five levels. Most of them are sleeping quarters, and seem to be quite habitable even after all these years. They are, however, covered in coats of dust, and the fourth level is missing a large portion of its wall from the siege long ago. As you reach the top of the tower, you find yourselves facing a spire that from a distance seemed to be purely ornamental. To the untrained eye, it would seem to be just that; however, it is a familiar sight to Timber, Maali and Tourmaline. It appears much like the black obelisk they encountered near the beginning of their adventure in the small village of Lunemark; however, while the original was surrounded by six trees and sparked with blue lightning, this one is decorated by a carved stone snake entwined around it and gently pulsates a wine-red hue.
"WHAT it is? Not really. We encountered one before. But… I'm afraid I blanked out last time I encountered one. I don't really know what happened last time we encountered one. They resonate a very ominous feeling. I always feel very on edge around them. Touching it seems to have a reaction, but not all the time."
"Oh, that's what you meant. It was a metaphor. I was making a joke about my lack of knowledge and expertise pertaining to the arcane. 'Sand' in this case refers to the sandy parts of Ibergal. A synecdoche."
>>642138 It is most definitely magical in nature. You can feel the arcane energy radiating off of it, attuned to the higher mysteries such as you are.
>>642140 As you come in contact with it, your mark begins to glow and spark white before fading away again. You feel an uncomfortable trickling sensation down your scalp and neck, as if someone had cracked a raw egg over your head. >You may now warp between monoliths. >Warp: automatic, twice per session; spend one turn activating your mark's power. On the turn after, the user and all those in direct contact with them will get transported instantly to a monolith of the user's choosing. Going helpless during the charging turn will negate the effect. >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep
>>642142 As you place your hand on it, you feel a tingling sensation on it like pins and needles. When you pull your hand away, you see a strange V-shaped mark appear on your palm, but this quickly fades to the point of being near-invisible.
>>642144 The obelisk doesn't budge. It is affixed to the roof you stand on.
>>642141 You can see the dragon still flying about Ortague. It doesn't seem to be paying attention to the party for now. You also take in the view of the castle wall, a solid mass of stone running across the landscape, decorated with ten-headed serpent banners and gargoyles depicting rearing snakes.
>>642151 You are with the rest of the party on the roof of the Grand Tower, inspecting a pulsating red monolith decorated with a stone serpent. It looks much like the one you encountered near the beginning of your adventure, in the village of Ortague.
>>642153 "I cannot lift this," Abenad says, "It must be attached to the roof." >>642154 "Ha! Dragon. We've ballistas in the armory, all we have to do is pull those out and fire them at the dragon. You'd be perfect for that job, Gopal, it'd be out of the way so you can help from afar."
"A dragon that large is no beast," Timber says with a frown. "It is an intelligent creature. Though, we can assume it has no benevolent intentions, it's circling around for SOME reason. It won't leave because we want it to, but if it has something it's trying to accomplish, it's possible we may be able to convince it to leave. Perhaps we could even help it."
Timber ponders to himself. "Though, we'd have to get its attention first…"
>>642158 "I haven't used them before, either, but they have to be easy to use so common soldiers can use them, wouldn't you say?" >>642159 "My arrows can't pierce its scales, so it would be our best bet so far." >>642160 >>642161 >>642162 "Really? Consider what we could get from it- scales, teeth, claws, bones, prestige, it might even be the holder of the local Immortal Soul. But if we're split on the matter, then we should try to sneak past, I suppose."
>>642153 He takes a moment to search in his memory for the last time he saw the monolith similar to this one, upon remembering, he looks down at his necklace to see how it was reacting to the monolith to confirm this was indeed what his goddess was calling for through him "I wonder why my necklace is affected by this monolith as well, and not just miss Tourmaline…" he ponders out loud >>642131 "Well… I would not call it a medallion… My tribe calls it 'Eldunari'. And the stone is usually mistaken for an emerald, but it really is not…" >>642159 "I do like the idea of trying to communicate with it. Maybe it can understand common pony language, or hopefully, my language.. Who knows…" >>642161 >>642160 "Indeed we might not be able to leave easily unless we defeat it or somehow convince it to allow us to go… Or we could Sneak our way out…" >>642163 >>642162 "Well, it's settled then. Let us try to avoid it, if it finds us, then we could try a conversation, and If that proves to not work then we'll.. Have to defeat it somehow…"
>>642167 "It's not a shopping list, Tourmaline, it's a list of acquisitions, one of which could possibly be the thing I understand you, Maali, and Timber are looking for while the rest of us are tagging along. It's not even my objective and I want to help you achieve it."
>>642169 "Judging what I remember from stories about dragons, it'd be hard enough to kill that it probably hasn't been killed before- but that bird that was a transfigured form of that pony only had to be killed once."
>>642164 "What do you even plan on doing With all the parts of it mister Abenad?.. " >>642165 " Then just in case… We could prepare for a fight… Is anyone in need of my care?" asks, looking at the party >>642167 "Or maybe it thinks we are invading it's territory? Here to steal it's hoard? Or maybe it has hatred towards a group of Knights it fought before and thinks we are them?…" >>642169 >>642170 "Maybe… I heard a few dragons were immune to magic and curses… Maybe this applies to it?,
"And he was just a regular pony…" Timber continues to muse. "At least, originally. It seems to me that the curse doesn't affect Immortal Soul bearers. And, that seems like pretty positive proof that Immortal Souls can cure this curse somehow."
"Whatever you call it, it's all I've seen you get around to trying to fulfill. Every day, it's all about how much stuff you can stuff into your pockets. Stuff and stuff and stuff! What was all that you were talking about with a curse? Not our curse, but yours?"
>>642172 "Possibly sell them, use them for ornamentation, or craft them into weaponry. I would like to eat dragon meat, it could be quite the fantastic cut of steak." >>642174 Abenad puts his hands on his hips, looking out over the city. "I do not know the details of my own curse, only knowing that it has made me a hideous creature. I must compliment you all on your bravery in facing me. As for the stuff I stuff into my pockets, I plan on amassing wealth and hiring builders to build me a castle in a remote forest where I can live by myself until I die."
>>642176 "Oh… Um… I am not really in favor of killing a dragon only for the purpose of acquiring wealth from it…" >>642178 "Well I… In a way, yes… But it is because my language is sort of… What was the word you ponies used… Primordial? It is very ancient, but yes, in old old times, all living creatures and spirits spoke this language too… But I'm not sure if most of the creatures and animals of the world have forgotten it after so many years…"
>>642180 "I'm… Not sure if I should assist in killing it as well… I'm torn… It is such an old and unique creature with such beauty and unmatched power that… Well it might just be a crime against nature to kill it… Now that I think of it… No I don't know if I'll be able to help…" >>642181 "I-I'm sorry ma'am…" he lowers his head "I was just playing along…"
>>642181 "Are we going to be dissecting economy, or come to a conclusion on what to do about the dragon? If we haven't come to this city for the Immortal Soul, what are we here for? If the Immortal Soul belongs to the strongest creature in the area, why not destroy the strongest creature?"
>>642166 The necklace is glowing brightly still, moving towards the monolith as if it were magnetized. You remember that when you found the Lunemark monolith, you touched the amulet to it to see what would happen. Presumably it is now infused with the same magic that affects Tourmaline's hoof and now Abenad's hand.
"I'm still for fighting," Timber speaks up. "I think that dragon may be the holder of the Immortal Soul we speak. But, as always, I am no leader. If everyone else thinks otherwise, then I will follow them."
>>642195 >>642196 "Well… I must take a moment mister Abenad…" he says as he touched the monolith With his hoof before sitting down, sighing and focusing, trying to commune With mother earth about the issue of killing a dragon
"Well," Timber says as he stares at the monolith. "We seem to have a third, and far better option. We can just teleport out of her and come back to kill the dragon when we are better prepared. I'm still convinced it has the Immortal Soul, but if we are all convinced we would lose, then let's go find some place else to prepare. What would make everyone more comfortable in fighting a dragon?"
"It was a quiet town where everyone sat around in despair. Are we leaving for there now? If so, all aboard. I know how to teleport there but I'm not sure how I know that. Touch me though, that's important so you're not left behind."
>>642218 >>642219 He touches his necklace "The training every one in my tribe must take once they show potential… Now come on, Mister Timber, touch me…" he says as he turns to the monolith and places his necklace on it >leaving when everyone is ready
Tourmaline and Maali activate their marks, and the party vanish from the rooftop with a loud crack. You all feel light headed, then your vision goes completely black. You feel a ery strange and painful sensation, like you're being pressed from all directions. You feel walls closing in all around you, crushing your chest, iron bands constricting your chest, preventing you from breathing. Then the sensation fades, and you regain your vision, although it is somewhat blurry. You feel like your legs are made of water, and your head spins. Before you is a familiar sight to Maali, Tourmaline and Timber; a towering black monolith sparking with blue lightning lies before you, surrounded by identical birch trees in a hexagonal pattern. Taking in your surroundings, you see that the small village of Lunemark is a grim little place, mostly in ruins. The only buildings that seem to be standing are the library nearby, as well as what looks like a smithy, a church and an inn. There are a handful of houses standing too. Smoke is coming from the inn, and you can hear someone snoring inside the smithy. Other than this, it looks quite desolate.
"Oh… Well I'm afraid I may have picked the wrong stereotype to play off. I don't consider you a dirty pickpocket, for what it's worth. In fact I think you're the only one I haven't butted heads with, and for that, I'm grateful."
>>642231 Abenad sits down one the teleportation had finished, pulling up the hood on the cloak he acquired in the Serpent Keep and putting on the mask he got, so as not to frighten any locals.
He reaches over to touch the monolith, as well.
"Well, I shouldn't be too surprised," he says, "We'll have to be lucky if we hope to recruit anyone."
After waiting a while to feel better, he stands up. "I'll be heading to… the church, that should be the best place to get ponies to gather." With that said, he heads towards the church and goes inside.
Timber shakes his head to regain his composure and balance.
"Fascinating," he mutters to himself. "One would expect teleportation to feel like stretching. Yet, it's more of a crushing feeling. That speaks volumes for the nature of the magic used here. It's as if we were thrust into the monolith itself. Which would suggest that the monoliths are all the same object existing in multiple locations…"
>>642237 We have not I'm sure. We always got along well, right?" he smiles "You never really told me much more about your tribe when I asked about them,though…" >>642238 "Come on mister Timber, even I know that one!"
>>642234 Inside the inn, you find a blue pegasus with a white mane staring into a firepit. He looks gloomy and ill-tempered,barely noticing you as you enter the place. Behind the counter is a brown haggard-looking earth pony mare in a red dress, who smiles at you as you enter but says nothing. Upstairs, you can hear a female voice singing. It sounds very familiar to you, although you can't remember whose it is right now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFh71_ftxLE
>>642235 >>642237 Abenad's mark flashes as you touch the monolith, granting him the ability to warp. The church holds little of interest. It is in reasonably good condition from the outside (apart from the roof which is caving in), but the inside is a mess. The traditional shrines dedicated to each of the 10 aspects of God have been smashed to pieces, and there is a rusted old longsword violently jammed into the altar. The windows have been broken from the outside, and on the right wall is scrawled the word "ABANDONED" in chalk. Vines are beginning to grow through the windows, giving the place a dark atmosphere.
>>642242 >>642245 It looks like the smithy has been redecorated recently, but the forge itself has plainly not been used in a long time. The coals are dormant, and a fat spider happily nests inside. The typical tools of the trade lie carelessly scattered around the cobblestone floor. At the far end is a mattress with a burned out candle next to it and a wooden tree stump acting as a makeshift table. In the corner on a stool sits an old grey ram in a vest, peacefully snoring.
>>642248 "Ve-ry disappointing," Abenad says, losing interest immediately and leaving immediately, heading over to the Smithy. >>642246 >>642247 "Excuse me, old goat… what he said," Abenad says, pointing at Timber. >>642251 >either replying to her at the church before leaving, or she walks with him to the smithy "It helps them digest, I believe?"
>>642246 "No we did not have smiths… There were a few, two or three of us that enjoyed copying the inventions of ponies that occasionally stumbled upon the tribe… That is why I have this…" he says, showing timber his little bag, crudely made of straw >>642248 >>642249 He smiles and nods at the earth mare as he enters "Good day ma'am.. Um… What is the reason of the singing?… And who is the one singing?"
>>642249 You join Maali inside the inn. It is a glum little establishment, made entirely of wood with a stone floor and a firepit in the center. There is little in the way of decoration; at most there is a rug at the entrance, but it is tattered and ill-maintained. There is an upstairs level, which seems to be the source of the singing. As you look around, the innkeeper begins to silently sweep the floor, having nothing else to do.
>>642250 The ram wakes with a start, snorting and shaking his head in surprise. "Wh- what? Who-?" He squints at you in confusion before reaching into one of his pockets and putting on a pair of perfectly round glasses. "Hmph. You must be a new arrival. Don't normally get your kind around here." He has a gruff yet friendly voice. "'Fraid we don't have much in the way of warriors, at least not as residents. Some strange folk passed through here not long ago though, looked the rough and tumble type. One o' them stayed on, she's in the inn I think."
>>642251 While you're no detective, you can see that there was some sort of struggle in this place a long time ago, as shown by the sword in the altar and the smashed windows. This would explain why the church looks trashed inside.
>>642252 The ram does not see you as you poke around. You eventually find a large silver kite shield in the corner. It is emblazoned with a shrieking hawk, and looks like it could be reflective if it were polished. As you pick it up, your axe begins to glow slightly.
>>642253 You enter the dusty old smithy, where you see Timber talking to an elderly ram. He looks over to you and nods in greeting. "Just how many of you are there?" he wonders out loud.
>>642255 The mare's smile fades, and she says nothing. "She's been up there all day," the blue pegasus moans as he stretches his legs. "She came here yesterday with the rest of her group, and she just decided to linger. Don't know who they were. Nobody ever tells me anything," he gripes.
>>642256 Listening in on Timber's conversation with the Smith, Abenad feels like asking, "My good ram, we are going to fight a dragon in a short time, once we have finished preparation. Part of our preparation would be to enhance our weaponry in some fashion- would you be able to do any work with a bow, or ballista?"
>>642257 >>642258 Still no response from the mare, who merely looks confused. The pegasus rolls his eyes. "Are you black-hearted, or just thick? She's mute, you imbeciles." He scowls and flies up to the ceiling and bangs on it. "Would you be quiet alreadyy? I can't hear myself think down here!" The voice falls silent, and the pegasus returns to his seat with an unhappy frown. "Why are you all still hanging about? You don't need permission to go anywhere. Get," he snaps at you.
>>642259 "They weren't wearing much, mostly rags," the ram shrugs. "There were four of them - no wait, three. One was a brown Diamond Dog, wore a mask like a fox. The other was a great big mare, wore an owl mask. The third had no mask, little orange pegasus. She's in the inn, I think. She asked to stay on in this village, and there wasn't much reason to turn her down. She's in the inn, I think."
>>642260 Technically that's not true. You have four copper dillies.
>>642261 He starts slightly as you approach. "Er, go right ahead, don't see why not. I don't really use it much anyways, I just live here since this building's in one piece."
>>642262 His ears perk up. "Well, I retired a while back, I'm not really in shape to be - Wait, a dragon? What kind? What does it look like?" He looks livelier than ever before now, standing up from his seat in interest.
>>642263 "Well, it's a gold dragon," he says, "We were in… a city some way away, and teleported here with a monolith like the one here in town. The other one is in a keep in the city. In the keep is an armory full of weapons in excellent shape and order, among them three ballistae. We plan to use them to weaken the dragon, and for that I suppose we'd have to increase the speed at which the bolts are launched, or to make aerodynamic metal spears in order to better pierce the dragon's hide and scales."
"As for me, I primarily use a bow, but I also use several blades. If possible, I'd like them to be sharpened, or possibly improved in any way they can be. Do you know of any vendors nearby who would be interested in weaponry?"
>>642263 Archie turns her attention to the pegasus. "Excuse me don't you dare insult my intelligence, let alone my manners when you can't properly keep your own voice down. Why do you think I asked a yes or no question?" She glares at the pegasus before turning to the mare. "Do all of your potential customers get this sort of treatment?" She asks, keeping it to simple yes and no questions.
The thought of the five copper dingdongs warms her heart slightly. She goes outside and starts to look in the southeast direction, planning the next trip, because what's the point in going back to the place they just fucking left?
>>642264 You move upstairs to where the singing was coming from, reaching a frugal wooden room with little but a chair, a mirror and a mattress, as well as a saddlebag and a lute in the corner. Sitting on the chair and combing her mane in the mirror is a slim orange pegasus with a blue mane that is normally in a ponytail from what you've seen of her. She turns around as you enter, exclaiming slightly in surprise. "Oh! Hello," says Candy Claws with a friendly smile. "Didn't think I'd ever see your lot again."
>>642265 He nods as he takes in the information. "You've met Veldr, then," he says. "That beast attacked Ortague many years ago, and almost destroyed it. If it hadn't been for Time Trap the Dragonsbane, the kingdom would have fallen. Veldr was captured and imprisoned in the dungeons of the Serpentine Keep. Now that no one's there to keep him down, he's gotten free and is loose to spread his misery. Not with a dozen blades could you destroy that monster. It's a fool's errand," he laments.
>>642266 You don't manage to find anything of use in the smithy. It's in quite poor condition. "Afraid stocks are a bit low at the moment. Not much incentive to be smithing nowadays," says the ram with a shrug.
>>642267 The mare shies away from you, shaking her head and backing off behind the counter. "Look," says the pegasus, "are you here for a reason or are you just sightseeing? What do you want from this place?"
>>642268 Checking the map, you can see that southeast of your location is the great forest of Midwood, and beyond a fort named Easthold-By-The-Sea. Off the shore is the Shrine of Order, which is marked as being a location of an Immortal Soul. You recall that Clement said that Easthold-By-The-Sea was under the control of the Shells of Light.
>>642270 You enter the dingy inn, where you can see Archie having a bit of a tiff with an ill-tempered blue pegasus.
>>642273 "Well, that's alright, then, because we've got three ballistae, and Tourmaline's the only one who uses a blade, and even then it's an axe. What about a steel rod? Something like a spear? As for stocks, we have a full armory at our disposal. I don't know much about forging or reforging, but whatever it takes to kill that dragon, I'm happy to try out."
>>642273 "A place to rest and possibly find someplace that cooks food. We've been traveling for awhile now and simply wish to relax. I figured an inn provides those type of services, though with your attitude it seems like we just stepped into someone's home uninvited." She says, turning her attention back to the pegasus once more.
"Abenad, do you really think that the dragon is just going to run away if we leave it alone for more than a few minutes? We're not going back to fight it until way later. We have better things we can occupy ourselves with."
>>642274 "You'd need an army," the ram insists. "All the king's men were barely able to fell the beast the first time, and that was when Rin was at its finest. A handful of you plus a bunch of rusted war equipment will barely scratch its scales. If you can amass a force to take it down then best of luck to you. As it stands, I doubt I could do anything to help you."
>>642275 "Just find a spot and sleep wherever you like," the pegasus shrugs. "It's not like money's worth anything." The mare in the red dress holds up an empty wooden soup bowl and points at it, looking at you questioningly.
>>642276 "I… Well, I'm not supposed to say much," she replies apprehensively. "We - that is, Shoeshine, Rast and I - arrived here yesterday after the Shells raided our camp. I'm supposed to be waiting here for someone. Can't say more than that." She looks nervous all of a sudden. "Where are the rest of your friends?"
>>642278 The mare in the red dress points towards the stairs leading to the upper floor. You can hear Maali's voice indistinctly, along with that of Candy Claws.
>>642280 You join Timber, Maali and Archie inside the glum little inn.
>>642281 "What, rusted?" Abenad asks, pulling out the knife he had looted from the armory and tossing it to the ram, "Look at that and tell me it's rusted, then give it back because your lack of faith or drive is sickening to me."
Timber heads upstairs and into Candy Claw's room. Seeing as how he hears Maali inside, he sees no need for formalities or requests to enter.
"Greetings, Candy Claws. It is good to see you doing well. Given your circumstances, I would not ask more of you and your companions, but you say you are meeting someone here. Would this someone be capable and willing to fight a dragon?"
>>642282 He raises his eyebrows in surprise. "This is ancient, but good quality steel," he remarks as he returns the dagger. "It's not that I don't have faith in the strength of your arm, friend. It's the fact that you don't have enough numbers. There can't be more than half a dozen of you, Veldr won't even flinch. I don't see much reason to even try to kill it."
>>642283 "A dragon?" she parrots worriedly. "It's a miracle you got back in one piece."
>>642284 >>642286 She nods and trots off to the inn's kitchens. You hear a fire being lit, and before long a thick smell of vegetable soup wafts from the room. "Not vegetable soup again," the pegasus moans. It's like it's the only thing she knows how to make."
>>642285 "Well, we're a bit short on hands at the moment, but if it'll help your cause Doom might be willing to do something…" She thinks for a moment. "I can take you to meet him, but not yet. I'm waiting for someone to arrive here. They'll be here by tomorrow. After the meeting, I'll take you to meet our new leader." >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party followed a magical calling in Tourmaline's hoof marking and Maali's amulet which lead them to the roof of the Serpentine Keep. Here, they found a monolith similar to the one they encountered in the village of Lunemark; upon coming into contact with it, they gained the ability to warp between the two monoliths (although they are limited to being able to do so twice per session). After some deliberation on how to proceed in slaying the dragon attacking Ortague, they decided to leave the city for now and warped to the village. Upon arrival, they split up and began to explore. Abenad entered the local smithy and began to ask for the former blacksmith's help in defeating the dragon (which is known as Veldr), but the ram is refusing, finding little point in doing so with so little manpower. Maali and Timber soon found themselves reunited with an old friend inside the inn in the form of the Masked One named Candy Claws, who had previously traveled with the party for a time. She appears to have found a group of other strugglers led by one named Doom, although she appears reluctant to speak freely of their actions. She is in Lunemark waiting for another member of her faction to arrive, supposedly within a day. Tourmaline explored the church and found it to be of seemingly little use. After joining Abenad in the smithy, she began to plot the party's next course of action. Gopal found a reflective silver shield decorated with a hawk inside the smithy, which seemed to trigger his axe glowing. He pocketed it and adjourned to the inn, where he joined Archie. Archie herself got in a small disagreement with one of the inn's residents, but managed to befriend the mute innkeeper who is preparing food for her and Gopal. >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Archie is at 5/5 >Gopal is at 5/4 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep >Old thread: >>642287
>>643390 >>643391 Candy begins to pack her bags absent-mindedly. "I don't know about taking down a dragon, but I'm sure if you spoke with our leader he might be able to arrange something. I'll be having a meeting with someone here tomorrow. If you accompany us back, I could take you to see him."
>>643387 The mare in the red dress returns from the back of the inn, balancing two bowls of steaming hot vegetable soup. She puts them on the counter and looks at you expectantly. The soup looks edible enough, and smells good too. The blue, snowy-maned pegasus behind you wrinkles his snout at it.
>>643388 "I already told you, I'm retired," says the old grey ram. "I don't smith anymore and I'm in no shape for starting up again now. Go and find yerself another smith. I won't have none of it." He crosses his forelegs stubbornly.
>>643392 "Please allow me to help then" he approaches her and starts to try helping her packing up "I suppose we could afford to wait and rest a day to see your leader if she could assist us in taking down the Dragon… Although we would have to ask the others now, I am not certain if they have already made other plans… "
>>643394 Much like the rest of Lunemark, the library is in a sorry state. Most of the books in this place have long since rotted, the yellowing pages crawling with silverfish that scatter as you draw near. A chandelier has fallen and lies in thousands of pieces in the library's center, and there is a blank shuffling about in the corner with a terrible axe wound in his chest. As you search the library, you manage to find a black leatherbound book that may be of use. Although it is covered in dust and some of the pages are missing, it is still somewhat legible. The title reads: "On the Nature of Dragons in the Known World", by Josef the Stout of Torngrove.
>>643396 You find the soup to be to your liking. It consists mostly of peas, carrots and pumpkin, with a slight lemony tang. Despite having been freshly cooked, it is quite warm and doesn't hurt to drink at all. The mare smiles back and nods before beginning to clean the counter with a rag.
>>643397 The grass here is surprisingly fresh and filling. It has a nice crunch to it and a minty aftertaste.
You all suddenly hear a loud whip crack come from the monolith, identical to the one you heard when warping for the first time. The various inhabitants of Lunemark prick their ears up at the sound of it, but apart from Candy don't have much of a reaction.
>>643395 >>643395 Candy Claws frowns as she hears it. "That'll be him. He's here too early. What could…" She promptly gets up and leaves the inn, heading towards the monolith without giving you a second glance.
>>643398 Abenad takes the book, putting it in his cloak and leaving the library after leaving a note saying he took the book and plans to return it at some point. >reminder he's wearing the bird mask he got earlier >>643399 After leaving the library, he sees Tourmaline going over to the obelisk, walking a short distance behind her as accompaniment.
>>643398 Archie continues to enjoy the rest of her soup as she waits for her companions for now. That is until she hears the cracking noise. She tries to peer outside a nearby window in attempts to see what was going on as she enjoyed her stew.
>>643401 "I… I can't tell you," she says apologetically as she walks along.
>>643401 >>643400 >>643399 >>643402 You see Candy Claws walking towards a grubby-looking unicorn you don't recognize. His coat is a medium green hue, while his ginger mane is limp and straggly. He sports unkempt stubble across his bony face. He is very tall and scrawny, reminding you of some sort of spider. Neither of the two pay much attention to you. "You're early," says Candy as she approaches him. "What happened?" "The Shells happened, that's what," the unicorn replies. "Mort and Corsair got captured and Crucible broke his leg, but the rest of us managed to get away in one piece. How'd the scouting go?" "We saw a group of Shells heading west, about 80 strong. They're not carrying prisoners either, so it's not a transfer mission. I'd say they're going to try to claim Pine Pass." The gangly unicorn grunts. "We ought to get a move on then. The sooner you can get this to Doom, the better." He looks over Candy's shoulder and at the party. "Who are these lot then? Hangers-on?"
>>643403 Through the cracked window, you see the party behind an orange pegasus mare with a light blue mane in a ponytail talking to a scrawny green unicorn with a ginger mane. You can't hear any of what they're saying from where you are, but after a moment the ginger unicorn turns to the party and says something to them.
>>643404 Archie finishes off her stew before getting up and offering the red dressed mare a few coins she had found back at the tunnel full of treasure. She then walks outside to see the rest of the group. "Hello again, everyone. Who are your two new friends?" She asks with a smile.
>>643405 >>643404 Abenad joins in from a distance. "Yes, we had been in Ortague when we encountered it. Most of us would like to fight it, but we don't have the numbers for such an offensive. Therefore, we'd like to get some allies or sellswords to help."
"I don't even know anymore. No I'm not blank. I just came here because I heard the sound and now I'm being questioned because it sounds like you've had a bad day, which naturally puts me under suspicion of being a 'hanger-on'. I just wanted to look at something, if that doesn't offend you."
"Don't listen when they say things about a dragon. It's utterly worthless."
>>643407 >>643405 He stares at you in confusion. "…Dragon. Right." He sniffs and wipes his nose.
>>643408 "Hey, lady, I meant no offense by it." The unicorn takes a step back defensively. "Was just asking is all. Can't be too careful, you know. Sorry."
>>643406 The two turn to you. The ginger unicorn nods in greeting. "I'm Boiling Point, and this is Candy Claws. I'm guessing you're with them."
"They're friends," Candy explains. "They need to see Doom as well." "Mhm." Boiling Point looks back at you. "Any of youse ever warped before?" "That's how they got here, I think," says Candy. "I thought it was you when I first heard them arrive." "Really? So youse know all about it then?" He raises his eyebrows in surprise. "That's… interesting. Very interesting. In any case, step right up, you lot. We're going to be moving to a more lively place. Doubt any of you've been there before, so you'll have to come with me first then touch the monolith, etcetera, youse know the drill, I'm sure." He extends his hoof and nods for you to take it. "I'll see you all in a moment," says Candy, then with another loud crack she vanishes from sight.
>>643409 Archie extends her hoof to take Boiling's hoof. "I've been meaning to ask… Who is this Doom fellow? We have heard about him before but more word about him from different people couldn't hurt. Oh, my name is Archie. It's a pleasure to meet you."
>>643409 Maali smiles and nods nods "I am Maali, it is nice to know you mister Point… Say, have you ever seen another deer around Rin? With tattoos like mine as well, see" he shows off his side, looking at Boiling Point expectantly
>>643411 "He's our leader," he answers. "And yours too. Doom's the rightful king of Rin, he is. He has the blood right and everything."
>>643410 "Charmed, I'm sure." The V-shaped mark on your hand glows as you touch the monolith, but quickly fades.
>>643415 Boiling Point blinks. "Can't say I have, no, sorry. They look a bit like this goat I know though. All black with red fire marks all over him. Six big horns. Says he's from the east, but I've never talked much to him. He gives me the creeps."
>>643411 >>643412 >>643413 >>643414 >>643415 "Hold on tight," says Boiling Point. "You don't want to get bits of you left behind." You hear the now-familiar crack, and the horrible compressing sensation of warping overcomes you. When you come to, you find yourselves standing at the shore of a large pond of crystalline water in the middle of an idyllic glade. The pond itself is surrounded by smooth white stones; upon one of these is a metal plaque, although you can't quite read it from a distance. Behind you is a monolith like the other two you've discovered so far, although where the Lunemark monolith is black with blue lightning and the Ortague monolith is red with a stone snake around it, this one is ash-gray with a marbled pattern on it, surrounded by creeping vines. You can see the towering base of a rock cliff nearby, where Candy is walking along, tapping the rocks as if looking for something. She turns as you arrive and gives you a short wave. "Well, here we are," says Boiling Point cheerily as he begins to fill up his water canteen at the pond. "This is the Dreaming Spring. They say the water's magic, but I don't believe a word of it meself. Just hang on one minute and I'll try and find the entrance." With that, he flashes you all a wide grin that reminds you (sans Archie) of the merchant Clean Slate and joins Candy in tapping the side of the cliff. You feel yourselves being attracted to the monolith, much like Tourmaline and Maali experienced in Ortague. >new monolith location: The Dreaming Spring
>>643416 After getting over his traveling sickness, Abenad touches the monolith to get his hand stamped. "Tell me, what others have you been to?" He enquires, "It would be quite helpful for us if you were to take us around, as it will be quite helpful for us."
>>643416 >>643416 Maali boops the monolith with his necklace "Red marks… No that's not my tribe… But thank you still, I will continue hopefully searching for them…" he says before waiting as told and starts drinking some of this fabled magical water
>>643416 Archie rests her hoof against the monolith with a sigh. "I'm getting too old for travel such as that…" She takes a small breather before looking around at the area before looking at the group. "So… This Doom character is a 'rightful king'? I'd be cautious… We don't know if he means well or if he's just another power hungry fool." She whispers that last bit of info to the rest of the group.
>>643423 "On the contrary, I might have to make this a long-term goal. I hadn't considered the lack of interest or population when thinking of this plan. We'll have to find ways to become stronger in order to beat that dragon, and find others as strong as us."
>>643417 "That's the thing," Boiling Point calls. "We don't know much about this power, but it only really works once or twice a day. After that it just fizzes out. I've already used mine up getting Candy, so it's on hoof for me for a while."
>>643418 The water is refreshingly cold and thirst-quenching. It reminds you of the water your tribe had growing up.
>>643421 He doesn't seem to hear you. You recall, however, that the changeling Clement spoke of this place, and that the water was said to grant dream-visions of whoever you think of when you drink it.
As you stand about, Candy calls for you to join her. She and Boiling Point are near a large, inconspicuous boulder resting on the cliff side. "Over here! We found it!"
>>643427 >>643428 Well, we could go after other souls before this dragon if Tourmaline is so adverse to it… She is very important to the team, so I wouldn't mind going to deal with Doom and then search for another immortal soul or two before this dragon…"
>>643429 "Heh, well, you can show me later, then," Abenad says amicably. He joins Candy and Boiling Point, shuffling over, squatting down to stretch- the weight of all the things he had picked up was starting to make him sore. >>643431 "Tourmaline, let's change the subject so you don't have to be so sour- what do you plan on doing after you've finished this quest?"
>>643429 He jumps back a little in surprise from the feeling, nostalgia striking him hard as he feels a little solemn and drinks up a little more until he was satisfied and joins Point and Candy "How have you found this place?" >>643431 Maali pokes her side "Come on miss Tourmaline, be a little more assertive, I am not so eager to fight the Dragon, even though my mother calls for me to end it…"
>>643429 Archie begins to step closer to Boiling Point. "I do have to ask… Do you think Doom could help me with a problem? I have recently lost my memory… I can only remember bits and pieces of it. I was wondering if he could help me find a way to recover them or possibly give me a direction to start searching for my lost memories."
"Because in spite of overwhelming evidence that fighting a dragon is so far above all of our heads as to be impossible, everyone still wants to do it. I have more to live for, and so do all of you. But as I said, I'm not going to fight it any more. And I haven't had any sugary food in a week and I would punch a foal for a pastry right now."
>>643434 "Not as easy as you'd think," says Boiling as he rummages through some bushes. "You have to know what to look for, you know. To anyone else, this is just an ordinary boulder."
>>643433 "Your guess is as good as mine, small fry," Boiling answers. "It's Doom what found this place, he just led us here."
>>643437 "Doom doesn't really know much about magic and stuff like that," says Boiling. "He does have a court mage, however," says Candy. "Maybe he could help you with your amnesia."
>>643431 >>643432 >>643433 >>643434 Boiling stands up from the bushes holding a small strip of parchment, which he passes to Candy. She walks over to the boulder and raps on it sharply three times, then two more. "What's today's password?" A deep, rumbling voice comes from the other side. "It's me," Candy replies. "And me," Boiling adds. "I know that. What's today's password?" Candy glances at the strip of parchment Boiling took out of the bushes. "'Claymore'." The boulder rolls aside, revealing a small stone cavern with many tunnels dug into it. In the cavern stands a small, wiry little goat with a gray coat and red eyes, who looks you up and down. "It's just the standard procedure, you know that, Candy," the goat booms in a voice that doesn't suit his appearance at all. "Can't be too safe after what happened before. Might be Shells about." He looks over at the lot of you. "Who're they then?" "They're allies," Candy replies. "They need our help. They say there's a dragon loose." The goat squints at you. "We'll have to process them, you know. Could be lying, or could be working for the Shells." Boiling nods. "Could be." "Nevertheless, they should come in," says Candy. The goat nods after mulling it over for a moment and stands aside to let you pass, eyeing you all suspiciously. Candy and Boiling both take a torch and begins to stride down what looks to be the main tunnel, gesturing for you to follow.
>>643439 >>643439 He sighs "Very well… Then I will not fight it anymore either… At least not now… I still have to obey the call of my mother, I like it or not, but she will understand if I wait until I am ready to finally face it… So for you, I am not going after it anymore until we get other things done… And if you are peckish for sweets… I could grow some fruit for you… Let's see…" he starts checking his bag "Strawberry, Apple, grape or banana?"
>>643439 >>643440 Abenad tries to change the subject. "Well, just the one dragon, in the one city, and it'll be there later," he says, "But what's that you're saying about the Shells? I'm sick of those grunts and their high and mighty attitude about not being from here so they're not cursed. It's a genocide they're committing, not a crusade."
"I'd love to sit down with even one of their leaders and give him a well-articulated thesis on why the cessation of their attacks is the most beneficial for all of us and why its continuation is stupid and not beneficial, but there is a zero percent chance of even one of them even bothering to hear me. So I can't."
>>643440 "Yes it is a dragon we would like assistance with… But it seemed to have taken a liking to staying in an abandoned place it seems, so as long as we don't disturb it, we will not have problems with it… Um, sorry to be repeating myself… But mister Doom… You seem older and well traveled… You wouldn't happen to have seen anyone of my species with similar markings, have you?" >>643444 He smiles a little and is rather taken back by her excitement "I-I can but it will take a little while, I'm sorry! If I knew you liked them so much I would have done it sooner!" he says as he takes the carefully wrapped seeds from his bag and kiss then gently, a faint glow emanates from the seed as it disappears "There… I will just need some time, can you wait? Miss Tourmaline?"
>>643446 He giggles "No no it's not necessary… I just have to drunk water myself, and for you, I will need to eat some extra portions every meal so they will grow rich and strong and sweet, or else I will start feeling a tad weak and the trees won't grow strong enough to survive on its own once I plant it on soil…"
>>643442 "Not to blow our own horn or nothing, but we're the Shells' biggest threat right now. They don't know where we are, and the monoliths keep away anything what isn't undead, plus we can warp away if things go tits-up. All in all, we're pretty golden right now." He grins widely again.
>>643445 The goat stares at you in confusion, then lets out a booming bark of laughter. "Hah! I'm not Doom. He's just down the way. Name's Rigby. I'm on guard duty right now." He does a mock bow and motions for you to follow Candy and Boiling.
You walk down the stone corridor without another word from Candy. You suddenly hear the babble of voices coming from the end, which only grows louder as you draw nearer. After a minute, you arrive at a large stone hall akin to what you'd see in a castle. Torches sit on their sconces burning bright, and banners depicting the ten-headed serpent hang solemnly from the walls. Along the walls are straw mattresses and dusty shelves stacked with books and supplies. The room is filled with beings of many different shapes and sizes, mostly ponies but also donkeys, goats, griffons and even some Diamond Dogs and Cael. Some show interest as you arrive, but most don't give you more than a second glance as they go about their business. 1/2
>>643448 >>643448 In the very center of the hall is a large varnished wooden table shaped like a map of Rin, much like the one you saw in the Serpentine Keep. It has several markers at many different places in Rin, including the five major cities, the Tower of Silence and the Shrine of Order. There are four figures clustered around the map table. The first catches your eye the most; a tall, heavily built earth pony with a brown coat and a green mane, sporting a thick beard. He bears a long, ugly scar across the left side of his face. He is listening intently to a light blue unicorn mare with a short braided aquamarine mane. On his right is a griffon in heavy plate armor. She is tall and muscular, with a hooked, cracked beak, pallid watery blue eyes, and thick feathers resembling straw in coloration and texture. Across from the scarred earth pony is a bat pony with a dark brown coat and a bluish mane, wearing a bright yellow cloak. He sports large thick side whiskers. "Our scouts tell us the Shells have discovered our hideout at the Far Cairn, Your Grace," says the light blue mare as you approach. "It appears that a contingent of Shells has left the Tower of Silence to launch a siege." "And how high can the Shells of Light jump?" the scarred earth pony replies. "The walls of the Far Cairn have been fully repaired and reinforced. I saw to that myself. They have enough food for six months. They are more prepared for a siege than they have ever been. It would be folly for the Shells to attack. And in any case, our men can escape through the secret tunnel under the fort. Why are you bothering me with this? I have better things to do, you know that." "…Your Grace, there is something else." The mare hesitates. "…One of the soldiers at the Far Cairn fled three days ago. It is he who informed the Shells of our hideout. They will know of the tunnel. We may be able to outlast a siege, but there will be no escape." The scarred stallion seethes and grinds his teeth at this news, but says nothing. Candy Claws steps forward as the blue mare bows and exits. "Your Grace." "What is it?" "Whatever it is, it can't be worse than mutiny," says Doom. "There is a secondary group of Shells heading out from Torngrove, about 80 strong. They're moving west, and they have no prisoners. The most likely option is that they're going to try to put up a garrison at one of the forts or villages, most likely Pine Pass." Doom nods and turns to look at the party. "And these are?" "Allies, Your Grace. They wish to aid us in our fight against the Shells." Doom nods again, and Candy and Boiling move away to give you room. "Speak your part, travelers," says Doom. 2/2
>>643449 Archie, while not fully convinced quite yet, still bows out of respect while she is in Doom's home. "Greetings, Lord Doom. I am Archie. My allies have come seeking aid to slay a dragon that has taken Serpentine Keep as it's home. But I have something else I wish to ask… Recently, I have lost all of my memories. I do not quite feel it was the cause of the curse, but something else… I mention this because I was hoping you may know a way I can cure this amnesia. If you might know someone or someplace… or even some way to help me remember." She says, keeping a calm tone of voice as she speaks to him.
>>643449 Maali meekly steps forward, the tiny deer easily the smallest of all around there "um… Hello, mis-eer… Lord Doom sir… I am Maali and these are my comrades" he motions to the party "We are here to help in your cause and also ask for your help in ours, of course, our current objective can wait, but it seems like you are dealing with something much more urgent right now… " he looks at the map, occasionally glancing at the others at the table >>643450 "N-not even a little bit of candy? I always heard you ponies all loved it and always wanted to try some day…"
>>643452 >>643449 Maali blinks as he remembers something, he waits for Archie to finish talking to speak "Oh! And that reminds me, please tell me, have any of you ever seen another deer? A group of them? With tattoos like mine?" he asks everyone on the table
>>643451 "It is my right to rule this land from Ortague, and not a cave in a cliff," he replies curtly. "If you have something to say, say it now."
>>643452 He blinks. "A dragon? It could only be Veldr. I feared this day would come." He rubs his temple in frustration. "If you and yours have some way to defeat that beast, then you would be wise to speak now. As for your own problem, you will have to speak with my High Mage. Unfortunately for you, Dreamcoat is away on an important mission right now. He will return in three days' time. Luckily for you, three days is all you will need to be fully processed."
>>643454 "I know nothing of the sort," he simply responds. Neither the bat pony or the griffon give any response.
>>643457 He sighs "I apologize, thank you for answering… It is just that I am looking for my tribe, others like me who I believed were all killed off in a forest fire… It is hard accepting I might be the last one…" he lowers his head, dejected
>>643457 "Oh, Dreamcoat? We had met him previously in the caves, when we had defeated his student who had become a monster. We let him have the Immortal Soul from it. Yes, it was yesterday or the day before…"
"As for the dragon, well, we had just come form the Serpentine Keep, and the armory was just FULL."
He pulls out a dagger he had taken, sliding it over the table to Doom. "My apologies for looting, but I already had one dagger and it would be nice to have a pair. But I think what would help would be to get a bunch of capable ponies and such to come with us to help kill and subdue the dragon. And it would be quite beneficial to you, since, as you say, you deserve to rule from Ortague, which would be perfect for defending against with those high walls, the streets, the vantage points for firing crossbows…"
>>643457 Archie nods to Doom. "I'm fully willing to go through this process as well. As for the dragon we may be able to use ballistas to damage the outer shell… When I had attacked it with my spells I had dealt quite a bit of damage, but it only charred the outer armor. I can only assume if one were to knock away the scales with heavier artillery then we could use archers and mages to attack the softer points that are created."
>>643459 If he feels any empathy for you, he does not show it.
>>643460 >>643462 He nods as he listens to your words. "I see. Perhaps in time we could take the Keep and slay Veldr, but as I'm sure you've seen, I have many matters to attend to right now, mainly the defense of our outpost at the Far Cairn. Perhaps if you were to help with this, then we could focus on the matter of Veldr."
"But first, the processing." Doom looks at some of the ponies in the area. "Seize them." The next moment, you feel hooves and hands restraining you, and you are forcibly marched by a large group down one of the many tunnels in this hidden complex. Doom follows the group without another word. As you look back, you see Candy Claws give you all an apologetic look. Boiling Point just shrugs and saunters over to a nearby dining table.
>>643467 "I… Wow…Y-you ponies are scarier than what I thought…" >>643468 He jumps a little as he heard 'seize them' but hesitantly complies, showing a face of discomfort as he is taken down the line, glancing back at Candy
>>643469 >>643470 >>643471 >>643472 You are eventually taken down a narrow corridor and through a heavy iron vault door, pushed into a grim stone cell with little features save for a glowing yellow gemstone at its top providing a light source. One of the guards, a burly brown earth pony with dreadlocks, pushes a tray containing bread and water through a slot in the bottom. "Changelings can only hold their form for three days before they begin to waver," he explains. "We'll be watching you." With that, you hear a chair get dragged up and the guard opens a second slot for his eyes, sitting down on it and watching you all closely.
>>643473 Abenad takes a seat in the corner, pulling off his mask and tousling his head fur to clear it up, removing his cloak and cape as well, followed by his equipment, which he sets in a pile, before stretching out and resting his head on the cloak and cape.
"They've got better things to do than wait around for us to not be us," he says, "We'll just have to be patient."
>>643473 Archie simply sighs and sits in a spot for herself.
>>643474 "As long as we're given free food and a safe place to stay I do not see what the problem is, Tourmaline. Changelings feed off of love, so by the time three days come normal food wouldn't sate us if we were. So by then our strength would give out and a form would be revealed. Think of this as a test of patience as well."
>>643476 "We could get to know one another better. I may not know much about myself, but it wouldn't hurt to get more comfortable with each other while we travel together." She says with a soft smile.
>>643481 "The land they come from? Well… There's no pin point answer for that. As for what they do, the tend to take the forms of loved ones so they can drain the lives out of ponies or other races that are capable of love."
>>643482 "Sounds like something from a fairy tale. When I was a…" He pauses, his brow furrowing before he corrects himself, "I recall a story from my youth where a changeling was a fae or evil magic creature that was switched in a crib with the real baby, so the creature would be raised by the parents unaware, and the baby would be eaten."
>>643474 "Look, I don't make the rules, Doom does," says the guard. "We already had one changeling infiltrate us, so we have to take precautions."
>>643477 You read the introduction of the book. >Of all the creatures that walk this earth, none are more mighty than the dragon. These magnificent beings can be found all over the known world, from the craggy peaks of the Archback Mountains to the depths of the Sepulchres below Arineau. Despite their ill reputation, I assure you, dear reader, that they are among the most interesting entities you will ever meet. Throughout the course of this book, you too will learn of their nature, their life cycle, and their link to the Far Land, from which emerge the Archdragons.
>>643485 "Hm, I was under the impression that that rat we had cornered had enchanted himself. Archie, do you know if you're any good at cooking eggs?" >>643486 Abenad finds this view of the creatures sympathetic. He scans through the book, looking for a part on gold dragons, or checking to see if there was an index to help him.
>>643487 You find that there is a sub-race of dragons known as topaz dragons. Presumably Veldr is of this sub-race. According to the book, topaz dragons are serious in disposition, highly intelligent, determined and stubborn but not without a sense of honor and faith. Dragons, like other races, worship a pantheon of deities; in a dragon's case, they worship the same god that the Rinish do. When befriended, a topaz dragon is loyal to a fault.
>>643490 Befriending a dragon would be nice, Abenad thinks to himself, and honor is an admirable trait. He might have been hasty in considering storming at it. If he were to make friends with it, though, he'd have to apologize for him and the others attacking it earlier, and bring something with him to apologize for it.
>>643492 Despite the party being effectively captives, the guard grants your request, allowing you to do whatever you wish in your own cell opposite the party. You do get a guard posted outside, however. >pausing
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party reunited with an old acquaintance of theirs named Candy Claws, who offered to take them to a pony named Doom who could help them with slaying the Archdragon Veldr. After uniting with an ally of Candy's named Boiling Point, the group warped via monolith to a glade in the northern stretches of Rin called the Dreaming Spring. After searching for a spell, Candy and Boiling revealed a secret entrance in the side of the cliff that led them through the rock wall and into an underground stronghold to meet Doom. The party soon found that Doom called himself the king of Rin and was treated as such by his followers, although his motive for doing so is as of yet unclear. They spoke with Doom and managed to secure a shaky alliance with him; however, before they were fully accepted into the group they were swiftly seized and held in a jail cell, where they would remain under 24-hour surveillance for three days in case they are Changelings… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 (in a separate cell) >Archie is at 5/5 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>643392
>>644298 >>644300 >>644301 You sit in a dull solid stone room. The only features in it are shabby straw mattresses, a glowing yellow crystal acting as a light source and the heavy iron door. There are tiny flaps on the door; through the bottom flap the guards will push food trays into your cell, while through the top flap you can see a pair of eyes watching you. Gopal, being exhausted after the journey, falls asleep in a corner. Archie sits and begins to meditate.
>>644299 You are in a separate cell to the party, as per your own request. It is even grimmer and smaller than the one you were in before, roughly the size of the average attic; its features are roughly the same as the cell you were in before, with a ragged straw mattress and a glowing yellow crystal light source. You have been granted a blunt zweihander to be able to train your strength with, as well as two thick iron discs with leather strips tied on them. As you examine these, you see that one is marked with the word 'strength', and the other 'discipline'. These are doubtless training weights of some sort.
>>644302 Abenad pulls off his upper-body clothes. He ties the leather straps around his wrists, lifting them up and down to gauge their weight. He then sets the book on dragons down on the floor and starts pumping iron while reading more from the book.
Tourmaline sits herself down in front of Timber, then clears her throat loudly. "We have time to kill. Help me whittle away these empty pointless hours which I'm not even sure how we find ourselves in."
She picks up his front hooves and begins to play one-sided pattycake hoping he'll eventually catch on. "Mimic my motions."
>>644302 Maali didn't had much to do besides occasionally joining Archie for meditation for a while, after deciding his mind was at peace and his cholesterol levels low, he goes over to the door and clears his throat "excuse me, Mister watcher… Could you please bring me a few loaves of bread? I sort of need to eat quite a lot…" >>644306 "I will start giving off fruit soon, but wait just a bit more, they will be green for a while" he says With a smile
"Yes I'm going to make a dish with the wonderful supply of kitchenware our captors have provided for us. I'm going to spend the next extremely long three days doing this because I'm clearly a changeling who wanted to kill a dragon at some point and decided to go to some random whiny prince who may not even be the prince for all we know or could very well be a changeling himself. I mean wouldn't that be a shock?"
>>644315 "No… It is not.. But try seeing things from his side.. I mean, he built a strong force in this land with soldiers he can rely on, and he wants to protect his allies from within and without. A single spy could ruin all of his plans, not to mention he might be suspicious that there could be a trap waiting for him at the location of the Dragon… I honestly do not blame him at all for his methods, he is just being careful… I know this is not the most pleasant place to be in but please understand, be patient, and use this time to relax and rest from our journey so far… Please…"
"Oh put away the concerned face, you're worrying too much about me. So what if I'm frustrated? He's no saint just because he has a handful of armored mooks and no-name fancolts. I have my own things to do, and I'm not about to bend over backwards to take his side and apologize for having the gall to exist and follow along with the group's plan."
>>644304 As you read the book on dragons, you find that they are much more versatile than the standard four-legged, winged, fire-breathing dragons one associates with their image. When young they take on a humanoid form, but as they grow older they can not only come in seven different colors that dictate their disposition (named after gems: topaz, diamond, lapis, emerald, ruby, opal and amethyst) but also in different shapes and sizes: there are the standard four-legged drakes, the small, two-legged wyverns, the wormlike, burrowing lindworms, the many-headed hydra, the winged serpentine Naga and the slender antlered Shiera of Sarnath and Ibergal. Using this classification, you deduce that the dragon in Ortague is a topaz drake. In addition, you read that the homeland of the dragons lies beyond the wasteland of Rin-That-Was. This is known as the Far Land, but even in a comprehensive guide such as the one you possess there is next to nothing written about this place. All that is known is that the mindless, ravaging beasts known as Archdragons come from this place, and always bring ruin to the known world. The Ortague dragon is one such creature.
>>644304 >>644305 >>644306 >>644307 >>644308 Three long and uneventful days pass. It is evident that Doom's group trust you, as your equipment has not been taken from you; even your weapons are still there, not that they would be of much use. At all times a pair of eyes stares from the barred gap in the door, watching your every move. Thrice a day like clockwork, a frugal meal of bread, water and dried fruit is pushed through the door. Maali's sleep on the first night is haunted by terrible visions of a vast charred forest, littered with blackened corpses. Nothing but dust and echoes lie in the forsaken place. The sun and moon cycle overhead. It is now Myna's Day of Whim, approximately 4 in the afternoon. The doors to your cells swing open, and you are greeted by two earth pony guards; one is the brown coated guard with dreadlocks you met before, while the other is blue and thin as a rake, with a drooping mustache and a ponytail. "Alright, you've passed the test," says the guard with dreadlocks. "You can come on out now." "Not you," adds the mustached guard as he bodyblocks Gopal. "We know who you are. You're staying right where you are until Doom decides what to do with you." "You said you wished to speak with the High Mage Dreamcoat, and he is here now. When you're done there, King Doom has a task for you to complete," says the guard with dreadlocks. "Come on now, follow us. We'll take you to the High Mage."
>>644321 Abenad cleans himself up and puts his clothes and things back on, following the guards with the rest of the party, rolling his shoulders and subtly flexing to try and feel a difference from the past days.
>>644318 "I DO worry that you are frustrated… You have been frustrated for a good while now and that is making you act and say…" he sighs "S-sorry, nevermind… I-I just hope that the bananas help with making you feel better about all this…" >>644321 Unlike most dreams and nightmares one has, that are easily forgettable within a few hours after waking up, this particular night fright sticked to Maali's mind for all these days, as he did not had much to distract him from the memory of the scorched land
At the opening of the door and the arrival of the guards, he slowly gets up and nods, muttering "I understand" as he follows the party and the guards He also checked the bananas status
"Telling other ponies they are frustrated is the most effective method at frustrating other ponies. If you're worried about it, don't talk about it. Or think about it either, really. It's not in your control. So, worrying isn't really something that accomplishes anything but make you feel worse. It also creates an aggravating atmosphere which is frustrating for some ponies. If you want to help, stop worrying. Your positive energy will make others feel better to."
>>644324 "You don't even know who you're traveling with, do you?" the mustached guard drawls. "We did our research while you were in there, Timber Hoof." "This one's name is Mott, not Gopal," the dreadlocked guard adds. "He's a burglar and a thief. He has the death sentence in four cities over in Arineau. He'll stay here and face the king's justice. What that consists of is up to Doom to decide."
>>644327 Your bananas have grown to the point where they're most likely ripe for eating.
>>644326 You feel more powerful after having worked out over the last half week, your muscles more defined. >Abenad gains the Strong racial
>>644322 >>644323 >>644325 >>644326 >>644327 You follow the two guards out of the cells and down a series of stone tunnels. You notice that this hidden stronghold is quite crowded; you can barely walk two feet without bumping into someone here, making the place feel cramped and uncomfortable. The guards leave as you eventually reach a larger chamber dug into the earth that has been decorated somewhat. It boasts a tall, arched ceiling accommodating two large walls stacked to the brim with books and closets. Near the back of the room is a flight of stairs leading to an upper level, where there is a hole in the wall acting as a window, with a telescope poking through. Strangely enough, it seems to be rather dark outside, despite it being only 4 in the afternoon. In the center of the room is a wooden desk with more books and scrolls stacked on it, as well as a glass jar filled with green fire and what appears to be some sort of spherical astrolabe. At this table sits an older gray unicorn with a black mane and a bushy beard, writing on a piece of parchment with a quill. His left hoof is a sickly red hue, and looks cracked and stony as the walls surrounding him. Apart from this apparent injury, Dreamcoat appears to look healthier and less shabby than when the party sans Archie last encountered him; gone is the straw hat and the ragged robe, replaced with a fine greyish-green one and a pair of small glasses. Abenad recalls the ghostly chamberlain Touchstone having worn similar clothes. Dreamcoat looks up as you enter, giving a friendly wave with his withered hoof. "Hello again, adventurers," he says warmly. "I see you have found another companion in your travels." His eyes linger on Archie strangely for a moment before he looks away. "How goes the soul-hunt?"
>>644332 Abenad grunts as he recognizes the similarities between Dreamcoat's and Touchstone's clothing. "Not too well," he said, "Just a couple days after we met you, we had gotten to Ortague and encountered the dragon there. How goes research on the soul from the bird that was once your apprentice?"
>>644329 He turns to Timber, hearing intently as he is given a lesson "I see.. Thank you then, Mister Timber, then I will try to be the most positive I can be!" >>644330 "… Differently… You are acting a bit differently… Or maybe not at all, and this is how you have always been… And… Let me see, are they ready?" >>644331 "Oh these? These are two banana fruits, I am growing bananas, for miss Tourmaline…" >>644332 He cheers up at seeing a familiar face "It has… Well it is going… We are few, so you should not expect too much progress quickly from us… How about you, Master Dreamcoat? Oh, and what is this you are reading? Studying about something? A spell?" >>644334 "They are good to eat! Here you are miss Tourmaline, thank you for being so patient" he says, slightly bowing and lowering his head as two dozens of bananas hang from the tree antlers on his head, although they were considerably smaller than regular bananas
>>644332 Archie waits until everyone finishes speaking to Dreamcoat. "Hello, High Mage Dreamcoat… My name is Archie. Lord Doom has told me that you could help me with a very major case of amnesia. Is it possible you may know a spell that could help me remember my memories? or possibly some other way to recover them?" She looks at his wound, trying to prepare a mending spell for it. >Mend his hoof. [1d10+2]
Timber laughs. "With you, I don't think you even need to try that hard for your positivity to rub off on others."
"Our soul hunt has been… mostly fruitless," Timber responds to Dreamcoat's question. "Though, we have found a dragon we theorize may have an immortal soul. We are looking for help in destroying it. You, in fact, may be a helpful ally if you were willing to make the trip."
>>644340 "It is… Hard to tell with words… Remember I still did not fully mastered your language… But before you felt… Less grumpy, more talkative, had a bit of leadership with you… I consider you our leader… And um… You never read me a story again…" "Oh and.. Enjoy the bananas" >>644343 "Aw… They are sweet and good for you!"
"Mares just get grouchy sometimes when everyone wants to fight a big dragon and waste time, or when they're imprisoned by big mysterious kings hiding in holes in the ground who think they're the toughest around. And besides, you never asked for another one."
>>644354 "I-I did not mean to offend, honest… Really, all of you ponies are weird to me in a level… Just like I am certain that I am weird to you as well… Right?" He smiles upon hearing a story will be waiting for him tonight" >>644355 He shrugs "maybe we could ask for cake if they have any?
>>644360 >>644362 "I've come to agree with Tourmaline on this part- going after the dragon right now wouldn't be as optimal as going after the others and becoming strong enough to eventually fight the dragon."
>>644337 Your spell fizzles out ineffectively. "I appreciate your trying, but I'm afraid there's no curing this," he says offhandedly. "I've done what I can to prevent it from spreading, and that should be enough. "As for your affliction, I'm afraid there's no magical cure for amnesia, else the curse of the undead would be negligible," he explains apologetically. "I must say, though, you do look familiar, but I can't quite place it… Tell me, did you ever work in the city of Jevel? Or do you not know?"
>>644333 "It's… not going well," he admits. "Every time I try to find an answer, it slips away. I have managed to stabilize it and prevent it from corrupting the mind and body, but…" he glances at his hoof. "It's still not ready. Not ready at all."
>>644334 "I see," Dreamcoat muses. "If you decide to stay on and work for Doom, perhaps I could be of assistance in scrying for them. I'm sure the king would be willing to help in this matter too, if you speak to him."
>>644342 "A dragon?" His face darkens. "In Ortague, I imagine. This bodes ill." He sighs. "As much as I would like to help destroy Veldr, I have my work cut out for me between trying to contain the Immortal Soul, serving Doom, and now the recent fluctuations in the night sky. I could provide some guidance on how to defeat it, maybe, but I think Doom would be a more capable ally in this matter."
>>644335 "I… have been better," he says. "My work is cut out for me serving the king. An enchantment here, a spell warding there, a monolith trip over there… It's murder, really. "I was just in the middle of writing a letter, actually," he explains. "I have contact with a colleague in one of the other hideouts, and we rarely have the chance to meet face to face." He uses his telekinesis to furl up the scroll and tie it with a string, then he opens the jar of green fire. The scroll is immediately consumed by a tongue of flame, and vanishes from sight. "Hopefully he'll read it soon," he mutters, more to himself than to any of you.
"Is there anything you wish to know, travelers?" he asks as he begins to file another stack of scrolls. "If so, now is the time. I doubt we will have much of a chance to talk."
"And, do you have any evidence to support an argument that any other soul would be easier or safer to acquire? We have been told by every source that has any idea as to what an Immortal Soul is that they will all inevitably be held by beings of terrifying power. And, the only other Immortal Soul we've seen was artificial and therefore may easily be not as powerful. Thus, it doesn't hold as evidence of anything."
"In fact, if the other Immortal Souls are held by ponies, then I would venture to say that they would all be MORE dangerous than the dragon. Full grown dragons tend to be selfish and irrational. Thus, as a threat, they are easier to deal with since they will inevitably fight in a predictable, straight forward manner. An intelligent combatant with similar power would undoubtedly be more dangerous."
"The most likely scenario is that we will have gone on a journey to yet another difficult to reach, out of the way location only to once again come to the conclusion that we won't be able to beat that which we are after. Then we will have to leave that place that took us days to get to to look for assistance and then come back there. We got lucky that we were able to find a warp location so close to our target. But, there's no reason to think that will happen again. Thus, searching for assistance on fighting this target is a far smaller 'waste of time'."
>>644364 "Names of this land is… fuzzy to me. All I can recall is that I used to be a teacher and that someone had called me by the name 'Archie'. Who they were is something I wish I knew." She says with a hint of sadness in her voice.
>>644364 "Hmn… Well, a personal interest of mine was hoping you had something magical to teach me… Pony magic always fascinated me a little and I would like to see if I would ever be able to go beyond the power of Gaia…" he taps his necklace "If not, ask if you might have another scroll with a spell in it to assist us like that previous time, if it does not bother you, of course… We could even pay for it if it does becomes too much of a bother…" "And my last subject to ask is… Have you seen any other deers with tattoos?"
>>644375 "Only living? Who's dead that you can compare me with?" >>644376 "You know what I've really come to like?" Abenad asks even though he'll answer without waiting for her to ask what, "Hands. Hands are great. And apparently this was supposed to be a punishment or something, but everyone seems to take it like it's no big deal."
>>644366 He tilts his head in confusion at your answer. "I'm sorry?"
>>644368 He touches his chin in contemplation, grabbing a yellowed scroll from one of the many cabinets around his office. "Here, read this. It's a list of all the old staff stationed in the city. Perhaps one of the names will jog your memory."
>>644369 "I'm sorry, but as far as we know there's no monolith near Jevel. It's only a few days on hoof from here, however. If you would go there, I'm sure Doom would be grateful for your exploration. We don't even know where the monoliths come from, although I have a very strong idea as to who put them there…"
>>644370 "I suppose I could teach you some magic. It will take time, however. I do not know how skilled you are with it, and learning spells will take time besides. Even the most experienced mages take a day or two to be able to learn a spell." "I can, however, provide some scrolls that might be useful." He stands up and begins to dig through one of the many cabinets, eventually passing you two. "These might come in handy if you're going to be taking on a dragon." >Scroll of Paralysis x3: spell; Upon success, leaves the target unable to move or take any sort of action for three turns. (can only be used once per scroll) "I'm afraid I haven't seen anyone quite like you, I'm afraid," he says apologetically. "I do know of some goats living in the eastern vales that have mastered pyromancy, however. They have similar tattoos to you, but I do not know if there is a connection. I believe one of them has joined Doom's cause, although he is the exception to the rule. Capricons keep to themselves more often than not, and don't show any kindness to outsiders."
>>644373 He nods. "I have somewhat secured the artificial soul's corrupting properties, at least. A limb is a small price to pay for progress in breaking the curse. I expect to have it completely purified in a fortnight."
"Interesting," Timber says to Dreamcoat. "You say you have an idea as to WHO put the obelisks there? I was working on a theory that they were some sort of universal constants. So, who do you think put them there?"
>>644379 "Well, I do not want to take all of your time, Master Dreamcoat… If you do not have the time to teach me, maybe there must be some magical exercises I could do while traveling? Or if you had any alternative methods of passing your knowledge to me…"
He smiles and takes the scrolls "Thank you, master Dreamcoat… I will not forget your kindness…"
His eyebrows furrow in thought "In my tribe we did had to learn about the foundations of the elements… Fire was one of them… Perhaps there might be some connection…" he nods and takes Dreamcoat's hoof and shakes it "Thank you again, by the way Master Dreamcoat, you are a great ally…"
>>644380 "…Oh. Forgive me, my age must be getting to me." He clears his throat. "I will not force you to work with our new king, but you might find it is in your best interests to do so. Do you not wish to break the curse and be rid of the Shells of Light?"
>>644381 You begin to read the list of personnel. You see that Dreamcoat was the Administrator of Jevel, presumably the most senior position. Underneath are what are called the Archmages, seemingly a council of other mages that served the city. As you read through, many names pop out to you, very faintly familiar: Nightlily, Triskelion, Astral Echo, and Procyon. However, above all, about halfway down, you read a name that stirs your memories like none other: Pearl Orchid. It is your name, you remember that now. The others were your colleagues, as you taught the students how to practice magic in the enchanted city. Dreamcoat was your superior, the leader of the city. In time, however, Dreamcoat was called to the capital by the old king Endon, to serve as his High Mage, just as he serves Doom now.
>>644382 "If you do travel there, take care," Dreamcoat warns you. "The magic in that city was controlled by the mages that inhabited it, but now that they are gone it runs rampant in that place. I fear the city has taken a mind of its own, in a way."
>>644384 "I'm afraid I can be of little help otherwise, small one," he replies. "I would offer you a beginner's spellbook, but as I understand it you are unable to read. Visit me again when we have more time on our hooves, and I will impart my sorceries."
>>644383 "They did not exist before the curse took hold, that much is clear," he explains. "Something or someone must have placed them there, yes? Now, as you know, the curse on this land has made it impossible to have a final resting place, effectively fracturing the ties between our world and that of the dead. There are many who should have died long ago, yet are denied the possibility to go beyond the veil. "In your travels, you may have come across an inn called the Pale Mare, and spotted a white alicorn with eyes like stars. The inn is the gap between this world and the next. It, and its alicorn owner would not normally manifest in our world, but these are extraordinary circumstances. "Simply put, he is Death, and he wants what is his. He can only come into limited contact with us, so he can only interact with us in a very roundabout way. Death created the monoliths to aid the people of Rin in their struggle to end the curse. As to what created the curse, that is another matter entirely."
>>644385 "Yes this… this is alarmingly helpful. Dreamcoat… What happened to me? What made me forget everything about Jevel? I knew I was a teacher but… I've forgotten many of my students names, even the faces of my former colleagues is still a fuzzy memory to me." Now she was getting a bit more worried, hoping this wasn't just the result of the curse, granted she can remember the names again rather than having her memories lost forever.
>>644386 "I'm afraid I have no answer for that. I only barely recognized your face from the old days. This small library I have built is filled with the annals of history, however. Perhaps if you were to stay here, there might be answers for you. But your friends will surely need you more…"
>>644387 "A tour?" Dreamcoat parrots. "I assure you, going to Jevel nowadays is no trot in the park. The city itself changes form, and there are creatures in there unlike any in existence. If you enter, you will find yourself hard pressed to be able to leave again. Not even warping works. The magic in the city disrupts it."
>>644388 "I believe he only appears as such in an attempt to look familiar to us," he explains. "I could very well be wrong, however. Planar studies were never my area of expertise, and such magic is always in flux. "I do not know where Doom is at the moment. Most likely he is in the main hall, conferring with his most trusted. I believe he wanted a word with you and yours, but I'm not sure about what."
>>644389 "Ah, well, someone's got to be living there, otherwise who's going to teach us the magic of… soulcrafting?" He ponders the phrase used for such magic. "In any case, it's a risk worth taking. We've got to get stronger in any way we can if we hope to recover the yadda yadda you know all the rest."
>>644389 Archie looks to the rest of the group. "Everyone… I hate to do this to you, but I need to find out more information about myself… It's the whole reason why I came along, in search for who I was while helping a greater goal. I hope you can forgive me, but I wish to stay here with Dreamcoat a little while longer until I have figured out all that I can."
>>644392 "Hm, well, I can't blame you too much," Abenad says, "Didn't expect you to last as long as you have, but at least you're safe now." He gives Archie a friendly scratch behind the ears. "Take care of yourself, Archie."
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party were held captive by Doom, the supposed king of Rin and the leader of the resistance against the Shells. After three harrowing days, they were set free and, on their request, granted audience with Doom's court mage, the sorcerer Dreamcoat. Upon speaking with him, he not only gave them some scrolls to help on their mission to defeat the Archdragon Veldr but also provided some important information: -Archie's name is not Archie at all, but Pearl Orchid. She was part of the Council of Archmages in the city of Jevel, and worked for Dreamcoat himself. -The strange monoliths that can be used to warp from place to place were placed there by Death itself. The curse that is ravaging Rin has, according to Dreamcoat, created a "fracture" between the land of the living and that of the dead. Death cannot interact directly with the living, so it has created an avatar in the form of a white alicorn with eyes like stars, as well as an inn called the Pale Mare where all souls may come to rest. -Knowledge of the art known as "soulcrafting" - creating an object from the soul of another living being - may be found in the city of Jevel, but it is incredibly dangerous to journey there. The magic that once held the city together has run wild, giving the place itself some form of sentience. Upon learning of her past, Archie immediately wished to know more; however, Dreamcoat held no further answers for her, but suggested that the books he had gathered might. Now Archie has pledged to assist Dreamcoat in his studies and leave the party, so she may learn more about herself in the process… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Archie is at 5/5 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>644302
>>644390 >>645130 "I imagine you will have to do some reading," Dreamcoat says. "I doubt anyone remains in Jevel. The city has claimed all living souls in that place."
>>644392 >>645127 Dreamcoat blinks in surprise. "Well, I could do with an assistant, but… I am not sure that would be wise. Your friends will need you, will they not? You should stay with them."
>>645128 In summary, the party followed Candy Claws to a part in the far reaches of Rin known as the Dreaming Spring, where they were shown a secret hideout holding members of a resistance group against the Shells. Their leader is named Doom, and they call him the king of Rin, although their motives for doing so are unknown. After spending three days in captivity, the party were taken to speak with Dreamcoat at their behest.
>>645133 "Dreamcoat…" She says, before turning to face him again. "I feel I would do better here than with them… I'm not as young as I used to be, while they are still at the prime of their youth. I feel I should spend my time here to research more of who I am… And possibly help my friends by helping you find a way to clear this curse." She finishes with a kind smile, before turning to look at the group.
>>645133 "Hm hmm, well, reading I can do," Abenad says, holding up the book on dragons he had gotten from the library, "I've already done some resarch on the Ortague dragon's type, though now I find myself sympathizing with it and considering options other than combat. Where would I find such books on soulcrafting, though? I'd imagine there'd be a number of libraries in a magic city- would these books be in smithies, perhaps?"
"That's… very unfortunate. But far be it from me to discourage straying from a beaten path, eh? Take care of yourself while we're gone. And don't hit people any more. Something tells me you'll have better success making friends if you refrain from such violence."
>>644385 He nods in understanding "Yes I suppose I already bothered you too much, Master Dreamcoat… But I will eagerly await for the time which we can start our first lesson…" >>645133 "So much magic in that place… Uh… Master, this is just a thought but is there anything in Jevel that you would like us to salvage and bring back here? Maybe that place might have something that could help… A magical artifact or spell tome that could help us find a cure?" >>645134 "Miss Archie…" he mutters, giving her a rather sad look "Well… I will not try to stop you… I can see that you will not change your mind for me or anyone… … It… is important to know your past, I understand" He raises his head and gives a weak smile "But this is not goodbye, right? We will still visit you whenever we come back and I will tell you of our achievements through Rin, I promise you… our time together was short, and I will miss having someone so magically skilled among us… Especially when I am laying on the ground with a broken rib and a few teeth missing… Oh yes, that would be when I will be missing you the most! Ehehe… Hahaha" he laughs happily, with a heart warming smile
>>645134 He nods. "If this is what you feel is your best option. In truth, I would welcome a helping hoof. I've been up to my neck working and researching for Doom."
>>645135 "The city is a monument to knowledge, the largest library in existence in itself," he replies. "Books and scrolls can be found in every corner of the city. In truth, I could not tell you where to begin your search, except perhaps searching under S." He smiles drily.
>>645137 >>645140 Navigating the stronghold proves no easy task with its identical twisting stone tunnels. Instead of heading towards the main hall, you end up wandering into one of the barracks, a glum affair consisting of a narrow room with barred windows and straw mattresses at regular intervals. Here you see Boiling Point apparently in a heated argument with a bright red pegasus. Both look over to you, and Boiling nods in greeting. "Need something, friend?"
>>645139 He tugs on his beard absent-mindedly as he thinks for a moment. "I would ask for as many books as you can find, but there are far too many to fit in one small office. Hm… Well, there is one thing. In the city there is a structure called the Tower of Asclepius. It was my old office where I watched the city from. With any luck, there will be a ball at the very top of the tower made of green glass, glowing slightly. It is a magical artifact, and it could be helpful in breaking the curse. If you were to deliver it to me, I would be extremely grateful."
>>645136 >>645138 >>645139 "Do not worry…" She says, looking at each one of you. "I'll still remain here. I may even try to find a way to locate those immortal souls… There just has to be a book Dreamcoat has that will tell us. I'll also patch you up anytime you come back here."
She then turns to look at Maali. "And don't forget to keep up on your reading studies. When you come back be ready to do a test."
>>645143 "Yes, I do. Thank you for giving me this opportunity." She says with a smile.
>>645143 He nods "At the very top in the roof or in the highest room? Either way I will gladly go get it for you… Although I am curious… What purpose does this ball serves?" >>645144 He nods quickly "I will study every night! I-I will be the best student you had as a teacher too"
Timber blinks. "I can never find my way around in these… 'buildings'…" he mumbles more to himself than to the ones talking to him. However, it was loud enough that they could hear.
"I was looking for the Main Hall…" Timber says to the soldiers more directly. "It seems I've been turned around. What were the two of you arguing so passionately about? It doesn't seem like a good thing for brothers-in-arms to have bad blood between each other in these times."
>>645143 "Well, if that's the best lead, might as well start with it," Abenad says, "I've got no more questions for you, right now, thank you for doing your best to answer what I had asked." >>645144 "I'm sure you'll do more good here than out with us." >>645145 Abenad nudges Maali. "In the Tower of Asclepius. Remember that part, at least, there might be a sign on it."
>>645144 "And I hope you can find what you're looking for," he replies warmly. "Together, I'm sure we can find a way to break the curse of the undead once and for all."
>>645145 "In the highest room," he replies. "My office."
>>645146 "That's none of your business," the pegasus says curtly. Boiling looks uncomfortable. "Er… Just don't worry about it. Here, I'll take you to the main hall. I think Doom was looking for you." You follow Boiling down another network of corridors that make your head spin. Eventually, you reach the room you were initially taken to, with the war table and the serpent banners. Doom is there, apparently plotting a course of action with a brown bat pony with side whiskers. You also see a griffon and a donkey standing beside him, but they seem to be waiting on his orders. Doom looks up at the two of you. Boiling quickly bows and turns away, trotting back the way he came. "Where is the rest of your group?" Doom asks. "I need to speak to them immediately."
>>645148 "You should know, this orb is not so much for breaking the curse as it is for stopping the Shells. With it, one can spy on people from far away. There is no protocol for handling it, but it is very fragile. You will want to keep it secret and safe."
>>645151 He rummages through his desk for a moment and procures a map of Rin, much like the one you carry. "It's fairly far. It should take you at least four days to get there. Please be careful. It is a treacherous place, by all accounts."
"Do any of you have any further questions for me?" Dreamcoat asks. "The heavens are in turmoil, and I must chart their fluctuations. Besides, I think Doom wanted a word with you."
>>645151 "Yes, magic would be a great boon to our repertoire- I'd be interested in anything to make us more powerful." >>645153 "Well, to be honest, I'd just really like to ride a horse. It seems fun."
>>645152 >>645152 He shakes his head "No, I have no further questions, thank you for your patience, Master Dreamcoat. Oh, wait I have one thing only to ask… Could you give us the directions to Doom? It is a big place and I would rather not Wander around blindly at the mercy of my luck to find where he is… "
"And miss Archie… I will be seeing you…" he gives her a hug before waiting for the instructions and leaving to find Doom
>>645157 "Certainly. Head out of this room and turn left, head down the hall then turn right again. The main hall should be right ahead."
>>645157 >>645155 You manage to find your way to the main hall, where you see Doom engaged in conversation with Timber Hoof. With him are a bat pony with side whiskers, as well as a donkey and a griffon, both in armor. The donkey gives you a brief nod, but otherwise you are paid little attention.
>>645164 He nods. "And you will have our assistance with this. We have much more pressing matters to tend to right now, however, and I have a task for all of you to complete."
>>645165 Abenad joins Maali and Gopal in the hall. After being paid little attention, he holds his right arm up in a salute. "Hail Doom!" he says loudly, thinking he should at least be polite to the host.
>>645166 >>645167 The strange sight of the two of you gets a blink of surprise from the bat pony and a raised eyebrow from Doom. There is a pregnant pause as you enter.
>>645170 You manage to find five silver dillies behind a cupboard. A piercing glare from the bat pony tells you you should refrain from doing so, however.
>>645168 >>645171 Doom clears his throat, then whispers something into the bat pony's ear, who bows stiffly and exits. Our situation is growing grim, travelers," Doom begins. "We may have advantages over the Shells of Light, but they number many, and are beginning to grow more active. They are moving towards our outpost at the Far Cairn, and by my command the castle has been doubly fortified, and even more troops stationed there. But the Shells are pressing from all sides, and the siege will be long and bloody. "To make things worse, we have completely lost contact with our outpost at the village of Where-Waters-Meet," he continues, pointing at its location on the map (>>645152). You note that it is very near Jevel. "It may not be that they are troubled, but it has been a full month since we last heard from them. I would send a group to investigate, but almost all my troops and resources are going towards the defense of the Far Cairn. So I need someone to travel there, and find out what happened to the outpost. You are the only ones I can spare to take on this task. Do so, and you will be rewarded." Doom points at the donkey and the griffon standing next to him, and you get a good look at them for the first time. One is a dark grey donkey wearing what you recognize as the uniform of the Ortague guards, while the other is a gold and white griffon in ornate plate armor. "These are Galehaut of Ortague and Gloria the Ashbringer," says Doom, pointing at the duo. "They will be accompanying you to the outpost. Would that I were not preparing for the siege, or more would travel with you." "Your orders are thus," barks Doom. "Travel to Where-Waters-Meet at sunrise, gather a full report on the situation there, then use the monolith's power to warp back here. From there, you will accompany us to the Far Cairn and do your duty to this land. Any questions?"
Listening to the mission, he goes over the details in his mind, then decides he has no problems with them. "That sounds excellent," he says, "However, I would like to venture into Jevel, should the time allow. Would that be acceptable?"
>>645172 "I… I have one question, Master Doom… Why do they need to come with us? I-I do not mean to offend, I appreciate the help, but… If we simply need to report the situation and return… Wouldn't it be best if you left that only to us and assign Miss Gloria and Mister Galehault to other matters?" he asks, meekly standing on the corner of the table >>645174 "Oh, yes… It is a pleasure to meet you as well, miss Gloria… My name is Maali" he tries to smile a little, but cannot look at her in the eye
>>645174 "Hello," the two-legged cervitaur in noble's clothes and jewelry says, with a polite nod. He has both a cape and a cloak on over his satin garments, and is armed to the teeth with two daggers, a longsword, a shield strapped to his shoulders, and a bow secured on his back.
>>645178 "I can't tell if you're going for the swashbuckler type or the fancy packrat kind. Though nice selection of weaponry. That cape ever get in your way, Fancy Pants?" She asks, smirking a bit at his attire.
Timber listens as Doom speaks and ponders for a while before responding.
"Allow me to be clear on one thing," he says in a combination of thoughtful, forceful, and polite. "I am not one of your soldiers. I have no duty to this kingdom or its citizens. That I am helping at all is because it is right."
"As such," Timber says, holding up a hoof. "When I arrive to help at Fort Cairn, it will be of my own volition. Therefore, my help will be administered in the way I see fit. I will not simply idly follow orders and kill on command. If I see a chance at diplomacy, I do not care what you wish, I will take it."
>>645184 "It's not my position to say what is 'with' Tourmaline, especially right in front of her. You'll have to find out on your own." >>645185 "Oh, you haven't seen me buckle swashes? You'd think I'd have taken etiquette lessons on them."
>>645175 The donkey clears his throat. "Just Galehaut. I'm not one for formalities."
"They are trusted warriors," Doom replies sharply. "You, however, are not. You may not be changelings, but this does not mean you are not spies for the Shells. If you turn coat, they will serve injustice with justice."
>>645173 He purses his lips. "Whatever business you have there, make it quick. The Shells will be upon us in a matter of days, and we need as many men as we can at the Far Cairn."
>>645176 "Our quartermaster will supply you with whatever you may need. He is busy at the moment, but you may speak to him after dinner." He does not comment on your odd behavior, but you suspect that he knows your type.
>>645183 He looks at you for a moment. It is hard to read his facial expression. "Allow me to be clear on one thing," he responds coolly. "You are under my roof. You eat my food, drink my water, and sleep in beds I have provided. A condition of this is that you follow my orders. You live in this land. I rule this land. You are obliged to do my command. "The battle at the Far Cairn will be a siege," he stresses. "The Shells will be there to slaughter us, and take as many prisoners as they can. There will be no room for negotiation, Timber Hoof."
>>645196 He lowers his head and ears "Y-yes… I… Forgive me, Master Doom… There will be no more complaints…" He feels a bad feeling in his gut as he hears Doom talking to Timber Hoof "The land belongs to all of us…" he mutters with a sour expression, but it is barely audible
>>645196 At this point, Abenad purses his lips and hopes Gopal doesn't pull out or mention his altered Shells uniform. "Well, where's the food and water, then?" he asks, "I've been working myself to the bone in that cell, I'd be happy to eat and drink your food."
"I eat leaves from trees. I drink water from streams. I sleep in caves and trees. You provide me nothing. And, that's the way I prefer it. I have no feelings toward you and I prefer you have none toward me. That I exist in land you technically own at all is little more than a tangential coincidence."
"If this is not to your liking, then I will gladly leave your kingdom once I have cured this curse for you."
"The land belongs to whoever says they own it. In such a case that two people say they own it, then it's decided by whoever can back up their case by whatever force is most effective. Thus is the way ownership of all things works."
>>645195 You give Tourmaline a nasty neck pain as you force her head back into place.
>>645198 "Food and drink will be rationed come dinnertime, and not a second before," he replies sharply. "If you are so desperate, the kitchen is just over yonder." He points at a nearby tunnel.
>>645201 "Rin is in a poor state," he admits. "I am doing everything I can and more to lift this curse. Removing the Shells is only the first step."
>>645199 "You are not exempt from the law simply because you choose not to live in civilization. You will do your duty to your country and that will be the end of it." He is clearly not intent on discussing philosophy.
As you speak, the bat pony with side whiskers returns, with Candy Claws in tow. "I understand you are familiar with her," says Doom. She will show you to your barracks once you are ready. If you have anything else to say, speak now. If not, then off with you."
>>645208 "Alright, then, I'll be awaiting dinner," Abenad says, nodding politely. He steps away, walking with Gopal(and whoever else) behind Candy Claws. >>645211 "I'm not too fond of him," he says to Gopal, "I don't see anything but trouble happening should he talk to Timber or Tourmaline for too long."
>>645212 She gives Maali a little smile. "Why not just come to the Training Grounds with me? You can show me how you fight." She begins to stand back up on all fours, stretching her wings and back after she does.
>>645214 He nods and sighs "Thinking that I will have to deal with all the future wounds and bruises alone again… I can already see I will have a lot of work ahead of me…" >>645215 "Oh… Hum… Well sure! Why not? Although I do not use any weapons but my hooves…" >>645216 He gives timber a scrunchy face and hums
"I'm just going to let him yammer on in the background while I and Timber do things as we please. Everyone that was sobbing and crying and begging to meet Doom can take his orders if it pleases them. I'm still not even sure why I'm here."
>>645221 He smiles and raises a hoof "like this" As he speaks, his necklace glows and his hoof up to the shoulder gets covered in layers of stone until it is thrice as thick "I can do this to my whole body."
"Bodyguard for a merchant. Wasn't highly exciting work, mind you. None of the frivolousness you see in trashy novels. Very sensible in his travels, actually. The ship that took me here belonged to the company, actually."
She bites her tongue. "Why don't you two go have fun in the yard or the training-place or whatever it's called?"
>>645210 "You will leave with this group at sunrise. Until then, do as you wish."
>>645211 >>645214 >>645213 You adjourn to the barracks with Candy and your reticent companion Galehaut.. Here, you find a glum, narrow room with straw mattresses at regular intervals, as well as barred windows. At the far end of the room, you see Boiling in a heated discussion with a red pegasus, as well as a pitch black goat with six horns and fiery red markings all over his body. He appears to be meditating, sitting in a cross-legged position with his eyes closed. He opens one as you enter, but otherwise gives you no greeting. "Just pick a mattress and sleep when you feel like it," says Candy as she throws down her own luggage. "There aren't many rules around here, really. Just do what Doom says and don't fight anyone." She sits down on one of the mattresses daintily and zones out for a moment.
>>645210 >>645219 You move down one of the myriad stone corridors of this stronghold At the sight of your group, the sentry salutes and pushes aside one of the false boulders that block the exits. You find yourselves standing in a fenced off yard that, were it not for the training ponies, would look completely abandoned. There are several targets for archery practice, as well as training dummies in scavenged Shell uniforms. At the far end of the field is a grizzled grey earth pony with a cobalt blue mane and a thick stubble of beard. Gloria recognizes him as Alarm Call, the appointed quartermaster of the stronghold. He gives you both a wave of greeting.
>>645216 The wiry grey goat sentry salutes you as you leave, pushing aside the boulder for you to exit. You find yourself standing back in the Dreaming Spring, an idyllic glade with a natural fountain of crystal clear water. All around the area are trees with bone white bark and broad green leaves. You notice that despite it being the afternoon, it is quite dark out. Looking up, you see that the sun has gone black; you are in them middle of a solar eclipse. Dreamcoat was right when he said that the heavens were in turmoil.
>>645226 It was a very ROCK SOLID hoof "Well… It is not about how many blows can I take… The matter is for how long I can maintain it… It is especially difficult to do so when it is on my whole body at once… It takes an immense amount of energy, so I cannot keep it up for too long…" the glow fades and the stones fall off his hoof, forming little Peeples that vanish magically "There are other powers… I-If you would want to see them that i"
>>645229 Gloria smiles and returns the wave to Alarm Call. "Hey there, Alarm. Just showing the new recruit around. Hey, you got a training sword I can use?" She asks politely, acting as if she's spent most of her time out here than anywhere else.
>>645230 "Show me everything you got, gotta know what my team can handle."
>>645228 "I don't read novels, so I wouldn't know what you mean, anyway. I'm sure you didn't intend that. As for training, I've been practicing with weights and weapons the whole time I was in the cell, I feel like taking a break."
Abenad picks a mattress, removing his cloak, cape, weapons, and satin shirt, followed by his neckerchief. He then sets them on the floor next to his mattress, sitting down on it and undoing the top buttons on his undershirt, sitting down and lying against the wall with a yawn, scratching his bared chest tuft.
He listens in on the discussion between Boiling, the red pegasus, and the black goat.
>>645233 "Well… I also can do this…" His necklace glows again and this time, magical energy flowers grow all over his body and antlers, Gloria immediately starts feeling lighter, better, like she just had a good night of rest and felt any previous bruises healed completely. She was in tip top shape Maali notices and smiles "I channel the vital energy from everything around me into my body, and then to someone else in a very fast pace, it works very well in emergencies…"
>>645237 Gloria couldn't help but let out a small flap of her wings as Maali's magic just relaxs up some tension in her body with his magic. "Ooh that's going to be very useful… and nice. So let's say you're in a situation where you need to heal multiple targets… who's your top priority? The most heavily injured? The ones who take the brunt of the damage? or those who just call out for a healing?" She questions him.
>>645239 "I… Well it depends… I can heal at most, three at the same time so I almost never had trouble keeping everyone healthy… Although if I have to answer I would say the one that is the most injured and in the most need of it…" "Oh and for last… Um… This…Sorry this might look grotesque…" he says as he closes his eyes And in seconds, his body bursts with rot and mushrooms of many shapes grow all over his body. Gloria could feel a rather unpleasant smell as the cute deer starts to look like a weird mutated cervine It only gets worse when he opens his eyes, now completely black with green irises instead of white "This one is… The one I enjoy transforming into so much… " as he speaks, a cloud of poison smoke comes out of his mouth
>>645240 Gloria covers her beak to block the smell. "You look a bit like a corpse, though I can chalk that up to earthly mysticism. Just be mindful to not do that in closed quarters, would hate to get poisoned along with our enemies."
>>645232 You find a large, sturdy tree that would hold your weight. You do not find any other animals inhabiting it either, making it ideal for sleeping in.
>>645233 "Right you are," he says in his low, gruff voice. He strides off into a nearby shed and comes out with a pair of blunt wooden swords, meant for squires to practice with. He passes them to you. "Go easy on him. He doesn't look like he could take much of a beating," he chuckles. With that, he resumes his seat and begins to watch a pair of sparring Diamond Dogs. "Keep that sword arm up, Japeth! Remember, falcon stance!"
>>645235 You find the mattresses surprisingyl comfortable for being mere straw. You see the donkey Galehaut follow suit, and starts to polish his gauntlets. You notice that they are very bulky, sporting large metal plates shaped like shields. Like the rest of his armor, they bear the ten-headed serpent that is the banner of Rin.
>>645234 The black goat is minding his own business. Boiling and the pegasus, however, seem to be getting into an argument. "I'm telling you, I didn't know it was going to happen!" he insists. "You could have prevented it," the pegasus growls. "Lives could have been saved. You knew they'd been around, and you could have told them all about it. I should tell Doom what you've been up to." Boiling blanches. "N-no! You know what he'd do if he knew! You… you can't!" "Oh, can't I? It'd be better than you deserve, you-" The duo suddenly notice you. "You need something?" the pegasus asks coldly.
>>645236 You make your way to the training grounds, where you see Gloria and Maali evidently ready to spar. In the background, you see two Diamond Dogs sparring as well. One of them looks vaguely familiar to you, although you can't say why.
>>645241 As quickly as I came, his transformation subsided and he returned to his regular deer self "Well… This is nothing compared to what I could have done if I completed my training… I could help the team much more… But this…" a little flower sprouts from his antlers "Is all I can do…um…I am a bit surprised that… You did not comment on my antlers yet, miss Gloria"
>>645243 Gloria bows her head to Alarm. "Oh don't worry, I'm sure the little guy can take it." She finishes with a small chuckle before turning to Maali.
>>645244 "Oh I was waiting to ask till you were done showing me. I assumed you were going to show me how you used them in combat. How about you parry one of my attacks with them." She mentions, bringing Maali over to an empty space for them to train.
>>645243 He gets a bit annoyed at the comment "Miss Gloria, please do not hold back… Uh, should I put my armor on for this?" >>645248 He walks along to the empty space, nodding "With the training swords with without them?"
>>645250 "You may put up your armor for it… As for training weapons, I do better with a sword. Just as you said you do better with your hooves. I'm just going to take a few practice swings at you, test your reactions for now." She says, before taking a practice swing at Maali, aiming to just smack the wooden sword on the top of Maali's head. >Normal Swing [1d10]
>>645252 Gloria smiles when he blocks her attack with his hoof. "Good… Now let's see if you can block quicker attacks." She mentions, before going in for a double swing from either side of him. >Master of Arms: Single + Dual >Dual Swing [1d10] [1d10]
>>645245 "Dinner?" Boiling parrots. "Not for another four hours, friend. It's much too early for that now." He looks back at the pegasus, who nods in the direction of the door. Exeunt Boiling and the pegasus.
>>645246 You think that the taller of the two looks like Rast, although there are probably many tall, gangly Diamond Dogs with brown coats in Rin. You are one of them, after all. As you watch, you see the tall brown Dog land a low blow on the stocky black dog, knocking him to the ground and winning the spar.
>>645247 You take a short nap in the barracks, dreaming of the vast sand dunes of your homeland.
>>645249 After about three minutes, the eclipse passes and the sun begins to shine again.
>>645253 When she sees Maali block both swings she freezes after her second swing. "Don't forget to go for a counter attack in situations such as this. When your opponent is wide open, you should strike with your antlers while their guard is down. Don't forget about enemies that can possibly flank you as well." She instructs as she lets out a flap of her wings. She maneuvers quickly in the air to get behind Maali, going in for a quick swing to smack his rump. >Leap of Faith [1d10]
>>645256 >>645257 He gets a little proud smile, and a bit too confident as he prepared to block her next attack, but is taken by surprise at her sudden speed not expecting her to flank him as he eeps and jumps, rubbing the red spot she left on his tattooed rump "Ow…"
>>645255 Abenad leaves shortly after Boiling and the pegasus, deciding that he can sit with Gopal while Maali and Gloria spar, knowing he'll at least have something to do since Tourmaline was asleep. >traveling to training grounds >>645257 >>645254 >>645246 Abenad arrives at the training grounds in his pants and partially unbuttoned undershirt, looking more casual than usual. He sits on the floor, leaning back against the wall with his hands behind his head, legs crossed as he relaxes.
>>645259 She couldn't help but stifle a bit of a giggle. "You gotta protect your flank, Maali. Otherwise somebody might be tempted to smack it." She then pokes the spot she just smacked with the tip of her training sword.
Timber nods as the sky gets bright again. It's still odd that there was suddenly an eclipse, but at least it did not last.
Even though he has had plenty of rest in jail and it's still the afternoon, Timber knows that they will not have another chance to rest for a while. So, he decides that now is the best time to conserve and build his strength. He grabs some leaves from the tree as he climbs up. He settles in and munches on some more, knowing this will be the last chance to freely eat for a while.
>>645262 "H-hey, I know how to protect my rear… You just caught me by surprise… B-besides that was a low blow miss Gloria…" he picks up the other training sword "Now it is my turn" he says With clenched teeth as he goes to gently hit her on the head, although a bit awkwardly '1d10-1'
>>645267 'Let's see how durable this little guy is.' She thinks to herself, going in for a heavy smack of her blade against him. If Maali looks close enough, he could swear the sword was glowing. >Blast + Griffons Glory [1d10+1]
>>645268 They parry, but Maali barely had the strength to hold for long before he jumped back to get distance He spat out the sword "Pweh… This feels really awful… Having claws must be great huh?" he gets in battle stance again before hopping back to meelee distance and going for a light jab on her side '1d10'
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party bid farewell to their companion Archie, leaving her to work with the sorcerer Dreamcoat. At his behest, the party have decided to travel into the city of Jevel and not only seek knowledge of soulcrafting but also to retrieve a green orb of some significance to him. It can be found in the highest room in the Tower of Asclepius, from which he ruled the city, and is extremely fragile. After this meeting, the party were briefed by Doom over a mission he needed them to undertake: his outpost at the village of Where Waters Meet had been silent of late, and with his preparations for the siege he needed the party to go there and investigate. They would not be alone, however; accompanying them would be a griffon named Gloria the Ashbringer and a donkey named Galehaut. After being shown to their rooms by Candy Claws, the party began to go their separate ways, taking the opportunity to rest and prepare for the next leg of their journey. Abenad listened in on a heated discussion between Boiling Point and an unidentified red pegasus, but was unable to learn anything of importance. Gloria and Maali adjourned to the training ground, where they got to know one another better by sparring. They were soon joined by Abenad and Gopal, who noticed a Diamond Dog in the training yard that looks surprisingly similar to his one-time rival Rast. Tourmaline simply took the opportunity to take a nap, and be rested for the journey to come. Timber Hoof did likewise, taking in the view of the solar eclipse above while snacking on some tree leaves. >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>645133
>>645849 The brown Dog starts over to you, eyeing you with disdain. It is indeed Rast, although he looks thinner and more haggard than last you met. "Well, look who it is," he drawls. "Fate just won't keep us apart, will it. Do you need something, or have you come just to gloat?"
>>645858 After Gloria has exhausted the tiny deer, she takes a deep breath before bringing the training blade back to Alarm. She gives Maali a smile. "You did pretty good, Guess I won't have my doubts about your abilities. So, wanna go wash up and grab a bite to eat?" >Ready to skip
>>645865 "After the Shells attacked our camp, there were only three of us left. We wandered for a while and were lucky enough to find one of Doom's scouting parties. They took us here and the rest is history." He shrugs. "Just because we're working together doesn't mean we're friends, so don't call me that." He pokes you in the chest. "You're nothing but trouble for me, so stay away from me and we'll get along just fine."
>>645858 >>645864 He tried his best to hide how utterly tired he was as he panted and sweated slightly ''Yes…That would be the best now, goodness you made me all sweaty and smelly…blugh…Is there anywhere where I can wash this smell off of me?''
You all go about your business, joining many of the others at dinner. It is a frugal affair, consisting of mostly bread, berries and fish. Sleep comes quickly to you, exhausted as you are after the day's events. >10642, Myna's Day of Health. You are awoken the next morning at sunrise by a series of loud cracks. The inhabitants of the fort are warping away, going to other parts of Rin to do their own duties. Breakfast consists of nothing but water and dried fruits. After breakfast, you step out of Doom's stronghold and leave it behind you as you begin to journey south-west towards the village of Where Waters Meet. You find it difficult to traverse the wilderness, but nonetheless you press on, nearing your distant goal with each step. The day passes overhead, clouds gathering and dispersing. It is a bright, sunny day with no clouds in the sky, the day-star's incandescent rays searing your visages as you trek across the land of Rin. You find that as you move further and further towards the west, the terrain begins to dry out, with trees and other plants becoming increasingly scarce and the dirt becoming grey and cracked. It is now around midday. As you travel through the wilderness, you hear the sounds of fighting coming from up ahead. As you draw nearer, you see a grayish-green Cael with a long black mane. He wields a dull metal staff sparking with lightning, using its magic to fend off a group of ponies clad in a familiar red and grey. From your count, there are about seven Shells of Light surrounding the traveler. The battle seems fierce, but eventually the Shells begin to get the upper hand on the traveler, and seem about to subdue him.
>>645879 >>645873 Abenad pauses to watch at first, then speaks to Gloria. "As you are the newest member of our little group, and the one among us who is highest-rank in Doom's organization, feel free to go for the honor of first strike."
>>645879 He gets slightly worried about the lack of clouds and the dried terrain, it would be hard to scavenge for food here if he needed… Upon seeing the fight scene, he opts to watch, not feeling like taking the combat initiative >>645882 "I… Will be right behind you guys… As usual…"
>>645893 She stops her swing when timber puts his hoof out. "You think these guys, our enemy, would agree to walk off just because we asked politely? Well, by all means go ahead and try, I haven't been able to convince them." She said with a genuine tone.
>>645884 You manage to stay hidden in a dead bush nearby.
>>645882 >>645883 >>645884 >>645885 You watch as the fight plays out below. The traveler lands some powerful blows with his staff, but he is eventually overpowered, knocked to the dust by a blow to the back of the head.
>>645893 They turn as they huddle around the unconscious traveler. One of the Shells, a unicorn with a blue coat, fires an arrow at your hooves as a warning. "There's seven of you and seven of us," another calls, presumably the leader; he is a brawny-looking earth pony in plate mail and a bucket helm. "This isn't your business. Just walk away."
>>645903 He took a step forward, besides Timber "I apologize but… We will have to take you… You know… You can still come in peace and no one will be hurt… I am not bragging but I am afraid to say that we are more powerful than the average soldier would be…, so please… If we could avoid spilling blood…"
>>645907 You miss your shot, your arrow getting embedded in a nearby bush.
>>645908 Your axe flashes with white light as you bring it down on one of the Shells, cleaving his spine in twain. He crumples to the floor, lifeless.
>>645910 One of the Shells gives a warning cry, and they scatter out of the way of your charge. The leader pulls out his mace and swings it in response, cracking you over the head and drawing heavy blood. You see stars, and your head spins. >Tourmaline takes 5 hits
>>645912 You zoom towards him, delivering a sharp blow with your blade that sends him staggering backwards.
>>645914 You heal the injury caused to her as quickly as it is caused. >Tourmaline is still at 7/5
The Shell with the bow fires at Tourmaline. [1d10]
Three of them focus on Maali. [1d10] [1d10] [1d10]
Yet another rushes towards Gloria, axe in hoof. The leader also focuses on her, bringing his mace down. [1d10] [1d10]
Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1 / Roll #3 9 = 9 / Roll #4 9 = 9 / Roll #5 2 = 2 / Roll #6 6 = 6
>>645919 He endures the one that hits him, having better things to focus on as a glow comes from within his armor and flowers sprout from the openings of it >Nature elemental. Life on Gloria and Tourmaline
>>645922 You swing your axe around in a circle, dealing a heavy blow to all six of them. As you recover from the attack, however, you take an arrow to the chest. Your armor prevents it from digging deep enough to pierce your vital organs. >Tourmaline takes 3 hits
>>645923 You expertly dive out of the melee, darting around the distracted Shells out of their line of sight.
>>645924 The leader strikes you with his mace, but it is only a glancing blow thanks to your armor; you retaliate with a stab to the axe-wielding Shell's gut, then a powerful overhead swing to the leader, leaving a deep dent in his helmet. >Gloria takes 1 hit
>>645926 Your arrow meets its mark in the Shell's shoulder. He gasps in pain.
>>645928 You gallop towards the Shell. He doesn't notice you until it's too late; you shatter his ribcage with a single blow, sending him flying into the bushes. He is not dead, but clearly too injured to continue fighting.
>>645929 Your amulet begins to glow as you nimbly dodge one of the advancing Shells, countering with a kick to his head that stuns him momentarily. The other two jump you, however, stabbing you with swords and daggers, leaving you bleeding out on the ground. >Maali takes 8 hits, helpless at 0/3 >Tourmaline is at 6/5 >Gloria is at 6/5
The leader swings at Gloria again. [1d10]
The axe-wielding Shell runs over to Tourmaline, striking at her. [1d10]
One of the two Shells that attacked Maali attacks him again while he's down. [1d10] [1d10] Injury
The other two go after Abenad and Timber Hoof respectively. [1d10] [1d10]
Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 4 = 4 / Roll #4 2 = 2 / Roll #5 9 = 9 / Roll #6 8 = 8
>>645938 He spits a bit of his own blood as a bit more escapes his body, staining their weapons and the ground as well as his fur and armor as he falls … But through sheer determination, his necklace remains glowing as he continued providing the healing energy to his allies, seeing Gloria and Tourmaline were both well acts as a relief as he tries to stand '1d10'
>>645940 The Shell manages to dodge your arrow, dealing a heavy blow to you with his sword. The other arrow misses its mark. >Abenad takes 4 hits
>>645943 You manage to block his swing and counter with one of your own; however, when you go to swing a second time, the Shell leader dodges and kicks you in the chest, taking the window of opportunity to bludgeon you across the beak. >Gloria takes 3 hits
>>645947 The Shell's ears twitch and he jumps out of the way of your attack, spinning around to face you.
>>645948 You hear a stomach-turning crunch as you cave the pony's skull in. He collapses to the dirt in a heap. As you look at the Shell you just killed, another comes up and stabs through your armor plates. >Timber takes 3 hits
>>645949 You miss your swing and take a heavy blow from the axe-wielding Shell. He hacks you again while you're vulnerable, leaving a terrible wound. >Tourmaline takes 10 hits, helpless at 0/3
>>645951 You manage to get back up despite your injuries. >Tourmaline is at 0/4 >Gloria is at 4/5
The leader attacks Gloria again, seemingly oblivious to the carnage around him. [1d10]
The axe-wielding Shell swings at Tourmaline again. [1d10] [1d10] Injury
The one attacking Abenad stabs at him again. [1d10]
Ditto for the one attacking Timber. [1d10]
Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 5 = 5 / Roll #4 9 = 9 / Roll #5 8 = 8
>>645960 >>645964 He took a deep breath as the pain from his wounds still lingered. He thought about taking a moment to heal himself, but seeing Tourmaline getting in a situation worse than his, he quickly changed plans and went to help her instead '1d10' natural remedy
>>645962 "And a tooth for a tooth," the leader grins, dodging your attack and countering with another kick-swing combo. You manage to land a blow on him, however, and his own words prove prophetic; you knock him to the ground with the flat of your blade, and he spits out a tooth you knocked loose. >Gloria takes 3 hits
>>645963 Your first shot misses, but the second lands, sending the Shell on one knee helpless.
>>645964 He jumps out of the way of your attack and responds with another heavy blow. >Tourmaline takes 5 hits
>>645966 To your dismay, your spell fizzles ineffectively. You feel Gaia's power leaving you. >Tourmaline is at 4/4 >Gloria is at 3/5 >end of effect
>>645967 Prone on the ground as he is, he manages to roll out of the way of your attack with a rattling clank of his plate mail.
>>645970 You break the Shell's leg and send him toppling to the ground with a single strike. You feel yourself reverting from your augmented form.
The leader and the two helpless Shells try to get back up. [1d10] [1d10] [1d10]
The axe-wielding Shell swings at Tourmaline again. [1d10]
Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 8 = 8 / Roll #3 6 = 6 / Roll #4 6 = 6
Gloria stands there, watching the Leader and waiting for him to get back up. "You're a good fighter. I'll give you another chance to surrender, no point in more bloodshed." She states, watching him recover. >persuasion roll if needed [1d10]
>>645972 He felt slightly infuriated at how exhausted he has gotten in a short time as he really let out his energy in a big burst of healing energy. Cringing a little, he tried to get a bit more energy from his last reserves, and hesitantly, try to take a bit of the little energy from the land around him to help Gopal, seeing he was about to Fuck up
>>645973 You miss your swing, and your axe gets firmly embedded in the ground from the force of the impact. >roll to remove it
>>645974 He looks at you, breathing heavily as he gets back up. "…Alright, alright. I've had enough. This isn't worth the pay anyway." He puts down his mace.
>>645975 You stab the Shell in the heart, pushing him off the end of your blade as he falls to the ground dead.
>>645977 Your first shot misses, but the other hits the leader in the leg, crippling it. He lets out a cry of pain. "Tell your pet monster to buzz off already! I've just about had enough of this place."
>>645989 "While I might agree with you otherwise, Timber, you have to consider these morals in the context of the group, and who we're working for," Abenad says, gesticulating with his hands as he speaks, "Word about us killing someone who's surrendered paints us in a bad light, and since we're with two of Doom's soldiers, it'll make him look bad, and he won't want us to work for him if that's what he gets." >>645990 "You're right, I'm glad I'm not from here or else I'd be really bullheaded."
Timber laughs. "That's an ironic argument considering the fact that you all were just yesterday getting mad at ME for arguing with Doom about his stance on lack of negotiation. Doom himself told us to give the Shells of Light no quarter. Doing this is painting him in EXACTLY the light he wants to be painted in."
>>646002 "Don't worry about it, not yet. But really, look at yourself, what are you doing working for the Shells? They're religious zealots doing stupid things in a country that's not even theirs. It's a crusade, no one on the side of the ones who instigate a crusade are going to look good. You could be a decent pony, all things considered. Clearly you're in a point in your life where you need money, but have little skills outside of combat. Why don't you become a bodyguard, instead, or something worthwhile where you keep others safe instead of harming them?" >Using Show Them You Rock as inspiration for this guy to better his life
"I said I wanted to do what is correct. If I'm told to do what is incorrect, I won't do it just because some king told me to. My statement was not one of outright defiance to Doom. It was a statement of POSSIBLE defiance. As things turn out in this single circumstance, it happens to be that we are in coincidental agreement. We gave them a chance to surrender. They did not."
"Has it not occurred to ANY of you that the reason the Shells of Light never surrender upon first request is because we don't follow through on our threats?" Timber responds angrily. "They don't believe us. They don't think we can do it. They don't think we are strong enough. They don't think we have the fortitude for it."
"If you want to get them out of Rin, you need to make fighting no longer profitable for them. The only way you're going to do that is by proving that they will lose too much if they do. Clearly, based on the fact that they NEVER surrender, they don't currently think that."
"I'm not thinking in terms of just saving the ponies in the tower. In fact, I assume most of the ponies in that tower have died too many times beyond redemption. I'm trying to save THEIR lives," Timber points to the Shell he's trying to kill. "If they continue to think we will show them mercy, they will continue to fight and DIE."
>>646006 "Excuse me have you forgotten the part where if they're killed, they will just come back as a Blank? Granted we have no idea how long this specific pony has been here… But I would rather set him free than risk letting him suffer that state of being. Nopony deserves that. Isn't a shaman like you supposed to avoid making more Blanks anyways?"
>>646006 "Timber… Keep in mind that death… In this land is not the end… They fight and they KNOW that they will be revived somewhere safe, only risking loosing memories… Why some might even hope that happens! There might be soldiers among them that have nothing to lose, and will not accept peace even if they know we will kill them, because they will just come back… What you are trying to do is pointless… Pointless and a waste of our time that we don't have"
>>646017 "Have a nice life!" Abenad says, waving at him as Tourmaline pulls him away, "I'm sure she'll be back soon, she-" >>646018 Abenad pulls his crossbows out again. "Too bad Timber was too distracted to try these out, hm? He'd at least be confused enough to drop the subject, I'll bet." With that said, he's ready as anyone to get moving.
>>646017 >>646018 "Yes… Let us not waste any more time away…" he walks closer to her and mutters "Please don't stay too upset with Timber…" >>646019 He gasps" Ah, forgive me miss Gloria, I was so caught up in that discussion that I forgot…" >Taking 6 to heal Gloria
>>646021 You heal Gloria's injuries with your magic. >Gloria is at 6/5
>>646022 He has since come to. As you watch over him, he gives no response, but instead instinctively grabs his staff and rushes towards the Shell.
>>646018 >>646020 >>646021 He nods, still a bit confused as to what just happened. "Well, I'll get going then. Don't know where I'll go, but I'll go somewh-" "SHELL!" The bellow comes from the Cael, who has recovered from his head injury. He gallops towards the Shell at full speed, swinging his staff and knocking him to the ground in a single blow. A followup strike renders the poor fellow unconscious. The Cael nods at his handiwork and dusts himself off, looking around. "Is this your doing?" He gestures at the dead Shells. "Good work if so. The only good Shell is a dead Shell."
Timber frowns at the Cael. "I don't agree with the sentiment. But, the attitude may be useful where we are going if you're willing to join us. After we make a detour, we will be heading to a fortress currently besieged by the Shells. If you're willing, I'm certain you would find satisfaction in it."
"It's not such a simple to answer question. The pebble is in the water. It's shaped by the water. But, it's not the water. That it exists in the water is a mere convenient coincidence. One might take that pebble out of the water and it would still be a pebble. The river would still be a river."
>>646033 Abenad hadn't considered that the Cael mercenary would follow them. "You know, I've been wanting a mount, recently," he says, "Are you able to constantly and consistently carry 500 or so pounds at once?
"I…" Timber thinks for a moment. "I actually forget the name of the fortress. These artificial names just go through my ears to me. As for where it is, we were never disclosed the actual location, though I'm certain we could find it on a map if we tried hard enough."
"We were going to be lead there once we accomplished our other task. So, if you wish, I suppose your best chance is to follow us for now."
Timber stretches out his hoof for shaking. "My name is Timber Hoof, by the way. And yours?"
"So, we had this exact same conversation not twelve hours ago, and you got exactly what you wanted, and yet here you are, asking for it once again from some stranger. Can you explain even a little of this?"
In the previous session of Mortal Souls, the party ventured forth from the Dreaming Spring stronghold and towards the village of Where-Waters-Meet, investigating the sudden silence from the Resistance members hiding there. Along the way, they ran into a hapless traveler being attacked by a group of Shells. After defeating the group, the rather gormless adventurer, whose name is Kivoda, was allowed to tag along with the party for the time being… >Tourmaline is at 7/5 >Maali is at 6/5 >Timber Hoof is at 6/5 >Gopal is at 6/5 >Abenad is at 7/5 >Gloria is at 6/5 >Known monolith locations: Lunemark, Serpentine Keep, The Dreaming Spring >Old thread: >>645858
You trek through the Rinish wilderness, noticing how harsh the area is compared to other places you've seen; where before there was greenery, the further west you move it becomes harder and harder to see signs of plant life., with cracked boulders and stretches of red dusty earth dominating the landscape here. Seemingly undeterred by the bleak surroundings, Kivoda lopes purposefully alongside the party, using his lightning staff as a hiking pole. "I can't believe I'm on an actual adventure!" he says energetically. "With a proper band of travelers! I've always dreamed of this. I bet you've been all over the known world! Am I right?"
>>646999 Seeing no one else replyed to Kivoda, Maali took the initiative, smiling politely at him ''As far as I know, no sir…I lived in one of Rin's forest along with my tribe, I was born and raised in this land, and I hope to someday maybe travel to outer places with hopes of finding any of my kind.'' He calmly walks along
>>647000 >>647001 "…Not ones for talking?" He grins sheepishly. "Alright, that's fine. You want your privacy, and I'll respect that. I just thought we ought to get to know one another better if we're going to be traveling companions."
>>647003 "No need to worry. If evil rears its head, I will do my duty. You all saved me, and I am in your debt."
>>647004 "Fascinating. I've never in all my life seen anyone quite like you before, I must say. What if you're the last of your kind? The only remainder of a once-mighty race, seeking to rebuild your heritage. Now that's the sort of thing they write stories about."
>>647005 "And you certainly look it," he responds. "The armor, the sword… why, you're every bit the proper knight. Am I correct?"
"So," he asks, "where are we headed? Whatever lies ahead, I'm sure we can face it together. With such company, evil has much to fear!" He thumps his staff on the ground for emphasis.
"I understand the context in which our paths crossed, but you're going to hold yourself back the next time we fight; if we– or at least I– say we're letting someone leave in peace, don't rush up and hit him."
>>647012 ''Ooh, I never heard of Sarnath. is it a pretty place with gryphons like you?'' >>647013 His smile fades a little as he goes on ''Uum…W-well I…I thought about the possibility…It has been quite difficult to accept that I might be the last one, yes… But I still hold on to that small bit of hope that someday, maybe I will find one of my own again…Hopefully…Um…And what is that you said about stories?…''
"Truth be told, I saved your life specifically to enlist your aid. You seemed capable. So, you do not owe me - at the very least - anything. Do not feel you have a duty to stay with us. I would hate to bind someone to a cause."
>>647017 He tilts his head in confusion. "I don't understand. Aren't we meant to be fighting the Shells? They've caused so much destruction already."
>>647018 "Well, you're… certainly a unique specimen, I must say." He looks you up and down. "Who are you, exactly? Rather, WHAT are you? If you don't mind me asking that is. I've met a few minotaurs in my day, but you're no minotaur, are you?"
>>647019 "I think I know that place! I passed a signpost marking the way to it not too long ago. There's a great big bridge leading across the Broad River, but I doubt we'll reach it by nightfall…"
>>647020 "Well, you know, all great heroes have stories told of them. The Sentinels of Ibergal and their great library, Francois the Moonlight Knight and his magic sword, the Three Brothers that sought the Beneviolet flower… I don't know what your group's mission is, but I have a feeling you're all destined for glory. Do you believe in destiny, sir?"
>>647022 "Oh, but I do!" he insists. "My life is in all your hooves now, until you dismiss me from your service or death do us part. I don't think the latter applies here though," he muses.
>>647032 "Well, I'm no fool At least, I wouldn't say I am. I'm not about to go out of my way to storm the Tower of Silence or anything, but if evil finds us I will fight to my last breath. I am in your debt, after all."
"And if bandits had killed the Shells, you would rape and pillage along with them? You are you own self, we do not have hold over your life. If it comes down to your last breath, flee you fool. Leave the defending for me,"
"My last breath should have been taken in Ortague. I'm surprised I'm not one of the walking corpses yet. Still, I live, and plan to continue living, as should you."
>>647037 He blushes a little ''H-hero?…Oh no no no I am just the group healer…They are the true heroes here really…'' ''And um…I do believe in destiny…Why do you ask?…D-do you really think great things wait for us?…For…Me?''
>>647037 "To start with, I cannot recall much of my previous life- I believe there was a woman involved, as well as some sort of enchantment where I had been pierced by an arrow and transformed into this shape, which, based on the knowledge of etymology I appear to have, I call a cervitaur. I am part minotaur, and part deer."
"Since I had been pierced by the arrow, I had fallen asleep for an unknown amount of time, but it was long enough that the castle I had been sleeping in had become overgrown and succumbed to the local plantlife. When I woke up, I was in this shape, dressed like a noble, and hungry. I had taken the bow which had penetrated me, found some arrows, and set out to hunt and see what had changed since I had fallen asleep. Everything changed, as far as I could tell, so I had decided to travel and live as best I could. After wandering through the wilderness for a while, I met with the group in some caves and decided to tag along."
>>647045 "If it makes you feel any better, I depend on you more than anyone else- if it weren't for you, I'd have to actually think before I acted."
"Besides not being able to run that well, I have my own vendettas, more than just owing my life to someone. I cannot ask you to trust me just as much as you could ask me to trust you, but rest assured cowering is not in my nature."
>>647051 "I, for one, am happy to have you traveling with us, in that case," Abenad says, "Last time I tried to get away from a fight so I wouldn't get hit, I was charged on and had to fight several foes at once. It's good to know you'll be around so that doesn't happen again."
"Don't misunderstand," Timber responds, shaking his head. "I would prefer it if you DID run. There is no sense in throwing away your life when you can live and fight again. Even if we can come back to life. It's still a last resort to die."
"And, of course, sometimes it is a resort. Sometimes, not running is the correct option. But, too often people turn to it too quickly."
"Heh, like our new friend, I too am not a fool. I've survived this long, and don't plan to throw myself to the first walking corpse I see."
Under his helmet, he lets out a grim smile, >>647052
"Yes, it's my job to keep you all safe, or at least safer until someone determines you are to be trusted for some arbitrary task. So far, I see no reason to doubt so, the more the merrier, as they say."
>>647041 "I didn't kill him though," he points out. "Just put him to sleep for a bit. He'll just have a bit of a headache when he wakes up is all."
>>647042 "Well, according to the old story, it's a purple flower that grows all the way up in the mountains in the north. They say its nectar can heal any sort of injury or illness, no matter how terrible. It only blossoms once in an age, though, and it's supposed to be nigh-impossible to find." He shrugs. "Maybe it exists and maybe it doesn't. Who knows."
>>647044 "Well, I.. But.. Er…" He stumbles over his words, looking conflicted. He seems to know you are right, but does not want to admit it.
>>647045 "Oh, don't put yourself down! Everyone is important in the great stories! Do you think Francois could have slain the Archdrake Pyth without the help of the farmer Piecemeal? Of course not! And yes, I have a feeling you are all destined for greatness. There is an… aura about you, I suppose. It's difficult to put my hoof on it."
>>647046 "Certainly! Although, I'm not very familiar with these surroundings," he admits. "I've never been to this part of Rin before. Perhaps if we were to stumble upon some sort of landmark…"
>>647050 "A story straight out of a fairy tale," he declares once you're finished. "I hope to see it written someday!"
As you keep traveling further south, the day passes overhead uneventfully. The sun begins to set on the horizon, bathing the dry, cracked land in an eerie orange glow. It will be nightfall soon, and shelter will need to be found quickly. You soon come to the edge of a cliff overlooking what must have once been a glade of some sort, but is now a dried hollow full of spidery dead trees. The dirt path you have been following snakes along the cliff's edge; however, there is a path further up the road that slopes down into the trees. To your left you can see an arrangement of smooth stones put together to form a makeshift structure, much like a dolmen. Kivoda slumps against a nearby boulder with a weary sigh. "Not to impose or anything, but I really think we should stop for the night somewhere," he says. "I don't know about the rest of you, but my legs are about to give way with all this marching, and I'm hungry."
"Don't play coyfish. The principle is what I'm getting at, do you understand? Even hitting them to be cutesy is off-limits once they've surrendered. One 'innocent' or 'goofy' blow is enough to kill someone if done correctly, so hold off on it when unnecessary."
>>647065 Abenad folds his arms as he looks over the cliff. "It'd be something if that inn were here," he says, "Nothing like a comfortable bed and a warm room to sleep in for the night." Nevertheless, he looks out to see if it was there, anyway. [1d10+1]Looking for Death's Inn
>>647065 He smiles sheepishly ''W-well…Goodness…No one has ever told me that I would be destined for greatness mister…um..T-thank you…''
>>647065 ''Are you not used to long treks perhaps, mister Kivoda? Oh, and if you are hungry, would you like a banana or two?'' He asks, pointing at his antler trees before he looks to the others ''Anyone would like some warm tea once we settle down?
>>647069 "Well… If you say so. I'll try to avoid doing so in the future."
>>647072 You can't see anything that would be a threat to you. You can't hear anything either for that matter. The whole area is unnaturally silent, the only sound being the blowing wind and the occasional ringing buzz of some insect.
>>647073 The dolmen stands in the middle of a patch of dead grass. The stones seem to have once been carved with runes and letters, but time has weathered away the stone face to the point of illegibility. It is large enough to fit the party, however, and would serve as an adequate place to camp for the night.
>>647074 It is difficult to see in the encroaching twilight gloom, but you can make out the outline of some sort of marker on the road far ahead. Presumably, it is some sort of cairn or signpost.
>>647089 ''oh please…I do not deserve being called a sir…Just Maali is enough…'' He says, smiling as he goes on to prepare a nice, natural tea, hopefully enough for everyone '1d10' this gon be sum gud tea I can feel it
>>647094 You brew a potent herbal tea that warms the insides like no other. It does, however, have a bitter aftertaste to it.
>>647096 You walk out and find that it is both; a small rock pillar with a red triangular flag on it flaps in the breeze, with a metal plaque affixed to it, although you cannot make out the words. Next to it is a signpost, marking a crossroads in your path. The left hand road leads to the cities of Briom and Ortague as well as the fortress of Lucan's Bridge, while the right hand path leads to a Jevel River crossing as well as Castle Fleet. The road ahead leads to a Broad River crossing as well as the town of Where-Waters-Meet and the cities of Jevel and Aloria.
>>647098 They look unfamiliar to you, more like some forgotten alphabet than mystical runes.
>>647105 >>647108 You go about setting up camp, eventually pitching tents and starting a merry fire.
Before long you are all well fed, and you adjourn to your sleeping places to get some hard earned sleep.
>>647112 Your watch is relatively uneventful, and you stay up until midnight guarding the camp for any dangers. At around midnight, you begin to get an uneasy feeling as you stand guard. After a moment of relative silence, you see what appears to be an eerie green light further down the road. It does not appear to be moving, but is instead simply hovering in midair. You are the only one awake; the rest of the party are asleep for now.
>>647123 It fades away after a while, and the rest of the vigil goes by without further interruption. It was probably nothing. >time skip
>>647126 >>647129 >>647131 >>647132 >>647134 You all wake up the next morning feeling rested and ready to keep moving. Kivoda wakes up with a loud yawn, followed by a yell of panic. He scrambles to grab his staff and brings it down on his bedroll with a loud thwack. A strangled hiss comes from it, and he shakes out a very dead snake. "Horrible thing," he mumbles as he begins to pack up. "We should hit the road, shouldn't we?" he says to the rest of the group.
"Not that I blame you," Timber says to Kivoda. "But, if that snake wanted to harm you, it wouldn't have slept in your bag with you. It was likely just trying to share your warmth since it has none of its own. An interesting learned symbiosis, actually…"
"Anyway," he continues as he stands up. "We should keep moving."
>>647155 ''I hope you'll be…'' >>647156 ''I made some a few times with herbs, might not be so difficult…Although it would only work for this specific race of Snake, it would be better to make an antidote for all kinds of venom…But even that is pointless, I can heal most if not any poison…''
>>647142 "Be my guest," he shrugs as he looks at the dead thing in disgust. "What do you want it for anyway? It's just a snake."
>>647143 "Horrible, I'd imagine. As with all meat."
>>647148 The snake is approximately the length of your arm, with brown and green scales and a pallid underbelly. It has venomous fangs, and its head is small and round.
>>647149 "Yes, well, that's a risk I'd rather not take," he grumbles. "Better me than it."
>>647149 >>647150 >>647157 >assuming the rest of you are following You set back out on the dirt track with snake in tow, trekking through the barren landscape towards Where-Waters-Meet. As you pass the cairn on the road, Kivoda lets out a yelp of surprise. "I know this marker! I passed here about a week ago. Not far to the river now. Not far at all."
You keep moving for about two hours, eventually reaching the banks of the Broad River. As you have seen before, it certainly lives up to its name, looking more like a lake than a river. There is a large wooden bridge leading across that seems to be in reasonably good condition. Near the bridge is a signpost indicating that Where-Waters-Meet lies just beyond. More importantly, however, is that there is a towering earth pony knight clad from head to toe in steel plate armor guarding the bridge. He wields a long steel greatsword with one hoof, and his face cannot be seen under his horned helmet. With a clanking sound, he turns to face the party, but says nothing. "I have a bad feeling about this," Kivoda mutters as he shrinks to the back of the group.
>>647165 '' I want to give it's deatha purpose…If you could aboid it next time…Please do not kill a snake if it shows up at your tent…Like mister Timber said, it was just looking for heat and shelter like us…'' >>647165 Look at him ''Uuh…Hello? are you friend or foe?''
>>647165 With his sleeves rolled up, Abenad cuts off the head of the snake under the neck with one of his knives, looking at the underside until he found the tail, cutting it a few inches above, before slitting it down the middle and opening it up.
From there, he scrapes out all the organs, then scrapes the meat off with his knife, licking it off to chew and swallow.
Once finished with breakfast, he cleans his hands off on his pants, the magic clothes doing away with the bloodstains, before following along with the party.
As the party comes to the bridge, Abenad squints at the armored horse on the bridge. He sits down to rest, putting his chin on the pommel of the greatsword as he watches the scene unfold.
>>647169 "I am bound to this bridge by the sorceress Tascheter, who rules these lands." The flat, emotionless voice rattles around the steel plate, sounding hollow. It is most likely an enchanted suit of armor; the rest of the party are reminded of the clockwork creation Coronus. "By Her whim, none may pass unless they seek misery and destruction. If this is your wish, then you may pass."
>>647173 >>647180 >>647181 There is no response. It can most likely only do a handful of things, if it is a similar construct to Coronus.
>>647188 It looks like regular steel plate armor to you.
>>647190 With a heaving clank, the enchanted armor moves aside to let you pass. As you walk past it, the empty space where the head would be glows a very faint green for a moment.
>>647193 No response. Its enchantment is presumably much less potent than that of Coronus, being limited to only a few actions and phrases.
>>647195 >assuming the rest of you follow The armor stares after you vigilantly as you cross the bridge leading to the town that is your first destination. Kivoda looks nervously at the towering iron giant as you keep moving, moving in single file across the wooden structure. You eventually reach the town. It looks as run-down and ramshackle as most of the other locations in Rin. There are a few blanks trudging across the area, most paying little attention to you. You notice that some of them have what appear to be tiny holes all over their bodies, much like snake bites. "This just keeps getting worse and worse," Kivoda moans as he looks around at the desolate place. "What do you need to do here? Can't we just leave?"
>>647203 "Oh, I don't know," Abenad says, "Doesn't look any worse than the other places we've been to. Ortague was my favorite, though, by far. Even the dragon wasn't that bad, but that mechanical horse who was firing at us was the worst." He lets out a hearty laugh. "Haha! We busted him up good, and I took one of his crossbows."
>>647203 >>647205 "We came here to see what happened with the ponies that worked for Doom that were here… This was his outpost and he have not gotten any reports from them… And now we can see why… They might have been killed by snakes… Or worse… And now they became mindless Blanks…"
He observes the ponies with the bites. "Peculiar…" he muses aloud. "This was apparently an operating outpost for Doom. That would imply that the ponies operating it were of decent intelligence and awareness. In other words, they hadn't died many times yet or at all. And yet, everyone here is now a blank."
"These ponies didn't die just once… They died several times. And, since this outpost went quiet recently and suddenly, they died several times very fast."
He gets closer to one of the blanks to get a better look at the holes. "A poison which remains in the blood stream even after death perhaps? Thus, killing its victims several times over?"
[1d10] to find anything else of interest on the blank, preferably without setting it off
>>647209 He looks at you with bright eyes. "Wait, you killed a dragon? How? What was it like?"
>>647214 You walk over to one blank who is simply lying on the ground with a crippled leg. You can see up close that its veins seem to be glowing with some sort of poison, sticking out clearly against the skin.
In the distance, you all hear a faint dragging sound, like some tremendous creature pulling itself against the floor. >pausing