>>594279 "Great, great, say I want you to meet some ponies." She grabs your hoof and drags you into the restaurant. "Mabel, this is Lord Puddington." You're face to face with a stern old pony with a top hat. "Lord Puddington, this is Miss Mabel." "Ah, miss Mabel, pleasure to make your acquintance, I've heard you and your merry band have been making waves in Equestria."
>>594280 What chest wound? "I GOTTA SHOW MA!" He quickly starts running down towards Canterlot.
>>594283 "She reminded me a bit of myself when I was younger. Ready to become the newest and most glamorous fashionista. If she tries hard enough, she'll succeed." She's not taking your flank and tail measurements. "Oh, was everything satisfactory in Ponyville?"
>>594282 2fast4u. But Twilight tries to yank him back with telekinesis, roll for Indy's magic resistance.
>>594286 "Quite so. I've heard rumors about all of you nearly starting a riot in Tall Tale."
>>594290 "That's their job isn't it? To make sure to know what's going on in the city. As for the paladins, it would be harder to get their ear."
>>594293 The conversation is still ongoing, see snacks post.
>>594292 Resistant like a motherfucker. Even to Twilights spells. But you run your non-magic feet and keep up. Indy is running straight to Canterlot, his head pokes out above the buildings. Ponies scream and duck away as they see him coming. And guards are scrambling backup.
>>594294 Are you sure you're replying to the right post?
>>594295 "It may not be as hard as you might think. One of our traveling companions, Amber, has recently joined the crystal paladins officially. With luck, she can convince them of the urgency of this."
>>594300 I'll nod slightly. "That would likely have a better chance of success…" >>594301 "Not to sound paranoid, Snack, but what if some of the guard are in on it? I didn't see a single guard anywhere near us during our stakeout. We should have seen at least one."
>>594305 "I never said we couldn't, just that it's something to consider. As for who to go to, well, Applejack mentioned in Ponyville that the Elements of Harmony needed to gather again, so anyone who can point us towards them would be a good start."
>>594302 >>594305 Fluttershy nods. "That might be a good idea. If the guards are in on it, we can't run the risk. The paladins can be trusted but I'm not sure if they'll have enough ponies to send on this."
>>594307 "Ah, but by any chance, is there truth to the rumors of your group fighting the Ursa Major?"
>>594312 He looks very uncomfortable and bad. But he slowly slips by with only a few broken fences here and there. "Sorry, sorry." As you look around, you see a dark blue large pony on one of the roofs. Her mane twinkles with stars and you think her cutie mark was a moon, when you look again however she's gone.
You bring him to the edge of the city where Twilight shows up. "Oh good, there's nothing broken yet." Indy slowly sits down, breaking a few trees in the process. "Sorry Pa, I didn't mean to break anything."
>>594313 "Yes, I saw her briefly in Ponyville, if you can ask her, I can talk to Twilight if she gets back."
>>594314 "There is a rather large detachment here in Canterlot, the threat of evil is strongest here. But yes, even here they're spread thin."
>>594315 "Oh dear, your friend here said it was an Ursa Major." Tulip grins sheepishly.
>>594337 "By hiding in the skin of the cultists. I doubt there are many more of these… skinwalkers, but they might have snuck in the same way." I'll rub my chin and think for a bit. "Perhaps by using the… remains of the skinwalker, we can develop some variety of detection field? Anyone that has anything similar inside them would set it off, and it would sound an alarm or simply light them up or something. Like draws like, after all, so that might be a way to go about it…"
>>594342 "Far from anything natural I've ever known. And a good bit more wrong than those Lemarians were." I'll sigh. "Well, if nothing else, I should probably see to gathering it up in a jar or something so that it doesn't spoil, or… I don't know, slink away."
>>594343 You were tasting a delicious eclair from the Prance griffons. They all taste delicious. Except for one, a desert filled with creme as you take a whif you're hit by a strange smell, a smell of death.
>>594344 "Uhm.." she looks at Indy. "Yes…that would help. If that's okay with both of you. But he cannot enter the city. He'll have to stay here for a few days. Hmm, I'll need to check in with the Academy again first. I'll be right back to see if that's what you want." She disappears again in a flash.
>>594345 >>594346 Twilight appears again. She breathes in deep and then breathes out slowly while waving her hoof. "Now, we should study the remains of the Skinwalker. What will you do in the meantime?"
>>594347 "Attempt to get the local paladin chapter onboard with a subtle search for any remaining cultists, as well as a quiet inquest of the guards to see if any of them are in on it." I'll yawn. "Also, perhaps some coffee is in order, along with a pastry. If it can help, we have a chemist on retainer who might be able to assist with the study of the skinwalker fluid."
>>594359 You find her in the inn, enjoying a red wine.
>>594361 Sorry. The griffon looks at it, sniffs it. "Mon dieu! What iz dis?!? My apologies, miss. Whoever made this, he'll be punished." He looks to another griffon. "Philippe, who made this?" "I think it was Jean, he's in the back." The griffon walks in the backdoor with the tainted pastry. You hear a scream from the back after a few seconds.
>>594371 I mean Jean the guy who made the rotten food is attacking the griffon cook, let's call him Julien, you just talked to and who was going to confront jean about your rotten food. This Jean is now attacking Julien like a mad griffon.
>>594368 I stand straight and whisper "Does Silver know any paladins here in Canterlot, SNack needs you and Amber to help Snack uncover a cultist of undead dragon worshippers here in Canterlot. They've subverted the archives of the library to their own twisted goals and eve nattacked Snack, Warren and Poorsoil with their flayerd skin dopplegangers. Snack and Warren cant trust the guards since we are afraid they may infiltrated the ranks so…. Snacks gone to you." I grin.
>>594370 He flies above the town pretty good and you keep up. It's night by now and not too many ponies are still on the streets, though some are still a bit on edge. Indy lands with a loud THUMP on a square close to the hotel.
>>594384 "You can watch if you want. If you feel queasy you can wait in the room next to here." You're handed a medical outfit.
Amber Rarity takes a while to take all your measurements, far longer than Silver, who's waiting outside. The size of your flanks, the hooves, the hip joint, the abdomen, your neck, even the length of your tail. When everything's noted down, she looks up "Thanks, darling. It will be done by tomorrow, I guarantee you'll look fabulous."
>>594387 You do realize it. She turns around and smiles.
Melody Heavyhooves has scouted the hotel. Shortcake is in trouble. Where to go?
>>594733 >>594729 Inferni suddenly looks up as if he heard something and flies away out of the Elementarium.
>>594727 Let's go. You meet under the cover of night at the hotel. "I think there's two ways to get in. We sneak in, or we disguise ourselves…"
>>594731 The Griffon Quarter is small but distinct. On the slopes of the mountain a number of wooden houses have been built. There are bridges but the easiest way is obviously the traditional way of flying. There are a number of shops, a small shrine to the Ancients.
>>594732 "I don't know….I hope she's not on duty right now…"
>>594743 >>594742 "Amber!" I go after her. "Amber, Snack needs your help in convincing the paladins to help Twily and Flutter pony in uncovering a spy network who is run over by a group of Dragon cultist!"
>>594745 "We could fight our way in? Or perhaps, if you fly up and there's an open window, you could get in that way."
>>594747 The dragon grins and easily picks you up with his talons. And lifts you up to eyesight. Indy is perched on the snout of the dragon.
>>594748 There's a number of shrines in here. Each dedicated to one of the Ancients and the Spirits. Ancients: Odrin, Torvir, Harr, Kraven,… (There are 28) Spirits: Sun, Moon, The Mother (Love), He-Who-Laughs (The Laughing One). As additional information the evil spirits not seen here are: Lokri (Tirek), The Tyrant (Kronox), The Serpent (Discord)
There's an old griffon with grey feathers guarding the shrines.
>>594761 "Maybe I might create a bit of commotion then." I laugh. "But nah, I'll try and get up there without too much of a fuss. Anyways, later! I'm off now!" I spread my wings and take flight up to the fourth floor, and look around for any open windows. '1d10'
>>594796 "Well, it was practically a walking corpse beforehoof, so that's not too unexpected. Assuming it's an advanced form of whatever they were pulling in Silverhaze, then the bodies are probably being pushed to the point where the only thing holding them together is the sludge and necromancy."
>>594796 "We could explain a lot of it if pony come and help us, the archives has already been attacked and sensitive info has been erased by a flayed thingy that can copy the shape of ponies. Snack, Poor Soil and Warren has already killed it."
>>594800 No it's another buffalo. Roll to inspect.
>>594799 Inferni flies into the inn as well. Indy is alone outside.
>>594801 That's one version of the story. You were talking about guns with the winner.
>>594803 >>594804 "A few days ago, we found a group of ponies sacrificed in a ritualistic manner. They had small idols on them of a dragon head. I wanted to investigate it further, but Diamond Ring, my superior, dismissed it. It's why I was so surprised when you mentioned a dragon…"
>>594812 "Finally a real challenge. These Equestrian ponies don't know about good shootin."
>>594809 You get to the Tower of the Moon. Snacks, Amber, Silver and a batpony are there.
>>594813 >>594814 "Diamond Ring ordered us to scour the city looking for some missing pony of interest….it's weird, it's been a long time since all of us were sent out for one thing. The Tower is completely empty…"
>>594821 You sneakily proceed forward, finding two more buffalo bodyguards slaughtered similarly. You quickly duck behind a curtain as you hear something. You look and see a strange creature. It looks like a very very thin pony, skin over bone, that is if it had skin, instead it's just flesh. It crawls over the ceiling, it's front hooves are sharpened to large blades and it has long fangs. It seems to be looking for something.
>>594820 "I'm not sure where he is…we could try his office."
>>594835 I'll nod. "That would likely be the poison that it injected into Indy before Soil ran off with him up the mountain. Do you suppose it might also be a catalyst to turn those afflicted into additional minions of Ner'ghal?"
>>594840 >>594838 "We're spread around Equestria lately. Diamond Ring is the only superior here this week….but where is everypony…did he really send everypony away? That would be a big breach of security."
>>594836 It scratches part of your clothes. You're fighting a Skinwalker.
>>594837 Vilina looks it over. "It should be…we should try and make an antidote."
>>594841 "No, Mabel, you're my friend! And I like eating gems."
>>594842 "If we can. Assuming this gunk is all that's holding his minions together, an antidote could end up being one of the most effective weapons we could employ. And if we get to those afflicted before they fully 'die', then we could save a great number of lives." I'll rub my chin, and shoot a glance at Vilina. "I wonder what this stuff is even made of."
>>594852 "Far as I know, it's run-off or something from a giant zombie dragon that styles itself as a good. There were barrels of it in Silverhaze, or at least there were barrels of the base liquid, and they were going to infect the town before we showed up and threw their plans into disarray, causing them to jump ahead to waking the dragon."
>>594853 "YOU SMELL DIFFERENT LATELY. THERE'S LIKE A HINT OF SULFUR."
>>594854 >>594862 Before Paleblossom can protest you stomp down the door. There's a corpse inside. Sprawled over the door is the corpse of batpony dressed in high night guard armor. His chest is split open. "…Luna preserve us…" mutters Paleblossom.
>>594859 Soil and Iris are here. You can see Mabel outside through a window. >>594860 >>594861 The body is moving. But not as in he's waking up. I mean his belly is.
>>594857 You shoot but the Skinwalker rolls and crawls up again. You get no counterattack damage because he was down. A sudden weariness grows over you, as if something is sapping all your courage. -1 to combat rolls
>>594858 "It would be an honor." Tip le cowboy hat.
>>594856 Pico is here! "Yes..I should." She shakily gets up again.
>>594877 "Somepony murdered him! We need to alert all of Canterlot! The princesses could be in danger!"
>>594882 ! "I recognize that! It must have been behind this! Don't let it escape!" Empower my hammer. These things could be a threat to the princesses if they're killing paladins! Time to strike! Purge! For Cadance!
>>594885 "They're not so tough when you face them head on, you just can't let them catch you off-guard!" Turn to Paleblossom. "Blossom! We should send word to the princesses about this! I think it's a pretty serious security breach! Can we activate an alarm somehow?"
>>594895 I'll pull out that bottle I pulled from nowhere after the fight with the skin walker. "Well, the water that was in this mostly neutralized the poison when I gave it to Indy. Is there enough left in it to know what it was? Soil thought it was close to something that was up on the peak of the mountain, since he ran there almost immediately after he got a look at it."
>>594940 "Amber and Snacks warning me about cultists and to get everyone back. Plus, it seems they've begun attacking people. One of the buildings we were in front of was empty of any Police or Guard."
>>594935 >tfw Lemon is sleeping "RISE, CRYSTAL PONIES." She slowly steps past you and puts a hoof on the dead Diamond Rings corpse and closes her eyes in respect for a moment. "Diamond Ring was one of my most loyal paladins. He will be buried with honor."
>>594942 I'll think for a moment. "So the spring at the crest of the mountain possesses healing powers strong enough to not only drive the toxin from Indy's body, but also jumpstart his growth to incredible size." I'll look between Vilina and Twilight. "If we can replicate the healing effects of that spring, it might prove to be the very antithesis of Ner'Ghal himself…"
>>594952 "WE MUST FIND THE SOURCE OF THIS EVIL" Paleblossom looks up. "My princess, I think I know where to look. I found traces of rituals in the sewers. We must search them." Luna looks over all of you. "I BELIEVE YOUR FRIENDS ARE ALREADY ON THEIR WAY HERE. SEARCH THE SEWERS. I WILL GATHER THE NIGHT GUARD."
>>594953 "Perhaps, but we'll need a pure sample of the poison."
>>594954 "You'll have to come with me to the Tower of the Moon."
>>595326 "By the time we get a hold of something like that, I'm afraid it might already be too late." I'll rub my chin a little. "Do you think that was the only one here in Canterlot? Or at least the only one that far along?"
>>595328 The Guard wants you to come with him to the Tower of the Moon to make a statement.
>>595329 "Perhaps…" Twilight is suddenly quiet and seems to listen to something you can't hear. "Your friends found another skinwalker." She finally says. "They're going to try to find the source, you should go to the Tower of the Moon. And if you can get a pure sample we can work with it."
>>595331 You make it to the Tower of the Moon as Pico said. Amber, Silver, Snacks and a batpony are here.
>>595335 I'll frown a little. "So that means there are probably even more that we haven't found. Great." I'll think for a second. "On the way up here, Snack mentioned a series of caves underneath Canterlot. Do you suppose that might be a possible location?"
>>595336 When you arrive there, a large dark mare flies out. Her crown is silver, her hair twinkles with stars, her cutie mark is a moon. The guard immediately bows. "GUARD, WE WILL NEED YOUR HELP TO GATHER THE PALADINS."
>>595338 "I found a group of victims there two days ago with idols of a dragon."
>>595339 "Perhaps. It would take long to scour them all."
>>595347 "I'd like to stay here. It's been so long since I've worked in a real lab."
>>595348 That's a 0. Roll a 2d10. Rolling for Heavyhooves '1d10'
>>595349 "No, we're coming!" says Star. Winston nods "A gentledog never goes out of the way of a challenge. Besides you need someone like me to explore those sewers."
>>595350 She looks at you. "CITIZEN, I AM LUNA, YOUR PRINCESS AND WE ARE AWARE OF THE DANGER FACING CANTERLOT. WE WOULD ADVISE YOU TO STAY INDOORS TONIGHT." She then looks you over. "BUT WE FEEL YOU ARE FRIENDS WITH THOSE IN THE TOWER. PERHAPS IT WOULD BE BETTER IF YOU JOINED THEM IN THEIR QUEST IF IT PLEASES YOU."
>>595351 I'll nod. "Have fun, then… ah, right, I forgot. I picked this up earlier in town, and I thought you might like it." I'll fish the decanter from my bag. "I suppose now is as good a time as any to start breaking it in."
>>595359 Paleblossom looks at Indy. "Uh…The entrance near the Tower might be available and the old halls of the Diamond City are pretty large. But if we have to search the smaller tunnels, he wouldn't be able to follow us in there."
>>595360 She nods and flies away with the guard. It seems Soil, Amber, Warren, Snacks and a giant dragon are at the Tower.
>>595371 "What did you do after you ran up to the peak of the mountain, Soil? How did…" I'll massage the spot between my eyes for a moment. "Actually, you know what, we don't have time for this. We've got bigger problems." >>595363 "Snack, you recall earlier on the way to Canterlot you mentioned the caverns beneath it. Do you think that perhaps they might be a staging area of the zombie-dragon cult?"
>>595373 "It's a possibility. However, Twilight mentioned that they're rather expansive, and searching them entirely would take quite a while. However, if they are operating from that site, it will shorten search time dramatically." >>595374 I'll speak to everyone. "Also, we have another objective, aside from simply shutting these cultists down. If we can obtain a sample of the poison those skinwalkers use, Twilight and Vilina may be able to create an antidote to it, given time, and perhaps even a way to weaken Ner'Ghal. So, if you happen to see any pools or barrels of the stuff, grab a vial or bottle of it for study." And to Indy. "Indy, it's alright to disobey your 'Pa' if it doesn't seem like a good idea. For instance, you wouldn't have jumped off a bridge if he told you to before you got your wings, would you have?"
>>595378 >>595374 "Yes, samples indeed." I nod at Warren. "Does Twilight said anything more?" I nod at Warren then look at Winston. "This looks like its going to be an adventure." I grin. "Just dont forget getting the vials though."
>>595382 "The water from the spring at the peak of the mountain seems to be an antithesis to the poison itself, burning it away and, in Indy's case, healing some of the damage it caused. Unfortunately, the effects of the water cannot be magically replicated, but I'm hoping that it can be alchemically copied." >>595383 "I know, Indy, and I'm very glad that you're alright. After this is all over, however, we're going to have to find a way to shrink you back down so that you can walk around town with your ma and pa again." >>595384 "You'd let a baby dragon get into a dangerous situation all alone?" I'll raise my eyebrows in mock surprise, then wave my hoof. "In hypothetical situations, Soil, events are put in a way that they wouldn't normally happen. For instance, asking what someone would do in a certain situation is a hypothetical exercise, where you think of how and why ponies, or dragons, would act in that situation."
>>595388 "Why are you asking questions which would never happen then? I'm not gonna let Indy be in danger! That's why I brought it to the top to cure him! And now he's big like this so nopony can hurt him!"
>>595392 "That might work here, but what about the next town? Or the town after that? Word does spread, as do rumors." I'll scratch my chin a bit. "For now, though, ponies will be scared. If we're lucky, they'll just stay out of the way and give Indy a chance to prove he's friendly like we all know he is. Other ponies don't know that yet, and they probably won't believe us for a while." >>595393 But we haven't killed it yet, now have we? >>595394 How convenient. "Is this everyone? Where's Melody?"
>>595407 I'll frown a little. "That's a bit worrying, since we were expected by the cultists. Hopefully she and that buffalo aren't getting in over their heads somewhere." >>595408 "Soon, I'd wager. Though I'd rather all of us be here if it can be helped."
>>595414 >>595415 "So all we're missing is Melody since Mabel's on autopilot…" >>595416 "As do I. We just got her back from the deadlands, I don't want to begin imagining what Grogar would demand of us if we tried to go for a two-fer."
>>595420 "His continued survival is dependent on Melody being alive as well. He wouldn't possibly be that stupid." >>595422 I'll shrug. "I had assumed we were waiting on a contingent of paladins or other administrative type to make sure everyone's on the same page."
ALL EXCEPT MELODY With a spell, Paleblossom, the batpony opens the grand gate next to the Tower of the Moon. It opens slowly but is large enough for Indy to enter. Inside you are greeted by the Great Halls of the old Diamond Dog Capital. The hall stretches on far beyond your sight and the ceiling is so high up you can barely see it. Normally these halls would be filled with batponies, alas they've all been sent out leaving only an eerie silence.
"This used to be called Nuxezar, the capital of the old Diamond Empire, hundreds of years ago." says Winston. Despite its age, the stonework is still solid. "Many statues were destroyed but there are a few left here, many more in the Depths." He points to two old statues showing fierce Diamond Dogs in armor.
There are 2 ways forward, further through the Grand Hall, or take one of the smaller sidepassages into the deep.
MELODY You wake up slowly with an immense headache. You're alive but chained in a cage. You seem to be in some kind of old ruin, there are a few statues of Diamond Dogs near you. Next to you is the unconcious body of Heavyhooves, chained up as well. "They got us." says a voice behind you. You look, it's Hard Coin! Chained up as well.
>>595429 "Should we split up? There are enough of us that we likely could, but I'm not certain that would be wise without some way to communicate." I'll consider a moment. "Though if these are anything like the Silverhaze Cultists, then they'll be off in the deepest parts…"
>>595443 "And you know this how? Some fucked up friends of yours cross you? That why there was some… thing rooting through your goddamn room? Tell me what the fuck is going on you piece of shit!" I look around. Do I see any guards? '1d10'
>>595445 >>595446 >>595443 Well, time to make our choice. "Keep going through here, or check the side passages? I vote for the side passages, as they might have dug in from there to escape general notice."
You advance with Indy through the Main Hall, Indy has trouble getting through at times but you slowly make headway. You hear a bubbling sound. Roll to determine the location. Paleblossom perks her ears. "What's that?"
Side Passages The side passages are dark and steep. You hear voices in the distance. Roll for perception.
>>595478 He appears. "As always, I thought you had forgotten about me." he says grumpily.
>>595481 >>595482 You look up, searching for the source of the noise and slip over a pool of water. As you look over the ground you notice the source of the noise. A large bubbling pool of sickly green fluids.
>>595485 >>595486 >>595489 Paleblossom nods. "A long time ago, but we don't came here often anymore…." Soil slips and lands right next to a bubbling pool of sickly green liquid. Paleblossom frowns. "That's new…"
>>595491 He rolls his eyes. "Fine, what do you want me to look for exactly?"
>>595490 >>595484 >>595483 It's a mare and a filly talking. You hear the mother telling the filly not to run away too far as you find them. They both look hungry and messy. The filly quickly hides behind her mom. Mom looks uncertainly at all of you.
>>595506 I turn to Hard Coin. "Shut the fuck up. Don't think you're remotely off the hook for what you did just because I'm stuck here with you." I huff and await Triangle Tune's return, idly glancing around the room while I wait. '1d10'
Paleblossom grips her axe. "I'll find whoever is responsible for this, they'll have much to answer for." She follows Snacks.
The tracks are easy to follow in the mud. You see a small chamber up ahead and light burns inside. There seem to be 3 ponies inside. That chamber would be too small for Indy to fit through, Soil must roll additionally for Indy to find a way to get in if he wants to.
>>595517 "Uh…about a week now. We come up in the day…"
>>595518 >>595518 Get a better look and see if I can see the right symptoms for undead dragon cultist ponies… you know, green goo in the mouth, eyes, looking dead etc. Also looking like miners… Who are now DESECRATING ANCIENT DIAMOND DOG ARTIFACTS UNDERNEATH CANTERLOT!!
>>595526 >>595525 >>595523 >>595527 The three look outside and see the giant dragon. Light Heart would recognize one of them as Grey Velvet Jr. The two others, looking like normal ponies panic and try to grab Grey Velvet with them further into the passage. Grey Velvet resists and grapples with his attacker while the other runs.
>>595524 >>595522 >>595521 >>595520 "There's a group of ponies here, poor and refugees like us. They live deeper down and give out free food and water. But you have to join them for their Mass. I didn't trust it, but my husband Iron went there to get food for us both…when he came back he wasn't the same." she sniffles. "He's down there with them again."
>>595519 "There's two passages out of here, one leads to another cell with a pony in there. Another leads right to their main hall. There's a large group of ponies there, talking about sacrificing two mares, a stallion and a buffalo. I'm thinking that refers to you."
>>595528 "…what the fuc- wait. Two mares?" I look around. What the hell- two mares? Who's the other one? "But fuuuck… all the more reason to get out. Did you find a key? Or anything heavy enough to break these chains with?"
>>595534 "There's another mare in that other cell I was talking about. Now let me do the work." He walks into the Skinwalker who trashes about and then becomes calm. The skinwalker walks to the cage and with one slash cracks it open. Hard Coin crawls into one side, scared for his life.
>>595533 You break them apart. The grey pony falls to the ground. The other pushes you back and grabs a knife. Indy can help from this angle but a wrong move could damage both of you.
You're fighting a Risen Cultist.
>>595536 You shoot him in the leg and he falls down. One turn before he gets up again.
>>595539 He's helpless but attempts to get up! You're fighting a Risen Cultist.
>>595537 As you run towards the grapple the Cultist evades you and pushes you to the ground, you're helpless.
>>595540 "They're who we're looking for. Some of their number have gone up into the city and defaced books in the Canterlot Academy library, as well as assaulted and murdered several citizens." I'll rub my chin a little. "You say your husband joined them recently? How recently? Has he mentioned any rituals or 'sacraments' he would have gone through at the mass?"
>>595546 "About 5 days ago. I don't know….he didn't talk much about it. He came back with food, but it smelled weird so we didn't want to eat it. He got mad and told us we would eat sooner or later. That's when I took my daughter and hid here."
>>595554 I'll nod. "That's rather like what happened in the town of Silverhaze, a little while ago. This cult deifies the dragon zombie Ner'Ghal, and nearly sacrificed an entire town to it. The food he offered you was likely poisoned with whatever it is that turns ponies to his cause." I'll pace slightly. "Can you direct us to this church or gathering place? If we can get a sample of whatever it is they're putting in the food, we might be able to make a cure for it, and save your husband before it's too late."
>>595580 >>595582 >>595583 Grey Velvet Jr. takes out a hoofkerchief to wipe the sweat of his brows. "Now, uhm these ruffians promised to help me spread the spirit of freedom throughout Equestria. Believe me, I had the best of intentions. But tonight they lured me here and wanted to force me to drink one of their disgusting cups. I refused and then you showed up. Believe me, I had no idea they were into these kinds of barbaric rituals." The cultist snorts "You conveniently forgot about that Olive mare we had to kidnap."
>>595584 "He has a white mane and blue coat. He has a scar on his left elbow. He got it in a fight while travelling."
>>595590 >>595588 >>595591 The cultist grins. "She's about to be food for the Dread Dragon, like all of you will be soon as well." Paleblossom looks at him in disgust. "I don't know what happened that made you fall so deep, but I promise you, you'll get what you deserve. Why are all those pools here?"
>>595592 Tsk. "No thanks. I've got my own dragon to feed." That'd be a good cue for Indy to growl.
Move on top of the cultist and slam his head inbetween the magical shield and the ground. "Now listen up. I can give you a slap with this and turn you into a pretty gem pony for my dragon to snack on, OR you can tell us where the others are hiding." '1d10+3' intimidate. I think the dragon should also count for some bonus?
>>595592 Bite my lip and grin. "Grey Velvet jr. not only working together with cultists practicing dark magic, but also plotting to kill a member of the Olive order. My my, imagine the uproar if Dixie gets to hear of this."
>>595597 >>595595 >>595600 The cultist turns a bit pale. "The pools are here…because the Dragon wants to share our Gift with all of Canterlot. Tonight our Champion will ascend the Endless Stairs to the top and pour Ner'Ghals gift into the river spring. It will spread all over Canterlot and Equestria! Go down that passage to the Mass. Then you'll see for yourself and find that mare you like so much." Paleblossom grits her teeth. "We have to stop this, we can't let this happen!" She looks at the passage. "..but your dragon can't follow us through here. He'd be of immense help, but we somehow need to force our way through if we want him to join."
>>595600 [Sweating intensifies] "I have money, resources. We can work something out, miss Light."
>>595598 >>595593 >>595594 >>595596 You follow the torches towards a large hall. In it sit a few hundreds of ponies, the poor and forgotten. They stare at a large cauldron towards the front. There in a white robe is Swift Silverhaze. Next to him, two gigantic undead ponies. The ponies attending the mass seem normal still but their eyes are dim. As if they're not really looking at anything
>>595602 Whispering to the others, I'll advise caution. "It seems we've found them. And whatever's in the pot must be what they're using to brainwash these ponies…" Frowning, I'll stare at the two large guards. "Taking advantage of the downtrodden and desperate… Simply foul." I'll slip into a more stealthy stance as well. '1d10+2' "Assume that most of those ponies down there are already turned."
>>595604 You're not stealthed. And some of the ponies notice you, staring at you with empty eyes.
Swift shouts "Bring the Gift to the Source!" The two giant undead grab the Cauldron and start climbing the stairs upwards. "Now…to celebrate this glorious day, we shall bring four new lives into the fold. Bring in the prisoners!"
>>595608 Well, this is no good. I'll whisper to the others. "That cauldron must be as pure a sample of the poison we'll ever get a chance of getting. A pity I can't just fly over there and make a nuisance of myself…"
>>596524 >being careful to avoid the delicate architecture and carvings that warrant careful attention. That's pretty hard considering all of it is delicate architecture, but since you're a >10 I could go with minimal damage, but there will be damage.
>>596531 "And how do you plan getting through the crowd of infected civilians? I'm pretty sure most of them only joined up with this because of the food, and then the poison did its work." I'll frown while looking over the throng. "And I'm rubbish at disguises, so I can't push through them, either…" Thinking, I'll look at Amber and Silver. "I don't suppose either of you know how to break mind control or curses?"
>>596534 "There are hundreds of them. We wouldn't make it five steps before being swallowed up." >>596535 I'll nod. "That may be our best option. I could also try sneaking around the outside of the crowd, to get closer to the stage."
>>596545 >>596547 He's knocked out cold. Snacks has finished digging. The hole is small but it would be quite easy for Indy to smash the edges and push his head through, allowing him to directly hit the crowd underneath with fire.
>>596541 You quickly jump aside as you reach the ceiling underneath. Down there you see a crowd of infected ponies. They haven't seen you yet Indy could easily smash through and attack them now, but you'd have to get out of this pit if you don't want to fall down in the middle of that crowd.
>>596542 >>596546 You both see a diamond dog paw dig through leaving a little hole but nothing else. Some ponies in the crowd look up, but most are focusing on Swift.
>>596544 Swift grins. "Why yes, everypony is welcome here. We distribute the foo-" A mare suddenly swoops down but gets caught by two ponies.
>>596543 You swoop out of the shadows to backstab Swift but right before reaching his back, two ponies jump in and push you away. You roll over the stage. Swift grins at you. "Attacking a pony from behind, have you no honor?"
>>596548 There's a mare in there. She crawls back to the end of the cage as you approach. "Don't come closer, you monster!"
>>596549 That can't be Snack, can it? But my attention's going to have to go back to the stage, and I'll quietly curse at Shortcake's failed attack. "Amber, Silver, we'll have to work our way through or around the crowd. Can't leave Mabel and Shortcake up there by themselves. Be careful of that hole in the ceiling, though. It might be the others." And, still stealthed, I'll begin to work my way around the crowd towards the stage.
>>596552 "Y-you're not one of them?" No, but the skinwalker Triangle is possessing destroys the lock with one smash.
>>596551 >>596557 Indy nods. Paleblossom waves to you. "Quick, we can go down through this passage." Winston and Star follow her
>>596554 As you walk up, Indy grabs you and puts you at the back of his head before slamming his head right through the hole you made. He roars at the surprised crowd. You have an excellent vantage point here on top of his head.
>>596553 You've bolstered Warren as Indy pushes through and roars.
>>596556 Suddenly Indy's huge face smashes through the ceiling and roars. The crowd panics.
>>596555 Suddenly Indy smashes through the roof and roars. Your captors are so surprised you easily shake loose and slice the throat of one of them.
Battlefield description The cave hall here has one stage where a sacrificial altar is placed. There are 3 passages there. One with a large stairs, where the Giants went with the Cauldron, the Giants are out of sight. One other passage you don't know where it goes. And the one where Soil/LH/Paleblossom are. Out of range of Indy but close to Swift. On the stage is Swift, a bodyguard and Shortcake.
The rest is the hall where the crowd is. Many are burned and helpless, others forget themselves and run away in pure terror. Only '1d15' cultists remains to fight, in range of Indy
>>596609 Shit. Shit shit shit. We've got to take him down fast. If skinwalkers can chill us to our bones, who knows what foul sorcery that thing can unleash. Fire all three frost bolts at him, and my crossbow as well. '3d10' ice, '1d10' bolt.
>>596619 It could all be so simple. Unfortunately your frozen body feels numb. The green bolt sends a shockwave of pain through your body and you see visions of a dark mountain full of zombies. You're still helpless.
>>596620 You get hit and for a second see countless zombies storming through your old fort. You drop off Indy and lose your vantage point.
>>596621 The bolt follows you and you get hit. You see a vision of yourself as a slave for the Dracolich, and it vanishes again.
>>596622 The green bolt sizzles against your stardust infused shield. And you slam Swift hard.
>>596649 Light Heart swings around, doing terrible damage to Swift, until in one last struggle he smashes her down. Swift falls down as well…finally downed. A cold laugh erupts from him. "I'll be with the Dragon now…as will all of you soon…
You are helpless and poisoned.
The Skinwalkers get ready to attack as a squadron of the Night Guard storms in. The Skinwalkers turn to this new attacker. The stairs are open…
>>597458 "Yes, these stairs should lead us close to the source." Two Night Guard batponies hold Light Heart up.
>>597460 Two batponies in silver armor come to you. "Miss, can you fly or shall we carry you up the stairs? You need magical attention quick." The pain completely disappears for a second as Amber applies her magic, but slowly returns.
>>597459 You take away the pain for a little while, but this wound is beyond your power.
>>597466 They are taken into custody. No one has told anypony here yet about those two giants carrying the cauldron right to the source. Bad memories.
>>597464 >>597465 A batpony stallion takes you in his hooves. "Hang on, miss." He quickly flies up the stairs towards the source. You suddenly hear a slow thumping, look up and see two undead giants walking high up the stairs carrying a large smoking cauldron. "What the?!?" the batpony stops "Do you know about those things, miss?"
>>597471 He looks back and back up. "Whatever they're doing with that cauldron, by the time we get back with help it might be too late…Quick, can you shoot at them, draw their attention somehow? Let's hope the sound draws the others attention as well…"
>>597470 You're right. The only ones who saw it IC are Mabel, Amber, Warren, Silver.
>>597472 >>597473 >>597474 The batpony nods. "We'll spread out and clean out these caves. These beasts must be redeemed with sword and fire."
>>597486 >>597487 >>597488 >>597490 >>597491 The Giants up the stairs tilt the cauldron, spilling part of its poison down the stairs. Those who fly can attack, those on the ground need to roll to dodge.
>>597493 One of the giants claps his hooves together hard and the magical shockwave sends both you and the paladin into the poison.
>>597494 >>597495 >>597496 >>597497 The poison streams down the stairs before you can react. All of you have gained Necrosis. The giants grin and put the cauldron upright. You are all shaken across the stairs. The fur around your hooves is already starting to turn pale. The paladin commander looks at it, grits his teeth, unsheats his sword shouting "DEATH!". The paladins storm towards the giants, determined to stop the nefarious plot before the Necrosis takes hold.
>>597509 Cough slightly. I'm not going down that path, dammit. Hat magic again, try for a container filled with that spring water. A bowl, a glass, a mason jar, anything. Just as long as there's enough to use. '1d10' And the frost motes will fire off, two at G1's head, one G2's head. '2d10' '1d10'
>>597533 He's got a whole way to go, sorry, he's not here yet. Hard to get out of a tiny cave while you're small as fuck. You feel a few ribs breaking before Warren manages to distract the giant for long enough for you to slip out.
>>597534 You….can't. Luckily Amber pony heals you up.
>>597536 You're back up. You're not sure how long your heart can take this.
>>597537 You heal Mabel back up. Silver tries but gets blocked by the Giant.
>>597538 The paladins manage to get another hit in. One of the paladins sinks to his knees, praying to Luna. >Giant 1 KNOCKED DOWN (can be completely attacked by ground forces) Heavily Wounded >Giant 2 wounded
>>597551 >>597552 >>597553 >>597554 >>597555 >>597556 The sullen thoughts disappear as you and the paladins are suddenly enveloped by a golden light revitalising you. With one push together you manage to bring the giant to its knees. Picos attack weakens the protective magic around giant allowing Soil to break his neck with a massive strike. It is still alive somehow, its head hanging to the side, Mabel finishes it off with a blade, slicing open the Giant.
The glow still envelops you. A voice from above shouts. "Quick, heroes, come above to bask in the healing waters, my Sister cannot hold the corruption at bay forever."
You come up the stairs to be greeted by a truly illustrious band in the first rays of sunshine.
On the rock above the spring lays Indy. Next to the spring stands twilight, next to her flanked by two Day Guards, a white alicorn with a flowing multi-colored mane. Her cutie mark is the Sun. As you look upon her you are suddenly filled with courage, thinking yourself able to lift mountains. Next to her flanked by two Night Guards is a dark blue alicorn with silver tiara, her mane sparkles with a thousand stars. As you look upon her you are filled with a deep feeling of calm and assurance. And next to her, flanked by two Crystal Paladins is a pink alicorn with multicolored mane and golden. Looking upon her brings you a giddy feeling, as if you're in love with life and the world.
I'd let you roll a Willpower roll to withstand the mere auras from these goddesses meshing together, but since we don't have stats for that, just decide what it would be like to have all that conflicting stuff inside you. The dark blue and pink pony's horns glow as they float water from the spring to you.
>>597564 I think, honestly, no one will complain if I just sorta pass out. I came far too close to death, and undeath, today than I care to admit. Before I go out, though, I'll look at Twilight. "There should be enough for a sample down there, I think…"
Let's wrap this up for all ya'll. The Princesses commend you for your valiant deeds and invite you to the castle this week to discuss the situation and plan our next move against Ner'ghal. You're all freed up now!
>>597573 "How could I not know the names of those who dedicate their lives in service of the Empire?"
>>597575 Celestia speaks up. "No, this is merely the beginning. You should rest and gather your strength, for soon we will have to fight this evil at the source."
>>597576 Maybe they are. "Wanna go have a drink sometime?" says the paladin.
Now we're in the twilight period before the great battle.
Here are some things that need to be done. Figure out which you'd like to do first and who you want to do it with. >Audience with Celestia or Luna to discuss the matter of the dragon >Discussing the findings with Twilight (multiple players recommended since it might be dangerous to go alone.) >Soil meets an unexpected guest >Ambers Knighting (friends can be allowed to watch it in the audience) >Shortcake's cooking contest >Melody's confrontation with Hard Coin. >Snacks lessons with Winston (solo recommended)
>>598624 Nope, he got captured by Paleblossom and is currently in the cells of the Moon Tower. He's not been charged yet formally. You'd have to talk to Paleblossom about seeing him, or telling her what you know.
>>598646 She nods. "That's why I'm here. It came to my attention that he has been apprehended during the raid last night. He had tried to have me sacrificed to those abominations."
>>598645 >>598639 >>598637 The Moon shines bright outside the tall windows of the Royal Court. On a golden throne with the emblem of the Sun and Moon sits Luna, Princess of the Night. Two fountains of the holy river are besides it and the silver Night Guard protects the gates.
Luna nods as you enter. "Citizens, please step forward."
>>598647 "Yes, quite the sickening behavior on his part. He attempted to talk his way out of trouble as well, which just comes to show how corrupted his mind is. I do not believe he is remorseful in the slightest."
>>598652 >>598650 Luna smiles as she steps of the throne to greet all of you. "All of you have performed a great service for Equestria. Henceforth you shall be honored quests of our country, no matter where you were born."
Luna steps forward. "It is my honor to present to all of you, even your absent companions the Crescent Medal in recognition of your service to Canterlot and Equestria." A servant steps forward bearing a number of silver medals. Round, each engraved with the two alicorns chasing each other.
>>598658 "Of course. If I could take your statement that would be a great help…in addition to the testimony of an olive agent." there's a wicked grin playing around her mouth.
>>598661 >>598659 >>598657 >>598656 "You have prevented great calmity. Yet I fear more blood will be shed before we can destroy the source of this evil. As we speak the Equestrian army is gathering to confront the dragon…"
>>598670 "In any case, once this breaks I doubt he'll be around here much longer. He'll be looked at with distrust." Go to the tower?
>>598671 >>598672 >>598669 >>598668 >>598667 You follow her into the next room. There are a number of military officials here bowed over scrolls and discussing troop movements. A few mages as well. Luna continues. "The dragon disguised itself magically for a long time. After it went north, we sent scouts to track it down without any results until now." She shows you a map of Equestria and points to a town near the northern border with Hyperborea. "A few days ago one of our scouts came back near death from Eagle's Watch near the volcano of Tireks Mouth. He died after giving us his report. Our guard had to burn the body to prevent raising. What he told us..is bad."
>>598674 You go back to the Tower of the Moon where you are allowed access to the prisoner by request of the Dixian Embassy. Grey Velvet seems more grey than usual and without his southern clothing, a lot less classy.
>>598675 >>598676 >>598677 >>598678 >>598679 "Tales of a city filled with the walking dead. Dark clouds have been seen rising from Tireks Mouth and the plants near the city are dying. We fear Ner'Ghal intends to move soon upon Manehattan. If he succeeds he'd have an army to spread across northern Equestria. We have to stop him before that. The city itself will require a lot of ponies to breach. And the dragon itself…we know only one force that might weaken it enough to make it vulnerable. The Elements of Harmony."
>>598683 "We don't know if Ner'Ghal intends to move upon Hyperborea…but it's not impossible."
>>598681 Luna closes her eyes. "All of you have the most experience fighting him…would you be willing to be part of the group that deliver the final blow to this dragon?"
>>598684 "We have requested their aid. But we have not received a reply yet. Relations between Equestria and Hyperborea are strained as of late, I do not know if they'll come."
>>598685 "They are mystical shards of power…they existed from the first moment of creation…some say even before. The current holders of the Elements are here in Canterlot. The power of the Elements should be enough to destroy Ner'Ghal or at the very least allow us to kill him…permanently."
>>598687 "Well I am sorry to burst your bubble darling, but I most certainly am not a traitor here. I hold no great love for the alicorn sisters, but to conspire with an undead animal? That is most foul."
>>598691 >>598692 >>598688 >>598690 "The Elements must be used against Ner'Ghal directly. I hope he comes flying out when we attack…but if not we'd have to go into his lair in Tireks Mouth with whatever horrors he created."
>>598692 >>598688 >>598689 "If there is some way Pico could help, we could use all help we can. Yet it would have to be done fast, there is no time for a large diplomatic mission to the Lion's Eyrie."
>>598693 "I didn't conspire! I didn't know what they were planning! I just wanted to help these slaves see that they need freedom!"
>>598694 "At best, and with such short notice, you might be able to hire any unaffiliated Gryphons living nearby. Those on the border might be more willing to help neighbors and defend themselves from a possible threat."
"However, that might be a long shot. We're better off working with what we have here to put down the creature once and for all."
>>598695 He looks as if slapped and takes a few steps back. "T-they'll hang me…you can't send me back..please I'll do anything…"
>>598696 Luna looks over the map again. "The Hyperborean settlement of Ravenstead is close by. Perhaps we could gather allies there? The Equestrian Army can't go there however. You'd have to go."
>>598697 "Our generals are advising against a prolonged siege. We know Ner'Ghal has a large number of minions at his disposal and every one of us that falls would strengthen his forces. We fear that a prolonged siege would lead to our loss by attrition. Our strike must be fast and brutal."
>>598698 "Yes, but the Elements have so far only worked in large bursts. We'd like that to happen when in range of Ner'Ghal, lest we merely destroy his hosts and he can attack us without our biggest weapon."
>>598710 "Yes, but the Elements have so far only worked in large bursts. We'd like that to happen when in range of Ner'Ghal, lest we merely destroy his hosts and he can attack us without our biggest weapon."
>>598709 "You bitch! You cruel sick…!" The olive agent chuckles. "I'd shut up now, mister Grey. You're not helping your case."
>>598724 Amber is in the antechamber with the other paladins to be knighted right now. You're all wearing your best suit and will be called soon. Silver is here too, pretty nervous.
>>598726 >>598728 >>598729 >>598730 >>598732 >>598731 All of you are in the main hall. Amber is in another room still. A large stage has been prepared decorated with the pink and the heart of the Empire. Amber and Silvers parent are here, as well as a number of crystal ponies and some Equestrian delegates.
>>598734 You wake up in the Inn, Iris is still sleeping.
>>599631 "We just have to keep doing our best, that's all we've ever done and all we can ever do!" Give him a hug "And as long as we have each other, there's nothing that can bring our spirits down, right?"
>>599631 >>599629 Aaaanyway, as you go down to get some breakfast, the innkeeper waves to you. "Mister Soil, I have some news for you."
>>599632 [Goodbye horses theme intensifies] The murmur of the crowd lessens and ponies sit down. "Fillies and gentlecolts, would you please rise for the Princess of the Empire, Cadance and her husband, Shining Armor!"
>>599633 "Yeah, you're right. Oh, I think it's starting." You hear some clopping coming from the main hall, but the commander doesn't say you can move yet.
>>599636 >>599638 A pink alicorn and a white unicorn take the stage bearing the emblem of the Empire. The first paladin pair trots through the walkway to receive Cadance's blessing. A stallion and mare, they look pretty nervous and hold tails as they walk up.
>>599636 >inn "…uhm, no genie here, but I have a message from a lettuce salespony…"
>>599637 The first pair is called up, you'll have to wait until it's your turn.
>>599641 "Yes, he wanted to speak to you, but when I said you were sleeping, he scribbled down this note on where to find him." He hands you a piece of paper with scribbles. Roll to read the ugly hoofwriting.
>>599644 And Amber and Silver are even younger! These paladins sure are crazy.
>>599645 Do you want to do the cooking contest or do you want to watch Ambers knighting?
>>599646 >>599647 You slowly translate the scribbles, the hoofwriting is bad, but not as bad as that of Tossed Salad, the weird merchant that sometimes visited your farm. "Dear mister Soil, I have something of interest for you. I will be at the Dawn Square selling lettuce. Please drop by at your earliest convenience. T.S. PS: if possible, bring your marefriend as well."
>>599648 OH BOY THAT'S AMBER! I hope Indy's watching too, because he always liked Amber! >inn "Uh." Guess it's time to get breakfast and take some sweet rolls upstairs to Iris. Wake her up with the smell, and as she eats show her the letter.