/q/ - Quest


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Aboard the Underseaboat

Lilly has one last chance to sleep or try to stay awake. You'll be landing at Autumnsreach in the early morning, so the rest of you should try to get some shuteye.


If Lilly's going to sleep, I should stay awake for a bit to keep an eye on her. Nightmares aren't fun to have if you feel like you're alone, after all.



Stay awaaaaaake. Try meditation!

Roll #1 1 = 1


"Why do you watch the sleeper? It is impolite and 'creepy' where I come from. Is this normal here?"


"Because if she has a really bad nightmare, I need to wake her up. And it's not creepy! At least, not when it's 'watching over' as opposed to just 'watching.'"
Scrunch a little.
"Don't ponies in your country watch over ponies who need rest, but might have trouble while they're resting?"


You awaken to the hailing of the bell up above. Looks like Lilly fell asleep early last night. In any case, landing in Autumsnreach marks a number of things to get done. Lilly's mark has inched ever close to the New Moon stage, now nothing but the slightest sliver left. Iga will likely want to seek Equestrian citizenship. Flowing needs to deal with contacts in the Port Authority, so Iga can't count on having access to him.

Hopefully Marina won't have to deal with too many questions regarding the ship – though Irons had the good presence of mind to bring it up long before coming to the port.


You had particularly bad nightmares last night, but no matter how scary it got, you could not wake.

When you finally do awake, you strain to recall them, but can't at all.


Well shoot. I'd hoped I could have at least reassured Lilly a little while she slept.
And if we dock in a river or something, we won't have to answer questions about the ship! Though that would make dragging the altar a heck of a lot more difficult. So I guess we will have to see the port authority…


"I see. Tonight I will watch you sleep if you want me to."

I look up at the roof.
"Are we here?"


"That's not necessary, but thanks. And I think so. Now we've just to get through the docks and you can see if you can't get citizenship."



Rub my head.
"I need some expert help on how to meditate… because that didn't work out at all."

"Are we finally there? Really?"


"Yep, and not a minute too soon, I think."


In either case, there's no way you'd transport that big altar into town without being noticed, and you don't exactly know where you're going other than "There's a temple of the moon around Autumnsreach". Irons has the family map, entrusted to him by your mother, so he might fill you in.


"No kidding."

Can we go up to the deck or are we underwater?


Right, then. Lilly will need to know where it is, too. She's probably going to have to be there so she can "return the slab."
"Hey, let's check in with Irons. I'm pretty sure mom gave him the map to the shrine."


You are surfaced.


Alright, let's check in with Irons then.


"Yes. That is my aim."

I will need to find a government building where I can apply for citizenship. A city hall would be perfect.


Irons seems to have anticipated your arrival. Save for one crewman at the helm, gently guiding the ship into port, the rest of your small crew is lined up at attention near the stairs. The sails are already furled, and you're gently coasting in.

Irons, at parade rest, acknowledge you with the firm and confident nod of a seasoned sailor. "We'll be docking soon, Lady Marina. Shall I organize an escort, given the circumstances?"

Vlad, seemingly from nowhere, drapes a hoof around Marina's shoulder. "I am more than capable of taking care of the fair Princess myself, Captain, thank you for your concern."

Irons scrunches.

Ignoring the scene with Marina and co., you instead look off the side of the ship into port. The most obvious sight is the huge Celestial cathedral in the center of the city. The port itself is surprisingly large, and looks well equipped for a place that Lamp Light described as having little trade. There's a very large port authority, as well, which is two stories tall – a good sign of an active port. In the sole legitimate external port out of Neighpon, a city called Nagobana, the Port Authority is four stories tall and gilded with real gold architecture. This port authority gives it a run for its bits, however, graven with quartz reliefs of leaping pegasi and heroic soldiers. Some even have plaques.


"There's that word again…"


Gently removing the hoof from my shoulder, I'll nod to Irons.
"As Prince Vlad is capable, he is only one pony. So I would appreciate you and another pony coming along with me and Lilly. I'll leave who you bring up to your discretion, Irons. I just hope this is a big noise about nothing, though, since there's no way my description could have gotten this far out and stayed intact, right?"
I'll whisper to you.
"If it makes you feel better, I don't much care for it either."


It's very kawaii. Perhaps port authority can give me a visa to start with. I will start there.


Irons coughs. "Autumnsreach is the home of the Office of the Grand Inquisitor, as well as the Office of the Deacon of Holy Information and Communications. One might as well say that it's the headquarters of the Sunblades, if such a shadow organization has a permanent building. The point I'm making here is that we shouldn't underestimate the city. I'm going to leave most of the crew here to make sure nothing is 'investigated' by the port. In any case, Dixie Red has the best reflexes, I'll bring him along to serve as escort. I also have the map the High Priestess entrusted me with."

Vlad gives you a playful smile and fans out his wings.

You wander off from the others into the office of the Port Authority. It's quite busy here, with ponies coming and going. Unlike Nagobana's port authority, however, there seem to be few civilians. These ponies seem to know where they're going, heading upstairs or to specific offices. There is a counter in the corner for general use, but no one is even posted at it!


"The 'Sunblades'?"
Who's Dixie Red even?


I'm sure he does.
"Well, let's take a quick look at it before we go into port. Lilly will need to know where the shrine is, at any rate, and I'd kind of like to know where my mom lived before everything happened, too. As for the Sunblades, let's just hope we don't run into them. Like, at all."
Scrunch-frown a little.
"Though that might happen when we bring Lamp Light to the Celestial area, since she wanted to go there."
He's another seapony.


I look around me and walk over to the counter. It is time to test my patience.


What kind of a seapony name is that?

"I can bring her there if you want to avoid contact."


I'll shake my head.
"And have you get hung up with things? Besides, I get the feeling Lamp Light is going to try to give us the brushoff once she's in sight of the Basilica."


Dixie Red is a red-colored seapony, the one currently at the helm and not in the lineup. From your casual observances he seems to be a little rowdy. He has spoken up a few times, but you didn't make careful note of what he had to say. Maybe you're just getting too tired. It's not like it would've been hard to learn the names of the twelve crewmen who accompanied Irons.

"A historical shadow organization that operates under Celestia for the covert extension of her faithful. Dishonorable rogues and torturers, frankly. I won't claim to be an expert on history, but if I recall right, their name is a reference to a parallel historical organization - Northblades - that predated them."

"From what I can tell, the shrine is actually not in the town proper – it's down here, to the south of town, but very close, practically a stone's throw. The structure of the city will still be visible, that's for sure. It's kind of odd, the map seems to imply the temple is out on the water, but that could be just a method of saving space on the paper. In any case, I think we need to talk about the kid. It might be best to hold onto her until we leave, just so she doesn't blab before we get out. I sympathize with the girl - but your safety comes first."

Vlad shrugs. "I am sure I could make sure she does not talk. I can be very… what is your word? Compelling."


No one is posted at it. You can see through the opening that there is a whole office back there, with light streaming in through the windows. It's empty inside. Here on the counter there is a strange metallic object - a hemisphere with a protruding pin. There is also a sign-in book, that looks more attuned to ship arrivals than individuals.


"I'm not just going to keep her in the dark, though. If she thinks she's being held prisoner on the boat, won't that just make her more likely to talk about us badly?"
I'll shake my head at Vlad.
"No compelling, or coercing, or anything. We'll ask her if she doesn't mind waiting a bit until Lilly's problem is taken care of, and then we'll bring her there as soon as we're done. That's fair, isn't it?"


"Good grief. And they have an office here? I'd almost be tempted to go visit it just to see how they work. I mean do they just have a bunch of clerk ponies doing their paperwork and stuff? Does one of them fetch coffee for everyone during their breaks?"


Poke this strange object with my katana.


It's metal. The contact with metal causes it to vibrate and you can hear a faint, high-pitched ringing.

Vlad raises a brow. "What if she disagrees?"

"If they have a headquarters, I doubt it's the kind of place you can wander into. What you're talking about is kinda like the office of communications and information I mentioned earlier."


"Then we say 'please.' She's only a filly, and no one on this ship is going to do anything that would hurt her."
I'll look at Irons.


I see. It is a type of bell like the suzu. It makes sense in a religious place.
Tap it again. Harder this time.


"My crew will listen to me. I can't speak for the foreigner."

Vlad rolls his eyes.

There is a louder, more insistent sound that emanates from it. After a moment, a clerk enters the office from a back door.

"What? Yes?"


"Hey, I'm sure they need bookkeepers like everypony else. I'm just pondering you know. They need someone to make sure they have the money to buy new… torture devices or whatever."

"Of course not! She's just a child!"


I bow.
"I am here for Equestrian citizenship."


"Then I trust Prince Vlad will treat her in a manner that doesn't shame him."
"Exactly. Which is why we're going to have to make up for the delay by getting her something from the market. And that's not just because I wanted to go there and see what foodstuffs they've got."


He digs around in a cabinet and retrieves a form. It reads:

Country of Origin:
Previous Religion:
Purpose for Immigration:
Intended Residence:
Field of Specialization:

I, the undersigned, do swear to obey the laws and strictures of Equestria and its most holy faith of Celestial Worship. My conversion is in good faith and I affirm without ambiguity that it is my belief that there is solely one divine capable of salvation, and that divine is Princess Celestia of Equestria.

"Fill this out and head to the office of conversion. Confessor Malik should be there, third floor, second door on the left, it's 308."


Vlad frowns in confusion. "But you won't let her leave, right?"


"Which is why we ask nicely. If she still wants to go, then we can have two of the remaining crew escort her there, and apologize for not being able to deliver her ourselves."
I'll pause for a second.
"Of course, I will ask very nicely that she not mention what we're doing here until after we leave, or at least until after tomorrow. We should be able to drop the slab, restock supplies, and be on our way out of port by then."


"It'll be lovely, I missed Equestrian food."


Vlad winks. "You are a sneaky one aren't you? And here I was worried you wouldn't have any character. Don't get me wrong, this world needs, ah, what is the word? 'Stuffy' ponies like your captain here."

Irons ignores the comment and starts reorganizing the crew to prepare for shore procedures.


"If you've got any requests, I'll try to whip it up."
"I'm only as sneaky as necessary. And if weren't for Irons keeping everyone's hooves wet, this trip probably wouldn't have been so smooth."


I bow again.
"A thousand thanks."

Name: 伊賀流 (Iga Ryū)
Country of Origin: Neighpon
Previous Religion: No!
Purpose for Immigration: Work
Intended Residence: Equestria
Field of Specialization: Ninjutsu

I, the undersigned, do swear to obey the laws and strictures of Equestria and its most holy faith of Celestial Worship. My conversion is in good faith and I affirm without ambiguity that it is my belief that there is solely one divine capable of salvation, and that divine is Princess Celestia of Equestria.

Iga Ryū


"Of course, of course. Shall we disembark, my exotic sea bloom?"

Irons returns with Dixie in tow. "Where do you want to head first? And Lamp Light is still asleep right now, but she could wake at any moment. It's coming on seven or eight in the morning fast."

"Just take it up when you're done."


"Well, let's do a quick recon. Check in with the port authorities, find the stretch of beach where the temple should be, get some breakfast…"


"I want to get rid of the altar as quickly as possible if you don't mind… I think the temple is somewhere underwater or something. That's what Curry said. Doesn't seem all that practical but there you have it."


Irons nods. "I've made arrangements with Flowing Tree to check in at the Port Authority for us. Apparently, he knows ponies here, which should help us avoid questions. I have reason to believe he won't betray us… not to the Equestrians, anyway."


Go to Confessor Milk on the third floor.


"An underwater temple? Well, that'd probably explain why it was able to go so long without being discovered."
"Well, then that sounds like we can get started on that beach walk. I'll check in on Lamp Light, and if she's still asleep, then we'll head out immediately."


The higher floors seem laid out much less ornately than the primary floor - mostly office space. Confessor Malik's office is a small two-room area with a small two-chair waiting area.

You are immediately stricken, as he stands up and exits his room to greet you, that he is a Saddle Arabian - a horse - looming over you in size. His accent is quite Equestrian, though. "Welcome. How can I help you?"

Lamp Light is still asleep, so you head out down the southern beach. After a very short walk, Irons stops.

"This should be the place, but if it's underwater, we won't be able to see until we go under."


"Well, only one way to find out for sure. Down we go."


"Wait! What about me? I can't go underwater, I'm no jellyfish."


"Well, we won't be gone too long. Depending on how deep it is, we might be able to get you down there without too much trouble."


Vlad also adds: "Perhaps we should send the muscle ahead to scout. You said this was merely reconnaissance, after all, yes? We can enjoy the waves and perhaps look for blooms along the shore."

Irons shakes his head. "It's better if Lilly can visually confirm it. I could lend her my necklace, but I wouldn't want her to remain under for long. In any case… how are we going to get the altar down there? The waves will make it very difficult to transport below, not to mention keeping it from immediately dropping like a rock."


"That could work, I guess."
I'll shake my head at Vlad.
"Business before pleasure, I'm afraid."

Thinking a bit, I'll mull over the options.
"Well, they had to get it out somehow. Maybe the way it was removed is how it'll be returned."


"You have a ship that can go underwater! Just attach it with some ropes and get as close to the temple as you can."


"Depending on how close to the shore the temple is, we may not be able to maneuver the ship without risking damage, much less underwater."


"Well, we're going to have see it first. So let's get to it. We can worry about the how later, after we've got the whole picture."


"You want to go down too? Will you be okay with just Dixie and Lilly?"


"How bad could it be?"


"The water is my element, you know? Besides, it's been a while since I stretched my flippers. I could use a swim."


"Be careful, and don't head in too deeply on your own. We don't know anything about this place, really, but ancient Lunar temples can be pretty big - easy to get turned around."


i had some internet issues. sorted now.
I stare up at him in complete silence at first. What is this?
"Yes. I have a piece of paper."


"It'll be fine. We'll find the temple, find a way in or two, and then head back. This is just recon, after all."


"We got this far. Just a small last push and I'll be homefree."


"A convert, good. How is your Equestrian?"

"Good luck."


Let's head into the water, once Lilly's ready.


"Proficient. I am improving. Are you okay?"


I'm ready as soon as I put on that necklace.


He chuckles, "Yes, I think I am quite well versed. In any case, my question had a practical nature – I wanted to be sure you understood the document you were signing. It's important."

It doesn't take much searching after moving underwater – there is a large structure, disguised by coral and sand, with a roughly square-pyramid shape. Based on a walkway stretching from the peak to the shore, it would seem that the temple becomes accessible at low tide.


Good to know. Is the main door large enough for the slab?


"It is important to me. Equestria is the biggest nation of ponykind. My options are limited."


There is no obvious entrance. Roll Search.


"Well, very good. In that case, this becomes easier. Do you have any questions before we continue?"


Wow, I wonder what kind of creatures could be living down there… Maybe hydras or giant eels or something.


Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4



Roll #1 10 = 10


"Yes. How far away is Canterplot? That is where the sun princess rules yes?"


The top of the pyramid is a flat plateau. It seems to have unusual grooves that may be a sort of door, but they are very firmly closed.

You also notice what appear to be modern metal pipes jutting out of the side of the highest tier of the pyramid shape, mostly obscured by coral growths. They're as big around as your leg, and there are four of them in a cluster. It doesn't seem to be part of the original architecture.

"Canterlot is the name of the city, near the heart of Equestria on the western face of Mount Regnant. We're downriver from there, but you can still get there in a week by ship. And yes, Celestia does officially rule from there, though I believe she spends most of her personal time reigning from her private estate at the peak."


That's weird. Did someone move in after mom left?
Are they loose, or is there any sort of current coming out of or going into them?


They seem very firmly embedded into the stone. No current is coming or going.


I don't like pyramid designs. The lounge is going to be huge, but the bedroom is always going to be tiny as well.

Would this part stick out of the water during low tide?


"I see. Thank you. How is Celestia?"


I'm going to have to get Irons to look at these. Maybe he can make sense of them.
Let's look for alternate entrances.


It's difficult to judge, certainly a border case.

"She has spent most of the past two years in seclusion, as it is her tradition each century to take personal time for introspection. By all reports, she is better than ever, though. Of course, I speak merely of her mortal form, and not her indefinable divine quantity which is immutable."

The pipes themselves might work as an entrance if you were half your size and very limber. Pity Coriander isn't here. He always seemed to have a talent for squeezing things into small places, somehow.

No other parts of the structure stick out as particularly enter-able, though the rock is aged. You might be able to smash in, though that might defeat the purpose of showing penance by returning a stolen slab.


Any entrances that only a seapony'd be able to use? Little hollows, or overhangs?


"I am pleased to hear of her immutability. I think I have no more questions."


Maybe it's one of those stereotypical entrances from the stories that only opens when the moon shines on it…


There are hollows in the coral, but none of them access the temple. In your investigation of the coral bed, you find several holes in the rock about the size of the pipes you found earlier. But again, you're much too large.

"Good, good. I'll just process your paperwork. May I?"

Even those usually have you say 'Friend' in Neighponese or something


Give my paper.
"You may. I have a question that has nothing to do with Celestia or Equestria."


Someone definitely moved in after mom left, then. Meet back up with Lilly, and let's head to the surface.


Heading up with Marina.


"Yes? Also… well, ask your question first, then we'll deal with this paper."

"How did it go?"


"Well, there is a front door. Looks like we could reach it by hoof at low tide. One problem, though. I think someone moved in after mom left. There are these weird pipes sticking out of the temple. Definitely not part of the original structure, they're too new."


"Not great. I don't know how we're going to get that altar in there without breaking anything…"


"How have you managed to grow your legs that long?"


"If it'll surface by low tide, it's definitely too shallow for the boat. On the other hand, we might be able to hoof it over at that time. Low tide should be around noon, about three hours out."


"Was the entrance too small?"

He looks bemused. "This is average height for horses. My family originates from Saddle Arabia, though I am second-generation Equestrian."


I'll nod.
"Then we'll have to deal with the squatter. Or squatters."
Frown a little.
"But that can wait until after breakfast, since we've got three hours to kill. Let's head back to the boat and see if Lamp Light wants to help with the shopping before we deliver her to the Celestials. Going to need to pick up my funds, too."
"I… think we might be able to squeeze it through, though it might be tight."


"It'll be a tight fit. Why does the altar have to be so big? I mean we can't even slice a part off of it can we? That would probably anger Nightmare Moon because of official Lunar design violations."


"Well, it was never really meant to be moved in the first place, I think…"


"I see. I was unaware. A thousand apologies."
I bow.



"I'm told it carries a powerful magic charge. Splintering it wouldn't be wise."

"Not at all, I receive many foreigners here. In any case, about this paperwork. You've listed your occupation as ninja."


"Well that's not great is it? What if they wanted to renovate? They'd be in for a whole lot of bother with that thing sticking around."


"Well, yeah. It's not like the surface takes sand dollars, you know. I left my bits on the ship."
I'll shrug.
"I don't think renovation was something that was considered when they built it underwater."


"No. I am free. Not occupied. It says specialization. I have experience fighting with the katana and shurikens but also without weaponry. Is that prohibited in Equestria?"


"Water can do a whole lot of damage to structures you know. They should've considered that.

Oh and I have some money from Selena with me too."


"It's held together for this long."


"I bet it gets cold during winters though."


"No, I just wasn't sure you were serious. Don't ninjas stay… together? Remaining as part of a clan? Or is that a misconception?"


"You'd be surprised, actually."


"Look, I'm going to be honest. I don't like it. I wouldn't live down there. I mean it looks nice, but there wouldn't be much point to it would there? I can't see it from the outside because I can't breathe underwater. And I mean, those Lunar priests lived down there didn't they? But they haven't been back, so it can't have been that good."


"They haven't been back because almost all of them were hunted down and killed after the whole 'eternal night' thing. And mom probably wouldn't have left without a good reason."


"Yes. I am clanless. Ninjutsu is not my occupation, but I am trained to fight like it if I must."


"It says here you were previously an atheist. Do you think this will pose problems with your ability to sustain faith?"


"That was a long time ago. People need to let go of that stuff, really."


"Tell that to the Celestials."
We should be heading towards the boats by now, right?


"I was never taught faith. Maybe Celestia will teach me."


If you want.

The ship seems thus-far undisturbed.

666 post, coincidence?


"Hm, well, I suppose there is always time to learn. I'll sign off on this and get you your yellow card. It works as provisional identification while you work on your citizenship. You need to have six months of work in your first year of residence if you want to become a citizen, so bring documentation of your pay when you check in after one year. Other than that, welcome to Equestria."

He smiles and takes your paper back to his office.


On-board we go to gather our money, and, if she's awake Lamp, Light.


Lamp Light is awake and putting her things together. She looks up as you descend, but then returns to her work.


I bow as I accept the card.
"Thank you Milk-sama."


"Hey there, Lamp. Don't suppose you'd like to join us for a meal before we drop you off at the Celestial church?"


He sighs. "You will need to work on those names. Very well then, good luck."

Lamp shrugs. "I was thinking I should get back as soon as possible. I stayed up late writing down everything I remember about recent events. The sooner I speak to the monastic liaison, the sooner a recovery mission can start."


"I don't suppose they'll mind me wanting to put the altar back in that temple?"


I'll nod.
"Well, you'll give a better report with a full tummy. I know I would. Besides, there's just one thing I need to ask before we turn you over."
I'll glance at the slab, then back to Lamp.
"Please don't tell them why we came here until after we've saved Lilly's life."


Success. Leave the floor and go outside. Where are my transporters?


Lamp Light frowns. "I haven't really thought about it. I've been thinking about other things… But, you're not doing anything wrong, right? You're not Lunites, just trying to be rid of a Lunite curse. If anything, the priests here could help you."

Irons and Vlad both glance away in opposite directions.

Based on activity on the ship, it looks like they're still aboard. Wow, they're slow!


"I'm not really bothered about religion to be fair. I just don't want them to get any wrong ideas."


I'll sigh a bit.
"No, Lamp, we're not doing anything wrong. But we are Lunites. That's why I was so adamant about helping Lilly remove her curse. If we can't make up for the mistakes of the ones who came before us, then Princess Luna would be ashamed to call us followers."
Scrunch a little.
"I'll understand if you can't make a promise like that, but… if you could give us just two days. Two days to break Lilly's curse and disappear."


It is a stroke of luck for me. I fly onto the deck.



"Oh hello… How'd that go?"


I'll nod at you, but wait for Lamp's response.


She looks conflicted. "Aren't you concerned about your afterlife? All this rush to preserve a short life, and none at all to preserve your eternities."


"Isn't it natural to worry about your friends, though? I can worry about myself later."


"That's why I'm worried about you! You gave me transport and food, it would be wrong of me to abandon you."


"I mean… I can't even sort out this life yet. What would I be doing worrying about the next?"


I'll smile at her.
"It's good that you care, Lamp. But, just as your princess provides for you, ours does for us. We won't be left in the cold, I'm sure of it. Besides, it's way too early for either of us to be worrying about the afterlife. Let's just do what good we can while we can, and worry about what comes after that later."


"I am an Equestrian now. But I will require work."


"Well I guess that only makes sense. I'm Equestrian and I've got to work too. That's the way it is in Neighpon too isn't it?"


"I have a year time, but I am uncertain about my opportunities. My education was not one to become a craftworker."


"You can cook can't you? Maybe you can work in a tavern of sorts. Or just become a courier like me if you're in good physical condition."


"I will consider it. Thank you."


Roll Persuade

Flowing Tree is still absent, he must be with the Port Authority.

You are distracted by Irons directing the crew. They're planning to get it all roped up and prepare it for disembarkation. He notices you staring and scoffs. "If you wanted a last chance for personal use, this may be it. I, for one, will be glad to have it off my vessel."


Aw boogers, I'm not good at that. '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4



Lamp scrunches. "Well, I won't lie if they ask how I got here, but I won't bring it up."


"Are you kidding? I like the way I am."


"I'm just teasing you, Belle. I suppose you'll be parting from us here, now that you're back home in Equestria and your curse soon to be lifted?"


I'll smile.
"That's all I can ask. Thank you."
Ruffle her hair a bit.
"Now, let's get you ready for departure, and then we'll all go out for lunch before we drop you off. Is that alright?"


Lamp, as always recoils a bit from the ruffling.

"I don't mean to impose for another meal, I've already had a lot on your bit."


That's ok. I see the foal is being an issue.

"It is good that you respect your elders."


"I wish. I've got a whole lot of trouble on my plate even after fixing this. Where will you guys be going?"


I'm sure that's just because she's not used to skinship. Definitely not because I'm half-seapony, and a Lunite besides.
"It's no imposition at all. We'd be terrible ponies to send you off hungry, and it's still going to be a few hours until we can take care of Lilly's problem since we have to wait for the tide."
I'll grin a little.
"Besides, this way you'll get to enjoy the sun a little before going back inside for the whole day, since I don't think they'll finish asking you questions until tonight."


"I expect we will be returning to the Aquamarine City. If nothing else, there are probably some rituals associated with heiress designation."

Lamp Light cocks her head but says nothing.


"Does that mean you'll pass by Reptil?"


Lamp blows her breath a little. "Very well."

"Probably not, given that the currents actually follow each coast of the Manesian Sea. We'll likely make a sharp crossing and follow the coast past Bokis Cargo – though with the storm brewing, we may need to swing even wider, as far as Dust. In any case, we go where Miss Marina wants."


"Right, right… I'll figure something out then."


"Now, did you need any help with anything, or are you good for the moment?"


"No… I don't have much to pack. We should eat sooner, rather than later, though. There are limited Church-approved venues that are… well, not owned by the Church. This is Autumnsreach, you know."

"Something bothering you? Reptil is not a very safe port, though we've made port there more times than I can count. It's one of the few places we don't have to put on a charade. I can get out the real log books."


"One of my sisters lives there and I reckon she needs help urgently. For all I know she might just be my last living family left… well, I think I may have more in Dixie but I've never been there."


"True, but there is a market, right? And I've been dying to cook some more exotic foods. Well, not literally of course, but you know."
I'll giggle a bit.
"But, if there's somewhere you'd like to go, just let me know, okay?"
And with that, I'll go dig out my bag of bits and doubloons from my bunk area.


"Your rebellious phase will come yet, but that is not unnatural for a youngster. You will leave us soon, yes? I wish you good fortune."

"Perhaps you could help me with getting work when you return. I know no other Equestrians."


"Dust is part of the Confederacy as per the treaty. Any relatives out there?"

"After lunch, it sounds like."

You retrieve your money.

"There might be less food options than you might think. Do you like bread?"


"I could put out a good word for you if you like, but I'm not sure if I'm even employed myself anymore at this point to be honest with you."


"I really don't know. I know my moth- errr… father grew up in Dixie but that's about it."


"Oh, geez. Um, sorry. I thought moth ponies were, you know, a Breezie Tale. Are you pulling my leg? It's hard to tell sometimes."


"I'm sorry?"


"Moth father?"


"Usually. Got a place in mind?"


"No, no, it's just complicated. One of my mothers is really my father, all thanks to that altar."


"Autumnsreach is overwhelmingly supported by wheat farms that stretch on for miles out on each side. The only real culinary claim to fame are its great bakeries."

The hue of his face chances. You're not sure if he went white or blushed red - it's kind hard to tell with a dark blue coat.

"Ah, oh, sorry I asked."


"Yeah, I bet."


"Well, then that sounds like we're going to a bakery!"


"It is a chance. I have time. If I help you solve your issue, it will be dealt with faster yes? Perhaps we could work together. A native Equestrian would aid my integration. I will adapt like jungle chameleon."


He perks up his ears. "Sounds like Miss Marina is on the move."

"Right. Cathedral Square, outside Saint Radiant's, is where to find the best concentration."

With that, she leads on.


And I'll follow.
As we encounter Lilly and the others, I'll mention our plans.
"Looks like we're going to a bakery. Let's go!"


"Jungle chameleon… Uh… right."

"I'll see you guys when it's time okay? I've got to do some research…"
And by research I mean I need to find out more about Red's situation!


"But… bakery! Weren't you deadset on surface food after so long on fish?"


"I'll have some food on the go."


I'll pout a little.
"Okay… but don't get lost, okay? We meet back at the beach at noon."


I will follow the small pony to the bakeries.


Righto. There is a newstand at the docks, or you might seek out the local postal office.

Autumnsreach is decidedly a city-scape, with few patches of grass left unpaved. Rising above the squat, low buildings are the various cathedrals of the complex ecclesiarchy which runs this town and much of the clergy of Equestria. One particularly old looking cathedral stands out - it's far from the tallest or the most opulent, but it is truly ancient. Lamp Light relays: "Saint Radiant's Cathedral is named for an old hero of the northern campaign. According to legend she was raised among Northerners, but came to know their wickedness through divine revelation. It was by her hoof that Celestia could leverage inside knowledge against the north to crack it. Saint Radiant is, therefore, the patron of converts, cold weather, and inexplicably, the ugly. No one knows what the Saint looked like, as her faith was so sincere that she asked all icons of her image be destroyed so as to not distract from Celestia's light."

After some swaying back and forth between two bakeries near a corner, Lamp Light selects one. "I don't remember either of these places by name, but I recommend the Square Bread. You can't get more local."


Mmmm, check the newstand first.


"Then let's try that one!"
I'll think to myself that, if she were the patron of the ugly, maybe that's why she asked for her icons to be destroyed.


"Celestia has many enemies. It is a curious thing."


There are a few papers, including smaller fares like Equestria Daily and Pious Periodicals. You deliver all kinds of papers, though the most popular and one you're familiar with by far is the Times.

You can only see the headline and a few minor stories on the front page, but it reads: Tourney Champion Usurped

Inside, you are struck by the many different kinds of bread, but perhaps more striking is the total lack of true sweets. No cakes, cupcakes, bear claws, doughnuts, or anything of the sort.

Lamp Light leans up on the glass and points through at some cubic-shaped loafs. "It's delicious. But if you're looking for something different, they have Sourdough, Flatbread, Yeast Bread, White Bread, Pretzels, Rice Bread, Leavened, Unleavened, Soda Bread, Wheat Bread, and even Cornbread, though I wouldn't recommend it."


Dammit, all this celebrity nonsense! Flip through the Times!


Well, it's a bakery, not a patisserie. Maybe the bread's just really, really good?
"Well, why don't we just get a bunch and try everything?"


As you pick it up, the pony running the stall coughs noticeably.

"Five bits for a paper."

You have 310

Lamp Light seems to automatically respond. "That seems a little bit gluttonous!"


I'll grin at her.
"Not if we split it all between us ponies. And we'd save some for Lilly, too."


Five bits is outrageous! I'd rather go to the post office in that case. At least I'll support my fellow mailponies that way.

Shoot the stallpony a very disapproving look!


He shrugs.

Roll Navigate Urban Environment.

"If you say so."

The cook seems in no rush in any case, and awaits your order patiently.


What kind of a mailpony would I be without directional skills!

Roll #1 8 = 8


"We'll have one of everything, please."


I look over the selection.
"This bread looks wrong. It also smells wrong."


You make quick work of the clearly labeled streets and navigate to the office of mail, which is an office inside the Bureau of Information. That's not even subtle! Whatever the case, your key works, and you're able to access the mail office. As usual, you have access to coffee and unseasonably warm pockets. You're feeling pretty well rested after last night's sleep.

This place looks kinda abandoned though. No mail in or out, which is odd for a city this big. There are some extras of the national newspapers left over, though. The Times has the same headline as before, so you confirm it as current at a glance.

"Alright, that'll be…"

She does some arithmetic in her head. "Twenty five bits."

You have 123.

"Are you from Neighpon? We have ricebread."


"Here you go."
I'll fish out the bits, and hoof them over.


Good! Weird that this place is so calm though.

Flip through the times then. See what I can find.

Roll #1 1 = 1


"You had me at rice."


"Three bits for a serving for one, which is two slices."

The cook begins transferring over a large number of baked goods – as promised, one of each type.

Lamp tears a Square Bread in half and nearly inhales it with voracious appetite.

Additional Storms Forecasted

Mercenary Work To Open: Ponish Crusade

Whinneapolis Riots Crushed

Middle Seas League Quarterly Earnings Report

Manako Group Chair to Speak at Conference


If there are any tables nearby, then we should set up there. Then I'll divvy up the rest of the square bread, setting a piece aside for Lilly.


Ugh. Alright, I guess I'll try the other papers as well.

Roll #1 2 = 2


The Pious Periodical isn't even stocked here, and the Equestria Daily has devoted yet ANOTHER issue to some random magician.

There might be some more indie stock in the back if you rifle through the lockers, though. It's a little trade secret that mailponies have the best taste in news, though you'd have to "borrow" someone else's stuff. Not that they'd probably find out.

Just a two-pony table, but the cook brings out a third chair for you.

Lamp seems content to watch you eat, having eaten what is probably a lot for a monk.


Do I have money? I seriously don't know but I don't think so.


I guess that's my last hope. Let's see if I get lucky and find something good…

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Don't hold yourself back on my account, Lamp. You probably won't get another chance to splurge like this for a good long time."
Next up after the square bread is the sourdough, then the flatbread, then the yeast, white, rice, leavened and unleavened, soda, wheat, the cornbread, and finally finish off with the pretzel.
Make certain there's some left for Lilly, though.


Nope! Looks like you're probably bumming Marina's ricebread.

Hey, yesterday's issue of Horse News. It's a good source, but they insist on printing in green ink, so sometimes it's a little slow to report.

Redist Uprisings Growing in Impact

Price Hikes Continue

Middle Seas Report Breakdown: What YOU Need To Know

Why Equestria Daily Sucks

Tech News: Belle Rod Finds New Use

Iga is staring at your portions hungrily!

Lamp shrugs. "I fill up easily."


Good thing she was included in the divvying up process.
"Well, Lamp, if you want to save some for later, go right ahead."


Hold on, uprisings? Read that!

Roll #1 8 = 8


I bow.
"Your generosity is humbling."
I take some ricebread and eat it.


Redist Uprising Growing in Impact

I just returned from Los Pegasus with a story you wouldn't believe. A riot like the one currently brewing in Whinneapolis is practically expected: it's in the heartland of middle Equestria - one of the communities hit hardest by what Staff Economist Even Scales refers to as a 'Price Revolution'. Food prices should normally buoy a community such as this, but the growth of assembly line jobs and reduced reliance on farming means that workers are continuing to be shafted. Rioters call for reform to wages.

This is not the spectacular part, however. One might expect these riots in landlocked regions like the aforementioned, or industral-complex cities such as Anneiv, but here in Los Pegasus, the heart of entertainment and leisure, Redist ideology grows in popularity. These are ponies with the least to gain - and those that shape culture.

Equestrian leadership continues to refuse to acknowledge Redism as an ideology or movement - something that could threaten Equestrian integrity in the long run.

Lamp Light nods and takes some sourdough.

Hm… You won't say it tastes like home, but it does taste like rice.


Wow… I bet Red has a lot of enemies now. But this doesn't really help me much right now.

What's this article with my name in it though? Belle rod? Is that a typo?


Time to make some light conversation.
"So all of this bread comes from wheat? Maybe I should try and find a sack of seeds for my brother, so he can set some up back home."


It is good enough to please me.
Maybe I should hunt for jobs while I'm in this city. I don't know what the Equestrian job market is like right now. Have we come across any 'now hiring' signs so far?


"Not all of it, some from corn or rice, and stuff like that."

Tech News: Belle Rod Finds New Use
A spokesman for the Manako Group was willing to speak to me outside the headquarters of the illustrious invention engine yesterday, while preparing for an upcoming conference, believed by this reporter to be the annual Lubuck Technical Conference that thus-far has gone unattended by the essence giant in the past. When questioned, the source, who prefers to remain unnamed, confirmed that the Manako Group is currently in talks to acquire rights - or license - to the Belle Rod, which found its start in Dixie City just over two decades ago. For those with foggy memories, the Belle Rod is cited by magical expert Grave Channels as being arguably the main reason, besides the barrier of the Manesian, that Dixie has remained free of Equestrian imperialism. What applications it has in the field of electrical essence, however, remain unknown.

None at all, which is… not INCREDIBLY strange, you were told this was an unusual city in terms of job market. It is discouraging, though.


I'll nibble a bit on my portions.
"So, with that much bread, sweet shops must be a given, right?"


"Not really. Sweet bread is about all. The Church doesn't approve of tempting patrons into gluttony."


Dixie huh? That can't be a coincidence. Over twenty years ago… so this thing is about as old as I am! I may need to visit that place some time to see if I have any relatives there who still live.


"No sweets?"
I'll raise an eyebrow.
"But what about cakes, or cookies, or anything for celebrations?"


Yes. Discouraging is a the right word. This is not the city for me. I will need to move. With Lilly perhaps.

"Is fatness an issue in Equestria?"


"Sweat bread is healthier for you!"

"I never really thought about it. I don't think so?"


"I don't think so."
I'll roll my eyes.
"But if you remove the items that tempt ponies, then why bother to teach them how to overcome those temptations? Just seems kinda counterproductive to me, especially since sweets are a sometimes food anyway."


"You cannot trust a fat pony. They have no willpower."


Anyway, the other stories don't really seem important. Maybe the Middle Seas one? Any mention of Red or Reptil there?


Skimming it doesn't turn up those names.

Lamp nods uncertainly.

"Are you done eating yet? I'm anticipating continuing on, and you should as well."


Put it back where I found it. I've got nothing more to seek here. Where do I check for packages that need to be delivered and stuff? I want to check if there's outbound mail to Reptil or the new world.


"I'll just see if I can get a basket to carry the rest of this out in, and then we'll be on our way. And you were right, this bread really is good."
Head over to counter.
"Pardon me, but you wouldn't happen to have a basket or something I could carry the rest of this out in? It seems our fourth didn't catch up with us in time."


"You do not appear convinced."


"I hadn't really thought about it, but none of the monks were fat. We have strict vows of hunger. Well, technically I didn't have to take the vows, as I am not of age…"

A basket is produced. "Come again."

There's nothing incoming or outgoing. Maybe someone already handled it today.



I'm going back to the ship then.


To the ship it is!


Smile brightly.
"Thank you, and I'll try."
Once everything is stowed in the basket, we'll be ready to go. Onward to St. Radiant's, I guess. If that's where Lamp wants to go.


"Do not become fat Lamp-chan. You are better than that."


"…Did I come back at a weird time?"


I reckon there's still some time before the tide has lowered enough. Is Irons around?


That's not where she wants to go, you're just in the square around it.


It's near noon now, it's time to head out. He's at the helm, preparing for disembarkation.

"You're back. That's good."


Right, well, Lamp's leading the way.


"I'll be honest, I'm not much wiser than when I left. … Do you know what a Belle rod is?"


Lamp heads to the Office of the Monastic Liaison, which is an office building with a small chapel annex.

"I think this is where we part. Thank you for the transportation, Miss Marina."

"Belle Rod? No… it sounds like something that goes in a belfry. What is it?"


"Some sort of magical device… I read something about it and I think a relative of mine made it."



"You understand. That is good."


"Hmm. Can't say I'm an expert on magic, unfortunately."


"You're welcome, Lamp Light. And if you ever want to get in touch with us again, well, I'll figure out a reliable way to get mail at our underwater city. Throwing bottles out into the tide only goes so far."
I'll laugh a little.


"Right. Good luck."

With that, she heads inside.


"Don't sweat it. It's the least of my worries right now."


I'll wave goodbye, and then start heading back to the boats.
"Well, time to help Lilly get her slab back where it belongs. Did you want to come with us, or were you going to look for work for a while longer?"


"Shall we return Marina-sushi?"


"Yeah, let's head back."


"I will join Lilly for now."


You reconvene, and without further ado, head down to the temple. The top tier is now slightly revealed, and there is a stone path leading out to it from shore. While the crew begins carefully unloading the altar, it's up to you to try to penetrate the outer door.

To your surprise, when you approach, the door is open – slid open by some mechanism. Nolo contesto. From here, you can access a square spiral staircase that leads down about six meters into an antechamber that has a more natural, horizontal door.


Well, let's eyeball the door. Is the altar even going to fit, or are we gonna have to tilt it or something?


The door is double-wide: it looks wide enough by far. Closer examination reveals that it has been shored up with metal parts. Someone reinforced this door while keeping the original stone as an outer facade.


Someone's definitely been living here.
"Okay, let's get it down there. And be alert, whoever moved into the place after it was abandoned might still be there."


"Whoever lives here probably likes his privacy. I mean look at it."


It is time to disappear. pop my chameleon smoke.

Roll #1 7 = 7


You throw down a smoke bomb and vanish from view


Okay. Sure.

Let's head down these stairs. We'll need to scout things out.


I'll head down with Lilly.


You arrive at the antechamber. There's not much to see here other than the horizontal (i.e.: normal) door. There are also some strange holes in the floor about the size of the ones visible outside.


More of those weird holes…
"Watch your step, who knows what's in those holes."
Let's open that door.


The door curiously does not have hoof-holds, and seems to shut in the form of two halves sliding into place horizontally in the center instead of swinging open either way.


I follow in hidden form.


Hmm. Means we're going to have to pull it open, and it probably won't stay open.
"Lilly, could you pull that side while I pull this one?"


"Interesting design choices at least."

Anything sticking out around the door that could be some sort of handle or lever to open it?

Let's try this.


The door, although at first firmly shut, gives about an inch. You can see a strange leathery material behind it forming a sealing buffer.

As it gives, you hear mechanisms beginning to move. There's a deep rumbling sound. The resistance from the doorway gives way, and it slides open – but as it does so, the roof slides closed above you. Irons & Co shout in protest as they're locked out.

At least the altar was already lowered in.


Well, that's no good! Just the three of us can't move that thing but so far, especially down stairs. Slide it shut again, see if that opens the door topside.


"Well… that didn't pan out."
What's this leathery stuff?


The leathery material retracted along with the door, but you can still see it.

Roll synthetics knowledge

With some effort, you force the door in the opposite direction, which causes the upper door to open.

Irons doesn't seem happy, nor Vlad.

"What happened?"



Roll #1 9 = 9


"Looks like the inner and outer doors are linked. One's open, the other's shut. So we're all gonna have to squeeze in here if we want to get this done before the tide comes back in."


This is a substance known as Synthetic Rubber. It's distinguished from natural rubber, which comes from trees. Definitely anachronistic for this temple.

"It must be a means of keeping the water out somehow. A gating mechanism."


I'll nod.
"Probably. Wonder if it was part of the temple before, or if it's a result of our mysterious squatter. At any rate, let's all get in here so we can open the thing up without cutting anyone off."


Whoever lives here must be pretty smart and/or rich. That's not all that comforting. Why isn't Nightmare Moon angry about this instead!

"This stuff behind the door is synthetic rubber, it can't have been put here long ago."


"So that just reinforces the idea of someone moving in. Or some group of ponies. Let's keep our ears open and eyes sharp."


"Just the three of us, then. The ship has to be kept manueverable while the tide comes back in."

Vlad, Dixie, and Many all come down. They'll be occupied with transporting the altar, so escort them carefully.


If we're ready, let's open that door again.


Grand. Which means we check for traps ahead of them.
Let's do it.


Inward you go.

Ruins Entrance

This room would be totally dark, if not for the light being cast by the opened door. The room is roughly six meters by six meters. There are no apparent hostiles. This room is decorated in dull tan stone with two tile murals in quartz on the left and right walls respectively. There is a door directly ahead.


Something tells me we should have brought torches.
Check the murals.


The left mural appears to be of Luna, or Nightmare Moon. It's difficult to tell in the depiction, as it is a silhouette.

The right mural depicts a crescent moon. Waxing or waning, who can say? A moon expert.


See if I can find a torch and something to light it with. Survival.

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


There are traces of driftwood in the room, but nothing to light the damp wood with.


I'll assume Luna. And if the crescent makes a "b", then it's waxing, if it's a "d" then it's waning.


Well dang.

Calm down, Galileo!
"Can seaponies see well in the dark?"


"Well, we can see underwater fine, though it's nice to have a light source…"
Grimace a bit, then check out the door.
"Maybe we'll get lucky and there will be torches further in?"


The altar party fully open the door behind you, which causes a full closure of the flat 'door' above, cutting off light. The room becomes dark, but the next room seems faintly lit.


The darkness shrouds me. I will passively remain hidden in the shadows.


This 'door' is just an opening. There is a faint light coming from the next room.



Let's just push on ahead.


Well, that's a relief.
"We'll take point, make sure there aren't any traps or holes."


Ruined Gallery

This room is quite elongated. It extends to your left and right about twelve meters in either direction, but it is only six meters deep. The wall is covered in similar mosaics of random Lunar significance. The hallway bends left on your far left and right on your far right – the makings of half of a square. This room is illuminated by small orbs that emit a buzzing sound. They appear to be strung up along the walls, clustered near image sites – they are connected by some sort of string, which trails off to the left and around the corner.



Flutter up in the air to inspect these orbs from up close.


Are there lightning bugs in there? Weird, but useful.
"Careful, they could be lightning bugs."


These orbs are spherical and made of common glass. They contain what appears to be a small lightning bolt. It emits an irritating droning sound, and is hot to the touch.


I look giddy.
"Definitely pegasus engineering!"

"No it's actually lightning!"


"You're kidding! How'd they- no that doesn't matter right now, what matters is that someone put them here. So we've got to do this quick before they notice we're here."
I'll motion the other three forward, and I'll make sure to test the floor in front of them so that there aren't any traps or tripwires or things.


"I think you're going to have to choose a direction - unless you think this is a hidden door. Looks like a wall to me, though."


"I… I knew that! We'll go left! I was just making sure you guys had a safe space to turn at!"
Blush a bit, and start down the left fork.


Follow, looking back at the orbs with a smile.


Study Access

You come to a staircase – it heads down, at a rather sharp pace. More orbs are strung along the wall here. The string that binds them each in turn sharply ends here - leading off into a doorway about halfway down. This, unlike the first door you encountered, is actually a real door. Wood and everything. It's closed. The stairs continue past that landing without any further ado, to a final landing at a much lower altitude, where there is another turn – to the left.


Well, no sense prying in there yet, not while we're carrying the altar.
Let's keep going down.


Upper Atrium Access

You arrive at the bottom of the stairs, turning left. From here, the hallway continues 24 meters ahead of you. Half way, there are exits to the left and right. All the way at the end, there is an exit to the left. Both of the left exits are stairs - the first down, the second up. The one on the right is not a stairway, and instead leads into a room that does not appear to be lit. The light orbs trail and up both stairs to the left.


Luckily this is fairly linear so far, so getting lost won't be as easy.

Well… nevermind.
"This place is pretty weird for a temple."


This is a lot of stairs…
"I know, right? I'm hoping we run into where that altar's supposed to go before we get to the bottom."


"These stairs are pretty exhausting… Pick a direction."


"We keep going down I guess?"


"We'll take a peek at that unlit room first, and you guys can take a breather on the landing. If it's not the right one, then we're heading down."


Upper Atrium

This room is dark, but you can tell based on the echos of your hooves that it is rather large.


"Hey Lilly, do you know if that bottled lightning can come off the wire it's on?"


"No idea! I can try and see what gives."
Reach out to one of the orbs hanging around.


It doesn't want to release easily, and it is very hot to the touch. You almost burn yourself. Maybe with a little experimentation you could work it off the line.


Let's try experimenting. I do love figuring things out.

Roll #1 2 = 2


You burn yourself. Tch!



Let out a cry of surprise.
"Hot stuff!"


"Are you okay?"


"They're too hot, I can't just grab one of them like that."


I'll think for a second.
"What if we used a saddlebag, or my purse, as a sort of oven mitt? Would that work?"


I come out of the shadows with my firestriker.
"I have no torch, but a fire creator."


"Unfortunately, we don't have any torches either. Which was kind of silly of us, after you think on it."


"I don't think they can be detached though."

Hmmmm… any stuff lying around that I can use to put together a torch?

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


You walk into a wooden table. You could disassemble it for wood.


I'll try that.

"Gimme that."
Let's see if I can get this 'torch' burning.

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


You break off a leg and light it. The table rattles incessantly, missing one of its legs.


So, now that there's light, what do we see?


The room is too large for one torch to light it fully. It appears to be a meeting hall of some sort - or was a meeting hall of some sort. You see two long rows of wooden tables.


"This doesn't look like the place."
Any other exits?


You wander more deeply into the room. There doesn't appear to be a back exit of any sort – in fact, the room seems rather sparse. Based on the dust in the room, it looks like some things may have been removed from the room, but nothing of the size or shape of the altar.


"This one's a bust. Let's move on!"
Let's get out.


"Okay. We should probably see how far the stairs going down go, so that Irons, Vlad, and Dixie don't start thinking too terribly about us."


You exit the room.

Upper Atrium Access

Directly in front of you there is a staircase down. To either end of this long, horizontal hallway, you see stairs up on either flank. All are lit by strings of these orbs.


Well, down we go.
"We'll be back in a minute."


Crossways Access

You continue down the stairs for a way until you come to what appears to be an impromptu barricade. It is built out of what appear to be racks, barrels, and crates in good condition. It is not particularly hard to cross while unhindered by combat, but it would make a difficult bottleneck to overcome in a fight.


And a pain in the ass for the altar to get over.
"Well, I guess we're going to have to clear a path for the guys."


"This looks ominous. Why did they build barricades?

… Could this place be infested with those same things we saw at the monastery?"


"I really hope not, because if they are down here, we won't be able to use the sun to drive them back."
Let's start moving barrels…


They're not bolted down, but they appear to be filled with sand. One bears an MSL symbol.


You shift a couple of barrels out of the way, leaving only a crate and a rack


I'll help out.


Barrels of sand? Well, I suppose they'd be able to take a better hit than leaving them empty.
Next are the racks.


"What does symbol mean?"


"I'm not sure. I think it's a brand? Sometimes workshops mark their goods so ponies know who made them, and can refer other ponies to them if the work is good."


There's now a clear route through the barricade, into the lower reaches.


Grand. Let's keep going, make sure there isn't another barricade.


"The Middle Seas League… They're a powerful Equestrian organization."

Move on.


"Middle Seas League?"


"They're some sort of trade organization. With a lot of influence thanks to their wealth!"


"I understand."



You come into a large, circular chamber which has six exits spaced evenly - you've descended from one of them. The room is lit by a number of the orbs strung across the ceiling. From left to right, the remaining five doors are as follows:

An ancient stone door. It has no apparent hoofhold or method of operation - or even crease. Little more than an indent in the wall, it is clearly not a good source of progress.

A lit door. An impromptu wooden door has been hinged roughly onto this opening. The strings that the orbs are attached to on the upper levels trace through this door to the other side.

A heavily secure door. Though the dense dolomite of this door is original stonework, it has been reinforced with steel bolting and a large padlock which looks to be very complex.

A dark door. There is nothing blocking this opening, but the room is not lit.

A sealed door. This door opens horizontally from the center like the 'airlock' you observed at the entrance. Careful examination indicates that it has a similar rubber seal.


"Huh. I guess when you live at the bottom of the ocean, you don't keep up with things."
Let's look at the ancient door first. Inspecting like a serious pony. '1d10'

Roll #1 10 = 10


Based on the total lack of holds, creases, openings, locks, inserts, puzzles, or symbols on the door, you determine it must be opened by a mechanism elsewhere.


Let's check the dark room first. That's the easiest route.


That would make sense.
Time to follow after Lilly.


Leaning inside with the torch – this is a long, narrow room. About three meters wide but ten meters long. It looks like things have been removed from this room. At the end of the room, there are four crates: two against the back wall, with one on top and one in front of the other two. This room is not lit.


Hmmmm… Let's check those crates.


I inspect the padlock on that secure door. Could I dismantle the thing?

Roll #1 10 = 10


Top: nailed shut
Rear two: can't be opened; crate on top
Front: ajar; closer examination shows that it is full of sealed pots.

This is an incredibly complex and strong lock. It would take a Master Thief or someone skilled in Engineering to pick it.


"Do you see a switch or lever?"


"This lock is not in my skillzone. I am ashamed."


"Don't be. I'm sure there are plenty of things around to break it with."


Can I batter the top one open or at least topple it?


It's heavy, but not immovable. To gently lower it, due to size and weight, you'd need more than one. Or you could just shove it off.


I'll shove it off!


An ear-shattering sound rends the room. You there is a sickening clatter as the sound of smashing clay fills the air.

You shove off the crate. There is a loud sound, and the top comes loose. A few pieces of pottery slide out.


Wince a bit.
Well, if whoever lives here didn't know we were here, they do now, I bet.


Let's hope that didn't alert anyone. Just pottery? Damn it.


You stick your head in the crate. Looks like the pots contained noodles.


Food supplies… grab some if I can and stuff them in my bag.

Can I get into the bottom crate?


You… want to stuff a hoof-full of noodles into your bag? The noodles fall out of your backpack's pockets!

The lower crates are nailed shut.


"Our position will be known."
I'm chameleon smoking again to enter stealth.

Roll #1 3 = 3


You gag on your smoke bomb.


See about breaking that wood with some solid bucking.

Roll #1 8 = 8


I wave the smoke away with a scrunch.


You smash open the top of the crate. It contains more pots.

Based on the echoes, it sounds like someone is descending the stairs from above.



"Lilly, what are you looking for?"


More noodles?


I'll just look a little flabbergasted.
"Is right now really the time to worry about that?"


These pots are sealed tight. Open one?


Yes, I'll try one.

"Hey, there could be something useful in here."


"Well, we'll look later! There's someone coming!"
Hide behind the crates.


I try to hide in my chameleon smoke again!

Roll #1 10 = 10


Dive behind the crate too, after checking it out.


Looks like liquid. The sheen from your torch makes it hard to tell, but it seems clear, and doesn't give off a smell.

You throw down a smokebomb and hide away from Lilly's torch.

You jump behind the broken crate, which is the only crate forward enough to hide behind (the others are against the wall or against another crate). It's very cramped here and you're being poked by broken clay and wood.

You're too slow, and illuminated by a torch.

"What are you doing? You've smashed the food stores!"

There's an orange unicorn of the cloth in the Crossways with a lantern. They look upset.


Stay hidden. If Lilly needs help, then I'll jump out.


"Uh… Hello.

Nice to meet you too. I didn't think anypony was still alive down here."


"There are lights! Who did you think turned them on? And why would you smash unattended crates in an abandoned place anyway? Those noodles have to stay dry or they'll get moldy!"

Orange ponoe scrunches.


Well, she doesn't sound too threatening… Peek over the ruin of the crate.


"Probably the people who I assumed to have been killed off by sinister, pissed off demons!

Don't you realize how dangerous this place is!?"


It's a stallion, but he's a priest or scholar of some sort as indicated by his clothing.

"The upper levels are safe, all of the dangerous things - unmapped traps, Nightmare beasts, and the great worship hall - they're all locked away on the lower floors. And now that your curiosity is sated, you should get out of here. This is quite a mess to clean up…"


What denomination? Lunar, Celestial, or other?


"I'll help clean it up but I need some help now that you're here, all I'm here for is to return a Lunar altar before I get my soul flayed by Nightmare Moon. I need to know where it was originally taken from."


Based on the yellow and orange coloration, you'd assume Celestial.


He looks befuddled.


"Nightmare Moon is angry at me because my parents took an altar from this temple decades ago. I came here to return it and save myself! That's not so hard to understand is it?"


I shall look around to see if this pony has friends lurking around this area


What's a Celestial doing here?
I'll clear my throat and step out from behind the crate debris.
"Excuse me, but I think both of us need some ground covered here. What are you, a Celestial, doing in an old Lunar temple?"


"Then where is it?"

Irons, over by the first door (the ancient stone door), waves from behind the oblivious priest.

There's only one door out, and it's straight past the pony in question. Sneaking past will require a roll, but you're a sneaky ponoe, right?


The unicorn spooks, but composes himself.

"The better question - and one that I've been asked to answer - is what a Lunar temple is doing inside Autumnsreach. Just how many more of you are hiding behind my food supplies?"


Point at Irons standing behind him.

"No, no. The best question is where this altar is supposed to go."


"Just me. And I think it's safe to say that this particular temple was here before Autumnsreach was."
"I would assume the worship chamber he mentioned."
I'll gesture to the priest.


"Hm… let me go consult my maps. It's very dangerous down there."

The unicorn heads back upstairs.


"Not alone you're not. I'd really prefer no one know we were here, since ponies of our faith aren't generally welcome anywhere the Celestials are."
I'll nod at Irons.
"My friend will accompany you there and back, just we don't end up having a group of inquisitors breathing down our necks before we can help this mare."


I will follow him from the shadows. He cannot be trusted.

Roll #1 10 = 10


Follow him.
"Why are you here though? Do you have a deathwish or something? This place is horrible!"


Irons runs up after, but the altar is now immobile.

The stallion runs after clearing the corner, up another flight of stairs, and then turns another corner. You keep up through two rooms because of your phenomenal stealthiness without breaking out of your stealth. It's very difficult to keep up with a run quietly, though!

He doesn't answer you and proceeds immediately to the top floor at a sprint.


You motherfucker.

Try to get him with a Knockout Trick Marksman Shot before he gets away!

Roll #1 3 = 3


I'm backstabbing him in the leg before he can get away! BANZAI!

Roll #1 8 = 8


You hear the sound of gunshots and screaming that loudly echoes throughout the temple.

Lunahu Akbar

You fire, but the shot goes wide and chips an ancient mosaic.

You gouge deeply into his leg, causing him to collapse on the stairs and scream in pain.


Quietly put my face in my hooves.
"Dixie, were you any good at first aid?"


Gah! Keep running after him until I reach him!


I grab a hold of him!
"A thousand apologies, but you chose the path of pain. Why?"


He's on the stairs.

"Argh—agh, my leg! Aaahg…"

He breaks into a heaving dry sob.

Dixie shrugs. "Um… not really? That was always a problem back in Aquamarine, remember? The lack of doctors?"

Vlad shrugs. "So obviously he made a dash. This is, how you say, inevitable? So what? Celestials have killed Lunites before. We should check the body for a key now, hm?"


Sigh heavily.
"But that doesn't mean we should sink to that level, Vlad. Hopefully he's still alive, and we can at least try to reason with him."
Sighing again, I'll head up the stairs after them.
"If you two could guard the altar, that'd be great. We don't know if he was the only one down here or not."


I roll my eyes.
"Answering my question is preferable to death, yes? No?"


"If you insist."

Irons brutally clocks you in the face with a hoof. Your grapple fails and the injured pony slides down a few stairs, but doesn't move.

"You're not killing an unarmed prisoner as part of an interrogation! If you want to kill him, you're going through me first."

He draws his blade.


You arrive upstairs. Iga and Irons are facing down with weapons drawn. The priest has a mangled rear leg and is bleeding out on the stairway. Lilly is here too.


"And no killing!"
Hurry hurry.


I shake my head.
"Why'd you have to run away like a madpony? I just want to drop off this altar! I just can't get any more inquisitors involved to protect the ponies who have been helping me."


This… is almost worse than what I expected.
"Alright, stand down, both of you."
To the priest.
"Do you have any medical supplies? Bandages, something we can use to fix your leg? I'm sorry, but none of us are healers…"


"Study…" He has turned rather pale.

Irons: "I don't think I can trust this Neighponese convict not to kill the priest if I turn my back."


Rub my hurt nose with a scrunch.
"Baka gaijin! He had to be halted!"


"Where's the study? Up? Down?"

"I agree, but try a tackle next time!"


"And you halted him! And then you threatened to finish the job when he obviously wasn't a threat anymore. What are you playing at? We're not leaving a body down here for more reasons than I can count on my front hooves."


He weakly points back down the stairs.


"Maybe if you explain that's not how we do things in Equestria, she'll listen."
"And you couldn't tackle him, or just trip him? Or hit him with the blunt end of your sword? I appreciate you stopping him, but there are better ways."
"Lilly, could you help me move him to his study?"
"Irons, arguing methods can wait until after we've patched up this priest. Let's move."


"On it, let's go."
Going downstairs.
"We'll be back shortly!"


We are taking him with us. Wound elevated, of course, to slow down the bleeding.


Ruined Gallery
This room is quite elongated. It extends to your left and right about twelve meters in either direction, but it is only six meters deep. The wall is covered in similar mosaics of random Lunar significance. The hallway bends left on your far left and right on your far right – the makings of half of a square. This room is illuminated by small orbs that emit a buzzing sound. They appear to be strung up along the walls, clustered near image sites – they are connected by some sort of string, which trails off to the left and around the corner.


Then you also get >>642815


"Follow the lights, I guess!"


"If I wished him dead he would be dead. One stab and no more. I did not plan to stab again!"


"You said you were going to!"

Study Access

You come to a staircase – it heads down, at a rather sharp pace. More orbs are strung along the wall here. The string that binds them each in turn sharply ends here - leading off into a doorway about halfway down. This, unlike the first door you encountered, is actually a real door. Wood and everything. It's closed. The stairs continue past that landing without any further ado, to a final landing at a much lower altitude, where there is another turn – to the left.


Try the door, is it locked? How sturdy does it look?


"Well, he just came out of the study, so it should be open."


"No! It was a threat to make him afraid baka!"


The door is not locked.

Solar Study
This room looks quite lived in. It is about three meters by three meters, and on the far wall there are two large bookcases with a selection of texts. Your eyes play across a number of titles such as Luna in Reptil, Modern Piracy, Mera Collected, Paradise Lost, Sisters in Twilight, Sunset for Dixie, and others. They seem decidedly religious-themed, but they seem more like histories and historiographical texts than religious holy books.

In this room, there is a large MSL crate that has had its top removed. You can casually see a number of pots inside containing various goods, including noodles in one and water in another. One such pot is opened on the central desk of the room, a half-eaten mixture of the two.

By far, however, the bulk of the room is taken up by a number of artifacts that seem to be locally sourced. They've been tagged and bagged with painstaking care to ensure they have not been damaged. Someone cares about their work.

In the corner you observe a bedroll. It's still kind of messy, and shows signs of tossing and turning. Adjacent to the bedroll is some sort of box that the cables from the lighting orbs go into it. They're routed out through the other side and continue back out the door and down the stairway - to the lower room you saw that they ultimately terminate in. On the wall, there's a calendar. Tomorrow is circled.

He grimaces. "I do not trust you."


Hmmmm… any medical supplies?

Roll #1 5 = 5


"What a mess…"
Gently set the priest on the bedroll.
"Where are the bandages?"
To Lilly:
"Can you set some water to boil, so I can clean his leg?"


Lilly locates a cache of medical supplies in the crate.


"You have made it clear. I will forgive ignorance out of respect for rescuers."


I want to get some water boiling for Marina.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Let's get to work, then. Can those lightning bottles be used as a heater for the water, since Lilly burned herself on one?


You can't think of a reason why not. It might be a little unwieldy to get one over here, though, given that they're strung up to the wall.

You also notice the box they're routed through is emanating a lot of heat. Probably kept near the bedroll for that very reason: it's rather clammy down here.

You have no trouble locating a pot, but where will you heat the water?

The priest seems to be in shock, but mumbles something about boiling.


"Lilly, try using the box all the lights are plugged into."
Now, let's see… is there any clean cloth that isn't a bandage I can use to wipe clean his leg after we get the water going?


I nod and follow Marina's advice. Try that box. He must have some way to heat up those noodle things.


What are these artifacts like?


There's the bedroll, and some towels in the crate.

The box does seem very hot - hotter than the lights, even. You set the pot on top.

Though his eyes are unfocused, he manages: "Strike… the bottom."

It's hard to tell through the burlap bags, but you read some tags.

Statue, small
Statue, small
Statue, small
Statue, small, inlaid with gemstones, amethyst
Painting, medium, azurite composition
Painting, medium, unknown composition
Art, medium, charcoal, possibly very old


Towel will work. Now we just need to wait for the water to boil.


He weakly shoves his face over a nearby empty noodle pot and vomits unevenly into it.


"Strike the bottom?"
Uh… tap my hoof against the bottom of the box?




…Ew. Well, I guess until the water's ready I'll just have to make sure he doesn't choke on his own stress vomit.


What the hell does that mean!
"Yes I've got a pot. I don't striking it will help here."


"The bottom… inside… Scrape it… remove quickly."


Look into the pot and scratch the bottom of it with a hoof.


The water suddenly begins bubbling furiously!


Jerk back, startled.
"What the heck!?"


He just slumps back onto the bedroll, exhausted.


These must be valuable. Would they be missed I wonder? I require money. Could I hide such a small statue in my bags?


I'll blink in surprise.
"Well, that was fast! Careful with your hooves, and let's get it over here."
I'll gesture with the towel.


Sure, but just one. It'll take up the whole bag.


Well… let's move the pot of boiling water with a towel.


"Should we take along statues?"


"No way. I don't want another sinister curse causing demons to hunt me down!"


"What? No! We're trying to return something that was stolen, not steal more things!"
I'll stop for a second.
"Even though it wouldn't really be stealing, and more like re-acquiring…"
Shake my head.
"Just forget it for now, we can worry about what to do with this after this is all done and over with."


You move the boiling water - which is now settling into less of a roil and more of a simple light steam.



I really wonder what this guy's deal is. There's a calendar here you said?

"Medical supplies?"


Right, let's… let's get this cleaned up.
Moisten the towel, wring it out, and start cleaning around the wound.
Being gentle, of course. '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7


"They're in the crate where the towels are. We're probably gonna need a good amount of bandages… and any cotton pads he might have so that he doesn't just bleed through immediately."


Get some bandages and cotton for this pony.


"I understand."


That's right.

He groans. "Thank you. You're much gentler a soul than the sniper and assassin."


"They're really not bad ponies, honest. Lilly's just under a lot of stress since she's almost out of time, and Iga has only been in Equestrian seas for like, three days, tops. She's still learning customs, but her heart's in the right place, I'm sure."


I frown at his comment.

"Sniper? It wasn't even a conventional bullet. You made yourself a target sprinting like a madpony!"


"You shoot… everyone whose food supplies you destroy, or just the ones you meet while trespassing and quietly surrounding with a small army?"

"I can't say wish them much luck with what waits below, though."


"Well, regardless of what's down there, we've got to do it."
Let's take his mind off of things.
"By the way, I'm Marina. What's your name?"


"Trespassing? This is your temple now? I'm sorry about ruining your food, but I'm being chased down by a giant demondog so I'm a little bit on edge right now! I didn't want any of this! I don't want to die!"


"Can we calm down for just a minute, please, and get this guy's leg patched up? We can yell at each other after wounds are taken care of!"


"Cumin of Southridge… I am… I serve… the Equestrian Historical Society."


"The historical society? You must have been very busy here, then, since this place is about as old as dirt."
Make sure to rinse and wring out the towel after each pass over the wounded area.


"Don't protect him, Marina!"

"What's so special about tomorrow?"


[Ignoring intensifies]

"The city… funded it. Surprised they didn't want to… smash it."


"Hey! Tomorrow! What's special about tomorrow? Why did you circle tomorrow's date on that calendar?"


I'll raise an eyebrow.
"That's pretty odd, considering how they usually treat any Lunite temple they run across. I suppose there's a market for artifacts these days, though. And I'm not talking about museums."
I'll wring out the towel again and keep working on keeping his leg clean.
"Lilly, if you could hoof me the bandages, please?"


Hoof her the bandages I fetched.


[Continued stonewalling]

"Maybe… someone has a personal interest, high up. Couldn't say."


"Thank you."
Start wrapping those bandages. Tight, but not too tight. Really wish I'd watched mom do this… '1d10'
"So, I'll have to admit I'm kinda curious too. Why is tomorrow circled on your calendar? Get to go home?"

Roll #1 8 = 8


Give him a nasty look. Rolling for nastiness.

Roll #1 2 = 2


"It's just an estimate, you probably wouldn't understand… if you don't have a background Equinorbital studies…"


I'll cock my head curiously.
"Would it have something to do with the moon, maybe? Because that date is also when Lilly's time runs out and the thing chasing her catches up."


Is Irons pony still looking at me angry?


"Temple sometimes has reactions to the new moon… usually a regular date every month. Looks like it's going to be a day late this month.. not sure why."

In any case, he fishes through his pocket and levitates up a key. "You should send the others on to the depths. You could probably stand guard alone, if you're in such a hurry. Unless you think an unarmed historian can wrestle you down."

His attentions have been drawn to the priest answering questions.


"If I ask nicely, would you wait here until we finish? I mean, you're in no shape to go running off, and you've taken really good care of the stuff you've been cataloging."
I'll take the key.
"I only ask because I'm pretty sure that I need to go with her down there. If for no other reason than to have someone related to the clergy to oversee the altar being put back."


"Would you believe me if I said I would? If you're really headed for the great ritual chamber, it won't matter anyway. There is an undead hydra that guards the deepest reaches of the temple. Far too dangerous for six ponies…"


Throw my hooves in the air at the mention of an undead hydra.
"Oh for fuck's sake! What!"


I'll blanch.
"Well, we didn't think it would be easy, but… if we've got to, we've got to."
I'll set another pot of water to heat up so I can wash my legs.
"And I believe that you wouldn't put any stress on your leg for at least a few hours, because you wouldn't want to risk it bleeding again."
"It's news to me, Lilly. I don't think Lunites have ever really dug into necromancy. At least, not that I can remember."


"The lowest levels remain flooded. You can't even ac– well, maybe some of you could access them, by the looks of you. Every room on the far right of the flood is part of the atmosphere controller. There a high-volume pumps that can allow water to flow in or out, like the piping on the airlock to the entrance. I'm not sure if the lower pumps still work, but that would be your first goal. With the water out… at least you'd see the hydra coming, if nothing else."


"Why is this even a thing? What kind of a sadist thought it was a good idea to put an undead hydra in the basement!"


"So that's what those tubes were!"
"I can't even begin to guess. All I know is that my mom never mentioned any undead living in the temple while she was here."


"Well… I guess we're killing a hydra today."
Thanks mom.


"You should get going. It's probably evening up above, though you won't know the true hour until you reach the Lunarium."


"Thanks. And again, I'm really sorry about your leg."
I'll turn to the others after I finish cleaning up.
"Alright, let's go. We've got a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in."


Irons: "I assume Vlad hasn't gotten himself into trouble. How much could he get into in a room with doors?"


"Just… lead the way, yeah?"


"Depends on which ones are open and how bored he got… I should apologize to Dixie in the future."
"Alright, let's go."
And back to the doors we go.



Dixie Red is here, leaning against a wall. Vlad isn't anywhere to be seen, but Red indicates the lit room.

"He's in there."


"That's not exactly guarding the altar."
Sigh a little, then head into the lit room.
"Vlad, we're back."


This room is filled with large pots, one of with Vlad is looking into, and a large mechanical monstrosity that the cables from the light orbs terminate in. It's making a loud sound and vibrating.

"Ya, ya. Let's go."

He follows you out.


I'll look at the huge thing.
"You think maybe this is the water pump Camin mentioned? Irons, can you make sense of it? We're going to need to drain the water out of the lower levels so we can actually move the altar down there."


"And take away the hydra's terrain advantage…"


"I'm not an engineer by any stretch, but I remember the unicorn said all the pump rooms would be oriented toward starboard. That would be that room."

He indicates the one with the rubber seals.

Vlad nods. "This machine seems for something else. It maybe eats this foul ichor? Hm… and the lights grow from it like… what is the word? Vine will do."


"Yeah, that's another big part of this. Though, since it's undead it shouldn't be too fast, right? Between the six of us, we should be able to get that altar down there fairly quickly if we all work together."
"Oh. Maybe it's what keeps the lights going?"
Anyway, time to open up that valve room.


Help her open the horizontal gate door.


You force the door. It slides open, with some effort.

There seems to be fairly sophisticated mechanisms in this room, with two large bronze cisterns integrated into the stonework. It looks very old. One huge lever stands out: it's shifted down.

In the right corner of the room there is a pool of water.


Well… if it's down and the water level is up, then that means if I push it up, the water level goes down, right? Right.
Push the lever.


Give her some help with that if needed.


There's a loud rumbling of mechanisms. The pool in the corner begins to flood.

Irons sticks his head in from the hall. "Hey, you know all the holes in the wall out here? They suddenly started leaking water. We should probably evacuate the altar to higher ground."


Shit shit shit you mean the water level was already down? Shit.
Pull the lever back down.


The sound grows higher pitched, and the water stops rising. Slowly it begins to lower back down.

Irons interjects: "I suspect, based on the description we received, that there is a pump station for each floor."


I'll blush a bit.
"So it would seem. That means you, Dixie, and I will be looking for the one downstairs so that Vlad, Iga, and Lilly can join us."


"I guess that would be prudent given what we're facing."


"Hopefully the pump room will be in areas too small for the hydra zombie to squeeze into."


"Right. Not all the rooms may be flooded, either – we should press on and see what we run into."


Time to go unlock the door and head to the lower floor.


"Let's advance carefully though, I don't want to get a surprise salt bath."


I'll nod.
"That'd be bad for a lot of reasons."


Upper Primary Access
You descend the stairs. It is totally dark here except for the torch that Lilly carries. All of the doors in this room have the rubber seal design you're familiar with from the pump room, and are closed. This room is about 5 meters by 5 meters. There appear to be inscriptions above each door, but they are too worn to make out. One door is to your left, one directly ahead, and one to your right.


"At least one of these is going to be flooded, isn't it?"
Which room is directly beneath the one with the pump in the floor above us?


None of them, you had to proceed forward to go down the stairs, meaning you are not aligned with any of them. It should be to your right and rear.


Aw ponyfeathers.
"Well, this is gonna be fun. If anyone has a quill and parchment, keeping a map might be a good idea…"
I'll check out the door on the left.
"Probably. Maybe all of them, maybe none of them. I just wish they were labeled, but those are too worn out."


With a groan, you force the door. After you dislodge it, it springs open, flooding the room with water!

Lilly's torch is doused. It is totally dark in Upper Primary Access.

Level: 50%
Rate: +5%


Force it shut, force it shut! '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


With some effort, you manage to shove the door back into place. It seals tight.

Level: 55%
Rate: 0%


Cough a bit.
"Well, that one's flooded."


"I don't see a damn thing in here, how are we going to deal with this darkness?"


"Well, it's not like we can just drag one of those Lightning Bottle lines down here!"
I'll stop for a second.
"Can we?"


"I doubt it, but we can try I guess. Maybe your priest friend has flares lying around or something. He must have some supplies lying around at least."


"Well, since they're too hot to hold onto by themselves, what about if we held them by the rope they're on instead? Two ponies in front with each end of the strand, so that we can see where we're going?"


"Like I said, we can try."


With a nod, I'll scoot up the stairs as quick as I can.
I'll see if I can't grab the end of a line of lightning bottles, as opposed to one in the middle.


Maeda and Selena

Yesterday didn't work out for meeting with DLC, but you've made a new appointment for noon today! Now that you've rallied you can all go as a group.

You pull down a string near the top of the room and bring it down with you below. It lights the room quite well. The buzzing sound of the lights seems slightly ominous, and the water around you grows warm.


Look at Maeda.
"Do you have a plan?"


"Okay well… let's hope the lightning inside doesn't go mental. Try a different door?"


Well, as long as we don't stay in one place too long, it shouldn't be a problem. Or if the bottles don't break.
I'll speak around the cord.
"Let's check the right door."


DLC needs a big season ender. Something to sell subscriptions and turn heads, attracting investors all over.
I will offer to co-finance a campaign on Enkilji with the help of the Inquisition Authority."


The water flows out of your room as the new one opens.

Water level: 25%

It's totally dark in there.

When you're ready, you can go up to the conference room on level four.


Not for long. In we go with the lights.



"Hmmm, good plan."
Put on some of my perfume.

Where's Aira?


Since we lost a day, could we decide on what stupid downtime stuff we did during it?

Off we go.


Quarters Access

This elongated corridor stretches at least twenty meters down. The left side is intermittently broken up by normal, wooden doors - six of them. On the right side, there are only two doors on the right side, one about half way, and another at the end. The first portal has no door to speak of, and the ultimate one has an airlock-type rubberized door. There is also one more airlock-type door at the far end on the opposite wall.

The water level here is slowly draining.

Water level: 18%

You spent the day with Aira, of course. Eventually she forgave you for being a rude inquisitor.

Aira is with you, running her hoof along a phantom instrument.


P-poor Aira…
I'll have to get her guitar back!
Anyway go in.


Well, there are drains, so that's something.
"Think we should check the one at the left end first, or the one on the right wall?"


You head up past the bouncers to what appears to be a board room of sorts on the top floor. It's filled with all sorts of nicely dressed ponoes. At the far end of the table, dressed in a white suit and a Dixie-style ten gallon white hat is Delano Landry Charles himself.

"Well well, right on time today. Now I hear, I say I hear you girls have something to say about the inquisition? Those are mighty powerful words to throw around in my town, I hope you have something worth my time."

Though he has a jolly attitude, it seems almost ominous when he says that…


Hmmmm… which way to get beneath that other pump room…


… Right one. The one on the right. I think.


To clarify, there are six doors on the left, two on the right, and one on the end


No rubberized doors on the right… Well, I'm still checking both.


Step forth.
"I will go straight to the point.
An old ritual is about to unfold in Enkilj and it must be stopped.
Now, seeing how you are a pony of business, I, on behalf of the inquistion, have an offer to discuss."


Well, the ones that are open have most likely already been gone through, and only the rubberized doors would be the ones with the drain lever, since it would be waterproofed.


"Well, spit it out then, girl, I don't need all the trimmin's just get to the bottom of it."

The first portal opens to a somewhat open space, it's too dark to see inside.

The second one is a rubberized airlock-type door.

You force the second door on the right. It's a pumping station! The lever is up.


Well, that's convenient! Pull the lever.


Well… I got it right after all!

Flick the lever upwards.


Marina pulls the lever down and tackles Lilly when she tries to revert it back up. That airhead!

The water quickly drains from the floor.


"Turn the end of season quests into a full scale attack on Enkilj.
I'm talking formations, ranks, battleplans, all the stuff.
Wipe the city off the map, burn it to the ground. The Inquisition will cover half the expenses."


And that takes care of this floor.
"You silly, what's the point of draining the floor if you're just gonna flood it again?"


"It's a bold strategy, girl, I'll give you that. And you can guarantee your end of the bargain?"


Oh fuck off.
"Do you think there's more levels below us?"


"The Inquisition is already aware of the situation.
They are quite loose with the treasury when it comes to world-ending threats.


"Seems likely. It is a pyramid."


"Hm. Well, in that case, I think we have a deal! That is… if you can convince… my three executive directors."

Dun dun dunnn!

A secretary ponoe rolls in a chalkboard with some notes for you:
Nothing is more dangerous, arbitrary, or has a looser grip on reality than an executive director. You can roll diplomacy targeted at each director to try and improve their opinion. Make sure you include one of these important business buzzwords!
Try to figure out what each executive likes!

Executive A [Hostile]: "But what about the working ponies?"

Executive B [Hostile]: "I fail to see how this expands our core competency."

Executive C [Hostile]: "Gameshows are back."


"Selena! I will need your help on this!"

Strike a winning pose, hoof pointing towards the endless possibilities of tomorrow!
"It's about fidelization of the core audience while offering positive innovation to the focus-group tested formula!"


Targeting executive A.
"Think about all the work that will be needed afterwards! Rebuilding homes, building gardens, farms! You know how much earth ponies love to farm! You can monetize the farming!
Imagine it! You give them money for harvesting the crops, and then offer them new and better shiny seeds, which they buy of course with the money you offered them earlier for the crops!
It's free food!
You can call it… Farmquest! A new way to quest! The adventure of farming!"

Do I have to roll for that?



Roll #1 9 = 9


Mine was for Executive B.

Roll #1 3 = 3


A secretary rolls in a chalk board that reads: Round 2!

Executive A [Reluctant]: "I can see how we could operationalize that solution-centric infrastructure."

Executive B [Hostile]: "Do we have the brand technologies to manage this kind of mission statement?"

Executive C [Hostile]: "Our marketability is based on a transition between client-centric solutions and market place profitabilities."


"But that's not all! You can synergize it with your subscriptions. Only ponies with a high rank can buy that shiny fence for their little plot of field!" '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5


"The infrastructure needed is a stepping stone in the building of a sustainable working environment for all your employees, using synergy as the first mean of brand propulsion!"
Still B.

Roll #1 6 = 6


A secretary rolls in a chalk board that reads: Round 3! Coffee break SOON!

Executive A [Approving]: "Hm! That's a real paradigm shift in client-centric solvency."

Executive B [Reluctant]: "Leveraging market integrations such as that won't be possible without management reform."

Executive C [Approving]: "Functionality at this point is only as viable as our ability to supply fundamentals to a future-visualizing generation of globalizers!"


Wink at executive A "That's genius of you!"

Is C also approving? Then I'll wait for Maeda to finish off B and smile at Aira.


You can work on the same executive


"The right attitude will bring in an holistic thinking, a swoop of sustainability to create what's bound to be the essence of your brand's future name and place in the world!"

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Yes, let's make Enkilj great again!" '1d10'

Roll #1 6 = 6


Executive A [Optimistic]: "Hm! That's a real paradigm shift in client-centric solvency."

Executive B [Reluctant]: "Terrible! Are you drinking the Kool-Aid? Modern structure is a hollistic-free experience."

Executive C [Hostile]: "Robust solutions can't be achieved on the bleeding edge!"

DLC waves his hooves. "Gentleponies, gentleponies. Let's think on it over coffee, and then pick it up after."

A secretary brings in coffee for everyone. You can strategize on vision fulfillment and pick up after. Tell me when you're ready.


I forgot new text for Executive A. But it's somehow realistic that he would repeat the same thing.


Drink my cup of coffee.
"What do you think, Aira?"


"I think that executives approve less over time if you don't pay attention to them. Also at least one of them seems to be changing his opinion purely at random!"


"I wish I could control the invisible hoof of the market.
Just to slap them all."


"Yes, that third one is rather odd…"


A secretary is collecting coffee mugs. Whenever you're ready.


Let's do it


Go ahead and make it happen


"Right. Let's do this.
Selena, you take on Exec. B, I'm not breaking through with him!"

And up we go! Retaliate against Ex.C!
"The edge must be bled dry for innovation to happen on the other side! And those cut behind are the dead weight of the old world!"

Roll #1 1 = 1


"That's not necessarily a bad thing!It's an opportunity to streamline the organization and make the company more sustainable!"


Roll #1 8 = 8


A secretary brings out a new chalkboard. Round 4!

Executive A [Optimistic]: "Can we afford not to invest in efficiency?"

Executive B [Optimistic]: "These trajectories satisfy market advancements of recycled corporatism."

Executive C [Optimistic]: "Down-sizing is core to our strategic administration."


"Tag! You take C!"


I take A.
"A pony asks, a pony answers!
No! You must invest to monetize!"

Roll #1 2 = 2



"thats what makes our idea so innovative. Ponies do the farming themselves with minimal overhead costs for you."



Roll #1 5 = 5


A secretary rolls in another board. Round 5

Executive A [Optimistic]: "Can you punch up that message? We need to get back to fundamentals."

Executive B [Optimistic]: "What are you bringing to the table in terms of scalable profitability?"

Executive C [Approving]: "Flexibility is important not just to our customer base, but also to potential customer bases."


"What's more fundamental than farming. We're going back to the roots. That's sure to appeal to the urban market."

I hope appeal to a market is also a good word like one of that list you gave


Roll #1 5 = 5


It's not, you didn't include a buzzword that executives like


"The ability to synergize normal questing with the explosion of the latest biz will create an holistic effect on the popularity of the brand!"



Roll #1 1 = 1


"It will be innovative!"


A secretary rolls in another board. Round 6. Meeting ends soon!!

Executive A [Approving]: "That's a strategic design I can allocate!"

Executive B [Optimistic]: "How can we bring micro cross-generation appeal?"

Executive C [Approving]: "Expansion opportunities await!"


"I'm glad you agree. This new plan will synergize well with the current organization!"


Roll #1 9 = 9


Address B.
"With the Infrastructure of hope for the future, localizing the focus of your questers into the difference from job a to job b on a quarterly scale!"

Roll #1 6 = 6


A was already Approving, so Selena talks to C instead. She doesn't make a dumb mistake that would cost Maeda the deal by talking to B.

Executive A [Approving]: "Now that's synergy without any of the red-tape of innovation!"

Executive B [Approving]: "I love it! It's a new level of networking. Networking 2.0! And not holistic in scope, either."

Executive C [Approving]: "I didn't listen to a word you said, but I sure had some good coffee."

DLC nods approvingly. "You've made some good points. Hell, if you can convince my executives, it has my stamp of approval. We'll start organizing something. Have your ponies call my ponies."


Let out a long, hard sigh of relief and fall back on the ground!
"Fighting monsters is easier!"


"Thank you, mister Charles!"


"Please, call me DLC! Everyone does! And help yourselves to some coffee on the way out. Now about that 2 o'clock…"

He starts reorganizing the executives. None of them actually leave the room, he just directs them to sit in different seats. Clearly the high-power business world is a mysterious one.



You spent the rest of day in conferences about strategy.

Maeda, Selena, and Rhanna

Tomorrow is the day of the big event. All around town you can see adventurers getting ready, and the last minute sales of gear is out in force.

If you have something you want to get done before the attack on Enkilj, it's probably best to get it done today.


I should brew some potions!
Health potions to give '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


You distribute those potions to your compatriots.


Help! I'm a lost puppy!


I need to check the library at the monastery!


One for Aira definitely!
I should get some spell potions going!
Take my time and brew 2 Bolster potions and a Homing Magic potion!


In more ways than one, no? But you're in town with Selena.

Want to set out alone, or get the others?

You prepare those potions in your room.


I think this could be done alone.
Just in case, I'm gonna ask you two if you care for it and would like to come along back to the monastery.


That's good. Put it in some bottles and in my saddlebags.

"Sure, I'll come with you, Maeda."


"Great! Now the giant birds will be no problem!"


"How did you get past them the first time anyway?"


You head down the coast for the distant dock. Roll for encounters, whoever is leading.


You know I am!

Roll #1 9 = 9


"We ran!"

Roll #1 9 = 9


I'm assuming Selena is leading from here on out.

You find local plantain trees near the coast. When you're ready to move on, roll for encounters.


Ready to move.


My, what nice trees!
Leading '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7


Near the monastery dock, you find a group of 20-30 adventurers staking out the area, setting up tents, hauling empty treasure chests off a nearby cutter, and generally preparing a forward post. Enkilj is further south still.

You head into the interior of the jungle and pass the ruins. They seem quiet and undisturbed since the last time you visited. Something gives you a chill, recalling it, but maybe that's just because one of you was a cloth doll at the time.

You approach the now-infamous bridge. Nesting birds lurk below on the cliffs.


>thread refuses to update
"Suuure, I'll come along"

Roll #1 1 = 1


You don't need to roll, it was just for encounters!


"Sooooo, what did you last time again, Maeda?"


"Because running might not cut it this time…"


I knew that!
"What's the deal with all those ponies With the chests back there anyways? Oh and maybe you could fly over the bridge away from them… I'm smaller so maybe if I go through the bridge reeeeeally quietly they'll not go after me and Maeda… Hmn… I don't know… I could carry her if she was a cute little doll again…"


Look at Rhanna…
Then put a hoof on her shoulder.
"Rhanna. You are an adult now, aren't you?
Well I need to ask you something I'd only ask of an adult.
I need your help."


Look at you suspiciously.


"Uhh… Suuuuure? What you need Maeda?"


"I need you to…"
In a solemn tone, take a deep breath before continuing.
"Make as much noise as possible and run away from the bridge!"


"Maeda, no.
We're either going over that bridge together or not at all!"

Scratch my head and pull out of my hat an encyclopedia about dangerous birds '1d10+2'

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


You pull out a children's book about seagulls. Dammit!



File: 1443308804273.png (29.17 KB, 754x497, Dungeon.png) ImgOps Google

Iga, Marina, and Lilly

Quarters Access
Turning back to the elogonated hall, it has fully drained now. There are an assortment of doors on the opposite side of the hall, as well as a couple on this side of the hall. If you went all the way down to the left end, you'd be back in the Upper Primary Access. If you went to the far left end, you'd find another rubberized door.


Well, let's check the rooms, now that the water's drained. No surprise flooding to worry about now. Starting at the nearest door to the pumping station and working back towards the landing.


I sort of want to check the other passageways behind us.


These five rooms on the north end of the hall serve as modest quarters. With bunk-style beds, each would be suitable for four ponies, with little extra room. The drawers here already look rifled. It seems as though statues and paintings were probably removed.

The exploration of these five rooms leaves only the door at the end of the hall, and the other door on the south side of the hall.

That's very vague.


If these are the quarters then this is where ponies slept yes? There must be bedrooms here.


It seems that Marina is poking her nose around in just such sort of rooms


There's two passages behind us (one going north and the other west), it's not vague at all! I want to see what's there.


Which do you want to investigate, west or north?


Right, let's look what's in the other sealed room in this hallway.


Ideally both of them, but I guess I can start with the west passageway.


"We were not the first. No treasure left. It is a shame."

"How will we deal with not-so-dead hydra?"


"I'm still trying to think about that. I mean, it'd be one thing if we had any idea what it's doing here or who brought it back to life, but I don't even know what's on the next floor."
Grumble a little.
"Kinda wish mom would have at least told me which room the altar's supposed to go in."


You force the 'airlock' rubberized door.

Moon Pool
This is a large, circular chamber with a domed glass roof. Outside, you can see sealife and encrusted vestiges of the shoreline, such as seaweed and barnacle growth.

The room itself is tiled in mosaic and features a prominent, shallow pool, no deeper than half a meter. It seems to have some ritual significance. Telltale rings around the pool suggest the removal of statues.

Your compatriots split off from you to look in a different room.

Iga and Lilly split off from Marina to force a different door.

Workshop Access
This moderately-sized squarish room is not square with the rest of the building, instead oriented at 45 degrees. It features four prominent sets of double doors on each wall. The room has sconces for torches, but none are lit. It is still moist and smells of the sea, as it was filled with water not long ago.


"It is very unfortunate. It will yield us nothing to kill-kill it. It will not make good sushi ingredient."

I am?


Any useful tools still lying around or did the seawater rust them to oblivion?


Well, I didn't expect it to be untouched, what with the cataloging Cumin was doing.
I don't suppose there are any places that look like an altar would fit?


There are no apparent tools laying around on the floor. There is an old half-burned out torch which is soaked to the core laying around.

Nowhere immediately apparent. Maybe Cumin could offer more insight on what temple rooms were used for.


You'd think.
Anyway, I'll go rejoin the others. It's not like we'd be lucky enough that the altar would be so far from the bottom, where that hydra is.


They've headed into the Workshop Access. This moderately-sized squarish room is not square with the rest of the building, instead oriented at 45 degrees. It features four prominent sets of double doors on each wall. The room has sconces for torches, but none are lit. It is still moist and smells of the sea, as it was filled with water not long ago.


I'll take whatever torches I can. Might be useful once they're dry!


Well, if it's the access, that means the workshops aren't far. Let's check the double doors on the wall opposite of where I entered.


The wall opposite of you is no wall at all, it's a corner!


You know what I mean. The set of doors along the wall that is across from the entrance.


I will open one of these double doors.
"Reveal your secrets."


You open the doors to the forward-left. This room is roughly triangular shaped, with your side representing the hypotenuse. There are a series of long workbenches in this chamber and two central brick mounds which likely served as heating braziers. The top of this room is funneled to channel smoke up.

This room is still littered with unlooted goods. Spears, tongs, and rough, empty buckler frames. The weapon's rack is tipped over. The whole room reeks of the smell of the sea: obviously it was completely submerged.


Oh, and Blacksmith Workshop


Frown a bit while prodding a spear.
"Well, this could have done with being dry…"


What condition are these tools in?

"I like the smell of the sea, but it's just a little too intense down here."


Most of the metal in here is badly rusted out. You can Search for other stuff.



Can't hurt to look. You never know.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Ok. How about the room next to this one?

"It is a good smell. Reminds me of home."


Careful examination reveals a large, dead yellowtail amberjack. It was 'beached' by the removal of water from the chamber. Looks fresh.

Woodcraft Workshop
This room is characterized by a series of desks which create a rough circle, though most are toppled over inward or outward. In the center, there is a huge wooden statue of Luna, which itself has lost balance and is leaning against the far wall. The wood in this room is completely soaked through. The floor is dotted with loose carving knives and miniature idols, torches, stock poles, buckler cores, and various worship goods such as prayer beads.


Ugh. Marina and Iga will love this.

I'll give it to my fish friend and then follow Iga.


You arrive in the Woodcraft Workshop. There are two other workshops you haven't visited, also.


I will collect some of these carving knives and idols.


Your bag can fit three idols or a bunch of knives. The knives are very rusty.




They are perfect to inflict tetanus. Next workshop?


You fill up your bag with knives, then.

The door to the third workshop seems jammed. You might need help with this one.

Iga is trying to force the third worksshop door.

Still at the bridge


I guess I'll give Iga a hoof, then.

Roll #1 8 = 8


I'll help out Iga.

Roll #1 2 = 2


How do I reeeeach past this bridge?
"Sure wish we could do something like a smoke machine…"


"Ah come on… It's a good enough plan, miss Selena. The birds will come after me, you two will have your way free on the bridge, and I'll keep the gulls distracted!"


Flooded Workshop
With great effort, you force the door. After it becomes dislodged, it blasts back, sending the three of you sprawling onto your backs. A wave of water washes into the room, and it slowly begins to fill. The reason becomes immediately apparent. A large section of the rear wall of this workshop appears to be missing: it's pouring in faster than the tubes can pump water out. Whatever this workshop once was, anything in it has long disintegrated or washed away.


"Nah Rhanna, mine was a joke."


Hat magic a smoke machine? '1d20+2'

Roll #1 13 + 2 = 15



Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


Right, we need to close this fucker down again.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Close it back up! '1d10'

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Wait whaaat?" I turn to you, flustered
"Now you just made me look stupid!"
Cross my arms
"Well at least miss Selena will think of something I guess…"


Bad! Close it!


With great effort, you move to either side of the doors, and slowly force it closed. The Workshop Access has flooded to body level, and is slowly draining.

A cloud vat is the only technology you've seen that engineers smoke. It's too big (needs a roll of 10+).


"No luck huh?…Can't we… Just kill them?"


A smoke grenade could totally work! But I guess we have to do something else.
Describe the surroundings please.


Bah! Fish water!

Let's check the next door and open that one up.

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Maybe make a fire and smoke them out?"


Also let's take a good look at those seagulls and see what we can make out of them, put that brain to work

Roll #1 3 = 3


Wait, is Maeda a pegasus?


You are at a precarious old wooden bridge, though you know from past experience that it was successfully borne the weight of several ponies running at once: it's stronger than it looks. Nearby are a mix of tropical trees, you recognize palm among them. The cliffs proper are home to a number of bird nests which, to casual observation, look like common birds of prey, similar to pelicans. Only with your knowledge of the scale do you know they are quite large. Their habitation location seems prime to hunt, but they are surprisingly high up on the cliffs rather than near the water. The bridge proper is a rope bridge with suspension reinforcement. Wooden and three layers of old, frayed rope.

The path leading to and from the bridge is a worn dirt path, characterized by occasional use. This area seems like it has active game. There are probably useful wild flora in this region.

Upper Menagerie
You force another workshop door. This room is totally dark, save for your torch. It's a narrow mezzanine with a balcony overlooking a larger room below. On the opposite wall, around the large central opening to the lower room, there is a stairway down, half-hidden in the shadows.

They are not sea-gulls, they are large birds of prey that seem more closely related to pelicans. They seem well adapted to hunt flying animals as opposed to fish.

Earth Pony


"Maeda, I can fly around and take one of you up. If we're high enough, we won't disturb them.
Then I can come back and pick you up."


"Findd anything interesting, Lilly?"


"Sounds reasonable."


"Who's going first?"


"I don't think Rhanna even needs to come along.
Less risk."


Seagull, pelicans, same thing!
"Okay. Maeda can go first and I'll stay behind and shoot anything that tries to bother you"


"I can help…"


"I'm just gonna look for a book in an old dusty library, there should be no danger!"


"Gosh… Okay…"


I peek in behind her
"More stairs. Temple is most complicated."


"Rhanna, I'll come back for you!"


Pick up Maeda and fly a bit away from the bridge before crossing the canyon.


"Yeah there's more stairs alright…"


"But no sign of the hydra yet, right?"


When you take off, the birds on the cliffs below rise into the air. They begin to give chase, ignoring Rhanna.


Guess that's what we should have done in the first place!


''I'll be fine, don't worry''
Ah dangit i knew this would happen
Take aim and shoot one of them to call their attention!

Roll #1 3 = 3


"Do you hear me screaming my lungs out?"
Look over the balcony and hold out my torch.


"Well, no, but wouldn't screaming alert it to us before we're ready for it? I think you're smart enough not to panic like that."


It's dark down there!

You can't see the whole way down, but you see the tops of a number of metal cages. They don't look very rusty, which is a perk.

From deep below, you hear an ominous clicking sound.


"If you're such a tactician, why don't you take point!"


I will go hidden in my chameleon smoke.

Roll #1 2 = 2


You can take six outside of combat.

You accidentally toss the smoke bomb down the hole instead of hitting the ground. Whoops, it's dark.


"Because you've got the torch and can fly, silly."
I'll poke around the workshop a little longer.
"At any rate, we're going to need to find the doors to that set of stairs."


Get back down quickly!


Rhanna makes a glancing blow on Bird 2 while the other two ponoes land!

Giant Bird 2 rears on Rhanna and glancingly pecks her!

Giant Bird gnashes at Maeda for a full snap of the beak!

Maeda [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░]
Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░]
Selena [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓]

Giant Bird 1
Giant Bird 2


"Stupid birds, what's wrong with you?!?"
Shoot the first giant bird '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1


I will take 6 for that smoke bomb instead. That other bomb did nothing bad I hope


''Hey! hey! get outta here! shoo shoo!'' I wait until it tries to peck me again so I can jump and grab it!

Roll #1 6 = 6


You vanish into the smoke.


Maeda moved back.

You fire wildly and trip!

A giant bird moves forward and snaps you up into its beak. You're trapped inside! (Critical)

You climb onto its back. It turns its head and attempts to peck you while fluttering madly, attempting to dislodge you.

The damage is glancing, and you remain onboard.

Giant Bird [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░]
Giant Bird [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓]

Maeda [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░]
Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░]
Selena [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░] HLP (TRP)


Oh dang I just got the craziest idea
Let's ride it and fly it around, it shall be our new mount!
''Hyaa! Calm down boy!'' Let's try holding into it and lead it to a crash course with the other bird that got Selena!

Roll #1 10 = 10


Struggle out! '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


Any instructor would definitely tell you this is a very stupid idea. Wild birds can't be tamed without significant personal training by a skilled expert. Fortunately, you're mostly just trying to get it to crash.

You jerk uneasily on the giant bird's neck, causing it to lurch sideways and collide into Selena's foe. I wouldn't count on that happening again.

You get minorly injured, but retain your seat.

You get spat out, but you're still helpless from tripping!

The bird that spat you out struggles up from helplessness.

Maeda [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░]
Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░]
Selena [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░] HLP


G-get up! '1d10'

Roll #1 9 = 9


Seeing that Selena got free, I wave at her ''yer welcome!''
Before turning to the bird and making sure it has the worst day of it's life, biting and clawing it down and pulling it's wings
'1d10' trash

Roll #1 2 = 2


You're back up!

The bird wings you glancingly with… a wing.

You glancingly wound it, and it finally dislodges you. You roll to the ground, off its back.

Giant Bird 1
Giant Bird 2

Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░]
Selena [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]


Do a sick backflip and get up on the roll and stand back up and shoot the bird!

Roll #1 8 = 8


Fuck this.
Fervor and jump at Giant Bird 1.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Forgot the skill name, but the one where I spill something all over the bird. The one that gets more dmg the more it recharges.

Roll #1 6 = 6


You decide not to do a backflip while standing on the bridge. Yes, that seems like a better idea.

It tries to dodge and escape, but you finish it off. It crashes into the expanse below.

You glancingly stab at it with your polearm. It replies in-kind with a return glancing peck.

You coat the bird in acid with a high-pressure spray. It looks badly burned.

Giant Bird 1

Maeda [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░] FER
Rhanna [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░]
Selena [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]





Roll #1 10 = 10


(Crit) At its heart, you stab at it! You finish off the bird, and collapse with exertion.


Up up up.
No time to be idle.

Roll #1 9 = 9


The danger has passed, you don't need to roll for it.

You help yourself up.


And fuck the birds.
Dust myself off and nod at the others, it's time to go.


Shoot it '1d10'

Roll #1 5 = 5


You head deeper into the jungle. As you crest the next hill, you make out the distant stone architecture of St. Szwall.

The trip there is mostly uneventful, and you arrive without further incident. The place doesn't look as though it has changed since you last visited, at least from casual observation.


There is nothing to shoot.


It says there's 1 giant bird!


Backflips are always a good idea
''You two are alright? Still need me to stay here?''


That was dead back when you were at the cliffs. You followed Maeda, right?


I must have missed that.
I'm following


I'd hope to be not too much of a casual by this point, so let's '1d10' observe.
Then move in for the library.

Roll #1 7 = 7


The rain from the other night seems to have washed away your hoofprints from your last visit. The well retains the rope ladder that you used to remove wealth from its depths. There are a few recently broken windows, but it's hard to tell if that happened when the demons were here.

You head to the library. What do you want to look for?


That one book from my vision.


"What are we looking for Maeda?"


"An old book.
Say, remember what happened in Reptil?"




You search the library at length for a copy of Annals of Yore. It takes nearly an hour just to find it.

You open it to the page from the vision. It appears to be a poetry book.

Crowns Stacked
Three Tiers Atop
First, For Wealth
Second, For Freedom
Third, For Revenge
Final Room
Escape Is Made
Storm Rages Below
Moment Arrives
No Option Remains
Far Away
Do Not Fear
Dash And Fly

More cryptic clues… still, it does provoke some thought into why your vision lead you to this poem. What did the author mean? Was it intended for you, or just repurposed? How much is useful to you?



"Remember what Red talked about?"
Absent-mindedly scour the library.
A poem which follows the very elusive dogdick metric, I see.




"Well, I aim to stop that."


It's a big library. You find books.

Experience Fillydelphia
Enhancing the Well-Being of Children Through Interventions
Implementing Strategic Sourcing
The Murder at Vicarsgate
Approaches to Basic Physics
Living the Dream
Le Viandier de Taillevent
On Translation
Scholarship Review Questions CSPT 799CE v1.2
An Apprentice to Truth
Writing Colors


I scrunch.


The last two titles are interesting!
"By stopping a million millions ponies from dying."


"But how?"


The former is from the fiction section. It's hard to judge what it's about due to its narrative nature.

The latter is from the arts section. It's about approaches to teaching watercolor painting.


"How you think?
I need to stop that madmare before it's too late.
The Inquisition knows already."
Neeeevermind. Shit.
Give me and Selena a moment because we might have to duel to the death.


"No, I don't want her dead…"


"It's not something which has to happen. Not if some mare can show her the light of day."


"Maybe I can, or if not I'll guard her for the rest of my life.
But I don't want her to die.
I can't allow that."


"This library might hold the secret to stopping that, without hurting anypony.
This is what I'm looking for."


I nod.
"Maeda, just please, both you and Red are the children of ponies very dear to me. Don't force me to chose…"


"I'm not asking you to choose between me and anyone else.
I'm telling you that the time will come when Red will have to stand down, for the good of Equestria.
And if she won't, she will have to confront the final judgment."


"…I won't let her die."


"You seem convinced she won't repent and forsake her heretic endeavors."


"I know her.
But she's not a bad pony. Just stubborn."


"Thus she'd lead thousands to die because she is 'just stubborn'?"


"You seem convinced she's going to cause a war. She hasn't yet. And she doesn't have an army."


"You seem uninstructed to the concept of a revolution.
A civil war."


"If Red gets enough support to start a revolution, maybe something really is wrong. Perhaps the Inquisition could spend some money helping the poor in Reptil instead of running after Red."


"Even if just ten thousand ponies revolt, in a country of one hundred millions, it will be ten thousand dead ponies.
Because of the stubbornness of a charismatic mare who could not steady her hoof in the face of truth."


"Then you have to convince her of the truth, not kill her! What are you looking for in here?!?"


"This book."
Show the passage to her.
"And this page."


Read it.
"That? Why? There's something you're not telling me!"


"Not really. It's a vision, can't make sense of it myself as things stand right now."


"Hmmmm, so what do we do next?"


"We go back, I guess. And focus on killing the bad ponies this time.
That's one of those 'good' things everypony can agree on, no?"




Getting too crusaderous for this shit.


Let's just roll with going back.


The trip is uneventful until you reach the bridge.

Rhanna spent the time studying the birds and informs you that the reason that they have attacked every time you have tried to cross the bridge is that every time somepony was flying. They prey upon flying animals. They didn't attack the time that Marina and Maeda went because neither can fly.


Resist urge to slap a bitch


''Pretty funny thing huh? Anyways did you two find what you were looking for?''


[murderous intent intensifies]


"I'm not sure…"


Since obviously none of you are going to fly now, you cross the bridge without conflict. The birds make ominous noises, but never leave their perches.

You pass through the abandoned village without incident, and reach the coast.

Party lead, roll for encounters on the coast.



Roll #1 1 = 1




As you're traveling back north up the coast, you run into a pack of settlers who seem unconcerned about the mounting war effort along the coast. They're toting large sleds full of goods to help settle the savage lands of the south. They seem upbeat and cheerful, and give you a friendly wave as you approach from the distance, but make no move to stop as you draw closer. They wear extremely unusual garments, black leather with spikes. You'd think they were raiders, if they weren't so naturally amiable.

Do you want to stop and chat?



They look like friendly fellows, let's chat
But also take a good look at them as I do with everything that moves

Roll #1 6 = 6




The party leader is a mild-mannered looking young mare with a blue mane. Unlike her compatriots, she is not wearing leather and spikes, but rather an open-back starry blue dress. She has a tail-band, too. One of her fellows seems to follow directly behind her, perhaps serving as a bodyguard.

"Afternoon, neighbors. I expect you're headed up the coast to New Earth?"

They don't seem like they have hostile intentions. It's difficult for you to put your claw on what's strange about their garb, because it isn't something in your expertise.


"Yes, we are. Is that where you are coming from?"


Weird dudes these are
''yeaah, why?''


"Yes, we're about half an hour gone by now. The way has been mild for us, at least, it seems there are quite a few sellswords clearing the coast, so it should be easy enough to make your way back."

"Just making conversation. You did signal us to stop, after all. What was it you needed?"

The stallion draws a little closer to his apparent charge.


"Nothing, sorry to disturb you. We should go."


''That's good to hear mister, bye!Oh before I go, do you want a caramel?''


"We just wanted to say hi and wish you a pleasant journey!
Where are you from? I love your clothes!"


"Come by and visit. We're hoping to get a robust trade route set up soon."

"Ah, my dear, I am a mare. That's alright though, I'm actually a bit of a sweet tooth and if I had just one caramel, it would get me too hungry for more! I appreciate the offer, though."

"We're Equestrian settlers. We've received a charter to build a new town to the far south of here. Admittedly, some are more eager than others to get to the civilization building, but I imagine we'll have a robust town up soon. Not more than a week out we expect our first ship of arrivals, and by that time I hope to have a dock, townhouse, and storehouse up. It'll be a lot of work, but we're earth ponies – equal to the task at least. It sounds like your friends are ready to get moving, and we shouldn't dally either. How about a promotional flyer you can keep?"

The stallion accompanying the mare bends down to inspect her tail more closely, at least, as far as you can tell from your angle. He breaks off as they start moving, and soon, they're far off.

You examine the pamphlet: Help Tame Scenic New World


Shrug ''Alright, miss…See you''
I'll have the caramel myself then!
''Miss Selena why was that stallion looking at that mare's tail?''


Keep that pamphlet. Any note on who wrote it.

"You'll understand when you're older, Rhanna."


kick the ground a little, grumbling


The notes on the back say that it was penned by a representative of the mayor's office, one Geneva.

One more encounter roll



Roll #1 4 = 4


'1d10' I got it this time!

Roll #1 3 = 3




The way back is uneventful, but you have some difficulty getting into town because there are so many adventurers packing the streets and packing bags. It slows your travel time a bit as you try to find a less congested route, and eventually make it back to your hotel.


Stretch and yawn, making a mental note about what did that goat needed again


I see DLC's got this thing rolling already.
Stop a bunch of adventurers and ask them what their plans are.


That was something!
"I'm starving!"


His voice echoes in your memory:
> "The Repair-Type bolt solves a degradation problem I've run into. I've heard they have them up in Novdogod. The #1 Ionium Jet is a Manako Group design, somewhere up in Equestria. I need it to boost propulsion to break the atmosphere. Finally, there's the Omega Stabilizer. I can make it myself, but I need Ghost Sponge, and it only grows on the shores of Abeardeen."




Upper Menagerie
It's too dark to make out the lower chamber, but you can see the tops of various cages below. There's an ominous clicking below.


"What causes that clicking noise?"


Well, I don't like the sounds of that, but we still need to find the stairs. Must be through another door, possibly the other one we didn't go through at the landing.
"Hopefully that hydra doesn't have any friends."


How do we get down there aside from flying?


There is a narrow stone stairway on the opposite side of the room, if you follow the edge around the balcony.


"… Maybe Iga and I can just carry you down, Marina."


"But that doesn't help the guys with the alter, though. We'll need to find a way down they can use, too."


"Which there clearly isn't, Marina. Come on. There's a stairway on the other side of the room, we'll need to reach a way around to that.


"I'm pretty sure it's through that other door we haven't gone through, yet, but if you want to jump ahead, I guess that's your call."


Alright, let's check that last door before I go completely nuts.


Can I explore this room while in stealth?


There are two doors you haven't visited. Exiting the workshop access in the upper primary access, the door on your left, or continuing to the quarters access, on your right.

You can also just walk around.

You can creep around on the ground. There's not much to see far from Lilly's torch, though, due to the complete lack of lighting in here.


Maybe We can walk around and check where those stairs go on the other side of this room. Let's do that.


I kinda meant that third door at the landing, where we came down to this floor, but if there's another workshop here, we should probably poke around.


The stairs look a little… worn. You should be careful on your descent.

The clicking is nearer now.

There isn't another workshop, you didn't read the response correctly. EXITING the workshop access, INSIDE the upper primary access.


Fuck sake. The altar is way too heavy for this.

I want to know what this clicking is. I'm investigating the source if I can.


I follow.


Bleugh. We need a map-taker. Cartographer. That's the word. Should have seen if Cumin had drawn up a map while he was down here.
Let's check that left-side door.


Lower Menagerie
This chamber is much larger than the observation room above. Your torch does not light it completely, and the cages in this room cast terrifying shadows in all directions. The room is moist. Enormous shellfish seem to have rooted onto the walls. Almost all of the cages are open, but those that aren't either feature skeletons or are broken open.

The room is littered with uncanny vines. Watch your step. The clicking is much louder now. It seems to come from forward in the chamber, beyond the reach of the torch.

Neophyte's Vista
This room is totally dark. Based on the clammy, stagnant air that now flows past you, you estimate the room is much larger than any you have entered so far.


Hmm. Prooooobably should stick with Lilly and the others and not wander off in the dark. She's got the string of lightning bottles, after all. Scurry off after those two.


You backtrack. Based on the lighting now covering the lower portion of the room, you quickly surmise she has descended the stairs.


Fuck that. Nope.

Going to hover over those vines and not touch them.


Yay. Very carefully make my way down those stairs.


I sneak onwards. What clicks?


Lilly takes to the air. There is a noisy clicking nearby.

Dex save, +2 for being a ninja



Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


You narrowly avoid tripping down yet another flight of stairs. The clicking echos on from below…


Now let's see, where's this clicking coming from?


Then below I push on into


I don't like that noise… One step at a time down the stairs.


It seems to be echoing from the staircase that Iga has arrived at.

You very carefully navigate down the stairs by feel.

Menagerie Depths

The clicking is extremely loud here. You can't see anything. It seems like a small space.

You reunite with Lilly


So, does that clicking sound like how crabs moved back home, or is this some more sinister form of click-clacking?


Then I'll follow her lead.


My eyes will adjust to darkness like cat on midnight hunt.


Menagerie Depths
The light of the torch casts unevenly over this small chamber. Featured prominently in the center is a barred pit, which has been snapped open. That's not what holds your attention, however.

There is a large shellfish creature hanging from the ceiling. Reacting to the light, it begins to quiver more quickly, and suddenly, it snaps open, bathing the room in acid.

Uh oh.

Ancient Krust

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░] BRN
Iga [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░] STH BRN
Marina [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░] BRN


Back up the stairs!


Oh fuck off! Run away!


The sushi that fights back!! Backstab it!

Roll #1 10 = 10


You roll across the room and stab your blade deep into the great krust. It writhes.

The Ancient Krust unleashes a triptych of acid balls! One misses, one hits, and one leaves terrible burns! You're hurt by acid burns!

Ancient Krust

Iga [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]

Lower Menagerie
You flee back up the stairs. The shellfish upstairs have opened and are spraying acid!

Lilly is hit glancingly twice!

Marina is hit glancingly once, and terribly burned by a crit!

Everyone is hurt by the Ancient Krust's acid!

Awakened Krust 1
Awakened Krust 2
Awakened Krust 3
Awakened Krust 4

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░] BRN
Marina [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░] BRN


Why. Why is this a thing.
"Lilly, go grab Iga before she gets melted to death!"
That water shouldn't have completely drained yet, I've got to wash all this crap off of me and maybe hopefully there's enough of a table left in the workshops that I can use as a shield for the three of us.


This sushi is stronger than I anticipated. I will launch my chameleon smoke.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Hell no, I'm running away from this fresh hell.


You clothe yourself in darkness after throwing a smoke bomb.

With nothing to target, the Ancient Krust pulses the whole room with acid again. Your acid coat was renewed!

Iga [▓▓▓░░░░░░░] STH BRN

You flee up to the Upper Menagerie. There are a few more half-hearted acid volleys, but eventually the krusts calm down.

You are hurt by acid!

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░]
Marina [▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]


Well, I guess I'm with you up until we hit the Upper Menagerie.


Now I run up. to the others.


"I don't think we need to be down there again. Ever."


"Hopefully not, but for the moment, we know what's in there. And that acid could be used against the zombie hydra."


"What are you even… how?"


"Well, I mean, that stuff really hurts, right? Then we lure it in here, the thingies spit acid on it, it melts, falls apart while it keeps trying to come after us."
I'll give a sorta nervous half-smile.


You have difficulty navigating the stairs in the perfect dark, but you eventually stumble your way up. At least the krusts don't detect you.


"I don't think it can even reach this room. Aren't hydras really big?"


"Well, we only saw the one entrance. I'm pretty sure it's bigger than just that."




"Wait, are you saying that towards the room is bigger, or the hydra? Because we never saw the rest of the room."


I come out of the acid pit.
"Marina-sushi speaks wisdom. Fighting hydra conventionally is impossibru for us."


"Let's just… please move on and see what else we can find. I'm going nuts down here."

"Are you okay?"


"Deep breaths, okay?"
"Also, yeah, you totally just dived into that. Are you alright?"


"I am okay."


"Good, then let's keep exploring."

Go back up the stairs. Exits?


You already were up the stairs. You're in the Upper Menagerie. On the other side of the observing balcony which stretches around the perimeter of the room, you see a door that leads to the Workshop Access.


I guess we should keep heading out, to see where that third door at the main landing leads us.
…I'm really regretting that none of us know any healing magic. If only mom had tried a little harder on getting me into that field.


That's it? Great. Back to the workshop. Let's try some place we haven't gone yet, because the layout of this place is really confusing me at this point. Why on earth is the only entrance to this room a balcony? Whatever.


You didn't fully explore the Lower Menagerie, it had the Awakened Krusts. Would you like to go back down and search it for doors?

Lilly has the torch…


Well sure, but if those clams spray me again I'm out.


The lower menagerie is full of Krusts, so until we've got some sort of acid-proof coat, no thanks. And of course she does.


They're ready to shoot again, so you don't go back down. You head back into the Workshop Access, then into the Upper Primary Access.

To your left, there is the door to the Neophytes' Vista. Ahead is the Quarters Access, which boasts an unexplored door.


Unexplored door may be a good bet. Let's check it.


Well, the Neophyte's vista was unexplored as well.


Lilly leads you to the unopened door. You open it up.

Dining Hall
This room is tiled in white. It appears to be an eating hall. To your left, there is a service counter.


"Well… there's that."


"How useful."

Any doors in here we can go through?


Food? Are there lootables here?


There's a hinged door to the kitchen on the other side of the service counter.


"I must investigate."
Go into the kitchen!


I'll grimace a little, but follow.
"I really doubt there's anything remotely edible in there…"


Your instincts tell you that this room will be full of rotten food, but that's not what your nose says.

You only have dim light to work with based on what shines over the service counter, but the nearby cutting board is coated in dried blood. There's a crate next to it that is opened.

There are two other crates in here, as well, and both are open.


Go after her.
"Oh wow. Great."


I inspect the wooden containers.


"Well, if that Cumin guy shares your dislike of anything meat, I doubt these are his…"


With the aid of Lilly's torch, you can see better. The cutting board was actually coated in tomato juice.

The nearby container has a fresh bounty from the sea: seaweed, sea grapes, and sea plantain. There is also spongy coral.

The second box contains more noodle jars, but it's almost empty.

The third box has a few old baked goods. They look mostly stale.

The light also helps you locate a coffer of stone built into the wall.


The only thing interesting to me is that coffer. I'm not too keen on seafood at this point.


I'll blink in surprise.
Then squint at the plantains and grapes.
"How did… Where did he get these?"


You pop it open. It contains some truly ancient fish, and a lot of them. They look salted for preservation - and also completely untouched.


I gag.
"Marina! This is taking it too far!"


"This is excellent to make sushi."
Can I make some sushi rolls with this seaweed and fish?


Sure. It'll really be missing something without the rice, though…


"Hey, really, don't look at me for that!"
"I don't know about sushi, but there's enough greenery here that even Lilly shouldn't complain too much."


This place seems well suited to cooking up something good.


Yes but concessions must be made. I must eat.


"If only everything wouldn't be stinking like fish!"


Well, we've got a little time, and…
I'll puff up my cheeks at that.
"Well sorry for putting the temple underwater!"
My tail will swish uncomfortably into the counter.
Frowning, I'll continue.
"And if you don't want anything to eat, I guess you don't have to eat."
With a little huff, I'll start piling up the fruits, seaweed, and whatever else I can get my hooves on. It's gonna be so gosh-darn delicious.

Roll #1 6 = 6


Marina pulls some of her extra supplies and sets to work. After about ten minutes, she finishes with a full meal.
Appetizer: Time-Lost Sushi Rolls (with Vegan Sea Plantain option)
Main Course: Sea Salad with All the Trimmings
Dessert: Seaweed Sorbet

Eating such a delicious meal… it fills you with determination. HP fully restored.

(You gained 1 temporary skill point)




I really need to learn how to cook. Or bake.


Temple Party

It's time to head to either the Menagerie Depths or Neophytes' Vista.


War Party

You've been invited to a special meeting concerning the attack on Enkilj today. It's at the command tent near the coast, a few miles from the front. When you're ready, you can head there and be briefed.


War Party?
I'm not a soldier.
What's going on?
Why do they call it a war party?
Try to not show Aira I'm confused by all this terminology '1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8


I'm ready to go deep inside the menageries depths. I want to penetrate those depths. Feel them. Touch them. Savor them.


When you're getting ready to go, Aira asks, "Do you want me to come with you to the meeting, or do you want to go on your own?"


First you'll need to deal with the awakened krusts of the lower menagerie. You head to the upper menagerie to stage your attack.


''I'm totally coming along to bodyguard her, so no worries'' I give Aira a thumbs up


"Do you want to come with me?"
Sound happy at her suggestion.


"I mean, Maeda's already there, and I'm actually older than her, I think."

She scrunches. "She acts like she's thirty, though."


I know nothing of the differences between these places.
And so I shall follow Lilly-kun.


''Wow, you're THAT old?'' I snicker


"It's just part of her job…or at least I hope so."


Upper Menagerie

It's a narrow mezzanine with a balcony overlooking a larger room below. On the opposite wall, around the large central opening to the lower room, there is a stairway down, half-hidden in the shadows.


"Are you ready to head out? I don't really have anything to pack as of right now."


"Let's go."


''Me neither, so lead the way…''


I would like to take this moment to make my hesitations known, and that we might find some sort of ranged weaponry in the Neophyte's vista, the other place we haven't gone yet.
Because seriously getting dunked in acid once is enough for me.


More shadows! I am at home in the shadows, but they are so dark i cannot see a thing. When we are out of this temple of doom, I will meditate over a solution.
For now I shall hide in my smoke [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


"What? What's wrong?"


"Did you forget the horrible shellfish on the ceiling? The ones that spat acid? The Menagerie level is where those are."


"I could have sworn we hadn't gone down here already… why don't you take the lead instead?"


You head out into the town. It seems nearly empty… most of the ponies here have already left, one way or the other. No need to walk the coast today, though: there are ferries leaving from the New Earth docks to take you to the staging area.

The docks are one of the last remaining places where ponies congregate. It's a loud and uneven journey, but eventually you make it to the raiding camp.

Proceeding into the central tent, you're welcomed with the following sights:

To your immediate left, Maeda is sitting, quietly absorbing the information. To her left is a white-and-gold robed mare wearing glasses. To her left is a heavily armored mare whose armor leaves openings for great, powerful wings. Her armor is decoratively gilded with sun imagery. On the opposite side of the table are Executives A, B, and C, as well as DLC himself, and his two secretaries. In the back of the room, sitting behind you, are Fly, Mama Anne, and a few others you don't recognize. At the head of the table is a grizzled looking stallion with a full beard and a camouflage softcap.

One of DLC's secretaries claps cheerfully. "That's everyone. Let's get started. Are introductions in order? First, I'll let our guests of honor introduce themselves, the ones who made the sales pitch."

Attention turns to you.

You hide in the dark.

Where to?


"Well, we went to the lower menagerie, and this seems to be the upper level. Point remains, those things are there and we need some way of dealing with them. Maybe there's a table or something we could use for cover? It'll block at least a few spits of acid, right?"
I'll shuffle my hooves.
"And judging by the name of it, the vista is probably just living quarters for the new converts. So if nothing else, there should be something like that in there."
Sidenote, taking Heal and Mend for the temporary skills. I figure I'll need those more than the extra HP.


I shift uncomfortably, looking at Selena as well, unsure if I should introduce myself too.
For now I just decide to stay quiet


"Good morning, everypony!"


You aren't a cleric.

The room is quiet. Somepony shifts in their seat behind you.


"You know what? Sure. You lead, I follow."


"I'm Selena Springleaf!
Are you ready to get some ranks and bonus experience?"


''Uh…yeah, Morning!'' Do a toothy smile
Following her lead I nod ''Yeah! Tons of Experience! Enough Experience to seep out of your pockets!''


My companions are very indecisive. I shall go to this vista to see what there is to find.


Oh. Right. The thing only lets me take skills I can actually use. Shoot. In that case Alchemist fire and Martial Defender.
I'll nod a little, and head to the Neophyte's vista, with the light.


Somepony coughs.

The grizzled pony at the head clears his throat. "Enough of that. I am Knight-Commander Stalwart Shield, and I will be organizing our main strategy for this attack. To my right are our crusading consultants, Wing Commander Golden Wing, Blessed Doctor Waxing Spark, and Inquisitor Maeda Tree. I do not think I need to introduce Mr. Charles and his executives to anyone here. That being said, I'd like to direct your attention to this map."

He indicates a map covering the table. Get a closer look at the map and pay attention, or size up the audience?

Neophyte's Vista
After a brief corridor, this room widens. Based on the seating, it appears to be a viewing platform for the room below. Moving to the edge, you can see the faint glow of light streaming from a large crystal in the room sprawled out below you. The bluish light fills the room faintly, and allows you to make out its rough contours. The room is very large, like a central worship chamber, and five-sided. The walls are overgrown with plantlife, and shadowy figures are shifting around below. There seems to be some kind of altar in the center of the chamber, too.

With the torch, you can see that there is a stairwell down on the side that leads down into the chamber.


Well, I'm going to frown at that.
"I don't know what those shadowy things are. Could be sealife, could be zombies if the guy who made the hydra is still here."


let's take a look at that map, see what we can make out of it

Roll #1 5 = 5


I proceed down the stairwell in hidden form.


"Oh I love the decor…"
Can I do a fly-over of the room to see what we're dealing with?


How grumpy…
Size up the audience.


You sneak down the stairwell into the faintly lit

Great Worship Chamber

As you get off the stairs, the central altar is to your left. To your right, there seems to be an airlock-type door. There are probably other doors here, if you look around. There are long wooden pews that have long ago decayed away. The faint trickle of water is the only sound here, except the torch far above.

You fly out around the room with the torch, attracting the attention of the monsters below!

They begin to move towards the walls and, without slowing, move up them, and then to the ceiling. They're closing fast!

You're bathed in darkness as Lilly leaves with the torch. The shadows in the other room start to move toward her.

The Wing Commander has the biggest wings you've ever seen, but you still wonder how she supports that heavy plate armor. Spark doesn't look like a fighter at all. Maeda is being quieter than usual. You suspect the audience behind you are all members of the third tier club at the Upper Hoof.

It's a map depicting some sort of large, squarish temple. Battle lines are drawn around it.

"We plan to move forward to these lines and dig out siege trenches, in case this fight becomes protracted. We would prefer to not order a full frontal assault just yet, as most of our group are not trained soldiers and may break formation. The crusading contingent is very small, and we'll be utilizing them for air raids. As for our foe, most of their force is a mix of low-level Enkilj acolytes, and mercenaries hired on to fight us off. Their commander is this pony…"

He throws an artist's rendering onto the table. It's a crystal pony with a mustache and eye patch. "They work for the mercenary. The patched pony."

Someone in the tent murmurs: "Vox?"



"Lilly! They're coming after you!"


"I noticed!"
Can we even take these guys or will they rape us? What the heck are they? I mean they can't really touch me if I'm just hovering like this.


They're strange and blobish. You think you see some sort of tentacles. They look really creepy. They remind you of the Cralund.


This doesn't sound so good
raise my head ''Excuse me, what is the deal with the eye patch crystal guy?''


Why is it always tentacles?

I'm going to dive down to the crystal and check it out while those things blubber around.


"Voxam is a legendary soldier who has fought in more wars than everyone in this tent combined. I had thought he was too old to lead a mercenary force – apparently I was wrong. That is why I am being cautious with an attack plan. We should see how the initial assault progresses, and if we can't break them quickly, plan a strike against the leadership."


I shall look for other doors. Escape routes.


My, such big wings…


Geez, what am I even going to do here.


''If you're against an army lead by a legend, then you are into for a load of trouble…'' Cross my arms as I wait for the rest of the plan



For several reasons. Mostly because Maeda is probably needed on the other end very soon, and I promised Sion I'd let him sleep by now.


There is limited light, a strange bluish hue being given off from the central altar. You see the faint outlines of doors to your right, under the the Neophytes' Vista, ahead and to the left, in the corner. You think you saw another before descending the stairs, but it's not visible from here.

Without warning, you drop in altitude as something very heavy hits your back. You're grounded!

Something fell from the ceiling and hit Lilly, she's surrounded. It's time to fight!

Nightmare Amalgam 1
Nightmare Amalgam 2
Nightmare Amalgam 3



Aw ponyfeathers. I guess I need to get down there and help her out! Spear at the ready, I charge down the… ramp? Stairs? Stairs. I really hope I don't trip.


"What the heck!?"
Marksman trick dual shotting number 1 and 2.

Roll #1 2 = 2


if Lilly is in trouble I must help and backstab the demon which bodyslammed her.

Roll #1 10 = 10


You tear out of the darkness and slash through the creature. It ruptures, covering you in an inky black liquid!

Amalgam 3 breaths on you from its terrible muzzle. The acid it spits up burns you!

You yelp and fire wildly!

Amalgam 2 grips your throat with its terrible hooves. As you gasp for breath, your vision swims with images of Red's rotting corpse.

You relocate to the downstairs. More shadows are coalescing here in the darkness away from the altar.

Two of them move to corner you. You see the face of a long-dead paladin in the flesh of one. It grimaces in pain, and vanishes from sight.

Nightmare Amalgam 2
Nightmare Amalgam 3
Nightmare Amalgam 4
Nightmare Amalgam 5

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░]
Iga [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░]
Marina [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓]


Ah. Well shit. Now I really wish I'd paid attention to mom's cleric lessons.
Regardless, whoever these used to be are long dead, and need to be put to rest.
Stab the nearest Amalgam. I'm assuming it's either 4 or 5. '1d10'

Roll #1 7 = 7




Kick it! Kick the fuck out of it!

Roll #1 2 = 2


It is time to disappear again. I throw down a smoke bomb!

Roll #1 4 = 4


Right before your blade makes contact, the creature reforms into the shape of your mother's face. You stab deeply into its left eye, and it screams. It chills you to the bone.

More amalgams surround you. You are surrounded by 4, 5, 6, and 7!

You struggle helplessly. The room grows darker. You feel every blood vessel in your body burst simultaneously as 2 and 3 tear at you from both ends.

(Situational bonus: Very dark room)
You leap back into the smoke screen and regain your cover.

Nightmare Amalgam 2
Nightmare Amalgam 3
Nightmare Amalgam 4
Nightmare Amalgam 5
Nightmare Amalgam 6
Nightmare Amalgam 7

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░]
Iga [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░]
Marina [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓]


Fuuuuuuuck! Struggle free from this awful grip!

Roll #1 5 = 5


Now I will Backstab the ones choking out Lilly.

Roll #1 5 = 5


How would it even know to do that. It can't have seen her. That's just… That's just impossible.
I can't let them separate me from Lilly and Iga, though! Gotta bust through.
Try to get past them, and over to Lilly! '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


It rearranges into a copy of your paperwork from the customs office right before you strike it. There's a terrible ripping sound.

The third slashes at you!

The second continues to choke you out as you flounder!

More nightmares form, boxing you in!

Five seven and nine shove you back and forth between them. You feel your regrets cover you like a sweat.

Nightmare Amalgam 2
Nightmare Amalgam 3
Nightmare Amalgam 4
Nightmare Amalgam 5
Nightmare Amalgam 6
Nightmare Amalgam 7
Nightmare Amalgam 8
Nightmare Amalgam 9

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]
Iga [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░]
Marina [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░░]


Ergh. Bust on through. '1d10'
Popping Protect on Lilly.

Roll #1 8 = 8


Come oooon, I can't die now! Thrash around!

Roll #1 5 = 5


And I smoke myself away again!

Roll #1 9 = 9


You vanish into the shadows. You remember your credo: number one first!

You struggle fruitlessly in the dark.

You push through, closing the distance, but you're still being barraged by nightmares!

Six seven and nine begin to drag you away into the shadows! (Three crits!)

(Protect lasts one more turn)

More shadows coalesce from the darkness!

Nightmare Amalgam 2
Nightmare Amalgam 3
Nightmare Amalgam 4
Nightmare Amalgam 5
Nightmare Amalgam 6
Nightmare Amalgam 7
Nightmare Amalgam 8
Nightmare Amalgam 9
Nightmare Amalgam 10
Nightmare Amalgam 11

Lilly [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]
Iga [▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓▓░░]
Marina [▓▓▓░░░░░░░░░]


NGaaaah! Eat SPEAR! '1d10'
Aiming for the one that's got Lilly in a death grip.
"Lilly, you've got to get out of here! Fly up and escape!"

Roll #1 2 = 2


"I'm… fucking…. pinned…"
Goddamn, just slash these disgusting tentacles away!

Roll #1 8 = 8


Now I will backstab the number 2 again.

Roll #1 3 = 3


You bust Lilly free, killing 2 and 3 in the process! You are coated in a black, inky ichor.

Marina is dragged away into the dark! She vanishes from all view!

The central altar glints faintly in the faint light of the chamber. With your torch rolled away into the damp of the room, the faint blue that it emits is the only real light in this room.

2 was already finished off, so you aim for the wounded four instead! You rip through it, coating yourself in its black juices.

Many of the amalgams surround you and mob you with their black forms. As they lash at you, you can feel deep down that the mob knows where you are, and they are on their way.

Nightmare Amalgam 5
Nightmare Amalgam 6
Nightmare Amalgam 7
Nightmare Amalgam 8
Nightmare Amalgam 9
Nightmare Amalgam 10
Nightmare Amalgam 11
Nightmare Amalgam 12
Nightmare Amalgam 13

Lilly [▓▓▓░░░░░░░░]
Iga [▓▓▓▓▓░░░░░░]


And so ends Marina.


I'm going to stab each and every one of these things straight in the fucking neck.

I'm starting with number 6 and 7 with a dual marksman trick strike.

Roll #1 10 = 10


"There are many foes. We must finish them swiftly before more come."
I have to change tactics! Just gonna go straight for the katana kills without smoke effects! I strike Amalgam 6!

Roll #1 7 = 7


You slash through the amalgam, but it reforms into the shape of one of your smokebombs, making you cough. Egh.

You're surrounded by amalgams 12, 13, 14, and 15. They prepare to make the final strike! (See below)

You blast away another pair. Blackness bursts free of their thin skin like a popped balloon, showering you like an ebon rain.

More amalgams form! You are surrounded by Nightmare Amalgam 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11. They glower, and prepare for a final strike (see below).


Up above, from the Neophyte's Vista, a sharp, bright golden light pierces the darkness! All of the amalgams are staggered!

A shambling figure up above, with an oddly shaped leg shakily collapses onto the balcony and yells: "You fools! The altar! Hurry! NOW!" The voice sounds ragged and uneven. Male, but not very deep. Pain-ridden.

The figure propels something small and silver through the air toward you! Roll to catch it!


Surely I can catch that.

Roll #1 4 = 4


I will pounce the silver object like cat catching a fly.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Iga propels herself up by her wings and nabs it out of the air!

It appears to be a necklace. There are prayer beads made of lustrous pearls, each with inscriptions. The centerpiece is a small, pure-silver crescent moon symbol. The whole thing looks very valuable to your greedy eyes.

"NOW! GO!"

As the amalgams gather themselves from the disruptive light, Vlad, Dixie, and Many Irons joined the fight, holding back the line!

…Who's protecting the thing you came to return?


"Where is altar?"




The shiny crystal object from earlier? I smoke up.

Roll #1 10 = 10


You move through the cloud cover with perfect stealth, cloaking your visage with its faint expansion. Bursting free of the other side, you roll to a stop by the central altar.

The stallions are becoming overwhelmed by the opposing force.


I will guess I must now put this thing on the other thing. Yes? Try that.


You gingerly stretch out a hoof and drop the necklace onto the centerpiece of the altar. While you do so, you take a moment to examine this centerpiece more closely.

It is a masterly crated small bench, about three meters across and one meter deep. It is carved from marble with coral flourishes. Large, blue crystals appear to be "growing" out of the piece of furniture, giving off a fair blue light. The center of the altar is a great bowl inlaid with silver garnishing. Around the bowl, you see a few similar necklaces, a knife, and a bottle. The bottle seems to be forged of primitive glass.

With a clatter, you drop the necklace into the bowl. With a groan, the room begins to shake. You hack out a cough as a layer of dust falls from the ceiling. The room is bathed in light from above, so brightly that it hurts to look up. The light refracts through the altar, being cast in all directions!

The amalgams writhe, drawing at first back to the shady corners, and then out of existence as they too are filled with light.

Irons and Vlad rush over to the side of Marina, crumpled up by a pew not far from your location. Dixie Red seems to be struggling with Lilly's altar at the stairs. The figure with the lantern is still clutching the balcony, using it for support.


Is there anything in the bottle?


Good old Iga, concerned with loot before anything else.

It appears to be a liquid! It's hard to judge through the waxy brown glass, but it looks to be clear. You ARE a toxicologist, do you want to smell it?


I am putting my life at risk for these people. I will not smell it directly but use a hoof to wave the smell towards me.


I'll help Dixie Friend with the altar.

Roll #1 5 = 5


Very wise! That's a technique called "wafting".

It smells like alcohol. Really old alcohol. Strong, too, like, nearly pure ethanol. It's noxious like poison.

Dixie Red groans as he works on the altar. Touching it blasts you back and sends you rolling away.

"You're not a Lunite, remember? That was the whole point of this - urgh - division of labor. I think I'll… just rest a minute…"

Red sits down on the stairs. He has some blood running down his side, looks like he was cut up pretty badly in the fight as well.


I thought they dragged it with chains or rope or something! Of course I wouldn't just touch it directly! I don't want to have a penis!

"How do you stallions even deal with that thing constantly flopping around down there?"


I close the bottle and put it away. I inspect the knife, is there anything special about it?

Roll #1 7 = 7


He gives you a grimace and gives you a look like, "I'm not really in the mood to talk about that kind of frivolity right now."

The hilt is nice, encrusted with some gemstones. The blade is worthless though, totally rusted away.


there are other necklaces here too?


"Look, when you make sinister gender mutating altars and leave them lying around like this you're bound to have people start to ask questions like these. Don't give me that sassy look."


Yes, three more of similar make to the one you dropped in the bowl.

She starts: "I didn't make it, miss. And I don't–" Then, noticing her higher voice, rolls her eyes and taps the altar again before resuming, "Appreciate having to lug this heavy thing around AND do the fightin'. We're only here because the High Priestess's daughter wants to do YOU a favor, and now she's hurt, somethin' bad by the looks of it. None of this here in this temple means squat to me. I'd just as soon take off back for the city."


"Hey, we put our lives on the line fighting weird chaos creatures for you guys too, yeah? The things we encountered there, good grief!"


"Yeah, but by my measure we're square for that, with the ferrying to the New World and lugging your stuff around and taking extra-long all-night shifts to get you to Autumnsreach as fast as a ship can travel. Not to mention that we had a run-in with those crazy stallionfriends solely because Marina is outside of the protection of the Aquamarine City. I just want to get this job done with."

He points around the room. "I see a few doors around here, but I figure there's no point in trying any of them without asking the featherweight."


What if I take them?


I can't see the future.


"The who?"


He points his not-bloody hoof up to the balcony where the figure is no longer clutching the balcony, but instead crumpled at the side of it.


What if you could?
I will not take them. This is all too magical for me.

I fly over to Lilly.
"It was honor to fight alongside you. What must be done now?"


"Hmmmm… Now I guess we'll take a break to get our breaths back before we ditch this stupid altar and finally be done with this mess."
I'll fly up to that balcony. Who is this?



Cumin, the Celestial historian is here. He seems to have fashioned himself a makeshift splint out of a plank that appears to have come from one of his crates. He's cradling the leg, which appears to be re-broken. His lantern has tipped over and gone out.

He grimaces up at you. "Told you… not to…"


Impressive, you've got to admire his guts at least.

I'm not a doctor, but I should at least help him get in a more comfortable position.
"Mistakes were made."


"You…" He pauses to catch his breath. "Turn back… Last stairs before… Not strong enough."


"… You've lost me. I should probably try and fix up that leg of yours first."


"The beast… near."

He returns to sobbing over his leg.


"What!? Fuck! Where does the altar go! Tell me! Last stairs before what goddammit!?"


He cringes at your yelling between the tears.


Take a shaky breath.
"I'm sorry. I… got to go. Just don't die, please don't die."


Dive down from the balcony.
"It's happening! It's here! And the altar is not where it needs to be so we're about to get flayed alive!"


The ground seems to rumble uneasily with your words.


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