As you continue to walk, Succinite points out more and more signs. The deeper you get the number of signs present in one area seems to increase, either being stuck in the mud or pinned to trees with arrows. At one point one of the signs has a torn batpony wing stuck to it with a dagger.
Each of the signs seem to say different things, yet point to the same message.
"GO BACK IF YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR YOU." "COME ANY CLOSER AND YOU'RE DEAD MEAT." "I'M GOING TO SKIN YOU ALIVE AND ROAST YOUR CORPSE." "ROSES ARE RED VIOLETS ARE BLUE." A sign is written in blue just next to this one, "I'M GOING TO KILL YOU." "I HOPE YOU PUT UP A BETTER FIGHT THAN THESE BANDITS." This sign was pinned just next to a rotted corpse of one of the batpony bandits. "FEEL THE THUNDER HEAR THE THUMPING IT'S NOT YOUR HEART." "YOU'RE MY NEXT GAME." "I'LL CUT YOU UP LIKE VERMIN." "I GAVE IT A MOUTH TO EAT YOU WITH." "COME AND GET ME IF YOU DARE." "TELL ME WHICH SPICE TO THROW ON YOU." The signs go on and on.
Eventually you find yourselves at the edge of the Sunken Temple's lake. In the center you see the temple, however it seems the entry way has seen some new damage… stone knocked away and even old blood splatters dripping down from the top of the temple's stairway down into the water.
"Oh this can't be good…"
Steeling myself, I direct the trunk to head into the water, the wooden vessel splashing water about as it clumsily wades through.
"We'd best be ready for anything!"
"This bodes ill," he muses as he makes his way into the temple with one hand on his sword hilt, keeping a wary eye out for any survivors. "We should stick together. We are clearly in the presence of a most terrible foe."
"At least their literate."
Widowmaker muses, looking to a sign.
The small cervine seems very perturbed at the sight of the temple. He silently climbs on top of the trunk with Astra to avoid the water
You begin to head deeper into the temple, making your way to the temple entrance. From here you already notice quite a number of bat pony corpses surrounding this area, at least consisting of a good chunk of the bandit crew. These bodies seem old, however the bloody hoof prints trying to escape the temple seem to suggest a few may have escaped.
With how dead quiet the temple has become, the invader's voice rings out loudly as if talking to himself, sounding quite high pitched yet gritty and southern. "What do you think? Does this red match the rest of my get up or do you think it looks too fancy?!" The voice echoes out from the central chambers.
''I think whoever it is, does not knows that we are here yet… Be wary of any traps'' He mumbles as he takes a very careful look around for traps, threats, or ambushes set up
'1d10'Roll #1 9 = 9
His brow furrows in concern as he hears the voice, making a shushing motion as he creeps onward up the stairs and towards the central chamber.
[1d10] staying quietRoll #1 1 = 1
Hopping off of the trunk, I look around at the mass of staircases leading to parts unknown.
"My, this place is much bigger than I expected! Where do we even start?"
"Oooh," she vocalizes, listening for the spooky echo. She sticks close to Maali and pats around on the ground for items.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9
Widowmaker picks up a stray rock and tosses it down a staircase.
"I'd rather fight whatever it is in a passageway then it's lair."
You make your way to the central chamber, stopping yourself after finding what looks like a trip wire just at the doorway.>>670464>>670466
You follow Maali and Succinite as they keep an eye out for traps.>>670463
You make your way through the hallway leading to the central chamber alongside Maali. However, before he could warn you, you stumble over a trip wire and trigger it. There's a short moment of silence before a jar falls suddenly from above and crashes all along the floor.
"INTRUDER!!" The voice cries out.
You're greeted with the sight of what looks like a Diamond Dog, unkempt fuzzy fur covering his body and shorter than the average dog. This one doesn't quite match Widowmaker's target, due to his stronger physique even with his small stature. He wears what looks like plate only a knight would wear, Zul's bloodied cloak serving as his new cape while wielding a long and very sharp polearm. He sits atop what looks like a wingless gargoyle, horns that are bloodstained from all the enemies it has gorged, eye holes carved out that emit a strange blue light similar to the colossi. Even a wicked mouth has been carved out like a twisted pumpkin, given teeth that remind you more of a shark's mouth. The gargoyle stands on all four, still quite sizeable over the group.
"SO, YOU THINK YOU CAN BARGE IN ON MY NEW TERRITORY AFTER READING ALL THOSE SIGNS?! YOU CAN READ, RIGHT?!" The dog barks out, his tone harsh with anger even with his wicked grin on his face.
Rosa lets out a whimper of fear as she hides behind the group. "Wh-Wh-Who is this crazy guy?" She mumbles.
''Y-your territory? M-mister I am sorry if we disturbed you but… This temple is n-not yours. It was the den of the bat ponies that were here bef-'' he gasps ''You were the one that killed them!''
"We… beg your pardon, my lord," he replies, thinking on the spot. "We were merely passing through the area on our way to what lies beyond and thought to investigate this place. Now that it is clear you do not wish to be disturbed, we will be on our way." He bows deeply to the madman in an attempt to appease him. "May you grant us permission to leave? We have no quarrel with you, truly."
[1d10] PersuasionRoll #1 8 = 8
Realization hitting hard, I whirl around to face the mounted dog, runes flaring in anger!
"You beast! How dare you slaughter an entire temple's worth of ponies!"
"They might not have been the most friendly, but they were my kind all the same!"
She points out some furniture which really ruins the room's feng shui.
[1d10] ScapegoatRoll #1 3 = 3
Widowmaker idly spins his combat hook as the party speaks to the creature, studying the large beast closer, looking at it's body and it's strength and weaknesses.
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"So what if I was?! I told them to git and they didn't git! I wanted this place all to myself so I took it from them, WITH FORCE!" He shouts, brandishing his blade by pointing it in your direction. "You got a problem with that or somethin' sonny?!">>670469
The dog scoffs at you, eyeing you up and down. "Fine, just make sure you tell everyone to stay clear away from this place, y'hear?! I won't be so merciful to intruders more than once!" He says, watching and waiting for your retreat.>>670470
The mangy mutt laughs maniacally at you. "They weren't so friendly when I came tellin' them to get off my new property! But I guess you're right about one thing… They're all the same… all dead that is." He grins to you. "Now buzz off.">>670471
The crazed dog doesn't seem to pay much attention to you.>>670472
You don't seem to find any as the dog eyes you back. "Go on boy, I dare ya… I'm itchin to find out what you taste like." He says, licking his blade as the gargoyle lets out a deep rumbling growl.
>Roll Results: He's one tough cookie.
Maali takes a step back, glaring at the dog ''I… Yes, there is a problem… The land belongs to no single one. Mister, this swamp is not only for you. Please, I will ask you to leave and apologize for all the lifes you have takened…'' He raises his voice, looking just slightly agitated
"Oh, you brute!"
Taking a deep breath, I hop onto the trunk and prepare to leave
"This won't be the last you'll see of us, that I can promise!" I yell, turning away in a huff
"Then we will leave you to your devices." He bows again, seeing that it seems to be effective, and begins to retreat out the door, motioning for the rest of the party to follow.>>670474
He shakes his head and motions urgently for Maali to follow him out.
Widowmaker follows the party, watching the imp-like diamond dog over his shoulder.
She sticks to Mercer, searching again for objects they may have missed on the way down.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9
''W-what? B-but we cannot leave, what about the awful things that he did?!''
"It can wait," he hisses under his breath.
"Ahahaha AHAHAHA HAAAAAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!" He cackles, clearing his throat before looking back down to you. "No." He finally replies, before going back into a mad fit of laughter.>>670475
"When you come back, remember to wear something less gaudy than that dress o' yours!" The dog shouts, his laughter only growing.>>670476
"You're the smarter one out of your little band of idiots, make sure they don't do anything stupid like BOTHERING ME AGAIN!">>670477
He stares back at you with a cold gaze.>>670478
You're able to swipe a sack of 20 coins from one of the bandit corpses, seems like the guy wasn't after their treasure.
As the party leaves and continues on, they are able to get through the rest of the swamp unhindered… aside from the occasional insane rambling signs you pass by. Ahead of your destination is now the desert where the beast of the sands awaits for your return.
The sun is raised high in the sky, it's solar rays beating down on our group and giving them quite a sweat. Even Widowmaker feels the unbearable heat through his outfit.
"Oh don't worry, dear. I won't forget. We'll be back" I reply darkly the trunk kicking through the sand as it shuffles forward.
"First, we have unfinished business with this colossus. After we succeed, we'll figure out what to do about that dog."
Widowmaker sweats within the bounds of his armor,
"Is an encounter like previous normal in such a realm? I would have killed him if not for our presence being made known."
He eyes the dog, indignantly before turning back ''This land is not yours. it never will be…'' asserting himself, he leaves with the others>>670482
''Hrrgh…Alright'' the deer sits besides Astra in the trunk, eyeing the ground below with a troubled look on his face>>670483
''No… I have never seen anyone so selfish…So much of a fool like that dog…'' He grumbles
Once in their way to the desert, he also examines the fruit that was given to him by Succinite>Forescraft
She gives the coins to Widowmaker, then stops to drink some water from the river before they leave.
Widowmaker notices the creature for the first time,
"What is following us?"
''That is the gooey one… It has been following our group for a while now.''
''Um… I forgot to ask, mister Widowmaker, yes? What combat skills do you have? I wanted to know, since we will be fighting a very powerful enemy in this desert…''
"Erm, I'm not quite sure… it started following us after we saw it at the mansion we passed through. Not to say it's anything bad, just hard to focus on."
"Perhaps it will make itself known eventually. No harm in letting it tag along, at least."
"This one will ensure so," he lies as he leaves the Dog to do his dark bidding by himself.
As he trudges through the desert, he wipes the sweat off his brow and stops to drink from his canteen. "Curse this heat," he complains. "This one hoped never to have to return to so cruel a place." He suddenly remembers something, and rummages in his pocket to find the handwritten note he found so long ago. "Rosa," he says to their companion, "it is this one's understanding that you know how to translate certain languages, yes?" He shows her the note. "Would you by any chance be able to decipher this scrawl? This one found it in some ruins, near a colossus. Perhaps it could be of use somehow.">>670482>>670484
"Just so," he concurs. "The bat ponies were scoundrels and deserved some retribution, but such wanton slaughter is most disturbing. Like some sickly tumor, it must be pinpointed, grabbed, and wrenched from the bosom." He takes the fruit Succinite gave him and takes a forceful, messy bite to emphasize the point.>>670483
"Such villainy is woefully common in this land," he explains. "It is left to outsiders like us to right their wrongs."
"Tracking and the capturing and/or killing of law-breakers. One of the reasons I wear such unrevealing armor is due to the sheer number of ponies i have locked up in prison or killed. It is much easier to make enemies in the profession than friends."
Rosa speaks up finally. "She got me out of a box I was locked away in… I-I know the others helped but… She was the only one there when I first got out." Rosa says.
"I also wouldn't mind knowing what you can do too, mister Widowmaker. I don't even know what you guys are dragging me into in the first place.">>670490
Rosa takes the small note and inspects it. She even opens up the raven crested book for information. She seems stuck on a page before bookmarking it with the note. "Nnnnoooo…. But there was something here about glyphs and other old markings found in ruins. I'll need to read through that chapter more thoroughly." She says, staying silent for only a short moment before speaking up again. "May I ask what drives you guys to go fighting giants? I'm already surprised you guys took even one of them down."
"Ah, a bounty hunter of sorts, grim work indeed."
"There was talk of your line of work in canterlot, though it was mostly rumors."
"I myself prefer my magic, far less likely to dirty my hooves when fighting from a distance."
''They did not deserved that though…'' He glumly stares at his own fruit>>670492
''That…Sounds a bit savage… B-but you only do it to law-breakers… So that means you are a good Pony, right?''
"My race is known for it's lack of magical ability. Besides, magic leaves traces and can be detected. Don't need to be given away while hunting a rogue mage.">>670495
"Good is relative. Law is finality, either you're following it or you're not."
>>670490>Biting into Spine Fruit.
You feel the spines dig into your mouth, hurting you badly.
>-1 Wound.>Status Effect: Prickly Mouth - Numb from pain.
''I follow the laws that ponies have… At least the ones that I know of''>>670497>>670490
''I should have told you to not eat the sharp parts of the fruit mister Mercer… they have a bit of toxin in them'' He says, peeling his own fruit for later
''The insides are delicious though''
"Then you're not of my concern."
''I hope that is a good thing, or a 'relative' thing, like you said''
"Any aid you can provide is most appreciated," he replies to Rosa.
He thinks for a moment before answering her question. "We are doing so as part of a great task we have been given by the different tribal leaders of this land. By felling the colossi, we gain their trust and can claim their sacred tokens. By uniting them, the Emon believes the deep fog plaguing this place can be lifted, and this land freed of its terrible curse. A great onus, to be sure, but it is something that must be done.">>670497
He yelps involuntarily and his fur bristles as he quickly spits the fruit out, immediately regretting his decision. He painfully digs around his mouth, pulling the spines out one by one before washing the taste of blood out of his mouth with his canteen.>>670498
"It's… It's nothing," he assures Maali, spitting out a few spines. "This one has not suffered any serious harm." He tries to smile, but he winces as his mouth still smarts.
The deer frowns ''I will make a nice cool juice to calm the pain in your mouth after our battle then. Do not worry, when I was little, I made the same mistake'' He chuckles
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As you all walk and talk to distract yourselves from the heat, you feel a sense of rising dread as you let the thoughts of the previous fight sit at the back of your heads.
Widowmaker however has yet to see the power of these beasts or even the close calls some of you have had. Even the shocking realization of Astra's once so called "all mighty ancient." falling to their power. Perhaps… He too will see soon enough.
Time passes, paws and hooves begin to grow sore. In the distance you all now see a large crystal jutting out of the ground… however there are no shadow beasts to defend it much like before.
To Succinite, this looks like a pretty cool yet strange landmark out in the middle of nowhere.