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File: 1475199464050.jpg (1.19 MB, 1300x827, bridge_house_grayscale_by_….jpg)

 No.676259[View All]

GET HYPE
154 posts and 21 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.679122

File: 1477193033863.jpg (241.37 KB, 1280x720, easthold.jpg)

>>679110
"Not personally, no," she admits. "I've never been on the inside, since the Shells set up base there and all. From the activity we've seen, we're fairly sure they keep their supplies in the easternmost fort. You can see it from the window." She points out, where you can faintly see the outline of Easthold in the distance. "That smallest one there," she says, gesturing at it.

>>679117
"They probably are," she answers. "Which is why we'll need a diversion of some sort, so we can get past them and into the fort unnoticed. We could also try fighting our way through, but they could send the alarm to the rest of Easthold, and then we'd be in for quite a fight." Kivoda takes out his trusty journal and starts taking notes of everything she's saying, in case you need to refer to it later.

>>679109
>>679110
>>679113
>>679115
"I know how you feel, Gloria," she says with a smile. "I'll be right back then. We don't have much, but it'll be better than nothing, right?" She does a quick head count and dips out. "Be right back."

>>679109
You see Kivoda looking at Dusk for a moment, speaking up once Lapis leaves. "Not that I condone Clean Slate's actions, but maybe it'd be a good idea to ask him where he found that shield," he comments. "If it really is Francois' shield, there might be some clues to his location wherever it was he found it."

It doesn't take Lapis long to come back, carefully balancing a wooden tray with several bowls of rice and a disparity of fresh fruit, including apples, mandarins, strawberries and grapes. There are also some small round pastries that you don't recognize that seem to have some sort of filling inside. "I know we don't have much here," she says, "but it's the best I could find. Sorry."

 No.679123

>>679122
Galehaut eats the fruits, uncomplaining.

>>679122
he turns to Kivoda,

"That would be best, yes."

 No.679124

>>679122
Even though it's not meat, it's at least not bread. "Thank you, Lapis. I'm not a picky eater." Gloria says, taking a few fruits and some rice to enjoy.

 No.679125

>>679122
Abenad takes a bowl of rice and an apple. "Shame about the lack of fish," he says, picking up an orange and biting into it. "Hmm, what a tough skin this has."

 No.679126

>>679122
>>679123
>>679124
>>679125

"If we need a distraction, might I suggest myself? I still have a desire to talk to the Shells to see if they can be reasoned out of their currently unnecessarily antagonistic tendencies. I don't know if I can accomplish much. But, worst case scenario: I just end up being a secondary item to retrieve from their base."

 No.679127

>>679126
"I don't think we would need to risk a complication like that. We could always cause one of their ships to catch on fire to pull their attention away from where we need to go."

 No.679128

>>679122
She eats all her food rather quickly, finding it better than the road food they've had. "I'm not going to be the distraction," she says, underscoring her statement with her hoof on her nose.

 No.679129

>>679127
>>679122

"It would need to be considerably away from our own entrance. Or else, their path toward the fire would just bring them past our entrance. And, since the port and our grotto on the seaside cliff are likely to be near each other, that sounds like a difficult task to pull off. It would also have to be a delayed fire so as to get away before attention is actually drawn to our distraction."

"Or, we could always split up into two groups: a retrieval group and a distraction group. The distraction group would not necessarily be in and of themselves the distraction, but doing something something that would cause a great deal of attention wherever the retrieval group would need the enemy to not be."

"Which begs the question," Timber asks as he looks around to the group. "Do we have any way to communicate long distance that won't be noticed?"

 No.679130

>>679129
"Tell them you were sent as a goodwill gift and that they should plant you in their courtyard. Once night comes, you get up and go to the gate to let us in."

 No.679131

>>679130

Timber stares at Abenad for a moment, perplexed.

"Do… do you think I'm a plant?" Timber asks at last with confused sincerity.

 No.679132

>>679131
"No, but I think it'd be funny," he says as he eats the whole orange.

 No.679133

>>679132

"Your entire plan is based on arbitrary and questionable comedy?" Timber asks with the same confusion in his voice.

 No.679134

>>679133
"Exactly," Abenad says with a straight face, "I didn't escape from the Tower by any orthodox means."

 No.679135

>>679134

"You escaped from the tower?"

 No.679136

>>679135
"No, but it sure would be handy if I did, wouldn't it?"

 No.679137


 No.679138

>>679125
"Uh, that's not how you… Oh, never mind. You do you."

>>679126
"That could work," she answers as she contemplates an apple. "Do be careful if we end up going with that, though. There's probably going to be a lot of them, and only one of you."

>timeskipping


>>679123
>>679124
>>679125
>>679126
>>679128
The rest of the day goes by relatively quickly, mostly spent making preparations for the outing. Lunch consists of mostly the same food as you had for breakfast, only with more rice and certain vegetables you don't recognize. By sundown, you are all gathered at the pier, sitting in a large rowboat with three pairs of oars to accommodate the seven of you. A small crowd has gathered to bid you farewell, led by seven of the nine Speakers. The First Speaker is not present, oddly enough. Before beginning to row out, the Disciples say a short prayer in their tongue, ending it with the ubiquitous phrase of "Noradzir" as well as clapping their hooves in unison several times.
The trip out to Easthold doesn't take very long, taking you roughly an hour. "Order is with us," Lapis says at one point as she rows idly. "The ocean is still. This is a good sign. Let's hope the rest of the mission is as smooth." Before long, you are all gathered on a rocky shore, looking up at the towering fortress that is Easthold. Lapis tethers the boat before pointing out the glow of torchlight just over a hill nearby, from which you can hear faint chatter. "Those are their docks," she says in a low voice. "Best we stay away from them. The grotto is this way." She motions for you to follow as she moves up the hill and towards the cliffside, where you can vaguely see a cave entrance. For some reason, you get a feeling of deja vu.

 No.679139

>>679138
Galehaut watches and listens for any danger.

>Supreme Survivor: passive; automatically passes all spot checks, autocrits on jump, climb and other traversing checks.


>Sound Hound: Passive; Intelligent canines have to put up with so much. However there are some perks to being a diamond dog. While heightened hearing can be annoying at times (you know way more than a dog your age should) with a bit of concentration and focus, it’s a very nifty thing. You can listen on whispers and distant conversations with ease; your ungulate friends can’t keep a secret from you. Allies that know that you can do this can communicate with you in confidence escaping the notice of others (except other diamond dogs of course). Also when an enemy engages combat, for the first turn any attack targeting you hits on a DC+2 (DC+1 for stealth attacks and ambushes). You are also unaffected by light-level.

 No.679140

>>679138

Abenad follows, leaning over and forward in a sneaky position.

 No.679141

>>679138
She quietly follows Galehaut.

 No.679142

>>679138

The (incredibly bizarre) sense of deja vu gives Timber a sense of confidence that all will go well. Familiarity tends to breed such an emotion. Thus, for the time being, he assumes a distraction will not be necessary.

He cautiously, quietly, and quickly heads toward and into the cave entrance. [1d10] if needed

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.679143

>>679138
Gloria wears her armor, all cleaned up save for the scratches from battle while traveling Rin. She remains silent as she follows Lapis closely, keeping an eye out for danger.

>Search for danger

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.679144

>>679139
>>679143
You can hear the faint sound of talking coming from inside the cave entrance. From what you can tell, there's at least two Shells in there. You can't make out what they're saying, but it's most likely just idle conversation. Lapis looks at you expectantly as she sees you listening in, readying herself.

>>679139
>>679140
>>679141
>>679142
>>679143
You follow Lapis' lead in entering the cave. It is suprisingly dry inside considering the location, not much different from a regular old cave except for the salty sea smell. By now, you can hear what Galehaut and Gloria heard moments before entering, idle conversation between two Shells. There is some torchlight coming from deeper within, suggesting they have set up camp near your location. As you inch closer, you can also smell fish cooking. For most of you it doesn't smell very good, but to Gloria and Abenad it is quite appetizing.

"You remember what it was like when we first moved in around here?" you hear one of the Shells say. "Place was overrun with rats for ages. Ugh."

"The changelings got rid of them though, at least most of them," the other Shell says.

"Yeah, but now the place is overrun with changelings. Sometimes I miss the rats," the first Shell mopes. This is followed by a bout of laughter from the other Shell, followed by a brief silence. "How's that fish looking?" he asks after a bit.

Lapis frowns and thinks for a moment. "What should we do?" she whispers, not letting you hear the state the fish is in. "They're probably here on guard duty. If they see us around here, they'll sound the alarm in a heartbeat. Maybe if we can sneak around them somehow… But there's no other tunnel that I can see… Hm…"

 No.679145

>>679144
>>679143
>>679141
>>679140
>>679139

"Changelings…" Timber contemplates aloud as he formulates a plan.

"First of all…" Timber says as he looks around. He picks up seven pebbles. "Here," he says as he hands them out to everyone. "Memorize everyone's pebbles. If we get separated, make sure you show each other these. We can't have ourselves getting fooled."

"Now," he says looking to Lapis. "Could we perhaps trick the shells into thinking we are changelings? Does anyone see any rats? If we can find some to 'chase', then they won't think anything of it."

 No.679146

>>679145
>>679144

[1d10] to see rats

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.679147

>>679145
>>679144
"Keeping track of each other should be easy," he says, "I'll set up a codeword for myself, just in case. My code word will be 'beaver.'"

"As for these guards… can anyone here manage to create a terrible smell? It'll be less suspicious than a noise or anything else."

 No.679148

>>679145
>>679144
"Don't changelings use pheromones to know each other's identities? My time in the guard, especially working with street gangs, teaches me it's hard to trick a changeling. Why not wait until nightfall?"

 No.679149

>>679144
>>679140
>>679145
"That's not a good plan," she says to Timber.

She takes off some strips of cloth from an old spare shirt she seldom uses. She squeezes one of the oranges she kept with her and stains the cloth with the juices. When they're dry, she ties the cloth strips onto everyone's arm, with the stained side down.

"We'll identify by these. If we have any suspicion about who is real, flip over the cloth and show the stain, as extra proof it's us and not a changeling who knows that we're using these to identify ourselves."

 No.679150

>>679148
>it's nighttime

*until they fall weary. No mortal goes without sleep."

 No.679151

>>679144
Gloria holds back the urge to drool over the smell of the cooking fish, although she does take a moment longer to enjoy it.

>>679145
>>679149
>>679150
"I could remove my armor and weapon for a moment while you all remain hidden. If they see me and think I'm a helpless and alone then I doubt they would set off an alarm just for something they wouldn't see as a threat. All it would take is to run back here and bam, take them when they're lured away." Gloria says, bringing up a second possible idea.

 No.679152

>>679148

"We aren't trying to trick the changelings. We're tricking the Shells. And, making sure they don't trick us. Also, it's already nightfall."

>>679149

"That's a better plan," Timber comments. "I just didn't think anyone had anything complex enough on them."

 No.679153

>>679152
"I say Beaver works well enough," Abenad says, "At least for me."

 No.679154

>>679153

"Changelings are capable of magic. Mental magic is a thing. It's entirely possible to run into a changeling that can read your memories and then imitate you. In fact, changelings that can read and copy your basic emotions and actions are very common. Any code word or identifier which exists entirely in your mind will never be an assured enough measure against changelings."

 No.679155

>>679149
You give everyone a strip of orange-stained cloth. Now everyone smells like oranges. "Good thinking," Kivoda chirps up as he struggles to tie the knot on his strip. "If there's changelings all over the shop, they might try to impersonate us if we get separated."

>>679145
>>679146
The cave seems pretty clean as caves go. No signs of any rats anywhere.

>>679151
"You might be on to something," Lapis muses. "The rest of us could get by while they're distracted. Although, maybe someone else should be the one to do it? If you get captured - not that I think you will, mind you - you would be a much more valuable hostage as a Seeker of Souls."

"I think I should be the one to do it. I volunteer to draw them out while the rest of you keep moving. I'll catch up with you later once I lose them, don't you worry. Unless someone else wants to be the one to do it?" She looks at the rest of the party questioningly. Kivoda seems hesitant to speak up.

The two Shells keep talking in the distance. The first one seems to be frustrated, as the two have been playing what sounds like a game of chance of some sort. "Bah, I can never win at this. I never win at anything. …You remember Watt? Gods always smiled on him. Like when he got knocked off the bridge by that rampaging blank and landed in a nice deep pool of water. How lucky was that, missing all those rocks?"

"Who was Watt again? Don't really remember him. The pool saved his life, did it?"

"Hm? No, he was dead already. Axe to the head. Still, it was pretty lucky, missing the rocks…"

 No.679156

>>679154
"Hrmm, well, in the event there's any confusion, I'll do something to make sure it's me."
>>679155
"I volunteer Galehaut."

 No.679157

>>679156
"I could kill the both of them, though."

 No.679158

>>679155
She waits for Galehaut to do something.

 No.679159

>>679155

"We absolutely should not risk a Speaker," Timber pipes up quickly. "That's a terrible decision. I would say that Kivoda is the best option as he is the most… expendable. No offense," he adds quickly. "But, as a member of a fairly rare race, that may not be fair to him. So, I would say that if we're not willing to risk Kivoda then send me. I'm the least likely to die for my belligerence. Plus, I'm already unarmed."

 No.679160

>>679155
"Thank you, Lapis. May the light protect you and keep you safe until you return home." Gloria says with a blessing to Lapis.

>>679159
"You did say you wanted to speak with them."

 No.679161

>>679160

"Indeed," Timber nods.

>>679155

Without saying another word, Timber walks up to the two Shells and sits down between them.

 No.679162

Sneaking Roll
[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.679163

>>679155
>Sneaking past
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.679164

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.679165

>>679155
Galehaut looks to see if there might be any other way in.
>Supreme Survivor

 No.679166

>>679159
"Very well," she nods. "Good luck, friend."

>>679161
You stroll right into the cave where the two Shells are. They're a pair of griffons huddled around a small campfire. They've made themselves at home, with a large skinned fish roasting over the campfire and a card game of some sort set up between the two of them. They're wearing the standard Shell uniform, sans the bandannas, and are both armed with standard spears. They seem rather taken aback by your presence. "Here, who are you then?" the griffon on the left says. You recognize his voice as the more vocal of the two, a rather gloomy looking fellow with monochromatic feathers. "And where's your uniform?

"You shouldn't be here anyway," the second griffon says, a stocky looking griffon with yellow and brown feathers. "This path is off limits for tonight. Captain's orders."

>>679162
>>679163
>>679164
Following Lapis' lead, you creep along while Timber distracts the guards on duty, slipping by them and getting to the end of the tunnel. You eventually arrive at what appears to be a cellar door leading to the castle itself. From the looks of the cracked wall, it looks like it was demolished by something long ago, then rebuilt once the cavern was discovered. The door has been left open, leading to the cellar within. It is a large room lit by torch sconces, with shelves upon shelves of miscellaneous supplies. One corner is host to a disparity of dried food, as well as large barrels of what you can only assume is wine. Suits of plate armor serve as decoration in here, standing watch like silent guardians. At the far end are a flight of stairs leading higher up into the castle.

"Whatever they use for operating underwater, it has to be in here somewhere," Lapis whispers to you all. "We should search quickly, before anyone wanders in here."

>>679165
From what you can tell, there's probably a much easier way to get into the fort, but it's likely to be much more heavily guarded than this side entrance.

 No.679167

>>679166
>>679161

Galehaut follows Lapis, but waits near the cellar door,

"Move along, I'm going to get Timber Hoof out of the scenario he's in."

after the party are safely away, he shouts down the hallway,

"ROOKIE, GET BACK OVER HERE. PATH IS OFF LIMIT AND YOU'RE NOT WEARING YOUR ARMOR. I'LL SKIN YOU MYSELF IF I CATCH YOU."

 No.679168

>>679166
>>679167

Timber looks toward the cave then toward the caves, visibly weighing his options. He hopes that the options that the griffons thinks he's weighing are not the options he's actually weighing.

"Shit." With a single word, he gets up and quickly runs toward Galehaut's voice.

[1d10] to be convincing if necessary

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.679169

>>679166
Abenad starts taking stock of the supplies to see if there's anything worth taking.

 No.679170

>>679166
Gloria nods to Lapis, looking about the room in search.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.679171

File: 1477205397000.png (323.89 KB, 1200x1600, lapis.png)

>>679167
>>679168
The duo jump at the sound of Galehaut's voice. "You're in for it now, you are," the first one says with a smirk. "At least we're doing our part. At least I am. I don't want him to kill me."

"…What do you think that'd be like? To be dead?" the second one asks out of nowhere.

"…Probably dull," the first one shrugs. "Dull and full of complaints." He puts on a whiny voice as Timber hurries onwards, joining Galehaut and the others in the cellar. "'The ground's too cold! My grave should be bigger! My bones hurt! Why does he get more worms than I do?' Etcetera."

>>679169
There's plenty of food of all shapes and sizes to be found, especially dried fish and other meat. Compared to the Resistance or the Disciples, the Shells have a veritable banquet at their fingertips.

>>679170
It doesn't take you long to find it. There is a cupboard in one corner containing dried samples of a fungus of some sort labeled as "Bleeding Jelly". It isn't hard to see why it's called that; Bleeding Jelly is a spongy white shapeless species with several dark red translucent growths on it, giving the impression that it bleeds. It looks repulsive. "That should be it," Lapis says as she looks over, handing you a bag. "Let's take as much as we can carry and get out of here." In the background, you see Kivoda help himself to the cellar's supplies, serving himself some of the wine in a pewter cup. He shudders at the taste of it.

>pausing

>also yay, commissions


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