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File: 1504230792156.jpg (249.45 KB, 1000x563, 1497196703898.jpg)

 No.688241[View All]

This is the thread for various one-shots relating to the PirateQuest which I run for the cytube group, not to be confused with other quests involving pirates.
1058 posts and 17 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.696184

>>696179
"Curious… maybe we could follow up on this, and talk to them later? Could not hurt too much, right?"

 No.696185

>>696183
>>696180
>>696181
"Not quite," Vich explains. "The royal family complied at first. Everyone's got their own version of the story, and it's hard to say who knew what and when. But I grew up in the middle of all this. The royal family didn't know about the Princess beyond that she was a demon and that her father was a very powerful and rich demon himself. Oceans bless 'em, they probably thought they were gaining an ally by getting on the King's good side.

"That is to say, the royal family agreed to provide what the Princess wanted, providing all manner of wheat, flour, honey, sugar, crops and other supplies for the wedding. However, her requests never stopped, and the royals kept supplying her until it was clear that these demands were starting to put a strain on the island. Around that time, we started getting news about what had happened to the other islands when the Princess visited them. Same story all around: she bled them dry and got violent when they refused her.

"But rather than nutting up and telling the Princess to shove off, they tried to brush this under the rug, silencing news as it came to other cities on the island, to try to buy time until they could find another way of forcing the Princess to leave without pissing her and her daddy off. But in Aristar, the Families hear everything. When it was clear to the Heads of the Families that the same shit was going to happen to this island? We threw out the royals ourselves. Kicked down the doors, set fire to the tapestries, and chased them out while they were still trying to carry off all their fine heirlooms and dresses.

"I don't need to get into the details, but even though we might've averted a complete depletion of the island's resources, it didn't come without nine years of infighting and civil war after that; there was a lot of backlash against us for kicking out the royals, and a lot of good people died. Of course, this put a halt on the production of the resources that the Princess wanted, so she fucked off."

>>696183
Vich shakes his head. "She's had dozens in these past years!"

>>696182
"Hmm, well with those criteria – eh, except for the dolphin one – that doesn't leave us too much to work with. Sex sells, it's a rotten part of the business but a staple, I'm afraid. But let me get you something classy… ah, this will do."

The cast member takes a sleek black-and-red acrobat's striped jumpsuit out of the rack. It's styled like a vest and trousers, only showy with some frills and the like around the neck and wrists. It looks like a comfortable wear, and is rather classy.

>>696184
"Yeah, that's what I was thinking," Paraiba says. "This might help us learn more about the Crimson King and how to get to him."
"I don't know how long I want to sit here and watch 'em practice," Zerk says. "But what about you, Alder? Whaddya wanna do while Cutlass is back there?"

 No.696186

>>696185
Cerulean*

 No.696187

>>696185
"So when did these bee queens come into power if you guys took out the old royals?"

>>696185
"Dozens? Yeesh, she burn through those poor saps that fast?"

 No.696188

>>696185
Cerulean has a surprised look about that business model, not too sure how to react to that. She looks over the outfit, humming in thought.
"Well, with what you said earlier, I'm sure it could be a lot worse. Just gonna have to get used to that frilly stuff."
She takes the outfit and heads to wherever she has to to get changed into it…with privacy. She has a worried look about it being too tight as she holds it up to her body and tries to get into it.

 No.696189

>>696185

"Well, this is good news. If the princess didn't kill the royal family, their descendants must be somewhere right?" Cutlass says hopefully. "And, all the better for you families and your reputation if you put them back in power. To the people it will look like you are atoning for the mistakes of the past."

 No.696190

>>696185
"And none of the three families have tried to seize power in that time?" she asks. "It seems likely to me that there would be some sort of attempt."

 No.696191

>>696187
"Perhaps the princess believes herself to be some sort of spider with her mating rituals," she says with a thin-lipped smile.

 No.696192

>>696190

"Its organized crime," Cutlass responds. "You can't have organization without order. And, you need law for order. But, the ones committing the crime can't be making the laws. Its all contradictory. They benefit by being illegal."

 No.696193

>>696185
"Hrm… look around and see if we can find where to find Ruby and the one who sent the letter after the show, maybe?"

 No.696194

>>696191
"A demon with that kind of mentality, I feel bad for whoever she sets her eyes on."

 No.696195

>>696190
>>696189
>>696187
"These new three bee queens, as best as everyone knows, are the real descendants of the last royal family," Vich says with heavy ambivalence. "Nobody's exactly sure what happened to the royals or how they survived after we kicked them out, but they and the loyalists who went with them apparently did. This new generation – Hurscurs, the older one and the twins Toko and Qaromarrow – they were raised in the resentment of their ancestors. When they and their forces came back to this island about three years ago, there was no 'Oh praise the Oceans, the royals have returned!' there was no grand celebration, none of that bullshit. They came back and they made a point to start exterminating anyone they could get their hooves on who had a role in their ousting, city by city. The fact is that you and me are only having this conversation is because the Families are too big to take out. We outnumber them too well right now."

"So we had to broker a deal with them. All the loyalists and the cities that remained neutral in the uprising would be set free if they bent the knee and surrendered to the Queens. Everyone would have that chance to swear fealty. If they didn't? Fuck 'em, we wouldn't protect 'em. But believe me when I say there were quite a few who were real happy to see the royal family back. They were the backbone of the island since its founding, and many, many people looked to them for meaning and purpose."

"So, that about sums it up from me, I've yapped more than I have in a while. But I hope you understand now why we don't just go knocking things around here.

He groans. "But that still don't mean I'm in love with the Queens. They're still drawing their revenge out as they retake the island and everyone and their mother knows that the Crimson King's helping them do it. That fuck can get off our island if he doesn't want to get strewn all over the streets."

>>696190
"Believe me, there was talk and talk and talk coming from the lower ranks of all the Families, but all that got quelled by the upper ranks. I'm not doing the civil war justice to just say that a lot of good people died for no good reason in those nine years. It was brutal and the economic damage alone was enough to put most of the island's cities out of commission for years and years. I'm sure all the Family Heads wanted to seize power for their own, but they were smart enough to know they needed cooperation to hold the island together until we could recover."

>>696188
You manage to fit into it, as it's quite stretchy and flexible. It's well made and comfortable to wear, even having an adjustable hole for your tail to fit through.

>>696193
"Sounds like a plan!" Zerk declares, hopping up out of his seat.
"Hmm, it'll look conspicuous to go backstage after they already called for volunteers, so just act natural back there," Paraiba says. "Maybe they'll think we're extras?"
The thieves head with you down the stairs and hop the railing, heading toward the path backstage that Cerulean went down earlier. You enter the same chaotic and claustrophobic environment described earlier, full of actors and stage hands going back and forth amid a din of instructions, rehearsals and singing, as well as about 20 bewildered volunteers all being geared up to guest star in the show.

 No.696196

>>696195
"That'd explain that whole aura hunting thing they do. They really wanna make that revenge take a while."

 No.696197

>>696195
"It sounds to me like the whole system could collapse any moment," she muses. "If it is the Skeps' wish, I, for one, would strive to ensure the status quo is preserved. Balanced, as it should be."

 No.696198

>>696195

Cutlass looks a bit downtrodden at the news that the current queens ARE probably the descendants.

"What about some pony?" Cutlass offers. "There must have been someone of high rank that everyone respected. Or someone now that everyone respects?"

 No.696199

>>696195
Cerulean adjusts it just right so its more comfortable, as well as get her tail through the hole, then steps back out once ready.
"This is an…interesting fit. Kinda feels like I'm wearing nothing at all."

 No.696200

>>696195
Alder bobs his head a little bit in agreement with Paraiba, before saying "Well, I will try my best."

He clears his throat a little as they step inside, before speaking up in a more spirited-than-usual voice "H-Hello! I wanted to know if I woiuld be able to meet Perfect Pair after the show! I came all the way here just to see him, and g-getting a chance to talk to him would be nice, even for a bit!" he cirps out. He tries to keep his posture a little more energetic and bouncy, in a sort-of child-like manner [Innocent]

 No.696201

>>696196
>>696197
>>696198
"You're both right, and we're seeing and hearing it play out day by day as news rolls in from the outer cities," Vich says to Cloud and Thessaly, before turning back to Cerulean. "There's a lot of big names in this city, for sure. Some of them I'd even think are up to the task of leading an island as fucked-up and falling-apart as this. But thing is, for many, the sheer fact that the Queens are the Queens is enough for them to overlook what they're doing right now. We're bees for fuck's sake, we gotta have a royal family, it's in our blood. Some ponies just can't give up on tradition.

"But that might give you an edge. As I alluded to earlier, it wasn't just the Queens who came back, but the descendants of those who were exiled with 'em. Maybe someone among them, who's got ties to that old royal blood but without all the murderous intent and isn't wearing the Crimson King's leash, could be someone who the people would see as legitimate. It's a matter of finding out who they are, and where they – and the Queens – are."
"You don't know where they are right now?" Puddin asks with concern.
"Course I don't fuckin know, they ain't here," Vich shoots back.

>>696199
"That's the idea if you're going to be flipping through flaming rings and twisting and turning on the trapeze," the cast member says. "Alright, come with me."

You both return from the clothing storage area and changing room, and back to the room full of props and bewildered volunteers. The crew member goes over to a passing cart full of props and fishes out a large hoop, about ten feet wide, out of the cart. From her horn, she produces a small flame, lighting the hoop on fire rather haphazardly. She glances through some notes on her clipboard, and sighs, full of stress. You can tell she really wants a cigarette right now. '"Okay, jump through this."

>>696200
At first it seems as though your words were lost in the din of the overlapping voices and noises of the backstage area, but eventually a passing volunteer taps your arm. "You mean the purple clown guy right? I saw him heading further in, but it looked like a VIP-only room," the volunteer says, gesturing down a hall leading to the north.

 No.696202

>>696201
Cerulean looks at the flaming hoop oddly.
"Wait, what? Me jump? Well, I guess I can try it without water."
She shrugs, figuring what's the worst that can happen at this point, and tries to do her best jump/hop through the flaming hoop.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.696203

>>696201
She thinks. "Is there a possibility they could have left Kaco? An heir could be anywhere in the Ribcage, could they not? Or even outside of the Ribcage."

 No.696204

>>696201
"They aren't even on this island? That's some great news."
Cloud grumbles.
"But if all the exiled's descendant's came back, there would definitely be at least one other with some royal blood. Sounds like our best route. Is there any possible idea where they could be, like maybe is there a palace they used to use that might have some clues?"

 No.696205

>>696201

"Hrmmm," Cutlass grumbles with annoyance as she works things out in her head. "Well, you have been useful, so thank you. It sounds to me like the families can certainly stand to work together on this."

"So," Cutlass says as she stands up. "In return for the favor of resolving your current issue, I ask that you use that time and your connections to do some digging. Find someone who has enough respect and legitimate reason to take the throne. This is certainly something that only you can do."

"Now, please give me a breakdown of this current murder situation. I'd like as much information as I can so I can be as helpful as possible."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.696206

>>696201
Alder cocks his head to the side a little and waits, before jumping a little in surprise and turning to the volunteer "I think so, yes! Would there be somewhere else I could see him after the show, or someone I could talk to to see if they would let me speak with him?"

 No.696207

>>696202
You leap through the hoop well enough, but a sharp burning on your hind leg tells you that you didn't tuck it in enough on the way through. Part of your pant leg has caught fire, and the cast member's eyes widen in shock. Yet, you see red aura gather around her horn, and the fire quickly leaps off your pant leg, and into her horn, vanishing. She checks the pants, which are lightly burnt. "Hmm, we'll have to get you another set of pants by tomorrow, but that won't be hard."

She sighs with stress. "Okay, great, you proved you could jump through a hoop. Whoop-dee-doo. That alone has already put you head and shoulders above the other 'volunteers', so you can relax for a minute. Sorry I've been dragging you along so much. I'm Piovy. You are?"

Piovy is a small white unicorn.

>>696206
The volunteer starts to be dragged away by one of the cast members. "Sorry, I don't know, but I saw him go back there just a minute ago, so you might be able to catch up with him! I'm sure they get requests like that all the time, what's one more?"

>>696203
>>696204
"Since the Queens came back about three years ago, I imagine that even if they left the Ribcage, they're still within it now, but they haven't been seen on the island, even at old royal sites and shrines where the family would be venerated by their devotees. They wouldn't risk the dangers of coming in and out of the Ribcage while taking the island. They're probably relatively close as well so as to keep up with the movements of Kaco Island, but no Skep ship has reported seeing anything like that as far as I know."

>>696205
Vich cracks his neck. "Having not been at the site of the murder myself, all my information is second- or third-hand at best. You're better off going there yourself and tracking down eyewitnesses, but I'll tell you all I've heard. The victim was Arroz, some Honeydew street tough. He was apparently getting quite a bit of attention for himself as it related to the Honeydew drug trade and had a reputation of flaunting money. Not someone you'd want to hang around with if you didn't want to make enemies by association. He was found around one in the morning on the north end of Skep territory at the mouth of a sewer, having apparently been drowned."

 No.696208

>>696207

"I see," Cutlass says with a smile. "Thank you for the information. May our cooperation be lucrative for us both. If there's nothing else, we'll be off now."

>>696203

"North end of Skep territory," Cutlass says in a demanding tone. "Know the way?"

 No.696209

>>696207
>>696205
Cloud dwells on this unfortunate news, wondering how they can find the Queens to save themselves.
"Hey, Cutlass. You said the Queens stole bits of our aura to hunt down, right? Couldn't we use that to track them in someway?"

 No.696210

>>696207
"If it will prove our worth to the Skeps, I suppose the murder is worth looking into. I will keep my eyes and ears peeled. Do you hknow what was done with the body? And, where exactly was this sewer?"

>>696208
"Well enough. I shan't be able to find the murder site on my own, however. I am not so well informed."

 No.696211

>>696209

"I suppose if we had a way to sense where our own aura was. Though, if our aura were directly connected to the queens in a way that we could use to track them, that would mean that they found our aura and we'd be dead."

"Tracking them isn't really the problem so much as it is getting to them without dying. Why? What are you thinking?"

 No.696212

>>696207
"Thank you, mister! I will try!" he chirps out, before looking for the VIP room and heading that way. He beckons a little to the others, and says "Well, maybe we can ask him if he would not mind talking later, then?"

 No.696213

>>696210

As Cutlass, Thessaly, and the rest (presumably) leave the office, Cutlass mutters awkwardly for a moment.

"So Thessaly," Cutlass suddenly says, breaking her own discomfort. "Tell me about yourself."

 No.696214

>>696207
Cerulean looks at the pant leg, shaking her leg a bit before just watching the aura do its thing.
"My name's Cerulean," she replies rather cheerily, "and its alright. You definitely look super busy with everything. Just hope I don't mess things up. I'm more used to jumping out of water and onto land, so to speak."
She gives a slightly nervous laugh.

 No.696215

>>696211
"Well I was thinking what if we could track our aura to find out where these hunting grounds are, to get a general idea. Or since aura isn't really a physical thing you can hunt, what if the hunting grounds aren't a physical place."

 No.696216

>>696213
She stops in her tracks for a moment, looking through Cutlass. She seems uncomfortable talking about herself. "…Well, there's not much to tell. I'm a practicing sorceress and… Oh, sod it."

She checks to make sure no one else is listening in before lowering her voice almost conspiratorially. "I will tell you about myself. But you have to swear not to tell anyone. I am only telling you because you should know this, if we are going to be working together." She looks deadly serious.

 No.696217

>>696210
"The body was taken to the Heads of the Honeydew Family for personal burial rites and some other funeral business. I don't like to speak too much of the dead, and I recommend you don't, either. Walk with respect around 'em."

"As for the sewer, I don't know exactly where it is but it's near where the three territories intersect. Again – verify all this yourself when you get closer. You all should know how easily information can be transformed in the sea of gossip."

>>696209
>>696208
>>696210
You head outside (roll for navigation as done last time).

"It'd be good if we could question the people who found him and see the actual body to try to determine actual cause of death or see what might have led up to the drowning," Ossie whispers from within Cutlass' shadow. "But I don't think they'd be willing to let us get too close, especially if they know we're rubbing elbows with Skeps now."

>>696212
You head down the corridor indicated. "It'd be better to not hit him with anything heavy right now," Squatz says. "With the stress of the show on his mind, he'd probably snap at us. But let's root around for any information on the King and his daughter too."
As you head through the corridor, you find a locked door outlined in gold with a purple velvet cover. A plaque on the door reads "STAFF & VIP GUESTS ONLY"

You hear faint talking from behind the door, but it's only a single voice.

>>696214
"Busy doesn't even describe it," Piovy says. "We just heard that we're going to be missing almost a quarter of our troupe and the star of the show! Nobody pays hundreds of bits for a ticket just to see the Pattern Juggler's runner-up! Agh! And then when the Juggler finally gets here after we get grilled by the critics, I'm sure that Perfect Pair is going to punish all of–!"

She purses her lips and rubs her forehead in concern.

 No.696218

>>696217
"I see." She makes a mental note of this information. "Hopefully they have not incinerated it by now. There is not much that can be gleaned from a pile of ash. We will return once we have learned something of note."

"I believe that should be high on our list of priorities," she concurs as she makes her way through the city streets. "If I am to be of any help in this, I must see the body, if they have kept it. We should keep a low profile-" she gives Cutlass a pointed glance - "and not reveal our true colors if anyone asks."

[1d10] Navigation

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.696219

>>696217
Alder hums a little bit, and goes to knock on the door "M-Mister Pair? M-Mister Pair! If it is not too late, would I be able to ask you something?"

 No.696220

>>696217
Cloud follows the others to where the sewer is, and keeping an eye and ear out if anypony follows them. Going to the site of a mob murder can't look anything but suspicious.
>[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.696221

>>696216

Cutlass shrugs. "It's not like a care," she says unconvincingly.

>>696215

"Huh," Cutlass muses. "I hadn't actually thought about how the whole 'hunting my aura' thing works…"

>>696217

[1d10] for navigation

"Well, where else would we start but the scene of the crime?" Cutlass responds to Ossie. "I'M not a professional on murder investigations."

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.696222

>>696217
Cerulean tilts her head in slight concern.
"Jeez. Are they really that rough to you? I mean, sounds like you could use some major relax time. I'm talking a nice, long nap in the shade kind of relax."

 No.696223

>>696219
The talking stops, and the door opens. You see that it is Perfect Pair and that he is alone in the VIP room (a fancy lounge with catered fruit and wine in a bowl, surrounded by couches and other amenities). You see him slip a Caller Conch back into his suit's pocket. He appears very stressed and distracted. "Hmm? What do you want, what can I do for you, son?" he asks, voice heavy with worry.

>>696222
"What we need is better leadership," Piovy says. "Everyone's been so worked up since the Pattern Juggler got that gig for the Princess of Embers' wedding party. Perfect Pair's been the worst of it, getting all worked up when something is even slightly off or incorrect in the show, and the tirades he'll go on when we screw up is far nastier than anything the Pattern Juggler's done to us. Hmmph. It's like Pair's trying to show off or something…"

>>696221
>>696220
>>696218
>NOTE: I got locations mixed up earlier; this place where the territories meet should be east of your location and not north, my mistake.

You head east, periodically stopping to ask clarifications on directions, street names and pathways from the locals, all the while picking up occasional tidbits of speculative gossip about the death, anything ranging from suicide to freak accidents to conspiracies, though none of the speculators have much with which to back it up.

https://youtu.be/Hy5lQBvG7n4

As the sun starts to go down, you eventually learn of the site where the body was purportedly found, a waterway intersection where many of the city's boats will cut through while ferrying occupants across the city. Many people are gathered in two distinct clumps on the walkway, separated by about ten feet of space. Most look to be tough, mobster types, while others are of varying age, male and female, civilian and mafioso. On the left, you see a more eclectic bunch of races, suggestin they are the Skeps. On the right, they are nearly all beeponies, suggesting they are the Honeydews given that Arroz was one as well. Most are dressed in simple, somber black garb, and a few are openly, quietly crying.

Most of the stallions peer at the sewer entrance below, talking to one another in low, conspiratorial tones and casting suspicious gazes at any passerby.

>Pause

 No.696224

>>696221
She looks sharply taken aback by Cutlass' bluntness, as if she'd just been slapped in the face. Then she laughs it off. "Aye, fair enough."

She lowers her voice conspiratorially, so no one else can hear her. "I have been around for a long time, you see. I practice old, rare magics that many would deem… unsavory. There were many like me a lifetime ago, but we scattered to the four winds over time. Now there is only me. Most would call my work witchcraft, so I try to lay low when I can. The Fates have led me to this rotten island for a reason, I imagine. I have tried to get by living a normal life while searching for answers about my kin, but I have made little progress thus far." She is silent for a moment as she reflects on her past.

"But enough of me. What about you?" she asks in her normal speaking voice. "Where have you come from, Captain? I imagine there's quite a story behind you and your crew."

 No.696225

>>696221
"I only thought of it when they said the Queens aren't around. How can they not be around but still be hunting the aura of people that get stung here? There's gotta be some hidden place or something."

 No.696226

>>696224

"Wait, hold on," Cutlass says in disbelief. "How old ARE you? Because, you don't look that much older than me!"

"Th-there's not much of a story to tell about me," she adds quickly, clearly evasive about herself. "YOU are clearly the more interesting one here. Y-you know, not that I'm interested…"

 No.696227

>>696226
She hesitates to answer, counting under her breath for a moment. "Hm. Two hundred and twenty-eight next month," she answers finally. "After a certain age one tends to lose count. Heh."

She takes note of Cutlass' evasion. "You are a good pirate, but not a very good liar," she says brusquely. "I have told you about myself. Now you tell me. I believe it is only fair."

 No.696228

>>696227

"Hrrrg," Cutlass grumbles. "I suppose I should take the compliment. It's nicer than most ponies say."

"It's true that the origins of my current crew are certainly very… storied. However, I would say there's much of a story behind it. This crew hasn't existed for very long. In fact…" Cutlass blushes a bit. "This is the first island we've been on as a crew."

"This is…" Cutlass sighs. "How it always goes for me. I start a crew, get into a horrible mess, and lose everything. I'm sure that by the end of this, I won't have a crew again."

"Most of the members of my current crew I brought together while in jail. Which was… less than a week ago, I believe. I was arrested by a Gates of Justice Agent. Through some shrewd negotiations, stealth, and backstabbing, I managed to broker a deal which got me and the ponies I selected as my crew out of jail and ME as the captain - despite some attempts to the contrary," she adds angrily.

"I was arrested because I was on a ship with those idiots," she points to Cloud and Chiu. "They and the rest of their crew just abandoned me in the middle of the Gates of Justice attack. And, I was only on their ship because I was shipwrecked on an island after a storm tore apart my last crew's ship. So, they're probably all dead…" she says in a sort of exaggerated matter-of-fact tone.

"Of course, that crew was just a few pirates in size - the only ones WEREN'T involved in the mutiny my crew before that pulled on me. I don't know WHY they had to mutiny! Just because I complained that the ship wasn't clean enough is NOT a valid reason to leave a pony on a seedy port in a disreputable town!"

"They tried to blame ME for the ship being unclean. I mean, yes, the blood on the ship was from my last crew. I had to murder them all for - well - reasons… I'm not going to get a new ship just because of that! They should be better at-"

Cutlass cuts herself off. "I-I'm sorry," she sighs. "I don't usually tell ponies these things. It's been a crazy month…"

 No.696229

>>696228
She listens patiently, looking slightly amused as Cutlass tells of her various mishaps. "Sounds like you have been through the wringer and then some, begorra," she remarks. "Still, it seems like you managed to do well for yourself, dealing with the Gates of Justice like that. I have never heard of any good coming of them myself. With all due respect," she says as an aside to the entourage of Gates agents in her crew. "I can only hope this new crew of yours manages to keep it together. For my part, I have no ill intent towards you or anyone here, so I see no reason to ever betray you."

 No.696230

>>696229

"Betray me or abandon me, it'll happen one way or the other. It always does," Cutlass says bitterly.

Cutlass looks away, her face slightly red. "What does that mean, by the way?" she asks, suddenly, still not looking at Thessaly. "That thing you said at the end of your sentence."

 No.696231

>>696230
She blinks. "Merely that you seem like a useful ally, for now," she answers plainly. "I have a feeling we will be good business partners. But do not get any droll ideas. I am only here out of convenience. Nothing more. I carve my own path, as I am sure you do as well."

 No.696232

>>696231

"What?" Cutlass does a double-take. "No, I meant that word… beg-something?"

 No.696233

>>696232
"Begorra? It is an exclamation used by my kin. It… It is difficult to explain what it means, really. I suppose it does not see much use anymore, now we're all but gone. Shame, really. The mother tongue will die if I do, as far as I am aware. I can only hope it does not."


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