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File: 1513262509230.jpg (134.72 KB, 1920x1080, Pyre_20170804203413.jpg)

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This is a FEMTO game. Information on it can be found here: https://pastebin.com/8shJWpxm
1099 posts and 43 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.


I nod. "Yeah. It's not comforting to most people to realize this, but they're everywhere. Especially in bigger cities like where I grew up." The rat on my leg gives up trying to squeeze under it, climbs back on top of my thigh, and curls up. "They're just scared little guys trying to get by. I sort of saw a bit of kinship with them or something." I look away, trying not to blush. Now that I say it out loud it sounds pretty silly. "I don't know. It's dumb. Anyway, I started feeding and playing with some of them and realized just how smart they actually are, and one thing led to another. Before long I realized that they could hunt down other a bunch of other pests, and the ones they couldn't hunt down I learned about and took care of myself." I laugh and shake my head. "Poison was a big part of that. Gods above, what I wouldn't give to have my sprayer. Could've been useful in so many situations."

I sigh, not looking up from my rats. "Nah, I don't mind sharing. Honestly it's kind of dumb. A little bit embarrassing, even." I take a second to collect my thoughts. Finally, I clear my throat and speak. "Well, I guess I'll keep it short. I have a little bit of a gambling problem. Weird for someone who never had much, but-" I shrug again. "Well, I guess the prospect of winning big at some point and maybe getting out of the slum hut I was living in at the time was always too alluring. It felt good to win."

I lick my lips. "So anyway, one day I'm playing card with this guy -Boxcars he called himself. His real name was Hard Twelve or something. Dumb name.- Lose to him pretty big." The color drains from my face and I have to clear my throat again. "Really big, actually. You'd think you'd know not to bet what you don't have, but it was a darn good hand. Flush of spades. He lays down a full house. I even remember the hand. Three fives, two jacks. I don't have the money on me at the time, obviously, so I tell him I have a few jobs lined up and I'd get it to him the next week. Next week rolls around, and he pays me a visit. I still have a couple jobs to do before I have the money to pay him back, so I hide. Well, he breaks the door to my basement in looking for either me or my money."

I pause and look over everyone, letting that sink in for a second before continuing. "Well, my basement is where I keep my rats. So he breaks down the door, and a swarm of maybe thirty or forty rats bursts out and overtakes him, tearing at him. I think they knew what was going on and were trying to protect me, but maybe that's just wishful thinking. I ran out and shooed them away, but by then the damage was already done. The guy had slivers of flesh torn off his face where they were chewing on him. He survived, but I guess he knew a guy who knew a guy or whatever and they put me on trial for animal hoarding, assault, and attempted murder."


"Oh. Wow. I didn't expect that. You seem really nice."


Rabi blinks once or twice, and lets out a short hum… before shrugging "Unfortunate, but… I mean, if you go around lifting up rocks and kicking at nests, you're going to get stung by something eventually…"
Rabi smiles a little bit "Well, thanks. It wasn't really the banditry that ended me up here, though, like I said when we first joined up."



"Ha! Now, that makes more sense. I can see you doing it if you had someone to care for. What then? A sibling? A lover?"


"From my experience gambling is a wide-spread problem for those in poverty. You're absolutely right, the prospect of winning big and getting out of that life is too alluring for most people. I suppose I got lucky in that regard. I got another way out. Otherwise, I'd have ended up like you."

Hermodur groans and stretches out to lay down on the ground on his back. He puts his hands behind his head as a pillow. "Then, again, I guess I did end up like you. We're both here now."

"Boxcars…" he repeats the name. "If I ever get back to Equestria, I'll make sure Ailuros punishes him appropriately."


"Zhere are plazez back in Abyzzinia where it waz not uncommon for marez to be attacked wizh acid if zey wronged zheir huzband. I am fortunate not to have lived in zuch a zociety, but ze damage to ziz poor mare iz reminizent, to zay ze leazt."

She lays her palm to the mare's chest, sending healing energies into her body,

"Firzt I'll make zure to heal any woundz to ze organz, if pozzible. I'll move to her burn woundz after I know zhe'z ztablized."

[1d10+2] Mend

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


"Ah, my thanks, this looks lovely!"

Waiting for the pair to leave, I carefully pull off and fold my dress before setting it by the towels.

"My my, I really should do something about my clothes, I've yet to even get the mud out." I mutter to myself before slowly dipping into the water.


I snort. "If he gets decent enough facial reconstruction to be recognizable, sure."



"Do not doubt the power of Ailuros Bastet," Hermodur says ominously.


She listens intently to your story, wincing as you tell of what happened to the debt collector. "Geez. That's rough, buddy. Could've gotten off so much easier if he didn't know people. I'd say he had it coming though. Sounds kind of like a scumbag to me."

"Well, as long as we're doing confessionals." She sits up and takes a deep breath.

"So I can't recall if I told you or not, but back home I worked for years as a park ranger. Hence how I know how to live out in the middle of nowhere. I was part of a team working to contain part of the Everfree Wilds. Just so happened that the area we were in was… haunted, I guess. Always had weird stuff going on out in the middle of the woods. Voices from nowhere, noises that no one could explain, bodies in places they couldn't have gotten to. You know. Weird stuff."

"One of those things was that every once in a while, while looking for someone who went missing, we'd come across a set of stairs out in the woods. Not attached to anything, just… stairs. Like if they'd been taken out of a house and just placed there. When I first started, I was told never to go near them, and to just ignore them if I saw them. But I was always wanted to know what was going on with them."

"Once, I was with my boss going out to look for a young mare that had gone missing. Must have been like 11, 12 years old. Didn't even have her mark yet. We're using hounds to try and track her, and they seem to have found something. So we're following their trail, and we take a quick break because the boss needed to go pee or something. And lo and behold, there they are. Those damned stairs. I try calling out to the boss, but no answer from him, so I get a little curious. I go up to the stairs, and walk up to them."

"At first nothing happens, but then I feel this sort of prickling on the back of my neck. Like pins and needles. Then I just get the most god awful feeling. Just pure dread, like the whole world's about to end. So I get off the stairs, then it immediately goes away. Then the boss finds me."

"'You went up them, didn't you,' he said. He was pissed like nothing else. I asked him how he knew, and he just pointed at the hounds. They'd completely lost the scent. Like whatever they were tracking had just… vanished."

"He fired me then and there. Then, when I got home, I found police waiting for me. They'd found the girl's leg on my front porch. No body. Just the leg. Of course, they tried me for murder, couldn't find any evidence on the contrary. The boss even testified against me. Lied in court and everything, said he suspected I'd kidnapped her all along. I don't know why he would. Before the stairs incident, we got along just fine."

"So, one thing led to another, and they threw me down here. Must've been about four, five years ago now. I… I just can't help but wonder what would've happened if I'd left those damn stairs alone. What would we have found if we'd just kept moving? Would she have been alive? Could I have saved her?"

"Hell, maybe I am guilty. So there. Let that be a lesson I guess. If you see some weird stuff in the middle of nowhere, don't mess with it. Just don't. I don't know what it is, and I don't want to know. But there are terrible things out there."

She falls silent, leaning back again and staring at the ceiling.



"Siblings." he says, before shrugging "Did what I had to, you know? Though, they're probably alright. I made sure to stash some of my hauls to make sure they'd have something if I got taken away… I didn't think this far away, but, it works."


You try channeling your healing magic to try and improve the patient's condition. You're not sure if it had any effect or not.

"Her leg was broken as well," one of the other healers points. "We have good reason to believe that'll mend on its own, in time."

The third of the healers speaks up. "There was also something quite odd when I found her, as I recall. She… she was drenched. Drenched in seawater. There's no ocean for days. And, she kept trying to say something to me, but I don't know what. She was too weak to. Make of that what you will, madam."

You get into the bath. It is piping hot, but in a good way, and you almost instantly feel extremely relaxed. The effect of the water is soothing enough almost to make you fall asleep then and there. Looking up at the sky, you can see the stars beginning to come out as the sun sets and night falls. It's quite a view.

"Say, who is this Ailuros you keep mentioning?" she asks. "Sounds like she's a big deal back home."



I frown as Violet tells her story, waiting until she finishes to say anything. "I thought you said you deserved it. That sounds completely like an accident."


"A… pair of stairs, in the middle of a forest? Some kind of magic, I guess… well, you definitely didn't deserve that. I imagine whatever it was, it was something your boss was hiding."


"Mmm, as wonderful as the hot spring.." I sleepily mumble, eyes growing heavy.

Sliding my head under the water to soak my mane, I pull back up and spread out my wings, lazily preening the bent feathers into place as I thoroughly enjoy the water.


"Even if he didn't have anything to do with it he was setting her up for failure by not giving her any information at all, when it was something she'd experienced on a regular enough basis to be familiar with. That more sounds like he's at fault for negligence than anything else."



"I can see why she says otherwise," Hermodur says, looking to Norv while still lying on his back. "It was her choice to climb the stairs, and… whatever happened, it happened because of that. Despite being told not to do it."


"Of course, I don't actually think its your fault she died," Hermodur adds quickly, looking to Violet. "Whatever weird nonsense happened, you couldn't have possibly known. It's almost like you walked into a different universe entirely…"

Hermodur shakes his head. "I'd have walked up those stairs too," he says grimly.


"Ailuros Bastet," Hermodur repeats the name again in a sort of pining sigh. "She is an alicorn. Her power and majesty rival that of Celestia and Luna in their prime. But, unlike them, she has not and will not abandon her people. She will deliver the world from the chaos their absence has wrought. The world needs leadership, and there is no one better than a true living goddess."


"I thought so," Hermodur nods. "You're too happy for your own life. You must have had someone to work for."


"Drenched in… zeawater? Interezting… Well, in timez of my own confuzion on what to do next, I conzult the cardz. Perhapz the Tarot will help bring anzwerz to ze myzteriouz nature of zhiz poor mare'z woundz."

Zunden says, pulling away the patient to (once again) unceremoniously sit herself on the floor, pulling out her tarot cards and shuffling them, fanning them out before selecting one at random.

"What iz ze nature of zhiz mare'z woundz… Can I treat her wizh my magic alone..?"

>Draw from the Arcana, once/day feature


She shakes her head. "I deserve it for being such a goddamn idiot," she says angrily. "Everyone told me. Don't go near them, Violet. Just ignore them. And what did I do?"

She sighs. "I don't know, you're probably right. She was probably dead anyway." She smiles bitterly.

"Well obviously it's magic. But it's magic of a different sort. Not the sort you'd know, not the sort you can just study and use. It's something else. Old magic, I call it. I've felt it a few times out here in the Echoes, but luckily, I've never come across any stairs."

"And you should note, this whole deal didn't just stop at him. I'd talked to some of the old folks that were rangers in the old days, and they all said the stairs had always been around. Their supervisors always told them the same thing. Like I said. Old magic."

You keep bathing yourself, finally getting rid of several days' worth of dirt and grime. You feel like an insect shedding its skin by the time you're done.

She blinks, or maybe it's a wink. But probably not. "Those are… certainly some opinions," she says after a slightly uncomfortable silence. "I'd keep your voice down talking about that sort of thing here though. We are in a temple of Luna, after all."

"Still," she adds, "it's quite something that there's another alicorn. The first in an age. Has she achieved much of a following back home?"

Nonplussed at the information you've received, the disciples watch as you consult the cards. As you go through the motions, the cards tell of self-reflection, and the importance of both history and of friendship. "What does it say?" Delta asks, crouching down to examine the deck.


I jab a thumb at Hermodur. "You mean you didn't get brainwashed cultist vibes from the big guy since you first met him? He kind of terrified me at first."


After some time, I finally step out of the bath, trotting over to the towels to dry off before slipping my dress on and making my way out of the bath room and back towards the sleeping quarters.

"Wonderful, simply wonderful, a bit of me time was just what I needed!"



"Our congregation has grown considerably across Equestria and Abyssinia," Hermodur says proudly. "It's difficult going, though. As you have observed, people resist change. They fear the prospect of a new goddess. But, little by little, more and more see the light she brings."


"As of now, we are still considered a 'cult'," Hermodur says the word caustically. "But, this is a term used only to refer to something that is in the minority. It has nothing to do with what is right and wrong - even if the powers that run the government insist otherwise. There's… a great deal of corruption to combat on the way. Which is where I and her other most loyal followers come into the picture. We are the force which will enact change on the world. And, I am her voice and her will."


"Old Magic? I… yeah, I've heard of that. Nasty stuff. I remember hearing stories of something wrong way out in the desert, but I kept close to the roads, anyways."

"Well, I suppose you pinned me, yeah." he says, with a chuckle "And, you goddess is an alicorn? Huh… I wonder how many alicorns there are… were… err, whatever. Seems like an awful lot more than you'd expect."
He doesn't sound entirely convinced about her majesty and grace, but he's not one to press it

"Oh, went for a bath? I hope it was nice. You deserve a good one after wading through all that muck in the swamp."



"She's the first I know of since Twilight," Hermodur says proudly. "And, unlike her, Ailuros actually does things. Ailuros cares for the people. Not books and magic."


File: 1521188753049.jpg (108.53 KB, 350x600, cups06.jpg)

The card Zunden reveals is that of two young saurians kneeling next to a potted cactus, looking at a flower blooming atop of it. Five other similar potted plants surround them, forming a circle.

Zunden looks puzzled, showing the card to Delta as she peers down at it,

"Ze Zix of Cupz. Zhiz card reprezentz a few zhingz. Noztalgia, memoriez of friendzhip, and reminizing on ze pazt."

She lets out a huff,

"Az I remind zhoze who I offer readingz, zometimez ze cardz are juzt cardz. However, one can alwayz find meaning zhrough careful zhought and interpretation. Mayhapz you or I have a memory to call back on zhat may prove relevant to ze mare'z condition. Mayhapz it meanz ze mare'z injuriez ztem from a pazt friend. It could even mean I zhould return to my traveling companionz and ruminate on zhiz furzher."

The saurain closes her eyes and takes her claws up to her head to rubs her temples, silently thinking for a bit, before opening her eyes and letting out a sigh.

"For now, I'll keep trying to treat the mare wizh what magic I know. Conzidering the multiple woundz acrozz her body, I might be wizh her for deep into ze night."

She looks at some of the batponies, letting out a soft chuckle,

"Though I prezume ze night iz when you all are mozt active anywayz."


"Hmm. Well, I guess it's just something that'll take time?" he offers "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink and all."


>continued Bask/Mend combo


"Well, if you say so." I shudder. "I still remember first bumping into you. You were covered in blood. I'm pretty sure I almost fainted."

"A would be nice if I wasn't too tired to move."




"You are correct. But, sometimes, there is another force actively leading the horse away from the water. When that happens, you must smash that force with a hammer."


"The battle which lead to my arrest was truly glorious," Hermodur laughs heartily.


"Well, Zunden told me as much, but I wasn't sure…" She gives Hermodur an uncomfortable look.

You dry yourself off. You find even the towels are comfortable in this place, being incredibly soft. It isn't long before you're dry, dressed, and in good spirits as you make your way back to the rooms.

"…Right." She just nods politely at your little spiel, clearly trying to humor you.

She nods. "Best to leave that sort of thing be, I say. People aren't meant to mess with that stuff. I don't even know if I can say it's evil, because it's just so… odd."

"You'd presume right," Delta answers, looking just as puzzled at the result as you. "We only really begin our duties around sundown, and fall asleep once the sun comes up."

"In any case, I must see to my other duties. I will leave you to your task, madam. Sirius, Procyon and Aurora will be able to assist you with the patient, should you need it." The three healers each greet you in turn. "And, thank you, for your assistance. You're doing us all a great service." With that, Delta offers a stiff little bow and excuses herself from the ward.

>pausing, feel free to keep talking


My face pales. "Yeah. I bet it was."


"Uh… huh. I assume this 'smashing' is the battle that brought you here, yeah?" he asks, before nodding in agreement with Violet.
"It's not even really something that can be understood, I guess."



"Well, many battles have been had to alleviate the strain on those horses who would try to find water," Hermodur explains.

"My arrest, however, was more of a… sacrifice. I know not how, but the Equestrian government found the location of our current main base of operations. They sent a fairly large task force in to arrest us all. But, I covered her majesty's escape by staying behind to fight them off. I knew that I would never beat them all. I did not anticipate they would banish me, though."


"I see. Did the government dislike your little group? Too zealous, or just unusual?"



"'Too zealous' is a way to put it, I suppose," Hermodur responds with a thoughtful chuckle. "But, in truth, they are simply threatened by the prospect of a new goddess to rule over them. They don't want to relinquish the control they have wrested through their greed and corruption."



Name fix.



"I don't blame you for your trepidation," Hermodur responds to Violet's obvious response. "But, you've seen the corruption of the world. You were arrested for completely unfair reasons. Can you really say that things shouldn't change?"



Reentering the room looking much cleaner, i take a seat on one of the mattresses, cleaning up my mane with violet's borrowed brush.

"You all really must try the baths here, it's all quite lovely!"

"Anything i've missed while i was away?" i cheerfully ask, looking between the group.


File: 1521772983728.webm (241.68 KB, 720x405, wrong lever.webm)

>Bask: Mend

"Zhank you , mizz Delta, for your hozpitality. I'm happy to be an ally to ze weak and injured."

Zunden says, charging her magics again as she brushes a claw to look under her face bandages.

"Ze one called Ziriuz… do you have any more context to how you found ze pony? Any information might prove uzeful. If zhe waz carrying anyzhing or ozher hoofmarkz nearby."

Meanwhile Zunden calls back to those she treated in the past, inspired by the tarot reading to check her own memory first for clues.
[1d10] recall

Roll #1 10 = 10


I shrug. "Just a little talking. Getting to know each other or something, I guess. It's-" I trail off, searching for the word. "Well, it's nicer than I expected it to be."


I crinkle my nose and tilt my head. "Well, mostly anyway."


"Oh? and just what did we find out, tonight?" i ask, leaning in "I really should have learned more about just who i'm traveling with, better to avoid potential hangups that way, after all."


"Just how we all got here. And apparently Violet didn't realize the cat was a cultist. You came in right in the middle of him justifying himself."


"Oh my, how scandalous!" i reply, momentarily covering my mouth with a hoof. "..Though really, given his talk of his goddess it isn't as surprising as one would think."

"While we're on this talk of banishment i might as well answer what burning questions you have of my sordid past, should you have any." i finish, leaning against the wall.


"Aside from what Black here already said, we found out he was the most well-adjusted to society of the three of us." he mentions, gesturing to the Diamond Dog with a bit of a smile


I cock an eyebrow. "I thought you already told us. A jealous noble or something." I look away and
idly scratch the back of my head. My voice cracks from embarrassment when I continue. "Unless I'm remembering wrong or making assumptions or something. Sorry."


A faint blush blooms across my cheeks, and I can't help but give a small smile. "Hah, thanks. Have to say, that's not something I ever expected to hear."


"Sure. You missed thr nitty gritty of ours, but I wouldn't mind hearing a bit about you." he says, stretching out a tad.


"Oh please, there was more to it than the simple jealousy of a minor noble."

"While he was as charming and handsome as colts of his stock are, i had no intention of being simply traded off as a power play! I had plans to gain control of my father's business, not to be some dowry to another family."

"..Though with me here i suspect they've signed the company over to my brother by now.." i add, contempt slipping through as my words trailed off.

"As ever, i am an open book, Rabi. Ask away and i'm certain i'll have an answer."


I glance down at my pockets and notice both my rats curled into little fuzzballs, sleeping. Careful not to wake them, I reach down and lightly scratch one of their tummies before looking back up at Silver, just barely not making eye contact.

I roll a couple of questions over in my head for a little bit. How does she know so much about poisons? Was she an assassin, or was she trained somehow? Are all nobles so good in combat? Finally I settle on one, clear my throat, and glance up at her. "What's your favorite kind of food?"


"Hmm? Favorite food?"

i look away for a moment, clearly confused, before looking back at you.

"It's certainly been a while, but a mixed salad was always a lovely meal. Fresh lettuce and spinach with leaves of kale, sliced fruits and vegetables like apples and tomato and toppings of bleu cheese and shelled sunflower seeds, oho what a taste!"

clearing my throat, i calm back down shortly.

"Something like that would be lovely. What about you? Surely you have a favorite as well, yes?"

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