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

 No.690313[Last 50 Posts]

This is a FEMTO game. Information on it can be found here: https://pastebin.com/8shJWpxm


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You remember only fragments of the ritual that led to your Vanishment. The iron cage. The silver sword. The cheering crowd. The shimmering whirlpool of many colors.

What you do remember is your reason for being there. No one is sent to the Echoes without reason, and you are all no different. Whether you deserved your Banishment or not is for you to decide. It doesn't matter now.

You remember plunging into the shimmering whirlpool, all the colors of the rainbow rushing up and embracing you. You couldn't move, trapped as you were in those cold iron cages. Patterns formed around you as you fell deeper and deeper through the whirlpool, kaleidoscopes of green and yellow and purple and blue. They coalesced, slowly but surely, giving way to a plane of endless white: then, darkness fell.

Your past has already been written. The ink is dry. All you can do now is turn the page.


You awaken to the sound of waves and the smell of salt. With an ear piercing creak, the doors of your cages swing open, spitting you out into your new home.

You find that you have landed on a beach of dark sand. Waves lap gently against the ebony shore, and coastal birds similar to seagulls can be seen wheeling overhead. Looking up, you can see a convergence of rainbow colors spiraling into each other, then dissipating as the portal that dropped you here closes.

Looking around, you can see several points of interest from where you are. There are many other cages littered around the beach similar to yours, showing this is a popular dumping ground for your kind. Far to the right, you can see a lighthouse, although it looks like no one's used it in some time. On the left, the beach gives way to a dense, muddy mangrove, while behind you the beach turns to sharp, jagged rocks. You notice that there are also fresh-looking tracks all across the beach, though you can't tell much about them without closer inspection.

Checking yourselves, you see that they were merciful enough to let you keep your belongings before being Banished, although you will not get far with only these to your name. You also find that the five of you have been Banished together. You remember each others' faces as the others that were present during the Banishment, but nothing more. You are strangers, both to each other and to this land.


File: 1513292617634.jpg (136.19 KB, 1280x705, Space Jam in Purgatory.jpg)

Rabi, for what it was worth, felt like he deserved his Banishment. He offered little to no reaction as the kaleidoscopic whirlpool filled his vision, slowly growing into a bright, blinding white, and then to darkness.
Rabi shakes his head a little as he comes to, wiggling his snout and shakily getting to all fours. He takes a few moments to gather what possessions he'd been banished with, and take in his surroundings, before looking to the other four he'd been banished with. Perhaps, if they were willing, they could band together for long enough to find somewhere safer than this?


File: 1513298603162.png (202.44 KB, 1100x1050, Silver Song.png)


Stirring from sleep after the warp, i raise my head to take in the surroundings, before pouting in the sand.

"What a disaster! to think that I, a mare of such standing, can simply be thrown to the wastes on a whim? Oh, how shameful.."

feeling a little better after wallowing in pity, i get back onto my hooves with a sigh, brushing the sand off my dress with a wing.

"Now then, just where did they toss me? They really should have included some sort of map.."


"I doubt they have a map of such a place. I have not heard of any returning from here… but, perhaps we can make do on our own/ There's a lighthouse, nearby… maybe we could scale it, and get a better view from that point?"


"Hmm, i suppose so.. perhaps whoever owned those footprints forgot to search it?"

"Ah, but where are my manners?"

Leading in with a bow, i introduce myself.
"I am Silver Song, daughter to Brass Tacks and heiress of Dominion rails, though i'm certain you must've heard of me."


A chill creeps down my spine, and my face contorts into a pained grimace as the screeching cage assaults my sensitive ears. I attempt to open my eyes, but immediately squeezes them shut again as the sudden light intensifies my already budding headache. A quiet groan passes my lips as I hoist myself onto my hind legs and slowly cracks my eyes again, this time giving them a chance to adjust. As the world around me comes into focus and the fog over my mind dissipates, I can't help feeling almost disappointed at my surroundings.

For a brief moment I wonder what I'd even expected. Some kind of hellscape? Leather winged creatures flapping around, herding wrongdoers into torture camps where they'd be buttered and eaten alive by insects? I gives a dismissive snort. Whatever I'd expected, it wasn't a beach.

I glance around, noticing my dagger and small burlap bag on my belt, and my animal trap and pocket journal on the ground beside me. Well, that's something else I hadn't expected. They'd let me keep all of my things for some reason. Even my dagger.

I brush the sand off of the seat of my scarlet pants and gather up my things before turning to listen to the two conversing equines and quietly listen. Some kind of noble? And from the look of it the other one is a foreigner.

This is what they do with crooks, right? So then that means everyone around me is some kind of heinous criminal or another. Then again, what does that make me? Well, that's it. I guess I'm a murderer now. Better get used to it. O'l Mr.Black the brigand. Norvegicus the cut-throat. Ratman the butcher and slayer of all.

I sigh, drop back down on the sand, and glance up at the birds. Well, it's not prison, and there's company. How bad could it be?


"Perhaps. At the least, it is worth a try, no?"
The Saddle Arabian dips his head in greeting, and offers a bit of a smile "You may call me Rabi. I hail from Abyssnia." he says, before thinking her name over "I… have heard of it in passing, I believe. I wasn't the most well-off, though, so I doubt I ran into the right circle to hear of it often."
"Hail, stranger. Recovering alright?" he calls out as he sees another shape rise out of one of the iron cages


"A pleasure to meet you, Rabi. I must say it's surprising to see somepony as well mannered as you here. I had assumed i'd meet only the roughest of society in this place."


File: 1513304212754.png (114.87 KB, 594x634, Rabi sorta.png)

Rabi chuckles a little bit in response, and offers a bit of a shrug "Banishment takes all kinds. I wouldn't call myself clean, so to speak, but… I've learned being polite can go along way. From the look of it, there might be a few others getting up around now… we were banished along with three others?"


I grunt. "Yeah," I say. "Just a bit of a headache. A bit of a dry mouth. Oh, and a bit of being transported to a prison dimension that- what did you say again? Nobody has actually ever been released from?" Alright, maybe that was a little harsh, but if I'm going to solidify my new and improved brutish hardened brutalizer attitude it'd be best if I did it now.


I stand up and brush the sand back off myself again. I lift my box trap by its handle and stare straight into your eyes. "They call me Mr.Black the Ratman," I say. "And I'd watch who you're calling 'roughest parts of society' if you know what's good for you. I'm a cold-hearted killer with no real emotions. I could just snap-" I snap my fingers for emphasis and give a fake eye twitch. "Just like that. I don't take no guff from nobody."

There. Dominance cemented. That was intimidating, right?

I cock my eyebrow. "Three others? Sounds like they were a little trigger happy with the banishings today."


"Hrm… well, from the look of it, we've got plenty of water. No clue if it's clean, but… it's water. And, no worries. We'll give you some time to get the brutish brutalizer attitude settled. Take what time you need to get your bearings straight, first." he offers, before chuckling "And, yeah. With you up and about, that makes… two more. Though, I haven't seen them. Perhaps they're still out of it, or woke up sooner?" he offers, taking a look around



"..I see."

"Well i had meant no offense, of course, i was simply pointing out the need to keep some civility in this horrid place."

"Though really, threatening an innocent mare you've only just met? How brutish!"


"Come on, now. No need to go after each other. We're all equal nothings now, anyways. Why not at least cool it till we get somewhere better, yeah?"


"Oh it's quite alright, i'm mostly joking, even if his introduction was quite rude."


"Fair enough. So… should we check on the others? Or, just get a move on? I've got the feeling this is a bad place to stay out in during the night."


"Probably for the best we check for others, the last thing you'd want would be being left here alone in the echoes."



The experience was all too much for Hermodur's simple mind. By the time he landed in the new land on the beach, he was unconscious. And, there he laid, unconscious. The waves lapped against his foot, giving him the unpleasant sensation of wet feet. This quickly causes him to come to his senses.

Quick as a whip, he instinctively reaches for his great hammer laying next to him. He raises it up and leaps to his feet. However, the dizzying sensation of waking up so suddenly causes him to fall face first into the surf.

"Gah!" he sputters as he picks himself up again. "My suit!" he looks down mournfully at his now ruined 3-piece suit. Of course, the water was the least of its concerns. It was ripped in frayed in many places. Dried bloods stained it in a few places. He was clearly in a battle while wearing that suit recently.

He grumbles to himself about his appearance as he takes a few steps away from the water and then sits back down. He sits in a meditative position with both of his hands on his hammer. The head of the hammer was placed on the ground with his head held against its hilt. And this is how he remains silently.


The large saurian flops from her belly to her back as she turns in her sleep, letting out a loud snort as her claws curl up reflexively. Now on her back, her bassy snoring becomes audible.



"Well, there's one…" the Saddle Arabian notes, looking him up and down. "Oh, a Felid. Good to see someone else from Abyssnia, then." he comments, before offering a wave. He'll leave him be for now, seeing as he's meditating. The
"And, there's two… it's alive, at least. We'd probably be best off waking it up somewhat soon, yeah?"


"true, he does seem rather busy, and if he's anything like our friend 'Mr.Black' i doubt it'd be best to hurry him."

"The saurian? Feel free to wake her if you'd like."


"Hrm… oh, might as well risk it." the equine says, trotting over to give the Saurian a prod "Hey, rise and shine."


I'm a little stunned that you actually react a bit, and for a moment I'm at a loss for words. Finally, I clear my throat and say, "R-right. Brutish. Because I'm a brute. And you'd better remember it." I glance away. "But as long as you keep that in mind and don't get on my bad side you don't have anything to worry about."

I gulp and take a couple of steps back. Now this. This is what I'd expected everyone else to look like. Is that- Is that blood? Oh goodness, I think I feel a little lightheaded, and I stumble a bit. Still, I can understand the frustration at losing a fine suit.
I glance over my shoulder at Zunden, and my face immediately shoots back to attention. Goodness me, maybe I should put the tough act on hold for a bit.

A small tinge of unease twists my words into a slight stammer. "So I suppose that's everyone then?"


"Whenever you're ready feel free to introduce yourself!" i shout from a ways off, waving a wing.


The saurian gives a grunt as she's prodded, eyes opening as she lies on the ground. She looks up to the Saddle Arabian, with bemusement.

"Oh, hello zere."


"It appears so, a little motley but more than durable enough to see us through this wretched place."

"Durable being the key, i'd hate to be horribly maimed before i make it back in time for my inheritance."



"Abyssnia…" Hermodur grumbles as he opens one eye to look in Rabi's direction. "A den of iniquity and meaningless violence. A shining example of the world's desperate need for guidance in a lightless world."

Hermodur stands up and puts his hammer in a strap on his hip. "Do not include me with such filth."


"I am Hermodur Aput," he says dramatically as he does a sort of salute with his fist to his chest. "I am the messenger of a god. The one true glorious god of Equestria who will lead its people to a new era of glory! Behold for you stand before the right hand of Ailuros Bastet!"

You likely have no idea what he's talking about.


"Oh.. sounds lovely."
clearing my throat, i bow

"As you seem one for extended introduction, i'll match with my own. I am Silver Song, daughter of Brass Tacks and heiress to Dominion Rails, my father's company."


"That makes everyone, yeah. At the least, I don't remember seeing any others banished alongside us."
"Morning. Sorry to wake you, but I wouldn't reccomend sleeping here. We were going to look for somewhere safer, maybe… the lighthouse? We'd be able to get our bearings straight, at the least."
The Saddle Arabian raises a hoof, and shrugs "Didn't mean to offend, Hermodur. You can call me Rabi. I'm… a bit of a wanderer, I guess. We were heading for that lighthouse, if you'd want to come with."


I set my trap on the ground just so I can make a show of crossing my arms. "Well," I say. "As long as we're doing introductions I guess I should introduce myself too. My name is Norvegicus Black. Let's just say I work in "Pest control" and move on with it."



"I am pleased to see that there are those with respect among the criminal scum," Hermodur says with a respectful nod.

"However, before I can do anything, I must receive orders from her Majesty. And, so I sit and meditate," he says as he does what he says.


"I doubt you'll be getting many orders soon, friend. Unless she has some special way of getting them to you. But, if you'd want to wait, we can leave you to your business."



"I… I hear nothing!" Hermodur stammers after a moment. "Her beautiful sumptuous voice is lost to me… I am lost…" he says with his voice drenched in despair.


File: 1513311072496.jpg (54.61 KB, 800x532, 2540-thorny-devil-close.jpg)

chuckling, the reptile rises, looking around at her surroundings and brushing herself off, checking her satchel with some concern before remembering her belt, feeling a pouch and then sighing in relief.

"I zank you, I'm uzually not a heavy zleeper. Zis is the Echoez, zen? Cheery looking plaze."

she looks to the people around her,

"You have all been banizzed, I prezume? I am Zunden, as I zee we are introduzing each other."

She smiles, looking to the Arabian as she now stands over him.

"I zank you az well for not taking my zingz in my zleep."


"I'd imagine being trapped in here might put a damper on outside magic."

"For now at least you're welcome to join us, at least until you can hear her again."



"I… I thank you," Hermodur says, suddenly very deflated. "Without her voice, I've never felt so… listless."


"Ha!" Hermodur laughs. "The lizard cannot say her 's'es."


"We're all pretty lost now, it seems. But, like she said." he points to Silver Song "You're more than welcome to come with us until you hear from her again."
Rabi offers a soft chuckle in response, and helps the Saurian up "Cheery, yeah. Almost cozy enough to settle down into, yes?" he says, before smiling "We've all been banished, yeah, for one reason or another. And, of course, Zunden. I'm not the type to steal off of someone anymore."



"A curiously kind lot for ones who have been banished," Hermodur observes.


"Well, there's no need to be hostile here. It's not going to get us anywhere now, yeah?"



"The only one here who has obvious reason to be arrested is this one," he points to the 'pest control' pony.


The lizard turns, smiling,
"Yez, iz a zymptom of my zpeciez. Much like you muzt have to zpend a lot of money on zhampoo."

"I zee. Who are the ozherz, haz everyone already been introduzed?"



"From my experience, the 's'es from your kind are usually more elongated. I was amused by the irony of the opposite being true. But, perhaps different saurians have different lips and tongues. Tis the greatness of diversity which leads to a more powerful world," he adds enigmatically at the end.


"While we're all getting ready i really should see what exactly is around here."

stretching my wings, i fly up a ways above the treetops, looking around the area.


"I know of the zaurianz you zpeak of. My tribe iz, er… waz a bulkier folk, not thoze zkinny lizardz you'd find in the zwampz. We uzed our bulk to endure the zandstormz of the ze dezertz of Abyzzinia."


"Yeah, we have. I'm Rabi, and we've got… Silver Song, Hermodur, Silver Song, and… Norvegicus."


Zunden nods, turning to everyone in turn offering a hoof or paw shake to each of them.

"It iz good to know you all. Are you all okay wiz working togezer for ze time being to find our bearingz?"


meant to reply to here



"Why of course! I was in need of some traveling companions, this land i'd imagine would be quite rough on my own, better this than risk being accosted by bandits and other such exiles."


"People normally just call me "Mr.Black".
I pick my trap back up and nod. "I don't suppose it could hurt anything."



"So, I suppose I will be the one to ask the obvious question," Hermodur says as he follows everyone. "What did you all do to end up here?"


You fly up to get a better view of the surrounding landscape. You can see that beyond the lighthouse, the beach turns into more mangrove. You can't see too well, but it looks like there's boardwalks here that would make traversing it easier. Further inland, past the rocks are a series of a dozen or so large boulders, which seem to have been carved into indistinct, vaguely pony-like shapes. Who they're meant to represent, and who would have done so, is a mystery to you. You also notice the remains of a campfire amid the boulders, suggesting someone's been here recently. Even further in the distance, you can see a solitary mountain, half-hidden behind the clouds. It is truly massive, able to be seen from miles around.

You meditate for a while, trying to establish a link between you and your former master, Ailuros. Try as you might, you see and hear nothing but the beach. It seems the Echoes cut off all communication with the outside world. Apart from the rest of the party, you are alone, for now.

You sit a while and rest. The hot sun above is incredibly comforting for you.

>assuming the rest of you are following
Deciding it's best not to stay where you are for now, you make for the abandoned lighthouse. It looks even worse up close, much of its original red brick cracked and faded over the years, weeds growing at its base and climbing up its walls. The front door seems to have been broken not too long ago, by the looks of things. The interior has mostly gone to rot; curiously, however, it seems to get less and less dilapidated the higher up into the building one goes.

More importantly, you notice that the tracks all across the beach have led here at some point, then moved away into the rocky area behind you. It looks like the prints were dragging something behind them, perhaps a wagon of some sort. You also notice that there is a broken boat on the beach, stranded ashore. It looks like there's something inside it, but you can't tell what from where you are now.

You can't help but shake the feeling that something is watching you from afar.


"Me? why, i was framed, of course!"

"My father had wanted me to marry a political ally, believing he's secure him a lucrative trade deal. I refused, he had called in a favor and, well, here i am."

"Quite sad, isn't it? Cast aside so carelessly?" i finish, covering my eyes with a wing.


"Hrm… not really the best place or time to discuss it, yeah? We should at least wait until we've gotten shelter." he offers

"Hmm. Well, it's seen better days, but it's still standing, yeah?" he says, before looking up towards Silver "See anything of note?"
Rabi will also keep a bit of a lookout himself, as he feels something watching him… (Perception [1d10] )

Roll #1 9 = 9


"curious, something left so in the open, clear of the treeline?"

approaching the boat, i keep low, trying to avoid the treeline.
[1d10] Stealth

"It seems there's quite a trail of boardwalk past the treeline, and a snuffed out campfire a ways in. Still, we'd best be cautious."

Roll #1 8 = 8


I clear my throat. "Like I said. 'Pest control'."


I stick behind a little and crouch down. Channeling my energy into my box trap I make an attempt to summon two rats inside, not opening the door just yet. (+1 DC)

Roll #1 8 = 8



"Awash and alone at the shore, the lonely criminals come to the sign of safety only to find more nothing," Hermodur observes dramatically. "Or, did the intrepid ones who came before us find something of value? As I observe these trails in the ground, I must wonder what it is that they took with them. Tis a perplexing mystery, but also one which requires no solution. For, it is all meaningless to me. Alas, I look up at the sky and feel no salvation without my beloved to guide me."

"But lo, on yon shores I spy a shipwreck. There appears to be something aboard the lonely vessel, cast from its environment. What mysteries must it hold?"


"Such a pitiful use of a cruel punishment," Hermodur responds dramatically. "As it becomes easier to cast aside that which one does not agree with, the ability becomes abused. Such is this sinful world without a god to lead it."


"I see no reason to hide anything now that we have been cast away like garbage."


"And now the messenger of a god is forced to collude with a lowly assassin."


Zunden explores around the campfire, feeling how warm the embers are.
"I harbored those that society rejected, and when guards came to took them, I spoke back. I am guilty of my crimes, but I do not regret them."


"Alright. It might be best for the rest of us to wait here. More people might make sneaking harder."
"Eh, fair enough. I was banished for carriage robbery, and murder. The murder was accidental. A magic bolt gone awry, but… it doesn't change what I did."



"Sounds like Abyssinia…" Hermodur grumbles.


"You speak as if you were being charitable. But, if they were criminals, the charitable thing would have been to turn in for the sake of society."


You see something a very slight movement on the walls of the lighthouse's exterior, indicating… something's presence. You can't really tell what it looks like, but it's very large, has multiple legs, and is completely transparent, almost completely invisible to the naked eye unless you know what to look for. It's been watching you and your group this whole time. Whatever it is, it doesn't attack yet, but is merely clinging there, as if it were hiding from something else.

You lay low, sticking to the rocky shoreline that hosts the small lighthouse in an effort to remain undetected.

You manage to lure out two small, grey rats with matted fur. They sniff around curiously, looking a little apprehensive.

You find that the boat contains a fishing net, some clothes, and a diary of some sort. It seems to be completely waterlogged, making reading it difficult. The tracks you saw earlier lead from the boat to the lighthouse. Whoever they are, it seems that whatever they were carrying was quite heavy, and slowed them down.

You break up from the party momentarily, moving to the strange pony-shaped boulders and the campfire within. It seems that the fire was put out not too long ago, as the kindling is still slightly warm. There are tracks nearby matching the ones on the beach where you landed, as well as near the lighthouse. Whoever they are, they might be nearby.



As Hermodur boards the boat, he picks spies the diary and picks it up. He begins to read it.


>"I harbored zoze that zoziety rejected, and when the guardz came to take zem, i zpoke back. I am guilty of my crimez, but i do not regret zem."
"Criminalz are only zuch becauze lawz make zem zo. We are guided by fate, not ponyz. Zey took the idea of "Making zere own deztiny" wrong, now zey make ozer'z deztiniez, and banizj zose who dizagree."
"I have found trackz in ze dirt. Zey are frezj too."
Zunden pokes her head into the lighthouse,
"Are we ztaying long? We zjould follow zese before the perzon goez too far."


Curious, i look over Hermodur's shoulder to read the diary, quickly checking to see if i still have my diary on me.

"Should we really be rooting through someone's things? Exiles we may be, but sifting through someone's journal is just rude."


"Well, yes. Saddle Arabia's around that area." he says, before shrugging "While this isn't the best place for it, I'm trying to attone."

Rabi makes note of the… thing, on the walls, before humming a little. He looks to the rest of the group, before walking a little closer to share what he's found.
"There's something on the walls. It's hard to catch, but I don't think it's hiding from us… I imagine there's something else here, then."



"I do not disagree with your sentiment. However, if the guards came for them, they must have done something reprehensible."


"You are probably right, but search I must. Without purpose, I am listless in a sea of possibility."


"The fact that you lived in a world where you felt such actions were necessary is precisely why Her Majesty should lead us. Should we ever escape this hideous place, I've a mind to introduce you to Her Grace if you've a mind to accept her."


"It did not matter, zey were not committing zose crimez in my home. Zey zwore by it. Everyone did."



"They still committed the crimes."


"I don't think I know of 'Her Majesty' much. I suppose it couldn't be any worse as life as a highwayman, so… sure. Why not?"


"Az I zaid, bezidez the point. If they are willing to ztop what zey did in my abode, zen zey could have been able to ztop elzewhere. Zey were never given ze chanze."



"A fair point provided they were going to spend the rest of their life in your home."


"Her name is Ailuros Bastet. Even her name is enticing…" he practically swoons. "She is a true goddess the likes of which have never been seen since Celestia and Luna abandoned us. She will bring a new age of order and glory to the world. And who desire peace and harmony will revere her name with love in their hearts. And, all who would continue to live lives of treachery and villainy will learn to fear her coming."


My lips curve into a warm smile as I hear the rats squeak and I crack the door to the cage just enough to reach my hand in and give them a quick scratch under their chin. Good boys. Steeling myself, I scramble to catch back up with everyone else.

"Hey!" I shout. "Sorry, I was looking over there. I miss anything-" I try to think of a better way to word it but nothing comes to me. 'Uh… Over here?"


asked a question forgot to link to others


File: 1513318037419.jpg (145.08 KB, 600x706, two of three.jpg)

You go through it to the best of your ability. It is soaked to the bone, but you can make out a few words here and there. The owner's name seems to be Dawn, it makes mention of a Sanctuary many times throughout, as well as the phrases "one of three" and "two of three" being repeated several times in the later pages alongside a recurring symbol: a circle, split into three thirds, with one or sometimes two of the thirds being shaded in sometimes.
>pic related

Overall though, the diary is nigh illegible due to having been destroyed by water, the ink blurred and distorted.

The rats sniff your hand, then dart further into the cage. It seems something is frightening them, and it can't be you.

The thing on the lighthouse reveals itself all of a sudden, gaining color. It can best be described as looking like a gigantic panther, although it is more monstrous than that. Its eyes are burning red like chunks of glowing hot coal, and thousands of tiny tentacles sprout from its body instead of fur, rippling constantly. From its back sprout two enormous tendrils, with flower-like appendages at its end. It pounces from its vantage point, landing in front of you without a single sound.

It swipes at Rabi and Zunden first, its claws elongating to an impossible length.

Roll #1 1, 8 + 2 = 11



"As I invade the privacy of another lost soul such as myself, I find that this individual found himself a new purpose. But, what could this purpose mean to-" Hermodur's out loud introspection is cut short as the sounds of combat reach his ears. He drops the diary and turns back toward the tower.

"Lo, such a familiar sound does reach my ears. Hermodur, the Right Hand of God, shall draw Mighty Mjolnir and slay whatever beast should threaten my new allies!"

As he runs, he swipes the back side of the hammer and it causes a flame to ignite. "Haaaa!" he shouts his warcry. Mjolnir makes a whirring sound.

>[1d10] for sharpen

Roll #1 5 = 5


I scream and stumble backwards, landing on my butt. My trembling hands struggle to catch the latch on my trap, but after a couple of failed attempts I lift it to free my rats.

"Out," I say, calmly but firmly. They reluctantly slink out of the trap with arched backs, both terrified and trembling. I don't make them fight right away. Poor guys.

I shut the trap again and close my eyes, channeling my summoning magic into it again in an attempt to set forth a swarm of rats. [animal swarm]

Roll #1 3 = 3


Zunden holds up her massive arms, standing stalwart against the beast.

"I waz too complazent! Ziz iz a new world, one wiz new dangerz az well. Very well beazt, come at me."

The sun shines through the door as she holds her staff up, the finely detailed pole starting to glow.
>Bask: automatic, recharge 2 after effect ends; You take a moment to sunbathe, recharging your energy. After doing so, you get a +2 bonus to a skill of your choice next time you use it. The effects of Bask are cancelled if you are knocked helpless while using it. Can only be used in sunlight. The debuff from being exposed to cold can be cancelled by Basking, although if used in a snowy environment Bask's recharge is increased by 1.
+2 to Healing Bonds



"Oh? some sort of struggle, perhaps? My, this i'll have to see!"

creeping along behind, i pull my shivs from their holsters, readying for the fight in the shadows.


"Or, not! Look out!" he calls out, wheeling about and pulling his bow out. Rather than nock an arrow, he channels his magic into it, which forms into a ball of light. He looses it at the panther-like monster
>Radiant (Elementalist)
>Seeker Bolt: [2d10+1] (+1 from Seeker Bolt)

Roll #1 10, 4 + 1 = 15


Mjolnir's flame ignites, then sputters and fades away. Not even your own hammer is here to save you, it seems.

You try and coax more rats out, but to no avail. Whatever this thing is, it is making your rats unnaturally frightened.

As you stand firm and challenge the monster, it takes a powerful swing at you, sending you reeling. Its strike leaves a black ichor on you, which smokes ominously before dissipating.
>Zunden takes 4 hits

You sneak up while the creature is distracted by the others, preparing to strike.

You manage to scramble out of the way of its attack, retaliating with a powerful shot of light that hits the monster between the eyes. It recoils, thrashing about silently as the hair-like tendrils on its body pull the arrow out. It is left confused and unable to see momentarily.
>+2 DC to its next attack roll

The tentacles on its back reach out and try to grab Rabi in retaliation.

Roll #1 4 = 4


uncorking a vial of toxin with my teeth, i soak a shiv in a clear fluid, before leaping in front of the monster, slinging the excess towards it's face!
[1d10] Blind

"Have some of this, wretched thing!"

Roll #1 4 = 4



Hermodur arrives on the scene and sizes up the !Displacer Beast.

>Hunter's Eye on it

"Ailuros, My Beloved!" Hermodur calls out as he lifts up his hammer. "If you are still out there, LEND ME YOUR STRENGTH!"

>Sharpen [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Now zen, feel the warmz of ze zun!"

Frozen Light: passive; Whenever you cast a successful spell on an ally, it can instead be held to be used later at their choice (You must decide if you’re holding the spell this way when casting). The spell locks as an orb of light above the targeted ally, and they can use the spell whenever they want as an Instant Automatic action at the roll you made for it originally. There can only be one frozen spell on an ally at any time.
>Healing Bonds: recharge 3, spell, ranged; Chain of energy that heals up to 3 allies to full hits and restores 1 wound on each one of them.
[1d10+2] Zunden, Rabi, Aput
if it succeeds, this effect also applies to the frozen spell above you.
>Supernova; passive: The spells of Zunden may be frozen in time, but they radiate the inspiring light and warmth of the sun. Frozen Light's orbs count as suns for the purpose of weather-related effects, and sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet. Additionally, when the spell inside is EXPENDED, the orb releases a miniature supernova, offering a +1 to the next roll of the affected ally.
[more rule text than post, ik. Just doing this for the first time each session for reminder]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


I gulp and lean down to eye level with my rats, turning my back away from the fight. "Okay, guys," I say, putting on the best 'pep talk' voice I can in a whisper. "I know you're scared, and I'm sorry. It's a big, scary cat thing. I'm scared too, but I need you to go in and help out our new friends, okay?" I reach out and scratch the two rats on the head. "I'm really sorry to make you do this, but you'll both get a nice little treat after."

The rats tremble in fear, but both dart after the creature with the blinding speed of scared rats. Both of them leap at the creature's leg, trying to sink their teeth into it.

I roll over, still prone, and place my hand on the cage. I try and summon two more rats to help out.DC+1

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #3 1 = 1


>Forgot to greentext frozen light
Zunden holds her staff, three orbs of sunlight falling upon herslef, Rabi, and Aput


Not intent on giving the beast a moment's rest, he nocks another arrow, and wills a little bit of magic into it. The tip turns a dull, dark blue, and he tries to aim for its forehead.
>Trick Ammo: Knockout
>Ranged Attack: [1d10+1] (+1 from Seeker Bolt)
"Thanks!" he shouts in response, a little unsure of what the orb of light actually does.

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


You lob the vial at the monster. It shatters harmlessly against its oily surface, getting grasped and flung away by its tiny tendrils.

Mjolnir sparks for a moment, but nothing more. You keep an eye on the monstrous thing while you try and get ready, watching its every move.

You conjure three radiant orbs of sunlight, placing them above your head as well as those of your newfound allies.

All animals are dangerous when cornered, and your rats have nowhere to go but forward. They dart towards the monster, ripping and tearing at its hairlike appendages, leaving it severely wounded. It swipes at its tiny assailants, but to no avail, being too small a target for it. They keep clawing and nibbling until they can't anymore, scurrying away back to safety.

You also manage to get two rats out, but they refuse to leave their cage. When you stick your hand in to try and encourage them, they bite at you instinctively, leaving you with a nasty wound.
>Norvegicus takes 1 hit

You manage to dodge its attempt to grab you, preparing a special arrow to stun the beast. You manage to hit it in the shoulderblade, knocking it over monetarily. It thrashes about, trying to regain its bearings.

The thing's back tentacles lash out again as it tries to get up, targeting Zunden.

Roll #1 9 = 9



"No, no, no!" Hermodur begins to panic. "Please, don't fail me now! I need your power. Please, please, please!"

>Sharpen [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


darting back, i dig through my belt to fine a crimson vial, dipping my shivs into it before leaping at the creature!
[1d10] Bleed

"Have at you!"

Roll #1 10 = 10


Zunden grimaces as the tentacles lash at her, casting one last spell before she goes down.
>Frozen Light Mend, Norvegicus

Roll #1 7 = 7


I wince in pain as the rats bite me, reflexively jerking my hand out of the cage. Probably just going to leave those poor guys alone for now. I reach into my pouch and pull out four tiny, donut shaped treats, gently laying too just inside the cage for the scared rats. I kneel down and click my tongue, calling the attack rats back over to me.

I let them scamper up my leg and to each of my shoulders, giving each of them a treat when they're comfortable. They take them in their little paws and happily chitter as they munch on them. I take a step back. Probably best just to let everyone else handle the rest of the fight for now.


"All things considered, this could be going worse!" Rabi calls out, before firing another arrow at the panther-like monstrosity
>Ranged Attack: [1d10+1] (+1 from Arabian Agility)

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


The hammer suddenly comes to life in your hands, fire crackling from its head.

You cover your blades in the secretions of a carnivorous plant, enhancing your blades' bleeding capabilities. You lunge at it with all your strength, piercing through the fleshy tendril exterior and to whatever lies underneath. It shudders and writhes hideously at your blow.

You heal your tenuous ally before being grappled by its appendages. It lifts you up, then slams you into the ground hard, leaving you dazed and winded.
>Zunden takes 3 hits, helpless

You hang back for a moment, taking the time to comfort your cherished rats. It seems to work, as they seem fairly docile for now.

You put a dangerous amount of strain on your bow. It creaks ominously as you draw your arrow. Your shot goes completely wide and clatters off of one of the strange carved rocks.

Sensing it's outmatched, the creature starts retreating down towards the beach, heading for the mangroves. Its tendrils writhe and convulse as it tries to shake off your attack.


I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and pull myself to one knee. I don't want to make the rats in my trap attack just yet, but I open the door to let them out to get some air.

I glance up just in time to see Zunden go down and the creature sprint away. Well, I was going to try to summon another swarm, but there's no reason to attack a wounded animal while it's trying to escape. I sigh and stand up, and the two scared rats dart behind my legs to hide.


"Hardly worth the effort to chase it down, really."

scowling in the creature's direction, i dip a shiv in an ink jar, sitting down to pull open my journal and quickly jot some notes on the fight.



"YES!" Hermodur celebrates as the hammer revs up. "Behold the blessing bestowed upon me by Her Majesty! With this, nothing can resist my awesome power!"

Then, he realizes the beast is trying to flee. "Oh, no you don't! You started this, you will see it through to the bitter end!"

"Have at thee, monster!" he shouts as he runs after it. As he runs, he swings his hammer. When he does, the front end opens up. He swings his hammer with all of his might, the jet on the back increasing its speed. As it is swung, the opening on the front releases a ball of glowing magical energy which explodes upon impact with the creatures rear leg.

>Single, Ranged attack

>take the higher roll [1d10+3] [1d10+3] with DC-1

Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8 / Roll #2 1 + 3 = 4


"I will not go down zat eazily."

Zunden says as the sun above her extinguishes, basking in it's light.

>Instant Automatic 7 on Healing Bonds

>Bask: Healing Bonds


Rabi blinks once or twice, considering himself lucky to have had the shot deflect in such a harmless way. Shrugging to himself, he funnels magic back into his bow, turning the nocked arrow a bright, blinding white
>Elemental Arrow: Radiant
>Ranged Attack: [1d10+2] (+1 from Seeker Bolt, +1 from Arabian Agility)

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


The rats take a moment to double check the coast is clear, then leave the cage and start sniffing around, rearing up on their back legs to explore their immediate surroundings.

You take notes on what's happened so far, including a description of the strange creature you just faced.

The creature scrambles to get away from you, but you bring your hammer down. As you do so, the flames immediately engulf it, and the creature begins to physically shrink as it is burned. The smell is indescribably nauseating. Eventually the flames die out, and all its tendrils recede and shrink away into the creature's core: a small roughly cut translucent red and grey gem, which smolders slightly. The black tendrils can be seen within the gem, moving every so often around its interior.

The sun above you convulses and is snuffed out in a brilliant display of radiance, bthing you in its warmth and restoring your energy.
>Zunden is healed, back at 5/5

You go to fire an arrow, but Hermodur's blow seems to have killed the creature already. It seems to hate fire. Your shot instead hits one of the nearby mangroves, where it illuminates the surroundings, driving off a flock of the birds you saw before.

You are suddenly aware of a figure watching you from afar, standing amid the rocks overlooking the mangrove forest. You can't see them very well from where you are, but it seems to be a pony wearing a hooded robe of some sort, with a large object strapped to them. They see the creature burn and wither at Hermodur's hand, then turns to you all and raises one hoof in silent greeting.



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The hooded figure approaches your group. You can see that they are a well-built earth pony, wearing a long hooded coat of sturdy leather and quilting. Strapped to their back is a large, extremely heavy-looking brick cylinder covered in arcane writings and symbols. It shouldn't be possible to carry such a thing without supernatural strength, but this pony seems to be managing just fine. In addition to this, they are carrying a a sword with an unusual telescoping handle as well as several packed saddle bags, seemingly full of traveling equipment.

The stranger throws their hood back and smiles at you, showing she means no harm. She is a battle-worn but friendly-looking mare with a light blue coat and a braided white mane. She sports a large leather patch over her right eye, while her left is a vibrant purple hue. "Are you alright?" she asks. "Those monsters can be quite deadly. Count your blessings you ran into just the one, for now."





Hermodur stares at the pony with suspicion, his hammer still whirring in his hands.

After a moment of silence, he says, "Such a beast cannot match up to the might bestowed upon me by My Goddess," he boasts.


File: 1513913870898.jpg (552.98 KB, 836x1424, Sun.jpg)

Zunden's staff glows a final time as she attempts to create two more suns for those in the party without. She goes to investigate the gemstone dropped by the creature, holding it up to the sunlight to look inside.

[1d10+2] Frozen Light Healing Bonds on Zunden, Silver Song.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


File: 1513914030663.png (88.7 KB, 919x862, Rabi.png)


Rabi remains at the ready as the unfamiliar stallion approaches, but offers a friendly smile. As she throws her hood back, he does much the same himself, and offers a bit of a pouch "Hello, stranger. I believe we all pulled through without many scrapes. From the look of it, you've been around here for a while, yeah?" he asks, slowly putting away the bow
"So, what can we call you, then? Or should we wait for safer ground?"



"Oh yes, quite alright, my companions proved more than effective at fighting that creature off, thankfully." i reply, tucking my journal into my vest.

"Might we ask just whom we're speaking with? It'd be best to run through introductions while we have the chance."



I herd two of my rats back into the trap, slip two more treats out of my pack and drop them in. In hindsight I should probably be saving these, but the little guys did so good I can't help but reward them. After the two rats on the ground scurry back into the cage I reach up and scratch the two on my shoulders under the chin.

I look up at the mare and cock my eyebrow. I'd planned on keeping silent for a bit, but she said something that definitely interested me.

"Wait," I ask. "Just the one? You mean they tend to pack together? That one seemed a little territorial."


The pony seems to sense your apprehension towards her, backing off a little to look less aggressive. She nods in response. "I saw you fall from the sky and made my way back to find you all fighting that Prowler. I was going to intervene, but, well, you seem to have things under control. Quite an impressive display."

Your staff glows brightly for a moment, but then fizzles out, to your chagrin.

The gem is a bright red with streaks of grey, an odd lumpy sort of shape and about the size of your palm. As you look closer, you can see the ropy tentacles of the creature squirming within. "Careful with that," the newcomer warns, looking at the gem with clear disgust. "I don't know much about Prowlers, but they're no natural creation. That's some powerful dark magic if ever I've seen it."

She nods. "Longer than I'd care to admit," she answers with a smirk. "To be honest, it's hard to keep track of time in this place. It doesn't seem to work like on the other side."

"I saw," she says, sounding impressed. "It's not often I hear of newcomers being able to take down a Prowler like that. Strength in numbers, I suppose.

"My name is Violet," the one-eyed mare answers. "Violet Moon. Charmed."

The rats happily wolf down the treats, consuming them in mere seconds. Not even the crumbs are left. Violet seems amused by the spectacle.

She nods in response to your question. "Prowlers seem to come in all shapes and sizes, not just big cats. They always travel together. Four, five, even up to seven at a time. The one you slew was either a scout or a straggler, although I'd wager on the former. …That's about all I know about them I'm afraid. I'm no zoologist, although I'd hesitate to even call those things animals." She glances uneasily at the dark crystal it left behind.

Violet looks around. "Hey, listen, I don't think it's a good idea to tarry for too long. Prowlers never stray far from their packs, and I don't fancy fighting off a whole group of them. Here, let me give you some advice, since you're new around here."

"There's an established settlement of fellow exiles about an hour's travel due west, and from there you can go your own way. You can use Mount Alken as a waypoint, if you get lost." She points at the huge, half-clouded mountain that Silver Song saw in the distance. "For my own part, I'm planning on heading back to the settlement, then northwards from there. Towards the Shifting Sands, five days travel from here. There's something I've been meaning to investigate in that area. You can come with me if you want. If not, there's plenty to keep yourself busy with around these parts if you ask around." Without further ado, Violet starts heading off in the direction of the settlement, glancing in all directions in case of a Prowler ambush.


"Traveling to that settlement certainly beats waiting for more of those 'prowlers' to appear."

"Unless we'd like to try our hooves at exploring the grove..?" i ask, turning to the others.


Rabi smiles a tad, before offering "Rabi. Likewise. And… Prowlers, is it? Good to have a name for them, then. I imagine whatever we do, staying still shouldn't be a part of it."
"I'd be fine with either, honestly, but I'd say our best bet is to get our bearings straight before searching around anymore. What better place to do that than in town, yeah?"


Zunden stares wistfully at gem for a short while longer before suddenly snapping her head around to Violet, nodding,

"Zandz you zay? Zoundz of my childhood home. I zhank you, Violet Moon-Charmed."

she says, unwittingly mistaking the pony's name,
"If it iz a trap, we can alwayz flee or fight back. But it iz good to azzume to ze bezt of poniez and ze like. Ozherwize, why zjould zey truzt uz?"



"What do you mean time works differently?" Hermodur suddenly asks with great concern. He doesn't bother speaking dramatically.


My pest-control mind immediately sets to work. If they pack, then that means they form communities. I want to ask some questions, but at the same time I don't want to come off like some weak, push-aroundable blue-collar mook. I silently chew my nails, conflicted. Everyone already thinks I'm some kind of badass assassin. I can't ruin that bone-chilling fear and respect that they no doubt have already just because I'm a little inquisitive.

Probably shouldn't put myself in any more danger than I have to, anyway. I've already been banished. I don't plan on dying while I'm here.

Then again, it is a prison dimension. I visibly shudder, thinking about what kind of people actually make up a settlement entirely composed of convicts. Would I really be safer just hanging around there? Still, looks like everyone else is going to follow and if they were going to kill me they already would have. I decide to quietly follow Violet. If I want to bring something up I can always do it when we're alone.


"True, and at the very least a town is less likely to cause problems than the wild."

"..Though given the residents of this place we had better keep our things in hoof's reach" I mutter under my breath.


"That's something, yeah. Then, let's head for the town!"


"Go your own way if you want," Violet answers, "but I'm fairly certain the Prowlers around here come from the mangroves. And there's other beasts about in those parts besides. Sunrays, Mirodan, Orchard Keepers, you name it." You have no idea what any of those are, but none of them sound friendly.

"Well, we call them that, for lack of a better name. Some of the old folks say they weren't always around. Something, or someone, spawned them, and now they're everywhere. Word of advice: they absolutely hate fire."

The writhing of the tendrils is almost hypnotic. You pull yourself away eventually. Violet looks concerned, but makes no comment.

"Well, if not you, then it'll be some other folks from town," she explains as she walks, not bothering to correct your mistake. "There's treasure everywhere in this land, and most everyone wants a piece of it. Mostly because they're clinging on to the hope that they can find a way out of this place." She shrugs.

"It's… hard to explain," she says, trying to put her thoughts into words. "I think time moves slower here compared to the real world. Or maybe faster. Some that end up here, they talk about places and things that didn't even exist when I was in the Dominion. And some seem to come from before my time, even. …In any case, if there is a way home, I doubt I'd even recognize it if I saw it." She smirks again, somewhat wistfully this time. "Oh well. It is what it is I suppose."

She sees you shudder at the mention of the settlement. "It's… not as nasty as you'd think, actually," she explains reassuringly. "There's some rough folks around for sure, but there's many more that have made peace with their new life, like myself. Even some that were born down here, and don't know the outside. So don't fret. Life down here isn't so bad, once you get used to it."

You follow Violet onwards, past the oddly shaped stones and across the rocky plains. Along the way, you find out that the giant brick cylinder she's carrying is actually almost entirely weightless, likely due to some enchantment.

"I actually don't really know what it is yet," she explains. I found it in that boat when it washed ashore last night, the one near the lighthouse. No sign of a mariner. Whatever it is, it's probably valuable to someone."

You keep traveling without any further incident, until you reach the settlement Violet told you about. Resting on the banks of a river overlooking a thicket of woodlands, the settlement of Ironbrook is little more than a shanty town of 100 or so settlers of various races, living in houses made of wood and stone. Near the center of town are a spattering of shops selling supplies to travelers passing through. It seems that many people come to Ironbrook, but few stay for long.

The shops in the area sell and trade for supplies such as tents, bedrolls, food rations and water. In addition to these, there is a rickety looking inn called the Laughing Squire which provides boarding as well as drinks, and a strange wooden building shaped like a chess rook which seems to specialize in magical supplies and enhancements. "I'll just be a few minutes," Violet says, heading towards the latter. "I'm going to see if they can help me find out more about this weird cylinder."


Zunden puts the gemstone in one of her pouches, taking out her cards and kneeling on the ground and shuffling them,


"I zink I jzould read ze tarot before we go any furzer. Would any of you like your fortunez read? I cannot claim to zee ze future, but I can interpret the zignz jzown in eajz card."


*GM post should be the first section, everyone else should be second section.


"Oh? You can read fortunes?"

taking a seat nearby, i peer over to catch a few glimpses of cards.

"Well i'd certainly not mind seeing how i'll fare here, I've heard these cards can be quite accurate."


"They hate fire? Well, that certainly works for me. Thanks for the tip, Violet."
He looks over the cylinder she's carrying with curiosity, before humming a little in thought "…I can't imagine what it'd be used for. Maybe some sort of strange key, or container?" he offers, before taking note of the inn's name "Got it. Thanks for your help, Friend."

"Didn't like the last tarot reading I got, but… sure, why not? We've hit rock-bottom, so we only have one way to go." he says, before smiling


Well, she said it was okay, so I'm sure it's fine. When we get to the town I scope it out, assessing the different shops, buildings, and ponies I see around the place. Hopefully they really aren't as bad as they are in my imagination.

My ear twitches and I drop to my knees, locking your eyes with a fierce, expectant gaze.



Hermodur stares at Violet with horrified, downtrodden eyes. "I… My beloved… I may never see her again?"


Hermodur sits down next to Zunden and folds his arms, a brooding expression on his face.


"Time works… differently? That's certainly interesting. I'm sorry about your beloved, Hermodur… I can't say I stand to lose much, but the loss is a shame to hear all the same."


You claim the gem for now. It might be worth something to a dark practitioner, or a scholar of magic. You notice that it is oddly wet to the touch, as if it had been drenched in water.

"That's what I was thinking as well. Although, it doesn't seem to be solid. Maybe it's part of a set?" She shrugs. "Might never know. All I know is it's probably worth quite a bit."

You take a look around at the denizens of Ironbrook. For the most part, they look like you'd expect prisoners living in a self-made shanty town to look. They are mostly draped in dirty clothes, many of them hiding behind cowls or masks. They seem to suspect that you and your party are new arrivals, sneering as they shuffle by on their business. Other passers-by look more respectable, or as respectable as one can look in the Echoes. They are sometimes dressed in armor, or wearing foreign garbs suited for long distance journeys. On more than one occasion you see entire groups of travelers setting off with wagons in tow, off on some great adventure. Overall, while this is undoubtedly a hard place full of hard folk, it could be a lot worse.

Violet stops in her tracks, looking remorseful. You sense that she knows how you must feel right now. "…I'm sorry. I really am. But banishment is a life sentence. And there's no way out. That's the way it's always been, and always will be. It's… not an easy pill to swallow, but none of us are ever going back. This is what life is now. I…" She trails off and just sighs before continuing on her path, lost in thought.


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"Very well very well, one at a time pleaze."

Zunden says, turning to the pegasus who spoke up first,

"I will begin wiz you, Zilver Zong. Let uz zee your pazt, prezent, and fujzure, and how we can uze what we learn to plan ahead."

Zuden pulls three cards and places them in a row in front of Silver,

"Firzt, ze pazt. What haz happened to get you to zis point."

She flips over the first card, which shows a lizard much like herself holding a scale in one hand and sword in the other. The card is upside down.

"Ah, it iz Juztize upturned. An upzide down card meanz it'z original meaning is reverzed, in thiz caze the oppozite of what is Juzt. Thiz zymbolizez Dizhonezty, Unfairnezz, and Unaccountability. Perhapz it referz to to unfair act of ze politizian zat framed you. Maybe you have been dizhonezt in ze pazt, and it haz lead to zis fate. Eizer way, Juztize haz turned a blind eye, and zomezing zat would normally have been met with retribuzion and punizjment haz gone unnotized."

She looks up, smiling, "But zat iz in the pazt, we muzt learn from it, but not dwell on it. Let uz zee ze prezent." She flips over the next card, revealing a dragon staring down at two imprisoned lizards, one male and one female.

"Ze Devil. Perhapz you are feeling inzecure about ze current zituation. It reprezentz ze inzecuritiez that hold uz back, our obzezzionz, and our fearz. You may feel chained down or bound, but know zey are not phyzical chainz."

She looks to the last card, winking, "And finally, ze future. What iz to come of Zilver Zong in ze end."

She flips the last card, revealing a lizard wearing a crown and hold a scepter, also upside down.

"Very auzpicouz, zree Major Arcana. Zis iz not very common. Ze Emperor reverzed. It Zymbolizez Tyranny, Rigidity, and Coldnezz. Zomeone will have much power in your future, but alzo uze too much of it. Perhapz zomeone will have a firm grazp on you, or perhapz you will gain great power and fail to uze it with reztraint. I cannot zay, zese are for your interpretation. Do wiz it what you will."


"We need not zit down, I can do ziz while we explore the town. Come, let uz zee ze zhopz."
Zunden getz up, carrying her cards with her as she Silver's back into the deck.


"Hrm… well, I'd hold on to it, at least for a bit. It'd be a shame to sell it off and find the other pieces, you know?" he suggests, before looking at the set of cards
"Oooh. Color me interested, then. Could you do mine next?"


*as she shuffles Silver's cards
"Yez, one moment pleaze."



I glance over my shoulder, only half paying attention through the excitement of having my fortune read. "I don't see what the big deal is," I say. "We weren't executed. We were banished. And banished to a place that it actually doesn't seem incredibly hard to survive in. I mean look, they're doing well enough to practically have a little village going here. That has to count for something." As gross and mean as some of these ponies look, that is. I guess I'm probably not making any new friends anytime soon. I lift my finger and absently pet one of my rats. Not like it'll be that much different.



"I have nothing to live for…" he mourns dramatically. All of his previous vigor is gone.


"We can go wherever you want," Hermodur stew sadly. "It matters not to me."



"It doesn't matter if I do not have My Goddess to serve."


I chuckle. "Sounds like someone put all their emotional eggs into one basket." I freeze, just now realizing that I'm taunting someone that can probably kill me by breathing on me. I quickly change the subject.

"A-anyway, I'm starving! Where's a good place to find food around here? And do you guys still use normal currency?"


"Oh my, what an odd reading.." I reply, shuffling around nervously.

"Dishonesty.. Tyranny.. Obsession.."

"Quite a lot to take in."

"Our best bet would be to check the inn, securing a place for the night is a priority."

"Though we still might need some way to pay for it.." i trail off, making my way towards the inn.


"I have packed food, but I would like to zample the cuizine. I agree."

Zunden says, shuffling.


Come on now, Hermodur. Perhaps, if we can find a way out, you would return to the time you were banished. We an't just give up now."


My floppy ears fold back, and I try my best not to look too disappointed that I'm probably going last.


As you do your reading, you get odd looks from passers-by, who seem to think you're putting on a show for the crowd. Looking around, you find that a small audience of onlookers has gathered, watching your performance curiously.

The rat is grateful for the petting. You are lucky that the powers that be let you keep them, at least.

The shops, mostly consisting of small stalls here and there tended by surly-looking ponies or saurians, sell traveling supplies: mostly preserved food and water, but also the following:
>camping equipment
>fire-starting kits
>oil lamps
>medicinal herbs for light injuries
>saddle bags and pouches
>hunting knives
>maps of the surrounding area

Most of these are listed as relatively inexpensive, with a few exceptions. However, you soon realize that even between the five of you, you are completely penniless at the moment. If you wish to acquire any of the above, you will probably have to trade or sell something of your own for them.

You investigate the inn. It is rather empty this time of day, although there are a few patrons here and there. They seem to sell both food and drink here, as well as lodging. However, judging from the rather bleak condition of the place, you can't expect anything too spectacular.The innkeeper looks as grim as his establishment, a stocky, hairless Felid with eyes like lamps. He looks up at you and nods in silent greeting, then goes back to his fruitless task of cleaning the gunk off of the counter.

On the menu are such prime delicacies as Mirodan stew, gutter crab fondue, black pudding, sawgill salad, and filet of Tyrux. You also notice a notice board at the back of the room, which may be able to point you and your new allies towards other adventures - assuming they turn down Violet's offer of traveling to the Sands.



"What choice had I?" Hermodur asks dramatically, as if you could know. "When faced with such resplendence, there is only but one way forward. Now, I am in a box with no opening."


"You have no reason to think that," Hermodur pouts.


"Oh, how I long for the days when everyone was provided for me by My Goddess…" Hermodur laments as he realizes he can buy nothing.


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"Now zen, Rabi. You and the cat come from the zame landz az I onze came from. Let uz zee if your fate iz az warm az ze zandz were, or perhapz hot like ze zun."

She pulls three cards to the top of the deck, fanning them out before pocketing the rest of the deck momentarily, "Again, firzt we will look at what brought you to zis point: Ze Pazt."

The first card she reveals shows a strange circular rune in the sky, a dragon sitting on the top and a robed saurian upside down on the bottom.

"Aha, it iz hard to notize it iz upzide down, but zis is a reverzed Wheel of Fortune. Your pazt iz one where you had little control, much like a run away wheel. It zeemz like luck waz not on your zide, even if you depended on it." She smiles again, "Like I zaid to Zilver, zis is the pazt, it only reflectz on your prezent az a point of learning. Let uz zee the Prezent."

She reveals the second card she has fanned out, a robed saurian holding a carved rod in the sky much like Zunden in the previous fight. A magical rune, sword, staff, and cup sits on a table next to him.

"Ah, more pozitive. Zis iz the Magizian. He reprezentz pure willpower, dezire, and the manifeztation of zuch dezirez. You are at a point where you can take all zat iz around you and uze it to achieve your goalz. In the grand zcheme, it zhowz zat the greater workingz of the world are much like zat of our every day life. Az above, zo below."

She looks to the saddle arabian before continuing, tapping the last card, "Now zen, let uz hope ze future is az bright az your prezent."

The final card is also upright, showing a female saurian bathing in an oasis. The sky is lit by the light of a large star, surrounded by smaller stars.

"Good, it iz az I hoped, bright. Like Zilver, you have alzo a ztrange and powerful fate, one zat is rare and powerful. Zis is ze Ztar, it reprezents Hope, Faiz, and Rejuvenation. Hope iz truzting in oneself, and in the univerze that zurroundz uz. Zis card iz a good zign, but what you make of it iz up to you. It could mean ze pozzibility of rebirth, or juzt zat the world haz not forzaken you yet."


"Hm, we zeem not to have anyzing to pay for zeez goodz. I do not wizh to loze my tarot deck, zo we may need to acquire zome currenzy by doing zome tazk or quezt."


*everything, not everyone


Picking my way up to the counter, i clear my throat before addressing the innkeeper.

"Ah, yes, hello there. I was just checking to see if you had any rooms available for a party of five?"


I eye the menu, and even with some of the unappetizing names my stomach grumbles. I might take that horse up on his offer. "So, uh," I say to anyone who's actually listening. "You don't think the only 'work' around here is exploring stuff, do you? Because I'm not sure my old line of work will help me out here."


Looking towards the diamond dog, Zunden emits a bassy chuckle, shuffling her deck again.

"I apologize for making you wait, Norvegiucuz. We will reflect on your pazt, prezent, and future next."


I grin, and short, stubby tail involuntarily swishes through the air behind me. I've never really had money to waste on fortune telling, but I've always thought it sounded really fun. After a second I regain my composure and give a quick nod.



"I do wish you all would stop associating me with that abysmal desert," Hermodur broods.


"I don't, no. But, we have no real way to tell, do we?" he offers, before turning back to Zunden
"Well… this all seems pretty good. The past couldn't be more accurate, and… the present, and the future are rather comforting." he says, chuckling a little "I never thought cards'd be able to lift the spirits like that. Thanks, Zunden."
"Hrm… the maps, and the little knives both seem good.But, I'll need to swing by when I've got something worth trading." he says, before ducking off to follow after Silver Song
"If it'd help, we could probably share rooms to cut down on the space." he adds, looking hopefully at the innkeeper


"No gods down here, friend," says one of the shopkeepers, a short but muscular diamond dog with heterochromia. "Now you buying something or what? We trade around these parts too, so if you've got something worth giving up you might just convince me to do the same." He doesn't elaborate, but the implication is clear as he glances at your hammer greedily.

He stops and stares at you wearily for a moment, seemingly taking a while to process what you said before pulling a scroll out from under the counter. He alternates between eyeing you and eyeing the scroll. "Got two rooms available," he grunts. "Fit for three each. 20 bits a head. Before you ask, we don't trade." He holds out his paw, clearly expecting payment.

The innkeeper overhears you and points at the billboard. "If you're looking for things to do, there's plenty to choose from over there," he says simply. "Or you can go get lost in the wilderness and come sell what you find." He doesn't seem to have noticed your rats yet, which is probably for the best. You doubt he'd take kindly to such creatures in his establishment, grubby as it may be.

You join Silver and Norvegicus inside the inn. It's not much to look at, and could definitely use a good spring cleaning, but it looks serviceable enough. It has a certain quaint charm to it.


Zunden feels pangs in her heart as she sees her home burning in her mind, the inn's rustic feel making her a bit emotional.

"Ah, ze pazt is ze pazt…"
Zunden mumbles to herself, reading the billboard as best she can.


I shrug and walk over to the billboard. Can't really see there being anything I'd be fit for, but it couldn't hurt to check.



"Thus, it is hopeless."


"I have naught to offer but my services," Hermodur says half-heartedly. "Is there anywhere one such as myself might find work?"


"Oh.. Well, you see, we're new arrivals to this land and the guards left us with nary a bit between us."

"But perhaps if the oh-so-gracious and kind inkeeper could spare but a single room for just the night, we could promise to cover it as soon as we can!" i plead, smiling and batting my lashes at the gruff inkeep.
[1d10+2] persuasion

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10


Rabi goes to say a little more, but decides… Silver Song seems pretty well adjusted to this kind of stuff, so he'll keep quiet.


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Zunden fans another three cards after shuffling nodding back to Norvegicus,
"Now zen, tough and ztrong Norvegicuz," Zunden winks, "What doez ze cardz have to zay about a dog like you. Your pazt is firzt."

Zuden pulls forth the first card, an aged saurian with faded scales holding up a lantern in a grey background, a staff planted on the ground in his other claw. This card is also upside down.

"Fitting, zat our paztz are reverzed. I do not believe we would have gotten to zis banizjment wiz zhrough good alone, no? Ziz iz ze Hermit. Upzidedown like zis, it reprezentz a lonelinezz bred from izolation. You zeem to be friendly with your ratz, zo I do not believe you were ever truely lonely, but perhapz along ze way you became dizconnected wiz ze ozherz that inhabit our world. What can you do to bring what you learned in your zolitude outward? Ze cardz will help tell uz. Let uz next zee your prezent."

The next card revealed is right-side up, showing a saurian with a tooth grin walking out into the desert, a path faded by the sand infront of him. He holds a sack over his shoulder, and has a small gecko following him.

"Ah, ze beginning of ze journey, az reprezented by The Fool. It iz not bad to be a Fool, it only meanz we do not know what dangerz lie ahead of uz in our travelz. Your zoul iz zat of a free zpirit, one of innozenze. Now zat we know zat your journey beginz anew, what doez the future hold?"

Zunden flips the final card, revealing a card that has the same saurian as the previous picture, in the sky draped in a silk cloth holding two rods. In the corners of the card there lie a cup, a sword, a magical rune, and a carved rod.

Zunden's natural grin turns to that of a smile, letting out a belly laugh as she rubs the shoulder of the dog that's smaller than her. Patting him on the shoulder, she wipes an eye, beaming at the dog,

"Ze lazt few drawingz have been auzpiciouz, but yourz zhowz the mozt promize of zem yet. Zis is ze World, ze complezion of the journey, and a harmony between you and the rezt of the univerze. Ze World paired wiz ze Fool iz quite exciting az it'z both ze beginning and ze end. Let uz hope whatever your journey iz, you reach ze end zafely and fulfill whatever your fate iz."


"Try the inn," the dog suggests. "There's always miscellaneous jobs posted there. Good luck, chum."

The innkeeper looks a bit taken aback, spacing out for a moment as he weighs his options. "….Fine." He passes you a single comically oversized key from a drawer. "Room 4, upstairs. I want the money back within the fortnight. Or else."

The billboard has a list of tasks and advertisements placed by both Ironbrook residents and outsiders. Most of them are fairly innocuous, such as someone trying to sell some treasure they found, or a local having some trouble with pests in their basement. A few, however, look more promising:

The first one that grabs your attention is penned by Violet Moon herself. She is looking for a group of able wanderers to accompany her on a treasure hunt in the Shifting Sands. She promises to reward all parties with an equal share. Details on the exact nature of the expedition are scarce.

Another is from a local called Erskine Carrow. Apparently a disgraced member of a noble family in the Dominion, Erskine seems to have been robbed during the night. While the thieves did not take much of value, they did take an important heirloom of House Carrow: a crest with his family emblem on it. He has been able to track the thieves to a bandit den in the nearby forest, and would be extremely grateful to anyone who could retrieve his family crest. Dispensing justice to the bandits is not required.

The third is from a local farmer named Palace Posy. She writes that her chickens have been periodically slaughtered by some unknown force for almost a year now. She doesn't know what's causing it, and wants some worthy adventurers to hunt down whatever beast is preying on her livestock.


Zunden turns her head at the mention of hopelessness, smiling back to the cat,

"Pleaze, hopelezznezz iz zitting in a zell waiting for ze gallowz. We have another chanze at redemption, and I've heard rumorz from my old patronz zat zere are wayz out of here az well. Perhapz I could find your hope in your card reading. I will do yourz next."


"Ooh, look at ziz one about ze farmer. He may not have much to pay wiz, but it iz guaranteed he will have food.


(posted too early)

-perhapz we could help him? What do you four zink?"


"Good work, Silver Song. I suppose I should've expected someone in your line of work to have a silver tongue." he says, grinning a little "Though… we ought to look for work, soon., I'd hate to start getting kicked out of places here, so soon."


My tail starts wagging again, but even though I'm obviously happy with what I got, I try to keep up the act. "Innocence?" I ask. "I don't know about all that. I'm a monster!" Yeah. This is getting weird. Maybe I'll drop it soon. "Still," I say, patting your hand. "Thank you." Knowing that I'm not going to be completely useless has a nice reassuring effect.

I immediately stop reading the billboard as I glance over locals with pest problems. I rub my hands together before pulling out my pencil and notepad and take note of locations and names. I crack my journal open, hook one of my claws into a place where the pages seem separated, and flick it open. Inside, like little bookmarks, are three small business cards. And here I was thinking my line of work wouldn't be useful here.


Taking the key, i slip it into my vest, beaming at the rough looking Felid.

"Oh, thank you, darling! We'll be sure to pay in full, don't you worry~!"

"Well of course, a mare of nobility should always be one to charm, how else would business be done otherwise?" i reply, grinning smugly.

"Though you've got a point, it'd be best to check that board for a job."



Hermodur hobbles sadly and silently to the inn to look at the bulletin board.


As Hermodur listens to Zunden do her fortunes, he feels hope. Not necessarily for his future, but for something else.

"Do my fortune," he says cautiously.


Rabi offers a chuckle in response to her smug grin, and scratches his neck as he looks over the board "Hrm… well, this one sounds pretty good. Some noble from the Dominion's lost a family crest. Sounds like an easy enough job; sneak in, grab it, sneak out?"


"Hmm.. Miss Violet has been nice enough, perhaps we should help her? We should be back in time to pay for the room, barring some grand adventure, of course."


"Fair point, though sneaking around rarely is successful, unless you're light on your hooves."


"Hrm… the loud approach might be easier in the long run, yeah."
"That's pretty fair, too. She deserves something in repayment for all this… besides, it's not like we need the money tomorrow…" he says, nodding a little


The pest problem one isn't so much rats as it is insects, apparently. The owner, a local lumberjack called Humboldt, describes a swarm of giant cockroaches digging a hole through the foundations and invading his home. He promises a handsome reward for anyone who's able to get rid of them, as it's gotten to the point where he's had to board up the entire basement to stop them from spreading.

The innkeeper just grunts in response and goes back to wiping the counter. Spotting a piece of leftover food encrusted on the wooden surface, he picks it off with his claw, tastes it, then spits it into a bin.

You entire the quiet little inn and rejoin the rest of your companions. See >>690832 for a list of available jobs.

As you debate over which job to take, Violet saunters in, without the monolithic pillar she was carrying. She is accompanied by a griffon who is clad in heavy armor from head to toe. Violet exchanges some words, first with the grifon and then with the innkeeper, then the griffon leaves the inn and she buys herself a tankard of ale. "Given any thought to my proposal, friends?" she asks curiously, sauntering over to you. "If not, there's plenty of others passing through that'll jump at the opportunity." She shrugs and takes a swig from the tankard, then wrinkles her snout in disgust. "Gross."


"Ziz zeemz fair, we cannot eat richez but we can exzhange zem for food. Do we help Moon-Charmed?"


"We were just considering it as a group, Violet. It seems to me, at least, that we were planning on- hold on." he responds, before looking her back over in curiosity "What happened to the pillar? Offloaded it somewhere safe?"


I snap my notepad shut and tuck it back into my topcoat, shifting uncomfortably. "Actually," I say. "I had another job in mind. I'll probably attend to that instead. Better suits my… Well, my 'skillset'."



"What is this expedition?" Hermodur asks Violet, pointing to the board.


"How quick iz ziz job, perhapz we could finiz it before we leave?"


"Hmm? What is it, then?"


I open and close my mouth a few times, before finally deciding to answer truthfully. "W-well," I stammer. "It's, uh… 'pest control', actually."


"Why yes, we were just looking at your post on the board here!"

"I must ask, how long would we be gone for? I've promised a fee to the innkeeper you see, and i've only a fortnight to repay him."


"Perhapz we can do ziz zimple pezt control job to pay for the room, zen make greater richez on thiz expedition?"



"Oh.. Pest control, is it?"

"Well, i suppose that's one way to earn our room.." i reply, appalled.


"Pest Control? Well, huh. That seems up your alley, then." he says, snickering a little bit "Didn't expect to get this much work."


So she took me literally then. Alright, well, that means I don't have to waffle around it. Makes it a little easier. "I'm not actually sure how long it'll take. It said-" My face contorts into a disgusted grimace. "Cockroaches. That can go either way. Either it could take me ten minutes, or it could take me the rest of the day. I don't have any of my poison or anything, and my trap-" I lift up my box trap to point it out. "Is more of a rodent thing, so I'd have to go at it the old fashioned way. Still, cockroaches are easily the pest I've handled most in my years as pest control, so I at least have a lot of experience with them."

I drop my gaze to the ground. "Do did you, uh-" I clear my throat. "Did you know that I wasn't actually a, you know, assassin from the beginning then?"


"You are carrying a box of ratz, and exprezz interezt in pezt control. I put one and two together."


I let out a half-hearted chuckle and rub the back of my neck. "Yeah," I say. "I guess that would give it away. Anyway, I'd have to check it out. I could always come back and work on it later, but depending on how long he's had the infestation it's only going to get worse with time."



"You're NOT an assassin?" Hermodur raises an eyebrow. "I just assumed that the whole rat thing was a part of how you killed people. Usually an assassin would just be captured or executed. But, to be sent here? It would certainly have to be a demented assassin indeed. Such as one who kills violently using vermin."

"Or is convincing us that you aren't an assassin a part of your assassin ruse?"


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Zuden spreads out three cardz,

"Az you wizj. Formalitiez azide, let uz begin. Your pazt."

She flips the first card, looking at the cat, revealing an old lizard draped in multiple layers of clothing. To each of her sides rests a pilar, one black and one white, with a silver eye printed on the black, and a golden one on the white. The card is upside down,

"Az expected, an inverted card. Let it be known the cardz are not normally zo eazy to attribute to ze livez of ozerz. It zeemz ziz group haz a ztrong tie to fate. But you want your fortune, not ze groupz. Ziz iz ze card known az ze High Prieztezz. Again her meaning iz reverzed. Zhe callz for you to what your inner zelf tellz you. There waz a time in which you heard her, but along the twistz and turnz of life, her voize waz zilenced. Thiz may mean you lack a zenter, or maybe reprezzed feelingz. What partz of your unconzious are you denying? Iz it trying to zay zomething?"

She smiles, "Ze pazt is behind uz, we reflect upon it, but we cannot live in it. We-" she taps the next card, "live in the prezent."

The next card revealed has a similarly robbed saurian, this time facing the correct way and counseling two other saurians at his feet. He holds a rod depicting a religious symbol, and wears an ornate headpiece.

"I have a full deck of cardz, but it zeemz I can only reveal Major Arcana amongzt ziz party. Following ze prieztez, it makez zenze that the Hierophant is next. He reprezentz tradizion, morality, conformity, and ezhicz. What iz tried and true is valued, and it may not be time to ztray from tradizion juzt yet. Ziz can also reprezent a perzuit of knowledge, or perhapz a zpiritual guide."

Zunden looks at the last card and hesitates, looking back up at Hermodur, "finally, we have ze future. Doez it follow ze trend of ze firzt two cardz?"

The final card is flipped, revealing a the skeleton of a saurian blowing into a trumpet, skeletal wings outstretched over a graveyard in a desert. Claws reach out from the grave, reaching to the skeleton.

"Hmm, neizer good nor bad. Anozher zat you will have to interpret for yourzelf. Ziz is Judgement, no fancy ze Judgement or anyzing, juzt Judgement. Ziz iz the cuzp of a new day, the moment before being reborn. It zuggeztz inner voice, what you may have lacked in ze pazt. It is alzo a card of reflection and reckoning, coming to an honezt evaluation before you awaken. What will you have to reflect in ze future, what deedz do you have to look back on?"

She lets the words linger for a moment, before shuffling them back into her deck, placing the deck on her belt.

"Zat iz for you to learn, zhink on ziz. If you do not like ze cardz drawn, remember they are only paper. Zey only have meaning if you put meaning into zem."


She suppresses a chuckle. "You can just call me Violet," she says politely.

"I left it with the wizard who runs the shop over there, she explains, gesturing towards the rook-shaped building she entered earlier. "He says he wants to study it a while, so I'm hoping he can give me some answers after the expedition. He gave me this as collateral too." She gestures at a strange ornament dangling off one of her saddlebags, a circular pendant made of wood with a star-like pattern in the middle. Several beads and feathers dangle off of it. "It protects against dark magic," she explains. "Should help keep Prowlers away, or at least slow them down."

She takes a seat, making herself comfortable. "So a while back, I was exploring this old mausoleum in the Barrens west of here, and I came across a message carved on the sarcophagus." She digs around for a bit before taking out what you assume is her journal. It's unusually thick and worn, suggesting she's had it for a very long time. "'Deep within the Shifting Sands rest six great slabs of carven stone. If thou art worthy, thou shalt pierce the heart of the heart, where within thou shalt find Lucan's last gift.'" She closes the journal. "Not much to go on, but to me at least the meaning is clear. We find the six "trunks" at the center of the desert, dig there, and if we'll worthy we'll find something quite special. As for who Lucan is, he's the one who was entombed where I found the message. Seemed to be a King of Abyssinia at some point. No idea how he ended up in the Echoes, but there you go."

"Of course, that's not the only thing to find in the Sands. The whole place is littered with ruins, so there's bound to be something worth st- er, claiming in that place. Always wanted to visit it and see what there is."

"Hard to say. It'll take us five days to get to the Sands, and five days back, and who knows how long we'll be searching." She thinks for a moment. "Tell you what. I like you. You seem like a good sort. I'll just cover your debt this time. But don't expect it to happen again."

Before you can protest, she walks over and talks to the innkeeper, plonking a bag of bits on the counter. She rejoins your group with a satisfied smile on her face. "I know it's hard getting by in these parts. We all could use a helping hoof."

"Huh?" Her ears prick up as she listens to what Norvegicus has to say. "…Well, I suppose if you'd rather do this, I can put off the expedition for a time. It's not like anyone else knows the details. The last thing I want is some hotshot beating me to the punch on this lead. The only reason I'm telling you about it now is because you don't have the supplies to go yourselves."


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>of course i forget the last image



>pausing, feel free to reply etc


I do my best to twist my lips into what I feel like is a demented smile, but really I just look constipated. "I said I didn't have any of my 'poisons' with me. I'll let you decide on that."

I defensively raise my hands in front of me. "I mean I don't want to hold you up or anything. I'd planned on doing it alone in the first place."



Hermodur listens to Zunden speak with a flat and stern expression. His face barely moves. His arms remain crossed as he listens stoically.

Even after she is done speaking, he continues to stare silently at the cards. He contemplates them for minutes before he finally speaks.

"Why is the priestess inverted?" he asks, pointing to the card. "What would it have meant if it weren't?"


"A good queztion, you are zmarter zan ze rezt. Knowing both zidez of ze card is important. Perhapz I could teach you more about ze deck still?"

Zunden raises a scaley eyebrow, before lowering it and chuckling,

"Anywayz, the Prieztezz when her voize is not zilenzed iz one that callz for intuition and your inner voize, much like Judgement. To direct your will, you muzt alzo be able to underztand the world wizin you. The High Prieztezz iz the guardian of the unconziouz, and beckonz the traveler: zat being you. It iz a card of myztery and potential, yet withdrawn from involvement."

She holds the card between two fingers, offering it to Hermodur incase he wanted to inspect it.



"Hmmph," Hermodur smirks. "A priestess withdrawn from involvement. Fitting, then, that it should be inverted for me."

"You…" Hermodur says slowly and cautiously. "I know your kind. They are observant and prey on ignorance. These things could all be a creation of some twisted game you're playing. I don't… want to believe any of this… You could have surmised all of this just by watching me!"


"My type!"
Zunden's bassy laugh shakes her form again, smiling at the felid,
"Zen believe zey are juzt cardz. Ze meaning of ze tarot are fluid, it iz up to ze rezipient of ze reading to ultimately interpret ze cardz. If you believe they are juzt piezez of paper, zen do zo. Truzt me…"
she pauses, musing,
"well you don't have to do zat eizher… But I only offered a chaze and zeeing zhingz in a new light. I zee you take ze Hierophant to heart, whethzer you believe in ze card or not."
Zunden shuffles the Priestess back into the deck, shrugging.
"Ze only twizted game I play iz life. We are all playerz, I'm afraid."


*offered a chanze


**chanze at



Hermodur continues to stare at Zunden as if he is contemplating life in general. After a long pause, he finally says.

"I don't know if you are mystic or not. You are certainly no goddess. Yet, you are wise. And, I find myself drawn to that."

He pauses for a moment longer as if to reconfirm what he is going to say. "I wish to follow you. To serve you. To protect you. I… have no direction. And, you provide that with your cards. Would you allow me this?"


"…Well, that's the long and short of it, as I was telling your friend here," Violet explains to the group at large. "The inscription I found in the Barrens catacombs leads me to believe we'll find six stone slabs at the center of the Shifting Sands, and at the very center is… a gift? Treasure of some sort? The wording's unclear. In any case, if you want to do other things before leaving that's fine by me. Still need some time to prepare for the journey. I've never been to the Sands, but from what I've heard of the place, calling it a desert would be like calling a lake a puddle. If only I still had a Sanctuary like in the old days…" She drifts off, mulling over the situation for a while and taking another swig of bad ale.


"I would like to go to a dezert again, feel ze zand beneazh my toez. Ztill, I agree wiz ze dog, let uz make some coin firzt."

"Yez, you gain wizdom zhrough exzperienzing eventz. If you only live zhrough zomeone, zhere is notzing to gain but age."

She crosses her arms, clearly bemused by the request,

"I will not ztop you from following me, I like companionzhip. I plan to continue to reading ze tarot, zo zat too won't change. Zo in ze end, eh."

Zunden shrugs again,

"Do what you will. Juzt remember, I do not provide anzwerz. I juzt azk queztionz. You will alwayz be your own mazter, whezher or not you chooze to believe it."


"Huh. Well, sounds good enough for me. Any clue what's on the slabs, or did the inscriptions not give that much?"
"And, for what it's worth, I'm somewhat accustomed tpo the deserts, so we should have a somewhat easier time."


"Hmm.. given the length of our journey into these 'shifting sands' it would be wiser to take a few of these other jobs near here, if only to buy supplies."

"Violet has already paid for our room and i'd hate to impose on her for supplies.."



"Preparation is probably wise," Hermodur nods.


"You don't need to provide something on purpose in order to provide it."



I kind of thought that was the idea to begin with. I'm not even entirely sure I want to go on the expedition at all. It seems a little dangerous. Even if I do, it would definitely be better to get some more supplies together.

"Well, it looks like we're all in agreement, then, so what are we still just standing around talking for?"


"True, be careful azzuming meaning where zere iz none zhough."

Zunden chuckles to herself again,

"I truzt whatever I zay won't cauze too much harm zhough."


I let out a defeated sigh, pull my notepad back out to flip to the location of the guy with the infestation, and walk out of the inn, silently hoping it'll be easy to find.


"My, you seem rather eager to throw yourself into work!"

"Given our banishment here we've little cause for hurry, not like we've anypony waiting for us, after all."

looking at the board again, i pick the listing from Carrow off it's pin, checking for directions.

"Recovering a crest is simple enough, and it would be refreshing to speak with another pony of nobility…"



"I would curb your enthusiasm," Hermodur advises. "What is a 'noble' pony in this world?"


"There is meaning in what you choose."


"Sure. Why don't we go ahead and grab the crest, then? Seems easy enough to me."


Zunden laughs,
"Now you are juzt trying to zound zmart."


"There's more to nobility than simply land and title, Hermodur. Upbringing and training are as important as the status itself!"

"And that sort of upbringing persists even through what rough times we've been subjected to."


"Understandable," Violet smiles. "It's best to have some coin on you at least, for traveling expenses. Most folks in the Echoes aren't exactly charitable. On the other hoof, having too much can attract unwanted attention. It's a good idea to always keep your money out of sight, so you don't become a target for thieves and bandits."

She shakes her head. "The only lead I have is that the inscription was in the tomb of a former King of Abyssinia. Apart from that, you know as much as I do. Still, there's ruins everywhere in the Sands, from what I've heard. Even if it amounts to nothing, there's bound to be something worth scrounging for out there."

"Oh, that's not a problem," she says dismissively. "If we're going to be adventuring partners, then we should be looking out for one another, right? I'll do my part to get whatever we need for the trip, and I'll trust you'll do the same."

"It's your choice, friend," she says coolly. "I won't force you to come. If adventuring isn't the life for you, maybe settling down in one of these settlements would be a good idea. Sounds awfully boring if you ask me, but I won't judge."

The note directs you towards a house nearby. You can see it through the window. It is larger and more ostentatious than the surrounding buildings, clearly built in the fashion of a noble manor, or as close as one can get to a manor with the limited materials available. It is in dire need of repairs, from the looks of it.

You follow the instructions on the note to the edge of town, arriving at the house detailed to belong to the lumberjack Humboldt. It is a small, cozy-looking cottage on the other side of the river, looking over Ironbrook from its post near the edge of the forest. As you knock on the door, you are answered by who you assume is Humboldt, a stout, troubled-looking minotaur with a shaggy beard that almost forms a sort of lion mane on him. He looks you up and down. "Don' get visiters often," he grunts. "'Ere aboot the roach problem I'd wager?"



"Let's just say I speak from experience," Hermodur says dodgily.


Before walking up to the cottage I tuck all four of my rats into the trap, quietly whispering for them to be good. After slipping one of my business cards out of my pocketbook, I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and adjust my suit. After tucking my pocketbook back into my suit, I approach the door with a broad smile.

"Good evening sir," I say, holding out my business card. A small, eggshell card with jet black type, it has the silhouette of a rat and the silhouette of a crushed cockroach on either side of "Ratman Pest Control". "Norvegicus 'the Ratman' Black. You'd win that wager in a heartbeat, sir, in a heartbeat. And you're in luck. Cockroaches just happen to be my second specialty."


"But whoze experiencze?"

Zunden follows the dog, interested in what the pets of this world look like.





"Hrm. In that case, I guess we should expect something related to Abyssinia, then. Any kinds of creatures out there we should no about, or the same we saw earlier?" he asks



"My point being that I am not sure what kind of pony would be CONSIDERED noble in these parts."


Hermodur laughs. "Now, YOU'RE the one just trying to sound smart."


Hermodur follows Zunden and Norvegicus to the edge of town. He folds his arms and remains silent upon being greeted by the pony.


"My, i hadn't expect the manor to be so close!"

pocketing the note, i trot back through the inn's door, waving goodbye to the innkeep with a wing, and head towards the sizable building.

"Off we go, then. I don't recall this 'carrow' fellow from my time in the capital, but i'm certain he must be quite the gentlecolt."


"care to join me, Rabi? It seems we've already lost track of 'Mr. Black'."


"Hrm… seems we have. Well, I'd be happy to, Silver." he says, getting up and stretching out, before moving to her side and smiling


Humboldt looks impressed at your professional air, taking your business card and inspecting it before tucking it into one of his pockets. "…Right then, Mr Black." He stands aside to let you in.

You follow behind Norvegicus and arrive at Humboldt's humble house. The owner blinks in surprise as you do so. Unlike your canine ally, neither of you look like exterminators at all. "…Guessin' yer with Mr. Black 'ere?" he asks, looking a little wary of you. He doesn't seem to expect an answer, and lets you in anyway.

The interior of the cottage is quite comfortable, a small little wooden house with both an upstairs and a downstairs area. The latter's door is barred shut with wooden planks. "I 'ave ter warn ye, these aren't yer normal roaches. They're bigguns. Worse than the ones back 'ome." He stretches his hands out for emphasis. "Don' know if ye can even call these buggers roaches. Good thing yer 'ere now. They've been getting feisty, tryin' ter knock down the door." As if on cue, you hear an ominous thump come from the basement, and the barred door rattles a bit.

"Tell ye what," Humboldt says. "Ye look like the travelin' type. If ye can get the beasties oot soon as possible, I'll add this ter the payment." He opens a nearby trunk and pulls out a tightly furled scroll. "'Tis a map of the surroundin' lands o' this place. Used ter be an adventurer meself, boot I've settled down since. Don' need 'em any longer."

"If there be nothin' else ye need to know, I'll open the door fer ye. Hope ye can get rid of 'em. They're nasty pieces of work."

"Apart from the ubiquitous Prowlers, we'll probably have other monsters to deal with. The insectoid Terreocti live in arid regions of the Echoes, and they're not easy to deal with, let me tell you. Apart from that, I couldn't say for sure what dangers we'll face. You look like you can take care of yourself though, so I imagine it won't be anything we can't handle as a team." She smiles encouragingly and drinks again.

"Right then. I've got some other errands to run in the meantime. I'll meet you back here whenever you're ready to leave. Good luck!"

You leave for the dilapidated manor, thumping on the large wooden door with a rusted door knocker. After a minute, a fancy-looking diamond dog answers the door. He is tall and lanky, with a large mustache. He doesn't look like he's slept well in some time. "Good day," Carrow says in a deep baritone, nodding stiffly in greeting. "Can I help you with something?"


"Alright, thanks. I'm sure we can all handle it together." he says, before looking to Silver Song "In that case, should we be off? I bet we'll have some time to ask around and get supplies after, too."



Hermodur looks at the door with a confused and wary eye. He slowly and silently draws his hammer and begins to rev it.

[1d10] for sharpen

Roll #1 10 = 10


straightening my dress as we approached the door, i bow in greeting.

"Good day sir! My companion and i are new arrivals to the area and noticed your posting at the inn. We're not too late to accept the task, are we?"

"Of course, of course, once we see to this business about the crest i'm sure we'll have enough to buy whatever we need."


Zunden hangs around outside the door of the house, stretching her large arms and legs as she continues to bask in the sun.
>Bask: Healing Bonds
"Zo Zen, if you plan to be following me, tell me about about yourzelf. What iz zat ztrange hammer anywayz. You are a zmith?"


I clear my throat and adjust my tie, a little on edge as I hear the thumping beyond the door. I know the ad said they were big, but that sounded maybe just a little bigger than I'd expected. "Right," I say. "I suggest you leave for, oh, a half hour or so? Get some air. I doubt you want to be around for this, and truth be told it might be a little dangerous."

I set my trap down and pull the flap open, coaxing my four rats out of it. I glance at Hermodur and Zunden over my shoulder, like I owe them an explanation. "Rodents treat roaches almost like candy rabbits," I say. "They like to bite the head off and crunch on their exoskeletons. Usually they'll just throw things like the legs and wings to the side, but bu then there isn't really much roach left to call an infestation." Closing it again, I shut my eyes and focus on summoning a swarm of rats inside.


I look up at Humboldt and nod.

Roll #1 3 = 3



"Will they be big enough?" Hermodur asks, eying the door warily.


"Well, not the swarm I'm trying to summon. That's just meant to help slow the bugs down and act as crowd control, but I feel like these guys-" I scratch one of my four rats under the chin. "Should be just about the right size."


"We have feet, if not. I've learned to not be zqueamizh in keeping a boarding houze."



"I don't know if I'd call myself a Smith," Hermodur responds. "I know a thing or two about how to use a weapon. But, I don't really make them."

"This," he holds up his now whirring and glowing hammer. His voice is suddenly more dramatic. "Is the Mighty Mjolnir. It was bestowed upon me by my goddess," he says it almost nostalgically. "That its charm still works even separated from her so is a testament to her immense prowess. It is also proof that I am worthy to serve her. And, with this weapon, I am her most trusted and capable servant. It saddens me to think of how she is getting along without me."


"Alright…" Hermodur says dubiously.


"Feet are unnecessary when I have Mjolnir," Hermodur says proudly.


"You cannot uze your hammer to walk."
Zunden muses



"I obviously meant for fighting!" Hermodur objects.


Your hammer roars to life, bursting into flame. Humboldt stumbles out of the way in alarm, almost falling over. "Ach! What are ye doin'!" he cries in panic.

"Hm? Oh, that affair, is it. Yes, yes, it's still available. Those blasted thieves snuck into my manor some moons ago and stole my precious crest. It means worlds to me if you can retrieve it. I'll pay well, of course. I've been asking around, doing some investigation of my own, and I have good reason to believe they're holed up in some old ruins in the woods north of here. If you follow the road past the bridge and into the woods, you should eventually find a trail leading to it. I can't say for certain how many bandits there are, but the most important part for me is getting that crest back, don't you know. It's… well, it's the only thing I have left from the other side anymore. If you can deliver justice to the ruffians even better, but please, do see to it that my crest is returned.

"Again, there's a handsome reward if you succeed. How does 150 bits sound?"

You embrace the warmth of the sun, drawing newfound energy from it to enhance your spells.

You fail to summon any more rats other than the four you currently have.

"…Aye, ye don' need ter tell me twice." He looks extremely apprehensively at Hermodur. "Good huntin'." With that, he removes the wooden bars one by one then opens the door cautiously, exiting the house soon after.

A moment after he does so, a grotesque insect comes barreling towards you out of the basement with a loud buzz of its wings. It looks vaguely like a cockroach, but no cockroach you've ever seen is the size of a large cat. Its mandibles gnash as it flies straight at you and tries to take a chunk out of your arm.

Roll #1 8 = 8



"Pathetic vermin, you are no match for me!" he shouts at the roach as if it is challenging him

Hermodur lifts the hammer above his head…
>Hunter's Eye on the roach running at them

Then, the back end of the hammer erupts like a rocket and his hammer slams down right as the roach steps directly into the impact.

>[1d10+3] [1d10+3] with DC-1, take the bigger roll

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12


Rabi follows Silver Song out towards the Noble's house. He hums a little bit, before cocking his head to the side "Sorry, friend. I've had a bit on my mind, and forgot. Was the crest stolen from him, or is it simply missing?"


"Zen zay a zentence in your head before you zay it outloud. You zound zilly."
Zunden chuckles,
"Az for your goddezz, one muzt azzume any zort of diety doez not need anyzing from their followerz exzept their devotion. Zuppoze zhe is doing fine, if you ztill believe in her."

Zuden raises her staff up, letting light fill the room.

"Let uz zlay zis pezt wiz ze zun'z rayz guiding uz."

Zunden casts out suns for those who don't already have it in the room.
[1d10+2] Healing Bonds, atleast Zunden, maybe Black if he uses his sun

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


"A fair price, i'd say. We'll have that crest back in your paws in no time!"

taking my leave, i head towards the previously mentioned bridge and the forest at a brisk trot.

"That crest of his was stolen by bandits, and according to him their hideaway is to the north."

"I suspect we'll need the others to deal with the bandits directly, but it certainly won't hurt to scout ahead, right?"


"Right. Neither of us should have that much trouble staying hidden. Though, I can hang back a little bit, if it'd be easier for you to go in alone."


I scream as the roach tears into my arm. I should have expected its speed because of how fast normal roaches are, but just how much that speed increased when overlayed with the size of a cat catches me off guard. Gripping my trap as tightly as possible, I take a couple of quick steps back in hopes of the roach picking another attack target. "Kill it," I shout at the rats, doing my best to ignore every scream of internal disgust at the thing. Crouching back down, I expend the spell in the sun and try to summon another swarm.


Each of the rats dashes at the roach from a different angle, each attempting to tear at one of its legs.

[1d10] (DC-1)
[1d10] (DC-1)

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #3 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #4 5 = 5 / Roll #5 4 = 4


"Oh it should be quite alright, the treeline should be more than dense enough to stay hidden." i reply, waving you off with a wing.

"Besides, i can scarcely imagine them noticing two ponies skulking around the ruins. I'm sure we'll be fine."



"Pah," Hermodur spits angrily. "The word 'deity' is so… disgusting. It implies a level of disconnection that Ailuros does not have. She is among us, like the Alicorn Princesses of old. But, unlike them, she will not abandon us. And, she will ascend to greater glory because of it. She is a Goddess, but no deity."


"Right. I hope I can keep up, then." he says with a short chuckle, before picking the pace up a tad


You crush the gigantic roach like a grape, spreading its insides all over the cozy little house. It occurs to you that you may want to be a little careful not to damage Humboldt's house in the process.

Your staff glows brightly, then, to your chagrin, dims with no further effect.

The roach bites into your arm. Fortunately, it does not bite as deep as it would have liked, causing a minor flesh wound at most. The damage is mostly psychological.
>Norvegicus takes 3 hits

The roach has already been slain by Hermodur, but your rats manage to make quick work of most of the remains. There's little left of it after a minute or two, save for an unsightly stain on the wooden floor and a few bits of chitin here and there. Turning your attention back to your cage, you manage to summon several more smaller rats to your aid, although they do not leave the cage just yet.

He smiles gratefully. "Thank you, sincerely. You will not regret this. I'll make it worth your while."

You leave Carrow's house and make your way towards the forest across the bridge. You pass a small cottage on the outskirts of Ironbrook, from within which you can hear a loud commotion. There is a very nervous-looking minotaur nearby.

You press onwards on the forest trail indicated by Carrow. The trees are dense and stifling, blocking out a lot of the sunlight above. You can hear the buzzing of insects and the calling of unfamiliar birds all around you. At some points, the path is overgrown by weeds and thickets, but it is not untraversable. Overall, your journey is relatively uneventful.

You eventually reach a signpost that points towards a place called Fort Cinder. Following it, you soon find the ruins Carrow was referring to. Almost entirely reclaimed by the surrounding wilderness, the crumbling ruins of Fort Cinder stand in a largish clearing, with all but one watchtower having long since fallen to the ground. The only sign of it being inhabited at all is a tongue of smoke wafting from within the fort walls. You can also hear faint voices, and can smell cooking meat.

No more vermin rush out to attack you, although in the gloom of the basement, you can hear them scuttling about still. A nauseating smell wafts from inside.



Hermodur stands silently with his hammer continuing to whir. He looks to the open door then to his two companions. He wears an expression as if he is awaiting directions.


"I zee. Well zhe zounds nize. Would you care to lead down ze ztairz? I will try to zummon anotzer light in the meantime, but you ztill have yourz."

Zuden stores another spell on herself.
Frozen Mend > Zunden [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


a reminder
>Frozen Light's orbs count as suns for the purpose of weather-related effects, and sheds bright light in a 20-foot radius and dim light for an additional 20 feet.


I steel myself, swallowing hard. "I take it that's where the infestation is concentrated?" Obviously not needing an answer, I click my tongue at my rats and they scurry to me. Picking up the trap filled with rodents, I tip my hat at Humboldt and approach the basement door.


Brushing past the undergrowth, i unfurl my wings and fly up to a tree branch higher up, looking towards the tower to check for movement.
[1d10] perception

"Right then, first we should check for guards on that tower. The last thing we'd want is being spotted on the approach."

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Hrm… this seems to be the place. Looks like we're in luck, too. With only one watchtower, they can't see quite as clearly."
He nods a little bit, and tries to look around more clearly
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3



Hermodur nods then heads cautiously down the stairs.

[1d10] for making sure nothing gets the drop on me (which should be pretty easy with the sun over my head)

Roll #1 4 = 4


You summon an orb of light above you, this time a slightly whiter hue than other spells. It illuminates the basement from where you are, showing off the ugly mess inside in all its glory.

Humboldt is nowhere to be seen, having taken off once the fighting started.

The basement is in a shambles, compared to the otherwise pleasant cottage. There are at least a dozen of the giant roaches scuttling about, and you can see large white clumps of what are presumably eggs in one corner. Whatever furniture and accessories Humboldt had inside have been chewed on and otherwise ruined by the hideous bugs. As you enter, the roaches shrink away from the sudden light, cornering themselves in a desperate attempt to get away.

You perch on top of a tree and survey the surroundings. From what you can see, there's nobody in the watchtower at all. The only signs of activity are a trio of hippogriffs that are sitting around the small campfire they've started, chatting away merrily. No sign of a crest.

The walls of the fort are built too high for you to be able to make out anything from the ground. You do, however, find that the front gate is wide open.


Zuden attempts to coral the bugs into one corner with the light.

"Ze if you can zquish zem all at oncze. Zey fear ze light of ze zun."

[1d10] corralling

Roll #1 2 = 2


"See anything, Silver? I'm not getting much."



"How do we approach this, exterminator," Hermodur stands, ready to swing his whirring hammer.


"Well now, we're in luck! It seems their little group is in the middle of lunch."

hopping down from the tree, i keep low and make my way across the clearing and towards the gate.

"Stay close and follow my lead. They might be busy, but you really never know if somepony might decide to take a stroll and spot us."

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 6 = 6


Rabi nods a little bit, and ducks as low as he can manage as he follows along behind Silver Song
>Stealth [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


I rub my chin for a moment. "Well," I say. "It looks like the lizard lady might have the right idea," I say. "Get them all together so we can try and deal with them at once." I think for a moment. "Just killing the roaches won't help if the eggs are still around. You two try and separate them. Roaches in particular aren't that hard to back into a corner. I'll send my four rats with you while I split off and use my swarm to consume the eggsacks. They don't like light, so if she casts that light spell on you too, then you should be able to leave some shadow for them to hide in and they should move right to it. If they were smaller you'd have to worry about them disappearing into cracks and crevices. Thankfully them being this size actually makes extermination easier." I glance over at Zunden. "You, uh… You can do that, right?"


"How hard can ziz be, zey are only inzectz!"

Zunden says, moving the sun orb around with her staff



"Well, this should be easy, then."

Hermodur positions himself (and his light) so that none of the roaches can escape through the door without him seeing them.

[1d10] for being observant if necessary

Roll #1 2 = 2


You might as well be herding cats. The rest are much less aggressive than the desperate one that had a go at Black, but they still scatter in all directions as you approach them. A few of them just freeze in place, having nowhere to run.

You guard the door, watching the ongoing shenanigans. The roaches have now scattered all over the basement, as opposed to one big clump.

You lay low, making your way through the gate unnoticed. You stick to the walls as you creep along, hiding amidst the rubble. You spot an ajar door nearby leading into the fort proper.

You try to follow suit, but accidentally step on a loose brick and send it loudly falling to the ground. The hippogriffs at the campfire perk up, talking among themselves for a moment, then one of them gets up and starts looking around in suspicion. She doesn't seem to have spotted you yet.


I squint my eyes at the roaches' location, glaring at them like they're an old nemesis. "Oh, do not underestimate the cunning and tenacity of even the common cockroach, madam. One enters your home. Three days later you're looking at hundreds. Three days after that you're looking at thousands. They develop resistances to poisons generation by generation. They consume everything they can get their slimy little chittery claws on, including, but not limited to, glue, wood, paper, and I've heard legends of some species even evolving to rust and consume metal. To you these may just be little insects. But me? I know the truth."


Rabi winces as the brick clatters to the ground, and ducks even lower. He tries his best to remain hidden, hoping that they don't see him.
>Stealth 2: Stealth Harder [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


"I cooked zem if I ever found in ze boardhouze. Zey aren't zat bad."
Zunden says, struggling to get the bugs in one location,
"Fiezty creaturez, zhough."
Continued stepping on/ corralling bugs

Roll #1 9 = 9


I hesitate, but descend into the basement. "This isn't working out like I'd hoped," I say to my rats under my breath. "New plan. Split up. Two of you run to destroy the egg sacks. They don't seem to work like normal roach egg sacks, so be careful. Eat'em if you want, but be wary of premature hatching." The rats squeak in acknowledgement and skitter towards where the white clumps were. When I make it to the bottom of the basement stairs, I adjust my tie again, kneel down, and release the swarm of rats inside my trap.


Seeing Rabi struggle to take cover, i roll my eyes and try and pull him into a secluded area of rubble.
"Shh, get down" i whisper as i drag him off.
[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 8 = 8


After some running around, you manage to corral all the roaches into one corner. They cower at the light, panicking at being trapped.

One of the roaches seems to fly into a frenzy, dashing at you and nipping at your ankles.

Your rats make short work of the eggs, destroying them easily. Your swarm also takes down most of the roaches easily, devouring the ugly critters in a matter of minutes.

After their feast, there's only three roaches left, one of which pounces at you in sudden confusion.

You fail to find a good hiding spot in time, your head poking out of the rubble.

You grab him by the scruff of the neck and pull him down alongside you.

The hippogriff keeps searching for a while, but doesn't manage to find you. "Nothing here," she calls to the others. "Must've been a rat or something." Seems like the coast is clear for now.

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1



Still standing by the door.

[1d10] for vigilance

Roll #1 9 = 9


You keep watching, making sure none of them try to get away. As Black's rats make short work of the infestation, one of the surviving roaches runs at you in a panic and tries to bite you.

Roll #1 9 = 9



"It's almost endearing," Hermodur comments as he swings his rocket hammer down on it.

>[1d10+2][1d10+2] DC-1, take larger roll

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 2 + 2 = 4


Nodding at you, i motion with a wing to keep down, staying ahead as i sweep the area for their store room.
[1d10] Search

Roll #1 4 = 4


I send the swarm and my two rats at one of the remaining roaches, trying to stand away from the crossfire myself.


Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6


Zunden delivers a quick thunk with her staff to the giant bug.

>Spending sun


Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7


Rabi offers a short, thankful nod, and looks around the area for anything of use himself.
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6



It manages to give you a nasty bite. You retaliate with a powerful swing that crushes it utterly, leaving almost nothing of it.

With the hippogriffs off guard, you fly into the fort. It is gloomy on the inside, lit only by the occasional lantern. The bandit trio seem to have refurbished much of it to suit them as a base of operations. You look around for a while, but you can't find any crests around.

You manage to avoid the roach coming at you, and your rats manage to gnaw it into submission soon after. It twitches and flails in panic, then is still.

You follow Silver into the fort. You don't manage to find a crest, but you do find a roughly cut emerald gem in a nearby drawer. It could be worth quite a bit.

Your scales protect you from the attack, leaving you only with a minor nick. You retaliate by giving the overgrown bug a good thwack. It recoils and mellows out almost instantly.
>Zunden takes 1 hit

Seems like the roach infestation is all but dealt with. The only one remaining is the one that attacked Zunden, which is trying to hide somewhere and failing miserably at it.


Rabi hums a little bit, and… pockets the emerald, for now. It oughta be worth some good money, anyways. He keeps searching around the area, trying to catch a hint of something that might be what they're looking for, or at least a sign of it
>Search: [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7



Hermodur continues to block the door. [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


Keeping out of sight, i continue my search through the fort, peeking into rooms as i go.
[1d10] Search

Roll #1 8 = 8


Zunden tries picking the roach up, having pacified it.

"You can come wiz me or I'll kill you and eat you. Your choize."

>totally spending sun now

[1d10+1] gain cockroach pet

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3


I click my tongue and my rats dash to my feet. "Finish it off," I tell my four rats. Each of them charge the last roach, and I turn around, theatrically running my claw across the brim of my hat as they leap at it.


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #3 9 = 9 / Roll #4 5 = 5


"Consider these pests controlled."


"Ze ratz, zey zaved none for me! Ah well, zey earned it."


You keep searching together, eventually coming across the object of your search. In one dusty room, you see an old metal crest lying in a corner. It is gold, blue and red, depicting two wolves rampant. The name "Carrow" is emblazoned below them, with a phrase in an unknown language written across the top of the crest. Overall, it looks quite impressive.

Looking around, you can see other treasure that the bandits have presumably pilfered over time. There is a large bag of coins nearby, as well as a ceremonial silver sword of the sort used in Banishment ceremonies, and a sealed bottle of expensive wine.

You hear several hoofsteps coming from nearby. The bandits seem to have finished their lunch.

You block the door extremely well.

The cockroach ignores you and continues hiding, its antennae twitching feverishly. It doesn't seem to have understood you at all.

You watch as the rats charge towards it. They rip into it ravenously, and don't leave a single trace of it. You look around proudly at you and your companions' handiwork. A job well done overall!


I beam with pride at my rats. "Alright, guys. You all deserve a rest." I crouch down and open my cage. After another click of my tongue, they all run inside, disappearing as I release the magic I used to summon them.



"Fantastically accomplished, compatriots, Hermodur says with a hint of pride!"

(Yes, I know where my quotation marks are!)


The room you are in appears to have been an armory once. The bandits seem to use it for storage now. There are shelves with various knick knacks they've pilfered over time, a few chests here and there, a central table with a map of the surrounding landscape and a bag of coins, and the aforementioned loot you noticed.



Hearing the bandits fast approaching, i motion to take cover to Rabi, hiding under the center table
[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 4 = 4


Rabi smiles as the two of them finally come across the crest, and he almost says something aloud, before pivoting his head around at the sound of hoofsteps approaching. He looks to Silver Song, and nods a tad, before ducking under the table as well
>Stealth: [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"That went well, and ze mapz will come in handy. Zhame zere iz nozhing left to zalvage. It iz a new world, I wizj to zee how edible everyzhing is az well."

Zunden heads outside to once again bask.
>Bask: Healing Bonds



"Ew," Hermodur says somewhat childishly.


I hang back for a moment, wrinkling my nose in disgust at your proposition of eating either the roaches themselves or their eggs. Honestly I'm not sure which would be worse. Shrugging it off, I head outside and look around for Humboldt.



"I'm still confused as to how a simple exterminator ended up here," Hermodur comments.


The small horde of rats scamper into the cage and blink out of existence.

You head out and bask for a while in the sunlight. It warms your cold blood.

It is not long before Humboldt returns, poking his head through the door cautiously before grinning. "Hah! Well, look at tha'! Ye did it! Thank ye, thank ye so much. Yer all lifesavers, ye know tha'? I don' know wha' I'd've done if ye hadn't showed up!" He goes on like that for a bit before pulling out a bag of coins, as well as the furled up scroll he promised as extra. "I don't have much ter me name, but it's all I have. If I could give more I would. I'll never ferget this!"
>+65 bits

You fail to hide properly, your back legs poking out from under the table for all to see.

The hippogriff mare from before enters the room and rummages about before doing a double take as she sees you. "Wha… Who are you?" she demands angrily, reaching for an elegant rapier at her side.

You manage to hide under the table easily, curling up into a ball.


File: 1514531329289.jpg (1.03 MB, 1024x768, area map 1.jpg)

>forgot pic


Rabi keeps hidden for now, but gives Silver a worried glance. If she decides to go loud, he's more than willing to.


Zunden says somewhat seriously, before chuckling,
"Or juzt the nature of the ze zyztem of law and order. Who am I to zay."

Zunden nods, raising her staff, it glowing with the sun's rays.
[1d10+2] Frozen Healing Bonds: Zunden, Norvegicus, Humboldt

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"A gift for you az well, zhen. If you ever cut yourzelf or find yourself hurt, zimply dizpell thiz orb wiz your mind and it will heal you. Ozher wiz, it can act az a torch whenever you need it."


I look away. "It's, uh… It's kind of complicated," I say, brushing my suit off. "Maybe some other time."

I put on a broad smile, take the coins and map, and tip my hat. "All in a days work, sir. You have my card. Spread my name around if anyone else has any problems, and I'd consider that worth as much as any coin you'd owe me past this. I'll be back in town sometime soon, and I'll drop by then to make sure the infestation is still under control but you should be good to go."

Lifting my head, I walk away with the sense of pride you can only get from doing a job that you're good at, making up my mind to head back to the inn and wait.



"In a place like this, you must figure that your story is probably tame in the scheme of them," Hermodur assures him.


"Such a pathetically flawed system of law and order should be overturned," Hermodur grumbles. He seems to be just commenting in general more than actually responding to Zunden.


"You're not wrong, but you should perhaps appear a little less thankful. It makes you appear weak," Hermodur says to Humboldt.


pulling myself out from under the table, i hold a feather to my mouth, hinting to keep quiet.

quickly pulling myself out from under the table, i brush my dress off before clearing my throat.

"Me? Why, i'm nopony in particular, really." i reply, brushing the question off with a wing.

"I..Had heard there was a group of ruffi-..warriors here in the forest who i.. had wanted to join!"

"..Although, it seems i lost my way, you see. I had no idea where you were, so i tried checking here, and, well, you startled me, so i tried to hide." i finish, grinning sheepishly.

[1d10+2] Persuasion

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"Iz what I zay as well."
Zunden nods.



"Why WERE you arrested, anyway?" Hermodur asks, raising an eyebrow.


You keep out of sight, watching the ongoing altercation.

Humboldt nods solemnly in understanding, clasping the magical orb in his hands. "A miracle worker, I see. Thank ye kindly, and light walk with ye."

"Rest assured, sir, I will. Ye've done me a great service, and I shan't soon forget it."

You head back into town, returning to the inn. You find it slightly busier than before, filled with some rather rough-looking clientele. Violet is there as well, sitting in an alcove poring over her diary. She looks up as you enter and waves hello. "Back from work, I assume?"

Humboldt tilts his head curiously and straightens up, suddenly appearing much less friendly than before. He matches you in size and stature. "Begging yer pardon, sir," he answers in a low voice, "but I don' have nothin' ter prove ter anyone anymore."

The hippogriff stares you down for an uncomfortably long period of time. "….Get out of here," she eventually growls in an icy tone. "This place won't be any fun. Not for you." She refuses to budge from the room until you leave, pointing at the door.


"Yeah," I say. "That's kind of what I was thinking in the beginning. I'd expected to be surrounded by cold blooded killers and cutthroat thieves. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't still kind of uneasy about the whole thing."


Rabi has a bit of an unsettling feeling as he realizes he doesn't have much of a way out of here on his own. Well, worst comes to worst, he's pretty speedy on his hooves. That, and maybe a bit of light could blind them long enough for him to escape.


I smile and wave back, walking over to her. I try to hide my discomfort with the surrounding patrons, but I'm not sure just how good of a job I'm doing. Still, maybe this is a good time to try and make friends. Violet doesn't seem as bad as most of the others here. "Yeah. By some stroke of luck I was actually able to find something that suited my talents." I look for a seat near her.


"We went over ziz. I zhrough a guard out ze window of my boardhouze and knocked anozher out with my ztaff. Zey were zearching for a wayward pony who had azked for zhelter, and I denied zem entry. My patronz alzo attacked the guardz, alzhough I did not azk zem to. Zhus, I waz branded a terrorizt leader and my boardhouze waz burnt down."
She shrugs,
"I am guilty of my chargez, zhough I would not call myzelf a terrorizt."

"May your fate be one of promize."
she replies, leaving with the rest.

"Ah pleaze, there will alwayz be a need for zomeone who dealz wiz peztz."


"Oooh, why i never!"

With a huff, i make my way out of the armory and back outside, griping aloud to nopony in particular.

"I make my way through this dreadful forest to join your band of fighters, and you think i can't handle myself?"

"We were all cast here for some crime or another, and I'll tell you MY crime was certainly not a soft one. I'm more than capable of whatever it is you're after!"

casting a quick glance from you to the medallion and back, i make my way out of the room, pushed along by the hippogriff.



"Oh… right…" Hermodur says in a combination of awkwardly and sadly.


You watch as Silver is shunted out of the fort, complaining all the while. It seems like now would be a good time to go for the opportunity.

The alcove seems to be big enough for you both, and the rest of your group to boot. She closes her journal with an audible thump and nods. "Good on you," she says encouragingly. "Always folks around here in need of certain skills. Or if not here, then the next town over. What sort of work was it?"

A timid-looking unicorn mare in a dress also approaches the table, holding a little notebook. She is presumably a barmaid, and looks at you and Violet. Before she can ask, Violet gives her her order. "I'll just have a glass of cider, thanks." She turns to you. "You want anything to eat or drink? It's on me."

As you return to the now bustling inn, you find Norvegicus and Violet already sharing a table, having just been approached by a barmaid. Violet waves hello, beckoning for you to join her.

The hippogriff ignores your protests, following closely behind you and giving you a soft shove out of the fort. "Don't come back," she says menacingly, standing firmly in place until you leave.



Hermodur approaches the table and sits down silently.


continuing to grumble, i wait until i make it to the treeline before flying up to another branch, worriedly scanning the ruins below.

"Oh, i hope Rabi is okay in there.."
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5


Rabi takes the chance so graciously supplied by Silver Song, and slips out as quietly as he can manage. He tries to keep low and move quick, since he's not sure how long it'll take for them to return.
>Stealth: [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"One of the reasons I sat down was actually because of how hungry I am." I remove my hat and set it on the table in front of me, revealing a sweaty mop, clumped up patch of fur caked to the top of my head. I smooth it back as best I can and give the barmaid a smile. "Evening. I'll have a glass of cider as well, and whatever small meal you'd recommend, madam. You seem like someone who's instincts I can trust." I give her a small wink.

[1d10] for how nice my smile is.

Roll #1 9 = 9


File: 1514534190144.jpg (26.54 KB, 236x606, 278f03a12e81e546aedc700788….jpg)

Zunden sits at the table as well, pulling out her tarot deck and shuffling it, placing it on the table. She touches the deck, thinking about the status of Rabi and Silver before she draws a card from the deck.

>Draw from the Arcana; passive/'automatic instant; once per day': Zunden utilizes the tarot deck to tell the fortune of an individual. As a passive, can do a reading for an individual or group, using the cards as guidance. Once per in-game day, however, she may seek more clairvoyant guidance by using the arcana to offer guidance, gaining a vague hint or brief vision from the past, present, or future that applies to their current situation.

>Once a day guidance


(Slight change. Pilfer the sword, the gold, and the crest, then skidaddle.


Violet gives you a friendly smile as you take a seat. "Something wrong? Can I get you a drink?"

You spot the hippogriff making her way back inside, exchanging words with one of the other bandits. As they do so, you see Rabi zip by them undetected, rejoining you outside. He seems to have pilfered some of the bandits' ill-earned goods.

You double check the coast is clear before taking off with some of the bandits' loot, sticking to the shadows and creeping along silently. You manage to sneak by the hippogriff mare and one of her companions undetected, eventually reuniting with Silver outside.
>+40 bits

Her guard slips a bit, and she smiles back as she writes down your order in the notebook. "O-our special for today is Orchard Keeper stew," she informs you. You don't know what an Orchard Keeper is, but before she can elaborate the innkeeper calls her over for something. As promised, Violet is the one to pay for your drink and meal this time, saving you some hard-earned money. "So," she asks you, "given any thought to my proposal? It's a lot to ask, coming on an expedition like this one, so I understand if you want to stay behind."

You shuffle the deck and seek guidance from your deck. The cards tell of great hardship and misfortune, but also great reward at the end of your journey.

"What's that you've got there?" Violet asks curiously, craning her neck to get a better look.



"You are too kind," Hermodur says courteously.


Rabi offers a quick wave as he rejoins Silver, before holding the crest up "Got it- and, some other stuff. I pilfered the bits and the sword, too. I wonder if the sword would sell for much… or, at least, be useful?"


I sigh and sit back, absentmindedly scratching the top of my head. "Yeah," I say. "I've been thinking about it." I let that hang in the air for a moment before finally continuing. "I think I'll do it. I've never really gotten the chance to get out much outside of normal work. Oh, and I supposed I didn't answer your question. It was a pest control job. Before I came here I worked in extermination, so when I saw there was a guy with a roach infestation-" I gesture towards the job board. "I thought I'd jump at the chance."


File: 1514535506906.jpg (101.56 KB, 350x600, pents09.jpg)

Zunden smiles as she reveals a card showing a saurian with a golden orb embellished with a strange rune in her out reached claw, picking it from a tree where others are hanging (five in total). An additional three are in a basket in her other claw.

Zunden turns to Violet,

"Ah, ziz iz a tarot deck. I uze it to gain inzight on the eventz happening around uz, and for making helping make decizionz. I'm az zome would zay a… fortune teller. Zilly name, I can't promize fortune. Ztill, zhiz card in particular bodez well. It iz ze nine of pentaclez. It iz a zymbol of the fruitz of labor: the rewardz after a hardzhip or challenge. I zink our new friendz will be returning wizh their headz held high."


Quickly moving down from the tree, I gallop over to embrace you, wrapping my wings around your neck.

"Oh, you're okay! You had me worried, all alone in those ruins, but I'm so glad you're safe!"

Remembering my place, I back up, blushing. "A-and you've got the crest too, also important." I add with a smile.

"We'd best hurry, before they realize what happened."

With the crest (and loot) in tow, I start heading back towards the village at a canter.


Rabi chuckles a little bit, and pats Silver Song on the shoulder softly "Thanks for worrying, Silver. You did a fantastic job luring them away though." he says, before coughing a little "And, yeah. I got the crest, too."


"Don't mention it. So what's your poison? Ale, wine, mead, beer? They have all sorts in this watering hole. Although, none of it seems to be any good."

You examine the sword. It is an elegant, ornate weapon, with several runes and engravings across both the blade and the hilt. You recognize it as being a ceremonial weapon that is often used to activate portals into the Echoes during Banishment rituals. Still, it is as effective a weapon as any, and could fetch a good price.
>Banishment sword: Single

She beams. "That's the spirit! There's adventure everywhere in these parts. Why not live a little. And don't worry, it may be dangerous out there, but I'll be watching your back."

She nods as you tell her of the job you just took. "I don't envy you. If there's one thing I can't stand it's roaches. Ugh. Sounds like honest pay for honest work though!"

Soon enough, your food and drink order is brought out by the barmaid. Placed in front of you is a wooden bowl of stew, containing mostly chunks of white meat. It has a somewhat pungent aroma, but not entirely unpleasant. Violet receives her glass of cider with muttered thanks.

She listens intently at your explanation. "Interesting. I've heard of this tarot business before, but I've never had it done myself." She looks at the cards for a while. "…Say, how about giving me a reading? Just out of curiosity."

You return to Carrow's manor. He answers the door somewhat austerely, but then smiles thankfully upon seeing his crest returned to him. "Wonderful, simply wonderful! I thought I'd lost it for good. I am indebted to you two. Thank you, sincerely. …Here, as promised." He hands you a bulging bag of coins. "The least I can do to repay your hard work."
>+150 bits


I crinkle my nose in disgust. "I'm with you there. They're probably the second most common thing I have to take care of, but by gods they're easily the ones that turn my stomach the most. The way they look and move is one thing, but there's just something about the smell of a severe roach infestation that could put the most hardened man off his lunch." I nod to the barmaid, sliding the bowl closer to me. "Thank you."

"Anyway, yeah. You learn to deal with them, even if they are disgusting, prolific little vermin, but work is work." I shrug, leaning in a little. "Honestly, I think I'd feel a little safer out there with you than-" I glance around at the intimidating patrons before looking back at Violet. "Well… you know. 'Here'. Alone." I take a spoonful of the stew and lift it to my lips, stopping for a second to gesturing to it. "Oh, and thank you by the way."


File: 1514728193836.jpg (1.04 MB, 1024x768, area map 1.jpg)

Updated version of the map from last session. Be sure to save this one instead of the one posted.


You taste the stew. Given the rather dingy establishment, it's better than nothing at all. A little bitter, and a tad too much salt for your liking, but it's better than starving. Whatever an Orchard Keeper may be, it seems to be a bird of some sort, judging by the meat being somewhat like chicken in flavor and texture, although richer.

"Don't mention it," she answers warmly. "I'm just doing my part to make sure you all can get some footing around here. Just… well, I'll be blunt. I won't be sticking with you guys for too long. After this expedition, we'll probably be parting ways. So don't expect me to be around forever. I hope you understand." She raises her glass in a slight toast and drinks.


"Why of course! It was no trouble, really." i reply, strapping the bag to my side.

bidding the dog goodbye, i make my way back to the Tavern, coins jingling merrily as i trot

"I certainly hope the others are alright, seems we lost track of them earlier.."



"Oh, but of course. We're glad we could help you get it back."

"I'm sure they are. They seemed capable enough, so unless they've gone well out of their reach, they should be fine." he offers, as they make their way towards the tavern "Until then, why don't we grab something to eat, or drink? We've got money enough for board and supplies, and the tavern probably has something edible."



"Wine, the gentleman's drink," Hermodur says proudly.



"What are you looking for in your reading? Do you have any queztionz about ze coming future? Are you looking for love maybe?"
Zunden laughs,
"I do general readingz, but zey don't provide az much inzight. Anyzing zat might be worrying you or you queztion ze outcome: Zat iz when a reading iz mozt uzeful."


"Good point, all this sneaking around has left me famished, it'll do us good to eat something."

"..You don't suppose that sword we found is enchanted, do you? It's quite similar to those ritual blades, and if the sword open the path here we might be able to open it again."



My ears fold back and I look down at my stew. "Oh," I say. "Yeah, I suppose it would be naive to think otherwise." I lift my glass and toast back, chuckling. "Can't be babysitting all the time."


"Hrm… It's worth a shot, actually. I'm not the most capable at identifying magic, but I'll see if I can feel anything. And, at the least, I imagine it could sell for a pretty bit. Or, one of us could use it. For a ritual blade, it seems rather sturdy."
>Identify: [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


File: 1515123103549.png (448.04 KB, 1000x1000, violet.png)

You return to the inn. It's a bit more lively than before, although the patrons look a little rough. The innkeeper nods at you in greeting, while a nearby barmaid pony moves over to you. "How may I help you?" she asks politely.

You soon see the rest of your group sitting in a large alcove alongside Violet, who hails you with a friendly wave. She sees the coin and treasure you're carrying. "I see you've been doing well for yourselves. Where'd that come from?"

"Good choice." She turns to the barmaid. "A glass of wine for my friend here, please." The mare merely nods and shuffles off to serve it.

She thinks about it for a while. She seems more invested in the idea now. "…Tell me about my future, then, reader," she answers eventually. "What does fate have in store for me, according to the cards?"

"Hehe. That's not the word I'd use, but I guess it's apt. I like to think you can take care of yourselves. I'm just keeping an eye out for you. I'd keep both eyes out, but, well…" She chuckles, although you can't tell if she's amused at her own joke or at her disability.

You examine the sword closer. Although it's not your area of expertise, you can sense some magical energy resonating from it. You recall that silver swords such as these are a key part of the ritual that leads to the opening of a portal to the Echoes: as the final act in the ritual, a silver sword is stabbed into the rainbow pool and rotated like a key, briefly opening a gate to this other dimension. If the sword has any other magical properties, however, they elude you for now.



"Now then, seeing as we're all here I have a few announcements to make regarding our expedition. I went and made some preparations while you were gone."

"First off, the wizard fellow I left the cylinder with got back to me much faster than anticipated. He says it looks like a key mechanism of some sort, and the engravings on it are similar to those found in pre-Dominion Abyssinia. Given the links between Abyssinia and our destination, I think it'd be a good idea to bring the cylinder along. Just in case. Which leads me to my next point."

"I've been doing some research on King Lucan, in whose I found the inscription leading me - well, us - to the Sands." She pulls out a hefty looking book with a golden trim and opening it to a bookmarked page. "I got this history tome from the local wizard. Only a few bits for it too. Anyway, so apparently this Lucan was quite the treasure hunter, collecting antiquities from all over the world." She quotes a passage from the history book. "'His subjects soon took to calling him the Old Dragon because of his hoard; Lucan was known to possess a huge stock of magical artifacts from all corners of the earth.' …It also says here that he ruled Abyssinia centuries ago, before the Dominion, while the Sun and Moon were still corporeal and ruling over Equestria. …That's about as far as I've gotten. Whatever's in the Sands, it's got to be something good."

"The final thing is that I've gone ahead and purchased a wagon for us to carry our supplies, as well as whatever loot we find along the way. I have it stationed in a barn on the outskirts of town. It's fairly large, so it should be able to hold everything we'll need for the journey. Unfortunately, we don't have a Sanctuary available, else we'd be traveling by that. It's quite a trip from here to the Sands, so we'll be leaving at dawn tomorrow morning. I'll probably come and wake you up, if you're not up already." She's mentioned a Sanctuary a few times now, and it's not something any of you are familiar with.

"That's about it. If there's anything you guys want to buy from the markets in preparation, you'd do best to go about it now before we lose the light. If you have any questions, now would be a good time, although we'll have plenty of time to talk on the road."



in whose tomb I found*



"You are too kind to us," Hermodur says with another thankful nod. "It saddens me that I can't return the favor."


"So, whatever we find would have been around during the days before the princesses abandoned Equestria…" Hermodur laments out loud. "Interesting."

"Are we properly supplied for this venture?"


"Ah yes, I'd love to try the inn's specialty dish, if you've some on hoof." i reply kindly to the barmaid.

"As for the treasure" i begin, turning to Violet "Rabi and I had just managed to sneak by that bandit camp the noble was having trouble with. Seems they had quite the haul before we arrived."

"Recovered the crest and some treasure as well, not a bad outcome at all." i finish, looking quite smug.


"Hrm…" Rabi mumbles a few things to himself as he looks the blade over, before stroking his chin "It seems to be magical in some way, but I can't pin down how. I remember them using it as a 'key' during the Banishment Ritual, so I think we'd best keep it on us. I've got no clue if it can, but if we find the right conditions… maybe it could work as a way back? Regardless, we'd best find a more capable wizard. They could tell us more, most likely."
Rabi offers Violet a wave in return, settling down into the alcove next to Silver Song. "We picked some money and a ritual blade up while we were grabbing the crest for that noble. All in all, we made out pretty well- 190 bits. How did all of you fare?"

Rabi listens intently to Violet's explanation, before smiling widely "Sounds like we'll find something handy, then. Maybe a few magical artifacts, or something of the like. And, as far as questions go, where would I find the local wizard? If he could inspect the sword for us, we could find out if it's got anything special on it."


"As for this expedition, i'll have to see about filling our packs for the trip.. after a bite to eat, of course."



"Oh," Hermodur says, crossing his arms, looking rather disappointed. "You already took care of the bandits?"


"Why yes! Rabi and I had managed to sneak by them, stealing back the crest they stole from the noble."

"It was quite the heist, my distraction was just enough to let Rabi slip by unnoticed, and all without raising a blade." i nod, smiling smugly.

"How was your foray? We seemed to have split up earlier, something about 'pest control'?"


Rabi chuckles a little, and offers a short nod in agreement "It went much smoother than planned. there was only three of them, and despite being spotted, Silver Song managed to distract them enough for me to make off with the lion's share of their treasure, Crest included. They didn't even have guards posted, so we were rather lucky."



I laugh along with her before falling silent again to listen to Violet's explenation. Was I really going to do this? Actually risk my life just because some of the folks around town were a little more intimidating? I furrow my brow and sigh, contemplating my stew, barely even noticing as everyone else shows up.

I lift my bowl, slurp down the rest of my stew, and let out a loud belch. "Well," I say. "I suppose it's to the market then." Though to be honest I'm not entirely sure what exactly one needs for 'adventuring'.



"Oh," Hermodur says, suddenly sounding more pleased. "So, you didn't hurt the bandits? Excellent, I still have a chance to teach the the glory of Ailuros. Knowing bandits, so long as they are unharmed, we'll run into them again eventually."

"I, on the other hand was relegated to mere bug killing duty. Though, they WERE quite massive bugs. It still felt rather beneath me. But, I suppose it is good to be where you are needed."


"You should have taught them a lesson," Hermodur says in disapproval before lightening up. "But, I'm glad you didn't."


"It went well. Made a little coin, but the small potential network for future jobs was invaluable."


The fur on the back of my neck prickles when Hermodur mentions how killing bugs was beneath him. Deciding to take that as my cue, I clear my throat and, with as little venom as possible, say "Anyway, I'll be shopping. I suppose we should split the coin from the job." I take a third of the coins and drop the sack back on the table, letting a couple spill out. Without saying another word, I turn and leave the inn.


File: 1515125344212-0.jpg (63.39 KB, 350x600, ppurx.jpg)

File: 1515125344212-1.jpg (75.02 KB, 350x600, 5crx.jpg)

File: 1515125344212-2.jpg (111.67 KB, 350x600, maj11.jpg)

"Good, I am an early rizer, I will be ready by dawn."

Zunden says confidently, turning back to her cards.

"Alright, I will we will zee your zituation, your action you are taking or will take, and ze outcome of zaid zituation. Keep in mind, ze cardz are not magical, zey are only uzed to interpret the world around uz."

Zunden shuffles and lays three cards infront of Violet, tapping the first one.

"The current zituation."
The first card is reversed showing a young saurian holding a runed sphere, amidst a grassy field.
"Ah, ze Page of pentaclez. It'z upzidedown nature meanz it'z original meaning iz inverzed. The current ztate of affairz iz one of impracticality and zloth. Are you perhapz not enthuzed about a new venture? Are you catching yourzelf daydreaming? Eizher way, zhere may be zomewhere that practical action is lacking."

Zunden shrugs, pointing to the next one,
"Ze Action. What actionz can you take, or are current are taking, to addrezz ze zituation."
Again the card is reversed when drawn, showing a weeping saurian with two goblets in each hand, three more spilt over on the floor below.
"Ze five of cupz, again reverzed. Normally ziz iz a card of conflict, but reverzed it zymbolizez moving on and finding peaze. If timez have been tough in, you may have, or will, pull yourzelf through a zituation by looking foward. Whezher it be prezent or future, not all has or will be lozt. Zhiz iz healing, and acceptanze."

She smiles, tapping the final card.
"And ze outcome. What can you expect from taking ze action."
To the party, the card is familiar, having been drawn for Silver Song reversed before. The card depicts a saurian holding a scale in one hand and sword in the other.
"Juztice, a Major Arcana. Fitting it iz ze outcome, az upright it meanz Cauze and Effect: fairnezz, truth, and exercize of the law. To be fair, zhere may not be the zame lawz az from before banizhment, but ze lawz of the land. Lawz of nature. What you get iz a direct rezult of your actionz. Clarity and Truth iz what you can expect as an outcome."

She turns her head, looking to the pony,
"And zhat is zhat. Doez anyzhing hold rezonance? If not, remember, zhey are only cardz. I don't claim to hold maztery over anyonez fate."


"Well, it sounds like you had some fun at least, using that hammer of yours."

"But i'm glad you finished that job while i was away, i'd sooner fight bandits over some horrid bugs!" i finish with a shudder.


"Well, happy to disappoint, in that case. I'm not going to go looking for a fight when it's not too worth it." he says, before looking to Zunden's Tarot cards."



(I'm pretty sure that 65 bits we got was 65 each so it's already split.)


"Mjolnir was not bestowed upon me by a living goddess so I could smash some insects," Hermodur responds haughtily.


"If it means opening the eyes of some lost souls to the path of salvation with Ailuros, then it's very worth it."


"If we can find clarity through this quest, then it is surely one on which I wish to embark," Hermodur comments as Zunden finishes.


"It's not a big deal. I just don't want you guys being left in the dirt. It can be rough starting out here in the Echoes."

"Hmm…" She reaches into her saddlebags again and pulls out a checklist. "Well, there's enough food for at least two weeks, plenty of water, rope, a lantern… Really, the only thing you guys would have to buy is extra food, since I wasn't expecting to have five others on board. Oh, and tents. I've only got one, and I don't mind sharing, but it's not going to fit six by any means."

"R-right away." She nods and shuffles off into the kitchen to prepare your order.

Violet nods in approval. "Good on you. I don't much care for that Carrow guy, but bandits are even worse. It's hard enough to get by down here as it is. The loot's in much better hooves now, I'd wager."

"190 bits? That's a great haul for a first job." Violet looks impressed. "Seems like you chose the right patron."

"The wizard? He lives just across the road, in that weird building over there." She points outside, where you can see a tall wooden building shaped like a chess rook. "Odd fellow, but he knows his stuff, I'll give him that. He should be able to help you with that sword of yours."

"Good idea. There's still about another hour or two before the sun goes down. Plenty of time to eat up and do some shopping."

The barmaid returns with your orders. Hermodur is presented with a large glass of red wine, while Silver is served a steaming wooden bowl of vegetable soup. Both look serviceable enough.

Violet winces a little at your table manners, but offers no further comment as you leave the inn.

You have a look around the markets, finding a variety of items on sale:
>camping equipment - 15 bits each
>torches and lanterns - 6 bits/bundle, 12 in a bundle
>fire-starting kits - 3 bits
>oil lanterns - 8 bits
>rope - 2 bits for 10 meters
>medicinal herbs and poultices for light injuries - 5 bits (automatic, heals full hits but no wounds)
>shovels - 3 bits
>saddle bags and pouches - 9 bits
>spyglasses - 8 bits
>hunting knives - 6 bits

There are also weapons vendors with a variety of armaments in stock, including swords, axes, maces, spears, greatswords, greataxes, hammers, polearms, daggers, bows, crossbows, pistols, rifles, claws, caestii, rapiers, whips, curved swords, katanas, quarterstaves, throwing knives, slingshots, and everything in between. Most of them look a bit too hefty or too complex for you.

At first she merely seems amused by the reading, but when the Five of Cups is drawn, Violet looks like she's seen a ghost. As you finish the reading, Violet seems mystified by the results of it, regarding you with her single eye. "S-Some of it does line up, I have to admit," she stammers. "It's… just a lot to take in, all at once. Thank you, reader. I appreciate it. It's given me a lot to think about. Maybe there is some truth to the cards after all…" Still looking a bit shaken, she nonetheless raises her glass to you and drinks again. "Now, can I get you anything? Food, drink?"



"Take my share as well," Hermodur offers. "I have little use for it."


I look around at the various gear spread across the market, and scratch the top of my head. I'd taken 22 of the bits, but even then everything seems kind of expensive. I'm not even entirely sure what I'd need, but everything seems useful for one reason or another. I pick up a hunting knife, look it over, and put it back down. Maybe someone around here can help me. I look around for one of the shopkeepers.


Make that 43.



"Ah, I'd nearly forgotten," Hermodur says as she slaps himself in the forehead in response to Violet's list. "In addition to our payment, we also received a map. Might that be useful for our venture?"

"And here we are, a drink for a civilized individual," Hermodur says as he takes a sip of the wine. As he swallows it, he cringes. Not because of this particular wine. He just doesn't actually seem to like win that much.


Nodding in thanks to the barmaid, i quietly sip my soup as i listen to Violet speak with Zunden.

"Surprisingly accurate for a deck of cards, isn't it? I was as surprised as you at the time of my reading."


"Anything on the menu catch your eye, Rabi? This soup of theres is quite alright. More than whatever they served me prior to banishment, certainly."


Rabi nods, tucking the sword away for the time being "Indeed. Silver definitely had an eye for the best job. And, in that case, I'll visit him after I eat. Speaking of which…"
"The soup seems like a good option, then. I think I'll go with that." He says, before thinking back to his own tarot reading "I can say for sure, mine felt rather on the dot. I didn't expect cards to be that… precise."


Zunden nods knowingly at the reaction, offering a comforting smile,

"Ze cardz do tend to behave zat way. Az for anyzhing for me? Let uz zhare a loaf of bread and some hard zpiritz so zat face of yourz regainz zome color."

Zunden chuckles, taking the cards from the table and shuffling them and placing them back on her belt.

"You do not zhink ze ztaff would mind if I took off my chainmail? It iz not exactly comfortable clozhing."


"I'm sure it'll be fine, it's not like we run risk of needing it in a tavern."


You see a shopkeeper nearby. He is a skinny droopy-eyed saurian with a long snout like a crocodile, puffing on a hookah. He folds his arms and looks at you. "Help you with somethin'?" he mumbles.

"A map!" she exclaims. "That's what we're missing. Good thing you managed to get one. Although, I know this part of the Echoes quite well by now, so I don't think we'd really need one. Still, it's good to have one on board, if we have to take a detour."

The wine isn't particularly good. Kind of a fruity sort of aftertaste to it. It's about as good as you can get in a town like this.

The soup is tasty enough, although they definitely use too much salt in this locale. You find it quite filling.

Violet doesn't seem to hear you at first, but then turns to you and smiles. "Yes, it just took me off guard is all. It's like they read my mind. I don't know if I believe it's magic, but… well, it's an interesting trick really."

You order some soup for yourself, and it is brought out not long after. They've probably prepared a huge batch of it in preparation for the evening rush of customers.

Violet downs the rest of her drink with a slight hiccup. You recall she'd ordered a drink earlier when you were in the bar for the first time. She looks a bit dizzy by now, but nods in approval. "Spirits! Good thinking. And yeah, go for it. No one will judge." She calls for the barmaid and orders some brandy for herself and for you, along with a loaf of bread.

Your idle chatter is interrupted by a sudden clatter and breaking of glass. A trio of minotaurs on the other side of the room seem to be bothering the barmaid. One of them grabs at her dress and causes her to trip, spilling all the drinks. Their table breaks into raucous drunken laughter. Violet just shakes her head at the display, pursing her lips. "Best… best not to get involved," she says in a low tone to you as the barmaid picks herself up. The innkeeper is nowhere to be seen.



"The exterminator has the map right now," Hermodur explains. "It should be safe with him. He's far more sane than I expected."


Hermodur's head slowly turns to watch the display after the sound of the breaking glass. He glowers angrily.

After Violet says to not get involved, he slowly pushes himself away from the table and silently crosses the bar to the barmaid. He extends his hand to help her up.


"Oh my, poor dear."

"Ah, but it's not my problem. The last thing i'd want would be being roughed up by a minotaur, let alone three of them." i mention, before returning to my meal.

Raising an eyebrow, i watch as you head over to help the mare up.


"There's definitely some magic to her cards, yeah." he remarks, as he digs into his own bowl of soup. He goes to say something more, but he's cut off by the excessive clatter and noise from the Minotaur table. He hums softly, before looking to Violet and cocking his head to the side "So, what's with them? Regular thugs, from the look of it?"


I look up at him and crinkle my nose when I catch sight of his hookah. Before I end up staring for too long, I rub the back of my neck and look around at his wares again. "Uh, yeah," I say. "Apparently exploring is pretty common around here. I was just wondering if maybe you knew what those explorers usually bought before an expedition? And if you had any other information or-" I clear my throat. "Well, anything. That'd be great."


File: 1515129760440.jpg (228.43 KB, 1483x1101, Moloch_close_up_-_Christop….jpg)

Zunden lifts the tunic off of herself, placing it neatly in her satchel before moving to her chainmail. It gives a bit of trouble once it reaches her bony protrusions on her head, some of the chains snagging on them before she maneuvers a claw to remedy. After setting that on her lap, she looks to her gambeson, and shrugs.

"It will need to come off anywayz. Not az if I have anything zpecial underneath."

She unties the padded armor, taking off the cloth vest gingerly to not snag on her spine-coated body.

After placing the two in her satchel, she swivels around to look towards the minotaur table, just in time to see Hermodur approach it. She crosses her arms, interested in what he does next.


"No, don't-" Violet tries to stop you, but to no avail. The barmaid seems a bit wary of your help, but takes your hand, brushing the broken glass off of herself. She looks up at you gratefully, and is about to say something when the innkeeper yells something from the kitchen. She quickly hurries off to go see what it is, pausing briefly to look back at you.

The table of minotaurs goes silent. One of them gets up, the one that tripped her over. He is lean as minotaurs come, with dark brown fur. You notice that all three of them have tattoos on their forearm in the shape of a skull over two crossed axes. The minotaur sways in place as he looks at you, then over to your table, then back. "What you playing at then? Eh?" he slurs. "Trying to be a hero, kitty?"

"Just leave it, big guy," Violet calls nervously. "They're not worth it." The rest of the inn's gone silent as you face him down.

She shakes her head worriedly. "Those markings they have. They're with the Bloody Mummers. Big bandit group based up in the mountains. They usually don't bother any of the local villages, as long as they pay their dues. Seems like these ones are over-asserting themselves…"

He just stares at you for a moment. "Huh. You don't look like an explorer to me…" Before you can respond, he digs around for a while before pulling out a large backpack. It includes two full waterskins, several packets of rations, a compass, a good length of rope, pots and pans, a blank journal, a quill and ink, a hatchet, and some flint and tinder. "Got everythin' you could need for goin' out and explorin' in here," he says as he thumps the pack onto the counter. "Except for tents. Those cost extra. If you want it, you can have it for… Eh. 25 bits."


"Oh he's gone and made a mess of things, hasn't he?"

"I'd best smooth things over before it gets out of hoof."

leaving the now empty bowl, i make my way past the onlookers to the minotaurs.

"Now now, i'm sure whatever my friend did he meant nothing by! A bit too concerned for his own good, you see, I'll be sure to talk with him back at the table." i assure the trio, stepping in between them and Hermodur.
[1d10+2] disarming talk

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4



Hermodur simply stares at the barmaid, unsure of himself. "You are not alone," he says quietly with a straight face to the barmaid as she turns back.

He then turns to the minotaurs' table. He stares them down angrily. Then, he takes a step towards the table so that he's practically standing over them.

[1d10+2] for intimidation

He reaches over the table and takes several napkins.

He turns back around and starts sweeping the broken glass into a napkin and uses the rest of the napkins to soak up whatever other mess may have been made.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5



Hermodur does not respond to Silver. He continues to clean.


Rabi finishes his soup in short order, and casually reaches for his pack and his rune-carved bow. He's not doing much right now, but he's readying himself just in case the situation goes south.


Zunden grips her staff, thinking to intervene, before sitting herself back down and continues to watch the group.


25. H'm. Well, I'm sure that sounds right. I nod. "Okay," I say. "Sounds good." I pull the 25 bits out and set them on the counter. I don't remember anyone actually saying if I'd need a tent or not, though. "And I'm not, really. Just taking a little trip, I guess, and want to make sure I'm prepared. How much are tents?"


The lean minotaur looks over to you. "And who are you? His boyfriend?" The other two burst into laughter like it's the most hilarious and clever joke they've ever heard, thumping the table obnoxiously. The lean minotaur smirks at your attempt to defuse the situation, staring you down for a moment. Then, he grabs his own mug of beer and pours it over your head, leaving you drenched from head to hoof in cold alcohol. "Run along, little lady," he growls as the other patrons mutter in disbelief. "Before you ruin your pretty dresses even more."

The minotaurs don't look very intimidated by you. They snicker as you start cleaning up the mess. "Keep going like that and you might start getting paid for it!" one of the other drunkards pipes up, a short minotaur with a high, wheedling voice. They soon give you even more to clean up as the lean minotaur pours his drink on Silver. He doesn't take his eyes off you, as if daring you to lash out at him.

You see the innkeeper bustle out, looking anxious at the events unfolding. He makes no attempt to get involved. They all seem to be afraid of the minotaurs.

You finish the vegetable soup and reach for your weapon, just in case. It seems to be going from bad to worse.

You take up your staff. Violet shakes her head, nibbling at her hooves worriedly. "No," she mouths at you, even as the minotaurs keep abusing your teammates. It's likely that she doesn't want to pick a fight with these minotaurs due to their affiliations.

He silently takes the 25 bits and hands you the backpack. It's quite heavy. "15 bits each for a tent. Room for two in each one, or just one if you're really big, I suppose."



In a shocking amount of speed for a felid so large, in one fluid motion, Hermodur stands, grabs his hammer and turns with it outstretched. The hammer zooms straight toward the minotaur's skull who poured the drink on Siver Song. But, it stops short inches away from the side of his head.

He grimaces angrily at the minotaur. There is a crazed, murderous look in his eye. Mjolnir whirs angrily. The minotaur can feel its heat next to his head.

"Apologize to her. Now," he growls in a low, steady tone.


Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


Zunden eyes Violet back,

"Zhiz iz not for fighting. I only brandizh it now becauze I'm afraid zhiz might end in me mending injuriez. And not juzt thoze who we'll be traveling wizh."

She takes a moment to bring her glowing orb out, letting it linger above her head as she basks in it.

>Frozen Light active, frozen spell counts as sun due to talent

>Bask: Healing bonds


Rabi grips the bow a little tighter as they dump the alcohol over Silver, and he finally takes a chance to speak up "Come on now, everyone. Why don't we just step this down a little bit? We don't need to go wasting anymore drinks, or giving the doctor any unnecessary work tonight, yeah?"
His tone is rather level, even a little friendly. But, he won't conceal his hoof on his bow, or the slight, arcane glow it's giving off.
>Diplomacy (Or intimidation, up to you): [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


stunned for quite some time by the sudden deluge of beer, i come to my senses fast enough to draw my daggers, diving at the offending minotaur!

"You Animals! I'll.. i'll SKIN YOU ALIVE for that!" i roar, rage coming to a head as i slash wildly!

[1d10] Melee

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 8 = 8



>Hunter's Eye on the Minotaur who poured the drink on Silver Song


"Silver- let it go, for now. No need smashing up the inn, yeah?" he suggests, standing up from the table and stepping over to lay a hoof on her shoulder
"We've got somewhere to be tomorrow- we don't want to risk that over some nobodies, yeah?"


"I simply Cannot let such an action go unpunished! I've my honor to defend, Rabi!"


The minotaur winces and cowers as you pull out the hammer, but soon regains his composure. He grits his jaw and retaliates with a powerful punch to your gut that leaves you winded and reeling.
>Hermodur takes 4 hits

Your words fall on deaf ears. All the minotaurs get from you is that you're looking for a fight, judging from your glowing bow.

Violet nods as you conjure an orb of radiant sunlight to lend you strength. "Let's just hope they don't do anything drast- oh." It all falls apart as a brawl breaks out.

You catch the minotaur off guard, giving him a deep cut across the cheek. Roaring in drunken rage, he backhands you hard, leaving you seeing stars.
>Silver takes 2 hits


As violence breaks out, the other patrons start panicking and making themselves scarce, many of them leaving the inn or heading upstairs. The innkeeper yowls and ducks under the counter in case it gets worse. Violet hisses sharply in alarm and reaches for her sword, pulling out the telescoping hilt to turn it into a glaive. The minotaurs in turn prepare for a fight, raising their fists or grabbing nearby objects to use as improvised weapons.

The lean minotaur, who started the whole bloody affair, lunges to pummel Hermodur again.

The shortest of the three minotaurs with the high voice throws an empty tankard at Rabi's head.

The third minotaur, who is grey-furred and overweight, swings a chair at Silver.

Violet tries to maneuver behind the trio while you distract them, staying out of sight.

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 9 = 9 / Roll #3 7 = 7


Blind with anger, i leap at the third minotaur with a dagger laced with toxin, aiming for under his ribcage!
[1d10] Rupture

Roll #1 1 = 1



Hermodur stumbles back into a table behind him after he is punched. He begins to laugh, a grin spreading across his face. "Good."

He stands up and lifts his hammer toward the sky. "I am Hermodur Aput. I am the messenger of the great goddess Ailuros Bastet. Behold her glory and lament your villainous ways!"

As he makes his speech, his hammer begins to whir to life.

[1d10] for sharpen

Roll #1 6 = 6


"I can attach an arm back to a body zat hasn't been zere for yearz. Only zhing I worry about is property damage. We juzt made zhoze bitz."

Zunden glances at Violet's patched eye for a bit, before casting a spell while the fighters are distracted, casting it without them noticing.

[1d10+2] Healing Bonds: our three 'heroes'

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9


Rabi sighs a little bit, before quickly retrieving his bow and nocking an arrow. He pours some of his magic into it, and the arrowhead begins to glow a soft, blue-ish color as he releases it.
>Ranged Attack (Knockout, Minotaur 3): [1d10+2] (+1 from Arabian Agility, +1 from Seeker Bolt)

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


>activating my sun to heal myself as an instant action


>Hermodur's heal is frozen


You leap at him, but he knocks you out of the air by swinging a chair at you. The impact hits your both in the head and square in the ribs, sending you crashing painfully to the ground. you're seeing stars as you try to get back up from the powerful blow.
>Silver takes 7 hits, helpless at 0/3

Your hammer comes to life in your hands. As you pose dramatically, the lean minotaur shoulder slams you, toppling you on your back. "Stay down, kitty," he growls.

The brute underestimates you, however, as your activate the healing spell Zunden had cast on you previously, rising to your feet. He looks dumbfounded at your resilience.
>Hermodur is at 5/5

You fire an enchanted arrow at the white minotaur. It finds its mark; he stumbles and lets out a yelp from the sudden pain, dropping the chair and falling to his knees momentarily, weakened by your magic arrow. As you do so, however, the short minotaur lobs a steel tankard at you with surprising accuracy, hitting you right on the back of the head and making your head spin.
>Rabi takes 4 hits

You start healing Silver and Rabi, revitalizing them and curing their ills. You also conjure another radiant orb near Hermodur.
>Rabi is back at 5/5
>Silver is at 5/4, no longer helpless

The fat minotaur is stunned from Rabi's arrow, sinking to his knees as he tries to get back up.

The short minotaur grabs a bottle and hurls it at Zunden. "Spells!" he shrills. "She's castin' spells!"

The lean minotaur heeds his advice, swinging a powerful fist at Zunden.

Still creeping up on your opponents, Violet is poised to strike at the short one. She motions for you to keep him distracted, while she aims to try and grapple him from behind.

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 9 = 9



Hermodur grins at the Minotaur. "You really should have apologized."

He swings his hammer back like a baseball bat and lets the rocket roar to life. He aims for the minotaur's chest.

[1d10+4] [1d10+4]
>Take the bigger roll, DC-1

Roll #1 6 + 4 = 10 / Roll #2 3 + 4 = 7


battered and sent flying, my wounds are healed just as quickly, allowing me to get back onto my hooves.

sweeping up from behind the shorter minotaur, i sling a caustic fluid towards his face!
[1d10] Blind

Roll #1 4 = 4


"I have no qualmz wizh you. You are making a miztake."

Zunden brings an unarmored (though still covered in spiky scales) arm up to block the fist, absorbing the blow and infusing her body with the portable sun.

>Spending Sun, no main action.


Rabi, in an attempt to end the encounter quickly, pops his Frozen Sun and shoots a bolt of volatile magic at the lean Minotaur. The bolt, while not bursting into flames, glows bright red.
>Magic Bolt(Augmented by Elementalist(Fire)): [2d10+3] (+1 Frozen Sun, +1 Arabian Agility, +1 Seeker Bolt)

Roll #1 9, 7 + 3 = 19


He's about to offer a smarmy response, but your hammer shuts him up. With an almighty smash, you send the braggart flying, crashing into a nearby alcove and cracking the wall with his imprint. He just lies there for a moment, regretting his life decisions, before pulling himself out of the alcove, looking at the minotaur-sized crack in the wall in disbelief.

You try and fling some blinding acids at him, but he manages to stumble out of the way just in time, retaliating by giving you a good kick to the ribs again.
>Silver takes 1 hit

You manage to block his attack, the radiant sun healing your injuries instantly. Almost instinctively, you manage to duck just in time to avoid a bottle being hurled at you, smashing against the wall and dripping beer everywhere.

The minotaur lurches back towards the fight, but a smoldering arrow from you makes him reconsider. It hits him in the shoulder, and the latent fire quickly spreads to his back and head. Losing his nerve, he starts screaming in panic, running out of the inn in blind terror.

The short one goes to try and grab something else to throw at one of you, but Violet manages to grab him before he can do so. "Gotcha." She slices him painfully across the ankle, then grapples him with the haft of her glaive, pinning him by the neck. He struggles futilely, kicking and grunting in a vain attempt to free himself. The fat minotaur, having just seen one of his companions run off with his hair on fire and the other get hamstrung and incapacitated, rises to his feet puts his hands up, admitting defeat. "Alright, enough. Mercy. We'll leave you be." He has a very low, gravelly voice. "You're not worth the fuss."


"If any are wounded, come to me now. I would have prefered you all did zhiz outzide. Thiz iz a plaze zat feedz you and letz you rezt here wizh little fear of being ztabbed in the back. Treat the property and it'z owner wizh rezpect, regardlezz of who iz at fault."

Zunden brushes some of the shards of broken glass aside with her scaly feet, going around treating both friend and minotaur alike indiscriminately.


In between sobbing and rage, i quickly leave the inn the moment the minotaurs run off, galloping off towards the river to find a secluded area and wash my dress off.



"Behold her power. Behold her majesty. But, above all, behold her mercy," Hermodur says loudly across the room. "This is the power offered to those who are loyal and live their lives in devotion to Ailuros' code. You too can have this power if you repent your lecherous, sinful, hedonistic ways."

Hermodur marches to the minotaur and grabs him by whatever collar he has. He turns him so that the minotaur is between Hermodur and the door. He lines up his shot. "But, first you have to get what's coming to you."

"Anyone in the way had better move," he announces to everyone in the room as he winds up again.

[1d10+3] [1d10+3]
>take better roll, DC-1

Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5 / Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6


"Hermodur. Outzide."

Zunden walks in front of the Felid,

"You can enact divine punizhment az much az you want, but don't destroy ze zame plaze we're ztaying at. Did ze proprietor wrong you?"


Rabi nods shortly as he watches the minotaur run out of the inn screaming, and trucks his bow away as the second is incapacitated, and the third one folds. "Good decision, friend."

"Come now- I'm sure he's more than learned his lesson. Leave it at what was done."

His ears perk off and his words trail as the pegasus shoots out of the room, grabbing his pack and hurrying out after her. After catching up to her, he takes a moment to collect himself, and gently sets a forehoof on her shoulder.



"Already on it," he says dutifully.



"If he's had enough, he can run."


The minotaurs reject your offer. "Don't touch me, witch," the white minotaur says, shrinking away from you in suspicion.

You fly out towards the river, catching a glimpse of your reflection in the water in the process. You barely recognize yourself, but even under all the matted fur and dripping beer, that's still you. Welcome to the Echoes.

You give the out of shape minotaur a good, punitive wallop. He grunts at the impact, leaving a nasty red mark across his jaw. He groans, gingerly touching his teeth, some of which were knocked loose by your strike. After a moment, he gathers himself, and, after Violet lets the other troublemaker loose, the remaining two shamble out of the bar. Before they leave, however, the short one turns to you.

"You… pissed off the wrong folks, kitten. You, your friends, this whole rotten town, you're all dead, you hear me? DEAD. The Mummers will hear about this. Mark my words, mate, you're going to regret your little display." With that, the two make some obscene gestures towards you and the rest of your party before limping off to nurse their wounds elsewhere.

You join Silver outside of town, near the river. She looks a right mess in her sorry state.

As things begin to quiet down, Violet rejoins you, looking somewhat shaken, but otherwise unharmed. She's about to say something to you two, but is interrupted as a trembling but very angry innkeeper slowly pokes his head out from under the counter. He looks from one of you to the other, whiskers aquiver before pointing an accusatory finger at you. "You lot," he grunts. "You're paying for this. All of this. You started it. You help fix it."


"It iz our fault. Put a broom in my clawz."

Zunden says, nodding,

"You will help. Do you know how to zeal crackz in a wall? No matter, you will learn."



I look back at you, teary-eyed as I try and hold back sobs.

"R-rabi? You followed me all the way out here?"

"You shouldn't see me like this, i-I'm in quite a mess.."



"Just be sure to wait until I get back," Hermodur calls out to them as they leave.

He then turns to the innkeeper. "I started it?" he says angrily. "YOU started it! Maybe if you had the slightest respect for your employees, they wouldn't be harassed by patrons. You don't deserve to run an inn at all! The current state of this place is EXACTLY as it should be until you learn how to protect your employees from people like them."


"I refuse," Zunden says angrily.


Hemodur grabs more napkins and hands them to Silver Song. "I only regret that I can't help you further."



Ignore the last part.



"If the world harborz wrongdoerz and 'zinnerz', zhould you not deztroy the world? You are complaining about bad patronz in a plaze where EVERYONE iz a criminal. Wake up."

Zunden says, stomping on the Felid's foot.

"Be the change you want to happen, not more deztruction."



"I don't care about those idiots. I care about him," Hermodur shouted angrily, pointing to the innkeeper. "HE'S the worst thing I've seen in this place so far!"


Rabi sits down next to Silver, and offers a reassuring smile "I couldn't just let you go out here on your own, Silver. Besides, I don't like seeing you upset. Anything I could do to help, maybe?"


"Zhen zleep outzide, if ze man iz not built for fighting like you, don't expect him to pick fightz. Ignoranze izn't a good trait, but fervor can be worze."



"If the man can't fight, he shouldn't run a business in The Echoes," Hermodur shouts angrily. "At the very least, he shouldn't run a business which puts his employees at risk."

"But what's worse is that he blames them. Oh yes, I am ALL TOO familiar with this relationship," he says, looking at the innkeeper with disgust. "The poor barmare was just doing her job, then by no fault of her own, she is tripped. And, SHE is the one who is yelled at. ABUSE! COWARDICE! ARROGANCE! Is her life not already miserable enough? Must he make it worse?"


"Well i-i was going to try and wash off the beer, if you could turn around while I clean off that'd be lovely.."


With rabi hopefully not peeking, I peel off my sodden dress and move into the water, trying to wash myself and the dress clean.

[1d10] wash up

Roll #1 2 = 2


He just grunts and goes to the back for a moment, returning with a wooden trolley full of cleaning equipment: brooms, mops, dustpans, buckets, sponges and the like. "Get cleaning." Violet is more than happy to oblige, starting to sweep up all the bits of broken glass, being careful not to step in any of it. She has a grim look on her face.

He glowers at you, arms crossed. "You insolent nitwit. How dare you. Do you even realize what you've done? You're lucky I'm even letting you lot stay the night after the trouble you've caused. Now the Mummers are going to be breathing down our necks, taking over the whole damn town like they did with Shady Banks. Now get cleaning, or you can sleep outside with the Prowlers."

Unfortunately, try as you might, you can't get all the stains out of your dress. Unless you can either clean it even more than you already have or find a wizard who can make them magically disappear, that dress will be the way it is for quite some time.


>feel free to reply and/or keep talking in character


"Yez, if you are a criminal who waz thrown in here for anyzhing ozher zhan killing a pony, zhen you zhouldn't be allowed to have a job. You are zhick and zelf-righteouz. Ze barmaid did not dezerve zhat, but guezz who'z job it iz to clean the mezz you made ozherwize."


"No no no! Oh these stains are never coming out!"

Scrubbing vigorously, I give up, sulking in the river as the water flows by.


"Sure." the Saddle Arabian replies, looking away long enough to let her peel off the dress, and standing a little closer to help clean it out a little
"So… is the dress special? You seemed a bit more upset about it than I would have expected."
>Cleaning: [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Hey, hey, calm down. Let's just give it another try, hmm? Nothing wrong with giving it another go." he adds, giving her a soft nudge



"There are other solutions as well," Hermodur barks back. "He could hire protection. He doesn't have to fight himself. But, he has no respect for those who work for him. So, he's cheap and lets his labor suffer. And, when they make him look bad they get punished."

"I should tear this whole building to the ground. Then I'd have nothing to clean!"

"SHE'D have nothing to clean…" he corrects himself. "This- that's- bah!" he shouts angrily and storms out of the building.


You help her clean the dress in the river. With some extra wringing, you manage to get the worst of the stains out. They're still there, but barely noticeable to the naked eye.


"My dress? Why it's an old one from home, would have fetched quite the price before this whole banishment thing."

Busy scrubbing, I missed you coming closer until you started cleaning the clothes, surprising me as I splash away from you, covering myself with my wings.

"Gah! Rabi! Where are your manners! You can't simply join a mare in her bath, it's indecent!" A stammer, blushing brightly.


"There we go…" the Saddle Arabian says, before holding his bow and focusing. he creates a small fire, and gestures to it before saying "There we go. That should help it dry soon-Agh!" he shouts. hopping away from the mare and turning to look away "A-Apologies, Silver. It wasn't my intent to intrude in that way. I just wanted to make sure you were alright, and help clean the dress. I can head back to the tavern, if you'd prefer to finish up here on your own."


"Actionz have conzequenzez. Whezher or not ze are morally zound!"

Zunden shouts to the leaving Felid, looking to Violet.
"I acted out when I could have handled a zituation differently and it got me exiled and my boardhouze, a home to ze deztitute, burnt to the ground. Ze cat iz like a child, and haz never had known rezponzibility."

she works alongside Violet, keeping a similar face to that of the pony.

Zo I digrezz, I met him zhiz morning, I zhould not feel rezponzible for him already, even if he zwore hiz allegianze to me. Honeztly. I ztill apologize on all of zheir behalf, even if I know none of zhem."

she forces herself to chuckle, despite her attitude,

"Ztill, it zobreing, no? I didn't even get a drink."


Rolling my eyes, I sit back down in the river as I try and clean my fur with my hooves.

"I suppose you can stay, you did help me with the dress after all, but no peeking!"

"..as to why that dress is important, it was one my last before that dreadful falling out with my father that landed me here, in the echos. It reminds me of not being here."


Rabi nods, and turns to look away from the pegasus. He flicks his ears a little as she speaks up, taking a moment or two to respond.
"I… see. I can understand why it'd be important, then. I suppose the most sentimental thing I've got would be the bow. I never really had much to my name, but the bow was something I worked on myself."


"A pony with only a bow to his name, quite unfortunate indeed." I reply, rinsing my mane and tail in the river.

"It's not so bad now, surely. You've friends in Hermodur and zunden, and I'm here for you as well.."

"We'll find some way out of here, I'm sure of it."


"Yeah. Oddly enough, this's been going better than I thought it would've… I've found some pretty good company. Thanks for the talk, Silver." he says, giving her a pat on the shoulder when she finally finishes up "Now, let's head on back, yeah? We don't want to give them too many ideas.~" he teases, flicking his tail a bit and chuckling.


"Oh, true! First that foray into the bandit camp, now this river bout? Why they'll think we're some sort of item, us two!" I laugh coyly, slipping on my dress when you've got your back turned.


Hm. Fifteen is over half of what I have left, and I still have to pick up food. I take the backpack and grunt as I sling it over my shoulder. Damn. I'm not sure I could actually carry a tent too, anyway.

"I think I'll be fine," I say. "Thank you."


You exit the building in a huff. As you do so, you see the barmaid coming out of the other end of the building. She has forgone her working uniform for a simple hooded cloak of the sort many travelers wear. She seems fixated on moving towards a nearby house, presumably hers. As she sees you exit, she hesitates in her tracks for a moment before nodding in acknowledgement before continuing toward the house. She looks troubled.

You get to work cleaning the inn alongside Violet. Mercifully, there isn't too much work to do. The worst of it is the large, noticeable cracks in the walls, and there is next to nothing you can do about those with what you have at your disposal. However, you soon get to work cleaning what is there, righting the furniture, sweeping the broken glass, and mopping the floors.

Violet nods as you speak to her while you work, looking somewhat wooden. At your apology, she merely shrugs. "You shouldn't apologize, friend. It's not your fault any of this happened. You're not responsible for any of their actions," she answers as she wipes a long trail of beer off the wall. "Although, that Felid fellow, he certainly is an odd one. He has a lot to learn. Needs to get his head on straight, really."

She doesn't return your chuckle, looking somber. "Those Mummers… The gang those drunks were a part of… They have a lot of influence around these parts, or so I've heard. Extort the local villages now and again, but mostly keep to themselves, unless one of their own gets killed or wounded. I don't even want to know what they're going to do next," she muses. "At best, they'll send their goons after us. At worst…" She trails off. She seems to dread the idea of the Bloody Mummers cracking down on this settlement.

It isn't long before you're finished, the work having gone much faster between the two of you. The innkeeper has little reaction, save for a satisfied nod, but he still looks understandably frustrated. He seems to resent your presence in his establishment.

You head back to the inn. It looks like Zunden and Violet have been hard at work cleaning the interior, as there's hardly any signs of a fight having taken place by now. The most obvious signs are some glaring cracks and indentations in the walls, as well as some tiny, harmless bits of glass here and there on the floor. The innkeeper doesn't seem happy to see you, and gives you no greeting save for a low disgruntled sort of sound.

"Suit yourself, man," the crocodilian shopkeeper drawls, and goes back to smoking his hookah.

As you keep browsing the local goods, revealing naught more but a few trinkets and keepsakes, you suddenly hear the sounds of yelling and fighting coming from the inn. After a while, A lean, brown minotaur barrels out with his hair on fire, soon followed by a short black minotaur with a nasty limp and an overweight white minotaur nursing his jaw. It seems like your newfound companions have gotten into quite a scrape.


I look up at the inn exit and knit my brow as I watch the minotaurs burst out of the inn. Well. Narrowly avoided that little scuffle. While I'd hoped I could find more stuff to buy, I settle on the pack and its contents and head back towards the inn. I couldn't have been gone more than, what, fifteen, twenty minutes and they're already brutalizing the locals?


"Yez, I am familiar with exztortion, me being a property owner in a zeedy part of town, I waz well aware of the grip zhoze type of groupz can have."

She sighs, setting her brush against the wall,

"Fortunately, when you harbor criminalz and people who have nozhing to live for, zhey end up protective of zhoze who will have zhem. Zhoze exztortioniztz kept away after one of my patreonz cut off their memberz earz in the night. Courze, I never told anyone to do anyzhing, but I cannot ztop people if zhey value the home I gave zhem zhat much."

She shrugs,

"Would need a charizmatic leader to pull ze zettlement togezher to ztand up againzt a group of banditz like zhat, or a few warriorz whiz a deazh wizh. Zeemz zhere are a few zhat fit ze latter requirementz, if you zhink we zhould make zure zhiz zettlement is ztill here by time you're done with our exzpedition. I don't know if you're ze type to have a conziouz, zhiz iz a land of criminalz after all, but I wouldn't want a bar fight leading to innocent people lozing their pozzezzionz and homez due to people who don't even live here. Talk about conzequencez…"

She looks out the window, nodding about Hermodur,

"Az for the cat: Yez, I'm learning zhiz. He'z eizher deluzional or being in what I believe waz a cult haz left him wiz a… poor underztanding of conzequencez. For exzample, you do not cut ze throat of zomeone juzt becauze zhey cut you in line. I digrezz, hopefully he learnz about grey, now zhat he iz no longer living in a world of black and white."


shuffling my hooves, i clear my throat as you set down the broom.

"Ah, uh.. terribly sorry about that little outburst from earlier, it seems i let my temper get the best of me. That and i really had to wash off before the stains set in. You understand, right?" i sheepishly ask



"Oh zure, I underztand. Ze town won't onze zhoze minotaurz burn it down zhough."

Zunden says, making direct eye contact with Silver, though softness still in the gaze,

"We will have to do zomezhing about it, you know. I perzonally like zleeping in innz, not zmoldering remainz."


"Oh my, so we've got quite the dilemma on our hooves, don't we?"

"If flaying open some ruffians is ample repayment for the brawl, i suppose i'll have to oblige. Question is, just where do these fiends lurk?"



Hermodur sits against the outside of the building with his arms crossed. He nods back silently, then looks down.


"I hope you were able to clean up alright without us." he offers, before looking to Zunden
"Hmm. I'd had a feeling it was going to be something like that. Well, do we know much more about them? Despite being brutish, of course."



You join the rest of the group inside the inn, with your newly acquired traveling gear. The inn is mostly empty now and there are signs of there having been a struggle, but by the time you enter it seems most of it has been cleaned up by your companions. Everyone is present save for Hermodur. Violet nods at you in greeting, eyeing your hefty pack. "Been busy shopping, I see. What did you get for yourself?"

She nods as she makes her way back to the alcove where she was sitting, gathering her belongings. "That makes sense," she comments when you tell her of your experiences. "If all they'd have is a boarding house like yours, then they'd want to fight for it, tooth and nail. I can only hope the residents of this place have the will to fight back against the Mummers, when the time comes."

At the suggestion of returning here, she seems to have reservations. "I don't think that would be a good idea. We've attracted enough attention as is. This might sound harsh, but there's no sense in acting the hero, not in this place. Not unless you have a death wish. There's plenty of other towns in the Echoes. This one isn't worth risking my neck for."

If you wish to return to this place, then that'll be your own path. Don't get me wrong, I like you and your group well enough, but I don't plan on sticking with you forever. Just long enough so you get your bearings in this dump. After that, I'm going my own way."

"A cult?" she parrots, looking alarmed. "Well, that explains a lot. The poor sod's probably been indoctrinated since birth. You be careful with that one, friend. I know I will."

Violet hails you silently as she resumes her seat after finishing cleaning. Her previously bright, optimistic attitude has been replaced by a somewhat gloomy demeanor.

She shakes her head. "As I was explaining to Zunden here, you probably don't want to get any more involved than you are already," she warns. "Best to keep out of trouble. We have enough to deal with as it is with this trip coming up. If I were you, I'd put it out of mind for now and finish up with the shopping before they close up, as well as any magical items you want to see to. You made quite a lot from the crest job, didn't you?"

You brood for a while, barely noticing Norvegicus walk by and enter the tavern. After some time, you see the barmaid pop back out of the house, carrying some full saddlebags and a large coinpurse. It seems she's intent on leaving the town for good after the incident.


I look around the inn. Well, it's definitely in better shape than I expected. Looking over at Violet, I adjust my pack and clear my throat. "Well," I say, trying to recall everything. Finally, I decide I've properly recalled what the lizard man said. "I thought some stuff would come in handy so I bought two full waterskins, several packets of rations, a compass, a good length of rope, pots and pans, a blank journal, a quill and ink, a hatchet, and some flint and tinder. Oh, and the pack itself."


"Hmm.. fair point. I'd imagine one scuffle won't burn the village down, and we do have that expedition to get to.."

"while we're deliberating i should really pop off to the store and gather supplies, no sense waisting daylight after all." i finish, motioning towards the door with a wing.

slipping out the door, i make my way to the market stalls, searching for the supply shop further in.


"I zee, well zhen,"
Zunden turns to the others here,

"We will have to avoid burning more bridgez nexzt time, yez?"


"And simply brush off such a terrible chain of events? I'm not one to simply accept an attack on my honor!"

"And i can certainly guarantee apt revenge on those same three from earlier, should we ever cross them again. Perhaps not right away, but once the moment presents itself."


Rabi seems a little conflicted, but doesn't say much else on the topic. He grabs the rest of his gear, before heading to the door and nodding a little bit to Violet "Right. I'll get that sword checked, and grab a bit of supplies."
"With class acts like them, I'm sure they'll more than give us the moment."


"Wait, revenge? Uh, what did I miss, exactly?"



Hermodur watches the pony leaves. He considers calling out to her. He considers telling her not to leave. He considers staying and protecting the town from the bandits. But, something stops him.

Hermodur sighs and decides to cut his losses. He lets the pony go. A new world, the same injustices. He's all too familiar with these sorts of things for it to make him make more mistakes than he already has. One day, he and Ailuros would fix this world too. But, until then, he and the rest of the world would have to endure.


"You have no nobility here. You are an outcazt, juzt like everyone elze. Any titlez or honor you have had in ze pazt are gone. It'z time to ztart from the ground up. If you want to make enemiez, make friendz firzt."


"Three simply awful minotaurs mocked me, in front of the entire tavern! Not to mention emptying their drinks on my head and nearly ruining my dress!"

"With my honor at stake, there really is no other option than to do away with them, clearly." i reply matter-of-factly, nodding.


staggered by your response, i recover quick enough to tilt my head away with a "hmph!" before heading through the door.

"No nobility! the nerve!" i mutter on the way out, steaming.


"These drinks? On your head?" I shudder at the thought. "Gross. 'doing away' with them might be a little extreme, though, isn't it?"


"I'll have to greaze ze door hinge at ziz point az well."

Zunden huffs, rolling her eyes.


"Of course not! surely you heard violet? These minotaur are part of some bandit band or other, more than enough reason to rid this place of them!"

"I've simply tacked yet another reason onto their list of grievances done to the townsfolk, and if I were to extract revenge from a noble act, all the better!"



Hermodur spies Silver Song as she also walks out of the bar in a huff.

"I'm sorry that happened to you," he says glumly.


She nods in approval, smiling. "Sounds like you're packed to the teeth then. That's just about everything you could need. Well, the basics at least. Shame it doesn't come with a tent. I think I have one or two packed away. Might have to share with the others."

Violet looks perturbed by your insistence, her one eye meeting your two. "Look," she says sternly, "this isn't the Dominion anymore. There's no one here that hasn't done something to deserve being here. That includes me, and most likely you. There's no honor to be found here. You'd be a fool to go chasing it. If I were you, I'd just let it go. You might have the chance to go after those three at some point, but don't go throwing your life away because of their affront. They're not worth it."

You go towards the local wizard's shop, a large, wooden building shaped like a chess rook. A rickety sign above the door reads "Petrefax's Magical Menagerie". The interior is what you'd expect a magician's abode to be like. It is cluttered and messy, with many tomes and scrolls heaped about the place. Many curios can be seen lining the shelves of the store: glowing crystal orbs, samples of odd plants, a pot full of staves in one corner, and a large supply of potion-making tools such as mortars, alembics, scales, cauldrons, etcetera. A chalk board behind the counter has a list of services provided:
>Scrolls - 5-15 bits (one time use of any spell skill)
>Healing potions - 10 bits (automatic; recover full hits and one wound)
>Magical readings and identification: 20 bits

A little bell rings as you enter, and soon the shopkeeper Petrefax shuffles out. He is a bent old Felid with brown and black fur, striped like a tabby cat. He wears large, round spectacles that seem to have several other lenses attached to the rims, that can be flipped down to allow for closer inspection. "Hm? Oh, yes, hello there, traveler. What can I do for you?"

You have a look around. Most of the shops and stalls seem to be closing up, seeing as the sun is soon to set. You do, however, make your way towards a large stall, run by a hookah-smoking crocodilian, which has the following equipment for sale:
>camping equipment - 15 bits each
>torches and lanterns - 6 bits/bundle, 12 in a bundle
>fire-starting kits - 3 bits
>oil lanterns - 8 bits
>rope - 2 bits for 10 meters
>medicinal herbs and poultices for light injuries - 5 bits (automatic, heals full hits but no wounds)
>shovels - 3 bits
>saddle bags and pouches - 9 bits
>spyglasses - 8 bits
>hunting knives - 6 bits

You watch her leave. She seems to hesitate before doing so, but strengthens her resolve and trots off down the path, to places unknown. You can only hope she arrives at her destination safely.

You see Silver and Rabi exit the inn, the former looking a bit flustered. It seems there's been some conflict within your group recently, along with your argument with Zunden.


"Oh. Actually I, uh, didn't hear that part."

I sneer and pointedly look away from Hermodur.

My sneer fades and my stumpy tail wags as Violet compliments me. "I mean, I can still buy a tent. I have enough. I just thought it might be a little-" I adjust my pack again. "Well, a little heavy."


taking a breath, i smooth out my dress with my wings before approaching the stand.

"Ah, yes, hello there, I was hoping to ask if you had some advice on the essentials of camping? I've been tasked with gathering supplies for a trip, and it seems we'll be buying what we need on our own. What do you recommend?"


Zunden sighs, seeing half the party leave again,
"How have you been, Novegicuz? It'z been a long day, eh?"
the lizard giggles,
"You're a zight for zaurian eyez after that encounter."



Hermodur groans angrily and then leaves. He doens't know where he's going. He just needs to go for a walk.

[1d10] to find something interesting

Roll #1 3 = 3


"Heh, yeah, I guess so." Honestly I'm not sure what Zunden means about 'Sight for saurian eyes' but I don't comment. "Just doing what I was good at, I guess. It was nice. Kind of an anchor in all of this surreal-" I wave my hand in the air, gesturing all around me. "well, this."


"Hrm…" the saddle arabian hums, before picking out a couple of scrolls (Homing Magic, Astral Projection) "I'll take these, and… a magical identification if you can. I'd like to get this sword checked out, since it feels like it's got something to it." he asks, holding out the ceremonial blade.


Zunden nods,
"Well, I've been zurrounded by criminalz for mozt my adult life, zo I zuppoze I have an anchor too. Do you drink, perchanze?"
Zunden says, taking out a few wineskins,
"Don't zhink we'll be able to order anyzhing now, but I have zome watered down wine, and a zmidgeon of brandy."


I cock my eyebrow and look over at Violet and back to Zunden. "Do we have time to sit down and have a drink? Seems like everyone is doing something." I guess the saurian and the saddle arabian have been the nicest besides violet so far, so I guess actually getting to know them a bit doesn't sound so bad.


"I'm not zhopping, you've already done yourz. All we have to do iz zurvive until the morning and leave. I'd razher relax while I can."
Zunden reclines in her chair,
"Not zat ze ozherz are making zat eazy."


"Actually yeah. Relaxing for a little bit sounds kind of nice." I walk over, set my cage on the ground, and slip my pack off my back, dropping it beside my cage. "Yeah, sure. Why not?" I sit down.


"True, true," she says. "Then again, I do have a cart, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem if you do decide to buy one. Again, as long as one of your companions buys at least one we should be fine. They can usually fit two, maybe three."

The saurian regards you lazily, taking a long drag from his hookah and blowing it out through his nostrils like a dragon. "You with that weird Dog with the red coat or somethin'?" You assume he means Norvegicus, but he doesn't expect an answer, instead beginning to dig around his stall. "You'll be needin' somethin' to start a fire, I'd reckon. And a tent. Maybe one of these as well…" He brings out a disassembled tent, a hunting knife, a fire starting kit, and an oil lantern. "This should do you good, missy. That'll be 32 bits. Could knock off some from the price, if you've got anythin' worth tradin'."

You start pacing around Ironbrook aimlessly, going out towards the southern end of town, back the way you came. There's a small hill there that you go up onto, where you can get quite a good view of the surrounding area, all the way back to the beach you woke up on. Looking north, you can see the mountain Violet mentioned a while back, Mount Alken. It is far away enough that it doesn't appear on the map you received. It is part of a long mountain chain, which may be the mountains indicated to be surrounding the Shifting Sands where you are headed. Looking eastwards seems to be a long stretch of forest, while to the west the landscape seems to give way to marshlands. This might be the edges of Durenwol Fen that the map mentions. It seems quite far. Southwards is the beach, while to the south east is a long stretch of arid land, dotted with ruins. For some reason, looking at that area makes you uneasy. These are presumably the Barrens that Violet spoke of, where she found the clues leading her to the Sands.

Petrefax nods in understanding, flicking down a few of the lenses before placing both paws on the flat end of the silver blade. He runs his paws up and down, peering closer at the sword. "Hrmmm… It is old. Quite old, in fact. I couldn't date it, but at least a few decades. It has an enchantment… Hm. It appears this was used to open and close some sort of portal. For Banishment, it seems. But you probably already knew that. I'm afraid… Wait… There's something else here… Hrm. Quite peculiar, this sword. It seems to have absorbed some magical energy from repeated use in Banishment rituals. To the ensorceled creatures of this land, this blade will be anathema."
>Banishment Blade: single; deals +2 extra hits against Prowlers

He takes his paws off the sword and flips the lenses back up. "That's all these old eyes could glean, I'm afraid. But I must say, that sword is quite a catch. Take good care of it, and it won't betray you in turn."


Zunden tosses a wine skin to the dog, taking the top off another one for herself,

"Ze wine is hardly alcoholic. It'z moztly for ze clean water. You might get a buzz if you drink ze whole thing, but beggarz can't be choozerz."

Zunden shrugs, taking a gulp of the low quality wine.


"Alright, I might try to do that before we leave, then."

I lift my hands to catch the wineskin but fumble it, just barely managing to keep it from dropping to the ground. "Yeah, I don't really drink all that much anyway." I gesture towards her with it. "Thanks." I uncork it and take a sip.


As you chat with your companions, the innkeeper lumbers over to you, holding a notepad. It seems the barmaid is absent. "So, you guys want anything or what?" He looks at you expectantly.


"Ah, I didn't want to bozher you anymore zhan we already have. Two zhotz of brandy, and uhhh…"
"I azzume you won't be having anyzhing? We're both meat eaterz, if you want to zpit a meal."


"Sadly no, i've yet to find much to trade just yet, a new arrival, you see."

not wanting to push my luck chatting up a saurian, i open my coin pouch to sort out the bits for the supplies.


I look up at the innkeeper and back to Zunden, shaking my head. "No, I'm good, thank you."



Hermodur stares out the land, contemplating its empty nature. There's so much, yet so little places to live. He wonders where the pony might go. He wonders where the bandits will come from. He imagines how things might be if it were all more peaceful.

Hermodur begins to imagine colonizing the land. He pictures all the things he and Ailuros could do with everyone under her hoof. They'd make a clearing in the forest and build her mansion there. They'd start a port town on the beach. There'd be a massive military outpost in the mountains: a reminder to everyone the power that looms over those who commit misdeeds. The town would be stretched out along the river. It would reach even here. On this hill, there'd be a shrine to worship Ailuros and thank her for the peace she has graced everyone in her benevolence.

He imagines the prison, overflowing with fools who refuse to obey. He imagines the glorious torture that awaits them: all the ways to change their minds and take up a peaceful lifestyle. In his mind, he can see the graveyard; it is a mass of mounds of dirt. There are no head stones. There are no memorials. They do not deserve them. They are all those who died attempting to resist her. The field remains there, at their final battlefield as a reminder of the fate that Ailuros had tried to avoid but is all too glad to repeat if she must.

Hermodur smiles. He is at peace with his thoughts.


Rabi strokes his chin a little bit, and hums thoughtfully. He passes the 30 gold over and tucks the sword and scrolls away, before smiling "Now, that'll be handy. Thanks!"
With that, he heads to the markets.
>Buying: Fire Starting Kit, Spyglass, Camping Equipment (26 Bits)
"Hey, Silver. Found everything you needed so far?" he asks, giving a giddy smile "Turns out this sword we found is something special, friend. It strikes harder against the beasts in this land. I don't have much use for a sword, so I can give you this one if you think you could make use of it."


"Excellent news, Rabi! But you've no use for it?"

"I suppose i could hold onto the sword, perhaps it may be useful, eventually."

"As for supplies, this kind saurian here helped me pick out some camping supplies for the trip. Fire kits, a tent, that sort of thing."


Rabi chuckles a little, before shrugging "Between my magic and my arrows, I don't have as much use for a sword- I figured you, or one of the others could handle it a lot better than I could."


He just grunts noncommittally and takes the money. "Thanks, love." The gear is a bit awkward to carry, but you can make do.
>-32 bits

"Right then." He trudges off, returning in time with the two shots of brandy Zunden requested. He places them in front of you and holds out a grubby paw, expecting his payment. "There. Twelve bits."

As you contemplate the landscape while the sun goes down, your thoughts turn to Ailuros herself. You wonder what has become of her since last you saw her, and where she might be. You can only pray that her efforts to reshape the Dominion have not been in vain. The Dominion was founded on a lie, venerating the false idols of Luna and Celestia. A complete social reform is the only way for it to be saved.

The sun sets, and you see the moon on the horizon. You notice that it is much larger than in the "real" world. Taking up a huge portion of the horizon, it looms portentously over the night sky. The patterns on its surface are also different somehow. The stars, too are in different arrangements than you've ever seen. You wonder if it's possible to ever reach them.

Down in the village, lights begin to appear in the windows, illuminating the surrounding area. The shops begin to close, and Ironbrook's denizens return to their homes.

"Ah, cheers," the saurian shopkeeper says as you buy some supplies for the trip. He starts happily counting out the coin he got from you, Norvegicus and Silver.



As it gets dark, he turns and heads back into town and back to the inn. He finds a place to sit in the front/porch of the inn.


"Oh! seems we've let the time slip by, Rabi."

"We'd best hurry back to the tavern, before they close for the night."

with a wave of my wing, i lug the camping tools back to the waiting tavern, taking in the night sky on the wandering trot back.


"Zhank you again."

Zunden puts 15 bits in the bartender's paw, She peers through the shotglass and at the brown/amber fluid, before downing the shot.

"Zo zhen. What now? Juzt gonna zettle down zomewhere now that we're… here? Or looking for a way out?"
Zunden shrugs again,
"I have not given it much zhought myzelf, juzt wondering if ozherz have."


"Hmm, it has. I'd wager we should hurry back as quick as we can." he says, before hefting his own supplies and returning to the tavern


"Did violet mention renting a second room for us? I recall her paying for the one i bargained for, though i suspect there won't be enough beds for the five of us."


"Hrm… I wager we could get another room between the five of us, if needbe." he offers, before shrugging "Though… I don't remember if she said anything."


I sigh. "Yeah, I guess I haven't really thought about it either. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do after this 'expedition' thing. Right now I guess that's it. After that I might look into maybe starting my business back up. Seems like people around here need pest control too even though the pests are a little… Well, a little different." I look down and twittle my thumbs. "I think the worst thing would be just not having anything to do, y'know?"


"I could try and convince the innkeeper to lend us another room, though i'm certain we'll find some sort of arrangement."

"The tavern was spacious enough, surely the bedrooms can accommodate a few over capacity?"


"Yez, I waz in a melancholy for about a year after I left my home, doing nozhing iz zomzhing I would like to avoid doing az well. Ztill zho, I don't know what fate haz in ztore for me."


"I guess we'll see!" he comments, before nodding a little "And, even if they're not the most spacious, I bet we can make do."


You observe the night sky, taking notice of the size of the moon. It is several orders of magnitude bigger than the moon back home, and it along with the stars look different otherwise.

He looks at you suspiciously for a moment before accepting the small tip, pocketing the money and going back to the counter. The brandy tastes strong and fiery, but has an unpleasant sickly sort of aftertaste.

You all reconvene and head into the inn again, where Zunden, Norvegicus and Violet are still sitting. Violet acknowledges you with a simple nod in your direction.

"Now then, you all have a room for the night, right?" Violet asks, although she already knows the answer. "Although, I don't think you'd all fit in the one room, would you. Hm. If any of you are willing to share, my own room has a spare bed as well. Even then, unless you're willing to rent out a third room, it looks like at least two of you would have to sleep on the floor… Hm…"


"Hrm… how much is a room? If it costs a little too much, I can just take the floor."


"I would not mind zharing a room wiz you, but I'm content wiz ze floor if ze ozherz are more needy."

Zunden downs her second shot, letting out a yawn,

"I tend to take napz in ze zun anywayz."


"Well, I guess we'll find out. For now we have something to focus on."

My tail beats against my coat tails and I perk up. "I can share with you."


I look down. "Oh, yeah. I guess that would make more sense."


"Zhen it'z zettled, I can zleep nexzt to ze floor incaze we are awoken by bovine banditz."



"If it helps, I'll sleep outside," Hermodur offers as he raises his hand.


*next to the door


I grumble and look away. "Didn't notice you came back."



"Do you have something to say?"


"I'm sure we can make due, though I've yet to actually see the room we rented. It'd be best to see what we're working with first."

"And as much as i'd love to take the bed, i suppose i could settle for a cushion or two, if need be.."


I grumble again and cross my arms but don't say anything.


"Sleeping outside?" he ass, stepping a little closer "No offense meant, friend, but I wouldn't recommend that. I've got no clue if those minotaurs would come back, but one of us sleeping outside alone would be easy pickings."


"20 bits, I think," Violet answers. "A bit pricey if you ask me, but I guess he's got to make a living somehow."

She seems a little taken aback, then amused by your eagerness. Your attempts to get her attention don't seem to have gone unnoticed. "Well, alright then. As long as you don't snore too loud," she says with a smirk.

She blinks in surprise. "Suit yourself, I suppose. Can't imagine that'd be too comfortable, but if you don't mind I won't get in your way."

"I'd have to agree with Rabi. That's not a good idea. You're likely to get jumped sleeping outside, if the Prowlers don't get to you first."

You head upstairs and to room 4, as the innkeeper says. Unlocking the door with your oversized key, you find that it's slightly grubby, but could be far worse. There's two plain beds set up, as well as a tattered couch, an old drawer and an empty wardrobe. There is little in the way of decor, save for some slightly wilted flowers. It looks like a previous customer took a bite of them at some point. A door to the side reveals a small, damp little privy with a large uninhabited cobweb in the ceiling, and not much else.


"Hmm… Silver? Think you could talk it out, or should we save the rest of our money?"


"There seems to be a couch and two beds!" i call down from the upper hallway "Seems we won't have to make much room after all!"


"Even better! Let's settle for that, then!"


I smile and nod. "I don't snore that badly," I say, before looking away and thinking for a moment. "At least I don't think so. Never actually had a second opinion."


"Well now, as first in here i guess i'll take the beeed!~" i playfully call down, before hopping onto one of the plain beds.


Rabi chuckles a little bit, and makes his way up shortly after "The couch will do fine, for me! I'd rather not fight over the beds."


"Oh hush, i'm sure they won't mind if you help yourself to the bed." i assure you, waving it off with a wing.

"You were second in, after all."


Zunden sits next to the door cross legged, letting out a sigh as she crosses her arms, her bags clutched underneath her.



"Very well, I will sleep on the floor, then," Hermodur compromises.


"Your anger is unnecessary and unappreciated," Hermodur says in return.


"I guess it's "beneath you"." I slide the wineskin back too Zunden, stand up, and pick my pack and cage up. "Anyway, it's getting kind of late."


"Then I guess we'll see," she says simply, her playful smirk not leaving her face. "Whenever you're ready to rest, I've booked room 7." With that, she excuses herself and heads upstairs for the night.

You find the bed's mattress slightly stiff, and the sheets rather thin and worn. Still, it's better than sleeping outside.

You head upstairs. The room isn't much to look at, but it'll have to do.

You get comfortable on the couch. Ironically, it seems to be more comfortable than sleeping on the beds, although your leg slips through a large gap in it as you get settled. You'll have to get used to that during the night.

You sit in a meditative pose and try to get comfortable, wondering what the morning will bring for you all.

You try to find a spot to sleep on the floor, but your size makes it difficult to do so. There is a spare bed, however, that either you or Zunden could use.


I nod. "Seven. Right. Thank you." I adjust the pack on my shoulders. "So, I guess I'll just go ahead and head there then?"


"Zhank you. Get zome rezt now. Bickering can come later."

Her reptilian maw lets out a yawn, adding the wineskin to her pile of possessions in her lap.



Hermodur will make the floor work somehow and let Zunden have the bed.


"Hmm.. Admittedly more than i expected, yet less than i'd hoped. I suppose it will do."

pulling myself under the covers and out of sight, i carefully slip out of my dress before folding it neatly and placing it on the drawer. Drawing the sheets up to my neck, i lay down for some sleep.

"Sleep well, everyone." i mumble, before i push my head into the pillow.


Rabi finds the leg slipping through more than bearable, and after taking off his clothing and armor, dozes off rather quick himself "Mmm. Sleep well."


Zunden doesn't budge from her position, shooing Hermodur with a claw dismissively.



"Why?" Hermodur practically whines.


With no response from her, you eventually head upstairs and into room 7. It seems to be more or less the same as your companions' room, albeit with a painting of a pretentious looking pony noble on one of the walls.

Violet has already taken off her coat and eye patch and is getting ready for bed, although she turns her head to spare you the disagreeable sight of her empty socket. She seems tired from the day's events, and speaks little to you save for bidding you goodnight.

It takes some slight shifting, but eventually the two of you manage to find workable positions to sleep in for the night.

You make yourselves comfortable, making the most of your meager lodgings.


It is not long before you fall asleep. It has been an eventful first day in the Echoes for all of you. You have made new friends and new enemies alike, encountered and learned of the monsters that inhabit the land, earned an impressive sum through honest work then spent a large portion of it on supplies, and are now poised to set off on a journey into unknown lands. You can't help but wonder what the future holds, and whether any of you will see your homeland again.

Dawn breaks. You hear unfamiliar birds calling as the sun begins to loom. You all feel relatively rested, although a bit stiff and from your cramped, suboptimal surroundings. Zunden and Hermodur especially feel less rested than everyone else, due to having slept on hard wood.

Violet is one of the first among you to wake, eventually knocking on the party's door. "Come on, time to get going," she urges. "We've got a lot of ground to cover today. The sooner we get out of Ironbrook the better. I'll meet you all outside." With that, she goes back downstairs and exits the inn, presumably preparing the cart she'd mentioned earlier.


"I have already made my mind up about zhiz. It iz better I be the firzt to encounter ze minotaurz if ze come back. I would not try to bazh their zkullz in az zoon az I zaw zhem. Bezidez, I did no fighting."

Zunden stays true to her previous comment (before the brawl) about being an early riser, though that may be because of the sleeping on the floor as well. She's already sat herself outside, basking in the sun's light with her eyes closed, unmoving.


Rabi rolls out of 'bed' with a soft yawn, and picks himself up off the floor shortly afterwards. It doesn't take him all that long to get geared up and ready to go, joining Violet outside in short order "Right. Hopefully it stays cooler. Travelling in the heat can be difficult."


stirring from under the sheets, i slowly stretch out a wing to drag my dress under the covers, taking the time to slip the still serviceable garment on, before throwing the covers off.

"Mmm, morning everyone." i mutter, hiding a yawn behind a wing.

hopping out of the bed, i pull the covers back into place before heading downstairs.



"Very well," Hermodur concedes before he goes to sleep on the bed.


Hermodur wakes up unnaturally immediately upon violet's wake up call. He follows Violet downstairs.

"May I assist you with the packing?" he offers.


I head to room seven and unload my stuff. After removing my topcoat and peeling my undershirt off I lie down and curl up. I glance over as Violet prepares for bed, tryng not to be creepy about it. I briefly wonder what exactly took her eye, but even I know that's not something you just ask. I close my eyes, and before long I drift off to sleep.

Sunlight filters through my eyelids, and I squeeze them tight to try and block it out. I groan and squint, pulling myself to my feet and stretching my back out with a long yawn. Yep. Wasn't a nightmare.

Standing up, I notice that Violet is gone. Guess I can't be that surprised she left before me. After some morning grumbles, yawns, and tummy scratching, I pull my shirt on and tuck it in before slipping my topcoat back on, pick up my pack and trap, and walk out to the enterance.


"Sleep well, Rabi? that couch looked a tad.. unstable."


"Hmm? Leg hung through, but it was surprisingly cozy. I was pleasantly surprised, actually. What about you, Silver?"


"Was the room too cramped? I'll be honest, I didn't expect it to just be me and Violet."


"Oh it was quite alright, the sheets were unfortunately thin however, left me with quite the chill."

"Ah, but nothing a ride through the countryside won't fix!"


As you are already outside, you hear Violet calling to your companions before joining you outside. "Oh! Good morning, reader," she says, clearly surprised at finding you up and about already. With that, she heads off, and you hear her return soon after. The trundling of wheels suggests she has affixed herself to the cart already.

"Hm? No, no, I have everything under control," she replies. "But thanks for offering."

"Oh, the climate around here is fairly easygoing. There'll be plenty of heat when we get to the Sands, don't you worry."

You all gather outside of the inn with all the equipment you've gathered thus far. Violet is standing with a cart filled with miscellaneous materials for the road ahead, all of which are covered by a thick cloth to keep them affixed. She is holding a paper bag full of apples, which she offers to the group. "Breakfast, anyone? It's not much, but we'll have to keep rations low. It's five days from here to the Sands minimum. Depending on what happens along the way, it might be up to a week."

>map link: https://mlpg.co/q/src/1514728193836.jpg

"Now then, from what I know there's three routes we could take on the way to the Sands:

"There's a route that leads us northwest, which would take us through the swamplands on the border of Durenwol. By doing so we'd be both avoiding the attention of the Bloody Mummers, and passing through Black Pudding's outpost. He's a sorcerer of some renown around these parts, although… Well, let's jsut say there's bad blood between us. If we do take that path, I'll have to keep a low profile."

"There's also a northwestern road that'd take us through part of the Barrens, as well as the Celestial Woods. The Woods I don't know too well, but the Barrens are essentially a mass grave ripe for plundering. Odds are we'll run into other treasure hunters, as well as more undead than you can shake a holy tome at. The Mummers will probably be slightly more active in that area, which leads me to option number 3."

"The last path heads straight north, past the Standing Stones and past the Tower of Joy. I'm fairly certain the Tower is where the Bloody Mummers are holed up, so that's potentially the riskiest option, but also the fastest. The other two would be detours."

"Personally, I'm leaning towards the second option. But what do you think?"


Zunden nods to Violet, not opening her eyes but acknowledging her,

"Ze Norzhwezt zoundz like it haz the leazt conflict along ze way. Bezidez, I would like to zpeak to a zorcerer, one that izn't ze friendly neighborhood type."


"Hmm? Not particularly. We all fit alright." he says, shrugging
"Hrm- I suppose you're right! Let's just hope it stays nice and warm." he chuckles, before looking to Violet
"The second option sounds like a safe bet- I'm more than capable of dealing with undead, at least."


I take the apple and listen to Violet. When she finishes my eyes light up in understanding. "Oh!" I say. "They're [I]called[/I] the Bloody Mummers. I thought they were called the Mummers and you were just cursing them every time you said their name." I chuckle and adjust my backpack. "Anyway, doesn't the first option sound like the best? Or is the blood really bad? I don't know who the 'Bloody Mummers' actually are-" I rub the back of my neck and look away. "I think I might have missed that explanation at some point, but they sound like some kind of bandit group or cult or something, so wouldn't avoiding them all together be best?"


I knit my brow. "I'm not. I don't really like the sound of undead at all, actually."



taking a seat with the apple, i block my chewing with a wing as i weigh the options.

"I suppose dealing with the undead is preferable to trudging through a swamp, and we do have the advantage over mindless bodies.."


Zunden nods with the dog,
"Why zeek conflict? We are not in a ruzh. Novegicuz haz ze right idea."


I look over at Violet and shrug. "Then again, Violet is the most experienced here. Maybe she'd know best?"


"I'm not saying I'm wanting to go looking for a fight, but I'm not really sure if we could all sneak through the first passage. In terms of the third one, we'd be dealing with more capable, sentient enemies- that can be harder."



"To be fair, Violet does not seem too keen on the first option. If she's okay with it, then so am I. Otherwise, 2 seems like the best compromise."


I grumble and look away from the stupid cat. "I said it first."


"That could work, i had thought the second path easier to work with anyway."



"I'm agreeing with you!" Hermodur says, exasperated. "If there is something you'd like to get off your chest, you'd best do it now. T'would be unwise to let such maliciousness fester on the road."


"Hermodur's right- while we don't need to be friends, we need to be willing to work together. This place is far too harsh to go solo for long."


My scowl sofens a bit, but I keep looking away. "You said my job -my life- was 'beneath you'," I say. Actually it sounds kind of stupid and petty now that I say it out loud, but it still hurt! "I know it was just a casual comment, but somehow that made it worse. Like something you scrape off your boot and forget about."


"Well, Durenwol isn't exactly the most pleasant of places either," she explains. "Prowlers aren't the only monster in the Echoes, and the swamps are a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty things. And Pudding himself isn't exactly one for conversation. Not to mention the swamp itself is easy to get lost in."

She nods in agreement. "We'd probably run afoul of the Mummers if we went that way regardless. Still, I'd rather risk that than walking into the lion's den."

She looks at you with confusion. "…Oh, that's right, you weren't here for that. They're a pretty nasty group of bandits that operate in these parts. The party had a run-in with a few of them at the bar yesterday, and they're probably going to be coming after us. So that's going to be fun."

"Not in numbers we don't," she warns. "The Barrens seem to be a mirror to many such places in the outside world. A sort of mishmash of different burial customs. It's just ruins and blasted waste. There's good treasure there, but getting through the Barrens would be hard work."

"Well, the first option would just be… difficult for me. But I can manage. I'd just have to avoid the sorcerer's attention. I've crossed him before, and he has every right to be angry with me."

"In any case, we have plenty of time to decide. Before we decide which way we go, we still have to get through the forests. Now come, let's get going. We can discuss this on the way." With slight effort, she starts moving the cart onwards, beckoning you to follow behind her as she sets out to leave Ironbrook.




Hermodur's attitude instantly lightens up as well. "Is THAT all?" Hermodur responds, almost laughing. "I thought this had to do with the inn!"

"My dear Chimera, I am sorry for the confusion. I did not say that such work is beneath ME. On the contrary, elimination of threats and bothers for my Goddess is the entire reason I exist. What I said was that the destruction of vermin was very much beneath Mjolnir."

"And, I stand by that statement. 'Tis a holy weapon bestowed upon me by a most gracious goddess," he says as he holds up his weapon and admires it. "To have it sullied by such base creatures is… borderline blasphemous."

"I'm sure this is a notion you can appreciate and agree upon. One such as you must use various tools for your trade, yes? Some tools simply should not be used for certain ends. That is all."


My shoulders fall slack and my crossed arms loosen. I clear my throat, dreadfully aware of how silly I probably look. "Oh. Yeah, I guess that does kind of make sense," I say. "No reason to put a bear trap down to catch mice."

My arms fall to my side and I sigh. "Alright," I say. "I forgive you." Still a dumb brown nosing cat though.

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