[ art / co / ot / q / qt / v ] [ 3dpd / unf ] [ g / sic ] [ countdown / hyperindex / linkboard / quest archive / stream ] [ Hamburger Time Calendar / MLPG Beacon / Donate / Game & Mumble Servers ] [ Rules & FAQs / Credits ] [ Mod ] [ home ]

/q/ - Quest

Password (For file deletion.)

  [Go to bottom]   [Catalog]   [Return]

File: 1536800281358.jpg (227.22 KB, 750x984, 1533166277266.jpg)

 No.701721[Last 50 Posts]

The party now returns to Kaco Island, having accomplished many things during their time on the small satellite island:

First, they learned more about aura and developed their potential even further, culminating in the creation of new abilities for some and improvements on current abilities for others. Second, they recovered a large cache of red herbs, called Helltongues, which would enable them to cure people from infection by Queen Toko's white parasites. Third, they resued an alien from outer space whose spaceship had crashed at sea during his research for his dissertation.

Now, Cutlass and Thessaly are heading back to meet with the leaders of the Three mafia Families who rule over Aristar and who have rapidly become the last stable leaders on Kaco Island following the Queens' thorough destruction of Potnia and other towns on the southern half of the island. Meanwhile, the rest of the party has plenty of time to kill before Alder and Cerulean are due for their circus performance in Aristar at 6. Thus they're heading back to check out some of the destroyed towns and pick over what might remain.

Post sheets.


File: 1536801061136.jpg (395.4 KB, 800x5141, Pointbuy.jpg)






He ignores you.

He nods and has a dizzy, involuntary kind of swoon. "Ah, one last favor? Can ya fetch me some water and some greens? I been on that rock a mighty long time."

"Ya nah, don't worry, I'll cause no stir, least of all on ya ship."

But the effect seems to have taken place, and both pirate crews are surely creeped out by him.

"Far enough that it took a pretty penny to get here. But, I cannot tell ya more. It's illegal, ya know," he says.

"When I get her fixed, I'll show ya she flyin'. But I can't do that if I never get her repaired! Onward to the closest island!"

>Just let me know when you're ready to move on


"I… suppose so." Slightly stunned by the whole experience, she goes and fetches some food and water for the visitor.
>ready to go whenever


Cerulean looks excited to see how this metal disc can fly.



File: 1536805599921.png (10.97 KB, 210x210, bruh.png)

"Illegal… well, goodness! I would hate to have such a nice-seeming person arrested, so I will cease my inquiries."


"Alright, good luck with your study then."

>Ready to move on



Cutlass sighs. "If you insist."

>ready to proceed


As you bring him some vegetables and fresh water, he quickly thanks you then ravenously devours it. Though he's mostly just eating, the crew keeps a wide berth around him, observing him with great caution and fear.

"Yes; I left home at quite the tumultuous time, politically speaking. Lots of things aren't legal there anymore. If I see ya on the open seas after this, I will do a little to help ya, but I cannot promise I will break intergalactic law for ya."

After a brief and fairly placid trip through the open sea, your ships come within sight of Aristar's northern ports. You are closer to the Crimson King's ship than you were when you left; the colossal vessel floats out on open waters, moored by great chains to various rocky outcroppings attached to the island from below, and countless smaller ships exit from ports on the exterior, sliding out on ramps with rails built in. Aristar's ports are all quite busy now with these smaller ships, which are marked with a jolly roger, depicting a black griffon's head in profile, surrounded by flame.

Your ships slide into port and dock in one of the few open spaces. Bee Holder looks over at the crew of the Secret Assassins. "Alright, when you want to meet up again? We'll be out along the coast until the circus performance."
Bent Scales turns to Cerulean and Alder. "When do you two want to be back for that? Or do you want to get some things done here?"


Cloud looks out at the massive ship of the King, giving a whistle of amazement.
"Wow, I can hardly believe that thing is floating."

"So what do we got in the meantime until that thing tonight?"
Cloud asks the crew.



Cutlass looks at the Crimson King's ship and ponders. She turns to the alien on her ship. "Do you have demons on your planet?" she asks curiously.

"As long as we meet back up before the performance, it doesn't matter. I odn't know how long it will take to negotiate. See you soon-ish…" Cutlass answers Bee Holder.


She stares out at the Crimson King's ship contemplatively. She secretly dreads the day she'll have to face him. She seems to have been pushed on a path of conflict with him, one that may very well cost her her unnaturally long life. She is not vocal about it, but death is the one thing she fears. As the ship docks, she pushes these thoughts out of her mind, and goes to find Cutlass.

"Captain. Shall we go? We have much to discuss with the Families."


"No worries, I would not expect you to go so far for us." the griffon says, sketching down a couple more little pictures of him. "T-Take care, by the way! Hope to see you again sometime!"

>Bent Scales

"Mmm, I wager we should head on back now- better safe than sorry, right?"


>Or, not. Misread again
"I suppose a couple of hours prior, or an hour prior? Depends on if there is much we could help with."


"Thanks again for the lift!" the alien says.

In the background, the crew of the Beesting works with the alien to disentangle his ship's tow hook from where it's hitched to the Beesting's anchor. Once that's done, it's placed on a cart, and a couple pirates line up to help him drag it off.

"Very well. Right now we don't have anything we *need* to do," Bee Holder says. "At least not until we come back for the rehearsal and costume check. When the performance begins, we'll most likely stage a kidnapping while everyone's distracted with the show. Depends on how Cutlass wants to go about this revolution. So until then, we're going to visit some of the destroyed towns and see if there's any loot we can take left. Any objections?"

"I can't answer that, nah," the alien says to answer Cutlass' question. "But I can say that your planet doesn't have a monopoly on the spirit world. It enters our level of reality here and there at many places."

Bee Holder nods. "Best of luck to you."

You see Magoja on the dock, standing beside a covered wagon and smoking from a long and ornate pipe. He waves to you cheerily.


Cloud hops down from the crow's nest ,giving a stretch.
"Sounds like a great plan. Could always use a little more loot."



"Indeed," Cutlass says with a nod to Thessaly.

"Come, Lazul," Cutlass says loudly, hoping that he's still on board to hear her.


Then, she notices Magoja and raises an eyebrow. "This should be interesting," she says as she travels down to greet him.


She looks intrigued at the sight of her (perhaps former) employer, moving over to greet him with a simple nod. "Greetings, Magoja. What news?"


Alder makes sure to get as close of a look to the UFO as the alien will allow, checking out the interior and looking for any sources of, well… movement. He's not expecting any sort of explanation, but maybe he'll spot something
>Perception: [1d10]

>Bee Holder

"No objections here, I suppose. I would be willing to come along. Do you have a way to get our attention, in case we need a more… distracting display?"

Roll #1 9 = 9


Lazul gets up from where he's been skulking on the deck and follows you without a word, glaring daggers at you.

As you descend, Magoja greets you with a fabulous wave of his pipe, out of which a sweet and strong smoke emerges. "Hello, hello. I have volunteered myself to be your escort to the building where the meeting will take place… since Walah forgot to tell you the address. I also come bearing gifts."

He pulls back the cover of the wagon to reveal some crates containing carefully-wrapped parcels. He unpeels one and reveals a Caller Conch inside. "You may already be familiar, but if you are not – these are Caller Conches, wonderous devices that allow you to speak to anyone who also has a Conch of their own, unless a signal cannot be established. Very, very useful. Please, take whichever color you like. I have enough for your Secret Assassins, and Walah will be in shortly with the Beesting's share."

"Your generosity knows no bounds," Sparkler says with a nod.

Magoja just smiles slyly. "Come, walk with me."

As you survey the interior of the machine, you only see a whole lot of panels with blinking lights, controls and switches that you don't really recognize, being far beyond any level of technology you have encountered so far. However, you do see quite a few personal effects, such as souveniers, photographs of islands and other trinkets from the travel, giving it a strangely homely feel.

"I have a bag of explosive flare powder on my person for emergencies," Bee Holder says, handing you a little red pouch. "With a little flourish, you can disguise it as fireworks easily as if it were just part of the show. But we all know it as a signal for help."

With that out of the way, the crew takes your ship out of port once again, swerving east around the Crimson King's massive ship to follow along the coast, keeping the lush jungle and bright rocks on your right to serve as a guide.

Roll perception



"Sparkler, see to it that these are distributed to everyone of importance in my crew," Cutlass instructs Sparkler. "I'll be taking this one," Cutlass says as she takes a violet one.

"Now, let's get going."


"Ah, most useful. Thank you," she says with a stiff little bow, helping herself to an emerald green conch.

"So," she says as she walks alongside Magoja, "what else brings you here? Surely not my radiant personality."


Cloud looks out as they sail down along the coast, a little cautious given their experience in the last ruined city they had.
>Perception [1d10]

"Think we'll find anything good?"
Cloud asks Chiu as they sail along.

Roll #1 6 = 6


"Oh, that's handy. I'll go ahead and take that, if you do not mind." the griffon says, pocketing the flare powder.


Alder takes note of the little mementos, and smiles a little bit. He still has no clue what the hell it does, but at least it looks cozy.

>[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6


Sparkler nods and directs the ship's workers to distribute the leftover Conches to those members who are of sufficient note (OOC: the named crewmembers).

>Note: Unless you ask for them, the only NPCs who will come with you for this meeting are Lazul and Ossie

Magoja begins to lead you through the city, smoking idly. The heart of the city is as always a complex mess of streets and merchants, with the rich aroma of decadence and flaunted power in the air.

"Some people can conjure spirits with magic or manipulate time and space with their aura. My only power is that I am always wherever I am needed," he says with a long draw on his pipe, and you can't tell if he's joking or just being odd and whimsical as you both know him to be. "I'm often a bit jealous of those who have flashy powers! Hahaha.

"But onto the main topic. This meeting will be quite important – after all, it's your chance to align the Families with you against the Bee Queens and the Crimson King. Some people actually think they'll be able to ride out the coming war without taking a side. They're wrong, and this meeting and the circus performance tonight will show that… so try to do well today. If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer to the best of my ability."

He eventually stops outside a very tall building, the tallest one on the block, and certainly the most impressive. He steps inside and heads for the elevator at the back, gesturing to the guards who stand at either side of the doors. They nod and press a button on a panel on the wall, and the elevator doors open. "After you."

Chiu shakes her head. "Doubtful given how thoroughly they annihilated that last town we were in… but hey, I've been wrong about things on this trip before."

Eventually, as you travel along the coast, you see the shimmering of another Heatwave barrier, the color of an aurora, stretching in a c-shape around a particular area, cutting through the natural island landscape. As the ship draws closer you see that the Heatwave has blocked off a smaller port town built into a hillside. Though the buildings are in far better condition than those in Potnia, it's still deserted, with no signs of pony or animal life around. The Beesting docks at the open port, and the crew slowly get off, surveying the area cautiously.

"Alright you know the rules," Bee Holder says with swagger as she steps off. "Whatever you find you keep. Give a shout if you need any help out there."



"Oh, I can tell you from experience, you are perfectly flashy as you are," Cutlass says cordially. "Your weapons arrived at the most appropriately dramatic time possible. Something for which I am quite grateful, by the way."

"Thank you," Cutlass nods politely as Magoja opens the door for them. "Will you be joining us?"


She nods. "The more I think about it, the more I start to realize this storm cannot be weathered. Everyone will have to take a side. Let us hope the Families choose the right one."

"Thank you," she says as she enters. "What will you do now?"


"Right. Suppose we meet back up here in a little?" he suggests, hopping off of the boat and starting to look around.
>Master Thief [1d10] (Any good places to start?)

Roll #1 2 = 2


>Bring Miss Sunshine


"I'm sure we'll find a few coins at least."

Cloud watches out to the barrier as they sail in to the town. He feels a bit nervous at the possibility of dealing with any more guards like last time, but with the free claim of loot, Cloud loosens up.

He steps off the ship, waiting up for Chiu.
"Alright, let's pick this place clean!"


Magoja gives it a little thought then stays out, but holds the door while he talks. "I have a strong interest in seeing this war play out in your favor. However, I don't wish to step on your hooves. You have everything you need to turn this meeting in your favor and bring the Families to your side, including luck, which every pirate prays for but few have."

>Slight retcon to say that Cutlass told Little Miss Sunshine to come along earlier, but she got distracted on the way there.

He steps away and smiles, then turns and walks off. Just before the doors close, Little Miss Sunshine bolts down the street and into the building, and before the guards can stop her from entering the elevator, she leaps in among you, panting hard. Magoja waves away the guards. "She was with us, there's no trouble here. Take them to the twentieth floor."

The guards nod, then the doors shut and the elevator rises. From a window in the back, you can see much of the glittering and rich city sprawing out below you.

The elevator eventually stops on the twentieth floor and the doors slide open. At the end of the hall, you see many rich-looking ponies of various shapes and sizes standing before a set of double doors; the males are dressed in black suits and the females in dresses, all connsumate professionals. From each of them, you sense a deadly presence and great strength. They survey you silently.

Bee Holder nods, and she and your fellow pirates disembark and spread throughout the town to see what they can find. Following his thief's senses, Alder leads the way through the town, but it seems most houses are barren. But then Alder gets a good sense about a taller, wide building, with a sign on the front indicating it's a taxpony's office. However, it's locked and with the windows all boarded up.

Chiu cautiously raises her shadow, looking around for threats.


"Hmm, nothing so far. Guess they really cleared the place out."
Cloud says as they find only nothing as they search the town.

When they reach the tax office, Cloud's eyes light up. Both from the potential riches, and as he attempts to shrink himself so he can squeeze under the door or through any other crack in the building.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Self] [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


You shrink yourself down to about the size of a mouse.


Thessaly does not let herself be intimidated by the sinister aristocrats, looking at each of them in turn as she waits for their audience to begin. She tries to see if she recognizes any of them in the meantime.



"Hmmph," Cutlass scoffs at Magoja. "Me? Luck? I've gotten this far DESPITE it."

"Thank you for joining us Miss Sunshine," Cutlass says with a nod as she arrives. "You cut it very close."

Cutlass smiles broadly as she walks down the hallway. Being the center of attention was never something to put her off. On the contrary, she thrived on it.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlecolts. I am Captain Cutlass. This is Miss Sunshine. I believe you know Lazul. And, some of you may know Thessaly. We have much to discuss. And, I come bearing good news as well. But, a hallway is hardly a place to discuss such matters."


"Hrm… let me have a go at it." the griffon comments, hopping up to the door. He tries to use his slender talons to pick the lock.
>Lockpick [1d10] (Easier due to Master Thief)

Roll #1 8 = 8


You open up the door with no difficulty, popping the lock with ease. As the door opens, you see a large first floor, mostly populated with a few tables, chairs and couches, the standard for a basic tax collector's office. At the back of the room is a double set of stairs heading upward. You imagine that any valuables here would be hidden well.


With his shrunken size, Cloud hunts for an opening on the building he can squeeze through.
"Don't worry guys, I'll open the door for you. After a little search around myself."
>Find a mousehole door [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


You recognize quite a few: Crop and Vich from the Skep Family and Aegos, Ciba and Legra from the Honeydew Family, along with a few others you don't quite regognize. However, the presence of the aforementioned suggests you'll have some friends in the peanut gallery.

Little Miss Sunshine can only wheeze in response, being quite out of breath. "My power… no time to explain but… you already know what it does."

The guards simply stare at you impassively, before Vich muscles them aside and glares at them. "You fuckin' mooks lose your brains on the way here or somethin'? Open that door and let's get the show on the road already."

The guards sneer and then open the doors at the back, allowing you to enter. In this room is a raised platform, and atop that is a ring-shaped table, with three chairs behind it, one on the west end, one on the east and one on the north. In each of these chairs an older-looking beepony sits, dressed in formal luxurious clothes and with a wealth of jewelry about them. These must be the Family Heads. On the southern end (directly in front of you) is a few chairs for you to sit at.

"Captain Cutlass, how good to finally meet you," the pony in the northernmost chair says. "Please, sit."


After Alder opens the door, your efforts are instead turned to searching the room. Atop a cabinet at the far end of the room, you spy a chest, but you notice that its latch is rigged with some tiny string, presumably some kind of trap.


"That was simple enough… now, for the more important details."
>Search! [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2



"My apologies, you have the advantage at the moment. I don't believe I've been properly introduced to everyone here," Cutlass says cordially as she takes her seat.

>Soul Sight on this new pony


Cloud quickly scampers up the cabinet in his small size, glad his shrinking plan also helps to keep him not be noticed by the others to not give away any hints he spies either.

Cloud peers in the latch, eyeing the string.
[Hmm, yea what's the worst that could happen.]
Cloud pulls out his now tiny little claw gauntlet, and attempts to disable the chest's trap since he's close to the size of it.
>Disarm [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


Alder's attention is drawn to Cloud as the latter disables a simple string trap on a small locked chest at the back of the room. Alder's intuition tells him that, if they're going to booby-trap something as small as this chest, there's most likely more traps in this building – and probably more treasure as well, since somebody is unlikely to trap a place that has no value.


Cloud cheers a little too loud, though being so small it comes off more squeaky. Cloud quickly pops open the chest to see his findings.


Not much for talking just yet, she does as instructed and takes a seat. "We assure you, we would not have called this meeting were it not a matter of utmost importance. My captain, no doubt, will explain the situation expediently."


Unsurprisingly, it is locked.


Undeterred, Cloud attempts to pick the lock with his claws, since they're tiny enough to be close to a lock pick.
>Pick Lock [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Hrm… we should be very, very careful- there will likely be plenty of traps… here, let me give it a shot."
>Pick lock [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8


As you search this pony's soul, you also take the moment to size him up: An older stallion with a golden coat and dark gray mane, he has an air of indolence, present in his casual leaning on the chair's edge, though his is the indolence that comes from power. You see that he desires to be the only one sitting at this table, with his hooves propped up on the table as he is tended to by a pair of attractive attendants. Whether the rival Families are dead or have submitted, you do not know, as they are simply not in the vision.

The pony in the northern chair, an aged stallion with a golden coat and dark gray mane, raises his hoof. "I am Hubla, Patriarch of the Honeydew Family."

The pony in the eastern chair, a fluffy old mare with a black coat and a kindly demeanor, raises her hoof next. "I am Soli, Matriarch of the Skep Family."

The pony in the western chair is younger by comparison, being only in the early stages of middle age. He is sleek and has a manicured auburn coat. "And I am Dyme, newest Patriarch of the Dextrose Family."

Dyme nods. "With these introductions out of the way, then, let this meeting formally begin. Guards, at ease. Captain Cutlass, Miss Thessaly, Little Miss Sunshine, Lazul… and whoever it is that's hiding in Cutlass' shadow… you have the floor. Begin when you are ready."

Alder deftly picks the lock as Cloud is only able to jimmy it a bit. Inside, propped on a cushion, is a jade ring meant to fit around a pony's hoof, though its clasp allows the size to be adjusted somewhat.


"Oh, thanks Alder."
Cloud says as Alder comes over to open the lock for him. He peers in the chest at the ring.
"Nice find. You can keep the chest if you want."
He says, hopping in the chest to grab the ring and shrink it down to fit in his little bag.

With that in tow, the tiny Cloud hops out of the chest, and off the cabinet onto Chiu's head.
"Let's check the other floors. There's definitely plenty more here."


"You know, Alder did break the lock on that chest," Chiu says with mild annoyance.



"It's a pleasure meeting all of you," Cutlass says as she looks to each one. As she does, she looks into the soul of Soli.

>Soul Sight on Soli

"Now, I suppose the best place to start is by informing you all that I have found those responsible for the recent… disagreement between the Skeps and the Honeydew."

"Lazul here was at least partially responsible for the murder. Lazul hasn't be entirely cooperative with me, but I can tell you that another pony named Fasol was involved as well. Why they did this is a separate matter that I wish to get into after this discussion. But, first I feel we should establish what exactly happened and that we are all satisfied with the answer presented us."

"Lazul, would you care to share your side of the story?"


Alder huffs a little as the mouse-sized Cloud snatches up the ring, before giggling a little and patting his head. The griffon will tuck away the little chest, and say "If you would like, you could ride on my head. It would be quicker."


"Adding on to this," Thessaly chimes in, "we have not yet found the one that committed the deed; Arroz's death was planned by many, Fasol and Lazul here among them, as he will doubtless confess." She looks to Lazul expectantly.


"Yea but I found it first."
Cloud defends.

"Hmm, a good offer, but I think I'm good here."
Cloud says, lounging on his chosen perch.
"But, I'll give you a better share of the next thing I find."
Cloud adds in.


"I will keep that in mind, then."
>Search: [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


After you take your loot and Alder seems to accept this, Chiu shrugs, and you move on, seeing little else of value on this floor (unless you want some spare furniture).

You bring your search up to the second floor, which has a few rooms connecting to a hallway. All of the rooms are locked except for the door closest to you on the right. In that room is a more posh room, with a nice rug and many trinkets and baubles on the shelves. A tax ledger sits on the desk at the end of the room, and there are rows of labeled drawers on one side of the room, presumably containing collected taxes.

As you examine Soli's heart, you see her tending to a garden, while her servants come in and report on the results of each Family's operations. The various reports indicate that the Families are prospering financially and cooperating in their tasks, but have rolled back their criminal behavior to quite a large degree. No hints of violence exist in this vision.

Lazul sneers, then straightens out his disheveled clothing as best he can and stands up straight with arrogance. "Yeah, alright. Arroz's death was my doing, along with Fasol's.

"Fasol thinks you people have gone soft with all this modern comfort we live in – sitting in tall buildings, counting our money and getting fat and lazy, walking around in the bright of day as if we were just like the mindless worker drones out there. He wants us to go back to the old ways when we were more authentic crime families, struggling to get by, made sharp and smart through going hungry, respecting the ways of the past… and don't think there aren't people in this very room who would disagree with him if push came to shove. When the Bee Queens come to your door, you'll see his side of the story alright.

"Me? I just wanted Arroz dead. No higher reasons, just revenge. That's all. He took something from me, and I so took even more back. I'm SICK of being the one everyone thinks they can step on, the good colt who plays appeaser. No more. Fuck playing the doormat. But no, I didn't kill him. Close enough, though. I had him set up to be killed."

The Three Heads are silent, but the room buzzes with fury as Lazul rants. Soli raises a hoof for calm. "And Fasol had him killed because…?"

"A tribute to the Bee Queens. By proving that members from the Three Families could conspire to trim the fat from the Families, he thinks he'll appeal to them and show that there are some who are still loyal to the old ways."

"You're a Skep, and Fasol is a Honeydew," Hubla says. "Then the third member of your conspiracy, the Dextrose–"

"Is in this room," Lazul spits.

The room goes cold with suspicion as the guards and Family Heads survey one another, backing away somewhat and growing tense.



>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8








Last time on PQ…

Alder, Cloud and Cerulean arrived via the Beesting at a coastal town some distance southeast from Aristar, and disembarked. While Alder, Cloud and Chiu went through the buildings to look for some loot, Cerulean went off by herself to practice a newly developed Aura ability of hers, practicing on some rocks and trees alike for want of actual opponents.

Meanwhile, Cutlass and Thessaly began their meeting with the heads of the Three Families - Hubla, patriarch of the Honeydews, Dyme, patriarch of the Dextrose, and Soli, matriarch of the Skeps. Cutlass turned Lazul over as one of Arroz's murderers, along with Fasol and his goons Saros and Ouski. The third mastermind of their conspiracy, a Dextrose, was currently not known. However, Lazul turned things around by alleging that the killer was already in the room – though whether his claims were true was not yet known.

After you take your loot and Alder seems to accept this, Chiu shrugs, and you move on, seeing little else of value on this floor (unless you want some spare furniture).

You bring your search up to the second floor, which has a few rooms connecting to a hallway. All of the rooms are locked except for the door closest to you on the right. In that room is a more posh room, with a nice rug and many trinkets and baubles on the shelves. A tax ledger sits on the desk at the end of the room, and there are rows of labeled drawers on one side of the room, presumably containing collected taxes.


>Slightly abridging from the block of text in >>701783 for space's sake:

The Three Heads are silent, but the room buzzes with fury as Lazul rants. Soli raises a hoof for calm. "And Fasol had him killed because…?"

"A tribute to the Bee Queens. By proving that members from the Three Families could conspire to trim the fat from the Families, he thinks he'll appeal to them and show that there are some who are still loyal to the old ways."

"You're a Skep, and Fasol is a Honeydew," Hubla says. "Then the third member of your conspiracy, the Dextrose–"

"Is in this room," Lazul spits.

The room goes cold with suspicion as the guards and Family Heads survey one another, backing away somewhat and growing tense.

A short distance south of the destroyed coastal town, you have been practicing your new aura ability upon rocks and trees. Having gotten the hang of your new power, you find that it is coming to you more easily with each attempt, like flexing a newly-found muscle. You feel reasonably confident in your ability to call it up like your other skills.




"I have a solution to this dilemma," Cutlass breaks the silence and the tension. "If you're all willing to listen. It will be… unorthodox. But, it will work."

As Cutlass speaks, her eyes go between the three family heads. Her gaze lingers on the Dextrose leader: the last one for her to Soul See.

>Soul Sight on Dyme

"Of course, it begins with making sure no one leaves the room - lest the guilty party gets away. To that end… Ossie," Cutlass says, gesturing for her to block the door.


Cerulean gives her tail a few swings to work out some of the kinks, giving an exhale from all the exertion. She looks around at the various smashed trees and rocks, and recalls her bringing forth her aura like chains. No way that shadow version of her was gonna escape this time. But for good measure, she keeps going and practicing, mostly since she hasn't had too many non-dire chances to really try it all out.


Thessaly sits quietly, letting Cutlass do the talking for now as she looks from Lazul to each of the Heads in turn, judging their reactions.


Ossie leaps from your shadow and stands before the ornate doorway, turning the lock for extra precaution. Though the bodyguards are tense, the family Heads are calm and icy – evidently no strangers to assassination attempts.

As you examine Dyme's soul, the scene is crisp and professional. Dyme is seated in a comfy chair in a well-maintained office, flanked by guards. The members of the Dextrose family come to kneel and pay respects to him with tribute – followed by members of the Skep and Honeydew families. The despair in their faces is all to evident, and they clearly do this not out of respect for his authority, but fear and submission for the sake of their own lives. It is clear that Dyme has unified the families under his rule as the sole mafia patriarch, and his rule inspires respect from his Dextrose bretheren and terror from the Skeps and Honeydews. Just as the vision ends, you see the Bee Queens enter the office, with kitschy gift baskets of wine and exotic treats, evidently enjoying a good relationship with Dyme.

"There is no need to panic," Hubla concurs, waving his hoof. "It is either a bluff, or the killer really is in the room. Surely he is not so suicidal as to an attempt an attack on all of us – not when his plan is to prove loyalty to the Queens and reap the benefits. What is this plan of yours, Captain?"

Lazul presses his lips together in anxiety.


"Oooh, Cloud. We should check this dresser… thoug, let me inspect it for traps." the griffon says, peering over it.
>Master Thief (Intuition) [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


You keep up with your practice, mixing in various moves to simulate its use in the heat of battle – what if you're attacked from the left, or from a blind spot behind you? What if you're attacked from above while it's active? Though you're a bit clunky at first from how new this ability is, you soon feel the ability come to you smoothly in a variety of situations, and get a good warm-up exercise out of it in the process.

After that, you her the faint sound of music coming from somewhere nearby – you're just not sure where.

You carefully check the dresser before opening it, and find a particularly devious mechanism rigged on the underside of the top drawers – a set of bombs are rigged to the desk, suggesting that whoever was here really had a bone to pick with thieves. But you are able to disarm the trap without setting it off. With the dresser now safe, you open the drawers, finding quite a bit of gold in labeled pouches – it must have been tax day recently.



Cloud hops off Chiu's head once they enter the new room, looking over the trinkets and baubles to see if there's anything of note.
>Search [1d10]

"Alright. Keep an eye for any keys too, maybe they kept the set for this floor in here. Don't want to leave any of those other rooms unchecked."

Roll #1 9 = 9



Cultass stares at Dyme for a moment in thought. It could be simply coincidental that he is sympathetic to the bee queens. He could just be delusional in his desire to work with them. Though, it's unclear on how submitting the other two families would work into such a delusion.

She shakes her head and looks back to Hubla. "It is actually rather serendipitous that this situation should arise. I had been struggling to come up with a way to prove the value of my… talent. This is not a talent I'd usually share the nature of with others. Secrecy is my most valuable weapon. Without it, I cannot use it as well. But, in the interest of cooperating and a show of trust, I will share it with you. I also have another reason for telling you this, but we can get to that later."

"I have acquired a talent for Aura. Specifically, I have mastered the art of seeing into people's souls. To be clear, this is not their minds I am seeing. I cannot read your thoughts. But, I CAN see your desires - that driving force which dictates all decisions you make."

"Of course, I don't expect any of you to just accept this truth. I intend to prove it to you. I've already seen into each of your souls. I apologize for the intrusion of privacy, but I see no other way to prove it to you without simply showing you that I can. I know what you all desire. For some of you… that is more compromising than others," Cutlass' gaze lingers on Dyme for a moment.

"Madame Soli," Cutlass says, turning her head toward Soli. "Your soul is rather nice. I imagine you'd be the least offended for me to reveal your desires. In the interest of proving my gift and gaining trust between the four of us, would you mind if I revealed what I saw?"

"Of course, alternatively, we could all just accept that I can do this if none of you wish for me to reveal what I now know. That way, we COULD move on to the REASON I'm telling you this."

[1d10] Diplomacy without Aura

Roll #1 4 = 4


Her ears perk at the music and, curiosity getting the best of her as usual, Cerulean decides to take a small break and go investigate. She was pretty sure she left her beetle band members back on the boat, so she's pretty sure it wasn't those.


Alder snags a few bags og gold and packs them away, before nodding to Cloud Chaser. With that in mind, he'll dig around for a key or two!
>Search [1d10]

"If yo would like, I can take a gold bag for you to give to you once you're normal height."

Roll #1 9 = 9


"We in this room are literate in Aura as well, and I would be quite interested to learn who trained you," Soli says. "But to the point – we understand the need for secrecy. No self-respecting aura user simply blurts out their ability without good reason, such as intimidation or negotiation. Reveal only what you need to. I trust you, but, I will volunteer so that the others can be won over: Show the others what you saw, and I will judge if it is accurate."

Dyme narrows his gaze. "Your powers are, in my opinion, secondary to the reason you called us all here. There's no need to waste your time or ours – get to the point."

Most of the oddities are exotic looking and, since this is a tax collector's office, most likely confiscated from those who couldn't pay their dues. Among the trinkets, you find several bottles containing a swirling, rainbow-colored liquid, labeled "Meli".

The music sounds very tiny, and as you head westward in search, you soon discover its source: A group of waist-high butterflies and spiders, dressed in red and black suits, are walking along the tree branches overhead and playing music with guitar and violin. Though, something seems like it's missing from the song they play, evidenced by gaps in the performance. Every few feet, the bugs stop and holler some words in a language you don't recognize, seeming to be searching for something.


After pocketing about 400 pieces of gold, you find a false bottom in one of the drawers, and after making sure it's not rigged, you open it to find a set of old black keys dangling from a black ring.


"Cool, thanks Alder. Try to scoop up as much as you can."

Cloud looks over the baubles, giving them a little nudge and poke here and there. When he comes up to the bottles, they look for more enticing than little trinkets.
"Has anypony heard of Meli before?"
He asks, while he starts to shrink the bottles down to carry them all off.


Chiu shakes her head and takes one of the bottles before you can shrink it. "Sounds like it's some kind of wine brand, or maybe a perfume or something?" She pops the cork on one bottle and smells it. "Sort of got a honey scent to it. Not too surprising given where we are. Want some?"



Cutlass giggles daintily. "Dyme, if you're going to panic, I suggest you just out yourself now."

She then nods to Soli cordially. "Thank you. Soli desires cooperation between the families - to the point that you share information openly with each other. In her soul, I see her tending happily to her garden. She even seems to desire a world where you do not have to work so illegally."

"Are we satisfied that I am not lying? If so, should we move on to finding the traitor or the main order of business first?"

[1d10] Whisper in Your Ear this time

Roll #1 8 = 8


Cerulean looks up curiously at the bugs, even more so at their odd language. She waves to them and tilts her head, but when they play, she tries to slap her tail against something fairly solid to add a bit of percussion to the performance.


Alder grabs a couple more gold bags and tucks them away, before stroking his beak "Where would be the best place to check for keys, you think?"


Soli shrugs. "Guilty as charged. Oh, that's probably not the best turn of phrase here. But I did get a shipment of many new flower breeds I was quite looking forward to cultivating tomorrow morning. I am convinced, captain, and I should hope the rest of us are as well."

The guards are now more attentive to you, and you feel the room relax somewhat.

"I suggest we move to the main order of business," Hubla says, and you notice that from his hooftips, a fine layer of aura extends, thin and nearly imperceptible as it runs all around the walls, floors and ceiling. "The traitor cannot act – not only is the door locked, but all communications in and out of this room are impossible. And if they attack, I will be the first to know. So, they may as well put their hooves up and wait."

Lazul is now visibly sweating and clearly angry, but forces himself to glare at the curved table at which the leaders sit, and not at the guards.

When you begin performing, the bugs stop and notice you. One of them, a spider, approaches, quite distressed. "Excuse me, ma'am, have you seen another one of our members? He is a spider like me, and he plays the accordion, and we lost him somewhere around here, and with the bees going around making people disappear, we, we… Oh, I don't want to think of the possibility."


"A spider like you? Hmm…no, sorry. Where around here did you last see him? I'm kinda on the bees bad side, so making them upset is good for me, I think." She smiles warmly.


"Yea, tilt off a drop and let me try it."
Cloud says to Chiu's offer while he takes care of hte rest of hte bottles.

"Probably in a desk or a closet. Can't imagine they'd make it too difficult to get a pair of keys back when this place was more used."



Roll #1 20 = 20


"Just last night, after an argument we had about his performance in our mariachi. He was… well, he has a tin ear, I'm afraid, but a keen sense of rhythm. We were coming from the west this way to try to leave Kaco Island, and that's when we had the argument. He took off in a huff with his accordion, and we are starting to fear the worst. We would like to find him and make amends, or… at least find his body. We know it is getting very dangerous on this island."


"Oop- here they are… now, where to from here?"


"Now we start trying those keys out and see what they open."



Chiu pours you a drop of the Meli, and it is quite sweet and savory. After a few moments though, your body is warm and fuzzy, as though you were wearing a thick wooly sweater that had become some kind of bodysuit. The light colors of the room brighten and become more sophisticated and hyper detailed, while the dark ones grow darker and gloomier. All objects appear to be outlined in black, and as you look at various objects, it appears as though they have friendly faces which greet you politely when you make eye contact, as if you were passing by them on a sidewalk.

You faintly hear Chiu's voice, but it is too muffled to hear, and you're more focused on how good your whole body suddenly feels.



"Hmm, you do realize that means the traitors will hear what we have planned yes? Of course, I suppose that doesn't matter if you plan to kill them. Though, perhaps once they hear what I have to say next, they will realize how absolutely foolish their plans to work with the Bee Queens actually are."

"And, THAT is the main reason I have revealed my ability to you. If you accept that I can do this, then you'd certainly be interested to know what I saw when I looked into Queen Toko's soul…" Cutlass pauses for a moment for dramatic effect.

"I'm sure you're all aware of the cruel and horrific treatment most of the island is getting from the Queens. Though most horrific thing of it all that I've seen is a certain white parasite. I'm do believe many of you may have seen them at this point. Or at least, you may have seen their effects. They infest the host - entering them as easily as one might dive into water. They grow within the victim. As of yet, I've not even seen an effective way of detecting them until death. Upon death the death of the host, the parasite takes control of the body. I've seen horrific things occur as a result of that. At first, I assumed it was just a natural instinct to spread the parasite to more hosts. But, it seems to be more."

"I don't know how - though Aura is likely involved - but, Queen Toko seems to have found a way to control the parasite. In other words, she has found a way to control the dead and spread her influence indefinitely. When I looked into her soul, I saw a world in which every last thing was covered in this parasite. And she was in charge of it all. Even the other Queens were infected and under her control."

"Queen Toko is a psychopath who wishes to kill all life so that she can control it. I know that most of you have thought that you could avoid the wrath of the Bee Queens as long as you proved useful or unobtrusive. This is not so. At the very least, Queen Toko has no intention of sparing any of you. There is no appeasing her. Your cooperation will come naturally with your deaths."

"She has already proven herself clever. She offered to have her doctors heal myself and my comrades. I refused, and my suspicions were later validated. She used the doctors to infect the ones who accepted healing. Those who did not went uninfected."

"I hesitate to spread the paranoia, but how many have already been infected? Can we afford to continue to wait and see what the Queens do? The longer we wait, the more Toko's influence expands. Not just this island, but the entire world is at stake. If she is allowed to spread, there will be no stopping her. It has to happen now."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 9 = 9


As you talk with Cloud, you see Chiu pour him some of the liquid from the bottle marked "Meli." Soon after he drinks it, Cloud starts to wobble in place, his gaze seeming to roll upward in a peaceful, dreamy kind of stupor.

"Cloud? Cloud, you okay?" Chiu asks him in concern. "Uh… Alder? Should we be worried?"


Thessaly speaks up. "It is as Cutlass says," she asserts. "Queen Toko is altogether evil. She intends on bringing naught but misery and destruction to this island. We have already dealt with the white worms that she intends to spread. Arroz's body was rife with them. He became a festering abomination until we put him down. Between her machinations and the coming of the Crimson King, ruin is on your doorstep. All your family infighting and squabbling will mean nothing when the storm comes, and then it will not matter whose skeleton sits the throne on Aristar."


"Well, I've got a bit of time, so how about a tag along? Like you said, things are getting dangerous, so some extra muscle and an extr a pair of eyes won't hurt, right?" She begins to tag along with them, trying to keep her ears and eyes out for possible yelling, angry bee noises, or even frantic accordion playing.


Roll #1 4 = 4



"Very poetic," Cutlass says approvingly with a smile.


Alder coils his tail around the keys to hold on to them, looking back in time to see Cloud begin to wobble. He gives the bat pony a concerned little pat, asking "Perhaps… let me sniff it? I could find out what it is, sort of. Maybe it is alcohol?"


>[1d10] wow, l i q u i d

Roll #1 5 = 5


She nods gratefully and straightens up a little, clearly pleased with herself.


"Whoa, this stuff is great."
Cloud says in a distant droll as he wobbles back along the shelf past all the friendly smiling trinkets.
He makes happy little bat squeaks as he passes each one, and up at Chiu as she makes sounds with her mouth.



As you both assert your case, the anxiety returns to the room, though you can both tell that it is now tempered by growing anger, especially from the Honeydews who were at Arroz's funeral and know what you're talking about.

Miss Sunshine taps Cutlass' arm, then stands up. "We care about your survival greatly; we are pirates, not savages or mere looters. We are willing to help you, but it will be imperative that you agree to do as Cutlass and Thessaly say."

You both a faint glimpse of Aura spark by Miss Sunshine's hoof: A signal that her ability is ready. Thessaly does not know what Miss Sunshine's ability does, but Cutlass does, remembering when it was used on her.

"Yes, it is obvious that we need to act," Dyme says, rising from his chair in resolution. "Not only do we need to study the parasite, we need to find all who have been infected already. As Cutlass said, there may be others who have already been implanted with the parasite without their knowledge, and who Toko may use as biological weapons with her ability."

"You seem awfully sure that she has such an ability…" Hubla says. "Cutlass… were you joking earlier when you brought up Dyme's outburst?"

Lazul is silent.


It's clear to Alder that this liquid is some kind of hallucinogenic drink, but its potency and side effects are still unknown. Cloud, it is plain to see, is on a trip.

Chiu is clearly creeped out, and picks up Cloud in her hoof to secure him. "Should we keep going…? Is he gonna be okay?"

Cloud feels as though he is rising up through the heavens toward a starry sky full of stars, who are bopping along with an unknown beat and singing along to a groovy song.

The bugs are grateful, thanking you in their foreign tongue. As you escort them through the jungle, you draw closer to the town. In the treeline just beyond the town's borders, you see a rogue bee soldier, hiding up in the trees. In his arms he seems to be holding something as he stalks through the branches. He sneaks forward as if stalking something below, eventually disappearing among the leaves.



Cutlass looks form Hubla to Dyme. She contemplates how to approach the uncertain situation. Especially after Dyme agrees to help so readily.

"If Dyme IS the traitor, I give him credit for being clever. I imagine this is an attempt to escape this room alive so he can warn the Queens of our plans. Again, IF he is the traitor."

"I do apologize for sharing personal details without permission, Dyme. But, it does feel necessary right now. I'll only say what I must."

Cutlass looks to Hubla and Soli. "Among the things I saw in Dyme's soul, I saw a desire for he and his family to have a positive and cooperative relationship with the Bee Queens. It is worthy of note that only HE would have this positive relationship with the Bee Queens. Does this mean that he is the traitor? That much I cannot say."


"We've come to you today to propose an alliance, in the face of this growing threat," she says, speaking a little louder. "You cannot keep ignoring it, as is clear to see. I have joined forces with Captain Cutlass, as have many others; she has her own ship and crew, the Secret Assassins, as well as an alliance with Captain Bee Holder of the Beesting. Together, they are assembling a militia; a well armed defence against these monstrous threats. We have taken initiative and traveled to one of the nearby islands and procured a certain herb, an antidote for Toko's evil. We ask that you, the Families, join this growing alliance, and help us overthrow Toko, and the Crimson King. I have worked alongside your people many times, enough to say that it would be wise of you to accept this." She addresses Hubla and Soli more so than Dyme.


"Oh, dear… this is a hallucinogenic. It might be quite powerful, or… not so much. He is tiny, after all. I can try to fix him up, if you would like me to. It would only take a little while."

"P-Please, do be careful."


Chiu quickly bottles up the Meli and puts it back on the shelf, far out of Cloud's reach. "Oh, of all the luck. Yes, please do!"


Cloud holds up his hooves wide, like he's flying again as he rises up towards the stars. Soaring up high, gliding through through the heavens against like the bat he was. He starts to hum and squeak along to the beat of the stars as they bob back and forth.


Alder huffs a tad, and gets to work on attempting a mini-sized dosage for the shrunken pony to drink. Perhaps it'll do the trick?
>Natural Remedy [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


Cerulean sees the bee soldier and, not looking to waste any time, immediately begins to dash at the tree line with great speed to close the distance and wallop the soldier with her tail.

>DC-1, Crit 8+, +1 Ranged, take better roll


Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6


The Family heads consider these words carefully. Hubla and Soli are obviously eyeing Dyme, but Dyme does not show any signs of guilt or concern about their suspicions. He merely eyes Cutlass and Thessaly with scrutiny.

After a long pause, Dyme speaks. "It would be all too obvious if I were the traitor, don't you think? Even a bit cliche: Of course it would be the new kid, the youngest patriarch of the Dextrose family, at only fifty-two. I will admit that I harbor far different views of how this mafia ought to be run than the others – having the mafia split into three Families that operate on uneasy terms is an unsustainable model, espcially when our roles are so imbalanced. The Honeydews have their drug trade, and the Skeps their weapons and slaves.

"The Dextrose, on the other hand, are meant to be intermediaries between the 'upper world' and the 'underworld.' All we do is broker deals with the legal authority of Kaco Island, the democratic government which ruled every city and town outside of Aristar. But with that legal authority all but destroyed by the Bee Queens, we have nothing to fall back on to ensure our survival in the coming war. This is our own fault, of course… but this would not be the case in a unified mafia… one with a strong relationship with an all-encompassing royal family. That's the way things USED to be and OUGHT to be.

"Let me spoil the last page of this story: I don't have blood on my hooves. I would submit to a mind reader if you could procure one. My heart and mind are without guilt. But I will say that… if I were to hear about a plan to remove subversive elements like Arroz, form a partnership with the Queens, and return to our former glory… perhaps I would be more empathetic than others about their cause and pretend I did not hear anything.

"But there must be trust among us, I suppose."

He nods at one of his bodyguards – a scarred, tanned beepony with a stoic confidence and a short-cropped brown mane. The bodyguard steps forward and kneels before the leaders. Hubla and Soli grow white with fury, but force themselves to remain sitting.

"Well then… your thoughts, ladies?" Soli asks.


Cloud's trip comes to a sudden end, though it is not painful as he is brought back to reality – just a bit startling. Alder can see him sober up from the potion as it chases the hallucinogens out of his system.

"You okay?" Chiu asks.


You whack the sneaky bee soldier out of the trees, and he goes cartwheeling out of the branches and lands with a thunk on his back in the middle of some bushes. You see that he's holding a glass jar with a spider mariachi inside, protectively clutching an accordion. The bee soldier reaches for his belt and grabs his blowgun, loads it with a stinger, and tries to fire it at you.


Roll #1 7 = 7


Cloud blinks a few times as the views of stars fade to the old building and ponies. He looks around in confusion.
"How'd I get over here?"

He looks up to Chiu.
"Yea I feel pretty fine. I felt pretty great a few seconds ago, all nice and warm…"


"Y-You took a sip of something that seemed to have been a hallucinogenic. I worked together something to purge its effects, s-since I was rather… c-concerned."


She arches an eyebrow. "For my part, I am merely an informant," she replies. "The in-between. My allegiance is to my captain, and to Magoja. It is not my place to dictate justice between you. I leave that in your capable hooves."


"Hallucinogenic? So that stuff wasn't just wine then."
He looks back at the shelf.
"Hmm, Chiu maybe you should hold onto those. Don't think me being small probably helped that all too much."



Cutlass listens to Dyme with a cold expression on her face. She looks down at the bodyguard who kneels and scoffs.

"Well, what I've just heard is an admission of guilt of the entire Dextrose family," she says coldly. "As well as an admission of obsolescence. What good to us is a family who empathizes with the blatant enemy of all that lives?"

Cutlass looks to Dyme directly. "You speak of 'cooperation', but what I see in your soul is submission: a world in which the other families follow you out of fear - not respect. You speak of trust, but you leave out such important details. You allow the murder of those you claim you wish to cooperate with and don't speak up about it when it comes to light."

"Nothing short of a complete apology and admission of guilt could have saved you if it were up to me. Now, I can't see how we could trust you. You still claim that allowing the Queens to rule is somehow a good idea. That is blatantly against the desires of everyone else here."

Cutlass looks to Hubla and Soli. "If it were up to me, I'd kill him and every Dextrose in this room and allow the rest of the family to die in the coming battle. But, that is not up to me. I am only here to cooperate with you."

"And," Cutlass says, gesturing to Miss Sunshine. "As luck would have it, we happen to possess a method of ensuring cooperation."

[1d10] Whisper in your Ear

Roll #1 7 = 7


Chiu nods in appreciation, and grabs some more of the gold from the tax collector's drawers, then hands it to Alder, which gives him another 200 gold as a payment.

She looks at the bottles uneasily. "Take them? Uh… after what happened…? Alright, but you're not getting another hit unless you're normal sized. Maybe we can sell the excess."

Altogether, you obtain five bottles of the hallucinogenic drink, Meli.

Chiu then shakes her head and heads back for the hall. "With that sorted, why don't we check the other rooms?"


Cerulean proceeds to try and grab the soldier with her jaws and thrash him about like a ragdoll.

>Great weapon attack


Roll #1 10 = 10


Alder gives Cloud a reassuring pat on the head (as softly as he can manage) before nodding as they take the hallucinogenic drink. "Perhaps they could be used as some sort of poison, or something to distract? And, yes, other rooms."


"Hey hey, I'm a clean bat. I know better."
Cloud defends.
"Those bottles can give us a pretty bit, especially with that honey scent. around here."
He climbs back up onto Chiu's head.
"Right, let's start using those keys and see what else we can find!"

"Hey that's a good idea. Maybe you could use some for those potions of yours, toss a little bit of that stuff to get any enemies off our backs."


"Ensuring cooperation?" Hubla asks, then laughs softly. "I assume you're referring to one of your powers. No, no. There won't be need for that, if we want to merely kill all of them."

You see him tug at the layer of Aura which is before him and extends over everything. As he tugs on it, everyone moves involuntarily towards him, and they can feel and see the aura covering themselves as well. It is as though you're all covered in a near-imperceptible layer of plastic, which he can manipulate.

Dyme glowers and tenses, as do the bodyguards, and for a brief moment, it seems that the room is about to explode in a brawl. But just as that's about to happen, Soli manifests a gavel out of aura into her hoof, and bangs it on the desk. "Stop. No… killing them here would be… inefficient. And unseemly. Stains are hard to get out of these kinds of rugs. You there, young girl."

"Me?" Miss Sunshine asks, a bit bashfully.

"You put some emphasis on your words a moment ago, about Cutlass' and Thessaly's demands," Soli says. "It was obvious that you are an amateur user of aura, setting up the conditions for your power to activate. Yours is the kind of power that can 'command other people.'

"I am curious… so I am going to give you a 'blank check.' Cutlass, Thessaly, it would be more efficient to use these traitorous Dextrose in the battle against the Queens. So, without telling us to kill the Dextrose ourselves, what are your demands for us in regards to the coming war?"


The dart lands in your chest, but you hardly notice as you toss him about, completely wrecking the villainous soldier. He is soon dead, and the glass jar containing the spider mariachi rolls to the ground. As you watch it go, you see what the bee soldier was stalking:

A large drider, as big as you, rides a strange, six-wheeled wheeled contraption, powered by his feet. It's like three bicycles welded together. Behind him, you see a magnificent cart that is covered in curtains, like something out of a carnival or a fair. He's whistling a tune as he approaches, but stops when he sees the bee soldier's corpse. The drider seems awfully familiar, but you can't place it.

You check the nearby rooms with the help of the keys, but most of them are fairly uninteresting and don't seem to contain anything - there's just a bathroom and a couple sparse guest rooms. However, it's not til you get to the master bedroom, a richly decorated room with a doublewide bed and plenty of silk blankets, pillows, baubles and baroque furniture, that things get interesting. Alder can immediately tell that if any room is dangerous, it's this one – and it's also going to be rewarding.


"Oooh, fantastic thinking. If I could reduce it to vapor, I could even make little gas bombs from them." the griffon thinks to himself, before smiling a little.

"O-Oh, goodness. We can see where the collected taxes were going to, I suppose… let me take a look."
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


"That's even better! We could take out a whole ship with one of those."

Cloud looks into the room, immediately piqued by the lavish digs. He hops off Chiu's head and decides to return back to full size to help with clearing this room out.
"I call dibs on the bed and everything that comes with it!"



Roll #1 1 = 1


"A-Ack! Cloud Shear, cease!" he shouts, trying to snatch the diminutive bat pony up. [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1



"I came here because you influence the people on this island. Very few will listen to me. Despite how important it is that the Queens are dethroned, I cannot reach the hearts and minds of so many and so quickly as you can. I have the means to supply an army with weapons. Now, I just need the army."

"First and foremost, I need you all to spread the word to those beyond your own families. Discreetly. We obviously can't allow the Queens to catch wind of this before it even starts. The larger our arm, the better. Chaos will be our weapon."

"To that end, I already have a plan in place. It's already begun. There will be a festival tonight. The Bee Queens will be in attendance. Their flagship will be mostly unguarded. A faction of our army will crash the festival. While the focus is on them, we will steal the flagship. Once we have secured it and begun to get away with it, the army will retreat."

"They'll either give chase to use, to the army, or their forces will be split. Either way, chaos will ensue. We will lead them around to the other side of the island. All the while, we will make strikes on their confused armies where we can. Just off the shore, there is a baby turtle island that Toko uses to cultivate the parasites. We have already set up a base there. Our main forces will lie in wait there. Confused, surrounded, and battered, they will fall."

"Which family is best with subterfuge? I would like some of their forces to come with me to steal the ship. Which family is best in combat? I'd like for them to be the ones to set up ambushes during the pursuit. And, of course, all of you will assist in the recruitment. That is what I need of you. Any questions?"

[1d10] Auraless persuasion

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cerulean picks up the jar and opens it, freeing the mariachi spider within.
"Sorry for the rough ride, but you're safe now. Your friends should be…over that way," she says smiling, pointing to where she originally ran from.

Cerulean looks up at the drider and tilts her head, not sure if she felt this guy was familiar or if it was some indigestion.
"Hey there," she greets happily, not minding the corpse as much as the drider right now.


As Alder's every instinct shouts at him that something is amiss, he tries to stop Cloud from stepping too far into the room. But Cloud is too fast upon entry, and steps onto a small throw rug. Immediately, he and Alder and a few things around them are blasted into the ceiling, and then fall to the ground with a painful thud. Both lose 1 wound.

Where the rug was, you see a magic rune etched into the floor, now uncovered, with a magic gem in its center. Evidently, some kind of wind-based spell was stored here. At least this one has been activated already.

Chiu, still standing by the doorway out of caution, carefully animates your shadows with magic, and brings you back to the doorway. "Want I should try to root out the traps?"


Cloud groans as he's dragged out of the room, dazed and in pain.
"Maybe I should have stayed small there…"
He groans more as he stands back up.
"Yea, that might be good. Let me try being a little more cautious this time."
He looks down at the magic rune. He might not be able to pick up on magic, but maybe he can pinpoint any physical traps with his bat senses.
>Echolocation [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


As the spider is freed, the other mariachis come forward and greet their friend, quite happy to see he is unharmed, as evidenced by the joyous shouting in their language. Once they have celebrated enough, they turn and thank you, bowing as a group.

The drider, who is wearing very dapper 18th century explorer clothes, greets you with a smile, evidently not too worried about the dead body. "Ah, hello! My name is Orb-Weaver, and welcome to my Caravan of Curios!" He pulls a cord on the side of the cart, and the curtains pull back, revealing the contents: a self-contained bazaar, full of strange objects for sale. Upon hearing the name Orb-Weaver, you recall the spider merchant on Semetyer Island. But his name was "The Webmaster" and not Orb-Weaver.

"Any friend of bugs is a friend of mine," Orb-Weaver says. "Please, may I ask your name?"

>Merchant Inventory:



Your ears are ringing from the impact – you can't hear shit.


"A-Ack, I am sorry I didn't move sooner. I knew something was amiss, but I did not move quite in time to stop it… aside from that, the shadows may be a good idea. T-Thank you, Chiu."


Cloud gives his ears a rub.
"Yea, I think it'll be best to leave this to you Chiu."


Soli glances at the two of you, then at Miss Sunshine, with her eyebrow cocked. "Very well. These terms are reasonable. I agree to them, and with my authority as leader of the Skeps, I will agree to the terms on behalf of my underlings."

"I agree on my own behalf and on that of the Honeydew Family," Hubla says. "And as for our traitors…? What do you have to say?"

"Go straight to hell," Lazul spits, now shaking uncontrollably. "Fuck all of you."
The Dextrose bodyguard, the unnamed killer, shakes his head.
"I have not a single regret for what I have done, and nor will I nor my family take orders from an outsider," Dyme says with pride. "Whether in a jail cell or in the underworld, I will not bow to you."


Hubla suddenly yanks at the layer of aura before him, and Dyme, Lazul, and the unnamed bodyguard are suddenly all wrapped up in a dark layer of aura similar to plastic wrap. Hubla spreads his hooves apart, gripping a strip of aura in front of him, and with a cracking sound, the three of them are stretched out to an unnatural length, their bodies flattening like paper, their faces twisted in inarticulate pain. Hubla then rolls the strip of aura up, and each of the traitors does as well, eventually vanishing when the roll is complete.

He then smiles. "Go on, Miss Sunshine, finish using your ability."

Miss Sunshine is white with terror, eyes wide. "C-c-c-customer Copy, activate."

Miss Sunshine's aura flashes green, and each of the mafia family heads obtains a small receipt.

"M-merchant Copy… activate," Miss Sunshine stammers, slowly regaining her composure as a very long receipt appears in her own hoof. "When you enter an agreement with me, you get a receipt, and so do I. I can use my receipt to compel you to hold up your end of the bargain, even against your will. If you complete your end, the receipts vanish and you are free from my power. Ordinarily I don't explain this power. The fewer people that know about it, the stronger it is. But… I think it's obvious why I'm explaining this. I don't want to get on your bad side."

"We don't either," Soli says with a smile. "Yours is quite the scary ability."

"Alright!" Chiu says, raising a number of shadows. "Let's see what we get."


Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


Chiu's shadows stop in front of a baroque vanity on the east side of the room and an empty animal cage on the west side. "Looks like some traps are right here, but that's obviously not the last of them. The others must be hidden pretty well."


"Hmm, the bed surely can't be trapped, right?"
Cloud steps forward cautiously as the shadow locate two of the traps. Cloud tries to inspect the bed as best he can, even though he's not sure what to look for.
>Investigate Bed [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


The bed seems to be safe – you are even able to sit and lay on it without any trouble.


>I actually made an error in this post; Merchant Copy has nothing to do with Miss Sunshine getting a receipt, so just write it off as her being too spooked to speak or think straight


"Ha, knew this wouldn't be trapped. Who would make their own bed a place that can hurt yourself?"
He says, somewhat obvious he was worried.
"And now to wrap this up all nice and tidy."
Cloud hops off the bed, eyes glowing as he shrinks down the bed with all it's pillows and blankets down to make it easy to carry off.


"Let me see if I can narrow down a few more places…"
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5



"Fools…" Cutlass mutters as they display not a single shred of regret for supporting the notion of cooperating with the Queens. "So desperate to die…"

Cutlass watches with a small smile as they die horrifically. "Well, that was at least cathartic," she says once they are gone.

"Thank you all for your cooperation. But, what of the rest of the Dextroses? We can't have them going and blabbing to the Queens."


She waves to the group as watches them off before looking back to Orb-Weaver.

"Cerulean! And don't worry, I'm always friendly to friendly things," she says, then looks over at the bee soldier, "except him. He wasn't being a friendly bug."

Cerulean looks all about and her instinctual curiosity is setting in and setting in hard. She looks over at everything, having to stop herself a few times from touching stuff. Her gaze first rests on the little pieces of parchment, remembering what was said about teaching the Beetlebands new songs.
"Oh hey, I was looking for these, I think? Are they for sale?" As she speaks, he glimmer of something catches her eye: some kind of blue jewel that looked like an eye.
"Oh wow…so pretty and shiny."


Her lip curls as the traitors are executed, showing zero sympathy for them. "As they deserved," she comments. "We have need for sterner stock in the wars to come."

"Yes, what of the other conspirators? They should not be suffered to linger. One bad apple, and the entire barrel goes rotten."


There's something off about the mirror and the closet in the back of the room, you just can't tell what. But now that those three places have been identified, you feel somewhat relaxed. That must have been all of them.


"We should avoid… the mirror, and the closet. Other than that, I feel confident saying we will be fine."


"Well, I don't know if you've heard, but there's a rumor that the Dextrose leader has come into a spot of trouble recently," Hubla says. "And a Family can't go without a patriarch or matriarch."

"We'll have to hold an emergency vote," Soli agrees. "All in favor of Patriarch Hubla and Matriarch Soli assuming joint authority over the Dextrose Family until a suitable replacement can be found?"

Both leaders say "Aye."

"The motion passes," Hubla says. "By our newfound authority with the Dextroses, we will ensure that no rumor gets out through the use of compelling argument and appeals to their rationality and sense of Family pride."

"And plenty of beatings," Soli concurs. "But mostly my aura ability. For your own safety and mine, I will not reveal what it does. Still, I will give you a hint if you're curious." Soli knocks her gavel on the table in a very judiciary manner.

As they leave, the mariachis serenade you with great gratitude. They sound a bit off-key, but you have a feeling that one day they will fix that.

"Everything is for sale!" Orb-Weaver declares. "For the two song packs and the eye? I will give them to you for 210 Bits altogether, out of a 250 Bit value, because you have shown yourself to be a kind person."

You shrink and pocket the bed, and reveal a small bag of coins underneath the bed, containing 200 in total.

Chiu recalls her shadows, clearly still shook by the magic rune. "Alright! Well… enjoy! I'll just be back here in Safetyville."



File: 1538617686172.jpg (39.26 KB, 791x648, 1532986795913.jpg)

Last time on PQ…

Cerulean saved a mariachi spider from captivity by a now-dead bee soldier, much to the gratitude of his fellow bug friends. Afterward, she met a drider* merchant by the name of Orb-Weaver, who was reminiscent of another drider met on Semetyer Island who called himself the Webmaster.

Cloud tripped out on a hallucinogenic drink called Meli, which they had discovered while raiding the abandoned tax collector's office, until Alder brought him back down with an antidote. Afterward, they continued until they found the master bedroom, which had the most traps out of all the rooms they had searched so far.

Cutlass and Thessaly discussed things with the leaders of the Three Families. It had come out during the meeting that Dyme, the patriarch of the Dextrose Family, had allowed Fasol and Lazul to set up Arroz to be murdered, and gave his tacit support in a bid to prove the Dextrose Family's loyalty to the Bee Queens. For this, Dyme, Lazul and one of the Dextrose bodyguards, who had silently confessed to killing Arroz, were executed on the spot with Hubla's horrifying aura ability.

*Basically a big spider with an upright spider body, not a drider in the sense of spider + pony


Forgot to say it, but post sheets with your replies.

>Cutlass and Thessaly
"Well, I don't know if you've heard, but there's a rumor that the Dextrose leader has come into a spot of trouble recently," Hubla says. "And a Family can't go without a patriarch or matriarch."

"We'll have to hold an emergency vote," Soli agrees. "All in favor of Patriarch Hubla and Matriarch Soli assuming joint authority over the Dextrose Family until a suitable replacement can be found?"

Both leaders say "Aye."

"The motion passes," Hubla says. "By our newfound authority with the Dextroses, we will ensure that no rumor gets out through the use of compelling argument and appeals to their rationality and sense of Family pride."

"And plenty of beatings," Soli concurs. "But mostly my aura ability. For your own safety and mine, I will not reveal what it does. Still, I will give you a hint if you're curious." Soli knocks her gavel on the table in a very judiciary manner.

As they leave, the mariachis serenade you with great gratitude. They sound a bit off-key, but you have a feeling that one day they will fix that.

"Everything is for sale!" Orb-Weaver declares. "For the two song packs and the eye? I will give them to you for 210 Bits altogether, out of a 250 Bit value, because you have shown yourself to be a kind person."

You shrink and pocket the bed, and reveal a small bag of coins underneath the bed, containing 200 in total.

Chiu recalls her shadows, clearly still shook by the magic rune. "Alright! Well… enjoy! I'll just be back here in Safetyville."


"So! Let us continue searching, yes? Be very careful with where you step, Mister Cloud."



"Sweet, a fancy bed and some cash."
Cloud snatches up the bag of gold as well, looking around the room for anything else that looks promising.

"Right, right. You find any traps yourself?"


"The mirror, and the closet. They give me a bad feeling in my gut, I believe the saying is."


"Hmmm, yea, we should probably save those for last. Clear out the rest of the room in case those are a little more violent."


In addition to the mirror and the closet, you remember that the baroque vanity and the empty small animal cage in the ritzy room were also marked as trapped by the shadows. Those seem to be the likely places that treasure would be, but you don't see any. If there is any, it'd be hidden.



"Well, this has been quite productive," Cutlass says with a smile as she stands from her seat. "I trust you have weapons for your own families. But, if you need more for the ones you recruit for our militia, contact Magoja. I'm certain you've heard of him. Everyone around here seems to have. I've already worked out a deal with him."

"Now, if we have no more business to conduct, I beg your leave. I have quite a busy schedule to maintain."


File: 1538618760106.png (725.8 KB, 540x810, Skeletiano.png)


Cerulean can't help but blush at the compliment.
"Aww, thank you! And sounds good." She fishes around and hands over payment; some in bits and the other in some shiny gems from her big treasure haul.


"Right. Even if we haven't seen anymore, proceed with caution…"
The griffon looks for any nightstands or chests to rifle through…
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Cloud eyes the empty cage, standing out quite a bit.
"I doubt they'd run off with their pet and leave the cage, so there must be something more here."
Cloud mutters as he gives it a look over.
>Check [1d10]

"Don't be too cautious, that's how you miss things."

Roll #1 6 = 6


She looks rather amused, if somewhat suspicious, at their impromptu vote. "We trust the Dextrose family is in capable hooves," she says simply. "I am glad we could see eye to eye on the matter of the coming storm. As the captain has said, if there is anything else you require, do not hesitate to contact us, or Magoja."

"Was there anything more you wished to ask of us?" If not, she prepares to leave alongside Cutlass.



Orb-Weaver appraises the gems, then hands you your change for them in gold coins along with your goods. You see that the gold coins have the profile of a griffon's head on one side – you recognize the symbol as the jolly roger of the Crimson King's ship.

"The songs, you slip into the little slots on the back of your beetleband members, and they'll learn 'em real quick," Orb-Weaver says. "The pendant, you have to be a little more careful with. Supposedly it's got some kind of spirits inside it, and they know a lot more than they let on – they can give you hints about things, but they're real picky about the tone of voice you use."


"Ah, yes, Magoja. An extremely odd and elusive figure," Hubla says. He checks a fancy gold pocket watch. "Wow, we made great time. You know, this meeting was originally scheduled for two in the afternoon, but it's only about nine in the morning! Magoja told us you were coming back early, so we had a few appointments rescheduled to accomodate."

"Right, but there's no sense in rescheduling breakfast for business," Soli adds. "You're welcome to stop by if you want some – it'll be on us. And if you find yourself in the need of something to pass the time until the carnival performance, you can give us a ring on our caller conches."

Hubla and Soli both give you the passwords to their Caller Conches.
>OOC: A password for a conch functions like a phone number. Whisper the password into the conch, and if they pick up, the call will go through.

"How did Magoja know we were coming back…?" Ossie wonders.


Cloud pokes around in the empty cage for a bit, turning it over and checking it for various things. Eventually, he finds a hidden panel in the bottom of the cage, containing a few bits of jewelry - three silver necklaces and two gold bracelets. Meanwhile, as Alder opens up the drawers on the vanity, his instincts send alarm ripping through his body – he senses that he's nearly activated a hidden trap. Since he already had a bad feeling earlier, he can roll at DC 4 to try to open it without setting it off.


>Master Thief Applies? [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2



"Magoja has his ways," Cutlass responds to Ossie evasively.

"We could use a spot of breakfast if you're offering," Cutlass says with a cordial nod. "Is that alright with you, Thessaly?"


Name fix.


Unfortunately, Alder is not delicate enough in his touch, and the trap is set off: he sees a system of gears and pulleys in the drawer he opened, before he is blinded and choked by an explosion. A thick powder blows up into his face, burning his eyes and mouth with an extreme spice, and he is flung backward, ears ringing to make matters worse.
>No damage, but extremely painful


She looks over the coins, giving a slight hum as she remembers she's suppose to be putting a wallop on this guy at some point.

"Oh, I see. Still, wearing this can at least make things feel less lonely if I'm by myself, right?" She puts the pendant on, already liking how it looks.
"Plus, this is really pretty. Thanks again Mr. Orb-Weaver."


Cloud pulls out the necklaces and bracelets, holding them in separate hooves.
"Hey Alder, do you prefer silver or gold?"


"I would not refuse it, if it is an option," she answers warmly. "I must confess I am rather hungry."


Cloud covers his ears after the explosion goes off, walking over to offer Alder a hoof up.
"Maybe you were right on that caution part."


"No problem!" Orb-Weaver says. "Hopefully I'll see you again someday on these islands. I'll be traveling around this area for a while. Oh! Before I go, if you hear anything about items from the Eyle of Storms, I'll pay good money for those – at least double the market value. Anyway, buh-bye."

Orb-Weaver rolls away down the road on his bike.


Alder hisses and waves his arms helplessly as he's thrown back. He's not a very big guy, so for him the whole experience is extremely painful.

The griffon rubs at his eyes a little and lets out an uneasy warble, offering a nod in the direction he thinks Cloud Shear is. He accepts the helping hoof up, before shaking his head and trying to steady himself "Y-Yes, caution. And… whichever you prefer less, Cloud. It is your find, after all."


"Alright then."
Cloud tosses Alder the two gold bracelets.
"Least you won't need to worry about more traps now."


Alder fumbles with the bracelets, but his instincts manage to help him snatch them. He offers a silly giggle, and offers a short nod in agreement. "I-I suppose you are right, yes. And, thank you."


Hubla and Soli gather their bodyguards.
"Have Fasol, Ouski and Saros brought to the Hooks within the hour," Hubla instructs them. "Get names and faces from them – anyone else who knows anything about the muder or who harbors any loyalty to the Queens."

Soli points her gavel at the remaining Dextrose Family bodyguards. "And you, you're with us. You'll get to eat, don't worry!"

The Dextrose bodyguards flinch at the sight of the gavel, and nod, appearing quietly terrified.

Hubla and Soli lead you out of the building, and down several streets to the northwest, eventually leaving behind the more industrial and cityscape areas, out to a place where the streets are older and wider, and the buildings smaller and more aged. Eventually, you reach what is no more than a comfy cottage on a hill which overlooks the ocean. It's connected to the rich and busy city by nothing but a dirt road. When you enter, you are struck by the warm and quiet atmosphere – an old mom and pop shop with only a few customers. You're given a table by an old, tough-looking beepony mare, and handed some menus with only a handful of foods, all traditional.


Once Alder clears his vision, he notices that the vanity itself was knocked onto one side by the force of the explosion. Behind it, just barely revealed by the light, is a small lever built into the wall.

Chiu steps cautiously into the room on tip-hoof, apparently still worried about traps, and hands Alder a rag and a waterskin for his face.



"I'll have a fruit salad, please," Cutlass orders after looking at the menu (assuming such a thing is on the menu).

"This is a lovely little restaurant," Cutlass says as she looks out a nearby window. "You must dine here all the time."


Cerulean smiles and decides to walk off in a direction as Orb-Weaver takes off. As she walks, she might as well talk to her new spirit buddies. She looks down at the pendant.
"Hello? Can anypony hear me? I just wanted to say 'hi' and maybe talk a bit?"


Thessaly looks pleased at the sight of the little cottage, maling herself comfortable abd ordering herself some eggs Benedict.

"This place is quite divine. An old family staple, I assume?"



"You never knew of this place?" Cutlass asks curiously. "I take it you never left the city much?"


"Not particularly, no. I mostly ran errands here and there for Magoja. I am much more acquainted with the inner city than I am with its outskirts."


"Don't mention it."

Cloud looks over to the last places in the room with Alder taking care of the vanity. He looks between the mirror and closet, unsure of which to check. Leaving it up to chance, he pulls a coin out of the bag he looted and flips it, and goes to check on his result.
>Heads (1) for Mirror, Tails (2) for Closet [1d2]

>Check [1d10]

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



The old mare nods and jots down the orders. "Coffee or tea?"

"Not as often as we'd like," Soli says. "Though, probably more often than we should. Places like these have history; they're connected to the spirit of the island itself. It makes a pony sentimental, soft, caring. The mafia doesn't have any room for that. Get soft, and someone knocks you off of your throne."

Eventually, your orders are brought to you – Cutlass's is full of a mix of colorful fruits, none of which she has seen before.

"You wouldn't have heard," Hubla says. "Nor even seen it from the shoreline or from the pathway leading up to it. It's a secret to most people. Family members who live to get gray hairs in their mane come here, and it's protected by a well-hidden aura field. Basically, it's the one place people like us can relax."

As you walk, you eventually reach an outcropping of rock overlooking the ocean. The tide is gentle, and the fish are plenty.
The pendant is silent.


"Just tea, thank you. No milk, no sugar."

She nods politely as she listens to Soli's opinion. "Indeed? I would have thought this would be a haven for leaders to unwind. Managing such a large and turbulent family must be rather stressful."



"Coffee please, I am dreadfully tired. And bring some cream and sugar, please."

"It's like a pirate's ship that way," Cutlass says before she tries a bite of the fruit. "Land is so… chaotic. Not in your control. But the ship - THAT is your domain. Everything is yours and you know it well. There are no enemies, no threats to concern yourself with. Just a place to be at ease and enjoy the breeze and the horizon."

Cutlass sighs. "At least, that's how it is supposed to be…"


"Do you like the city?" Cutlass asks between bites.


Wiping his face and beak off, he offers a short nod to the others. Rather curious himself, the griffon will reach over and pull the lever… after giving it a lookover, of course.
>Master Thief [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3



After pulling the lever, you hear a clicking sound, as if something was being unlocked. Partially hidden beneath one of the rugs on the floor, you see a trap door, now slightly ajar.

You check the mirror carefully and notice a kind of spring mechanism rigged up in a desk just beside the mirror, intended to launch a projectile at you. Taking care not to set off the firing mechanism, you find that you can actually open the mirror, much like a bathroom mirror. Inside is a few books, some makeup, and some colorful shawls and bead bracelets, but no jewelry.


"It is not without its problems, but Aristar has been good to me thus far. It has its charm, to be sure. A very quiet city, at least for me. I keep a low profile to avoid unwanted attention for my… condition… and I find it is the best way to live here. Better not to get wrapped up in too many family entanglements. Although, I suppose it is unavoidable at a certain point. The bill comes due, I suppose." She shrugs and takes a bite of egg.



"What? Oh. I just meant cities in general."

"What… condition are we referring to?"


Cerulean gives a bit of a sigh as there is no response. Seeing the rocky outcrop, she decides to look around the area and even walk in the water a bit.
"Ahh. Now this is relaxing. Wonder if I can catch up some snack time here."


Cloud takes a sidestep to avoid any possible misfiring of the projectile, peering into the mirror at the treasure. He's disappointed at what he finds, but he pulls the books out to check what they're about.
"Hey Chiu, see anything you like in here?"
He says, waving her over for the makeup, shawls, and bracelets.


"Ah… oho! Check in here, Cloud! A Trap-door!" the griffon remarks, peeking inside.


Your drinks are brought next. In all, though the food is not highbrow or ritzy, it is quite delicious, clearly prepared with expertise and care. Though Cutlass has never had fruit like these, the blend of flavors and succulence only makes her crave more.

"Yes, it's a mixed blessing," Hubla grunts. "It's dear to our hearts. Over fifteen generations of patriarchs and matriarchs are buried here. Even Dyme will be as well. For the living, though, this feeling of relaxation tends to distract from the quick pace of mafia life. And with the Queens and the Crimson King at our door, we can't afford to go soft."

Soli sips her tea. "On that note – I have to say, I appreciate your chutzpah in wanting to capture that behemoth of a ship, Cutlass. But that's a tall order, especially considering you don't know the King's powers yet. I'd say it's best to concoct a backup plan or at least some insurance to help you."

A birdlike voice squawks from the pendant. "Bread crumbs and worms make very good bait! You can find the latter very easily in the nearby soil underneath the bushes! Rawk!"


"Hm. Not particularly, to tell the truth. I have always preferred something smaller in scope. Little towns or hamlets are much better to live in from my experience. Cities are too busy. Too many prying eyes."

She shoots you a side glance. "My age, and nature as a cailleach - a sorceress in your tongue - tends to draw suspicion when I reveal it. The only reason I have told you is because there is no hiding it in our line of work. In many places, my kind are looked on with intolerance - fear, hatred, disgust. So, I keep that to myself, unless I see no choice but to reveal it."

"That being said. The Ribcage's denizens seem to look more favourably on my ilk than on the outside. Perhaps because the soul arts are so much stronger here. Still. Best not to give away information like that."


Chiu has a peek at the clothes, then scoops it all up into her own bag. "Yes indeed!"

You see that the first book is a history of famous aura masters from the Ribcage, as well as how their innovations and discoveries in aura practicality and theory influenced the ways of life and culture of many islands. The second is a practical guide to some of the islands' religious traditions, as well as holidays recognized on various islands.

You see that a ladder extends down from the trapdoor for about thirty feet, at the bottom of which is a stone tunnel. You smell salt water from the tunnel, suggesting it might lead to the ocean.


"A trap door? Whoever lived here loved to hide their stuff."


She nods pensively. "The coming war will weigh heavily on us all, it seems. I had hoped to weather it when it comes, but it seems that is off the table. It is good we were able to come to an agreement. Unfortunate about the Dextroses, but at least they are under your proverbial thumbs now. This little insurrection of theirs shan't last long." She raises her cup of tea. "Sláinte."


"Oh! Great idea! Thank you-huh?" Cerulean looks around confused for the source of the voice.
"Hunh…still though, thank you." She follows the pendant's instructions and goes digging around for said worms.



When Cutlass receives her coffee, she fills it to the brim with tea, practically rendering it white. She then adds the tiniest sprinkling of sugar. She carefully takes a sip so that it doesn't spill. The level of precision she demonstrates with the whole procedure indicates that this is common practice for her.

"It's just a distraction. I don't intend to keep the ship. Unless I can. But, that's not within my expectations. I'll have my own ship meet me halfway so that we'll have a getaway if we need one. The goal is to cause chaos and split their forces. I have every confidence that - so long as we accomplish that - everything will work out in the end."


"Ah," Cutlass says, after finishing a sip of coffee. "I didn't think anyone here would care about that. From my point of view, it seems more a blessing than something to be reviled."

"Prying eyes…" Cutlass repeats the phrase. "Yes, the worst part of a city is that there is always someone around. It's like a prison. I hate cities. I loathe them. I-" Cutlass cuts herself off. "Sorry," she smirks. "My frustration is building the longer I stay here."


"He did, yes… it seems like this leads to the ocean. Built-in escape hatch, perhaps?"


"It is a blessing," she says earnestly. "But many ignorant slaves see me as a harbinger of ruin. Witch, some call me. Hag, shrew, heretic… I have heard it all at this point. As I said, though, the commoners here seem more open minded about my brand of magic. Perhaps they do understand. Not like those fools on the outside."

She looks amused. "Betwixt you and I, I cannot wait to be back on the ship either. Aristar is all well and good, but the sea has ever been my true home. It calls to me. I am glad to be traveling alongside you, if only for that."


The leaders raise their glasses in agreement. "Níki."

Soli can't help but laugh at your drinking process. "Hmph, clever girl," she says. She then checks her pocket watch. "At least you'll have most of the day to prepare - as will we. You can enjoy yourself here as long as you like, but we won't keep you here overlong – I remember you saying you would be quite busy."

The birdlike voice returns from the pendant, and you can tell that it's female. "Rawk! No problem!"

You gather up plenty of worms - it must have rained recently - and retrieve the fishing net that you got back on Semetyer Island. It's peaceful out as you prepare the fishing rod, with only a gentle breeze for background noise.



"Well, to be honest," Cutlass laughs. "I didn't know the time. It's been…" Cutlass sighs. "Nonstop."


"I'm certainly happy to have you as a part of my crew. To be honest, I was worried the Bee Stings might steal you from me."

"N-not that I would care either way," she adds after a moment. Then takes an awkward sip of her coffee.


Cloud chuckles at Chiu's enthusiastic looting.

"Hey, this might be a good read for later."
He says to Chiu as he tucks away the books in his bag.

"Probably. Could be how he got away, if he did. Plus it gives us a quick out if he's still here."


Cerulean casts her line out, making sure to put a lively worm on before casting.
"And now I play the waiting game," she says, watching the bobber as her tail idly sits in the water.



Roll #1 10 = 10


"Mhmm. Should we search more, or make our own leave?"


After a little while, your line has a bite, and you wrangle with the fish for a good while before reeling it in – it's a very hearty-looking thing, very large, and while you haven't seen a fish like this before, it's a bit like a tuna, only vivid orange, and with nasty-looking hooks all over its sides, which will have to be scraped off before it can be eaten.


She nods and sips her tea thoughtfully. "So. What will be the next move? Queen Toko must be dealt with before she can put her machinations into action."

She looks at you curiously. "Do you not require my services, then? I could pledge myself to Captain Holder, if it makes so little difference to you."



Cutlass blushes and mumbles into her coffee. "Please don't do that," she mumbles quietly.


The two leaders' expressions grow serious. "The danger lies in not knowing the degree of control she has over the parasites," Hubla says. "Who has she infected already? What will happen to the parasites that have already infected people if we simply have her assassinated? The more we know about her power, the better we'll be able to strategize to neutralize her. Ideally, we should try to either force her into a situation in which she cannot use her parasites, or to keep her from becoming suspicious so that she thinks she won't need to use them. Then, we massacre her, her guards, her army, and then her loyalists."

"If we can capture someone who knows more about her power and interrogate them, that would be a good start," Soli says. "There are plenty of soldier bee drones out in the countryside, razing certain towns. If you can capture one of their captains, they'd make for easy interrogation."

"Toko is the most immediate threat, but Qaromarrow and Hurscurs will be just as dangerous when confronted," Hubla adds.


"Oooooo, now this looks like a tasty one. Okay, let's get you back to the others. I bet they'd wanna have some of you, too!" With that, she happily begins to drag the giant fish back to the Beasting. She'd eat it right here and now, but truthfully, she didn't feel like putting up with eating those hooks.
"Hmm…I think all this good cooking stuff is making me spoiled and picky now…."


"Leave so soon? We still got that closet to check out."


"Good point- we should stay, in that case." the griffon remarks, before looking around the room a little more
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


Her expression is inscrutable. "Very well, I shan't. I was not planning on doing so, for what it's worth. You and your crew suit me better, I feel."

"Do we know for certain that the other queens are in on it? Perhaps it is only Toko who has these maniacal plans."


You take a short jaunt up the coastline, and in time reach the town, finding that most of the crew has disembarked the ship and has begun looting the town, while Bee Holder and her closest allies survey the work from atop a statue in the center of town. As you come on over, Bee Holder waves and whistles. "Quite the catch you found!"


[1d10] Master Thief

Roll #1 10 = 10



"Yes, many of our militia's lives ride on killing all three of them. Their aura is already a part of their hunt. It's only a matter of time before it kills them."

"As for interrogation, that is a wise plan. I'll try to find a viable candidate. You'll likely be a more convincing interrogator than myself, however. I'm more of a negotiator."

"Well," Cultlass says as she finishes the last of her food and coffee. "In that case, I've added to my schedule. Which means we must be off."

Cutlass stands up and pushes her chair in. She nods to each of the family leaders. "Thank you both for your assistance and hospitality. I will be sure to return the favor."

With that, she leaves the restaurant.


Cutlass raises an eyebrow as they (presumably) walk out the door together. "Why am I a better fit?"


Cerulean waves back.
"I know, right?! I don't know what it is, but I figured he'd make a nice, big lunch for everyone!" She brings the fish onto the ship and gives a huff from that nice little work out.
"Any idea what it is? I would've dug in to find out, but I didn't feel like munching through those hook things."


As you open the closet, you find it mostly full of various gentlepony's suits, but there are various chests as well, and a quick glance at their contents shows that this is the motherlode - gold, weapons, jewels, deeds, even jars of various tobaccos, drugs, sugar and spices as well.

Yet all too soon after you open it, that familiar dread wells up as a mysterious mechanical ticking begins. On instinct, your finger flies forward and pokes at a switch on a large clockwork bomb stashed behind one of the chests, disabling it entirely.


"They're definitely all in on it," Ossie says. "When we first came to Kaco Island, we learned that people were being hit with stingers that were enchanted with the other queens' aura. When it stings you, it takes some of your aura to a pocket dimension called 'The Hunting Grounds.' Once that happens, Queens Qaromarrow and Hurscurs can forcibly teleport you there, in order to play a kind of hunting game in which you are the quarry. That's how we were told they were depleting many of the towns they attacked already."

Soli and Hubla nod. "It was our pleasure," Hubla says. "And we are looking forward to the fruition of your plans."

You head outside and reach the dirt road, seeing a few other rustic old cottages nearby, presumably retirement homes for old mafiosos.


"It is a fish in need of grilling, that's what it is," Bent Scales says, licking her lips as she hands you a knife to scrape off the hooks.

Meanwhile, other pirates - those that can eat meat - see what you're up to and nod approvingly, and start setting up a makeshift grill in the town square for your fish.


"O-Oh, goodness. This is quite the find. Cloud, come look! I found all sorts o-" the griffon freezes up, and his slender talons move to disarm the bomb. He shakes his head a little, and removes the clockwork device if he can. It might make for something of use, later.
"Various spices and other things, weapons, gold, jewels, and… papers. I do not quite understand those, though. I also found a bomb."


She purses her lips. "Well now." That certainly does complicate things. I cannot say it surprises me, though."

She joins Cutlass in bidding the family leaders farewell and follows the captain onwards.

She blinks. "More of a rapport established, I suppose," she answers. "We may have only just met yesterday, but I more welcome among your crew than I do among theirs. I think it shall work out for the better for me. For us, really."


It's a bit heavy, but you are able to remove the bomb and carefully store it so it doesn't arm itself while in your bag. Chiu unfolds some of the deeds and looks through them. "…Yikes. These look like properties around town. He probably got these from people unable to pay their taxes."



Cutlass heads back to her ship. If she's going to hunt down a guard captain, she'll need her assassins.


A tinge of guilt hits Cutlass at the use of the word Rapport. "Well, I'm afraid I haven't been entirely honest with you…" she says in a guilty tone. "How… much do you care for this island?"


"Still though, I am pretty curious. Like I'd like to know the name in case this is the tastiest fish we'll ever eat so we can buy more later," she says as she starts getting the hooks off. At the smell of a grill starting up, she redoubles her efforts.


Cloud looks over as Alder speaks of the find, though freezes in place as he mentions a bomb.
"A bomb?"
He questions, until seeing Alder has disarmed it.
"Phew, that would've been bad. For us and this stash."

He whistles at all the shiny treasure and weapons, then glances over at the deeds.
"Not sure how useful those will be now with how wrecked some of these towns are, but there must be one nice place still standing."


"Grill, I say, grill!" Bent Scales commands.
Sickly Sweet laughs and shakes his head. "We found some books in what appeared to be a fisherman's hut earlier; I'll skim and see if I find any pictures."

In time, you return to Aristar proper, finding your crewmates hard at work ensuring that the recruits of your army are getting in training, practicing with cleaning and reloading guns, basic sword play, and all manner of dirty tricks a pirate needs to get an advantage over a stronger enemy. As you approach, many stop and salute Cutlass as their captain.


She looks at you coldly. "Aristar has been my home long enough. It has suited me well, but I tire of it. Whatever you are hiding from me, I could care less what happens to this place in the end. Survival, at any cost. That is what drives me. And it is why I will fight at your side. I have not lived for two hundred years for my life to be cut short by some jumped up cutpurse like the Crimson King, nor those lunatic Queens. They are a threat to me. And I will see them destroyed."

"So, do what you will with this place, if you seek to claim it as your own. As long as my safety is kept intact, I will not stop you."



"Where are Sparkler and Droplet?" Cutlass asks a random recruit.


Cutlass lets out a loud, undignified laugh. "Claim it as my own? Never. Not this place. Not this dreadful, terrible, stupid, fucking-" Cutlass stops herself with a grunt as her vocabulary devolves.

"No," she says with a devious grin. "Once my plan is done, this place will hardly be recognizable."


The recruit points you to the side of the ship, where you see the two of them doing pull-ups using the ship's railing as a bar; other recruits exercise alongside them, though it's obvious that Sparkler and Droplet are leagues stronger than them.


"Ooo, nice find. When I've gotten me some brain food, I'll have to read it as well. Then maybe it'll make me hungry enough for seconds or thirds!" Cerulean works faster to clean this fish off for the grill.



"I require assistance hunting a bee guard captain," Cutlass says as she approaches the assassins.

"Also, you better not damage my ship with your exercise."


Both assassins flip themselves back over the railing. "I'll go with you," both say at the same time. They then glare at each other, and they are clearly eager to be the one to go.

You finish scraping the fish clean for the grill, and throw it on there. "You know how to cook?" one pirate asks.

After a quick survey of the loot, you estimate that it's worth around 5,000 altogether, give or take, though it's likely that you won't be able to carry out all of it yourself – and whoever comes around to help will definitely want a cut of it.
"I don't think I'd wanna own property on this island," Chiu says. "Not after what we've seen its royalty do to people."


"Agreed- I am not one for land ownership, either… I-I think. There is a lot of gold here, though… maybe we can take a chunk of it, and split it three ways?" the griffon suggests, looking the weapons over.


"Yea, home is much better than this place. Buuut, we might be able to sell these off to somepony before we leave. Or at least hold onto them for our bet."

"I like the sound of that. We really hit the jackpot here."


She lets out a single short bark of a laugh, although there's little humor behind it. "Alright then. Keep your secrets. As I said, I care little for the fate of this place."



"Yeah, fair enough," Chiu says, and begins shoveling gold into her bag. "But I really wanna see what's down that trapdoor too!"



"Why not both?" Cutlass shrugs.


"Let's scoop all this gold up first, don't wanna overlook any coins or gems."
Cloud pauses mid-scoop.
"Hmm, we can't split this evenly. Alder, you can take the remainder since you disarmed the bomb and all."


"We've got a lot of recruits, and keeping them all in line, even with our crew's help, is pretty difficult," Droplet explains. "You've got street rats, revolutionaries, ex-soldiers, family members seeking revenge, prisoners, merchants – I'm pretty sure Make Believe did something to those merchants before we recruited them too, they're terrified of him. Ideally, we should leave one of us behind to keep an eye on 'em."


"Uhh…sorta? I haven't been watching you guys close enough." She laughs a bit.
"I could actually use a bit of help, yeah."


The pirates give a good-natured laugh as well, and they begin showing you how to cook the fish. They coach you through the process and show you how to use various tools to keep an eye on your fish and make sure you cook it evenly and thoroughly. You start to get the hang of it, and by the end, you've made sure it's cooked enough, and it smells mouthwatering.



"Okay, then Droplet. Your shadow transformation will be useful for this."


Mouthwatering indeed. One would have to wonder if Cerulean's water-making aura power was activated with how much she seems to me salivating and chomping at the air in the fish's general direction.
"I may not like the waiting, but who can argue when I can finally eat stuff like this without hurting the inside of my mouth?" With that happy comment, Cerulean gets herself a nice, good chunk and begins to chow down.


"A-Ahh, fine. I suppose I will take the remaining piece." the griffon remarks, flustering a little. He packs his chunk of treasure, before nodding to Chiu. "Right. Let us check the trap door."


Sparkler is visibly disappointed and frowns, but she and Droplet nod. "At your command, we'll get hunting, captain."



"Then, we should head back to the countryside where we found the bee guards before. Do you have any intel on where there are smaller amounts?"

"Care to join us, Thessaly?"


She perks up from watching the sea, and simply nods. "Better than sitting around for the rest of the day. Let's be quick about it."


You dig into the fish, and it's got an interesting citrus-like tang to it that other fish just don't. Though it's tasty in its own right, something about having made it yourself gives you just a bit more satisfaction as you chow down. As you eat, you notice a familiar unicorn mare enter the town, carrying a very large cart in a rickshaw setup. You recognize her from the cornerclub where Cutlass had you keep an eye on that one guy she suspected of murder.

After dividing the loot among you, a tenth of Cloud's share vanishes, as per the debt he accrued from his wish with Stone Cold Classic. He feels an odd stirring and buzzing sensation where his wings once were.

You head down through the trapdoor, descending the ladder into the stone tunnel. There are torches in sconces on the walls, suggesting someone was here recently. As you proceed through the tunnel, the sound of waves grows louder, though is muffled. You soon find the reason why: a large wooden door, slightly ajar, is at the end of the tunnel. You note a dark pool of old blood seeping from beneath the door.

"We'll have to do some in-field hunting to get current intel," Droplet says. "They may have moved position since we last encountered them, they're a tricky lot. I'll have a scout head out ahead of us."

He whistles over a scout from among the original Gates of Justice members, who nods and heads off the ship.


[Go to top] [Catalog] [Return][Post a Reply]
Delete Post [ ]
[ art / co / ot / q / qt / v ] [ 3dpd / unf ] [ g / sic ] [ countdown / hyperindex / linkboard / quest archive / stream ] [ Hamburger Time Calendar / MLPG Beacon / Donate / Game & Mumble Servers ] [ Rules & FAQs / Credits ] [ Mod ] [ home ]