No.701786[Last 50 Posts]
Our heroes have returned from the Shifting Sands, where in a forgotten vault they encountered someone they did not expect: a petrified Discord, god of chaos, now known as Persolus. Seemingly under an enchantment forcing him to always tell the truth, he told the party that he had figured out a way out of the Echoes, but it required freeing him and messing with some sort of egg that was being kept in the vault. Sensibly, the party chose not to trust him, and declined his offer.
From there, they have made their way to Braildorn, one of the few places in the Echoes that most closely resembles modern society. However, while they sought respite within its walls, they soon found their troubles were far from over: Lysander, an ambitious and greedy dragon with significant influence in the Echoes, saw to the kidnapping of their friend Violet, replacing her with a spy to study the party and assess them. The party soon rooted out the spy and followed a trail of clues (including striking a tenuous alliance with the nefarious Tiger Clan) which eventually led them to Lysander's ship, the Lady Luck. From there, they proceeded to fight their way to Lysander himself, rescue Violet and take the Lady Luck for themselves - which was not a ship at all, but rather an enchanted construct called a Sanctuary. They soon found that overtaking a Sanctuary did not come without its failsafes, however; the Fulcrum, a unique magical object that controls a Sanctuary, was bound to Lysander and Lysander alone, and no one else could use it without risking severe mental harm or even death.
Via one of their newfound acquaintances, however, they may have figured out a workaround. Fumblemore, a bumbling but good natured wizard, knows of a way to break the Seal of Dominion, but it is a dangerous ritual that requires the participation of the entire group; their spiritual forms would entre the Fulcrum, according to Fumblemore, and have to physically bypass whatever defences Lysander has placed.
Meanwhile, the party have made themselves quite busy while in Braildorn:
Hermodur has accepted a contract to hunt down a creature plaguing the town's citizens, a particularly large and intelligent balaur known as the Beast of Braildorn.
Norv has expressed his interest in performing a courier task for Carnifex, a servant of Black Pudding. He has also commissioned a new sprayer to be made for him by the master craftsman Hadrian, which has dug deep into his pockets.
Silver and Rabi, now officially an item, wish to aid a farmer who's been having a strange problem: non-hostile zombies come down from the hills every night and taint his crops, targeting his farm specifically.
Violet, having experience in ousting warlocks, has shown interest in pursuing a terrible sorcerer known as the Oneiromancer, who has enslaved a small fishing village on the other side of the Broad River.
"We have consulted various hunters in town, drifters or otherwise, and assembled some info on balaur in general, and the Beast itself." Captain Fergal starts rummaging through a cabinet and eventually pulls out a tightly furled scroll. "Let's see here…"
"Balaur are highly intelligent, that much is clear. About as much so as an exceptionally clever dog, by all accounts. Some have even domesticated balaur before. They come in several variants: Boneridge, Deathwhistler, Cursebite, Grallvore, Fellform, to name a few. The Beast appears to be a Blackjaw Balaur, albeit a freakishly large one. Blackjaws are exceptional climbers and can spit acid as well as secreting it reactively when injured. Ranged combat recommended for this one. As for habitat… Balaur can live anywhere and eat anything, but they prefer damp environments. We believe the Beast to be hiding somewhere in the sewer system of the city, but it could be anywhere really."
"Was there anything else you'd like to know? We have quite a dossier on it."
You hoist up your attacker and start half carrying and half dragging him towards Carnifex's shop. He smells awful, and your wounds slow you down immensely, but you somehow manage to pull through, eventually arriving at the small black stone dome-shaped building. The smell of ammonia isn't as strong now, replaced with what smells to you oddly like roast meat.
"If yer willin' t'stay th'night t'wait fer 'em," Ricard suggests, "I have an old guests shack out back I could set up fer ye. It's not much ter look at, but it'd serve ye well enough if yer willin' ter follow 'em."
Violet flinches a little instinctively as you touch her reassuringly, but accepts it. "…Yeah. I guess you're right. Sure sounds like it was a doozy last night. …Thanks for staying behind. I know I don't really say so often, but I'm glad I met you. And everyone else of course. It's been great." She falls silent for a moment as you keep talking, listening quietly. Soon enough, the tea is brought out and served, charging you 15 bits. Violet quietly drinks some.
"…I think I'm going to be leaving soon," she says after a long silence. "I… I feel like it's for the best. For everyone. After what happened today I think it might be better if I lay low. I keep getting you and the rest of the gang into all sorts of trouble because of my past. It's not your cross to bear. We'll meet again, but I'm thinking in a few days I'll just go undercover for a while…"
"I think we could manage a guests's shack." he says, giving Silver a friendly nudge. "About what time does it start? Just at sunset, or once the sun is down fully?"
The farmer shakes his head. "Midnight. Ish. They start runnin' down from the hills 'n just stand there, menacingly. It's 'orrible."
I curl my nose at the stench of the cat, almost welcoming the mild ammonia stench, and definitely welcoming the smell of roast meat. I grit my teeth, trying to push through the pain of my wounds as I hobble up to the door. After juggling my cage and the felid for a second, I realize I have to actually set my cage down in order to knock on the door. I crouch down, drop it to the ground as lightly as I possibly can, reach up with my partially free hand, and knock. I keep telling myself that I really don't need to do this, and that it's probably better if I don't. No matter how many times I say it in my head I can't bring myself to believe it.
"Hrm… really specific, then. Do you happen to ever see anything else come in and out, or do you head back inside?"
"Can I see a picture of its tracks? Also, if they can be tamed, then they can be predicted. You can't tame something if you can't catch it. They must have some method of luring out the beasts. Do you know of any Balaur trainers in town?"
"That would work quite well, thank you." i reply with a nod.
"Once they've arrived we may finally see just what
is causing this mess."
You hear someone shuffling behind the stone door, and with a heavy scraping sound it opens. A grim beaked face pokes out, with orange markings around the eyes. "We have not seen thee before," she says, sounding a little suspicious. "Who art thou?"
He shakes his head. "Nothin' else, no. …Wait. Sometimes if I peer real hard out into the trees, I can see some shadows dancin' 'twixt 'em. Not all the time, but only sometimes. No clue what they could be. Hard to see that time o' night."
I grunt and adjust the felid on my shoulder as I feel him start to slip off. "Norvegicus Black," I say. "I'm here about the job. And also here hoping you can help do a little bit of healing or something? This guy is banged up pretty bad."
"Shadows? Hmm.. nothing i've heard of, for sure. Perhaps it may be the caster.."
"In any case, it will serve as something to keep watch for, at least."
Zunden takes the tea into her hands as well, but doesn't yet drink it.
"Do you mind if I azk you about your pazt? I've had time to talk to ze ozherz individually yet you're alwayz doing zomezhing planning ahead or helping Norv out or I dunno…"
she trails off,
"Zhiz ztuff izn't my crozz to bear, you're right, but I'd like to help if I can. It'z juzt hard know what zhat crozz iz. I call zhievez and murdererz companionz, and I care little for what zhey might have done in ze pazt."
She shrugs, taking a sip of her tea,
"I want to know more about you, before you met uz near the lighthouze. Ze pirate drake made mention of a hiztory yet you do not zpeak of it, it haz made me curiouz: who were you, before everyzhing of zhiz? Before ze Echoez?"
"Might be whoever's causing it, then. Thank you for the information, at least. Hopefully, we can find out who's causing this and put a stop to them- and of course, take the zombies out if we need to."
He digs around in the cabinet again and produces a rough sketch of its footprints. It has three digits on each hand, with terribly long claws.
"We have one, yes," he replies. "Linde. She's in custody. We suspect the Beast may be her doing, but we don't have any hard evidence yet. You could question her if you like.">>701793>>701797>>701799
"So, will ye be investigatin' it tonight, then? I'll 'ave the missus get the shack ready if so. If not, just say the word. Please 'urry though. We don' have many crops left.">>701796
Her beady black eyes dart from you to the homeless cat. She seems conflicted, but opens the door. "…Enter, then."
You see that Carnifex is strikingly elegant for a servant of Black Pudding. She is very tall as griffons come, with long, thin legs and brilliant black and white plumage. Several black quill-like feathers jot out the back of her head. She has a stark contrast to her work environment, which is about what you'd expect: a dark laboratory with several shelves containing unpleasant looking ingredients, as well as alchemical tools such as alembics and burners. She hastily clears out a stone table and helps you haul the Felid onto it. She quickly gets to work, starting to rummage about for certain ingredients. "Bezoar… Where is the bezoar… Hm… Lamb's breath, no… Deer's eye, no… Demon's jawbone? Certainly not… Hm…"
As she searches, she makes conversation. "So, the job placement brought you here? 'Tis a simple task, really. Tomorrow evening, someone will arrive at the western gate toting a certain ingredient my master wishes me to experiment with. It is a… rather clandestine matter, owing to the nature of the ingredient. Thine task would be to meet this someone and recite the code we have established: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight." Thou'st heard the second half of the rhyme, we hope?">>701798
She pauses. "I thought I'd told you? Maybe you weren't there. Any case, I don't exactly try to hide it, so here goes:
"I used to be a park ranger back home. It's how I know how to survive out in the wild. It was a simple enough job, although it could be tough at times. There was something unnatural about the woods there. An old magic. Something we can't really understand. I… I don't want to get into the details, but my curiosity got the better of me once, and… It resulted in the… the child we were hunting being found dead. Miles away from the woods. At my home. …My coworkers testified against me. I think they were hiding something. One thing led to another and… Well, I ended up here, met Lysander - Nivius, he was called back then - and, well, I guess you know the rest."
"That does sound fruitful," Hermodur nods. "At the very least, I could learn more about how to lure it out of hiding and to where we want it."
"Could someone take me to her?"
"I don't know ze rezt though, zhat'z why I'm azking-"
Zunden says, taking another sip,
"You zaid you didn't know why he'd be angry at you or anyzhing, zo what did you do togezher, when did you zplit up?"
she coughs politely,
"I'm zorry I'm inquizitive, I juzt know nozhing about ze Echoez, and you've been here much longer in comparizon. You're a very interezting perzon, and I want to know you. Not az a bozz, or a guide, but a perzon perzon. I want to know Violet."
"Right, we should. As far as things go for me, Silv, we'll need to keep the door to the shack open- so, make sure to keep watch while I'm… out. I'd hate for a zombie to come in after you." The stallion says, nuzzling at her cheek a little. "And, hrm… I wonder if whoever's causing this might be watching. If I can figure out where they are, maybe you could sneak around to the edge of the forest? Assuming that is them."
"That sounds simple enough, dear. You keep those eyes of yours trained on the treeline and i'll
creep towards them." i reply, returning the nuzzle.
"In theory we should be fine, given the undead showed no sign of aggression prior to now, and unless whoever is behind this has observation magic that won't change."
At first I'm taken a bit aback by the griffon. I'm not sure what I expected. A unicorn, or another ooze maybe? I tense a little as I see the rest of the place, confirming that she is, in fact, the person I'm supposed to be speaking with. I crouch down and hook my finger into my cage's handle, pick it up, and head inside. I grunt as we hoist him up, glad to finally get the felid off of my shoulder and onto a table. Now that I'm relaxed a bit more, I take a step back and work my shoulder in its socket for a second, but freeze for a second when I hear deer's eye. I might bring that up some time before I leave. Probably shouldn't, but maybe.
I quietly listen as she describes the actual job. Well. A little escort mission. That doesn't sound too hard. I feel like I've heard it before, but I can't place it. Slowly, I shake my head. "I've heard it before, but, uh… Can't really say I remember. Sorry."
He nods and calls for the guard that escorted you, who leads you quietly out of the captain's office and down a flight of stairs into a group of holding cells. They seem empty, save for one, which contains a rather poorly looking unicorn mare. She is sitting about lost in though, but perks up when she sees you approach. The guard turns his back and waits for you to finish. "Are you here to question me too?" she asks. "You don't look like one of them, so I'm assuming not.">>701803
"I thought I'd said so before?" she frowns. "I get now why he's mad at me. I didn't even know he was still alive. He was one of the first ones I met when I first got here," she explains. "He showed me the ropes, pointed me in the right direction, and we stuck together for quite a while. We were business partners, you could say. …Maybe he saw me as more than that." She shrugs. "I always thought there was something strange about him. Very ambitious. Always said he'd conquer the world some day. I just saw it as a pipe dream of his."
"One day, we were coming back from a looting expedition way up north, and we got jumped by a bunch of Prowlers. I made it out in one piece. He didn't. Got ripped real bad. I carried him as far as I could, but I just couldn't anymore. We would've both frozen to death if I'd kept carrying him. I had to leave him, and… well… I guess he's mad because I took his share off of him. The dead don't need treasures, way I see it. Never in my life thought I'd see him again, but here we are." She takes another sip of tea.>>701804>>701805
"If yer any good at scoutin'," he suggests, "ye could go have a look-see around the woods. I tried meself, but I'm no ranger. Got lost for about a day, didn't find nothin' either.">>701806
She looks surprised. "'Red sky in the morning, sailor's warning'. Thou shalt know thine contact by their response. If they say this, they are the one. Aha!" She pulls out a foul looking stone shaped object from one of her shelves and starts grinding it into a paste with a mortar and pestle. "Do this for us - myself, and my master - and he will see to it that thou'rt rewarded. Not in gold, but with an object most wondrous. He has a way of granting boons to those who assist him."
I give her a small, slightly forced smile and nod. "Yes, I've spoken with him once before. Helped him once before too, actually." I gulp and cringe a little as I watch her grind the thing. "So, uh, that's going to help disinfect and heal his wounds?" I clear my throat. "How much is this service going to cost me?"
"Ah, very true! We've time yet before nightfall, we might as well take a look while the room is prepared."
taking my leave, i head towards the treeline the goat indicated, searching for any sign of hoofprints as i go.
[1d10] SearchRoll #1 8 = 8
"I imagine we can give it a shot- I'm more at home in the desert, but I can probably find my way around the forest pretty well…">Search, preferably for hoofprints, or anything that looks out of place [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"We met ze drake earlier today, he may have told uz ze ztory but I hadn't heard it from you bezidez aloof ztuff. You talk about being a liability, but I don't zee how zhat'z ze caze. All you've done iz help uz, and even your 'enemy' wazn't your fault, he waz irrational."
She offers to fill Violet's cup again, doing the same for her own after finishing the rest of her own cup,
"I don't get what ze crozz you have to bear iz. We all have miztakez, but none are damning. No one iz hopelezz."
"Well, I have questions," Hermodur answers her.
"I've been told you are a Balaur trainer. I was hoping you could share some of your expertise. Particularly on how to track one down."
[1d10] for starting off on the right foot!Roll #1 2 = 2
"Oh? Thou knowest the master?" She doesn't look up from her task as she speaks. "He can be a little… overbearing to some, but we have formed a firm alliance. For those with an open mind, the master can teach many things."
"Hm? Oh, for this, it is no charge. Thou art not the patient, after all. If thou seekest treatment for thine own injuries, however, that will cost, depending on their severity." She pauses a brief moment to look you up and down, then keeps grinding the bezoar. "For those, we would charge 25 bits.">>701809>>701810
You head up into the trees and start looking around. You have to be careful not to go too far in; Ricard was right, and it is indeed easy to get lost in this place. You catch a faint foul smell of rotting meat, but apart from that, you can't find anything out of the ordinary.>>701811
"Yeah. I suppose you're right." She stares into the tea for a while. "I just don't want anyone getting hurt because of me. Even if it isn't my fault Lysander's on our case, he's still dangerous. It's me he was after, not you guys."
"Still. What's done is done. Nothing much we can do now but wait and see what happens next. Hopefully that seal breaking spell will work out.">>701812
"That I am." Linde has a very posh accent. "I train them and sell them. They make for good pets, if you have the stomach for them. It's entirely possible this Beast is one of mine, but that wouldn't be my fault, it'd be the customer's. I shouldn't even be here. My beasts are starving!"
"If you're looking to track the Beast I'll tell you what I told everyone else. They favor damp places out in the wild. Anywhere there's a water source nearby. They're amphibious, you know. I'd bet my bottom dollar it's taken up refuge in the sewers somewhere, and uses them to navigate the town. I would try to lure it out with some bait, although… it's developed a taste for living flesh, from the sounds of it. Make of that what you will."
I look down at my wounds and grimace. Yeah, I probably should do something about those. Maybe Zunden's healing thing will help. I close my eyes and focus on expending the healing sun. Looking back up at Carnifex, I knit my brow. "You can't really charge him, though. I'm certain enough he probably doesn't have anything. Or at least not enough."
"Interesting… I've been told that they eat anything. But, is there any specific creatures you've found that they prefer?"
"Goodness, he certainly wasn't exaggerating when he mentioned the forest being this dense.."
finding an open space in the treeline, i take flight, in an attempt to see if a structure is hidden among the growth!"
[1d10] SearchRoll #1 7 = 7
"Mmm… hmm. This is for sure different from a desert." the stallion says, at a bit of a loss.
"I can definitely smell some rotting meat, though… I guess the zombies idle here in the day?"
"Quite possibly, though it is
hard to tell."
"I'm going to try and fly above the treeline here, perhaps that may prove more fruitful." i mention as i try and find a break to fly through. "Do be careful not to get lost, dear."
"Not after today he izn't."
"But zhat iz a ztupid reazon to leave, I know zhiz from exzperience. 'I don't want anyone getting hurt because of me?' I had zhat going through my head while we were in ze dezert. I wazn't healing, people were getting hurt, I blamed myzelf. No one iz getting hurt becauze
of you, zhey chooze to travel alongzide you. If we get hurt, we get hurt togezher. It iz a toxic zentiment zhat civilization haz pazzed on. Ze culture iz wrong, everyone experienzez hardzhip, but it'z not zuppozed to be a zomezhing you have to do zolo. If I waz to deci-"
Zunden cuts herself off from talking to long, chuckling as she realized how heated she getting over a tangent,
"Zorry, I am a zilly lizard. I juzt don't like people blaming zhemzelvez for uncontrollable eventz. I am no zychologizt, I juzt look at picturez on cardz and uze zhem to help people apply meaning to zheir livez. I have no power zhere, it'z juzt zhat people want direction."
You heal your wounds with the sun. Carnifex looks impressed. "Powerful healing magic, thou hast. Curious…"
She looks down at the hobo and nods. "Forsooth. Thou'rt a kindly soul to pay for his wounds. I would charge the same price I would have charged thee." Satisfied with the consistency of the bezoar, she starts scooping out the paste by hand and mixing it in a bowl with a vial of sickly lime green liquid. It smells like boiling sprouts.>>701815
"In the wild? Smaller animals, mostly. Mosscats, fish, sometimes Tyruxi. Mushrooms are a favorite of theirs as well. Oftentimes they group together in packs and hunt down larger beasts such as Indirae or Orchard Keepers. I imagine this particular balaur is large enough to do the work of an entire pack on its own.">>701816
You can see a small, seemingly abandoned campsite in a clearing deeper in the woods. It looks almost entirely reclaimed by the surrounding forest.>>701819
She listens quietly to what you have to say, nodding and steeling herself. "Yeah. You're right, again," she says with a soft smile. "I shouldn't blame myself. Whatever happens, happens. …I'm… I'm glad to be traveling with you. With all of you, really. You have a heart of gold, Zunden. Don't let anyone take it from you." She drifts off, lost in thought for a moment. "Anyway. What comes next? Assuming we break the seal, and help out the Beldam, where do we go from there?"
Well, 25 bits. That's not as bad as I expected. Still, I'm not so sure I can be called a 'kindly soul' for paying to get his wounds healed when I'm the one that caused them. I look away sheepishly. That's like knocking a vase on the ground and being told you're a good person for cleaning it up. I pull the bits out and quietly wait and watch. I can't exactly just leave him here, but there's no way I'm taking him back to our boat with the others. He's one of those… uh… What'd Raff call them? Lemon junkies, I think. A real sourpuss. At least the way he was twitching and talking I could tell he was on something
. I sigh. Maybe I'll pay for another night at the inn. There was a cheaper one, though, wasn't there? Probably a better option.
Spying the campsite, i land as near as i can, before crouching down to hide among the trees on the approach.
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 10 = 10
"Ehehehe… I'll try, at least." the stallion says, trying to look around and get a gauge for where that smell might be coming from>Can you even roll to sniff? [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
"Thank you," Hermodur says with a nod. "I'll have this mess sorted out. Then, with any luck, you'll be set free."
Hermodur turns back to the guard. "I have one last question for your captain, if you wouldn't mind."
"Do not zay i'm right, I don't like claiming to be to come up wizh ze ideaz zhat people already know. I juzt know it'z hard to argue wizh Anguizh. It iz ze darknezz zhat waitz to fill ze room at ze zlightezt guzt againzt a candle'z wick."
Zunden giggles, adding,
"Remind me not ever try poetry. I'll ztick to ze miztique of ze Arcana."
"Well it zoundz like what a good bit of ze group would like to do iz leave ze Echoez. It'z a lofty idea, but I zhink it'z a good quezt. Zomezhing vague for uz to ztrive for, while keeping eachozher company and protecting eachozher in the meantime. Money helpz wizh zhat, zo of courze ze odd job along ze way or to. Iz zhere any ozher planning zhat zuch a plan would need?"
She takes the bits without another word. Her claws are all grubby with bezoar paste. You watch as she stirs the liquid and the paste together, adding a pinch of some strange herbs almost as garnishing. When she's satisfied with the consistency, Carnifex takes a wooden spoon, scoops up some of the mixture and moves over to his wounds. She goes to administer the vile substance, but pauses as she sees him start to come to. "Restrain him for us, if it please thee. For his own sake.">>701822
You hide as you approach the campsite. It doesn't look like anyone's home, though, overgrown and abandoned as it is. There are the remains of a long snuffed campfire, and a ragged old tent torn apart by time.>>701823
You start following the vile smell. It leads you past the long-abandoned campsite and towards what looks like a set of vine-covered graves nearby. It doesn't take a detective to see they've been disturbed recently; in fact, they have all been dug up, and the graves are empty, with the only trace of their occupants being the vague lingering smell of death.>>701824
Linde nods and goes back to sulking.
"Right this way, please," the guard says as he goose steps back towards the captain's office. He takes you back, where you find Captain Fergal poring over the scroll concerning the Beast. "Yes? What is it?">>701825
She chuckles. "It's okay. I'm no good at poetry either. I've tried before but I can only ever write doggerel. Not even good doggerel at that."
"Well, we'd have to find a way out of here first," she shrugs. "Hopefully one that doesn't involve making a pact with an ancient chaos god. That being said. Whatever he is, he doesn't seem anywhere near as dangerous as the legends said. …Anyway, I'm not even sure I want to leave the Echoes. There's not much for me back home. I never really started a family of my own, and I didn't really make friends easily. If anything, coming here's been like a second chance, the way I see it. What about you? Do you miss your home?"
"Where do the sewers dump out of the city?"
I grit my teeth and look back and forth between her an the felid. Restrain him? Will it be that bad? I set my cage down, nod, and walk over to him, holding him down. "It'll be over soon, buddy," I whisper, not entirely sure why I feel the need to reassure him.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
"Hrm… well, we know where they came from, at least… I wonder if they're still around."
Relaxing my guard at the empty camp, i set about searching through the area.
[1d10] SearchRoll #1 1 = 1
Zunden holds her tongue, emptying her cup as she thinks of a responce,
"Have yet to dezide, and I zhink I will not zhink one way or anozher about leaving until I'm at whatever ancient magic would be ready to wizk uz back."
She gazes past Violet,
"Home iz a ztrange conzept for me. I waz born to nomadz, zo home waz ze people zhat were zhere no matter where you went. I lozt zhat home to a plague."
Zunden takes a deep breath, continuing,
"Ze boarding houze too wazn't zomezhing I waz attached to. It protected me from rain and allowed me to help ozherz. I heard from my zell before being banizhed zhat it had been torched by eizher guardz or a gang or zomeone leaving a ztove on. I worry for zhoze who lived, zhere zhough, zure. I took in children wizhout parentz, ze zick and lame. I hope zhat zhey are okay."
she sighs leaning back in her chair, closing her eyes.
"But I am not zheir mozher, and one cannot be coddled zheir whole life. I merely wanted to provide zhem rezpite before ze next journiez of zheir life. Zhey now begin a new chapter, and zo do I. Zo what comez next? I do not know. I can only truely know ze pazt and prezent, and apply zhat to ze future. Zhat iz ze way of ze Arcana."
She keeps her eyes closed, remaining quiet for a good half minute before speaking up,
"But az for not wanting to leave to leave? Who zaid a journey haz to have a deztination anywayz. Maybe we find a plaze to ztop along ze way, find zhat 'zecond chanze' zhere. Only wrong zhing to do iz zit on our handz, errr, hoovez."
He consults the map. "Hmm. Most of them finish over in the Downs, opening to the river itself. If you're looking to go exploring there, you'd do best to try one of the entrances there. Be warned though. The Downs are a maze, and filled with all sorts of lowlifes. And the sewers are even worse. You'd need someone that knows their way around that area.">>701828>>701829
As you hold him down, Carnifex gives you a countdown before starting to smear the substance. Almost instantly, the hobo cries out in pain, kicking and screaming like a man possessed. "'Tis just a sting, child," Carnifex says irritably as she continues to administer her medicine, quite unperturbed by his display. She treats not only the wounds received from your rats, but other wounds he's accumulated through rough living as well. After a while, he stops thrashing and flailing, and passes out again, slumping onto the table. "He shall live," Carnifex says simply. "Now then. Was there anything thou requireth?">>701830>>701831>>701832
You start scouring the area, but much to your chagrin, the zombles are nowhere to be seen. It is as if they vanished into thin air. Rabi, however, being more attuned with magic, senses something that makes the hairs on the back of his neck stand up, some sort of unseen magical force present in the area.>>701833
"That's a good attitude," she answers. "More about the journey than the destination. I like that."
"Tell me more about this boarding house. What sort of clients did you get? I imagine you see all sorts passing through there."
"I see… Thank you. Worry not. This Beast of Braildorne will soon be no more. Best of luck in your duties, sir. I will be off now."
Hermodur heads back to the ship.
I clench my teeth as he screams and flails, reminding myself that this is for his own good. As he passes out I let out a sigh of relief. Looking up at her, I shake my head. "No, thank you. I think that about covers it. Western gate. Red sky at night, sailor's delight. Bring the ingredient back. Got it." I look down at the felid, not looking forward to dragging him back into town. "Well," I say. "I guess I'd better get a move on if I want to get back before nightfall." I gesture to the felid. "And thank you, for- well. You know. Helping."
Picking my cage up, I hoist the smelly cat's arm over my neck and lift him up, heading back towards town and where I can hopefully remember where that cheaper tavern was.
[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"It waz ze manifeztation of a promize I made to my matriarch to help zhoze who had not yet ro realize zheir deztiny. Ze rezidentz were zo diverze, it'z like you took ze whole Dominion and zquazhed it into one building. Mozt people ztayed a monzh or zo at a time, but we had over zhree dozen more or lezz permament rezidentz az well. It waz hard at firzt to lay down ze rulez I had for ze location, but az more permamentz came and grew to underztand what my goal waz, I got more help. I bazically had unpaid bounzerz keeping troublemakerz out wizhout me having to zay a word."
The saurian smiles as she remineces,
"It waz much like ze Echoez even before I came here. Lot of former and active criminalz, putting azide zhat lifeztyle when zhey walked zhrough ze doorz. Even had warring gangz zleep next to eachozher at one point, 'Ze zaur'z home iz off limitz'
they'd zay to eachozher, it made me happy. Courze, zhere waz zheir bad applez. I've been ztabbed, choked, clawed, bit in zhoze allywayz. I zhank my tribe for my zhick zcalez and I zhank my friendz zhere for keeping me zafe. It'z why I know zo much about wound care."
"Mm, nothing. Well, i suppose that would be a better outcome than a hoard of undead, yes?">>701832
"Find anything of note, dear?"
"Oh… hmm. We're not alone here, that's for sure. It's something magical… maybe I should try going on a little astral trip, and see if I can see it there?"
"Oh! Excellent idea, Rabi."
"Find a spot to sit down, i'll keep watch for physical threats, you focus on the magical ones."
"Mhm. Good hunting," he says stiffly, then starts to question the guard about something else.
You make your way back to the ship. It's still there, and in quite serviceable condition. It doesn't look like any of your companions have returned yet, however, giving you ample time to look around and explore the ship if you wish.>>701836>>701837
"Farewell, Norvegicus. We await thine safe return."
You start trying to carry the helpless junkie, but the combined exhaustion of getting mugged, carrying him to Carnifex, and having to restrain him during the whole bloody affair leaves you exhausted. You can't carry him any further, and are forced to leave him near the Den.>>701838
"Hm. There always are, aren't there," she muses. "One thing I've learned while adventuring, is that some people are just irredeemably evil. No one can help them, not even themselves. They're just rotten to the core. …Surprisingly, I haven't met many of those people here in the prison dimension. You'd think it'd be a hive of villainy, but I find it rather pleasant here. When something's not trying to murder you that is. Hehe.">>701840
You exit into your astral form and start looking around. Your senses are heightened in this form, and you can feel traces of magic that lead you through the woods, almost like a breadcrumb trail. It takes you some time, but you eventually follow it all the way to the other end of the forest, where a second farm can be found. It looks rather poorly, and is much, much smaller than Ricard's.
I groan as I realize I can't even get him out of the downs. I stop for a minute to catch my breath, dropping my cage on the ground to give myself a place to sit. Probably should just take him to the inn here and forget about him. After catching my breath, I decide to do exactly that, hoping that in my preoccupied state some other wise guy doesn't get the idea to try and mug me.
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"I don't like having to aczept zhat, but zome people have forced me to in ze pazt."
Zunden's brows furrow, before chuckling,
"And yez, I firmly believe people only do ze bad zhingz zhey do becauze of ze reztrictionz of zociety and law. Zhey become outcaztz becauze zociety caztz zhem out firzt, it'z a zelf-fufilling prophezy. You give zhem a home, food, and a ztable life - az I've learned - and zhat 'villainy' goez. People juzt want to be treated az equalz. Zhame zhoze here have to be banizhed to anozher dimenzion to finally experienze zhat."
Seeing The coltfriend slump over as the spell takes hold, i take a seat next to his body, keeping a watchful eye on our surroundings.
[1d10] Watch keepingRoll #1 6 = 6
"Thanks, Silvy. I'll come back as soon as I find something good… or if I find nothing, I guess." he says, taking a seat by a tree and trying to relax…>>701842"Hrm… well, there was something. Neat." the stallion notes, 'talking' along after the trail. It looks like it's a tad too convenient, so the stallion stays on guard. He hasn't really… practiced… but, maybe he can try lobbing out a bolt of magic if needbe. Regardless, he floats along to the farm and tries to keep an eye out.>[1d10] what the fuck's in the spirit world anywaysRoll #1 10 = 10
You take a breather before carrying him in a fireman's lift all the way to the Happy Minotaur. The smell is unbearable, but you power through it, eventually leaving him at the door of the inn. After a moment it creaks open, and a large, extremely surly looking minotaur pokes his head out, looking first at him, then at you questioningly.>>701844
She nods thoughtfully. "As awful as some of the convictions are, I think the Echoes work, in a way. It gives people a second chance, you know? It's hard living, but we've made it a new home, such as it is. Of course, some never grasp that and just stay rotten, but others, they try to make amends. A lot of 'em do, really. We all have our baggage, our reasons for being here. In some way, for a lot of people, this is a shot at redemption.">>701845
You keep watch. Nothing much eventful happens, for now.>>701847
This second, poorly looking farm seems to be inhabited, judging from the smoke coming from the main house. Unlike Ricard's, the crops seem to be doing well, despite the overall inferiority of the estate. You can also sense heavy traces of magic lingering around it. Whoever lives here, they clearly have skill in the arcane arts.
"Zure, zure, but ze conzept iz ztill flawed. Even if zomeone fully turnz heel on zheir former evil or wrongdoing here, zhey will never be return to family or loved onez. It iz an act of permanent unforgivenezz, never azzepting zhat zhey would be fit to live amongzt zociety ever again."
Continuing the vigil, i lean against my comatose love, sighing as i idly listening for movement.
I stop for a second to catch my breath before giving the big guy a sheepish smile. "I, uh… Wanted to maybe rent a room for the night?" I nod toward the felid. "For this guy. And leave a message for him. And maybe set him up with a meal in the morning if that's possible." I crinkle my nose. "And a shower. I feel like I'm about to lose my sense of smell."
"Yeah… I guess you're right. I hadn't thought of that." There is a slightly awkward silence. "Still, there's got to be a way home, right? I don't know if I'd take it, but it can't be impossible to find a way back. I didn't really have much back home, so to me it wasn't really a big change, coming down here."
"What about you? Do you have anyone back home?">>702121
You move closer to the house, floating in through an open window. At first it looks like a relatively normal little cabin; then you notice the odd tomes lying about, the strange bottles with gruesome looking ingredients preserved within, and the sinister symbols drawn onto the ground in places. The house is inhabited by a bat pony, currently fast asleep.>>702123
The minotaur thinks for a good long while, then just grunts as he grabs the Felid by the scruff of the neck with one swift movement, pulls him inside and closes the door on you. It seems that's a no to the shower.
"Shouldn't I-" I stand there, stunned as the door shuts in my face. I was going to tell him I was going to be back the next day to talk to him, but I guess that's not happening. "pay…" I dumbly finish. If he doesn't answer the door again then I turn and head back to town. I need a drink.
Between the events of the day and the wait, i start to nod off, shutting my eyes as i continue the wait for Rabi.
"Az I zaid, it zertainly makez for an interezting quezt, pozzible or not. Az for people back at ze boarding houze? Zhey would have eizher zcattered or ended up here in ze Echoez az fellow 'terroriztz'."
After a minute, you hear thumping footsteps, and a big, hairy hand pops through the door expectantly. "Fifty," he thunders from behind it.>>702126>>702127
Rabi rejoins the world of the living, feeling somewhat dizzy but overall in good shape.>>702128
"Hm. So no family around? Mine are either gone or not worth contacting, for what it's worth." She orders herself another beer. "You want one?"
I jump back and raise my hands defensively. Slowly, to show I'm just paying him, I pull out fifty bits. I can't believed I'm letting myself get robbed by this guy even after I stopped him from mugging me. After paying him I leave.
Feeling Rabi stir, i perk up enough to cuddle into him. "Finally back, dear? How did it go?"
"Ah, geez… that's gonna take some getting used to. And, it went well, Silvy. I think I know what's happening… I think the zombies are a distraction. There's a decrepit farmhouse, surrounded by very, very well-off crops. In addition, the whole place, including the farmhouse is laced with magic. It looked like he had a ritual circle in his house, too."
"My tribe waz ztubborn, even az zhey fazed deazh zhoze zhat weren't bedridden ztayed zhere, tending to ze zick. Myzelf included too, if not for ze matriarch telling me to not doom myzelf to ze zame fate az ze rezt of zhem."
She says a bit detached, tuning out for a moment before looking to Violet confused,
"Family or beer?"
"A ritual circle? My, so it's either that may be what raises so many dead, or he's planning on using it for something more nefarious.. What would you suggest? Should we confront him while his dead are still dead?"
The cuddle is returned immediately, of course.
He closes his fist and retracts the hand. You hear him counting under his breath, then he just grunts and closes the door again.>-50 bits
You start heading out of the Downs and making your way back across town to the Old Familiar.>>702133
She lets out a short bark of a laugh. "Ha! Both I guess. But seriously, you want a drink or not?">>702130>>702133
Violet looks rather stony as Norv walks in looking beaten and worn, and smelling like a hobo. "…What the hell happened to you?" she asks bluntly.
I don't answer right away, instead setting my cage on the ground, unsommoning my rats, and looking up at whatever barmaid is around. "Can I get a Manhattan please?" I brush the fur on the top of my head back and go to talk to Violet, but look back to the barmaid instead. "A double!" Sighing, I lean on the table, exhausted from the day that never seems like it's going to end. Finally, I look up at Violet, notice her expression, and freeze. "Did you guys want something?" I shake my head. "Anyway, it's been a long day. Want the details or the highlights?"
"I think that'd be a safe bet, actually. He was sleeping, so if we hurry, we'll have the drop on him. We can figure out why his crops are doing so well, too."
"Right, lead the way, dear! Once we get close i'll try to sneak in." i reply, nodding determinedly.
Zunden chuckles as well, clearing her throat,
"Yeah, I zuppoze zo. To ze drin-">>702137
"Did you go out to do ze job by yourzelf? You look terrible, and you've had to heal yourzelf…"
Zunden takes her staff and channels some magic, floating another orb to hang over Norvegicus,
"Zit down, we were ordering drinkz."
"I didn't do the job, but I talked to the job giver person. Carnifex. She said we're supposed to meet someone tomorrow, give them a code, and then just kinda take the package to her." I shake my head. "Nah, the healing was for something different."
Following behind Rabi, I make my way with him towards the farm, keeping an eye on our surroundings.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
"Just be ready to bolt- I didn't see any of the undead myself." he says, pulling her up on to her hooves (and into a hug) before moving onwards>Perception [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
One of the barmaids, a gangly, buck-toothed young mare, nods and goes to prepare the drinks.
"Lay it on me," says Violet. "Did you go panhandling or something? You look crap enough to pass for a beggar.">>702137>>702140
The drinks come out surprisingly fast, presumably due to lack of other customers: two frothing mugs of beer for Violet and Zunden, and an extra strong Manehattan cocktail for Norv. Violet nods in thanks and pays for all three.>>702141
She wrinkles her snout. "Carnifex. Yeah, we've met. She's kind of a bitch, but at least she's not Pudding." She gives you an odd look, but doesn't really elaborate.>>702138>>702139>>702142>>702143
You move onwards toward the tiny little farm. As you do so, you notice - moments too late - that there is a very faint, nigh-imperceptible glimmer on the ground surrounding the farmland, forming a border. As you step across the threshold, an ear-piercing shriek sounds out, like a yowling cat. It pierces your eardrums, painful like nails on a chalkboard. As the shrieking starts, black shadows begin to bubble around you, with several decaying, rotted limbs starting to claw out of them, pulling themselves out of the ground. The shrieking alarm sound does not let up as you find yourselves surrounded by five shambling undead of various races and in varying states of decay. They are very clearly unfriendly, unlike Ricard's experience. Two of them, a skeletal griffon and a rotting earth pony respectively, lurch towards you in turn, clawing at you.
[1d10] vs Silver
[1d10] vs RabiRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
Zunden takes the drink, sipping it as she looks to Norvegicus,
"Pleaze, elaborate if you will."
Folding my ears back in pain, i draw my shivs to try and fend off my attacker!
"There was a trap?! Ohh i knew this was too simple!"
[1d10] Melee, GriffonRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
"Gah, shoulda known!" The stallion shouts, springing back and firing off a bright arrow at the animated pony corpse.>Magic Bow: [1d10+2] (Light Element)Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
I cringe at the sting of being told I look like a beggar, even though I know that's not how she meant me to take it. Picking up the glass, I take a long sip, shiver, and set the glass back down. "She seemed weird, but at least she healed the guy that mugged me for pretty cheap." I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and decide to start at the beginning.
"This morning I wake up feeling like I was brained by an iron club with a hangover the likes of which I've never felt in my life because of drinking an amount no mortal should probably ever ingest. I stumble down the stairs, happy to see you're back and instead of going with everyone else I decide to stay with you and catch up. You look like you had a hell of a night so I want to make sure you're okay. After maybe ten or fifteen minutes I figure out that 'hey. This isn't my
Violet, and this guy is doing a really shitty job impersonsting her." I take another sip of my drink, set it down, and slide it away from me a bit to try and pace myself. "So I lead him upstairs under the guise of giving 'you' my money to hang on to, because I figure 'hey. He'll probably jump at the chance to keep it if he can.' Drop the bits in his hand and then boom-" I slam my fist into my open palm for emphasis. "Sucker punch him right in the kisser. He doesn't go down long enough for me to grill him, though. No. I have to chase the guy halfway across the city before finally tackling him, lying to some guards about what I plan to do with him, and carry him back."
I scratch my chin. "Actually it's kind of funny, because that's not even the only time I carried someone I knocked out today." I lean forward on the table. "Oh, I'll get to that, though. So I get him back here, take him up to my room, tie him up, and convince the guy I'm going to feed him to my rats." I stop talking, realizing I'm breathing heavy. I try to regain my composure and continue. "For faulty information. Oh, but it's okay, because the guy is freaking dead
now because of it. So we have to do some running around all over the city trying to get some info on where you might be before one of us remembers 'oh, hey, we have a thing that keeps us from needing to do that'. So we follow it across town to the docks, and find Lysander's ship. We try to hop on, but it doesn't happen. So, for the second time today, I sucker punch a guy, get the piss kicked out of me, before finally helping save Aurora by choking a guy out. All while still feeling the effects of my hangover, mind you. It's only then that finally we go below deck and find you chained up. Kind of adorably I might add." I chuckle. "You were so happy to see us." I clear my throat and sip my drink. "Anyway, I guess that's about when everything catches up with me, because I apparently passed the hell out and missed the whole confrontation with the actual guy."
My breathing is heavy, and my cheeks are a little red. I decide to take a second to let everything sink in. "And that was just my morning."
The skeleton overpowers you, clawing at you with surprising strength and knocking you to the ground.>Silver takes 5 hits, helpless>>702147
The zombie manages to graze you. You back away and nock a glowing arrow. It strikes true, disintegrating the undead on impact. You see the bubbling shadows they crawled from begin to spread, collecting the undead's remains and drawing them back in.>Rabi takes 1 hit>>702148
She looks surprised. "You… You really did that? Chased some guy down all the way across town and grilled him for info? That's… that's pretty crazy."
"I saw him go for it," Chardonnay says in passing. "It was kind of impressive."
Violet continues to listen patiently, looking both sympathetic and impressed. "Just another day in the Echoes, huh. I didn't really stop to think how full on today's been. For everyone, really. …Who are you calling adorable?" You can't tell whether she's actually offended or just pretending.
thrown onto the ground, i try to get back onto my hooves!
[1d10] Recover!Roll #1 10 = 10
Zunden nods along, sipping her beer.
Rabi takes note of the fact that it seems to be slowly drawing together, but can't help but be angered at the other skeleton. He lets out a snarl, and flings a bolt of flame at the griffon>Magic Bolt: [1d10+2] (Fire)Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
I laugh, a little surprised at Chardonnay chiming in. Nice to have a witness. "Yeah. It was terrifying, buy I did it. Besides, it was to help you, so that made it a little easier. Your eye looks really good, by the way. I told 'you' that this morning, but I don't guess you'd have remembered." I wink, give her a small, sly smile, and continue.
"Oh, but that's not all. So we get back to shore, I pay Hadrian so I don't risk getting robbed, and then decide I want to head to the downs to see it maybe I can help out some how. Stop in this creepy church at the very end of their sermon. Meet a nice guy named Raff who shows me around the place. Oh, I think I know where to look for BoB when we get to it."
I take another drink and bury my face in my paws. "So one of the things Raff shows me is the gambling hall. I try to resist, but I can't help dropping in. Oh, Rosen and Glider are in town too. So that's kind of neat. Beat Rosen and a couple of others at Liars Dice again, and then decide to hit the poker table for a bit. Almost get cleaned out but manage a lucky break. I swear, with the trash hands that Zebra was playing he had to have god-like luck. In the end I manage to win and walk away with more than I went in with." I turn to Zunden. "Here's where we get to the answer to your question. I also found where Carnifex lives and decide I'll ask about the job while I'm nearby. On the way this felid -who I'm pretty sure was on something. I think Raff called them Lemon Junkies or something.- jumps me. I fight back, get cut and stabbed in the stomach, and then let my rats out. They maul the guy. Like, tear him apart. I have to almost force them away. So he runs away, but I know how nasty rat bies get so I follow him, carry him ton carnifex, pay her to heal him while I ask about the job, and then get him a room at the something or other minotaur. Some in down there."
I exhale and lean back in my chair, finally finished. "Then I came back here, sat down, ordered a drink, and told you two about my day.'
"…Lemon Junkiez? You were attacked by drug uzerz? Do you zhink zhey are after ze package we'll be delivering later?"
She asks, concerned,
"I am glad you helped ze perzon, zhough. Dying in ze ztreetz iz a terrible way to go."
You get back up in one swift motion, ready to keep fighting.>>702152
Your firebolt misses.
The griffon skelet claws at you, while one of the other three, a larger than average saurian, shambles towards Silver and swipes at her.
The door of the farmhouse opens and the bat pony bursts out, looking livid. His hooves are glowing with dark energy. "Trespassers!" he yells at you. "Get outta here!">>702153
She looks flattered. "It's just an eye," she says modestly. "Compliments should go to Zunden for it, not me."
She drinks and listens as you recount your adventure in the Downs. "Lumen," she corrects you. "I've heard of it. It's a sort of magic light. They bathe in it. I don't know what it does, but they can't get enough of it."
She winces at the description of what happened to the junkie, listening quietly to the rest of your story. "Wow. Good on you," she says soberly. "Most would have just left him there. Zunden's right. That's no way to die." You seem to have given her some food for thought, as she nurses her drink, drifting off for a moment.Roll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
I cradle my cup in my hands and look down at it. "Yeah," I say. "I know. And I don't know. I think he just saw me leaving the gambling hall and decided I was an easy mark with some money worth mugging for. It was before I visited her, so he probably didn't think I had anything."
"The skeletons are going to keep reforming, we need to find a way to stop this! M-Maybe you can talk him down and we can see what we can do from there?"
Right. Lumin. Duh. I mentally slap my forehead. I figured lemon sounded silly.
I breathe a contented sigh, relax some, and sip my third-of-the-way-through drink. That was kinda cathartic. "So anyway, you guys just been hanging around here? Anything on your minds or agenda? I don't think I've gotten myself into enough trouble yet."
"I suppose it could work!">>702155
"Would you kindly call off your undead for a moment? We just came here to talk!" i call out mid dodge, avoiding the saurian's grasping claws.
[1d10+2] PersuasionRoll #1 5 + 2 = 7
"Magic light? Tell me more. How can one become addicted to… light?"
You try to avoid the griffon but it gives you a good rake across the leg.>-1 hit>>702159
He stares down at you judgingly, then raises his hoof. The cat shrieking stops, and the undead back away for a moment. "What do you want?" he says suspiciously, eyeballing you from his vantage point above you. "You're not meant to be here. This is private property.">>702158
"Yeah. Silver, Rabi and Hermodur are off doing other stuff. So is Aurora, think she went for a walk. We've just been here chatting, really. About, uh, what I missed last night." She lets that hang, failing to elaborate.>>702160
"Some sort of magic effect it has on your brain. I don't know. I don't touch that stuff. I think it's a phenomenon that only exists here in the Echoes, because I never heard of it back home." She shrugs.
I tense as she mentions last night. Slowly, I sip my drink. "Right," I say, more than a little awkwardly. "Last night was, uh… Something. Wish you were there, but I guess you were a little-" I clear my throat and dumbly continue. "Tied up."
With the undead retreating, i sheath my shivs and sigh.
"We were hired by a farmer down the hill to investigate the mob of undead wandering into his fields. My companion and I tracked the magic to this Farmhouse, intent on speaking with you, before we triggered a warding spell."
"Would you be willing to explain the situation? I'm sure we'd all prefer avoiding the effort of fighting, correct?"
Zunden snorts mid-drink upon hearing 'tied', the frothy beer coming up her nose somewhat.
, had to zneeze."
Rabi winces from the swipe, but it's not much of a problem. He nods in agreement with Silver, intending to let her handle the talking in a tense situation like this.
She shrugs, looking blank. "Hey. It's your choice. Don't see why it would've been different if I were there.">>702163>>702165
He gives you a frigid look. "You don't want any part of this," he says evasively. "Not your business. Now get lost or I'll sic 'em on you.">>702164
Violet looks concerned. "You okay there?"
"Fine, juzt a zneeze I azzure you. I could help up to bed if you two wanted to talk, I've been chatting wizh you for what, a few hourz now?"
"We're just concerned. His crops are dying, and we wanted to figure things out."
"Oh, come now, The two of us here would certainly like to help. Aside from the scuffle just now the undead have been largely passive, leading me to believe you aren't just after the Goat's blood. Perhaps we could help clear whatever may be going on?"
[1d10+2] PersuasionRoll #1 9 + 2 = 11
I sigh and slowly twirl my drink. I take a gulp of it, putting it at about half through, and slam it down. Scratching the back of my head in frustation, I sit up a little straighter. "Damn it, this is something we need to talk about." I look up at Violet, locking eyes with her. My heart slams against the inside of my chest, and in the back of my mind I know I should quit while I'm ahead. Still, especially after Violet being kidnapped, Aurora's words ring louder. "It would have mattered because I would have been paying more attention to you. I like you. A lot, actually. I think you're amazing, and even though I have a hundred excuses -I had 12 shots of Brandy, I was feeling vulnerable and kind of depressed, she made me feel like I was actually someone worth flirting with- it still feels like, even though I haven't actually said anything until now, I betrayed your trust somehow."
I groan. "And I know maybe that's silly, but that thought probably bothered me more today than being stabbed."
I laugh. "And now her and Rabi are actually a thing. Gotta say, I commend the guy. I don't think I'd have it in me to look past that, let alone not punch my lights out."
She shrugs. "If you want. Is it really that late already? Feels like it's only been a few minutes." She looks outside; it is indeed already getting dark. "Huh. Could've sworn it was earlier.">>702168>>702169
A shadow of a doubt passes over the sorcerous farmer's face. He changes from angry and defiant, to hesitant, and ashamed. Even frightened. "I…" He flies down to eye level. "…Look. I can't stop it. Even if I tried. I… I can't tell you who's making me do it, he'll kill me, or worse. Don't… I… I never wanted to hurt his livelihood. I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do about it anymore. It…" He seems to reconsider his own words, steeling himself. "…It's the Oneiromancer. Across the river. He's making me do it. He wants to poison the land. I'm just the start of it. …Gods, what have I gotten myself into… Just go. Tell Ricard that Algol did it. They'll take me away, I'm sure. Better that than end up at the mercy of him." He can't seem to look you in the eye. "…Leave me be.">>702170
She pauses mid drink, looking at you with an odd glint in her eye. She puts down the drink, a smile on her face. "…Well. It's about time," she smirks. "I… I like you as well, Norv." She doesn't seem to know what else to say. "…Even when everyone else is bigger than you, or stronger, you always pull through. You went through hell today, just… Just to save me…" She's at a loss for words, looking a little flushed. She hastily takes another swig of beer.
I ease into my seat and relax a little. There's a lot less yelling than I expected. "Wait, what?" I ask. There's no way it was that easy the whole time. I try to keep myself from getting too excited. "Seriously? You're not mad? I might pull through, but 90% of the time it's because of you guys. I screw up. A lot." I run my finger along the rim of my glass. "And I'm starting to think I'm a little impulsive."
Zunden remains quiet, hating to be a third wheel.
"Oh my, it seems this is much bigger than we thought.."
seeing the bat stand there defeated, i rack my brain for something to console him with.
"You need not say more, Algol. We'll send for the guard to get you away to safety, with mention of your actions being forced. I'm sure that given the situation they should understand your predicament."
With that, i motion for Rabi to follow as i start the trek back to Ricard's farm.
"Yeah. Heck, if we can, we'll try to put a stop to this… Oneiromancer. A Dream mage? Huh. Regardless, we'll make sure they aren't too harsh on you."
"Hey," she says, reassuringly. "It's like Zunden said. That wasn't you. I can't control what you do anyway."
"Well then. What happens now? I'm, uh, I'm not very good with this stuff.">>702175>>702176
He just nods sullenly, dismissing the conjured corpses, breathing a sigh of defeat.
You start moving back through the woods, making your way back to the larger of the two farmsteads. Ricard is playing with the dog you saw earlier as you approach, looking up and waving at you. "Yer back! Anythin' new from up there?"