The Drifters have made their escape from the town of Braildorn, having been made outlaws by their new nemesis Lysander. Once an adventurer like themselves, Lysander has fallen victim to his own hubris and greed, desperate to be seen as a true dragon. The party's first encounter with him led to him becoming crippled, and the party taking his ship for themselves. To make things more complex, the egg they discovered in the vault deep in the Shifting Sands is a seal preventing an entity known as the Cuckoo from awakening, an event which would result in the decimation of the Echoes as they know it. 1407 posts and 32 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
Not only has Lysander joined forces with a mysterious being named only the Oneiromancer, but he has also discovered the location of the Cuckoo's egg. He, the Oneiromancer, and several others seem to be part of a collective that seek the egg, though for what purpose is unclear; indeed, Lysander seems blind to the egg's true nature, coveting it as a rare and valuable treasure. Seeking to oppose Lysander are a blind wanderer called Dawn, her partner Carabas, and their missing friend Etrigan.
The long term goal the party have made is clear from this: stop Lysander from getting to the egg, however possible. This is an even more pressing matter due to what the party discovered when they visited the vault: not only is the Cuckoo's egg there, but Discord, the primordial god of chaos, is sealed away there, turned to stone but still able to speak. If Lysander were to reach the vault, he would surely make an alliance with the Draconequus, making him an even greater threat. However, Lysander's whereabouts are unknown, for now; until the party can gain some insight into this, they cannot do much to stop him.
For now, the party's goals are twofold:
They have heard of a place to the north called the Dreaming Spring, where Hermodur got some of his Dreamwater from. Lilies from this spring are one of three components needed to liberate a spirit held captive by the swamp druid Black Pudding. Visiting this spring would not only help them in liberating the spirit, but also in acquiring more of the water, which has the unique quality of showing whoever the user thinks of when drinking it.
They have also caught wind of an upcoming event in the Echoes called the Swap Meet, a gathering for drifters from all over the land to come and buy, sell and trade all manner of goods. This event is unique in that while it is held, it is forbidden (by whom it is unknown) to harm anyone. Essentially, this means that everyone who attends a Swap Meet is under truce. This time around, the Swap Meet is being held in a distant place called the Weeping City, so called because it never stops raining on the abandoned metropolis.
"Exactly," Hermodur nods in agreement as he scoops some wraith smoke (don't breathe this) into the phials.
[1d10] if necessaryRoll #1 9 = 9
You gather the smoking remains in the phials.>Wraith Essence>Smoking trails left behind by some varieties of wraiths. A common ingredient in many potion-crafting recipes.
Marisol broods quietly. "I suppose you may as well know why I am here," she says with her back turned to you, sounding rather forced. "Lady Grosvenor has entrusted me with finding the center of the city. There lie the remains of a great archdragon, marking the entrance to a hidden village. Or so the rumors say. There is something the archdragon keeps that my lady requires. You help me find this place, and I shall help you in return. It may take some time, and several expeditions. …Will you help?… If not, I could easily hire any other sellsword to replace you."
"I have nothing better to do," Hermodur says with more happiness than such a phrase should bring. "I'd be more than happy to help you."
"Though, I must ask, will this also benefit Lysander?"
[1d10] to gauge her reaction to see if she liesRoll #1 7 = 7
She still does not turn to you, but you notice her stiffen a little more, if such a thing is even possible for her. "…No," she answers. "…And yes. It will be more useful to my lady than it will to him, though we both suspect he will covet what the Tears will bring her. If he does anything… untoward, I will kill him."
"Well, if you need any help killing him, I am willing to help with that as well. I may not consider him my enemy, but I do consider him a threat to my health. Much like a disease, it is in my best interest that he no longer exists."
"Of course, if he would just stop hunting me, then he wouldn't need to face such a tragic fate. It's practically comical, the grand irony he is slowly bringing down on himself. If it's not me, it will be someone else."
She turns to face you, her expression inscrutable. "He is my lady's ally," she says dogmatically. "And, perhaps more. I… we should not speak ill of him."
"Enough talk," she says. "If you will aid me in this goal, then I will aid you in yours. But we are wasting time sitting about. We should be on the move. More wraiths could appear. We do not know how this place functions yet."
Herodur crosses his arms to think. He is unused to having to think about the consequences of his actions. He would much prefer to have someone simply give him orders and to have the results be on their head.
"The reason I'm here…" Hermodur contemplates out loud. "In this situation in general… It's because I promised to do something that I shouldn't have. I thought it would be good for everyone, but everyone was against it. I'm looking to find my own way now. I can't make the same mistake again. If I end up helping Lysander, the same people who I hurt before will be hurt again."
"I cannot promise, as of yet, that I will help you. Not until I know what you are looking for and why you want it. If you can't tell me now, then I'm afraid I'll have to save making the decision for after we find it. I don't think either of us would like that result."
[1d10+2] subtle intimidationRoll #1 6 + 2 = 8
She makes to leave, but turns around to face you as you keep talking. She listens with a slightly annoyed expression, and her face turns to stone as you try to intimidate her. "Are you threatening me?" she says stiffly. "Because I defeated you once. And I could do so many times again." You notice her hand shift slightly towards her trusty knife.
"If you must know, my lady is… ill. A nigh incurable affliction that has taken its toll on her. She has entrusted me with finding a most precious item: the tears of the dragon god Ostvengr, whose remains mark the way to the hidden village beneath the Weeping City. It would be a matter of finding these remains, and scouring the hidden village for Ostvengr's Tears. They may be the only cure to her affliction."
"Is that enough of an answer for you, or would you like a full description of her sickness?" She gives you a hard look.
"I was not threatening," Hermodur says with a shrug. "Just saying that neither of us want to have to fight each other here."
"But, you could have said in the first place that she was sick and avoided the whole discussion. Of course I will help with that!"
Her expression softens some when you agree to help her. "A wise choice," she says aloofly, and let's her guard down a tad.
"Now. We have spent far enough time sitting around chatting. Let us move. Shall we make our way towards yonder cathedral?" She points out the huge, looming structure on the horizon that you can see from a window. "Or simply lose ourselves a little? I confess I have little clue where to begin searching for this secret village."
"Cathedrals seem like a fine place to hide a secret," Hermodur nods.
Heading to cathedral. [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
You leave the painting hall, and continue to explore the Weeping City. The overcast sky and neverending rain start to get to you after a while, making you drenched and miserable. Marisol hunches up in her cloak a little, like a puffed up pigeon, but does not complain. Together, you travel the white streets of the city, making a note of various other landmarks:
There seems to be a graveyard close to the cathedral, with an extensive system of crypts running below it all. While they do not attack, you can see many wraiths drifting to and fro in this place.
A large, forbidding manor with three great spires is fenced off from everything else. The spires are connected by what looks like arcing electricity.
You pass an abandoned town square, with a variety of blooming plant life. Many paths in the square are connected, all leading to the very center of the square, where you can see a huge, glittering slab of emerald.
Eventually, you reach the steps of the cathedral. They seem far too large for any pony to traverse; indeed, it is as if giants once walked these streets, and the steps reach up extensively to the enormous stone doors of the cathedral. The doors are firmly closed, however. As with the rest of the city, it is eerily silent here. Marisol's eyes narrow, and she seems hesitant to ascend the steps.>roll Perception
"This seems… wrong," Hermodur comments. "Why would everything else in this city be for a pony but this place?"
He looks around suspiciously for anything telling. [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
[1d10] Marisol perceptionRoll #1 8 = 8
"Perhaps something else lived here," she muses. As she surveys the area, she suddenly elbows you gently to get your attention; a previous explorer has messily engraved a message into the marble. It is barely legible, but you can make out what it says.
KNIGHT WAITS AHEAD
Marisol frowns. "'Knight waits ahead'? Someone guarding this place?" She looks to you for a decision on what to do, frowning as she looks up; the overcast sky seems darker around the cathedral, iron grey storm clouds gathering above it, occasionally flashing with silent lightning.
"'Knight'", Hermodur muses over the choice of word. "No article or qualifier, just 'knight'. Either they were rushed when they wrote this, or there is significance to that."
Hermodur turns to Marisol. "Are you familiar with the 'chess game' that Lysander has gotten himself involved in?"
"I am not," she replies simply. "My lady and lord Lysander have many private dealings I am not privy to. And it is not my place to pry. Why do you ask?"
"There seem to be many parties across this world waging a secret war against each other. The side Lysander is on is trying to destroy this world so that we might escape. I don't know the other side's goals, though I suppose it would be fair to assume they are trying to stop them."
"The significant thing here is that these parties refer to each other by chess piece titles. It seems odd to me that this message written here would mention not A knight or THE knight, but just 'knight'. As if it is a title. As if it is something with significance one is supposed to recognize. I wonder if one such individual is operating from here."
"I see…" She folds her arms. "So what do you propose we do, then? Heed the message and turn back? Look for a way around, perhaps?"
(in reading back, I realized I should be at 6/5)
"My chief concern is over whether or not trickery is afoot here. I still find the supposed size of this building to be highly suspicious."
Hermodur uses his Severence charm again.
>Severence (automatic) to remove any sort of mental charm that may be artificially inflating the appearance of the cathedral. Or anything else regarding the building.
You invoke the charm, but nothing changes. The gigantic cathedral is very much real. Marisol gives you a judgmental look before weighing her options, pacing about waiting for you to decide on something. "Perhaps those crypts we passed might hold aught of worth… or the manor…"
"Well, whatever you think is best. We ARE looking for something for you. But, if there's something protecting this large building, it's likely to be something important. And, what you are looking for is very important. Unless you wish to go elsewhere, I say we check it out."
Hermodur begins to climb the large stairs. [1d10] if necessaryRoll #1 6 = 6
"We are here because of you as well," she answers stubbornly, but concedes.
It is a long and grueling climb heading up the stairs. At the top of them is a wide platform leading to the main entrance of the cathedral. The sheer size of it is a feat of architecture in itself, a gleaming white structure with innumerable spires, archways, gargoyles and buttresses. Two great statues of stern looking ponies flank the marble doors, each leaning on a large two handed greatsword. There are two paths leading to side entrances to the cathedral, but they seem closed for now.
As you arrive at the top of the stairs, the clouds above seem to grow more turbulent, and the ground begins to shake. From inside the cathedral, you hear a fast, ponderous rumbling, almost like a gallop. Marisol tenses up and readies herself for a fight, flitting to the side and getting into a crouching position, blade at the ready.
"To be honest, I feel like that wraith dust I got has already been enough to fulfill my reason for coming here," Hermodur comments. "Though I suppose I could always use some extra money."
Upon hearing the rumbling sound, Hermodur lifts his shield and slowly opens the door.
[1d10] to look inside without being spottedRoll #1 7 = 7
You look through the crack in the door and catch a glimpse of something large, golden and shiny coming straight towards you. The doors fly open, and an enormous golden knight bursts into view. It would not be right to call him a pony; this is a horse, and an enormous one at that, towering over you easily. He is clad from head to toe in resplendent golden armor, a red plume on his frogmouth helm flying behind him dramatically. On one side he brandishes a huge spiral lance; on the other, a heavy brass greatshield.
The knight rears up on his hind legs and brandishes an enormous spiral lance, thrusting it to the sky as the dark clouds above roil and flash. "MY NAME,
" the knight bellows, "IS SIR STALWART BASTION! AS I BREATHE, YOU WILL NOT PASS THE CATHEDRAL GATE!!"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOqoKUhEjeo
Sir Bastion wastes no time in engaging the pair of you in combat, galloping in circles around you before thrusting his lance at you.
Marisol looks taken aback by his dramatic entrance, but pulls out her flintlock pistol, firing off a shot at him.
[1d10] Marksman ShotRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
"My name is Hermodur Aput, and I will not be cowed by you!" Hermodur shouts back in response.
With one hand, he raises his shield.>Bulwark (instant/automatic)
With the other, he raises Mjolnir.>Sharpen [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
With one swift motion, you pull the hammer on your weapon, and it sparks to life as you deflect the incoming lance skewer. The impact sends you stumbling backwards, but you are unharmed. "FACE ME THEN, TRESPASSER, AND EARN YOUR HERO'S DEATH!"
Marisol's bullet glances off his armor harmlessly. Her eyes widen a little. "FOOL! I AM INVINCIBLE!"
Bastion rears up and tries to stomp Marisol.
Seeing him focused on her, Marisol tries to leap out of the way and onto the huge knight.
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
"Invincible? Then let us test that!"
With his backswing, Hermodur lets Mjolnir's rocket roar, swinging the weapon straight into the side of the knee on one of Bastion's hind legs.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the larger rollRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
/ Roll #2 10 + 3 = 13
Marisol isn't fast enough, and gets crushes underhoof and thrown aside. "INSOLENT CUR!"
At first you think she's dead, but you see her stir a little, heavily injured but still in one piece. She breathes heavily as she attempts to get back up, grimacing in pain. It seems she broke a rib.
Bastion wheels around for another charge, but you swing the hammer around, sundering his leg armor and shattering it right off with a single devastating blow, twisting and cracking the gleaming golden metal. The leg armor buckles and breaksaway, clanking to the marble floor with a slam, revealing nothing within save for pallid smoke. Sir Bastion is a long dead ghost, possessing a suit of armor to continue his ordained duties.
As you shatter his leg armor, Sir Bastion grunts and rams his lance into the ground to regain his balance, taking a moment to recover. When he does, however, he gallops with an unsteady gait, but is still determined. "HRAAAAAHH! HOW MY BLOOD BOILS! COME, HERMODUR APUT!"
Refusing to give up, Bastion gallops with an unsteady gait, charging you with his great lance.
Marisol tries to get back up.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
"I see why you call yourself invincible," Hermodur comments with a grin as Bastion charges him. "But, your armor is solid. And solids can be broken."
>Hunter's Eye on Bastion
He once again swings his hammer, this time aiming for the front leg on the same sad as the destroyed back leg.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 9 + 3 = 12
/ Roll #2 2 + 3 = 5
As you target him from the front, Bastion feints his charge at the last minute, slamming his greatshield into your hammer. You leave an ugly dent in it, as well as dinging the surface of the hammer some, but you are both unharmed. "DO YOU NOT SEE? I CANNOT BE FELLED! FLEE OR DIE, WORM!"
Marisol struggles back up, limping a little and clutching her side, but determined to keep fighting. She hangs back, trying to take cover in the shadows.
Bastion keeps giving you his full attention, raising his shield before bringing it down on you edge first. "I WILL GRIND YOU TO DUST!"
[1D10]Roll #1 2 = 2
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"All I see is a suit of armor. Armor can be broken," Hermodur says as he pulls back for another swing. He once again aims for his front leg.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the larger of the two rollsRoll #1 8 + 3 = 11
/ Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12
You anticipate the incoming shield slam, dodging backwards and swinging the hammer in a huge horizontal sweep. It collides with the heavy shield in a deafening slam, sparks and scrap iron flying as the shield is sundered and reduced to twisted metal. The golden knight stumbles backwards in disbelief as his defences are penetrated, but this only seems to steel his resolve, ghostly white smoke billowing from his frogmouth visor. "AT LAST, A WORTHY CHALLENGER! OUR FIGHT WILL BE THAT OF LEGENDS!"
Now with one leg crippled and his shield broken, Sir Bastion still refuses to allow you to pass, thundering towards you with lance at the ready.
Marisol takes advantage of him ignoring her to try and pounce on him from behind.
[1d10] BackstabRoll #1 7 + 2 = 9
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
Hermodur steels himself in anticipation of the damage he's about to take. His shield is not ready to block again yet. But, he swings his hammer all the same.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 5 + 3 = 8
/ Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6
You ding the knight's breastplate with your attack, but are sent flying backwards by the impact of the lance, stumbling down the stairs. You manage to do a combat roll to the side and right yourself, but you are wounded from the attack.>Hermodur takes 4 hits
Marisol tries to jump on his back, but he spins around and grabs her with his now free hoof. "IMPERTINENT!"
He tosses her aside like a spent torch, focusing solely on you. She struggles feebly on the ground.
Sir Bastion thunders around you in a circle before bucking you with his good hind leg.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
"Leave the lady alone!" Heromdur calls out as Marisol is hurt again. "I am your opponent!"
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 3 + 3 = 6
/ Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11
You step to the side and dodge the kick, spinning around and slamming his left foreleg with Mjolnir, crippling and twisting the golden plate. With a grunt of exertion, Sir Bastion wobbles unsteadily in place, trying to maintain his bearings.
Marisol is thoroughly beaten, and lies there bitterly nursing her wounds.
"Is this fight over?" Hermodur says, putting the hilt of Mjolnir on the ground, standing tall and menacingly.
[1d10+2] intimidationRoll #1 7 + 2 = 9
Bastion teeters from side to side before stomping his crippled hoof, regaining his posture. "NOT BY HALF!"
He charges you again with the lance.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2
Hermodur sighs and gets back into a battle position. He slams Mjolnir straight into Bastion's chest.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 3 + 3 = 6
/ Roll #2 6 + 3 = 9
You sidestep the lance and stamp your foot down on it at the last second, stopping him mid charge. Your hammer roars as you pummel his chest, caving in the ghostly knight's breastplate. A hiss of spectral fog comes billowing out, and the armor begins to come apart; first the helmet falls off, then the rest splits into its separate components, the armor clanging to the ground and clattering down the stairs. The spectral, shapeless form of Sir Bastion rises above you. "AHHH… AN EXCELLENT FIGHT, SIR! BUT! BUT!! THIS IS NOT OVER YET! I AM UNDYING, AND IT IS MY SWORN DUTY TO DEFEND THE CATHEDRAL FROM INTRUDERS! AT ANY COST! MY VESSEL IS BROKEN, BUT I LIVE ON! YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE LAST OF SIR STALWART BASTION!!"
The fog begins to disperse, seeping into the cracks of the cathedral walls.
Marisol resentfully takes a swig of a healing potion. "I… I was careless," she says hoarsely. "I underestimated our opponent. His bite certainly lives up to his bark… Forgive me. I was not of much help in this fight. I will do better. For my lady, and…" She seems to catch herself. "And for both our sakes," she concludes rather stiffly.
"So long as you do not cheat, I look forward to it, Sir Bastion," Hermodur says, as he beats the wound in his shoulder from where he was stabbed.
Then, he turns to Marisol. "Nothing to apologize for," Hermodur says cordially. "It makes us even. I was less than useful last fight. Besides, armor tends to ruin your type of fighting style. And, he was quite literally all armor."
She simply nods and, with a bit of reluctance, offers you a drink from the healing potion. "I did not realize there was nothing beneath. This place is full of the vengeful dead. I wonder what happened here?"
She looks at the remains of Sir Bastion's armor. "Not that I am in the market for bartering, but some of that may fetch a good price at the Meet. Don't you think?" She gazes idly at the cathedral entrance, waiting to see what you do.
Hermodur declines the healing potion. "Let's not use them so cavalierly. Save it for when it will help me more."
Hermodur stares at the armor for a moment. "I suppose it is probably safe for now. The helm appears to be in good condition."
>appraising the helm to see if it has any special properties [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
While you're not an expert, you can't sense any magical energy coming from the helmet. It is a frogmouth helm made of golden metal with a red plume. The type worn by knights in traditional jousts. The borders are decorated with a tasteful dark leaf pattern filigree. While it may not be enchanted, it is an extremely sturdy piece of armor, protecting from even the toughest of blows. It is also a striking piece of craftsmanship, making for quite an ornament.
Hermodur nods with satisfaction at the money he imagines he will make from this.
"Then, let us move on," he says as he takes the helm with him.
Hermodur looks around the entrance room to get his bearings. [1d10] perceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
The cathedral interior consists of a a vast structure of light stone, with a black and white marble floor with several rows of perfectly straight pews. Great pillars reach all the way to the top of the incredibly tall building, atop which you can see rafters connecting each pillar in a complex network. You think you can see shadows moving on the rafters themselves, but it is difficult to be sure from so far below. Ahead of you lie two sets of stairs, one on each side, while the pews are set facing a stone archway, beyond which lie a pair of great wooden doors, which appear to be locked.
There are many rooms adjacent to the main hall of the cathedral, accessible from the aforementioned flights of stairs. From the left you can hear what sounds like the ceaseless banging of an anvil, while on the right you think you hear something scrabbling about, rat-like.
The decorations of the cathedral grab your attention; instead of being dedicated to the wroship of Twilight, the Holy Twins or even any of the Saints, the stained glass windows and bas reliefs all depict a great dragon, bigger than any you've ever seen, from the size comparison. It is shown torching entire armies, razing cities, but also apparently teaching ponies something, or bestowing them with great gifts. "Dragon worship," Marisol muses as she follows your gaze. "How peculiar. What do you make of it all?"
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Forgot to add:
There are many rooms adjacent to the main hall of the cathedral, accessible from the aforementioned flights of stairs. From the left you can hear what sounds like the ceaseless banging of an anvil, while on the right you think you hear something scrabbling about, rat-like. Apart from this, however, the cathedral is completely silent. You feel like you are being observed by some unseen, hostile force, wanting nothing more than for you to leave this city.