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Joined by the sorceress Aegis, the party have continued their journey towards the Weeping City, where a great Swap Meet is to take place; however, not all is well within the group. Hermodur, marked by the enigmatic Oneiromancer, has resolved to break the Cuckoo's egg, which has led to him leaving the party to go on adventures of his own, for a time. The rest of the group, meanwhile, are now being stalked by a mysterious bounty hunter called Clawson, who, out of a desire for a challenge, has given them 24 hours to put as much distance between them and himself as possible. Their quest continues, the constant presence of the Oneiromancer and the threat of Skylord Lysander hanging over them like a guillotine…
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Aegis nods, seemingly not intimidated by the large goo pony ''I am a fellow scholar of the arts. I have heard a lot about you, Black Pudding, and I have only been in this realm for two days. No doubt you are among the legends of this place, so I sought you out in search of partaking in what you know. Knowledge, books, scrolls, anyhing'' Aegis performs a respectable bow ''If it is from you then it must be valuable for one such as I, and I can prove my worth and show I am deserving of such gifts''


"I do not care for how my own outfit turnz out az long az ze zcarf iz long and of great quality. Zhe meanz a lot to me, zo any amount of bitz I have to pay iz fine. Do you need zhat money now?"
"Oh, zhen we can bozh head zhere az well. I have a queztion for Pudding, you have zomezhing to do wizh Carnifex. I'm glad you came wizh me Norvegicuz."


"Alright, sure. I'll be back as quick as I can, alright?" he says, leaning down to give Silver a soft kiss. He'll turn back and head on out of the ship afterwards, giving Silver a friendly wave.


"Hah, yeah. Looks like our goals kinda lined up. I wanted to try looking into instrunments too some time, but that can wait."


"Tomorrow," she nods, and starts making plans and bossing about her spiders again.

"Oh, you can pay tomorrow when you pick it up, but if you want to pay now you can.


He eyeballs you. You notice that he has one deep blue eye and one purple eye; the latter is the same hue as Violet's. "Art thou proposing to become my apprentice?" he asks. "Hraah. I already have one. I do not need another. What couldst thou offer me?" You sense the question is rhetorical, as he seems to sense the power coming from the black book.


''I'm afraid that was the case, still, your teachings could prove to be valuable, and I would be honored to see what you could teach me''
She raises her head and retrieves the huge book from her bag
''That said, I noticed you had interest in this, am I right. You must know what it is then, or at least the power it holds''


"I'll be back as soon as I can then!" says Violet.

Violet accompanies you happily through the barrier and to the Swap Meet. "Thanks for letting me get out of there!" she says cheerfully. "Was hoping I'd get a chance to explore a bit today!"

As you cross the barrier, she takes a moment to adjust to the general madness of the Meet. "Oh wow. I mean, it was like this last time I was at a Meet, but you never really get used to it, you know?" She ogles a set of zebras on stilts passing by before heading towards Old Bailey's shop to get her information, but then pauses and looks back at you. "Er, you want to stick together on this one?" she asks. "Or should we split up?"


"And I needed new ztringz! Again, I'm glad you're coming along wizh me. Much better traveling ze noizy bazaar wizh a friend, and I couldn't go wizh Aurora due to ze gift and all."
Zunden takes 25 bits out of a full bit sack and puts them in her bag of holding, handing the remaining 75 to the saurian.

"I'll give half now, and half later. I figure zhat iz fair enough."


"I think we've got a couple things in common we're looking for, so no sense in splitting up straight away, right?" he suggests, checking his saddlebags' straps and smiling.


"I'll just pay for the whole thing when we pick it up. So where to next? Gonna go track down Carnifex?"


"I cannot simply take another pupil," he scoffs. "It would be folly to take just anyone who seeks my knowledge under my protection."

"However… this book. Unless mine eyes deceive me, thou has acquired a most wondrous grimoire. Dost thou realize the value it has?" he asks. Carnifex looks over, her eyes gleaming. Aurora looks like she'd rather be anywhere else. "What dost thou want in exchange for this artifact?" He produces a pseudopod, reaching out for it.


Yolanda nods. "Fair enough," she parrots, and tucks them into her dress.

"Remember! This time tomorrow! Eh? In fact, try and come earlier if you can! It might be busy!"


''Then I could prove to be a better pupil, but I wont go out of my way to deny it from someone else, I'm sure Carnifex does what she must to deserve to be under your wing''

Aegis pulled the book back and safely stored it on her bag again
''No I dont, at least not yet, that is why I was planning to bring it back and carefully study it myself, to truly understand its value and power. This was a rare find and I am lucky to have it. You already know what I want, so the question is, what are you willing to offer for it''


"I want to vizit a blackzmith next if we can. If we're going to be here multiple dayz, it'z bezt we vizit everywhere zhat'z going to take multiple dayz to complete zomezhing."

Zunden holds up her hand as she leaves, waving to the saurian,

"Yez ma'am," She says, before grinning, "May ze ztringz of Fate bring you great fortune."


"Right! What were you interested in getting again? Armor, right? I'm in the market for something new myself. This old thing's losing its pizzazz." She gestures at the hooded leather coat she's been wearing since day 1. "Er, was there anything you wanted to know from here?" She gestures at the bird shop. "If not I'll just be a minute and then we can go see what you wanted. How about it?"


"Yeah, I don't need much information from here- I already found out where a few thins are. And I'm grabbing a few things, actually- I figure some books on magic, and maybe a sword or something on the side, just in case. I won't mind waiting, so take your time with the questions." he says, offering a friendly smile.


"Works for me. I don't think I really need anything from a smith but I'm also not about to split up in this chaos. Who knows. Maybe I'll think of something or see something I like."


"Juzt for Violet'z gift, zhen we can go inztrument zhopping."

Zunden points the compass towards the nearest smith that could reforge Violet's weapon.


Carnifex hisses quietly, looking taken aback. Black Pudding arches an eyebrow. "Thou wouldst attempt to replace Carnifex? How very forward of thee. Of course, this can never happen. I would not replace my assistant for anyone. Forget this, drifter."

"We would grant thee safe passage through my home of Durenwol Fen," he replies, "whenever thou passeth through it. As well as… a boon. Name thy price, newcomer, and I shall meet it. Nothing is beneath me."


"Alright! Be right back then!" She leaves you to wait for a bit and people-watch for a few minutes. You idly observe a band playing nearby on a stage, fronted by a zebra on saxophone. They are playing upbeat funky jazz music.

Eventually, Violet emerges, her mood dampened considerably. "Well… that's about I expected to hear," she says. "I'll… I'll tell you about it later. When we're all together back on the ship. Let's… let's just keep moving."


''I know of that place. Your dominion, yes, this is a good offer''
She shoots Carnifex an uninterested glance
''Nothing? How about escaping the Echoes?''


"Alright, Vi- you look pretty down, though. If you need it, we could head back now and talk about it first." He offers, setting a hoof on her shoulder.


File: 1550134182839.png (214.27 KB, 699x781, Hadrian.png)

You pass by a trio of the albino sailors you saw earlier, stumbling out of a hovel singing drunkenly, and arrive at a tiny forge that's been set up. You hear the familiar banging of steel on steel, and feel a wave of heat come from it. As you approach, you see what is, to Norv, a familiar face, if one can call it a face. A large, mushroom-like creature with a pair of yellow glowing eyes is beating a bent sword back into shape over an anvil, looking up as you approach. Hadrian nods to Zunden in greeting silently before noticing Norv. "Oh. It's you again. Thought you'd died. …Good you didn't."


I nod. "Sounds good."

"Oh. Hey. It's Hadrian. Yeah, I'm glad I didn't die too. The sprayer is even better than I expected, by the way. Worth every bit."


There is a pregnant pause; then, Black Pudding's face contorts into what you assume is a smile. "Hraahahaa. A curious sort, thou'rt." He oozes closer. "We have heard… mutterings. Nothing more. But we may set thee on the right road, perhaps, in exchange for the book. We have no interest in freedom, but if it is freedom thou seekest, we may be able to trade. Whispers for whispers."


"It's… something we should talk about as a group," she answers. She looks a little shaken, but seems to appreciate the gesture. "So, where to first? Weapons or armor?"


"I want aswers, not whispers or mutterings. This book is worth more than a possibility of finding a way out. If you don't have the insight I seek on this matter, Black Pudding, then I think I'll have better chances trying my luck with the demons themselves" Aegis responds without a hint of aggression


He gives the mare a soft, one-armed hug, and nods. "Gotcha. As for the weapons and armor… I think it's this way." he says, gesturing in the place the bird seller's tips had directed him. He


"Oh, zhiz iz ze zmizh zhat made your zprayer? A pleazure to meet you. Zhat would mean you are from Braildorn zhen. I wizh we could've ztayed longer. Perhapz one day we might be able to vizit again."
Zunden rummages in her bag of holding, "However, I come needing help reforging a friend of mine'z weapon az a gift, preferably ztronger zhan it waz before. Zhe'z been a ztalwart friend for me and quite a bit more for my companion here. I waz hoping to give her a weapon az fierze az her rezolve."


She pulls the blade out, showing it to the mycosmith, "Originally it waz zome blend between a zword and a zpear, and I was hoping to keep it az zome zort of polearm. Ztill, it would need to be an improvement from it'z original ztate. Zhe dezervez it."


His slightly amused expression vanishes, replaced with a fierce scowl. "Thou comest into my home, insult my apprentice, then hagglest for a priceless artifact. Vacuous shrew. Thou knowest not what thou hast wrought." His body billows like a cloak, and he draws himself up to his full height, towering over both you and Aurora. The latter cowers. "Were it not for the restrictions of this gathering, Easterner, we would have destroyed thee for less." Carnifex steps to his side, giving you both an ominous glare. "Thou art no longer welcome here," says Black Pudding. "Leave," says Carnifex, "or we shall remove thee." The lights seem to dim, and the two approach threateningly. Your head feels light.


There is a slight shift in Aegis's expression, but she is quick to correct it
Somehow maintaining her composure, Aegis wordlessly turns to leave on a quick pace


She flinches a little as you hug her, but doesn't pull away, giving you a warm smile. "Alright, lead the way!"

As you move through the Swap Meet, you eventually come across a weapons vendor, an old browbeaten donkey with an eyepatch and a full white beard. He folds his arms as you approach. "Gudday," he grunts. "In the market for some weapons, are ya? Got all sorts here. Swords, maces, flails, spears, you name it." Violet lightens up a little, perusing his wares idly. "Anythin' you're after in particular?" he asks you.


"Mhm. Glad to hear it." He doesn't sound too enthused, but that's probably just his way of being. "So, what do you need this time?"

He nods. "Maybe. Heard about the ruckus you all cause. Half the town was abuzz that night. …Good work," he grunts.

He takes the broken blade and examines it. "This is my handiwork," he comments, pointing out a tiny letter H engraved in the side of the blade. "Shame it broke." He listens as you tell him what you want for it. "…I see. …I can do that. But I need more details. What exactly do you want me to make?"


Aurora is all too happy to fall in line, practically scrambling out of the shack. The door closes behind you with a slam, and everyone makes way as the strange spider-hut starts walking off, leaving you alone. As soon as you are outside, you feel much more lucid all of a sudden, as if a great burden had been lifted from your shoulders. "…Well, that went well," says Aurora with a weak smile. You see that she is trembling a little in fear, but she tries to calm her nerves. "Guess we're not going back there. Might be better if you lead the way, huh."


I fold my hands in front of me and take a step back. It always feels weird talking to folks like him. "Right. Well, I'm really just here with her for now, but if I think of anything you can bet I'll be back."


"I'm just looking for something light, and easy to use- maybe some sort of sword, maybe?" he asks, before looking to Violet curiously. "What do you want?"


Zunden's brows raise as Hadrian mentions the weapon being made by him.

"Oh, well I zuppoze it'z fate zhat brought it back to you. It broke zlaying ze Beaztz of Braildorn, you know. I had to fetch it out of ze zewer water becauze I zhought it'd be a zhame to go to wazte."

Zunden rubs her chin, looking over the blade, "I don't really want it altered or melted down. It'z not ze metal it'z made out of zhat'z the important part, it'z ze zhape of ze zhing. I'd be fitted back on a pole, zo… no, I'm not zure zhe'd like it az a halberd. Maybe you could cazt a zizter for ze blade, and put it on ze ozher end? A double bladed glaive would zhe could zpin would be daunting."


''Indeed. I never intended to offend them, but it seems they took my words in a different way than I wanted. I apologize, my actions might have banned you from their store as well, this is not what I desired at all'' Aegis gives a deep bow to the Bat mare
''Perhaps we can come back tomorrow and I will offer my apologies to soften their mood, and at least allow you audience with them again''


"Oh, nothing in particular," she shrugs. "I'd like a spear of some sort, but, well, nothing really gets my attention here. Sorry," she says to the donkey. He just shrugs. "'S okay. Plenty of other customers out there."

The donkey eyes the weapons you're carrying with a bemused expression. "Looks ta me like you've already got quite the arsenal," he says with a chuckle. "But, I might have something you'll like… Just a mo'…" He starts rifling through a rack of shortswords and daggers before finding what he's looking for; a long, straight-bladed dirk with a firm black handle, made more for thrusting than for cutting. "I reckon something like this would fit nicely on the end of that rifle of yours," he muses. "You could get a blacksmith to make it detachable. Like a bayonet! How's about it? Only 25 bits."


"Mhm." He just gives you an emotionless, Aegis-tier stare before turning his attention to Zunden.

He nods. "Went out with a bang, then. It was the talk of the town when you slew those monsters. Shame things went the way they did afterwards."

He thinks for a moment, then lumbers off, coming back with several heavy iron weapon molds. He starts rifling through them like they're tin cans, testing the size of the broken blade against the mold, until at last he finds one in the right size. "Perfect," he says. "I can make a double glaive. I'll beat this thing back into shape, make a cast… yes, this'll work. It won't be cheap though, and I do have other commissions I need to get through. I can have it done by tomorrow, but it'll cost you. 200 bits."


Rabi shrugs a little bit, and says "It just sort of ended up happening, I guess. Though, I'm not so good up close- something like… hmm…" he thinks it over a little, and smiles as she brings the bayonet out "Yeah! Something like that, actually. I'll take it!"


"You haven't even opened it yet and that book's already bringing us misery," she muses with a dry smirk. "Ah well. At least it's over now. You can apologize to them if you want, but I don't think I'll be going back. Those two disturb me.

"So, where to next? Anything else you want to have a look around for? I don't know about you but I'm getting kind of hungry…"


"Wonderful." The old donkey beams as he passes you the dirk in exchange for the bits.
>Flatlander's Dirk
>single, -1 crit range
>A well-balanced blade typical of the Capricon Flatlanders of the north eastern Dominion. Intended as a side arm in combat, this weapon is simple but quite effective.

Now I won't be able to help ya with turning it into a bayonet," he says apologetically. "I'm an armorer, but I'm not a smith at all. I know there are some around here though, but I'm not sure where…"


Zunden looks over to Norv for confirmation, but nodding,

"Your handiwork haz zaved uz multiple timez, even rezently. I'd truzt ze money I made today in remaking zhiz weapon."

Zunden turns back to Norv, "Let me prezent zhiz to Violet when you give her ze helmet pleaze. I zhink it'd be nize."


''That was not the book's fault'' She assures firmly

''Next I wanted to find other books, the usual magic kind. We can pause for food. Would you like to return to the ship or would you rather try to find somewhere here where we can eat?''


"I was… joking," she says, giving you an odd look.

"I'd like some books as well, actually. Do you like to read? I don't get the chance to much, so I'd like to pick up something to read in my spare time…"

"Oh, I'm sure we could find a place to get food here. I saw a lot of street vendors before. Though… it might be better to go back to the ship and check up on everyone. What do you think? I can go either way."


''I love reading'' Aegis says, stone-faced

''I'm certain they are fine, but yes, we could spare some time to return. The Meet isnt going anywhere for now''


Aurora blinks. "H-hey, me too!" There's a bit of an awkward silence afterwards as she doesn't elaborate.

"Well, alright, let's go drop off our gear then."

You pick your way through the dense crowd and return to the ship. It doesn't seem like anyone else is here at the moment, apart from Silver.

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