Last time on TPW…
After entering the town of Gladiolus, the party accompanied the traveling performer troupe to the town's castle, where they secured a meeting with the Sage of the Marsh herself, an old mare by the name of Peat. Peat, upon hearing the news of what Lugh and his underlings had done, was furious, but not surprised, as this was only the latest in a series of crimes committed by druids.
Peat confided that she and the other sage had known for some time of an extremist faction within the druids, who resented the presence of foreigners on Albion, and of the destruction of the land that came as a result of icreasing idustrialization. Said industrializaton was a direct result of foreign businesses coming to Albion to set up shop, buy up land and resources that had once been wilderness and bountiful nature. Peat pledged to investigate these extremists and warn the other Sages of their activities, so that the other three Treasures of Albion could be kept safe.
"Until this year, there was hardly a need to even acknowledge the issue," Peat continues. "The Druids did their work, and we Sages did ours. Only recently have there been any reports of violence by Druids against foreigners and their property. All these so-called 'extremists' ever did was grumble and mull over their grievances, so I at least never saw much point in trying to police their attitudes. I would imagine that there had to be some kind of inciting incident for them to go from griping and whining to actually acting on their views and terrorizing foreigners. Based on what they're so concerned about, perhaps some kind of environmental disaster?"
As Sirocco brings up where the Bell ought to go, Peat takes another drag on her cigarette, nearly burning it out. "…Here wouldn't be the best option. Ordinarily, the Bell is kept in a special vault in this castle. I may as well tell you, since it's clearly been compromised. The vault has physical and magical locking mechanisms that involve extensive knowledge of manipulating and releasing powerful Runes. It's also sturdy enough to withstand brute force attacks, and enchanted to prevent someone just teleporting in and out. That narrows down the list of potential thieves greatly, but that's still about 50 people. And, without knowing how they got in without alerting anyone, it's possible that they could just break into the Vault again and steal the Bell once more.
"We have another, backup hiding spot, one that I can't tell you about. If you were to find it, I can give my word that I will turn over all other duties to my assistants and spend as much time as needed guarding it personally. That's how severe this problem is."
>You can roll to gauge her intentions if she seems suspicious.
"What do I care?" Peat asks bluntly. "Technological progress can't be stopped – especially that which provides convenience. He's got the right idea," she says, gesturing to Soft. "Let the people have what they want; you certainly won't be able to turn them away from it by warning about the danger to the environment. In the end, the people won't care, and there's a tidy profit to be made by bringing it in – not just to the investors, but to us, the Sages."
"As for these extremists, they need to be stopped. Doesn't matter by whom, foreigner or no. As I said, I'll write to the other Sages. Maybe word of the Bell getting stolen will actually knock some sense into them and get them to crack down on their people. In exchange, however, this information about the Bell is not to be let loose to the general public. We Sages will deal with this quietly. We have an image to think about, you know."
"I understand. Especially with the potential for being, well… compromised, talking about this second location could defeat the purpose of it entirely. As far as the druids' hostility go… have you heard of any big events recently? We haven't been travelling long enough to hear about any environmental disasters… though, we did run into some quite far-displaced gobbeetles." the zebra notes, stroking his chin in thought.
one thousand curses upon me for forgetting my sheet again
Sirocco raises an eyebrow at peat, and tilts her head for a moment. "Well, if it's that well hidden, and we don't even have any clues, then it might be hard to find, but I'll keep that in mind. If we find the bell, but not the hiding spot, we'll keep it safe until we can return to you at the end of our journey. For the time being, though, we'll just do our best to stop whatever those numbskull extremists are doing." The pegasus smiles, and gives Peat a reassuring wink.>>713501
"Mhm, if you remember, those were moved there by presumably the same folks. I think Peat's dealing with figuring out who did it. I assume we'll see more like that along the way."
Communion nods. "So it really is just about profit. The people don't matter, the environment doesn't matter, just whatever can line your pockets." She doesn't sound surprised. "A backup hiding spot seems pretty pointless too. If the first one was compromised, what's to keep it from getting swiped from under your nose a second time? Not that it matters, the rogue druids are probably having a heyday with the bell right now anyway." The part of her still in possession of the bell shifts ever-so-slightly. The part of her talking to the sage taps her hoof impatiently. "Is there any way to tell how many of these druids there are, or how powerful their faction is? Is it a knitting circle, or an army?"
"I'm sorry, what? Technology is good, and she said she doesn't care because you can't change what the people want, and that money is something nice on top. Regardless, considering what they've done so far, it's got to be rather expansive."
Peat puts out the cigarette and lights up another, earning a disapproving scowl from one of the guards. "The most severe of the incidents – at least, those I've heard of – occured five days ago, in Squill, one of the biggest cities in Albion and one that has attracted a good deal of merchants from across the world in recent years, especially with the introduction of magitech. Someone allegedly sabotaged one of the major magitech production factories, resulting in a equipment failure and structural collapse that wounded over a dozen workers. They haven't caught the perpetrator, but the investigation's still ongoing.
"That alone is bad enough, but I'm concerned what it portends for the future. The next major city along the Pilgrim's Way, a mountain town by the name of Eyebright, is getting its own start with magitech investors. The investors have stepped up mining expeditions in Eyebright's mountain caves for precious stones used in the production of magitech cores. If the druids were behind the sabotage in Squill, then Eyebright's mines are probably the next target. I'll pen a letter ahead to the authorities there. >>713503
"You have my thanks, pilgrims. I assume that you'll still be continuing your journey through Albion? If you do, please be careful on your way. The road north, as I alluded to earlier, heads into the Valley of Hungry Spirits, which is full of monsters and – as the name might suggest – spirits. Our trappers do a fairly good job of keeping the monster populations in check, but every now and again there are outbreaks or incidents with poachers and thieves, as you saw with the gobbeetle incident. Last year, two pilgrims died in the Valley due to monster attacks. Please make sure to stock up on supplies before you go. Oh, and if you come across any Wild Magic, keep a clear path from it."
"Oh, and if you see or hear anything about these druids, you have my permission to do whatever's necessary to stop them! Violence, coercion, it doesn't matter to me. I have no more patience for these buffoons who bring shame upon the Druid caste and attack innocent travlers. If the other Sages get in your way, tell 'em I sent you.">>713505
Peat twists her mouth as you rant, but at the end, it turns into a begrudging smirk. "You're a sassy one, aren't you? Unfortunately with extremists, there's no way to tell who believes what, or who's going to lie and say they believe one thing when in reality they believe another. But if they're feeling bold enough to commit these crimes against Albion and her guests from around the world, they probably have enough numbers to back up their claims. I'll give a summons to all Druids in my authority and question them myself. I can't guarantee I'll catch them, but I'll do my part to put a stop to them. Goodness knows that we Sages should have stopped this long ago, but hindsight is 20/20. But as I said, if you catch any of these bastards, make an example of them for the rest of their cowardly allies."
"We could make our way there, as well- if we know about it being a possibility, we might as well try to stop it. Especially if the last incident was so bad it wounded 12." the stallion says, frowning a little. "It'd be good to keep people out of the mines until we find out if someone dangerous is about. Getting trapped in a cave-in could be devastating."
"Of course, we'll be careful as always. A few monsters shouldn't be an issue for us." Sirocco smugly states, her wings puffing out a little as she sits on the floor. "If Eyebright's along the way, I'd be happy to check it out, and make sure they're doing alright. Though… I can't say I've heard of wild magic. What, exactly, is it?"
I idly tap my chin."Would we end up hunting these druids down as time goes on, or at least ending up in more confrontations. Would there be a better way to stop the group from committing crimes?" I ask Pippali. "Just seems like a whole lot of trouble."
Communion cocks an eyebrow at Siro. "Not everybody wants everything that technology brings. There's obviously a strong undercurrent of resistance, which indicates that the debate needs to be had." She shrugs. "It obviously doesn't matter to the ones making the profit. The golden rule, right? Whoever has the gold makes the rules.">>713507
"Not that I sympathize with their methods. Attacking the innocent is disgusting. We must put an end to the violence before any debate about their position is possible. But if they really do have these kinds of numbers, that's a significant portion of your population that feels unhappy enough to rise up. You could be in a more precarious position than you realize." The goo-pony taps her chin. "Have these druids ever tried to reach out and contact you with demands, anything like that?"
"The only undercurrent is by racist extremists. I think the majority doesn't mind the convenience of technology. Regardless, it's not who has the gold, but who is more wanted."
"I think we need to get a good idea of where they are first, then we can become more active in hunting them."
"Indeed. Eyebright represents a key opportunity to catch at least some of these extremists. It's a four day journey from here to there by hoof. The next pilgrimage Station is at a monastery which serves as a midpoint between Gladiolus and Eyebright. Haggis told me about the defacing of the other Stations in her letter. The monks who live at the monastery should be able to tell you more about the Druids and whatever they've been up to.">>713509
"Wild Magic is a phenomenon when Aether enters our world from the Sidhe and gets a bad attitude," Peat explains. "Aether is a form of magical energy, unpredictable and chaotic, hence the name Wild Magic. They tend to look like Breezies, but as far as I know there's no relation.
"Wild Magic might cause spacial distortions, mutate the environment, or they might possess a discarded suit of armor or skeleton and walk about causing trouble. Wild Magic is actually the basis for a lot of fairy-tales involving fairies or other supernatural entities that whisk away people into the wilderness or put curses on people they don't like. If you encounter some, they'll probably shake you down for offerings. Generally they'll bugger off if you give them a few coins or treats, but they can become very dangerous if you don't have the item they demand from you. That's when the trouble starts. So if possible, try to avoid them.">>713510>>713511
"No, they haven't," Peat answers with a frown. "Believe me, I wish they had. I'd prefer to broker a deal than have to worry about them lurking among us, but it seems they're confident enough to get right to the fighting instead of opting for diplomacy. Hell, if you run across any of them who are at least halfway sane, ask if they've got demands! The gods know I'd prefer to pay a ransom than see anyone else get hurt. But if they choose the path of violence, I will crush them without a second thought."
"Though, let's save this for another day. I'd hate to argue in front of Miss Peat.">>713514
Sirocco nods along with Peat's explanation, and ruffles her feathers as she finishes speaking. "Sounds like a plan to me. I must say, though: wild magic seems quite… interesting. I'll have to read up on it a bit more sometime! Thank you for the advice, miss!"
"Right. So, ask the monks, and see about finding more extremists at Eyebright. Hopefully, we can find one who's less zealous about Lugh, and get more than just a name out of them."
Lacking anything to want to say in response to Peat I stand there and reach out with my talon to quickly pat them on the head and as quickly retract my talon back to my side.
"Let's do. I don't mind having the debate but right now isn't the time or place for it," she assents.>>713514
Communion nods. "I don't have a lot of experience with violence. I prefer to solve problems by talking, but it seems like these terrorists aren't going to be very talkative." She sighs. "If that changes, we will certainly try to get something useful out of them. In between murdering them in cold blood, of course." >>713516
"Seems like a plan. Hope we can sniff them out. Shouldn't be too hard if they're as cuckoo as Lugh was." She shudders to remember the unpleasant look in the villain's eyes. >>713517
Communion giggles to see Talon touch Peat.
"Gods keep your path straight and clear!" Peat says. "I only wish you could've come to Albion at a more peaceful time.">>713517
Peat squints at you with annoyance, and the guards approach to restrain you, but she waves them away. "Leave him, leave him, I assume this is some kind of cultural gesture."
She reaches out and pats you back, then goes back to puffing away at her cigarette with her previous annoyed grimace.>>713518
Peat laughs at your frank description. "See to it that you're thorough, whatever course you choose to take. Thank you once more for bringing this to my attention, travelers, and I wish you the best of fortune on your pilgrimage.">>713516>>713515>>713517>>713518
With the discussion seeming to be all done (unless you had other matters to bring up with her), Peat then turns to the Troupe of Very Large Ponies. "Now that that's settled, I'll get your account of how you were attacked and kidnapped by Lugh for our records and investigation."
Eigh nods, then turns to your group. "We'll just be here a while, so you go on ahead and get your shopping in. You can go ahead and tell the shopkeep that you know us. He's a mountain of a crystal pony by the name of Whetstone. Friendly guy, just sensitive about the name."
"I can only imagine how he gets made fun of, with a name like that," Candelabrum says.
"Oh, they're brutal," Eigh says.
I bow my head down a little in a mock bow to Peat as I go to take my leave to the shop. My wings give a little flap as I go, but I don't take flight, and I am soon out of sight.
"Farewell, Peat." She nods to the guards as they escort the party out of the chamber, down several ornate halls, and out into the world. She follows along with the group as they collectively head to Whetstone's shop. She is quiet and seems lost in thought.
"Blessings to you and yours, as well, ma'am! Perhaps someday, once this is all settled, I'll visit this place again. It's quite a beautiful kingdom, after all. Almost as beautiful as this building! It's got an air of elegance to it, and I'd say it extends to you~" Siro bows, and holds her wings out to her side. "Though, as my friends suggested, I think we should take our leave. I pray the rest of your day goes well, Miss Peat."
With a little twirl, Sirocco flaps on after Talon, and waits by the door for the rest of her companions. Once they're on their way, she'll whisper to Candelarum's in response to his remark. "Why would they make fun of him? It seems like a nice name for a crystal pony."
Pippali dips his head in a bow, and offers a friendly smile to Peat. "Thank you for hearing us. I hope the next time we visit, it's in a less dire circumstances… this is definitely a place worth visiting again, for sure." he remarks, before looking to the ToVLP
"Sounds good- we won't keep you waiting too long, at least." he says, offering a wave and heading off after the others to the shopkeeper mentioned.">>713522
"Mmm, people just enjoy being mean-spirited,I guess."
"Crystal ponies tend to get named after different types of stones, metals, geological phenomenon, and so on, but there are obvious exceptions like me," Candelabrum says. "Crystal Ponies always get the worst of it on Albion. The more easily your name can be turned into a dumb rock pun, the more you'll hear of it from everyone who thinks he's halfway clever. I imagine this Whetstone guy gets asked if people can sharpen things against his scalp or something.">>713523>>713522>>713520>>713521
Once you're out of the castle, Suncatcher gives a stretch all over, shaking herself out, and the Branded stops to toss some of his coins to some nearby beggars.
"Nice enough lady, I should think," Candelabrum says. "Seemed authentic in her words about the Scourge, so I'm pretty sure she was telling us the truth."
"She still let the Bell get taken under her watch," Suncatcher says. "That warrants scrutiny at least. As for what she said about the environment and investors? It made my skin crawl, every word."
"Yes… I'd sure hate to see the land get bought up and harvested like she talked about," the Branded mentions. "Not that I'm siding with those terrorists, you understand."
After a little while, you make your way to the Rune shop that Eigh mentioned, the cottage with a roof shaped like a wizard's pointed cap.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nknDqFENQxk
Inside is a quiet scene. A fire stirs about in the hearth, and you note that the fire has a face and arms and is reading a book without burning it. A few other wizardly-looking ponies mill about the shop, which is tightly packed with shelves containing all kinds of bits and bobs and apparatuses.
At the counter sits a huge bearded crystal pony, gray in body and in hair, going through some old scrolls about the size of a buffalo as he puffs at a pipe. He looks up as you enter and nods his head in welcome.
>Posting the inventory here for the sake of time, but please do mention the discount and your relation to Eigh IC
As a reminder, you can only equip 1 Rune of each type at a time, but you can have multiple Runes active at the same time, as long as they are of different types. The types, again, are Object, Body, Element, Mind and Soul.
Item Prices (w/ Discount applied):
>Rations: Food for a week of travel, 5 Bits
>Soothing Powder: Removes the effects of any kind of burn, including those induced by chemicals and poisons. Has enough powder for 3 uses. 15 Bits
>Eye-Rune Dowsing Rod (Rune type: Mind): Allows you to search for hidden and/or invisible objects and substances in the area around you, in a radius of about 10 meters. Rolls at DC 5, but doesn't benefit from perception bonus. 40 Bits.
>Lightning-Rune Coil (Rune type: Element): Allows the use of Magic Bolt by a character that doesn't have it, and inherently has the Lightning Element. If the character already has Magic Bolt, they receive a +1 bonus and the use of the Lightning element. 60 Bits.
>Frog-Rune Boots (Rune type: Object): Allows one to leap moderate distances with ease, giving +1 to dodging and climbing, and any other roll that might plausibly benefit from being able to leap like a frog. 30 Bits.
>Fortress-Rune Tunic (Rune type: Body): Increases one's maximum Hits by 2. While wearing it, you don't need to roll to withstand harsh weather. 60 Bits.
>Ghost-Rune Salts (Rune type: Soul): Like other kinds of spirits, Aos Si have a peculiar aversion to certain substances, such as silver, salt, holy water and incense. This is a bag of blessed salt that wards off spirits, and if it is thrown directly at an Aos Si as a Ranged attack, those attacks will deal an additional 2 hits of damage. 1 bag contains 10 uses' worth of salt. 40 Bits.
>>713522>Prior to leaving
Peat doesn't seem phased by the compliment, but you get the feeling, from the general smug look on her face, that she's used to hearing such things. "Thank you, thank you, have a good day. Now, I've work to tend to. Chop chop!"
Sirocco hums in thought a bit at Candelabrum's words. "Hm, I mean, I suppose I can see that. I'm lucky enough to be named after a rarer weather phenomenon, so I've never had to deal with those puns. Except from Pippali, of course."
"Huh, I dunno, judging by the state of the wilds here, technology has a long, long way to go before it becomes an issue like that. I have confidence that these people will know when to stop."
Once they finally arrive at the shop, she gives the huge horse an innocently curious gaze, before waving. "Heya, you must be Whetstone, right? Eigh said we should tell you that we know him, and that he recommended this place when we saved his butt from some crazy druids in the forest."
Pippali dips his head in greeting, and tries his best to keep from bumping any shelves in the tightly-packed store. He clears his throat and smiles, before saying "Hey, Mister Whetstone. Eigh and his Troupe told us we should swing by here if we needed a place to buy some goods. Could I get… hmm. Three weeks of rations, two packets of the healing powder, and… maybe that Tunic?"
"I am with them." I point a thumb to the group after going to the shop counter to look over the wares. Thinking of getting the dowsing rod and some soothing powders and rations.
Walking in, Communion looks around, interested particularly by the living fire. She smiles at it. She walks to the counter and addresses the huge crystal pony. >>713525
"We're friends with Eigh. He sent us on ahead to say hi, and maybe do some shopping!" She looks over the runes. "All these are so fancy." She picks up the Fortress-Rune Tunic and tries it on. It's a little big on her. "This could be useful." She also picks up the Soothing Powder. "This too. And I'd probably better get some rations. Maybe two weeks worth?"
>2 Rations 10 bits>Soothing Powder 15 bits>Fortress-Rune Tunic 60 bits
Communion hacks up 85 bits and spits them on the counter. The coins are slightly wet.
Siro spryly springs up onto Pippali's back, and peeks over his head at the goods. "And… I'll take the Lightning Rune thing, and three weeks of rations as well. Oh, and maybe a thing of soothing powder, some ghost rune salts, and the Fortress Tunic. I'll have to swap my amulet of strength out for the tunic, so would you like it? I'll gladly hand it over if you knock a few bits off the tunic." Siro wiggles her ears as she pulls off her amulet to show to Whetstone. [total of 190 currently]
[1d10] if I need a haggle roll or somethinRoll #1 6 = 6
"One can only hope the Sages will have the good sense to keep these investors in their place, what with those profits that Peat mentioned," the Branded says thoughtfully. "She seemed sensible, but I've seen also how money clouds one's judgment.">>713530
The living flame peers over the edge of its book and returns your wave politely.>>713527>>713528>>713529>>713531>>713530
"Oho!" Whetstone says. "That old trickster and showpony's in town once more?" he asks. "I'll have to go and see him and the family once I've closed up for the night and catch up."
He picks up a nearby staff and taps a pair of four-fingered gloves (probably for a diamond dog) that sit beside him on the counter. The gloves come to life and fly about the shop, picking out the items that you request and setting them on the counter one by one. The two gloves seem to have a bit of personality, as they bump into one another, poke at one another, and periodically get into rock-paper-scissors matches as they work. Once they're done, they float back down to the counter and lay there.
Whetstone examines the amulet from Sirocco and nods. "It appears to be worth 30 Bits. I'll knock that off your total."
Whetstone inspects his merchandise one last time for any damages or imperfections, then pushes them your way once he finds them satisfactory. "Here you are. Anything else I may help you with?"
Total costs for purchases:>Pippali's: 105 Bits>Soft Talon's: 105 Bits>Communion's: 85 Bits>Sirocco's: 160 Bits
Pippali blinks, and gives a small whinny of satisfaction upon seeing the guantlets whiz about, clopping his hooves together once they finally cease their bit of show.
"Impressive! Is the staff something you made, or something you picked up along the way?"
Sirocco watches the hands do their thing, a smile spreading across her face as they play around with each other. What a nice little shop. Once they've gotten all her things, sh forks over her rune and the money, before packing away her new toys. "Thank you, mister. Your friend's talking to Peat right now, but they should be done before long. Though, I'm not sure what you could help us with. Mmmmaybe a recommendation on a place to stay? We've been traveling for a while, and a bed would do us some good."
Communion adjusts her new tunic. It's warm and comfy, and offers much better protection than her old robes. She "pockets" the other stuff inside her body.
She too is amused by the possessed gloves, and claps alongside Pippali when they've returned to lifelessness upon the counter. "Wow!" She takes an appreciative look around the shop once more. "This place sure has personality."
All the items that I bought are unceremonially plopped down into my bag as I pocket my remaining amount of bits on my person. I stand straight with my gear on my shoulders wondering when and where to go.
"Carved it myself, like the other things I sell here," Whetstone says. "I hail from the Land of the Hearth, where I learned my secrets from my teacher, by the name of Block.">>713534>>713533>>713535>>713536
"The inn up the road is the best one in town," Whestone explains as Sirocco asks for a recommendation. "30 Bits will get you dinner, a room and breakfast, but they're a little strict about vacating the rooms by seven in the morning."
"Not a bad price," the Branded comments.
"Indeed. Give their cabbage stew a miss, but you're a fool if you miss out on their grilled asparagus," Whetstone continues.
"Duly noted," Suncatcher says. "Thank you for your advice."
While they're there, the Branded picks up the Frog-rune boots, Suncatcher purchases two bags of the Ghost-rune salts, and Candelabrum snags a dowsing rod and extra rations. He then takes some bits of dried meat from the rations and tosses them to the kitten still on Communion's back.
>If/when you'd like to skip to morning, you may request to do so. Or you can RP the inn part, if you prefer. Your choice.
I don't mind skipping! Siro will just bully Pippali some, and maybe bug Communion a little, but I don't got much else planned.
Skipping sounds fine to me too.
Pippali offers Suncatcher the rune, smiling a little bit and saying "Here. It'll keep you safer."
Other than that, I'm fine skipping! Pippali will counter-bully Sirocco
I am fine with anything
Suncatcher takes the rune from you with the aid of a nearby stick, having gone back to avoiding everyone with a radius of about one foot around her, as she did prior to the episode with Candelabrum. "Thanks!">>713539>>713540>>713541>>713542>since it seems like the majority is ready to skip…
After getting your shopping done, you head for the inn, a cozy two floor tavern with good food and company. Eigh and his troupe show up and perform a song and dance routine to provide for the evening's entertainment. Dinner is quite good, consisting of plenty of vegetable dishes and fish for the meat eaters. You then retire to your rooms to sleep until morning.
You awaken when the sunlight enters your windows, and you quickly get prepared to leave, in accordance with the inn's aforementioned strict 7 am leave time policy. You get together in the lobby, meeting for your complimentary breakfast, strawberry pancakes and hayggs and haycon.
Your allies seem to have slept well, but you notice that Candelabrum seems to have several bouts of bad luck. He nearly trips twice coming down the stairs to breakfast, his pancakes come out burnt on the inside… somehow… and when he tries to pour syrup on the pancakes, the lid on the syrup container slips off and syrup spills all over his hayggs, much to his horror. Suncatcher, sitting at a nearby table, looks at all this with a distinctly guilty expression. The Branded and the cat, meanwhile, only have slight laughs, schaudenfraude at Candelabrum's plight.
>You can RP the breakfast if you want, or if not, the road out of town is to the north as Eigh and Peat have said. Also, please deduct 30 bits from your inventories to cover the costs of the inn.
The painted pegasus dances along with the troupe's songs, pulling her zebra friend along to waltz with her, until they get tired enough to retire to their rooms and pass out. Once they awaken and slink downstairs for some tasty food, Sirocco ends up nibbling at her pancakes as she watches Suncatcher and Candelabrum with interest. Maybe… that's the curse? You just get unlucky?
"Hey, Candelabrum, would you like to trade your food for mine? I don't mind syrup on everything, so it's ok! Though you… might want to have me spoon-feed you if you don't want more disaster. I think I can guess what that curse Suncatcher is supposed to have does."
Communion watches Candelabrum's plight intensify. She offers him her unsyruped hayggs, and pats him on the back gently.
She pays the innkeeper and offers her thanks. "Everything was wonderful," she says kindly. She remakes the kitten bed in her malleable backflesh and looks to see if the rest of the travelers are ready to depart.
When they are, she skips out the door and into the bright morning. "What a beautiful day to be on the road!" she exclaims to everypony as they begin the walk out of town.
Pippali has little trouble getting up early, and is likely one of the first up, though regardless allows himself to be dragged along by Sirocco. He polishes his meal off in record time, happily drizzling syrup over pretty much everything, so he's got little else to do but watch a Series of Unfortunate Events™ unfold for Candleabraum.
"Well, I suppose we know now. We'll do what we can to help, Candelabrum. Maybe… we should carry some of your gear?"
I hover out of my room coming to the group to wave hi to them before slumping against the furniture in the room.
Candelabrum bucks up, politely raising a hoof to decline the offers of unsullied hayggs, and downs the lot of them, syrup and all. "A little extra sugar won't be enough to kill me! I'll just need to get in a few more fights to make up for it."
Suncatcher gulps, realizing the jig is up. Tugging at the front of her robe, she pulls it down, revealing a rune on her chest. This rune is stylized like a skull, one with a snakelike grin and corrosively cruel slit eyes. "…I should've said something earlier. Yes: anyone who touches me is beset by bad luck the next day. We only got close for a few seconds yesterday, so maybe this will be enough to satisfy it. But we should all
be on the lookout. It won't just be Candelabrum who suffers it. He becomes a nexus of bad luck, and we'll all be liable to misfortune as long as we're around him."
"Oh joy!" Candelabrum barks. "Well, no matter. We'll just have to look at it as an extra bit of challenge, won't we?" He shakes his head at Pippali's offer. "I'll be fine, thank you. A bit of bad luck isn't enough to put me down."
Once this episode is done, you pack up your things and head for the road out of town. Gladiolus, built on a plateau, overlooks the valley before you: There is a long and sprawling plain stretching a great distance ahead, and beyond that lies a dense wood, with thick trees that tower above the land. Mist clings about the valley, possessively curling around it and its inhabitants. The sounds of wildlife echo faintly as you approach the next leg of your journey. The presence of the forest, even from this distance, is quietly commanding.
Oh right. She makes sure to walk by the shrine where she stashed part of herself with the Bell for safekeeping. She reabsorbs it into her self and continues on.