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File: 1562027091356.jpg (697.08 KB, 2250x1174, 1554960155322.jpg)

 No.720713[View All]

Last time, on PirateQuest…

Despite Professor Shrimp's best attempts at bribery, making threats and pleading, the party turned him in to the Constable's Barracks. There, he would wait in a small aquarium unti he could stand trial and receive his punishment, which would be determined via majority vote by those whom he had conscripted into his would-be army. They collected their bounties, coming in at a whopping 900 gold per person.

With multiple jobs now under their belts, the exhaustion of their hard work, compounded by the heat and hunger, finally caught up with them. Many members of the Beesting started up a potluck, ordering takeout dishes from a variety of Manenhi's more popular eateries. They brought the dishes back to the Beesting, allowing everyone to pick and choose as they pleased and eat aboard the comfort of their ship.

There was, however, an unsettling matter at hand. Cutlass was still nowhere to be seen, and even the Hidden Dagger was missing. Not a single member of her crew was present at the docks, nor anywhere else in town. Things only got worse when Thessaly attempted to contact them via the Caller Conch. Not a single person picked up. But just as she was about to hang up on the final call, she found an answer. It was the voice of Philip the Gentlecolt, and though Alder was unaware of the conversation, he learned just that day of Philip's role: One of the dreaded fleet commanders of the Crimson King.
818 posts and 4 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.724147

>>724145
"Oh, good! I suppose we should just filter our questions through her, then. Who wants to start?"

 No.724148

>>724141
She looks dumbfounded as Cerulean actually has a bright idea for once, unable to do anything but give a stiff little nod of approval.

>>724143
>>724144
She nods in approval of all these. "Let's put it to the test, shall we."

>>724145
"Greetings, Mallea. We have a few captives here that don't speak our language. I was hoping you could translate." She looks at the joyful little bug with a disapproving frown, like a schoolteacher glaring at a disruptive student. "Would you be so kind as to ask these little gremlins why they have been raiding the towns?"

 No.724149

>>724145
Cerulean gives a bit of a nervous laugh at how energetic the insect being got as a response to the question.

>>724145
>>724148
"Yeah, let's stick to your idea. I'm not sure how far stick figures will go."

 No.724150

>>724146
"…Anyone on the outside mad you're gonna come back with a foal or two?" Paraiba asks cautiously, raising an eyebrow.

>>724146
>>724147
>>724148
>>724149
Mallea repeats Thessaly's question back to the captured Kalphites in a slower fashion, and though you cannot literally understand what she says, you can tell she has made it far more colorful than what Thessaly originally asked. The Kalphites respond, clacking and clicking and shaking their appendages and gnashing their mandibles with a simple, brutal enthusiasm. Mallea and the Kalphites exchange a few more lines, apparently moments of clarification and elaboration.

"…Well, then," a stupefied Mallea says. "If I were to put it in more modern terms, they did it for glory, for King, Queen, Country and… Ancestor-Carapace. The King and Queen require a constant tribute, a piling up of goods of any kind, no matter what they may be, even if they're just trash, but meat and bone are the most valuable tributes. For Country, well, that means for the glory of their little mountain they've got going. They take great pride in adorning it with the goods of their conquered victims. Plus, a decked-out hive apparently helps the King and Queen spawn tougher warriors and more obedient drones. A kind of strange eugenics, if you will.

"As for 'Ancestor-Carapace'? Well, the word he used doesn't have any clear translation into Common Equish. It seems to be a kind of god, I imagine. It sounds like the ancestor worship you find in many societies that have a very henotheistic religious tradition. Only, it's not so much 'ancestors' as a single ancestor, made up of thousands of other ancestors. I've ommitted quite a few macabre details out of curiosity for the pregnant mare listening in… Chiu, would you mind scooting away a few feet? Your friend is giving me a look."

 No.724151

>>724150
"Okay, but why attack the carts? I mean, if meat and bone are the most valuable thing, then why not go after those crazy birds that tried attacking us on the way here?"

Talk of the ancestor came up, and Cerulean gave a slight head tilt.
"Heno-what now?"

 No.724152

>>724150
"Quaint," she remarks. "Could you ask them if they can take us to their leaders? I have some words for the King and Queen, whoever they may be."

>>724151
"I suppose attacking defenseless villages is easier than hunting dragon-sized vultures."

 No.724153

>>724150
"Hrm… their leaders just want things, then? That seems like a reason, I suppose. Perhaps the best way to fix it is to just go straight to them? Sooner or later, there will be nothing left to take."

 No.724154

>>724150
"Going off on a treasure hunt and coming back with a foal? Nah, nopony will be upset with that at all."
Cloud says sarcastically.
"My parents definately will be a little cross. Chiu's… I'll try to enjoy life out here as much as I can."


Cloud's ears perk over to Thessaly's Caller Conch, listen in from a distance so he doesn't need to crowd it anymore than the others might.
"So basic tribe stuff. Seems simple enough, can you ask them for a map?"
Cloud asks through the conch to Mallea. Though as she also asks Chiu to scoot back, he get a bit closer to the conch.
"How's she doing?"

 No.724155

>>724138

Cutlass watches Puddin work with a small grin on her face. In particular, she takes interest in the spider that gives fist-bumps.

"I'd hate to come back here and find that this inspiration hasn't been enough," Cutlass says as she gets up to leave.

She walks back downstairs and approaches the counter/bar.

 No.724156


 No.724157

>>724152
"True, but fighting something big means more glory, right? Not exactly all that impressive if I were to, say, tell you about the time I hunted a sardine. Hearing about me fighting a squid sounds way more exciting, right?"

 No.724158

>>724155
"FREE ACCOMPASSES FOR A GOOD HOME! GET YOUR ACCOMPASSES HEEEEERE!" Puddin shouts, cupping his hands around his mouth as you head down the stairs. Many of the inn's rougher inhabitants, those that look like adventurers, sailors and freelancers, start to flood up the stairs to see if the offer is genuine. Insane Dane cries out with despair as they flood his little stand.
"You people are beyond cruel!" Schnitzel exclaims.

The barkeep, a very tiny dragonfly who constantly darts between all the seated drinkers, nods hello as you approach the bar. He clears his throat and asks you in an affected accent, "What can I serve you, outlander?"

>>724151
"Henotheism," Mallea says. "It means acknowledging multiple gods but only worshiping a single god. Contrast this with polytheism, which is the worship of many gods, and pantheism, which is the acknowledgement of all of Reality as divine, and / or the worship of an entire pantheon's gods."

>>724154
"If you have to write a will, make sure I get a share of your goods," Paraiba says. "I'll take good care of your widow."
It is at this time that you recall that Paraiba is a mare.

>>724154
"Tell your special somepony that just because someone offers her a tray of sweets, she is NOT entitled to eat more than a few," Mallea sneers. "And certainly not the entire tray."

You hear Chiu protest in the background, something about eating for three.

>>724154
>>724151
>>724152
Mallea repeats Cerulean's question in the Krikral tongue, and the captive Kalphites respond. Mallea snorts derisively in her usual stiff fashion. "It is as Thessaly predicted. The little bastards are scared of them! They seem to occupy a kind of mythical role in the kalphite cosmology – a sign of danger, misfortune, impending disaster. The way they phrase it is that if they don't conquer for the glory of the hive, a swarm of those bearded vultures shall blacken the sky, swooping down as if in a storm and tearing the lot to bloody shreds. Quite the grim narrative if you ask me."

Next, comes Alder's, Thessaly's and Cloud's, asked as followups to one another. The Kalphites seem baffled at your directness at first, but their mood quickly lightens.

"…Quite odd," Mallea says. "They seem perfectly happy to lead you into the cave to speak with the Royals as Thessaly and Alder would like, but they were more than specific that they require their freedom for this. If you're not willing to grant that, they can give you instructions instead, as Cloud requested. Apparently they have never heard of our races being so bold. Their common folklore about us holds that we are all submissive and subservient, and that it is right and just for them to conquer and pillage as they please. They admire your boldness."

"Wait, wait, how will we know they'll steer us right?" Splendid asks.

"You won't."

 No.724159

>>724158

"He was beyond cruel to those accompasses," Cutlass retorts to Schnitzel.

"That being said," she directs her words now more towards Puddin. "I did this mostly for your benefit. I could tell it was bothering YOU, so I put MY reputation on the line. Don't expect this to be a common thing, and don't think that you can just go and get carried away. I don't entirely approve of that last bit. But, I DO want you to know that I am loyal to those who are loyal to me. A a pirate should be."

"Hello," Cutlass says to the barkeep with a courteous smile. "Most around here don't seem as polite to outsiders as you do. I was wondering if you've heard any rumors or information about a pirate crew called the Beestings?"

 No.724160

>>724158
"Oooooh, okay! Thank you," she happily replies, now knowing another new, big, fancy words.

Cerulean hears about the 'relationship' between the birds and the kalphites, things making a bit more sense why they'd go after small frys.
"Well, trusting them is the best we've got at the moment. Really it all we've been doing so far, right?"

To maybe help earn their trust a bit, Cerulean scratches/draws a picture of her face with a frowny face, and an insultingly goofy picture of the bearded vulture. She follows it up with a picture of her face again, but the vulture in her mouth this time.

 No.724161

>>724158
"Hmm, Curious. They seem oddly willing t just let us in. I figured this would be much more difficult, or, w-well… something." the griffon says, somewhat confused.

 No.724162

>>724157
"Yes, but just one of those could obliterate their entire tribe. Glory is all well and good, but fighting one of those beasts is suicide for us, let alone the Kalphites."

>>724158
She releases the bound Kalphite with a dismissive hoofwave. "Tell them to send their leaders a message, Mallea," she says, still staring them both down. "If they do not stop their raids, and return what they have stolen, the Sea-Witch will lay a hex upon them all." She fixes the Kalphites with an icy glare. "Tell them if they do not comply, I will lay a curse of blood upon them. And their children. And their children's children. Forevermore. Every wretched birth will plunge the child into a lifetime of misery."

She looks to the skull keeping the shrunken Kalphite captive. Her horn glows, and the skull begins to twitch, reanimated for the moment, if only to intimidate them further. "A curse here, and a curse there," she intones. "A curse for he, and she, why care. A bottomless curse. From a bottomless sea. A call to the bloodless, wherever they be. Briseadh agus brú ar do chnámha."
[1d10+2] Commune
[1d10] Intimidate

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.724163


 No.724164

>>724158
Cloud gives Paraiba a look, mostly of confusion, with the slightest bit of imagining that outcome.
"An interesting offer, but if they take me out I doubt you'l even get a hoof in the door."


As Mallea gives an irritated comment on Chiu's eating habbits, Cloud only snickers.
"Don't listen to her babe! And save me some!"
He shouts through the conch so Chiu can hear.


"Wow, they're pretty willing to lead us on in, aren't they?"
Cloud comments as the kalphites agree to a meeting. As Splendid questions their trustfulness, Cloud looks over to her.
"Simple, we make them walk ahead of us so they'll trigger their own traps if they try anything funny."

 No.724165

>>724159
Schnitzel contemplates this. "…Yeah, no, he deserved every bit of that. Carry on!"

Puddin sneers. "Don't think that I'll pass by a cage without stopping to see what's inside," he retorts. "Whether or not you bail me out, that's your call. But guys like that just piss me off."

"Is that… why you bought…" Plague hazards, but backs down once he sees Puddin's prickly glare.

The barkeep darts about a few times before coming back to you. "The Dragonfly-Tribe do not see many years before our lives draw to a close. I have no time for ill-will or rudeness. That said, I have heard some dreadful things about those Beestings, and those Hidden Dagger folk, too. It's all over the newspapers, what they've done to Kaco Island's royals! Regicide, terrorism, and an attack on the Crimson King himself! They even made the Aristar Mafia go underground! But,I don't think that's the worst part. The truth is, it's just part of a trend of attacks on other islands. It's just what they've been saying… it's all true… upstart pirate crews are forming from all across the Five Points of the Ribcage, and from the Seven Seas… A second Age of the Blood-Soaked Flags is upon us."

>>724164
>>724161
"They're probably more than confident they could rip us apart and devour us, to invite us in," Splendid says. "A predator has no problem letting prey wander near its open mouth."

>>724164
"Drat, my plan to get your inheritance has been foiled again."

"Better hurry!" Chiu says with a mouthful of food.
"At least cover your mouth with a napkin!" Mallea protests.

>>724160
>>724161
>>724162
>>724164
Cerulean's goofy drawing gets a chuckle out of the captive Kalphites, but that only makes Thessaly's dark incantations and threats of retribution only all the more vile and skin-crawling. The Kalphite in the skull chitters and clacks desperately, trying to climb out of the skull as it shakes and rattles, tormenting its helpless captive. Thessaly can feel the Karmic Seed pulsing, resonating in kind with her words, and the dull throbbing in the air is not lost on the kalphites, who now start to panic and breathe rapidly… even without hearing Mallea's translation.

Preserving the mood, Mallea slowly repeats what Thessaly said, her voice low and dripping with chilling malice. The chained kalphite immediately turns and bolts into the darkness of the cave, past the point in which you can see, and the kalphite trapped in the skull desperately tries to get out, to no avail.

Paraiba, Splendid and even Zerk are silent, watching Thessaly, both impressed and terrified. None have anything smart to say now.

 No.724166

>>724165
Cerulean can't help but take a few steps away from Thessaly a bit as she says her fancy magic curse words. The much larger sharkpony gives a visible shake, almost like she swam into a cold patch of water.
"So uhh…what now? Mission accomplished, right" she finally manages to ask.

 No.724167

>>724165
Alder would go a little pale, but it's hard to see his skin through all of the feathers. He'll settle for burying his beak in his scarf.

 No.724168

>>724165
She ignores the others and turns her attention to the reanimated skull. Seeing it won't be of much use, she breaks off the spell abruptly, letting it carelessly clatter to the ground with the Kalphite still inside. She stares off into the cave patiently, taking a seat on a nearby rock, waiting for a response.

>>724166
"We wait for their reply. If they do not bend to my will, I will break them."

 No.724169

>>724165
"Idiots are the same way. I've seen a few ponies in the city get in over their head cause they try to trick somepony into an alley, and then it backfiring when they judged the book's cover wrong."

Cloud chuckles at Paraiba.
"You're better off pushing your speed to loot treasure before I get my hooves on it."


"No fair, I'm all the way out in the desert!"
Cloud protests as well.
"At least save me something chocolatey!"


>>724165
>>724168
Cloud watches the kalphites shake in fear at Thessaly's threat, surprised to see a bug show horror as it bolts off. He looks down at the shrunken one, feeling a bit bad for it trapped in the skull there.
"You sure they'll agree to that?"
Cloud asks Thessaly.

 No.724170

>>724168
"Well, while I have no trouble breaking them with you, though would be nice to have some to take down one of those big vultures we don't like. Cause I don't like them, and I'm curious if they'd taste like chicken."

 No.724171

>>724165

I wonder if adding this here will make it not look automated.

"'Freed' would likely be a better word for it," Cutlass corrects Plague. "Of course, the tragic part is that most slaves have never known another life. So, Puddin is stuck taking care of him."

"Yes well, that's why I'm trying to hunt them down," Cutlass responds smoothly to the bartender. The Beestings. Er, and I do believe the other crew is called The Secret Assassins. So, have you heard if the Beestings are near here?"

She raises an eyebrow. "And, what is this about an age of blood-soaked flags?"

 No.724172

>>724169
"If not they are stupider than I thought."

>>724170
"I don't believe vulture will be on the menu any time soon. They are simply too large a threat for us to handle. Best avoid them."

 No.724173

>>724169
"Yeah, you're in the desert, and I'm in the dessert," Chiu retorts, chewing on something else now.

You can hear Mallea silently fuming in the background.

>>724169
>>724168
>>724167
>>724166
"Y-yes, n-now we wait, I imagine…" Splendid says. "If they don't come back, that'll be the end of it, won't it?"
"Yeah, we won't actually have to see that curse played out…" Zerk mumbles uncertainly.

You wait… and wait… and wait…

"I don't think they're going to come ba–" Paraiba begins, but her voice catches in her throat as a form appears in the darkness.

It's the Kalphite that Thessaly had chained up in darkness. He stands at the boundary of the light, shadows from the cave falling over his face in sharp, angular ways that obscures most of his body, leaving his face a grave, stony mask.

The kalphite clacks his mandibles but once.

Mallea falls silent, though you can hear her quickened breathing on the line.

>>724171
"You really must be an outlander if you have to ask," the dragonfly says. "It's a semi-mythical era of Ribcage history. Some call it the Glorious Age of Piracy, but most will only call it the Age of Blood-Soaked Flags. At first, the Ribcage did not have the Forbidden Wall, the wall of coral and sea-monster bones, surrounding it. Originally, the Island Turtles swam freely across the Seven Seas in a loose formation, freely mingling as they traveled. But then, rumors emerged of a piece of treasure that could lead one to the fabled Heart of Gold. Crews began to form to hunt for it. Most weren't pirates at first. Many of them started off as simple sailors, freelancers, explorers and the like. But as more and more people tried to find that legendary piece, the fighting between these crews intensified.

"From among these upstart pirates, eight fearsome crews emerged, consolidating power beneath them and utterly annihilating any and all who would stand in their way. These eight became known as the Eight Calamities, and their fame spread throughout the Seven Seas. The cruelty, depravity, and awesome might that they demonstrated in their hunt for the legendary piece is what earned that era the name, the Age of Blood-Soaked Flags."

 No.724174

>>724173
"I take it they're bigger idiots than I thought," she comments, hearing Mallea's reaction.

 No.724175

>>724173
Cerulean's ears hear the all too familiar sound of fast breathing.
"Okay, why is she afraid? Am I gonna have to be picking bug shells from my teeth after all?"

 No.724176

>>724172
"They are just a bunch of bugs, so they can't be all that bright."


>>724173
Cloud laughs at the quick wordplay.
"Alright, I'll give you that. I'll just keep any cool stuff I find out here to myself then."
He counters.


Cloud sits around, chatting idly with Chiu as they wait for the kalphite to come back. Once they do, he looks over to it as it hides back in the shadows. When he hears Mallea's breathing quicken at the single click, he grows a little concerned, as they'll have to act now.
"What is it?"

 No.724177

>>724173
"A-Ahh, hmm. Is everything… okay?"

 No.724178

>>724173

"Ah, the Eight Calamities are at least familiar to me," Cutlass nods. "Though, now I have to ask. If the characteristic ribcage of the Ribcage didn't exist then, what did they call it?"

"Also, you haven't answered my question. Do you know anything about the whereabouts of the Beestings?"

While Cutlass speaks, it occurs to her that she hasn't seen into his soul yet.

>Soul Vision on the barkeep

 No.724179

>>724176
"Ah, I see! Already saving up for our kid's college fund, that's smart," Chiu counter-counters.

>>724176
>>724175
>>724174
>>724177
"The King and Queen have requested your esteemed presence," Mallea breathes.

Your allies freeze at the thought of it. The shrunken kalphite skitters back into the shadows now that he's free. The first kalphite clicks his mandibles a few times.

"It sounds like they want a demonstration of your might and dominion over curses and dark magic," Mallea explains. "…The masses may be terrified, but that's all the more reason for the King and Queen to reassert themselves in spite of your challenges. Primitive brutes, every pony jack of them."

"So we just have to trick them?" Splendid asks.

"That'd be one way. Trick, elude, intimidate… or just strike them dead right then and there."

>>724178
"The Wandering Sea, they called it," the barkeep answers. "Named so after the countless Island-Turtles that wandered the Seven Seas. They were like a whole Eighth Sea unto themselves."

He starts to clean a glass by picking up a tiny rag and flying all around the glass rapidly. It doesn't seem to bother him or make him dizzy. "Anyway… nobody's really sure how that era came to an end, but all Eight Calamities vanished some way or another. Some were found dead. Others vanished. One, it seems, even gave up piracy and dedicated herself to a convent. Strangest change of career I've ever heard of. But they didn't stop until it was too late for them. Their fighting awoke the Ancients of the Sea, so the stories go. Two of the Ancients awoke, rampaging upon the waters, like a divine punishment for the Calamities' wanton destruction. The first was the Hunger, whose incoherent thrashings sunk dozens of islands below the waters. The second was the Guilt, whose wailing gave rise to the Forbidden Wall. It is because of the Guilt that we have the Ribcage as we know it."

"Anyone know where those Ancients went?" Schnitzel asks.

"The Hunger and the Guilt… they say they reside in the Heart of Gold, among the other Ancients," the dragonfly answers.

It seems that the dragonfly wants to only to die a good death, having offended or harmed no one wrongfully, and to be in the company of many grandchildren (and many good drinks) when he goes.

 No.724180

>>724178
>Forgot your other question

"Word on the grapevine is that they're on Agyl Island," the dragonfly continues. "But nobody can do anything about it. Nobody can go after their bounties until the Crimson King lifts the restriction on their bounties. But Black Market info brokers have been all over their trail to try to find them. the newspapers will pay big money for pictures! Got a picture-box? If so, you should consider trying to snap a few shots."

 No.724181

>>724179
"I-If Thessaly can repeat her performance again, I do not believe that intimidation will be a factor. I-I will offer what help I may, though." the griffon offers, giving Thessaly a hopeful smile.

 No.724182

>>724179
Cloud grumbles as he tries to figure out a counter-counter-counter, but he's completely stumped.
"…I'm getting one of those sweets when I get back."
He says, like a child.


"We just need to show off then? That'll be easy, Thessaly already had these bugs shaking from a few words."
Cloud says. And then he steps into the cave slightly to get out of the light, lifting up his eyepatch.
"Hey Hmm, what scares kalphites?"
He asks the crow.

 No.724183

>>724179
"Oh, maybe not. Good. I spent too much time getting them cleaned from the last time we did a big thing." She looks over to the kalphite, not bothering to get down to its level this time and gives it a sharky grin.
"Alright, lead the way. But no funny business," she says, then smacks herself on the head as she remembers they wouldn't understand her.

 No.724184

>>724179
She raises an eyebrow. "That doesn't sound hard. These barbarians seem quite gullible." She stands and takes a step towards the Kalphite. "Tell him to take us there," she asks Mallea.

>>724182
"Who are you talking to?" she asks bluntly as you start fiddling with your eye patch.

 No.724185

>>724184
"The gem Cerulean gave to act as my prosthetic has some crow spirit inside it that says it knows everything. Figured if we need to put a scare into these bugs it'll help to know the best things to do."
Cloud explains.

 No.724186

>>724179

"IN the Heart of Gold? It must be very large then. How does anyone expect to obtain such a thing?"

>>724180

"The ice on their bounty makes no difference to me. Thank you for the information."

Cutlass looks to Schnitzel, Plague, and Puddin. "How bout a round of drinks before we go?" she offers.

 No.724187

>>724182
"Birds, barbs, berbs, birbs, borbs, burbs and sometimes byrbs," Hmm explains. "But mostly birds."

The formerly captured kalphite backs up to get away from the sudden sight of your mysterious gem-eye.

>>724181
>>724183
"How would we help without magic, though?" Splendid asks.
"We could pretend like Thessaly's cursed us," Zerk offers. "I think she has half a mind to do that to me anyway…"

>>724183
>>724182
>>724181
>>724184
Mallea transmits your consent to the challenge. The larger Kalphite takes a step back as if surprised, but then steels himself, turning around. The shrunken one skitters along desperately, always trying (and mostly failing) to keep a good distance from Thessaly.

The kalphites lead you through the darkness, and Splendid lights a small torch to help you see through the dark. The tunnels are small, cramped and winding, unlike the more regimented tunnels you saw in Professor Shrimp's lair. There are many twists and turns as well as traps, which Mallea must convey to you each time the kalphites express that. Left, right, right, stop, watch your step. Avoid stepping on the raised stones. Left. Forward. Up. Left. Down. Stop. Don't look the statues in the eyes. Forward…

Eventually, after a journey into the bowels of the mountain, your guides bring you into a wider chamber, a hollow full of clammering, chattering kalphites. The hollow is terraced, with many gigantic layers carved into the sides, like a ziggurat's massive steps. It almost reminds you of Manenhi's structure. The room is filled with glowing egg-sacks and kalphite warriors, and kalphite nymphs which sit on the eggs to warm them. Chicken bones, blood splatters and ostrich egg-shells litter the ground. The whole hollow is filled with an eerie, sickly green light, transmitted by the bioluminescent eggs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bzwqLrSkvM

Two prominent figures sit at the center of the hollow, atop a great many smaller steps, like those of a sacrificial altar. Two gigantic kalphites sit, one jet-black and bloody red, and the other a rainbow collage of brilliant colors, in what at first appear to be thrones. But upon inspection, you see that they are actually the hollowed carapaces of dead kalphites, hundreds of them woven into a pair of grisly cathdra.

Those two kalphites glare down at you, both dwarfing you by a ratio of ten to one. The rainbow one holds a curving scepter that looks like a monster's massive spinal cord, adorned at top with a skull.

The two sit there in silence, while the lesser kalphites in the room start to scream and apparently call for blood, judging by the intensity. Your allies cover their ears and wince. However, the hollow falls silent, with nothing but a flash from the rainbow kalphite's eyes.

>>724186
"You misunderstand," the barkeep says. "The Heart of Gold is an Island, not an item."

"The legendary island of unimaginable wealth," Schnitzel adds. "An island so big, nobody can find it!"

"Oh, don't be like that. There are plenty of theories as to why nobody can find it," the barkeep says.

The others nod, giving their orders to the bartender, who starts to zoom around carrying mugs ten times his size, filling them up with drinks and massing them down to your crew.

 No.724188

>>724187

Cutlass orders whatever cider might be available. She also looks to see what the others ordered out of curiosity. I honestly AM curious, sorry to make you have to thing more in depth about your characters!

"Hmm, I've heard and read about all sorts of stories about unimaginable riches. I'm with Schnitzel. It's all hooey. I'm more interested in real, actionable things."

 No.724189

>>724187
"Act like her thralls, perhaps? We heard tales of foul enchantresses that could do such things." he suggests, following along quietly

-
Alder hums a little bit as they step into the wider chamber, and lets out a mildly nervous squawk as he looks around. He'll wait for Thessaly to take the lead, while looking for any potential openings.
>Master Thief [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.724190

>>724188
"Well, that's why the most plausible theory is that it's a dead island," the barkeep continues. "A sunken island, whose island-turtle has been killed, somehow, the carcass sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Island-turtles' deaths are often spoken of in legends, but also nowadays. It's well-documented that an Island-Turtle can die if it undergoes total environmental desiccation, and all its natural resources tapped. Is that scientific and grounded enough for you?"

Plague has a wizard's wine, while Schnitzel has a bloody mary. Puddin orders the most sugary martini you could possibly imagine.

 No.724191

>>724187
"Guess being somewhat civilized didn't help them much. Thanks Hmm."
Cloud says before flipping his eyepatch back down. He looks over at the kalphite as it backs away from the sight of his gem-eye, and flashed the bug a fanged grin.

As they agree and are lead, Cloud follows along, having an easy time in the dim light with his echolocation, though still finding the tunnels too cramped for his liking. When the enter what he assumes is the main chamber, he looks around at all the bugs, their lair covered on animal remnants. It gives his stomach a bit of a turn, and he's a bit glad Chiu didn't come along, even if she wasn't pregnant.
He looks up to the two massive bugs, their size not doing much to intimidate him, but their cannibalistic thrones and scepter does unease him.

"I'm guessing they'll need translators too?"

 No.724192

>>724190

Cutlass chugs a hefty chunk of her drink (and it instantly goes to her head). "It's something…" she muses. "Still, a theory doesn't really tell me WHERE it is. So, I won't be wondering aimlessly for it any time soon. Now, if someone had a map leading there…"

"I'm more interested in this Turtle Island dying bit. Are you telling me that a turtle island actually lives off of the environment on its own back? That if the environment dies off, then the turtle dies? Are you sure it's not just the other way around?"

Then, she looks to the others with their drinks. She grins a tipsy grin. "Okay, the bloody mary I get. But, what's with the wine, Plague? And, don't even get me started on YOUR choice, Puddin," she mocks them in a good-natured tone.

 No.724193

>>724187
Cerulean looks around the place, though she's looking a bit on edge.
"Woah…and I thought…I left a mess when I ate. Hah…hahah…." She seems to be fighting off something,but with each sniff towards a blood splatter, she seems to be losing. Blood is in the air, and its really starting to drive her towards a feeding frenzy. She looks at the two largest kalphites as her pupils starts to dialate and her mouth really begins salivating.
"Hah…can we hurry this? I…really can't…think straight in here!"

 No.724194

>>724187
She isn't phased much by the gory surroundings, looking up at the Kalphite leaders defiantly. Her eyes slowly move around the room, gauging the raucous crowd. She takes note of the pools of blood. Blinking slowly, she reaches out to them, trying to conjure a water elemental from the bloodstains. "Duine a thriail…"
[1d10+1] Elementalist

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.724195

>>724194
> Evoker: When Thessaly conjures a minion via Unholy Elementalist, roll an additional 1d10 on a success. On a pass, the minion is raised with an additional 2 hits for a total of 5/3. On a crit, the minion gains 1 hit and 1 wound, bringing it to 4/4. On a critfail, the minion is hostile and gets no bonuses. (Amnis: +1)
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.724196

>>724191
You note quite a bit of wealth on the ground, presumably the loot from their takings from the caravans and from the town. Bullets, guns, knives, hats, ponchos, strange looking, crab-like armor pieces, and the occasional bags of coins and gemstones. Given how many bodies are in the room, and how disorganized everything is, you could probably slip something away without them noticing.

>>724189
>>724191
>>724193
>>724195
Many of the nearby Kalphites back away as Cerulean appears to teeter on the edge of madness. They need no translation to tell that she is inching closer to danger. Without so much as a word being spoken, all in the room know why they are gathered. Soft clackings and mutterings fill the room as all eyes fall upon Thessaly.

The room falls deathly still as she speaks the dark words, and the kalphites grow increasingly nervous. Then, a gasp and a cry rise up as the pools of blood start stirring, and bubbling as if boiling. Hundreds of legs clack and click as they all run to get away from the pools of blood. From the pools rise a kind of stream as the blood starts to congeal and gather before Thessaly, at first resembling a smoky cloud of red and chunks of gore.

However, Thessaly feels a pulse dimly echoing in the recesses of her mind. At the same time, Cerulean feels a dull thud from within her head. It's like… something pounding at a door within her head. The pounding creates a dull throbbing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7DFyDzcztQ

Thessaly feels a snap as the clasp of her saddlebag comes open. The Liber Animarum starts to rise from the bag, the pages flipping open of their own volition.

>>724192
"Not a map, necessarily, but with an Accompass, it'd be possible," the dragonfly says. "If any of the Calamities ever found that one piece of legendary treasure, they'd have all they needed to find that island. Getting there, now that'd be another matter entirely. Reminds me of the idea of why the Island-Turtles wander. Many have tried to find out why these colossal turtles swim aimlessly through the Seven Seas. Some believe that it's not aimless at all, but that those Island-Turtles are looking for something, or perhaps they are on a pilgrimage of sorts. Many species of animal pay tribute to their dead. It's not hard to imagine they might be doing something of the sort, too – visiting the dead, perhaps."

"As for how they live and die, it's likely symbiotic," the dragonfly says. "Environmental protection laws and religious custom make it very difficult to test or research Island-Turtles. But it's known that, no matter how much abuse an Island-Turtle can take to its head, neck and underside, it can endure just about anything. However, it can't endure excess damage done to the environments that grow on its back."

Plague snaps his fingers, and magical sparks appear between them. He twiddles his fingers next, and waves of magical color manifest between them. "Wizard's wine lets you do little cantrips like this. Try it!"

Puddin just mad-dogs you for his drink choice, protectively pulling his sugary margarita closer to him.

>Paused


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