Last time on PirateQuest…754 posts and 3 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
Thessaly's (unintentional) summoning of Seravelum, and the demon's obvious control over blood and curses, was more than enough proof for the Kalphite King and Queen to relent, and agree to the party's terms. They released the ostriches and chickens that they'd taken captive from the town of Gecko, and Kalphite guards saw the party to the cave's exit. Seravelum was quite disappointed that they didn't get to whip up a blood curse, and so Thessaly had to appease them by agreeing to sacrifice the first thing she killed to them.
With that resolved, the party passed by Obstinance's tent, which had been left empty and apparently unguarded. This offered them an opportunity to investigate the enigmatic exorcist, but Thessaly and Alder wisely warned against it, figuring (correctly) that the tent was trapped. Now, while the rest of the party continued on their way back to Gecko, Cerulean went off in search of Obstinance, finding him sprinkling salt mixed with wine and incense on the ground in a vast, circular perimeter around Gecko. The two talked a little about demons, and Obstinance seemed capable of detecting the demonic power that Stone Cold Classic had given to Cerulean after her wish for power. In a very strange move for a demon hunter and exorcist, Obstinance offered to help Cerulean bring out that demonic power, and gave her a small, wheel-shaped medallion, the Yana of the Moon and Stars. The medallion was enchanted, and would draw oddities unto itself. How exactly this would help Cerulean was not explicit, but he assured her that it would be made clear in time.
Meanwhile, Captain Cutlass was finally reunited with the rest of the party after a long train ride from Xallan, the major port town on Agyl's northwestern point. She had much to tell them about her battle with Shiro and Kuro, and needed to figure out how that all fit in with the unexplained conch call between Phillip the Gentlecolt and Thessaly on the night that Cutlass had disappeared. Phillip had apparently known about the so-called "mutiny" of Cutlass's crew and the resultant battle, despite Shiro and Kuro having every reason to keep it a secret, and despite them actively taking measures to keep it a secret. This gave credence to the possibility of an informant's involvement in all this. And to make matters worse, there was their bounties to deal with – particularly that photo of Thessaly with the Liber Animarum, apparently taken on Kaco Island, despite those events taking place before she salvaged the book from the Lilliput.
Anyway, with the party all gathered, now was the best time to catch up on what each half missed, and piece some of these details together to figure out just what in the world might be going on.
"Wh-what? No! I'm not-"
Cutlass grumbles incoherently for a moment.
"Do you all really not remember? How many times have we been repeating this before now…?" she thinks out loud.>>727807
When she Soul Sights Alder and sees enough to prove to her that this is definitely Alder, she nods. "So, you're all definitely you," she says without an explanation. "Or at least Alder is…"
"None of you remember?">>727812
"Cerulean, you sounded like you remember, right?"
"How could I forget," she says, bringing the still enlarge fox up to hug him close.
"I don't think I could forgive that skewer-stabbing bottom feeder for making me have to hurt this cute little guy."
"I… think? I feel like I've seen that fox before, but I'm not sure."
Cloud looks over to the fireplace, noticing the bones, and looking away uncomfortably.
"Yea, that did do it. So, how come you're bringing it along?">>727814
"Hey, I can remember plenty. I think you're the one having memory issues."
"So what are you going on about?"
She returns the odd look. "Are you unwell?" she asks, with a slightly catty tone.>>727811
"Perhaps. Very likely we are in some sort of illusion, or alternate reality.">>727813
She frowns as her mind is suddenly wracked with vague, strange memories, unsure what to make of it. "Curious," she murmurs as she sees the bones. Her curiosity piqued, she moves over to them and tries to glean something from them.
Haven't a clue. Or perhaps I do. I have… memories of this place. Vague ones, like a reverie. What do you think happened here?"Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
The fox gnaws a little on your ears, but not enough to hurt, just enough to play.>>727817
As you attempt to pick the skull's brain, a remnant of a whisper, barely more than the sigh of the wind between its teeth, slips out…"I saw her… walking before me. Wearing my body. But was she me? She did things I never did. She did things I never would do… Erratic. Manic. Enlisting the help of strangers. That couldn't have been me. The only me is me. I'm…"
The voice is terribly distorted, as if it were coming up from underwater. It cannot be discerned who it belongs to.
…You remember hearing this before. Well, not hearing it from the actual person who said these words, but rather, the skull you now examine. A powerful wave of deja vu washes over you.>>727816
The fox barks at you. Just once. It's more like a hello than anything else.
"We just fought a demon of jealousy!" Cutlass explains, sounding annoyed. "It was a bunch of totally gross mold. A-and, I totally killed it like a badass," she says, suddenly changing her tone. She smiles to herself.
"But, after that, the demon that I think is Spite came and drowned us all in tar. Then, we ended up in our starting positions again. If it's possible for us to not remember, then I guess it's possible we've done this countless amounts of times at this point. I wonder why Cerulean and I remember this time, though…"
Cutlass raises a brow in thought. If Cloud is paying enough attention, he might notice Cutlass' eyes turn subtly silver.
>Soul Sight on Cloud>>727815
"Because they all forgot… This is so weird.">>727817
"We defeated malice here. It burnt everything."
Alder shivers a little from the unpleasant sensation of… what he could only imagine is one of the victims of whatever happened here. It takes him a few moments to recover, and when he does, he turns to look at Cutlass. "I-I suppose something awful must have happened here, though I do not know what.">>727814
"I, uhm… I am me, yes. What do you mean by that? And, uhm… no. I remember nothing."
She jerks backward, disturbed by the voice, and the distant, gnawing memory. "What is this place…"
She sits down at a reasonably intact chair and starts wracking her brains trying to think of what it could mean.
[1d10] InsightRoll #1 6 = 6
"Because this is the fox that's been living in the lantern I found. That one that eats things with fire. Turns out its actually a fire fox! Though he's usually a lot smaller, but that's only cause you made him grow when fighting the mold rat things.">>727817
"Well, I'm kinda feeling nervous, and I experienced what its like to drown for once, but I'm perfectly fine. I'm…more worried for you. You took a nasty spill in that black goop back upstairs.">>727818
Cerulean's serious tone is suddenly ruined by the fox as his gnawing makes her giggle.
"Haha, hey, stop, that tickles, hahaha.">>727819
"They did?" She looks back at the others with a fox on her ear.
"Well…that makes things kinda tricky now…."
"Upstairs?" She looks confused. "I don't think I've been there. Unless I have and we've all been erased… In any case. I was planning on going there anyway. This curious thing leads me to believe there is something of note in the attic." She shows her His Eye.>>727819
"What do you mean, we defeated malice?" She looks perplexed.
You recall a piece of information you came across early in your studies of the Commune spell: Although one might think that the spell's primary use would lie with the recently-deceased, the opposite is in fact true. Owing to the trauma of death, those who have died often do not recall anything of the day of their death until many years down the line.
"A demon of Malice," Cutlass explains impatiently. "We need to defeat 4 demons. We've defeated 2. Based on the notes, the other two are in the attic and the basement. We should do the attic first."
"With all the demon trickery, I was afraid that you forgot was because you were some demon in disguise. But, no you are you."
"You… really don't remember anything…?" Cutlass asks, sounding subtly disappointed.
"I, uhm… I-I am afraid not. I apologize for the inconvenience, Captain Cutlass." he says, bowing his head a little.
"Though, I am somewhat curious- how do you know I am me? That is a bizarre thing to say. Though, maybe this is something demons can do?"
"O-one of my aura abilities," Cutlass explains vaguely. "D-don't worry about it."
She blushes a little bit.
"Yea, I bet you were real cool spraying some weed killer. I saw some mold in the hall upstairs just now, wanna go 'murder' it?"
"Starting positions? So we're in a game now?"
He continues in the joking tone, but then he looks in thought.
"Huh, I did wake up in the same bed I did before though…"
He trails off, thinking on this, and not noticing Cutlass' eyes change hue.Cutlass sees a nice, cozy farmhouse. Cloud, Chiu, and a bat foal sit on the porch, enjoying a lazy afternoon as they play around without a care in the world.>>727818>>727822
"This was in that lantern you found back from that shipwreck?"
Cloud questions, looking to the fox as it barks.
"Huh, guess he thrived pretty well for being underwater."
He then looks back up at Cerulean.
"I, ah- are you sure? You seem somewhat flustered, or unsettled."
"Yeah. There was this mold with a bunch of weird rats in it, making move and junk. Some even skittered out and exploded right under you, likely after we kept blowing it up with those bottles of Salamander's Breath."
"Oh, gag," Cutlass rolls her eyes as she sees Cloud's innermost desire. Then, her eyes go wide as she realizes she said that out loud.>>727831
"I…" Cutlass says slowly, her face a little red. "It's just that I'm only just now realizing the power may be a little… intimate. An invasion of privacy if you will.">>727832
Though, that's apparently not enough to stop Cutlass from using Soul Sight on Cerulean just to be sure. It's slightly suspicious that she remembers when the others don't. If Cerulean is observant, she might notice that her eyes turn slightly silver.
>Soul Sight on Cerulean
"E-Eugh. I-I am sorry, what? That sounds quite awful. Where did this happen?">>727833
"I, uhm… oh. R-Right, I suppose you saw inside of me. What, uhm…" he trails off, and rubs at the back of his neck. "What did you… well, see?"
He asks, rethinking, what Cutlass said.
"I saw some mold upstairs, so all the mold has rats in it? And what's Salamander's Breath?">>727833
Cloud turns as Cutlass says gag aloud.
"What, are you gonna throw up?"
Cerulean looks over with a slight head tilt.
"Everything okay Cutlass?"
>Upon looking at her Soul, Cutlass sees Cerulean sitting at a huge feast table flanked by Roger and her fox, with everyone she's ever met also at the table just eating and having a great time. It almost feels like a great, big, giant, happy family as various food is passed around the table.
"Yeah, really! At least the places it was super spread out at. And Salamander's Breath is this powder that causes the mold to burn away. We were mostly shooting it to make a big explosion, but I spread some in my jaws and ignited it so I could bite down into it." She holds her stomach slightly as it gives a noise.
"Ugh…the taste was kinda rancid, though."
"I… yes… sorry…" Cutlass similarly rubs the back of her head. "I needed to know you were you."
"Don't worry, it wasn't too bad."
Then, Cutlass cocks her head curiously. "You got your tattoos from your brother?">>727835
"Yeah, I saw into your soul and it's disgusting," Cutlass taunts.>>727836
"Just making sure you're you," Cutlass nods. "And, I saw pretty much what I expected. So, I think we're all good."
"You tried to bite it? Anypony could've told you mold tastes terrible. It's basically rot, at least the kind that'd grow in a house."
"Do you have any more of that stuff? I feel like we might need more.">>727838
"You looked in my soul?"
Cloud says, looking down at himself. He then scoffs.
"Whatever's in there is probably way better than yours."
"I-" Cutlass begins to retort as she raises her hoof to point at him. Then, she pauses. She puts her hoof down.
"Huh… I don't know what would be in my soul…"
"It is… okay. I trust you and the others here, even if this is… u-unexpected." he says, before letting out a sigh of relief. He flicks his ears up at the mention of his tattoos and his brother, and lets out a startled little warble.
"Ho- Ah, right. A-Anywho… yes, he did. The tattoos are somewhat special. The materials used for it are slightly magic, and alter your fur a little- it is why it is so easy to see them on my coat. You likely already know, but they are a mark of adulthood in my tribe. He gave them to me a little before I left, actually."
"I actually don't believe I saw anything about it being a mark of adulthood," Cutlass says conversationally. "Though, I'm curious now. Do siblings usually give the markings? Who gives it to the oldest sibling?"
"You never tried?"
Cloud asks as if that'd be the first obvious thing to do with such a power.
"So, what'd you see in my soul then?"
"H-Hey- can the two of you act more… mature, please? At least until we are out of this. There is no need to be crude about something such as that." he says, before humming a little at what Cutlass responds with.
"I, uhm… I do not suppose you could look into a mirror and get the same effect, could you? I do not know what to expect, though… whatever it is, I think it is what you make of it." he suggests.>>727842
"Ah- it is not necessarily the sibling that gives it. It is something done by a shaman, or chief. My brother was an… apprentice, the word is? Apprentice to the shaman. He was allowed to give me the tattoos, as a way to show what he had learned."
"I… don't think I want to…" Cutlass mumbles.>>727844
"Hey! He's the one making fun of me!" she objects to being told to act more mature.>>727844
"I see," Cutlass nods, seemingly getting into unraveling Alder. "It sounds like you have a lot of respect for your brother."
"Hey, she started it first by calling my soul disgusting."
"I'd be curious to what I'd see if I had a power like that…"
"Speaking of, spill it. It's my soul so I deserve to know what you saw."
Cutlass rolls her eyes. "My Soul Sight was intended to be used to be able to manipulate people by showing me what a person wants most. That innermost desire or moral or goal or dream that drives all of their decisions and wants. If I know that, it's easier to promise people exactly what they want to hear and I can get what I want out of them."
"So, with you, I saw you, Chiu, and a baby sitting on a porch together. Truly disgusting."
"Manipulative little kid aren't you."
Cloud comments to her explanation of her ability. As she says what she saw in him, he smiles.
"Can't wait for that," He says proudly, before a more serious look comes to his face, "I'm glad I got her out of here, away from whatever craziness is going on."
Alder ruffles his feathers up and huffs, before saying "Y-Yes, but both of you can be adult enough to stop, yes? You do not continue, do you?">>727845
"I do, yes. He is, well… amazing. Strong, kind, and wise- the perfect candidate for a shaman. I-I have always wished I could be like him, I suppose."
"Manipulation is part of being a pirate," Cutlass says, sticking her tongue out.
"And, by the way, getting Chiu out of here was MY suggestion," she says proudly. "So, you're welcome.">>727849
"I'll stop when he does," Cutlass says, sticking her tongue out at Cloud again.>>727849
"Yeah, I…" Cutlass says, pausing briefly. "Got that about you. But, I think you're already pretty amazing. You probably don't remember, but in that last fight, you healed me twice while you were on the verge of death. You saved my life when you needed to save your own. That's… really something."
Then, Cutlass's face turns bright red. She quickly looks in some other direction. "N-not that I care what you think or anything," she adds in a more petulant tone.
"I won't if she won't."
"So is that why you think mine was so disgusting, cause you can't manipulate what I already have?"
"Also, I had a vision way before you said anything. Something came in my dream and said to keep her out."
Cutlass cackles ominously. "Are you kidding me? You're the easiest kind of person to manipulate. People with families always need something more to make them happy, make them successful… keep them alive," she says that last part with a devious grin.
"I, uhm… I did? I suppose I do not remember, but… I think that is something I would do. I do not like the sound of someone in suffering, and I am sure you were far worse off than I was. B-But, uhm… thank you for the kind words. P-Perhaps I am, I do not know… too hard on myself?"
"We already make each other happy, and this trip will keep us successful."
Cloud answers, then leers down at Cutlass.
"And you better not get any ideas there, cause I won't care if you are a kid."
He says, prodding Cutlass in the chest.
"Plus she's got an extra guardian, so you wouldn't even get close to her to
"Yeah that's…" Cutlass says, clearly feeling uncomfortable. "Basically what I saw when I looked into your soul. That you're too hard on yourself. You feel like you need to prove something."
"Which is… kinda sad," she laughs nervously. "You know, Cloud wants a family, Cerulean wants food and friends. You just want to feel better about yourself…"
It's unclear whether she's trying to console you or make fun of you. It's unclear if she even knows.
"Okay," Cutlass says defensively. "I'm sure you're perfect and you'll never mess anything up. You'll never need help from anyone."
"Glad that you agree."
Cloud says with a smirk as Cutlass says he's perfect.
Alder folds his ears back, before letting out a nervous giggle. "I-I suppose you are right. I just, I do not know… I have always had trouble with myself. Maybe I have been, I do not know… have I been looking at everything wrong?">>727856>>727857>>727854
"Shush, please. Why must you two fight like this?"
"That time I wasn't fighting. I was just responding to her claim that I'd need more and more."
Cutlass laughs. "I think that right there is your problem. You take things too far. I don't think 'looking at everything' right OR wrong is relevant to any of this. But then again… maybe this is MY problem. I tend to not think about the important things."
Then, Cutlass looks down awkwardly. "I'm sorry if me knowing this about you makes things awkward…"
"A-Ah, I see. Do not be so sure that things will go perfectly, but… you are quite able. I believe you will be a good parent.">>727860
"Maybe you are right, Captain Cutlass. Regardless, thank you for this- you do not need to apologize… it is probably for the best that someone 'talk sense in to me', I suppose?"
"W-well," Cutlass says with a grin, sounding kind of excited. "In that case, if you ever need someone to remind you that you're thinking wrong, I'm your girl!"
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"Thanks Alder. I know things can't be one hundred percent smooth, but I'm sure they'll go pretty well."