Last time on PirateQuest…882 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.
The shopkeeper contemplates the deal before him, then takes the deal, collecting the goods. He passes the record player's tone arm for you to take. At your size, you'll need to team lift this to haul it around.
"Thank you!" She says happily, then looks to Cloud.
"So, want me to grab the heavier end and you get the lighter end?"
"Oh, just give it to me," Cutlass demands.
[1d10+1] Whisper in Your EarRoll #1 1 + 1 = 2
"Pleasure doing business with you."
Cloud says at the successful trade. He looks along the tone arm, then up to Cerulean.
"Yea, that sounds good. Though, let's see if I can make it easier."
His eye starts to glow, looking at the tone arm to shrink it down to a more manageable size.>Wax/Wane [Shrink] [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
He chatters away, and though you don't understand his literal words, his intent seems to be conveyed into your mind. He says if you want it so bad, you should just get a job instead of bothering a working bug in his own establishment! He'll hire you, but only if your attitude improves and he gets a real apology.>>728307>>728305
Cloud's magic is a little strained right now, and he fails the spell. You could probably just carry it with a little muscle. Remember to lift with your legs, not your back, the shopkeeper says.
She stops dead in her tracks at the sound of the breathing, peering into the gloom as she tries to make out what it could be, using His Eye for good measure.
"We would be able to deal with whatever this is if they'd accompanied me," she gripes, conceding and backing off from the cave. "We should gather them before venturing forth.">>728298
"Time is of the essence," she presses. "The longer we linger here, the more we risk something happening to our companions who aren't present. By all means, though, let's split up." She looks annoyed at the prospect, but leaves anyway.Roll #1 6 = 6
"Alright, guess we're carrying it the old fashioned way. Thessaly was saying the thing we're here for is to the west, so we should head that way."
"Okay! Then west we go!" Cerulean then proceeds to lift up her end of the needle.
>Tough: They can also lift, carry and move heavier objects than unicorns and pegasi
"Right. We should waste no time." the griffon says, following after the mare.
Cloud picks up the tail end, and walks along with Cerulean to the others.
As you peek beyond the "massive" doorway, you see, just at the boundaries of your vision, a massive body, laying upon its side. Even at your full size, it would dwarf you. It appears to be a gigantic bear, the body all gray and white and fuzzy. Fine fragments of wood, stone and other bits of debris stick out of its body, mostly around the feet and jaw, serving as claws and teeth of a sort. The body is lumpy and misshapen, and it is this detail that makes it click for you.
This bear is made out of dust. >>728310>>728311
As a team, you pick up the tone arm, hefting it down the western road where you saw Alder and Thessaly vanish. You are let past the "gates" (curtains) by the "guards" (toys holding charcoal and pen stubs). Eventually you get to the crawl space door, where you see Thessaly and Alder peering around the door's corner.
Cutlass scowls at the bartender angrily. "Now, you listen here!" she says loudly, taking a step closer to the bar so that she's leaning over it to get in the bartender's face.
"I am a pirate captain! Do you understand me? That means I do not get a job. I take what I want. And, if I don't get what I want, people start dying."
"Now, YOU are just a toy. You exist for my amusement. Now, give me what I want before I tear this entire pretend bar to the ground!"
[1d10+1] Whisper in Your Ear intimidationRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
The barkeep shrugs, and pantomimes pouring you a drink into a thimble. For some reason, you are struck by the idea that he's pouring you apple juice. He passes you the empty thimble and takes the rag, leaving you the papyrus.
Cutlass's eye twitches as the bartender mocks her with fake apple juice. But, then she realizes she's getting angry at literally nothing. There's nothing in the thimble.
She lets out a long sigh to calm her nerves. She telekinetically takes the papyrus and nods to the bartender. "Thank you," she says calmly. She takes it and walks out of the bar.
She recoils a little, exchanging a glance with Alder. Slowly, she retreats from the room and starts heading back outside. "…Huh. Larger than the average dust bunny, I suppose." She stealthily exits the room and turns away.>>728313>>728311
"Ah, there you are. There's a bear over there. We might be in need of your resizing abilities again, Cloud. As well as an extremely large dustpan."
"A bear? Is it a toy one like every thing else around here?"
"Ah! I do not like the look of this- it is abear-like monster, of some sort.">>728318
Alder looks to Thessaly nervously, before asking Dust-Bunny?" and following her out of the room.
"No, a dust one. It's quite something. Take a look if you don't believe me.">>728320
She looks a bit puzzled by him not knowing the term. "Yes. But much larger. It seems Mallea ought to do some spring cleaning."
Cloud walks with the tone arm, wondering what it'll be used for. He looks to the guards, giving them a nod as they pass by.>>728318
"Like a teddy bear?"
Cloud asks as Thessaly greets them.
"Want me to shrink it now?"
"If only." She stands aside and lets him enter the dust bear's lair. "Just be careful not to wake it. At least I think it's asleep."
Cloud sets his end of the tone arm, walking forward to the cave to peer in on the bear.
Cerulean carefully sets her end down to take a peek at this 'dust bear'.
Cloud looks at the bear, surprised at how big this ball of dust is.
"Yeesh, she really does need to clean around here."
He mutters. His eye begins to glow, focusing to shrink the bear down to a more manageable size.>Wax/Wane [Shrink Bear] [1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
Once more, you are able to see the bear made of dust. He seems to be laying across the floor, taking up most of the space in the cramped attic that isn't already occupied by boxes and crates and rugs and other items, stuffed away and forgotten about over the years. Cloud's spell shrinks the bear somewhat, but you can see that it gradually starts to grow back to normal size. The dust surrounding the bear is drawn into it. The process isn't immediate, or even quick, but the bear does seem to be passively drawing in the dust around it.
However, Cloud's spell does reveal something significant: Beyond the bear, there appear to be a few vaguely mechanical shapes. It's still obscuring the way beyond, so you can't tell what those mechanical shapes are, but they're there all the same.
She frowns. "So much for that idea. If we engage, we might have to get you to shrink it periodically." Seeing the mechanical shapes, she tries to inch forward a little to get a closer look.
"Any word from our dear captain, by the way?"Roll #1 8 = 8
Cloud pulls out his wind wand, not liking that the bear is growing from the dust. If he ends his magic it'll only be bigger than before.
"Want me to blow it away?"
He asks, not wanting to agitate a sleeping bear if he doesn't have to.
At being asked of Cutlass, Cloud shrugs.
"Haven't seen her since we walked into the town."
Cutlass observes the bear growing once more. "Now would probably be a good time to mention that I found this," Cutlass says, handing the empty papyrus to Thessaly.
Alder tries to peek around the now-shrunken bear, and take a look at whatever is behind it. "I, hmm… I suppose whatever it is we need, it might be behind this dust-bear. Blowing it away could work, yes."
"Let me see that, please." Alder says, trying to gauge out what it is. If there's a way to translate, he'll do it!
She jumps slightly as Cutlass seemingly materializes out of nowhere, getting a taste of her own medicine for once. She looks over the papyrus, but can't make head or tail of it. "A hidden message, perhaps? Hm.">>728329
"That might work," she nods. "Or it might just make it angry. Either way, we're going to have to either be extremely cautious in getting around it, or see what we can do to get rid of it altogether."
Cerulean just waits to see what the others want to do, as her usual methods of brute force hasn't been working out too well for her lately.
"Who revealed the messages before?" Cutlass asks before remembering that most of the people here can't remember.
"Oh for fuck's sake…" she grumbles as she makes the realization.
"I think heat makes them appear or something? I wasn't actually there for it last time you did it."
"Ah! Thank you."
[1d10+1] Master ThiefRoll #1 7 + 1 = 8
Just before the bear finishes regenerating its size, you see the clear curve of a phonograph's bell beyond it. Next to it, although you can't be entirely sure, looks like a film projector. Upon seeing it, Cerulean's mind goes back to the film reel she discovered in the Music Room.>>728333>>728332>>728329>>728335>>728334
Alder, upon noticing the papyrus, smells soybeans, and recalls something about how invisible ink can be made using soybeans. Using the Fox's heat to warm up the paper, Alder discovers the message… but it's something rather odd. There appear to be two chapters and verses written on the paper, the first of which is obscured, as the papyrus appears to have been torn off of a larger piece. Alder checks the prayer book to try and decipher it despite it being incomplete. He racks his brain trying to come up with a suitable decryption, but this is the best he can come up with:
"N't Dodge… it is a piece of something, it seems. We are missing a piece of it. What could that mean, though…"Roll #1 10 = 10
She raises an eyebrow, perplexed by the incomplete message. "What do you suppose it means?"
[1d10] InsightRoll #1 8 = 8
Cerulean blinks a bit before checking herself for that film reel. If the fox and lantern came back with her, then the film reel must have as well, right?
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"Hmm. I imagine it's saying don't dodge something. But, that sounds rather counter-intuitive. And, more importantly, it would be rather dangerous to not dodge the wrong thing. We should probably find more notes telling us what not to dodge if we want to heed this warning."
[1d10] for insight anyway!Roll #1 7 = 7
"Hey, you think this needle we got goes to that?"
Cloud asks Cerulean as he spots the phonograph bell beyond the bear.
As everypony looks over the note and the partial message, Cloud gives it a glance.
"Dodge? So we're supposed to fight this thing?">Insight [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
>>728342>>728341>>728340>>728339Slight retcon because I am more than a little sleep deprived. The papyrus wasn't torn. Both encrypted chapters and verses were completely visible. However, when Alder flipped to the page to decrypt the first word, he found that the ink was smudged by water damage. The only part that was visible was "n't". It makes no sense to get that result if the cipher itself was torn.
Suddenly, like finding the last jigsaw puzzle piece under the couch, it clicks for you. "n't" only makes sense as part of a larger word. The possibilites that come to mind are:
>can't dodge>won't dodge>don't dodge>couldn't dodge>wouldn't dodge>shouldn't dodge
…And a few other variants in other tenses. However, after putting a little more of your brains together, you realize that the most likely candidates are these:
>can't dodge>shouldn't dodge>don't dodge>>728343
You are distracted by the idea of making money by selling arts and crafts like you did for that one toy.>>728341
You do indeed have that film reel that you discovered earlier, sitting safe and sound in your saddlebag.
Cerulean's head starts to hurt a bit as her mind runs wild with all sorts of things that this odd word puzzle. She shakes her head a bit and looks to Cloud.
"Maybe. I'll go get it while its distracted. There's something else there I wanna grab," she says as she tries to move quickly to the phonograph curve first as that seemed to be a more important puzzle piece right now.
"'Can't', 'shouldn't', 'don't'…" She ponders this for a bit. "Dodge what exactly? Hm… Well… I suppose there's no point mulling over questions we can't answer yet." Her eye fixed on the projector behind the bear, she gets an idea and reaches out to the dust around her, trying to mold it into a servant for herself.
[1d10+1] Unholy ElementalistRoll #1 10 + 1 = 11
[1d10+1] EvokerRoll #1 5 + 1 = 6
"Alright, be quick. I'll try to help out so you can get by quicker."
Cloud says, looking over to the phonograph, eye glowing as he tries to shrink it so it's easier for Cerulean to grab and carry it back.>Wax/Wane [Shrink Phonograph] [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"Strange… what could be the meaning of this? We shouldn't… we shouldn't dodge? We don't dodge it? I am… confused."
You gain a fierce-looking lopear dust bunny as your thrall. It looks to you with glowing eyes for orders. But something about it feels… unenthusiastic? Quiet? Dulled? Something is off with this minion. From experience, you know that minions tend to be evocative of the element from which they are drawn.
>optional insight roll available
She tilts her head, beckoning the killer rabbit closer and looking it in the eyes. "Now what's eating you then. Hm?"
[1d10] InsightRoll #1 8 = 8
"Right… Well, let's look for more notes after we deal with this dilemma."
Then, she eyes the bear. "And by 'we', I mean you."
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>>728351By the look in its eye, it seems like it doesn't want to do anything. No, that's not quite it. It doesn't want even to move, to eat, to drink, to do anything that would cause movement in the world. It's not sloth, but something more… something lies underneath it. A feeling that it shouldn't do anything. That, just by being there, it is making things worse. That it is guilty even for being alive.>>728349>>728345>>728346>>728348>>728352
As Cerulean darts in at toy size to try and make it to the phonograph, Cloud's spell misfires. He hits a rod of steel that was holding up some precariously-stacked toolboxes, which fall to the ground with a crash and bang, showering the dust bear with shards of small tools. It snarls and roars, gradually climbing to its feet after its rest is interrupted. Its eyes open and they are a dull and dead gray. Yet, upon seeing Cerulean charging into its lair, it clambers up, sweeping a massive paw at her with a fierce growl.
[1d10+4] Blast vs Intruders (Autocrit)
>Cub, the Sin of _______
>PausedRoll #1 6 + 4 = 10