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File: 1570485830227.png (484.9 KB, 2304x1540, Cerulean Library Card.png)

 No.725286[Last 50 Posts]

Last time on PirateQuest…

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.

 No.725287

>Alder, Cerulean, Cloud
Puddin and Plague look a little sour at the check's sight, knowing they won't get a cut since they didn't help for this quest. Schnitzel doesn't seem too upset.
"We're gonna need some funds to account for the repairs," Plague complains. "Know of any other odd jobs we can pick up?"
"If there are, the locals couldn't tell you," Zerk says. "We only met one guy who spoke Equish."
"Investing in some kind of translation tech would be prudent…" Puddin notes.
"Well, if you want to help us with the manor later, that's always an option," Paraiba adds.

>Cutlass, Cloud

"What a cope," Chiu says, smiling smugly. "And if you even think about doing anything to Cloud to try to speed up those debt payments, you'll have to answer to my guard."

>Thessaly

https://youtu.be/jNlDHzyoz9U

Mallea stares down at the Karmic Seed with a look of muted dread and quiet contemplation. "…I suppose my deeds are going to chase me even after Palafox is gone, aren't they? How ironic that it would be after getting onto better terms with Chiu and the Wetnurse that this would come to light."

She sighs and takes a seat. "I don't know for certain, but I have the strongest feeling that this is the most likely explanation. You might have noticed from my earlier explanation that I was not Mayor Palafox's first wife. I married him shortly after his divorce from his previous wife, Cosecha. Despite all rumors and gossip, there was no infidelity. It was… complex. Even had I not gotten involved, it would have happened anyway–"

Gullveig clears her throat gently. "Mallea."

Mallea catches herself, and sighs. "I'm… getting events mixed up. I'll start from the beginning."

Gullveig goes to fetch the three of you some water.

 No.725288

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>725287
"There might be more jobs when we get back to the port if you really need bits."
Cloud comments.


>>724863 [Cutlass]
Cloud narrows his eyes at Cutlass' comment.
"Are you saying us having a kid is a terrible idea?"

 No.725289

>>725287
"Well, we found out about this back in that big city where Cloud got his new eye popped in," she replies as she works on fitting her mane through the Yana icon given to her as an easier way to hang onto it. She ends up making…something like a ponytail, but she still has too much mane and it looks more awkward than stylish, though she hasn't seemed to notice. She clearly doesn't do mane styling often.
"Though if you wanna help with the manor, I'd be happy about it. The faster we get out of this dry place, the better for me."

 No.725290

>>725287
She listens politely, not saying much for now, waiting to hear what Mallea has to say about her past. "If it is a sore memory," she says quietly, showing an uncharacteristic amount of compassion, "you do not have to explain."

 No.725291

>>725288
>>725289
"Catch us up on the details about this 'manor' job," Puddin' says. "I'll let you know if I'm interested."

>>725289
Paraiba can't help but snort at your rather creative ponytail. "Do you want some help on that? With a piece like this, I can probably get a pretty good braid going. Where'd you get it?"

>>725288
"Congratulations, by the way," Puddin' stiffly says, nodding with a sneer at Chiu. You get the feeling he can't muster up the traditional enthusiasm expected after a pregnancy announcement. "Our crews aren't particularly close, but uh… good for you, anyway."
"I'm happy for you, but… juuuuust stay on your own ship, not mine," Plague says, taking a step back. "I don't think my crew will be too excited if you get onboard our ship. It's bad luck, you know. Bad feng shui."
"Who decides this stuff?" Schnitzel asks with a shrug. "I for one don't believe in bad luck."
"And I for one happen to know a little about 風水," Chiu says with polite annoyance, exaggerating her tones. "And I think he or she's going to be good luck. If you need someone to rearrange your ship so that you don't have such awful Qi, I'd be glad to help."
Plague winces, clearly regretting his words.

>>725290
"Are you certain you want to say that?" Mallea asks. "Don't offer words carelessly. Words are reality. Though, I won't be a hypocrite – I lied to you earlier, and explaining that lie involves explaining this."

Gullveig brings back the waters, cool and filled with ice.

 No.725292

>>725287
"Hrm… maybe some sort of calling conch that can record a voice, and translate it? It would be very nice, but it sounds difficult…"

 No.725293

>>725292
"I've heard that some wizards offer enchanted tools what can translate on the fly," Splendid offers. "Though I don't know where we'd get one of those little whatsits."

 No.725294

>>725291
"A bunch of spooky stuff that is Thess' forte are going about the manor. I kinda forgot the specifics and all, but I'm sure something cool will happen!"

>>725291
"Oh, could you? I've never been good at the whole…mane thing, so I just let it go nuts." She sits down so Parabia can better reach and all.
"And that Obstinance guy gave it to me. He said its suppose to help with this whole demon thing I've got going on. Its also suppose to 'draw oddities' to itself." She shrugs.
"Dunno what that means, but its got me curious."

 No.725295

>>725291
Her eyes narrow slightly, and the moment of compassion is gone as quickly as it arrived. "Well now I suppose you owe me the truth," she replies rather sharply. "If we're to be allies we should be able to trust one another more."

She looks over to Gullveig, her expression softening. "Ah, thank you, sincerely. The heat of this place is almost nauseating."

 No.725296

>>725291
"There's a lot of minor magic stuff happening around the village that they think is the cause of the witch in the manor. We met her and she's already working on it, so we're going to help her out tonight to get it all fixed."
Cloud explains to Puddin'.


"Thanks," Cloud says to Puddin', then looks over to Plague, "What? How would she be bad feng shui?"
As Chiu interjects, Cloud puts a hoof around her.
"Yea, this is all only good luck."

 No.725297

>>725293
"It might just need to be something we pick up back in town to have for later- I do not know if there is much for us to do about it now, and all."

 No.725298

https://pastebin.com/QkZAMWNv

>>725287

"Surely you realize that eventually my pride as a pirate would demand that I have to collect on the debt eventually. I am patient compared to most pirates, but I can't have you owing me forever."

>>725288

"The very fact that you have to ask that question is all the evidence I need to make my case."

>>725296
>>725294

"What's the reward for this job?"

 No.725299


 No.725300

>>725294
Paraiba gently pulls out the icon, gathers up your mane, and then is in the middle of threading your mane back through the spokes, when you mention Obstinance. She pauses, brows furrowed with several questions. "So the guy we thought we shouldn't talk to in the first place, the guy who burned down three blocks just to destroy one house inhabited by a demon, the guy Mallea's scared out of her wits about… you, a pony who has a 'demon thing' going on, went up to him and took a magic object from him? One that attracts all those different kinds of magical creatures he talked about?"
"Yeah that about sums it up," Zerk says.
"…You think that might have been a good idea?" Paraiba asks, dumbstruck.

>>725294
>>725296
"Nope," Puddin says, throwing up a hand right as you say "spooky stuff." "I don't mess with nothing spiritual. Ghosts, religion, voodoo, the occult, none of it. If I can't touch it, it ain't for me."
Plague and Schnitzel both look similarly reluctant, but say nothing. Looks like they'll have to be convinced, or ordered by Cutlass, before they agree.

>>725296
"Pirate superstition, don't pay it any heed," Schnitzel says. "They have all kinds of rituals, incantations, charms, and taboos. Some think a pregnant mare is bad luck. Some think having any mares on board is bad luck. Same with priests, or children. All hoo-hah."

>>725297
"Oh! Why not check that mail-order catalogue, eh?" Splendid says, slapping her fist into her palm triumphantly. "Wasn't there all kinds of tech and shit in there?"

>>725298
"You'll get your money after I get my cut," Chiu says. "And I have a lot to invest in. You should get it all by your… let's say, eightieth birthday."

 No.725301


>>725295
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AphdK3JROuk

Mallea snorts, crossing her legs with a businesslike professionalism. "Then let's get it out of the way: I didn't lie explicitly, but it was a lie of implication. When I said that 'demonology wasn't my Craft,' that was true. But what wasn't true was the implication I tried to thread into there. I tried to project the idea that I had 'nothing to do with demons,' which is plainly untrue.

"From the beginning, then. It began when Mayor Palafox was still married to his first wife. Things had begun very well for them – they had wealth, land, a loyal populace, popularity with the elite of the nearby towns, and even some renown on other islands for Palafox's mechanical knowledge and ingenuity. But, there was a singular problem for them: Cosecha was barren, and had hidden it from him until after they were married. Barrenness would be a grave concern for just about anyone, but for the Krikral, whose culture highly prized parenthood, and especially motherhood, and shamed those who either cannot or choose not to bear children, this was an unthinkable matter. For the wife of the great Palafox to not be able to carry on his family's lineage would be a scandal.

"But, to Cosecha's relief and shame, Palafox was far from angry. In fact, that very hour, he dropped the projects that had occupied his time for months, even years, to pursue methods that would be able to restore her. But…

"Modern medicine failed.
"Herbal folk remedies failed.
"Even conventional 'white' magic failed.

"This took years, you understand. And with each new solution Palafox found, their hopes rose a little higher, and with each failure, they fell even deeper into the earth. It wore upon them, but especially Cosecha. It… changed her. A woman who went from being the light of his day, his muse and greatest supporter, slowly darkened with each and every setback. I can't blame her. For someone's heart to be struck with hope time and again, only to be met with failure upon failure, not to mention the side effects from certain treatments… nobody could be expected to remain unchanged.

"Then, with every legal and several illegal solutions all ending with failure, Palafox, himself aged years beyond what he had spent trying to find a miracle, got into contact with… well, I'll let you guess who."

Mallea pauses, sipping her water and looking off into the darkness.

 No.725302

>>725301
Her expression doesn't shift as she listens intently to what she has to say. "I see. It's understandable that the townsfolk would be more than suspicious of you, given the circumstances. What happened then?"

 No.725303

>>725298
"I'm not liking your tone."


>>725300
"Well it's not spooky spooky, it's just some haywire magic from an old broken rune. That just happens to make weird things happen in town."


"I know they have rituals, but that seems like a stretch to think any mares around is bad luck."

 No.725304

>>725300
"Oh! Yes, good thinking! They should have something handy, at least. I was mostly thinking of looking around in town since we were planning on looking for things to help you with magic, but the catalog even has the items delivered!"

 No.725305

>>725303
>>725300

"About a year's worth of interest? Yeah, that sounds good to me," Cutlass says with a nod.

>>725303

"Yeah sure, emulate my grandfather. If your goal is to raise a resentful child who runs away at the age of 13, you're on the right track!"

 No.725306

>>725300
Cerulean's face shows the obvious signs of thinking everything she said, then nods.
"Yup. Well, seemed like a good idea. Guy knows how to work my curiosity against me, I guess." She chuckles and sticks her tongue out, clearly not so worried about it.
"Besides, he said he knew about my demon thing when we first passed by him. He could 'see it' or something like that. So call it odd, but considering he didn't try anything then and now…he seems kinda okay? I didn't quite catch all the magic mumbo jumbo he was laying down, but he could've tried to do stuff twice, so…." She shrugs again.

>>725300
"Aww, you're no fun. Guess that means we'll just help ourselves to any neat, old stuff in the house. And unlike when I went looking through ships, it won't be waterlogged."

 No.725307

>>725305
"Hey, I'm not paying any interest on this. You're geting back what you paid and that's that."
Cloud interjects.
"And also, my kid is going to be nothing like you. Not in a million years."

 No.725308


>>725305
"Mmm, interest? Yeah, I think I'll have to give you a rain check on that."

>>725306
"Being no fun is how I stay alive," Puddin says. "Ain't failed me yet."

>>725306
Paraiba hums. "…I guess. And, if he was hesitant the first time about attacking because we were a big group, he could have done something when he had you alone. Well, we shouldn't get too comfortable around him or his 'gifts'. If it starts doing weird things, you should rethink keeping it."

She then starts to braid your mane, and the spokes of the Yana do a wonderful job at splitting your mane into several sturdy cords of hair, which Paraiba then folds over one another into a very lovely and long blue braid.

>>725304
>>725303
>>725305
>>725306
As Splendid takes out a newspaper, she turns to the rest of you. "Oi, you lot, we going to stay out here in the sun all day? Why don't we get a spot to eat at Mallea's, if she'll have us?"
"If that's the mansion you're talking about, I'll pass," Puddin says. "There a restaurant or an inn we can go to instead?"
"Well let's just go SOMEWHERE," Paraiba says. "We need to get out of the sun already."

 No.725309

>>725302
"More than one bad reaction to medicine had caused Cosecha to refuse any further material treatment. Invasive surgery was out of the question, as well. And so, Palafox, failed by both science and the white magic approved by the Shaka Mage's Guild, turned his gaze even further underground – to demonology, Witchcraft, and the Occult.

"Now, it was Palafox's turn to hide something from Cosecha. At first, I was brought in under the alibi that I was a consultant on magic, not as a demonologist. Then, after Cosecha had retired to bed each night, Palafox and I would meet in the manor's extensive wine cellars, preparing a ritual to summon a demon that would hopefully work the miracle that science and other magics could not provide.

"As we drew the circles, gathered the requisite Aether, waited for the Harvest Moon, and gathered the sacrifices, I saw more and more of Palafox. I saw a man beaten down by a circumstance beyond his control. There's nothing worse for a thinking, tinkering mind than to be confronted by a problem he cannot solve. For every solution to explode in his face. People like him love a challenge, but this challenge was breaking him. And Cosecha's deteriorating emotional state… her outbursts, her retaliations, her fits, her despair… all of it just bore deeper and deeper upon him. The weight was dragging him into the earth.

"And so, the Harvest Moon came. The air was perfect. The incantations were flawless. The conditions could not have been more pristine. It was during the summoning, or perhaps just before, that she found us, I think. The demon had just manifested in the octagram when we heard her gasp. I think often on that night – I would blame Cosecha's insomnia, brought on by depression. And, well, when she saw us bowing before a demon, ritual knives and chains at the ready, in her basement… it broke what little was left of her spirit. Her faith.

"She left that very night, and it was a very difficult thing for Palafox and I to banish our summoned demon. A demon who has been summoned, and is then banished without getting to work any mischief upon the world is a very difficult task. But, it had to be done. And since Palafox had helped me summon it, he had to help me banish it. It would have failed without him. So, while Cosecha destroyed the house upstairs in her breakdown, he and I were nearly killed downstairs trying to reverse a summoning in progress."

She takes another long drink. Gullveig reaches underneath the counter, retrieving a bottle of hard liquor of some dark color.

 No.725310

>>725307
>>725308

"Oh, no no no," Cutlass says, poking Cloud in the chest with her hoof. "You agreed to interest. You'll be paying it."

>>725308

"You need to have more faith, Puddin. I severely doubt this Mallea could create any situation worse than what the Bee Queens did. And, we managed to escape that. We'll be fine. I'm interested in what she has to offer."

 No.725311

>>725308
"That still makes it sound boring though," she says with a pout as Paraiba braids her mane.

>>725308
"I mean, he still gives me some creeps, but so does Mallea. Like…on an instinctual level, ya know? I'm okay around them cause they haven't made a move on any of us, but I feel like I can't really trust either. I really don't like feeling like that." She seems uncomfortably upset by this feeling, but that seems to fade as she looks at the very long braid.
"Wow! This is…great! Way better than I could ever do! Thank you!" She excitedly and tightly hugs Paraiba for a job well done.

"I'm all for the inn. They got those chicken thingies that are super yummy."

 No.725312

>>725310
Puddin turns to you with what is without a doubt the deepest "I don't want to do this" scowl / pout that you have ever seen anyone put on, even the most spoiled of royal, noble and aristocratic kids you may have met in your youth.

"Is that an order, Captain?" is all he asks.

 No.725313

>>725310
"Whoa whoa whoa, hold on, when did I agree to interest?"
Cloud defends, swatting Cutlass' hoof away.
"I'm not doing to have some bratty kid bleed me try when my kid is gonna need it more."

>>725308
"I said I'd give Mallea some help in clean up, so I'll probably head back there."

 No.725314

>>725308
"If she will have us- I would not want to bother her too much…" the griffon trails off, before shrugging a little "Might as well see, yes?"

 No.725315

>>725312

"Yes," Cutlass says with a firm nod. "As much as you hate such things, it's precisely because of that that you are so good at dealing with them. I need your scrutiny and eye for detail at times like these."

>>725313

"When I first offered the money. And you said that there should be a time of no interest for recovery. And, I agreed to that. No interest has accrued yet. Does this really not ring any bells?"

 No.725316

>>725309
Her eyes widen slightly at the story. She nods slightly at her assertion of the difficult of banishing a demon, taking a while to process what she's learned. "It sounds like a nightmare made real," is all she can say, rubbing her face in exhaustion. "I'm sorry you had to go through it."

She looks back at the door they entered through. "Do you think perhaps it is the demon's doing that these anomalies are plaguing the town? And, what happened to Cosecha in the end?" She takes a drink of water herself.

 No.725317

>>725315
>>725312

I know I'm going to regret this… [1d10] for motivation

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.725318

>>725315
"I know I wasn't that injured to have my memory jumbled, but I was talking about a period of not paying back since I can't be going out to get your money fresh out of surgery."

 No.725319

>>725311
"Yeah!" Zerk says. "Let 'er keep it, Paraiba, even if it does weird things! Who knows, these oddities might have some good stuff we can steal."
Paraiba shrugs, defeated. And then you hug her, which pops a few vertebrae to underscore it. After she is released, she rolls her shoulders and neck, looking a lot more limber than before. "Ooh, that was nice. But okay, have it your way. You're probably stronger than any oddity that might come our way, anyway."

>>725313
>>725311
>>725314
>>725315
"Well if it's all the same to you, I'll head to the inn with Cerulean," Plague says. "They've got a chicken with my name on it."
"Same here, I'll be 'round the house at sundown," Schnitzel says.
Puddin just grumbles, accepting Cutlass' orders.
With that, you now have your plans set until the afternoon. Splendid and Chiu start to head for the manor, and Plague and Schnitzel start heading for the inn. Paraiba and Zerk hang around Cerulean, and Puddin grunts, wandering off somewhere by himself.

>>725316
Mallea shrugs. "…I never heard from her again, certainly. As for Palafox… well, for a week, he didn't say so much as a single word. He sustained his share of injuries during the banishing, but nothing that would have damaged his throat or mouth. I stayed by his side, treating his wounds, until he was healed, but as I prepared to leave… well, you might have thought it'd have been him to stop me. In truth, it was the two of us. I'm not sure what it was, but… well, I suppose you can't spend a long time with someone without at least getting a little of them into your heart. Months went by with us under the same roof, exploring Palafox's newfound interest in magic, particularly Communication magic as I mentioned before. Marriage never really appealed to me. All that ceremony and pizzazz to make official a relationship that always existed? But, he wanted one, and though much of the town's populace stayed at home… well, I'd never felt like that much of a princess in my life. He made me feel like I was…"

She smiles, trailing off. But the smile eventually fades. Mallea looks down at her empty glass, then takes the bottle Gullveig produced and pours a hearty portion into the empty glass. "… I should hope that's not the case. I checked the basement a few times after the banishment was complete. I couldn't detect any of its presence afterward, even when the magical circle and various seals were undone. But, I only checked during the daytime. In all the times I've tried to go down into the manor during the night, I've never been able to reach the basement. I always wake up in the morning somewhere on the first floor."

 No.725320

>>725319
Cloud walks on back to the manor with Chiu and the others.
"So how much of the manor did you see while we were out?"

 No.725321

>>725319
After thinking it over for a moment, Alder heads off along with Chiu and Splendid- if Mallea doesn't want company, he can always head back to the inn.

 No.725322

>>725318

"Sure, like I said, there's no interest yet. But, over a year from now? How patient do you expect me to be? How much recovery do you need?"

>>725319

Cutlass frowns at Plague and Schnitzel. "After all that work to get you clean, you won't even show it off?"

"Now, enough of this teasing. I've heard enough about this Mallea, I want to go see her for myself."

Cutlass goes with the mansion group.

 No.725323

>>725319
"Yes," she says victoriously with a big grin.

>>725319
Cerulean asks three orders of chicken when they reach into the inn, along with plenty of water.
"So…think we should come up with some kind of plan for when we go into the manor?"

 No.725324

>>725319
She can't help but feel a little pity for Mallea, but doesn't show it, simply nodding. "A sordid situation. I can't help but wonder what became of Cosecha. She's still out there somewhere." She ponders this for a moment.

"What do you mean by you can't reach the basement? Do you just lose consciousness? I suppose we shall find out soon enough."

She observes the drink Gullveig has brought out with curiosity, pouring herself some and tasting it. "What is this?" she asks simply.

 No.725325

>>725322
"Probably not much, but soon I'll need to be taking care of Chiu. Just be happy with your money when you get it."

 No.725326

>>725325

"It's your funeral," Cutlass shrugs.

 No.725327

>>725323
Once you get back to the inn where you met Tranquilino, you find that it's all quite a bit more lively than before, thanks to the return of the herd of chickens. You note that the bar is packed, and there seems to be an abundance of fried, roasted, grilled and even steamed chicken on sale today. Drinks with little umbrellas are also free-flowering. Tranquilino runs back and forth between the kitchen and the tables, sweating from all the effort. He only barely manages to get in some hellos to you and your companions on your way in.

"Well, what was that about your little trinket you got?" Plague asks. "Couldn't we use that to draw whatever it is that's affecting the mansion toward you?"
"That, or if you could sniff out whatever the cause of the problem is – some kind of nexus of magical energy – you could see about breaking or dispelling it… maybe?" Schnitzel asks. "You're asking the wrong guy. I can't even spell 'mah-jik'. I'm not educated in the slightest."

>>725320
"Nnnnnnnot a whole lot," Chiu says. "The sunlight and all the excitement about our foal took more out of me than I thought it would. After helping Mallea with the dishes – much to her annoyance, I might add – I sat down on the couch… and promptly fell asleep."

>>725324
"Crone's Hemlock," Gullveig says. "A special blend of rum. Don't worry, you won't die! But those who don't have very strong magical reserves will be wishing they were dead. Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo."

>>725324
"I… can't precisely remember," Mallea says. "…That's something else I neglected to mention. I thought it best to not play up the potential dangers. But, I'm still in one piece, aren't I? If I had to guess, it'd be passing out from exhaustion, or from magical backlash that I fail to properly dispel. If it were the demon causing me to black out, wouldn't something far worse happen to me, instead of waking up unharmed in the foyer come morning?"

>>725321
>>725320
>>725322
>>725324
After you arrive at the manor, you find that it is open, but nobody is inside. Chiu pokes about worriedly in the foyer for a bit, until eventually in your search, you turn back around to the front door. You see that the front door is ajar, but rather than revealing the garden outside, it leads to a very claustrophobic back room of a shop, packed with all kinds of magical implements, tools, clothes, and even small animals that might serve as familiars. Inside, you see Mallea and Thessaly, as well as a very large owl, a Vola who resembles a great barn owl. The owl offers you a small wave, while Mallea turns and leaps upon seeing you. "Goodness! You people gave me a start! And hullo, who's this?" she asks, looking at Cutlass.

 No.725328

>>725327
"Ah… hello! Apologies for the startle, we just wanted to 'drop in'. I suppose this is not what I expected, to say the least… what exactly is this?" he asks, cocking his head to the side and looking around curiously.

"And, uhm, this? This is Captain Cutlass! She is a friend."

 No.725329

>>725327
"Woah, this is a lot busier than earlier." She pets the demonic lantern.
"Just give him a while and we'll get you something to eat in just a bit."

"Uhh…maybe? He didn't really say *how* it does it, just that its supposed to." She gives a very unsure shrug.
"I dunno much about magic either. Can't say I'm keen about *being* bait, but if thats what it takes, guess I should see how it feels every now and again. But only one way to find out if it actually does work or not."

 No.725330

>>725327
"Heh, well that just means we'll get the tour together. Though, I could use a nap after all that hiking now that you mention it."


When they reach the manor, Cloud looks around the garden as there's no sign of Mallea.
"Huh, didn't think she'd leave here."
As they turn back and see the bigger room, Cloud pushes the door open more to peak inside.
"Wow, is all that magic stuff happening early?"
He asks as he steps inside the shop room.
"Oh, she's just some hustler, don't pay her any mind."

 No.725331

>>725327
She forces a smile at Gullveig's bad joke and nods to her in thanks before trying the rum.

"I suppose you're right. Then again, this is potentially a demon. They live to toy with us. Who can really comprehend their motives."

>>725328
>>725330
>>725326
Thessaly turns around at the sudden intrusion, greeting her companions with a nod. "Ah. You found it. This is my friend Gullveig, and this is her shop. We met earlier."

 No.725332

>>725327

"Good afternoon," Cutlass says with a little curtsy. "I am Captain Red Dress Cutlass. Am I correct in assuming that you are the lord of this manor. Mallea, was it? I've heard much about you. I simply had to meet you myself."

Those who know Cutlass well enough can instantly tell she's speaking and acting in a far more proper manner than she usually does.

>>725331

"The owl?" Cutlass asks, looking to now to the Owl. "How is it that we got here, anyway?"

 No.725333

>>725332
"It's magic," she replies bluntly. "I'm sure I don't have to explain it."

 No.725334

>>725333

"I suppose by 'how' I really meant 'why'. Why here of all places?"

 No.725335

>>725334
"It was Gullveig who gave me, and by extension us, our current tasks. With the Kalphites seen to and the manor's anomalies under investigation, I thought it apt to inform her of our current status. As well as introducing you to her. There is much more in this shop that what you see."

 No.725336

>>725329
When Tranquilino comes by with three baskets of fried chicken wings (complete with dipping sauce), a flame darts out from the demonic lantern, immediately incinerating the wing. Tranquilino looks at the lantern, then shrugs and nods as if that was a perfectly normal event. From inside the lantern, you hear very loud chewing sounds. Plague and Schnitzel are transfixed by the sight. "Well, how about we see if we can get this little… guy… flame… thing… to eat it, just like he ate that chicken wing just now?" Plague offers.
"Another basket for the lantern!" Schnitzel says.

>>725330
Chiu yawns. "Mmm, so could I. And if you're going to be exploring the manor at night, you should rest up while you have the chance."

>>725328
>>725330
>>725331
>>725332
"Come in, come in," Gullveig says, ushering you in with a wing. "As for this space, rest assured that the manor's transformations have not yet started. I gave Thessaly a certain key that allows her to return to my shop whenever she has a door with a keyhole handy. Drinks?"
"Do NOT let that one have anything to drink," Mallea says, pointing accusingly at Chiu. "And don't let her near any of the dishes, or any feather-dusters, either. She'll clean this whole shop if you turn your back on her."
"That's just rude and completely true," Chiu says. "But please, just water."
The others enter, intrigued by the shop's myriad trinkets and baubles on display. But none are more fascinated than Splendid who is in fact totally enraptured, speechless at the magic in the air. Entering a room this dense with positive magical energy feels like you're stepping into a comforting, warm mist.

 No.725337

>>725331
>>725336
"Found what?"
Cloud asks, then looks up to the owl.
"Hey Gullveig."
He greets with a wave.


"Perfect, it's a date then."
Cloud says with half-jest to Chiu.


"So it's like a portal key?"
Cloud questions, looking over all the trinkets and assorted magical knick-knacks.
"If you got anything to beat the heat that'd be great," Cloud responds to the offer of drinks, "So this is a shop? What do you sell?"

 No.725338

>>725335
>>725336

"Hmm. Yes, this IS quite the interesting place," Cutlass says as she looks around. "I'll have some wine, thank you," Cutlass says when drinks are offered… despite previously stating her distaste for wine.

Though, the majority of her interest is focused on Mallea. "I've only heard the vaguest details, ma'am. What strange occurrences warrant investigation?"

 No.725339

>>725331
"Ahh. I suppose this is a magic doorway, then? That makes more sense than anything else I can think of… oh! A shop? Does she sell any translating items? We were looking for sch a thing!"

>>725336
"Hello! Do you sell magic things? It feels… sort of like you do!"

 No.725340

>>725336
"Oh, hey, try it like this," she says as she dips a wing in sauce before carefully holding it up to the lantern to consume.
"Well, its certainly not a picky eater; so if anything you guys can't touch appears, I'm sure it'll be turned into a snack or something. Could tell Mr. No Fun out there and see if that makes him more on board with it." She can't help but laugh slightly at the nickname she gave Puddin'.

 No.725341

>>725336
She observes Splendid's reaction to the place silently before turning back to the discussion. "As I was saying. The possibility of the demon having lingered in this place should not be ruled out. Especially given it was summoned during a specific night. If my theory is correct, we may be able to learn more to combat it." She pulls out the Liber Animarum. "Which of them did you summon?"

>>725337
"You could say that, yes. There are all manner of magical trinkets and baubles here. As well as something more. But that is privy to us only. Unless Gullveig wishes to show it."

>>725339
"There's all manner of things here. You might be able to find what you're looking for if you search hard enough. …I suppose that applies to life in general."

 No.725342

>>725341

Cutlass eyes the book silently with a raised eyebrow.

 No.725343

>>725341
"A wise comment, Miss Thessaly." the griffon chirps, bowing a little bit.

 No.725344

>>725339
>>725338
>>725337
Gullveig whistles, and the door of a small closet on the far wall opens up. Out falls a scarecrow-knight – a suit of armor and padded cloth, stuffed with straw. The scarecrow rolls across the ground and sticks the landing, hopping up. His armor and heraldry are all well kept, despite his ragamuffin looks. He's got button eyes and a stitched on smile. His helmet is shaped like a farmer's hat. "Drinks all around, coming right up!"

He reaches for a low, flat chest, which exudes a cool mist when it's opened. He pulls out crystalline jars, cool and clear and frosty, and several crystalline glasses that are cold to the touch, pouring everyone their requested drinks, the majority of which are unsurprisingly water.

>>725337
>>725339
Gullveig smiles, gesturing a wing about the very crowded room, rife with items both mundane and magical. There's quite a bit of dust in the room, much like in Mallea's manor. Chiu reaches for a rag on the counter, but stops when Gullveig taps her wrist. "If you have money, I would be honored to help you spend it," Gullveig says with a grin.

>List is too long, will post shortly…


>>725340
The lantern incinerates this wing too, but after it's burned to a crisp, you notice that the chewing is much slower and lasts far longer than the first wing's chewing. it seems that the sauce has made him / her / it / them stop and appreciate its flavor. Shortly afterward, it burps.

"You might be joking, but that may not be a bad plan. Couldn't be worse than the nothing we have so far," Schnitzel says. "How much of a handle do you have on the little demon guy?"
Plague jots down the nickname for Puddin, clearly set on using it later.

>>725341
>>725338
"I'll try to be as succinct as I can," Mallea says. "At night, the space within my manor distorts. Rooms rearrange themselves. Stairways stretch on further than should be physically possible. Doors lead to spaces that they are not physically connected to. This town, the town of Gecko, is also subject to a number of similar magical phenomena at night – people end up vanishing and reappearing days later, monsters from other habitats suddenly appear and disappear, as if fading out of existence, and vermin have been manifesting in both the wells and within the unfertilized eggs that the farmers harvest from their chickens for food. I believe that the cause of this is a series of experiments that I was conducting with my now-dead husband, former Mayor Palafox. But Thessaly, if I am taking her meaning properly, suspects that there may be lingering effects of a demon I invoked some months back."

Mallea then turns her attention to the Liber Animarum, perusing those pages which have entries upon them.

"…She isn't here. Perhaps she is in a later chapter that you haven't yet opened. However, the Animarum isn't the only catalogue of demons out there on the waves. Other cursed tomes, scrolls and implements are out there, having survived no shortage of attempts on their lives. But very few can match the depth that the Animarum holds yet sealed in its hidden pages. I used a very minor text, little more than a scrap of torn pages with barely enough information for one demon's summoning."

"But, no matter. Her name is Auntzi. As you can probably guess, a demoness of fertility, of creation, or prosperity, of eternity."

 No.725345

>Snowglobe of Manenhi, Agyl Island (this town), 5 Bits
Description: A snowglobe to remember this town by.
>Inkwell, Ink, and Quill Pens (3), 15 Bits
Description: Tools for writing letters. Papyrus not included.
>Papyrus (100 Sheets), 10 Bits
Description: Cheap paper for writing.
>Beeswax Candle and Floating Sconce, 20 Bits
Description: A brass sconce with a simple floating enchantment. Begins to float whent he candle inside has been lit, and sticks close to the one who lit it. Comes with a candle but can work with any candle put inside.
>Glass jar set, 50 Bits
Description: A set of 10 glass jars, enchanted so that their contents will never spoil. Range from small to large.
>Ghost Hunter's Incense, 30 Bits
Description: A jar of incense that, when exposed to air, will fill the area, looking for invisible beings and objects. If there are any in the vicinity, it will curl about the object, identifying it and making it visible.
>Wind Chimes, 10 Bits
Description: Simple metal wind chimes, a pleasant thing to listen to

(1/3)

 No.725346


>The Grimoire of Animation, 1000 Bits

Description: A heavy and old spellbook, featuring a moving scarecrow upon its cover. Gives access to the Animation School of magic, a series of spells relating to animating objects.
>Skull Hookah, 350 Bits
Description: A hookah with a basin shaped like a skull. If an item with a sympathetic connection to someone else is put in there, it can be smoked, drawing out information about that person as it relates to the object. Can reveal hidden information, such as the person's abilities, location, memories, plans, and so forth.
>Pocket Spiders, 100 Bits
Description: A jar full of small spiders that can be set to perform any menial task around the house or ship. Mostly for convenience when doing chores. Their specialty is weaving silk rapidly, enabling them to repair clothes, make rope, and generally perform any task requiring some length of silk. Can even fly
>Cloak of Beasts, 150 Bits
Description: A blank cloak. The user can store minions within the cloak, enabling them to be summoned later without having to use a roll. Can store up to three minions. When worn, grants a point of Pet Mastery. Design changes based on the minion stored inside the cloak.
>Bag of Masking, 100 Bits
Description: A cloth bag to be worn over the head, indicated by the eye and mouth holes cut into its surface. Grants access to the Disguise skill, but can only change the head.
>Self-Sacrificing Homunculus, 200 Bits
Description: A homunculus that can absorb curses if it is brought into close proximity with a cursed object or person. Appears to be a blank doll. Its appearance will change based on the curse that it has absorbed. Can transmit accumulated curses into another appropriate vessel. Rumors hold that it might start to get a personality if it holds onto a curse too long…

 No.725347


>Wildlife Whistle, 100 Bits

Description: A stone whistle shaped like a hunting hound's head. Capable of making any animal's sound, as long as the user has heard the sound before and can call it back to memory.
>Sky-Catching Parasol, 100 Bits
Description: A parasol that easily catches the wind, and has the curious property of sharply reducing the user's weight. In other words, it allows one to jump, catch the wind, and travel a great distance using the wind once they're airborne.
>Bell of Transformation, 150 Bits
Description: A bell that, once rung, can change the user into what they would look like if they were of another race, or gender, keeping their overall build, proportions and "look." The user determines what they transform into.
>Elemental Pipe, 100 Bits
Description: A pipe that, with a tap on its bell, lights itself, and always has a source of fresh tobacco inside. The pipe also has a property that allows it to store any one elemental minion inside. If the smoke or fire that the Pipe produces is targeted for Unholy Elementalist, it has DC 4.

You also see that a variety of critters are for sale. Mammals seem to be the most popular – rats, monkeys, stoats, and badgers are the more common, but there are a variety available.

Also, your attention is drawn to a series of string-based charms that hang from a hook, just above the familiars for sale. These charms are labeled simply as "Fate," and have a listed price of 0 Bits.

 No.725348

>>725344
>>725345
>>725346
>>725347
"Ooh… there is quite a bit here." the griffon remarks, stroking his beak in thought. After a while, he settles on… the Wind Chimes, for now.

"Do you see anything you might like, Splendid? Maybe you could ask about that magic… spark-thing?" he suggests, before cocking his head to the side and gently picking up one of the 'Fate' Charms. "Are these… what are these?"

 No.725349

>>725344
>>725338
"Or a combination of the two," she adds between swigs of rum. "Faith, this stuff burns the throat…"

>>725344
She furrows her brow slightly as she learns what the demon represents. "Hmm… You do not suppose there is a link between this Auntzi and our uninvited guest?" She gestures towards Chiu.

"Whatever the case. I suppose we will test our hypotheses soon enough. Perhaps another conjuring is in order?" She turns to the page describing Ragalaseab. "It says this one can help with charting concealed areas and the like. A useful skill for our predicament. What do you think?"

 No.725350

>>725344

"A lingering demon's effects, you say?" Cutlass muses as she looks around the store.

"This could be useful, then," she says as she takes the Self-Sacrificing Homunculus. "I'll give you 120 bits for it," she barters.

>[1d10+1] Whisper in Your Ear to barter.


Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.725351

>>725349

"That's how you know it's of high quality," Cutlass says before she sips on her wine and has a similar reaction.

 No.725352

>>725344
"Hey, this guy is pretty cool."
Cloud says as the scarecrow-knight tumbles out and hops around delivering everypony's drinks. He chugs nearly half his water, feeling the day's heat quenched.

Cloud snickers as Gullveig taps Chiu's wrist to stop her from cleaning.

>>725345
>>725346
>>725347
"Gotta lotta stuff here."
He comments, looking through some of the stuff. Some of the bigger things look entertaining to play with, though overall not to big of a use to him directly. But he does spot a few things of interest, picking out the snowglobe, two sets of the jars, the incense, and then after mulling it over, the spiders.
"I think this is all good."

 No.725353

>>725344
Cerulean giggles as the lantern goes through its motions, getting another sauced-up wing ready for it as she has one herself. There is some crunch, and its not just from the fried outer coating.
"Hmm…hard to say. I mean, I only just found it recently, so its not like its been with me for an overly long time like Roger." She has a pondering look on her face.
"I know when I first held it, it made my head feel extremely hungrier than I usually was. But other than that, I'm not sure if it can communicate beyond chewing and burping." She looks over at Plague's writing, but doesn't think much of it as she gets another wing for herself.
"Still, it came through when we were pulling in and those cloud cat things came down at us."

 No.725354

>>725350
"I already have one of those," she points out, producing the eerie little doll.

 No.725355

>>725354

"Where did you get that?" Cutlass asks curiously.

 No.725356

>>725349
Mallea turns her gaze back to Chiu and to the Wetnurse. "It would be such perfect mockery of my past failure for that to be the case," she says. "But Auntzi looked far different from this one. Although, demons of certain renown in the underworld are known to have peons, slaves, and messengers of their own. It could be that the Wetnurse is a peon of hers."

Mallea looks with trepidation at the Animarum, pale at the thought of another summoning. "Are you certain you can keep this one tame, and that you won't have another episode similar to what happened in the Court of the Kalphite King?"

>>725348
Splendid, nodding, turns to Gullveig. "What he said, Miss Gullveig. I'm looking for something that can spark an Arcane Awakening in me."
Gullveig smirks. "Adorable. But hasty. Why don't I start you off with something more your speed."
At her cue, the scarecrow steps forward, pouring Splendid a glass of wine. "Wizard's Wine, miss! Try it out!"
Splendid sniffs the strange red drink, then quaffs it in a single gulp, eagerly.

"That's Fate," Gullveig says. "Any Fate that you want – vague or specific, big or small. If you want an outcome for your life, I can weave it into the tapestry of existence it with Seidhr. Whatever must happen for that Fate to come to pass will happen, and you will not perish from this earth until it happens."

>>725350
Gullveig keeps her saleswoman's smile, but her eyes narrow to predatory slits. "…The sign says 200 Bits, ma'am."

>>725352
Gullveig eagerly collects your money, and passes you the merchandise after making sure that it's all functional and in good condition. "Hoo-hoo-hoo," she laughs. "Thank you."

>>725353
"Hmm… if it came through in the heat of battle, it's probably one of those hot-blooded type pets," Schnitzel says. "You'll probably have to impress it before you can bring it under your direct command."
"There might not be anywhere nearby we can get into a fight where you could impress it," Plague adds. "Outside of that Kalphite episode you were talking about earlier, things seem kind of peaceful around here. Hmm… any ideas?"
"…Well…" Zerk begins.
"Don't even think about it," Paraiba warns.
"She DID get in good with Obstinance…" Zerk continues.

 No.725357

>>725355
"Here. Yesterday." She waves the doll emphatically with every syllable.

 No.725358

>>725356
"Perhaps you're right, but I'm sure it'll warm up to me in its own time. From what I've heard from Mallea, I think it might've been forced into the lantern. So I dunno if forcing it out will sit right with it, ya know?" As Zerk speaks and mentions Obstinance again, she tilts her head a bit.
"Don't think about what?"

 No.725359

>>725356
"This would be a controlled summoning. What happened with the Kalphites was an accident. If you are not comfortable with the idea, we can go without it." She closes the Liber slightly sharply.

 No.725360

>>725358
"Asking him for a friendly spar, maybe to get that demon out of its shell! Er, lantern," Zerk says.
"Whyyyy do you insist on pushing her luck?" Paraiba asks.
"Gotta go big or go home!" Zerk barks back.

 No.725361

>>725356
Cloud tosses down the 235 bits needed, gathering all his suplies up. And for temporary storage for now, Cloud's eye glows orange to shrink them down to carry easier in his bags.
"And thank you."

He steps back to Chiu, finishing off his water.
"Hope you don't mind spiders."

 No.725362

>>725359
"…If you can control it, do as you like," Mallea says. "Though, do you think it would be prudent to conduct the summoning under this roof, given what is amiss in the Manor?"

 No.725363

>>725361
"Why would I mind spiders?" Chiu asks. "Now, if you had bought some wasps, THEN we would have a problem."

 No.725364

>>725356
Alder looks over the Fate, and frowns a little as he mulls it over. "That is, hmm… powerful indeed, to say the least… I-I believe I will think on it." he says, before turning to look at Splendid. He gives a hopeful smile, and asks "How does it feel? Is it working? I do not know what to expect."

 No.725365

>>725356

"150!" Cutlass continues to haggle. [1d10+1] Whisper in your Ear

>>725357

"Well, there's no reason we can't have two. I want one too. They look neat. Also, I have an idea on something we can try if we have two."

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.725366

>>725362
She thinks. "It's either here or out in the open, potentially risking the townsfolk's ire, or Obstinance's attention… It seems like a risky option, but one that could potentially pay off. Do you have any other ideas on how to bypass this "fog" on the basement at night? …Perhaps if we went there now, and stayed till nightfall…" She wracks her brains trying to come up with a solution to the quandary.

 No.725367

>>725360
"Hmm…I dunno on that one. He seemed kinda busy with sprinkling stuff on the ground around the town. Not to mention, I don't think Thess and Mallea will be all that happy knowing I went and chatted with him when we got back. And Thess is…kinda scary. Like I wanna hug her cause she gets all grumpy like Cutlass does when I do it, but unlike Cutlass, she's actually kinda scary when grumpy." She can't help but shiver a bit when she thinks back to the stuff Thess has summoned against things that got on her bad side.
"Besides, Obstinance does demon fighting stuff for a living. I may like a fight here and there, but there's no fun in a one-sided fight not in my favor."

 No.725368

>>725365
"They aren't toys," she answers with slight indignance as she puts the doll away. "What's your idea?"

 No.725369

>>725363
"Just checking. I got some helper spiders, might be nice for anything small we need, take some work off of Granny. Or give you little personal assistants so you don't need to clean yourself."
Cloud teases.

 No.725370

>>725368

"I wonder what would happen if we passed the curse back and forth between the two dolls. At the very least, we could perhaps prevent them from taking on some sort of malicious personality."

 No.725371

>>725364
Splendid makes several punches at the open air, but nothing happens. She tries swipes and jabs and grabs, but still, nothing happens. Gullveig and Mallea snicker lightly at the display, much to Splendid's consternation. She clenches a fist, but you and her both notice a nexus of colors swirling around and between her fingers as she does. She opens her hands, and another twirl of color and sparks appear. Splendid gasps with excitement, but when she tries to force more of these light-show cantrips into existence, they fade away instead.

"Magic's not something you can force," Gullveig says. "It must be cooed, wooed, coaxed. Just as music is not made by screaming into a flute as hard and fast as you can, but by blowing and fingering each note in its proper time, at the proper intensity. If you were to come at magic with the mentality you demonstrated just now, both my Coven and the Shaka Mage's Guild would come and lock me up for the sheer irresponsibility of it all."

Splendid's ears flatten, but as she looks at her hands softly, the ribbons of magic color start to appear and dance again.

>>725365
Gullveig leans in, glaring at you as if you were the tastiest, fattest and most arrogant worm she'd seen all day.

"…I'll take it."

>>725366
Mallea gives it some thought, chewing on her hoof with apprehension. "The sun is the lord of the day, and the moon the beldam of night. The rational, scientific, and the material have reign in the light, and the magical, the mystical, and the fey hold dominion in the dark. It is at times of transition – sundown and sunrise, that balance of power shifts from one force to another. If we were to hold the summoning at sundown, at the moment the sun kisses the horizon, it may have the most results."

>>725369
"Aww, how sweet," Chiu smiles. "I hope you bought a lot. They'll be working full time, but I don't want to hear anything about unfair conditions. Do they have a union?"

>>725367
"No, that's probably fair," Zerk grumbles.
"Well, what if you just asked Thessaly?" Paraiba suggests. "Once we're done with our lunch, that is. Maybe there's a footnote in one of those chapters of her dark and scary book on a lesser demon like yours. Maybe even how to tame it."

 No.725372

>>725371
"Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. So long as I don't get that pounding headache again." She rubs her head a bit as she remembers it from the cave.
"Dunno if it was the blood or what, but something wasn't liking me being around Thess' book. But I'll worry about that later. Like you said, lunch first," she says, turning back to the wings.
"Got wings to eat before they go cold…not that thats ever stopped me, honestly. Heheh." She then starts digging back into he wings and giving some to the lantern whenever it was up for having one.

 No.725373

>>725371
"This should be enough. Also said they can fly and make clothes, so I figure that'll come in handy as well."
Cloud pulls out the jar, returning it to full size to show Chiu.
"If they complain on a boat they're free to try their luck at sea."

 No.725374

>>725372
"Oh yeah, that thing that rodent-demon called the Devil's Instincts, right?" Zerk asks. "Did you ever get a definition on that?"

As you polish off the wings, Roger comes out to clean the crumbs of flesh and breaded crunchy goodness off your cheeks, obviating the need of a napkin.

 No.725375

>>725371
"Ah… oh! It worked, sort of!" he chirps, watching in surprise as the ribbons of color and sparks pop into existence. His expression falters a little as they fade in and out, and he reaches up to place a hand on her shoulder reassuringly. "It is like they said… just take it carefully. You seem to be able to do it now, so there is no need to force it! I do not have knowledge of magic, but my time in Equestria has taught me much about patience and practice. I can help you keep a proper mindset about it, if you would have me."

 No.725376

>>725371
She notes her consternation. "One occultist to another, if you truly believe this to be an awful idea, then I shall not summon him. I'm sure we can find a less risky solution to the problem." She looks over to Gullveig. "What do you think?" she asks the Vola. "Do you perhaps have something that could help us dispel the ward on the basement?"

 No.725377

>>725373
Chiu puffs out her cheeks. "If my parents taught me anything, it's not to mistreat your workers. They're getting vacation time, sick time, and 'just in case' time, too. Oh, and worker's comp funds, educational funds, training, lunch hours, break periods…"

She continues rattling off everything a good employer should provide for their employees.

 No.725378

>>725375
"Well, she'll be able to do it so long as the Wine remains in her system," Gullveig says. "Once she's digested it, it'll no longer have any effect on her."
Splendid snorts, frustrated at this knowledge, but calms herself when you show her your support. "Well… we've got some time, yeah? Teach me a little while you can. And Miss Gullveig, thank you. You were right, I was too quick on the draw there, wasn't I?"
Gullveig lightly laughs. "Indeed you were. But, if you should ever come back to me, and I can see that you've got the right mentality and attitude, then perhaps I can give you something that will lead you on to the road to true magic."

>>725376
Mallea and Gullveig both give it some thought, and then Gullveig shakes her head. "So long as you take some proper precautions, then I shall not stop you."
"Indeed," Mallea concurs. "On that note, I suspect that we shall find out rather quickly if the summoning starts to go wrong. We'll need to be able to banish it quickly."
"And, I've the thing for that," Gullveig says. She reaches into a locked trapdoor behind the counter, fishing around for it. She then pulls out a bag of salt, about the size of a fist, and sets it upon the counter. "Take that and hope to all gods that you won't have to use it."

 No.725379

>>725377
Cloud raises a hoof, and gives Chiu a boop on her nose as she begins to rattle off.
"I was kidding babe, I know you'll make a great boss."

 No.725380

>>725379
She boops you back. "Me? I'll have a baby to take care of. I don't want a career to get in the way of that. You're gonna be the boss, lazybones."

 No.725381

>>725371

"Excellent," Cutlass says, somewhat unnerved. She gives Gulveig his 150 bits, and takes the hommunculus.

"I'll also buy this snowglobe," she adds another five bits to the pile.

 No.725382

>>725380
"Hey, I'm going to be busy going out and hunting treasure for us. I can't be the boss here."

 No.725383

>>725374
Cerulean gives Roger some pets, even offering a wing that wasn't half-eaten to him so he could enjoy as well.
"If I remember right, its got to do when two demons meet and the weaker one either submits to the stronger one or they duke it out."

 No.725384

>>725378
"Ah… well, I am sure she will be of the right mind. I will help make sure of it!" he chirps, bouncing up and down a little and giving Splendid an eager prod in the shoulder.

"We can take some time this afternoon to see what we can figure out, maybe? I do not know how long it will last."

 No.725385

>>725381
Gullveig counts the bits, seeming suspicious of the perfectly good money. She then passes you the snowglobe. "I appreciate your business, Captain."

>>725382
"Think of it as some additional income to pad the budget with," Chiu says. "An investment into our new ship, Captained by you and manned by our crew of spiders."

>>725383
"Wait, couldn't you try to flex that against the lantern demon to get him to submit?" Paraiba asks.
"I dunno… that seems kinda mean," Zerk says.

>>725384
Splendid giggles as you poke her shoulder, shrinking away as if from a powerful impact. However, her muscles are solid and well-built. It's like poking concrete. Then, revitalized with your encouragement, Splendid taps the counter. "Ya hear that, Miss? Ya best keep the Wizard's Wine coming then, right?"
"Drink any more and I'll have to start charging you," Gullveig says. "Which is not to discourage you, mind you – I'm all too happy to have you open your wallets."

>Paused

 No.725715

Last time on PirateQuest…

After spending some time catching up with one another at Gecko's bird farm, the party members split off from one another to pass the time until the evening, so as to prepare themselves for whatever awaited them that evening.

Cerulean went with Zerk, Paraiba, Schnitzel, and Plague to the tavern where Tranquilino works, ordering up some fresh fried chicken wings as they talked about the day's events. Paraiba and Zerk were very concerned about Obstinance giving Cerulean the Yana icon, unsure of what a supposed exorcist might be planning by giving Cerulean an object that would supposedly help draw out her demonic power. Talks later turned to the topic of her lantern demon, who was as of yet unnamed, but was identified earlier as a lesser demon of desire known as a 'Taste.' It was decided that she might have to prove her strength to it before it could become her loyal companion, like Roger.

Thessaly met with Mallea de Valle again, taking her to the hidden back room of Gullveig's Affordable Sorceries with the magical key Gullveig gave her. There, she learned that Mallea and Gullveig were old friends, though seldom saw each other, both being solitary types. At the same time, Mallea confessed to Thessaly certain hidden details about her and Palafox, the deceased mayor of Gecko. Palafox had originally been married to a Krikral named Cosecha, who was barren. Nothing Palafox tried, from modern medicine to magic, would cure her infertility, and so he called upon Mallea to secretly enlist the help of a demon: Auntzi, demon of fertility, creation and eternity. Mallea and Palafox grew closer as they prepared a ceremony to summon Auntzi, while Cosecha's mental and spiritual health continued to diminish. Finally, on the night of the harvest moon, Cosecha walked in on the summoning ceremony taking place in the wine cellar, and in a horrified frenzy, stormed out, having reached her breaking point. Palafox and Mallea had to stop and reverse the summoning before it could be completed, leading Thessaly to speculate that Auntzi's influence could be a cause of the mysterious anomalies plaguing the manor and town. Although Mallea couldn't find any traces of Auntzi's presence around the manor during the day, in all her searches during nighttime, she was unable to even reach the wine cellar, and so she gave some credence to Thessaly's idea. Thessaly suggested summoning Regaselab, a demon of scrying, to help them scope things out and potentially identify where Auntzi might be.

Finally, Chiu, Splendid, and Puddin went with Cloud, Alder and Cutlass to the manor, and met up with Thessaly, Mallea and Gullveig about partway through their conversation. This gave them an opportunity to do a little shopping from Gullveig's wares. Splendid was disappointed when Gullveig refused to give her anything that would induce an Arcane Awakening, but that was offset when Gullveig said that, with a little more maturity and level-headedness from Splendid, she would go ahead and help her on her quest for magic.

 No.725716

>Cutlass
Gullveig counts the bits, seeming suspicious of the perfectly good money. She then passes you the snowglobe. "I appreciate your business, Captain."

>Cloud

"Think of it as some additional income to pad the budget with," Chiu says. "An investment into our new ship, Captained by you and manned by our crew of spiders."

>Cerulean

"Wait, couldn't you try to flex that against the lantern demon to get him to submit?" Paraiba asks.
"I dunno… that seems kinda mean," Zerk says.

>Alder

Splendid giggles as you poke her shoulder, shrinking away as if from a powerful impact. However, her muscles are solid and well-built. It's like poking concrete. Then, revitalized with your encouragement, Splendid taps the counter. "Ya hear that, Miss? Ya best keep the Wizard's Wine coming then, right?"
"Drink any more and I'll have to start charging you," Gullveig says. "Which is not to discourage you, mind you – I'm all too happy to have you open your wallets."

>Thessaly

Mallea and Gullveig both give it some thought, and then Gullveig shakes her head. "So long as you take some proper precautions, then I shall not stop you."
"Indeed," Mallea concurs. "On that note, I suspect that we shall find out rather quickly if the summoning starts to go wrong. We'll need to be able to banish it quickly."
"And, I've the thing for that," Gullveig says. She reaches into a locked trapdoor behind the counter, fishing around for it. She then pulls out a bag of salt, about the size of a fist, and sets it upon the counter. "Take that and hope to all gods that you won't have to use it."

 No.725717

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>725716
"Heh, we're going to be a sailing embodiment of Nightmare Night at this rate."
Cloud jokes.

 No.725718

>>725717
"That sounds pretty nice, actually!" Chiu says. "Instead of raiding ports and other ships that we run into, we shower them with candy and make them some costumes."
"Very untraditional pirates," Splendid adds.

 No.725719

>>725718
"Now that's a plan I can get behind."
Cloud says in agreement.
"I don't think we've been traditional pirates so far, why break that?"
He says to Splendid.

 No.725720

>>725719
"But, you know, in order to keep that up, we're going to have to spend a fortune on candy and everything we'd need to be able to keep it good while we're out at sea," Chiu says. She then gasps and clings to your shirt dramatically. "You might have to get… dare I say it… a job!"

"Oh, I wasn't knocking it," Splendid says. "The seas'd be a lot better place to live with fewer raiders, slavers and all that rot. Can't you just have a pirate crew who just want to see the world and have a bit of fun while they're out there?"

 No.725721

>>725720
"Whoa whoa, don't be saying crazy things now," Cloud says, giving Chiu a reassuring pat on the head, "Maybe I can spin my aura to grow candy. This stuff seems to do just about anything so far. Or we'll get our funds by taking out the bad pirates."

"That's what we're doing so far, seeing the world and also digging up a little treasure if we stumble across any."

 No.725722

>>725721
"Oh, you'll do anything to get to sit on your butt all day, huh?" Chiu teases. "No wonder we get along so well, heheheh."

Splendid half-smiles. "So, I guess all of that at the circus wasn't your usual modus operandi, was it?"

 No.725723

>>725716
"I understand," she tells Mallea. "With any luck the summoning will go as planned."

She tilts her head slightly as Gullveig produces the pouch of salt. She is reminded of the various items in Obstinance's tent. "Oh. Thank you, Gullveig. How much will that be?" She produces her coinpurse.

"Galutisons, Seravelum, and now Ragalaseab," she muses. "Perhaps I am getting in over my head." She rubs her temples for a moment, lost in thought before speaking up again. "Say this works, and we dispel the magic binding your home. What then? What of that Obstinance creature? He's on the move, you know. It shan't be long until he tries something here. And I can't imagine he'll stop there. …I'm wanted, you see. Word will reach the Virtues of me soon enough, if it hasn't already. I haven't given it much thought, but it seems like we cannot hide forever." She addresses both of them here. "So. What shall we do?"

 No.725724

>>725716
"Hrm… in that case, perhaps we buy a little more? See what progress we can make. Again, I do not have experience with magic, but attitude and approach seem important. yes? I can help with those."

 No.725725

>>725722
"That's one of the reasons."
Cloud says with a smirk, putting a hoof around Chiu and pulling her close.

"Yea.. that was an odd case. Something I hope is a one off deal."

 No.725726

>>725716
"That…might be too mean, yeah. I barely know anything about him…her…it. Well, aside it likes to eat as much as me and has great taste. Plus, Mallea said this might've been imprisoned in the lantern against its will. Not sure how it'd react to someone doing flexing stuff on it…again."

 No.725727

>>725726
"Is there any way to try to get to know… "it" better? Would it be able to hear you if you talked to it?"

 No.725728

>>725726
"Then maybe we could try to let it out and see what it does with a bit of freedom!" Zerk says.
"There's no way that could go wrong," Paraiba says.

>>725724
Gullveig smiles. "It'll only be ten bits for the bottle."
"We'll take it," Splendid says, reaching for her coinpurse. "Oh, but Alder, do keep me sober enough to read that newspaper like you wanted, yeah? Just snatch the bottle if I dispose with the glass and start drinking it straight, otherwise I'll be loopy all day and night."

>>725725
"Better make sure our kids don't pick up on our bad habits," Chiu says.

>>725723
"We can discuss prices when I see how much you've used, if you've used it," Gullveig says.
Mallea leans in to inspect it, then recoils as if simply being near it has burned her. "Consecrated salt!? And you just keep it under your roof?"
"Is it unheard of for occultists to appropriate the so-called holy weaponry of our foes?" Gullveig retorts. "Besides. It was a… donation. An old acquaintance left it the last time he and I… spoke."

As for your other question, Mallea studies the bottom of her glass. "Home, eh? That's a strong word. People like us have no home. Just as pirates wander the waves, so too must we, skittering under cover of night, from a half-sunken swamp hut to a stony grotto, to a slanting apartment in a forgotten ghetto. I'll get back to wandering again, once I've put this behind me."
"To where?" Gullveig asks, both quiet and stern.
"I'll figure it out," Mallea testily answers.
"Alone?"
"Perhaps."

 No.725729

>>725728
"Oh! Right! Though, if you would prefer, we can read the newspaper later. You sound very excited about practicing this!" he chirps, fishing out his own coinpurse and paying for the bottle. It's not all that much, and he's quick enough to take care of it before Splendid can react.

 No.725730

>>725728
"Yeah…but how?" Curious to this, Cerulean opens…whatever can open on a lantern.
"Uhh…hey? You wanna stretch your legs a bit or something?"

 No.725731

>>725728
"What bad habits? We're pirate captains in training."
Cloud says confidently.
"Our kids will come out fine, maybe a bit spoiled from all the treasure and candy we're planning on though."

 No.725732

>>725728

"If you're a wanderer, why can't you just leave this cursed place behind you?" Cutlass asks Malea curiously.

 No.725733

>>725728
She eyes Gullveig questioningly at the mention of an acquaintance.

She frowns disapprovingly. "So what? You'll just leave as soon as this is sorted out? You can't assume Obstinance will give up so easily. Or the rest of the Virtues for that matter. You can't run forever. Sooner or later, blood is going to be shed. And I don't intend on it being mine."

She looks over to Gullveig. "Begging your pardon, but the same goes for you. How long do you think you'll be able to hide for?" She asks it with a slightly gentler tone. "Sooner or later someone will come. It's inevitable."

 No.725734

>>725729
Splendid sputters and scoffs as, with lightning speed, you slap down ten bits before she can so much as undo the clasp on her purse. Gullveig scoops up the bits and passes you a hefty blue bottle of wizard's wine, still about three-quarters full. Splendid squints at you. "Well, aren't you just such a gentlebird!" she says with mock annoyance, then winks.

"I guess we could put it off. There was all that what Cutlass was saying a while ago, but… well, we can deal with that once we're done here," Splendid says. She then pours you a little of the wine, and a little for herself.

>>725732
"I don't leave a job half-done," Mallea says. "I still have business here inside this manor. Problems to fix. Broken things to repair. And, if Thessaly's hunch is right, a demon to dispel."

>>725733
Mallea tilts her head, frowning with annoyance. "That's the life of a Witch. You're acting like I don't know this. Before Palafox took me in, I've had my share of close scrapes with hunters and hurried escapes under cover of night… Or are you suggesting I go with you?"

Gullveig scoffs. "Yes, yes, I know. You'll find, however, that a little hole-in-the-wall shop like mine has a tendency to be very hard to find. Somedays you might end up in it without meaning to, and other days you might not find it no matter how many side streets you comb. If the walls start closing in, I will simply pack up shop – literally."

"What's that mean?" Splendid asks.

"Did you think that ships and airships are the only thing that can traverse the seas and skies?" Gullveig answers in her usual cryptic way.

>>725730
You undo the clasp on the lantern's door, opening it up. At first, nothing happens, and your guests lean in with curiosity. Then they dart back as a small burning shape leaps out of the lantern's flame. The shape is bulbous, like a half-melted candle, and as it pokes out, you see that it expands, growing longer and leaner. It starts to resemble a small fox, or perhaps a rodent; either way, it looks cutesy, almost cartoonish. It sniffs at the air, confounded by its newfound freedom.

"Not exactly what I was expecting," Plague says, scratching his chin.
"That's adorable," Schnitzel says with a straight face.

>>725731
"We'll just have to make sure they get all the sugar free candies, and that they brush their teeth four or five times a day… and that they get extra homework to keep 'em diligent. Just because we're going to rake in a lot of money doesn't mean they get to slack all day!"

>Timeskipping to evening is now available. Once you are ready to timeskip, please say so and state what you'll be doing to pass the time until evening.

 No.725735

>>725734

"I see…" Cutlass contemplates. "Well, I may not share your devotion, but this job has my interest for the time being."

Cutlass then proceeds to find a comfortable empty room in the manor. She takes off her hat and plays with Sir Pent for a while. She lets him hunt for any rodents that are surely in the manor. As she watches the snake, she makes idle conversation with Ossie.

>timeskipping while chatting and playing with snek

 No.725736


 No.725737

>>725734
Cerulean sees the little thing coming out, and gasps in excitement.
"Holy cow, it is cute! Yeah!" She quickly grabs a wing with dipping sauce, holding it near the creature.
"Hey, its alright. Just wanted to see what I've been feeding all this time," she tries to say in a non-aggressive way and keeping her sharp-toothed smile down to a minimum.
"Can you speak?"

 No.725738

>>725734
Alder sticks his tongue out in response, an unusual response from the griffon. The comment about travelling the seas and sky brings him a bit of pause, and he asks "I suppose, the way is through… magic? Or, do you choose what doors lead to your shop?"

>>725734
"Ah! If you are sure you wish to share. I will not drink too much of it, since it is more for your training than mine." the griffon says, accepting the cup and taking a sip.

 No.725739

>>725734
She looks taken aback as Mallea seems to misinterpret her, but rolls with it. "…If it please you. It would not be for me to decide, though." She nods towards Cutlass.

She gives Gullveig a knowing smile. "Baba Yaga," she says simply to Splendid, and does not elaborate. She's starting to enjoy the griffon's naivete.

>ready to timeskip whenever

 No.725740

>>725734
"I'm with you on the first two parts, but come on, we don't need to load them with homework."

>Timeskip, helping Mallea clean and getting in a nap

 No.725741

>>725740
>[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.725742

>>725735

When it starts getting later, Cutlass gets more on guard. Though, she isn't scared, exactly. She's excited. She is elated to have an opportunity to be witness to a potentially genuine haunting.

 No.725743

>>725737
The fox starts scarfing down on the chicken wing, bone and all. The wing starts to burn as the creature digs in, making short work of the meal. As you ask if it can speak, the fox starts grumbling, grunting and whining, all the usual sounds of an excited canine, but not intelligible speech. You're able to get a better look at its body now, and see that its core seems to be made of wax, while most of its fur and appendages are made of fire that extends off that waxen core.

 No.725744

>>725738
>>725739
"Ach!" Gullveig scolds mockingly. "Way to spoil it!"
"Ah, yes, Baba Yaga," Splendid says, nodding and folding her arms sagely. "That… explains everything. Of course."

 No.725745

>>725744
"Ah! I did not mean to." the griffon says, waving one of his wings a little bit. "I assume Baba Yaga is something native to this region, then?"

 No.725746

>>725743
Cerulean giggles at the cute noises it makes.
"Sorry, I…didn't exactly catch any of that," she says with a nervous chuckle.
"But hey, how about we go and help the others out? Might be time, and I'm sure there's more somethings for you two to find and eat," she says as she holds a wing up for Roger to nom on.

"If only I knew how to speak…whatever language you're speaking right now," she says with a pondering look to the fox.

>timeskip good to go

 No.725747

>>725745
"Not to here, no," Gullveig says. "But a tale all Witches know. She might be thought of as our matriarch, if you will, in the same way some religions look to their founding prophets or wiseponies. A wandering Witch with a house that has no end of magic of its own."
"What, you didn't know?" Splendid asks as she twirls small ribbons of color through her fingertips with much difficulty."
"I think YOU didn't know," Gullveig says.
Splendid gulps, looking very guilty all of a sudden.

 No.725748

>>725746
Roger and the unnamed fox make short work of the remaining wings in the basket, and even scoop up the crumbs and grease from the wax paper that held the wings. It's a bit of a chore to try to usher the fox back into the lantern, as it quite enjoys jumping around on the table. But eventually you succeed, and Plague and Schnitzel finish theirs too, and Paraiba and Zerk finish their vegetarian enchiladas.

>>725735
There's a hallway just off from the eastern door of the foyer, and about halfway down that hall is an open room. Inside you find a small study, lined with bookshelves that are in turn filled with many neat rows of books. Though, the books look like they haven't been touched in a while; they're quite dusty. While Sir Pent wanders about to sniff out mice and other small vermin, Ossie stops and looks out a window to the north. Just outside that window is a small garden, walled in by other rooms of the sprawling manor.

>>725739
Mallea blinks, eyes widening as she realizes her misunderstanding. "Forgive me for imposing. I didn't… well, you weren't clear about what you meant."
"Were you hoping to be offered a place with us?" Chiu asks.
Mallea pours herself a refill of her drink, much to Gullveig's concern.

>>725741
Still bickering gently about how you'll raise your children, you eventually ask Mallea for directions to somewhere you can take a nap. Mallea directs you to a guest room up on the second floor, and down the eastern hall, first door on the left. You eventually end up in a room with two narrow beds and a few drawers and dressers here and there. It overlooks a small garden, visible from a balcony on its northern end. It's a small labor for you and Chiu to push the beds together and seal the gap with shadow.

During your nap, you have a dream of some sort, though you don't recall much of it, as it is obscured by a thick darkness, a darkness that can be felt, and that weighs down upon you, pushing down and into your lungs. Your body starts to feel hot, incredibly so, and though you try to get away, your movements are slow and weak, and you are helpless, at the mercy of the pain and burning.

The face of the Wetnurse appears, moving in toward you out of the crushing darkness. Its horrid mouth starts to open, and a most grotesque voice shudders forth, like a deep rumbling coming down from a tunnel made of rusted metal.

"GET HER OUT."


(1/2)

>>>>Post Timeskip<<<<

>>725746
>>725745
>>725742
>>725739
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koZRzhY321A

A few hours after you have gathered together once more, the edge of the sun dips unto the horizon. The sun's shape is murky, watery, shimmering from the sticky heat that lingers in the air, pressing down upon the desert rocks. You have been called together in the foyer by Mallea. The door that led to Gullveig's shop has been closed, severing the connection. Gullveig wished you good luck before it did, using the strange phrase 'castwell.'

Mallea draws back from the window, pulling the drapes shut to close off the dying sunlight. With silent apprehension, she looks over the rest of you. "Ready?" she asks after a swallow.

Your gathered allies – Puddin, Plague, Schnitzel, Chiu, Ossie, Splendid, Zerk and Paraiba – cast glances over the rest of you. If they are nervous, they don't show it.

 No.725749

>>725747
Alder cocks his head to the side, and lets out a soft hum. He'll probably want to ask about that later. For now, though…
"Anyways, magic practice! And the newspaper. Let us get started then, yes? Maybe not here, but, you know."
>Timeskip

>>725748
"As ready as I can be, I suppose." the griffon says, occasionally clenching and unclenching his talons.

 No.725750

>>725748
Cerulean is back with the others, lantern in hand and Roger hiding in/peeking out of her mane every now and again.
"Yup! All set!"

 No.725751

>>725748

"Ready? I'm excited!" Cutlass says enthusiastically.

>>725749

"That doesn't sound very enthusiastic," Cutlass comments, sounding disappointed in Alder.

 No.725752

>>725748
Cloud goes to sleep well enough, together with Chiu. But his dream leaves him dreary, it feels different from the others he has had over the past few days. When the creature appears before him, he freezes in terror as it approaches.

He awakens in fright, drenched in a cold sweat from the experience.


Cloud nudges Chiu awake, though while he is refreshed from the nap he looks horrible.
"Chiu… I think we should get you out of here."
He says in a shaken voice, helping her out of bed and leading her downstairs towards the door after she's ready.

 No.725753

>>725752
Chiu's face falls as she gets a look at you. She immediately starts trying to fix your hair, but as you tell her she needs to get out, she frowns. "Wh-what? If… if you say so, but where am I supposed to go? I thought this was supposed to be the safest place from Obstinance!"

 No.725754

>>725744
>>725747
"My people called her Cailleach Bhéara," she chimes in. "The Queen of Winter. Mother of all other gods and goddesses."

>>725748
"If you wish," she reiterates, "I'm sure Cutlass or Bee Holder would have no qualms adding you to their crew." She doesn't push what she was trying to get at; that they ought to push back more against the Virtues. Neither of them would be very keen on the idea anyhow.

-

Thessaly spends the remaining time preparing herself for the summoning, reading over the Liber Animarum for any more useful information concerning their current predicament.
[1d10] if needed

>>725748
>>725749
>>725750
>>725751
>>725752
When the time comes, she turns to the page detailing Ragalaseab and nods to Mallea. "Ready."

She takes a piece of chalk and draws a perfect circle in the foyer, rummaging around in her coinpurse for a bit. Before she proceeds, she warns everyone in the room. "You may want to stand back. This one's a nasty one, according to the Good Book."

She places 200 bits in the center of the circle and kneels, closing her eyes.

"Ragalaseab. Seer of the Unseen. We beckon thee to aid us in our time of great need. We offer thee our gold and silver. Hearken to our call!"

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.725755

>>725753
"I-I-I don't know, maybe I'm just a bit jumpy from all the dreams, and from finding out we're parents, but I… something in my dream said to get you out."
Cloud says, stumbling over his words.
"He won't come into the town for no reason, right? Let's get you a room at the inn. If you see him just ring up my conch and I'll be over immediately."
He follows, not entirely confident himself.

 No.725756

>>725755
Chiu nods, making for the front doorway. Splendid and Ossie turn to watch her go, but don't attempt to intervene. At the door, Chiu gives you a kiss and a hug. "Be back soon, alright? I'll go right back to the room we booked last night. It's still in our name, so I should be fine. And I'll summon Granny for some insurance. Oh! And I'll call the Beestings, see if she and I can get some of the crew to keep an eye out."

>>725754
All that ends up happening, as you attempt to breach the dense cryptography and esoteric poetry and prose of the Animarum, is that you end up with a headache.

>>725751
>>725754
>>725749
>>725750
Mallea nods, and starts to lead you down the hall, leaving the foyer to the west. She leads you down a long hallway filled with paintings and an elaborate rug, which eventually turns toward the north for a shorter distance.

After passing through another doorway, she rounds the corner around a wall, and there waits a set of locked double doors. Mallea unlocks them, revealing a set of stairs leading downward, lit by dusty magitech lanterns along the side. At the bottom of the wide staircase is another doorway, beyond which is a vast and well-lit (albeit dusty) wine cellar that runs from west to east for a great distance. Cobwebs run around the walls and between the massive casks, and at the far end of the room is an assortment of vast silos and pipes and tubes and machinery for making alcohol.

Mallea leads you to a very large table in the middle of the room, which is covered with cobweb-covered books, ledgers, and a number of tools for testing alcohol quality. She reaches underneath it, and you hear a click as she presumably flicks some kind of switch or lever. You hear the grinding of plate and stone, as the wall between two casks to the south starts to slide back, and then recedes into a hidden slot, revealing a hidden passageway.

Mallea has a long pause, during which you can hear the faint grinding of her teeth. Splendid and Paraiba look to her with concern, but before they can say anything, Mallea walks into the darkened hall, her jaw set with grim determination.

At the end of the dark hall lies a smaller room, maybe fifteen feet long and wide and ten tall, devoid of anything except for a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling. The floor and walls are all bare. It is here that Thessaly prepares her summoning circle. As she draws the diagram and prepares the offering, your allies spread out to the boundaries of the room, bracing themselves against the walls for whatever might happen next, steeled by silent anxiety.

(1/2)

 No.725757

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ks0W9y9uC8w

As Thessaly completes the chant, a harsh, dark smoke erupts from the circle, spilling all out across the floor and out into the hallway. A stab of cold pierces Cloud's chest as the billowing darkness fills the room, but this smoke is not like that which he saw in his dream.

As the smoke starts to dwindle, a misshapen, pulsing ooze starts to coagulate in the center, bubbling up like an eruption of magma from a crack in a volcanic vein. As the grotesque mass starts to take shape, it rises, taking on an almost regal stature and atmosphere. The figure is mid-sized, somewhat taller than Splendid but not as tall as Seravelum. It is cloaked in royal blue, and wears an ornate robe underneath, patterned with the scales of regal serpents, and a plethora of rings, amulets, bracelets and the finery of the court.

The demon's body is paradoxical; although it appears to have the wild and fluffy fur of a pampered cat, the skin underneath, rippling with shifting, moving muscles that don't seem to know where they're supposed to go, appears to be covered with scales. Its sandal'd feet and bejeweled hands have webbing between the digits and long reptillian claws that could shred through your limbs with so much as a flick. The head is elongated, much like a crocodile, the mouth full of many rows of ivory teeth. Unlike much of the body, the head and neck have no fur, yet the lips and snout curve innocently like the mouth of a cat. Bulbous, predatory eyes stick out from its head, neither one looking the same direction. The eyes do not move except when the creature blinks, and both eyes appear to have multiple slit irises, one within the other. Much like Seravelum, the creature's expression is simultaneously one of deceptive, beguiling innocence and supreme haughtiness and arrogance.

After the smoke fades, the creature leans back, and a throne of gold manifests behind it, dripping into existence underneath it. There's something in its eyes as it surveys you, but you can't quite place it…

>Roll Perception


"Speak, Sons and Daughters of the Song. For what petty work have you called me into this realm?" it asks in a regal, impatient tone.

 No.725758

>>725757

Cutlass watches the demon with fascination. As he sits down and asks his question, Cutlass makes her way to Puddin, not taking her eye off the demon the whole time. As she does stare at him, her eyes glow slightly.

>Soul Sight on the demon


"Keep your eyes on Mallea," Cutlass whispers into Puddin's ear. "I don't trust this whole situation. I won't be caught off guard by a betrayal from a mediocre necromancer."

 No.725759

>>725756
Cloud keeps the hug longer than usual before they part.
"The second we're done I'll be there. And I'll call Granny."
Cloud says, taking the bell from Chiu and ringing it to call her immediately.
"Granny, I need you to walk Chu to the inn cause dangerous stuff is going on here and it's too long a story for me to tell you. Keep her safe, please."

 No.725760

>>725757
She bows before the mighty demon in obeisance, looking up at Ragalaseab with reverence.
[1d10] Perception

"Ragalaseab, King of Secrets. We have summoned thee to aid us with unraveling a thread. This place is beset by twisted magic, corrupting those around it. The source of it lies yonder."

She gestures towards the basement.

"We hold the lock, and found the key, but the pins do not align. The door remains closed. We beseech thee to help us discern the source of this abrogation, and to dispel it, so we may break the spell holding these blighted lands."

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.725761

>>725758
>>725758
>>725757

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.725762

>>725756
>>725757
>Perception [1d10]

Alder isn't too comfortable at the sight of another demon- they always seem to just be off, and moreso every time he looks at them. For now, he'll just try to stay alert and defer the talking to Thessaly.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.725763

>>725757
>>725756
Cerulean is thankful that her head isn't throbbing with pain this time, but she still keeps a sort of glare on the demon. She didn't want to be seen as bowing down to it or the like, but at the same time, not wanting to pick a fight since Thess and the others need its help.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.725764

>>725759
Granny says nothing as she's summoned, and from the look of gravity she wears, you can tell that she picked up on the situation the moment she saw you and Chiu. Without saying anything more, she takes you by the arm, nods resolutely, and then takes Chiu, closely guarding her as the two walk out into the evening sun's dying light.

>>725758
Almost immediately after you look into Ragalaseab's soul, he blinks, and his massive, egg-shaped eye fixates upon you. It's a struggle to get a glimpse into his soul, reminiscent of all the trouble that you had to examine Magoja's soul back on Kaco Island. But as you pierce through the murkiness that shrouds his soul, you glimpse him seated in a court of regal demons, taking council on some matter or another. He is seated in a high palace, filled with hundreds of golden, jeweled thrones, some floating, some built into both grotesque and lewd statues. A strange cosmos can be seen out a nearby window, which itself is as tall as a skyscraper. An orgy of violence rages upon the palace's floor as demonic gladiators wage battle for the entertainment of the onlookers, seated in the high seats above them. But they care little for it, seeking instead to discuss matters of finance and territory, games of politics and power that the elite play.

>>725760
>>725761
>>725763
Cutlass and Thessaly cannot quite figure out what it is that lurks within Ragalaseab's haughty, arrogant gaze, and he can tell. He has a knife of a grin, the kind of grin held by those amused with something small and helpless before them.

But suddenly, it clicks for the perceptive Alder and Cerulean. Ragalaseab… he recognizes all of you… and he doesn't seem surprised by Thessaly's request. And for some reason, this amuses the Demon far more than he's letting on now.

"A trifling request in most cases, but you have called me into a house that rests upon knots and knots of spoiled magic… a home now of oddities, presided over by a Demon that this one–" he points at Mallea with a diamond-studded claw "–thought to summon and then banish without appeasing her. Produce your Karmic Seed, Sin-Eater," he says to Thessaly. "And just by the sight of it will you see why I am so hesitate to work my Magick here."

Mallea, almost imperceptibly, starts to shiver. "…So it seems our quest is known in the Netherworld… or at least by you, O Watcher of the Veil, O Seer of the Hidden, O Diviner-King."

Ragalaseab simply smiles.

 No.725765

>>725762
see the response beginning "Cutlass and Thessaly…" in >>725764

 No.725766

>>725764
She feels confused, but keeps a poker face and a respectful tone when addressing the demon. She does as he requests, pulling out the Karmic Seed without a word.

 No.725767

>>725764
Cloud nods as Granny takes care of the situation wordlessly, and then waves the two farewell as they depart.

Turning back to the mansion, Cloud takes out his yearning knife. While Chiu is safe now, he's still shaken. Why would he have a dream like that, a warning that realistic feeling. He's not going to let his guard down.
("…Now to find where the others went.")
Cloud mutters to himself as he goes to seek the rest of the group.
>Regroup (Roll for fun) [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.725768

>>725764
"You can stop kissing up to him," Cerulean says outloud on purpose to Mallea, "he knows what's going on, and knows us somehow. Even though I've never seen such a fancy…thing in all my life under the sea." Cerulean's body tenses as she feels very uncomfortable about all this, more so with her mind clear and blood-free.

 No.725769

>>725764

Cutlass eyes Ragalaseab for a while, thinking everything over. After a moment, she speaks.

"I am curious," she says to the unnerving demon. "I know the answers the superstitious and potentially uninformed ponies and other mortals would give. But, I think the answer would be far more significant and enlightening coming straight from the demon's mouth. Why do you come when you're summoned? You clearly have better things to do. And, for that matter, why do you help with anything they ask you to do at all?"

 No.725770

>>725764
>>725765
Alder frowns a little bit- he doesn't like the notion that it already knows them, but there's little to do about it for now. He'll make sure to bring this up once they have the chance.

 No.725771

>>725767
Drawn by the echoes of voices off the cold, lifeless stones leading into the basement, you eventually find your way down the stairs to the wine cellar, and then into the hidden chamber, wreathed in darkness. You stand at a distance behind Thessaly and Mallea, who are posed directly before the demon.

>>725766
>>725768
>>725769
>>725770
Ragalaseab lounges to the side, crossing his legs and leaning upon his fist as he continues to smile at your group. "Why don't I answer the both of you at the same time," he says, flicking a claw at Cutlass and Cerulean. "Of course, I cannot speak for all of demonkind. But as for Me, I come because I see Myself there. Past and Future! What silly concepts your kind forges to protect your fragile perceptions of being. I am here, and I am there, and I am at all places my path leads. I am at the moment of my death and at the moment of my birth. And I do what is asked of me because I am there, and I am fulfilling or denying that request. I am because I am!" he declares with a booming laugh.

"Blasphemy…" Splendid sputters out, but then throws her talons over her mouth, turning white with fear. Ragalaseab simply ignores her, his attention turning to Thessaly. As she reaches for her bag, she can feel a deep vibrato filling the space around her bag. Her bag appears to be covered with a shimmering, almost like a heat haze rising off of a scorched desert landscape. The Karmic Seed is the source of the shimmering. It's pulsing and reacting far stronger than ever before… and it's getting stronger by the minute.

"You have called Me into a domain that is not mine, nor is it yours. This is the house of Auntzi now. Hers is the hand that wounds. Hers is the hand that heals. Hers are the arms that deliver. Hers are the arms that bury. I shall intervene, but for a price."
"What… what do you want?" Mallea asks, now sweating, green with nausea.

Ragalaseab stares off into the distance for a time, utterly silent.

"Speak, Demon. Name your terms…" Mallea sputters.

"After this is done, many paths that lead from here will cross with those of the Crimson King, tangling into a knot, as all paths lead to the Heart of Gold. One of those paths is that of the Yellow Jester. I want her greatest treasure. I will lend you My Eye, and it will reveal her treasure to you. Take it and summon Me again, and our Contract shall be paid."

 No.725772

>>725771
Cloud steps into the room, looking up at the odd demon, clutching his dagger tightly. He remains silent as the demon speaks to all of them, but he does end up giving a displeased grumble as it asks Mallea to summon him again.

 No.725773

>>725771
Cerulean has a look on her face that shows the gears grinding in her head as she tries to wrap her head around this meta-physical mumbo jumbo. As usual, its getting to be a bit beyond her grasp.
"Can't we do this without owing more to these guys? At this rate, I feel like we might lose the ship because of so much debt and junk."

 No.725774

>>725771
Alder huffs a little at the mention of another deal- this is starting to get ridiculous.

>>725773
"Agreed. I am not fond of who we are dealing with, either…"

 No.725775

>>725771

Cutlass struggles to grasp the concept of knowing your whole life as its happening. Not even really "as it's happening". That would imply that sequence still exists, which he CLAIMS it does not. But then, that doesn't mesh with what she saw in his soul. His desires involve lording over others and making plans. What satisfaction would you gain from beating others in a game of politics if you already know the outcome?

Then, all attempts at understanding this line of thinking stop as he brings up a price. "Ah," Cutlass says, practically disappointed. "So, the real answer is because you want to find a way to benefit from it. Fair enough, I suppose mortals are probably easier game than demons."

With that thought, Cutlass turns her attention to Mallea. Her eyes glow slightly again.

>Soul Sight on Mallea

 No.725776

>>725773
>>725774

"Welcome to the world of being a pirate. It's constant deals, backstabbing, and trickery."

 No.725777

>>725771
She is taken aback at the Seed's reaction. She's never seen it react like this before. She thinks twice about putting it away, setting it gently on the floor for now, letting it stew.

At Ragalaseab's demands, she doesn't immediately agree, though his desires seem to align with the party. He looks around to gauge the others' reactions, seeing them displeased with having to strike another bargain. She's not too happy about it either, but of the three she's bargained with so far, this demand seems the least obtrusive, at least so far. "What is this treasure?" she asks simply.

 No.725778

>>725776
"Yeah, but this thing isn't a pirate. Its some kind of fancy jelly thing wearing the kind of stuff we'd take without permission."

 No.725779

>>725778

"And, that's only a reason to be more confident about the deal."

 No.725780

>>725777
>>725775
>>725774
>>725772
>>725773
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgnZ9w5ghwE

"Upset about debt? Preposterous. That is the nature of the very 'modern' world that you have built for yourselves, mortals, Sons and Daughters of the Song. You sell yourselves at every turn, working at this task or that, hoping to be drip-fed the gold that others obtained through conquest and through cleverness and through crime, all so you can purchase this thing or that, which you will forget in time. You will not even discard it once you have forgotten about it! Hardly any of your kind truly dispose of anything. You horde and you horde, taking on debt to build bigger shelters to hold more and more of the things you sold yourselves in order to purchase, and others sold themselves in order to make. Debt and enslavement! The lifeblood of modernity! The products of enlightenment! The fruits of science!"

After his ramble, he turns again to Thessaly. "Her humanity. She thought she discarded it when she tasted the nectar of the Netherworld, and became a demon. But alas, she did not discard it; she could not, just as any other mortal cannot bear to part with any other meaningless thing they have purchased. If you have My Eye, you will see how to wrest it from her."

Mallea, her anxiety boiling into a fever pitch, turns to you, eyes shimmering with desperation. "If you accept this… I will join you, and I shall do everything I can to pay the debt you take on for my sake. I swear it upon every name of my ancestors… please."

>>725775
In your vision of her desires, you see Mallea walking along a dirt road in a countryside, blooming at the height of spring. But then, the road and the scenery change every few seconds. It is a cobbled road in a sleepy village. It becomes a bridge over a misty valley. It turns into the deck of a ship, the crystal steps of an underwater palace. Whatever the case, Mallea in the vision always returns to a small house of some sort. Even the house changes shape, but inside, faceless silhouettes of ponies stand and greet her, meeting her with hugs and kisses and welcoming conversation, in each and every permutation of her vision.

She wants a home.

 No.725781

>>725780
She gives Mallea a sidelong glance, thinking for a good long while before turning back to Ragalaseab. "Then it will be done," she says simply. "We shall accept this burden, O Keeper of the Occult." She kneels and looks up to him, outstretching her hoof to receive his Eye.

 No.725782

>>725780

Cutlass frowns as Mallea offers to come with them to help pay off the debt. "I see," Cutlass says to Mallea. "Well, I wasn't interested in any of this until now."

"You have the heart of a pirate after all," Cutlass says pointing to Mallea with a smile. "A wanderer who is looking for a place to stay. As a pirate, that place comes with you. If you're looking to come with us, then I'd be happy to have you on my crew."

Cutlass intentionally keeps it vague, trying not to be too obvious with how much she knows about Mallea.

>Whisper in your Ear to convince Mallea to join the Secret Assassins [1d10]


Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.725783

>>725780
>>725781
Cloud doesn't like the rant the demon goes on, sounding too much like crazy ponies he's seen in the city. And it trying ot justify these bargains only makes it less trustworthy. Cloud steps over to Mallea and Thessaly.
"I don't know how deep the stuff in this mansion go, but this knife can cut apart magic. It may not be much, but to me it's sounding better than dealing with more demons."

 No.725784

>>725783
She looks over to Cloud. "Be that as it may, demons are difficult to banish without a bargain being struck. And there is already one demon present here. I would rather avoid having to deal with two angry demons, for now."

 No.725785

>>725779
"I dunno…he says a lot of fancy things that makes my head hurt. Usually when someone does that, they're usually trying to pull a fast one so I'm too confused to notice them swimming away."

>>725780
>>725781
"Uhh…riiight," Cerulean remarks with disbelief after his ramble.
"Or I could just strong arm a bigger grotto and hunting grounds like I always have without having to repay anything."

She turns to Thessaly and Mallea.
"Look, this has bad junk written all over it. I'm not really for this, especially since you already owe a different demon something other than me biting his ass." She holds up the lantern to them.
"Whatever he plans on doing I'm sure can be just as easily burned and eaten up by my little fox buddy in here."

 No.725786

>>725784
"Oh, right… Can you strike a different bargain to just get rid of this guy?"

 No.725787

>>725780
>>725784
"I… I do not feel comfortable about this. I do not want to take the bargain, personally. As much as I hate to bargain with souls, I… I would be willing to take the deal. May it be the last demon we meet."

 No.725788

>>725782
Mallea gawks at you, allowing you to see all the fear and tension that's been building up in her body and mind and soul. It only takes you a second to realize that this has been brewing within you for a long time – probably since Palafox died… no, likely even longer than that, going back perhaps even before she stepped into his life and destroyed what was left of his dying marriage. "… Now… not now…" she heaves, practically falling apart.

>>725785
Ragalaseab nods, gesturing to you. "I like the way you think. I'd compliment you for being a rarity among your kind, but I can tell you have the presence of a demon already staining your soul. Surely whatever greatness you aspire to comes from that!"

>>725781
>>725782
>>725783
>>725785
Ragalaseab and Mallea both ignore Cloud's objections, focusing intently upon one another. Ragalaseab raises his claw to his right eye, obscuring it from view. His clawed hand makes many flourishes, tracing esoteric symbols and shapes all while keeping the eye hidden. Then, with a wave, he brings his hand down before Mallea, at it holds the Eye. In his right socket, there is still an eyeball, but it is completely white, all scelera, no iris or pupil within. Your allies recoil, but otherwise hold in their reaction. By now, they want nothing to do with Ragalaseab, whatever it is that he's offering.

As Ragalaseab holds out the Eye, however, the whole room shudders. It is as if the entire scene, just for a moment, became… squishy… soft… fleshy… wet… the shudder is slow, a second or two in length, and moves both vertically and horizontally, as everything is disoriented and then moved back into place. The air, previously cold and smoky, now starts to dampen, growing heavier and slower, like an invisible mist.

"How many times are we going to have to go through this?" asks a female voice, floating and lilting and elegant in its pure sound, but as it moves through the thickening, hot air of the basement, grows sticky and nauseating.

Mallea's horror deepens as she freezes, but Ragalaseab looks as though he were expecting this. He looks up. "As many times as it will take."

 No.725789

>>725788
"Not really. I was asserting dominance even before that dumb genie did this to me. And even then, it hasn't done anything except make it easier for you guys to see my soul or something. "

>>725788
Cerulean braces herself from all the shaking.
"Not saying I don't mind the more wet air, but…can someone tell me what the shell is happening now?"

 No.725790

>>725788

"And, what, may I ask, are we witnessing now?" Cutlass asks as she looks around for the source of the voice. Several daggers come out of her dress and float around her, ready for battle.

 No.725791

>>725788
Thessaly motions to take the Eye, now seemingly blind to her surroundings, reaching out as if entranced to Ragalaseab's claw. The room shifting, followed by the sudden foreign voice, makes her snap out of it. She jerks away, looking around suddenly for the source of the voice.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.725792

>>725788
"I-I would not suppose this is this… other demon, you spoke of? W-What is going on, exactly?"

 No.725793

>>725788
Cloud takes a few steps back from the two witches as they go through wit the deal, believing it to be a bad idea to be close to a demon's deal.

When the room for a split moment feels wet and fleshy, Cloud backs even more, sickened by the feeling on his hooves. His ears perk up at the voice filling the room, looking around for where it came from.
"Is that the other demon?"
He asks, starting to breath a little heavier as the air thickens like a humid day.

 No.725794

>>725793
>>725792
>>725789
>>725790
>>725791
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt5R8ElvWPI

The voice is without a source, seeming to come at once from the very walls and floors and ceiling themselves. Mallea looks to Ragalaseab with expectation and confusion, something about his last words seeming to give her especial pause. Yet Ragalaseab simply sits there, hands folded together now contentedly.

"You agreed to the terms, Demon!" Mallea barks. "Reveal the nexus of magic! Reveal the source of the curse! Show us where we must go to break it! Don't just sit there!"

Ragalaseab simply expands his hands out to the sides with a smile. "Look behind you."

Mallea's face drops.

"I said… look behind you," Ragalaseab repeats, pointing back down the dark tunnel.

And just as he commands, Mallea and the rest of your allies turn, facing down the lightless tunnel which led you from the wine cellar into this room.

Black.

A sheer darkness is all that lies past the dim light of the bulb in the hidden room. But that light, now fading, illuminates the fact that the tunnel is compressing, constricting. It bends at the edges, becoming rounded. Ridges have formed in the walls, ceiling and floors, creating grooves that are now slick with an unknown slime. Some invisible force spreads out from the tunnel, and that slickness starts to manifest upon the walls and floors and ceiling of the hidden room.

Ragalaseab leans back and laughs. The room and tunnel shudders again. And from down that blackened tunnel flows a darkness. A darkness that can be felt.

Like the gushing of a tidal wave, packed into the tightness of the tunnel, the darkness floods the room, overpowering all of your senses in a sheer, overpowering, crushing weight.

 No.725795

>>725794

Unable to fight literal darkness, Cutlass goes over what things she CAN do.

With few other options, an odd choice comes to mind.

>Soul Sight on the darkness!

 No.725796

>>725794
While not quite knowing entirely what is happening, Cerulean just growls in mild annoyance.
"Lemme guess, in the tunnel, right?" She holds up the lantern and eyes the tunnel the darkness flows from.
"Alright little guy, time to eat up," she says as she tries to have the lantern eat the darkness and possibly illuminate it a bit, all while Cerulean tries to muscle past the crushing feeling and power into the tunnel, keeping her wits about her as best she can in the dark.

>Lantern to eat darkness and be a light

>Electroception while Tough-ing it into the tunnel

 No.725797

>>725794
Cloud turns as the others do, looking back at where the demon points the source of the magic is. When he sees the dark tunnel, his body tenses. It's the dream he had, only now he can see the tunnel closest too him. As it shifts and morphs, moving as if alive and dripping, he feels scared. His first immediate thought, is that he should've went with Chiu to keep her safe. His hoof shakes from how tightly he holds his dagger, unsure if it can work against… whatever this is. When the room they're in starts to morph as well, Cloud steps away from he tunnel, feeling panic come over him.
When the darkness floods over them without warning, Cloud shuts his eyes in fright, and instinctively gives out one, single bat squeak.
>Echolocation [Passive]

 No.725798

>>725795
It is almost impossible to tell just WHAT it is you see, assuming you are able to see anything at all… but something starts to happen. An animal terror jabs through your body, shooting out from the nape of your neck, as your mind starts to bend, twisted by your Aura Ability in its attempts to make sense of the vision…

It is… the incarnation of spite. The desire to take what is not yours, something at the peak of its beauty and potential, and destroy it… for no reason other than to deny it. To illustrate this, you see a small home. Populated by nothing other than a faceless, nobody family. An intruder stands before it. No bag for stealing goods or money. No rope for tying up victims, no lockpicks, no screwdrivers or tools. Armed with nothing but a knife.

What are you looking at, mortal?


>>725796
>>725797
The force of the darkness sweeps the room's occupants off their hooves, and it is so much heavier and denser than water, causing almost everyone to sink into it as it washes over them. Screams and gasps of horror and disgust ring out as your allies claw at the walls and the wooden beams supporting the roof, trying and failing to keep the weighted darkness from crushing them alive. Cerulean, because of her massive strength, is able to persevere for a time, and though the darkness is dense, the light of the lantern-demon burns through some of it. At the same time, Cloud, though his eyes are shut, feels the vibrations of his squeak bounce back unto him. In this way, both Cloud and Cerulean are able to sense a single, feminine figure at the end of the hall, lingering in the darkness, washing over her and everyone else…

"It's her," Mallea gasps in despair.

>>>><<<<


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koZRzhY321A

>>725796
You stand in the mansion's kitchen, which is a long room with counters on either side to the north and south, with plenty of sinks and cutting boards and racks of tools, knives and hooks of various sizes for preparing dishes. An island is built in the middle of the room, where a number of gas stoves have been built into the marble. Pots and pans hang off a rack above the stoves.

>>725797
You lay in the beds in which you woke up just a moment ago, but Chiu is no longer beside you, although the beds are still pushed together.

>>725795
You sit in that small study, the one lined with bookshelves that are in turn filled with many neat rows of books. Though, the books look like they haven't been touched in a while; they're quite dusty. The window to the north has had drapes drawn over it, obscuring the garden lying outside.

>Paused

 No.725981

>>725749
"Hrm… where exactly whould we go to practice this? Is there somewhere you would prefer to, Miss Splendid?"

 No.725983

>>725981
"Given all the hospitality and what's waiting us after nightfall, somewhere we can't mess things up too badly," Splendid says with a self-conscious half-laugh, half-squawk. She then looks to Mallea and Gullveig.
Mallea rubs her temple, giving it some thought. "…The rec room, now that I think about it. Plenty of space. Not a lot of fragile vases or flowerpots. Or glass. Come along."
Mallea gets up, and Gullveig follows, directing the Knight of Crowsbane, her scarecrow assistant, to mind the shop while she's out. You're led up the stairs to the second floor, and at the top of the stairwell upon the left-hand side is a door leading northward.

This door leads to the rec room, which, even for Mallea's dusty mansion, appears to have fallen into severe disuse. The signature feature of the room is the pool table in the center, a putting green off to the side, a dartboard in the back, and a well-stocked bar counter complete with several rows of drinks and glasses. There's also an antique radio upon the counter, and a jukebox off to the side.

>roll perception

 No.725984

>>725983
Alder giggles a little at the mention of fragile objects, before saying "I am very careful! But, better safe than sorry."

>Perception [1d10]

"Ah! Seems a little dusty, but good otherwise. Perhaps if we push the table aside, it should be perfect." he chirps, looking around the room.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.725986

>>725984
It's not just that the room has fallen into disuse, you realize. It's clear that nobody has set hoof in here for weeks, or perhaps months. Dust sits upon everything. The air is stale. Muffled, slow tunes whisper from the radio at a hushed volume.

"Righto, let me just–" Splendid begins, moving toward the table's side, but–
"DON'T push the table," Mallea barks. Splendid freezes, a bit worried. Mallea is silent as she uses her magic to gingerly lift the table, taking a noticeably long time to move it off to the side and clear a space for you two. Even after it's done, Splendid looks at Mallea, as if awaiting permission.
"The carpets tear easily," Mallea huffily explains after a moment. "Carry on."
"Right…" Splendid murmurs. "So… uh, the colors are nice and all, but I reckon I need a bit more than flash and pizzazz to really 'get' magic, right?" she asks you.

 No.725989

>>725986
"I would imagine so, yes. Now… g-granted, I have not practiced magic more than my simple potion mixing, but I believe I could help with the proper mindset- if you would allow me to explain."

 No.725990

>>725989
Shoo! My bird

 No.725991

>>725989
Splendid reaches for a chair, then pauses and looks at Mallea again, but Mallea has (unenthusiastically) already begun setting up chairs for the four of you in a semicircle in the cleared space where the pool table once sat.

The three ladies take their seats as you start to offer your help with mindset. Gullveig seems pleasantly surprised and interested. "Hoo-hoo. Here I thought I was going to have to lead a lecture on theory and practice, but I'd much rather hear your side of things fist. Your name again was…?"

 No.725993

>>725991
"Alder, of Tribe Frostclaw. I do not have any real grasp of magic, but I figured that you might need to adopt a mindset similar to… well, thievery. Which, I have a lot of experience with."

He settles in to his chair, and begins with "I was going to try and help her keep a calm, focused mindset- I noticed when she tried too hard, it did not seem to work well. It sort of reminded me of something like, well, picking a lock; when you try to force it too hard, it makes things worse. So, you'd need to be a little more careful, and more thoughtful about it… right?"

 No.725995

>>725993
Gullveig shakes her head "Well, you're only wrong on one thing. You need to dispense with that first notion of yours – that you don't have any grasp of magic. The mindset of the magic-used, be they magicians, illusionsists, necromancers, shamans, whatever… is not limited to those who can channel Aether through their bodies and fetishes and foci. It is the mindset of curiosity, of persistence, of having a hard head and a willingness to get your hands dirty and fingers burned if it means getting it done right. Simply by taking your thief's mindset and looking at it in a different way, like turning a kaleidoscope, you have demonstrated that grasp."

"Besides, even if you REALLY didn't have any aptitude for magic, you wouldn't be far off," Mallea says. "Thieves, locksmiths, pickpockets, even burglars – you're all a subject of interest behind the Veil."

"Make a list of all those terms and we'll get back to them later," Splendid says. You can practically see smoke coming out of her ears. "Right now, I'm at the basics of the basics."

She straightens herself up and then leans back against the chair. "Calm and focus… how do I… how do I *do* that?"

 No.725998

>>725995
"Ah! I, uhm… I see. I suppose it is nice to see that I am on the right track, then!" he chirps, reassured by Gullevig agreeing.

"And, uhm, what do you mean by that, Miss Mallea? What is so interesting about burglary and thieving?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.


>>725995
"How can you do it? Well… I noticed that, when you were not forcing it, it almost seemed to come naturally. You did it while you were not looking, actually. Maybe think about what you were thinking of during those moments?"

 No.725999

>>725998
"As I said earlier, the paradigm of night and day is more than just a feature of the natural world, or a symbol of duality or life and death or any of that psychobabble. The Day is the Lord of the mundane, the scientific, the rational, the mechanical. The Night is the Beldam of the mythical, the fey, the rumored, the mystical. The two are separated, however thinly and ambiguously, by the Veil.

"All manner of thieves, even the mortal races who dwell on this side of the Veil, become subjects of the Night's kingdom if they keep up their pilfering for long enough. You hide in shadow, move under cover of dark, and sneak with valuables both physical and intangible while constables and citizenry sleep away, unaware. Keep up your thieving, and you just might end up with some oddities taking an interest in you."

"Oh, oddities!" Splendid exclaims. "Why, we learned…"

She gulps, evidently realizing that to continue this explanation would be to admit to meeting you-know-who. "…learned about that in school, we did."

Gullveig and Mallea squint, puzzled by her pause, but don't seem to press it."

>>725998
Splendid, sweating under their suspicion, seems stumped by such a simple subject, searching for a solution. "…Strewth, I don't think I was thinking about much of anything when I did it. What's that mean?"
"That magic might come more easily to you when you are unburdened, and at ease. Has anyone ever told you that you overthink things?" Mallea asks.
"…More that they're surprised that I *can* think about anything at all with all the rocks in me head," Splendid answers.
Gullveig and Mallea both softly gasp.
"…What?" Splendid asks.

 No.726000

>>725999
"Hrm… I see. I suppose I never knew about such things. That is interesting to keep in mind… though, I suppose I did not thieve enough." he says, making note of it for later.

>>725999
"Rocks in your head? What is wrong, Miss Splendid? Is being at ease something difficult for you? Is there… something we can do to help?"

 No.726001

>>726000
Confounded by your lack of knowledge about whatever it is Splendid's referring to, Gullveig leans in. "Maybe it's just her different manner of speaking, but it sounds like this girl hasn't had a good upbringing, if she can say something like that so nonchalantly, and without hint of deliberate irony or humor."

"Well, what does it mean to relax?" Splendid asks.

"You… is that a REAL question?" Mallea scoffs.

Splendid winces. "Yes, yes! I'm not lying, ma'am! But if I have time to sit around and do nothing, then I have time to clean, and to tiday, and to pray, too."

"'Ma'am.' Stop that. Makes me feel old," Mallea scolds. "Oh, dear… where to even start? Alder… what does your kind 'do' for fun and relaxation?"

 No.726002

>>726001
"Ah! Right, her upbringing was not great. Well, as for what my kind do…" he thinks things over, a little. "My kind? I do not know what other griffons do… my own people enjoy flight a lot, commonly. To free your wings is to free your mind. I also, uhm… I personally enjoy song and dance. Other such things."

 No.726003

>>726002
"Yeah, that's true, 'e's quite good at that, too," Splendid says. "When we met was shortly after his little musical number at that carnival last week. If that's what it means, then… do you think we could try it with that?"
"If you start singing and dancing, you'd better not scuff the floor or you're losing a talon," Mallea growls. "'To cut a rug' is just an expression."
"Oh come now," Gullveig protests. "If it helps Splendid along with her magic, how can you in good conscience deny her?"
"Because it's my damn house!" Mallea scolds.
"A-ah… surely just a song couldn't cause too much damage, could it?" Splendid asks. She gestures to the radio. "May we?"
Mallea looks even more displeased, somehow. "…It's a very old model. Don't break it."
"I won't, I won't!" she insists, trotting over to the radio. "Alder, why don't you find a good station, a song you like?"

 No.726004

>>726003
"H-Hmm? Oh, thank you." the griffon says, squirming a little and smiling from the compliment. He mulls it over a little, and begins to click through the radio channels. "I… uhm, I would be fine with any song, I suppose. I do not sing as often though, so forgive the stage fright."

 No.726005

>>726004
>>726003
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltFnHpOlP-s

Alder hums a little, and flicks his fluffy ears when he finally finds a song that sounds good! It takes him a few moments, but he blinks in realization. "Oh! This one might actually be rather topical! E-Excuse me if I sing rather poorly- it is not something I am used to doing in front of others, ehehe…"

>[1d10+1] Singing roll

"When skies are cloudy and gray
They're only gray for a day
So wrap your troubles in dreams
And dream your troubles away!"


Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.726006

>>726005
The ladies' eyes are on you as you sing, but eventually, Mallea and Gullveig start to glance at Splendid. At first, Splendid doesn't seem into the song, as if… initially resistant. Perhaps something in the lyrics doesn't quite sit right with her. But even as she puts on a stoic, calm demeanor, she can't stop her paws from tapping to the rhythm, nor her forefinger from tapping along against her thigh. And as she does, you start to see ribbons of color manifesting around her fingers, but far more orderly this time. Indeed, they seem to lack a lot of colors, being mostly black and white – and it's at this point you realize that the cantrips brought on the wizard's wine have now taken the form of musical bars and notes. She hasn't noticed yet.

 No.726007

>>726006
"Just take your time, Miss Splendid- goodness knows how much trouble I have singing. But… just try humming, or tapping, or… well, whatever feels right!"

 No.726012

>>726007
Splendid still tries to keep up her resistance at first, but the foundation gradually slips, and soon only an empty facade remains, as she bobs her head and clicks her beak along with the rhythm, despite herself. Her eye catches Gullveig, who is watching with no small amount of interest the rows upon rows of musical bars that emanate from her fingers, weaving a tapestry of music into the air. Splendid silently gasps, and the bars start to warble and fade, which in turn causes her to panic, which of course only accelerates the dissipation in a vicious cycle – but then, Splendid catches herself with a sharp breath.

After a moment of calm, Splendid shuts her eyes, allowing her fingers and paws to move as they will under the unconscious sway of the of the warbling tune. This surrender to the music, the sublimation of sense and desire into something greater than herself, allows the bars to pour forth from her talons. With your knowledge of musical notation, it is easy to recognize that her display reproduces the very sheet music of the tune on the radio.

"Whistle and dream your cares…
Away…"


And with the last notes of the song fading into radio static, so too do Splendid's musical ribbons. Gullveig hoots her approval, and even Mallea, grumpy though she was earlier, can't help but nod approvingly. Splendid, a little drunk, hiccups and smiles. "H-how was that, then?"

Gullveig opens her mouth on habit to respond, but then catches herself, deferring to you. "What say you, maestro?"

 No.726016

>>726012
Alder continues to sing along- it'll be more reassuring to her if he does, anyways! Though, his focus is more on Splendid's magic.

He falters a little himself when he magic begins to slip away, and goes to try and say something- but, there's no need! She gets herself focused again and the magic returns! Once the song comes to a close, the griffon lets out a happy little chirp and pats her shoulder a few times. After the last one, his hand kind of stays there, and gently rubs at her shoulder. To reassure her, of course! "You did very good! I think we found the state that works best for you, then… though, I am quite surprised! The musical notes you created matched up to the song perfectly! I-I suppose I made the correct suggestion."

Alder blinks a couple of times as Gullveig's compliment finally registers, and he swishes his tail around before chirping out "G-Goodness, I would not go quite so far!"

 No.726019

>>726016
"They did!?" Splendid gasps. "Shite, of course I had to close me eyes. Wish I coulda seen it."

She looks down at your hand, and though her gaze is a little lingering, she makes no attempt to dissuade you. "So, what's all this mean? I'm not gonna have to get legless and listen to some old tunes to use magic, am I? Not that I'm opposed to the idea! Heheheh."

"No, and yes," Gullveig says, causing Splendid to hop a little in surprise. "Your magic came to you not when you tried to force it, nor when you tried to tame it with violence, nor even when you simply tried conscious control. It came about in your unconscious throes, your unthinking embrace of the music. If you don't have the classic makings of a fledgling Hummingheart, then I don't know who does."

"Miss Gullveig, please, I'm afraid all these new terms are…" Splendid begins.

"The Humminghearts are a paradigm of the magic-used," Mallea says. "They are those who channel magic most effectively precisely when they are caught in the throes of emotion, when they are 'in the moment,' so to speak. To them, being visited by magic, having magic channeled through them, is only possible if they are swept up by some passion, be that intense love, or ecstatic laughter, or sheer fun. They are named after the Hummingheart, a species of bird native to the countries of the Vola."

 No.726022

>>726019
Alder smiles a little, continuing to stroke the griffon's shoulder reassuringly, and chirps out "See? It seems as if everyone has their own way of doing it! I suppose I am glad I did not try to push my mindset on to you- your own methods seem to work far better, and I think it came out wonderfully. I know some of the technical words may be hard, so… being open and emotional is good! So, just try and open up a little more. I can help with that, if you would allow me."

 No.726027

>>726022
https://youtu.be/W7fl4mbhDS4

Splendid takes a long while to process this information and all its implications. You don't have to be privy to her inner monologue, or to any of the fading fragments of thoughts caught up in the sky of her mind. It is plain in her eyes that something about the thought of the Humminghearts' ways haunts her; perhaps their openness, their eccentricity, their magic being intertwined with an act of surrendering oneself into such non-rational emotion, and therefore, earnest, sincere vulnerability.

The light in her eyes is that of terror.

And yet there you are, by her side. She looks at you in silence, then nods, gravely, serenely. "I'd like nothing better."

Mallea and Gullveig share a look.

 No.726031

>>726027
Alder gives the griffoness a very warm, gentle look, and nods a little in response. "I-I can understand how scary it is to just… open up like that. So, we can sort of… w-well, take steps to do it together."

He lets out a nervous giggle, before rubbing his own neck and saying "Ah- I suppose I am repeating myself a little, apologies. W-What I mean to say, is… I think you are wonderful, and I would like to help you open up more."

 No.726033

>>726031
Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726037

>>726031
Out of the corner of your eye, you see Gullveig and Mallea slip out of their chairs and make for the door. Mallea shows severe hesitation about leaving what was possibly Palafox's favorite room unattended, but she eventually leaves too.

Splendid drums her fingers together as you make your offers, eyes, darting about across the tips. The cantrips have faded, though it's likely due to her high alcohol tolerance, since her face shows no shortage of flustered, restrained glee. "Y-you too… er, what I mean to say is that… um… uh… just as you'd support me, then I want to do the same for you! If you'd have my help, that is."

Beneath her, her tail shakes up a storm.

 No.726040

>>726037
"I, uhm… y-yes! I mean, uh, yes. I very much like the sound of that." the griffon says, his hand moving to cover his own face. His plumage is very light, so it's easy for the fluster to show.

He nods a bit to Gullveig and Mallea as they leave, before looking back up to Splendid. "S-So! Uhm, how do you feel?"

 No.726043

>>726040
"Accomplished, more than anything else!" Splendid says, her own embarrassment and flustered heart-fluttering giving way to simple, genuine enthusiasm. "Gratitude to you too, of course. But I'm far closer to reaching magic than I was before, even if all they've trusted me with up til now is basically just a magic playtime. The final goal's still out of my reach, but it's within sight now. That's so much more than what others who hunt for a certain treasure can get to say, right?"

 No.726048

>>726043
"Well, it sounds like they may be willing to help you with that last hurdle of actually getting the magic! So, maybe it is sooner! " he chirps, poking her side a little bit. "You are right, though! There's more than what they get to say."

He swishes his tail a little bit- gently coiling it around hers for a short time- before asking "So! Uhm, what would you like to do now?"

 No.726055

>>726048
The intermingling of your tails is, if nothing else, an intriguing phenomenon. Though Splendid's tail is as strong as the rest of her, when it is within your grasp it may as well be a piece of string for cat's cradle, or perhaps "Griffon's Grotto," as you might be more familiar with. It's effortless for you to play with, in other words.

Turning red from the pokes and tail-play, she drums her fingers together. "A few things… but you wanted that newspaper read, r-right? Or… was there something else?"

 No.726061

>>726055
Alder giggles a little bit, twisting her tail about for a few moments longer before finally speaking back up with "Hmm? O-Oh! Yes, we can do that. We could find somewhere nice and cozy up a little, maybe?" he suggests. He's not tugging on her tail particularly hard, so she could pull free if she wanted.

 No.726065

>>726061
"Er–"

Just as you ask that, a breath catches in her throat. You can feel the reluctance in the lingering embrace of her tail as she pulls herself away from you, even moving over to one of the vacated chairs. "…Why don't we read in the foyer? Plenty of light there. Lots of windows, y-yknow."

 No.726068

>>726061
Alder cocks his head to the side, and asks "Oh? Is something wrong, Miss Splendid? You seem a tad… hesitant. If something is the matter, feel free to tell me. If you would prefer, though… the foyer would be fine."

 No.726071

>>726068
"Isn't it too early for… for…"

Even the very concept seems impossible for her to conceptualize, let along articulate. "For that kind of thing?" she finally asks. "In the Virtues' Institute, we were taught… that things like that were to come much later, if they were to come at all."

 No.726076

>>726071
"Hmm? I, uhm… I think we might be talking about different things." he says, thinking it over. "I really did just mean being close for a little while. Going that far would, ehm… I would not suggest something like that just yet. Only when we are comfortable, yes?"

 No.726078

>>726076
Splendid pauses, then sinks her face into her palm. "…Oh. Paint me a real clown then. Thought you were getting at the 'root' of things!"

She forces a laugh to dispel the palpably tense and awkward atmosphere. "So… well, assuming Chiu's not still sleeping down there, we ought to be able to secure us a chair or two, yeah? We could do that."

 No.726085

>>726078
Alder giggles a little bit, before giving her another soft shoulder rub "Relax a little! It is fine. And, yes, that sounds like a good idea! I am curious to see what the paper has to say."

 No.726086

>>726085
Grinning through the pain of 1,000 awkward teenage years, Splendid shoulder-checks you as you rub it. The force is enough to knock you a few paces to the side, but fortunately no furniture nor walls are in the way. "Righto. You'll be reading at a university level by the time I'm done, yeah?"

Together, you head downstairs into the foyer, where you spend the rest of your free time with Splendid and the rather shocking contents of the newspaper, until Mallea gathers everyone together in preparation for the night's events…

>Paused

 No.726096

>>725794
>Forgot to post this last night, sorry!

Alder turns back to the tunnel worriedly, trying to get a better look at what exactly is there… sees nothing! Though, the wrong kind of nothing. He lets out a nervous chirp, before looking for something to get behind and brace against!
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726099

>>725794
She braces herself as the darkness rushes towards her. She meets it head on, seizing the Liber Animarum and holding it open in front of her almost like a makeshift shield against the dark. As it pours over her like a wave, she does her best to stand her ground, clinging to the cursed tome like a lifeline.
[1d10] Resist the Dark

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726100

>>726099
Thessaly also spends much of her time before sundown on the front porch of the manor, poring over the Liber Animarum almost obsessively in search of knowledge to aid them in the ordeal to come.
[1d10] Vibe Check

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.726101

>>726100
During the course of your study, the words seem almost resistant to your reading. Sentences refuse to make sense, and the archaic diction seems to obscure itself by transforming into ever more esoteric and uncommon synonyms.

At first you might be tempted to attribute this to a lack of focus on your part, but you blink, and catch the words LITERALLY doing all of this, rearranging and rewriting themselves with an impish temperament whenever they think you're not looking. Once you directly spot them, they go back to normal, and a little yellow imp wielding a dinner fork pokes his head out of a diagram of a magic circle, then jabs you in the snout with his utensil before sinking back into the book's surface. It doesn't draw blood, but boy does it smart.

>try again?

 No.726102

>>726101
She gives the imp a soul crushing stare and gives the book a little shake of frustration, being careful not to potentially spill letters everywhere. Once that's over with, she keeps browsing the book, determined to glean something of use.
[1d10] Read

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.726103

>>726102
This time, it seems, the words cooperate, and you flip through the newer pages until you come across a very intriguing passage…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekEW5__xJGk

"On Oddities and the Kingship of Demons"

Lesser spirits, preternatural phenomena, apparitions and certain ghosts, colloquially known in occult societies as 'Oddities', have a most peculiar relation to their greater kindred, Demons. Oddities and Demons alike are known to seek out evil karma, as both consume it. For Demons, evil karma is a decadent luxury, akin to finely-aged wine or Trotkish Delight. For certain oddities, karma is sustenance, their daily bread.

This results in a hierarchical 'pecking order' between Demons and Oddities. Demons, being universally stronger than almost all Oddities, will take precedence when they arrive in a spot that is rife with evil karma, known as a 'power spot.' Oddities that then seek to feed upon that evil karma must then submit to that Demon's authority and all that it implies, or live on the fringes, stealing bites of karma like starved dogs raiding garbage heaps. The natural strong will and thirst for conquest that the majority of Demons share means that the former case is far more common.

Those who wish to dispel Demons that have established dominion over a power spot will first have to deal with the Oddities at their command. But Oddities, unlike mercenaries or soldiers in an army, are not so simple to kill. Most Oddities are incorporeal, sustaining a link to this world through some kind of connection, known as an Anchor. This Anchor may commonly be an object, but certain thoughts and emotions have been known to become Anchors as well. Powerful negative emotions are often Anchors for Oddities, as well as both symptoms and causes of evil karma. The methods for dispelling these types of Anchors is therefore determined on a case-by-case basis.

 No.726181

Last time on PirateQuest…

In preparation for the exploration of Mallea's manor at the end of the night, the party split up. Each found a way to enjoy a few hours of free time until the fated hour, the hour of sundown, came.

Thessaly spent some time on the manor's porch, studying the Liber Animarum for information about how they might deal with whatever curse had centered upon the manor as a result of Mallea and Palafox summoning Auntzi and then immediately banishing her. In her studies, she came upon a most interesting chapter about the relationship between Oddities and Demons…

Alder and Splendid practiced magic with Mallea and Gullveig in the rec room on the second floor, where they discovered that Splendid's capacity to use magic was tied to her emotional state; specifically, she had the makings of a Hummingheart, a type of mage who bests uses magic when they are in the throes of some kind of pleasant emotion, such as when they are moved by a meaningful song. After that, and after an EXTREMELY awkward misunderstanding, they moved to the foyer, where Splendid and Alder read the week's newspaper to catch up on what the media was saying about Kaco Island.

Cutlass and Ossie retired to a small library on the first floor, to the north of which was a small garden in the midst of the manor's grounds. Much like the other parts of the manor, including Mallea's workshop, the library signs of age and disuse, as a fine film of dust lay upon everything. She and Ossie passed the time with idle conversation and small talk about the events of the past few days, while Sir Pent went about and ate his fill of whatever small bugs or rodents may have been about.

Cerulean went to the kitchen on the first floor, and it was there that Mallea joined her after giving Splendid and Alder their privacy. Mallea allowed Cerulean to have some samples of various berry pastries, jams and preserves that she had made, all of which were quite tasty, but Cerulean could tell they lacked a certain passion in their making. They did not taste like they were made with love.

Cloud and Chiu retired to a guest bedroom on the second floor, where they got to have a nap (with permission hard-won from the stubborn Mallea). Though Chiu seemed to sleep well, Cloud had a most frightful and restless dream, where out of a storm of choking, burning darkness that threatened to crush him, appeared the head of the Wetnurse. The Wetnurse left him only with a very cryptic and terrifying message: "GET HER OUT."

(1/3)

 No.726182

When sundown came upon the land, it was time. Mallea gathered everyone in the foyer in preparation to head into the basement, the area that had been the site of her and Palafox's abortive attempt to summon Auntzi. The basement was also the area that Mallea was never able to enter when the manor shifted and distorted at night, becoming an impenetrable labyrinth. If Thessaly's theory was right, this was the most likely spot for the nexus of evil karma and rampant magic that they would need to dispel in order to free the manor, and the town of Gecko, from the anomalies that plagued them at night.

Cloud quickly sent Chiu back to the inn, under the care of Granny. Meanwhile, Thessaly prepared a ritual described in the Liber Animarum, and summoned Ragalaseab, Seer of the Hidden, into the hidden room in which Mallea had tried to summon Auntzi many months ago. Cerulean and Alder noticed that Ragalaseab seemed to recognize all of you, and was not surprised by Thessaly's request for him to pinpoint and help dispel the magic that possessed the manor. He agreed to help, but on the condition that they take the remaining humanity from the Yellow Jester, a member of the Court of the Crimson King, and counterpart of the Pattern Juggler.

But that will be a story for another day.

Ragalaseab agreed to the Contract, giving Thessaly My Eye. This object would help her not only see the Yellow Jester's humanity, but would also help her to find the key points of evil karma and spoiled magic that they would need to dispel in order to break the curses lingering in the manor.

But just as he agreed to Thessaly's terms, the manor's infrastructure appeared to distort and twist, the walls becoming damp and wet, curving inward and growing uncomfortably marshy. At that moment, an elegant, lilting female voice rang out, asking how many times they would have to go through this. Before the party could tell where the voice came from, or what it meant, they turned back toward the corridor from which they came, where they glimpsed the faintest image of a feminine form.

But then, just as soon as they saw that vague shape, the room flooded with darkness, pouring in from down the corridor like a tidal wave of black, dragging them down into the depths of its crushing weight…

(2/3)

 No.726183

And when the darkness cleared, each of them was… more or less… where they were prior to Mallea's summons.

Cutlass was in the small library.

Alder was in the foyer.

Thessaly was in the entrance hall.

Cerulean was in the kitchen.

Cloud was in the guest bedroom.

 No.726184

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koZRzhY321A

>Cerulean

You stand in the mansion's kitchen, which is a long room with counters on either side to the north and south, with plenty of sinks and cutting boards and racks of tools, knives and hooks of various sizes for preparing dishes. An island is built in the middle of the room, where a number of gas stoves have been built into the marble. Pots and pans hang off a rack above the stoves.

>Cloud

You lay in the beds in which you woke up just a moment ago, but Chiu is no longer beside you, although the beds are still pushed together.

>Cutlass

You sit in that small study, the one lined with bookshelves that are in turn filled with many neat rows of books. Though, the books look like they haven't been touched in a while; they're quite dusty. The window to the north has had drapes drawn over it, obscuring the garden lying outside.

Ossie is nowhere to be seen.

>Alder

You are back in the foyer, the newspaper folded neatly upon your lap. You sit in the loveseat that you had charmed Splendid into sitting in with you (nearly sitting on her lap from how large she is), but she is gone, without a trace. The curtains have been drawn over the windows, obscuring your view of the outside.

>Thessaly

You stand within the long, narrow entrance hall, just in front of the massive double front doors. The front door is to the south, while the door leading to the foyer is closed, waiting to the north. And in your possession, sitting at the top of your bag's contents, is My Eye, gifted by Ragalaseab.

>roll for identification of powers, or try to discern by using it (visual/spiritual perception).


The small corridor is lined at the walls with portraits of landscapes, but their ink appears to have run, and many of them have tiny holes, which look to have been made by the mouths of moths or silverfish. What once appeared to be tranquil vistas now have decomposed into dreary, cold wastelands and decaying bogs.

Beneath them stand a number of suits of Krikral armor, made of discarded carapaces reinforced with certain metals. The armor is caked with dust and rust and some pieces have fallen straight off their stands.

>everyone roll perception in addition to other actions

 No.726185

>Side-Story for Alder
During the last of your free time with Splendid, she read the newspaper's contents to you. The focus of her readings quickly fell onto the coverage of the so-called "Tragedy of Kaco Island," and its aftermath.

The story of the attack on the circus follows, roughly chronicling the night's events from several eyewitnesses, as well as statements from bystanders and even a statement from the Dextrose Family, who were the intermediaries between the Aristar Mafia Families and the outside world.

Skimming through it, you find that the account of events was fairly accurate, at least from what the public would have known. The Bee Queens, several VIPs including nobility and aristocrats from other islands, and at least three dozen ordinary attendees were killed. Most deaths actually followed from a fire that started under mysterious circumstances toward the end of the night, not during Cutlass' initial burst of gunfire or the attack of the Beesting crew. Said fire destroyed most of the circus-grounds, making the Gates of Justice's investigation much harder. The Crimson King and his Court vanished, as have almost all members of the Aristar Mafia. In the power vacuum that followed the attack, the Gates of Justice have stepped in, and have their hooves full managing the chaos. Most residents openly resist their rule.

But what really catches your eye are the bounty posters, printed around the article in the corners of the text. You notice that each bounty poster is marked in the corner by the Crimson King's jolly roger.

WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE
"Red Dress Cutlass"
"Alder the Surgeon" (NO PHOTO AVAILABLE)
"Azure-Eye Cloud" (NO PHOTO AVAILABLE)

WANTED: ALIVE ONLY
"Black-Book Thessaly, the Sea Witch"
"Cerulean the Hungry" (NO PHOTO AVAILABLE)

Countless other posters follow, some with photos, and some without, that depict other members of your crew and members of the Beesting. Cerulean and Thessaly are the only ones listed as "Alive Only."

Splendid notices four key details about the two-page spread, which give her some pause.

1. Most of the posters don't have photos, except for Cutlass' and Thessaly's, and a few blurry photos of the Beesting mooks, probably taken during the attack on the circus. There is an open call in the article for info brokers, Black Market or otherwise, to send in any photos they might acquire so that the posters can be updated.
2. Cutlass' and Thessaly's photos are from Kaco Island. In the photos, they appear to be walking with a small group of mafia heads and their bodyguards along a forested, rocky cliffside along Kaco's coastline, toward a small cottage. But there's something strange about Thessaly's. Hers is a full-body photo, and her bag is visible. The top of her bag is loose, and the top of the Liber Animarum, a black grimoire, is poking out… almost as if it's peeking over the edge at the world outside. However, you know for a fact that she didn't obtain the book until after your dive to salvage the Lilliput… but that was well after the events on Kaco.
3. Cerulean's and Thessaly's photos have another insignia on them. A simple wagon wheel mark is stamped onto both of them at the top. You think you may have seen a symbol like this when you stopped by Obstinance's tent earlier.
4. Splendid is not present among the bounties.

 No.726186

>>726185
Alder frowns at that- wanted bounties are an inevitable thing, but it's not good in the slightest. He makes note of the fact that Cerulean and Thessaly are, oddly enough, wanted alive. It's probably because of the demons, so he makes note to suggest Chiu lay a little lower.

The bits Splendid pointed out are more concerning, though… some of this seems far too recent to have been known about at the time. He'll need to do some looking around on the ship when he gets the chance.


>>726184
>>726183
>>726182
Alder shakes his head a little as he comes to from the suffocating darkness, his heart still racing from the fear. He looks around tbe foyer and begins to let out a sigh of relief, before noticing… something's not right.

[1d10] Perception
[1d10+1] Master Thief (Intuition, or spotting other differences)

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

 No.726187

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>726184
Cloud throws his hooves down, feeling the bed he now lies in. His eye glances around the room, unsure of what happened, or where he is for a moment. He looks to the empty bed beside him.
"…That wasn't a dream, was it? No… I know dreams…"
He sits up, feeling dread over him. While the dreams they've had the past few nights have felt far to realistic, they always were vague and oppressive in feeling. That ritual, that darkness didn't have the same feeling.
He slowly sits up, looking around the room. From what Mallea said, she always ended up in her bedroom by morning, so this would be a safe place to just sit and wait it out. But he can't sit by, he needs to help. He takes out his Yearning Knife, clutching it tightly, and hops out of the bed. He flips up his eyepatch as he walks to the door to step outside.
"Hey Hmm… Do you know what's going on?"

>Percetion [1d10]


Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726188

>>726184
Cerulean looks around extremely confused and scratches her head.
"Huh…okay? Pretty sure I was somewhere else," she remarks and shrugs, going to leave the kitchen and try to find the others.

 No.726189

>>726184
It takes her a moment to get her bearings, frowning as she readjusts to her new (old) surroundings. "Curious," she muses. "Very curious…" Before giving it another shot, she examines the Eye, pulling it out of her bag and turning it over in her hooves as she gets a better look at what she's received.
[1d10] Identify

She also tries to see if anything's changed since before, eyes narrowed, shifting about the room with curiosity.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.726190

>>726188
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726191

>>726184

"Hmm," Cutlass comments pointedly as she looks around the library. "Ossie?" she calls out, looking to her own shadow. "Are you still there?"

She then takes off her hat to see if Sir Pent is still there.

 No.726192

>>726191

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726193

>>726187
The Eye of Wisdom is jet black when you look through it. You can't feel Hmm's presence anywhere.

As you step out of the room, you are struck with a sense of brain fog, followed by deja-vu. You are certain you stepped through the doorway toward the hall… but you are in the guest room now. You are certain it is the same guest room: A room with two narrow beds that have been pushed together, and with a few drawers and dressers here and there. The door leading to the balcony has had its curtains drawn over it. No light emanates from beyond the window.

You start to hear a voice, coming from the west, muffled and hushed.

>>726186
A thick layer of dust lays upon everything, from the floor, to the walls, to the furniture too. Faint cobwebs glisten between pieces of furniture, but you see no spiders, nor even traces of flies or gnats or moths caught in the webs. You note that, as you move around, your presence doesn't leave any indentation upon the omnipresent dust. You can't scatter it even when you touch it.

Something still feels off… and after scanning the room again, you note a small coffee table beside the loveseat. There is a book laying upon it, leather-bound, water-damaged and worn from years of being read. The title, barely legible from its years of damage, reads Psalms of the Entombed Maiden. The front cover is permanently bent back from years of being read, and on its inner side, you see a faded note, in red ink.

"For dearest Splendid,
Love, Headmistress Chastity"

>Roll perception and memory, Master Thief applies


>>726188
You head southward into the western hall, which you took when you went into the kitchen earlier in the day. The hall is terribly dusty, and the paintings on the walls appear to have been eaten away by moths or silverfish. Mold spores gather in the ceiling, and the magitech bulbs that once lit the hall now flicker, becoming quite dim.

From there you proceed east, past another door on your left (northward), and pass through another door, which leads to the foyer. It is in a state of terrible disrepair much like the hall through which you just passed. There, you also see Alder, sitting on a loveseat in the corner of the room.

It is as you see Alder that a flash of realization shoots through your mind. You look to your sides. Although your bags and the rest of your possessions are there, both the Lantern and Roger are missing.

>roll memory

 No.726194

>>726189
It is definitely My Eye, looking just the same as it did when Ragalaseab plucked it for you. My Eye is soft, glassy, double-irised, and always fixated on you, no matter what angle you look at it through. You're not sure what My Eye does, but perhaps, if you looked through it…

It's a small, key difference, but as you glance at the front door, you notice that no light travels through the peephole. A glance through it reveals that the world on the other side is completely pitch black. Any attempt at opening the door is fruitless. Not only is it locked, the locks (of which there are many) are all jammed and cannot be moved, even with great force.

You hear heavy hoofsteps to the north. The door leading from the entrance hall to the foyer is ajar, and through the gap you see Cerulean coming from the western hall into the foyer.

>>726191
There is no response from Ossie, and nothing stirring within your shadow. But when you take off your hat, you find that Sir Pent is curled up in there, asleep.

The room is decidedly far more filthy than it was before, you notice. Thick blankets of dust lay upon everything, and mold spores are visible in patches on the ceiling. As you glance about, you notice something sticking out of a drawer. Upon closer inspection, you see that it is a lockpicking kit

>Lockpicking Kit

>Description: A set of tools for picking various locks, including special hooks and needles with different tips for picking even the most unorthodox of locks with a variety of methods of force. Allows one to attempt lockpicking. If the character has any applicable Rogue skills, those get a DC - 1 when using this kit.

 No.726195

>>726193
Cerulean waves and happily calls out to Alder.
"Heeey! There you are! Jeez, what happened?" At the realization, she starts looking around for her two buddies, even looking through her mane.
"Wait…where are they?!"

>Memory

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726196

>>726193
Alder hums a little bit, taking in what he can. This definitely isn't the real manor, so he's not sure what to make of it. The heavily-worn book does catch his attention, though- he'll take some time to study it, and see if he remembers the name any.

[1d10] Perception
[1d10+1] Memory/Master Thief

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

 No.726197

>>726194
She gives a little shrug and holds His Eye up, looking through it out of lack of any other idea of what to do with it for now.

She does a slight double take as she notices the outside does not exist. She bites her lip in consternation, and resolves to reunite with the rest of the party for the time being, starting with Cerulean.

>>726195
Thessaly approaches from the entrance hall, pointing out the distinct lack of an outside. "It seems our real's not real," she says offhandedly, as if commenting on the weather. "Have you seen the others, shark?"

 No.726198

>>726193
Cloud slowly puts the eyepatch back down, a chill running through him as his eye is pitch black.
When he finds himself back in the guest room, he looks back at the door confused. Even with a demon jumbling the house, a room shouldn't lead to itself. His ears perk and turn to the muffled voice. Cloud turns to the west, wondering if it's one of the others. He heads off in that direction, holding his dagger protectively before him.

 No.726199

>>726194

Cutlass sighs as she looks into her hat. "So, not a complete reset?" she mutters to herself. She looks around the filthy room. "Uuuuugh," she groans like a child. "I haaaate magic!"

She notices the lockpicking kit and takes it. She observes it suspiciously. "Seems a little too convenient…" she mutters.

[1d10] Master Thief to determine whether this Lockpicking kit has anything outright suspicious about it based on her usual knowledge of lockpicking

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.726200

>>726197
"Well, Alder is right there," she says and points at the loveseat in the corner with Alder on it.
"Though no idea where the others are. I hope Roger is okay…."

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726201

>>726200
"Hmm? O-Oh, hello there! I was a little distracted, apologies."

 No.726202

>>726201
"Oh? Distracted by what?" She looks over curious.

 No.726203

>>726196
As you thumb through the book, you are struck by the massive number of pages, and the fine small font, and the very thin pages on which it is all printed. The book is a collection of hymnals, prayers, chants, and chorals, and accompanying sheet music. Words are highlighted, seemingly at random.

About halfway through the Psalms, you come across a tightly folded sheet of papyrus. When you open it, you find that it is a map, and realize quickly that it is a map of the first floor of the manor, with a legend written on the side indicating doors, staircases, and each type of room.

You pick up on a faint scent, coming from the back of the page. It is the smell of soybeans. Something about this sparks a connection in your mind…

>Roll Knowledge, DC 3 because of your experience with alchemy and potionmaking.


>>726199
It looks completely mundane, in terms of magical influence. Even with your limited knowledge of magic, you can't detect anything wrong with it. On its merits as a lockpicking kit, it seems to be of high quality, and worth keeping.

As you examine it, you hear Thessaly and Cerulean's voices, coming muffled from the foyer.

>>726198
The door to the south, which SHOULD lead to the hallway, and the door to the north, which would lead out onto the balcony, are the only exits from this room. Thus, the only thing to the west is the room's furniture and the wall. As you get nearer to the wall, you hear the voice more clearly. It is mired in radio static, and you realize that it's some kind of program on the radio.

0:00 to 1:38 of
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-gbWxjzTYg

You are struck by how casually and with such interest the newscaster reads off the story's grisly details, almost as if lightly amused by the banality of the gruesome act. Nausea bubbles up in your throat.

>perception in addition to any other action taken


>>726200
As you rack your mind, a flash of a scene appears in a spark of recollection. You see a fire, raging out of control, spreading throughout a rich and vast dining hall, consuming all that it passes over. The fire, shaped like a monstrous, misshapen fox, emerges from a massive fireplace on the hall's northern end.

But, as you give it another thought… you have no idea where this place might be.

>>726197
As you look through My Eye, your vision is coated in a gold film, the color of Ragalaseab's sclera, of course. As you survey the area, you see a massive shimmering, bright white-yellow, coming from the northwest. It appears to be several rooms away, judging by the distance. Between here and the massive shimmering is a collection of smaller shimmerings, seemingly guarding the way.

With another sweep over the Foyer, you realize that the stairs to the second floor are gone. Where the stairs once were is now just a flat wall. In front of the wall is a low dresser, with an embroidered tablecloth over it. In the center of the dresser is an empty stand with an oval-shaped indentation, where it seems something needs to be put. It strikes you as a kind of shrine.

Through My Eye, you can see the wall and strange, empty shrine radiating a massive shimmering.

 No.726204

>>726203
She frowns as she takes in the odd sights, deciding to move towards the northwest, towards the large shimmer, occasionally peering through His Eye again to make sure she's heading the right way. As she does so, she calls out, trying to find the house's owner. "Mallea?"
[1d10] Navigation if needed

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726205

>>726202
"Taking everything in… this certainly is not where we were. Ir is… somewhere else. That, and this book. I was reading the cover, at least."

>>726203
"A… hmm. A map? Curious, what is tha…" the griffon trails off as he gets a whiff of the peculiar scent. He'll try to see what he can remember.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726206

>>726203
>>726202
>>726197

Cutlass exits her room and enters the foyer. "Any clues on what's happened here?" she asks, at a loss for direction.

 No.726207

>>726205
You realize that soybeans are a component in homemade invisible ink, and that messages written in them can be revealed if they are heated up enough.

 No.726208

>>726203
Cloud steps back from the wall, horrified at the newscast.
[It's just the demon.]
He thinks to himself to push it aside. He looks at the door that only looped back to this room, realizing the is a dead end. He looks over to the balcony, and steps out through that door slowly.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.726209

>>726207
"Apologies, but would you happen to have a match? I need to check something…"

 No.726210

>>726202
>>726209
(Meant to respond here, apologies!)

 No.726211

>>726206
"It seems the house is under some sort of illusion," she answers, pointing out the darkness outside. "Either through the demon Auntzi or one of her subordinate oddities. It seems this Eye will be able to help us see the truth." She holds up the horrible disembodied eye of Ragalaseab.

 No.726212

>>726203
Cerulean scratches her head with a furrowed brow.
"Huh…weird."

>>726206
"Not a clue, but Roger and my lantern aren't with me." She gives a concerned noise, something between a hum and a whine.

>>726209
"No, but if anyone knows where the dining room is, I think there's a fireplace that could work?"

 No.726213

>>726212

"Ossie has also disappeared from my shadow. Which is especially disconcerting because I know she never left it."

"At least Sir Pent is still here and doing well," Cutlass says as she boops the nose of the snake on her hat.

>>726211

"How intense of an illusion are we referring to here? Are we actually in the foyer but certain secrets are hidden from us? Or are we just unconscious on the ground in the basement still? Or, are we wondering around somewhere else entirely and only THINK we're in the foyer?"

 No.726214

>>726212
"Sure. Have you seen anyone else, by ch-"

>>726211
"Ah! Another. All of us, then."

 No.726215

>>726204
You follow the shimmering trail with My Eye while keeping an eye on the decrepit manor with your own eye. The trail leads you down the western hall, which you proceed down for a time before stopping at the first door on the right, to the north. As you put your hoof on the doorknob, you notice that it is rather hot. In fact, the air here is growing hotter by the second.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSI5t3H1NSw

You enter the room, which you see is a large and spacious bar, with many stools around the counter. Bottles lay scattered, shattered and half-empty as they stain the carpet. Drying stains of melted ice litter the counter-top. The air here is sweltering, and unbearably stuffy and sickening, made so by the increasing temperature. The heat gets stronger the further north you go through the room. Your clothes start to stick to your fur.

On the other side of the room, the north side, you can feel the heat rising to a sickening degree. A set of double doors wait there, and they are held in place with a padlock, which by now has been made red-hot from the extreme heat.

You notice something, half-hidden under an empty black bottle. It is a sheet of folded papyrus, curling from the heat. It is much like the one you saw Alder find in the book he was fiddling with earlier.

>>726208
As you peel back the curtains that obscure the balcony door, you see a pitch-black sky… but more importantly, you see that the glass door that leads to the balcony is completely covered with an incredibly thick mold, black and shiny and moist, one that spreads from top to bottom. It seems to be twitching. If you want to get out onto the balcony, you'd risk that horrific mold getting all over you.

Suddenly, you start to hear the static from the radio growing louder.
"Don't touch that dial now, we're just getting started," the newscaster says, as he starts to repeat the broadcast, only with certain changes…

1:38 to 3:15
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-gbWxjzTYg

As the maddening broadcast continues, you notice a book laying askew on the nearby dresser. It is open to a certain page in what appears to be some kind of novel. When you glance at the page, you notice two words underlined. They're totally unconnected, not even in the same sentence.

"Fix"
"Room"

>Roll intuition if you want a hint

 No.726216

>>726213
"I only pretend to know everything, Captain," she answers tersely. "Right now, I'm almost as lost as the rest of us."

>>726214
"Not all of us," she comments. "We are still missing Cloud, and Mallea. And…" She can't seem to remember Splendid's name. "The other one."

 No.726217

>>726216

"Best guess?" Cutlass shrugs.

>>726215

Cutlass looks around the room for anything else useful or suspicious. [1d10] investigation

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726218

>>726215
Alder hums a little bit, and starts off for the dining room. Once he's there, he'll look for any open flame he can find to heat the peculiar-smelling paper on.

>>726216
"Perhaps because only we made the deal? That is the most I could assume…"

 No.726219

>>726213
>>726216
"Very weird. So…is this the part where somebody says to split up? Because I think that was done very often in situations like this from talks of movies and stuff I've heard."

 No.726220

>>726219

"Only if you start hugging again," Cutlass responds in a tired tone, already sick of this heat.

 No.726221

>>726215
Cloud steps back from the window, not wanting to get covered in the mold. For a moment he considers using his magic to move the mass, but the twitching makes him reconsider.
When the radio grows louder, he covers his ears to try and block it out. With both ways out blocked, he thinks of using his other knife to make him intangible to pass through the wall. He brushes it aside as he sees the book, and then looks to the beds.
"…Is she upset?"
He says aloud, and then steps to the beds, pushing them apart back to their original spots.

 No.726222

>>726217
"A mirror reality of the demon's making would be my conjecture," she answers. "Some sort of nightmare reflection of the true manor. Nothing we see here is likely to be real."

>>726218
She shakes her head. "It would only be worse if I had not. The Eye seems to be able to show the way through this place. I'm not sure where it leads yet."

>>726215
She starts breathing heavily from the overwhelming heat, taking a moment to wipe her brow and convalesce before proceeding, pushing against the unbearable atmosphere. Noticing the piece of parchment, she moves over and takes a look at it before putting it away for safekeeping.
[1d10] Investigate, if needed

She also tries to force the padlock with a magic blast.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic Bolt on the lock

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #3 6 + 1 = 7

 No.726223

>>726222
"No, what I meant was that we were the ones that 'agreed', so to speak. Whatever it was that came isolated us?"

 No.726224

>>726220
"Well I mean, its not like you disappeared for a few days again and we're meeting back up," she says with a big, playful grin.

>>726215
With a shrug, Cerulean tries to see if she can find her way to the dining room she saw, taking the time to mark where she goes by biting down on wood every so often, letting the bite marks act as markers.

>Navigation (if needed)

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726225

>>726224

"Perhaps I disappeared because I grew tired of your hugs."

>>726222

"Well, forgive me for being cliche, but in that case, I must ask what exactly you qualify as 'real'."

 No.726226

>>726222
>>726219
>>726217
>>726218
Cutlass notices also the empty shrine and wall in the foyer where the stairs leading to the second floor once were. (See: Thessaly's reply in >>726203)
That strikes her as the key to moving forward through whatever it is that's going on here.

You follow the map's directions toward the Dining Hall, and he finds that he's going the same way as Thessaly. The dining room is on the western half of the first floor. To get there from the Foyer, you go down the west hall, north through the Bar and then north again. It is directly to the east of the Larder, and Northeast from the Kitchen.

As Alder leads your group into the Bar, you are all struck by the sweltering heat. The Bar is significantly hotter than the rest of the house, a clinging, sickly heat that only makes the smell of mold in the ceiling much worse. It is so hot that a few moments of being in the room is more than enough to start overheating you. To the north you see the double doors that lead to the Dining Hall. However, the doors are held in place by a massive padlock, which has grown red-hot from the massive heat, whose source seems to be on the other side, in the Dining Hall.

Alder shows up just as Thessaly takes the sheet of papyrus. Alder notices that a message starts to appear on the back of the map, made visible by the heat. Thessaly's sheet already has a message on it. However, neither message seems to make sense at first. Each message is just a string of words like "Hymns," "Glorias," "Romances," "Vox," "Anthems," followed by numbers separated by colons.

But then it clicks for Alder as he looks back at the Psalms. Each of the words in the messages corresponds to a chapter and verse in the Psalms. When Alder flips to those chapters and verses, he finds that certain words have been highlighted or underlined. When they are put together, they form a message that makes sense…

>The Message on the back of the Map

"And if a House be divided against itself, that House cannot stand."
"Absolve"
"The"
"Four"
"Sins"
"First"
"Second"
"Attic"
"Basement"

>The Message on the Note in the Bar

"Danger"
"Fire"
"Protection"
"Bolt"
"Cutter"
"in"
"Garden"
"Shed"
"Please"
"Careful"

Beneath the words on the second message, there are a number of tally marks. 7, to be precise.

>>726222
Your attack puts a great dent into the heavy padlock, made softer by the tremendous heat that fills the room. It looks like just one more good hit would be enough to destroy it…

>>726221
As you pull the two beds apart, you also fold the sheets, tucking them in properly and fluffing up the pillows. You hear the click of a door, and the southern door opens, allowing you to exit the room. Out in the hall to the south, you see a floor and ceiling stained and wet, rife with black and deep green mold stains, and a fine layer of dust upon everything. To the west, you realize, lies the stairs to the foyer. To the east is more hallway, and then a door to the north, but you don't know what waits beyond it.

 No.726227

>>726226
Cloud turns to the door as it clicks open. He wonders why it needed the beds to be put back to be opened, but he is more thankful he got Chiu out if stuff like this will keep him trapped.
He steps out into the hall, feeling sick from how damp and stained everything is. He looks to the west, but dismisses that path immediately, not wanting to go anywhere in the direction of that radio. He looks forward to the northern door, and goes to check on that, the closest available option.

 No.726228

>>726226
"'Garden shed'?" she muses with curiosity, putting the piece of papyrus away for now. She looks back to the padlock, and reaches out with black tendrils to wrench it free.
[1d10+2] Shackles

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

 No.726229

>>726226
You head east down the hall until you reach the northern door, but you find that it is locked.

 No.726230

>>726228
>>726226

"Well, it sounds to me like we need to get to the attic first," Cutlass muses. "But, that's upstairs. And, the stairs seem to be missing."

 No.726231

>>726226
Seeing the padlock o the door, Cerulean tries to help out by giving the lock a good, solid smack with her tail.

>take better

[1d10+1]
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726232

>>726226
>>726230
>>726228

"Hrm… it seems as if we must do a few things here- I think? Should we split up, or handle it together?"

 No.726233

>>726229
Cloud tries the door to no avail. He really doesn't want to head west, and then he gets an idea, He takes out his Tooth of Sa'eer, and prods the door to make it intangible so he can walk through it.
>Tooth of Sa'eer [DC5] [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726234

>>726232

"There doesn't seem to be any pressing reason to get this done quickly. No reason to split up."

 No.726235

>>726232
"I think it would be best if we stay together, for now. If we split up, we may not find each other again."

>>726230
"If only we had someone with wings," she answers dryly.

 No.726236

>>726234
>>726235
"Ah, good. T-To be honest, I am very woried about this place."

 No.726237

>>726230
>>726232
>>726231
>>726228
According to the map that Alder holds, the garden shed (and whatever it holds that might help you) is some distance away. You would need to cross through the foyer, enter the eastern hall and follow it as it loops to the north around the back of the manor. There, next to the vegetable garden, waits the shed.

Cerulean and Thessaly destroy the last of the weakened padlock, but the effort burns Cerulean's tail badly, leaving a lingering, stinging pain that refuses to diminish.

However, this has left the dining hall available for you to enter, if you're willing to brave the heat. Your mind goes back to the Ice Grape Jelly that Mallea gave you for dealing with the Kalphites…

>>726233
You touch the door, making it intangible for a moment, but you nearly miss the timing as it starts to turn tangible again, and it clips off a good portion of your tail as you try to pass through.

Inside, you seem to be in a decrepit bedroom. A small crib lays in the corner, and a number of toys and books sit on dressers and tables nearby. A closet in the wall holds a number of tiny clothes, faded and moth-eaten, but they look almost like they were new. In fact, you realize, they were never used.

To the north lies a set of double doors, with a massive block of mold growing over them, especially over the handle and lock.

>roll perception, yadda yadda

 No.726238

>>726236
>>726235

"Hmm, well THERE'S a good reason to split up," Cutlass agrees with Thessaly, ignoring Alder's objections.

"How about it, Alder? Care to see what's upstairs?"

 No.726239


 No.726240

>>726238
"A-Ah! I suppose I could, if al of you think it would be wise." the griffon chirps.

>>726237
"Regardless of what we do, it is important to go to the shed, it seems. Something helpful is there."

 No.726241

>>726237
She frowns unhappily as another heat wave rolls over her; then, she gets an idea. She reaches out to the heat itself and tries to dispel it somewhat by conjuring it into an elemental. "Grian an tsamhraidh…"
[1d10+1] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.726242

>>726241
>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 10 + 1 = 11

 No.726243

>>726237
Cerulean waves her tail around, and even tries to blow on it. But alas, it keeps feeling singed.
"Oww, jeez. Good thing I didn't try to use my teeth." Seeing the dining room open, Cerulean tries some of that ice grape jelly, giving it a good lick around the mouth to savor the flavor. Prepared to go, Cerulean pushes/pulls/however way the door opens.
"Hang tight…whatever your name is! I'm on my way!"

 No.726244

>>726241
Also Perception etc
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726245

>>726240
Perception! [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.726246

>>726237
Cloud looks back as a portion of his tail gets clipped into the door, wincing a bit as the hairs are pulled. He looks around the new room, and feels almost guilty when he sees it was to be the baby's room. He steps through slowly, looking over the toys and clothes that went to disuse, realizing why the door was locked.
>Perception [1d10]

He looks to the set of double doors, coated in mold as they were before. He takes his dagger and tries to scrape off as much as he can from the handle before trying to open it.
>Clean [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.726247

>>726238
>>726240
>>726237

"Well for now let's see what they find in that sweltering cesspool of a room. I'll be waiting at the entrance where things are only horrifically uncomfortable," she says, fanning herself with a hoof.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726248

>>726247
>>726243
>>726241
>>726242
>Cerulean gains the following effect until the end of the next combat
>Ice Grape Jelly: Your body becomes resistant to the effects of heat and dehydration, even weakening the effects of both natural and magical fire upon you. You cannot suffer from the Burn or Dehydrated status conditions, and you take -2 damage from all sources of fire damage
>Reminder you all have 3 small jars of these, good for 1 use per jar

Thessaly bends the repulsive heat to her will, conjuring a massive spider from it, a ripple of heat and light, like the shimmering silhouette of a mirage upon hot desert sands.
>All attacks can apply Fire Element. Effective against metal and other meltable and flammable materials.
>Minion has Absorb: Fire, meaning it is healed by Fire damage
>Also has Heat Wave, a Cleave attack that has -2 to its critfail range. Can toggle Fire Element on or off

Cerulean leads the charge into the Dining Hall. Inside, you see a very spacious and high room, one of the bigger rooms in the whole manor. The massive windows stretch nearly from floor to ceiling, and they are covered on the outside with a thick, coagulated coat of moist, black-green mold, mold which pulsates and twitches as if it were alive. Decaying and vandalized artwork lines the spaces between the windows.

In the middle of the room is a long table, with ten seats on either side and the biggest chairs upon the ends. The remnants of a grotesque meal remain on the plates, long since rotted and spoiled from the heat. Maggots and all manner of other vermin crawl about within the grotesque remains.

At the back of the Hall, behind the head of the table, is a massive fireplace. A small fire burns upon the hearth, but there are no logs or other materials which it burns. In front of the fireplace sits Cerulean's lantern, but it is empty, half-melted in the terrible heat that clutches the room in its unending grasp.

>roll danger sense, master thief applies here


>>726246
You don't find anything here that you could feasibly use, it seems. However, you spy another book laying upon the shelf. Five words are circled upon the open page, but the first word has been completely scribbled out, obscuring it. If you had to guess, it looks like it was eight letters long.

"——-"
"Fears"
"Flame"
"West"
"Lab"

You try to scrape off the mold upon the door, but all you succeed at doing is spreading it across the floor of the baby's room. As you do, you notice the scraped mold coagulating on the floor. As more and more of it gathers together, it starts to grow and grow, seemingly growing appendages. As its form becomes more clear, you realize that this puddle of mold is taking the shape of a misshapen, half-decaying kalphite!

 No.726249

>>726248
Cerulean gives a shocked, perhaps even worried, gasp as she sees the lantern.
"Oh no oh no!" She goes running over to it worried, then look quizzically at the hearth.
"Hey? Little buddy? Is that you sleeping in there?"

 No.726250

>>726248
Her snout wrinkles at the sight of the disgusting banquet, giving it a wide berth as she approaches the fireplace, popping an Ice Grape Jelly of her own in the process. She thinks for a bit before doing the usually most logical step; snuffing out the flame, which she attempts to do with telekinesis.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726251

>>726248
>>726250
Danger Sense?
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726252

>>726248
>>726249
>>726250

"Hurry up in there, this heat is unbearable," Cutlass groans.

Cutlass is such a master thief that she can sense the danger from the other room! Maybe? [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726253

>>726249
>oh right, danger sense
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726254

>>726240
As you look around the bar for anything that might be of use, you stumble across a marvel of modern technology, hidden under the bar's counter. They appear to be a case of small round pellets, ten in all. They are described by a note in the case as being an experimental dry powder solution that explodes on contact with a fire, and spreads a fire-dampening chemical powder upon explosion. They seem designed to be thrown, but you realize that, with a little oil to compensate for their size, they could be loaded into your gun.

>Extinguisher Bullets x10 added

>Effect: +2 damage against any Fire-attuned enemies or those weak to Chemical or Water damage

 No.726255

>>726248
Cloud steps over to the open book, reading over the words.
"Something fears fire off to the west?"
He mutters, picking up the book to try and pick out the word that's been scribbled out.
>Decipher [1d10]

Cloud steps back from the mold as it starts to pull together into a creature. When it starts to form into a kalphite, Cloud's eye glows orange as he tries to forcibly shrink the doors down to pop them off their hinges so he can get out.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Door] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9

 No.726256

>>726254
"Oh! Curious little things, these are." the griffon says, tucking them away for later."

>>726251
>>726249
"Before we go any further, I think we should check out this shed it mentioned. Perhaps something there could be very handy."

>>726252
>>726248
"Hmm? Heat… oh! I might have something that coulld deal with that." the griffon says, attempting to load one of the pellets and fire it at the hearth.

 No.726257

>>726256
Danger sense! [1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.726258

>>726256

"What are you planning to do?" Cutlass asks wearily.

 No.726259

>>726258
"Fixing a problem, perhaps? Just to see."

 No.726260

>>726255
Taking a moment to concentrate, you realize that some of what you thought were ink scribbles were in fact just the black ink upon the page itself. You can make out a few of the bigger letters…

"J–l–s-"

But you have no more time to concentrate, when the puddle of mold coagulates, mutating and sprouting legs and fangs, starts to move toward you. It swipes at you twice, just as you pop the doors to the north off their hinges, revealing a master bedroom beyond them. The master bedroom, at first glance, doesn't seem to have any exits, not counting the bathroom in its northeastern corner.

[2d10+1]

>>726249
>>726250
>>726252
>>726256
As Thessaly and Cerulean get close to the lantern sitting in front of the fireplace, a sudden spark runs down their spines, as their bodies realize before their minds the presence of imminent danger before them. Reflexively, both leap back, and not a moment too soon–

The flame within the fireplace expands in a single breath, leaping out at them, just as Cerulean's pet fox leaped out earlier in the day for their lunch. This time, however, a massive, lean head, composed all of fire, extends from the fireplace, the head of some kind of terrible monster, a hybrid of fox and serpent, baring crooked teeth and snarling, flicking out a forked tongue to taste the air. Its body is mostly flame, with blackened coals and ashes forming a twisted, sprawling skeleton visible within the red-hot plasma.

At the instant it tries to grab Cerulean, Alder shoots the monster, his pellet landing in its eye and exploding on contact, spreading out a white-blue chemical powder all over the area. The monster recoils with a terrible, whining hiss, shrinking back into the hearth with its wounded eye closed.

But it seems it will take more than one shot to quell the beast. The burning monster continues to crawl out of the fireplace, shifting and distorting as it does. The more it climbs out of the fireplace, the more you can see a second figure riding upon its back. The figure is unclear, its form murky and shifting, but it appears to be some kind of hybrid of bug and woman, armored and wielding a fire poker in its right hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VLOlOFO5Udw

>Immolatioknight, the Sin of ——


After the beast and rider emerge from the flame, the rider raises her poker, and a fireball starts to gather at the tip!

[1d10+2]

Meanwhile, the twisted fox-serpent steed swipes its claws at Cerulean again!

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9, 4 + 1 = 14 / Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #3 3 + 1 = 4

 No.726261

>>726260
Cloud quickly tries to back into the master bedroom as he knocks the doors down, but it's too late as the mold already lunges at him. He takes his Yearning Knife that's he's held close and cuts at the moldy kalphite as it comes at him.
>Cut [DC5] [1d10]
>The Yearning Knife: Attacks from this knife can cut through magic, enabling them to counter magical attacks and damage lingering magical effects, as well as Amnis-type Aura Abilities. Countering a magical attack reduces its damage, or negates it completely if you match or beat the roll on the attack. Damaging and dispelling lingering magical effects may be more complex, and generally requires striking at the source of the effect.

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726262

>>726256
"Alright, I just need to make sure my fox buddy is okay."

>>726260
"Hey! There you…are?" She says confused as he takes on a new shape, one she's never seen before. Avoiding the firs attack, she bites the air angrily.
"Hey! Get off him!" She runs up to slam her tail into Immolationknight, pumping extra aura into it to get the area a bit flooded with her red, watery aura.

>Slam, crit 8+, take best

[1d10+1]
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

 No.726263

>forgot H/W

 No.726264

>>726260
"A-ha! I was correct!" the griffon chirps, somewhat emboldened by its recoil. He lets out a startled squawk and backs away a little as it pulls itself further out of the fireplace, and hurriedly chucks each of his allies one of the pellets. "H-Here! Try these!" he shouts.

 No.726265

>>726260
"A-Ah! No!" he chirps, firing a shot at the poker- maybe he can stop the fireball!
[1d10+1] (Apparently it has a +1 on the pistol- apologies!)

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.726266

>>726260
Thessaly is slightly startled by the appearance of the burning rider, skittering backwards with narrowed eyes. The heat-spider leaps towards the knight, aiming to wrap its spectral legs around her body and dismount her.
[1d10] Attack: Rider

Thessaly focuses on the mount, reaching out with dark magic and trying to place a black sigil on it. "Géill!"

>Exequy: spell, recharge 2 after effect ends; Thessaly places a curse upon an enemy, crippling them with dark magic. The target auto-critfails its next roll, and on a crit the target is rendered unable to attack on the next turn. If an enemy gets multiple rolls per turn, the first of those rolls is the one affected by Exequy.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726267

>>726260

"Gah, what the hell am I supposed to do against this!?" Cutlass cowers in the doorway. She hides out of sight and launches a knife at the Immolatioknight.

[1d10] ranged attack

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.726268

>>726264
She catches it in midair and stores it for later use with a wordless nod of thanks.

 No.726269

>>726265
>>726264
You shoot at the fireball just as the rider winds back her arm and flings it – not at your party, but at the ceiling itself, in what you can only guess is an attempt to bring down the roof upon you. Your shot is true, and most of the fireball dissipates before it hits the roof, but not all of it. Some flames spread about, catching upon the molded wood and paint.

>>726266
The rider extends a long and bulky arm, punching back your spider monster. Although it takes no additional damage from Immolatioknight's flames, your spider is still hurt by the body of coal and cinder underneath the body of flame.

-2 Hits to Spider Elemental

As you try to lay your curse upon the fox-serpent, it leaps toward you, then skids with its claws, drifting across the surface of the dining hall. It scrapes past you, swiping and singing you with its tail as it does, but the Ice Grape Jelly inures you somewhat.

-1 Hit

>>726267
Your knife slides through the flame-plates of Immolatioknight's armor, sinking into the cinders that make up her core. Yet for all the damage she did, still she fights.

>>726262
Immolatioknight catches your strike upon her arm to block it, but this proves to be a bad idea as the waters flow freely from your Aura, extinguishing some of her exterior flames in a cloud of smoke and steam. The area is still too hot, and Immolatioknight's fires too plentiful, for the terrain to become watery, but every drop of water made their mark. Immolatioknight shoves you backward, silently glaring down at you with sheer killing intent.

>>726262
>>726264
>>726266
>>726267
As the battle begins, something about the message written on the back of the map nags at the back of your mind.

"Absolve the four sins…"

Something tells you that whatever that passage means will be important for this battle and for any others that come next.

>intuition toward this message can be rolled as a free action


Immolatioknight and the fox-serpent charge forward again, but this time, Immolatioknight drives her poker underneath the dining table, flipping it through the air with a flourish. It flies toward all of you, and burning pieces of cloth, wood splinters and fetid, rotten food fill the air.

>Cleave vs 4


[1d10+2]

Meanwhile, the fox-serpent barks twice at Alder, and with each bark comes forth a circle of fire from its hungry maw.

[2d10+1]

>>726261
You stab into the molded kalphite, and much of its body starts to rot and fall apart upon impact, but enough of it remains for it to slash you deeply across the chest, and you are knocked back onto the dusty carpet of the master bedroom.

>Cloud 0/4


The kalphite falls back, trying to regain its balance as its body withers under the Yearning Knife's damage.

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 5, 9 + 1 = 15

 No.726270

>>726269
>Heat-Spider 3/3

As she recalls the cryptic words, she thinks about what it could mean for their current situation.
[1d10] Insight

Undeterred, she keeps focusing the fox-serpent, conjuring black tendrils to wrap around its legs and bind it in place.
[1d10+2] Shackles

The heat-spider rears up and stabs at the rider with its two elongated forelegs.
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #3 7 = 7

 No.726271

>>726270
[2d3+1] Shackles duration

Roll #1 1, 2 + 1 = 4

 No.726272

>>726269
Cloud clutches his chest as he is knocked back, tumbling along the carpet.
"Grh, h-how is mold that tough?"
He groans, trying to regain his hoofing to stand before the kalphite can recover.
>Recover [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.726273

>>726269

Cutlass thinks back to the notes. "Wait… Fire… Protection…"

Cutlass face-hoofs. "Was that supposed to be one thought? I swear, if there's some sort of fire protection in the tool shed…"

[1d10] intuition for other such revelations

Also, she throws another knife since it seemed to work so well. [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.726274

>>726269
Cerulean rushes the knight again, but this time, she tries to use her strength to disarm them of their fiery poker.

>drop it!

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.726275

>>726269
"Ah! Got it, sort of! Less fire, at least. I believe… I believe this may be important to that message. If we are to Absolve it, is there something we should try doing to it? I do not know…"

Alder lets out a startled chirp as the fox lashes out at him- maybe he can avoid the worst of it? [1d10] Dodge

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726276

>>726272
You manage to get back up; 5/4

But at the same time, the decaying mold, falling apart even as it moves, starts to lumber toward you again, slashing again, though slower and weaker this time.

[2d10]

>>726270
In a flash of inspiration, you recall certain words you passed over in the Liber Animarum during your readings on Oddities: A simple, yet cryptic passage, and rather laconic in a strange departure from the book's usual tendency toward purple prose.

To defeat an Oddity, one must identify it, and discern its true name and nature. For Oddities born of sin, or great emotion, one must pinpoint the true name of that sin or emotion, and then absolve that sin or reconcile that emotion.

If the Immolatioknight is an Oddity, then, before you can defeat it… you'll have to learn its true existence, somehow.

>>726270
You bind the fox-serpent, and as it skids to an abrupt halt, the Immolatioknight leaps from its back, twirling through the air once before it hits the ground, running toward you with weapon drawn.

>>726273
Your blade misses at the last moment, due to the Immolatioknight leaping from her mount; the knife embeds itself in the wood on the northern wall.

>>726273
The sweltering heat makes it hard to focus on whatever it was that second note was getting at.

>>726275
You aren't nearly quick enough to dodge the attack, and are burned severely by the waves of fire washing over you.

-6 Hits

>>726270
>>726273
>>726274
The burning table careens across the room, shattering into flaming pieces which embed themselves into you, drawing a great deal of blood and crushing and badly bruising your bodies. But, with a last-minute surge of might, Cerulean smacks the Immolatioknight's hand, knocking the poker clear across the room until it clatters against the ground on the eastern wall.

>Thessaly 0/4

>Cerulean 0/5
>Cutlass 0/4
>Alder 0/5

The Immolatioknight pauses as the poker is knocked from her hand. She glances between the tangled fox and her poker, then with no hesitation bolts toward the scattered weapon.

The fox-serpent gnaws at its shackles, trying to work its way out of its bindings.

[1d10]

>Paused


Roll #1 6, 2 = 8 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.726277

>>726270
Perhaps, you realize, My Eye could help…

 No.726570

Last time on PirateQuest…

>Thessaly 0/4

>Cerulean 0/5
>Cutlass 0/4
>Alder 0/5
>Cloud 5/4

A tidal wave of darkness had swept into the manor's basement. Alder, Cerulean, Cutlass, Thessaly and Cloud, who had all braced themselves to try to resist the onslaught, blacked out but later woke up in a distorted, twisted version of the manor. All of them came to in the last location they had visited before Mallea had called them into the foyer at sunset: Cerulean was in the kitchen, Alder was in the foyer, Thessaly was in the front entrance hall, Cutlass was in the first floor study, and Cloud was in the second floor guest room.

Those of the party who had been swept under the tide of darkness, namely Schnitzel, Plague, Puddin, Zerk, Paraiba, Mallea, Splendid and Ossie, were nowhere to be found, despite a few of those having been in the same room as other party members before being summoned by Mallea at sunset.

Although something had happened to seemingly "rewind" things to back how they were at sunset, there were many differences between the situation as it was originally and this "rewound" version. In addition to those party members who had been swept under the darkness being missing, Cerulean was missing both Roger and Fox, her two companions. Alder discovered Splendid's hymnal book, Psalms of the Entombed Maiden, laying on a coffee table in the foyer. Thessaly still had My Eye, given to her by Ragalaseab after sunset. She was also missing the gold she had used to summon him. Cutlass still had Sir Pent, despite Ossie being gone. And in the guest room Cloud slept in, the two beds were still pushed together.

Additionally, a wall had somehow appeared where the staircase connecting the first and second floor once was. This ended up cutting off Cloud from the rest of the party. A small empty shrine was in front of the wall on the first floor side, with an indentation where something could be put. In order to go between the first and second floors, the party on the first floor would have to find whatever object was necessary to progress.

Alder discovered a map of the first floor tucked into Splendid's hymnal. On the back, written in homemade invisible ink, was a coded message which corresponded to certain underlined phrases and words scattered all through the hymnal. The hidden message on the back of the map read, "And if a House be divided against itself, that House cannot stand. Absolve the four sins. First, Second, Attic, Basement."

At first, it wasn't clear what the party should do. But it was reasonable to conclude that they had been transported to some kind of alternate dimension made to resemble the manner, or some other form of trap. In addition to the hidden message on the map, their other source of direction on what to do was what had been discussed at various points by Mallea, Gullveig, Thessaly and Ragalaseab. The strange happenings in the manor could be undone if they dispelled the nexuses of corrupted magic that had been building up in the manor as a result of Mallea's botched summoning of Auntzi many months ago.

(1/2)

 No.726571

Thessaly used My Eye to scan the first floor for nexuses of magic, and found one in the dining hall, which they could get to by passing through the bar. They went to the bar, where they were confronted with a terrible heat, whose source seemed to be the dining hall. A note in the bar warned them that danger lay ahead, and that they could go to the garden shed to get something to protect themselves. Choosing to forage on without taking that detour, they busted in.

A malevolent fire raged in the dining hall's fireplace, and leaped out at them, taking the form of a towering demonic fox, its body all made of flame surging around a core of wax. Atop the fox rode an armored figure, some hybrid of woman and armored beetle, wielding a massive fire poker for her weapon. Whatever this figure was, it was guaring the first floor's nexus of magic, and thus was a threat to their mission's success.

As for Cloud, he was stuck in the guest room. Each time he tried to leave through the guest room's single exit, the door would simply lead back into the guest room. He was stuck there, tormented by a gruesome program on the radio playing in the rec room, until he discovered a book lying open on a nearby shelf. Two words on the page were underlined: "Fix room." Taking its advice, he reset the beds to their original positions and cleaned up the rest of the room. As a result, whatever force had enchanted the room to loop in on itself had vanished, allowing him to leave.

He went east down the hall, where he found an abandoned baby room, never used, either by Cosecha or Mallea, for obvious reasons. As he tried to get into the master bedroom lying ahead, he had to deal with a massive wall of mold that held the doors shut. He tried to clear them with the Yearning Knife, but out of the mold spawned a half-rotted kalphite's corpse, which rose up and tried to attack him.

 No.726572

File: 1572308651254.png (12.99 MB, 2880x2880, Manor_Floor_1_ver_1.png)

Here is the map of the first floor. I will likely update this in future weeks but it is more or less complete now.

1. Entrance Hall
2. Foyer
3. West Hall
4. East Hall
5. Corridor to Basement
6. Kitchen
7. Bar
8. Larder
9. Small Study and Personal Library
10. Smoking Room
11. Laundry Room
12. Interior Garden
13. Covered Patio
14. Toolshed
15. Dining Hall
16. Greenhouse
17. Pond
18. Memorial Garden

 No.726573

>Cloud
You manage to get back up; 5/4

But at the same time, the decaying mold, falling apart even as it moves, starts to lumber toward you again, slashing again, though slower and weaker this time.

[2d10: 6, 2]

>Thessaly

In a flash of inspiration, you recall certain words you passed over in the Liber Animarum during your readings on Oddities: A simple, yet cryptic passage, and rather laconic in a strange departure from the book's usual tendency toward purple prose.

To defeat an Oddity, one must identify it, and discern its true name and nature. For Oddities born of sin, or great emotion, one must pinpoint the true name of that sin or emotion, and then absolve that sin or reconcile that emotion.

If the Immolatioknight is an Oddity, then, before you can defeat it… you'll have to learn its true existence, somehow.

>Thessaly

You bind the fox-serpent, and as it skids to an abrupt halt, the Immolatioknight leaps from its back, twirling through the air once before it hits the ground, running toward you with weapon drawn.

>Cutlass

Your blade misses at the last moment, due to the Immolatioknight leaping from her mount; the knife embeds itself in the wood on the northern wall.

>Alder

You aren't nearly quick enough to dodge the attack, and are burned severely by the waves of fire washing over you.

-6 Hits

>Alder, Cerulean, Cutlass, Thessaly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k3XXGmu-dw
The burning table careens across the room, shattering into flaming pieces which embed themselves into you, drawing a great deal of blood and crushing and badly bruising your bodies. But, with a last-minute surge of might, Cerulean smacks the Immolatioknight's hand, knocking the poker clear across the room until it clatters against the ground on the eastern wall.

>Thessaly 0/4

>Cerulean 0/5
>Cutlass 0/4
>Alder 0/5

The Immolatioknight pauses as the poker is knocked from her hand. She glances between the tangled fox and her poker, then with no hesitation bolts toward the scattered weapon.

The fox-serpent gnaws at its shackles, trying to work its way out of its bindings.

[1d10: 9]

 No.726574

>>726572
The thing above the foyer is the staircase to the second floor. It's currently blocked by the wall that wasn't there before and the shrine with the indentation.

 No.726575

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>726573
Cloud stands back up, quickly grabbing his dagger as the mold starts to shamble towards him again. He thrusts the blade forward at the amalgamation, trying to rip it apart to be gone with it.
>Stab [DC5] [1d10]
>Attacks from this knife can cut through magic, enabling them to counter magical attacks and damage lingering magical effects, as well as Amnis-type Aura Abilities. Countering a magical attack reduces its damage, or negates it completely if you match or beat the roll on the attack. Damaging and dispelling lingering magical effects may be more complex, and generally requires striking at the source of the effect.

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726576

>>726573
Alder screeches as he's singed heavily by the flames, and struggles to get back to all fours. He'd try and figure out how many shot he has left, but he's a little more focused on nursing his injuries.
>Recovery! [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726577

>>726573
She winces and lets out a cry of pain as she's pummeled and burned by the flaming table, collapsing painfully. As she remembers the words, she thinks on her options, but is in too much pain to act right now, focusing on pulling herself to her feet for now.
[1d10] Recover

The heat spider half scuttles and half floats towards the Immolatioknight, lashing out at it with two ephemeral forelegs.
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.726578

>>726573
Cerulean lets out a bit of a yell as she feels the burning, but tries to power through, really wishing the place was flooded for her to stop, drop, and roll in.

>Recovery

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726579

>>726573

[1d10] to get up

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726580

>>726575
You jam the magic-deadening knife repeatedly into the monster, targeting the soft joints between its armored limbs. The stabs slow, but do not stop the persistent monster, who staggers forth with a mad, single-minded drive. It swipes twice at you, and you dodge one strike but not the other.
>Cloud 4/4

[2d10] The mold continues its attack, this time stabbing at your hoof that holds the Yearning Knife.

>As you recoil from the swipe, you notice something dark green forming over the site of your wound…


>>726576
You have five Extinguisher Bullets left; you've used two, and have thrown one to Thessaly, Cutlass and Cerulean each. However, as you try to get up, hot angry pain stabs through your side. You see that the Immolatioknight's massive attack just now ended up embedding a table-leg through your abdomen.

>>726578
>>726579
As you try to get up, part of the ceiling, which burns with the flames that the Immolatioknight sent up earlier, falls down upon you, showering your back and hooves with a horrid cascade of burning wood and stone, pressing you back down.

>>726577
You get back up onto your hooves just as your minion flies forth to fight the towering Immolatioknight. The Immolatioknight and the Heat Spider lock arms, wrestling and shoving back and forth in a struggle of titans. The Immolatioknight then dives for the poker, and rolls back up in a single fluid motion.

Meanwhile, the monstrous Fox succeeds in chewing off one of the black tendrils that holds it down, but many more bind it, forcing it to bend its head low to rip and tear at those sealing its four legs.

>Shackles have 2 turns left. Roll resulted in 4 to start, 1 passed, and the fox reduced turn count by 1 with its normal success.


[1d10]

>>726578
>>726577
>>726576
>>726579
After the Immolatioknight retrieves her masive poker, she raises it to strike down at Cerulean, but then thinks better of it. Turning back to the Fox, she stabs the poker into his side, and a surprised and pained yelp tears forth from his throat. She pulls the poker back, and a trail of fire is drawn with it, manipulated by a fierce red Aura that surrounds the Immolatioknight, especially around the poker.

She stabs the Aura-infused poker into the ground, and from its tip, flames start to snake forth in several tendrils, which zig-zag across the dining hall's floor. The flames rise up, and the result is that several walls of flame are formed, segregating each of you and preventing you from getting close to each other or to the Immolatioknight.

>Each turn you will have to roll DC 4 dodge (instant) to avoid the walls of flame until they are extinguished. The DC rises to 6 if you are attempting to help someone up or attack the Immolatioknight or the Fox. The DC is lowered by 2 in both instances if you are under the effects of Ice Grape Jelly. The Heat Spider can use Absorb: Fire to regain Health from the flames as an Automatic action. Doing so takes up its normal action but weakens the walls of fire overall. If you are Helpless, you get to make the roll as well.


The Fox whimpers, falling down to its chest and stomach after the poker is withdrawn. For a brief moment, it looks at Cerulean with a wounded look in its eye.

Roll #1 6, 2 = 8 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.726581

correction: the DC on the dodge rises ONLY if you are attacking the enemies without a ranged attack.

 No.726582

>>726580
Alder squirms a little and whines as he notices the table leg in his abdomen- he tries to hope that none of this is real… and even if it is, the others probably need more help than he does. He'll try to brace himself and get back up, leaving the leg in until he can properly deal with it.
>Recover [1d10]

He also winces a little upon seeing the knight ram the poker into the fox's side, and folds his ears back a little.

>Dodge aaa [1d10]


Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.726583

>>726580
Her eyes widen as she sees the roiling flames. "It seeks to wall us off!" she warns, dodging the incoming tongues of fire.
[1d10] DC2 because of Jelly

Having a sudden brainwave as she recalls the words from the book, she rummages around and pulls out His Eye, looking through it to the Immolatioknight.

Regardless of what she sees, she produces a deep purple whip of eldritch magic, lashing and writhing as it seeks to wrap around the Immolatioknight's throat. "Tá tú ag leagú!"
[1d10+1] Lifestream

The Heat Spider continues to attack the the knight.
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #3 5 = 5

 No.726584

>>726580

Cutlass is still trying to get up. [1d10]

She also rolls behind cover from the flames. [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.726585

>>726583
H/W fix

 No.726586

>>726580
Cloud stumbles back as the creature cuts his side. He goes to hold his wound, but stops as he sees green growing over it. He nearly freezes in shock, but he can't stop with the mold coming at him again. His eye glows orange as he attempts to warp the floor, the wood panel folding up to form a cage around the creature.
>Earthen Grasp [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.726587

>>726580
"J-jeez…this heat is bad…." She groans out as she tries to get back up, even trying to roll to avoid some fires in the process.

>recovery

[1d10]
>Dodge, Ice Grape Jelly in effect
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.726588

>>726583
Absorbing life forces from the Immolatioknight, she redirects the tendril, which turns from purple to a shimmering sparking gold. It coils around Cutlass and hauls her to her feet, recovering her injuries somewhat. "Lig dom cabhrú leat!"

 No.726589

>>726586
Your chains of vine and wood are hard-pressed to bind the monster, as every time the bonds seem to immobilize it, it dissolves partly into a black jelly, seeping between the gaps between each vine in its attempt to pursue you. You eventually pin it by weaving the vines so closely together that there are no gaps whatsoever, and the monster is thus stopped, buried under many pounds of interwoven plantlife.

>>726582
You roll out of the way of the incoming walls of flame, escaping narrowly and getting a second wind. The smoke and the hot air makes breathing laborious, but you manage to endure, filled with vitality and adrenaline.

>>726583
Ducking under lapping tongues of flame that seek to swallow you whole, you use My Eye to peer deep into what could be called the Immolatioknight's very being.

And what you see, in spite of all the burns and all the fire that's choking the room, makes your blood run sheer cold.

MALICE.

Pure, grating cruelty, viciousness and malevolence. The Immolatioknight was born from a spark of hatred. Of bloodlust. A moment of bloody, untarnished enmity, the desire to see someone else ripped into pieces and ground into mulch for no reason than its own sake. It goes beyond vengeance. It goes beyond a crime of passion. It goes far beyond any conceivable reason and into the territory of unrepentant cruelty: Malice itself.


The Immolatioknight falls to a knee as you drain her health with the whip, but severs the connection with her poker before you can drain all her vitality.

>>726584
>>726587
>>726582
>>726588
Thessaly's magical whip steals a pinch of vitality from the Immolatioknight, and it's just enough to get Cutlass back into the fight. She and Cerulean rise from underneath the carpet of burnt rubble that pins them to the ground.
>Cutlass 1/4
>All others at full Hits and their previous wounds

The Fox weakly chews through the last of its bindings, then falls to the ground, wheezing and whining. Its body starts to shrink from the exertion of the battle and the wound it took from the Immolatioknight, and it lays there. Seeig you rise while the Fox lays prone, the Immolatioknight glowers, taking several quick swings at the open air with her poker, at such a distance from you that it couldn't possibly hit you. Once this spasm of anger subsides, the Immolatioknight builds Aura and fire around the poker's tip, charging up a cluster of small points of fire. As the flames develop, they start to take the form of great skulls, with snakelike spines trailing out from behind them.

[1d10+2] Homing Magic

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.726590

>>726589

"Obnoxious beast," Cutlass grumbles as she finds more cover for another wave of flames.

[1d10] dodge

She also launches another knife at the Immolatioknight. [1d10] ranged attack

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.726591

>>726589
Seeing her little fox buddy prone and tired on the ground, its enough to make Cerulean bare her teeth wide and her aura flare up as well.
"HOW DARE YOU HURT MY EATING BUDDY!" She sprints off at the ImmolationKnight, not caring about the fire as she goes to rip and tear at it.

>Jaws (Great weapon attack), using temp aura point thing

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.726592

>>726590
>>726589

Second ranged attack. [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.726593

>>726589
As she peers through His Eye at him, she is frozen with dread at what she sees, letting the artifact clatter to the ground. "Such… such hatred…" She is overwhelmed, rooted in place, breathing heavily as she fails to keep up the offense.

The Heat Spider maintains the pressure on the Immolatioknight, though, aiming to grapple her with multiple legs.
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.726594

>>726589
Cloud takes a breath of exhaustion once he finally traps the creature. He wipes his dagger off on his clothes, and scrapes the blade over his wound, hoping it'll clear the green growth.
>Scrape [DC5] [1d10]
He takes this moment to look around the master bedroom, now that he isn't being assaulted.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.726595

>>726594
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726596

>>726589
Alder huffs a little as he finally staggers to all fours, quickly scanning the room for the others. Upon spotting a badly-injured Cutlass he warks a little, and chucks a vial of cloudy, green liquid at her! "C-Catch, please!"
>Natural Remedy [1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726597

>>726596
[1d3]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726598

>>726594
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgnZ9w5ghwE

The dagger stings, but its keen edge purifies the horrific mass of mold that started to spring from your wounds, clearing it away. You'll still want to clean and bandage it later.

The master bedroom appears to be in better condition than what you have seen of the manor thus far, but that only means it's covered with just dust, and not mold spores or burns or darkness. The massive bed takes up most of the space, and it's surrounded with a number of nightstands, vanities, dressers, and so forth. A number of books lay about, but they have no notes or serendipitous underlinings that might point the way ahead.

Next to the bathroom, which has nothing of note, you see a very large walk-in closet. Finding it unlocked, you are able to have a peek inside. The clothes within are in tatters, and smeared with stains, gathered after what look to be months without cleaning them.

Just as you're about to turn away from the closet, you notice a hidden door at the back, obscured behind some boxes. The door won't budge, but doesn't appear to have any exterior locking mechanism. Instead, you see a round indentation in the door. In the center of the indentation is a complex groove, shaped like a medallion of a bear cub playing with a young deer buck, who has barely gotten his antlers.

Wedged underneath the door's bottom gap, you see a folded slip of papyrus.

>>726597
>>726592
The concoction gives Cutlass a shot of energy, restoring some of her burns and cuts and bruises.
>see final H/W below

>>726590
>>726591
>>726592
>>726593
>>726597
Just before the Immolatioknight can finish charging her spell, Cerulean bolts through the fire and the flames, and carries on to charge straight up to the knight's visor, clamping her teeth around the monstrous oddity's head and thrashing about. Cerulean's enraged thrashing is so absurdly strong that even the colossal knight is tossed about like a ragdoll across the battlefield. The Imolatioknight raises her poker to stab into Cerulean, but Cutlass' well-placed dagger pierces the knight's hand, forcing her to drop the poker again.

>Thessaly and Cerulean lose 2 Hits from the walls of fire for not making dodge rolls, damage reduced by Ice Grape Jelly effect.


But during Cerulean's madness, she fails to notice that the weakened Fox has gotten back up, its shackles laying at its feet. Twisting and gesturing with the uncrippled hand in the shape of occultic sigils, the Immolatioknight hisses a strange spell that sonds like the breaking of stone and fire under an intense flame. A grotesque smell of burning flesh fills the air.

The Immolatioknight's red, murderous Aura spreads from her to the Fox, causing it to grow once more. It leaps from its spot, barreling into the Heat Spider, and knocks it back into Cutlass.

>Cutlass 2/4

>Heat Spider 0/2

With a howl, the Fox leaps at Cerulean, attempting to pin her to the ground.

[1d10+1] Tackle + Fire Element

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726599

>>726598

Cutlass keeps diving and throwing knives.

[1d10] ranged attack

[1d10] dodge

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.726600

>>726598
Cloud winces from the sting of his knife, but he is glad the mold has been cleansed, and that he bought those spiders that he can use to patch up the tears in his pirate garb from this later.

He turns, looking around the bedroom. He runs his hoof along the floor, seeing the dust caked around, and general disuse of everything, including the clothes.
"This must've been the mayor's room, and his wife's."
He mutters aloud in thought, just to have noise in this eerie silence. With nothing else around, Cloud is about to leave until he catches the door hidden way in the back of the closet. He pushes the boxes and the clothes aside respectfully, giving the door a few pushes to no avail. He figures he'll need an odd key for the indentation, and then glances down at the paper. He pulls it from under the door and opens it up to read.

 No.726601

>>726598
The sudden blast of flame is enough to bring Thessaly out of her fearful reverie. She shakes her head and focuses, conjuring a strand of darkness from her horn and twisting it via certain hoof gestures into a mandala, sending it towards the Immolatioknight.
>Exequy: spell, recharge 2 after effect ends; Thessaly places a curse upon an enemy, crippling them with dark magic. The target auto-critfails its next roll, and on a crit the target is rendered unable to attack on the next turn. If an enemy gets multiple rolls per turn, the first of those rolls is the one affected by Exequy."Glúine dom…!"
[1d10+1]

"Malice!" she calls to the knight, dodging another incoming wave of flame. "Face me, Malice!"
[1d10] Dodge Flames

The Heat Spider absorbs the flames and turns them into vitality for itself, recovering easily and scuttling over to protect Thessaly, striking the Sin of Malice with a piercing foreleg in the process.
[1d10] Attack

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 1 = 1 / Roll #3 3 = 3

 No.726602

>>726598
Cerulean attempts to reverse the pin and pin the fox down instead, using her jaws to grab it by the neck to assert dominance, not caring about the flames battering her.

>reverse the pin

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.726603

>>726592
>>726599
"A-Apologies if that hurt! I-I might have mixed it poorly." he calls out

>>726577
"A-Ack! Miss Thessaly!" he calls out, trying to patch her up with an application of the Medic's Knife.

>Heal [1d10]


Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.726604

>>726603

"It's quite alright," Cutlass grumbles.

 No.726605

>>726599
As the walls of the flames close in upon you, you can't escape their touch, and are burned upon the sides.
>-1 Hit, Burning for -1 Hit per turn for 2 turns
>Burn: Deals magical damage over time. Damage and duration varies on the attack used.

>>726599
>>726601
>>726603
>>726602
The Fox tackles Cerulean, freeing the Immolatioknight, but Cerulean and the Fox thrash about repeatedly, gnashing and slashing at one another as they try to gain the advantage, but eventually Cerulean sweeps out the Fox's legs and wraps her own about its waist, bringing it down. She finishes her grab by digging her jaws into its burning body, heedless of the flames that attempt to devour her.

>Cerulean 8/5


The Fox lays inert, softly panting in total submission.

The Immolatioknight, now freed, gets back up, casting a vengeful wave of flame at Thessaly as she calls out her True Name. The flame ensnares Thessaly, sealing her for a few brief moments in a world of burnt flesh and hair and screaming agony, but Alder puts her out, healing her wounds.

>Thessaly went to 0/3 from counterattack and critfail damage, then to 6/5 from the Heal


Then, while the Immolatioknight takes a knee to recover, Cutlass slides another knife with a markspony's adept eye into the joint of her shoulder, badly wounding her. It is then that that Immolatioknight rises, a new light, brimming with enmty, glowing in her visor.

She draws her poker… and begins to thrash in a rhapsody of malice.

[1d10+3] Cleave vs 5

>>726600
The page is completely blank, but you pick up the scent of soybeans coming from a certain spot on the page. This sparks a certain memory of a lesson you once gained during your days on the farm…

roll DC 3 knowledge

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9

 No.726606

>>726601
As you call out the name "Malice," the Karmic Egg in your bag begins to tremble and shiver, even emitting a faint silver light. Something, perhaps from within, perhaps from My Eye, or perhaps even from the Seed itself, tells you that this shall be the decisive weapon, if it can only be brought into the Immolatioknight's presence.

 No.726607

>>726606
Karmic Seed*

 No.726608

>>726605
Cerulean's battle crazed glance looks at the ImmolationKnight doing something again, then she looks down at the fox.
"STAY," she orders it with a growl before attempting to run at the Knight again, using her run speed to avoid the pelting fire and give the Knight another, flood-inducing tail slam.

>Slam, usual stuff, applying Tide Pool again

[1d10+1]
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10

 No.726609

>>726608
>forgot the dodging fire roll
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.726610

>>726605
Cloud sniffs the page as he smells soybeans, finding it odd it smells like a plant and not like an old, wilted piece of paper.
>Knowledge [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726611

>>726605
She screams in anger and agony as the flames consume her, flailing and falling to the floor, losing consciousness momentarily. As Alder heals her with the knife, however, she gets back up, burning both literally and with determination. She wrenches the Karmic Seed from her bag and thunders towards the Immolatioknight, leaping through the flames determinedly, closing in on the living sin.

[1d10] Dodge Flames

"MALICE! FLEE FROM THIS PLACE!" she shouts, trying to get its attention. The Heat Spider leaps at the Immolatioknight in an attempt to restrain it.
[1d10]

"IN THE NAME OF GALUTISONS, I BIND THEE TO THIS SEED! LIVING HATRED, EMBODIMENT OF SIN, BEGONE!" She hurls the Seed at the knight, determined to banish it from the manor forever.
[1d10] ?

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 5 = 5

 No.726612

>>726605

Cutlass stops and drops and rolls.

[1d10] to put out fire

[1d10] to dodge

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.726613

>>726605
Alder lets out a sigh of relief like he does every time he uses the medic's knife- he still keeps expecting it to suddenly be an actual knife, for some reason. With that, he turns his attention back to the Knight and tries to blast the Poker again with one of his pellets!

>Spellslinger! [1d10+1]


Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.726614

>>726610
As you smell it again, you suddenly recall in detail a neat trick your father once showed you. With soybeans, water and some preparation, you can grind the beans into paste, and then make homemade invisible ink from that with the water. Revealing the messages is as simple as heating the paper on which they're written. Perhaps there may be matches in one of the rooms, or you might be able to find a burner in Mallea's lab, which you recall being on this floor during your first visit.

>>726608
>>726609
You sprint through the fires, and as your Aura flares to life, a tidal wave floods the area, completely dampening the walls of fire that cut everyone off from one another earlier. You trade several blows with the Immolatioknight, until your final strike sends cracks spreading all throughout her armor. The Immolatioknight scowls, not showing any signs of slowing despite the massive damage all cross her body.

>>726608
>>726611
>>726612
>>726613
As the Immolatioknight charges forth, she brings down her poker in a frenzy of swings, but Cerulean's immense flood, and Alder's extinguishing pellet, dampen the fires that would have spewed forth from her poker. Cutlass' rolling puts out her flames, and the water that spews forth from Cerulean's attack soothes and cools your bodies.

The Immolatioknight, at this point simply berserk in the ecstacy of battle, slashes and tears and rips and maims, gouging her poker into each of you, but in the mist of her frenzy, Thessaly sees the perfect opening, charging through the smoke and dying flames. With a herculean toss, she flings the Karmic at the abomination of malice, and the Seed pierces straight through her chest, causing the armor to fall apart.

The Immolatioknight stops the moment her armor is pierced. As the armor falls apart, you see a hole gaping straight through her body through to the other side. Inside, her body is hollow, a void, nonexistent. The Karmic Seed floats in the gap, humming and surrounded by a silver shimmering. The Immolatioknight collapses, cracks spreading along her body until she falls apart, bit by bit. Each of those pieces breaks apart, like cinders and ash blowing away into the wind, and an invisible force draws them into the Karmic Seed, until nothing remains. The Seed then floats toward Thessaly, settling in the frog of her hoof.

>You all lost 1 wound from the Immolatioknight's last rampage, except for Thessaly who lost 3 Hits


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

With the Immolatioknight gone, the Fox starts to shrink, until it's the size of a kit. It still lays there in obedience to Cerulean. The last of the flames around the room die, leaving the room darkened with soot.

A few moments later, you see the light glinting off of something in the fireplace.

 No.726615

>>726614
Cloud smiles as he remembers the significance of soybean on paper. He used that trick a lot as a colt. Unfortunately, he does have any source of heat making on himself, and he's been through most of the rooms he can access already, leaving him to having to head down west in the hall where that radio was playing from. He exits the closet, but then looks over to the bathroom. This area might have been sealed and unused, but maybe a blowdryer or mane curler was left in there that he can use.
>Search [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726616

>>726614
"A-Ah. Needless to say, I-I would like to take some time to patch everyone up… m-myself especially." he says, swaying on his feet a little bit. He'll try to shake it of for now, and turns to look at the fireplace "I… hmm. Something was left behind, I think."

 No.726617

>>726614
She stands there for a moment, breathing heavily from the exertion, barely acknowledging the Seed that's returned to her. After a few moments, she looks over to where the Immolatioknight stood with a slight sneer, vindictively kicking what little ashes remain.

She then moves to examine the fireplace, drawn by the glint of light.

 No.726618

>>726614
Cerulean pants a bit and ignores the fireplace. Instead, she goes over to the fox and stands over it for a time. Then with a big sigh, she slumps down and gives the little fox a big hug. Not a crushing hug like she likes to with the others; a much more gentle hug.
"You had me so worried! That…thing didn't hurt you, did it?" She gives it a pet on the head.
"I'm sorry for hurting you, but you weren't listening, so I had to."

 No.726619

>>726614

"Well…" Cutlass grumbles as she returns to her hooves. "I do hope that that cools off this room. I am quite done with all this dreadful heat."

>>726616

"Your work is appreciated," Cutlass says with a nod when healing is brought up.

>>726617

"So… did this help us?"

>>726618

"Don't apologize to demons," Cutlass says as if she's lecturing a child.

 No.726620

>>726616
She looks over to Alder. "…You saved my life," she says plainly. "…Seems there's a lot of that going around lately. Thank you, Alder. Sincerely."

>>726619
"We aren't being cremated by a living sin, so I'd say so, yes."

 No.726621

>>726615
You search the bathroom for anything usable, but those few magitech gizmos and appliances that you do find are covered with rust and dust, and won't even turn on. It's not until you double-check the medicine cabinet (all expired) that you notice a hidden panel in the back. You pry it open, finding some hoof-rolled cigarettes and a book of matches inside. On the back of the book of matches, you see the words, "Cold turkey."

>>726618
The Fox curls up in the crook of your neck, pacing about in a spiral several times until it finally settles down, bound up in a tight ball. Right now, you can sense that the only thing it wants to do is get some rest… and maybe a bite to eat.

>>726619
Sir Pent peeks out from underneath your hat now that the coast is clear, and pecks your cheek with his tongue.

>>726616
>>726617
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0IijEOUIh8

You head over to the fireplace, the ground still smouldering and hot even after having been doused with Cerulean's flooding. In the center of the pit, you see, sitting atop a black mound, a small figurine. It is a perfect model of the manor, completely without defect, damage or burns, despite being at the center of where the malevolent fire was burning most hot. The model has an oval-shaped base, and it looks like it could fit perfectly in the shrine that you saw in the foyer, in front of the wall that's not supposed to be there.

But, as you look at the model, your eyes are drawn toward the blackened mound on which it rests. Peering out from underneath the soot, you see the shape of a collapsed pony's skull, a unicorn's, with a broken horn. Underneath that skull rest many more.

Seven, in fact.

Most of them are too broken and burnt to be identifiable in any way, having been crushed and gouged, bearing injuries similar to that which would have been caused by the Immolatioknight's poker.

Roll Memory, DC 8

 No.726622

>>726619
Cerulean bares her teeth at Cutlass a bit, not particularly liking that tone.
"It may be a demon, but its MY demon. And more than that, it's my little buddy."

>>726621
Cerulean gives it a gentle stroke and lets it rest, picking up whats left of the lantern, but not forcing it back in.
"Okay, that's one down. Now to find Roger. I really hope this house isn't trying to do some bad stuff to him, too."

 No.726623

>>726621
Seven… The number is familiar to her somehow, but she can't recall why. She thinks back to what she's learned, trying to find answers.
[1d10]

She pockets the little model for the moment, and, out of sheer curiosity, takes the burned skull and envelops it in black light. "Dúisigh," she commands sternly.
[1d10+2] Commune

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5

 No.726624

>>726621
Cloud tries every switch on button on the gizmos he finds, grumbling as they all are beyond saving. He searches through the cabinet, knocking over a few bottles into the sink, spotting the panel hidden away. He wonders if all these hidden doors are part of the mansion, or part of the magic, as he pries it open. Seeing a matchbox, he quickly grabs it, glancing over the written words.
"Good going mayor."
He says, taking one of the matches out, striking it on the case and holding it to the paper to reveal it's message.

 No.726625

>>726620

"A sin?" Cutlass perks up. "Didn't the note say we were supposed to do something with sins?"

>>726622

"Wait… it WAS!?" Cutlass exclaims in surprise and confusion.

>>726621

"Awww," Cutlass coos to the little snake as it gives her kisses. She gives it a little boop to the nose.

"Did you need something or did you just want to give me some love?" she asks as if Sir Pent can answer.

[1d10] for an answer!

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726626

>>726620
"G-Goodness, I am honored to be of such help to you, Miss Thessaly." Alder says, bowing his head a couple of times.

>>726619
"Of course. I-I may need to remove the wood from my side first, but… I will ensure everyone is well." he says, finding somewhere to sit.

>>726621
>Medical rolls on everyone! I can roll, if needbe!
>>726621
Once Alder's finished helping everyone deal with the lion's share of their injuries, the griffon peers into the soot to spot… a skull? [1d10] "G-Goodness, were we far from the first to suffer this fate? How horrid."

>>726625
"Hmm? Oh yes, I believe so. This would make one, so we have… three more places to help?"

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726627

>>726622
The Fox is more than glad to hop into the Lantern, pulling the door shut with its teeth.

>>726624
The message is revealed, but you can't make any sense of it. It's nothing but a series of titles, followed by numbers separated by colons. The titles all have a vaguely religious connotation to them – "Hymns," "Glorias," "Romances," "Vox," "Anthems," and so on and so forth. They remind you of some kind of holy scripture. However, with another glance at the master bedroom, it's plain to see that there's nothing of the sort lying around here. Hardly surprising for a Witch, come to think of it.

>>726623
You reflect, racking your mind for the source of this strange nagging feeling that's rattling about in your mind, demanding an answer…

And suddenly, you call that fight with the Immolatioknight. No… you recall a fight with the Immolatioknight. Vague, murky, cloaked in darkness. Your body feels different. Your shape and build feel different. You feel the burning steel of the poker pierce your chest, sliding slickly through your body as the Immolatioknight picks you up, skewered upon her blade, and immolates you in a peal of fire until naught remains.

The memory is so vivid that you can't even concentrate on the spell. The skull says nothing.

>>726626
You feel light-headed and dizzy from the smoke you inhaled during the fight, so your memory is hazy. It's all you can do to patch up everyone's wounds as best you can before you start to feel the exhaustion of the battle getting to you.

>full Hits and 1 wound restored to everyone


All you can recall is that the sheet of papyrus you found in the bar, at the end of its warning about the danger in the dining hall, had seven tally marks, the same number as the number of skulls.

>>726625
Sir Pent just holds your gaze for a little while with his shiny black eyes. Eventually, he slithers back up into your hat, evidently preferring it to the burnt dining hall.

 No.726628

>>726625
"Yeah. This little guy is what was in this lantern," she says and holds up the remains of said lantern.
"I only found out recently it was this cute little animal thing, but it was the fire in it." She smiles warmly at Cutlass now, seemingly glad the confusion is getting cleared up.

 No.726629

>>726625
She frowns and blinks at the memory. Whatever it is, it's not hers. Perhaps a memory of one of the dead here? She tries to hold communion with the skull again.
[1d10+2]

>>726625
"'Absolve the four sins'", she recalls. "Three to go, I suppose."

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.726630

>>726627
Cerulean gives a giggle, finding its actions cute when its small and tiny like this.

>>726625
>>726626
"Hey, do you guys happen to know if this place had someplace with a lot of water or something," she begins to ask, "cause if this little guy was by a fire place and around fire, then maybe Roger is somewhere with a lot of water."

 No.726631

>>726626

"O-oh," Cutlass stammers, only just now noticing the wood lodged in him. "Oh gosh! Do you need help!?"

She extends a hoof to help, but quickly retracts it as she has second thoughts.

>>726628

"So, it was possessed by a demon just now, then?"

>>726630

"Hmm, and perhaps Ossie is somewhere dark-"

Cutlass cuts herself off. "I hope we don't have to fight Ossie…"

>>726627

"Let's get out of this gross heat," Cutlass says to the snake in her hat. She then marches out of the dining hall the way she came in.

 No.726632

>>726629
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.

 No.726633

>>726627
Cloud waves the match to blow it out, and decides to pocket the matchbook in case any more of these hidden messages are lying around. He steps back into the bedroom, reading over the note. He sits down on the bed for a moments rest while trying to figure it out.
"Hymns, Glorias, Romances, Vox, Anthems… Sounds like all music. Is that where I'll find that key thing, in a music room? But that other note mentioned a lab…"
He thinks for a moment, figuring that since the first note mentioned west he will have to go that way. He hops off the bed, heading back into the nursery. He takes the book off the shelf that had the underlined words, and then goes to the door, tapping the lock this time with his Tooth of Sa'eer so he can push the door open, rather than needing to jump through again and risk losing more than just a bit of his tail this time.
>Tooth of Sa'eer [DC5] [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726634

>>726631
"I…think? I mean, it already is a demon. But I think that fire armor thing was using aura, so maybe it was possessed by aura?"

As Cutlass mentions fighting Ossie, she can see Cerulean working the gears in her head a bit, then the look of her heart sinking washes across the normally go-lucky shark's face.
"Wh…what if we have to fight Roger? He's like my little baby, hatched from an egg and everything." Panic starts to set in on her as she keeps thinking about it.

 No.726635

>>726632
She frowns, unsure what to make of the skull's whispers. Ignoring it for now, she tosses the skull aside carelessly and heads to the foyer, moving purposefully towards the altar to place the miniature house on it.

 No.726636

>>726634

"It sounds like we're only going to have to fight 4 things," Cutlass says, trying to console Cerulean. "What are the odds that two of them possessed things related to you?"

 No.726637

>>726627
"A-Ahh, there we go. I believe this is the most I can do for now." he says, before humming softly… "Oh! I believe this might be why the note in the bar had seven tallies- perhaps it marked those who had fallen?"

>>726631
"S-Some might be appreciated, Captain Cutlass- I would hate to trouble you, though." he says, laughing nervously.

>>726630
"Basement, perhaps?"

 No.726638

>>726637

"Wh-what do you need me to do?" she asks, looking at the wound with a little disgust.

 No.726639

>>726637
>>726631
>>726630
>>726635
You return to the foyer, where Thessaly puts the miniature of the manor into the shrine's indentation. Sure enough, the miniature's oval-shaped base fits perfectly into the space, and settles in with a mechanical clicking. After a few seconds, The wall and the shrine that aren't supposed to be there become transparent, slowly disappearing like mist being burned away by a flame. Soon, the stairs appear, and you are able to traverse up to the second floor.

>>726633
>>726637
>>726631
>>726630
>>726635
Cloud uses the Tooth of Sa'eer on the locked door to the children's room, allowing him to return to the eastern hall on the second floor. This occurs at about the same time that Thessaly sets the model into the shrine. Cloud's sharp ears pick up on the mechanical clicking as the model sinks into place in the shrine. He arrives on the second level of the foyer just in time to see the mysterious wall that blocked off the stairs vanish, reuniting him with the rest of the party.

 No.726640

>>726639
>>726633

"Oh, Cloud," Cutlass says, sounding surprised and disappointed. "You're not possessed."

 No.726641

>>726636
"I don't know; I was bad with math back home. Which makes me all the more worried; 'cause I don't know."

>>726637
"Maybe? Its worth a shot, right?"

>>726639
As Cerulean watches with her mind racing, the sight of Cloud manages to give her a bit of relief for the moment.
"Hey! You're okay!"

 No.726642

>>726639
>>726633
She does a slight double take as she sees Cloud. "Oh, you aren't dead. Grand."

 No.726643

>>726639
Cloud turns as he hears the mechanical clicking, worried at what it might be and cautiously checking to investigate. When he sees it's a wall moving to reveal the others, he feels much better about it.

>>726640
"Why would I be possessed?"
Cloud question at the first words he hears.

>>726642
"And why would I be dead? Something happen?"

>>726639
>>726640
>>726641
>>726642
>>726637
Cloud takes a few steps down the staircase, looking to see it's only Thessaly, Cutlass, Cerulean, and Alder.
"I guess the others are still off elsewhere here? I've been looking around up here a bit. I found two notes, and a door that needs a weird key. Was just about to head down the other hall up here, until you guys moved this."
He explains to the party.

 No.726644

>>726638
"Ah, uhm… if you are squeamish, you do not have to- j-just kind of… help hold me down and I pull it out. It is kind of like when you get hit by a stray arrow while hunting- no way to deal with it but out, eventually."



>>726639
>>726643
"Oh! The second floor is now op- Mister Cloud! Hello! I hope you were not injured too much while you were alone. I can see to any injuries, if you need."

>>726642
"Where to next, Miss Thessaly? Any suggestion?"

 No.726645

>>726643
"We got into a fight with an aura-using fire knight that made my eating buddy act nuts," Cerulean replies as she rubs one of the burns Alder helped fix up.

 No.726646

>>726643
"We were almost cremated prematurely by a sin. Nothing to worry about. Seems to be par for the course in this dreadful place."

>>726644
"Defeating the knight opened the way to the second floor. So we should explore the second floor. Unless you have any better options."

 No.726647

>>726644

"W-wouldn't it be better if I just pulled it out with my telekinesis?" Cutlass asks. "That way I don't have to t-touch you."

Without waiting for an answer, she yanks it out with telekinesis. It seems her objection was less being squeamish and more with touching.

>>726643

"Just a theory, but everything missing seems to be possessed by sins. Or demons… Or something."

Cutlass pauses for a moment. "Please tell me you sent Chiu out of here before all this started."

 No.726648

>>726644
"I got a little scratched up by some moss, but aside from washing it I'm fine."

>>726645
>>726646
"A fire knight? So… there are things here trying to kill us?"

>>726647
Cloud is a bit shocked to hear everything is being possessed.
"Of course I got her out of here. I had a dream telling me to do so."

 No.726649

>>726648

"That's… good?" Cutlass asks as much as she says.

 No.726650

>>726644
>>726643
>>726640
>>726641
>>726642
As you draw near to the second floor, you note that the floors, the walls and ceilings are choked with mold damage, coming through in patches both large and small, mostly of a sickly dark green and black hue. Its fetid scent clings to the air almost everywhere on this upper level. The mold has more or less purged the walls of their color, possessively clinging to everything that it can grow upon, tainting it as its own. Apart from your talking, the upper level is also almost completely silent, save for the faint murmurings of the radio in the room adjacent to the north.

As you discuss your experiences thus far, you also take stock of your new surroundings.

To the west is the door to Mallea's laboratory, which you visited on your first visit to the manor. However, it has now been covered with not just a cluster, but a massive body of mold, stretching from floor to ceiling, completely sealing off the doorway. It is vaguely shaped almost like the trunk of a tree, with psuedo-roots getting their clutches into the hallway's floor.

To the north are two doors, one to the northwest and one to the northeast. Alder recognizes the northwestern one as leading to the rec room where he and Splendid practiced magic earlier. You don't know what lies beyond the door to the northeast.

To the east is a door to another hallway. That's where Cloud came from, and some distance down it waits the guest room and the nursery.

 No.726651

>>726648
"Have you not been attacked by anything horrible?" she asks, suddenly a bit more intrigued.

>>726650
"Hm… Fásann plandaí." She reaches out to the anomalous mold and attempts to clear some of it off of the doorway to the lab by bending it into an elemental.
[1d10+1] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.726652

>>726651
[1d10] Evoker

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.726653

>>726650

"Ugh, it's even WORSE up here," Cutlass groans. "I was expecting something a bit more… fun when we decided we were going to be dealing with a haunting. This is just work and disgusting."

For no good reason, Cutlass occupies her mind by using Soul Sight on the body of mold blocking the entrance to the laboratory.

 No.726654

>>726647
Alder begins to brace himself as best he can, and winces as she yanks it out with telekinesis- he hardly had time to tell her it's fine, but it works either way. With the leg removed, he quickly slices at it with the healer's knife, which seals the injury shut. He lets out a heavy sigh, before working up to all fours and bowing his head to the unicorn "Many thanks, Captain Cutlass."

>>726648
"Oh, good! We fared… ehm, okay! We got better!" he says, before giggling a little to himself.

>>726646
>>726650
"Second floor? I believe that sounds more than fine, yes. I think… hmm, I think I recognize some of this- I doubt the room I was in has anything of use, but it may be worth checking." he suggests, pointing out the northwestern room. "As for, hrm… perhaps we need to burn away this mold? I do not know."

 No.726655

>>726648
"Yeah, but between Thess and me, we were able to…do some kind of magic thing to it."

>>726650
Worried about what she may find next, but having her curiosity piqued, Cerulean heads to the door to the northeast, gently pushing the door open to try and peek inside.

 No.726656

>>726649
"Yea. I'm not sure why, but I'm glad I got here out before all this stuff happened."

>>726654
"Oh, well I'm glad for that."

>>726651
"Some mold started to move around when I tried to remove it from one of the doors, but I haven't seen anything else at all up here."
Cloud explains.
"There was a radio playing through the walls when I woke up though, playing a murder over and over."
He says, shuddering at remembering it.

>>726650
>>726651
>>726653
>>726645
>>726654
Cloud steps back up the stairs, looking down the west hall to the door now covered in mold.
"I was coming to check this way before I ran into you guys. It wasn't this bad before…"
He comments, not wanting to get close after his experience.
"Don't touch this mold, by the way. I already had a bad experience with it."

He thinks a bit, recalling the first note he found. He still hasn't figured out the first word, but it mentioned fear and flame. He takes out the matchbook, lights one of the matches, and holds it close to the body of mold. Not lighting it, but holding the fire close to see if it reacts.

 No.726657

>>726654

"I hope it's not infected," Cutlass comments as she pulls her hoof away from any blood that may have splashed out of the wound or off the wood.

 No.726658

>>726656
>>726653
>>726651
>>726654
As Thessaly attempts to tame the mold that blocks the path to Mallea's lab, she can suddenly feel a very real presence within it, a presence reacting very hungrily to her magic. The mold starts to shift and turn, its surface bubbling and churning and writhing as her magic touches it. As Cutlass starts to examine it, a most horrid feeling starts to occupy her mind. Her thoughts become vague, sickly, wandering, obsessive. An insatiable desire starts to itch away at the inside of her head, and it feels like that very feeling of forbidden desire is something tangible and rotten, festering on the top of her brain.

Suddenly, as Cloud draws near with the match, a dozen or more limbs start to reach out, ending in clusters of dozens fingers all clumped together. The fingers elongate, dripping mold and filth all about the floor, and the limbs interfold with each other, twisting and mangling themselves all across one another, as they seem to be fighting to reach out to you.

>Paused

 No.726659

>>726655
>before the monster appears

You peek through the door to the northeast. Inside, you see a music room, padded and insulated with special material upon the walls. Many stands have been left out, and untidy rows of sheet music line the shelves. A number of instrument cases are stacked securely in a corner, and there is a record player with a number of vinyl records sitting in an open crate nearby. There are windows in the room, but they are smeared with black and blue mold, blocking out any and all light that might be coming in from outside.

 No.726783

Last time, on PirateQuest…

>Cloud 4/4

>All else at full H/W

After an intense battle in the first floor Dining Hall, Thessaly, Cerulean, Alder and Cutlass managed to defeat the mighty Immolatioknight, and freed Cerulean's pet Fox. The Immolatioknight was an Oddity, and as such, before they could defeat it, they needed to discern its True Name and True Nature. Judging by its viciousness and wanton cruelty against the Fox (despite ostensibly being its ally), as well as the analysis of My Eye, they were able to identify its True Being: An incarnation of Malice itself. Once they discovered this, the Karmic Seed began to pulse and shimmer, and Thessaly used it to imprison the Immolatioknight once and for all, extinguishing its terrible flames.

Afterward, they found a curious sight: A small model of the manor, placed on an oval-sized stand. The stand looked like it would perfectly fit in the shrine that currently blocked off the stairwell to the second floor. The model lay in the fireplace, but was paradoxically not burned in the slightest by the intense flames the fireplace once held. And then, when they took the model, they saw underneath it a pile of charred, blackened bones, which were badly damaged in addition to being burnt. The bones were far beyond recognition, but numbered seven in total. As she surveyed the bones, Thessaly recalled an unusual, unexplained memory: She recalled a different fight with the Immolatioknight, one in which she, though her body felt differently proportioned, was slain.

Meanwhile, up on the second floor, Cloud explored the eastern rooms – the Guest Bedroom, Baby's Room, and Master Bedroom. The Baby's Room had little of note, but the Master Bedroom held certain clues. At the back of the Master Bedroom was a walk-in closet. Tucked away in the closet's corner was a curious door, locked by an unconventional mechanism: Instead of a keyhole, there was a space in the door's center where a medallion could fit. Cloud also discovered a slip of papyrus, bearing a message in invisible ink, much like the ones that the rest of the party had found in Splendid's prayer book and in the first floor Bar. But without Splendid's Psalms, Cloud was unable to decode the message contained therein.

Some time later, the party put the model manor into the shrine's indentation. Both the shrine and the wall then vanished, allowing them to move up to the second floor Balcony. There, they reunited with Cloud and caught up on what had transpired so far.

While there, they also inspected the area:

To the north were two rooms, side by side. Alder knew that the room to the northwest was the Rec Room. To the northeast, as Cerulean discovered, was a Music Room. To the east was the East Hall, where Cloud had come from. To the west was the West Hall, but that doorway was completely sealed off by a massive wall of thick, grotesque black mold, extending from floor to ceiling and covering all it could reach.

 No.726784

>Very slight retcon on manor's layout here: the door that's covered with mold leads to the west hall, not directly to the Alchemy Lab. Will post map once you find it IC.

>Cerulean

You peek through the door to the northeast. Inside, you see a music room, padded and insulated with special material upon the walls. Many stands have been left out, and untidy rows of sheet music line the shelves. A number of instrument cases are stacked securely in a corner, and there is a record player with a number of vinyl records sitting in an open crate nearby. There are windows in the room, but they are smeared with black and blue mold, blocking out any and all light that might be coming in from outside.

>Thessaly, Cutlass, Cloud, Alder

As Thessaly attempts to tame the mold that blocks the path to the West Hall, she can suddenly feel a very real presence within it, a presence reacting very hungrily to her magic. The mold starts to shift and turn, its surface bubbling and churning and writhing as her magic touches it. As Cutlass starts to examine it, a most horrid feeling starts to occupy her mind. Her thoughts become vague, sickly, wandering, obsessive. An insatiable desire starts to itch away at the inside of her head, and it feels like that very feeling of forbidden desire is something tangible and rotten, festering on the top of her brain.

Suddenly, as Cloud draws near with the match, a dozen or more limbs start to reach out, ending in clusters of dozens fingers all clumped together. The fingers elongate, dripping mold and filth all about the floor, and the limbs interfold with each other, twisting and mangling themselves all across one another, as they seem to be fighting to reach out to you.

 No.726785

>>726784
She frowns as her magic seems to have an adverse effect on the mold. She is about to try again when she sees the mold trying to grab Cloud. "Get back," she warns, conjuring up an orb of magic and hurling it at the fingers.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

 No.726786

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>726784
"Gah!"
Cloud shouts in fear as the mold suddenly bursts into limbs that sprawl out towards him. He drops the match, and reflexively swings up his dagger in fright to slice at the limbs before they grab him.
>Cut [DC5] [1d10]
>Attacks from this knife can cut through magic, enabling them to counter magical attacks and damage lingering magical effects, as well as Amnis-type Aura Abilities. Countering a magical attack reduces its damage, or negates it completely if you match or beat the roll on the attack. Damaging and dispelling lingering magical effects may be more complex, and generally requires striking at the source of the effect.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726787

>>726783
>>726784
Alder lets out a startled shout, before letting out an aura-empowered screech at the wall of moss! Maybe it'll help!
>Screech [1d10]

He'll also try and toss Cloud one of his potions. (Natural Remedy [1d10+1])

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

 No.726788

>>726784
Cerulean blinks a bit, very curious by the sight of even more things she normally sees water logged and half-buried in sand. She starts being nosy and starts to rummage around the instrument cases to see what is inside them.

 No.726789

>Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.726790

>>726784

Cutlass lets out a low groan in pain and disgust as her mind is assaulted with horrid feelings. She closes her eyes, puts a hoof to her temple, and rubs it.

She focuses on the desire, trying to figure out what it is she's feeling. [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726791

>>726790
>>726787
>>726786
>>726785
>Cloud 5/5
Your attacks land solidly against the mold monster, but hardly seem to have much of an affect upon it. However, it's hard to tell – the monster moves incredibly slowly, reminiscent of someone waking up from some kind of deep sleep, or a stupor induced by drugs or sickness. After the attacks land, black spores start to fly forth from the body, spreading out through the air like slow-falling snowflakes. As they get close to you – even without you directly breathing them in – you start to feel unsteady, woozy, unfocused yourselves. Perhaps the worst part is that the spores seem to have almost no scent whatsoever.

>roll perception (instant)


>Thessaly and Cloud have been infected with Spore Infection Level 1

>Spore Infection Level 1: You lose 1 Hit per turn, which goes to the unknown monster as healing

Lazily, slowly, the mold monster starts to reach out for Cloud and Thessaly with its long, spiraling tentacle-fingers.

[1d10-1]

>>726790
You are only able to pull your mind back from the depths of the unthinking, ravenous desire that your soul sight plunged you into. Your mind continues to waver for a time afterward. Perhaps with another attempt you may be more successful, but you also realize there may be other ways of identifying it, laying int eh areas you haven't yet explored.

>>726788
As you pop open the instrument cases, you find a variety of woodwinds, mostly flutes, clarinets, and even a bassoon. But much like the rest of the house, the instruments and the equipment inside are old, musty and tarnished, showing signs that they haven't been opened or given proper maintenance for years.

Toward the back of the cluster of cases, you notice something quite out of place. There appears to be a small magitech cooler hidden among the cases. You pop it open, and find a most strange set of contents.

First, there's a bowl of pudding. A small slip of paper lays underneath it. In plain black ink, the only word on the slip of paper is "From." The back of the paper smells like soybeans, indicating there's a hidden message on the back, too.

Next to the bowl of pudding are three round bottles of a dark red powder. The powder smolders and softly glows, almost like magma. The bottles are labeled "Salamander's Breath."

Roll #1 4 - 1 = 3

 No.726792

>>726791

Cutlass grimaces and stares harder at the mold, her eyes still silver. She past the mold itself and looks for whatever force is making it move. The desire must be coming from that.

>Soul Sight again!

 No.726793

>>726791
proper maintenance for months, or nearly a year*

 No.726794

>>726791
>>726793
"Ooo, pudding!" Cerulean happily picks up the pudding and gives it a taste first. Then she decides to look on the back of the paper after smelling the soybean smell.
"Huh…'from' what…or who?"

 No.726795

>>726791
She stumbles slightly and shakes her head, trying to stay focused. She fumbles to grab His Eye and peers through it, looking around for anything of interest.
[1d10] Perception

She moves backwards away from the mold, firing another orb of magical energy to stave it off.
[1d10] Basic Attack

>>726792
>>726786
>>726787
"If any of you do have a source of fire, now would be a good time…"

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.726796

>>726791
>>726795
"I don- Oh, wait! I do! I will try to clear the mold out of you in just a moment, sorry!" he chirps, before hastily loading his magic pistol and taking a shot.
>Spellslinger, Fire [1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726797

>>726794
>insight
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726798

>>726795

Cutlass is too busy having her mind assaulted to hear Thessaly. And, it's obvious based on her posture and expression.

 No.726799

>>726791
Cloud stumbles back after his frantic slashing, looking at the mold as it continues on unimpeded, just like the smaller mold bug he fought.
"We have to trap it! They won't stop cause they'll just reform!"
He shouts to the others, though as he does he fails to notice the spores in time, and starts to sway and wobble. He tries to back up, poorly, as the creature reaches out to him again. His eye glows as he tries to form a cage again from the floorboards to trap this new mold spawn.
>Earthen Grasp [Cage] [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726800

>>726791
>>726799
>Forgot Perception
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.726801

>>726792
Braving the nauseating waves of endless, hungering desire, you fumble about in the sickening darkness that is the consciousness of whatever this mold-born monster may be. Just when the grotesque pressure seems unbearable, you grasp onto a tiny piece of insight.

J–l–s-

Though the mold itself is an amalgam of thoughtless, unthinking, animal lusts and desires for everything and anything it can get ahold of, the force that animates it is more focused. Its desires, though unquenchable, are for the things that it believes it is owed. That includes everything inside this manor… and something more. Something that lies outside this manor, something that it was never capable of having, yet desires nonetheless.

>>726797
The back of the paper is blank, but presumably has a message written in the DIY invisible ink, just as the messages you found in the bar and in Splendid's prayer book did. You'll need a match or some other source of heat to reveal what it says.

As you slurp up the pudding, it tastes pretty good, but dangerously sugary – vanilla with hints of mind and caramel. Suddenly, something clicks in your mind.

From… Pudding.

Or perhaps more accurately: From Puddin Tame.

>>726795
When you peer at the mold monster through My Eye, you see it awash in a sickly yellowish light, jusst as you saw on the first floor. And beyond that, the entire western half of the second floor is blooming with that horrid light, almost as bright as the sun. You see it spreading all down the western hall to the west and north, and its source seems to be the westernmost room. The only area to the west that doesn't seem to be affected as badly is the room all the way to the northwest. About half of that area seems relatively clean.

>>726800
With keen focus, you are able to pinpoint the tiny black spores that snow down from above. Each of them seems to have a variable radius at which they infect the air around them. You should have an easier time discerning this range from now on.

>>726798
>>726796
>>726795
>>726799
>Thessaly and Cloud have lost 1 Hit each

Cloud's cage of wood and vines restrain the monster only briefly, as like the one he fought before, this monster simply molds around it, dissolving its body partly into a watery slough to squeeze around the restraints.

Thessaly's bolt hits the monster, but for all the power of her strike, it hardly stumbles or recoils, simply continuing to reach out and grab her. More spores spray out from the site of its wound, adding to the clusters lingering in the air.

However, Alder's gun misfires, and the fire bullet explodes the second it leaves the barrel, resulting in a spew of fire that singes his hand, and the gun, but still manages to burn the mold monster as it reaches out to try and grab Cloud and Thessaly. The blast of fire burns away the spores in the air, but Thessaly and Cloud still feel woozy from what they got near earlier.

>Alder loses 3 Hits


Now moving slightly slower, the monster tries to spit a vile black pus at Alder.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726802

>>726801
vanilla with hints of mint and caramel*

 No.726803

>>726801
Cerulean blinks in some realization at this. She was enjoying the sweetness of the pudding, but when the heck did Pudding find time to make this? She then gets an idea, and looks to the little fox in the lantern.
"Hey, sorry to wake you up," she starts, "but do you think you could pop out for a little bit? I need to borrow your heat." She also offers the little fox a bit of the pudding to coax him out some.

 No.726804

>>726801
Cloud looks up as he notices the poison air around each spore. The more they fight this thing the worse it'll get. As his cage fails to contain the beast, Cloud pulls out his wand, swinging it forward to send a gust of wind to hopefully push the creature back, as well as blow the spore away from them to the door.
>Tamer of the Squalls [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.726805

>>726801
Alder squawks as the cartridge explodes, shaking his hand panickedly in case it caught on fire! He looks it over and lets out a sigh of relief, before looking between the moss, and Thessaly.

>>726795
"Would you mind using this for a little? If you want, at least- It can shoot little bits of fire. I want to try and get whatever that is out of you." he says, before trying to whip up something to purge the spores from her.
>Natural Remedy [1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.726806

>>726801
She thinks quickly, seeing Alder's gun misfire. She reaches out and tries to twist the sparks and flames into a minion to help burn away the mold.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726807

>>726805
>>726806
As she tries unsuccessfully to manipulate the flames, she just nods and invokes Occam's Razor, taking the pistol herself. "My thanks."

 No.726808

>>726801

Cutlass shakes her head and falls on her flank. As much as she would like to find more information, she finds that doing so would be pointless. It's not like any of the information would help them win this fight.

She looks around at the other room choices. She can't help here, but she might be able to help somewhere else.

 No.726809

>>726808

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726810

>>726803
And, you realize, it's not just those concerns that are the problem.

Where did Pudding get the ingredients, and where did he get the Salamander's Breath?

And…

Where is Pudding now, and how did he know that you would be here for him to leave a cryptic message along with the Salamander's Breath, specifically in this room?

When the fox pokes his head out, you're able to use the heat of his flames to warm up and reveal the message on the paper. Unlike the others, however, it is not encrypted through the cipher of the passages in the Psalms.

It reads: "Use this. We lost the girl. Don't tell Alder. Or do. Fuck. I don't know how long it's been. Fuck everything. There's a map in the rec room. Don't listen to the radio. That's how we fucked up. Other stuff in other rooms. I can't say where… or SHE will find it."

>>726805
The gun has minor damage from the blast too; nothing immediately pressing, but something you'll want to fix when you have a safe moment.

>>726804
>>726805
>>726806
>Thessaly cured and healed, Cloud loses 1 Hit
Cloud's powerful blast of air knocks the mold-monster back against the curtain of mold that covers the door to the western hall. As the monster's body splashes against the larger block of mold, it starts dissolving, melting back into the greater mass of mold, until it is no more.

You may have defeated it, but you're no closer to getting into the western hall than you were before. However, there is what Thessaly and Cutlass have found out about it. If it is an Oddity, like the Immolatioknight, these may be the keys to moving onward.

>>726808
>Your post will come next, one sec

 No.726811

File: 1572835364231.png (10.11 MB, 2880x2880, Manor_Floor_2_ver_1.png)

>>726809
Since you saw Cerulean head into the Music Room earlier, you head into the room adjacent to it, the Rec Room. The signature feature of the room is the pool table in the center, a putting green off to the side, a dartboard in the back, and a well-stocked bar counter complete with several rows of drinks and glasses. There's also an antique radio upon the bar counter, and a jukebox off to the side.

The radio is murmuring something indistinct, something intriguing, but the volume is too low for you to hear it clearly. Next to it, you see a map of the second floor.

I got sick over the weekend and didn't get as much time as I wanted to work on it, here's a rough version.

1. Second Floor Hallway (Overlooking Foyer in bottom-right corner)
2. Rec Room
3. Music Room
4. Guest Bedroom w/ Balcony
5. East Hall 2F
6. Baby's Room
7. Master Bedroom
8. Walk-in Closet w/ Ladder to Attic
9. West Hall 2F
10. Magical Study Room
11. Storage Room
12. Alchemy Lab

 No.726812

>>726810
Cloud sighs as the monster is pushed away into nothingness, putting the wand away with some shakiness.
"Ugh, this stuff is getting on my nerves. And it's all over the place."
He grumbles, looking at the moss covered door. His eye glows, trying to see if he can shrink the mass down so they can get around it.
>Wax/Wane [Shrink Moss] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.726813

>>726811
Note: West Hall 2F is a covered balcony, which is why it's all windows on the outer wall instead of stone.

 No.726814

>>726812
There is no effect.

 No.726815

>>726810
At how urgent the note sounds, Cerulean pets the fox quickly, grabs the Salamander's Breath, and bolts towards the door.

"Guys?! GUYS!! We got a big problem, and its not food related!"

 No.726816

>>726810
>>726811
Alder hums a little, and makes note of it for now. He'll do something about it later, hopefully. "Where to now…"

>>726804
Alder huffs nervously, getting to work on Cloud's infection next.
>Medic's Knife [1d10] Heal


>>726815
"Hmm? What is wrong? What happened?"

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.726817

>>726811

Cutlass walks up to the bar and turns up the radio. As she listens to the radio, she checks out the drinks. She contemplates whether it would be a catastrophically bad idea to drink right now.

She inspects the bottles to see if there's any signs of being tampered with. [1d10] Master Thief

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.726818

>>726816
>>726812
Cloud is healed of his injuries and cured of the Spore Infection.

 No.726819

>>726815
Cloud looks back as Cerulean starts shouting.
"Is there another creature?"
He asks, exhausted.

>>726816
>>726818
"Oh, thanks Alder. Feel a lot better now."
Cloud says as the gryphon comes over to treat his infection.

 No.726820

>>726819
"No! Not this time!"

>>726816
>>726819
"It's this!" Cerulean shows the paper to everyone, and the message on the back.
"Its from Pudding, and I don't get all of it, but what I do know is there is a radio to smash somewhere. So where is that rec room?!"

 No.726821

>>726812
>>726816
She frowns and passes the gun back to Alder as the monster is defeated. "An expedient solution, I suppose. Fine job, Cloud. And thank you again, Alder. This place keeps getting worse and worse…"

>>726810
>>726819
>>726820
"Hm. Didn't Cloud say something about a cursed radio before? We should go see to it."

 No.726822

>>726820
"We have to smash a radio?"
Cloud asks, then remembers the sound he was hearing.
"…I think I know the one you're talking about."

He turns to the guest bedroom, then looks for the room that'd be next to it from where he was hearing the haunting broadcast from.

>>726821
"Yea, it was next to the bedroom. So it should be right around here."

 No.726823

>>726819
>>726821
"Please, no need for thanks." the griffon says, bowing his head a little.

>>726820
>>726810
"I… I think I know where it is! W-What did they mean by 'we lost the girl'?" Alder asks no one in particular, coiling his tail around to grab at it nervously.

 No.726824

>>726817
Inside the bottles, you see not alcohol, but various liquids and solutions of varying colors. Some have chunks and floaters inside, others murky shapes that take up most of the bottle. They remind you of some kind of horrid image of a mad scientist's lab and the offal of his experiments that you may have seen in some pulp novel or magazine somewhere.

The radio is indistinct and the voice is clouded by static, but you manage to make out a frantic, manic message on repeat from the other end. You can't tell whether the voice is male or female through all the interference.

"…got a missive for all you fine folks out there in radioland, can't get a break, can't get a thanks, can't get a moment of APPRECIATION out of your scum-fucking [indistinct] ogling all over a rotten whore of a [indistinct] wandered in off the STREETS! … You know what to do. You know what he's trying. You know what she's trying. You're going to wait. You're going to wait for the right moment. Go into the [indistinct]… interrupt them at the key moment. And then use it… she'll get exactly what she fucking deserves."

>>726819
>>726820
>>726821
>>726823
Following Cloud's instructions, you head for the Rec Room, finding Cutlass in there as well in front of the radio, holding the map.

 No.726825

>>726824
Cloud steps into the Rec Room, looking at the display of games laid about. His ears perk to the radio, and then he covers them, not wanting to hear more of that story he woke up too. He walks up to the radio, picks it up, and throws it on the ground.

 No.726826

>>726821
"Yeah, we can't listen to it! I dunno what will happen, but if its enough to make Pudding use a word like this, then it must be bad."

>>726822
"Well, maybe not smash, but we can't listen to it. So smashing is the next best thing!"

>>726823
"I'm…not sure? But if its about you…, maybe…," she thinks for a brief moment, perhaps having the answer, but she doesn't want to say.
"Never mind that for now."

>>726824
Cerulean runs into the room, yelling out a loud "AAAAAAAAAAAH" as long as she can to try and drown out the noise of the radio as she goes over and to smash the radio with her tail.

 No.726827

>>726826
Alder squirms nervously, before taking a deep breath and trying to relax as best he can. There's nothing panicking will help with.

>>726824
Alder lets the others smash the radio- Cerulean seems to have it handled. In the meantime, he'll try to look around the room for anything peculiar.
[1d10+1] Master Thief (flat d10 if it's not applicable and I just need to roll perception.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.726828

>>726824

Cutlass grumbles in disappointment at the lack of alcohol. Then, she turns to stare at the radio with a confused expression as it plays a very angry message about killing whores.

>>726826
>>726825

"What the fuck!?" Cutlass jumps and shouts at the sudden and violent display.

 No.726829

>>726824
>>726825
>>726826
"I see. Then we should not waste time."

As she enters the rec room and Cloud throws the radio on the ground, she joins in, firing another volatile magic orb at it. "Shh. Is binn béal ina thost."
[1d10+1] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6

 No.726830

>>726826
"Not listen? But I woke up with that thing playing on loop!"
Cloud says over the sound of smashing.

 No.726831

>>726826
>>726825
>>726829
As you approach the radio with intent to destroy it, the broadcast seems to grow louder and louder, until at the moment you're right up in front of it, when it's drowning out your very thoughts with a deafening scream that echoes all through your head and down into your very bones.

"YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!? NOW'S THE TIME! DO IT!"

Even after the first few strikes, the broken radio continues to taunt and goad you into doing ever more awful things in its horrid, mocking tone. It's not until you have completely reduced it to pieces that its broadcast finally ceases, leaving you in silence.

>>726828
>>726827
Once the room is silent at last, you're able to have a better look around the room. Behind the bar counter, hidden behind some boxes of dusty cups and glasses, Alder finds a set of five white cloth masks, with straps that allow you to secure them around your ears and the backs of your heads. In addition, there are three heavy raincoats, large enough to cover your whole bodies – even Cerulean's.

 No.726832

>>726831
"I believe I found some things that may be of use to us… masks, and raincoats?"

 No.726833

>>726831
>>726827
Just for good measure, she grabs the gun from Alder's holster unexpectedly and shoots the remains for good measure before putting it back. "Unsightly."

With that out of the way, she joins the others in searching the room, looking through His Eye once again.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.726834

>>726828
>>726831
Cerulean looks over at Cutlass, panting a bit from that run and smash.
"It's alright, you're safe now." As if to emphasize that, she gives the pile of rubble another tail smack. Just to be safe.
"Pudding left a note. Said not to listen to the radio, it's how they 'fucked up.' Not entirely sure what they mean by that, but sounds like smashing time to me."

>>726833
>>726830
>>726828
>>726827
"Oh, and Pudding also left these things as well," she remarks, and shows everyone else the three bottles of Salamander's Breath.
"I dunno what these things are, aside from the name, but they were in some fancy cooler back in the music room."

 No.726835

>>726831
>>726828
"Alright, it's gone."
Cloud exhales once the radio stops. He looks over to Cutlass as she jumps back in shock from the display.
"Cerulean said we couldn't listen to it."
He explains.

>>726832
"The masks might help for all that mold. It was spraying spores everywhere whenever we hit it. Not sure about the raincoats though."

>>726834
Cloud looks over at the bottles of Salamander's Breath.
"What are they?"

 No.726836

>>726834
"Hrm… any idea what they do? Was anything left that describes it?"

 No.726837

>>726835
"I imagine we will discover that in time."

>>726833
"Oh! If you feel the need, yes."

 No.726838

>>726836
"Not from what I could see. Just said to 'use it.' Not when or anything, but it sounded like there's something else here. All watching us or something if this weird about about 'SHE will find it.'" Cerulean has a more and more perplex look as she talks.

 No.726839

>>726835
>>726834
>>726833
>>726832
Using My Eye, Thessaly finds a hidden compartment in the bar counter, a quaint and well-designed little bit of mechanical work that, in better times, might be useful for hiding the finest vintage for special occasions. But inside, she finds another bottle of Salamander's Breath, bringing your total to four.

>Salamander's Breath: Passive; One Bottle has 2 uses

>Apply to a weapon, ammo piece, or other surface. On hit, applies Fire Damage to the target of a successful attack. A bottle's contents can also be sprayed directly at an enemy, and can Cleave up to five targets without an increased critfail range. When applied to a weapon, lasts until the end of combat or until washed off.
>Outside of combat, can be used to selectively burn and purify an area without the risk of spreading actual flames onto undesired targets. When Salamander's Breath comes into contact with flames, it will explode, causing a greater area of effect.

 No.726840

>>726834
"Wait, did you say music room? I found this note when I was alone that had a bunch of music things on it."
Cloud holds out the note he found earlier. >>726627
"I found it under a locked door, so there might be a key in there."

 No.726841

>>726839
>>726840
"A bunch of music things? Let me take a look."

 No.726842

>>726833
>>726831

"And, again, I ask, 'What the fuck?'" Cutlass asks, completely dumbfounded.

>>726834
>>726835

Cutlass blinks. "Pudding? Oh, you mean Puddin? That paranoid schizophrenic? I appreciate his work and I'm sure he's helping us in whatever way he is. But, I wouldn't take his words too deeply to heart. I doubt you needed all the urgency and theatrics you just put into destroying that device. I was listening to it and felt fine. Albeit a little confused."

>>726832

"I don't need a raincoat," Cutlass says as she looks to the others, clearly offering herself to not have once since they seem to be in limited supply. "My dress protects me enough."

>>726838
>>726837
>>726835
>>726833

"Hey…" Cutlass ponders out loud. "Can any of you think of a name that starts with a J and has an L and an S in it?"

 No.726843

>>726840
"Well, I dunno about a key, but there was a bunch of old instruments. Oh, and a record player with a bunch of records! I was gonna try it out cause it looks dry and all, but I saw the note and got really, really worried for you all."

 No.726844

>>726834
>>726839
"Interesting. It seems these will help us with the mold situation over yonder." She doesn't waste any time, heading back towards the western hall, uncorking the bottle she found and spreading it on the mold.

 No.726845

>>726843
>>726840
>>726841
When Alder reads the message, he finds that it's actually one of the encrypted messages, encoded using chapters and verses from Splendid's Psalms.

But… that doesn't line up at all with the implications of Puddin's note. If the "girl" that was lost was Splendid, then where did this note come from?

In any case, after the note is decoded, it reads: "We had to defeat her. We failed to find the secret. Maybe, if we get another chance… we can let in the sunlight."

 No.726846

>>726842
"Felt fine? That radio was playing a murder over and over for me."
Cloud says, giving a strange look at Cutlass, unsure of what to think of her now.

>>726842
"J L and S?"
Cloud repeats, then pulls out a book.
"I found a note saying that. It's eight letters long."
He says, flipping open the book and showing Cutlass. >>726248
"See, right here. So J–l–s- fears flame west lab. I think it means the mold somehow, since that's blocking off the whole west side and I couldn't get through it earlier."

 No.726847

>>726844
"Mold? Ugh, hate that stuff. Always left me with a stomach ache after eating it."

>>726845
"I'm going back to the music room. See if there's anything with those records." She then heads back into the music room to look at said records.

 No.726848

>>726846
"Hmm… Jealousy? That has eight letters, and matches with this 'sin' business, does it not?"

>>726845
"Okay, so we need to find a way to… let in the sunlight?"

 No.726849

>>726847
She gives her a sidelong glance. "You do know you don't have to eat everything you see, right?"

 No.726850

>>726843
"Huh, that doesn't help much. I need some weird shaped key, not instruments."

>>726841
>>726845
"Figure out what it means?"
Cloud asks as Alder looks over his note.

>>726848
"Jealousy? Yea, that does fit. So, 'jealousy fears flame west lab'. Wonder what that means…"
Cloud ponders.
"Sin business?"
He questions.

 No.726851

>>726846

Cutlass shrugs. "It wasn't that bad. A fascinating view in the psyche of a murderer if anything. Confusing and unsettling, to be sure. But, nothing worth fearing so fervently. Though, that yelling when you smashed it was a bit unsettling…"

>>726846
>>726848

"THAT'S IT!" Cutlass shouts as if a horrible burden has finally been lifted from her mind.

"That's the feeling! That's how I would describe it! Jealousy! It was nagging at me this whole time! It felt so familiar! But, I just couldn't put a word to it! It's jealousy! The mold is jealousy!"

She pauses for a moment. "The demon that caused all of this is Spite, by the way," she states as if it's fact.

 No.726852

>>726850
"It seems quite simple to me. The mold represents the sin of jealousy, and the flames we found will burn it away. It all seems to be coming together."

>>726851
She thinks. "Malice, spite, jealousy… I wonder what could be next. I dare say we'll find out soon enough."

 No.726853

>>726850
"The one I decoded just now says 'We had to defeat her. We failed to find the secret. Maybe, if we get another chance, we can let in the sunlight.', though this is for… a different floor, it seems like. As for the sin business, we found a note saying we needed to 'absolve the four sins'."

>>726851
"Ah! So, that is three- Malice, Spite, and Jealousy. If 'Jealousy' fears flame, maybe we should use what we have and handle that one next."

 No.726854

>>726851
"…You are a messed up kid, you know that?"
Is all Cloud can say after a pause to her shrug.

>>726851
>>726852
"So I was right, we have to burn all the mold. Do we have anything that can burn that creature away quick enough then?"

>>726853
"Let in the sunlight… But it's night right now, and didn't Mallea say the magic stuff stops by morning?"
Cloud comments.
"Absolve the four sins. What's that mean?"

 No.726855

>>726847
>perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726856

>>726854
"I assume it means to deal with the threats in each area of the mansion. The first one we saw was… Malice, I believe? A big, fiery knight."

 No.726857

>>726854

"I'm not a kid," Cutlass puffs her cheeks like an insulted child.

 No.726858

>>726840
>>726841
>>726843
>>726844
>>726842
>for clarity's sake, please indicate in your replies to this post whether you are taking and wearing a mask and a raincoat.
>Effects:
>Cloth Mask: Helps reduce the chances of getting Spore Infection after a mold enemy has been attacked. Rolls to avoid inhalation will be DC 4.
>Raincoat: Helps to reduce the chances of getting Clinging Mold after a mold enemy attacks you. Enemies' attacks must be 8 or higher in order to spread Clinging Mold to you.

>Spore Infection Level 1: You lose 1 Hit per turn, which goes to the unknown monster as healing.

>Clinging Mold Level 1: You lose 1 Wound per turn, which goes to the unknown monster as healing.

Thessaly sprinkles some of the contents of one of the Salamander's Breath bottles onto the mold that covers the door to the western hall. When the magma-like powder hits the filthy black mold, a series of crackles and small blasts rings out, like dozens of fireworks. Each bit of powder bursts upon contact with the mold, burning it away without any lingering flames. Soon, after about half of the bottle's contents are gone, the mold around the door is cleared, and the black spores are burned away, allowing you to proceed further once you are ready.

>7 uses of Salamander's Breath remain.


>>726847
>>726855
When you poke around in the records, you find that Mallea – or perhaps, Palafox – has quite the musical taste. A number of genres are represented here, such as classics penned far before you were even spawned, and even contemporary music. For older selections, it mostly seems to be blues, jazz, classical, baroque and even traditional Krikral tribal chants. There's quite a few indie pop and shoegaze records as well, squirreled away self-consciously in the corner where one might not immediately find them.

Just as you're about to end your search, you find an old film reel. It's not labeled, but it looks to have been played many times. Despite this, it is incredibly well-kept, showing signs of being preserved and maintained very carefully by whoever has watched it so often.

 No.726859

>>726856
"A fiery knight? Wow, you guys went through a lot downstairs."

>>726857
"Yes, you are. A deranged kid."
Cloud retorts.

>>726858
Cloud takes one of the masks, putting in on for safety after his encounters with the mold so far, and follows Thessaly out into the hallway. He watches as the powder burns it away with ease, leaving the door nice and clean.
"Wow, that was easy. Hope this lab is easy as well."

 No.726860

>>726859

"I'm almost 17!" she objects vehemently.

>>726858

Cutlass takes a mask and heads into the lab.

 No.726861

>>726858
Cerulean takes note of the film reel, taking it with her as she gets curious what it might have. After acquiring it, Cerulean looks over the records again, remembering the words Cloud mentioned. While she didn't know ALL of the fancy words, she knew a couple enough to try and find a record that looked all church-like on its cover and play it on the record player.

>playing a baroque song on the record player

 No.726862

>>726860
"Fine, you're a teenager. Either way, still weird for you to have interest in murders."

 No.726863

>>726862

"Teenagers can be adults…" Cutlass mumbles.

"And, I didn't say I have an interest in murders. It's just that 3 years of pirating will… desensitize you."

 No.726864

>>726858
>Thessaly took a mask and slipped on her blue robes to help protect against mold

She nods approvingly as the mold is burned away, adjusting her glasses and moving further into the western hall, taking a look around for anything of note.
[1d10] Perception again

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.726865

>>726858
>just a coat

 No.726866

>>726858
Alder pulls on a mask and a raincoat, trying to keep himself safe. He'd rather not have to treat himself, so he can focus on his friends.

The griffon hums a little, and tries taking a look around the Western Hall.
Master Thief [1d10+1]


>>726863
"In my culture, 16 is the age for adulthood, anyways. Is it different here?"

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.726867

>>726866

"Thank you, Alder!" Cutlass exclaims, sounding simultaneously exasperated and relieved to have someone on her side.

 No.726868

>>726866
>>726864
>>726859
>>726860
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yG4kNgKwkzo

The West Hall is almost completely jet-black. From the dim light that comes in from the balcony area, you can see Mold covering nearly every square inch of the hall. The only space that's relatively clear, the only space where it would be safe to step, is the southernmost edge of the Hall, where the Mold seems to have stopped in various patches, leaving you a narrow series of open spaces where you could carefully step over the Mold.

You notice that the ceiling and western wall of the Hall are made out of glass, and that this is supposed to be a covered balcony for sightseeing. However, the Mold also completely covers the windows, blocking out any and all light and sight that might come from outside. The air here is very dense and moist, exuding a pressure that reminds you of being deep below the sea's surface. The Mold in here is incredibly wet, and patches of it seem even to be moving and stirring, pulsing in the steady in-out, in-out rhythm of breath.

>Refer to the Map in >>726811 for a guide on the layout of the West Hall.


From what little light that comes in from the balcony, you can see that the door to the Alchemy Lab is covered most strongly by the black Mold, extending several feet around the door in every which direction, a veritable mountain of filth, fungi and decay. Deeper inside, the door to the Magical Study is covered with roughly the same amount. However, at the far reaches, just where the light ends, it seems that the far end of the Hall has far less Mold. You can't see around the corner for what might be waiting there.

Finally, Alder feels a certain danger lurking behind the door to the Magical Study.

>>726861
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZCfydWF48c

As you put on a record, you are treated to a brief respite from the stress and horror of the manor so far. You also feel quite a bit more focused and intelligent. However, there seems to be no other effects.

>+1 to Knowledge and Memory checks for the rest of the sequence.

 No.726869

>For my ease of reference:
Alder: Mask and Raincoat
Cerulean: Raincoat
Cloud: Mask
Cutlass: Mask and Dress (Raincoat)
Thessaly: Mask and Hooded Robe (Raincoat)

 No.726870

>>726868
She squints to see in the darkness from the ubiquitous mold, making her way steadily through the hall. For now, she moves past the study and the lab, and heads towards the storage room out of sheer curiosity.

 No.726871

>>726868
Cloud is glad he grabbed a face mask before stepping into this mold covered hall. Though he still walks with unease, the damp and heavy air reminding him of the constant dreams they've had. He carefully tiphooves on the safe, clear spots on the floor, following them to the end of the hall.

 No.726872

>>726868
Cerulean gives a sigh as the music does put her at mild ease. Seeing as her hunch was wrong, and there seems o be not much else to look around for in here, Cerulean opts to head out and rejoin with the others.

She looks at the mold with repulsion, more from a food enjoyer's standpoint, as she walked on.
"Hey little guy. You up for a big bite? Cause there's a lot here if you're careful with your fire," she asks the fox demon in the lantern, wondering if he'd be up for eating/burning away some of this mold.

 No.726873

>>726868

"Just lovely…" Cutlass grumbles as she steps into the disgusting hallway.

"You know, I've more accepting of disgusting things ever since I got this dress. Knowing that I won't ruin my clothes is nice. But, this is just horrendous. Can't someone do something about this? How is a girl supposed to think under these conditions?"

Cutlass rounds the corner to see if there's more mold further ahead, praying that there's some respite somewhere.

 No.726874

>>726868
"Hrm… perhaps we need to be wary of… there.," he says, pointing out the study. "Other than that… should we begin clearing out the mold?"

 No.726875

>>726874
>>726873
>>726872
>>726871
>>726870
As you reach the edge of the Hall, coming up to the bend where the Hall turns from west to north, you suddenly notice something lurking in the darkness beyond. Your eyes haven't yet completely adjusted to the darkness, and so you can only make out the vaguest shufflings and movements, but from what little you can see, there's some kind of shapes skuttling around on the ceiling. Without a light source, it's hard to tell whether it's one long creature, or perhaps many smaller creatures, or whether they're the only ones lurking in the darkness ahead, but they seem to be guarding the hallway between this point and the doorway that awaits at the northern end of the hall.

 No.726876

>>726872
Inside the lantern, the Fox cowers, refusing to even let out his light. Seems he'll need a bit more encouragement before he comes out to help you.

 No.726877

>>726875
She's not phased much by the skittering silhouettes, simply spritzing the shadows with what's left of her Salamander's Breath. "Wherefore, jealousy?" she calls.
[1d10] if needed

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726878

>>726875

"Ooooooh," Cutlass lets out a long whine when she sees the movement in the darkness. "This suuuucks."

Her eyes glow silver to see the nature of whatever it is lurking in the shadows.

>Soul Sight on thing

 No.726879

>>726875
>>726877
"Do you have a light, by chance? It is hard to tell what is in there. Fire may be the best answer, but it could not hurt to see what it is."

 No.726880

>>726871
>Quick response for Cloud

Using subtle echolocation and your bat-vision, you are able to tell that the thing that lies ahead is neither a single creature nor many, but clumps and clusters of pieces of Kalphite warriors, dissected, amputated, autopsied, and experimented upon. These clusters of corpses have been absorbed by the Mold, and appear to have been rearranged into about a dozen different groupings, each about half a pony's size. They line the northern half of the West Hall, lounging slothfully in the Mold, seemingly heedless of you for now.

 No.726881

>>726875
>>726880
>>726877
>>726878
>>726879
Cloud looks up as he senses movement on the ceiling above. When he sees the kalphites, he pauses in shock .
("M-Maybe we shouldn't use light…. There's bugs all in the mold, but they aren't moving. I think we should just sneak by…")
Cloud whispers to the party.

 No.726882

>>726875
Cerulean moves away from the scuttling shapes and away from the mold in general, thinking it might calm him down a bit.
"Hey hey, its alright. There's no need to worry. I'm here, and all my other friends are, too." She thinks for a moment, then gets an idea as she takes out the bottle of Salamander's Breath, opening the bottle so the fox can get the smell of this combustable powder.
"Or maybe you need a bit of a firestarter, hmm? Something to perk you back up? Cause you were pretty cool when we were fighting earlier."

 No.726883

>>726881

"Ooooh," Cutlass whines again at the mention of bugs.

 No.726884

>>726881
"A-Ah. Right."

 No.726885

>>726878
If the greater mass of Mold you saw earlier was part of a larger incarnation of Jealousy, then these things vaguely, slothfully skittering in the darkness are more like vague, weak wants, almost childish in their simplicity and lack of sophistication. They are weak, but there are many of them, and they definitely outnumber you, whatever these things are.

>>726879
>>726882
>>726877
>>726881
>>726878
The small Fox pokes his head out again, giving some light to the surrounding area as he does. He definitely seems interested in the Salamander's Breath, sniffing at it the same way a dog would sniff at a jerky treat. However, the increased light gains the attention of the mangled corpses on the ceiling above you. With the light of the Fox, you can see them as they are described >>726880 and they can see you too. When Thessaly tries to spray them with a wave of the Salamander's Breath, they scuttle back, cowering around the door at the far end of the Hall, protectively guarding it.

>6 uses of Salamander's Breath remain in total


A few of the bigger mounds of Kalphite corpses snarl and hock, gagging as they build up a kind of mold slime in their throats, which they spew at you.

[1d10] vs Cloud
[1d10] vs Thessaly
[1d10] vs Cutlass
[1d10] vs Alder
[1d10] vs Cerulean

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 3 = 3 / Roll #3 3 = 3 / Roll #4 7 = 7 / Roll #5 1 = 1

 No.726886

>>726885
Cloud looks back as the light from the fox draws the attention of the bugs, unable to react in time before they're spotted. As they start to spit up moldy ooze at them, Cloud pulls out his wand again, sending another gust to deflect the blobs away.
>Tamer of the Squalls [Blow away mold slime] [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.726887

>>726885
>For Everyone

The Salamander's Breath fell short of the monsters, but landed all along the northern bend, clearing away most of the Mold on the floor, giving you all a good amount of room to maneuver and fight in without worry of stepping into the filth.

 No.726888

>>726885
She does a slight double take at the sight of the mutilated bodies, but keeps her composure for now. She redirects the incoming slime into the wall with telekinesis, blasting the corpses with magic as she takes a confident step closer.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1]

>>726884
"Now would be a good time to use that gun of yours again," she suggests.

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5

 No.726889

>>726885

"Oh COME ON!" Cutlass groans as the monsters spit at them. "I hate this!"

She dodges the attack, then rushes them down. She telekinetically pulls out two daggers and slashes twice at one of them.

>Dual Attack [1d10] [1d10]


Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.726890

>>726885
>>726888
Alder squirms a little, but tries to keep himself from squawking too loudly. He nods a little, and unholsters his Spellslinger to try firing another shot!
>Gun (Fire) [1d10+1] (8/10 left, counting after this one is shot)

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.726891

>>726885
Cerulean tries to avoid the attacks as best she can while keeping the fox safe, making sure it can see what the powder is doing to the mold.
"See? Nothing to be afraid of. It doesn't like fire, so you got this!" She gives him a smile to help encourage more confidence in the little fire fox.

 No.726892

>>726886
You blast the bugs with a directed current of current of air, blasting away the slime they spewed at you back into their faces. The bugs continue to back up at the doorway, forming a kind of strange phalanx there.

>>726888
Much like the monstrosity you fought earlier, these creatures prove incredibly resilient, holding firm under your magical pressure. You see one of them suddenly submerge into the surface of the Mold that covers the walls. A moment later, that same one reappears on the wall beside you, coming out of the Mold that coats the walls, just as it submerged a second ago. It gets a quick cut in on you, and though the wound is not deep, it stings severely.

>You lose 1 Hit


>>726889
You cut one down, and the Mold-corpse falls to the ground, dissolving into many pieces that leak black, tainted blood. Spores start to rise up from the corpse, filling the air with a black, deathly cloud.

>roll to avoid inhalation, DC 4 due to mask


But like the one that attacked Thessaly, another one vanishes into the Mold covering the wall, appearing again a moment later in the Mold that covers the ceiling above you. It retches a current of slime down from above, dumping it down onto the back of your dress.

>You lose 3 Hits


>>726890
Your bullet annihilates one of the Mold-corpses, and the flames ensure that no spores are released from its corpse. The slime from its attack spews over you, but doesn't soak into your skin.

>You lose 2 Hits


>>726891
The Fox climbs partway out of the cage, growling as it looks at the monsters attacking you and your friends. With a squeaky yap, it barks a fireball out at the monsters.

[1d10+1]

>For everyone


After the first round of attacks, two Mold-corpses have been annihilated, and ten remain. The others start to change their tactics. While half of them sink back into the Mold, the others charge directly at you, pincers and claws raised to stab and bite right into you.

[1d10] vs Cloud
[1d10] vs Thessaly
[1d10] vs Cutlass
[1d10] vs Alder
[1d10] vs Cerulean

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 8 = 8 / Roll #4 6 = 6 / Roll #5 8 = 8 / Roll #6 1 = 1

 No.726893

>>726891
>>726892
>Forgot that the one that attacked Cerulean critfailed

The Fox's fireball destroys the one that tried to vomit slime upon Cerulean, ensuring that no spores can get out and infect you.

9 Mold-corpses remain

 No.726894

>>726892
"Tell me if you have been affected, please- the sooner I treat you, the better!" he chirps, before scrabbling a little and trying to take a shot at the one coming for Cutlass!
>Spellslinger [1d10+1] (Fire)

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.726895

>>726892
Cloud lowers his wand as he blows away the blobs. As they back up and form on the door, he gets an idea. He grabs one of the Salamander Breath containers. He sets it on the ground, and with his eye glowing he focuses on enlarging it.
>Wax/Wane [Grow Salamander's Breath] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.726896

>>726892
She hisses and lashes out with a purple tendril from her horn, trying to latch on to the creature that threatens her.
[1d10+1] Lifestream

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.726897

>>726892

"Agh! I hate this!" Cutlass groans, attacking the one above her.

Dual Attack [1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1

 No.726898

>>726893
>>726892
Cerulean gives a smile smile.
"Nice hit! Keep it up," she says as the one falls to the ground.
"Oh, here, shoot this for something really cool," she says and tosses the bottle of the Salamnder's Breath at the ceiling, using some aura to make sure it can wedge itself in the mess of mold and body parts.

>Combo attack with fox!

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.726899

>>726894
Adjusting to shoot the bottle!

 No.726900

>>726897

[1d10] dodge

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.726901

>>726897
>you were healed earlier so you're at full wounds, not 3

>>726894
>>726895
>>726896
>>726898
The hallway erupts into chaos as five different battles break out. Cloud, Thessaly, Cutlass and Alder are all badly cut by the claws of the Kalphite corpses, and vile slime accumulates on their wounds, looming dangerously closely to sinking into the cuts themselves and spreading who knows what kind of evil diseases into their bloodstreams.

>Cloud loses 2 Hits

>Thessaly loses 3 Hits
>Cutlass loses 1 Hit
>Alder loses 3 Hits

Cloud, shaken off balance by the cut, loses control of his spell, and his bottle of Salamander's Breath vanishes from sight as it shrinks. Thessaly destroys the one that attacked her, gaining 3 Hits to distribute as she pleases. Cutlass cuts down the corpse that attacked her, but another jabs her from the side, penetrating deep into her flesh with its jagged, filthy claw. However, as she falls to the ground, she manages to avoid inhaling the black spores that shower down from above.

>Cutlass 0/4


However, as many more Kalphites emerge from the mold covering the floor and ceiling, Alder gets an idea. He notices the Fox completely miss its shot at the bottle of Salamander's Breath that Cerulean tossed, and so aims his gun at it, firing a fire cartridge. The shot explodes upon contact with the volatile powder, scattering light and heat all across the room!

>roll dodge, even if you're helpless


>Paused

 No.727231

Last time on PirateQuest…

After Cloud met up with the rest of the party, they had a chance to collect themselves and review all that had transpired since the darkness flooded Mallea's basement. They were missing well over half their numbers: Zerk, Paraiba, Plague, Schnitzel, Puddin, Ossie, Splendid and Mallea were all nowhere to be seen in any of the rooms they'd explored on the First or Second Floor.

And yet, it almost seemed as if traces of the missing allies were being left all around the manor. Splendid's prayer book, Psalms of the Entombed Maiden, had been left in the Foyer, where Alder discovered it. Puddin took advantage of his unusual name to leave a clear hint for Cerulean in the Music Room. There, Puddin apparently left a literal bowl of pudding in a cooler, alongside bottles of Salamander's Breath, a powerful, smoldering red powder that would help them burn away the massive walls of black Mold that gripped the Second Floor's western half.

Alongside this equipment, Puddin left behind another message, warning them against listening to the radio in the Rec Room, and confessing that they had "lost the girl" – who, based on his plea for the reader to not tell Alder, was implied to be Splendid. But, that didn't exactly seem to make sense. You see, over in the Master Bedroom's walk-in closet, which held the latter to the Attic, there was an encrypted message, made using the cipher of the Psalm's chapters and verses. Whoever's writing the encrypted messages would need a good deal of familiarity with the Psalms, and so at first glance it would seem to be Splendid. If it really is her leaving them, when did Puddin "lose" her? The sequence of events wasn't clear.

Deciding to press onward, the party began using the Salamander's Breath to burn away the Mold that choked the Second Floor. The entire western half of the Second Floor was covered, wall, ceiling, floor and windows. Cloud, Alder and Cutlass determined that the Mold, and the Oddity that presumably controlled it, was the Sin of Jealousy, just as the Immolatioknight embodied the Sin of Malice. Using My Eye, Thessaly was able to discern that the corrupted magic on this floor – and therefore, the Oddity – was concentrated somewhere either in the Magical Research Study, or in the Alchemy Lab directly adjacent.

Conserving their Salamander's Breath, they went to the end of the West Hall, aiming to loop around through the Storage Room to the north. Awaiting them at the end of the pitch-black hall was a mob of Kalphite corpses that the Mold had absorbed; the Kalphite bodies showed signs of dissection and autopsy, and the Mold had liberally rearranged limbs and segments to create abhorrent mosaics of chitin and blood.

 No.727232

>Cloud, Alder, Cutlass, Cerulean, Thessaly
The hallway erupts into chaos as five different battles break out. Cloud, Thessaly, Cutlass and Alder are all badly cut by the claws of the Kalphite corpses, and vile slime accumulates on their wounds, looming dangerously closely to sinking into the cuts themselves and spreading who knows what kind of evil diseases into their bloodstreams.

>Cloud loses 2 Hits

>Thessaly loses 3 Hits
>Cutlass loses 1 Hit
>Alder loses 3 Hits

Cloud, shaken off balance by the cut, loses control of his spell, and his bottle of Salamander's Breath vanishes from sight as it shrinks. Thessaly destroys the one that attacked her, gaining 3 Hits to distribute as she pleases. Cutlass cuts down the corpse that attacked her, but another jabs her from the side, penetrating deep into her flesh with its jagged, filthy claw. However, as she falls to the ground, she manages to avoid inhaling the black spores that shower down from above.

>Cutlass 0/4


However, as many more Kalphites emerge from the mold covering the floor and ceiling, Alder gets an idea. He notices the Fox completely miss its shot at the bottle of Salamander's Breath that Cerulean tossed, and so aims his gun at it, firing a fire cartridge. The shot explodes upon contact with the volatile powder, scattering light and heat all across the room!

>roll dodge, even if you're helpless

 No.727233

>>727232
Alder's moment of satisfaction is quickly washed away when he realizes that the explosion isn't discriminating between them or the Kalphites. He tries to scrabble out of the way as quickly as possible!
>Dodge [1d10]

In what time he has to spare, the griffon tries to force-feed Cutlass a rather nasty, but beneficial mix. She looks pretty banged up, and an explosion like this could be pretty bad for her. He can worry about his own injuries later.
>Natural Remedy [1d10+1] (Treating both any infections on her, and healing)

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

 No.727234

>>727232

"I actually preferred the heat to this," Cutlass groans.

[1d10] to get up
[1d10] to dodge

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.727235

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>727232
Cloud stumbles from the cut, looking own as the bottle vanishes from sight. He tries to scramble for it, but it's too late, out of sight and lost forever.
Before he can react to that bad luck, his ears perk as he hears the gunshot, looking up as the barrel explodes above them. Cloud tries to jump back to avoid being burned by the flames, and gives a flick of his wand to try and direct most of the explosion down the hall towards the door and the moss rather than on them.
>Dodge [1d10]
>Tamer of the Squalls [Direct Explosion to Door] [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.727236

>>727233
>>727234

"W-wait, what are you-" Cutlass begins to object, but has her mouth filled with the contents of the bottle. She coughs and chokes on the substance, thus the failures I rolled. It's all Alder's fault.

 No.727237

>>727232
Cerulean attempts to grab the fox and jump away so they both would be safe from the explosion, but she makes sure to put herself between the explosion and the fox in case something goes wrong.

>GET DOWN MR. PRESIDENT!

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.727238

>>727232
Thinking quickly, the purple life force around her horn turns to gleaming gold as she concentrates it into a solid beam, aiming it at Cutlass.
>Healing Cutlass for 3 hits

Seeing the imminent explosion, her eyes widen, and she dives to the ground for cover.
[1d10] Dodge

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.727239

>>727233
>>727234
The brief and fumbling struggle that takes place between Alder and Cutlass keeps them from being able to duck and cover properly. The explosion rips them off the ground, sending them tumbling and smoldering across the floor until the two slam against the wooden paneling just below the windows on the hallway's southern wall. Both are singed and aching, their bodies scorched and stinging as if they'd just both been tossed into an open flame.

>Alder 0/5

>Cutlass went to 0/2 but is now back at 7/4 from crit healing
>Cutlass half-damage reduction will apply the first turn of the next combat

>>727238
>Cutlass actually just got healed by Alder so you can keep those 3 for now
Alder and Cutlass knock into you in their thrashings, pinning your legs underneath you. You're unable to escape, as a blinding-hot combustion erupts from the bottle and bathes the hall in mind-killing heat and light.
>Thessaly 0/4

>>727235
You hear a faint clinking and clattering of glass rolling around the ground somewhere beneath you. It's faint, but it sounds like there's still a chance to recover it – but you've got more important matters right now. With no other cover available, you turn and crouch behind a massive column of mold clinging to the wall, and though the smell is abhorrent, the black fungus manages to shield you from the majority of the explosion. A wave of heat flashes across your back, singing the tips of your hairs, but you are largely unharmed.

>>727237
You turn, dive and clutch the lantern all about, giving it a good shielding – but unfortunately, your only available shield is your body. In this situation, your stature just makes things worse. The thick insulation of the raincoat only serves to make the fire's heat scream all the more intensely. It feels like you're being cooked en papillote on a grill as the rubber of the raincoat superheats all around you.

>Cerulean 6/4


>>727235
>>727233
>>727234
>>727238
>>727237

Your eyes sting and water after the explosion fades. The otherwise pitch-dark hall is faintly illuminated by a lingering red glow across all surfaces. Through that glow, and the faint light of Cerulean's lantern, you faintly see that, although the northern bend of the West Hall itself seems undamaged, it has been purged of the black Mold. Not even the spores were spared, seemingly all burnt up in the explosion. Remnants of Kalphite claws and half-decayed carapaces are scattered about, vaguely twitching but otherwise no real threat anymore.

The door at the end of the hall has been blown off its hinges, revealing a stone corridor just beyond, which bends to the east after a short distance. You know from the map that this should lead into the second floor's Storage Room. From there, you should be able to get into the Alchemy Lab and Magical Study – the two nexuses of this floor's corrupted magic.

The Fox crawls out of the lantern, sniffing at Cerulean's burns. It gently licks them, soothing the pain.

>2 uses of Salamander's Breath left, or 4 if Cloud can recover his shrunken bottle

 No.727240

>>727238
>>727239
>>727233
>per rust's instructions, Alder is healed instead to 3/5

 No.727241

>>727239
>>727233

Cutlass coughs and hacks from the potion forced down her throat. "What was-" she begins to ask before she processes the fact that her body managed to get through that explosion virtually unscathed.

She sighs. "Look, thanks. But, ask first next time," she says haughtily. She wipes her mouth. "Or at least warn me… That tasted TERRIBLE. What's in that? Vomit?"

Cutlass then walks up to the door that's been blasted off its hinges and peeks inside.

 No.727242

>>727239
Cloud huddles behind the mass of mold, holding his breath and his ears as the flames wash over the hallway. Once the ringing stops and he can hear again, he sits there in silence, sweating from the panic and the heat and taking a few deep breaths. He peaks back out into the mostly cleansed hallway, seeing the danger gone but seeing the others were caught up in most of the blast.
"…Is everypony alright?"
He asks, looking across the ground and tapping his hoof to try and hear the clinking of glass.
>Find bottle [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.727243

>>727242
Your hoof catches on a small bit of resistance as you search around. You eventually find the bottle, not much bigger than a corn kernel now, stuck between two floorboards which presumably shielded it from the explosion.

 No.727244

>>727239
>>727239
She groans and winces as she struggles back up, her whole body aching from the explosion. She is rather disoriented for a minute, eventually clearing it up and patting her face. She gives a small little nod of approval at the sight of the mold being gone. "A barbaric, but not independent solution."

After a minute of convalescence, she starts heading towards the alchemy lab, driven by curiosity.

>>727242
"Just grand here. To an extent."

 No.727245

>>727242

"Aye," Cutlass answers. "Though my mouth tastes like bile."

 No.727246

>>727241
You can see that the narrow stone corridor bends after a few meters, turning to the east. There appears to be another door at the end of the corridor. Even though it was too far away from the epicenter of the explosion to be affected, here's no Mold on the door. However, any attempts to open it fail. It feels as though there's a great weight holding it in place.

>Roll lockpicking and/or strength to open it. Strength is DC 8 without a lockpicking success, and DC 6 if lockpicking succeeds

 No.727247

>>727244
You head north with Cutlass into the stone corridor.

See >>727246 for details. Refer to the map (>>726811) for a visual rep of where you are

 No.727248

>>727239
>>727240
Alder lets out a pained huff and struggles to all fours, before looking around the hallway. "I guess that is, ehm… that." he says, before looking around to the others "Shall we check out in the Lab, or the Study?" he suggests.

>>727244
"Thank you kindly, Miss Thessaly. Your timely intervention was most appreciated."

>>727241
"A-Ack! Apologies, Captain Cutlass." the griffon says, bowing deeply. "S-Some of the herbs are rather bitter, and I did not have any time to give you any of the nicer-tasting additives. I will endeavor to be more careful with it in the future." he says, before looking to the door. "Would you like me to try opening it? If you do not already have it, that is."

 No.727249

>>727243
Cloud takes his dagger, using it to pop the bottle out from the floorboards. Once freed, his eye glows orange as he attempts to enlarge it now that most of their supply was used in the explosion.
>Wax/Wane [Grow] [1d10+1]

And then he follows the others through the now cleared door.

>>727244
"Glad nopony was too hurt by that."

>>727245
"…Alright."

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.727250

>>727249
You return the bottle to a much more suitable size, but you realize that you really don't have all that much left between the lot of you – just two full bottles, counting your own. Considering how much abuse the first two Mold monsters you fought could take, this may be a problem.

>>727248
>>727249
You too join Cutlass and Thessaly in proceeding down the stone corridor. See: >>727246

 No.727251

>>727246

"Oh good," Cutlass comments optimistically. "No mold. I want to go that way," she says as she quickly heads toward the door, tip-toeing around the mold that may be on the ground.

When the door doesn't open, she grumbles and gets down on her knees to get a better view of the lock. Of course, being so short, being on her knees means she's not a fair bit lower than the knob. She telekinetically tips her hat back and lets it fall down to her neck so she can see up at the lock. In so doing, she reveals her horrendous hat hair.

[1d10] lockpicking with my lock pick and Master Thief

>>727248

"Oh, you have flavor additives? That's… actually pretty nice. So many potions are just awful. Good to see someone thinking ahead and thinking of the recipients."

When Alder offers to try to open it, Cutlass rolls her eyes as she practices her craft. "Yeah, believe it or not, being a pirate teaches you a thing or two about picking locks."

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.727252

>>727248
"I'll send you the consultation fee," she deadpans.

>>727246
She tries to open the door, frowning as she's met with unexpected resistance. She steps back, takes a deep breath and releases a magical blast to brute force it.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6

 No.727253

>>727239
Cerulean hisses a bit at her burns, but she still seems to be trucking along well enough. She looks at the fox as it licks her, giving a small chuckle and petting his head.
"I'm good. A bit cooked, but still fine. Thanks."

>>727242
A bit singed, but otherwise okay!" Cerulean calls out.

 No.727254

>>727250
Cloud holds onto the bottle for now, opting to not use his magic on it again yet.

He follows the others down the stone corridor cautiously, not knowing what could be past. When it's all clear he feels much more confident walking along at this momentary break. When they come to the sturdy door, Cloud takes his Tooth of Sa'eer, prodding the door as he did before with the bedroom to make the blockage a non-issue.
>Tooth of Sa'eer [DC5] [1d10]
>Recharge 1: Attacks from this knife do not deal damage, but instead cause the target to become ethereal and intangible, causing them to phase through other tangible objects for (Roll - DC) turns. The effect applies to the limb that the knife's blade touches. During the duration of this effect, the target cannot use any attack or technique that would require the use of the affected body part.

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.727255

>>727253

"Hmm. Do people eat shark?" Cutlass ponders out loud as she fidgets with the door lock.

 No.727256

>>727255
"You've never heard of flake?" she asks.

 No.727257

>>727255
"I'd…rather not find out in case you guys get hungry," she says with an awkward and nervous smile.

 No.727258


 No.727259

>>727256
>>727257

"I… haven't," Cutlass responds to Thessaly with a pause before laughing. "There's a name for it?"

 No.727260

>>727259
"There is. It's barbaric, if you ask me."

 No.727261

>>727246
"Hrm…"
Master Thief: Lockpick [1d10+1]

>>727251
"Mmm. I have found it is nice for it to be a little… easier to take in." he says, with a bit of a giggle.

>>727252
"Hmm? O-Oh! Alright, I will be ready for it."

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.727262

>>727260
Cerulean gives a sigh of relief as she hears Thess' choice of words to describe this 'flake' stuff.

 No.727263

>>727254
>>727252
>>727251
>>727253
>>727261
When Cutlass takes picks from the lockpicking kit, she can see the words "Property of Ossicone Bolts, Gates of Justice. If found return to King Crow's Roost, front office," printed on the case's matte interior. Beneath that is the Gates of Justice's jolly roger.

Cutlass and Alder then try to pick the lock, but just as they feel the tumblers giving them some trouble, Thessaly simply blasts the lock, expediting the process greatly. Thankfully, Alder and Cutlass are able to get away without getting singed or damaging their equipment.

When you try to open the door afterward, you find that it only opens outward, but it stops short after being pushed no more than a centimeter. Cloud then pokes the door with his knife, turning it intangible. As a result, you're able to reach through the door to feel what might be obstructing it. As it turns out, there's a rather heavy barrel in the way, which had been put there presumably to keep the door blocked. However, with the door taken care of, it shouldn't be a difficult matter to move it now.

>Roll strength to remove said barrel.

 No.727264

>>727263
"What next in the parade of constant obstacles?" she wonders, reaching out with her telekinesis to try and push the barrel aside.
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.727265

>>727261

"You don't say," Cutlass says sarcastically with a bit of an awkward chuckle in response.

>>727260
>>727262

"Barbaric? Why? They're like the most primitive predators in the world."

"Present company excluded," she adds quickly, looking to Cerulean.

>>727263
>>727254
>>727260

"Okay, well if you're going to just ruin all my hard work, I guess I won't even bother," she says as she stands up with a huff.

"Hmm," she ponders out loud as she observes her lockpicking kit. "Does the name Ossicone Bolts mean anything to anyone? He or she is apparently a Gates of Justice employee."

 No.727266

>>727263
Cloud tucks his dagger away, reaching through the door and feeling the barrel in the way. He knows how quick the effects can fade, so gives it a quick shove to try and tip it over so it rolls away.
>Shove [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.727267

>>727265
"Never heard of him."

 No.727268

>>727263
>>727264
"A-Ah! That seems to have done it." he says, letting out a startled little chirp and pulling his talons away as the lock's blasted off. "I suppose they definitely do not want us in here, then?" he says, trying to help push the barrel away
[1d10].

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.727269

>>727265

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.727270

>>727265
"To hunt and feed on such a royal creature, in the millions no less. Unconscionable."

She shakes her head. "You have had much more dealings with the Gates than I have."

>>727268
"The house truly doesn't want us in there," she concurs. "I daresay it's Jealousy at work again."

 No.727271

>>727270

"It's no different from what any other carnivore does," Cutlass shrugs.

 No.727272

>>727269
For some reason, as if in a moment of divine inspiration, you are struck with a bit of… what could only be described as trivia: The small bumps on the heads of giraffes and certain other species of ungulates are known as ossicones. Ossies, for short…

>>727264
>>727265
>>727268
>>727266
It takes the lot of you pushing as one, but you manage to shove the barrel aside, which finally allows you access to the Storage Room. Its contents can best be described as controlled chaos. Various magical and alchemical tools are stashed away here; alembics, microscopes, cutting boards, pots, vials, spellbooks, tuning forks, compasses, and so on. They are stacked in many piles all around the room, a cluttered mess to all but to those who are familiar with the room and where they've squirreled away everything.

There's a door to the east and a door to the south. Per the map, to the east is the Alchemical Lab, and to the South is the Magical Study. Both doors have Mold seeping around their edges, but have been blocked off with chairs and crates and the like. Presumably, they are also locked as well. Whoever was in here last must have attempted to use this room as a safe hideout, and in so doing, tried to seal themselves in.

It is just as this thought occurs to you that you notice a horrible sight, near the southern door: A pile of half-melted, blackened bones, splayed out across the ground. A slurry of tar lays all around them, presumably the remnants of whatever flesh and skin this poor creature had. It's about your size, but you can't tell what race they may have been, as the damage is quite extensive.

 No.727273

>>727265
"Nah, it's good. That just means I'm good at what I do…I think. 'Primitive' is a good word, right?"

>>727270
Cerulean's eyes light up as Thess says those nice things. She wants to hug her for that, but knows this isn't the place nor time.

>>727272
"Woah, look at all this…stuff," Cerulean says as she starts to look around at all the alchemy stuff with childlike curiosity. She even looks at the glass-stuff, likely the image of her face getting warped like a fun house mirror from the odd shapes of the glass equipment.

 No.727274

>>727272
"Well this is eerily mundane," she comments, before noticing the rotted corpse in the corner. "Ah. There it is." She covers her nose and mouth at the stench of death, approaching the remains. She leans in slightly, her horn glowing in the gloom. "Labh."

[1d10+2] Commune

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

 No.727275

>>727272
Cloud steps into the room once they're cleared, looking at the scattered mess. It almost seems like the place was trashed, but Cloud does give a look over for anything that might be helpful, given how many notes he's found so far in other rooms.
>Search [1d10]

While he looks around, his eyes settle onto the melted pile of bones, a chill running through his spine as he realizes it's not mold but whatever was left of the body. He takes the remaining raincoat and puts it on over himself, not taking any risks now if the mold can do that.
"Let's not go through the south door guys."

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727276

>>727272
Alder takes a look around the room carefully, humming a little as he tries to look through the piles for anything of note. He cringes away upon finally seeing the horribly degraded skeleton on the floor, and flutters his wings nervously. "P-Perhaps they tried to, uhm… torch something in here."

 No.727277

>>727272
>>727275

"Fine by me…" Cutlass mutters, containing her fear. "I wouldn't mind staying in here… Even if that other guy obviously had the same idea and it didn't work out for him…"

Cutlass begins moving the chairs and crates away from the eastern door. And, if she can do so, she starts trying to pick the lock.

[1d10] with the lockpicking kit and Master Thief

>>727276

"It looks more like they've been… digested," Cutlass says the word with disgust.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.727278

>>727273
>perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.727279

>>727276
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.727280

>>727274
As you attempt to commune with the bones, you feel a heavy layer of weight and disorientation settle down onto your mind. It's like something aqueous, slimy, and dreadfully cold dripping into your skull, spilling through every groove and wrinkle of your brain and underneath your skin, over your eyes and down through your nose and mouth… the Mold is clinging on to the bones jealously, trying to keep their secrets for itself… but you manage to pry something out: A memory of multiple familiar voices, overlapping arguments that the deceased must have caught in the final moments of their dwindling consciousness.

"All you've done is complain–"
"–was because of me that we survived the first fight–"
"–and how did that work out for–"
"–died because he wouldn't listen to–"
"–saying he deserved it!? The radio was right, you're losing it–"
"–all you did was second-guess my advice and look! He died because of YOU–"
"DO ME A FAVOR AND GET YOURSELF KILLED!"

>>727273
>>727275
>>727279
Many piles of the stacked tools and components lie about, as well as inside the crates and barrels that lie around. Cloud just gets a splinter or two in his hooves as he searches, but Alder and Cerulean come across something rather interesting:

Alder discovers bags of flowering herbs, contained in little soil pouches. They appear fresh, coming in several different colors. From his herblore knowledge, he could probably mix these into an incredibly potent healing remedy if he had proper equipment.

>Red, Green and Yellow Herbs

>Effect: When combined with a successful roll in the Alchemy Lab, creates a potion that fully heals the target and dispels any status condition.

Cerulean discovers several vials of ground-up red stone, as well as several other chemical components, including sulfur, charcoal and quite a few componds she has no chance of pronouncing. Among them is a recipe for Salamander's Breath. If she has the right equipment, she could make even more for the battles ahead.

>Salamander's Breath Chemical Components

>Effect: When combined with a successful roll in the Alchemy Lab, creates additional bottles of Salamander's Breath.

>>727277
You easily pick the lock on the door to the Alchemy Lab. Once everyone's ready, you'll be able to proceed onward.

 No.727281

>>727280
>>727279
>>727278
>>727275
>>727274

"W-well, I got the door to the lab open…" Cutlass announces nervously to everyone. "But, I'm not going to be the one to open it," she says, looking to the mold working its way through the cracks.

"Who wants to go first?"

 No.727282

>>727280
Cloud winces as he feels a splinter slide into his hoof. He steps back from the shelves, prying out the splinter with a little more difficulty than usual, as he's extra cautious since they've been walking through the mold.

>>727281
"You're a captain, why don't you go first and lead us?"
Cloud suggests.

 No.727283

>>727282

Cutlass glares at you. "The captain doesn't risk danger unnecessarily. Otherwise, the crew would be lost without her," she says in a self-important tone.

 No.727284

>>727280
She stiffens as she practically wrenches information from the remains, her lip trembling at the voices she hears. Does she recognize them, perhaps?
[1d10] Insight

>>727281
"You are our leader, aren't you?" she asks plainly.

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.727285

>>727284

"W-why does everyone insist *I* do it!?"

 No.727286

File: 1573444932924.jpg (120.7 KB, 1004x565, No Idea.jpg)

>>727280
Cerulean looks at the stuff around her and blinks at it all, especially the one chemical that looks like it has thirty letters and twelve syllables. But she shrugs as she figures 'how hard could mixing a bunch of things be?'
"Alright little guy, wanna give it a shot?" She gives the little fox a little bit each of the flammable chemicals to play with/eat as Cerulean more or less haphazardly starts to mix everything together.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.727287

>>727280
"Hrm… these will be very useful, I think…" he says, packing the herbs away for later.

>>727281
>>727285
"I can go first, if need be- I have a decent sense for danger."

>>727286
"B-Be careful, please."

 No.727288

>>727287

"Th-thank you, Alder," Cutlass stammers, now blushing a bit. "At least someone here has some sense of decorum."

 No.727289

>>727283
"Yea, you know I think you're right. We're fine without you for a leader."

 No.727290

>>727285
"Aren't captains supposed to lead by example?" she snarks.

>>727287
>>727288
"Hm. Apparently not." She says no more.

 No.727291

>>727287
"It's fine! How hard can mixing a bunch of weird smelling things be?" She says as she is clearly not wearing safety goggles.

 No.727292

>>727289

"Excuse YOU!" Cutlass squeaks. "You wouldn't know leadership if it slapped you in the flank!"

>>727290

"And what sort of example would I be providing if I died because I foolishly went ahead of the others?" Cutlass tries to reason.

 No.727293

>>727292
"Better you than me," she retorts bitingly.

 No.727294

>>727292
"That's what I just said, I won't know good leadership with you around."
Cloud retorts.

 No.727295

>>727284
You recognize brief glimpses – slight giveaways from their tones, inflections, accents. One of them, for certain, is Vice-Captain Plague of the Hidden Dagger, as well as Puddin Tame. The third… you're not entirely sure. It sounds female for certain, but the overlap of voices, as well as the mind-numbing fog that the Mold's mere presence inflicted upon the memory, has obscured the third voice's identity.

>>727286
Thanks to the Fox, you have little need of fancy equipment like bunsen burners and personal protective equipment. In a horrorshow of small bangs, pouring water into acid and taste-testing straight from the beakers, you manage to concoct a very… jury-rigged portion of Salamander's Breath. You also tossed in some spice for flavor.

>Salamander's Breath acquired

>Total: 6 uses across 3 bottles.

It really does seem like listening to that baroque music increased your brainpower.

>>727281
>>727282
>>727284
>>727287
>>727286
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ieJDV-z2Yk

As Alder leads your group through the eastern door, the difference in air quality is immediate and dramatic. All of you, including those wearing the white cloth masks, stagger as that first wave of air hits you. The air is thick with black spores, floating and puffing upward through the air, as though they were gentle dandelion tufts animated by a gentle breeze. The Alchemy Lab is a very long room, extending quite a distance to the south. Desks for experimentation line the walls, rigged up with systems of pipes for handling water and other chemicals. Almost all of them are covered almost entirely with a thick black Mold. The stone floor is similarly coated – it grips the walls and ceiling too.

The key difference with this room is that the Mold in here seems to have… matured. Instead of being simply a carpet of dark, pulsating fungus, the Mold has sophisticated, coming together in long, ropy clumps, as thick as Cerulean's legs. They almost look like a network of half-decaying tree roots. From the Mold's obsidian surface sprouts a series of pustules or bulbs, and from the bulbs sprout long, thin black feelers. Occasional, gobs of sickly color are visible, swimming up to the surface and sinking back down.

To the south, you see that the Mold just fills the room from floor to the ceiling. The doorway to the Magical Study is completely blocked off, not even visible underneath the hills of this terrible black fungus, writhing and pulsating with its sick vivacity.

>Roll perception

 No.727296

>>727294

Cutlass blushes. But, she still manages to turn her head in a snooty fashion. "You think I'd ever want to slap your flanks?" she makes an attempt at scoffing. "Don't delude yourself."

>>727295

The moment Alder opens the door, Cutlass vomits on the ground next to her. Her eyes tear up from the sudden bile in her throat. "Shit," she huffs as she wipes her face and quickly puts her mask on. "This is fucking terrible…"

She can't bring herself to step into the room proper, instead just looking around from the doorway.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.727297

>>727295
"O-Oh, goodness. I suppose this 'Jealousy' must be thickest in here, then. This mold has had quite time time to mature." the griffon says coughing a little from the sudden drop in air quality. He looks back to the others nervously, before saying. "J-Just a moment, please. Let me try and deal with this some ahead of time."
>>727295
Alder steps back towards the laboratory, finding a clear space to do some mixing with his new herbs.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.727298

>>727295
Before heading off, she examines the remains a bit more thoroughly, trying to discern at least what sort of creature they belonged to.
[1d10] Perception

She suppresses a dry heave at the sight of the fungus, taking a deep breath and pressing forward into the room. She peers through His Eye to try and glean a little more.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.727299

>>727296
"Hey, I didn't say anything like that. You jumped to that conclusion on your own."

>>727295
Cloud looks into the Alchemy Lab, shocked that every inch of the room is coated not just in the mold, but that its grown into a jungle practically. There isn't even spots to walk through safely. He's glad he's wearing his mask and raincoat, just opening the door feels like an infection would spread. He glances back at the skeleton, seeing why it would have barred the doors now. He turns back from the Lab, setting his bottle on the ground as his eye glows, attempting to enlarge it.
>Wax/Wane [Grow] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.727300

>>727299

Cutlass's face goes even more red, unable to think of a comeback.

 No.727301

>>727296
"Do you have a face-cover, of some sort? I could lend my scarf, or a cloak- perhaps you could make something of that?" he asks, frowning a little as she loses her stomach over the sight.

 No.727302

>>727301

Cutlass points to the mask she put on after throwing up. "Th-thanks, I'm f-fine," she stammers.

 No.727303

>>727295
Cerulean has a look of accomplishment as she gets the Salamander's Breath done, looking quite pleased with herself.
"See? That wasn't so bad."

Cerulean takes a few steps back from the spores, waving her hoof a bit and coughing.
"Yikes. That…is pretty bad. Anywhere else that needs some looking? Cause I think my nose will melt off in there…."

 No.727304

>>727297
Enduring against the oppressive horror of the spores' odor, you manage to appropriate some of the Fox's flame, mixing together an incredibly potent healing concoction. The fact that you've prepared it beforehand, as well as the high quality of the herbs, ensures you won't run into risks when using it.

>Mallea's Genuine All-in-One Pick-me-Up

>Allows the full healing of any character, removing all status effects in the process. No roll is used unless there would be some condition that prevents you from directly administering it to the patient (ie, throwing it over a great distance, an enemy blocking your path, etc)

>>727299
As you set the bottle down, the Mold immediately starts to creep toward it, attempting to claim it for itself into its own body.

>>727298
The bones are too badly damaged, reduced into a semi-solid slurry by the Mold's corrosive effects. All you can tell is that it was someone of your size.

>>727296
>>727297
>>727298
>>727299
>>727303
Every now and again, Cutlass notices the currents of the Mold shift and turn. In some ways, it almost resembles shapes moving underneath a blanket, turning over in their sleep, perhaps. When the gigantic mass to the south shifts this way, the Mold that covers the floor recedes somewhat, coming back like the tide during a low tide period.

What Thessaly sees using My Eye reifies this observation: Although the gigantic mass of Mold glows golden, indicating that it is an Oddity like the Immolatioknight, it seems that there are several clusters of shapes underneath the surface of the gigantic mass. These clusters glow the brightest, like small suns. When they move, the mass of Mold moves with them, reflecting their movements. They seem to be in control of it, dictating its movements and what it absorbs into itself. If there's any way to "kill" the Mold, it would seem like these are the things to hit.

Thessaly also sees that there are many, many more of those clusters within the Mold that extends into the Magic Research Study. The ones in the Alchemy Lab number at about one half or one third of those in the Magical Study.

 No.727305

>>727304

"E-everyone sees that, right?" Cutlass asks, pointing to the shifting shapes under the mold.

"I hate this so much…"

Cutlass draws two daggers, waiting for someone else to make the first strike.

 No.727306

>>727304
>>727305
"Perhaps this is something similar to the Immolationkight- the creature at the heart of all this."

>>727302
>>727299
>>727303
>>727298
"Right, by the way- I have one vial of something that should cleanse one of any ailment. I imagine it will be useful here, so please holler if you need it."

 No.727307

>>727304
>>727305
"Yeah, no, I see it…and smell it, too," Cerulean says as she prepares one of the freshly brewed bottles of Salamander's Breath to be used as another firebomb, giving a smile to the fire fox.
"Ready to try that trick again," she says to it as she tosses the bottle into the room.

>>727306
"No worries. I intend to stay back this time. I think I might vomit if I went in there…."

 No.727308

>>727304
Cloud picks the bottle back up, not wanting the mold to grab it away so quickly.
"Is the mold itself alive? Great, now it's even less safe."
He looks down at the bottle again, trying to grow it in his grasp. If they need to clear a room he'll need as much of this powder they can get.
>Wax/Wane [Grow] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.727309

>>727304
Her lip curls at the sight of the melted bones, trying not to think about who it might have been too hard. She might as well let the others know, though.

She resists the urge to pop the shifting masses on the spot, turning to the others first.

>>727305
>>727306
>>727307
>>727308
"It appears that Alder has the way of it. Much like the knight was the sin of Malice, this must be the sin of Jealousy. Those… things… are its weak points."

"…Another thing."

"That corpse in the other room. I spoke to it. …I think it was one of ours. I'm not sure who. Ossie, perhaps. Or even Mallea. Either way, it's very likely one of our fellows is dead."

 No.727310

>>727308
Your bottle now shrinks down to about half its size, halving its effectiveness.

>>727307
>>727306
>>727305
>>727308
>>727309
As Cerulean tosses one of the bottles into the room, the Fox sticks out its head, and launches a dart of fire out at the jury-rigged concoction!

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.727311

>>727309
"Actually dead, or… j-just in this odd, nightmare world?"

 No.727312

>>727311
"I don't even know if this is real or not."

 No.727313

>>727307
>>727310
>>727309
>>727308
>>727306
>>727305
>Followup to DM post

The fox's firebolt just misses, clipping the rim of the bottle and sending it tumbling into the black Mold's shores of pulsating mass. The firebolt fizzles out against the Mold covering the wall, singing way a tiny spot.

The bottle starts to sink into the Mold, disappearing by the second. If you're going to try to destroy it, your chances are vanishing. The Mold, noticing the attack made upon it, starts to move in your direction, spreading and growing across the ground. It's like watching the hyper-accelerated decay of some piece of fruit or a corpse.

 No.727314

>>727313
"Gan mhaith." She fires off a magical blast at the bottle before it can get consumed.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7

 No.727315

>>727309
Cerulean looks over at Thessaly with a somber, rather sad expression at hearing this.
"So then…that note from Pudding was…what was being said was real?" Her frown starts to widen.

>>727310
>>727313
But the sight of the fox missing, the bottle vanishing, and the mold being consumed puts her back on edge. She starts to back up a bit, not wanting to deal with this smelly thing nor wanting to breathe those spores again.

 No.727316

>>727310
>>727313
Cloud watches as Cerulean throws another bottle into the room, ducking behind the wall into the storage room to avoid another explosion. He then looks to his shrunken bottle, grumbling in growing frustration as his magic continues to fall again and again.
"Why can't I get this to work?"
His eye glows again as he tries to enlarge it, since they'll be even shorter on this powder now.
>Wax/Wane [Grow] [1d10+1]

>>727309
Cloud lifts his head as Thessaly makes her statement, looking over to the bones and then back to her.
"No, it can't be one of them. We wouldn't seen the others by now if they were here."

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.727317

>>727313
Alder hisses a little as the mold creeps closer, and takes a shot at the encroaching growths.
Spellslinger (Fire) [1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.727318

>>727309

"That was not Ossie," Cutlass says with smoldering certainty. "She wouldn't die so easily. Besides, that wasn't a giraffe."

>>727313

Cutlass looks around and whimpers nervously. She desperately wishes she got that new Aura ability she was considering right now.

She throws a dagger at the approaching wave of mold to see what happens. [1d10] ranged attack

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727319

>>727315
She simply shrugs. "Real's not real," she answers.

>>727316
"Perhaps you're right. We can only wait and see, I suppose."

>>727318
"For what it's worth, I heard Plague, Pudding, and a woman in the remains. I'm not sure who the third was. Either Mallea, Paraiba or Splendid. Or Auntzi herself. As for the body, it could be anyone at this point. Roughly my size. I think we can rule out Pudding or Zerk though. And Mallea, for that matter. I don't think she'd die here."

 No.727320

>>727316
You get the bottle to return to normal size, giving you its full uses.

>>727317
>>727318
As the Mold starts getting closer, Alder annihilates a good portion of those that spread toward you with a well-placed shot, clearing a small section of the floor around you. But unlike the Mold from before, this kind rapidly starts growing back, spreading around the burn in two streams, like a river that has been divided by a boulder. One of the streams latches onto Cutlass' leg, and she immediately starts to feel her strength draining away from her as it does.

>Cutlass 2/4


As Cutlass' vitality dwindles, the Mold attached to her leg starts pulling her into its mass, evidently with an aim to consume her just as it consumes everything else in this room.

>>727317
>>727316
>>727318
>>727314
>>727315
Thessaly's quick shot annihilates the sinking bottle, causing all of the makeshift Salamander's Breath to start spilling out. It's no grand eruption like that you saw earlier, but a series of small bangs and chain-reaction bursts start to ring out. The Salamander's Breath particles spread with each explosion, and the result is that the explosions start running down the Mold's gigantic hilly body, almost like magma overflowing from the rim of a volcano. The Mold shudders and twitches all over as its exterior melts and is burned away by the Breath, but no amount of thrashing or tossing that it tries can free it.

After a few seconds, most of the Mold's front layer has melted down to the floor. Inside, exposed by the Salamander's Breath, you see perhaps five or six massive glass jars, their surfaces a murky gold. At first glance, it would seem that these are the sources that Thessaly saw earlier… but… she realizes quickly that she shapes SHE saw were much smaller, and far more numerous.

And suddenly, the cause for the discrepancy is made clear.

From the mouths of the glass jars, multitudes of mice start to pour fourth. Their bodies are sleek, black and thick with chunks of Mold. Each rat is too fast to see individually, but it's clear that they have been subject to numerous experiments. Surgical scarring, burns and numerous small cruelties dot their bodies, on top of the Mold that has rearranged them into horrific configurations, crude parodies of creation and ungodly science. The Mice pour fourth from the jars, directly into the Mold. As they do so, the Mold shudders and quakes, animated by the energy of dozens of small shapes running within and causing it to grow and twist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UO-WTS6KUg

>The Mischiefs, the Sin of Jealousy


The Mold spreads faster and faster, erratically pulsing and spasming as the rampant mice run about through it every which way. Tendrils bloom from the animated roots, reaching out greedily, like dozens and dozens of prying thief's fingers.

[1d10+1] Thessaly
[1d10+1] Alder
[1d10+1] Cloud
[1d10+1] Cerulean

The tendril that's grabbed Cutlass keeps pulling her closer and closer toward the mass.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #3 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #4 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #5 9 + 1 = 10

 No.727321

>>727320
>>727317

"Looks like you saved me again," Cutlass says to Alder awkwardly with a little smirk.

However, the distraction is just enough time for her leg to get grabbed. She falls over and squeals in surprise and disgust as the thing tries to pull her in.

[1d10] to escape

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.727322

>>727320
>>727321
Cloud looks back into the room as the thrown bottle is shot, spreading the powder all over the moss and revealing the multitude of jars.
"What are those?"
Cloud questions before the mice spill out, causing him to reel back in shock.
"Mice now too? How many creatures live in here?!"
He exclaims, unsure of which thing they have to target now as the mice look to be as much of the mold as the mold itself.

As he tries to process what to do, he turns as Cutlass squeals from being grabbed and pulled towards the mass. With his jar back to normal, Cloud pops it open and throws a sode of it on the tendril and all in front of Cutlass to burn the mold away and free her.
>Salamander's Breath [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.727323

>>727320
She bares her teeth and lashes out indiscriminately at mold and mice alike. As Cutlass screams and is dragged away, she conjures another purple tendril from her horn and cracks it like a whip, trying to sever the appendage.
[1d10+1] Lifestream

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.727324

>>727320
"Ah, no. That is not good." the griffon says to himself, trying to shoot at the tendril.
Spellslinger (Fire) [1d10+1]

"Perhaps we go after each of the little bulges, or after the… mice?" he asks, trying to keep himself from retching. Not a pretty sight.

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.727325

>>727324
He'll also let out a loud, energizing screech!
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.727326

>>727320
Cerulean looks at the mold and rats, blinking in utter surprise at how such a thing can exist outside of a nightmare. She looks over to her fox demon in the lantern, then gets a bit of an idea. She didn't like it much, and it was kinda crazy, but it was to help everyone. Cerulean opens a bottle of the Salamander's Breath and proceeds to pour some into her mouth and swish it around. She then gives the air a few good bites to ignite it.

>applying Salamander's Breath to her jaws (Great weapon)


She then starts to run at the mold with her flaming maw, looking to chew and burn through the tendrils making grabs at everyone, then move away quickly before it has a chance to react properly.

>Arabian Agility: Your swiftness allows you to perform hit-and-run attacks with ease. In conditions that don’t impair your movement, all your offensive skills gain the Ranged tag when used on targets on the ground.

>Ranged Flaming Cleave 4 targets
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.727327

>>727324
>>727322
>>727321
Cutlass fails to cut herself free, and the thrashing tendril is quick to weave around Alder's shot, causing him to miss. Cloud's spray of powder mostly spills onto the floor – the tendrils controlled by the mice seem to have some instinctual recognition and fear of the Salamander's Breath, and back away before it can touch them. However, Cloud has established a safe-zone of sorts around him through scattering the smoldering powder across the ground. It burns away the Mold covering the Lab's floor, leaving it safe to walk on for now.

>>727323
When you try to fix the tendril with your spell, it instead catches you by surprise, lunging in and jabbing you directly in the center of your forehead. A cold shock jabs through your skull, like a spike of ice, followed by a dreadful mind-numbing stupor, leaving you unsteady on your hooves. The tendril retracts, and you fall to one knee.

>Lifestream has been stolen

>Thessaly 1/4

>>727326
You begin to exude fire from your mouth. Every breath causes flames to circulate around your jaws, and you could even spew it out with a powerful enough blow if you wanted. But, as you try to dart in and take chunks out of the dreadful monstrosities, the tendrils grab you by the legs, dragging you across the ground before launching you across the room. You slam into the far wall, and glass and metal shards dig into your back and legs.

>Cerulean 0/3 (between critfail and 6 to attack)


>>727322
>>727321
>>727323
>>727324
>>727326
>Cutlass should actually be 4/4 due to damage resistance from heal earlier
The tendrils slap and yank you around, the Mischiefs using the area as a kind of weapon. Alder is knocked against one of the experimentation tables, while Thessaly and Cloud take cover behind some crates against the strikes aimed for them.

In the chaos, Cutlass gets dragged away from you, pulled all the way to the southern half of the room, where she starts to sink into the mass of the Mold, her body dissapearing under its black surface. Mice start crawling all over her, even into the neck and sleeves of her dress. She feels even more of her vitality starting to diminish as Clinging Mold starts accumulating all over her skin.

>Clinging Mold Level 1: You lose 1 Wound per turn, which goes to the Mischiefs as healing.


The tendrils back away from the Salamander's Breath that Cloud spread across the floor. Instead, they're forced to circle around the right side of the room, trying to grab at you from the sides.

[1d10+1] Thessaly
[1d10+1] Alder
[1d10+1] Cloud

The Fox tries helping Cerulean to her hooves.
[1d10+1]

Cutlass feels a sudden stirring in her hat.
[1d10+2] Mystery Roll

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #3 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #4 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #5 8 + 2 = 10

 No.727328

>>727327
Cerulean crumples as a bit of a heap from that impact, making her breathe harder, even with literal fire in her mouth. The nudging of the fox demon helps to keep her in the land of the conscious as she grunts in an attempt to stand back up.
"Gotta…help them…."

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.727329

>>727327
>>727325
>Addendum: Alder is 1/5

 No.727330

>>727327
She grunts and mumbles word salad as she's stricken by the tendril, crumpling to the ground. As she struggles back up, she tries to cast an orb of destructive energy, hurling it awkwardly at the mold.
[1d10+1] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7

 No.727331

>>727327
"What the—"
Cloud starts as the mold and mice move away from his cloud of powder, though he quickly jumps back to cover to avoid being attacked before he can try to adjust to help Cutlass. He looks up over the crate to see her dragged off across the room into the mold. He hops up on the crate for a better view, keeping his eye on the spot she starts to sink into.
With a quick motion of his hoof, he flicks out his wand, conducting the air with a newfound intense concentration to swirl around the spilled power on the ground, funneling it up and over towards Cutlass to burn away the mold to free her, despite the unfortunately side effect of also putting her in a minor sandstorm.
>Using 2 TBP
>Tamer of the Squalls [Move Salamander's Breath onto Cutlass] [1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.727332

>>727327

At first, Cutlass simply grunts with exertion as she is pulled away from the group. But, once her body starts becoming immersed in the mold, and the mice crawl over her, she begins to let out a loud and long series of absolutely horrified shrieks.

In her panic, absolutely every dagger, knife, and blade in her arsenal flies out of her dress and swing randomly in every direction around her.

>Using 3 TBP

[1d10+3] to escape

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11

 No.727333

>>727327
Alder seizes up a little when he watches the mare get dragged in by the tendrils, only to be saved by Cloud- who knew you could scare mold?

He's taken away from that pleasant surprise by a couple of unpleasant ones in a row; he's thrown into a table, Cerulean is slammed into a wall, and the moldy growth spreads over Cutlass's body. As much as he'd like to tend to Cerulean's injuries, he's got a keen feeling that letting this mold cling to anything else is a bad idea. He takes the mixed up potion, and hurries over to the unicorn to shove it into her hooves.
>Mallea's Genuine All-in-One Pick-me-Up (Automatic)

 No.727334

>>727333
>Nevermind, just a regular Heal attempt
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.727335

>>727328
You are back on somewhat unsteady hooves. Although the flame billowing around your mouth helps to purge the air around you of spores, they are so prominent that their awful, poisonous smell makes you woozy.

>Cerulean 12/3


>>727330
Your bolt shreds through the tendrils bound for you and Alder, causing them to fall to the ground. A handful of mice drop out of the Mold, their broken and blackened bodies dissolving into a horrid slurry, only to be reabsorbed by the horrid fungus.

>>727331
>>727332
The current of wind blows the spilled powder across the room. Although some of it falls against the floor and explodes as it touches the Mold there, the majority of it lands on the gigantic black mass into which Cutlass sinks, burning it away in a cacophony of bursts and blasts. Although Cutlass can't avoid but be singed, given she's stuck inside, Cloud's careful manipulation of the winds, and her writhing, helps her avoid the most damage. Mold and the bodies of the Mischiefs are burned to ashes all around her as she drops down out of the mountain of black fungi.

>Clinging Mold level 1 cured


During Cutlass' thrashing, she managed to get most of the Mischiefs off of her. However, she feels one crawling up from her foreleg, up to her throat. Just as she sees the horrific abomination bare its teeth, there's a jolt from the rim of her hat. A massively long serpent's body shoots out from around the rim, sweeping deftly around her neck. The elongated serpent rips off the Mischief that was about to bite her throat, and with a flick of its head, it tosses the Mischief against the wall, where it splatters into a stain of red and black. The snake coils back around Cutlass' hat, shrinking back down to its normal size afterward.

>>727332
>>727331
>>727330
>>727328
>>727334
>2 uses of salamander's breath remain; 1 in Cloud's bottle and 1 in Cerulean's bottle.

The tendril that attacked Alder crushes his body against the ground, and a black smear starts to spread across his feathers. He feels an intense drain of vitality as it starts to soak into his skin, leaving him dizzy and highly nauseous, as if his blood and stomach were filling up with rancid seawater.

>Alder 0/4

>Clinging Mold level 1

As many of the Mischief's mice lay dead at your hooves, you realize your supply of the mold-purging Salamander's Breath are starting to run low. If the battle rages on for too long, it may be possible for the Mischiefs to simply win through attrition. About a quarter of the Mold that choked the Lab seems to have been cleared away now. It might be possible to push the Mischiefs away from the lab equipment far enough that you can try to whip up more Salamander's Breath or pick-me-ups with what's scattered around the Lab…

The Mischief's tendrils back away from you, receding into the Mold's body. The putrid blooms that sprout up all over its body start to shudder and squeeze, flexing themselves and spewing out black clouds of spores all throughout the room. As it does that, more and more of the Mischiefs back away, switching to a defensive now that it knows the awful potential of the Salamander's Breath.

>Everyone roll to avoid inhalation


>Paused

 No.727336

>Health reminder so I don't need to scroll through for next time

 No.727700

Last time, on PirateQuest…

>Thessaly 1/4

>Cutlass 4/4
>Cloud 3/5
>uses of Salamander's Breath remaining: 2 (1 in Cloud's bottle and 1 in Cerulean's bottle)

After surviving the explosion in the western hallway, the party unlocked the Storage Room, which was the northwestern room of the manor's second floor. All three of the doors leading in and out of the Storage Room had been locked and blocked off by heavy crates and barrels, evidently having been used by the last occupants as a makeshift safe area before they moved on.

In a corner of the Storage Room lay the melted, slurried remains of what could only be presumed to be one of their allies. As the remains were unidentifiable, all that could be done was to have Thessaly Commune with the skeletal pieces lying in the muck. In doing so, she recalled the deceased's last memory: An argument overheard in the last moments of their consciousness. The voices heard belonged to Captain Plague, Puddin Tame, and an unidentified third speaker, that being a female.

From their words, it seemed like they were arguing over another ally's apparent death against one of the four Sins. Whether the deceased in question was the melted corpse in the Storage Room, or one of the burned corpses in the Dining Hall, Thessaly couldn't tell.

In any case, the party had to move on. They decided to move east, proceeding through the Alchemy Lab. Inside, they found that the Mold had coated nearly every surface in the room, clinging and festering upon everything. The southern half of the room was completely blocked off by Mold, from floor to ceiling. Knowing that they were closing in on the Sin of Jealousy, they had no choice but to attack the Mold with the bottles of Salamander's Breath.

As they rocked the Alchemy Lab with another explosion, clearing out a great deal of the Mold, they were confronted by the Oddity that controlled that Mold: A collection of laboratory mice preserved in glass jars, their bodies gruesomely altered by many experiments. Acting as a kind of hive-mind across countless tiny bodies, the mice comprised the Oddity known as the Mischiefs, representing the Sin of Jealousy. The Mischiefs poured forth from their bottles into the Mold, animating it as both weapon and armor.

From the few exchanges of blows that occurred, the party could immediately tell that the Mischiefs were perhaps far more dangerous than the Immolatioknight, for though the Mischiefs had a crippling weakness against fire and the Salamander's Breath, they could regenerate themselves by stealing the party's vitality with the help of the Mold.

 No.727701

>Cerulean
You are back on somewhat unsteady hooves. Although the flame billowing around your mouth helps to purge the air around you of spores, they are so prominent that their awful, poisonous smell makes you woozy.

>Cerulean 12/3


>Thessaly

Your bolt shreds through the tendrils bound for you and Alder, causing them to fall to the ground. A handful of mice drop out of the Mold, their broken and blackened bodies dissolving into a horrid slurry, only to be reabsorbed by the horrid fungus.

>Cutlass, Cloud

The current of wind blows the spilled powder across the room. Although some of it falls against the floor and explodes as it touches the Mold there, the majority of it lands on the gigantic black mass into which Cutlass sinks, burning it away in a cacophony of bursts and blasts. Although Cutlass can't avoid but be singed, given she's stuck inside, Cloud's careful manipulation of the winds, and her writhing, helps her avoid the most damage. Mold and the bodies of the Mischiefs are burned to ashes all around her as she drops down out of the mountain of black fungi.

>Clinging Mold level 1 cured


During Cutlass' thrashing, she managed to get most of the Mischiefs off of her. However, she feels one crawling up from her foreleg, up to her throat. Just as she sees the horrific abomination bare its teeth, there's a jolt from the rim of her hat. A massively long serpent's body shoots out from around the rim, sweeping deftly around her neck. The elongated serpent rips off the Mischief that was about to bite her throat, and with a flick of its head, it tosses the Mischief against the wall, where it splatters into a stain of red and black. The snake coils back around Cutlass' hat, shrinking back down to its normal size afterward.

>Alder, Thessaly, Cloud, Cerulean, Cutlass

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UO-WTS6KUg
>2 uses of salamander's breath remain; 1 in Cloud's bottle and 1 in Cerulean's bottle.

The tendril that attacked Alder crushes his body against the ground, and a black smear starts to spread across his feathers. He feels an intense drain of vitality as it starts to soak into his skin, leaving him dizzy and highly nauseous, as if his blood and stomach were filling up with rancid seawater.

>Alder 0/4

>Clinging Mold level 1

As many of the Mischief's mice lay dead at your hooves, you realize your supply of the mold-purging Salamander's Breath are starting to run low. If the battle rages on for too long, it may be possible for the Mischiefs to simply win through attrition. About a quarter of the Mold that choked the Lab seems to have been cleared away now. It might be possible to push the Mischiefs away from the lab equipment far enough that you can try to whip up more Salamander's Breath or pick-me-ups with what's scattered around the Lab…

The Mischief's tendrils back away from you, receding into the Mold's body. The putrid blooms that sprout up all over its body start to shudder and squeeze, flexing themselves and spewing out black clouds of spores all throughout the room. As it does that, more and more of the Mischiefs back away, switching to a defensive now that it knows the awful potential of the Salamander's Breath.

>Everyone roll to avoid inhalation, Instant

 No.727702

https://pastebin.com/w7vFkeLu

>>727701
Cloud lowers his wand after Cutlass is freed from the mass of moss, pausing at what to do next. It seems almost endless in how much there is, and he isn't sure how they can clear it all away with what they have left. When it begins to shake and spray spores, cloud puts a hoof over his mask to help filter more of the spores out to avoid any infection.
>Hold Breath [1d10]

When the creature slams Alder down to the floor, he looks over with his eyes following the gryphon as they all seem to keep getting knocked away one by one. As he does, he notices the small fox of fire with Cerulean, giving him a moment of pause. But in the end he doesn't question it, they need fire regardless of source to purge this mold. His eye glows as he tries to grow that ember of a fox into a blaze.
>Wax/Wane [Grow Fox] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8

 No.727703

>>727701
Seeing Alder fall, she struggles over to him and fires a golden beam from her horn. "Allow me."
>using 3 hit Lifestream heal on Alder

She then reaches out to the lingering smoke and sparks from the explosion, trying to bend them to her will.
[1d10+1] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.727704

>>727703
>>727703
>Ignoring Elementalist roll and making it an avoid, using the 4

 No.727705

>>727701

Cutlass runs for the door, shrieking in abject terror the whole time. Tears streak down her face.

[1d10] to get the fuck out!

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.727706

>>727701
>>727703
Alder squirms around as the tendril smushes him into the ground and smears a bunch of mold on to one of his wings. He's only able to get up thanks to Thessaly's quick thinking! He gives her a thankful bow and goes to try and heal her up, before getting a better idea… he'll toss her the Medic's Knife, figuring she knows how to use it, before turning to try and throw his bottle of cure-all at the source of the mold! If it can get rid of the mold on him, maybe it can get rid of the mold in the room?
[1d10] Please don't miss!

[1d10] Inhalation roll

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.727707

>>727705

[1d10] to avoid inhalation

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727708

>>727701
Cerulean attempts to give huffs of fiery air to better avoid the mold spores.
[1d10]

As she does, she runs up to where the mischiefs are huddles up, sensing easy, cowering prey. She looks ready to rip and tear into the huddle quickly before backing out before retaliation again.

>Cleave 4 targets, ranged from Arabian Agility

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10

 No.727709

>>727702
As a result of your spell, the small Fox, who was no bigger than a newborn foal, starts to increase in size. He reaches about the size of a pony by the time your spell is done, and though his flames aren't yet strong, the temperature of the room rises noticably. Black spores vanish into cinders simply from getting near him.

The spores settle upon your skin, and they feel like a hundred different needle pinpricks at the point of contact, but you manage to avoid inhalation.

>>727703
>changing action as requested

With no time to summon a minion, you hunker down and cover your mouth, narrowly avoiding inhalation the dreadful black spores. They dance before your eyes, coating your skin and cloak all over in a dark embrace.

>>727705
You try to run, but the lab is cluttered with mold, chemistry stations, and of course the bodies of dead mice underhoof, to say nothing of your many allies who are attempting to fight the Mischiefs. You slip and stumble, falling face-first onto the laboratory floor, slick with slime. Your forearms bend under you at unnatural angles, sending shooting pain up and down your shoulders and biceps. The pain knocks the wind out of you, and as you try to recover, you instinctively inhale, and immediately feel a dark wave of sickness pour down your throat. The entirety of your throat feels itchy and dry, almost like it's coated with hair. The feeling starts spreading into your lungs…

>Spore Infection Level 2 gained. You will lose 2 Hits per turn instead of 1.


>>727706
The bottle lands atop the mass of Mold surrounding the southern half of the laboratory, but does not break upon contact, owing to the Mold's soft squishiness. If it could be broken, however…

You begin feeling weak and sick, as if a flu were rapidly manifesting within your body, which is growing colder by the second…

>Alder loses 1 Wound from Clinging Mold level 1

>Alder 3/3

>>727708
The fire spewing from your mouth incinerates the spores around you, cleaving a path of fire through the air as you rush down the Mischiefs. Your strikes and slams blast through a good deal of the massive Mold that serves as both armor and weapon for them. Several mutated lab mice bodies fly against the walls, dissolving and burning, as a result of your rampage.

>For Everyone


After Cerulean's massive strike, a good deal of the Mold is now gone; the laboratory is about one third clear. Horrendous smells fill the air, and the floor below you is slick with slime and carnage, but it's almost as if the tide of battle were turning. The Mold starts receding into the walls, as if it were retreating.

The Fox, realizing he's bigger now thanks to Cloud, barks out a wave of fire at the bottle of cure-all that lays in the surface of the Mold to try to break it.

[1d10+2]

However, just as he tries to push the advantage, the Mischiefs change tactics. A multitude of mice start running out from the cover of the Mold, too small and too numerous to count as they flood out. These mice are grotesque to behold, their bodies bulging and black from some vile thing within the skin. You realize, almost too late, that they resemble a flood of small bombs, running right for your ankles…!

[1d10+1] vs Fox
[1d10+1] vs Cerulean
[1d10+1] vs Cloud

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #3 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #4 7 + 1 = 8

 No.727710

>>727709

Cutlass gasps and wheezes into her mask. She has to fight her instinct to take it off to get a fresher breath of air. She continues to focus all of her thought and energy to getting the fuck out of this room!

[1d10] to run!

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.727711

>>727709
>>727709
As the Fox breathes a gout of flame, Thessaly bats away the mold and tries to twist it into the shape of a falcon to aid her in combat.
[1d10+1] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.727712

>>727711
>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.727713

>>727709
Cerulean runs up to the nearest wall the mold tries to escape through and tries to Slam the wall down on the mold and any Mischiefs within.

>SLAM! Crit 8+

[1d10+1]
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

 No.727714

>>727709
Alder wobbles in place and coughs, and tries to shake it off to focus on the important stuff! As much as he'd like to fix himself up, Cutlass's mold looks a lot more severe. He digs around in his pack and finds a tightly-sealed vial, before uncorking it, stumbling over to Cutlass and trying to get her to inhale the fumes.
>Natural Remedy [1d10+1] (Heal+Cleanse)

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.727715

>>727706
She catches the knife and nods, holding on to it for now.
[1d10] Perception apparently

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.727716

>>727709
Cloud shudders as the spores settle on him, like running through a bush of thorns. He takes a few steps back to get some distance from the mold, only to see the mice running out at them. He isn't fast enough to deal with the all the mice at once, quickly panicing and focusing on the mice running towards him. His eye glows, warping the floor now that he can see it, the solid wood melting into quicksand to tangle the mice up and trap them.
>Earthen Gras [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.727717

>>727710
In your desperate attempts to scramble up to your hooves, you fail to do anything other than slip, strain your muscles, and bang your head and arms against laboratory equipment. Your breathing grows worse, and you start hyperventilating, making that hairy, itching feeling in your throat and lungs even worse.

>Cutlass 2/4


>>727711
>>727712
As you attempt to command the flames that spew from the Fox's maw, a dreadfully cold feeling of anticipation wells up in your chest. My Eye starts to shudder and glow within your bag, and next to it, you can feel the Liber Animarum thrashing and jumping about, the pages flapping as it tries to break free of the clasp that holds it shut.

You, and you alone, can hear Seravelum's mocking, cavalier laugh whispering out of the book's pages. But then, as if in response, comes a whisper of the voice you heard in the basement, back when Regalaseab was summoned: "How many times to I have to tell you… this is MY turf."

Seravelum simply snickers. You alone hear the snap of clawed fingers.


The fire erupts, becoming a falcon of blood and fire, screaming out a frenzy of territorial roars as it starts circling about the room.

>>727714
>>727710
Alder's concoction helps Cutlass regain her composure, burning away the Mold spores in the process, which in turn helps to clear out the vile feeling in her throat and lungs.

>Cutlass 7/5, takes half-damage next turn


Alder's vision starts to turn grayscale as he feels more vitality slipping away from him…

>Alder 3/2


>>727713
You run up to the western wall, which separates the Alchemy Lab from the Magical Study. With an incredible wave of force which shudders the whole second floor, you blast through the wall, ripping upward through some of the ceiling as well. Wood, steel and stone fly through the lab, crushing the flood of mice. The cave-in crushes much of the Mold as it recedes, and you hear countless squeals from below.

As the dust settles, you start being able to see into the Magical Study. Roll perception for more information.

>>727716
Many of the mice run around you, causing you to stumble back onto your flanks and bang your head against a stool. Just when you start to recover, one of them hops up toward your chest, and in a flash of black, explodes into gore and Mold, coating you in the vile filth it bore.

>Cloud 0/3, Clinging Mold level 1


>For everyone


More of the Mold starts receding into the Magical Study. The Fox's fire blast causes the bottle of healing tonic to explode, and as the purifying concoction spreads about, a great deal of the Mold starts smoldering, filling the room with a putrid black smoke. But as a result, a great chunk of the Mold is now gone, dissolving away under Alder's mixture. The rest of the Mold starts to deflate, weakening as a result of the mixture and the great quantity of dead mice that are no longer able to animate it.

But just when it seems that all is done, the remaining Mischiefs raise their heads as one, their eyes starting to turn a deep obsidian black. They start running through the gap in the wall that Cerulean made, gathering in the Magical Study…

Meanwhile, the Falcon Thessaly summoned continues raging around the room, darting in and slashing at you.

[1d10+1] vs Cerulean
[1d10+1] vs Thessaly

The Fox tries to bite the Falcon out of the air.

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #3 10 + 2 = 12

 No.727718

>>727717
"No!" she cries in frustration as the falcon turns on her, reaching out again and trying to subdue it. Her usual composure is lost in the face of a backfired incantation. "I am your master! Surrender to my will, you…!"
[1d10+1] Unholy Elementalist

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.727719

>>727717
Cloud groans as he falls back and smacks his head.As he rises up, he looks down at the mouse that hops onto his chest. He quickly shuts his eye and tries to swat it away, but it's too late. He's thankful he put on the coat, keeping most of his body clean, but the force still knocks him out, and the parts of his face not covered by the mask still get covered. He tries to reach out for the stool to help him up, not wanting to end up like the poor soul in the other room.
>Recover [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.727720

>>727717

Cutlass realizes she can breathe again. She looks around the room in horror and confusion.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.727721

>>727717
Cerulean grins as her plan seemed to work out very well. She looks over to the fox.
"Doing a great job! Keep it up," she cheers as she runs into the magical study, looking around the place a bit.

Perception
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.727722

>>727718
"P-Pardon me, Miss Thessaly- I-I need to borrow that back for a moment." the griffon says, weakly reaching back for the knife and plunging the blade into a spot on his skin where the mold's grown.

[1d10] Heal

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.727723

>>727721
>>727720
Through the shattered gap in the wall that Cerulean brought down, you can see into the Magical Study. The Magical Study is nearly wall-to-wall Mold, thicker and even worse than in the Alchemy Lab. Here, the Mold has mutated, or perhaps matured. In here are great pustules, similar to what you saw in the Lab, only much larger. They are gathered in a circular fashion, resembling some kind of nest with many alcoves and burrows for vermin to inhabit and spawn in.

The Mischiefs pour into the burrows, ripping open the pustules that hang along the walls. More mice start pouring out. All the mice join the Mischiefs in the center of the next, their bodies dissolving as they come together. Flesh and muscle split apart, and bones swim about in a slurry of skin and meat, recombining together. Tails intertwine, thickening as they melt into one another. You have no idea what the final shape of this… this thing will be, but you have seconds before the transformation finishes.

 No.727724

>>727723
Cerulean gets a bit grin as they all seem to be gathering together into one spot. She quickly rushes in, tail at the ready to smash down on the giant flesh heap with some aura in the swing.

>SLAM! with temp aura point

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7

 No.727725

>>727723
>>727722

Cutlass looks from the transforming pile of flesh to everyone else in the room. She notices in particular Alder on his last legs. She realizes that he chose to heal her instead of himself. Then, she looks back at the pile of rats. Something snaps inside of her.

She starts screaming with rage and exertion as she launches the entire collection of knives and daggers through the hole in the wall and plunges them repeatedly into the pile of Mischief. She continues to scream as the awful mess of gore and goop splashes over her knives, not caring about anything else but destroying this disgusting, horrible thing.

>Dance of Blades

>reminder that I take half damage this turn

[1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #3 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #4 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #5 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #6 7 + 1 = 8

 No.727726

>>727725
>moar

[1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1] [1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #3 1 + 1 = 2 / Roll #4 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #5 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #6 6 + 1 = 7

 No.727727

>>727718
After the Falcon's claws tear into Cerulean's neck and chest, the Fox snatches it out of the air, holding it by the throat as it shakes it wildly. The Falcon continues to screech until you work your magic upon it. You feel the same atmospheric pressure that you felt when you stood in Seravelum's presence, radiating from the Falcon. Although you aren't able to convert it back to your service, you manage to subdue it. With subsequent attempts, you could turn it back to your side.

>DC 5 to convert now


>>727719
Your eyes sting and head rings, and your entire body feels horrifically filthy and sick, as if a flu were rapidly rising up within your body. You get back up, but that sickening feeling doesn't go away.

>Cloud 5/2


>>727722
>Volume warning on this link
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=paE7-2p0eo4

Suddenly you stumble, dropping the knife between your fingers. You collapse to the ground, your breath becoming shallow and oh so very cold. You feel… watery, as if you might dissolve at any second.

>Alder 3/1


In a flash of inspiration, you realize that if there were healing herbs in the storage room, there would likely be more there, and in the alchemy lab as well… if you or an ally could get them, perhaps you could avert the worst.

>>727724
>>727722
>>727719
>>727718
>>727725
>>727726
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKo0Cez7bzU
Cerulean and Cutlass charge into the room, lunging at the abomination in a mad frenzy of fire, Mold, blades and screaming. The Magical Study becomes an abhorrent mess as the two mares rip through everything and anything that lies in their path. The two almost begin to resembles monsters of their own as they carve a path through it.

The abomination that the Mischiefs began fusing into tries to regenerate rapidly with all the accumulated health it stole from you throughout the battle. In the brief moments of clarity you get in your attacks, you see it trying to configure itself into some kind of king-mouse, with a hundred heads bubbling up from the surface of its body, all scratching and biting and hissing and screeching. Under Cutlass's onslaught, it tries desperately to bite at her, but no matter how many times it bites her, she stabs and cuts and slashes and rips.

The abomination attempts to regenerate multiple times, each time configuring itself into some other sick form, but for each time it revives itself, she cuts it down to size again and again…

Eventually, Cutlass falls to the ground, strained and exhausted.

>Cutlass 0/4


Now, the abomination of the Mischiefs lies before you, little more than a puddle of gore and flesh, still twitching and squeaking. Its form is impossible to describe, with no more coherence than a pile of bodies strewn about a battlefield.

Desperately, it tries to bite at Cutlass.

[1d10-2]

Roll #1 9 - 2 = 7

 No.727728

>>727727
She grits her teeth and keeps trying to assert mental dominance over her creation. "Géill… GÉILL… Break, damn you!"
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.727729

>>727727
Despite the smell of the burning mold before, the smell of fresh-cut flesh and blood finally penetrates into Cerulean.
"MEAT!" Cerulean bears down on the flesh heap with her jaws, trying to grip it in said burning jaws to cook it a bit before attempting to chew and cook at the same time.

>EAT!

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.727730

>>727727

Cutlass yelps as the rat pile bites at her. She quickly rolls away and tries to get up.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727731

>>727727
Alder wheezes a little as he collapses, and reaches around in his pack to try and find another vial. It takes him a few tries to finally open the clasp and retrieve the medicine, and attempts to get himself back up. He also tries to point out the storage room to the others, hoping one of them gets the gist of it!

Natural Remedy [1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.727732

>>727727
>>727731
Cloud gets up, his body feeling horrible and sickly, no doubt from the exploding mold rat. He tries to wipe off the grim with whatever clean fabric he has, which doesn't help much. He then looks down to his bottle of Salamander's Breath, it might burn but it'd be enough to burn away the mold, right? Seeing the others rush on the chase the mold into the other room, this would give him the time to apply it properly. But then his head turns as he hears Alder's knife fall and the gryphon collapse. With how he got slammed earlier he must've been pushed right into the mold. He turns, running over to Alder with the powder.
"You don't look so good bud," Cloud says, not sounding all that well himself, "Here, this should give you a little perk up."
He says, holding up the powder to the gryphon to try and fix him up.
>Cleanse [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.727733

>>727731
Corrected Health Total!

 No.727734

>>727728
The Falcon lies inert. If nothing else, you suppose you might be able to use it as a weapon by tossing it around. The Fox drops the Falcon on the ground, then runs over to Cerulean's side.
>DC 4 now

>>727729
>>727730
With the last of its strength, the Mischiefs descend upon Cutlass, biting and scratching at her throat in their desperate attempts to drain her life-essence and restore itself.
>Cutlass 0/2

Cutlass struggles under their assault, but fails to get them off of her until Cerulean steps in. In a grotesque frenzy, Cerulean rips the Mischiefs clean off of Cutlass, snapping and chomping down on them. The taste is absolutely putrid, but the fire starts purging some of the impurities that the Mischiefs bore within themselves. The Fox runs up, biting down on the other end of the corpse, thrashing and growling as it turns Cerulean's meal into a tug of war.

[1d10+2] food fight

In the throes of death, the Mischiefs try to make themselves hard to swallow for Cerulean and the Fox.

[1d10-4]

>>727731
>>727732
As Alder's breaths grows shallow, Cloud rushes over to his side. Carefully, with your strength ebbing, the two of you share the Salamander's breath and the natural remedy, gingerly pouring a mixture of the two over your infected wounds and weak, cold bodies. The concoction stings and burns, but with a loud sizzle, the Mold that clung to you burns away. Your wounds start to seal up, red and stinging and raw and missing chunks of fur and feathers.

>Both regain 1 wound and full Hits


You both still feel sick and nauseous, but the worst of it has passed, becoming only a horrific memory.

>YOU DEFEATED


Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 1 - 4 = -3

 No.727735

>>727734
Cerulean thrashes at the corpse as well, in enough of a frenzy to not care about the putrid taste much as she tries to eat as much as she can while tugging against her fox buddy. She gives the Mischiefs several chomps to get them to stop resisting.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.727736

>>727734

Cutlass ones again screams and shrieks as the rats rip and tear at her flesh. Once Cerulean saves her, her screams subside into miserable, terrified sobs. She curls up into a ball and doesn't move.

 No.727737

>>727734
She curls her lip in distaste as the falcon fails to do anything. She grabs it with telekinesis and throws it against the wall out of sheer frustration at her magic failing her. "Gan mhaith…"
[1d10] Yeet!

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.727738

>>727734
Alder hisses and kicks a little as it burns away at the mold… and some of his plumage and coat. But, the wounds seal up soon enough, and he manages to get up to all fours with a somewhat nervous, strained warble.


>>727732
"M-Mister Cloud, uhm… t-thank you. I owe you my life." he says, managing a bow despite his condition. "Now, w-we may want to hurry and help the others. No one seems to have fared particularly well."

>>727737
>>727736
>>727735
>>727732
>>727733
>Free Natural Remedy heal!

 No.727739

>>727738
Despite her bad mood, she can't help but smile as Alder helps treat her wounds. "Injured again," she comments. "I think we'd all be rotting somewhere if it weren't for your skills. My thanks."

 No.727740

>>727734
Cloud coughs a bit as the mix the Salamander's Breath and Alder's remedy for their wounds. He sits for a moment, letting the mixture work its magic and enduring the stinging as its better than the alternative.

>>727738
"No prob. you would've done the same," Cloud replies, "Though I guess you already did when I messed my eye up, heh."
He coughs with from his little chuckle.
"Yea, that mold was spreading everywhere. Think we'll all need a treatment for it."

 No.727741

>>727735
In the end, the Fox makes off with the majority of the corpse, but his flames ensure that any remaining impurities and filth on your portion are burned away. You don't even notice the Mischiefs resisting after the first few seconds, their thrashings and writhing now silenced forever.

>>727737
It's the strangest thing, but you could swear on your life that, as the falcon careens through the air, it turns up one of its talons toward you and flips you the bird.

>>727736
You feel a stirring in your hat. Sir Pent slithers out, back in his short form, which is really only about a foot long. He raises his head and looks around the room. It's easy enough to see that he's keeping watch out for more enemies.

>>727738
>>727737
>>727736
>>727735
>>727740
Thanks to Alder's tireless efforts, you all regain full Hits and 1 Wound each. Alder has to stop and take a breather by the end of it, but his doctorly analysis assures him that neither he nor any of you have any further infections. The symptoms and aftereffects should pass through their systems in a number of days.

As the falcon splats against the wall, its flames start burning away the Mold in the Magical Study. Though the smell is awful, you have a strong feeling that, just like how the Immolatioknight guarded the key to the second floor, the Mischiefs were protecting another key item, somewhere around here.

After the Fox finishes its meal, it starts to walk through the rest of the Magical Study. Its footsteps burn away the Mold, and it takes care to not burn down the rest of the manor in the process.

>roll perception

 No.727742

>>727741
She charges up to fire a magical bolt and destroy the troublesome falcon, but thinks better of it, composing herself. She grumbles swears and curses as she looks around. "Well that was horrifying," she comments to no one in particular.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.727743

>>727736
"C-Captain Cutlass? The, uhm… t-the Mold is gone." he says, after he finishes treating her.

>>727741
Alder lets out a somewhat sore-feeling cough, and tries to check the storage room for more herbs.

[1d10] (+1 if Master Thief would help!)

>>727739
"Y-You are very kind to offer such praise, Miss Thessaly. I am happy to be of use."
>>727740
"W-Well, consider it a favor repaid!" the griffon says, offering another bow.

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.727744

>>727743
The smell of burning mold leaves you with an awful headache, disrupting your searches through the many dusty crates and barrels lining the storage room.

>Roll again

 No.727745

>>727736
>>727741
With meat in her stomach, Cerulean gives a big sigh of relief as she's go more food in her.
"Huh…a little tangy, but not so bad when cooked," she comments, giving pets to the fox.

She looks over at Cutlass and goes over to her, hunching down and trying to look as non-threatening as she can as the flames around her mouth likely disperse.
"Hey, Cutlass? Are you okay? Its dead for good now," she says, placing a hoof on Cutlass' shoulder as comfort.

 No.727746

>>727744
[1d10] "G-Ghh, it has to be somewhere around here…"

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.727747

>>727743

"O-okay," she whimpers as she slowly lifts her head up and looks around. Upon seeing that nothing is attacking her anymore, she feels slightly safer. Though, the room is still covered in the disgusting mess.

She looks up at Alder and outstretches a hoof toward him, expecting Alder to help her up.

>>727745

Cutlass doesn't object to being touched. "Th-thank you for killing it… and saving me," she says so softly, it's hard to hear her.

>>727741

Cutlass lightly strokes Sir Pent. "Good boy," she says softly.

 No.727748

>>727747
Alder blinks a couple of times, looking at the mare's hoof. After a bit more of a pause, he grabs her hoof and helps pull her back on to all fours.

 No.727749

>>727741
Cloud gets up, heading through the broken wall to see where the others went. He is relieved to see no more of the mice, and surprised Cutlass and Cerulean dealt with it so quickly.
"Is it gone?"

>>727736
He looks over, seeing Cutlass curled and crying.
"Are you alright?"
He asks, with genuine concern in his voice.

 No.727750

>>727745
>>727749
>>727742
There doesn't seem to be much of note, at first. The tomes of witchcraft, sorcery and other disciplines of magic that lined the shelves have mostly been ruined, soaked to the core with Mold, now unreadable. The same goes for the sigils and diagrams that hang upon the walls, as well as the fetishes and totems standing around on desks and shelves. They seem to have some purpose for advanced Demon summoning, but it's hard to tell what their function may be.

But as more and more of the room is cleared by the Falcon and the Fox, you notice something sitting in a small chest on a desk. The chest looks very old but well-kept, lined with velvet on the inside. It is not covered with dust, nor with any Mold, despite having been deep within the Mischiefs' nest.

In the center of the chest, you see a silver and gold medallion depicting a bear cub, an Ursa Minor in fact. The bear cub plays with a young deer buck in the midst of an idyllic forest scene. A small ruby, representing health in pirate's lore, and a small emerald, representing happiness, adorn the center of the medallion.

>>727746
You eventually find some more of the red, green and yellow herbs scattered through the storage room. You find enough that you should be able to make two cure-alls if you're careful in your preparations.

>Roll for chemistry, alchemy lab equipment lowers DC to 4


>>727747
Sir Pent slithers a little closer, sniffing you to make sure you're okay. His tiny tongue flicks your nose a few times. You have no idea what caused that transformation of his, or even what its properties are. Could be something to look into.

 No.727751

>>727750
Thessaly examines the medallion with curiosity, peering at it through His Eye. Regardless of the outcome, she pockets it for safekeeping.

 No.727752

>>727750
>Here we go! [1d10]
Alder tries to focus as much as he can- with how useful this stuff is, he'll want to try and minimize the loss.

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.727753

>>727747
"No problem. C'mere," Cerulean says, gently and almost motherly bringing Cutlass into the most gentle hug Cutlass likely will ever experience from the big shark.
"We'll get through this a-okay, okay? Together." She lets go of Cutlass before it gets too awkward and pats her head a couple of times.

 No.727754

>>727743
"Nah, don't think of it as repaying a favor. We're friends watching each others backs."

>>727750
>>727751
Cloud glances around as the Fox clears away the mold, keeping a good distance away from it just to be safe. When the others open the chest and reveal the medallion, Cloud points out to it.
"Hey, I know where that goes! Back the other way, in the bedrooms!"
He says, glad at an easy path after that fight.

 No.727755

>>727748

"Th-thanks," she stammers. She looks down at her dress and dusts herself off. Of course, it's entirely unnecessary. Thanks to the genie, there's nothing on her dress. Despite all the attacks and the mold flying everywhere, there's not a drop of blood or mold on her dress.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for what is under her dress. She groans. "I need a long, hot, bath after this…"

>>727753

Cutlass stiffens up in response to the hug. But, she doesn't object as she typically would.

"I was looking forward to a genuine haunting," Cutlass explains without being prompted. "I've almost died plenty of times in my life. It comes with being a pirate. It's thrilling, usually. But, that… That was the most horrible thing I've ever seen… or felt…"

She shudders. "D-don't worry about me. As long as there's nothing else like that…" she trails off.

>>727749

Then, she looks up as Cloud approaches her. Her face turns red. "Of course I'm fine," she says as she looks away, standing up straighter. "What a stupid question."

She then pushes Cloud out of the way with her telekinesis and goes back to the lab to search for herbs.

>>727750

Cutlass giggles slightly when his tongue flicks her nose. "I'm fine, my little knight," she says lovingly. "It turns out that Sir Pent was the perfect name for you."

[1d10] to search for herbs

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.727756

>>727755
"No need to thank me, Captain." the griffon says, offering a little smile.

>>727754
"Ah. Yes, I understand then- thank you." he says, before humming a little. "I hope the other two sins are not as… scarring."

 No.727757

>>727755
Cloud stumbles back as she shoves him with her telekinesis.
"Jeez, alright."
Cloud mutters at her standoffish response.


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