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File: 1584713349049.jpg (142.54 KB, 716x1008, 1547178368740.jpg)

 No.734574[Last 50 Posts]

…Now, there exists a certain fanciful legend regarding the Time Long Forgotten, holding that the Outlands were not always a lightless expanse, as it is in this our present age, but that there was once a great Lamp perched upon some colossal mountain, that with a gentle and pale light illuminated all the earth, and that this Lamp was known as The Moon, and that it was kept and maintained by a godly Queen, and that her land was called Night.

Some hold to another version of the tale, which attests that there was another great Lamp, and that this one, called The Sun, gave off such a glow that it shamed the dim light of The Moon, and that it was kept and maintained by a mighty King, whose country was called Day. Those adherents of this version of the legend disagree as to whether the King of Day and the Queen of Night were wedded or bitter enemies, or perhaps even siblings. Some say that it was an earth-shaking war between these divine monarchs which rid our world of light.

But, those who believe in this fable claim a still more incredible thing: That the light of The Sun and the light of The Moon were so powerful that they were anathema to the Dreaded Ones, and that even the mightiest of those abominations were so weakened by the light that they had to hide deep underground, as we hide in our Castles in this our present age. With The Sun and The Moon keeping watch over the lands, there was a peace in the earth, the likes of which not one living soul in this era knows.

It may only be a legend… but I pray that it be true, and that there may be some way of restoring even a modicum of the light of The Sun or The Moon. For, if this not be the case, then at our current projections, these Castles which seal us off from the Dreaded Ones will exhaust the last of their power in this generation. These walls, built by our First Ancestors and their secret wisdom, will soon crumble, and the Dreaded Ones shall finally fall upon us.

But life shall not be extinguished, for the Dreaded Ones harbor no such mercy.

-Mendicant Rudolph, Anno Castra 31274

 No.734575

Behold, Ironcastle, a mountainous fortress, extending thousands of miles into the sky and into the earth. Dim radiance exudes from the metal and stone comprising its outer walls, offering it holy protection against the eternal darkness that envelops the whole of the earth – the Outlands, whose black hills overflow with the abominable Dreaded Ones, and who seek the Castles' destruction.

Ironcastle is one of the last nine Castles that remain in all the world, and is the final bulwark for the millions and millions of souls that inhabit it. It is, as well, your home. Some of you were born here, and others came to it, whether from another Castle, or even, as the rumors go, from elsewhere in the Outlands.

It has been exactly one month since a member of Ironcastle's Abbey, a donkey jack by the name of Mendicant Rudolph, disseminated an alarming manifesto about Ironcastle's future, broadcasting it to every intranet-linked device. In it, he claimed that at current projections of energy consumption, the Heart of Ironcastle would run out of what was once believed to be its limitless magical energy. Without that energy, Ironcastle's impenetrable holy light would fade, leaving it defenseless, and open to siege by the Dreaded Ones – spelling the complete and total overwhelming of all life within, with fates far worse than death in store.

Curiously, the manifesto concluded with a strange legend from the Time Long Forgotten, about an age long since past, an age when mortals lived outside of the Castles, protected by the light of two great Lamps, called "The Moon" and "The Sun." This strange turn offered a glimmer of hope to what was otherwise a warning of total collapse.

Within a few hours of the manifesto's publication, Mendicant Rudolph was arrested and brought in for questioning by direct order of the Iron Family, the royals who lead Ironcastle, and a further order came directing all subjects to erase Rudolph's "screed" and forget every one of its claims. But, it was far too late; fear was already spreading through the Castles. Authorities among the Sages and Nobles busied themselves with attempting to quell the worries before they could escalate into full-blown panic. It took a month of such efforts, but eventually, things quieted down. Every Cycle brings its own problems, after all.

(2/3)

 No.734576

Three Cycles ago, just when it seemed that life was returning to normal, each of you received an email, signed with the Iron Family's public verification key. It instructed you to gather at a council-chamber on Layer Two, also known as the Noblesse – one of the deepest and most vast Layers of Ironcastle, where the Four Great Noble Houses and all the branch families made their home. For those of you who did not already have an access pass with the authorization for Layer Two, one was included with the email.

When the appointed date came, each of you departed from your respective residences across the Castle, traversing through the massive fortress via trolley and elevator, until you reached Layer Two. From there, you caught the trolleys again, until, eventually, each of you reached the specified address, just south of one of many vast parks / wildlife preserves that the Noblesse boasts.

>>><<<


You stand outside a great council-house, wrought of magnificent marble in an archaic style, with gargoyles perched upon the four corners, and beautiful nymphs and dryads carved into the pillars which hold the building up. The crown of the building is marked with a tall wrought Lamp, which serves as a unifying symbol for the Four Great Noble Houses, indicating that it is a jointly-owned council-chamber. Other buildings are marked with the individual symbols of the Noble Houses, denoting ownership.

The sidewalks outside the public council-chamber are mostly empty, save for rows of trees and flowerbeds, and between the sidewalks, the trolleys roll along, with each car often empty or carrying only one or two Nobles apiece. It is pleasantly warm and a little bright outside; the electronic panels in the ceiling give off a blue-gold hue. It is somewhat unseasonable weather for the beginning of the year, but it feels enjoyable all the same.

The date is Fyrdag, the 10th of the Turning of Kindling, Anno Castra 31274, and the time is 1:13 PM. You were instructed to arrive at 1:30, so you have a little time.

 No.734577

>>734574
>Correction: Rudolph's manifesto should be dated as AC 31273

 No.734578


 No.734579

File: 1584754910165.jpg (12.8 KB, 500x500, puros.jpg)

https://pastebin.com/UAMXDkmK

>>734576
Zamrud looks up at the great doors to the council-house, feeling no small amount of unease about the peculiar email that had instructed him to come here. He had received many like it before, being a proud retainer for the Family of Iron. Those were all a little less scant on details, however. He ponders who could have sent the email, before his attention is drawn to the others gathering around the front of the council-house. Several, he noted, are far from the typical sort of citizenry you see waltzing about the Noblesse.

He looks towards the first peculiar one he sees, and clears his throat. "Excuse me, friend, by any chance are you lost?"

 No.734580

https://pastebin.com/1hP27EMR
>>734576
>>734575
Qhapaq would be among the first to arrive- it would not do for him to arrive late to anything. He waits patiently for others to arrive, trying to look as unintimidating as possible. Even if he'd earned his citizenship, he still felt out of place.

 No.734581

>>734576
Billy went to relax by leaning against a building. He didn't have any confidence in socializing with the packs of nobles around the area. Especially with his less desireable traits. Though in the end he relies on the tales to guide him from Blod. His fond nostalgia brings him a warmth and smile like nothing else upon his large frame.

 No.734582

>>734576
https://pastebin.com/0f4rjYUA

Good, being the heir of his noble house, had little need to travel far from his home to attend the meeting he had been requested to. He chose to wear one of his rather lavish robes, arrow designs twirling along with it to make the arrow like marks visible on his form seem like a fashion choice instead of what they truly were. He was a ball of mixed emotions on his way to the meeting area as he wasn't quite sure who else he might meet at this little get together and he had to admit the thought was both exciting and nerve wracking for the somewhat sheltered colt.

With a smile on his face he adjusted his glasses and shuffled in place, looking very much the way one might expect a soft noble colt would. Somewhat ironic given his houses motto of "Nemo nimis magnam onus" or "No Burden Too Great" in the common tongue. He debated taking to his magicomp and using it to pass the time yet he also wanted to make the best possible first impression on those who were going to be joining him shortly.

 No.734583

File: 1584755406696.jpg (52.62 KB, 882x906, Qhapaq bust.jpg)

>>734580
(Image, for reference)

 No.734584

https://pastebin.com/FURMx34B

>>734576
Around 1:20 PM a stout diamond dog with a large beard arrives. Despite being near a council chamber on the second floor, he's equipped with what looks like a makeshift protective breastplate and a mining helmet. He also has a rather noticeable & large mutation on his left arm, a drill made entirely from bone that forms from his elbow down to where his hand should be.

Upon seeing the small crowd gathering near the council-chamber, he waves his right hand when he approaches close enough. "Is this the great council-house? I'm going to be right pissed if I stumbled across another hoity toity house or library again." He speaks in a grumbling voice like his throat is filled with rocks and stones mashing together and the slur of someone who possibly drinks often.

Anyone who also looks closer to his shoulder will notice a tattoo of a cracked open geode filled with gems.

 No.734585

>>734582
>>734584
>>734581
>>734580
>>734579
After a few minutes pass, from within the council-chamber, an armored, white-robed guard pony steps out. He spares you only a quick glance before opening his mouth in a snarl, ready to vacate the lot of you, but he double-takes at Good Intentions and Zamrud. He gives a quick bow of his head to those two before addressing them, largely overlooking the others. "Salutations, sirs. I trust you're here on business? I'll just need to see your summons emails and identification."

 No.734586

>>734580
Zamrud turns his emerald eyes towards the massive griffon, a smile forming across his face as he hops off his bench and strolls over to him.

"Qhapaq-", he says as he approaches, crossing his arms, "what a pleasant surprise. It's been too long, my friend. What brings you all the way down to the second layer?"

>>734584
As the Diamond Dog approaches and grumbles his complaint, Zamrud raises a furry brow and shakes his head. "It is indeed the great council house, place of arbitration for the Four Noble Houses. I'm sorry, do you have business here?"

>>734585
He surveys the rest of those gathered out front before the doors open, and a guard pony steps out. He offers a smile and a nod to the guard as he surveys them, and when he asks for them he approaches, brandishing the magicomp on his wrist with a flourish.

"I am indeed. Received this notification from the Family of Iron to meet someone here, though it was a little more scant on details than I'm used to. Do you happen to know what this is about?"

 No.734587

>>734584
The enormous griffon offers a soft wave with his odd-looking talons, before saying "Hello. This is the place, yes."

 No.734588

>>734584
Yes this is great council-house." he said with a smile as he hopped onto his hooves.

He should help his fellow out if he could "The library is all the way on the other end of the beastiary we're next to."

>>734579
The colt paused though and turned his gaze to the feline. He couldn't exactly place where but he could swear he remembered him from some previous noble affair the two had been at.

>>734585
He promptly turned to the guard and opened the email on his magicomp "Oh no need to bow to me, I'm not a member of the council." he said trying to be affable with the guard as he turned it out to show him it.

 No.734589

>>734585
Billy waves to the guard as he walks over to the guard pony. Fishing for his identification and email. Bringing them out in an exaggerated display of motion and a sharp smile. "Right here!" He states with a sense of accomplishment.

 No.734590

>>734586
>>734587
>>734588
"GOOD! This place is more like ar-bitch-to-get-to! Everyone kept givin' me wrong directions when I kept askin'!" The stout dog's beard jiggles with his exclamation and expressive head movements as he speaks.

>>734585
Grutar turns his head to the white garbed guard and staggers over as he tries to stumble through the use of his magicomp, a device he has been unfamiliar with the contraption as he had only needed to get familiar with it recently, plus having a drill arm makes things less convenient for a "wrist mounted computer"

He would hold his wrist out along with an identification card he would take out from underneath his mining helmet. "Can you get this piece o' junk workin' for me? Can't figure out how to open eeemails with this blasted arm." He doesn't realize he could just have the thing strapped to his arm above the drill instead of on his unmutated wrist.

 No.734591

>>734588
The bipedal feline turns his head as he feels eyes watching over him, turning to look at the lavish looking unicorn. After looking at him for a bit, he arrives to a similar conclusion that he's seen him somewhere before.
He decides to break the silence between them, "Let me guess: you live on this level?"

>>734590
"…funny. I'm sorry to hear that, perhaps they themselves were misinformed. Just be happy you're here now."

As he presents his magicomp to the guard, his eyes open wide, and he approaches the diamond dog, "Excuse me, I'm familiar with magicomps. May I have a look at it to see if I could get your email working?"

 No.734592

>>734590
Qhapaq folds his ears back a little from the shouting, but doesn't say much else.

>>734586
"Ah, Zamrud. It is good to see you again." the griffon says, bowing a little. "I was instructed to arrive, much like you were, I imagine."

 No.734593

>>734590
>>734589
>>734588
>>734586
The guard verifies that you're all here on official business, narrowing his eyes as he checks his own magicomp. "Ah. Another one of these assignments. That would explain it. Right this way, sirs – I'll show you to the chamber."

The guard takes you inside, where you see a well-lit network of hallways decorated with grand artwork and statues, mostly of heroic Nobles and brilliant Sages, and well-known and decorated Warriors. A variety of robed attendants, scribes and other staff fill the halls, and most seem to be in quite the hurry, often talking into their magicomps as they trot, not even looking where they're going. The guard's slow pace seems like a deliberate clash against the worried atmosphere of the staff.

The guard passes by several sets of ornate double-doors near the center of the council-house, end elects to open one of the smaller, single-door chambers, revealing a circular room with velvet, high-backed chairs surrounding a horseshoe-shaped desk in the center, which has some empty glasses and jugs of water available. On the far end is an isolated desk, separate from the rest of the horseshoe, and another chair. There's a door on the other side, flanked by two guards.

"Please, take a seat," the guide says. "The final members of this meeting will arrive shortly."

 No.734594

>>734590
Billy just gives a wave to one of the others in this gathering group. He doesn't have much in the way in words, but gestures are universal.

 No.734595

>>734591
He was actually a Crystal Earth pony hybrid but he nodded "I'm Good Intentions, my dad is Steel Unyielding, head of House Titanite." he said with a small beaming grin as he fixed his glasses and moved along "SO… yeah I'm the heir to the house. Probably coulda just said that instead." he said as he realized his explanation was a bit of a word salad.

>>734593
He nodded as he took a seat and got comfortable, taking a glass and pouring himself a glass of water. Such a colorful cast of characters he got to meet today.

 No.734596

>>734591
Grutar would be willing to bring his arm out to show the magicomp to Zamrud. "Take a crack at it.

The screen clearly shows light scratches where the drill has been used to try and poke around at the different functions. When the email is brought up, the gruff dog gets a wide smile. "Well look at that! Thanks there, techi. Name's Grutar!" He offers his paw out to shake any limb extension that's held out.

>>734593
When finally guided into the chamber and given a seat, Grutar takes it happily and lets out a sighing groan of satisfaction to be off his feet. "Do we get a drink for the wait too?" He asks the guide.

 No.734597

>>734593
Qhapaq nods a little bit and looks for a seat when directed- electing to take a seat on the floor. The chairs are too small to be comfortable, anyways.

 No.734598

>>734593
Spark decides to plop down in a seat, grateful to rest his legs for the time being. With a huff, he just enjoys the sights and artwork around him. Though not understanding their true importance in their place here. Finding them quite alien.

 No.734599

>>734592
"YOU were instructed?" Zamrud repeats, putting a claw to his chin in thought. "Hmm. That's unusual. By any chance, did your summons come with a seal of the Family of Iron?"

>>734595
Zamrud's eyes open wide. "Oh my. The heir to House Titanite? I'm sorry for not recognizing you, sir. I am familiar with your father, for certain."

He extends a paw. "Zamrud Permata Bahasa. I'm a Noble as well, though my house is merely a branch-family to the main Bahasa line. I'm mostly in charge of education for the young lords in the royal family."

>>734596
As he investigates the magicomp on the dog's wrist, he pulls up the list of recent emails to confirm his suspicious, and it's with a wide-eyed stare he sees the official crest of the Family of Iron on the email sent out to Grutar.

He turns his head back to Grutar, slowly extending his paw. "Zamrud, pleasure. And think nothing of it, just needed a look is all."

>>734593
Zamrud follows the guard inside, admiring the artwork and statue lining each of the walls with a contemplative glare, wondering if any Permata family members found themselves honored in these halls. As they reach the circular room, Zamrud bows to the guard and takes a seat, trying to piece together what all is happening around him so far.

 No.734600

>>734599
"Yes, the Seal of Iron. Was it the same for you, perhaps?"

 No.734601

>>734600
"The very same. I'm used to receiving such requests with their seal but I assume that is out of the norm for you, isn't it?"

 No.734602

File: 1584758213900.png (335.31 KB, 1307x787, Dressed goatdragon.png)


 No.734603

>>734599
Zamrud would discover another name attached to the email sent out when peering through it, "Arlen", it seems quite clear that someone else sent Grutar here from a middle man and not as direct as Zamrud got.

 No.734604

>>734599
>>734598
>>734597
>>734596
>>734595
The far door opens, and three figures step out. The first is a beanpole of a Canos, or Diamond Dog; a whippet by the looks of him. He wears a crisp butler's vest and slacks, and keeps his hands tucked behind his back. Following him is a small hooded figure, covered all in layered and sashed white robes that seem bigger than the fellow's body, judging by how it droops off him. The third figure appears to be a sister of the Abbey, as she wears their traditional coverall frock and veil. She is a light pink unicorn, and looks exceptionally nervous, her mouth a squiggle of worry. She carries with her an ornate box.

The tiny robed figure approaches the central, isolated chair, and without missing a beat, the butler-dog places a velvet stool atop the chair so that the robed figure can see over the edge of the desk. The sister makes a holy gesture – the Mark of Virtue – over her head, then approaches the robed figure. Bowing, she then removes his hood, revealing that he is none other than Ischyros the Far-Seeking, the Iron King and lord of all Ironcastle. Trembling with anxiety, the sister opens the box, floating out a crown, which she then places upon the Iron King's head.

"I appreciate that you all arrived promptly to the summons," the King says. "I, and Ironcastle, find ourselves in great need of capable souls in this time, if any will heed the call. Do you think of yourselves as such?"

 No.734605

>>734604
"Is this about the contract I got? Because I already signed up for it. It's why I'm here, innit?" Grutar asks, before briefly looking around.

"…Wait, I am in the right place, right?" He asks in confusion, his mining helmet lightly lifting as he scratches his head with his hand.

 No.734606

>>734604
Quite a surprising turn of events it was for Billy seeing such a high figure before him. It is too fast and sudden as well. He went and bowed down his head while still sitting down. In retrospect it was quite silly acting like that.

 No.734607

>>734604
>>734604
Before the tiny robed figure is even crowned, some gut instinct in Zamrud tells him to immediately put on the air of an upright retainer, looking at the familiar figure taking his position.

As the crown is set and the King finishes his introduction, Zamrud stands out of his chair, kneeling down besides it towards the King. "Your Majesty, I apologize. Normally on these contracts I interact with another one of your vassals, I was not anticipating yourself. It is always my honor and pleasure to see you again, my liege."

"Whatever task you have in mind, you know the Puros of House Bahasa stand ready to serve.

>>734605
He turns towards Grutar, an annoyed scowl on Zamrud's face. "Grutar, the king is before us. Your head is high."

 No.734608

>>734599
He laughed with a small smile "I've heard of your family, my dad said he would have hired one of your house if my mother hadn't insisted on tutoring me personally. She's a prideful one but from what I hear thats an issue for some Sages." he said with a small laugh.

>>734598
Good found his eyes wandering to the other for a moment, trying to decipher his odd manerisms before his attention was drawn back to…

>>734604
The King himself. And one thought was extremely prevalent in his mind. He recalled the king being so much bigger in his memories. Though he then recalled he hadn't actually seen him up close since he was little more than a foal.

He stood and bowed a bit as was the custom his father had ingrained in him with force.

"Of course my liege, me and my House have always lived to serve the castle and the throne."

 No.734609

>>734607
"I'm already short how much lower does it have to get?! Besides, that just means he's like… the manager of the whole castle, right? So I just have to treat em like I treat me boss." Grutar clearly has no social tact in noble treatment, let alone how to properly act to a king.

 No.734610

Qhapaq dips his head in greeting to the King as he reveals himself, and flicks his ears a little bit as he waits to be called upon.

"I would believe I am capable, yes. What is it you would request?"

 No.734611

>>734609
To put it in… simple terms, he's basically the owner and the head boss of the entire castle. Anything he says is the rules is now the rules."

 No.734612

>>734611
"…So a super manager then?"

 No.734613

>>734608
"The Permata always weep at the lost opportunity to enrich young minds, but I have no question your mother was more than capable in our stead, especially given her being a Sage. Hard to find a better teacher than the wisest individuals in Ironcastle."

>>734609
"Just bow." He says with a sigh. "It's how you show honor to royalty."
"He's not just our 'boss': he's our King. We all owe every breath we draw to him and his lineage safeguarding this Castle."

 No.734614

>>734613
"I don't get how lookin' like you dropped your mug shows respect, where I'm from we just bark 'yes sir' and do the best damn job we can." Grutar says with a shrug, but despite his judgements he still looks to the king before dipping bellow the table for a… "Bow"? Before he would poke back up to relax back on his seat once more.

 No.734615

>>734612
"Thats not inaccurate…"

 No.734616

>>734605
"Yes you certainly are, Grutar," Ischyros says. "We will have need of your skill in particular, I believe."

>>734606
>>734607
>>734608
>>734610
"Rise, rise," Ischyros instructs. "I appreciate it, but we have business to attend to, so let's get right to it. First, some introduction: I trust that you all remember the incident from one month ago, when a rogue Mendicant by the name of Rudolph hijacked Ironcastle's Intranet system to broadcast an alarming screed about the Heart running out of energy to just about everyone in the Castle? It's… well, to get into the details would be to open every can of worms in the aisle, and then some.

"Let me first be clear: Ironcastle is in no immediate danger. Mendicant Rudolph jumped the gun to say the least, and risked spreading panic to all the millions of souls who call this place home with his crazy manifesto… but on the flip side, he did reveal a problem that we have been attempting to resolve for some time now. We know for certain that the Heart of our Castle, which protects and nourishes us, is not an infinite reservoir of energy. It has its limits. If we are not careful, we can strain it too far.

"That's where you, and others, come in. What we need now more than ever is capable souls willing to take on missions in the Outlands. The Warrior Stratum, brave and resourceful as they are, can only do so much, and a spate of recent… losses has resulted in them getting more missions than they can take on. Add the problem of the Heart to the mix, and they're stretched too thin. That is why I made the decision to expand the pool of those who are authorized and blessed to brave the dangers of the Outlands.

"The Outlands are a dangerous place to body and soul alike – but if you have the courage and the will to heed this call, you will find glory and honor in exchange for your sacrifice. If you can bring us closer solving the dangers that face our Castle, I will even offer a bit of my authority as the King, to help you attain what you seek – be it a rise in station, wealth for your descendants, prestige, privilege, and so on. So, what say you?"

 No.734617

>>734616
As flattered and happy as he was to be acknowledged by the king of all people, he had his worries about what preceded that. "What can we do that the warriors cannot?" He wondered out loud. He wasn't big on what he doesn't know.

 No.734618

>>734616
"Death on the job is already handled by my agent buddy. It'd be good to try gettin' my paw into the Outlands again. We goin' underground too?" Grutar asks, already itching and ready to understand what his job is better so perhaps he can learn how to help his home castle.

 No.734619

>>734616
"I'm not entirely sure what I could offer to the mission but I'll be damned if I don't try to help things here." he said standing up and showing some of that optimistic spirit that he always had deep within him.

 No.734620

>>734616
"I have no issue. The Outland is, as you say, second nature for me- I will not object to heading out into my home."

 No.734621

>>734614
"We do that as well. But a bow… well, it's a long history lesson that I could regale you with afterwards, if you please, but in short it's customary here. Respectful."

As he dips his head below the table, he gives a slow stare. "..That will do, thank you."

>>734616
At his instruction, Zamrud rises and re-takes his seat in his chair, listening very carefully to everything the king has to say.

As he mentions Rudolph, he nods. "I recall Rudolph's message. An alarming notion, to be certain, but at the time I took it to be an over-reaction to whatever findings he may have made. The idea of the Heart ever running out of power, at least any time soon, seems ridiculous by its very nature. In any case, you were right to step in and mitigate the panic he was already sewing."

As the King goes on to explain the threat of the Heart running out of power being very real, his gaze turns a bit worried, but hardens itself with determination in the wake of the situation.

"I have taken missions to the Outlands before on the royal family's behalf before, Your Majesty. I will gladly do so now with such stakes on the line. But, repairing the Heart sounds like a daunting task, the idea it could even run out of power in the first place is news to us. How might we fix that which we apparently know so little about?"

 No.734622

>>734618
"Some missions will undoubtedly take place underground, yes," Ischyros says. "It is your mutation precisely that led to your showing up on our radar for this project – not to downplay your personal achievements, mind you."

>>734617
>>734619
"We request what you are capable of doing, nothing more nor less," Ischyros says.

>>734621
"Rest assured that the logistics of the matter are in the hands and hooves of the Papilliones," Ischyros says. "Every one of them is a learned scholar, the highest of what the powerful lineages of the Sage Stratum have ever given birth to. You're aware that the Heart is a system of ancient magics and technologies handed down by our First Ancestors, and the Papilliones have dedicated every waking moment of their lives to its study. I have faith in their knowledge; they'll just tell us what they need us to do."

>>734621
>>734620
>>734619
>>734618
>>734617
Ischyros nods again once he hears all of your assent, and brings up his Magicomp (sleek and trimmed with gold), tapping away at its screen. "Good. Let's move to the first mission I would like you to take on. I am assigning this one directly, but generally in the future you will have the freedom to choose from a pool of missions available. I'm going to send you each a link to our intranet's mission board. From there, you can view and download mission details, such as where it will take place, what needs to be done, estimated travel times, and other noteworthy details. Other groups similar to yours will be seeking these missions as well, so I advise against dallying if you see a mission you like."

You all receive an email from the King, containing a link to the Mission Board. "Open that, then look for the Assigned tab, then download that mission. Ironcastle's intranet cannot be accessed outside its walls, so make sure you always download the details rather than just memorize them."

 No.734623

>>734622
Billy nods his head though with unease, a bit of a vague answer. Nonetheless he had moved on to dowload the mission with noticeable difficulty. He isn't fond of these technical things.

 No.734624

The young heir raised his own, an extravagant silver and purple affair as he quickly opened the email and did as he was asked. He downloaded the mission details and made a note to stop and get some of his traveling gear and some other materials before he left. He had never been beyond the walls so he felt he had to properly stock up on things.

 No.734625

>>734622
Grutar starts to mumble out curses under his breath as he starts to fumble with his magitech once again, taking what Zamrud showed him earlier into account as he does to open his email… only to struggle more when he has to use the intranet to get into the mission board.

 No.734626

>>734622
Zamrud nods, "Ah! Of course. I tend to over-think things on how to resolve them myself, but you're right in we already have dedicated people on the matter. The Papilliones know more about the Heart than any, so soon as they've discovered a solution I will be ready to act on their, and your, behalf."

>>734622
As the King brings up his Magicomp, Zamrud looks through his as well, surveying the list of tasks and assignments currently being downloaded.

"Already downloading. What is my first mission then, if I may ask?"

 No.734627

>>734625
>>734623
As he notices others at the table having difficulty, Zamrud perks up a brow. "Do you need any help?"

 No.734628

>>734627
"I think so, this is all quite new to me. Where do I find the download?" He asks of the inquiring Zamrud. He doesn't doubt his intelligence being able to handle these things.

 No.734629

>>734622
Qhapaq nods a little bit and pulls up his own Magicomp, fiddling with it for a little before accepting the mission and trying to read the details over.

 No.734630

>>734627
Grutar grumbles more and holds out the magitech for the help. "Blasted thing." He mutters out.

 No.734631

>>734628
>>734630
Zamrud stands up, moving over to each of them in turn and showing his Magitech, "Just follow the email, then here's the link for the Mission Board, and right *HERE* is where you click to open up the assignments, your email should have included the necessary tokens for logging in to your account. This is the list of assignments, of which we all have exactly one. The little arrow on the side is what you press to download it."

 No.734632

>>734631
Billy make an :O face as he is directed impressed by Zamruds direction. Deeply bowing his head towards Zamrud in thanks for his guidance and teachings. Finally managing to reach the download at the magitech.

 No.734633

>>734629
>>734626
>>734625
>>734624
>>734623
Upon downloading the mission, you're able to view the details:

Questgiver: Iron King Ischyros, the Far-Seeking
Subject: Clear the Abandoned Stronghold
Reward: 300 Shillings
Request: A small amount of low-level Dreaded Ones have taken up residence in a stronghold frequently used by the Warriors as a rest stop and storm shelter. Said Dreaded Ones are likely to have sabotaged or destroyed the stronghold's defense system as well, if they're able to live there. Clear them out and repair the defense system if you're able.
Travel Time Estimation: 1 Cycle
Danger Level: Low
Number of Groups: 1
Notes: Bring along someone with some mechanical skill in case large-scale repairs are necessary. Any valuables found in the stronghold can be kept or sold unless otherwise designated.

"I was lucky enough that the Warriors had a low-risk mission to assign your group as an introduction," Ischyros says. "Zamrud, Qhapaq, you may find it a bit more mild than what you are used to, but it is best to accomodate for those who haven't set hoof into the Outlands before. I trust you will offer your expertise wisely."

He looks to the rest of you. "Take time to gather whatever supplies you may have on hand or that you find necessary, then hop to the mission once you are ready. If you need funds for food and water and the like, we can provide a small stipend. Before you leave here, let Sister Root give you all a blessing of protection."

"Th-th-th-th-th-th-th-th–" the unicorn mare next to Ischyros stammers.

The tall butler, who has heretofore been silent, gently clears his throat. "Th-that's me!" the mare finally manages. "I'm Sister Root."

 No.734634

>>734633
Ahh, a sister. What pleasant company to have here. Though sadly the situation seems to not give them time to converse with one another. hopefully another time. I would love to hear her stories.

 No.734635

>>734631
Grutar just bobs his head in acknowledgement of his attention on directions, beard bouncing with him. After he gets full directions he strokes his beard with his drill while bringing the magitech closer to his eyes. "Alright… I think I got what buttons to press now. Thanks for the help again, Zamrud."

>>734633
"A fixer-upper job eh? Done these before with the boys back home, though usually we're having to repair mining equipment… not security stuff. I'll need to get me tools for this." Grutar says as he looks through the details. Afterwards he would hoist himself off his seat so he can approach the unicorn. "Alright Sis, give me the blessin' and let me get to work!" He says with genuine enthusiasm.

 No.734636

>>734633
"I am not one to do repairs, normally, but I will help where I can." the griffon says, bobbing his head a little and wiggling his abnormal number of talons.

 No.734637

>>734633
He nodded and made some notes though he looked at the sister with a hint of mild suspicion on his face. He was always a bit wary of the religious due to the many issues his mother had with the more orthodox members of the Abbey. HE would accept it but he would always keep an eye on them, especially as one with mutations he found himself actually being proud of.

 No.734638

>>734632
>>734635
Zamrud offers a small smile. "See? Elementary."

>>734633
As the mission finishes downloading, Zamrud reads over the dossier in detail. "Hmm. It is, but any mission no matter small counts in these times. I will go into it with the same fervor as any other, and will offer my assistance to the others to the best of my abilities."

He looks around to the others, narrowing his eyes. "Especially if it's their first time. For many, their first time into the Outland is also their last. I'll have to see who is prepared or not when things come down to it."

As the unicorn of the Abbey comes forth to offer a blessing, Zamrud smiles, trying to put the nervous unicorn at ease. "A pleasure, Sister Root. Thank you for offering the blessings of the Abbey upon us, I'm sure it will serve us well." He kneels before her, awaiting her prayer.

 No.734639

>>734634
Sister Root just nods, and seems to be unwilling to risk speaking lest she stutter some more.

>>734636
Ischyros tries to hide it, but he's got a macabre fascination in the fact that you have six talons per hand, subtly double-taking at the sight. He blinks a few times, then gets back to business.

>>734634
>>734635
>>734636
>>734637
>>734638
Sister Root concentrates, closing her eyes for a few moments, then raises her hoof and begins to pray, tracing the shape of a diamond in the air as she goes through the first four lines. Glowing lights follow the traces of her hoof, making the shape in the air.
"From Mylde, emboldening wine;
From Gast, guiding winds;
From Blod, blessed violence;
From Regn, clever insights;"

She then traces the shape of a heart inside the diamond. "And from Fyr, burning courage."

She pushes the diamond forward, and it breaks, dissolving, when it gets to about a foot ahead of you. You feel invigorated, more alert, and refreshed.

>Blessing effect: You collectively have 1 free use of the Protect skill, counted as Sister Root using it.


Ischyros nods to Sister Root, who looks like that blessing took a bit of stamina out of her. "Thank you, Sister. As for the rest of you, do you have any questions before you depart?"

The butler clears his throat, tapping his magicomp. "Yes, yes, I know, Mabin," Ischyros dismisses, waving a claw. "Sheesh, can't I make small talk with my subjects now and again?"

 No.734640

>>734639
The blessing brings personal happiness to the Goat as a smile graves his features. All gifts should be appreciated. "Thank you." He announces upon receiving the blessing.

 No.734641

>>734639
"Alright, time to grab my tools, my flamethrower, and my DRINK! Oi, anyone who wants to come with I'll pay for the first round, I always buy the first round for good luck with a new crew!" Grutar exclaims, clearly excited to finally have work again.

 No.734642

>>734639
He grunted and let the alien feeling shudder over him as he adjusted in his seat and looked at the others as he fixed his collar as he let the arrow marks on his body be seen as he got comfortable.

"I'll need to procure my own gear… probably tell my parents about this as well." he muttered quietly as he felt like he was probably the youngest out of this group right now.

 No.734643

>>734639
"Thank you, Sister Root." the griffon says, starting to get up from the floor. He stretches out a little and flicks his tail, before looking to Isychryos and shaking his head. "I do not believe I have any questions myself- perhaps one of my companions does, however."

>>734641
"I would not be opposed to alcohol, I suppose. I do not drink much, though."

 No.734644

>>734641
Think I might be underage for anything alcoholic."

 No.734645

>>734639
Zamrud lowers his head as he hears the prayer, his ears slightly folded down as the glowing lights she traces in the air breaks down over him. His fur and ears stand up on end suddenly with the blessing of the gods, himself suddenly feeling more invigorated after its completion.

He rises up after the ritual is complete, and he offers the sister a bow and a smile. "Indeed, thank you Sister. I hope we may meet again after our safe return from the Outlands." As he notices she is a bit tired, he offers a paw to steady her until she feels strong enough to stand.

As Mabin taps his magicomp, Zamrud takes note, and he turns to the king and shakes his head. "You are too kind, Your Majesty, but if you have other royal duties you must attend to, far be it from me to keep you from them. I will speak to you again once our mission is completed."

 No.734646

>>734643
"If the drinks here are anythin' back home, then I know exactly what to get you!"

>>734644
Grutar looks at Good with a quizzical stare. "There's an age limit on drinkin' here?"

 No.734647

>>734642
>>734643
>>734640
>>734641
>>734645
Ischyros nods. "Then I will pray for your victory. Give glory to the gods, and smite the darkness."

With that, he gestures to Mabin the butler, and Sister Root, who collect his crown and reapply the hood of his robe, and escort him out of the council-chamber. As you yourselves depart the council-chamber, you find that the guard who guided you in was standing guard outside the chamber. He shows you the way out of the sprawling council-house, escorting you to the sidewalk outside. "Once you're ready to depart for your mission, head for the Ramparts, that is, Layer Eight," the guard says. "You'll have clearance to leave through the tunnels that the Warriors there use. In most cases, that's how you'll also come back into the Castle for decontamination and the like."

 No.734648

>>734647
Unsure how to take his leave otherwise. He preps his leave with a bow and smile. Otherwise lacking in his knowledge of manners and grace. Though a new thought invaded his mind looking towards his group, wondering how he should join them in his prepping.

 No.734649

>>734645
As Mabin passes by, Zamrud offers him a small thumbs-up for keeping the King on his schedule: he's more than familiar with the King's laid-back attitude, and a little more punctuality wouldn't be uncalled for.
"Take care, Your Majesty. On my honor, and the honor of my house and Castle, this mission is in good paws. OH, and please tell the boys I said hello."

He bows to Sister Root as well as she passes, watching her carefully as she heads through the door before following the group outside. He turns to the guard who escorts them out, nodding to him. "Understood, sir. We'll make our way there when ready."

>>734644
>>734646
"21 is the legal limit for abiding alcohol, yes. It's the same throughout the castle, not just here."
He looks to Good Intentions. "Though if you don't mind my saying so, I'm surprised you're not of legal age. You look very mature."

>>734648
>>734646
>>734644
>>734643
"At any rate, before merry-making, we should make preparations. The mission briefing recommended bringing along someone with some mechanical expertise. I myself has a passing knowledge and can procure a few books before we leave, but an expert would be wise."

 No.734650

>>734647
"Thank you. We will be swift." he says, before turning to leave.

>>734649
"As you already know, I do not have much in the way of talents, aside from strength and martial prowess. Perhaps one of the others might have some skill?"

 No.734651

>>734649
"Well you look old enough, so why not come along, eh? I'll buy you two just for helpin' me out with my tech."

>>734647
Grutar seems to already be staggering down the sidewalk, making his way to the one tavern he recalled visiting when he first arrived here. "Yeah yeah, I've been through that procedure before. It's where I have my stuff kept anyhow. Now, anyone who wants a quick drink just come with me!"

Grutar will lead anyone willing to follow a round of ale, if they have it he would order something known as "Underhill Delux". He plans to share stories of how he and his old crew once had to deal with Dreaded Ones while repairing a mining drill that could connect to a tunnel they needed to escape and run home.

 No.734652

>>734651
Zamrud looks ever so lightly irked, and he crosses his arms. "I like a decent drink, but usually only AFTER the mission, not before."

 No.734653

>>734647
He bowed once more and watched him leave.

>>734646
>>734649
I'm not opposed to maybe trying a sip of something strong after I get all my gear together though." he said a bit embarrassed to admit that he would be down to break the rules.

He was excited about it all though, who could blame him.

 No.734654

>>734652
"Hey, you can have a drink before AND after a mission!"

>>734653
"See there's the spirit! After all we're dealin' with Dreaded Ones, what's the harm in a little drink?"

 No.734655


>>734652>>734654


Billy taps his chin. "I haven't had a drink at a bar before, what is it like?" He asks of them, seeing their wisdom in drinking habits.

 No.734656

>>734653
"You're free to do as you wish, Good, but I must implore you consider the consequences it might have on your household if anyone caught a noble drinking under-aged."

>>734654
"Just because one 'can' doesn't mean they 'should'."

 No.734657


 No.734658

>>734656
I just wanted to take a sip, I wasn't expecting to down an entire mug of ale. Besides my mothers done a far better job than I ever will of drawing in attention."

>>734654
I mean if there's a risk I suppose the least I can do is take a taste of something."

 No.734659

>>734650
>>734648
>>734649
>>734651
>>734653
Knowing that you're least likely to get caught breaking drinking age laws in one of the upper Layers of the Castle, you head for Layer Seven: The Commons. It is there that, after a bit of searching for that right combination of seedy and sketchy, you find a total dive on the corner of two major streets, nestled in between a loan office that makes your skin crawl at the very sight, and a shuttered and broken-down hardware store.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG2ikOeXkyU

It's called Every Last Drop, and is absolutely the picture of sketch. Loud music blares over stereos, and countless Commoners, filthy and exhausted from the day's work, numb their pain in a number of mysterious drinks of various neon colors, poured and served in swirling glasses.

Nobody cards or even looks at Good as you all walk in together, and you're mostly left to find barkeeps and places to sit or stand of your own accord.

 No.734660

>>734659
"Quite the unique establishment." Billy mumbles following the group. Though despite the look of the place having not been out much curiousity drags his eyes across the area instead of taking his leave.

 No.734661

>>734655
"Depending on what you get, either shit or great! I've had a lot of good memories of relaxing in a bar, mostly we called it a cantina from the place me and the boys hung out at. We drink, share stories, eat food, maybe play a little game we make with what we have around us just to remind ourselves the better parts of life."

>>734656
"Yeh well whats that gotta do with drinkin'?" He asks, showing offense with a hint of confusion.

>>734659
Grutar tries to lead the newly founded gang to find a barkeep. "BARKEEP! A ROUND FOR ME AND THE LADS! MAKE IT A UNDERHILL DELUX. OH, AND A RED ROCK BLASTER FOR THIS ONE HERE, EXTRA SUGAR AROUND THE RIM!" He exclaims loudly as he wraps an arm around Good Intentions to gesture who got the unique drink. He sounds like he's been here dozens of times already despite having arrived here not too long ago.

 No.734662

>>734659
Qhapaq frowns a little bit and folds his ears back at the loud music, but follows in regardless. He'll try to find somewhere not too cramped to settle down and sit at, but from the looks of it that might not be particularly easy.

 No.734663

>>734661
Billy nods at the wisdom, it is great to share stories among close companions. Creates strong bonds and life lasting trusts. Truly a genius bringing us all to this bar.

 No.734664

>>734655
"Much like drinking at home, only usually worse decisions made at the end of the night."

>>734658
"I understand, Good. I've no doubt you'd do so responsibly. But you know how it is for us. People see something and exaggerate it. Just be mindful of that."

>>734659
Zamrud follows the party up towards Layer Seven, silently mulling over the peculiar start to their mission as he looks through the shadier streets of the upper levels. Not something he's unfamiliar with amid his many tasks performed for the Iron's, but not exactly his element, either.

As they reach the Every Last Drop, Zamrud looks among the sea of commoners flooding the establishment, feeling a sense of quaint appreciation for the every day working man stopping in a bar to decompress after a stressful day. Seeing everyone else go on into the bar, he relents, but has other goals in mind.

>>734661
>>734659
As Grutar orders a round, Zamrud nods to him. "Generous of you. Just make mine a milk, please."

He looks to the bar-keep a he tries to push his way towards the front of the lines, trying to get his attention to ask him a question.
[1d10] Grabbing attention of the barkeep

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.734665

>>734659
Good had done his best to hide himself and his age by wearing a hood and doing his best to make himself stand taller by standing on his tippy hooves.

>>734661
He actually made a small squeaking noise but he seemed happy to have him be so friendly "And a cola to go with that." he added.

 No.734666

>>734664
"Ah- I did not expect you to be joining us, Zamrud. Yo do not have to come if you do not wish." the griffon says.

 No.734667

>>734664
"I told you, it's for good luck!" Grutar says with a grin.

 No.734668

>>734665
>>734660
>>734661
>>734662
>>734664
The barkeep eventually sends a younger-looking employee, his eyes basically nothing but dark bags from all the workload, to deliver the drinks to a table that you can manage to find at the back. You find that every drink's been accounted for, and despite the crowds that are coming here after the work day concludes (as it is now about 4:58 PM – the Castles are vast, and travel is slow) they're well-made and tasty.

>>734664
The barkeep, you find, is of the Krikral race; a ladybug (male) no taller than Ischyros was. He has to walk across the whole bar top with the rag, since he's too short to clean it from the ground. As you flag him down, he stops in front of you and continues to clean. "What can I get for ya, guy?"

 No.734669

>>734668
Billy looks toward his group for what drinks they are going to get. They probably know what is better than most. Their wisdom hasn't misguided him so far.

 No.734670

>>734666
"Well, team-building is in and of itself a good use of time. Not how I envisioned this team starting but, if we're going to be relying on one another, might as well try to get to know them. You're the only one I'd call a friend on this team so far, Qhapaq."

>>734668
As the Krikral takes notice of him, he nods in recognition as he stops in front of him. "Milk, please, and your assistance. I am in need of some mechanical expertise. Do you know who I would speak to to acquire some?"
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.734671

>>734668
>>734665
Grutar makes sure to give good intention his drink and offers to give him a cheer and drink with him. "To the heart and longevity!" He cheers out before he chugs down his brew in one long go.

After he finishes, he holds it in before letting out a sigh and belch. "Oooh that's good."

"Reminds me of my first round with the crew back home. Back when I had both hands that time! Hah!"

 No.734672

>>734670
The ladybug serves the drink, and goes back to cleaning the bar top. "You're with the Nobles or sumn, ain'tcha? I hear some rotten tales from the Orchards about how youse treat some of the people workin' for you. Unpaid overtime, no breaks, harassment, low wages. Makes me wonder if I'd ever recommend anyone to work for you or just tell ya to hit the bricks, you know?"

 No.734673

>>734671
>>734668
He took a deep breath and did his best to take a big swig of the drink, making a variety of faces as the burn of alcohol was quite a surprise to him.

 No.734674

>>734673
[1d10] to keep it down.

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.734675

>>734673
You suppress an instinctual urge to gag from the sudden burn of powerful liquor and an overdose of sugar, fruit juices and other ingredients best left to the imagination. You cough a little, but manage to keep yourself from hacking any up, or worse.

 No.734676

>>734671
As Zamrud's milk is delivered, he takes small slow laps of the sweet drink as he offers up his raised glass.
"Cheers, to our success and the glory of Ironcastle."

As he mentions his hands, Zamrud points at the drill. "I hope you don't mind my asking, but how *did* you acquire that particular piece of hardware?"

>>734672
Zamrud nods. "You're not mistaken, on any count. I can't speak for all nobles, but I am something of a task-man myself. I've been all over Ironcastle running errands on their behalf. I know the value of a day's work for a day's pay, and you can be rest assured any individual I work with will be graciously compensated."

To illustrate his point, he drops 10 schillings on the counter as a tip for the drinks.
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.734677

>>734676
"Oh this beaut?" He says with sarcasm, lifting up his drill briefly to flash it before relaxing it back down at his side. "That's a bit of a story. You want the long version or the shorter one?"

 No.734678

>>734668
Qhapaq tries his drink. After determining that he likes it, the griffon continues to drink it- rather slowly, though.

>>734670
"I suppose that makes enough sense. It is nice to have someone familiar along, at least." he says, offering a bit of a smile.


>>734677
"Either would be fine."

 No.734679

>>734677
"I do love stories." Billy chips in suddenly. "I would love to hear about it." He adds with a chipper smile leaning against the bar.

 No.734680

>>734676
>Correction: 5
The ladybug slips the schillings under the counter, considering your words a little. "Check over there by the arcade cabinet. You'll find a buck by the name of Rockfall. Not the easiest guy to get along with, but he knows his stuff. Got fired from his factory job recently on some bogus accusation of 'safety violations' – the real reason is he got injured on the job, and you know how Nobles just shrivel up when they hear the words 'worker's comp.' Anyway, ain't a day goes by that I don't see him in here. Doesn't hardly drink no more, just sticks schillings in the cabinet. I'll make more money if he starts drinking again, so you get him outta here and you pay him good, you got it?"

 No.734681

>>734675
He groaned and shook a head a bit "Are all these drinks supposed to hurt my throat like this?" he asked as he decided to ho back to try and finish it.

[1d10] to see if Good gets hammered already.

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.734682

>>734669
>>734671
>>734678
>>734681
Good notices that he begins feeling absolutely great after another hearty sip of the drink. It doesn't burn as much as the first sip, strangely, maybe because everything got burned to the brink of pain after the first swig. The bar swims and dances around him as its axis, and he feels so totally confident and convinced that nothing will go wrong, and that these people, these wonderful, kind, lovely, smart awesome people that he just met a few hours ago, will help him save the whole world, starting with Ironcastle.

The rest of you manage to hold down your drinks, noticing that Good is swiveling in place like a bowling pin after it's been grazed, on the verge of falling over.

 No.734683

>>734678
>>734679
"Welllll… I guess I'll go into the whole story. It all happened in the underground outlands near Zinccastle, me home. It was me most important dig too, had earned a reputation with me boys for getting deeper than most around the place. Boss had us go digging deep, real deep looking for some ruins. All we had to do was find them, not really clear them out or search for anything, just prove it was really there and get the hell back home." He begins explaining his tale, he's very expressive while telling his tale, trying to use his hands to try and accentuate some of his words with his head bobbing.

"I saw a gem in there, thought nothing of it at first. We always grab rare gems or minerals we can get our grubby paws onto and haul it back home for a bonus. This one was glowin', looked like a red hot fire was cooking inside of it. Felt like it too when I grabbed it, thing melted and stuck to my skin." He explains this by running his hand along the drill as he explains further.

"My screamin' brought some Dreaded Ones on us, we had to hide in the ruins we finally found. Thanks to the boys they kept me shut up through the whole thing, we were there for DAYS it felt like, to me it felt like weeks with all that pain. But by the time we were leavin', this was all that was left of me arm when I got home. Caused me to lose me job, if not for a friend I made few months back I probably wouldn't be here. Last few jobs I did for him let me find out the arm works real well, everythin's numb so I can't feel how it works but it really works on rock and stone."

>>734682
>>734681
"Oi! Good! How's' that red rock holdin' you up?!" He halts his story for the moment to call out the younger member of the party.

 No.734684

>>734683
"ahh." Spark says open mouthed accompanied by an "Ohh." as he listened. A strong story about perseverence and a trial. Truly bring meaning to the drill upon his arm.

 No.734685

>>734682
>>734683
Good might have set a record for fastest time from sober to Peagsus Drunk in the bar as he seemed to be utterly loving the feeling. Things were slow but so much fun. He ended up falling into the diamond dog giggling and holding him

"I like alcohol~." he said with a noticeable slur in his speech.

 No.734686

>>734685
Grutar tosses his empty mug away to help catch his comrade, offering an arm to keep him at least standing. "Aye me too lad, me too!! hahahahah!!"

 No.734687

>>734681
>>734682
"Hmm… perhaps you should try and take it slow. Alcohol is not something to take lightly." the enormous griffon says, setting a hand on the stallion's back to try and steady him.

>>734683
"Hmm. That was quite the unfortunate occurrence. It is good to see that you have adapted to it, however- their strength is something to be embraced."

 No.734688

>>734677
"Let's start with the short. Save the long version for a good campfire story."

>>734678
"Right. Besides, I might be able to get something useful for the mission as well here."

>>734680
Zamrud looks towards the arcade cabinet, nodding in contemplation as the ladybug explains the condition Rockfall finds himself in. "I'm sorry to hear that happened to him. I would like to find him more permanent work, but for now I'm sure what I have in mind will suit him well. Thank you again, I promise with the gods as my witness he'll be taken care of." He says with a gracious bow of his head, before making his way over towards the arcade cabinet.

When he approaches, he simply asks, "Pardon me, are you Rockfall?"

 No.734689

>>734683
>>734684
>>734685
>>734687
It's at this point that some of the nearby patrons give Good more than a few suspicious looks, glancing back and forth between him and the rest of you with a few sketchy glances. You hear more than a couple grumbles from the laborers and blue-collar workers about the Nobles, and the occasional audible question of how old "that kid" is.

It might be time to bar hop, or get to the mission.

>>734688
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxkFxBiaxEQ

You see a lean buck, probably about eight years younger than you, eyes glued to the arcade machine before him as he plays some kind of classic shmup, all hunched over in one of those weird postures that you might adopt after standing for hours on end. A cigarette dangles from his mouth, not even lit. Another cigarette, chewed and smoked down to the butt, is next to it – also in his mouth. His eyes flash across the screen at near-instant speeds as he gradually approaches the high score. In the corner of the screen, where the previous high score is placed against the current one, you see that he also set the previous high score – with the initials RKF.

"Uh," is all that he says.

>Paused

 No.734991

Last time, on Anno Castra…

Five members of Ironcastle – Grutar, Billy Spark, Zamrud, Good Intentions and Qhapaq – were summoned to Layer Two, the Noblesse, on royal business; it had to be, considering that Billy as a Sage and Qhapaq and Grutar as Warriors would not normally be allowed below Layer Four, the Orchards, without proper authorization. They were called to gather at one of the Nobles' communal council-chambers, where in a nondescript room they met with none other than Iron King Ischyros the Far-Seeking.

The King talked at length about a wide-scale commission that Ironcastle would ask of its most capable souls. As it turned out, Mendicant Rudolph's alarming screed about Ironcastle's Heart running out of power was half-right. The King assured them that it would not run out of power anytime soon, but its supply of power was not infinite nor eternal, as had been believed for so many centuries. The Warrior Stratum had been scrambling as of late with a spate of new missions to try and figure out how to recharge that ancient marvel of magic and technology to full power, and they were getting overwhelmed. Because of that, Ischyros would grant capable souls with the authority to proceed into the Outlands, in order to take on extra missions for the Warriors and relieve some of their burden.

The party accepted, and downloaded the first mission that they would take on from the Mission Board, an intranet system the Warriors used to organize and distribute work and intel. It was a simple enough mission, set aside to acclimate those who had never left the Castle before. Their orders were to clear out an abandoned fortress about a day's journey from Ironcastle, which Warriors often used as a rest stop during travel. The fortress' defense systems were likely compromised, because some low-level Dreaded Ones had made it their nest. They would need someone of some mechanical and technical skill to repair the defense system.

Before their mission began, the party decided to hit a run-down working-class bar, called Every Last Drop, which Grutar frequented. Good decided to have his first drink and immediately learned he was a lightweight; meanwhile, Zamrud sought out Rockfall, a mechanic Commoner who had recently been illegally laid off following a work injury, who wasted most of his time now playing arcade games and drinking in a bout of depression.

 No.734992

>Billy, Good, Grutar, Qhapaq
It's at this point that some of the nearby patrons give Good more than a few suspicious looks, glancing back and forth between him and the rest of you with a few sketchy glances. You hear more than a couple grumbles from the laborers and blue-collar workers about the Nobles, and the occasional audible question of how old "that kid" is.

It might be time to bar hop, or get to the mission.

>Zamrud

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

You see a lean buck, probably about eight years younger than you, eyes glued to the arcade machine before him as he plays some kind of classic shmup, all hunched over in one of those weird postures that you might adopt after standing for hours on end. A cigarette dangles from his mouth, not even lit. Another cigarette, chewed and smoked down to the butt, is next to it – also in his mouth. His eyes flash across the screen at near-instant speeds as he gradually approaches the high score. In the corner of the screen, where the previous high score is placed against the current one, you see that he also set the previous high score – with the initials RKF.

"Uh," is all that he says.

 No.734993

>>734992
Grutar chugs down one more drink for himself, with a hearty belch he then pats his belly with his good hand. "WELP! Let's get a move on! We've had our drinks so now we should get on with our jobs! I'm going off to get my gear now!" He announces to the crew. He then starts to stumble a bit more out the door, ready to head to the eight floor where he has his locker full of things to prepare for the upcoming mission.

 No.734994

>>734992
Zamrud approaches the young buck as he leans over the arcade machine, staring at the scores lit up on the screen as well as the cigarettes in his mouth. "You're very good at this game. Pardon my interrupting your focus, but I'm told you can help me with a problem. You're a mechanic, correct?"

 No.734997

>>734991
"Hmm. Perhaps it is best we get you some water." the griffon says to Good intentions, gently lifting the stallion to his hooves. Considering the griffon's size, it's not particularly hard.

 No.734998

>>734992
Good just laughed his little drunk ass off as he leaned into his canine companion with really no restraint to him.

>>734686
"I should be drunk all the time!~"

 No.734999

>>734992
Billy just gives out awkward waves as he feels the stares, feeling unsure how to handle the attention he looks visibly uncomfortable. Just smile and wave he internally says.

 No.735000

>>734994
"Was," Rockfall mutters. "Got laid off. Dickheads. Up to my eyes in medical bills," he adds with a meaningful flick of the end of his cigarette. "Whatddya need help with?"

 No.735001

>>734993
>>734997
>>734998
>>734999
The ladybug barkeep flutters over with a glass of water for Good, hissing to Grutar to get his attention before he can leave. "Ey, whaddya think you're doin', bringin' a kid in 'ere? You want the Constables on me or what?"

 No.735002

>>734998
"You should not- excessive drinking is not good."

 No.735003

>>734998
"Lad, I wish I could be but I'm not a rich dog! Hahahahah!"

>>735001
"Oi! I was drinkin' before his age, y'know! Besides, kid is gonna need it if he's goin' off fightin' Dreaded Ones. YOU EVER SEEN ONE UP CLOSE? Think of your worse nightmares stuffed into a bottle of booze you're forced to guzzle down, but filled with broken glass and pebbles!" Grutar seems to try and distract the barkeep from his usual misconduct that he gets into with wild stories about Dreaded Ones or stories of the Outlands.

 No.735004

>>734993
"Will everything be okay, I haven't been in trouble before. I don't want to now." Billy asks while nervously chewing away at his own claws.

 No.735005

>>735000
"Mechanical work, obviously. I heard about your injury, that's very unfortunate but hopefully this may help you with your bills."

"My name is Zamrud Permata Bahasa. I've recently been assigned to travel to the Outlands to secure an abandoned stronghold our Warrior Caste used to use. We've also been asked to repair its defense systems, but no one in our company has much in the way of advanced engineering repair. I'd like to ask for your assistance in this particular matter. How well can you travel with your injury?"

 No.735006

>>735004
"Trouble comes at you no matter where you are, lad. How you handle it or avoid it is the better question! But this is nothing to worry about." Grutar gives Billy a reassuring pat on his head, or at least attempts to with his shorter height.

 No.735007

>>735006
"Thank you." Billy nods his head at the wisdom as his claws relax upon his sides. Marks from his teeth had patterned them.

 No.735008

>>735005
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735009

>>735003
The barkeep slaps you lightly on the shoulder with his cleaning rag – you barely even feel it considering he's a one-foot-tall ladybug krikral. "Ahhh you and your stories. Look I know you've got your reasons, juuuust keep it on the down-low so we don't get the colts in blue knockin' on the door, alright?"

>>735005
He gestures to his right hind-leg, which you can see, under his trousers, is covered in a cast. You also see a walking stick leaning against the arcade cabinet. "Walking with a cane is one thing, but if I go with you, and a Dreaded One hops out at me? Forget about it pal, I'm done."

He ponders your proposal as he eyes you up and down. You notice him subtly fiddling with his magicomp while trying to be subtle about it. With your zoom-in eyes, you catch a glimpse of him tapping an audio recording app. "Well, I can't help you directly. However, I *could* provide you with a schematic and a manual to what is most likely the same model of defensive system that they've installed out there. I've worked on those systems before you see… but the manufacturer wouldn't be happy with me just handing out those schematics."

He raises an eyebrow hoping you'll get his meaning. A bribe, it seems.

 No.735010

>>735001
He took it and began to drink it, grimacing when he realized it wasn't booze but he drank it anyway before turning his focus to the forgotten soda he had on the table.

"I'm no kid, I'm a noble~."

>>735003
"Oh they don't sound so scary. I bet I could beat them up with like a stick or something!"

 No.735011

>>735002
He turned to look at the bird "Aww but this is so much fun!"

 No.735012

>>735010
"Indeed, you are very noble sir. I look forward to seeing your skills." He announces with a big smile to the young one. Feeling his excitement rise at his exclamation.

 No.735013

>>735009
"Hey I'm not the one pointin' it out." He replies with a cheeky grin. "Besides, they try askin' I'll just tell them my best story. The one where one of my pals Gimik tried to impress a girl by bringin' a head of a Dreaded One to her."

>>735010
"That's the spirit! But make sure you set that stick on fire first, best way to fend them off!"

 No.735014

>>735011
"It is less fun once it wears off if you drink a lot- at least, what I have heard. Alcohol does not really… affect me, much." he says, shrugging a little.

>>735013
"Did he succeed? A dreaded one would make a good display of prowess."

 No.735015

>>735009
Zamrad takes note of the recording application being switched, keeping a calm poker face as he instead looks down towards the cast.
"I see. Naturally, you wouldn't be traveling alone and we would provide protection, but as of yet I couldn't give you my guarantee what my team is capable of. If you're willing to provide instruction, I'd graciously compensate you for whatever you might share."

Figuring he might be recording the conversation, he shakes his head. "But, a schematic and a manual would be asking too much. The last thing I'd possibly want is the two of us being thrown in prison for violating a nondisclosure of sort." He stands up, reaching into his pocket to grab at a clawful of shillings, 50 of them, and put them into a small, unassuming cloth sack of their own to hold in his paw. "Might this be enough to cover an… *indepth* walkthrough instead?" He says, trying to throw his own hints he's interested in the schematics
>50 Shillings
[1d10] Persuasion

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735017

>>735012
He shot him a winning grin, or at the very least the best he could while shitfaced.

>>735014
Wear's off? What the heck do you mean by that?"

>>735013
I'll put explosives on the stick too! So I can hit them ever harder than before!"

 No.735018

>>735017
"If you drink a lot, you will feel bad later. Just, be careful."

 No.735020

>>735017
Billy gives him a few hearty pats on the back and giggles. "I am sure we will do great. Though explosives sound a bit extreme." He mentions giving a tap on his chin.

 No.735022

>>735013
"That was GIMIK!?" the barkeep exclaims. "I oughta sock him next time I see him. For the love of the Five, I can still hear all those sirens goin' off and blarin' for hours after he tripped those alarms. Some guys! Heh, alright, get outta here and make that money."

>>735010
The barkeep freezes up a little bit, then turns away, grumbling something about passing up an opportunity to overcharge you.

>>735015
Zamrud's eyes dart to the bag of schillings, then down at his own magicomp. He reaches out and takes the bag. "Hell no, that ain't enough. Besides, I was just playin' around. I said that I could, not that I would."

But, even though he "refused" audibly, he reaches for his comp, hooking up a universal connector cable. He connects the other end of the cable to your comp, initiating an encrypted file transfer. You see the schematic to the defense system download to your comp. Once it's complete, he retracts the connector cable, gesturing for you to leave.

>timeskip to mission start available

 No.735023

>>735014
"He succeeded alright, pissed himself while he was at it too hahahahah!!" He guffaws. "Me and The Boys went with him when he was tryin' to show how 'brave' he was to a girl he liked. We KNEW he couldn't fight! Only thing that lad could fight was the urge to puke after drinkin' two gutbusters in a row!" Grutar becomes more expressive as he gets into telling a tale, his head bobbing more often and even his drill arm moving out of habit with his normal hand expressively trying to accentuate the tale.

"We knew a small place we bring the green ones to in order to practice fendin' off Dreaded Ones. But when the fight got started, me and The Boys managed to take one down and drag off the head before the rest swarmed us. The look on Gimik's face! AHAHAHAH WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE TO SEE THAT REACTION AGAIN!" He gets lost for a small bit in his tale. He wipes away a tear caused from his hearty laughter before clearing his throat to finish up. "Buuut we gave him credit, he still got into the fight even though he was a tad wet at the time. We gave him ALL credit so we could head to the bar without him when they held him off at decontamination! But his girl at the time was real impressed, now it's his wife! Too bad the fella had to find out about her bad expensive rock collection habit AFTER he married her!"

>>735022
"Yeh that guy is great though, makes REAL good meat pies too. Welp! I better be off to work, I can tell stories all day but I only get to work at SELECTIVE times!"

>Ready for mission start

 No.735024

>>735022
>Ready to timeskip!

 No.735025

>>735022
>>Ready for timeskip

 No.735026

>>735018
He frowned at that but he accepted that potentiality.

>>735020
Big Boom!" he said as he seemed to really be into that idea now.

>>735022
>Down for Hangover and Timeskip.

 No.735027

>>735022
Zamrud smiles, looking down at his own magicomp as he sees the schematics fully uploaded to his, watching the cable disconnect as he nods his head. "Well, that is unfortunate, I'm afraid I can't make a better offer than that. If any more work comes up in the future that require your expertise, Rockfall, rest assured I'll be in touch, but for now I can only wish you luck."

He pauses as he leaves, then turns. "I'll put in a good word for you with some people I know. Your talents seem like they're wasted in front on an arcade screen." Making a mental note to contact his House or possibly even the Family of Iron later to find Rockfall a job, he returns to the table where he left his compatriots.

>>735023
>>735020
>>735018
>>735017
"Gentlemen," he says upon his return, "Forgive my departure, but I've acquired something useful for the mission ahead. Assuming you've all had your fill, I believe we're all…"

He pauses, his eye caught by Good Intentions' exceptionally shit-faced behavior. "…How much has the young lord had to drink?"

 No.735028

>>735027
"Little, but he is… not sturdy. We will give him water, and hope it is not too much." the griffon says, a tad annoyed.

 No.735029

>>735027
"Oh just one, even gave him the one that we get most greens get before a mission. It's a tradition back home!"

 No.735030

>>735027
Billy holds up one claw before Zamrud.

 No.735031

>>735027
He waved to his feline companion and tried to move forward only to faceplant onto the floor with a few errant laughs escaping him. If nothing else he was currently having a pretty good time.

 No.735032

>>735028
>>735029
>>735030
"One. A singular drink." He looks to Good Intentions with an upturned brow. "Well, I did offer a warning before we started…"

 No.735033

>>735031
As Good faceplants on to the floor, Zamrud repeats. "A SINGLE drink. You're sure?"

He asks as he leans down to help up the young pony. "Now then, my lord, up and at them. Nobility shouldn't be face down on the floor of a bar."

 No.735035

>>735032
"Apologies, Zamrud. I shall make sure he remains able as well as I can."

 No.735036

>>735033
"It was a really fruity drink and it burned as it went down my throat." he said with a few giggles as he leaned on him a bit with a sigh.

"But that floor was pretty dirty and it smelled pretty bad too." he added as he relaxed onto the others form as he seemed to have mellowed out a bit.

 No.735037

>>735027
Rockfall looks leery of you, and you get the distinct feeling, between this and the secret recording he attempted to make, that he's quite leery of Nobles like you.

>>735027
>>735024
>>735023
>>735025
>>735026
After leaving the bar, you gather your gear, wherever it might be stored, and proceed to the northern face of Layer Eight, better known as the Ramparts. It is situated above the Commons, and is where the Warriors deploy to and from the Outlands via colossal ramps rigged up with escalator systems.

Those of you who are familiar with standard procedure for entering and exiting the Castle
guide the newcomers to the process. First, you take an elevator from the Commons to the Ramparts, and then catch a trolley for the northern face. From there, you must visit a deployment office, presenting an officer with the necessary documentation and authorization for leaving the Castle, which was provided with your email if you didn't already have it.

Afterward, you are blessed again for the protection of your soul by a cleric of the Warriors, and are directed to a long hallway, all made of clean, sterile metal. You pass through a scanning system meant to catch contraband material, and come to a separate room secured by a bulkhead. The other side opens, presenting you with a very large elevator, that looks like it could hold 100. It slides downward at a diagonal slope for nearly 30 minutes. At the end of the descent it opens, putting you in a long hall, marked with holy symbols of the Abbey and icons of great and holy Warriors.

The hallway is divided into five long sections, which are separated by bulkheads. A guard behind a glass screen explains that these are decontamination chambers, and since you're exiting, you don't need to be decontaminated. He directs you to proceed to the end of the hallway. Once you're at the end, a bulkhead seals behind you, the lights turn off, and a siren begins to blare. With a deafening GRRR-CHUNK of grinding metal, several sealed bulkhead doors open before you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FKqpqEov-J0

What awaits you, on the other end of those bulkheads, is a wave of frigid cold air, which rushes into the sealed chamber as if it were attacking the sealed doors behind you. Absolute, utter blackness is above you, stretching all the way out to the farthest horizons. A faint, bitter glow clings to the rocky ground, like a sticky fog. The land beyond is lifeless as far as you can see, which isn't much considering the oppressive weight of the darkness upon you. Intranet signals cut off on your magicomp, and the visors on your armorsuits start to adjust to the darkness, allowing you to see ever so slightly better with a pale neon glow.

>one person roll 1d50

 No.735039

>>735037
>roll post! [1d50]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.735040

>>735037
Qhapaq accepts whatever blessings the cleric offers after getting through the deployment and authorization- leaving most of the paperwork to Zamrud, most likely.

The griffon moves towards the end of the hallway casually, having done this enough times that it didn't bother him. He makes sure to check his armored coat and stretch a little while he waits for the bulkhead to be opened. Once it is, he waits a few moments for the others, ruffles his wings, and steps out into the rocky, barren land outside.

 No.735042

>>735037
Upon leaving past the bulkheads, Grutar transitions completely from his boisterous happy-go-lucky sort of attitude to a very stern and quiet tone. His voice only speaking above the winds but always hushed as if he is avoiding the attention of… well… anything, as if there could be anything beyond his sight and anyone to burst from it.

"This is it, Lads… Keep your voice down, your eyes open, your ears clean, and most importantly… stay together. I'll be watching your back the whole time, but I'm used to one of The Bois leadin' me through these ventures, so just point me where to go and what to do and I'll show you how to survive." He addresses those new to the Outlands, understanding he has a few with him that have experienced this "world" to give him more comfort in this venture.

 No.735043

>>735037
Good made some unhappy noises in his suit. It seems that he had enough time to start sobering up before they left and while the water had done the job of mitigating some of the damage that he would be dealing with but he still had a decent hangover going on which was not fun for the little lord as he wanted to just go home and ho to bed for a nice long time.

"I see why you guys were warning me about having to deal with the after effects of drinking." he muttered as he popped the front of his visor open partially to give him access to his canteen which he promptly put to his lips and downed a nice sized swig to help soothe the mild nausea he was dealing with as well. This resulted in a shiver as the cold air slammed into his face and he quick resealed his suit to return him to a warm temperature.

"So… this is the outside huh?"

 No.735044

>>735037
Billy announces his thanks for the warrior blessing given to him. Feeling a boost in his confidence.

He follows the group, expecting trials to await him in the near future that will test him and believing that he will soon prove himself against them.

 No.735045

>>735043
"It is. It is not particularly pleasant, speaking from much experience. Please, be careful- whether this is your first, or your last, a mistake can be deadly."

 No.735048

>>735045
"Duly noted my friend." he said taking a deep breath so he was prepared for this. Or at least as prepared as he could be.

 No.735050

>>735035
>>735037
"Hopefully the young lord just has an exceedingly quick metabolism, and will sober up as quickly as he inebriates."

>>735036
"I'm sure it was delicious, my lord. So let's do our best to avoid the floor for the forseeable future." He says, with a long practiced patience for this sort of thing.

>>735037
After the long, rigorous procedure of finding their way from the Commons to the Ramparts, then through the long hallway and all the scanning procedures, Zamrud keeps a stoic, relaxed calm through it all, having been through the procedures a number of times already but always feeling his fur tense up a little bit as they finally begin to near the exiting bulkheads.

As the bulkheads finally open up to show the wide, black void beyond its opening, the lifeless, lightless wastes stretching before them, he turns towards his compatriots to gauge their reactions.

>>735042
>>735043
>>735044
>>735045
"Couldn't have put it better myself, Grutar. Especially important we stick close, finding your way out here could be understandably hazardous. Separation could imperil your very life, but if you do find yourself alone, watch your magicomp, this close to the Castle you should be able to find your way back."

>>735043
"Indeed it is, Good. If you need a moment to take it all in, I suggest we do so later. The longer you stay here, the longer you'll find it is to take that first step into the howling dark."

 No.735051

>>735050
>>735044
>>735043
>>735042
>>735040
Double-checking your magicomps, you confirm the objective's coordinates, a day's journey on hoof. Considering that it's about 5 PM now, you'll need to make camp for the night about halfway through– but a warning notification pops up on the screen, which must have been automatically downloaded prior to your departure. It warns you about a dust storm heading through the region that you'll need to pass through. Unfortunately, map data about the surrounding region reveals that the territory before you is rocky and mountainous, full of treacherous cliffs and valleys. Attempting to circumvent the storm by going around it would add as much as a week to your journey, along with unneeded danger.

With little else for it, you proceed northward, keeping an eye out for dangers. Your suits do well to protect you from the cold, and filter any potential bacteria and pathogens that might be lurking in the air. The earth before you is hard and brittle, full of cracks through which little species of fungi poke up, fed upon by stoneworms, slimy little things that are, by all accounts, the weakest of all Dreaded Ones. You cross over hill and gap, guided by map data and the dim, sickly green glow that sticks to the earth, and you are kept company by a great and utter silence, that seems to be as vast and all-covering as the Darkness itself.

Hours pass like that, until at about 9 PM, your magicomps send a subtle alarm beeping into the internal audio system of your suits. The dust storm is picking up, and you hear the vast silence of the world broken by a hissing and a bellowing of distant winds. You find yourselves crossing through a vast, long and narrow system of cracks through an unnamed mountain. Sand and gravel start to kick up below you, and you hear loose rubble from above start to come tumbling down. If you don't find some cover soon, there's a good chance you could get struck by a small avalanche once all visibility is gone.

 No.735053

>>735051
"We got two options, get movin' fast and push our bodies through the jog or we get diggin' to make our own cover. If the storm gets bad enough, movin' may be a poorer option. I can dig us out of any avalanche that comes down on us anyways." Grutar gives his own ideas, however he keeps an eye on every member for their opinion relying on someone acting as leader due to his previous crew role.

 No.735054

>>735051
Good posited that he could maybe make a moving shield for them using his gravity, he also figured that saving everyone only to crush himself wasn't the best possible option when they're just starting out on an adventure.

>>735053
I'm down for making this a stationary situation for now. Digging in and making a safe place to rest seems like the smartest situation in stead of risking one of us being hit by a flying rock."

 No.735055

>>735050
>>735051
Qhapaq doesn't have the sealed-suit, but does at least opt for a hood on his heavy, armored coat. He'll stick to the front of the group for now, trying his best to stay on the more level patches of ground for the sake of Good Intentions.

>>735053
"I believe it would be wiser to dig in for now. Better safe than sorry, yes?"

 No.735056

>>735051
>>735053
As they follow their magimaps, letting others lead ahead as he keeps a close eye out from the center using his mutation enhanced vision, keeping a keen sense of awareness about their surroundings
-Alleycat: Instant; DC 4; Every alleycat develops a keen sense of where he or she should look for potential attackers. You can roll this to identify places in your immediate surroundings that would be relevant in combat, such as ambush spots, choke points, and good escape routes. Higher rolls can even anticipate incoming attacks.
[1d10+1] to sense for danger

As the alarms blare and the storm comes up on them, he turns to Grutar, "Considering you have that drill of yours, I recommend the safe approach. Dig us into some cover, and we'll wait out the storm. If it doesn't pass over soon, do you think you could dig us a tunnel all the way to the Warrior stronghold?"

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.735057

>>735054
>>735055
Hearing more group opinions (and if getting continued approval by others) Grutar would grin and chuckle quietly to himself. "This is my favorite part…" He mutters, raising his bone drill up as it begins to whir. The sound mingling with the desert storm as he takes advantage of the sound it makes to begin digging. He would put the drill to the ground to start clearing the way, the noises truly sounding like bone grinding against crystal as his drill arm spins, along with the grinding of bone and rock as it grinds away to make cover. Although Grutar tries his best to beat the storm in a race for making cover.

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.735058

>>735051
Billy panics at the sudden oncomning tornado and crumbling mountains. He makes his way to scan the area.Particularly a crevice or hole that the group can fit themselves into till the situation passes over.

Goatcraft: passive; The harsh and lifeless territories goats originate from have adapted their bodies to treat it like a standard field. All climbing and agility rolls have DC-1 and you can use anything as food, including non-food items.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.735059

>>735058
>>735057
>>735056
>>735055
>>735054
Grutar starts to drill, but he's soon interrupted– Zamrud senses a disturbance above, and through the flying grit and dirt, sees a jagged rock about the size of a sports ball toppling down from above. He shoves Grutar aside just moments before the rock slams down on where he was just standing, narrowly avoiding critical damage. Meanwhile, Billy has a look around, and sees a sort of curious shelf in the rock face, possibly carved by erosion or a previous avalanche, several meters up. Near the end of the shelf, there's a cave entrance, but it's impossible to tell from here how deep it goes, or whether it might be occupied.

As the storm gets worse, you hear more rattlings of loose rocks all about you. Soon, even hearing your own thoughts amid the din becomes a task of serious focus.

 No.735060

>>735059
>>735057
As the rock starts to fall down from the unseen darkness above, Zamrud's senses go into overdrive, diving into Grutar to push him out of the way, "Watch out!"

After shoving Grutar aside, then looking back where the rock fell where he was just standing, he turns to look at the Diamond Dog. "That was close. Are you alright?"

 No.735062

>>735059
Billy decides to risk it all on the biscuit, or the cave. He shakes his head a bit trying to focus more on the situation on hand. He goes forth to the cave calling out to his group to follow while waving his claw towards them in a large gesture.

 No.735063

>>735059
>>735060
Qhapaq flips around with a concerned wark and checks on Zamrud and Grutar, before letting out a soft huff. "You two are unharmed? Perhaps we would be better off taking shelter in a natural cavern. It could be… occupied, but I will handle it if it is, and is needed."

 No.735066

>>735063
>>735062
Zamrud turns to Qhapaq, nodding an affirmative. "I'm unarmed. I heard the piece snap off of the mountain not long after Grutar began to drill, there was ample time to react."

Looking at where their goat companion had found them a natural cave, he turns to his companion and nods. "I agree, look over there: seems Billy has found something. Let's move before we lose sight of him in the storm."

 No.735067

>>735066
*unharmed

 No.735068

Seeing the cave up above, Zamrud gets down on all fours, putting all his strength into his rear legs to make one solid pounce upwards towards the cave opening
>Leap: Passive; Owing to your cat's sense of balance, you have DC-2 to landing safely from great heights, and whether you pass or fail, you take 2 fewer Hits of damage from every fall. You also land silently from all but the highest falls, regardless of result. This can also be rolled (DC-2) to jump great distances and heights, even from a standing position.
[1d10] vs DC-2

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735069

>>735062
>>735057
>>735054
>Qhapaq would be willing to carry a party member over safely, as he's able to.

 No.735070

>>735059
>>735060
Hearing the call out, Grutar's drill makes a sudden jerking stop as a crack is heard from doing so. After allowing Zamrud to ram him out of the way, Grutar gets up to brush himself off quickly. "Yeh I'm fine, thanks for watchin' out for me." He gives appreciation, reaching out to offer a quick high five before he decides to try and move on from his failed attempt and try to stick by his savior.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.735074

>>735070
As Grutar puts up his hand for a high five, Zamrud quickly reciprocates it. "Think nothing of it. As you said, you'll be watching all our backs. I'm happy to return the favor."

 No.735075

>>735063
Um do you think that you could carry me Mr. griffin?" he asked having forgotten his name in a bit of embarrassment "I think you'd be able to get me up there and I can't climb the best.

 No.735076

>>735075
>>735070
>>735069
>>735068
>>735062
One way or another, you end up traversing the short climb up the eroded part of the cliff face, which soon provides you relief, because to your north there is now a high, sturdy stone barrier, keeping out the majority of the dust storm. The cave waits before you, out of which you can feel an exuding warmth, and see a low mist of some sort. It's possible that this could be caused by a geothermal spring – which presents problems of its own. Vents can sometime produce poisonous fumes, and those that don't are known to attract the Dreaded Ones, which are drawn to its warmth and to the water produced by the spring.

>roll perception

 No.735077

>>735076
Between the huff and puffs of air and adrenaline. Billies eyes dart left and right inside the cave. He couldn't relax right after entering inside of the cave.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735078

>>735076
As they enter the cave, Zamrud turns towards its entrance, giving a shake of his coat to kick off some of the dust from the storm outside. "We should be safe from the storm in here, nicely picked Billy." As he turns towards the deeper cavern within, he glares.

"But no one relax just yet. This could still be troublesome." He peers through with his eyes, trying to see what he can with his enhanced vision.

>Mutation: Enhanced Vision

Type: Observing
Effect: Provides benefits similar to goggles, offering thermographic vision and a zoom function for +1 to perception. Also possesses an effect similar to X-ray vision, bypassing walls to see through strongholds. The effect has a limit to how much material it can look through however.
>Not using the X-ray effect yet
[1d10+1] Perception

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.735079

>>735076
Despite being out of the cold, Grutar can still feel the chill down his spine while he looks about the cavern.

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.735080

>>735075
Qhapaq nods a little bit and gently lifts the crystal pony up and places him on his back, before carrying him up towards the cave. "I am Qhapaq. You may call my Q, if it is difficult." (Pronounced as 'Kwah-Pawk')

>>735076
Qhapaq sets Good Intentions down at the mouth of the cavern, and tries to look around cautiously.
>[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.735081

>>735080
Thank you Q, you can just call me Good or whatever you want to call me." he said in a bit of an upbeat tone.

>>735076
Good popped the visor again for another drink as he swore some dust managed to get into his throat.

He took the opportunity to look around as he drank quietly.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735082

>>735078
You feel a hint of strain in your eyes as you try to pierce the darkness – this is one of the early warning signs that you've come to recognize from your mutation, a signal from your body that you're pushing it too far and about to incur your burden. You manage to cut it off before you can go blind, but you're left with a grinding headache.

>>735081
You're a bit on the small side, so while the big fellas gather around the cliff mouth to get a look in, you're left behind, trying to peer over shoulders and between legs to get a glimpse inside, but alas, to no avail.

>>735077
>>735078
>>735079
>>735080
If there were poisonous fumes in the cave, your armorsuits would be flashing with a warning signal by now, as they're programmed and outfitted with the capability to detect poison gas and filter them to a minor degree. However, it gives no warning, so you're able to peek further in. It's a small cave, no more than a few dozen meters in diameter every way. A number of small pools of a luminescent aqua color can be seen within, lightly bubbling.

Through the luminescent light, you can see a number of small, three-legged Dreaded Ones – Qhapaq and Zamrud recognize them as "worrywarts," as their common name goes. Each about the size of a fist, their flesh of a poisonous mold color, bumpy and covered with black warts. Most of their body is made up entirely of a single lumpy eye and a slit mouth just below it, filled with suckers like those of an octopus. There's about a dozen of the things, and although a single hit is enough to dispatch them in most cases, the real trouble is their reproduction. They reproduce through a kind of instant mitosis, in response to detected feelings of worry, anxiety and dread coming from mortals around them. True emotional parasites, in other words.

 No.735084

>>735082
The moment his eyes start to strain, Zamrud closes his eyes, letting the glow disappear behind his eyelids as he backs off, letting them rest for a few moments before opening them again, at base levels of sight. "Hmmph. Apologies, some dust must have gotten in my eyes. I can't see anything."

As he looks down towards his mage's armorsuit and detects no issues with the air, he dares to take a few steps forward until they see the Dreaded Ones lying deeper within.

"Everyone, down." He whispers quietly but strongly, ducking behind whatever cover he can find to observe the Dreaded Ones. "Dreaded Ones up ahead. A smaller variety but there's a lot of them."

 No.735085

>>735082
>>735084

He groaned in annoyance and would have entered if not for the sudden warning from Zamrud. He waited as he saw the nasties inside and debated maybe trying to throw a singularity down there. If nothing else it would probably do the job of pulling them into one easy to hit location "Should I try something?" he asked the others.

 No.735087

>>735082
"Steels of nerves, Lads… or… is it… Nah, that's how it goes. This is why we have a drink before a mission." He mutters very quietly to the others. He then takes in the environment more to find a possible way around them.

>Searching for Safe Route around them

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.735088

>>735085
>>735087
"Those are commonly referred to as 'Worrywarts', Dreaded Ones that are drawn to anxiety-based emotions. They're small, and easy to slay, but they have strength in numbers. Most troublesome of all is their ability to reproduce quickly, they're able to split in two at a moment's notice. Between the five of us, I believe we could easily dispatch a group this size, but we'll need to strike simultaneously and wipe them out as swiftly as possible before they can multiply."

 No.735089

>>735082
Unimpressed with the enemies before him, Billy makes a move forward at the dreaded ones with a grab at one. Making a wide swing and two at them.

(Lone Knight):You fight by yourself. You have a Bonus Action every turn for basic attacks only.

[1d10] strike one
[1d10] strike two

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.735093

>>735082
>>735084
Qhapaq nods a little and ducks low, while they stop to explain and figure out a solid plan.

>>735089
The griffon huffs a little when he sees Billy go right in, and decides to follow up as well as he can. He lunges for one of the Worrywarts, slamming it into the ground and grabbing ahold of it firmly.
>Grapple [1d10+1] (DC -1 from Single)

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.735094

>>735089
As Zamrud sees Billy charge headlong into the springs to attack their enemies, Zamrud blinks a few times.
"Right. Executive decision made then."

He pounces from behind the cover, reaching into his left bandolier to grab a small orb filled with viscous liquid that turns bright orange after a quick squeeze, which he then tosses at another Worrywort than what Billy is attacking. Meanwhile, he analyzes his enemies, taking in account of his next target

>Alchemist Fire: recharge 1, ranged; Concoct a flame that produces virulent smoke and can latch onto anything, even water. Deals damage and gives +1 to all skills against that target next turn. On Crit this has the Fire Elementalist effect.

[1d10] on one Worrywort

>Appraise: instant; Determine the number of remaining hits and wounds on an enemy or possibly a weakness. More powerful enemies may be harder to Appraise. Out of combat, quickly determine value of objects, study mechanisms and documents, size up other beings, etc,.

[1d10+1] Appraising a different Worrywort to get the bonus from talent against it next turn

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7

 No.735095

>>735089
>>735093
>>735094
Seeing his teammates move in to attack, Grutar makes a sudden rush to follow up and help with damage control by attempting to spread out more damage.

>SLAM! (crits on 8+)

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735098

>>735089
Good frowned and quickly pulled his magic together to try and protect his ally.

Inure [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.735099

>>735098
>Shield an ally with protective magic, blocking 5 hits worth of damage. An ally can only have one Inure on them at a time. On Crit the shield slows an enemy when they strike it, allowing the Inured ally to retaliate with a Bonus Action of a basic attack that turn against that enemy only

 No.735100

>>735087
You notice that most are concentrated around two pools on the southern side of the cavern, and that there's a slope on the northern side that you could probably use to get the drop on them. If luck proves on your side, you might even be able to concentrate them toward a small area, making it easier to wipe them out at once.

>>735089
As you run in, you actually manage to surprise the little suckers, as they are drinking from the pool and not paying much attention to their surroundings. As you grab one, its slick skin allows it to slip out of your grasp, almost by accident, and you smash another one, killing it instantly.

>>735093
>>735094
>>735089
>>735087
>>735098
All at once, the remaining worrywarts start to let out a dreadful series of overlapping, high-pitched whining shrieks, more nerve-wracking and dissonant than any alarm you might have ever heard, oscillating between high blaring and low whooping, a rhythm that sends electrifying impulse shooting up and down your spines, evoking instinctual, primal fight-or-flight responses in your bodies that defy your rational control.

>roll to remain calm each round, instant; DC rises by 1 for every two (2) worrywarts that are attacking you at once.


Good shields Billy with magic, protecting him from retaliation, while Grutar squishes one worrywart, and Qhapaq two more, leaving only eight left. However, Zamrud's pounce backfires, and two worrywarts pounce upon him, biting down upon his armorsuit with suckers whose pressure causes his suit to cave in at the bite sites, clamping down on his arms and chest. This enables him to get an eyeful of the one on his arm – which we'll call number 1.

>Zamrud 1/5


Worrywarts 1 & 2 continue biting Zamrud
[2d10]

Worrywarts 3 & 4 leap at Billy
[2d10]

Worrywarts 5 & 6 charge at Qhapaq's wings
[2d10]

Worrywarts 7 & 8 then go for Grutar
[2d10]

Roll #1 1, 10 = 11 / Roll #2 3, 7 = 10 / Roll #3 10, 9 = 19 / Roll #4 6, 4 = 10

 No.735102

>>735100
As the two Worryworts bite down onto his armorsuit, Zamrud bites back a grunt of pain, kneeling down as the two Dreaded Ones start gnawing on him. He drops his flame-orb to the side, instead reaching for his small side-arm, a single Sachsum dagger, to stab at Worrywort 1 and get it off his chest.
[1d10+1] Restrained Strike: weapon; Stab at an enemy with an aimed strike that doesn’t leave you exposed. This attack doesn’t cause counterattack damage, but can only deal 3 hits at max.

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.735103

>>735100
Seeing that his friends were in danger he prepared a singularity and hurled i back hoping to draw them off of his friends and give them one easy target. He aimed for near Qhapac to get them off him first.

[1d10+1] Singularity Shot

>Singularity Shot: Recharge 4, Spell, Good's possesses a natural ability to magnify his gravitational prowess into an attack that creates singularities that he can hurl as a projectile that will pull everything around them towards them. On crit the attack can actually be stuck inside of a target making them the center of the Singularity.


Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.735104

>>735102
Other benefit of Single weapon:
>Accurate: passive; A weapon designed to be easy to swing and perfectly balanced. Skills and attacks with this weapon have DC-1.

 No.735105

>>735100
Billy furrows his brows striking once more with some simple attacks at the ones attacking him. Not seeing much threat in them.

(Lone Knight):You fight by yourself. You have a Bonus Action every turn for basic attacks only.

Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 9+.

-Martial Defender: passive; You gain 3 Max Hits, and Slam Crits on 8+.

[1d10] Calm
[1d10] Strike
[1d10] slam

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 5 = 5 / Roll #3 10 = 10

 No.735106

>>735100

>Calm Roll: [1d10]


Qhapaq snarls a little, picking up the corpse of one of the Worrywarts he'd killed and hurling it at the two coming for him with a practiced, precise motion.

>Mighty Throw (Active, Recharge 3):You may fling a grappled, restrained, or subdued target at another of your choice, as long as they're within one zone of you. On a crit, both targets are rendered helpless for a turn.

>Sentry (Passive, Recharge 4): You can declare one action to be Automatic, instead of having to roll.

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735107

>>735103
[1d10+1] Also appraising Worrywort 2 in order get the bonus to attack it as well

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.735110

>>735102
>>735104
>>735107
>shit sorry for so many multiple posts forgot to roll against staying calm as well
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735111

>>735100
[1d10] to Stay Calm

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.735112

>>735100
Grutar's drill begins to whir heavily now as he kicks it into overdrive. "Alright, let's get this over with faster!" He attempts to bite through the pain of his overheating drill as he swings wildly with it in attempts to strike down multiple targets.

>Stay Calm

[1d10]
>Hot Irons (5 Targets): weapon; Heat your weapons so you only need a mere touch to attack. Cleave X targets with a Crit Fail Range of X-1, dealing damage. If you are wielding a Great Weapon, Hot Irons has a Crit Fail Range of X-2. On Crit this attack brands your targets, making it painful for them to move. Their Crit Fail range is increased to 3- if Hot Irons was used on a single target, and 2- if it cleaved.
>+
>Overdrill: recharge 3; Kick the drill into overdrive and make it spin up rapidly for gaining an advantage on the enemy. Allows you to roll two sets of dice for your actions this round, only keeping the highest result of the two. Activate mechanical drawback to reset recharge.
[1d10]
or
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6 / Roll #3 8 = 8

 No.735115

>>735102
>>735103
>>735105
>>735106
>>735107
>>735110
>>735112
Zamrud manages to cut down worrywarts 1 and 2 with a single strike, and get a read on worrywart 3, but the echoing siren-screams bouncing off the rocks in the cave cause every hair on his body to stand up. Before he knows it, his fingers are shivering, and his heartbeat starts to race. As his wounds start to bleed within the suit, he stumbles to the ground, losing his emotional control.

>Zamrud 0/4


Worrywarts 3 and 4 multiply in response to Zamrud's disturbance, giving rise to numbers 9 and 10. Worrywart 9, seeing Good shooting at them, dodges the shot, and runs toward him, biting down upon him.

>Good 5/6


As Billy feels instinctual worry building up, brought on by the disorienting sirens, he sees worrywart 5 replicate, giving rise to number 10. 3 and 4 chomp down upon him, scoring minor wounds, but he cuts them down before the damage gets too severe.

>Billy 4/6


Qhapaq's mind flies into a momentary panic from the sirens, and worrywart 5 multiplies, feeding off that panic to give rise to number 11. 5 and 6 chomp down on his wings, and the pain forces him to stumble back and bang his head on the cave wall, falling over. He manages to smash worrywarts 5 and 6 with a nearby corpse, splattering them into mush.

>Qhapaq 0/5


After that bloody opening volley, you're left with worrywarts 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, who regroup, readying to dogpile Qhapaq, the force of which would likely rupture several of his organs and drain much of his blood, given his helpless position, but Grutar blindsides them, charging in from the vantage point he saw earlier, and swipes through the lot of them, splattering them into mush.

Your hearts thunder in your chest, and you hear the rush of blood in your ears, but as his drill slows, you hear no more of the slimy monsters around. It seems you exterminated this nest.

 No.735116

>>735115
With the dreaded ones now finally down, billy heads toward his team going to pick up Zamrud. Believing his help needed most since he is still standing.

[1d10] Help

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735117

>>735115
Grutar goes around and helps the remaining incapacitated crew members get back up and brushes them off with a good hand. "That's how a dog does things around here. Are all of you fine, need time to patch up any cuts?" He waits to make sure everyone is all right before he would tend to wiping off dreaded guts off of himself.

 No.735118

>>735115
Good winced as the crature had done a number on his leg but he wasted no time in rushing over toe Qhapac and doing his best to help him up "I have you friend." he said using some of his natural strength to brace himself so he could help him up.

Once he was satisfied with helping his Griffin companion up he moved to helping his fellow noble.

>Magic Boon to restore 1 wound on Zamrud.

 No.735119

>>735115
As Zamrud slashes through the two Worryworts upon him, his eyes open wide as the screams from the Worrywarts assault his psyche, causing him to fall down to the ground in a nervous heap as he drops his dagger, pushing his paw to his forehead as he tries to control himself with slow, calm breathes to lower his heart rate.
"Compose…. compose….-!" he groans with no small amount of strain, until the spinning drill of Grutar is soon the ONLY sound he is able to hear. His hairs relax.

>>735116
As Billy moves to help him, he slowly pulls himself off the ground, picking up his dagger and sheathing it (along with his unspent fire-balm in his bandolier), taking a few more slow breathes as he looks to the goat. "*huff*… thank you, Billy. But next time, we might appreciate a warning."

>>735117
"*huff*… well done, Grutar. Suppose that makes us even doesn't it?" He looks around, surveying the carnage his drill unleashed, "Good work everyone. Everyone sound off, is anyone else injured?"

 No.735120

>>735103
>>735105
>Correction: Billy took no damage from the worrywarts, thanks to inure.

 No.735121

>>735119
Billy clasps his claws around his head in distress. Going down to bow down his head to Zamrud. "You have my apologies." He states in a whimper.

 No.735122

>>735115
Qhapaq's vision goes white when his head slams into the back of his wall, and he collapses on to the floor. He flicks his ears a little when he hears the Grurtar take out the rest of them, and staggers back to all fours.

The griffon shakes his head and feels around for the patch of blood, checking his wings over for their injuries. He takes a moment to steady himself and lets out a long, slow breath, and his wounds begin to knit themselves shut.

>As an Automatic action (Recharge 3), you may further accelerate your body's regeneration, restoring full hits or a single wound if already at full hits. These effects are disabled if you're rendered helpless.

(Assumably healing to full during the out-of-combat downtime.)

 No.735123

>>735119
"Yeh it does, we can keep score with how many shots we'll have to buy each other after this!" He says with his upbeat tone and a quiet chuckle to try and help relieve the sudden forceful panic the creatures had unleashed on the group.

 No.735124

>>735123
"Thank you for your assistance. My injuries would have been more severe otherwise, I think."

>>735119
"Nothing that will not mend in time, Zamrud."

 No.735126

>>735118
After he finished healing the feline he looked back "If any of you are still suffering from emotional distress, I can help alleviate you from that." he said with a somewhat upbeat tone despite the mild pain in his leg

 No.735127

>>735122
>>735118
>>735117
>>735116
>>735119
After everyone's recovered and calmed down now that the danger is past, you give a quick check around your little cave. There's enough space to set up some spartan camps on the deeper side of the cavern. A magicomp scan of the water bubbling up from the pools shows that it is fairly safe for washing one's skin and heating things, even though you probably wouldn't want to drink it by any means, and its warmth is enough for keeping out the oppressive chill of the Outlands. Although the sight of the corpses and their black bloodstains is fairly unappetizing, you still feel a bit of hunger and thirst from the journey thus far, as well as the call of sleep.

 No.735128

>>735121
"Apology accepted, but the greatest apology is improvement. Worryworts are hardly the most life-threatening Dreaded Ones, we probably would have been fine even if they had caught us by surprise. But there are far deadlier ones out there that could do far worse."

>>735118
As Good heals him using his magic, Zamrud turns to his fellow noble with a smile. "Thank you, young lord. I apologize you have to see me in such a state."

>>735123
>>735124
Zamrud offers a light chuckle at that. "One each, then. I'll keep count."

He turns to Qhapaq, "That is good to hear. In which case, if there are no serious injuries, we should check out the rest of this space and make sure it's secure."

>>735127
As the rest of the cavern checks out as safe, Zamrud gives an approving nod. "Alright, this is where we'll be staying the night. The springs should supply us with plenty of heat while we wait out the storm. We should set up watch-shifts, just in case."

He looks at the bubbling pool of hot water, thinking to himself. "Could use this for cooking, I think. Is anyone hungry?"

 No.735130

>>735128
Billy gives his thanks for the wisdom granted upon him by Zamrud.

>>735127
With camp finally settling Billy goes forth to collect the corpses of the worrywart nest and begins to plop he remains into his mouth. Eating the dreaded ones.

Mutation: Effect: [Rumbly Tumbly] Recharge 1: automatic; Allows the user to consume a dead target whole, the digestive process incorporating the nutrients into the body abnormally fast. Your body grows stronger and scales thicker, removing the effects of the Burden and reducing all incoming damage by 1 hit for the rest of combat. This effect stacks for every corpse consumed, but the target must have perished during the same combat as when it was eaten to provide the buff. Larger corpses may take longer than one turn to consume, but count as an additional corpse for the purpose of buff stacking for every additional turn spent.

-burden: your emaciated body causes you to take more damage when hungry, increasing all incoming damage by an extra hit.
-effect: after spending a turn to consume an enemy, your body grows stronger and scales thicker, removing the burden for the rest of combat and reducing all incoming damage by 1 hit per corpse consumed

Goatcraft: passive; The harsh and lifeless territories goats originate from have adapted their bodies to treat it like a standard field. All climbing and agility rolls have DC-1 and you can use anything as food, including non-food items.

 No.735132

>>735127
Grutar decides to take some of the water out of the pools just to wash off the guts he managed to get coated in, getting himself rinsed off so he can properly help others set up camp. When all is said and done, Grutar seems to prefer searching around the area to find the smoothest patch of rock to lie down on, his head using the bone drill as a makeshift pillow. He looks quite uncomfortable when he manages to rest his body but his facial expression tells the opposite. He'll deal with hunger and thirst in the morning like he usually does when he's out on a job.

>>735130
"Oi, what does a Dreaded One taste like?" Grutar asks from his resting spot, his eye catching what Billy is doing and only getting curious about how it tastes and not questioning the reasoning for eating it.

 No.735133

File: 1585373891753.jpg (32.33 KB, 540x303, shocked cat.jpg)

>>735130
*Spend the Dark Hours

>>735128
Zamrud can only stare wide-eyed as Billy starts eating the slaughtered corpses of the Worryworts.

"…odd, I appear to have misplaced my appetite."

 No.735135

>>735130
Good found himself staring in mild horror for now as he simply ate one of his ration pellets in place of real food. He had a feeling that it was probably going to be the only thing he could possibly stomach besides water for a while.

 No.735136

>>735128
>>735127
"I agree- it would be good for us to remain vigilant. And… food would be good, yes. I would not mind whatever we could cook, even a Worrywart." he says, checking towards the back of the cave.

>[1d10] Search, more intensive.


>>735130
"Ah. If you are hungry, I would not be opposed to allowing you to eat them. I have my rations, of course."
>>735132
"It depends, honestly- As a rule, unless you have a strong stomach, I would avoid trying too much of them."

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.735137


>>735132
"They are quite mushy, kinda reminds me of mud." Billy tells Grutar as he fills himself on the creatures. He wasn't a picky guy. Though these things satisfyingly went down.

>>735133
>>735135
Billy went along blissfully unaware of the mild horror he spread upon his team.

 No.735139

>>735136
"I have a strong liver, does that count?" He asks with genuine curiosity.

>>735137
"Does it taste like mud too?" Grutar imagines the sensation, finding the idea of it oddly satisfying as well.

 No.735140

>>735133
As he catches Grutar laying down on the rocks, Zamrud starts to set up his tent. "There's extra room in my tent if you'd prefer something soft to lay down on, Grugar."

>>735136
>>735135
>>735137
Zamrud tries to put the horrifying picture out of his mind from Billy's entrees, turning instead to grab some uncooked pasta from his rations sachel and a pot he fills with boiling water from the spring, along with some frozen meatballs. "I think I'll do with some spaghetti. Let me know if anyone would care to try some."

[1d10] Cooking

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735141

>>735136
There don't seem to be anything particularly remarkable about the cave besides these pools, but at the very least you confirm that there are no other species of Dreaded Ones around. You see a few cracks in the walls, and your mind goes to the slitherers – particularly nasty Dreaded Ones that resemble a hybrid of eel and tapeworm – so you double-check… but no, those cracks are too small for slitherers to fit through. Things should be safe in here.

 No.735143

>>735140
It's… spaghetti. Hard to mess up, but even harder to make a masterwork. You manage to make an aggressively average pot of spaghetti, but sadly it falls short of that made by the legendary spaghetti pegasus, whose skills all spaghetti chefs aspire to surpass…

 No.735145

>>735140
Good decided to turn his focus away from the sight of an alpha predator consuming its meal and tried to help Zam out in the 'kitchen'. It was a needed distraction from that and the ration pill wasn't exactly the tastiest thing he had eaten recently.

[1d10] To help cook.

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735146

>>735139
"Not tasting like mud, but I am reminded of such. I can't place the taste." A thought graces his mind that he is thankful for the sacrifice of these dreaded. Tears grace his eyes as he feels happiness for sating himself. He decides to open his magical item before retiring for the night.

Small magical item, Box of Munchies: Once a day is filled with rations magically. Snacks held inside are eaten between his travels to tide Billy's cravings over.

 No.735147

>>735145
You help warm up some finger-sized breadsticks that come with the spaghetti rations. They're… okay.

 No.735150

>>735143
>>735145
Zamrud takes the boiling pot out of the spring, tasting the spaghetti after applying a few spices to the meatballs as he sticks a fork into one, gives it a twirl, and shoves it into his mouth. "Hmmph… still room for improvement. Not quite the same as the kitchen at home, but even then I think it's still lacking a bit of spice. I'll try something different tomorrow."

After dinner, Zamrud gives a stretch of his legs, setting up a fold-out chair from his camping set and grabbing a book to read as he offers to take the first shift of a night-watch
[1d10+1] Perception for anything to happen through the first part of the dark hours before resting

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.735151

>>735150
Good meanwhile quietly ate his meal, pitching his small solo tent in a few crags in the rock and climbing in, reading some things on his magicomp before he nodded off for now, having elected to take the near dawn watch.

 No.735152

>>735140
First post here meant for >>735132

 No.735154

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.735155

>>735140
"Unless you're the kind to need someone sleepin' near you, I'm fine with bein' on the rocks. How I slept most of my life so I can deal with sleepin' that way on the job." His tone shows appreciation despite showing initial dismissal.

 No.735157

>>735150
"It certainly looks good, Zamrud." the griffon says, finishing off his own rations and settling in to set up camp.

 No.735158

>>735155
"No, I rather enjoy the extra space. But I thought to extend the invitation, I have a hard time imagining that being comfortable."

>>735157
"Thank you, though I'm personally a little disappointed with it. I've made better."

 No.735159

One by one, you settle in to the uncomfortable cave, setting up camp and satisfying your hunger and thirst from your rations and those shared by the others. Zamrud's nature as a puros, a race which thrives during the dark hours, makes him well-suited for the watch; later during the watch, he chases away a couple of wandering worrywarts looking for shelter. It seems that aggression and bravery are poisonous to them in the converse of how anxiety feeds them.

Later on, Good Intentions takes over as the watch, but dozes off near the end of his shift– he wakes from a bad dream (a dream in which the battle against the ever-multiplying worrywarts went much, much worse) just before the others can wake up, but finds nothing amiss, either on anyone's person or among their possessions.

With that, you break camp at about 6 AM, and make ready for the second leg of your journey to the fortress.

>Paused

 No.735621

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party set out on their first mission into the Outlands; straightforward enough, it seemed – their goal was to clear an abandoned fortress, once used as a rest stop for Warriors headed deeper into the darkness, it was now being populated as a nest of Dreaded Ones. Their task was to repair the base's defensive system as well, which had presumably been destroyed by the Dreaded Ones, given that they were able to enter it in the first place. Zamrud purchased a manual on the defensive system from Rockfall, an engineer who had recently been wrongfully laid off due to a workplace injury. In the past, he had worked on that model of defensive system, and still had some documentation lying around, which he was willing to part with for a price, given how disgruntled the layoff left him.

They headed north into rocky, lifeless, and dreadfully cold badlands, kept safe only by the inundating barriers of their suits, and the sticky, mistlike warmth that clung to the ground, which legend held was provided by the Heart itself. They took shelter in a cave to avoid a powerful dust-storm, and found it was populated by worrywarts, a species of remarkably weak Dreaded Ones capable of instantaneous fission fed by the emotional distress of their prey. They ended the battle swiftly before the worrywarts could overtake them, and set up camp for the night.

 No.735622

One by one, you settle in to the uncomfortable cave, setting up camp and satisfying your hunger and thirst from your rations and those shared by the others. Zamrud's nature as a puros, a race which thrives during the dark hours, makes him well-suited for the watch; later during the watch, he chases away a couple of wandering worrywarts looking for shelter. It seems that aggression and bravery are poisonous to them in the converse of how anxiety feeds them.

Later on, Good Intentions takes over as the watch, but dozes off near the end of his shift– he wakes from a bad dream (a dream in which the battle against the ever-multiplying worrywarts went much, much worse) just before the others can wake up, but finds nothing amiss, either on anyone's person or among their possessions.

With that, you break camp at about 6 AM, and make ready for the second leg of your journey to the fortress.

 No.735624

>>735622
Billy pokes his head right outside the cave to see if there are any visible dreaded ones to spot nearby.Not like there is much else to do in such early times, he would rather not have woken up early at all. He thought suppressing a yawn.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735625

>>735622
Grutar takes a heavy chug from his canteen and takes out some of his rations of dried jerky to quickly munch down. After his quick "breakfast", Grutar gets up from his lazing spot and grabs his nearby weaponry to strap onto his back. "Alright lads, let's get back to work. Zinc & Iron!" He lets out a motivating cheer to the others.

 No.735626

>>735622
As his magicomp's alarm rings at 600 hours, Zamrud flitters his eyes awake, shaking off the dust from his eyes as he pulls off of his cot in the tent, making for the front opening to take a look inside the hidden cave. He stretches his claws, calling through the cave, "Good morning, gentlemen. Everyone up and at them, we should depart this cave soon. Still have quite a ways to go." He gives a yawn, before grabbing for a small ration in his sack. "I am making coffee first, though."

 No.735627

>>735622
Good was looking a bit worse for wear after his nightmare as he quietly packed his gear back up and was relatively silent as he did so.He didn't like thinking about how poorly things could have gone if they hadn't managed to wipe all the creatures out before they got too numerous. He also may have missed home already after having a less than pleasant sleep on the ground before.

 No.735628

>>735622
Qhapaq rises quickly enough, and takes little time to pack his gear up to get ready for travel. He takes a sip from his canteen and stretches out (which requires enough space that he steps outside the cavern for a little to do it), before humming. "I am ready whenever is good."

 No.735629

>>735628
>>735627
>>735625
>>735626
>>735624
There seem to be no Dreaded Ones in the immediate vicinity, and you peer out back into the box canyon you were traversing through earlier to make sure. A thin layer of dirt and gravel lays across the landscape, and many rocks of various sizes have fallen onto the path below, some even as big as household animals. It'll be a rough climb on your way out of the canyon, but no immediate dangers surround you. Out in the cold expanse of the Outlands, you hear distant wingbeats, and a cold bitter wind. Given how sound travels farther in the cold, that which made those wingbeats is likely many miles off. Probably… not a problem.

>roll perception once you are ready to go

 No.735630

>>735629
Grutar keeps an ever watchful eye out to make sure no danger gets too close to his company. "This damn cold is the reason I grew my beard so big."

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735631

>>735629
The colt took a small inhale and decided to scan the canyon to see if there was anything of note that they may wish to detour to or around.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735632

>>735629
Thus one strong step for goat kind as billy goes forth into the world. Joining his team in the canyon.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735633

>>735629
>>735630
As the party pushes onwards past the canyon walls, Zamrud looks on ahead through the cold, dark expanse, his ears twitching and pressing themselves down to keep warm in the cold wind after the wingbeats sound off.

"A nice fur coat doesn't hurt things either. Anyways, let's try and steer clear of whatever made those wingbeats earlier. I don't know how big Dreaded Ones can grow to, but I think I'll be fine not finding out personally."

[1d10+1] Perception

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.735634

>>735631
You see a small scorpion as it skitters under a little pile of rocks. Much debate abounds among Ironcastle's scientists as to whether or not such scorpions occasionally seen in the Outlands should be considered Dreaded Ones. In any case, you have no idea where this little bugger has ended up.

 No.735635

>>735634
Good was very tempted to try and find him again. He happened to think they were rather cool. He peeked around trying to see if he could find it.

[1d10] bug hunting

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.735636

>>735629
[1d10] Perception
"Hrm… the wings could be close, or they could be… not close. Either way, we should try and be careful."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.735637

>>735635
Cautiously, you approach the site where the scorpion wandered into, and gently peel back some of the looser rocks near the top of the pile. Inside, you see the scorpion, finding him by the glow of his carapace – scorpions do glow in the dark. Your approach was so silent and precise that the scorpion has no idea you're there. You see him performing a bizarre wiggly dance by himself, and you recall from a lesson you once had that scorpions have mating dances, as many other members of the animal kingdom do. It's a bit odd to see one doing it solo… unless he's perhaps rehearsing it to build up his confidence.

 No.735638

>>735637
The colt slowly leaned in and smiled at the little dancing bug and decided to hold a hoof out after tapping to see if maybe he could get the little guy to be his traveling companion.

 No.735640

>>735638
The scorpion jumps with shock and runs into a nearby hole. You might have just caused the first known case of crustacean embarrassment. The occasion will probably go down in history if anyone can believe it. Maybe one day you will see him again and get his testimony. Maybe not.

>>735633
>>735635
>>735636
>>735632
>>735631
>>735630
You gather your belongings, secure your armorsuits, and set out for the north, traversing over the heaps of stone that came loose from the fierce storm that blew over the canyon last night. It takes a few hours and some careful navigatorial decisions to find your way through the winding paths in the mighty canyon, whose walls tower above you, but you eventually make your way out of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR2FmH0AwF8

As you emerge from the narrow paths of the box canyon, you find yourselves on a high hill, overlooking a deep gorge below you. A riverbed, mostly dry by now, runs from the southeast to the northwest, where you see the glow of what looks to be some kind of bioluminescent lake. Nearby are a number of buildings of what is dubbed in the Castles as "Old World" construction – a style purported to date back from the semi-mythical Time Long Forgotten. Columns and arches of stone, reinforced by primitive appendages of metal, can be seen. A few roads stretch through the area, marked by the strange and unnatural way they stand out against the "natural" rock.

 No.735641

>>735640
Godd was a bit saddened that his little arthropod friend didn't wish to join him but he was hopeful he might see him again some day.

His emotions were quite suddenly overtaken though by the sight of the ancient remains of a time before time to the small noble. He always found it so hard to believe that people used to live out here in these small places exposed to the elements.

 No.735642

>>735640
What a wide wide world. That is quite a pretty lake as well. There is also the construction. Billy's eyes dart around the way with many things grabbing his attention at once. "Quite a lot to see out here. Much more than I had expected."

 No.735643

>>735638
Zamrud turns to look at Good playing with the dancing bug, raising an eyebrow curiously as he calls out to Good, "My lord, we should move swiftly."

>>735640
After a long journey ahead through the dark paths, Zamrud looks down at the gorge below, towards the ruins of the Old World, and takes a long look at them.
"Magnificent specimens, aren't they? To think, some civilization managed to make their way out here once."

He rubs his chin, "I can't help but wonder if it's even worth spending an hour or so going through before moving on. Some valuable things to be found in these old ruins, assuming they aren't already picked over."

 No.735644

>>735640
Qhapaq flicks his ears and looks around carefully, checking the ruins for anything like a fire, or an unnatural light (not that he expects to see much).

>>735642
"It is… quite the sight to get used to. There is plenty to see, but it is like a boneyard, of sorts- little left but dust and echoes of another time."

>>735643
"It is possible they were not picked fully clean- while one might assume, not many like to take the time to… search, in such a place."

 No.735645

>>735640
Grutar looks over the landscape around him, while he was familiar to the Outlands, these are still different from the ones he is used to exploring. He opts to continue following the others, a hand steady and ready to grab his flamethrower should something bigger than them shows up while they explore.

>>735644
"Boneyard is one way to put it. I call it a minefield of horrors."

 No.735646

>>735644
"Could it be we are in someones old home? I rather not trespass someone'sproperty, no matter how old that property is." Billy chuckles to himself thinking on it.

 No.735647

>>735644
"Well then, perhaps we should have a look. Shouldn't take too long to skim through it for anything worth taking back to Ironcastle."

>>735646
"We more than likely are, Billy, but I doubt they'll mind our intrusion now."

 No.735648

>>735646
"We are most definitely in a home of some sort- or, perhaps, an old village. Though, I do not think that method of thinking is wise- the world this was a 'home' in is long-since passed. While I understand the need to honor the dead, many great things can be found within ruins of the Old World."

>>735645
Qhapaq nods a little, before saying "Whether we merely skirt past it or take a look inside, we will need to be on our guard- many things can lurk in the bones of the Old World."

 No.735649

>>735648
>>735647
[1d10] Search Time, warkwark. If any heavy lifting would be of help here, I get a +1!

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735650

>>735641
Good decided he to indulge his natural curiosity and stepped away from the group a bit suddenly to search the town. He knew what he had been taught about these places but his mother had always taught him to be inquisitive about new things.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735651

>>735649
>>735650
Seeing the others go searching about, Grutar follows them to assist and keep an eye out for them.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.735652

>>735651
>>735649
>>735650
"That's the spirit. Let's have a closer look, these ancient towns hold so much mystery to them."

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735653

>>735648
"I guess so." Billy nods to the wisdom, his joyous mood more tempered. Though he is willing to give it a try to at least learn more and the appeal.

[1d10] Search

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735654

>>735641
Before you leave the rock pile, you feel tiny eyes upon you, but when you turn to look for their source, the feeling vanishes. Maybe, just maybe…

>>735641
>>735643
>>735644
>>735645
>>735650
>>735649
>>735651
>>735652
>>735653
>you used 1 food ration and 1 water ration from this morning's travel
>I will try to remember to post day's ration consumptions

As you approach the Lakeside Town, you take the opportunity to poke through what remains of the ruins. Old roads, made of a spongy black material, criss-cross through the ancient structures. Shells of buildings, long worn away by the cold and unfeeling elements, stand all around you like giants, full of blind eyes of glass, held together by little more than twisting feelers of rebar and an old material believed to be called 'concrete' in that olden tongue. Some are many stories high. Black heaps stick to the sides of the buildings and in the alleys between them. After inspection, you recognize clumps of plastic and glass inside – trash heaps.

In your searches for things of value, you inspect some of the buildings that look like they might still hold something good; for some reason, though these ruins are picked over time and again, there is still always a chance of finding some bit or bob.

In one small building with a glass face, Grutar uses his drill to uncover an old safe hidden in the floor.

Qhapaq, by digging through the collapsed remains of another house, finds an old square of metal and other crystalline components. The tech-shamans of the Mutants often call this thing an "HDD," and contend that it often contains much lore, even more than oral historians are able to recall. Some believe that evil spirits hide in such machines, and so they are treated with caution.

Billy ends up looking through a longer, wider building, with a front sign that has long since become illegible. Inside it are a few glass cases, mostly shattered and empty. At first it seems like a rather pointless place, but then he finds that one glass case has something inside – a book of some sorts, of a faded red, and about two inches thick.

>>735652
As you search alongside Billy in the long, wide ruin, you start to hear a faint trembling from outside.

 No.735655

>>735654
Grutar chuckles to himself. "Wait 'till the lads see this." He looks over the safe, trying to find a way he could possibly crack it open without needing to literally crack it open.

>Safecrack?

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735657

>>735654
Huh, didn't expect to find anything interesting. Billy grabs it to dust it off and look at the cover of the red book. Quite a bright color for these darkened lands, yet quite a tragic one too. Though would anyone else be interested in a book?

 No.735658

>>735654
Good didn't seem to mind the lack of a find but he decided to keep exploring the town, moving away from the rest of the group and trying again. He figured it'd be good to look for a souvenir if nothing else.

[1d10] Looting?

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.735659

>>735655
…Yeah, you've got nothing. It's what's called, in the old tongue, a 'combination lock,' but such things have been out of use for just about all of recorded history, spoken of only as a combination of tall tale and historical trivia. Nobody's really sure how to open it in the intended way, in this our current age.

 No.735660

>>735659
Grutar just grumbles and attempts to see how heavy the safe is by dragging it.

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735661

>>735654
>>735657
Zamrud moves alongside Billy as they navigate the odd abandoned building, Zamrud looking through the various broken cases quite curiously. "Hmm. Wonder what could have been in these before? Perhaps some sort of museum?"

As Billy seems to find something, Zamrud's ears twitch at the oncoming sound. "I heard something. Billy, I'm heading outside to see if the coast is still clear, stay close."

Moving closer to the source of the sound, investigating it outside
[1d10]
>Alleycat: Instant; DC 4; Every alleycat develops a keen sense of where he or she should look for potential attackers. You can roll this to identify places in your immediate surroundings that would be relevant in combat, such as ambush spots, choke points, and good escape routes. Higher rolls can even anticipate incoming attacks.

[1d10+1] Regular perception check

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

 No.735662

>>735654

Qhapaq picks up the HDD and hums thoughtfully, gently settling it into his pack.

>>735661
Qhapaq flicks his ears, before frowning a little and wiggling his talons. "We should all be ready, just in case. We can share what we found later."

 No.735663

>>735662
[1d10] Forgot my own little search/perception check, apologies!

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.735664

>>735657
After clearing off a thick and stubborn layer of dust from the front cover, you find that the book has a metal face embossed upon its cover – an eerie flat mask, not unlike the face of a barn owl, with half-closed eyes. The face has a small flat line of a mouth… but every time that you look at the mouth from the corner of your eye, it seems to turn into a thin smile. When you look at the mouth directly, you find that it is only a flat line once more. An optical illusion, perhaps?

>>735660
It's pretty heavy, but you manage to lug it out of it's hidey-hole in the floor. Dragging it around would be a pain, but perhaps there might be a cart somewhere around here. Ancient peoples surely had managed to invent that at least.

>>735658
As you move through one of the unexplored buildings, a relatively small thing, you nearly stumble when your hoof is caught on a small square. Picking it up, you find that it is a tiny lockbox. The familiar clink of metal and gemstones can be heard inside. Some kind of jewelry box, perhaps? You start to look for the key when–

>>735655
>>735657
>>735658
>>735661
>>735662
Before you can search further, you too start to pick up on the sounds coming from outside, and to the north. As you search for the maker of the sound, you at first espy a huge, square shape, familiar, perhaps, from stories and legends of the Time Long Forgotten: A fortress, with high stone walls, a spire of what may have once been a chapel, ramparts and a lookout tower, surrounded by a now dry moat. It is illuminated by the glow of the lake that lies to the north – and you realize that it is your destination.

…But so too is another shape. It is thin and long, mostly consisting of four willowy, almost bamboo-thin legs, with ten joints for bending, all of a pus-like yellow color. The four legs meet at the base of a dome-shaped head. Between the four legs extends a cluster of pipes, which end in almost glass-like spheres that emit a curious yellow haze around them. It is something not quite light, not quite mist, some kind of unknown state of matter…

There is only one of the creatures, but it walks from the abandoned fortress toward the town, coming in your general direction. You cannot tell whether it has spotted you yet or whether it is heading specifically for you.

 No.735665

>>735664
Once again met with another problem, Grutar keeps looking about as he grumbles more loudly. "I'll bust open the blasted thing myself if there's no cart around…" His tunnel vision of dealing with the safe distracts him from the creature that's making its way to the town.

>Search

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735666

>>735664
Billy feeling overly paranoid that the book might eat him if he opens decides to carry it on his person for the time being. it can be looked at later, best to regroup with Zamrud and the team.

 No.735667

>>735665
You find a half-broken metal dolly sitting in the corner of the building that you found the safe in, tucked in a rotted old closet behind buckets of dubious material.

 No.735668

>>735664
Goods eyes widened and he quickly did his best to hide inside of the building he was currently inside, trying his best to spy his allies from his hiding spot and starting to worry immensely for their wellbeing from his spot in the building.

[1d10] Hiding

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 1 = 1

 No.735669

>>735666
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735670

>>735664
>>735662
As they head outside to look around and find themselves faced with the superfortress they sought, Zamrud looks up at its impressive stone walls. "My gods. I do believe, gentlemen, we have reached our destination sooner than anticipated. This is the superfortress."

He pauses though, taking a look at the oddity that has also found this place, the bizarre four-legged apparition. He gets down behind some cover, holding a hand up signalling others to do the same. "Let's see if it passes us, if it does not know we're here yet, perhaps we can get the drop on it."

[1d10+1] Looking at the creature, does it seem to be specifically going for us?
[1d10] to keep in cover

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

 No.735671

>>735664
>>735664
Qhapaq frowns at the sight of the monster, taking it in from behind the wall of a ruined building. He nods in reply to Zamrud, while trying to think of if he actually knows what this might be- maybe another tribesman, or himself, has heard of them?
[1d10] Bit 'a knowledge!
[1d10] Hide

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.735672

>>735667
Grutar starts to take his time to load the safe onto the metal dolly, finally chuckling in satisfaction for having finally done it! Only for him to turn to walk out and finally notice the creature making it's way over, squinting his eyes. When he notices at least the features that point out to him it being a dreaded one he began to try and quickly look for a place to hide with his rusted up cart.

>Hide

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735673

>>735671
You've heard tell of a creature of this description before – a Tujllaki. There is limited information in Ironcastle's own records of it, as it is a somewhat rare thing, but their term is "the sightseer," a kind of Dreaded One of variable danger levels. In most sightings, it is reported to be docile unless provoked, but those who are exposed to the glow of its pipes tend to come down with a number of flu-like symptoms quite suddenly within a few Cycles of exposure. Those who recover lack all memory of events dating back several weeks, or even months in the most extreme cases, as well as loss of motor functions at random intervals without any warning.

>>735672
>>735671
>>735670
>>735669
>>735668
The closer that this Dreaded One – the sightseer – gets, the taller it seems to become, and as it comes in from the north end of the road, you realize that it is a little over three stories high, judging by its relation to some of the nearby buildings. Billy, Zamrud and Good, being relatively close together when they spotted the beast, gather together in the broken husk of the old museum, with Zamrud covering most of Billy and Good (who again is too small to see around him). Qhapaq and Grutar, being closer together, take up refuge in Grutar's building, near the safe, behind a low counter which may have been a merchant's table back then.

You see the sightseer proceed further down the street, and as it walks, the glowing pipes, slick and gelatinous, extend further from the dome-like "head," and droop down to near the street level. The pipes begin to trace along the ground, and Zamrud realizes that it's tracing the path that you took through the town. Slowly, the sightseer turns to the left, and starts to approach the building in which Grutar and Qhapaq now hide.

 No.735675

>>735673
"This is a Sightseer. It can be… docile, but we should not approach. Exposure to one can be… toxic, in a number of ways. We should not provoke it unless necessary, and keep a safe distance." he explains, quietly.

 No.735676

>>735673
"This is quite a big beastie, a lot bigger than the last ones we fought." Billy taps his chin, unsure how to take down the dreaded one. As he voices his concerns out loud.

 No.735677

>>735673
>>735669
>>735668
As Zamrud gets into cover and helps Billy and Good into theirs, he looks up as he looks at the monstrosity lower its 'tongue' down onto the ground, following the path his comrades have made as they traveled through the town. "It's a sightseer. And… damn, he's tracing our steps. See the appendages that just fell out of its center?"

Looking at the road, he rubs his chin, "It seems to be heading towards Grutar and Qhapaq. I'll go and warn them it's following them, can you two find a way inside the superfortress?"

[1d10+1] Appraising the Sightseer for statistics

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.735679

>>735673
Peering out Grutar starts to get his flamethrower ready.

>>735675
"If this one gets any closer, I can distract it with some smoke n' fire. Look for a way out behind this place while I keep my eye on it."

 No.735680

>>735677
[1d10] Rolling to race over to Qhapaq

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735681

>>735677
"I am unsure if I can, I am not a sneaky sneak. Violence usually has always worked out for me." He tells zamrud lacking confidence in his own stealth.

 No.735682

>>735673
Good was kind of glad that Qhapaq was hiding him from having to see the thing that close and ended up clinging to the big griffin a bit as his fears from earlier in the day surged up.

 No.735683

>>735679
>>735673
>Searching for a decent way out. [1d10]
"Very well, but take care."

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735684

>>735681
"Violence IS always an option, but that particular Dreaded One is three stories tall. I'd prefer not to make it the first choice, this time."

 No.735685

>>735682
Make that cling to Billy*

 No.735686

>>735684
"Okay." Billy nods his head in understanding. He decides to follow along with what the group is doing making his way forward.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735689

>>735686
>>735685

And with Billy slipping out he remained behind, terrified. But he knew he had to be strong. He grabbed his box and put it away in his pack as he made his way to the building with the rest.

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.735690

>>735675
>>735676
>>735677
>>735679
>>735682
>>735683
As the sightseer slowly ambles to the entrance of the shop, Zamrud slips out from his cover, trying to circle around the back to try and avoid detection as he goes to warn the others. At the same time, Qhapaq makes his way out from behind the merchant's table to see if there's a way out. Then, just as Zamrud slips in through a back door, making his way to the front, he and Qhapaq collide with one another, stumbling as they try to disentangle themselves. Just as they recognize one another, but before they can explain the situation, they hear a slithering of flesh…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CDg9wJWHLc

The two stand together in the front room of the shop, and over the doorway float two of the sightseer's long pipe-like appendages, fleshy and moist. Their glassy heads are cloudy and watery, pulsing with unknown fluid, and that eldritch glow, which is almost like an absence of darkness, more than the presence of light, washes over them. The rest of the sightseer stands outside, its main body hidden from how tall it is in relation to the ruined shop. Grutar remains behind the counter, hidden for now.

The sightseer… does nothing– nothing but observe Qhapaq and Zamrud.

>>735686
>>735685
>>735689
Meanwhile, Billy and Good to sneak out of the museum with their loot in tow, but they hear a slithering sound from behind… another of the sightseer's appendages is sliding out your way, following your hoof-steps as it scans the ground for the path you took. You do not see Grutar, Qhapaq or Zamrud behind you, and you surmise quickly that they must still be in the shop, where the sightseer now stands, scanning its insides with its many eye-stalks.

 No.735691

>>735690
Good took about three seconds to realize what was happening before he started making tracks like a mad pony. He didn't know if it was fear or some desire to help maybe draw its focus else where but he yelled out as he bolted towards the fortress.

 No.735693

>>735690
"Oh boy, did we get split up more!" Billy states with worry and surprise, bringing up hid claws. Chewing away at them as he spots the sightseer. "I will try and see them." He states out loud.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.735694

>>735690
>>735684
Qhapaq grunts a little as the Felid bounces off of his sturdy frame, and freezes when he sees the light wash over the both of them. He wastes little time, and wordlessly picks up Zamrud before trying to leave the building as calmly as possibly, without walking any closer to the Sightseer.

 No.735695

>>735690
>>735683
As he and Qhapaq collide with one another amid their efforts to sneak, Zamrud lets out a very cat like 'rrrrrowl!' as they tumble over each other. "Agh! Qhapaq, watch where you're-"

He pauses, looking straight towards the two long appendages coming out from the sightseer's underbelly going in and looking right at them from the door way.

"….stand still, but ready to move. I apologize for the late warning, but I noticed it was tracing us. You, specifically, I mean to come and warn you it was coming."

[1d10] Observer / stay still
[1d10+1] Appraise attempt 2

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7

 No.735696

>>735690
Grutar cautiously starts to step forward, flamethrower in hand as he sees the two staring down the creature. His weapon primed as he keeps the nozzle aimed to the pulsing heads.

>Flamethrower puff if it attacks them

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735697

>>735694
As Qhapaq quickly lifts him up, Zamrud suppresses another catly howl. "Or we could do this, I suppose…"

 No.735698

>>735697
"Light bad. Explain later." he says, trying to slowly move out of its gaze and out of the building.

 No.735699

>>735695
You stare back into the glassy, pus-colored lamp of its eye, and information floods into your mind…
>The Sightseer
>5/5 H/W
>Weak: None
>Resist: Magic, Poison, Nuclear, Plasma, Eldritch, Dark
>Immune: Chaos, Status Conditions
>Warriors disagree on how to handle the sightseers. Because of their general lack of attacks, some elect to try and kill them as quickly as possible. In combat, however, most Warriors will prioritize other enemies. However, battle reports hold that weaker enemies grow stronger when near a sightseer that has had a good look at someone. Whether this is a result of the flu-like symptoms and the aftereffects of a sightseer's observation, or whether the sightseers can directly strengthen nearby enemies, remains to be seen.

>>735696
>>735695
>>735693
>>735691
>>735694
Qhapaq squishes Zamrud in a sturdy grip, and strides for the back door of the shop, while Grutar remains in hiding, weapon at the ready. Grutar sees the eye-stalks of the sightseer follow the two for a time until they manage to get out of the building. The eye-stalks begin to recede, retracting back into the body of the sightseer. From up the road, Billy and Good book it, heading north for the abandoned fortress. The sightseer starts to follow them at its languid pace, eye-stalks extended.

As Qhapaq and Zamrud get outside, they can see this from behind the corner of the shop. Still, the mysterious sightseer does little else but follow Billy and Good as they run for the lake and the fortress just beyond. Billy spots Qhapaq and Zamrud hiding behind the building.

>Zamrud and Qhapaq, roll d10. Any bonuses to toughness or endurance apply here.

 No.735700

>>735699
>>735698
>>735697
Seeing the Sightseer start to roam away, Grutar cautiously approaches the others. "You two alright? Never seen those kinds around here, guess they're different from area to area…" He mentions quietly.

 No.735701

>>735699
Good did not spare a single look behind him as the screaming had stopped and now he was putting all of his strength into going as fast as he physically could to the lake and the fortress, his own heavy breathing the sound he heard in his ears as he tunnel visioned on the fortress, viewing it as safety.

 No.735702

>>735699
[1d10] Here goes!

>>735700
"Very bad. Their light weakens those that are bathed in it. We should get the others and go, though it sounds like they leave on their own."

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.735703

>>735701
[1d10] perception

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735705

>>735702
"The ones around here just make you tired? If they're all like that around here then maybe things won't be so bad. You should have seen the ones around Zinccastle, that place had Dread Ones in it's Outlands that eats through rock and lures miners away with fake lamplight and whimpering cries."

 No.735706

>>735699
>>735702
>>735698
Zamrud looks back at the Sightseer as he's ferried away by Qhapaq to a safe distance, remembering information he'd discerned while researching it as he gets a closer look at how it functions up close.

"Right, good call Qhapaq. I recognize this Dreaded One now, the sightseer itself is not a tremendous threat but its light would make us more vulnerable to other Dreaded Ones' attack. We should avoid it or destroy it as soon as possible while it's alone."

He looks on ahead as it starts to follow Good and Billy's trail next, following them. Let's get Grutar and rejoin them before it does."

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735707

>>735699
"Now where do we head to, this beast is quite worrying, it is standing there quite menacingly." Billy continues with pacing unsure how to handle the situation.

 No.735708

>>735707
"Just get to the Fortress!" he barked out as he kept going as fast as his little legs could manage.

 No.735709

>>735705
"Tired is a part of it- they cause illness, memory loss, and many other problems. It is not advisable to deal with the light for long.

>>735706
"If needbe, you, Grutar, and Billy can group up, and head for the fortress. I can pick Good Intentions up and meet you there, perhaps?"

 No.735710

>>735709
"Right, it's a plan. I'll go after Billy, you attend to the young lord. We'll meet up at the fortress to decide our next move, it won't stop following us but we can out pace it."

 No.735711

>>735701
>>735706
>>735700
Suddenly– Zamrud heaves, and belches up the coffee he had upon waking; he can tell that much from the taste. He managed, at the last second, to direct it away from both Qhapaq and Grutar. A chill passes through his guts, and he finds that his fingers– indeed, both hands refuse to move, hanging limp off his wrist. The sensation is brief, and passing, and within a few seconds, his hands feel the sensation of thousands of little pinpricks as they gradually come back to life.

After the episode passes, and Zamrud regains control of himself, you start to approach the fortress, circling around the backs of the buildings to avoid directly crossing the sightseer's path…

>>735707
>>735706
>>735705
Zamrud and Grutar catch up with Billy as the sightseer gradually approaches him, its eye-stalks dangling out from beneath its main body. It seems likely it will keep pursuing you as long as it can, now that it's got a look at you.

>>735709
>>735708
Meanwhile, Qhapaq flies ahead to catch up with Good, whose mad dash for the abandoned fortress proves fruitful. He comes up the hill upon which it is perched, and runs across the bridge over the moat, and reaches the front portcullis.

Unfortunately, the thunder of his heartbeat, and the flood of blood in his ears, drowns out a most curious little beep… beep… that he would have heard otherwise. As he crosses the portcullis, he sees a flash of light from above. Several in fact, coming at him with alarming speed.

>Good 1/6


Good is bombarded with a spray of hardlight gunfire, a technology developed in Ironcastle. The source is a turret gun that hangs upside-down from the overhanging slope of the fortress' front entrance arch. Most of the light-bullets did not penetrate his suit, but they sting like all hell, surely leaving welts and bruises that will last for months even after healing. He manages to reflexively double-back behind the arch, outside the fortress, to avoid further gunfire. There, he sees Qhapaq catch up with him.

 No.735712

>>735708
"Okey dokey." He gives a salute before following in a rush with the others. Going on in a full sprint with the group.

 No.735713

>>735711
Good Yelped and promptly tumbled to the ground barely managing to get back to his hooves as he winces and rubbed his entire form, alomst on the edge of tears as he debated trying to use his magic to rip the turret off the damn roof and throw it away. It was only the arrival of his griffin ally that saved him from doing something that stupid.

"You stupid…. Assholes!" he screamed at the castle not caring that he was cursing right now. Manners and protocol aside he was feeling pretty rightfully pissed for being shot at when he was running for his life.

 No.735714

[1d10] knowledge

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735715

>>735714
The sting of the pain fills your mind; you can hardly focus on anything else but the lingering bite of the hardlight shots, and you teeter on the verge of outright crying.

>1 more chance; roll again if you wish

 No.735716

>>735710
>>735710
Qhapaq nods- stopping only to turn and check on Zamrud when he vomits. He stays long enough to give him a reassuring rub on the shoulder, before flaring his wings out and bolting off.

>>735711
>>735713
Qhapaq slams into the ground next to Good Intentions with a loud thump, before leaning in to check the stallion over. "Are you hurt grievously? I came as quick as I could- did you spend long in the Sightseer's glow?" he asks, looking him over. He glances over to the turret from around the corner, before letting out a soft huff. "Annoying it may be, but most of the time it pays to be… less polite. Though, were dreaded ones inside, I doubt the turret would be functioning… perhaps we should try to contact them."

 No.735717

>>735715
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735718

>>735717
Yeah no, it's time to cry. There's no way you can hold it back at this point.

 No.735719

>>735718
He proceeded to just break down and start crying which honestly was a pretty appropriate reaction to being shot several times when you were just trying to get away from something you found terrifying.

 No.735720

>>735711
Grutar makes sure to drag the dolly faster to keep up with Billy. "If this thing is going to really follow us all day, I'm going to tell it to fuck off in my own way." He then tries to see if the creature itself will react like the others he tends to scare off with his weapon.

>Intimidation Fire spurt to scare it off.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.735721

>>735719
Qhapaq makes a bit of a concerned frown, before gently laying a wing over the stallion's back. "Please, try to collect yourself. The Outlands are a… difficult place. You have help, we will be fine."

 No.735722

>>735712
[1d10] running away

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.735723

>>735721
He just kept bawling into his suit as his face plate began to fog up from the sobbing gasps he was making. He was hurt, and scared, and he just didn't know what to do right now.

He was quick to cling to the much larger bird and shake as he kept weeping out his pain.

 No.735724

>>735711
>>735716
Zamrud groans as he falls to his knees, hocking up his morning breakfast, looking down with woozy legs and numb arms at his body as it starts to fall over and fail him.
"Arrrgh…. what's… I'm…"

After he finally manages to recover, he pulls himself up off the ground as he holds his head, pushing off Qhapaq, "I'm… I'm fine, I'm fine. Something just, suddenly came over me. Possibly related to the Dreaded One."

>>735711
>>735720
>>735722
Zamrud quickly leaps into a four-legged sprint, running to keep up with Grutar as they manage to meet up with Billy. "Billy! It is following you, tracing your trail now!" He shouts to alert him, before looking to Grutar taking potshots at him to scare it off.

"I'm unsure how it will react, but that is a possibility. Worse comes to worse, I feel confident the five of us could take it down."
[1d10] Running

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735725

>>735723
Qhapaq looks around, not fully sure what to do. He decides to gently hold the stallion closer- grabbing is what he's best at, anyways.

 No.735726

>>735716
>>735719
Over Good's sobs, you can hear the faint beep… beep… of the turret installation in the arch overhead. That signals that it is an automated turret, not a manned one. It's unlikely you'll be able to get past it while it's still active. Hardlight turrets recharge, so it's unlikely that it will run out of ammo anytime soon. Perhaps other entrances will have to do…

>Anyone with sufficient mechanical knowledge of Ironcastle's constructions (or the manual) may be able to glean some information here.


Meanwhile, as he comforts poor Good, Qhapaq feels a spell of weakness come over him as well.

>Qhapaq, roll endurance


>>735722
>>735720
>>735724
Zamrud collapses with weakness, feeling his entire body succumb to an episode of numbness, followed by intense chills and rumbling in his guts. The sightseer approaches as Zamrud flops to the ground, but Grutar steps before him, blasting a peal of flame at the Dreaded One's many eye stalks. It retreats, stepping backwards, but holds it ground after a few steps, its vision set squarely on Zamrud's vulnerable form. Its eyes turn to Grutar again…

[1d10+1] mysterious roll

Meanwhile, Billy makes it up the hill to where Qhapaq and Good sit. He can see that Good has been hurt, and hears the quiet beeping of the automated turret.

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.735727

>Zamrud 5/4

 No.735728

>>735726
"Alright fucker, come here." He says, before doing a much less warning blast into the creature as he full on lets out a gout of flame on it.

>Flamethrower burst.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.735729

>>735726
"Will they be okay?" Billy asks of the group seeing zamrud collapse once he had reached the top of the hill. "I worry I might makes things worse going down there."

 No.735730

>>735726
>>735719
[1d10] Endurance
"Hrm… it may be an automated turret. It is likely that we will need to either move past it while it recharges, or simply weather it. If it comes down to the latter, take shelter behind me- my quickened regeneration should keep me well enough to ignore the hardlight."

>>735723
Qhapaq shakes his head and groans a little, before saying "As for me, do not worry- I had a little too much exposure to the Sightseer, but I should be… well enough. A bit of sickness is to be expected, at times."

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.735731

>>735726
>>735726
As Zamrud loses all his faculties once again, he pushes himself down to the ground, clutching his arm with whatever feeling he has left as he struggles. "Grrggh… compose…. compose…"

He turns his head upwards, looking at Grutar spray a nice thick layer of flame over the creatures stalks, watching it back up as he struggles to raise up from the ground.

"Right… only one way forward then…" he says, reaching up to grab at one of his flame orbs, taking one off and depressing it to prime before tossing it at the creature. "Let's broil it."
[1d10+1] Alchemist Flame (benefiting +1 from successful Appraise)
?Alchemist Fire: recharge 1, ranged; Concoct a flame that produces virulent smoke and can latch onto anything, even water. Deals damage and gives +1 to all skills against that target next turn. On Crit this has the Fire Elementalist effect.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.735732

>>735726
>>735725
Slowly the little lord calmed down, sniffling and rubbing his eyes as he looked back to the fortress and sighed. He tried to remember some of his lessons his father gave him when he had him tour the ramparts.

[1d10] Knowledge of the Fortress

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735733

>>735731
>>735728
The blessed flames (for all weapons taken into the Outlands are blessed, much like all souls) strike true, singing the eye-stalk that comes forward to get an eyeful of Grutar. The sightseer does not scream or cry out, as far as you can tell, but there is a sickening blubbering of moist flesh, and the unsettling rattling and popping of cartilage and bone as it bobs up and down, its many joints folding and unfolding as it recoils from the impact. The monster staggers back, and you see that the other eye-stalks have gone white, apparently blinded by the brightness of the fires seen from so up close. The singed eye-stalk retracts inward, and the sightseer continues to back away into the town. Zamrud and Grutar do not feel any worse for wear, and Zamrud finds himself regaining his faculties the further away the monster gets.

>>735730
The discomfort that was broiling in your guts just now subsides. Must be some lingering effect of the sightseer's eye-glow. Whatever it is that emanates from that eye, it is certainly no light, that's for certain. You steel yourself, not giving in to the passing weakness.

>>735729
>>735730
>>735732
As Good calms down from his momentary lapse in emotional control, he realizes that something's… off with this whole situation. Hardlight turrets, and for that matter, all automated technology from the Castles, come with strict protection restrictions. Their programming contains several redundant systems for ensuring that they will not shoot at any living soul, ensuring that they can only fire at the Dreaded Ones. The only way that turret could have shot at him is if those redundant systems were bypassed, which requires administrator-level permissions and a few password checks, as well as permission from the Iron King's very office. Under normal circumstances, effectively impossible.

But out here, in the Outlands, notions of possible and impossible are defied constantly.

 No.735734

>>735733
>>735730
Let me see if I can ping somebody in the castle before we have you get shot protecting me." he said sniffling a few times.

He pulled up his magicomp and used one of the standard apps to try and ping anyone who might be on guard duty near the doors. He assumed this might be the best way to avoid any more harm, and he added a small message informing them who him and his group were and what they represented and were here for.

 No.735735

>>735733
Grutar starts to put his weapon away after fending off the creature. He then walks off to reunite with the others by heading up to the fortress.

 No.735736

>>735734
"Is there anything I can do to help out with the issue at hand?" Billy asks with a raised claw. Billy feels quite uncertain about what they do need at the moment.

 No.735737

>>735734
>>735733
"Very well. Take your time, Good Intentions. I am not sure what has gone on here, but I am… concerned."

 No.735738

>>735733
>>735728
Zamrud holds himself up, shaking off his head as he finds himself recovering the farther away the creature goes. "Aah… I suppose that's 2 to 1 now, Grutar. I apologize, that glow… I feel like my entire body is melting into a puddle whenever it's that close. I'm going to try and keep it together, but the sooner we deal with that thing, perhaps the sooner it'll pass."

He looks towards the fortress, holding his gut as he marches alongside Grutar for the superfortress.

 No.735739

>>735734
You bring up a variable-range communication app called Concord – at a maximum range of no more than 50 meters when not connected to Castle intranet, it's begrudgingly considered safe by the Warrior Caste, who designed it at the behest of the Sages, but not without much bellyaching about Dreaded Ones which can intercept network packets. However, about a minute passes, and you get no response whatsoever. Just when it seems like nobody's home, there's a message for you.

>Come on in. Use the west side entrance. Sorry.


>>735735
>>735736
>>735737
>>735738
The rest of you see the message on Good's Concord interface as well.

 No.735740

>>735738
"Auch, I won't count that one. All it does is stare at you and make you drunk without the fun of it! Hahahah!" Grutar jokes with a laugh.

>>735739
"Well! Time to head in." Grutar doesn't waste much time, heading on over to the entrance they were instructed to go into.

 No.735741

>>735739
>>735734
As they arrive at the front of the fortress, turning to look at Good and his magicomp as the message pops up on his device alerting them to come to the west side. "My lord, everyone, good to see we're all still holding up. The creature has retreated, for now at least. Is everything alright, I thought I heard shots…"

He turns to look at the message, "By the gods… is that coming from inside? There's someone still in the superfortress?"

>>735740
"Yes, well, I suppose it was upset with me for not joining on the festivities earlier… though I honestly prefer intoxication the old fashioned way, no amount of beer has made me losing feeling in all my limbs."

 No.735742

>>735740
"Alrighty, that was quite an eventful travel. I rather not see the sightseer again." Billy frowns with distaste at the thought of the dreaded one.

 No.735743

>>735739
>>735737
He shuddered and leaned on Qhapac a bit "Would you mind me leaning on you? I'm still kinda sore from being used as a target by that stupid turret." he said as he popped his face plate to let it defog a bit, he looked a bit embarrassed and his eyes were still a bit puffy from his earlier crying session.

 No.735744

>>735741
That would be me, I got peppered by the turret." he said wincing a bit as he was mainly glad his suits sealed environment was intact.

 No.735745

>>735739
>>735740
>>735741
>>735742
"There may be… we should be careful, all the same. Let us find this west entrance,then." he says, getting up from the ground and beginning to move.

>>735743
"I would be… okay with this, yes. Do as you need to, Good Intentions."

 No.735746

>>735741
"By the way, Techie, you any good with safes? I found this one and was gonna bust it open to share it with the other lads, but it had a lock on it. Think you can take a crack at it?" Grutar points out the safe he has been dragging around this whole time with a dolly.

 No.735747

>>735745
He smiled and nodded "Thank you friend."

>>735746
His expression changed though when Grutar brought up finding something and he quickly opened his pack and grabbed the box from earlier he found to see if it was still intact.

 No.735748

>>735743
>>735741
>>735740
>>735742
>>735745
After catching your breath from the pursuit of the sightseer, you prepare yourselves again, and make for the west entrance of the fortress. You follow along the stone path that circles the fortress' perimeter, and find that the western entrance consists of a small set of stairs leading to side door located on one of the fortress' four towers. According to restorationist nobles who make a habit of re-creating Old World architecture, this would have been a servant's entrance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkMECof04mg

As you set hoof into the fortress, your nerves are set ill at ease. You are in a long stone hallway decorated with old tapestries and a half-rotted old rug. At the far end of the hall is a wooden door, and there is another door to your right. None of the primary lights are on, which is a regulatory necessity as those lights drive out the Dreaded Ones. Only the auxillary lights, styled like wall-torches are on, emitting a low red-yellow glow. Those that line the walls here are half-broken, flickering, and look like they haven't been repaired in a while… another regulation violation.

 No.735749

>>735747
"Good Lad! You've found something too! Let's pop these boxes open to find out what's inside."

>>735748
"Ah Shit… Stairs…" Grutar looks to the safe, then looks to the stairs. Then tries to "safely" pull the container up the stairs.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.735750

>>735744
>>735745
"You were hit?" Zamrud asks with an alarmed tone. "Do you require medical attention? I assume we have whoever is holed up in there to thank for that, I was told the defenses were offline."

>>735746
"I'm afraid picking locks isn't one of the skills I picked up during my studies, but I could give it a try. Show me it after we investigate the fortress."

>>735748
Finding their way to the left side of the fotress, he puts one claw on one of his chemical orbs and another holding up his magicomp. "Everyone, when you get a moment, let's link up on Concord, for short distances at least it'll prove invaluable for communication."

He looks around the dimly lit fortress, "This place is a wreck. Even if someone is held up in here, it's not in a very good condition." He looks to Concord on his app, trying to link in to the same conversation the one inside the fortress was having with Good

>"Where are you located?"

 No.735751

>>735749
The safe falls right off the dolly, tossed aside by a wobbly wheel made wobblier by the stairs.

 No.735752

>>735751
"FUCK!!"

 No.735753

>>735748
Good sighed gently as he saw the rather ominous hallway before them and let someone else take point as right now.

>>735749
I'll wait to open mine for now." he said

>>735750
Several times, thankfully nothing broke through but I'll admit I ended up crying and it really hurts to walk around right now.

Seeing he was trying to message he sent group join requests to the rest so they could be in the same conversation he had.

 No.735754

>>735750
[1d10] Knowledge

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.735755

>>735753
"I see. We're lucky it didn't do worse, those blasts are meant to do a lot of damage. Do not hesitate to ask for a break or medicine if you need it, Good, there are few men who wouldn't shed a tear after that."

 No.735756

>>735750
"Good Intentions was hurt, I believe- I was not, and I will be fine either way." the griffon says, shrugging a little.

>>735748
"Hrm… I do not like the look of this. What is the purpose of hiding in such a place and not maintaining it? I think it would serve us to remain very cautious…"

 No.735757

>>735755
Trust me if you had anything to help soothe the pain I'd gladly take it right now."

 No.735758

>>735751
After stomping around a bit and swearing, he scratches his chin under his beard. "How the fuck do I get this thing in there?" He then looks around for something that might help act as something to help him pull the damn thing up the stairs.

>Search for some rope or a pully system near stairs.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.735759

>>735757
He reaches up towards on of the orbs on his other bandolier, taking a small bit of powder from his belt-pocket and mixing it with a liquid he adds in a few drops at a time to the orb. "It helps to be prepared, my lord."
>Distill Life: recharge 2, spell; Create three Health Potions that restore 3 hits each, and on Crit also restore one wound. You may distribute these freely to nearby party members on cast, at any time after. Consuming a potion is an Instant Automatic action. Non-Alchemists can only hold one Health Potion at a time.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.735760

>>735759
You fumble the ratio from the lingering numbness in your fingers, making a compound that glows nice but is useful for little more except glowing in the dark.

>>735758
>>735756
Grutar discovers a pulley system nearby that servants must have once used for that exact purpose of hauling in unwieldly luggage for their lords. He sets up the safe and hauls it up that way.

>>735753
>>735754
>>735756
>>735758
You add each other on Concord, then link up with the open channel that Good used to reach out to any living Souls nearby. Concord accounts are linked to one's personal ID to prevent attempts at impersonation, so you take a second to check the ID of the soul you just spoke with. A gruff rock of a minotaur, shaved head, no-nonsense expression, by the name of Ride or Die.

>Central chapel.

>Take the door to your right.
>Then the door on the left side.
>Another left.
>Then wait and knock in the last room.
>I'll get the door.

 No.735761

>>735759
>>735760
"Well I appreciate you trying Zam." he said as he slowly began to walk along, following the directions as best he could.

 No.735762

After discovering the pulley system, Grutar lets out an "Aha!" Before dragging the heavy safe over to set it up and get it through the entrance with the dolly. He then reunites with the others again after his minor delay. He even accompanies everyone else that follows the directions given.

 No.735763

>>735761
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735764

>>735760
"Well, directions sound simple enough I guess?" Billy tries to take note of the directions believing he will forget.

 No.735765

>>735762
>Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.735766

>>735760
>[1d10] Perception

>>735760
Qhapaq keeps his eyes moving, not fully sure what all to expect.

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.735767

>>735764
[1d10] perception

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.735768

>>735760
>>735761
"Hrm. Forgive me, my hands are not being the most agreeable right now."

Zamrud bites his tongue as he avoids letting out a curse in front of the young lord, trying again with another vial to get the chemical balance just right to make a healing salve.
[1d10+1]

>>735760
He follows the directions provided by Ride or Die, heading towards the chapel according to his directions until they reach their location.

>"Was not expecting anyone here, thought abandoned. How long have you been here?"

[1d10] Alleycat (Instant) to detect danager

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

 No.735769

>>735768
[1d10+1] Perception as well

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.735770

>>735768
>>735769
>>735767
>>735766
>>735761
>>735762
>>735764
>>735765
As you proceed inward, entering the first room, you find that it is somewhat wider, and full of relatively newer furniture of Castle construction. Tables, some drawers, a few chairs. It's spartan and metal, a total contrast with the antique and aesthetic construction of the fortress. Finding nothing interesting in there, you move on, finding two doors at the end of it, and choose the left one per your instructions.

The next few messages take a while to receive.

>Pursued by some other predators. Holed up in here. Not sure how long it's been. It will be good to finally go to the Castle with your help.


The next room you come to is more square than the last, and has a door to the south, which is directly ahead of you, and one to the east, which is to say to your left, since you came in from the north. But just as you spread out to try and reach the door without bunching up, Qhapaq and Good feel the ground give out from underneath them. Billy and Zamrud are quick on the draw, reaching out to grab the two of them before they can fall prey to the trapdoors that opened up in the floor. The old rug in the room falls into the pit below, and with it gone, you can see that below this room is a slick, mildew-covered slope leading into oblivion.

Curiously, behind that door you were heading toward until just a second ago? You can hear the beep… beep… of an automated turret.

>Paused

 No.736166

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party broke camp at the beginning of the new Cycle, setting out once more. At around 1400 hours, they exited the box canyon, making their way to a town by a lakeside, of Old World construction. No matter how many times these towns are picked over, it always seems like a relic or two worth taking crops up, and so they inspected the town. In the middle of their investigation, they were approached by a sightseer, a species of Dreaded One that does not directly attack, but those it observes with its eye-stalks come down with memory loss, vomiting, weakness and numbness of the body after they have been seen. They fled until Grutar and Zamrud drove it off with blessed fire.

Afterward, they reached the abandoned fortress, only to find that the fortress' defensive system was still online, and had been configured to shoot at living souls against all safety regulations. When they used an open Concord channel to reach out to any living souls that might still be in the base, they got in contact with the account of one Ride or Die, a Warrior of Ironcastle. He instructed them to enter through the western entrance and proceed to the central chapel. However, in the second room just before the entrance hall to the chapel, there were a pair of trapdoors, into which Good and Qhapaq nearly fell.

 No.736167

>Everyone
As you proceed inward, entering the first room, you find that it is somewhat wider, and full of relatively newer furniture of Castle construction. Tables, some drawers, a few chairs. It's spartan and metal, a total contrast with the antique and aesthetic construction of the fortress. Finding nothing interesting in there, you move on, finding two doors at the end of it, and choose the left one per your instructions.

The next few messages take a while to receive.

>Pursued by some other predators. Holed up in here. Not sure how long it's been. It will be good to finally go to the Castle with your help.


The next room you come to is more square than the last, and has a door to the south, which is directly ahead of you, and one to the east, which is to say to your left, since you came in from the north. But just as you spread out to try and reach the door without bunching up, Qhapaq and Good feel the ground give out from underneath them. Billy and Zamrud are quick on the draw, reaching out to grab the two of them before they can fall prey to the trapdoors that opened up in the floor. The old rug in the room falls into the pit below, and with it gone, you can see that below this room is a slick, mildew-covered slope leading into oblivion.

Curiously, behind that door you were heading toward until just a second ago? You can hear the beep… beep… of an automated turret.

 No.736169

>>736167
Grutar manages to meet up with the rest, still dragging the dolly he had put onto the pully with the safe. "Wonder how many other traps might be in here, keep an eye out lads." Grutar wonders out loud to announce his presence to the group once more after having been momentarily separated.

 No.736170

>>736167
"Hrm… we should be careful. It sounds as if there is a turret behind the door there. I imagine we should be careful if we continue this way."

 No.736171

>>736167
"Huh, I didn't expect for this repair to be turned into a siege." Billy announces his surprise at the trap and the incoming danger of the turret. "For a second there I thought we could all get a break." He grimaces with a sad disappointed tone.

 No.736172

>>736167
Good was silent for a bit as he watched the room before them "I could use my magic to try and rip it down from the ceiling maybe?"

 No.736173

>>736167
>>736171
>>736170
As their mysterious host replies, Zamrud nods his head, typing into his console
>Understood. Will be with you shortly. Dreaded Ones pursuing you?

As they enter the next room, and the ground suddenly gives out beneath them, Zam quickly leans forward to grab Good and pull him back before it descends into the pit below.

"Watch out!" As he looks at the newly made hole, he shakes his head. "Quite so, Billy, this fort's defenses aren't nearly as deactivated as I was lead to believe. Perhaps we can ask our host to shut them down…" he say, starting to feel a sinking feeling concerning their host

>"Traps in fort, turret in next room. Could you kindly deactivate?"


>>736169
He looks to Grutar as he drags the dolly with the safe. "You're going to carry it the entire time with you?"

 No.736174

>>736173
"I'll carry this damn thing around until I pop it open. Never know when you'll need a safe to drop onto a dreaded one after all! Bahahahahah!"

 No.736175

>>736170
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.736176

>>736174
>perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.736177

>>736172
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.736178

>>736174
"Just seems… inconvenient."

>>736173
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736179


>>736171

[1d10]

perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.736182

>>736178
>>736176
"DON'T LI–!" a deep, strained voice calls out from somewhere, before it is cut off. Your ears barely pick up on it, but it sounds like it's coming from below, echoing off the stony walls of the pitfall trap that Qhapaq and Good nearly fell into.

>>736179
>>736178
>>736177
>>736176
>>736175
You hear the quiet whirr of the turret shutting down in the next room ahead of you.

>Just had to take care of a few pests earlier. Come on in…

 No.736183

>>736182
"I… would not trust this. This just seems a little wrong." the griffon says, stroking his beak with uncertainty.

 No.736184

>>736182
Good nodded and limped his battered little body towards the door with a slow and conscientious pace.

>>736178
Did your work on making those healing salves come to pass Zamrud?"

 No.736185

>>736183
"Yeah, I hardly know this base and how it works. Though would this place truly act in a deceptive manner. Is it possible that something else is here?" Billy inquires sounding a bit spooked himself.

 No.736186

>>736182
Grutar takes a moment to peek down into the hole, curious at how deep the drop is he pulls out a single schilling to drop down into the pit to hear how long it takes for the coin to hit the bottom.

 No.736188

>>736186
There's a slope about six feet down from the trapdoor itself, and it is dank and slick with what looks like some combination of old grease and oil. After the coin hits the slope, it slides for about five seconds, before you hear it drop off the slope into the darkness, and another second or two later, you hear it clink onto a stone floor.

 No.736190

>>736188
"Blast, I knew I should have brought a bit of rope with me this time. The Bois would laugh at me now if they knew I forgot to bring some again." Grutar mumbles out loud to himself. With no safe way to investigate safely he puts attention back on where the group is heading.

 No.736192

>>736190
"If the space is not too cramped, I could fly."

 No.736193

>>736192
"Right! You've got wings! Well I'm not sure how cramped it can get for you, but it's a bit of a drop. At least fifty to a hundred feet down."

 No.736194

>>736182
>>736186
Zamrud's ears twitch as he hear's the mysterious noise, peering down into the hole alongside Grutar as he looks into it

"You heard it as well?"

>>736182
>>736183
He looks down at his comp to see the message, nodding at Qhapaq
"I admit I must agree. Something is making my fur stand on end."

He looks down at the hole, shaking his head, "I think it might be just wide enough Qhapaq but that is a lot of trips to make for all four of us. Even if you were to split it with Billy."

>>736184
Zamrud looks down at one of the potions on his bandolier, pulling it and handing it off to Good. "Indeed I did, my lord. Try rubbing this on the afflicted area."
>Health Potion: restores 3 hits
>2 Left for Zam

 No.736195

>>736192
>>736193

I feel like jumping into the hole would be a bad idea given its a pitch black pit."

 No.736196

>>736194
"Heard somethin', don't know what it was though."

>>736195
"You know most people probably say the same thing about the Outlands! Bahahahah!"

 No.736198

>>736184
You enter the next room; it is small, filled with a few wooden chairs and a table, and the walls are decorated by intricate tapestries, depicting narratives of great Warriors and Sages from the lore of the Abbey. Those of you who are more involved with the Abbey, or at least are somewhat religious, recognize that this room has been configured to resemble a purgatorio, a room meant for preparing one's soul for Abbean service, and to purge oneself of unholiness and uncleanliness before going to petition a god at one of their sacred shrines.

In the ceiling rests the head of a hardlight turret, though it has retracted and locked into place.

On the other side of the room is the next door, presumably leading into the central chapel, as would be appropriate for a purgatorio.

 No.736200

>>736198
Good was not too familiar with this but he was still somewhat Wart as he searched the room for any potential traps as her moved to the door across the room.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736201

>>736196
"It definitely sounded like a man. I've a feeling it's our mysterious house guest."

>>736198
>>736184
As Good makes for the next room, Zamrud quickly follows ahead, whispering, "A moment, my Lord, I'm not certain it's safe yet…"

As he enters into the room, he looks ahead at the turret, currently put into its resting position, causing him to slightly turn his head. "Hmm."

[1d10+1] Perception for anything about

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.736203

>>736195
"Mmm… fair."

>>736201
>>736198
Qhapaq steps into the room after the others, keeping light (or, as light as he can be) on his claws. He's not sure what to expect here, but he's not going to take any chances.

 No.736204

>>736203
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.736205

>>736198
"This is quite a dangerous venture, and certainly not the fun kind. The stories never went into detail about the traps." Billy grumbles.

 No.736206

>>736198
Seeing that everyone is heading in Grutar follows along.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736207

>>736206
>>736203
>>736201
>>736200
You proceed carefully, checking all corners of the purgatorio, and even cautiously feel about on the rug that covers the cold stone floor for anything that might be concealed underneath. However, the only thing that strikes you as dangerous is the turret itself. Just when all seems well, and Zamrud reaches for the handle on the next door to open it, he can tell, from the stiffness of the handle– that it is locked.

Your stomachs nearly fly into your throats as you recognize the quiet, subtle buzzing of a hardlight magitech engine whirring to life behind you.

>Because Zamrud, Grutar and Good succeeded in their perception, they get to make an action before the turret. All others, please wait until they get a response to their post before you act.


>>736205
Remaining outside the room, you turn toward the others just in time to see the hardlight turret's head snapping toward them, its engine buzzing and glowing with power as it prepares to fire!

 No.736208

>>736207
Good quickly tapped into the magitech chip in his gear and aimed at the turret aiming to rip it out of the ceiling with his gravity magic.

Magic Bolt: Gravity
[1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.736209

>>736207
Grutar tests the Turret to distract it, seeing that they're here to fix this place and not bust it. "Time to see if these things are heat seeking!" He says, pulling out the flamethrower to distract it.

>Flamethrower distraction?

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.736210

>>736207
Bily makes a hiss seeing the scene. "Guys, come back over here quick. The turret is starting up." Billy yells out to the group. Quite panicked from the turn of events.

 No.736211

>>736207
Zamrud turns his head as she sees it starting to come to life, and he grits his teeth together, reaching for dagger as he runs towards the turret, "I had a feeling…!"

He jumps at the turret, intending to put his knife into a weakpoint of its casing to disable electronics within

[1d10+1] Appraise Turret as he looks for weaknesses
[1d10] Throwing the fire salve towards it to melt the defense mechanism
>Fault Point: recharge 3, weapon; You can notice the imperfections in anything from your years of crafting. Strike at a foes gear, either their weapon or armor, abusing these faults to weaken them and applying a stack of Faulty. Each stack lowers the quality of a weapon by 1 or lowers the damage reduction a foe has by 1 on armor. Once the gear reaches 3 stacks it will be destroyed. On Crit, or when the gear is broken, this will deal damage (Damage on break will be based on the roll that applied the 3rd stack). Can be used out of combat to break most average materials.

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

 No.736212

>ignore the text fluff for the Fault Point roll, had originally thought of using Alchemeist's Fire but switched without changing the fluff in the right place

 No.736213

>>736208
Your spell tugs the turret downward, tugging loose a few metal bits on its hull, but its construction is sound, and it remains bolted fast to its station.

>>736209
Perhaps in a matter of speaking they are, but not in the way that you had hoped. The turret shoots at you first, peppering you with hard shots that leave deep dents in your armorsuit.

>Grutar 1/5


>>736211
The turret shoots your projectile down; the shot that it fired grazes your shoulder, leaving a minor dent in your armor.

>Zamrud 3/4



>Everyone except Billy

The turret's barrel spins as it sweeps across the small space, firing at all of you in a quick arc.

>Barrage: recharge 5, requires ranged weapon; Hits all enemies in all zones, dealing damage even if they are behind cover or not directly in your view. On Crit you knock all enemies down, requiring them to make an Instant action at DC6 before they can make an action next turn.


[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.736216

>>736213
Grutar lets out a stream of swears as he now seems to be a bit angry at the Turret. Hopefully these things are as sturdy as the ones in Zinccastle.

>More direct stream of flames

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.736217

>>736213
Good grunted and decided to try again with his signature spell as he aimed to shoot it directly underneath the turret. He wanted to keep it vaguely intact if he could.

Singularity Shot [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.736218

>>736213
Qhapaq huffs a little bit quickly walks over to the turret. He decides a simple solution is probably the best, and tries removing the turret from its base.
>Grab Roll!
>Sentry (Passive, Recharge 4): You can declare one action to be Automatic, instead of having to roll.

 No.736219

>>736213
Billy decides to rush in with the focus taken off of him in aim to smash the offending turret in an aim to defend his team.

Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 9+.

-Martial Defender: passive; You gain 3 Max Hits, and Slam Crits on 8+.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.736220

>>736213
Zamrud grunts as he feels the hardlight shell rip through his armor and shoulder, falling back as the turret starts to rip through everyone in turn.

"Grrg…. everyone, find cover, now!" Zamrud shouts, leaping for the cover of the table's underbelly while he throws out a fire-salve at the turrent, hoping to either burn it or throw off its sensors with the heat while he still scans it for weaknesses with his keen eyesight.

[1d10+1] Appraise
[1d10] Alchemist's Fire

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

 No.736223

>>736220
>>736219
>>736218
>>736216
>>736217
You scatter before the turret's shots can hit you as it sweeps across the purgatorio, tearing through the furniture and the woven tapestries that decorate the sacred space. Grutar is caught by a stray shot before he can fire, and falls to the ground, blood staining the inside of his armorsuit. Billy rushes in to defend Grutar, but is intercepted by the turret, which spins and blasts him with a trio of shots, tossing him backward.

Before the turret can fire again, Zamrud overloads its targeting mechanism with a blast of fire, causing it to spin around, unable to get a bead on any of you. Then, in a swift motion, Qhapaq and Good focus on the turret, and yank it right out of its dock with a joint pull. Brick and wiring fall down from the ceiling, and the turret's engine sputters and falls silent as a result.

>Grutar 0/4

>Billy 0/5

>>736220
You learn the following from your scan:
Hardlight Turret
+1 to Ranged attacks
10 HP
Resist: Melee
Weak: Lightning
-Hardlight Ammunition: Deals 2x Counterattack damage, adds Light element to rolled attacks

 No.736224

>>736223
Good swept in and grabbed the turret and looked at it with a bit of anger before sighing and putting it down for a moment and setting his pack down so he could make room for the thing. He wanted this for a few reasons.

"Is everyone ok?"

 No.736225

>>736223
>>736224
Zamrud comes out from behind cover to lob his fire-salve, watching it go up in flames as Good and Qhapaq come in to tear it down from the ceiling. He lets out a sigh of relief, coming out from underneath the table and patting down his armorsuit as he answers,
"Just dandy, my lord."

He looks over towards Grutar and Billy, moving to help one of them up.

"I think it's safe to say at this point that this was no accident. Clearly, whoever got here before us is more than a little paranoid about us coming in."

 No.736226

>>736223
Grutar grumbles loudly in incoherent swearing as he gets up and checks the dents in his armor before giving a thumbs up to the others. "I'm okay. Let's get this fuckin' over with."

 No.736227

>>736224
"I don't think I am." Billy grunts getting up from his position off the ground from being shot by the turret. "Being shot hurt way more than I expected it to." Billy says with a grunt.

 No.736229

>>736223
>>736224
>>736225
"It was not, no- I think we should take some time to plan our next action while we tend to them." he gestures to Grurtar and Billy.

 No.736231

>>736227
"It's certainly no picnic."

>>736229
"Indeed. Clearly, wherever 'Ride or Die' is located, he's in control. And that's exactly where we need to be."

"Grutar and I heard a voice coming from within the pit. It's possible it may get us closer to wherever he's held up, though why one would plan a trap that would lead his enemies straight to him is a quandary."

 No.736232

>>736229
>>736224
>>736225
>>736226
>>736227
>What's the holdup? appears in the Concord window, but a moment later, the message log fills with a stream of incoherent junk data, and the spam pushes away all the messages that you've exchanged with this Ride or Die figure.
>Then, below that wall of spam, another message appears, coming from another profile – that of a unicorn stallion named Assembly:
>don't listen to the host!

 No.736233

>>736226
Good moved over to Grutar and channeled some of his magic to help the large canine heal a bit.

Magic Boon to heal 1 wound.

 No.736234

>>736232
So anybody else unsure who we should be trusting here? One seems unaware we got tricked and the other one is telling us not to trust the first."

 No.736235

>>736232
As the message appears on his magicomp, he's about to respond to 'Ride or Die' before 'Assembly' appears. Curious, he responds

>Who might you be? What is going on

 No.736236

>>736232
"Hmm. I suppose this might make sense. Two people here?"

 No.736238

>>736236
"Yep, certainly to be more than one person here, or at least a thing. Could there be any dreaded ones that can control technology like this?" Billy inquires what their opponent might be.

 No.736239

>>736233
The magic that heals him up causes Grutar to calm down more. "Ahhh… much better! Thanks for that magic, Lad. Keep that up and you'll become my favorite." He winks to Good with a nudge.

>>736232
"I'll be honest, Lads. I don't really care much for either of these folks. We're here on a job, not a rescue mission." He says to the rest of the party.

 No.736240

>>736239
But what if the job has to turn into a rescue mission?"

 No.736241

>>736239
>>736238
>>736234
>>736235
>>736236
There is no further correspondence coming from either Ride or Die, nor from Concord.

You know that there are other rooms in the fortress you haven't yet seen, both on this floor and in whatever may be down in the basement. Additionally, those of you with some knowledge of the Outlands can roll knowledge to see if you have heard of this "Host" before.

 No.736242

>>736241
Billy attempts to try to recall anything relevant to the situation at hand. Particularly the host in an effort to aid in this death trap of a base.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.736243

>>736239
"A fair point, but if anyone IS still alive they may know more about this place than we do. That helps us in our objective in getting it secure."

>>736241
As they consider their next move, Zamrud thinks carefully on if he's heard of this 'Host' before that Assembly mentioned
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.736244

>>736240
"Priorities, lad. Priorities."

>>736241
Grutar likely wouldn't know due to not being from around here too often.

>>736243
"Very true, but if they're alive in here ALONE then that seems equally fishy to me. The Bois always said that a loner in the Outlands could be a Dreaded One in disguise. All I'm saying is we should be careful."

 No.736245

>>736241
>[1d10] Does the dumb bird know anything?

>>736243
"Where to from here, Zamrud?"

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736248

>>736244
"All the same, whoever this 'Assembly' is does seem intent on trying to keep us safeguarded from 'Ride or Die'. He unlocked the door and led us into a trap."

>>736245
Zamrud thinks for a moment, but his eyes open wide as he snaps his claws.

"AH! Of course!"

He heads back to the previous room, with the pit. "Qhapaq, do you recall what I said a moment ago about the pit? How it seemed odd that whoever was in control of this place could be found by falling into a trap?"

 No.736250

>>736248
>'he' in the first statement to Grutar referring to Ride or Die in case it wasn't clear

 No.736253

>>736248
Who's to say that this other one isn't the one who trapped us?"

 No.736254

>>736248
"I do, yes… do you want to go and look in the pit, Zamrud?"

 No.736255

>>736253
>>736245
>>736244
>>736243
>>736242
Zamrud finds himself distracted by a small anxiety attack over whether he might get dunked on for his last few chirps (tweets).

Billy and Qhapaq ponder a moment, and suddenly, both are struck by a flash of knowledge. "Host" is the colloquial jargon among the Warriors for a parasitical species of Dreaded One that can possess multiple living things, creating a hivemind of sorts out of them. During the possession, it can tap into any one of its victims, forcing them to use their skills for its own benefit.

 No.736257

>>736253
"A possibility but I doubt it. Ride or Die has already fired upon Good once, and is clearly in control of this place. So far all the other one has done is spam our Concord channel."

>>736254
>>736255
"Correct. Grutar and I heard someone in there, that much is certain. At first I thought it could only be Ride or Die, but thought it strange why a trap would lead to whatever control room this fortress utilizes. However, you WOULD put someone you wanted out of the way into a pitfall. The enemy of Ride or Die may well be a friend of ours, ergo: Assembly."

As he heads towards the pit, he stammers a moment, inexplicably struck by concern for his Chirper account, but puts it asside as he looks back down into the pit.

"I think it's worth a look, at any rate. How many do you think you could carry Qhapaq? Two would be ideal, one to go down with you just in case and leaving you enough strength to carry whoever's down there back out."

 No.736258

>>736255
"Ahh, dreaded ones always explain it. Always some trouble with them evil bugs. I think our friend ride or die is possessed by them, or at least an acquaintance to them with similar skills." Billy speaks out loud to his party about his recollection and theory.

 No.736259

>>736257
>>736255
Grutar follows Zamrud to the pit. "Alright alright, I'll follow your judgement here. I can go down there with the lads, but I'd need a bit of carryin' down there."

 No.736260

>>736258
"Possessed?" Zamrud asks, "You think a Dreaded One is behind the turrets firing on us?"

 No.736261

>>736260
Billy gives a big nod."Yep. I remember the warriors having a word for host on dreaded ones that posses people and make them do things that their abilities allow." He says confident in his memories.

 No.736262

>>736255
>>736258
>>736260
"It… could be the case, yes. Luring in unsuspecting travelers with the Concord, and utilizing the equipment to deal with them. A Host, I believe."

>>736257
"I could carry two, likely. It should not be too difficult."

 No.736263

>>736262
"I don't know what else it possibly could be, I doubt the base itself is acting on its own." Billy replies.

 No.736264

>>736261
>>736262
"I see. Then, perhaps, another theory is possible: it could be Ride or Die and Assembly are the very same person. Can the 'host's influence be fought against?"

>>736262
>>736259
"If Grutar is volunteering, I could wait up here with Billy and Good while you two investigate the pit, see if Assembly is down there and check his condition, see if the 'Host' he mentioned in his message is possessing him or if there's another. If he appears safe, bring him up with you."

 No.736265

>>736264
"Maybe it can only use one at a time? The other might be able to act more… normally."

 No.736266

>>736264
"I don't recall that, but I always believe where there is a will there is a way. After all Ride or Die isn't dead. So I do think it is possible. Though I shouldn't assume things." Billy scolds himself.

 No.736267

>>736257
>>736258
>>736259
>>736262
As you talk, you get a glance back at the pitfall trap in the previous room. It looks like, with some careful gliding, Qhapaq could get down there, though getting back up could prove a challenge. Ironically, carrying two bodies down there might make things easier on him, provided he can balance their weight evenly.
>Qhapaq can roll at DC 6 twice to bring the party down into the pitfall trap, otherwise you can roll independently at DC 7 to climb down.

 No.736268

>>736267
"Well… if everyone would want, I can bring them down. I am ready whenever."

 No.736270

>>736268
>>736267
"I'm ready!" Grutar gives Qhapaq a thumbs up.

 No.736271

>>736264
Good was admittedly a bit out of this conversation but he took the time to heal Zam since it was quiet.

Magical Boon to heal 1 wound.

 No.736274

>>736264
>>736266
"Right. Right now, there are two possibilities. Firstly, the host is occupying both Ride or Die AND Assembly, who is using the two different accounts to try and communicate with us. Or, there are two individuals trapped in here, and the Host only has Ride or Die."

>>736271
>>736267
>>736270
As Good heals up his injuries, Zamrud smiles to the young lord. "Much appreciated. Have you tended to your own wounds yet?"

He turns towards Qhapaq and Grutar. "We'll go down in groups, just to be safe. Qhapaq, take Grutar first, if it looks clear you can fly back up and we'll go down together."

 No.736275

>>736267
"I do have a lot of worries about going down the pit. The host wanted us to fall down there. Which I either expect would have had us die from the fall or lead us into a death trap." Billy announced his worries to the group.

 No.736276

>>736267
>[1d10+1]
>[1d10+1]
+1 on both from Special Talent

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

 No.736277

>>736275
"It may not be *as* deadly as the Host thinks. There's clearly someone alive down there. Perhaps it didn't count on us having a companion with wings."

 No.736280

>>736276
>>736270
Qhapaq takes Grutar, navigating down the slick pitfall's slope as best that he can. The walls are periodically lined with pieces of sharp objects, which look to have been placed in haphazardly, unskillfully, for the point of making the trap more spiteful.

At the end of the slope, there is a steep drop of about six or seven feet in total, at the bottom of which rests a bed of sharp glass fragments, which are stained with fresh-looking blood. Qhapaq manages to set down Grutar and fly back up to the others, but sustains small cuts on the flight back up.

>Qhapaq 6/6


>>736270
There is a path ahead of you, as you can see in the low light of your flamethrower's torch, but the darkness is deep, and you cannot see very far ahead without another source of light. But who knows what might be waiting further in.

 No.736281

>>736274
Not yet my friend, been too focused on helping the others out." he said with a small smile on his face.

 No.736283

>>736280
"Why is there a pit in the middle of here any how. It doesn't look like a good defense on the inside when there are turrets. Seems more of a hazard than anything." Billy thinks out loud. It is probably just the annoyance at so many deadly creatures after his life.

 No.736284

>>736280
Grutar keeps his Flamethrower up, deciding to once and awhile let out a few spurts of it just to give him sight.

>Look through the darkness using some extra torch light.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.736285

>>736280
>Accelerated Healing: Regenerate 1 Hit.
Qhapaq lets out a little huff as he gets a cut or two on the way back up, but he ignores it- they'll heal up on their own in time.

"Grutar is down safely. Who next?"

 No.736286

>>736281
"You should focus on healing yourself first, then. It won't do us any good in the long-run if you're injured if you're keeping us on our feet."

>>736280
>>736276
As Qhapaq returns, Zamrud turns to look at him. "How was it? Did you see anyone down there?"

>>736283
"It nearly got two of us, and we're far more intelligent than your garden variety Dreaded One. It's VERY crude but it seems effective if you're being over-run."

 No.736287

>>736285
"I'll volunteer, take me down next."

 No.736288

>>736286
"I guess so, it is quite an annoying and deadly contraption. Blegh" Billy makes a face.

 No.736289

>>736286
"No- it was quite dark, and I was not down for long." he says, frowning. "there was glass spread on the ground, so take care."

>>736287
"Very well. Be still, and steady."
>[1d10+1]
>[1d10+1]
+1 From Special Talent

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

 No.736290

>>736289
>>736287
Zamrud makes it down next without incident.

>>736284
>>736287
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gf_YOomAdc

As Grutar lights up your immediate surroundings, you notice soft, off-red veins – innumerable deep red veins crawling along and within the stonework surrounding you, weaving in and out of the bricks, criss-crossing over one another, occasionally pulsing with some dark fluid. The veins continue along the walls into the darkness, which extends some inexact distance ahead of you.

 No.736291

>>736290
>>736287
"Ye sure we should be down here, lads? This place is veinier than me old boss' head on a bad day."

 No.736292

>Accelerated Healing: Regenerate 1 Hit.

>>736290
>>736284
"Mmm. Without a doubt, Dreaded Ones. We will need to take special care while we are down here- while we came down on our own terms, we are in its preferred space." He says, before flying back up.

>>736288
>>736281
"Next?"

 No.736293

>>736290
>>736292

Good took the time to heal himself using a magic boon as he seemed content to wait while they were being ferried

"I'll take the last ride."

Magic Boon to heal 3 hits

 No.736294

>>736292
"Alrighty, take me down to tartarus and I shall help you with these up and coming trials." Billy announces with an exaggerated pose in response.

 No.736295

>>736290
>>736289
Zamrud flies down with Qhapaq until they hit the bottom, noticing all the obstacles sticking out fromt he sides as they reach the bottom. "I'm surprised whoever fell down here could survive all that. Be careful on your way back up."

>>736291
>>736290
As Grutar lights up the area with his flamethrower, Zamrud looks over the disturbing red veins covering the walls, the hairs on his tail standing on end.

"Disturbing… I don't think we SHOULD be down here, Grutar, but alas I only see us running into more traps if we take the route Ride or Die has in mind for us. I'm curious to see if we can find whoever we heard down here and divulge this mystery."

He takes a few steps down, and calls out into the darkness
"Hello! Is anyone down here?"

 No.736296

>>736294
>[1d10+1]
>[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 8 + 1 = 9

 No.736298

>>736296
>>736294
Qhapaq loses 3 hits as he brings down Billy.

>>736291
>>736295
>>736294
At first, you hear nothing after Zamrud calls out into the darkness, then straining, followed by a pair of voices, interweaving, overlapping, fading in and out:
"HELPstayback Nobodysentyounobodyasked– themachine– themachineisbecomingpart. PART. Part of–"

 No.736301

>>736298
"Huh, quite a weird thing." Billy tries to discover the source of the noise and scrambled talking.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.736302

>>736296
As Qhapaq comes down with Billy, Zamrud notes the damage he took from the way down. Reaching up to his bandolier, he pulls out one of the health potions he made earlier, tossing it to Qhapaq. "Here, take this before you go back up to grab the young lord."
>Health Potion, instant, restores 3 hits
>1 left

>>736298
>>736294
Zamrud's ears flatten as he hears the disturbing call, "I see… I think, Billy, our two Concord entities may be one in the same after all."

He shouts back into the darkness, "Don't worry. We're here to help. We'll be with you shortly."

He activates a lighter variation of his mutated eyes, switching onto thermographic vision to see if he can see anything further in without looking through solid objects
[1d10+1] perception

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.736303

>>736298
"Alright, I'm turning up the flamethrower." Grutar says as he keeps following the group.

 No.736304

>>736303
>Perception as well
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.736306

>>736298
Good just idled about by himself, searching the concord app for anything new.

 No.736307

>Accelerated Healing: Regenerate 1 Hit.

>>736302
>>736298
Qhapaq catches the potion and gently hands it back, before shaking his head. "Won't work. Mutation, remember?" he says, before flying back up.

>>736306
Qhapaq lands back on the ground and crouches down a little, waiting for Good Intentions to climb on.
>[1d10+1]
>[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2

 No.736308

>>736307
As he tosses it back, he frowns. "Oh, right. My apologies, it slipped my mind. Well, in which case, don't hesitate to take a break to give your healing factor time to catch up with your injuries."

 No.736309

>>736307
Good made a squeaking noise as he was suddenly scooped up.

 No.736311

>>736306
>>736301
>>736302
>>736303
>>736307
>because Qhapaq won't be going back for anyone else after Good, omit the second roll.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9BrJ2rjqhI

Once you are gathered together as a group once more, you proceed through the darkened halls, guided only by the small, protective glow of Grutar's flamethrower. You are in the dungeon of the fortress, with brick and mortar cells on either side of you, with no small number of cruel means of imprisonment and torture visible between the thorn-covered bars of the doors. The deeper you go, the thicker the veins become, until they even start to cover the floors. Small pustules can be seen upon the surface of the veins, their surfaces swirling like eyes blinded by disease.

You travel through the fleshy and angry-red prison block for some time, your only light being the small flame of the flamethrower, until from the east, at the end of a long hall, you can see glimmering neon beads floating in the darkness ahead. You can't make sense of what you're seeing without greater light – or without getting closer to what might lie ahead.

 No.736313

>Accelerated Healing: Regenerate 1 Hit.

>>736311
"Hmm… it must have been here for some time. Such a degree of infection is unbelievable." he says, gripping his claws into fists from time to time. "Should we light things up more? I imagine the Host is already aware of us."

 No.736315

>>736313
"Yeah, I feel we are at quite a disadvantage being down here, or are dreaded ones unable to see in the dark? I always assumed that they could." Billy rambled to himself.

 No.736316

>>736311
As they traverse the creepy, vein/nerve covered walls of the Fortress's dungeon, Zamrud tenses up, feeling constant dread around him as they advance through the darkness.

As they see the neon-beads ahead, Zamrud squints as he tries to see what may be further ahead. Knowing this may be dangerous, he decides to push his mutation further to peer through the darkness, straining himself as his soft-glow of his eyes turn into a bright, vibrant green. He looks ahead at he lights

>Activating 'Enhanced' Mutation, losing -1 to all perception checks until next rest to see through walls/darkness clearly


>>736313
>>736311
"It is far worse than I might have imagined. I've never seen an infection like this."

"I think we should light things up in the most literal sense. Everyone has a Lamp of Life with them, correct? Perhaps if we set ours all on at once in a burst, it'll have an effect on the 'Host'."

 No.736317

>>736311
Grutar is getting more defensive, ready to set everything on fire around him if he needs to.

 No.736318

>>736311
Good was suitably creeped the hell out by the whole thing. His magic was ready to go at an instant and he had his sword and board ready to use

 No.736319

>>736318
>>736317
>>736313
>>736316
>>736315
Aided by his augmented vision, Zamrud sees beyond you, into a room which seems to be part dumping ground, and part ritual site. A number of crystalline black obelisks take up the greater part of the room's space, dotted with strange carvings, the likes of which you are completely unfamiliar with. Among the obelisks, there are a number of computer monitors and servers hooked up to the obelisks, presumably doing some sort of scanning earlier. However, the monitors are all dark, and the only lights that can be seen are the glow of various buttons and dials.

But covering and surrounding all of it is a veritable woven carpet of the fleshy red veins, in a great and misshapen mass. There appears to be no central "head" or "core" that Zamrud can discern, but he can see the shapes of Warriors' and Sages' armorsuits. Their visors are clear, and within, he can see the semi-conscious forms of Ride or Die and Assembly, faces pale and covered with sweat as they offer only the most feeble of resistant struggles against the veins of the Host as it tries to manipulate their suits.

 No.736320

>>736319
Good was kinda regretting a lot of his choices and part of him longed to be back on the open ground and watching a little scorpion do a little dance. But now… now he was torn between fear and wanting to help these people

"Does anyone know if this creature feeds on emotions like the others from before did?" he finally asked the others.

 No.736321

>>736319
Zamrud peers beyond the dark to the room ahead, when the strain gets too much for his eyes he closes them, holding up a paw to massage them gently.

"…It is the Dreaded One, it's ahead. It has them… both of them, both Ride or Die AND Assembly are ensnared by it. Among others, I lost count of how many were ensnared. It appears to the source, however I can't see any sort of 'head' to this thing."
"I think they're both still alive, but I've no idea how to get them out, if possible. If need be we'll grant them peace."

After he finally re-opens his eyes, blurred and hazy, he looks towards the veins on the nearby wall, taking out his Lamp of Life and turning it on near them, testing if it'll make the veins recede due to the light that all Dreaded Ones loath."

 No.736322

>>736319
>>736321
"I told you we shouldn't have trusted neither of them! What did I tell ya!" Grutar exclaims.

 No.736323

>>736320
"Most likely, though this one appears to feed on 'knowledge more' than emotion. It consumes the information its victims know and uses it however it pleases. It may well have the collective knowledge of every person to have staffed this place prior."

>>736322
"Let it be known that you are indeed technically correct. But, I do think I see them trying to fight back against its influence, they're still 'alive'. Though I don't know if there's much more we can do for them outside of putting them out of their misery."

 No.736324

>>736321
"This is quite sickening, should I worry about trying to rip them away. Will it start taking control of me in turn?" Billy asks with a tone of worry. Fearing for the same fate.

 No.736325

>>736321
>>736319
Qhapaq lets out a heavy sigh as Zamrud explains the state of the two ensnared victims. He begins to reach for his own Lamp of Life, and gets it ready in case they go further with it.

He sets a claw on the Puros's shoulder, and says "We will do what we can."

>>736320
"No… I imagine it feeds on those it ensnares."

 No.736326

>>736323
"Dreaded ones like this aren't easily 'put out of it's misery'. If you're intending to KILL IT then by the stone it's going to be harder than rock itself! I say we find a way back out before we get pulled into it and feasted on!"

 No.736328

>>736324
"I'm not sure. I do not know exactly how quickly this creature consumes its prey, these veins along the wall have not yet made an attempt on us. I think burning, either through fire or by the Lamps, would prove most effective in getting them out but if it's us or them, we'll choose us."

>>736325
Qhapaq nods, reaching a hand up to massage his eyes again. "Agreed. I just don't know how much we'll be able to do."

>>736326
"If we retreat, we'll simply have to go through a fortress that this monster has complete control over. Remember, our goal is to secure it: one way or another we have to deal with this infestation or our mission to reclaim the fortress will end in failure."

 No.736329

>>736325
>>736322
>>736321
>>736320
As Zamrud tests his Lamp upon the veins embedded in the nearby wall, they convulse and smolder; some pop into mysterious, coagulating ichor, while smaller ones dissolve into foul-smelling smoke outright. A most horrid sound, like that of a rattlesnake, shudders out from all around you; the whole dungeon quakes.

From down the final corridor, an empty metal pipe, no more than a few inches in diameter, extends forth from the flesh-mass of the Host, out a few feet into the blackness of the corridor.

An eye pops out from the end of the pipe, bulging out of the pipe's mouth.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.736330

>>736323
If nothing else we owe it to them to try and save them if its possible." he said wanting to do his best to get everyone out of here in as best shape he could.

"If nothing else, they would be some more bodies to help ensure our safety on the way back."

>>736326
When did you suddenly get a yellow belly?" he asked a bit annoyed at him suddenly getting cowardly at this

>>736329
Seeing this though Good was quick to take his own lantern out as well "I had honestly forgot we had these… These might be a way to save them." he said hesitantly moving closer to the one he assumes was Assembly.

 No.736331

>>736330
"Or to make sure the Fortress remains secure after we've left. I agree: we'll do what we can to help them. We must also recognize our limitations. Perhaps your healing magic could do something for them as well."

>>736329
As the entire dungeon quakes, Zamrud quickly raises his tail to keep balance, looking around as he puts his Lamp away to conserve power. "That certainly seemed to displease it."

As the eye pops out of the pipe, he quickly turns to it, squinting his eyes to make out any and all important details on it despite his blurred vision
[1d10+1] Appraise

He follows closely behind Good Intentions as well while he moves closer to Assembly

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.736332

>>736330
>>736328
>>736329
After hearing Zamrud mention the fact the creature has control over the fortress, Grutar would take the moment to mull that over and open his mouth to speak, until Good spoke up to insult him. "OI! FUCK YOU IF YOU THINK I'M COWARDLY FOR BEIN' CAUTIOUS, I'LL SHOW YOU LITTLE BRAT WHAT US DOGS ARE CAPABLE OF, FOR ZINC AND STONE!!" He shouts back, suddenly he would lunge for the creature.

>Overdrill: recharge 3; Kick the drill into overdrive and make it spin up rapidly for gaining an advantage on the enemy. Allows you to roll two sets of dice for your actions this round, only keeping the highest result of the two.

>Slam (Martial Defender): recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 8+.
[1d10]
or
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.736334

>>736332
Zamrud looks on in wide-eyed shock as Grutar takes charge towards the Dreaded One.
"…I fear this is this going to become a habit of this group."

 No.736335

>>736329
Surprised by the sudden appearence of the eye. Billy decides to make his own strikes against the appearing enemy.

Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 9+.

-Martial Defender: passive; You gain 3 Max Hits, and Slam Crits on 8+.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736338

>>736330
>>736326
>>736329
Qhapaq clasps a head-sized claw over Good Intention's mouth, and shakes his head a little bit. He looks to Grutar and is about to signal for him to hold on, but… it's a little too late.

The griffon shrugs a little, and goes ahead and tries yanking out the pipe from the wall. If they're going to go loud, he might as well be ready.


>[1d10+1] Grapple/Grabbing the pipe and yanking it off the wall.

>Blademaster (Single) to grant Accurate: -1 to DC.
>+1 from Trained Talent to grappling, grabbing, or subduing.

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.736341

>>736331
You learn the following about the Host:
The Host
100 HP (50 HP +10 per occupied body)
Weak: Light, Fire
Resist: None
Immune: Poison, Eldritch, Nuclear, Dark

>>736335
>>736332
>>736330
>>736331
>>736338
At Grutar's war-cry, the party rushes in – Grutar smashes his drill into the flesh of the Dreaded One, while Billy follows suit and strikes it near the same spot. Qhapaq tears the pipe out of the mound of flesh, ripping it out along with the eye and the elongated stalk that fed it through the pipe to peep out at all of you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt5R8ElvWPI

However… there comes no retaliation. No lashing out, no bolts of magic, nor slashes of tentacles. Instead, the thing just seems to… stare at you. Slits cut their way open all along the misshapen hill of flesh; skin parts way, creating new openings all over the surface of its body.
And–
From those new openings extend eye-stalks, like sick, pus-colored flowers in bloom.
The eyes open, revealing the devoured eyes of countless sightseers.

>Paused

 No.736669

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party ventured further into the abandoned fortress' inner chapel, but they were halted in the purgatorio just outside it, by a locked door, and a hardlight turret. Despite "Ride or Die" promising to deactivate the turret, it whirred to life behind them, attempting a sneak attack. They destroyed it before anyone could be harmed too badly, however.

Shortly after, another message broke through to them via Concord, from a unicorn stallion by the name of Assembly, who warned them to not listen to the "host." Some knew that "Host" was Warrior slang for a particularly horrific Dreaded One which could parasitize, possess and eventually devour multiple victims, using them as a hivemind before reducing them to nutrients. With this in mind, they endeavored to investigate before pressing onward.

They went back to the trapdoor that nearly claimed Good and Qhapaq, and Qhapaq carefully lowered everyone down one by one, into the fortress' gaol. The gaol was lightless, and the walls were lined with fleshy red veins that wove into and through the brick. They followed the paths of the gaol until they reached a central chamber, which appeared to have been converted into some kind of mystical-technological research site in the past…

…but was now the domain of a hill of hungry red flesh. Both Ride or Die and Assembly were trapped within, semi-conscious and fading fast, weak and emaciated, helpless within the Host's grasp… but when the party attacked it, it did not offer any retaliation, except to protrude dozens of rheumy, pus-colored eyes – the eyes of sightseers.

 No.736670

>Zamrud
You learn the following about the Host:
The Host
100 HP (50 HP +10 per occupied body)
Weak: Light, Fire
Resist: None
Immune: Poison, Eldritch, Nuclear, Dark

>Everyone

At Grutar's war-cry, the party rushes in – Grutar smashes his drill into the flesh of the Dreaded One, while Billy follows suit and strikes it near the same spot. Qhapaq tears the pipe out of the mound of flesh, ripping it out along with the eye and the elongated stalk that fed it through the pipe to peep out at all of you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt5R8ElvWPI

However… there comes no retaliation. No lashing out, no bolts of magic, nor slashes of tentacles. Instead, the thing just seems to… stare at you. Slits cut their way open all along the misshapen hill of flesh; skin parts way, creating new openings all over the surface of its body.
And–
From those new openings extend eye-stalks, like sick, pus-colored flowers in bloom.
The eyes open, revealing the devoured eyes of countless sightseers.

[5d10+1] in order: Grutar, Zamrud, Qhapaq, Good, Billy

Roll #1 6, 2, 6, 10, 6 + 1 = 31

 No.736674

>>736670
Even from the sudden appearance of enemies. Billy's nature takes hold as he grabs the scraps of the eye taking it into his large maw. Then going forward to strike once again at the eyes hoping to beeline it through any of the attacks.

-Cavalier (Lone Knight):You fight by yourself. You have a Bonus Action every turn for basic attacks only. You have +2 Max Hits and +1 Max Wounds. All Doctrines from Cavalier apply to you.

[1d10] Attack

[1d10] attack

[1d10] Dodge

Mutation: Effect: [Rumbly Tumbly] Recharge 1: automatic; Allows the user to consume a dead target whole, the digestive process incorporating the nutrients into the body abnormally fast. Your body grows stronger and scales thicker, removing the effects of the Burden and reducing all incoming damage by 1 hit for the rest of combat. This effect stacks for every corpse consumed, but the target must have perished during the same combat as when it was eaten to provide the buff. Larger corpses may take longer than one turn to consume, but count as an additional corpse for the purpose of buff stacking for every additional turn spent.

eating small stuff is instant, bigger stuff is a normal action

-burden: your emaciated body causes you to take more damage when hungry, increasing all incoming damage by an extra hit.
-effect: after spending a turn to consume an enemy, your body grows stronger and scales thicker, removing the burden for the rest of combat and reducing all incoming damage by 1 hit per corpse consumed

>One stalk


Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 4 = 4

 No.736675

>>736670
Grutar grimaces at the sight of the eyeballs, raising his drill up as it starts to spin up. "Stop givin' me that look you ugly son of a bitch!"

>Sharpen (Grutar's Drill): recharge 3; Put the grindstone to yours or an ally’s weapon, giving it +1 for the duration of combat. On Crit you give it +2. A weapon can only be Sharpened once per combat.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736676

>>736670
>>736669
As the rest of the party goes slashing away at the mounds of flesh lining the walls and entrapping several unfortunate souls in its confines, Zamrud's keen eye for detail analysis how it responds to the various attacks against it, noting its weaknesses as he dips out from the shadows, looking for a particularly large stretch of flesh.

"It's weak to fire! If you have anything that burns, use it!" He says as he reaches for one of his chemical-orbs, squeezing it once to agitate the flammable solution within in and preparing for a toss as he notices the eyes staring them down.

"And watch out for those eyestalks! It's absorbed sightseers into itself as well, if any of them catch you in its stare you'll lose your stomach!"

[1d10+1] Alchemical Fire

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.736677

>>736676
>Using 'Dexterity' to try and re-roll that
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.736678

>>736670
He yelped and responded by trying to fire a shot of his magic in to try and fix the eye issue by pulling it back shut by means of gravity.

[1d10] Singularity Shot

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.736679

>>736670
Qhapaq, trying to keep his distance, flings the pipe he'd yanked off the wall at the mass of eyestalks.

>[1d10] Throw!

>Blademaster (Single) to grant Accurate: -1 to DC.

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.736680

>>736674
You duck and shield your eyes from the stare as you go for the severed eye to devour it for energy. It's not particularly filling, but you surmise that having another eye stalk off the Host might sate your hunger. However, you find yourself growing nauseous, and it feels like the gaze of the Host is boring through your skull, leaving you with a pulsing headache to boot. You lash out at the eye that stares at you, and your scratch forces it to blink, mercifully.

>Billy 3/4


>>736675
You feel the front of your skull start to pulse with pain as the creature stares at you. You concentrate on the sharpening to try and bear through it, but the pain refuses to go away. Your stomach broils as acid is thrown into turmoil, giving you the early warning signs of an ulcer.

>Grutar 10/4


>>736676
The hill of flesh shudders and warbles as you throw your orb, and a mouth opens upon the body, swallowing whole the orb before it can explode upon it. Immediately it retches up the orb, spitting it back out on you, whereupon it breaks and lights you aflame. Your body convulses and flails, not by panic or instinct, but from the sheer, all-engulfing pain sending your nerves and muscles into overdrive.

>Zamrud 1/5


>>736678
>>736679
Good, perhaps owing to his emotional sensitivity, feels twin pains, one in his head, and one in his stomach, both of which feel like sharpened rocks trying to burrow out of his flesh, driving themselves all through his organs in the process. Just as it feels like he may black out from the pain, he creates a gravity well in the center of the eyes, forcing their vision away from the party. Qhapaq, seeing a chance, tosses the broken pipe with a bit of a spin, and as it's sucked into the gravity well, it accelerates, spinning like the blades of a helicopter, which severs every one of the eyes. They fall to the ground in a heap of gore as the spinning stops.

>Good 4/4

>Qhapaq 8/5

Before the party can celebrate, the hill of flesh shifts, morphing and bubbling as though it were aflame. You see its surface shift, as five bodies emerge from within, forming a kind of shield wall. The two on the top layer, and the only ones which can be recognized, are Ride or Die and Assembly. The visor on Assembly's armorsuit slides down, revealing his horn, which lights with a cybernetic blue light.

>Chain Magic: recharge 2, spell; Blast a target with a beam of magic that and arcs from foe to foe. Deals damage and on success, you can have it jump to another target in the same zone, rolling again and dealing half damage. If this second attack is a success, you can make a third one with the same restrictions. If any Chain Magic roll Crits, deal an additional 3 hits of damage to all enemies that have been hit by this Chain Magic thus far.

>Lightning Element

[1d10+1] Qhapaq

Ride or Die's arms rise out of the fleshy muck, gripping a large falx, but he strains in his semi-conscious state, forcing himself to remain still.

>Iron Will: instant automatic, recharge 2; You are going to have your way, no matter the cost. You can use this to take 4 hits of damage and make a failed action of yours this turn into a minimum success. This ability cannot be used on Critfails.


>Using Iron Will to forcibly negate the Host's second attack


Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.736681

[1d10+1] Second roll of Chain Magic vs Good, half damage

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.736682

[1d10+1] Third roll of Chain Magic vs Grutar, half damage

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.736683

>>736680
Grutar's sudden acid reflex and heart burn causes him to belch loudly, as he belches however he now winds his drill up for another slam.

>Sharpened Martial Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 8+.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.736684

>>736680
Good promptly dropped to his knees for a moment and began to gag and almost vomit on the ground as the wave of nausea was way too much for him to handle but he spit up a bit and shuddered as he forced himself to stay standing as he groaned.

Wiping a bit of dirty spit from his mouth he aimed at the spell caster and prepped some magic, letting his mutation manifest as he wanted to try and help separate the spell caster by using gravity to sever them from the flesh or other wish force them away from the pack

[2d10] Magic Bolt: Gravity

Mutation: Repulsive Force, Recharge 2, Instant Automatic, This mutation allows Good to turn his gravitational attacks into reverse, repelling foes instead of attracting them, and inflicting them with the force of their body being hurled back or potentially an attack being hurled back at them.

Roll #1 8, 9 = 17

 No.736685

>>736680
Growing furious at the attack from the eye. Billy lets out a roar. Rushing in to slam his full body against the stalk of the creature.

Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 9+.

-Martial Defender: passive; You gain 3 Max Hits, and Slam Crits on 8+.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.736686

>>736680
Qhapaq shakes off the feeling of nasuea, hoping it doesn't return later. The griffon swipes out with his talons and gouges at one of the non-bodied parts of The Host in return, hoping to avoid damaging any of the captives.

>[1d10+1] Slam (Recharge 1): Crush an Enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on a 9+. (8+ with Martial Defender)


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.736687

>>736680
Zamrud looks on in shock as it swallows the orb whole, his eyes widening as the 'mouth' suddenly appears and spits it back out right at him, putting him aflame as he turns and rolls on the rotted ground of the chamber, frantically trying to put out the flame without ensuing too much panic

"Aaah…! Damn… it has surprisingly intuition, it seems!"

He pulls out his last remaining Health Potion, breaking it and letting the juices pour over the worst of his burn wounds to heal them
>None left
As he pulls out another orb, this time aiming for one of the eye-stalks targeting his friends
>Flux Capacitor: Using 1 Hit to throw another Alchemist Fire orb without recharging
[1d10+1] He tosses the orb at the nearest eye-stalk
"Try and form a mouth on your eyeball, then!"

>>736684
He turns to look at Good, wincing as he sees him spill his lunch. "Warned you."

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.736688

>Lightning: Your spell is charged with electricity, overloading the target and their nerves. The suffer a DC+1 to all actions next turn. Lightning spells can be used to shock and charge objects and the environment.
>Lightning debuff applied to Grutar, Good, Qhapaq

>>736683
You charge forward to strike, but the bolt that struck Qhapaq and Good arcs off of them, jumping to the metal plates of your suit. You stagger, trembling as lightning leaps all across your nervous system, unable to complete your strike.

>Grutar 7/4


>>736684
>>736685
Good is rattled by the bolt of lightning that strikes Qhapaq and then jumps to him, but regains his composure by focusing on the flesh that connects Assembly to the rest of the Host. He and Billy notice that a vein-like strand of pulsating, writhing flesh is connected to Assembly's spine, centered between the shoulder blades. Good pushes Assembly outward with his repelling magic, while Billy slams against the strand of flesh, severing it at the midpoint. Assembly crumbles to the ground, falling away a good distance from the rest of the body.

>Good 3/4


Ride or Die groans as he is floated over toward the two of you, his arms raising to strike. "Move… kids…!" he wheezes.

[1d10] Cleave vs 2

>>736686
You circle around to the side and strike at an exposed part of the flesh, but before you strike true, your target morphs, dividing itself into the shape of a mouth with the sharpened teeth of a voracious Dreaded One. It chomps down hard, and though the pain is sharp, it's nothing compared to the nauseating feeling of your arm being dragged into its gullet. It swallows your arm up to the shoulder, and the rest of you will soon follow if you cannot break free.

>Qhapaq 2/5


>>736687
With no eyes left, you throw the orb at the strand of flesh that connects from the Host to Ride or Die's spine, situated just between his shoulder blades. The flames burn through the strand, nearly dropping him to the ground, but they remain connected by a few last stubborn threads.

Your victory is short-lived, for out of the flesh of the Host emerges another body, a proud-looking Caprino billy, connected to the Host in a similar way to Ride or Die and Assembly. He shudders, falling forward like a mannequin with cut strings, and proceeds to ram at you, horns extending from slots in his armorsuit.

[1d10+1] Headbutt
>Headbutt: Instant; Recharge 2; You are highly adept at the Caprinos' art of quick attacks with your horns, and can bash an opponent with your head while incurring minimal risk to yourself. In addition to its use in combat, this skill can be used outside of combat, benefiting from any bonuses to agility or running that you have, to make quick, short-distance dashes, or to clear environmental obstacles.

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

 No.736689

>>736688
Good knew he was going to be suffering a bit later as he shivered and prepared to help out a bit as he drew some more magic into himself and looked to Billy and aimed at him.

Magic Boon: Instant Automatic
Inure [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736690

>>736688
Seeing the Caprino charge at the group, Grutar charges back at him to try and bash them to get them to stop.

>Defensive yet harmful block (normal attack)

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.736691

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736688
Qhapaq grunts a little as the Dreaded One's flesh shifts into a mouth, which wastes little time in attempting to swallow him up. He shifts his weight and lets out a furious screech, yanking his arm free from its maw in the most disruptive way possible.

>Break Free! [Automatic]

>Sentry (Passive, Recharge 4): You can declare one action to be Automatic, instead of having to roll.

 No.736692

Billy goes down to the floor scooping up two stalks from the floor to sate his burden from his mutation.

Mutation: Effect: [Rumbly Tumbly] Recharge 1: automatic; Allows the user to consume a dead target whole, the digestive process incorporating the nutrients into the body abnormally fast. Your body grows stronger and scales thicker, removing the effects of the Burden and reducing all incoming damage by 1 hit for the rest of combat. This effect stacks for every corpse consumed, but the target must have perished during the same combat as when it was eaten to provide the buff. Larger corpses may take longer than one turn to consume, but count as an additional corpse for the purpose of buff stacking for every additional turn spent.

eating small stuff is instant, bigger stuff is a normal action

-burden: your emaciated body causes you to take more damage when hungry, increasing all incoming damage by an extra hit.
-effect: after spending a turn to consume an enemy, your body grows stronger and scales thicker, removing the burden for the rest of combat and reducing all incoming damage by 1 hit per corpse consumed

>3 stalks


After taking the scraps from the ground. Billy lands on his hooves to go forward in a rush at caprino in an aim of knocking him down from the control of the dreaded one.

Combat Talent: [Headbutt]; recharge 2, instant; Slam your horns into an enemy and send them reeling. Knocks an enemy helpless on success, dealing 5-(X-5) damage to yourself as well.

[1d10] Headbutt

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.736693

>>736688
Zamrud clenches his fist as the fire connects to the strand and starts spreading across the fleshy mass of the Host, looking onward as the creature sends out one of its unfortunate victims. He looks on at the Caprino, trying to see if it's alive or long since assimilated into the Host's biomass.

As it charges him, he takes out his dagger, looking to cut swiftly and cleanly through the connecting flesh linking him to the rest of the Host, and tries to make a clean slice through it to free the Caprino within

>Fault Point: recharge 3, weapon; You can notice the imperfections in anything from your years of crafting. Strike at a foes gear, either their weapon or armor, abusing these faults to weaken them and applying a stack of Faulty. Each stack lowers the quality of a weapon by 1 or lowers the damage reduction a foe has by 1 on armor. Once the gear reaches 3 stacks it will be destroyed. On Crit, or when the gear is broken, this will deal damage (Damage on break will be based on the roll that applied the 3rd stack). Can be used out of combat to break most average materials.

[1d10+2] (+1 from being Appraised, +1 from Alchemist Fire)

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.736694

>>736689
You press through the pain of the electrical shock, and manage to secure a barrier of protection around Billy.

>>736691
You yank your arm free, and it feels quite numb, and looks a little pale. You feel something… wriggling beneath the surface of the skin, near the puncture wounds made by the teeth.

>>736690
>>736693
>>736692
Grutar bashes the Caprino back before he can crash into Zamrud, and the Caprino's lifeless body attempts to retaliate, but Billy interrupts the attack, horns meeting with horns as their headbutts collide and clash. The barrier that Good provided helps him to remain standing against the pain of the lock-on.

>Billy 3/4, 3 HP on Inure


Zamrud leaps around the Caprino, making a clean slice through the strand that connects it to the Host's wall of flesh. As the Caprino falls free, Zamrud grabs the rest of the strand which remains lodged in his spine, and tugs it out, leaving an opening in the armorsuit, and a puncture wound in his spine, but at least this frees him from the rest of the Host's influence.

Ride or Die's eyes flash with hope as he sees this, and he grits his teeth, roaring and straining his muscles, which bulge beneath the armorsuit. "PERISH!"

He spins and redirects his swing, gouging the curve of the falx through the Host's fleshy body, narrowly avoiding the two others who remain trapped in the flesh. His strand breaks after this, and he falls to the ground.

The Host shudders as pus and blood pour from the wound, and its outer layer of diseased skin peels back, revealing two Lagoma, twin brothers judging by the similarities in their faces. They wear Sage's armorsuits, and their claws glow with black magical auras.

[1d10+2] Transfix: Grutar
[1d10+2] Lifestream: Zamrud

>Transfix: recharge 1 after effect ends, spell; Overpowers an opponent’s mind and restrict their movements. Stronger foes may be resistant to this. Renders a foe helpless, and each turn after you can roll to keep them helpless at DC6. If you take damage, the DC is raised by however many hits you lost. On Crit on the initial cast you can control the target briefly as you take hold of their mind, allowing you to use one of their skills. Once you roll a fail the target immediately recovers but cannot act that turn. If you Crit Fail any roll, the target gets a Bonus Action against you for any action.


>Lifestream: recharge 1, spell; Saps a target’s lifeforce, dealing damage and storing that energy. You may use the sapped life to restore Hits equal to the damage done on yourself, an ally or one of your minions, even undead ones. On Crit you drain a wound as well, and can give that heal along the same guidelines listed prior.


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

 No.736695

>>736694
"SUCK ON THIS, YOU FLESHY FREAK!" Grutar screams out to the host, his drill winding up faster and faster as he charges at the creature with full force.

>Overdrill: recharge 3; Kick the drill into overdrive and make it spin up rapidly for gaining an advantage on the enemy. Allows you to roll two sets of dice for your actions this round, only keeping the highest result of the two. Activate mechanical drawback to reset recharge.

>Sharpened Martial Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 8+.
[1d10+1]
or
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3

 No.736696

>>736694
Good grunted and turned his focus back to the beast as he aimed for the one who was transfixing Grutar and prepped another round of his magic.

If he could save as many of them as he could he was going to.
>Spell Resonance: instant automatic, recharge 3, spell; The next spell you cast is automatic, provided you have used it earlier in this combat.

>Magic Bolt

>Repulsive Force

 No.736697

>>736694
Billy seeing the two new enemies makes another rush at the one attacking Zamrud seeing that he is in a worse condition. Swinging with his fist in a strong one two.

Cavalier (Lone Knight):You fight by yourself. You have a Bonus Action every turn for basic attacks only. You have +2 Max Hits and +1 Max Wounds. All Doctrines from Cavalier apply to you.

[1d10] attack

Sentry: passive, recharge 4; You can declare one action you make to be Automatic instead of rolling.

Sentry on the second attack

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736698

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736694
Qhapaq shudders a bit as he feels something wriggling beneath his skin. Not wanting to leave it in while his body heals, he attempts to force it out. He grabs tightly near the bend in his foreleg and slides his grip down the length of his arm, hoping to force whatever it is out.
>[1d10+1] No leeches, please.
>+1 from Mighty Throw: +1 to grabbing, grappling, or restraining a target.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.736699

>>736694
Zamrud looks on with a spark in his eyes as he sees the Caprino freed from the creature's influence, turning to look back at the Host as he shouts to the others, "The victims can be freed from the Host's control if you cut off connections to the main body! Aim for the weakest links between them and the Host!"

He looks at the newly produced victims it tears from its flesh, grabbing for more curatives as he tries to run from the magical aura pointed in his direction, dipping behind one of the Obelisks
[1d10+1] Distill Life for three more potions

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.736700

>>736695
You jab the drill into the exposed flesh of the Host, scattering chunks and blood all about you, but darkness starts to overtake your vision, and your body feels cold, numb and heavy. Your drill's spirals slow, and you feel yourself crumbling to one knee as weakness overtakes you.

>Grutar 0/3


>>736698
A batch of hideous red little rounded shapes pour out of the wounds in your arm, vaguely resembling common diagrams of neurons that you once saw during one of the mandatory classes you sat through prior to your admission into Ironcastle. The things – eggs of a sort, most likely – wriggle toward you, but cannot get you now.

>>736696
>>736697
>>736699
Good feels a tightening pressure, starting from his midriff, which then slowly spreads up his chest and toward his shoulders. It won't be long now until the real pain begins– but there is work to be done yet before he can fall. He and Billy focus on the strand that connects the first of the Lagoma, ripping about halfway through it. The one that attacked Zamrud draws red vapor out of his mouth, which it transmits to the writhing body of the Host, repairing some of its wounds. Zamrud drops to the ground, his vision swirling and hazy as life-force leaves his body, but he manages to move to cover and grab three more potions before he drops into an exsanguinated stupor.

>Billy 3/5 from Magic Boon, 3 HP on Inure

>Zamrud 0/4

Lagoma 1 leaves Grutar, slashing at Billy with its sharpened claws.
[1d10+1] Normal Attack
Lagoma 2 turns away from Zamrud and slashes at Good
[1d10+1] Normal Attack

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

 No.736701

>>736700
>Grutar is Transfixed currenly
(I don't know how to roleplay this.)

 No.736702

Billy returns with an attack in hopes that a good offense is as good as a strong defense. launching off his feet for a full body rush at his opponent.

Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 9+.

-Martial Defender: passive; You gain 3 Max Hits, and Slam Crits on 8+.

[1d10] Slam

[1d10] Dodge

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.736703

>>736700
Zamrud falls to his knees as the magic glow of the lifestream drains him of his energy, the puros barely clawing his way into cover behind the obelisk as he holds his side, panting for breath as he feels as though he'd just run a marathon.

"R-right… deep breathes… no time for a nap yet…" he says to himself, finishing preparations on his potions as he prepares to get back into action
[1d10] Get up from Helpless

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.736704

>>736701
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.736705

>>736700
He wheezed and opened his visor preemptively as he aimed between the two lagoma and the host as he prepped another use of his mutation. He knew he was gonna end up suffering for this but he needed to push on. He owed it to these people.

He aimed to separate the two from the main body with the magic by pushing all three apart.

Singularity Shot [1d10]
>Repulsive Force

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.736706

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736700
Qhapaq crushes the eggs under one of his armored paws as he turns back to the Host with a snarl. He heeds the advice of the others and claws at the strands of the Lagoma that's bewitched Grutar- no more of that, hopefully.
>[1d10] Slam (Recharge 1): Crush an Enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on a 9+. (8+ with Martial Defender)

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.736707

>>736704
>>736703
You both manage to get back up, strength and warmth coming back to you as you get a second wind.

>>736702
You and Lagomos 1 engage in a back-and-forth of slashes and swipes, and you narrowly dodge almost all of the rabbit's strikes, save for one, but your protective barrier saves you from any severe injury.

>Billy 3/5, 1 HP on Inure


>>736706
It manages to swerve out of the way of your swipe, instead upper-cutting you with an open claw strike on the underside of your beak.

>Qhapaq 3/5


>>736705
You bear down, putting even further strain upon the strands which connect the two to the Host. Lagomos 2 grabs onto a nearby stone obelisk, trying to pull himself back into the fight, but in the process, he twists, which tears the strained strand. He drops to the ground like a bag of rocks, going limp the second the connection is severed. Stiffness crawls up your spine, spreading to your shoulders and into your neck. Oh, this is going to hurt.

>For everyone


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

With only one of its thralls left, the Host's body stirs, absorbing Lagomos 1 back into itself. The rabbit is expressionless as he sinks back into the diseased flesh, which engulfs him like a sea of sewage and filth. The Host liquefies, dissolving its calcified and hardened body off of the network of computers and obelisks onto which it attached itself, and starts to slither toward you, maintaining a dripping, gelatinous-like form.

Soupy flesh leaks out from its body, spreading toward Billy and Qhapaq.

[1d10+2] Cleave vs 2

As for Good, tendrils spread toward him, reaching for his leg.

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9

 No.736708

>>736707
Truly this is a tale for the ages. A party battling against a giant horror of a dreaded one, and this party shall be the one to vanquish it! Billy yells in his own head hyping himself up. He backpedals striking forth with his claws as he does so to deter the oncoming dreaded one.

-Cavalier (Lone Knight):You fight by yourself. You have a Bonus Action every turn for basic attacks only. You have +2 Max Hits and +1 Max Wounds. All Doctrines from Cavalier apply to you.

[1d10] Attack

[1d10] Attack

[1d10] dodge

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 7 = 7

 No.736709

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736707
Qhapaq snarls again as he's clawed at, and decides to respond with something more aggressive. He rears up and grapples around one of the obelisks, attempting to rip it free and slam it down into the mass of flesh that is the Host.
>[1d10+1] Suppress (Recharge 3): Rush a target and pin them to the ground, rendering them helpless. On a Crit you smash through another enemy with them, dealing a Wound of damage to the Target and 2 Hits to the second enemy. If you use Slam on your target, they can't recover by any means that turn.
>+1 from Mighty Throw

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.736710

>>736705
Zamrud stands himself up on wobbling legs, holding a paw to his head as he gets his bearings and looks behind the cover of the Obelisk to look out at the Host. "Almost out of bodies for you to use, what's your next trick you vile abomination?"

He watches as it sucks back in the Lagomos, and he resolves to try and free his last victim, running towards the Host and tossing out one more fire-orb bomb to spread along its skin to tenderize it and make it easier to cut through. He throws it…
[1d10+1] Alchemist Fire

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.736711

>>736707
Good yelped and did his best to make space between himself and the tendril as he scrambled back from it with some fear in his eyes. He Prepped some magic to try and protect himself from the creature.

Inure [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.736712


 No.736713

>>736707
"Alright, now I'm real pissed!" Grutar exclaims, attempting to go for another power slam on the Host.

>Sharpened Martial Slam: recharge 1; Crush an enemy with your body, dealing damage. Crits on 8+.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.736714

>>736708
You leap back to avoid the encroaching puddle of flesh, but you stumble on an unseen shard of broken obelisk, and fall backward, colliding with one of the upright obslieks from which the shard fell. More of the fragile crystal breaks from the obelisk's tip, falling upon your head and neck, the shock of which stuns you and leaves you helpless.

>Billy 0/4


>>736709
>>736710
>>736711
>>736713
Good shields himself just barely in time, and the defensive barrier immediately shrinks as the Host grabs onto his leg. The tendril it extended is full of sharpened barbs, the kind not designed to injure, but likely to deliver some kind of neurotoxin, judging by their hollow, syringe-like shape. As it drags Good in, toward a mouth-like orifice, Qhapaq tears one of the crystal obelisks free of the earth, forcibly ripping with it many of the computers that were hooked up to it, cables at all, and hucks it at the Host. The monster tanks the blow, continuing to drag Good toward itself, at least until Zamrud tosses a firebomb at it. The firebomb collides with the computers, and they explode in a flash of fire and electrical sparks, starting a persistent flame which clings to the Host's fleshy form. Putrid smoke fills the room as the Host burns, shrinking and dissolving under the purifying flames. Before it can drag Good in, Grutar drives his drill into the Dreaded One's surface, severing the tendril in the process.

>Good 3/4, 1 HP on Inure


As you prepare for another wave of attacks, something almost miraculous happens. The Host rapidly begins to deflate, its entire body loosening and spreading out flat, almost like a balloon devoid of all helium.

>Roll Perception

 No.736715

>>736714
Good groaned as he slowly pulled himself to his feet and scanned the room panting heavily as he looked for what happened.

Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.736716

>>736714
Grutar still keeps his drill going, panting from a mix of exhaust and adrenaline as he stares at the creature, ready for it to leap back up at any point.

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.736717

>>736714
Zamrud looks on as the creature nearly gets a hold of Good, but breathes a sigh of relief as Grutar manages to free him. He takes out his knife, preparing to dig in and rescue the remaining Lagomos from the putrid flesh of the Dreaded One when it starts to deflate, flattening itself out as it expels a vile smell into the air.

He leaps towards the pile of flesh with his dagger, digging into the burning, deflating flesh where he saw the last Lagomos go in.

[1d10+2] Fault Point to tear out the last victim
[1d10-1] Perception (drawback due to using the enhanced mutation earlier)

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 5 - 1 = 4

 No.736718

>>736714
Billy attempts to right himself up. Things sure have taken a turn for the worse. Was this even what they were originally here to do? So many things have gone wrong here. His mind is muddled with negative thoughts as his head darts around.

[1d10] Recover

[1d10] Perception

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

 No.736719

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736714
>[1d10] Perception
Qhapaq lifts the obelisk again to drive it back down into the Host when it seems to finally give in, burning and dissolving away into nothing. Until he's sure that the Host is well and truly gone, he keeps a tight hold on his impromptu battering ram.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.736720

>>736719
As the others recover from the attack, you see Zamrud approaching the deflated Host, laying beneath the rubble and the obelisk. But suddenly, your eyes flick toward the creature's center, where there appears to be some kind of lung-like sac that still retains some semblance of shape as the rest of the body deflates. The others haven't yet seen, especially not Zamrud, who is closest to the abomination besides you. Then, you notice the sac twitch, and start to rapidly expand, inflating itself for one last, desperate attack – it's going to explode.

You are the only one cognizant of this, and only have a split second to make a decision on what to do.

 No.736721

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736720
Blinking in surprise, Qhapaq moves as quickly as he can. He tries to shove the sac into a corner and cover it with the obelisk, and even positions himself between the sac and the rest of the room to try and offer an additional shield from the blow.

>Sentry (Passive, Recharge 4): You can declare one action to be Automatic, instead of having to roll.

"Down! Danger!"

 No.736722

>>736721
Good went wide eyed and heeded the warning as he rushed to try and cover Assembly with his smaller frame. He figured he could probably take the blow better than they could.

 No.736723

>For everyone

Before you can figure out what Qhapaq means, you see it firsthand – as he moves the obelisk, and dives on top of it, the body of the Host balloons outward, every bit of it rapidly expanding, except for that which Qhapaq and the obelisk have covered. For a split second it inflates to its largest possible size, before the thing erupts, exploding into light. Cables and electronics from the nearby computers shatter and explode, burned away by the sudden explosion, which aids in burning much of the Host. Debris, glass and shards of crystal fly all around the room at bullet-like speeds, and all of you are knocked back by the force of the explosion.

>Everyone loses 3 Hits and 1 Wound

>Qhapaq loses 5 Hits and 2 Wounds

Dust settles and the ringing in your ears eventually calms down. The four figures you rescued from the Host lay scattered around the room, semi-conscious, while the fifth, the first Lagomos, is nowhere to be seen. You are all banged up, but still alive. Had Qhapaq not covered the Host with his body and the obelisk in time, the damage would have undoubtedly been far, far worse.

 No.736724

>>736723
Grutar gets blasted back on his ass, letting out a loud pained grunt as he then falls backwards and bashes his head on the ground. He lies there in a dazed state for a brief moment before getting up and lightly swaying from being blown back, holding his head with his good hand. His beard all frizzled from the blast as well. "Everyone alright? That was one big of a fuckin' blast right there. Like gettin' hit by a pack of explosives."

 No.736725

>>736723
Good wheezed and winced as he laid on top of Assembly and rolled off of the other pony only to feel his mutation kick in.

He could feel the arrow markings on his side start to compress which caused him to let out an absolutely ghastly sounding wheeze as his body began crushing itself and he finally felt himself let out a bout of projectile vomit as he laid there on the ground shaking in pain.

Thus was the price of his mutation.

>Burden: Altering the very nature of gravity has serious repercussions on the body of Good, causing it to respond by rubberbanding and crushing him for as long as he forced it to go against its nature, dealing 1 unblockable hit for each turn the effects are used as soon as he ceases combat. This can render him helpless and upon so begins dealing one wound every two turns unless he is brought back to his standing position.

 No.736726

>>736720
Billy goes to sit up groaning out loud in discomfort. "Is everyone still here?" Billy yells out loud. Unsure of everyone's conditions, let alone being alive.

 No.736727

>>736721
>>736723
Zamrud starts trying to dig into the flesh of the defeated Host before he hears Qhapaq's cry, turning to him in shock as he puts himself between the sac and himself.
"Qhapaq?! What is-"

As the explosion blasts through the chamber, Zamrud is thrown back, colliding with the floor and having the wind knocked out of him as the flame and shrapnel covers him and the others.

He pulls himself out of the debris, coughing and hacking as he tries to get his bearings, turning to look towards the mutant Griffon who had bravely shielded them all.
"Qhapaq!"

>>736724
>>736723
>>736721
"I'm fine, but only because Qhapaq took it point blank! Help me carry him…"

He shouts to Grutar as he races over to the griffon's side, leaning down to look at the damage as he swiftly uses one of his healing potions to stem the blood leaking from his arm
>1 Health Potion used

"Qhapaq, are you alright? Say something, old friend…"

 No.736728

>Accelerated Healing: +1 Hit
>>736723
Qhapaq lets out a pained wheeze and slumps over after the blast rips through him, taking a few moments to try and gather his thoughts enough to think more clearly. His vision's too blurred and darkened to see much, and his hearing has been dulled (for now) by both the shrapnel and the thunderous noise.

>>736727
Qhapaq's body is torn and bloodied, and one of his limbs is bent unnaturally out of place. After the third time Zamrud calls his name he lets out a choked warble and shudders. His regeneration seems to kick in, and his body begins to mend much more rapidly.

>Accelerated Healing: As an Automatic action (Recharge 3), you may further accelerate your body's regeneration, restoring full hits or a single wound if already at full hits.

 No.736729

>>736728
>>736724
>>736725
>>736726
>>736727
As you start to stir, you notice one of the four victims of the Host starts to rise. It's the minotaur, Ride or Die. He stands, reaches back, and with a strained, terse scream, rips the rest of the strand out from between his shoulders. Blood drips from the wound, but he grunts, flexing both of his arms at his sides, and his body is briefly engulfed with flame. You can see that the wound has been cauterized by the flame. Sparing no words, he springs over to where the Caprino lays, kneeling by him with hands outstretched. A gentler flame spreads from his hands to the unconscious satyr.

Assembly begins to stir beneath the convulsing Good, but Ride or Ride snaps his head in Assembly's direction. "Halt, Assembly! Dare not to stir, lest the lad's seizures grow worse!"

Too weak to say anything, Assembly lays flat and immobile, allowing Good to continue to seize until it naturally ends.

 No.736730

>>736729
"What had happened here?" Billy inquired to the newly freed ones from the host. "The thing here just exploded." he points toward in a random direction not fully perceptive after the recent battle.

 No.736731

>>736728
The puros lets out a sigh of relief, shaking his head. "Thank the gods. What were you thinking?! That was entirely too reckless!"

He looks down at his wounds, noticing the regeneration beginning to take effect. He looks at his medical kit he brought with him in his supply bag, wondering if he should break it out or let the mutants' healing factor take care of it.

>>736725
>>736728
He still grips his medical kit, looking towards Good as he starts to really vomit this time, lying on the ground in pain. "Good!" He turns to look at Qhapaq, pulling him away from the Host to let him down gently on the ground. He takes his bag and puts it under his head a pillow. "Wait here."

He runs to check on Good next, watching as he starts to seize up. "This isn't good… Good, can you hear me?"

>>736729
Before he makes a decision though, he turns to look back at Ride or Die as he rises from the mess of the Host's remains, turning to run and help the caprino.

"Ride or Die, I presume. Glad to have you back among the living."

 No.736732

>>736729
Good managed to force himself off of the other as he felt something inside him crack and he spat up a bit of blood as it did some further damage to himself after he moved as he coughed up a rather large wad of blood.

"S-Sorry to d-discomfort you sir." he weakly apologized as he laid there as he was fairly certain a rib had broken there.

>-1 wound


>>736731
H-Hey Zamrud, this… this is what happens when I use my mutation." he said as he could feel a bit of blood trickle past his lips.

 No.736733

>>736732
"I see." Zamrud says, looking over the damage. "Will you be able to use your magic afterwards to heal yourself? I've a medical kit if you need immediate attention. I was going to use it on Qhapaq, but his healing factor seems to be kicking in… not that I condone taking a bomb point-blank under ANY circumstance."

 No.736734

>>736727
Grutar rushes over to help Zamrud, despite being heavily damaged himself Grutar gives his best efforts to help his allies.

 No.736735

>>736733
I might need a bit of help for the more serious stuff." he responded with a small groan as he tried to let it happen but it did genuinely hurt a lot "I think some help getting up would be best for now, I can usually brace when I'm on my hooves."

 No.736736

>>736735
Fix my wound count real quick))

 No.736737

>Accelerated Healing: Disabled. 2 Turns remaining.
>>736731
>>736728
Qhapaq's eyes seem to focus on Zamrud, and he offers a weak little nod. His healing seems to have stopped the bleeding, but one of his wings remains heavily damaged, and his foreleg is still broken. The regeneration has halted for now, likely as a consequence of the hastened period. "Use it on others. A splint, at most." His voice sounds… rough, and weak, but it's there.

>>736733
Qhapaq manages a snort in response, but doesn't object to the comment.

 No.736738

>>736737
>>736734
>>736730
>>736731
Once the Caprinos is cauterized, Ride or Die rushes over to where the second Lagomos brother lays, and begins to repeat the process with him. "The thing was upon us while we allowed ourselves to become engrossed in yonder research," he says, pointing his chin in the direction of the now destroyed laboratory. "It targeted me first, preventing me from using my flames, and once I was in a zombified state, it used me as a vessel to spread the infection to the others. May the Light burn this thing and all of its kind! Griffon! Dragon! When you can move, find Gimmel! He was still in the Host when it blew!"

>>736732
"Shut it!" Assembly hisses, trying to move his stomach as little as possible. "Save your energy."

 No.736739

>>736738
That was a dangerous attack. I think it had to do with what happened when it absorbed back the lagomorph. Billy thought as he thinks there isn't going to be fruit for his search, but wanting to stay from contact and focus on something new he goes to look.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.736740

>>736738
He groaned "I'll be fine sir, I just… need some help standing up is all."

 No.736741

>>736735
>>736738
"Then I'll see what I can do for you briefly. Just deal with the pain for a bit longer my Lord," he says, reaching for one of his health potions to pass to him. "This should help with the pain at least.

He breaks it over him, letting the magical gel wash over his ribs, offering some soothing sensation to the injury
>1 Health Potion left, 3 hits restored to Good
He looks to Assembly, "Assembly, yes? Look after him, I'll be back when I can."

>>736737
>>736734
Zamrud looks over the wing and foreleg, giving a wary glare. "Those look bad. If you can hold on for a bit longer, I'll check on them in minutes. If they're not mended, you're receiving medical attention whether you want it or not."

He puts a paw on his chest, "For now, rest. And thank you. That was a very brave, if insane, thing you did."

>>736738
>>736739
He nods to Ride or Die, shouting, "Griffon isn't in a moving condition. I'll look for him, I was trying to take him out before the creature blew anyhow."

He turns his attention to the Host, moving to help Billy with searching through its remains for the Lagomos

[1d10-1] Perception

Roll #1 5 - 1 = 4

 No.736742

>Accelerated Healing: Disabled. 1 turn remaining.
>>736738
Qhapaq hums a little bit in response to Ride or Die, before saying "I… will look as soon as I can mend my leg. I do not know what became of the remaining Lagomos, and I did not see them when I braced the obelisk against the explosive sac. If they do not remain, I… apologize."

 No.736743

>>736741
Good took the opportunity to raise to his hooves shakily, groaning in pain and wiping the last bit of blood from his lips as he stood wobbling and wheezing as the feedback continued to constrict his body as he stood there.

"Thank you Zam." he said as he looked to Qhapac and aimed at him, using some magic to aid him along.

>Magic Boon to restore 1 wound on Qhapac.

 No.736744

>>736729
"Hopefully that was the last dreaded one around this place." Grutar notes, looking around the grotesque sight of the slain gibbed creature.

>>736741
>>736742
"You're a mad lad! HEY! THAT'S WHAT I'LL CALL YOU LOT! THE MAD LADS!!" Grutar cheerfully pats Qhapaq on the shoulder.

 No.736745

>>736739
The headache you felt the first pangs of earlier, when the sightseer's eyes stared at you, comes back, and you find yourself unable to concentrate on the investigation, unable to do little more than sit and wait for it to go away.

>>736740
>>736742
>>736743
Once Good is capable of standing once more, Assembly crawls out from underneath him, and helps him to walk over to where Qhapaq lies. Assembly looks over at Billy while Good heals him. "You there, young soul. Are you able to move? Any severe injuries? You look like death."

>>736744
>>736741
Zamrud notices the outline of the lagomos brother laying in the midst of the rubble, covered with the burnt remains of the Host. He's badly wounded, and the armorsuit was punctured in many places by the explosion. Places where the suit has been breached have been grafted to the skin by the intense heat of the blast. Setting aside the numerous problems that the injury alone presents, it's likely that the intense cold of the Outlands will prove dangerous for the exposed flesh.

 No.736746

>>736743
>Burden: Your body isn't affected by magical healing, preventing you from receiving healing via spells or effects from both outside sources and yourself. you may still be affected by mundane, medicine-based healing.

"It is no use- my body rejects healing magic. I will return to better shape in time, though it will be slow." he says, shaking his head a bit. "Please, use it on yourself.

>>736741
Qhapaq lets out a soft huff, before nodding. "I… will not resist. Thank you, friend."

>>736744
His good shoulder is perfectly pattable, and he offers a little nod in response. His hearing isn't fully returned, but it's improved enough to make out the words fine.

 No.736747

>>736745
I ploop down covering my head hoping for the headache to go away. This isn't very hero-like. Billy thought to himself. Remembering tales of where heroes braved themselves through all trials that they go through.

 No.736748

>>736745
Good groaned and felt one last sharp pang of pain through his form before he finally stopped shaking as he spat out a bit of blood and watched the surroundings as best he could.

He looked back to Assembly and smiled "Thank you for the help sir."

>-1 hit


>>736746
He frowned and looked down in shame that he couldn't help the one who had helped him out. He slowly sat on his haunches as he waited for his magic to recharge so he could help the others.

 No.736749

>>736745
"I should go find that safe and crack it open… Maybe I'll find somethin' useful that can help with repairs." Grutar surveys the area he looks to see if there is a safe way to get back to where he left the safe at the top of where the trap door was.

 No.736750

>Accelerated Healing: Enabled, Full Hits.
>>736745
>>736743
Qhapaq concentrates for a little, and his broken foreleg begins to mend itself. The process looks… painful and uncomfortable, to say the least, but Qhapaq's expression remains steady throughout. With a few somewhat loud cracks, the griffon's foreleg is mended well enough to walk on. With a loud huff, he works himself to all fours. His wing is still somewhat mangled, and there are still scabbed-over gashes and burns remaining on his body.
>Accelerated Healing: As an Automatic action (Recharge 3), you may further accelerate your body's regeneration, restoring full hits or a single wound if already at full hits.

>>736748
"Please, do not feel bad. You did not know, and I did not explain it well enough in the past." the griffon says, gently patting the stallion's head.

>>736745
"The damaged suit is… concerning. If it is needed, and repairs are not possible otherwise, I could perhaps give up some of my own suit's material to help?"

 No.736751

>>736750
He nodded softly as he gave a weak smile to the larger figure from his spot on the ground "Well I should thank you regardless. I feel that after I explain what happened you'll have a friend in my house from here on." he said as he very sheepishly got back up.

I might need to lean on you for a bit, afraid my body can't just fix it self like yours."

 No.736752

>>736743
"No need to thank me, my Lord. You'd surely do the same."

>>736744
>>736746
Zamrud nods as Qhapaq relents. "That is good, I was not looking forward to having to force you."

As Grutar pats him, he holds up a paw, "Careful, Grutar, he's still tender. And, I'm not so certain about the name."

>>736745
Zamrud takes notice of the surviving Lagomos, pulling him out carefully from the debris as he uses his last remaining health poultice to do what he can for the injuries
>Last one spent

He pulls him out to lay side by side with Qhapaq, looking over his injuries with as fine a comb as he can see
>Is the Lagomos in immediate danger of dying if I do not use a medkit on him?
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.736753

>>736752
>>736747
>>736748
>>736750
As you speak, the Caprinos and the second of the Lagomos brothers get up, getting their bearings as they become accustomed to consciousness once more. They look grateful, but a touch ashamed that they had to be saved, especially by young souls such as Good. But they set that aside, and approach where you are gathered, looking over the first of the Lagomos brothers – the one referred to by Ride or Die as Gimmel. Zamrud realizes that he could very well die if some of those injuries are not treated soon, but the danger of death is yet many hours off – it isn't immediate. The second brother gulps, and reaches out to him, but Ride or Die pulls him back. "Stand aside, the lot of you. Let me take care of this. Dorya, Bet, help Assembly see if you can salvage anything from the computers here."

You can see that Ride or Die has turned gray, and his body is covered with small burns and even lingering flames that he didn't have a second ago.

>>736749
You back out of the central chamber, finding a path to the north and to the south. You can't see any staircases from where you are now, but perhaps there may be some deeper in.

 No.736754

>>736752
"I gotta call you Mad Lads somethin'! Just like how I called my last crew The Boiz."

 No.736755

>>736754
"I'm not opposed to a name for our group, but I fear 'Mad Lads' would imply we commit to this sort of recklessness on the norm, when I feel it should definitely be much more of a rarity."

>>736753
Zamrud looks to Ride or Die as he turns to take care of the Lagomos, nodding his head as he sees him take charge of the situation. "His injuries are grave. He needs medical attention in the next few hours or he will not make it. I have a medical kit with me you can use, I was hoping to use it on one of my team but none of our injuries seem to be so life-threatening."

 No.736756

>>736754
>>736755
"I don't mind the name, it has a fun sound. Is there any souvenirs we can bring back to remember this occasion?" Billy decides to take a look around again with his headache subsiding.

 No.736757

>>736756
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.736758

>Accelerated: Disabled. 2 turns remaining.
>>736752
>Qhapaq's condition has improved, but as before, his regeneration has halted. He's got a few cuts and gashes that have scabbed over, and a few burned patches. His ears are somewhat torn up, but seem better than before. There's a cut underneath his beak, and his wing is still a little mangled.
Qhapaq chuckles a little, before setting a claw on Zamrud's shoulder.

>>736753
"Once I am able, I could fly creatures out of the pit- one at a time, of course. I will want to be careful, but it can be done. Are there spare supplies that can be used for Gimmel further up?"

 No.736759

>>736756
"Maybe! I just gotta crack open that safe first."

>>736755
"Auch take a broom out ye arse, techie. It's just a name!"

 No.736760

>>736753
>>736756
Good was quite surprised to see the large figure suddenly appear to be on fire like that but he assumed that it was simply some form of mutation akin to his own as he looked to Billy Spark.

He channeled some magic into his body and then aimed at him to help him out

>Magic boon to heal 1 wound.


>>736754
It's a fun name. I like it."

>>736752
"I know Zamrud but I just feel bad you had to help me is all. I should be able to manage by myself and not burden anyone else."

 No.736761

>>736760
[1d10] Treasure Hunting

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.736762

>>736759
"I do not have a broom up anywhere. I just like to maintain the thought that we shouldn't make a habit of this sort of thing."

>>736756
"This place still needs to be operational by the time we leave. I suppose as long as it doesn't seem vital to the function of the Fortress or their research, but I feel that is a question you should be asking them." He says pointing to Ride or Die.

>>736758
As he talks with Ride or Die, he looks to Qhapaq again, holding a paw up to pat his claw. "That isn't looking very promising, Qha."

>>736760
"There is no shame in accepting assistance from others when it is offered. We're a team, my Lord, not a quintet of solo acts."

 No.736763

>>736760
>>736758
>>736758
>>736755
"I'd just injure him with that, kind soul," Ride or Die says, brushing aside the kit. "Save it for your journey back to Ironcastle."

He extends his hands over Gimmel, exhales and inhales calmly, and then his eyes bulge with a mixture of fury and sorrow. Ride or Die is engulfed with flames, and the flames extend outward over Gimmel's body, burning away the parts of the suit that fused with his body, as well as numerous injuries and impurities, as well as the remnants of the Host's tendrils, which resemble a sick and infected caricature of a nervous system.

Once it's all done, Gimmel's breathing stabilizes, and Ride or Die, his body now a pale color, slumps to the side, sweating and looking quite woozy. He looks over to Good, and though his expression is now depressed, he gives Good a thumbs-up. "Much appreciated, young soul."

>>736758
>>736758
>>736757
>>736755
>>736760
Ride or Die looks to the rest of you. "Right, let's get two things clear. First, introductions. I am Ride or Die, Immolation of the Watchers of the Saffron Lamp. This is Assembly, Gimmel, Bet, and Dorya."

He gestures to the unicorn, the two Lagomoa and the Caprinos in turn. They're all a bit worse for wear, so they simply nod, except for Dorya, who does a flip from a standing position.

"Second: You're welcome to take whatever you can find that is not electronic in nature. I don't care if it's bolted down, so long as it doesn't have circuits. Yes, like that–" he says as Billy fiddles around with some loose bricks in the wall, which reveals a small bag of minor jewelry and gemstones. "Some Dreaded Ones have a strange habit of cultivating loot and treasure of various kinds. You slew the thing, so it's only right you get first pick."

 No.736764

>>736763
"Huh, I honestly didn't know they grabbed these, let alone these being out here. Though it wouldn't be a proper adventure without some treasure." Billy says with a big smile as he lightly chews on one of the gems.

 No.736765

>>736763
Grutar scratches his head with his drill and continues looking for his safe.

 No.736766

>>736765
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.736767

>>736763
He nodded as he put a hoof on Ride and smiled "You may call me Good Intentions sir. Good Intentions of House Titanite." he said making sure he was comfy on the floor as he gave another search around the room for some loot.

[1d10] Perception

>>736762
I know Zamrud, I just prefer to carry others burdens along with my own if I can."

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.736768

>>736765
You proceed south from the fork in the road, turn east down another corridor, and eventually you find yourself in a small room with a raised platform along the wall, which eventually leads up to a staircase. Along the way, you find tracks of Dreaded Ones. They appear fresh, but all signs suggest that the Dreaded Ones fled out from the fortress. Perhaps your victory over the Host drove them out. In any case, there appear to be no more Dreaded Ones here, and these stairs will most likely take you back to the fortress' eastern side.

 No.736769

>>736767
Some headaches are light and fleeting, while others are downright cruel and malicious. Something about the way you turn your head as you survey the room brings that headache back, ready to melt your brain down into a puddle.

 No.736770

>>736763

"It is quite a relief seeing this place cleaned out." Billy scratches his chin in a moment of thought. "I forget. What were we here for again. I know we didn't know about this host before we came in." Billy inquires

 No.736771

>>736769
And just like that he promptly sat back next to the leader of the Watchers holding his head in his hooves as he felt like the pain was going to make him vomit again.

"Oh by the Light that is…" he trailed off unable to find words.

 No.736772

>>736768
Grutar follows along the fortress' eastern side, looking for the trap door where he had left the safe at.

 No.736773

>>736772
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.736774

>>736770
"We had to clear out any dreaded ones and get the defenses back up." he said wincing "Much as I really don't wanna bring those turrets backup after getting gunned down earlier." he said through clenched teeth

 No.736775

>>736774
Billy rubs where he was shot. "Yeah that was really nasty and tricky of the host to do that."

 No.736776

>>736767
"And that is commendable young lord. However, you must recognize when your own burdens are too much to carry as well. To know your limits and to ask for help is a sign of wisdom."

>>736763
Zamrud looks over Ride or Die as he is engulfed with flames, Zam shielding his eyes from the light as the flames extend over Gimmel's body, purging him of the injuries with the cleansing flames. He blinks, reaching up to rub his chin. "Remarkable… I see why the Host went for your first. You are the best counter to him I've seen with such abilities."

As he introduces himself, he bows with all the grace of a noble. "Zamrud, First Son of the Permata Branch of House Bahasa. With me are Grutar, Billy Spark, Qhapaq, and Lord Good Intentions, young heir to House Titanite."

"We were sent here on a mission to reclaim this Fortress so it might be used again as a foothold in the Outlands, and to reactivate its defenses so it stays reclaimed after we go. We were not anticipating survivors however, this is certainly a good turn of fate. I am pleased that we were able to free you from the Dreaded One's grasp. I can only imagine what it must have been like in there."

As you point to the circuitry, he rubs his chin, "I must ask, what is all this doing down here? I was not told this Fortress was conducting some kind of research as well. Were you with the old garrison?"

 No.736777

>>736762
"I know. I apologize for my recklessness, Zamrud. I do not mean to cause you such concern." he says, folding his ears back a little.

>>736763
"I am Qhapaq, of the Outlands Tribes. I work with Ironcastle." he says, stretching his neck out a little. "I will avoid taking more than I need- we are here to help, after all."

 No.736778

[1d10] Rolling Charisma

>>736777
"Apology accepted, old friend, so long as you do not make a habit of it."

He notices the folding ears, and closes his eyes. "I suppose I can only judge you so harshly. Had you not made such a sacrifice, I doubt many of us would be up and moving right now. But you cannot rely on your healing factor for everything."

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.736779

>>736776
I know but my houses motto is Non abducet Mundi, We Will Carry the World." he replied "I'd hate to not live up to it."

 No.736780

>>736772
You navigate around the eastern side of the fortress, taking care to leave an eye out for traps. Sure enough, you pass by the occasional trap door, as well as some bear traps, taking care to disable and jam those as safely as you can for your allies. Eventually you make it back to where you left your safe, finding it just as it was before, perfectly safe.

>>736774
>>736770
>>736777
"I wouldn't worry about those turrets," Assembly says. "The Host was using my know-how, and my comp, to operate them. I'm going to run some diagnostics on the system and repair what I can. If you have any tinkering skill yourself, I'd welcome the help. I feel like a sock puppet right about now; it'll take me weeks to feel like I'm in my own body after all that."

>>736776
Ride or Die sighs, offering only a depressed flex. He disables his visor to get some fresh air, and a long and droopy pompadour flops out. "I am ashamed that the thing succeed. May the Light burn them all."

>>736767
>>736776
>>736775
>>736774
Ride or Die's crew offer minimal greetings back to you as Zamrud introduces you, with the exception of Bet, who is more fixated on helping a weak and confused Gimmel get his bearings once more.

Ride or Die and Assembly exchange a glance, and after a moment of hesitance and silence, Ride or Die tilts his head. "We did not know, either, actually. There's nothing about this in any official intelligence record about the fortress; it's little more than a rest stop on most maps. I mean look at this – this is Ironcastle technology! Computers, scanners, generators, all in the Outlands. You'd have to cross a mile of red tape to get it out here, and yet we couldn't find any record of its authorization on any computer we checked. We were trying to get to the bottom of why it was here, and see if it was connected to another matter we were investigating."

Ride or Die coughs, and as he stops to get some water, Dorya pipes up. "The talk of the Castle is that the Warriors have been overwhelmed, falling behind on their work, owing to their own incompetence. But we think it's something else entirely– we think it's sabotage."

>Paused

 No.736781

>Accelerated Healing: Enabled, Full Hits
>>736778
As Zamrud mentions that, Qhapaq's wing begins stitching itself back together. The wing's healing seems to happen a little more slowly, but within a few moments his wing (somewhat painfully) has mended itself. The feathers aren't fully in, but they'll likely return soon enough.
>Accelerated Healing: As an Automatic action (Recharge 3), you may further accelerate your body's regeneration, restoring full hits or a single wound if already at full hits.
"I only did what I felt was best at the time. I will be more vocal next time, or look for a better method."
>>736780
>Replying just for the heal!

 No.737290

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party waged a blessed battle against the Host, a body-stealing Dreaded One which weaponized not only the powers of the Sightseer, but also five living souls: The Minotaur Ride or Die, the Caprino Dorya, the Unicorn Assembly, and the Lagoma twins, Bet and Gimmel. By wit and skill they slew the abomination, but in its last-ditch attempt to slay the party, it exploded, wrecking most of the computer banks and crystalline obelisks that it had taken as its nest.

Zamrud and Good, assisted by Ride or Die, the masculine and passionate leader of the captive squad, healed the squad of the lingering infections and parasitic cells that had been embedded in their bodies, with Ride or Die using a mutation that converted emotional energy into cleansing, healing flame. Afterward, the two squads introduced themselves, and Ride or Die's offered some explanation as to how and why they had come to be captured by the Host.

Ride or Die explained that they had not known about the Host's presence before they came here, and in fact, they had not known about the computers and scanners that had been left here either. In order to take blessed equipment out from a Castle, one needed proper authorization. However, no such records existed for these computers – they were completely off the books. In fact, the only reason they had come here is because they were investigating the circumstances around the Warrior Stratum suffering significant losses and falling behind on their missions in recent months. Dorya proposed the theory that it was not due to incompetence or misfortune, but sabotage.

 No.737291

>Grutar
You navigate around the eastern side of the fortress, taking care to leave an eye out for traps. Sure enough, you pass by the occasional trap door, as well as some bear traps, taking care to disable and jam those as safely as you can for your allies. Eventually you make it back to where you left your safe, finding it just as it was before, perfectly safe.

>Assembly, Billy, Good

"I wouldn't worry about those turrets," Assembly says. "The Host was using my know-how, and my comp, to operate them. I'm going to run some diagnostics on the system and repair what I can. If you have any tinkering skill yourself, I'd welcome the help. I feel like a sock puppet right about now; it'll take me weeks to feel like I'm in my own body after all that."

>Zamrud

Ride or Die sighs, offering only a depressed flex. He disables his visor to get some fresh air, and a long and droopy pompadour flops out. "I am ashamed that the thing succeed. May the Light burn them all."

>All except Grutar

Ride or Die's crew offer minimal greetings back to you as Zamrud introduces you, with the exception of Bet, who is more fixated on helping a weak and confused Gimmel get his bearings once more.

Ride or Die and Assembly exchange a glance, and after a moment of hesitance and silence, Ride or Die tilts his head. "We did not know, either, actually. There's nothing about this in any official intelligence record about the fortress; it's little more than a rest stop on most maps. I mean look at this – this is Ironcastle technology! Computers, scanners, generators, all in the Outlands. You'd have to cross a mile of red tape to get it out here, and yet we couldn't find any record of its authorization on any computer we checked. We were trying to get to the bottom of why it was here, and see if it was connected to another matter we were investigating."

Ride or Die coughs, and as he stops to get some water, Dorya pipes up. "The talk of the Castle is that the Warriors have been overwhelmed, falling behind on their work, owing to their own incompetence. But we think it's something else entirely– we think it's sabotage."

 No.737295

>>737291
"The Dreaded Ones can be surprisingly clever at times. We all could have fallen prey to the same trap."

As Ride or Die explains the research down here, Zamrud puts his claw to his chin and thinks. "Interesting. You're quite right, if this were any normal circumstance there'd be files upon files of documentation for this device, and yet there is none? The technology certainly looks Ironcastle in origin but, perhaps it was appropriated by another party for this purpose." He looks through some of the remains of the wreckage after the Host's body wasted away, "Surely there must be some evidence left behind. Research notes, of the sort."

As Dorya brings up the topic of sabotage, he turns to him in surprise. "That's quite an accusation, sir. What leads you to believe that?"

 No.737297

>>737291
"Ah! There it is! Right, time to drag you back to the techie and get you popped right open. Hopefully you'll be full of goodies." Grutar says to the safe as if it were sentient, grabbing the dolly to then drag the Safe along to bring it back to Zamrud.

>>737295
When Grutar eventually does make his way back to the crew with the dolly carrying the Safe. "Hey! You think it's safe enough to crack this open now?!"

 No.737298

>>737297
Zamrud takes a look at the safe, shrugging, "The Host has been defeated, we've doubled our numbers, and I don't suspect there are anymore Dreaded Ones inside the fortress, or at least certainly none in the immediate area. Let's have a crack at it."

He approaches the safe, inspecting its lock and mechanisms for the best method of opening it
[1d10-1] Inspection

Roll #1 10 - 1 = 9

 No.737300

>>737291
Good approached Ride and paused "I may not be able to totally help alleviate your emotional exhaustion but I can probably mitigate it for you if it helps." he said with a small smile on his face.

It seemed like the least he could do for the poor guy after he burned himself out.

He processed the accusation of sabotage and made a few notes on his comp as he would broach them to some of his more military aligned family members when he had the chance.

 No.737301

>>737300
>>737295
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6l7rOMbmqs
"And mister Dorya would be well-advised that his hypothesis is not universally shared by our group," Ride or Die adds with a poisonous glance at Dorya. "And the severity of the accusation is why we are searching for any evidence whatsoever to the contrary."

"And evidence plenty we'll need to disprove it," Dorya says as Ride takes another breather. "Because there is already evidence in its favor. Jobs posted to the Mission Board are required to have any and all intel known about the location and its risks. There is already the inherent assumption of danger when one goes into the Outlands, but a mission that does not explicitly outline local Dreaded One sightings is assumed to be less dangerous than a mission that does – this is well-known among intelligence teams who assign missions. However, in reviewing recent carnage reports, we found a disproportionately high rate of casualties on missions that did not have local Dreaded One sightings."

"That's a bit of a reach," Bet says. "Which is why Dorya and Assembly are in the minority."

Assembly stands up as he's mentioned. "We have another piece of evidence. Certain missions have been assigned to specific teams that were woefully under-prepared. Combat-heavy missions being given to teams that have less skill in battle. Missions involving the retrieval of artifacts from hazardous environments being given to teams that don't have the proper skillset for navigating those environments. Those missions are among those with the higher casualty count, when intelligence teams should have known better and assigned them anyway."

>>737297
>>737298
As Zamrud fiddles with the combination dial on the front of the safe, he notices little hitches where the dial stops longer than it should, perhaps revealing the secret input that it requires before it opens.

>+1 to attempts in opening this lock


>>737300
"Only do so if you have the energy and health for it, young soul," Ride or Die says. "You look like you're on your last legs yourself! I won't have an avoidable casualty on my conscience."

 No.737302

>>736781
>>737301
"Hrm… what would be the purpose of sabotage? I do not think I can understand the reasoning of such a thing."

 No.737303

>>737301
>>737298
"What do you think is inside? Weapons? Gems? Something very rare?" Grutar questions as he awaits for the Safe to be cracked open, seeing as he was terrible at attempting last time.

 No.737304

>>737301
"It is certainly suspicious. Though, I must align with Ride, at least initially: the Dreaded Ones are constantly on the move in the Outlands, the high casualties could simply be a case of said intel becoming quickly outdated as they move into the area after reconnaissance."

As Assembly mentions the disparity of difficult missions assigned to unprepared teams, Zamrud shakes his head. "Unfortunate, but more often than not what one might attribute to malice is more often the result of incompetence. Hanlon's razor, and all that. Has the personnel handing out these grossly mishandled assignments been questioned on these events?"

>>737301
>>737303
As Zamrud fiddles with the lock, despite his weakened eye-sight from over-exerting his mutation, he manages to pick up the faint clicks of the dial as he tests out the various combinations.

"Ah… that sounds promising." He puts his ear closer to the lock, listening and feeling for the hitches as he tries out the combination…
[1d10+1] Opening the lock

"Something of this size, I imagine a weapon wouldn't be out of the question, albeit a smaller one. Gems or other valuables seem likely. Would certainly make a fine bonus for the mission."

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.737305

>>737302
"Precisely! There is no motive, so I cannot accept it," Ride or Die says. "What possible point would there be in Ironcastle sabotaging its own Warriors, or even of another Castle sabotaging us? All of recorded history attests to the fact that our conflict with the Dreaded Ones far outstrips our own internal squabbles. Even the brief times when civil war seemed possible, it was always put as a secondary priority to the preservation of life in the Castles itself."

"Just because we haven't found a motive yet doesn't mean there still can't be one," Dorya says. "But at our current level of authorization, we don't have permission to cross-examine the intel teams like we should."

 No.737306

>>737301
He nodded and smiled as he slowly pressed one of his hooves to the older one. "This will be but another weight I'll help someone carry." he said with a weak laugh" and did his best to tap into his emotional magic core to transfer some of his own exuberance and feelings to the soldier in exchange from some of his emotional burn out and exhaustion.

It wasn't going to feel good but it wasn't going to hurt him either. HE would probably just need to rest a bit until his body could find a balance again.

>>737302
"Perhaps… they wish to see the prophesy come true?" he asked with eyes closed.

 No.737307

>>737304
It fails to budge.
>roll again

 No.737308

>>737304
>>737307
"Need me to crack any part open with my drill?"

 No.737309

>>737308
>>737307
Zamrud holds up a paw, "Not quite yet, Grutar, your drill may unintentionally damage whatever is in there. If I can't get this lock open, I'll take a look inside with my mutation to see what may be at risk. Then, if need be, we use force."

[1d10+1] Trying one more time

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.737310

>Accelerated Healing: Disabled, 2 turns remaining.
>>737306
"Ah… I do not think I am familiar. Explain?"

>>737305
"I think… it is worth looking for a motive. This does seem quite unusual to do, especially when things are so dire."

 No.737311

>>737310
Ah well, a certain Mendicant had… lets say a rather sudden and surprising manifesto broadcast to the castle about how it and the light would end."

 No.737312

>>737308
>>737309
You click it open, and Grutar finds an old world pistol in a wooden box with velvet lining, as well as a box of 30 9-mm cartridges. It looks to be in generally good condition, but its movements are stiff, and it is covered with a patina of dust; it's basically unusable right now. There is also a stack of papers beneath the gun, but they are faded, and cannot be read.

>>737308
>>737309
>>737306
>>737310
Ride or Die stands with gusto, his pompadour puffing up and extending to an impressive two feet in length once he gets some energy back, but Good feels an intense wave of depression coming on in exchange. Ride flexes, and fire surrounds him, which he passes over each of you in turn. Your stomachs turn as you see small flakes of the Host's skin burn off of you, having hidden in grooves on your armor and wherever flesh and hair may be exposed. Ride's hair deflates a bit, but he still seems to have gotten his vigor back. "Thank you, young soul. Now, no more. I can tell that it has worn upon you, taking my burdens like that."

Back to the topic at hand…

Dorya, Assembly and Bet turn to Good as he brings up the harrowing message from Rudolph's manifesto.

"You think it may be some kind of doomsday cult, or another group of dissidents, latching onto whatever whispers of change may be on the wind?" Bet asks. "Well… it wouldn't be unheard of, for the Abbey. Are you familiar with the War of the Flagellants, by any chance?"

It definitely sounds familiar. Roll knowledge.

 No.737313

>>737312
>>737309
"What's these papers say?" Grutar asks, looking at the papers underneath the gun. He's content with something not as noisy as a gun since he already has a noisy drill.

 No.737315

>Accelerated Healing: Disabled, 1 turn remaining.
>>737312
>[1d10] Knowledge
"Regardless, perhaps it is good for us to keep others informed? We cannot simply let this knowledge sit- it would be good to ensure others are coming more prepared."

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.737316

>>737312
>>737313
As the safe opens up, Zamrud takes out the old world pistol with delicate care, holding it up as he looks it over. "My, that's certainly an antique. No good in combat but I imagine you could sell this for a good deal back home."

As Grutar pulls out the papers, he looks through them. "I'm not sure, they're too faded. Let me see…"
[1d10-1] Perception, can I see ANYTHING on the script?

>>737311
>>737312
As Good brings up the Manifesto, Zam looks at him with a stern look. "Good… I think it'd be best not to spread word of that manuscript. Whether there was a nugget or truth to it or not, the King forbade its spread for a reason."

"And at any rate, that's certainly an odd motive. Why they'd care for the expedited downfall of their home and country, I couldn't tell. Least, not for the reasonably sane."

As Bet brings up the War of the Flagellants, he tries to remember if he'd heard of such a thing
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 - 1 = 7 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.737317

>>737312
He slowly laid himself down on the floor for now panting and just feeling quite awful now. He had dipped a bit deeper than he meant to but it had been worth it so to speak.

He tried to search his memories for what that might mean as he dealt with the feelings currently crashing on his brain.

[1d10] Knowledge

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.737318

>>737312
Billy quietly is following behind the group. With the only constant reminder of his presence being the click clacking of his hooves. With a tap to his chin he tries to recall anything of importance to his group concerning the cult.

[1d10] Knowledge

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.737319


 No.737320

>>737318
>>737316
>>737317
>>737315
You recall it in the various history lessons you've been given about Ironcastle. Something of a strange suicide cult began to brew within the Abbey nearly 1,200 years ago, at the turn of the 31st millennium, Anno Castra.

This predates the time of the Charismatics, who are held as schismatics and heretics from mainstream Abbean orthodoxy but allowed to persist. This cult, called the Brotherhood of Flagellants, began to gain popularity after an organized attack of the Dreaded Ones against Ironcastle and Coppercastle, which very nearly broke the outer walls of the Ramparts. The Flagellants' idea of 'blessed suicide' in the name of a higher cause as a condition for spiritual salvation was an affront to the very core of the vitalistic teachings of the Abbey, which professes hope in life and light and curses despair. The Abbot at the time declared jihad against the Flagellants, and in the raids and book-burnings that followed, it was discovered that many high-ranking Warriors and Sages of the Castles had joined the Flagellants, and that many Nobles were bankrolling them. Those who did not renounce their heresies were executed by order of the Abbot.

"If Good's theory is correct, it could very well point to a revival of the Flagellant cult, or some kind of spiritual successor," Bet says. "When people fall to despair, they will latch upon anything to seek comfort."

"What would this cult even fixate upon, then?" Ride asks. "The strange legend of the twin Lamps? What were they called… The Sun, and The Moon? That would certainly serve as a rallying cry for an aspiring cult."

"We should get back to Ironcastle as soon as we're able to move," Gimmel says with growing worry. "Aleph is with the Abbey – maybe she would know more."

>>737316
It looks like some kind of legal documentation, judging by some old crumbled wax that clings to the paper. Perhaps a deed or a birth certificate, back when such things were supposedly kept on physical paper instead of digital records, or so the stories of the Old World go.

 No.737321

>Knowledge Roll
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.737322

>>737321
You have a feeling that, if nothing else, you could find a trader back in Ironcastle to cash this stuff in – there are plenty of enthusiasts of Old World material willing to pay for it. You can't think of any off the top of your head, however.

 No.737324

>>737322
>>737316
"Maybe we can just sell it to buy us a round back at the castle when we get back."

>>737320
"Yeh, I agree, I really could go for a pint right now." Grutar says, agreeing to the idea of returning back to the Ironcastle.

 No.737325

>>737320
Quite an unfortunate thought Billy comes to at the idea of cults. Finding it quite unfathomable that others wouldn't find comfort in the gods he knows. "If we are to find such a cult, what are we to do? Seems much more complicated than a dreaded one."

 No.737327

>>737320
>>737320
"Yes, I have studied the Flagellants. I've taught a lecture on Abbot history in the past. i cannot imagine anyone who's studied their history would want to have a hand in revitalizing it. The Flagellants were an utter failure, and righteously wiped out for their nihilistic, self-destructive ways so they could never infect innocent minds again. Why anyone would think it might work a second time is beyond me."

"I am interested in the idea of a motive for the Warriors of this stronghold betraying their own, but I'd lean on the likelihood being another Castle or settlement offering them something in return for betraying their countrymen over pact-ritual suicide."

As Gimmel suggests getting back to Ironcastle, Zamrud says, "How soon can this fortress be up and operational again? Our mission was to ensure it'd be safe to return to, can the hardlight cannons be turned on?"

>>737324
>>737320
As Zam looks through the documents, he purrs in contemplation. "They appear to be legal documents, like a deed or birth certificate. I think I see a name here if I peer hard enough. At any rate, doesn't appear to be anything more important than revealing the original owner. The pistol itself seems to be the real prize, and I imagine it'll buy a good bit more than a single round. Would you care if I took it, Grutar? I am sure I could find a curator or archeologist who'd pay a high price for it."

 No.737329

>>737320
Ah yess them. My mother cited them as but one of the many reasons that the Abbey needs to have its power curbed and its restrictions lessened so that people can grow and find their own ways with more ease." he said as he slowly pulled his wooden box he had acquired out.

He wanted to inspect it a bit to see if it had gotten damaged or even broken during its stay in his backpack while he was battered.

 No.737330

>>737327
"Yeah yeah you can have it, I was just really curious at what was inside. I'm more interested in gems anyways, much quicker to sell off."

 No.737331

>Accelerated Healing: Enabled, Full Hits.
>>737320
"I, hrm… I remember being taught of them when I came to Ironcastle. I was not aware that such a cult continued to exist. But… yes, we should return. Will your friend be okay with the damaged armor? Perhaps I can spare some of mine." he offers.

As the griffon says that, he focuses a little more and his healing kicks back in. The charred spots of flesh and scratches heal over, and his feathers grow back in.
>Accelerated Healing: As an Automatic action (Recharge 3), you may further accelerate your body's regeneration, restoring full hits or a single wound if already at full hits.

 No.737334

>>737325
"We do things by the book," Ride or Die says. "If evidence is found, we shall report is to the King's court, and from there, his constables will see that proper justice is meted out before the innocent may be hurt. As Warriors and Sages, our skills are cultivated for the defense of the Castles and destruction of the Dreaded Ones, and it is a dark day when we must turn our skills and weapons upon our fellow souls. Let us hope that we can stop this problem – assuming it is a problem – before it comes to that."

>>737329
When you take out the lockbox, you find that it's got a dent in its lid – the lock slides off the outside, revealing a small sum of golden coins, minted with the head of some forgotten king on one side, and a most curious icon on the other side – a large half-circle, looming over a town, with rays coming off of the half-circle. Some kind of holy mountain, maybe? In any case, the gold coins and the gun that Grutar found could very well be worth a good sum of shillings if you found a relic collector.

>>737331
"Ah, that'd be me," Bet says, revealing the hole in his armor, and fiddles with his magicomp. "I'd take some patchwork if you don't mind it. I'll wire you the money – how much will it put you back?"

>>737327
>>737324
>>737329
>>737325
>>737331
"Ah, yes," Assembly says. "Let's head upstairs and have a look at the computer system. I don't suppose any of you brought along your toolbelts?"

>Everybody gets to make 2 loot rolls, taking the better of the two

>Those who want to help with fixing the fortress's defense system, roll an additional d10, and add +2 because Zamrud brought along the schematics he purchased from Rockfall.

 No.737335

>>737334
"It does not put me back any- I am merely offering help where I can." he says, pulling his thick coat from his bag and handing it over. "Take what is needed."

>>737334
"I have little knowledge of computers, but I will help in any way I can."
>[2d10] Loot roll
>[1d10] Repair work- maybe mostly just carrying stuff?

Roll #1 2, 6 = 8 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.737337

>>737334
Good took one coin out and put the box out as he decided to take a moment to look around the castle for anything else that might be worth bringing home aside from his coins and the turret he had stolen from before.

[2d10] Looting.

>>737327
He sluggishly nudged his feline acquaintance with his hoof as he showed him the coin "Do you recognize this symbol? My mind is… in no shape to try and recall this right now." he muttered before deciding to help with the castle repair where he could.

[1d10+2] Repair

Roll #1 6, 1 = 7 / Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9

 No.737338

>>737334
Grutar takes the time to search around for any extra loot he could pick up and carry back to the Ironcastle. (+2 applied for finding gems.)
[1d10]
or
[1d10]

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

 No.737339

>>737334
Cracking his knuckles to make a satisfying pop. Along with a few stretches Billy makes his way forward to working. For himself and the fortress.

[1d10] Looting
[1d10]

[1d10+2] Repair work

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

 No.737340

>>737330
"True, but never underestimate the enthusiasm of Old World collectors. One man's trash is another man's treasure, after all."

>>737331
>>737329
"With any luck, they don't." Zamrud mentions as Qhapaq regards the Flagellants. "There are many reasons Warriors might betray their own caste than following their forgotten ways."

>>737334
Zamrud, "By all means, show me the way. If there is any damage, I happen to have a copy of the weapon schematics used to arm this place, and have been studying them. If there are any issues with the repairs, I'd be more than happy to lend my services." He says as he looks up the shchematics the young buck Rockfall gave him.

[1d10]
[1d10] Searching for loot on the way up

[1d10+2] Helping with the repairs

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 2 = 2 / Roll #3 1 + 2 = 3

 No.737341

>>737337
As Good passes him the coin, Zamrud takes it in his paw, giving it a look over. "Let's have a look here…"
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.737342

>>737341
The round shape looks to you somewhat like an eye, or perhaps the dome of some temple whose religion predates even that of the Abbey, such as one of their spiritual ancestors, but you are not sure of its significance, other than that it is indeed significant. Perhaps you may find it elsewhere in holy places.

>>737340
>>737339
>>737338
>>737337
>>737335
Following Ride's earlier advice, you feel around the area for false walls, loose bricks, trapdoors, hidden compartments, and so forth, searching for any treasure that the Host might have collected before its demise. Each of you meets with surprising success, looting the place pretty thoroughly from top to bottom, while Ride or Die and his crew focus on salvaging whatever they can from the computers and crystals that were here.

Zamrud finds a bag containing 7 golden coins.

Billy finds a pouch containing 20 more gemstones. Between these and those he found earlier, he now has 25 altogether.

Grutar finds his own stash of gems, coming away with eight assorted gemstones.

Good finds a small silver necklace, bearing an icon of a saintly-looking pony clutching a warhammer, though his name is written in an illegible script. It possesses faint magical energy that has yet to be identified.

Qhapaq finds an immaculately-preserved lute. It does not seem magical, but it is in great condition.

Once the groups have found all that they can, they head upstairs, and spend a little over an hour working on the fortress's turret system, disabling any traps that they come across, which must have been left by other Dreaded Ones. The work is a bit tedious and complex at times as they wrangle with the Hardlight engines and the targeting systems, but by 6 PM, just at the beginnings of the Dark Hours, they finish their work with a satisfied sigh.

By the end of it, you are gathered in the central chapel at the heart of the fortress. Ride or Die fishes out his rations, burns them quickly with his mutation to ensure they are not contaminated, and begins to distribute a well-earned meal among the party.

>All regain 1 Wound and full Hits

 No.737343

>>737342
Billy holds up his findings to the group like it was a group of show and tell. "I found some more gems guys, did anyone else find anything interesting?" Billy inquires curious about others thoughts.

 No.737344

>>737342
>>737343

Good was quiet for the moment as he looked over his new amulet and was still dealing with the newfound feeling of a genuine depression. He could somewhat see why people hated this and sought to avoid it. He pocketed the amulet and returned to munching quietly for a bit longer.

He took the time to aid Billy with another bit of healing as he pulled out the turret he had taken earlier and surveyed it, mulling over what he might want to do with it.

>Magical Boon to restore 1 wound to Billy

 No.737346

>>737344
Billy gave him a big smile and a nod of thanks. "I appreciate it."

 No.737348

>>737342
>>737337
"I'm sorry to say, young Lord, I don't know EXACTLY what it belongs to, but based on the symbol my best guess is it was tied to an Old World religious sect that predates even our Abbey. I'm not sure how significant it is, but, it could be important. Grutar and I found an old pistol I'm taking to see if I can sell to a curator, perhaps we could investigate this coin as well?"

>>737342
As Zamrud finds his gold coins, he turns to focus entirely on the defense system of the Fortress, doing all he can with the notes that Rockfall left with the schematic to make it function as perfectly as it can with the help of Ride or Die's crew and his own team-mates. As they fall upon the Dark Hours with the work completed, he sits down on a nearby chair, taking off some of his gear to relax. "And that, gentlemen, is what we call a job well done."

As they get onto dinner, Zamrud takes note of Ride or Die starting to pass out rations, and his passion for cooking gets the better of him as he tries to make the best of the meal he passes out using whatever spices he brought on hand with the cooking supplies
[1d10] Cooking

>>737343
As Billy asks, he pulls out his seven gold coins, playing with them between his fingers. "Not QUITE sure how much each of these are worth, but each one is certainly solid gold. I suspect it'll pay off nicely once we return."

He looks at the golden coins, trying to figure out their conversion rate
[1d10]

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

 No.737349

>>737346
"No problem Billy." he said with a small smile

>>737348
"That sounds fun. Perhaps we can enlist my mother and some of the other Sages she knows to help since they have access to more of the old info, or at least more access with less effort than us."

 No.737350

>>737348
Gold is quite nice. Billy thinks staring at him playing with the bountiful change. "Gold is also quite nice being decorative."

 No.737352

>>737335
Bet nods his thanks, and uses a utlity knife to cut out a chunk of the armor. It takes him a few hours, but eventually he makes himself a shawl that should cover him until he can get his armorsuit repaired. "Thanks," he says as he hands back what's left of your armor. "I'll see to it that your armor's repaired once we're back in Ironcastle."

 No.737353

>>737342
Qhapaq hums a little, and strums at the lute before settling it into his pack happily.

The griffon helps out with what he can do- mostly heavy lifting and carrying, but he does his best. He settles down with the others and lets out a happy, deep warble, before beginning to dg through his own pack. "Oh! You have rations to spare? I would be happy to take some, but only if you have enough."

 No.737355

>>737352
>>737353
"I am happy I could help. We all must do what we can, after all." he says, pulling the coat back on.

 No.737356

>>737349
"That sounds wise, Good. I imagine your mother would know a great deal more about religious history than I do." He says as he passes back the coin. "Take it to her, and see if she might be able to shed any light on this."

>>737350
"That it is, though I personally prefer spending it than decorating with it. As a decoration it's a bit… much, for my taste."

 No.737357

>>737342
Grutar grins widely and pockets the gems, drooling lightly as he thinks about the great meal and drink he'll get after exchanging these. Feeling more motivation now that he has some treasure to haul home on top of what he already found earlier.

 No.737358

>>737353
As he discussed with Zam the little lord made his way over to the large bird "If its not too much to ask, would you mind if I… leaned on you again? This might sound a bit odd but I find you to be.. rather nice to lean on." he said in a slow embarrassed tone.

>>737356
"Presumably in a negative light but yes. Have you had the chance to meet her personally?"

 No.737359

>>737356
Billy makes an :O face before saying "Okey dokey." feeling satisfied with the answer.

 No.737360

>>737344
You recall that typical procedure for this equipment would be to turn it in to the ordinance offices for inspection, whereupon it would either be decommissioned and scrapped if deemed inoperable, or repaired and redeployed if still usable. However, you might be able to appeal to either your status as a Noble, or the trials you endured here, as justification for keeping it. Maybe you can even find someone to fix it up into something for you.

>>737348
>>737346
>>737344
>>737353
>>737357
Zamrud helps Ride put together a meal of curry, rice, vegetables and garlic bread, with a smidgen of extra butter. Ride offers him a thumbs up and a tilt of his manly pompadour. "Please, Qhapaq, I insist," Ride says to Qhapaq's concerns. "It is a policy for my group to take nearly double the projected necessary amount of rations for our quests, just in case we come across souls in need, or if something goes horribly wrong in transit. I would recommend that anyone take up a similar habit."

Ride, Assembly and Dorya debate their theory among one another, while Bet and Gimmel, their spirits restored, engage in some youthful play-fighting and mutual trash-talk, occasionally stealing choice vegetables from one another's bowls.

>>737348
The price of Old World relics generally varies by the trader, except for the price of gold coins of various mint. Assuming roughly equal weight, you should get about 10 Schillings per golden coin.

>>737358
As if the depression wasn't enough… you feel an odd sense of being watched.

>roll perception

 No.737361

>>737360
Good looked around warily at the odd feeling around him.

[1d10] Perception.

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.737362

>>737361
The feeling grows worse… your skin starts to crawl.

>roll again

 No.737364

>>737358
"I would not mind, no. Do as you need." the griffon says, taking the armored coat back off.

>>737360
"Ah- that is quite good of you. I am rather curious- while you have been out and about, have you encountered any of the Outland tribes?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.

 No.737365

>>737362
He took a breath to try and steady himself.

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.737366

>>737360
Bily has an odd feeling of needing to pick his teeth with his gems, it is probably just the dragon part of him that he can ignore. "Do we need to do anything else here before the trip back?" He asks out loud waiting for any answer.

 No.737367

>>737365
As you clear your mind, you see a familiar face… sort of. The door to the chapel is ajar, and at its base, you see the scorpion from yesterday. In the candle-light which Ride used to illuminate the room, you can see that it has a dark blue carapace. It's also got… what seems to be a bindle made out of a scrap of old cloth, and a teeny-tiny sword in one claw. As you lock eyes with the arthorpod, it points the sword at you.

A challenge to single combat?

 No.737368

>>737358
"The light of knowledge comes in many shades. I'm sure your mother as anyone has her biases, but I am certain we'll still be the wiser after letting her examine it."

He shakes his head, "No, nor your father I'm afraid. I've seen both from afar, of course, but my duties have mostly been dedicated to educating the three Princes, as well as serving the Family of Iron in general. Your father in particular seems like a fine stallion, but I don't know as much about your mother."

>>737360
>>737359
After examining the golden coins, he smirks, "I'm not an expert, but these should be worth at least 10 schillings apiece. Normally I don't need to think about such things, but how would you feel about the group combining then evenly dividing its resources for the final cut?"

>>737360
Zamrud tastes the curry and rice he makes, getting a good feel for the exact amount of heat put out by the sauce and once he finds it is strong enough without being over-powering, he starts serving them out to the others. "Policy or no, Ride, we graciously accept your gift of a free meal. I can't imagine how hungry YOU must be after your time spent in that thing."

As he eats his curry and vegetables, his ears perk up at Ride and Assembly's debate, and he listens in on their theories.

 No.737370

>>737367
>>737365

Not yesterday, last cycle.

 No.737371

>>737368
"He is but he is a bit hard to approach at times. As for my mother that is most surprising. She is… a well known Iconoclast amongst the sages.

>>737367
ANd just like that Goods entire day went from bad to Great as he took a butter knife and rapidly approached his tiny foe to duel him.

This was literally the only thing he wanted in life right now.

 No.737372

>>737368
Billy taps his chin with his claws. "I am unsure. I guess I would wait for everyone else to agree with such before dividing everything from the total. I think that is only fair don't you think?" He tilts his head.

 No.737373

>>737371
"I could certainly sympathize with that. My father was not the warmest personality I ever knew either. I'd say it's something about royalty and nobility, but the King is as approachable a man as any family member I've known, hahaha." He laughs, shaking his head. "Your mother is an iconoclast? How do you mean, does she question their methods often?"

He peaks his head at the scorpion as it comes in, his eyes blinking in disbelief. "…does that scorpion have a sword?"

>>737372
"I agree wholeheartedly, I feel if we did pool together our winnings it should be a group decision. I understand if each wants to keep their own bounty to themselves, as well. Adds a personal incentive to search the ruins more thoroughly."

 No.737375

>>737373
"Yeah, I am quite partial to these gems to be honest." Billy gives his loot a pat.

 No.737376

>>737360
Grutar takes a moment to dig into some of his rations, knowing that everyone is taking a moment to take a breather he eats a rations worth of jerky.

 No.737378

>>737371
The scorpion taps his sword against your knife to signal the start of the duel, then backs up, steps forward and thrusts at you!

[1d10]

>>737364
"We have occasionally seen scouts of the Aya tribe, judging by their peculiar masks," Ride says. "But our attempts to make contact, as predicted, have ended in failure. What we can gather from the records on them, this was a rather common occurrence. I don't wish to start a battle with them, but I would certainly rather they come in from the cold and find a place to live in Ironcastle… but I suppose I am in the minority here."

That fits pretty well with your tribesfolk's ways – far too proud to accept the help of the Castles, and with good reason, for they are far better at surviving in the Outlands than any one of the Castle's souls.

>>737366
"Not unless you've forgotten any of your mission tasks," Gimmel says. "Otherwise we can go as soon as we've all recovered enough to make the trip back. We could be attacked, so let's make sure we're in top shape."

>>737368
Assembly and Dorya are firm in their convictions, but it sounds like Ride has faith in the King's royal spies that they would already have a pulse on potential saboteurs and any cultists, if there were any. Assembly and Dorya affirm their faith in the king, but point out that kings have been betrayed before, and that even spies may be coerced to turn coat if their weaknesses are prodded in just the right way.

>>737368
Ride starts once you mention time. He looks at his comp and gasps. "By the Heart! A week! We were in there for a week!"

"Let's take it easy on how quickly we eat then," Assembly says, managing to stay calm. "Too quickly and we may be our own undoing."

>>737376
They're positively delicious, and chase away some of the pain of your past injuries.

>Everyone regains another Wound


Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.737380

>>737373
"She is noted in that she frequently calls out the Abbey and the more conservative sages who follow their dogma to the letter. She especially has qualms with their views on mutations for… obvious reasons."

"And yes he does, he is a brave warrior challenging me to combat."

>>737378
He met his tiny foe with a swing in return though mainly to harmlessly put him on his back or something.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.737381

>>737380
As easily as flipping over a grilled cheese, you flip the scorpion over onto his back. But not one to quit early, the scorpion wriggles and pushes himself back up with his tail, grabs his sword, and tries again to knock your knife from your hoof!

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.737383

>>737378
"Makes sense, that was quite the difficult trial everyone had to endure." Billy takes a seat Criss cross applesauce to help himself relax before his adventure. "Oh, also does anyone know what this book is?" Billy holds up a book he had grabbed from searching the area with the dreaded one before the fortress.

 No.737384

>>737381
He drew back and tried his best to fence and disarm his foe as he couldn't help but giggle.

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.737385

>>737378
"Ah, yes- I suppose our masks can be rather intimidating to outsiders. I have chosen to keep from wearing mine, as I think some would find it unnerving within the Castle's walls. What you have experienced is… not uncommon. My people do not like to accept help from those of the Castles. Please, do not take it as a failure of your own."

 No.737386

>>737375
Zamrud smirks. "Then, by all means, keep them. I'll do fine with my gold. I imagine Grutar is in a similar mindset."

>>737380
"Hmm." Zamrud nods in contemplation. "Well, I'm usually a major proponent of the Abbey, but I know it would be unwise to call them infallible as well. Thinking that they are leads to such blind following that helped create the Flagellants in the first place. So, if your mother is keen on keeping them honest, I won't hold that against her." He nods, "And I certainly agree with a more relaxed stance on mutations." He points at his own softly glowing eyes to indicate his own.

He stares at the scorpion as you engage him in combat. "A friend of yours?"

>>737378
"My goodness… I think that'd be wise, Assembly. As well as a thorough medical examination once you return to Ironcastle. Still, you should eat your fill. You've certainly earned a full stomach after such an experience."

He looks down at his Magicomp, "It's a good bit past 6 pm. Probably safer to wait out the last night here, then set off after the Dark Hours?"

 No.737387

>>737384
The scorpion steps back with shock as his sword is knocked from his grasp. He makes a break for it, scoops it up with his stinger, and re-arms in a single motion as he comes in for his final attempt to defeat you!

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.737388

>>737387
Good decided to throw the fight from here, letting his knife be knocked away as he dropped in defeat and surrendered to his mighty foe.

>>737386
"I found him do I guess a mating dance before." he whispered.

 No.737389

>>737378
Grutar takes another moment as he ponders, looking over his wrist mounted tech so he can get a better understanding of it. When he takes it off to hold it closer, he uses a finger to flip through functions to slowly learn it more before chuckle as he stumbles across a video of a bar fight. But then when he puts it back on, he puts it on his arm above his drill to better reach it with a usable paw.
"Reminds me to get the stronger stuff next time."

 No.737392

>>737383
One by one, the members of Ride's group examine the book and shake their heads. "Open it up and see what's inside," Assembly says. "The old records hold that spellcasters once popularly inscribed their spells in books called 'grimoires' before the major adoption of the magicomp caster chips."

>>737385
Ride sighs with acceptance. "Very well, I shall leave them be. Perhaps ours is not the generation for reconciling ourselves to them. We have our own share of problems for this era, if any of these theories hold true."

>>737388
>>737386
The scorpion, satisfied with his victory, sheathes his blade, picks up the knife and offers it back to Good as a sign of peace, after which he ventures forth to the hot pot boiling in the center of the room, whereupon Gimmel notices him and serve him a small pinch of rice and bread. The scorpion clicks his mandibles until Gimmel serves him a drop of curry as well. The scorpion then comes back to eat with Good.

>>737389
"If you think you can hold your alcohol, Assembly here would love to test you," Ride brags, clapping Assembly on the shoulder, who shrugs.
"I don't make a point of drinking people under the table, though I could, even the King himself," Assembly says dismissively. "Warriors must be sharp at all times."

>>737389
>>737386
>>737388
>>737385
>>737384
>>737383
"If you lot don't mind waiting, it may be wise," Ride or Die says. "Shall we put it to a vote or are all in agreement to stay the Dark Hours in safety here?"

 No.737395

>>737392
"Alrighty." Billy decides to put his trust in their advice in simply opening it. Laying it against his lap he flips open the cover to browse the contents.

 No.737396

>>737392
He happily ate with hie new companion as he resisted the urge to pet his tiny companion as he brainstomed some new names to give him.

"I vote we remain here for now."

 No.737397

>>737392
"I think… it will change in time, though. I have not been home in a little while- perhaps, I can try and change some opinions." he offers a shrug.

>>737392
"Stay safe in here. The risk would not be worth it, I think."

 No.737398

>>737392
"Oi! If you got some on ye now, I'm all up for a contest! Would help dull some of that pain from earlier too, buahahaha!" Grutar chortles, never one to pass up the chance at a drink even when out here.

"Aye, I don't mind staying here!" Grutar casts his vote.

 No.737399

>>737392
>>737388
He looks at the peculiar, very personable scorpion as it 'duels' with Good, then moves on to fetch itself a plate of rice and curry. He reaches up to scratch his head in confusion. "He's certainly… friendly."

As the scorpion gets its food, he clears his throat, raising a paw to wave at the scorpion. "Hello there, little friend."
[1d10] charisma

>>737392
>>737397
>>737396
>>737398
"I'm in agreement with the others, I see no reason not to stay within the safety of the fortress we worked so hard to secure. We'll make for Ironcastle first thing in the morning. Would be nice to sleep in a bed rather than a cot, as well."

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.737400

>>737395
It is not a long book, but it is full of page after page of strange writings and scribblings, and many drawings of peculiar gemstones, mountains, and even walking and floating gemstone automata. It all looks fairly magical and alchemical in design, perhaps an old book of enchantments. If it could be deciphered, it could very well be mastered.

>>737399
>>737396
The scorpion clacks its claws and mandibles by way of greeting. He's probably not one for hugs or pets, having shown the personality of a proud warrior. Perhaps chest-pounding, teeth-clicking and stern, manly nods may suffice.

>>737398
"I'm not going to trust any liquid rations I have on me, having been inside the Host," Assembly says. "Those don't burn as well when Ride uses his flames. Once we're done here and back in Ironcastle, we'll drink until we grow gills."

>>737395
>>737396
>>737397
>>737398
>>737399
"Very well," Ride says. "We will cycle through the watch during the Dark Hours, until the Waking Hours come around. I'm sorry to say but most of you are going to have to watch for us. I'm afraid that once we're asleep, we'll be as still as the grave – considering we haven't slept in a week."

Two shifts of the watch will suffice for the Dark Hours here. Assign two (or more) to watch in shifts, and then roll perception.

 No.737403

>>737400
Grutar decides to Volunteer for the first or even second watch, opting to stay up due to all of his Adrenalin hitting him. But when it all calms down after his shift, he crashes harder than a rock.

>Takes one of the shifts

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.737405

>>737400
He grinned "Think I'll name you Trajan, its a name that has some strength to it." he said as he grinned at the little guy. He finished his plate and declined to take watch as he was quite worn out from the day.

 No.737406

>>737400
>>737405
As he clacks his claws, Zamrud nods as he looks at the peculiar bugger. "He's certainly got spirit." He gives him a manly nod of approval, and a thumbs-up just to affirm.

"Trajan. So, you're taking him home with you?"

>>737400
"Understandable. You and your crew may take as much rest as you need, Ride."

"Though if you wouldn't mind," he says to his own team, "My eyes are not doing so great right now. Straining my mutation causes my vision to fade over time. I'll be fine in the morning but I don't imagine I'd be much good for the watch."

 No.737407

>>737400
"I don't mind watching." Billy announces to thee group. "I can go right after Grutar." He nods to himself as if confirming it.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.737408

>>737406
"Of course, he showed up with his own sword and armor, he's clearly resourceful."

 No.737410

>>737400
>Takes a shift [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.737412

>>737408
"That is very true… and very surprising." He looks at Trajan once more. "I have seen many things in the Outland, but I have never seen a scorpion dressed for battle before." He smirks, "Perhaps, he noticed your noble heritage and seeks to be your knight?"

 No.737413

>>737412
"That would explain his showing up to try and duel me. Perhaps he was seeking to prove his skills to me. Or he wanted some petty vengeance for me sneaking up on him. Or maybe both."

 No.737415

>>737410
>>737407
>>737406
>>737405
>>737403
Trajan clicks his claws with approval at his new name, and sets down his bindle, using it as a kind of makeshift pillow as the rest of you find comfortable enough places to settle down for your rest. Thankfully, the pews in the chapel have some good enough cushions, and you are able to find a place to sleep for the remainder of the Dark Hours.

Grutar takes the first shift, finding it mostly uneventful as he patrols the upper rampart of the fortress, keeping an eye out for any dangers. Things go smoothly enough for Billy as well. Occasionally, a few worrywarts pop up in the latter half of his shift, but the steady beep… beep… of the recently-repaired hardlight turret is more than enough to scare them off before they can come within emotional vampirism range.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1rLxW88bTQ
>Volume warning for this link

It is during Qhapaq's shift that things take a turn for the strange. It starts with a strange broadcast popping up on his magicomp, a garbled, distorted signal on an open channel – the beginnings of a garbled SOS signal, followed by a loud and merciless buzzing, intermingled with an alarming, whooping siren that scales up and down in tone, never allowing a moment of calm… and as he looks to the east, he sees the vague and distant silhouette of something massive… something moving from south to north, away from Ironcastle at least, but in the direction of other Castles northward. It is flat and wide, and moves with the clouds high above, seeming from this distance like some kind of manta ray, or a bottom-dwelling fish the Aya periodically hunt for food, only colossal in size.

 No.737416

>>737415
>>737410
As Zamrud sleeps, curled up on one of the large pews in the chapel area, his ears twitch as he starts to hear the loud, disturbing tones coming over the Magicomp. His eyes flutter awake, his paws racing to his ears as the garbled buzzing and obnoxious siren start to build in volume.

"Aggh… is that the alarm…?" He asks groggily, looking around for Qhapaq while he takes his shift. "Qhapaq, what's happening, is the Fortress under attack? What in the gods names is wrong with that alarm system?"

 No.737417

>>737415
Qhapaq looks at his magicomp with a bit of confusion, poking at it once or twice as he listens to the channel. He lets out a concerned noise as he investigates the noise, and sees something… wrong. A Dreaded One, maybe?
>[1d10] Knowledge

>>737416
"Ah- not sure. I am trying to remember… it is a Dreaded One, moving away from Ironcastle. I think it… I think it is broadcasting that. Somehow."

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.737419

>>737415
He groaned and looked out at the sight rubbing his eyes blearily as he tried to wake up and make sense of it from his seat "Do we need to stop that?" he asked softly.

 No.737420

>>737417
>>737416
He rubs his eyes, now feeling a great deal better, as he gets out of bed and moves to Qhapaq's position. "A Dreaded One? What sort of-"

As he sees the massive, flying creature in the light-less skies above, his eyes widen, ears flattened to protect himself from the haunting howl of its siren-like call. "It's huge. That may be one of the biggest Dreaded Ones I've ever seen, that ANYONE'S ever seen."

His eyes feeling much better after a night's rest, he opens up his eyes, activating the zoom function to get a look at the creature from afar.
[1d10+1] Using base mutation to observe

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.737421

>>737415
"What is that over there?" Billy asks out while making a yawn along with a long stretch with pops.

 No.737422

>>737415
When the others are taking the time to get a better look at the Dreaded one in the distance, Grutar stays silent as he listens and tries to find out if he knows anything from what he is used to.

>Knowledge?

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.737425

>>737417
You recognize it almost immediately as you get a better look at its ghostly shape swimming just below the clouds – in the tongue of your companions, it is a Siren-Singer, or the Winds'-Scream, in the terminology of the Aya. It is so named for the sirens that it produces in a great radius around it, which almost all technology capable of picking up on electronic signals manages to pick up.

>>737416
>>737417
>>737419
>>737420
>>737422
>>737421
Grutar and Zamrud recognize it as a Siren-Singer as well, and are about as familiar with it as Qhapaq is – which is unfortunately limited. The Siren-Singers' capacities for destruction are little-known, for none have ever seen it attacking, and few are fool enough to try and attack it. Rather, it tends to be a sign of future attacks, for its cries stir up other Dreaded Ones for miles in every direction of its passing.
Ride's group scramble to get themselves awake and armed, running to the nearest windows to get a look as the Siren-Singer passes over, far to the east. It is many miles off from any known settlement of the last living souls in this world, but still, its presence very clearly fills Ride's group with dread.
"We need to report this sighting," Ride says. "Come, let us be off as quick as we can. Are you ready?"

 No.737426

>>737425
"Aye, even if it's further that won't stop any of the Dreaded Ones heading towards it from passing by us. We need to get out of here, fast." Grutar states, making sure he has everything and assisting anyone else with getting things packed and ready for a march out of here.

 No.737427

>>737425
Good did his best to hurry and repack all if his belongings into his pack and make sure Trajan was safe on his shoulder before nodding as he felt much better "Yes Sir Ride!" he said standing at attention himself.

He could see why his father liked the military life.

 No.737430

>>737421
>>737419
>>737425
"A Siren-Singer," Zamrud explains to Good and billy. "One of the more mysterious Dreaded Ones. They are so massive, little creatures like us are beneath its notice, and few are brave or foolish enough to try attacking it. However, that doesn't make it any less a danger - the cries it creates sir up Dreaded Ones for miles in every direction."

His enhanced vision follows the creature as it continues flying, "It's not going towards Ironcastle, fortunately, but it's likely kicked up a swarm of Dreaded Ones between us and there. I agree with Ride as well, in addition to needing to report this creature, we will have to move quickly to avoid complications. Everyone, pack your bags, we're moving out."

 No.737431

>>737430
"Way ahead of you Zam." he said as he had already hustled his bustle to get packed and ready to move.

 No.737432

>>737425
>>737420
"Ah- a Winds' Scream! Reporting this is important, yes. They stir up other Dreaded Ones, and its sirens are able to be broadcast across a wide range of technology."

Qhapaq takes little time to get up and ready, pulling his coat on.

 No.737435

>>737430
>>737425
"Will do!" Billy replies in a comical salute as he gets up. "Many thanks to Qhapaq for keeping watch over us all."

 No.737437

>>737435
>>737432
>>737430
>>737426
>>737427
As silently and swiftly as they can, Ride or Die's group fervently break down camp, stuffing away any possessions that were out, before they make for the exit. They keep low to the ground as they file outside, signaling for you to stay down as best you can. Sparing only passing glances to make sure the coast is clear, they move from cover to cover, darting from rock to rock, ruin to ruin, precisely in accordance with their training over the years. The hike up from the lakeside town is steep and brutal, but they spare not a moment, pulling each other up whenever one stumbles upon the uneven terrain.

Breakfast is sparing, made on the road, and none of Ride's group give so much as a thought to slowing down or stopping, even when muscles are tired and burning from keeping low and moving fast. They relax somewhat as they enter the high walls of the box canyon, which afford some degree of concealment with their high walls and deep valleys. But the safety is no reason to slow, and so they continue to run.

So on and so forth do you make your way south across the lands, until you at last crest the last of the rocky hills, and come within sight of the holy light of Ironcastle, its walls high and impenetrable. Ride's group nearly collapse with exhaustion upon sight of it, but Ride flexes, and his burning spirit spreads to the rest of you, giving you the last bit of speed and stamina you need to press on.

>Pause, reply for next time

 No.737438

>>737435
>>737432
>>737431
"Excellent. Then let's be on our way. We'll set the Fortresses' defenses to automate to keep it safe until another party from Ironcastle comes to secure and man it."

>>737437
As they leave the superfortress behind them and press on into the darkness of the Outlands, Zamrud does his best to keep pace with the others, eating on the go and not stopping for all but the most critical of reasons as they push onwards back to Ironcastle.

As they clear the box canyon, he says to Ride after he finishes offering them his burning spirit, "We're making good time. We had to stop to rest in that canyon on our way up to the fortress. Now we're within sight of home. Can you keep going?"

 No.737439

>>737437
Good was quite giddy to be home after the somewhat harrowing last few days he had so he moved along with the rest of the group, though he kept his eyes open for anything that might try and pop out and make things hard in this last stretch.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.737440

>>737437
Qhapaq does what he can to help the team soldier on, carrying others when necessary and scouting ahead when it's not. The hole in his coat makes things colder, but he's not unused to it.

He rolls his shoulders out and lets out a determined huff when he feels Ride's spirit goads him onwards. He ignores the aches and sores, and pushes on to the Castle.

 No.737441

>>737437
>>737438
"Sounds like we all did a good job out here. The Journey was long and hard, but it was done. All thanks to all our hard efforts." Billy glows with a smile.

 No.737442

>>737437
Grutar ensures to keep around everyone, trying to stay near the back with the others that might get slowed down and keeping an eye out in the rear end of the party's formation.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.737790

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party treated their various wounds after the battle with the Host, and Ride or Die's group elaborated a little on their inkling that sabotage was afoot in Ironcastle. Their main pieces of evidence were that certain missions which took place in areas known to be populated with strong Dreaded Ones were not being labeled as such, and that certain missions which had been assigned to specific groups, instead of being freely chosen, were both drastically more dangerous than what the group was capable of handling, and were unsuited to that group's particular set of skills.

Without a compelling motive for the sabotage, however, the majority of Ride or Die's group did not believe in the theories that Assembly and Dorya espoused. Although the Castles' histories were full of strife, the omnipresent threat of the Dreaded Ones, and the barren desolation of the Outlands, always served as a major enough external threat to bring internal strife to heel. One such example was of the Flagellants, a suicidal heretical cult offshoot of the Abbey, who rose to exoteric and esoteric prominence around 1,200 years ago, before they were defeated in a great jihad by order of the Abbot. However, what was worrisome about the example of the Flagellants was that their corruption went all the way up to the level of the Nobles, all under the Abbey's noses. If the conspiracy theory of sabotage held true, perhaps the saboteurs of this age could hold similar influence…

The party investigated the abandoned fortress a bit longer, then set about fixing the base's turret systems, made easier by Zamrud's acquisition of the schematics from Rockfall. During dinner, Good was challenged to honorable combat by the scorpion he embarrassed, who regained his pride with a duel. Afterward, the scorpion made peace with Good and invited himself into the party. Good named him Trajan.

They went to sleep, but were awoken early in the Waking Hours, by the hideous, nerve-shuddering calls of a Siren Singer, a colossal, flying Dreaded One, drifting through the sky some miles off. The madness induced by its call would rile up Dreaded Ones for miles in every direction, and so the party gathered their things and made a break for it southward to Ironcastle. They ran as long as they could, sticking to the safe routes they discovered earlier, and managed to come within sight of Ironcastle before their lungs and legs could give out.

 No.737797

>>737438
>>737439
>>737440
>>737441
>>737442
The party crosses the last of the kilometers between them and Ironcastle, with Ride or Die's group panting as they come to a halt outside of the massive airlocks that lead to the decontamination hallways. The airlock is already open, as are others, once you arrive at them. You can see that other groups of Warriors and Sages, and the very rare Noble, are poring in from every direction, waiting their turn in line at the first of the many checkpoints that they and you will have to endure in order to be readmitted into Ironcastle.

The checkpoint consists of delivery terminals for submitting various classes and sizes of objects and even dead Dreaded Ones that have been recovered, along with a brief mandatory "interview" with one of the many guards, who stands behind maximum strength plexiglass. Those who have been admitted are called forward in groups to the first of the bulkheads of the decontamination hallways. Once a group has been admitted, a door slides open in the bulkhead, the group passes through, and the door slides shut once more until they are done with the first of the decontaminations.

Eventually, you are admitted to the front of the line, with Ride's group standing behind you to catch their breath before the "interview"… more like a brain scan. The attendant at the window wears a kaleidoscope of different headgears meant to amplify psychic power. His eyes flash through multiple neon colors as he studies each of you in turn, and those who have done this before know that this is to check for signs of mind control or soul manipulation by the Dreaded Ones. This interviewer is deathly silent, as they tend to be.

"…Put your recovered items from the Outlands into the delivery terminal chutes, and use your comps to register them to your ID," the interviewer instructs Billy, Zamrud, Qhapaq and Grutar. "…They will be returned to you on the other side."

He then turns to Good, his eyes fixed on Trajan. He opens his mouth to say something, but then his eyes flit down to the sigils of House Titanite upon Good's armor. He pauses, and you sense a preemptive tone change. "As for this, I will simply need to see your license, noble soul."

 No.737801

>>737797
Knowing there's a chance for something to be wrong with whatever he finds out in the Outlands, Grutar turns in the assorted gems he found into the DTC. "Let's hope these gems are valuable enough to get me some new armor, stuff is too old for too many more trips out there." He says mostly to himself, then following up with an attempt to get his ID registered over the comps for his gemstones.

 No.737802

>>737797
Billy followss along as he is told with the group. Not finding much issue with what has been told to good. Happy to be back home and able to tell a new story.

 No.737803

>>737797
Zamrud patiently waits through the long, agonizing customs line as they approach Ironcastle's air-lock, very used to the long proceedings of making sure everything coming in is safe as he stands resolute in line, checking for updates on his Magicomp. He looks directly into the scanners as they 'interview' him at the end, having done it a number of times before, and reaches in to grab Grutar's antique pistols, its documents, and his seven golden coins into the chute as requested, nodding in thanks to the attendant before heading towards the next gate.

As he notices Good getting special privileges, he chuckles, looking down at his own lesser branch-family's sigil. "Not quite up there yet, are we?"

 No.737804

>>737797
>>737797
Qhapaq, having done this often before, goes through the motions on pure muscle memory. The brain scan is uncomfortable as always, but the griffon keeps his complaints to little more than a (admittedly intimidating) scowl. He offers a short nod, and deposits both the lute and the HDD into the terminal chute, putting in what information is needed to have them returned.

When all is said and done, he'll wait on the other side for both his own party, and Ride or Die's.

 No.737805

>>737797
Good nodded and put his box of coins and his turret along with the necklace to get sent to be properly analyze. He might get special treatment but he still wished to observe the rules around here. for the most part. Trajan was coming with him come hell or high water.

After setting his things down her pulled up his license on his magicomp and presented it to the guard with his typical grin. Shootings and mild terror aside, he had enjoyed this all and would happily do it again. Granted this would be if his mother didn't try to lock him in his room like the worrywart she could be.

Part of him wondered if she'd be there to greet him.

"I wonder how my parents will feel about you Trajan." he said looking at the little scorpion on his shoulders with a smile.

 No.737806

>>737805
The interviewer double-checks the license to make sure that you are indeed a member of the Noble stratum. Once it is all checked out, he nods. "Put him in a separate bin than your other gathered items. Make sure that you tell the terminal that you are bringing in biological material. It will adjust the decontamination beams accordingly to ensure this creature is not hurt. If it turns out to be a Dreaded One, it will be automatically expelled. If it is not, you shall receive it along with your other belongings upon the other side."

>>737805
>>737801
>>737802
>>737803
>>737804
As each of you go up to the delivery terminal, you are prompted by its screen to drop your recovered goods into a slot, with options based on what size of slot you will need. The system automatically produces a plexiglass bin, and registers your ID to the bin's contents. The bin then disappears into the mysterious inner workings of the chutes that process such equipment.

After that is done, your group is called forward next to enter the long decontamination hallway, while Ride or Die's group begin their interviews. Your group, and a few others, are admitted into a chamber separated from the one used to exit the castle by a plexiglass barrier. This entrance chamber is segmented like the other one by many bulkheads, and you are stopped at several points between bulkheads to undergo a number of sprays and laser overlays criss-crossing across your bodies, designed to kill any and all contaminants: Spores, germs, odors, stains – anything that could bring about the sicknesses of the Outlands into Ironcastle.

About halfway through the proceedings, you get some wifi, as well as a message on your comps. It informs you that all operations and travel out of Ironcastle have been suspended for two weeks to wait for the Sirensinger to pass out of the region of Ironcastle, and for the Dreaded Ones to calm down.

At the end of the long decontamination process, you are deposited in the processing office of the Barracks, where you got your permission to leave Ironcastle. It is packed with Warriors and Sages, who are gathered around a very long conveyor belt. They watch, a captive audience, as bins flow down the conveyor belt, containing recovered possessions.

 No.737808

>>737806
After having to give up the safe for a moment to process it properly for the decontamination process, Grutar scratches his chin underneath his beard as he sticks near the group. "I wonder how long it might take to get back Safey… I'll have to buy somethin' new to pull it around more. Never know when you need a solid container for somethin' important."

 No.737809

>>737806
"That is all pretty nifty." Billy states out loud for any to hear his impression of the streamlinesd process. "Does anyone else have any planns now that we are here?" He states turning to the group.

 No.737811

>>737806
Good took a moment to assure his little insect friend that everything would be alright and set him down in the bin with a tiny piece of a ready to eat ration in case his little friend got hungry and then moved along with the rest of the group.

He idly wondered how many were out and about when they had to get called in by that big if somewhat fascinating Dreaded one that was in the sky.

>>737808
"Well hopefully soon. I could probably use my name to help us to the front of the line if you really want to hurry Friend." he said though he wasn't the most comfortable using his name for such things.

 No.737812

>>737806
Zamrud drops his winnings from the mission, cataloging his new items in his Magicomp before heading into the Decontamination hall, beginning yet another process he's more than used to by this point: the removal of any foreign bodies that may prove harmful to the enclosed environment of Ironcastle. He lets the machines go about their business as he checks the new messages on his comp, noting that Ironcastle had indeed been aware of the tremendous 'Siren Singer' that had flown by the fortress on their way out. "A good idea, I think: the Dreaded Ones will be particularly riled up with that monster lurking just a few mountain ranges away, best not take any chances."

As they reach the belt, he carefully looks out for his possessions, grabbing his bin promptly when he spots it.

>>737809
"Considering it was the King himself who assigned us this mission, I thought it might be wise to go see if we can inform him of our success personally, though given his schedule we're more likely to get an aide."

>>737808
"I still can't believe you kept the whole safe. You have what it was containing, and surely there are more advanced safes here in Ironcastle than what the Old World came up with."

>>737811
Noticing his concern for Tarjan, Zam takes a moment to rest a hand on Good's whithers. "I'm certain he'll be fine. A warrior like him can take care of himself for a short while, don't you agree?"

 No.737813

>>737809
"Getting a drink, of course! Though I'll have to figure out how to send a few messages first. Then, I gotta get my new safe a proper carryin' piece and a sturdy leash to drag it around."

>>737811
"Auch they'll just clean her up and give it a new polish anyways." Grutar says, dismissing the help but with a smile.

>>737812
"It's an antique, and I dragged that thing through the whole way! Figured that it has some sentimental value to it now. It reminded me of how I felt when I was forced to not work because of the shit that went out on the outlands, but then someone scrubbed me up and got me back to doin' what I did."

 No.737814

>>737812
"Perhaps but well he did assign us personally and… well it'd be rude to stand up a Noble heir yes?" he joked with him as he found his comfort to be much needed right now "I know that your house doesn't have quite the same prestige as my own but I think your serves an even more important one than my own. Shaping minds is true treasure for us." he said having noticed the small wistful glance he gave his symbol before.

 No.737816

>>737806
Qhapaq settles down on the other side of the processing office, waiting patiently for his new gear to be deposited on the other side.

>>737809
>>737812
"I think it might be good to try and… look into some of the concerns, as well. I want to wait for the group with Ride or Die to come through processing, as well."

>>737812
>>737813
"Perhaps the safe is… a souvenir, I think the word is?"

 No.737817

>>737812
"Yeah, that does make sense."He nods to himself. It would be quite nice to see the king though.

>>737813
"I wish you luck with that. It was well earned!." Billy praises.

>>737816
"What concerns do you have?" He tilts his head as he inquires.

 No.737818

>>737816
>>737812
>>737811
>>737808
>>737809
Due to the sheer volume of Warriors and Sages coming back in a hurry from the Outlands, there is an unusual volume of incoming recovered materials, creating a backup – a disembodied voice on the office's intercom apologizes for the inconvenience many times as you are held at the mercy of the dreaded luggage line. More than a few of the other people waiting alongside you are not dealing with the wait so well. Some pace, some complain to the haggard office staff, others try to distract themselves with Chirper or the odd video game streamer on Prancecast now that they've got some wifi. After nearly half an hour's wait, you manage to pick up your luggage from all the bins. Everything is there and accounted for. Good is reunited with Trajan, who is none too worse for wear, and picks up his own belongings from another bin inside the bin he was riding, about the size of a teacup.

By now, it is about 1430 hours, the 12th of the Turning of Kindling, Anno Castra 31274.

Ride or Die's group continue to wait for their luggage, with most of them just happy to be home. "After a trial like the Host, something like this is oddly comforting," Ride comments grimly. The others groan; he has been making comments like this all the way through the decontamination process. "I thank you once again. If you wish, I will go with you to your questgiver and attest that you rescued my crew and I – maybe we can get you a bonus for completing an unintentional side objective. I don't know if you ever mentioned who gave you this quest."

 No.737819

>>737818
"Oh we received our mission from the King himself." Good said beaming up at Ride as the effects of the depression he had taken off had faded some time ago.

 No.737820

>>737813
>>737816
"I suppose it WOULD have some sentimental value like that… and, as you said, it is an antique. Much like the gun I imagine you could sell it to a collector for something substantial."

>>737814
>>737817
"Yes, young Lord, it certainly would." He chuckles, bowing his head. "I'm flattered, Good, but truly there is no need to think so highly of the Permatas: we are proud of our station, humbly serving the greater Houses in any way we may."

>>737816
"Right, that is a good point as well: someone should be made aware of why the Fortress fell in the first place, regardless of 'why' the sabotage was performed it's imperative to figure out how and prevent it from happening again."

>>737818
As the long wait ticks by, even the normally patient Zamrud begins to show signs of irritance before their goods finally arrive, prompting him to pick up his bin and make sure everything is accounted for.

As Ride's group comes through, he nods and waves Ride forward. "If you'd care to join us, I think that'd be exceptional. The King is the one who gave this mission to us and so we thought to report directly. I imagine he'll be quite pleased to know there were survivors in the end."

 No.737821

>>737817
"What we discussed back at the Fortress- we do not need to be very open about concerns of… sabotage, but it would be good not to forget them."

>>737820
"And, yes- we need to make them aware of the Host we found."

 No.737823

>>737818
>>737819
He similarly gathered his things and made a note to stop in with the families merchant friend to see if he knew someone who could help him with the turret.

He also replaced Trajan on his shoulder so he could enjoy the ride.

>>737820
"I simply speak how I feel Zamrud. I know that I'd like my children to be your students if the chance comes to pass." he said beaming with his usual naive optimism.

 No.737824

>>737818
Billy gives a warm smile and bow to return his gratitude. "I really appreciate it. Just happy to see everything turned out well. Hope things go well from here on out. Especially for the king."

 No.737825

>>737818
Grutar grumbles as he waits, sending an email that takes him a little while to get figured out to his "agent" and keep them updated on everything he's done so far to pass the time.

>>737820
"Sell it?! Why would I do that after draggin' it all around! I'm keepin' it!"

 No.737826

>>737821
"Ahh." He makes a nod with his head now remembering the issue.

 No.737828

>>737823
At that, Zamrud's eyes open wide. "Again, your praise is appreciated, and I'd gladly take you upon your offer… but, I don't think you should have reason to think about foals at any point in the near future, young lord."

>>737825
"Just a suggestion, Grutar. I understand the joy of bringing home a souvenir. Though it's pretty unwieldy as far as souvenirs go."

>>737821
"Right then. I'll call ahead and inform them we've arrived, will be making our way to them soon…"

 No.737829

>>737825
>>737824
>>737823
>>737821
>>737819
>>737820
"Oh-ho!" Ride says with surprise, his pompadour flashing with flames of passionate admiration. "I'd heard some talk that the King was commissioning new groups to venture into the Outlands as of late. It is good to see that he knows how to choose quality agents. It is a shame that operations will be suspended as we await the passing of the Siren Singer. Hopefully the pay and the bonus you get will tide over your finances for that time."
"You might be able to find the odd job here and there on the Mission Board," Assembly says. "You really have to mess with the search engine to find stuff that takes place inside the Castles, rather than in the Outlands. Nothing major of course, but that's just the nature of it. I'll show you as we head over. Dorya! You and the twins keep an eye out for our luggage. We'll be back later."

As you head down through the elevator systems to see the King, Assembly goes over all of the technological wizardry that even an unlearned one can perform using a search engine. There aren't any particularly interesting quests listed for inside the Castle right now, but you'll probably find one or two later, once the quests taking place in the Outlands are temporarily put on hold. Zamrud and Good then put in word ahead to the King's office that you will be visiting for your reward. The email response tells you to meet at the council-chamber where you took the mission, but that you'll be meeting with a representative of the King instead of the mouse himself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JWiTUCnmj4

Eventually, you reach Layer Two: The Noblesse, leaning on the permissions that Zamrud and Good boast as Nobles. You take the trolleys down to the council-chamber, where the guard outside informs you that you are expected. He guides you through the halls toward another one of the smaller meeting rooms. A voice tells you to enter, and so you do.

Inside the meeting-chamber, you see Mabin, the tall Canos who serves as the King's butler most of the time. He leans back in a chair, and wiggles the cigarette between his teeth by way of greeting. "Gentlecolts and cats, it is good to see you again. I take it the mission went well?"