No.737700[Last 50 Posts]
The party have acquired new provisions and narrowly escaped the clutches of the sinister Parliament, an insidious cult that rule over Last Hearth with an iron fist. Doing so was not without its toll, however. Violet fell in the encounter, her soul bound to a peculiar doll called a Crucible. Reviving her is possible, but will require time, sacrifice, and preparation.
Meanwhile, the Oneiromancer has stolen the body of the undead elk Etrigan, though through Zunden's intervention he remained by their side, having become one with the Fate's Fortune. The repercussions of this remain uncertain.
Licking their wounds, the party have continued on, at last reaching a safe haven for them; a far-flung swamp town known as Withick. Here they have quickly made a new ally in the form of Sprig, a genteel, slightly eccentric purveyor of antiquities who has a personal vendetta with Lysander. He was eager to form a bond with them, and will aid them in their endeavours. As one with some knowledge of magic, he has promised to lift a spell that renders a map unreadable to them, a map which may, fingers crossed, point them to a hidden place where they can safely hide the terrible Cuckoo's Egg.
In return for this, Sprig has asked them to investigate an anomaly: an entire complex of mysterious ruins has manifested itself into existence in the nearby wilds. A not unheard of phenomenon in the Echoes. Sprig has asked them to go there, scout the ruins, and come back with their findings, along with any trinkets and curios they may find there.
Time in Withick has not been uneventful for the party:
Lilura has found a new home in the castle of Caer Portach, working as a bar maid.
Aegis has left the party to pursue her own personal goals; namely, finding a way to seal her debt with Ragalaseab, and kill Lady Grosvenor.
Hermodur has happened upon an old rival of his, the griffon Minerva Tyr. Formerly Ailuros' right hand, since the alicorn contender's defeat she has found herself in disgrace and become a bitter, penniless drunk. She does not know of Ailuros' ultimate fate, and time will only tell what the future holds for Minerva herself.
Norv has taken a break from following the party, currently pursuing his own fortunes in Withick. He has made the acquaintance of a local blacksmith, Roscoe, son of the bounty hunter Clawson, and delivered news of his father's death. Currently, he is assisting the gendarmerie with tracking a mysterious magical thief that has been targeting the market.
As for the others, they have embarked on their journey to the mysterious ruins, where who knows what awaits…
>Current party status:>Zunden, Silver, Rabi, Hermodur: On an expedition>Marisol, Aurora, Dawn: Accompanying the others>Norv: Chasing a pickpocket>Aegis: Off adventuring>Purdue: Studying the stars with Sprig>Violet: Playing with the chickens>Ganzen: Chasing a butterfly on the deck>Etrigan: Experimenting with his new abilities
"Aye, they're quite delicious. Especially the larvae. They serve 'em up all the time at Caer Portach. Should try some tonight if we have to stay that long." He grins.>>737194
You conjure up the now familiar rune of a circle with two counter clockwise arrows. Ezra watches you perform your sorceries with mild interest.>>737195
"Hm. That'd make sense," he nods with a frown. "It is near the ruins, but it shouldn't have been too affected by their appearance. Maybe we'll get a chance to take a better look 'round when we get there. Haven't actually been there myself yet.">>737195
He smiles, appreciating the concern. "I'll be alright. Just a bit winded is all.">>737200
"Oh you mean sushi!" Marisol pipes up. "I love it myself. They sold the best sushi at the Swap Meet this year."
"It was delicious," Aurora confirms from the sidelines, looking a bit rattled by the fight.>>737194>>737192>>737195>>737197
Ezra finishes catching his breath and, with an almighty haul, pulls the dead Wineshrimp on board Jenny the Strider, storing it under the seats. He looks down at you from his perch. "Well, if we're done here, then, all aboard I guess!" He gestures at the seats dramatically, and Jenny makes a deep warble like a pigeon.>>737216
"A bird? That'd be a first. We didn't see any griffons or pegasi take off. Very strange. We'll have to keep searching, but it won't be easy. Especially not if whatever this is is camped outside the walls. In the meantime, keep an eye on that compass of yours. With any luck, it won't lose the trail."
"Hrm… the most I can think of is something in the ruins, but it's hard to say. I guess we'll figure out when we get there, yeah?" he suggests, brushing his cloak off and humming a little. He'll hop back on to the Strider, and settle back in for the ride.
Hermodur gets back on the arthropod.
There's got to be a pun to make somewhere in there.
Zunden dusts herself off, hiding away the orbs for now. "I zhought I remembered you dizliking it Aurora, zhough zo many of my memoriez are a blur now."
Zunden boards the large bug, trying to relaxing in the meantime.
My stomach drops as I keep my eye on the compass. "Yeah," I say. "It's pretty weird. Feels like it might be a long shot, but I think it's worth checking out. Is there a straighter way to get-" I point in the direction the compass is pointing. "That way? I'm a little scared that, if it's a bird, it'll kill my rat pretty fast. Not only do I not want her to die, but also that'll mean we'll probably lose the trail."
You hop aboard. As soon as everyone is settled, Ezra clicks his tongue, and Jenny springs to action with a low sound like a whale song.
The next hour or so is relatively uneventful. No more Wineshrimp cross your path, and the path through the waters is unimpeded. Steadily, the gnarled trees and choking vines of the swamp give way to more open, shallow waters, with small, stout swamp trees dotting the landscape, poking out of the waters themselves.
Eventually, the ruins begin to become part of the landscape; small, moss-covered bits of stone jutting out of the shallows at first, then more complete structures: an archway here, a pillar there, a defiled statue over there. As you progress, the structures become more and more intact, until you find yourselves standing amidst the crumbling ruins of what seems to have been an ancient city.
What you find odd about the place, outside the obvious, is the layout. The positioning of these structures doesn't make any sense at all; it's a haphazard jumble of buildings that have been simply strewn carelessly about the landscape, like a child knocking their toys on the floor. There's no rhyme or reason to these ruins.
You notice an uncanny fog blanketing the area, making it difficult to see what lies ahead, but through it, you can make out some more intact structures:
There is a mostly intact tower off to your left, steadily sinking into the swamp and jutting out at an awkward angle.
What looks like the entrance to a catacomb can be seen straight ahead, with a handful of stone pillars that look like they would have held torches.
There is a dome shaped structure behind and to the right. It looks almost like an igloo of stone.
Ezra brings Jenny to a halt, and she crouches down to water level. "This is about as far as I can take you. I don't know the layout from hereon out, and uh, it's probably not safe for Jenny. If you wanna get off and explore, I'll be waiting here till you get back. That's what I was paid for, y'know? Sorry."
"No need to apologize," Hermodur says to Ezra. "You're performing your job perfectly."
He climbs off Jenny and stretches a bit as he looks around. [1d10] for a sign of peopleRoll #1 1 = 1
You jinxed it. The compass begins to spin violently, then goes inert. "Nabei,"
Marques curses, as the others shake their heads in frustration. "Guess that's that," Overlook grumbles. "What a waste." "We have a heading at least," Karras says, trying to stay optimistic.
Marques ignores them, focusing on the compass. "This compass of yours," he muses. "How does it work exactly? Is it bound to the rat that was stolen?"
My shoulders sag a little as I realize what that probably means. This isn't something I ever considered might happen, and it feels absolutely terrible. I swallow. Maybe something else is causing it? I focus on having the compass search for Ri's corpse.
"If you have something specific in mind it'll point you at it," I say. "I'd planned on having it track a trick coin I have, but having it track Ri was working just as well for a minute."
"Jeez. With how jumbled up of a mess it is, you'd think it was just dropped midair, building by building." he says, frowning a little bit. He hops off of the Strider and gives Ezra a warm smile, before saying "Perfectly okay. No reason to apologize, friend."
Rabi takes a look around and hums a tad, trying to spot anything odd… well, odder than the ruins. "Should we check out that, uh, dome?">[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
"I zhink we zhould look if ze knight iz camping around here, zee what hiz motivez are. Better to zee he iz friendly right away razher zhen have him come up behind uz in ze darknezz of ze temple."
Despite saying this, Zunden mostly focuses on creating another orb.
[1d10+2] Balance (Frozen)Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
"Quite alright, Ezra. It will be enough to stay at the ready for our exit, once we've seen what we can here."
disembarking from the strider, I take note of the fog rolling in, shifting my gaze warily as i convene with the others.>>737712
"Ah, that sounds sensible, though i do wonder if we can find anypony in a place like this. This fog removes any plans to survey from the air.. Perhaps we can fan out to search for signs of exploration?"
It points limply in the same direction, then spins again.
Marques blinks, getting a brainwave. "Maybe we can still use it. We have a list of items that have been filched by whatever this is. If you could focus on one, maybe it could lead us to it."
"Actually, it's entirely possible that's exactly what happened considering the way this world works," Hermodur muses.
"You've… got a point, actually. It seems intact enough for now, at least. I hope nothing drops on top of us." he says, chuckling nervously.
"Well, it's obviously been here for a while."
You disembark Jenny, and she moves off towards the edge of the ruins. "You know where to find me," says Ezra. "Good luck out there, friends." As you look back, you see him kick back and relax, idly noodling on a ukulele.>>737708
You notice something off in the distance. There are pinpoints of light in the fog, flitting to and fro like fireflies. There's something almost hypnotic about them, and you can't help but stare…
You feel a firm hand around your wrist, yanking you backwards. "Don't," Marisol says firmly. You notice that you'd inadvertently started walking towards them, almost falling into deeper water.>>737711
You spot a light coming from the direction of the catacomb entrance. It looks like there's firmer ground there, and a campfire of some sort. Could be worth investigating.>>737712
A thin white plus sign manifests, the horizontal line widening and becoming the rectangle you've come to associate with the Balance symbol.>>737708>>737711>>737712>>737713
"The catacombs would be a good place to start," Aurora observes. "Looks like we can go inside. There's sure to be something for Sprig in there. Let's just hope there's no skeletons. …Who am I kidding, there's totally skeletons in there."
"There are catacombs?" Dawn asks obliviously.
Marisol sizes up the tower. "What about over there? We might be able to get a proper vantage point if we can climb it. We could size up how far this place goes."
I frown as I watch the needle. Welp. Whatever that means. I look up and my eyes widen a little as it dawns on me how obvious the answer was. I drag my hand down my face. "I was thinking about the fact that the thief had probably already fenced anything they'd stolen so that thought didn't even cross my mind. That's a good idea."
"What-?" Hermodur asks in a daze as he double takes between Marisol and the lights.>>737716>>737713>>737712
"Do we have a compass?"
"Good idea," says Dawn. "Though, they could be anywhere in this swamp."
"If we're looking to scout," Marisol reinforces, "the tower over there would be a good place to get a read of our surroundings better."
"If only we could get rid of this damn fog," Aurora gripes, leaning on her walking stick. "Can't even fly in this."
Zunden thinks to crush her Creation rune, but decides instead to opt to draw it in the damp soil below her, wanting to perform the simple task of bringing the water molecules in the sky together to create larger droplets, trying to rain the fog away.
[1d10] CreationRoll #1 10 = 10
"There's… something inside the catacomb, I think. I can spot some sort of light, and a campfire. Definitely worth checking out first, I think. After that, maybe the tower? That sounds pretty good.">>737720
"A couple, yeah."
"Given how close we are already, i suppose searching the catacombs would be the most efficient." i reply, nodding in agreement. "If the tomb is undisturbed we would also confirm our Knight hasn't searched there yet.">>737723
"Oh? A campfire? Likely the knight after all, and given the fire is still alight they may still be nearby."
"Why don't we just use that, then?"
"If they did fence it, we'd still be able to trace it back," he points out with a bit of a frown. You get the feeling he's starting to regret putting you on this job.
"Here, take a look." He rummages about for a bit, going through some paperwork he has on him, before producing a long, official looking list of items and their original owners. "Here, take a look and see if your compass will work on it.">roll 1d100 to pick a trinket
Hey, I think I'm doing pretty alright so far. I don't say anything and just look over the list.
[1d100]Roll #1 42 = 42
"Don't trust your eyes in this place," she warns. "I've seen this sort of trickery before. Those orbs… I don't know if they have a name, but they have that effect on people. Luring them away to their graves. Don't follow the lights." She gives you a meaningful look before continuing on.>>737722>>737723>>737724>>737725
"Seems like the most… expedient solution," Dawn nods in agreement with Hermodur. "We really ought to use them more often, "Aurora comments.
Zunden invokes the Creation rune, and suddenly, all around you the fog clears, turning to rain. You find yourselves mildly soaked by the sudden condensation, but at least some of the fog's gone. It's easier to see further into the ruins now. Two more structures reveal themselves:
A pair of crumbling gargoyles flank a circle of stones, almost like some sort of ritual area. In the center appears to be a pony knight, or at least a statue of one, kneeling and impaled by a sword through the back.
A set of stairs behind you spiral upwards for many floors, leading to seemingly nothing. For some reason, you get a sinister feeling looking at them.
Marisol frowns at the unwanted shower, stepping aside before shaking herself off like a wet dog. Dawn doesn't seem to mind though, nor does Aurora. "Where to from here then?" says the latter, looking around with curiosity. "Are we going to use that compass of yours, Rabi?" the former asks.
You look through, picking one at random: an onyx saurian statuette, an heirloom of a local family here in Withick. You think hard, trying to focus on it. The compass needle twitches, spins, then points in the same direction as before. Captain Marques grins with relief. "We still have our heading. Glory be. Hmm…" He starts thinking, trying to come up with a plan for heading out there. He gives you a bit of a side eye, wordlessly asking for your input.
"I ztill would appreziate zomeone looking to zee of zhere'z evidenze of ze knight rumored to be here. I cannot fly."
"Oh- right! Let me get that out…" the stallion says, pulling out the compass and giving it a look. >>737730
"I, uh, could probably do it safest- though, I'd need someone else to hold on to the compass, of course."
"I believe Rabi mentioned seeing a campfire near the catacombs, though it certainly wouldn't hurt trying to look from the skies.">>737728>bounce
giving my wings a shake to remove most of the water, i fly up towards the tower, intent on using it as a lookout over the ruins.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
Rabi shakes the water off with a soft huff, before focusing on… the knight, for starters. Is it in the direction of the fire? He'll focus on artifacts after that.
"Thanks for that," Hermodur nods to Marisol.
As everyone stands around deciding what to do? Hermodur observes the ruins to see if anything might resemble a storage silo or something. Surely an ancient city like this would have had some interesting crafting materials. [1d10] investigationRoll #1 10 = 10
I rub the back of my neck. "I mean that brings me back to my question before. Is there a way close by to follow it that direction? Seems like the best plan right now is to follow the needle. Slow down when we get closer, sneak in and scout out the area that direction. Figure out where we're going and either take care of it directly or lay an ambush. Is there something that way that makes that harder?"
The compass needle spins, then points in the direction of the catacomb entrance.>>737732
You get to the top of the crumbling tower easily, looking out over the now more visible ruins. Looking towards the fire at the catacombs, you can see an armored griffon cooking something there. He seems to be just sitting outside the entrance on his own. He looks very vaguely familiar to you.
Looking further north, you can see the ruins follow a bizarre sort of logic. While everything is scattered haphazardly, it all seems to be pointing towards one specific area that seems to be the epicenter of it all; sitting in the middle of what seems to be an expanse of mud littered by bits of ruins is a large stone door frame, with no door. Everything around it seems to radiate outwards in a circular pattern.>>737734
You spot something glittering jutting out of the swamp, and go to investigate. Marisol follows you out of curiosity. Closer examination reveals a strange rock embedded amidst the ruins. It's the usual dark grey stony colour, but embedded with flecks of gleaming silver. Trying to move it reveals that it's unnaturally light for its size. Whatever this ore is, it's almost certain to be valuable.
He thinks. "We'd be traversing the swamps. The boardwalks could take us so far, but we'll probably have to go off road considering this thing can fly. How well can you traverse swamp land, Black?" he asks. "Here in Withick we're used to it, but visitors, well, you know."
"Hey- I think that is where the knight is!" he says, smiling a little. "Now… what should I focus on next?" he asks.
"Interesting," Hermodur says as he picks it up. "Could be useful. I'll take it with me."
"Do you know what it is?" he asks Marisol.
returning to Zunden's position, i relay what i found to everypony in earshot.>>737730
"As we thought, the knight is just outside the catacombs, a Griffon. These ruins are quite the sight, they all seem to be leading towards a.. door of some sort, in the middle. It isn't connected to anything, simply free-standing. Strange indeed."
"Perhapz it iz zome zort of burial ground. Regardlezz, let uz greet ze individual."
Zunden goes to meet the knight.
Nodding, I follow suit, keeping an eye on the fog as we move.
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 3 = 3
"We can figure out what to look for next- let's go meet up with him, yeah." he says, trotting after the others.
She blinks. "I wouldn't know. That smith Roscoe would though, I bet. Best to hold on to it for now." She offers to put it in her satchel for you.>>737740
"Oh. Curious. Maybe he'll know more," Dawn suggests.>>737742
The fog seems to have dispersed due to Zunden's actions, but is slowly starting to creep back in.>>737743>>737742>>737741>>737739
You approach the catacomb entrance. It appears as a mossy, overgrown stone archway, with a ceiling built around it, presumably leading to a stairway underground. The entrance itself, however, is blocked by a heavy stone door. Above the door is engraved a word, but it is not a language you recognize.
Next to it, up on a small hill, is the knight. He is a yellow griffon in battered, well-worn armor. Seems to be on the older side. He is happily humming to himself as he cooks something atop a campfire he's set up. The backpacks, bedrolls, and nearby tent suggest he's been camping here for a while. For some reason, he seems familiar to you all. More so to Hermodur than anyone else. He doesn't seem aware of your presence, sitting with his back to you, oblivious to being approached.
"Well, I used to practically live in the sewers for a time, so-" I shrug. "Even since I've been here it seems like I've spent a strangely large amount of time in sewers. Can't imagine wading through a swamp is too much different. If you think it's really that bad then I think we got a flyin carpet back at the ship, but walking all the way back to grab it would take a while. Maybe a little over an hour."
"Thank you," Hermodur says as he hands the ore off to Marisol.>>737744
"Quite an odd place to camp," Hermodur calls out to the griffon.
"Oh… looks like we might've found him. I don't think he's noticed us, so let's try to, you know… look friendly." he suggests.
Rabi clears his throat, and calls out "Hello, sir!"
As the others call out to the griffon, i try to piece together just where i've seen him before..
[1d10] memoryRoll #1 9 = 9
He thinks about it. "It should be fine. If it's too much of a hike to whatever this thing is we can turn back and go grab the carpet. I'll go grab some things before we head out, just in case."
You return to the guard barracks, where he, Karras and Overlook go to find some supplies; namely food, water and rope, just in case. From there, you head out of town and start following the swampy boardwalks, this time heading northwest, following your compass. The boardwalks are a maze to navigate, but the guard seem to know the proper way.
Sure enough, however, the compass starts pointing you off the track, and into the mire. Marques and Overlook can fly and therefore have an easier time navigating, but you and Karras have a harder time traversing the swamp.>roll Navigation
Zunden idly twirls her claws in the air, summoning an orb while she waits for the knight to respond to the others.
[1d10+2] Balance (frozen)Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7
I squint through the swamp, looking for the best path I can manage to trudge through without getting sucked too deep into the mire.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
You manage to conjure a Balance rune for yourself.>>737748
You recall meeting this griffon quite a while ago. He was one of the guests staying at the monastery, where you met Aurora. You can't recall his name, but he was serving as a bodyguard to the stallion Aurora killed.>>737746>>737747>>737748>>737750
He jumps a little at the sound of your voices, looking over. He has red eyes and a distinctive scar across his beak. "Oho! Hello. Forgive me, I was absorbed in thought. I am Sir Gawain. …Say. Haven't we met somewhere before?"
Hermodur recognizes him; he traveled with him to Fiddler's Green. They would have continued onward further, had he not been kidnapped by Lysander.
"Watch your step," Marques warns, a second or so too late. You hear an unpleasant squelch as your foot sinks into the mud; you find it impossible to move, and it feels like you're sinking gradually deeper. Karras curses and hurries over to try and help you out.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
I sigh as I wiggle free from the muck. Yeah, that's about what I expected. I give Kris an apologetic smile. "Thanks." Once free, I continue to follow the needle to the best of my ability.
[1d10]Navigate ImproviseRoll #1 8 = 8
"Ah," Hermodur exclaims with pleased respect. "Sir Gawain, I believe it was. We met on that ship that caught on fire… among other things. You were quite the combatant. What brings you all the way out here?"
"Zomeone from your travelz alone, Hermodur?" Zunden asks, "Well if he iz a friend of yourz, he iz a friend of ourz."
Zunden nods to the knight, "Pleazant to meet you."
"Hmm? I, uhm… I don't think I recognize you. My friend might have." he gestures to Hermodur. "We were coming out here to check things out- and, Sprig wanted us to check on you."
recalling where he was, i reply cheerfully
"Ah yes, hello again, Good sir Gawain. As i recall, you were there at the monastery during the events of the murder, correct?"
He blinks with recognition. "Mr Aput! Pleasure to see you again!" he booms jovially. "Pity we were separated. I trust you got out of it in one piece." He looks you over and his face falls a little. "Relatively.">>737756
"Likewise! I wasn't expecting to see anyone else here. It's rare to get to meet new people in these strange lands. Hmm. Perhaps we could work together.">>737757
"Oh, Mr Richelieu sent you. I suppose that would line up. Well, not to worry! I am perfectly fine where I am. I've seen nothing I am not prepared for. But perhaps that's not always the best thing.">>737758
He lights up. "Oh, yes! I remember now. Silver Song, I believe? What a fortune that our paths would cross, and here of all places. You must have quite the stories to tell.">>737755>>737756>>737757>>737758
He frowns. "Aha, it's coming back to me now. "Miss d'Arbanville, is it not?" He looks at Aurora, who frowns a little. "I recall your sentencing at the monastery. A most sordid affair. But, the past is the past. And from what I recall, my employer was quite a nasty piece of work. I only hope you've found peace since." Aurora's not quite sure what to make of him, staying silent for now, glowering a little.
"Hmm-hmm. Well, to answer Mr Aput's question: I'd heard rumors about this strange new place that had manifested, and decided it would be a good venture to investigate it myself. Fortune and glory, all that sort of thing. As befits a knight, of course. I've been here a few days now, but, well, I've run into a wall. Or a door, in this case." He gestures at the sealed catacomb entrance. The thing just won't budge, you see. No matter how long I wait, or try. And I've tried quite a lot. So I've just been sitting here, convalescing, weighing my options."
"By the way. Does the word Anderuelas mean anything to you? It's engraved above the grave there." He points out the foreign lettering. "It's not a word I'm familiar with myself. And it's present all over these ruins. Very mysterious. Hmm."
"Aha, I've been gifted juzt ze artifact for zhiz aczually, hold one moment."
Zunden pulls out the reading glasses gifted by Aegis, trying to keep them on despite lacking ears to keep them in place, eventually getting them hooked on some spikes, "I've never worn glazzez before, I hope I don't look too zilly."
You manage to pull yourself free with a little help. You're covered in mud and grime up to the knees, but it's better than drowning. Karras nods and gives you an encouraging thumbs up.
You press on. The mire begins to open up, giving way to a flat, open plain of reeds and mud. Beyond this, on top of a hill, sits a single dead, twisted tree. Marques and Overlook fly down to join you on foot, glancing at your compass. It points directly towards it. "Looks like that's our destination," Marques muses. "Let's be done with this.">roll Perception
"There is still one piece of me remaining, yes," Hermodur laughs. "You've certain fared better than me."
Hermodur ponders Gawain's story. Anderuealas. It's the sort of word that sounds just strange enough to feel familiar despite it not being familiar. Or maybe it is.
He wracks his mind trying to come up with some memory of that word. But, he mostly comes up false memories where the word is replacing another word he's forgotten. Or is it? [1d10] to remember!?Roll #1 1 = 1
I give him a nod, reach into my robe, and pull out my dart gun. "Guess this is it." I load a sleeper dart and look up at the tree.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
"'Anderuelas'? I'm afraid its meaning escapes me."
"With this news of the door being sealed, perhaps we may find more fruitful explanations further in? From the air i saw what appeared to be a door deeper into the ruins, the surrounding buildings almost appearing to encircle it. If we are to find something of note, perhaps investigating that door could provide answers."
"Oh! Right, the monastery. Sorry, I guess my memory's not the best." he says, shrugging a bit.
"I… hrm. No, I don't think that word means much of anything to me, really." he says, stroking his snout a little bit in thought. "Maybe it's the name of the city, or the leader?"
You put them on. The world seems to come into focus for you all of a sudden; it's like you can see everything just a bit better for the first time. It's a bit overwhelming. Marisol looks you over, and you can't help but notice you can make out individual hairs. "They look nice on you," she comments. "You okay?" Aurora asks with a bit of a frown.
You look over to the catacomb entrance; the unfamiliar lettering comes into focus, and you can comprehend it plainly as if it were second nature. Though you know not the language, you can read the word; it means "Offering". There is a number 1 next to it.>>737762
You're very sure you've never heard it before.
"Hmm… Say, why not try to break it down? You seem much more suited to it than I am, and more capable. Perhaps it could simply be shattered… Hm…">>737764
"Oho! I know the door you mean. Or rather, doorway. I wouldn't get your hopes up, it's quite unremarkable. Though, I did get a rather queer feeling walking through the archway. And there are some odd engravings on it. Almost as if something is to be placed there. I'm certain further answers can be found inside the catacomb. But how to get past that door? It's as if the stone itself defies me…">>737765
"Ah. Pity. Well, I've still much ground to cover. Perhaps if we do some more exploration, all will become clear. Have you done much searching yourselves, by any chance?"
You spot something out of the corner of your eye; a shimmer in the air, accompanied by the beating of wings. You duck, just as you feel a rush of wind and feathers zoom past you. Whatever it was, it tried to swoop you.
Marques looks at you with confusion for a brief moment; then, he cries out as whatever it is manages to attack him, raking his head with sharp talons. He clutches his head and staggers. "What was that?!" he yells, as the others look to the skies warily, ready to fight off another swoop.
Hermodur shrugs and pulls out Mjolnir. "Well, it's worth a try, right?"
>Hunter's Eye on doorway
Hermodur swings the hammer into the door without the rockets.
[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 2 + 2 = 4
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
Zunden stairs at Marisol for a bit, before turning to Aurora, "I zhought zheze only tranzlated wordz, but apparently zhey inhanze my ability to zee az well. Fur lookz zo ztrange, it'z juzt many zmall hairz?" Zunden asks incredulously.
She turns to Gawain, "Zhey are apparently plazez of Offering. I do not know what iz to be offered here, but it haz ze number one next to it."
she looks for any context clues to the the word offering [1d10]
Roll #1 6 = 6
I cover my head with my hands and watch for whatever is attacking. There's no way it was moving fast enough to completely avoid detection. It has to be either invisible or really, really good at camouflage. Contining to keep an eye out, I give the bell another ring as the bird attacks marques.
"We haven't done much ourselves- I'd be happy to bring along another person!" he says, flicking his tail excitedly. "What all have you found?"
"An offering? How odd. Perhaps there might be some trace of what they had in mind?"
seeing Zunden scoping the area out, i join in, looking for evidence of what the runes meant.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 10 = 10
"Well, let's see now… I ascended the stairs, and found nothing save for the lettering. The ritual circle with the stone knight has the same word, but I dare not remove the sword from its body. I have a feeling it will spring to life. It's shameful, but I'm afraid I'm a bit too plump to be taking on a stone golem on my own. Hm… The same phrase appeared at the archway Miss Song spotted. Perhaps the stone golem would be our first step?…">>737768>>737769>>737772>>737771
Gawain, Aurora and Marisol watch with anticipation as Hermodur slams his hammer into the door. In lieu of a thud or crack of metal on stone, there is a resounding BOOM
like a funeral bell that threatens to crack the firmament, and a powerful impact that sends out a shockwave from the door, making you all stagger.
Gawain blinks, his feathers ruffled. "My. That was quite something. I can't say I expected THAT." Marisol looks to the door, pointing out what's changed; it exhibits a white shimmer across its surface for about five seconds, then slowly fades back to solid plain stone.
Zunden, however, sees something new that no one else can; branding the door, highlighted slightly in a magical white sheen, is the imprint of a sword, impossible to see otherwise. It's as if something is to be placed here to grant access. Silver chooses to investigate closer, running a hoof over the door; she detects a slight but present groove in the shape of said sword, near invisible to the naked eye.
It comes into view; or rather, they do. You are being harried by a corvid unlike any you've seen before back home. It is about the size of your average raven, with glossy blue-black feathers and piercing red eyes like rubies that seem to glow even in the midday sun. It opens its beak to shriek at you, but most peculiarly, no sound comes out, at least none you can hear. Looking up, you see several more of them circling above, watching you and waiting for the opportune moment.
The bird swipes at Marques again, but he swipes back with his claw. It seems to realize it's been spotted, and flies off, rejoining the circling flock above. "What is this devilry?" he hisses.
I swallow. Well, I recognise the feathers, at least. Looking down at my robe, I compare the two really quickly. "Pretty sure these are Mournwings." I'd only planned for fighting normal sized targets. "We're not on any kind of time crunch so I think we should leave and come back more prepared. I don't know about you guys, but a swarm of birds isn't what I prepared for this morning. On the plus side, now we're comfortably in my area of expertise." I duck a little and shield my head. "If we need to take care of it right away for whatever reason then I can probably work something out, but if not then I'll have it done by tomorrow."
Marques nods and grimaces. He, Karras and Overlook retreat, the flock circling above you until you are well and truly out of their area.
"Mournwings," Overlook grumbles. "I'd heard of them before. Invisible birds that covet treasure like dragons." "I bet Sprig setting up here is what did it," Karras comments with a frown. "Him and his fancy trinkets and baubles. Brought a whole murder of ruby-eyed crows down on us." Marques broods silently as you trudge back through the quagmires towards town. "At least we know for sure it's not someone in town now," he muses. "But how do we get rid of a flock of birds like that?…"
"Well, now we're really in my territory. I probably mentioned this, but I worked in exterminatiin, varmint removal, and animal control for years, and I've delt with things like unwanted crows, pidgeons, and sparrows before. Gotta look into it a little since I never actually delt with mournwings specifically before, so I'm sure it'll be a little different, but if I'm lucky it'll be as easy as sneakin up to their nest and gassin 'em."
"I'd like to say that taking the sword would probably be fine, but… you're probably right on it being a golem. Things here asre strange, to say the least."
Rabi conceals a startled whinny as Hermodur slams his hammer against the door with a thunderous bang, which scatters his thoughts a little too much to think over just yet. The stallion lets out a soft huff, before getting back on track. "Anywho… with all of us here, checking that golem out'd be fine, I think."
"I assume a specific sword?"
Zunden shrugs, "I did not make zhiz temple."
"Gawain said he saw a sword in a…stone golem's hoof?"
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
"How are we meant to sneak up on them when we don't know where they are?" Karras points out. "These things can vanish in the blink of an eye." He's not wrong; looking back at the circling flock, you see that they've completely disappeared.
"We have that bell," says Overlook. "We can just ring it and see where they are."
"It'll alert them," Marques growls as he pushes through a patch of reeds. "These things are much more clever than they seem to be stealing from us for months. If only we knew more about them. What do you think?" he asks you.>>738550>>738546
You take a closer look at the imprint. Though it is faded, you can make out the reason you could read it; it's not just markings, but letters, spelling out a poem of sorts in the shape of the sword. It's too small to read without peering closely, though…>>738545>>738546>>738547
"The stone knight over yonder may hold the answers," Gawain points out, gesturing towards a nearby ritual circle flanked by decorative stone gargoyles. In the middle of a shallow water pool is a statue of an earth pony knight wielding a great round shield. It is kneeling in defeat and, as Gawain described, impaled through the back by a great blade. Zunden and Silver notice it seems to be more or less the right shape for the door; the handle is even shaped like that of a key.
"I don't like the looks of that," Marisol comments warily, hand on her shortsword. "Last time I fought an knight like that I almost died." She gives Hermodur a meaningful look, and he recalls his repeated encounters in the Weeping City with the vengeful spirit of Sir Bastion. She seems hesitant to approach it.
"I don't doubt it's going to come to life as soon as we pull that out," says Aurora with a bit of a frown, leaning on her walking stick slightly. "The only real question is who's going to be the one to do it."
"Perhaps I could give it a try?" Dawn suggests. "I could wrest it free from afar with telekinesis."
"I think we should keep exploring," Marisol weighs in. "See what else there is to see in this place, then get out of here. We're not here to play along with whoever built this place, we're here to scout for Sprig. Right?"
"I must confess I rather fancy the challenge," Gawain elaborates. He seems eager to prove himself in combat. "But as I said, I couldn't do it alone. What say you? Shall we take the bait?"
Zunden approaches the poem to look it over, "Zhere iz an inzcription on ze poem, perhapz we zhould read it over before
we go activating a defenze mechanizm."
You take a closer look. You don't recognize the language, and the lettering is faded and weathered by aeons, but you can still read it:When the sun rises, the shadows must retreat
Fleeing in fear from the fires of dawn.
The night never knew that its end was fleet
As a new king bears beacons for the forlorn.
The sun rises, yes – but from the west it will shine
Marching e'er eastward, to be eternally enshrined.
"Well, like I said. I'm gonna take the rest of the day to do some research. Find out what I can from books Mr.Sprig might have, and then we have a bestiary that I might be able to get to update with Mournwing info. I can only really have a vague idea of what to do until I know how they behave. I do have a couple of "all around" options that would probably work, but I want to see if I can't think of something easier. Either way, unless there's something seriously dangerous about them besides their invisibility and numbers I have it under control from here."
"Zomezhing about ze zun rizing from ze wezt and marching eazt, zhadowz running, and a new king. I feel it'z a good idea not to rezite old textz in zheir full juzt in caze it invokez a curze or ze like."
She looks to the statue, "It might be directionz for when we're inzide ze ruinz proper? Maybe make ze golem walk a zertain direction?"
"You didn't die, though," Hermodur says to Marisol. "Because I was there. And, I'm here now."
"I like Dawn's plan. I say take the sword.">>738555
"Well, if it comes down to it… I could try pulling the sword in. If it does come for me, I'm quick to get to my hooves."
"An excellent idea, Sir Gawain. That sword there, embedded in the statue, matches the shape of the symbol by the door. Surely it must be the key, yes?"
"While we were here only to scout the ruins, surely something as quick as retrieving the sword won't interrupt us too greatly."
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
He nods. "Alright. We'll work on putting together a larger team for an assault, if necessary. Hopefully we'll be able to put an end to all this by tomorrow."
The journey back through the swamp is relatively uneventful; by the hour, you're back on the boardwalks and heading through the main gate of Withick. You're a bit grubby from the trek, but otherwise unharmed. Looking around, everything seems to be business as usual in town. Guards are on patrol, and miscellaneous denizens of the swamp town are going about their business. You spot Roscoe the smith working on forging a helmet, looking up to nod at you in acknowledgement before returning to his work.
You move on, heading up to Caer Portach. Just outside the castle grounds, you notice a grubby, homeless looking female owl griffon engaged in conversation with a rather intimidating unicorn, covered in scars and wearing a black coat that seems to conceal a great many items beneath. They both look at you, the unicorn with a rather predatory stare and the owl griffon with a concerned frown. Neither of them make an attempt to contact you.
Inside, things are starting to get a little lively. There are a handful of patrons already populating the bar, and you can see Lily bringing drinks to a table. She looks up as you enter, smiling and bustling over to you. "Hey! How's the day been? Can I get you something?"
A little put off by the unicorn, I periodically glance back over my shoulder as I walk up to Lily. "Probably in a little bit," I say. "For now I gotta see Mr.Sprig again. Got some research to do about a job."
"Perhaps we are to lead it here," Dawn muses.>>738556
She does a bit of a double take, giving you a strange look. Her expression is unreadable. "…Yes. You are." She looks like she's about to say something more, but whatever's on her mind, you are not privy to it yet.>>738558
"Aha! Even more reason to undertake this trial!" Gawain looks excited to fight alongside you.>>738555>>738556>>738557>>738558
You approach the ritual circle, passing through the stone archway. The grotesque gargoyles leer down at you as you enter, as if beckoning you forward. Looking around the shallow, flooded circle, you notice some strange architecture: the walls of this place are not walls at all, but seats. This is no ritual circle. It's a colisseum.
The giant horse knight is sculpted with regal armor of stone, with a crown built into its helmet. It is made to be leaning on the circular stone shield it wields, its head bowed. "Do you suppose it represents someone in particular?" Aurora asks in a hushed voice. She seems a bit intimidated now that you're more up close.
Dawn hesitates, then reaches out with telekinesis, trying to dislodge the blade. To your surprise, it slides out easily, with the soft grinding of stone on stone. The effort seems to strain her, and she wrests it free, letting it fall at your party's feet before letting out a heavy sigh of exertion.
For a minute, nothing happens.
Then, as Aurora predicted, the knight begins to stir, ancient stone rumbling and cracking as it moves from the stance it's held for ineffable centuries, taking up its shield and rearing up to its full, imposing height. It stares down at you all; then, with a single, fluid motion unbefitting of its great mass, it gets into a defensive stance, readying its stone greatshield and trudging towards you with hostile intent. Gawain pulls out his own greatsword, and your other companions all get ready for a fight.
Readying my shivs, i watch as Dawn removes the blade from the knight. As the statue stirs, i step into the fog, attempting to fade from view.
"Right, an expected effect from the sword, but i must ask, what are we to do with it? Is it connected to the door, or merely it's key guardian?"Roll #1 8 = 8
Hermodur draws Mjolnir as the golem approaches. He takes a few steps back, interested to see whether the thing actually intends to fight or is merely going somewhere.
Still, all the same, he readies himself and lights Mjolnir.
>Sentry, Sharpen>Hunter's Eye on the golem knight
"Oh, sure. Just a mo'."
Lily goes and fetches Dahlia, who goes and talks to Sprig. You're left waiting for a good few minutes until the latter comes to find you, phlegmatic as ever. "Follow me, please."
She leads you up one of the castle's towers, to a place you hadn't been before. It looks to be set up like some sort of magical laboratory, with a plethora of the usual oddities you'd associate with Sprig decorating the circular room. A huge armillary sphere hangs from the ceiling, illuminating the room with an eternal flame lit within. On the shelves, strange stones of many colors (including some you don't recognize) and grim preserved creatures are stored in pickled jars. A paper crane flies around the room idly, occasionally stopping to preen itself. One wall panel is entirely replaced with a giant map, ostensibly of the Echoes themselves.
Sprig is off to the side, bent over the unreadable map. It is glowing a brilliant mauve, and he has his hands pressed firmly against it, his gloves glowing the same hue. He seems to be concentrating hard, but looks up as you enter, stopping his efforts for now. "Mr Black," he says genially, nodding deeply in greeting. "What brings you back here so soon?"
Zunden passively mulls over what the poem could mean as she sits on a stone, gathering her strength.
>Bask: Severance>Insight [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Rabi readies his magic bow as Dawn reaches out to take the sword, keeping himself coiled and tense until… he spots it beginning to move. He doesn't waste much time after that, attempting to cripple the Stone Knight just as it readies itself.>Magic Bow: [1d10+2] (Knockout)Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
I look around at everything in wonder. Jeeze. How much stuff does this guy have? "Must've been hard to move all of this," I say. Clearing my throat, I turn my attention back to him. "Turns out it wasn't a pickpocket. It's a murder of Mournwings. I was hoping maybe I could use your library to do a little research before tackling it."
"Only one way to find out," says Marisol. She lunges forward and tries to grab the heavy sword.
You fly up to the top of the wall and to the side, watching its inexorable approach warily.>>738564
You fire up Mjolnir. It seems to acknowledge this, its heavy stone head turning stiffly to face you. Its approach changes course, fixed on you now.>>738566
You mull over the words of the poem, but its meaning eludes you. Surely the fact that it speaks of kings is related to the stone knight's kingly visage…>>738567
The knight's shield seems to protect it from ranged attacks! Your arrow seems to have an effect regardless, as a magical pulse spreads from its impact spot on the shield and across its body. In lieu of flinching, the knight seems to "shut down" for a moment, reassuming the defeated kneeling position you found it in.>>738567>>738566>>738564>>738563
Rabi's magic arrow seems to have downed it, if only for a moment. "A fine shot!" Gawain proclaims exuberantly. "Let us try and take this sword before it recovers!" He and Marisol try and hoist the sword up as the knight slowly recovers from the shot.
Dawn is too spent from the exertion to join in, instead trying to attack the knight with a magic blast.
Aurora joins Silver in hiding and watching from afar.Roll #1 2, 6 = 8
/ Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8
/ Roll #3 3 + 1 = 4
With the knight downed, i dive from my position to grab the sword, dragging it away and towards the door!>bounce
[1d10] StrengthRoll #1 2 = 2
"If we destroy it completely, perhaps it won't be able to recover," Hermodur suggests. "Worth a try," he says before winding Mjolnir back for a swing.
The rocket roars, and the hammer slams into the knight.
>[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
/ Roll #2 2 + 3 = 5
"Not as hard as you'd think. My hobbies tend to lead to… unconventional methods of transport." He doesn't elaborate.
"Mournwings," he echoes with a knowing smile. "Yes, of course they are. I haven't encountered them myself, but I've heard of them from wayward travelers. If you encounter Messrs Rosencrantz and Gildernstern again, you should ask them to regale you about their own encounters with those feathered fiends." He chuckles.
"I believe I have writings on them somewhere in my library. Miss Dahlia, if you'd be so kind?" "Of course, sir." She looks to you, gesturing at a door that you could've sworn wasn't there a minute ago. "Through here, please."
Rabi lunges in as well, trying to help yank the sword free. "N-Not much else I can do with the bow anyways, ehehe… that's a pretty solid shield.">[1d10] StrengthRoll #1 9 = 9
I cock my eyebrow as the not door is a door, but follow his lead through it. Doesn't sound like these guys are gonna be easy to deal with.
Seeing as the others have the fighting sorted, Zunden continues to ruminate on the meaning of the text, looking over the golem and summoning orbs idly in the meantime.
[1d10] insightRoll #1 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
It is far too heavy for you to manage, despite your best efforts.>>738573
Between you and Marisol, you manage to hoist the sword up and start dragging it away. It's extremely heavy, being a five foot long greatsword of solid stone, but you should be able to manage.>>738571
Gawain gives up on trying to help with the sword, cheering you on as you slam the shield. A spidery crack bursts out from the impact spot, weakening it considerably. "A hit! A fine hit! Huzzah!!">>738575
A thought strikes you. The poem calls for a new king to bear a beacon for the forlorn. The statue could represent the old king. Perhaps placing the sword in the door hole will defeat this new aggressor?>>738575>>738570>>738573>>738571
The knight resumes its standing position as Hermodur cracks its shield, staring the hammer-wielding Felid down emotionlessly. With a single fluid motion, it hurls the shield like a discus, sending it hurtling towards Hermodur and Gawain!>roll to dodge, instant
Gawain tries to fly out of the way before dive bombing the knight-king with his sword!
Marisol tries to keep helping with the sword!
Dawn joins in after having caught her breath!
Aurora's scarf glows white, and she sends a strengthening spell at Hermodur!>Hermodur is Bolstered: next roll to recover from helplessness is successfulRoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 8 = 8
/ Roll #4 3 = 3
Hermodur quickly ducks under the shield. [1d10]
Then, he swings his hammer up into the groin of the golem.
>[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 6 + 3 = 9
/ Roll #3 10 + 3 = 13
"Alright, let's keep this thing moving. I don't want to leave them dealing with that alone for any longer than we need to.>Strength: [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
Landing, i try to help carry the sword away, levering it onto my back to shoulder it away!
"Goodness, this sword is quite heavier than expected!">>738577
"Excellent work, Hermodur!" you hear a short distance away. "Just a little more time, we've nearly got the blade now!"Roll #1 1 = 1
Seeing the shield be flung out at the two valant warriors, Zunden finally gets up from her perch, holding out her claw as her Return ruin dissolves, sending the shield back to the golem before it can even strike it's targets.
>instant automatic, Return (8)
She then assists in moving the sword to the wall.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8
She leads you through the archway to a huge library of books, a great rectangular room with a low ceiling filled with rows of shelves containing tomes of all shapes and sizes. You feel like you could spend hours going through all these, but Dahlia leads you firmly to a corner of it, pulling out a specific book. It looks very similar to Zunden's bestiary, only older and more tatty. "A book of beasts and plants of these lands," she says, showing you to a table where you can sit and read for a bit. "If you require anything from me or my master, the way back is through any door." She gestures to a door right in front of you that seems to lead back to the magic lab; the architectural layout of that doesn't match up in your head at all, but it's better not to question it.
"Spend as much time as you like here," Dahlia continues. "No book is forbidden to a guest of Sprig." With that, she bows slightly and exits through the door, leaving you with your thoughts, clutching a manky old book.
I smile and nod. "Alright. Thank you, Ms.Dahlia
." I take a seat, and start flipping through the bestiary, specifically looking for Mournwings for now.
You deftly get out of the way of the incoming shield, countering the attack with a devastating uppercut, splintering the ancient carven stone. You are almost blinded by what shines through the cracks; within the knight-king is a fierce, fiery light, bright as the sun.>>738578>>738577>>738579>>738580
Marisol and Zunden manage to get the sword about halfway to the catacomb door. Gawain flinches as the shield hurtles toward him, but blinks as it simply dissipates, reappearing at the knight-king's side. This has the unintended side effect of slightly sealing some of the cracks Hermodur caused, however.
The knight-king looks around, seeing the party trying to get away with the sword. He flings the shield again, this time at Rabi and Silver!>dodge, instant
He then swings one powerful stone hoof at Hermodur in a sucker punch!
Gawain follows up on Hermodur's swing, stabbing and prying away some of the stone. He jabs at the knight-king's stone body in an attempt to open another weak point! "Hyaaaah! Have at you, foul golem!"
Marisol keeps trying to help with the sword!
Dawn provides ranged support for Gawain and Hermodur!
[1d10]Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 5 = 5
/ Roll #4 10 = 10
Hermodur quickly blocks the punch with his shield.
>Bulwark, instant automatic
Then, he aims for the same crack he already created with a side-swipe of Mjolnir.
>[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
/ Roll #2 7 + 3 = 10
With the shield hurtling towards us, i try to dive out of the way of the projectile, before returning to lifting the sword.
[1d10] StrengthRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
"Oh, not that." he says, trying to avoid the shield.>Dodge [1d10]>Strength [1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
/ Roll #2 4 = 4
Letting out a bassy giggle, Zunden channels her determination to see her friends unharmed, invoking the Chariot to send the shield back in it's place again.
She continues moving the sword with her allies
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
You flip through a whole menagerie of fantastic beasts before finding the page you're looking for.
>MOURNWING SPAWN/MOURNWING MOTHER>Threat level: High
>Strange birds found throughout the Echoes. Though they appear relatively innocuous, their existence is inherently magical in nature. They are well known for their lustrous black and blue feathers, which possess a mysterious trait that allows the birds to turn invisible at will, making them a valuable resource in crafting.
>Unlike normal birds, Mournwing ecology has more in common with insects than birds. They do not mate, instead mindlessly serving what is called a Mournwing Mother, a much larger variant of the regular birds. The smaller birds are spawned asexually and fully grown of a single feather from the Mother. Much like dragons or Dogs, Mournwing Mothers are lapivores, or gem-eaters, while their spawn are carnivorous. Thus, much like a queen bee, the Mother issues commands to her spawn to mindlessly serve her by hunting treasures to bring back to the nest, either to line it or to serve as food.
The sheer force of the stone punch sends you stumbling backwards. The lion shield buckles under the force of it, becoming dented and warped by the blow. Not stopping to examine the shield, you lash out with Mjolnir again, sweeping the stone knight off his hooves with the force of your swing and crashing into the wall with a burst of light. The colosseum rumbles and shakes under the force of your spar.>>738586>>738587
You duck for cover, but are unharmed thanks to Zunden's divine intervention. Silver strains to help carry the sword, and through teamwork, you manage to bring it back to the catacomb entrance.>>738588
You reach out and protect Silver and Rabi from being slammed by the shield. The Return rune flashes and spins as the shield reappears on the knight-king. Unfortunately for Hermodur and Gawain, this also repairs the shield to its full extent, effectively undoing Hermodur's damage to it.>>738588>>738587>>738585>>738586
Gawain's attack rings true, and Dawn follows up with a magic blast from behind that sends the knight-king reeling. With the newly repaired shield back on it, the knight-king goes a bit more on the defensive, swinging at Hermodur and Gawain with a shield bash!
He also starts turtling as he faces Dawn, keeping the shield up to prevent further damage.
Dawn fires another missile, while Gawain tries to blindside the knight-king with an aerial attack!
Aurora flies off and tries to help Silver, Rabi and Marisol with the giant sword! "Come on, we're almost there…!"
[2d10]Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
/ Roll #2 10, 8 = 18
/ Roll #3 2, 8 = 10
Running out of tricks and not wanting to plate with fate too much in the same encounter, Zunden instead focuses her all into moving the sword to it's place before the attacks connect.
[1d10] moveRoll #1 9 = 9
Well, they're definitely intimidating, but it looks like, unless one of the regular mournwings becomes a mother somehow, the main thing is just getting rid of the queen. I run my hand across the top of my head and sigh. I really don't want to have to pull out the flamethrower on a bunch of birds, but it sounds like that's my best option. I don't know. Maybe put a pin in it. Wish I had a better chance to watch their behavior. The book doesn't even mention if they hunt during the day or night, but from how things have been I guess I can guess they're diurnal. I'll look over what I have. With a quiet sigh, I flip through the bestiary a little more, not looking for anything in particular, but knowing it'd be nice to have some information ahead of time in case we run into something. I might even come back and read it more later.
Hermodur is bashed back by the shield bash. He assesses the situation and decides it's time to attempt something new. He holds Mjolnir in his left hand and lifts his right prosthetic hand up to face the knight-king. From the center of his mechanical palm comes a magical blast.
>Roiling Flame: ranged; Hurl an orb of unstable magical flame from your prosthetic hand. Crits on 9+, critfails on 2-. Recharge 1 by default. Further uses of it increase the crit range by 1, but also increase the recharge and critfail range, to a maximum of 6+ crit, 5- critfail, recharge 4.>[1d10+1]Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
[1d100]Roll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 91 = 91
/ Roll #3 37 = 37
The shield's path was diverted! with a sigh of relief, i continue the struggle to move the blade to the door!
[1d10] strengthRoll #1 5 = 5
Seeing her ally in more dire need, however, Zunden goes to assist her ally, invoking Temperance to balance the playing field to be more fair.
>Temperance on Hermodur
"J-Just a little more, right. One last push." the slender Saddle Arabian says, huffing from exertion.>Strength: [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
You invoke Temperance to aid Hermodur, spinning the thread of fate in a different direction.>>738593
You charge up your prosthetic contraption, thrusting your palm out and firing a flaming orb. It has little effect on the stone behemoth, and the shield bash knocks you and Gawain aside like bowling pins. The knight-king looms over you, shield in hoof, ready to deliver a fatal blow to your skull…>>738591>>738595>>738597
"Heave!" Aurora cries as the five of you struggle to lift the sword together. With a satisfying click, it falls into place…>>738597>>738596>>738595>>738593
As the sword is placed in the door to unlock it, there's a gentle pulse of magical energy from it, ruffling your hair and spreading across the ruins. As it reaches the murderous knight-king, he freezes in place, holding the pose for the briefest of moments. Cracks run over the statue's body, and with a soft sight and a flash of brightest white, it crumbles, falling into small fragments all around and over Hermodur and Gawain.
The latter takes a moment to recover, still lying flat on his back from the blow. As he picks himself up and dusts himself off, it takes him a minute to realize what happened. "Haha!" he crows. "A fine battle! We dispatched the golem with great dispatch! Well done, my friends!" He offers to help up Hermodur before joining the rest of the group over by the door, which has simply vanished, along with the sword. Where it was is a smaller, much more manageable sword of stone, lying on the ground and waiting to be claimed.
"That was something, huh," Marisol nods with a slight smile. "That sword was much heavier than I thought."
"It was quite a performance," Dawn agrees, teleporting over to the rest of the group. "A fine job by all accounts."
"I was about ready to join in beating him up myself," Aurora comments. "Only question is who's gonna take the sword. Sprig will want to see this."
Hermodur notices something lying amidst the remains of the old knight-king; it reminds him of the black, oily gems left behind by Prowlers upon death, but while those are dark and vile, this one seems fair to look on, being a small, perfectly spherical stone that shines with brilliant light.
You read up on three different creatures in the Echoes out of curiosity:
>GRIPPER>Threat level: High
>Predatory plant-like monsters found in open fields. At rest, they are indistinguishable from the ground, their only telltale sign being a cluster of broad, flat leaves that sprouts small purple flowers. When a creature approaches, the leaves give way to a gaping maw of teeth that runs several meters into the earth. Their fangs inject a fluid that keeps blood from clotting, and because the teeth are angled downward, climbing out of a Gripper is extremely difficult. The victim rapidly loses consciousness through blood loss and pain, at which point the Gripper will slowly swallow its prey.
>Even if one is saved, a Gripper bite is usually lethal due to their unique venom which results in massive blood loss. The only effective medicine for this, ironically, is a grey salve that uses Gripper flowers as its primary ingredient. Due to their nature, Grippers cannot grow in stone, only in deep earth.
>SHADOWCAT>Threat level: Medium
>A large black and white feline, not unlike a tiger. Shadowcats are only found in cold snowy regions, where they are vicious predators. Much like tigers, shadowcats hunt alone. Much like a Mournwing, a shadowcat's fur is notable for its magical properties, allowing the creature to turn almost entirely invisible.
>Weak: Fire, Dark
>MIRODAN>Threat level: High
>Large predatory sea-dwelling amphibians with fish-like flippers, reptilian heads, and a mane of long strips of mottled skin. The latter strongly resembles a clump of seaweed, and Mirodan are known to use this as cover when hunting for their prey. Their long, blue, bristly tongues are prehensile and extremely sticky, and Mirodan use these to ensnare their prey. Many a beachcomber has inadvertently walked past some seaweed drifted ashore, only to be promptly devoured by the beasts.
>When on land, Mirodan are known to excrete a transparent mucus that helps them get a grip on rocks. The Isle of Glass, off the southern shore of the Echoes, got its name from being coated in generations upon generations of Mirodan slime, giving the Isle a distinctive glassy appearance. It is a breeding ground for their kind, and all attempts to drive the Mirodan off of it have failed, as they reproduce extremely quickly.
>Resistant: Fire, Ice
Hermodur falls on his behind and resigns to taking a beating. However, just as he's about to be hit, the knight-king disappears. "That was good timing…"
"Thanks for the help," he says to Zunden. He pulls out his sun and uses it to heal the damage he took.
As he does, the light causes him to notice the spherical light stone. He bends over and picks it up. He looks it over. "Huh," he mutters and shows it to Zunden. "Would you like this?" he offers it.
Huh. Welp. Guess I already knew things here were really freaking scary. Just gotta keep an eye out if I'm near the beach, in a field, or wherever a cat can go now. Shutting the book, I stand up, stretch my back, and leave the room to go find Purdue.
Zunden begins preparing a healing spell as she watches Hermodur heal himself, nodding. "I'll identify it in time, I would zay ze zword zhould go to ze knight, if we do not find more zuitable treazure to zhare - he iz after all azzizting uz in zhiz endeavor, and I would not zee him unrewarded."
She takes the stone in hand, comparing it to the Prowler gemstone ring she wears.
>Bask: Healing Bonds
Rabi picks up the stone sword with a curious hum, giving it a once-over. This is… a lot less of a pain, I think. I wonder if anything's up with it."
Somehow, you find yourself in the room you were looking for, the one with the skeleton of Old Peculiar and all the charts. You see that Purdue's been given a little setup; he's placed on a sort of pedestal above the table, and has a magnifying glass setup to be able to better parse the texts. He seems so engrossed by the star-charts that he doesn't even notice you come in.
"Gawain is a good knight, he deserves it," Zunden nods.
"Whoops- right. Sorry, my curiosity got the better of me." He says, passing it to Gawain.
Finally hefting the sword into the door, i sit on my haunches, catching my breath from the effort.
"Phew.. goodness, that was quite the struggle."
with the sword and door fading away, i trot over to Rabi, inspecting the dropped sword as well.
"Oh? a blade for the effort? How curious.."
I can't help feeling a little disoriented and nausiated by the weird arcitecture, but I guess it's more convenient this way. I step into the room, stop several feet from Purdue, and clear my throat to announce myself. "You want me to see if you can stay a little longer? I'm gonna go get some food, go back to the ship, and sleep the rest of the day. Plans changed and I'm going out tonight instead."
"Curious," Gawain muses, looking over your shoulder at the shining pearl that was within the knight-king. "Very curious indeed. Our friend Sprig will be able to elucidate, I'm sure.">>738602>>738606
"Oh, no, I couldn't," he says politely. "I'm flattered, but I couldn't possibly betray my Eleonora!" He unsheathes his greatsword, showing it off proudly. It's an enormous zweihander, weathered and chipped by time, but it's plain to see that he's lovingly kept it in as good condition as he can over the years. The name of the sword is engraved on the flat of the blade.>>738603>>738607
As Rabi picks up the stone sword and inspects it, you notice something odd; waving it around seems to produce a dull humming sound, almost like the bell sound you heard when Hermodur struck the barrier. It also seems to glow faintly, much like the stone Hermodur found.>>738600>>738602>>738603>>738607
As you deliberate on what to do with the sword, Marisol looks at it with curiosity, looking at her own basic steel sword. She doesn't say anything, though, instead pulling out her portable sun and using it as a light source as she takes a few tentative steps down the new path towards the catacombs. "I wonder how far this goes," she muses.
He almost falls off the plinth as you announce yourself. "Ahem. Hello again. Sorry, I was just… engrossed by my findings. It seems I owe you an apology. You were right before, about the curvature of the earth. Who would have known we were standing on a sphere hurtling through space? Fascinating…""Er, I feel I've seen enough for one day. It's given me a lot to think about. This is all mind-boggling, but I feel I ought to pace myself If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to go back home, yes.""Plans changed? What happened?"
He sounds a tad concerned.
"If you're sure, Gawain… huh. This is sort of… strange. The sword hums, and it… glows? Bizarre." he says, before flicking his ears and looking to Marisol. "Hard to say- should we check?"
Rabi will also try pointing the sword in different directions, in case the humming changes.
"I'm sure your sword is better," Hermodur comments to Marisol as he follows close to her. "Let's find out where this leads."
Zunden nods at Gawain's response, casting out healing magic towards her allies. "Zhen at leazt allow me to mend your woundz."
>Using own healing orb for the +1>[1d10+3] Healing Bonds: Zunden, Gawain, Hermodur (all frozen)Roll #1 5 + 3 = 8
It seems to hum when you swing it. You notice also that the shape of the sword is different to the one that was the key to opening the catacombs; it has a slender curve to it, as well as a hoof guard. More of a pirate's saber than a longsword, to be specific. The glow it has could even lead you to calling it a light saber…>>738611>>738612>>738613
You start heading down into the catacombs. You quickly find that it leads to a slippery slope, which, were it not for the lights that guide you, would have thrown you into a yawning pit deep into the earth, a huge, square excavation with no visible bottom. The stairs along the pit are narrow and precarious, built directly into the stone walls, little more than narrow outcroppings and ledges. All it would take is one slight slip to plummet to your deaths.
Looking down, you can see an occasional archway leading into an excavated room, though it is too dark to see what they contain without entering. The darkness in this place is almost oppressive.Can you hear me?
A familiar voice rings out all of a sudden. It's Etrigan. It seems to be in your heads, coming from no discernible source. Looking at your companions, you can tell that Marisol, Aurora and Dawn can hear it too. Gawain, however, is not privy, looking confused more than anything.Are you there? I think I've discovered something. I hope this works.
Descending into the catacombs with the others, i watch the shadows warily.
"Interesting.. What could these rooms be? A catacombs of some sort?"
hearing Etrigan of all things in my head, i pause, attempting to speak with him in a similar way."Etrigan?"
i think aloud, curious if he can hear.
>>738614How did you do that?
Hermodur asks in his head, both in an attempt to communicate and as a test to see if it works both ways.
Gawain takes the orb of frozen light, examining it curiously. "How curious. Thank you, madame. How does it work?"
"Well," I say, picking him up and tying him back to my waist. "Turns out it ain't a pickpocket. It's a bunch of birds. Luckily in theory it shouldn't be too hard to deal with. Harder than a pickpocket in most ways, but not as hard as it could be." I look around for the exit. "The main problem when you have an infestation ain't killin the living ones. That's easy. It's keeping the ones you miss from breeding and pumping the infestation right back up. Turns out these birds are less like mice or bedbugs and more like ants. They have a queen and she's the only one who reproduces. Means if we get the queen before she can make a new one, the infestation naturally dies on its own. Probably more likely with some help from me and maybe the guards, but once one is dead it won't be replaced."
"You can will it to appear or reappear on your own voilizion, in ze caze you need a light. By ze zame regard, you can will it to be uzed, healing you and giving you zmall burzt of ztrengzh. You don't have to phyzically do anyzhing, but I have a habit of clozing my clawz around it az I uze it. It'z uh.." The scales on Zunden's cheeks darken just slightly, "I zhink it'z more dramatic zhat way.">>738614
Zunden thinks back to connecting with Etrigan before using runes, Are you perhaps using the Union rune trick from before? It'd be surprising if you got that much range with it.
Zunden turns to Gawain, making sure he's not out of the loop, "An ally iz zpeaking to uz in our mindz right now, apologiez for ze confuzion. It zeemz to be a new zkill of zheirz."
"Huh… a glowing saber. Neat, to say the least. Doesn't see mto hum any more or less if I point it different places.
Deep in the catacombs, the stallion lets out a soft whinny as he hears Etrigan's voice.Hmm? Oh, Etrigan- Is it… what's going on now?
"Tombs," Marisol affirms. "For what or who, I know not. Such a strange architecture to the place. It's like it's made to be as uncomfortable as possible…"
"It was likely made to keep people out," Gawain points out.
"Or something in," Aurora muses darkly.>>738619
"How queer," he remarks, practicing willing the light in and out of existence a few times. "This is a magic I haven't seen before. Very useful. Thank you kindly!"
He handwaves your perceived embarrassment. "Stuff and nonsense! What's the point in glory and honor if you can't put on a bit of a show while claiming it? Hm?" He pulls himself up to his full height and sticks his chest out proudly.>>738615>>738616>>738619>>738621Finally.
He sounds relieved. I've been trying to make contact for hours. Hopefully it doesn't get broken somehow.Since yesterday, I've been experimenting with my new affinity with this ship. It seems one of the benefits is being able to communicate like this. It's difficult, but it does work. Norv and I tested it earlier today. Once it's established like it is now, we can speak at any time.That's great news!
It's Dawn's thoughts speaking. Even if we're apart on some adventure like now, we're still connected?Seems so. If you need me for anything, to maneuver the ship somewhere, you can tell me. …Or if you just want to talk, we can do that too. …Not like I'm going anywhere.
Dahlia and Sprig aren't around to show you out, but you manage to find the exit yourself eventually. "I see. …But what about the immediate problem? They'll die on their own, yes, but how are you supposed to ensure they'll all be killed here and now? If you kill the queen, they'll still be a problem for a while, won't they?"
"Well, gonna try to figure out a better way, but if I can't it seems like fire does the trick. A couple problems with that. One, I don't like the idea of burning a bunch of birds alive. Two, I want to try and get back as much stolen stuff as I can manage, and that isn't an option if it's all slag. I'd be worried about all the trees causing a big forest fire or something, but you see this place. Don't think that'll be an issue. Definitely want to take a few alive to try and sell to the local apothecary if I can, though. Assuming she can even use them."
>>738622Good to know, thanks.>>738622
Hermodur opens his robot hand and shoots a little bit of magic down the slope to see if he can see the bottom.
>>738622Oh! That sounds great, actually! We'll keep it in mind if something goes wrong.
He says, before following the others further in.
>>738622I'm curious about the exact way you performed this. I could imagine it being a connection with the person holding the fulcrum, but with everyone? And being able to hear Dawn but she's not on the ship but here?…
Zunden's face is racked with confusion, I'd worry this is the works of the Oneriomancer taking Etrigan's body and instilling a mass hallucination if anything.
Amidst the eerie quiet the telekinesis is causing due to the rest of the party immediately making it their primary form of communication, Zunden continues to speak to Gawain physically, "Everyone'z retreated into zpeaking wizh zheir mindz which iz odd and unzettling az zhiz iz brand new. I am razher uncomfortable."
>>738622An interesting find! We will be certain to keep you informed, should things go awry.
i add, making my way further into the crypt.
>>738624"Ah. Yes, that does sound rather awful. I hope you can find a more elegant solution than incinerating the beasts. And recover some of their pilfered knick knacks. Let me know if I can be of assistance!""Oh, by the way. You might be interested to know that my research today wasn't entirely trivial. It seems that very soon there will be some sort of celestial movement, and a rare one at that. An alignment of certain stars, in two weeks' time. …I'm afraid that's all I know. Its significance is lost on me, but perhaps it will mean something? …If nothing else it should be quite a sight."
You start making your way back through town, heading through Caer Portach and out into the streets of Withick. Lily looks over hopefully, only to look a bit disappointed as you exit.
The town is quiet at this time, with very few citizens or guards out and about. Everything seems peaceful, but for some reason, you can't shake the feeling that someone's watching you from afar…>roll Perception>>739036I'm not sure how it works either,
he admits. What I do know is that I can form some sort of connection with those I know. Presumably due to you all having spent so much time aboard the ship.Looks like we all share this bond.
It's Marisol's voice this time. At least when Etrigan is connected. Either way, it's not something we should turn away from.I haven't felt the Oneiromancer's influence since that fateful night,
Etrigan points out. I feel that for now, he is out of our hair. But I don't doubt we'll encounter him soon enough…
"Ah. I see. Curious," says Gawain. He doesn't look very comfortable either.>>739036>>739035>>739033>>739037I suppose I'll withdraw for now,
says Etrigan. Again, if you ever need me, you can call on me.
You continue further downwards, clinging to the walls desperately. There's barely enough room for you to descending the winding stone stairwell in single file, and one loose stone or one slight misstep would be enough to plunge you into the abyss. There is little noise here, save for the echo of your own footsteps, and the occasional gentle gust of wind through the spiraling catacomb. It smells vaguely of dirt and dampness.
Hermodur hurls a fire orb into the darkness below. It illuminates the stairwell on the way down, and you can see that there are five of the archways you saw before. The orb travels downwards, shrinking into the blackness and eventually fizzling altogether before ever revealing a bottom to the pit.
You descend to the first of the archways. It does indeed seem to be a tomb; at least, in name only. A cramped, unceremonious little room with no decorations or offerings whatsoever, the only feature being a stone coffin shoved into the dirt wall, almost forcefully, as if whoever put it there meant to bury it away. There seem to be markings on the side of it.
Gawain looks uneasy at the sight of the tomb. "It's as if they meant to disgrace whoever was buried in this place. How horrible.">roll Perception
"Hrm… feels a little stale down here. Hopefully there's nothing too nasty, but… I guess we can't be too careful, huh?"Roll #1 5 = 5
"Alternatively," Hermodur suggest. "It's possible that this room ISN'T the burial room. Rather, the burial room is supposed to be on the other side of this wall, and this is the result of someone tunneling to it. I doubt the crypt was supposed to be entered via a slippery incline."
I wave to Lily on my way out. "I'll be back!" I shout back to her. "Just busy!" I turn my attention back to Purdue. "Well, at the very least I could use some help brainstorming. Right now the best I got is using the sleeper poison and hoping for the best or just torching the whole thing."
I hum. "Some kinda star thing? Sounds kinda mystical. It anything like you ever seen back in The Domi-" I pause. "Back in Equestria?"
The fur on the back of my neck prickles a little, and I take a look around.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 4 = 4
fallen to quite the state.. i should hope the tomb's contents faired better than it's construction."
mindful of the steps, i focus on the shadows around us warily.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
>>739038I'm still paranoid, Marisol for example has spent what, less than a week on the ship? Lysander spent more time there, could they be listening?
Zunden sighs, looking to Hermodur,>>739042
"I could attempt to return this room to a previous state, if you think it's been tampered with."
>>739045>was used to talking with my mind, didn't speak with an accent
*"I could attempt to return zhiz room to a previouz ztate, if you zhink it'z been tampered wizh."
"If I'm right, then the previous state of this room is nonexistence. So… that could be dangerous."
[1d10] percepRoll #1 5 = 5
Hermodur looks around the little room for any sign of this room being dug out rather than constructed. [1d10] perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
>>739043"Hm… Perhaps if you were to lead them into some sort of trap?"
he suggests. "We don't have many resources on hand, though.""Only once. …Would you believe I can't recall what it heralded? It feels like my memories of that life were so long ago now. Even though to me it was only some weeks ago. It's as if everything before I woke up on the ship is a blur…"
You look around nervously, but there's no one there. Must have been your imagination.
Seeing the party have trouble finding clues, Zunden invokes Temperance to ensure there's a bit more balance than everyone being imperceptive.
>turned into a min success
"Yeah, I imagine centuries of some weird coma-like thing will do that, even if it did only seem recent." I look around again and knit my brow. Huh. Weird. "Oh well. I'm sure we'll find something about it if it actually is important."
"Also a possibility," Dawn comments. "Maybe we could try excavating, and see what's on the other side."
"Perhaps it wasn't meant to be entered at all," Marisol muses.
"Whatever it is, let's explore a bit more, find something to show Sprig then get out of here," says Aurora uncertainly. "This place is so creepy.">>739045Doubtful,
says Etrigan. I tried to connect myself to him already. Nothing happened, no matter how I tried.>>739041>>739044>>739051>>739049
You take a closer look at the markings. It looks like the same writing that was on the door to these catacombs. None here can read it save for Zunden:Old King Rendain, the Accursed. May he moulder in an earthen grave.
You suddenly hear a faint sound on the wind that seems to slither from the deepest levels of the stairwell. It's so faint that it's easy to dismiss it as a trick of the wind, but if you focus you can make it out. It's the eerie, unmistakable sound of a woman singing.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhmEeZsVXoU
Your companions freeze in place. "I'm… I'm not the only one hearing this, right?" says Aurora, her voice trembling.
Gawain frowns. "A maiden fair in such a deep, dank place? Witchcraft, doubtless. We should not approach it, I say."
"I am beginning to believe ze zeal on zhiz tomb wazn't to keep looterz out, but to zeal zhiz king in. Ze old ruler zeemz to have been hated, or zo zhiz dezcription zayz." Zunden says to the party, "Which alzo meanz I doubt he waz likely buried wizh hiz valuablez. Wizh ze inzcription outzide zpeaking of wanting a new king, perhapz zhiz waz meant to be one lazt dizgraze for him."
"In that case, is it a wise idea to leave without first sealing it back up?"
"I zertainly believe we zhould zeal it again afterwardz."
Rabi shudders a little, and cautiously pulls out his bow. "I don't, uhm… I don't like this. You might be right, Zunden.">>739055
"Probably not a terrible idea."
"Ah.. a good question. the door disappeared once the sword was inserted, yes?"
"If the seal was magical in nature, we may need the original spell to bring the door back."
>>739052"I'm still trying to wrap my head around that,"
he comments. "You can't imagine how disorienting it is to wake up and being told it's been hundreds of years all of a sudden."
You make your way out of Withick and back to the ship, going across the boardwalks. The day is beginning to wane by now, and light is dimming slightly. As you approach, Etrigan manifests above, and lowers the ladder for you. "Welcome back,"
he says out loud. "How'd it go?"
"I will attempt to uze a Return rune to make ze ztate of the door like we never entered in ze firzt plaze." Zunden offers.
"We should close this place again once we're done," Marisol agrees. "I feel like we're meddling with things we have no business with."
"Maybe we should investigate the other tombs," Dawn suggests. "Disturbing as this place is, I have to admit I'm a little curious. Especially with that strange singing…"
"I say we turn back," says Aurora grimly. "We shouldn't have come here in the first place. Treasure isn't worth it if it means unleashing a curse or something."
Gawain doesn't say anything, looking a bit conflicted by it all.
"If we can't use the old seal, do we have a way to make a new one?"
"Ah, i see! A bit of rune magic to sort the door out.">>739053
Hearing more of the singing further below, i gesture back up the ramp with a wing.
"Well then, we have our information and a means to leave this place as it was, perhaps we should beat a hasty retreat before.. whatever that is down there notices us."
I sigh. "Well, could've gone better," I say, thinking about Ri. "It's a flock of birds. Didn't really expect that, but I don't think it's anything I can't handle. Also found you a book on, like, dreams or dream magic or something?"
"I zertainly could try, Black Pudding made zealz uzing Zeveranze cutting off entry and exzit. I would probably wizh to zpend zome time to enzure it waz zealed."
She turns to Aurora, "I agree wizh your zentiment, zhough I do know have already made an agreement to exzplore zhiz location for ze hippogryph. If you would like, I could zpend zome time carving Zeveranze into zome ztonez to create zome artifactz zhat will ward off vengeful zpiritz."
"Zunden mentioned her runes may have an answer, a spell to return the door to the state it was in prior to us opening it."
"..at least, that's the hope."
"That singing sounds like a bad thing to follow up on, but maybe…" he shrugs. "I'd rather turn back.">>739060>>739062
"Oh- right! You've got some really handy magic, Zunden. Would it hold?"
"I also have an item which wards off any mental attacks."
"Oh, right- I remember now, Zunden gave that over to you."
"I actually bought this at the swap meet after we split up."
"Ah, he did mention scouting the ruins, didn't he?"
i trail off, peering over the ledge.
"..provided i can scout ahead quietly, we may be able to fulfill our bargain without disturbing the spirit."
>>739064"Mournwings, I assume,"
he says, as you board the ship again. "I've run into them before. Strange creatures.""A book of dreams? Let me see…"
You hand him the book titled We Pass From View
. He starts paging through it. "This is… dense,"
he remarks. "But I don't doubt it'll be useful. Especially when it comes to, well, him. Thank you, Norv."
I chuckle. "Yeah, sorry. I was thinking of maybe looking for, like, a cookbook or some other type of hobby type thing, but I didn't want you to think I was implyin anything. Sorry if it's a little much."
I cock an eyebrow. "Oh. Shoot. You've run into them? Maybe you can help me brainstorm some too, then. I was thinking of eating and going to sleep to go after em in the middle of the night since they seem active during the day, but if you have more info then that could be great."
"Maybe I could do it Astrally? It could be safer."
"I will offer Zilver zeveranze from magical detection, zo zhat no trapz are triggered zhat way. I do not zhink it iz a bad idea for you to follow her aztrally az well, Rabi. You can return to uz by waking if zhe getz in trouble.">>739061>Bask: Severance
"An excellent idea, you two. We'll pick our way through the floor here, gather what information we can and seal this place back up in no time."
>>739075>>739061>in interest of saving time:
>Expending Orb: Severance (7) on Silver for magical detection
[1d10+3] Severance (frozen) to replaceRoll #1 5 + 3 = 8
"Alright- here goes." he says, taking a moment to focus (and find a place to sit.)>Astral Projection
With care,I slip into the shadows, quickly scaling my way down the stairs to begin scouting
[1d10] stealthRoll #1 3 = 3
You invoke Severance, hiding Silver from prying sight beyond sight, and conjure up another rune for you to use later.>>739076
You scout ahead a bit, embraced by a magical aura from Zunden's spell. >>739078
You sit down next to Rendain's tomb and focus for a bit, departing into the astral plane. As you do so, your head begins to pound as you witness another vision from Elaina…You are bedridden. You can't move a muscle. Everything aches. Like you've been torn apart then stitched back together. You look down at your hands. They flicker in and out of existence. Like a half-ghost.A figure by the bedside. Marisol. Your sister. Her face is a mask of grief, but she smiles and shows you something."Brought you a knight."A doll. Your doll."It used to be knights worked for honor. Traveled with no place to call home, seeking glory. …Things change, I suppose."
She wipes her face and sniffs."Don't worry sis. I'm going to find a way out of this. All of this. Our family won't be hers anymore. Then when we're out of here, we can go wherever we want. Even the stars…"
The memory fades, and you find yourself in your astral form. >>739076>>739078
Pressing forward a bit, you both explore the other four tombs in the black stairwell. They are all slightly different:
The next tomb leads to a small man-made pond made of stone and stale water. You can only just see the tomb at the bottom of the pond.
The third tomb is a circular room covered from wall to wall with long-snuffed torches. Sconces are built in every empty space, even the floor and ceiling. The coffin is placed in the middle, surrounded by these torches.
The fourth tomb is barely a room at all, having a low ceiling with a chain from which the coffin dangles, suspended above the bottomless pit.
The final tomb, contains nothing but a statue of a queenly earth pony, her head bowed in sadness. She wears a gleaming silver diadem. The singing is coming from her, though she does not move.
he assures you. "Gives me something to keep busy with.""Only once,"
he explains, "and only in passing. They are diurnal, from what I know, so a nighttime assault would work well. You'd have to be extra careful. They work as one, so the slightest slip would alert them all. If you manage to slay the Mother, they should become disrupted. They rely on her for their directions, after all. It would break their "hive" if she is defeated, and most likely scatter to the winds."
Unable to know which tomb Rabi chooses to scout, i peek into the third tomb, wary of being too close to the coffin.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 3 = 3
Hermodur just stays near Zunden to make sure nothing stupid happens to the healer. [1d10] to remain vigilantRoll #1 6 = 6
Rabi lets out an uneasy whinny as the vision fades, and shakes out his limbs. The awful, aching, paralyzed sensation is something he hopes he'll never have to live through in reality.>>739080
Rabi floats along behind Silver, poking his head in the tomb she checks out, before flicking his ear and looking to the fifth tomb. He tries to look around the statue a little, in case the source can be seen from the Astral Plane. IS it really just the statue? Or, something inside it?
I nod along as he talks. "So yeah," I say. "Sounds like taking out the mother first is the best bet if I can make it to her. Gonna be using the mournwing cloak and the sneak powder. However many doses I have left, anyway. Not sure how well it'll work against actual mournwings but it's worth a shot. Gonna bring the bell, but probably won't use it until I'm already inside. I wonder if I can't just put her to sleep and kinda abduct her. So you think they would follow the mother if she was relocated?"
Zunden spends her time waiting carving into the stones in the wall with another stone, making severance runes to ward spirits.
[1d10] Severance (sever spirits escaping)
Roll #1 6 = 6
Like the other coffins, this one is sealed shut, surrounded by torch sconces shaped like spikes all pointing towards it, almost like being inside an iron maiden. The coffin has writing on it, similar to the others: Old King Silgore, the Malefic. May he burn forever.>>739084>>739086
You sense a presence within the statue. Some sort of magical enchantment, or perhaps a soul bound to it. You notice a word carved into the floor at the statue's feet, but without Silver's help it's impossible to know what it says. You notice the diadem is in shockingly good condition despite the surroundings; rust, dust and grime does not seem to gather on it at all.>>739087
You carve into the earthen walls of Rendain's tomb, sealing it by way of Severance. The central "eyes" of each rune you carve are fixed on the stone coffin jammed into the wall.>>739083>>739087
You and the others keep watch as you wait for a report. The stillness of the tomb is almost maddening, broken only by the persistent, wordless song that echoes from the depths of the pit. "…Who do you suppose she is?" Gawain asks out of the blue, trying to keep spirits up despite the bleakness. "The maiden with the golden voice. Such a strange thing to find in a crypt…"
>>739085"That would be ill advised,"
he points out. "If it were me I'd just kill her and be done with it. Maybe take out a few more on the way. Why would you want to abduct her? Not that you could, given her size."
I shrug. "I don't know. Trying to think of a better way than burning the tree to the ground. Relocation is just what I usually try to do if I can. Sounds like they're seriously more like insects, though, so that means it probably isn't on the table."
"Especially in the tomb of a king…" Hermodur muses. "A former lover perhaps?"
"I agree, perhapz a jilted lover mourning one of zhem."
Zunden continues to make runes in her mean time.
[1d10] Severance, same shtickRoll #1 10 = 10
Coffins designed to mimic the engravings given to them. But what of the statue?
Slipping out of the third tomb, I trot further down and carefully creep into the statue's tomb, looking around with Zunden's glasses as I go.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 1 = 1
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 2 = 2
>>739090"They're not like normal birds,"
he nods. "Definitely more akin to hive insects. I see why you'd want to spare them, but that might not be an option. At least, I can't see a way to make it work."Oh, sorry. Would you care for some tea?"
You hear a Servitor manifest in the kitchen.
Rabi looks at the statue and frowns a little bit, cautiously floating closer to the statue. It's possible that whatever it is, it could have some… effects on the Astral Plane. Wouldn't be the first.>Perception [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"It seems like the obvious explanation, yes," he agrees. "Perhaps her song is part of the seal. Either way, we should not intervene.">>739092
You move back up the stairs towards the entrance and cover it with more Severance runes, weaving a more powerful enchantment than you have before to seal this place and prevent anything from getting in or out. Yourselves notwithstanding.>>739093>>739094
You read the words written at the foot of the statue.Our Lady of Anguish.>>739096
You notice again the diadem it wears, pristine and untouched despite its age. You feel that removing it would be a bad idea. As Silver approaches it, you also notice its head shift a little.>>739096>>739094>>739092>>739091
All of a sudden, the singing stops.
"Well, that's unfortunate," Hermodur sighs as the singing stops.
"I have plazed a ztrong zeal on our way out zhat will aid our ezcape if need be. I can alzo attempt to forzibly return Zilver to our locazion. Zhall I?"
Rabi blinks a little, before biting his lip and snapping back to reality.>>739097>End Astral Projection
Rabi awakens with a start, and hops to all fours with a whinny. "We'd better check on Silver. The singing's coming from a statue, and it's either enchanted, or… ensouled? Something. It moves, too- we'd better get down there!">>739099
"OOh! Or, that- I think something's about to happen."
The singing of the statue had faded into background music, thus the utter silence as the singing stops caused my heart to hitch and my mane to stand on end. With all the care I can muster, I gently extract myself from the room
[1d10] stealthRoll #1 4 = 4
Seeing as her ally is in trouble, Zunden is filled with determination, invoking the Chariot to return Silver to where she stood besides the party previously with a Return rune drawn into the dirt.
 Return (Silver to where she stood minutes ago)
"If it moves, is it a statue?" Hermodur waxes philosophical for a moment. "Or, is it just a stone creature?"
"Hrm… hard to say. It's definitely more than a statue. It had this flawless circlet on its head, which was the only thing that wasn't dust-covered. Looking at it gave me, eh… a bad feeling."
Through Zunden's intervention, Silver finds herself back with the rest of the party in a flash, back in the tomb of Rendain.>>739098>>739102>>739100>>739101
"Oh. Oh no," says Gawain with genuine fear.
"We've spent enough time here," says Marisol, backing up and looking about frantically as Aurora takes flight. "Let's make a run for it before anyth-"https://vocaroo.com/knRVus7eqF8
The world transforms. You are flung off your feet as everything around you spins on its axis, the whole stairwell flipping upside down, and you with it. From below - no, above - you hear the frenzied thumping and banging of bone on stone coming from three of the five alcoves. The only ones that don't are Rendain's and the statue's. You start to tumble and spin, not downwards towards the exit, but falling to the ceiling, up into the bottomless pit. >pausing
"Yeah. Really looking like flamethrower is the way to go. Only other option I can think of is poison." I shake my head. "Nah. I do think I wanna grab something quick, though. Nuts or dried meat or whatever we have that I can just eat. Haven't had anything since this morning. A little hungry now, but I know
I'll be hungry when I wake up."
Hermodur reaches for his Severance Pendant and attempts to use it.
[1d10] Severance PendantRoll #1 1 = 1
>>739106>>739106"Poison could work too. More discreet. Less likely to destroy things.""Sure thing."
You head to the kitchen, where Etrigan's had a Servitor bring up some assorted nuts and dried fruit, usually saved for trails, but also doubles as a light snack.
You hear the clucking of a chicken nearby. Looking around, you see Violet intimidating one that tried to peck at her, having cornered it. Judging from the feathers it looks like she got it with a solid haymaker. She stops her avian terrorism to run over to you, clinging to your foot happily.
I laugh and bend down to pick her up. "Jeez, Vi. The chickens been terrorizing you that bad, or is it you terrorizing them?" I reach into the mix and pop some into my mouth. "Your day been alright? Kinda boring, I imagine."
She taps her shoulder, which seems to have been pecked by a chicken. The burlap is torn and you can see the sawdust and metal inside. Gruesome.
She shrugs at your question. Seems like she was bored, but glad to have you back around.
I wince a little at the sight of her shoulder. "Oh, jeez," I say. "Does that hurt?" I look her over for a second before saying, "I was gonna go to bed since the mission time sorta changed from today to tonight, but if you want I can stay up a little longer. Just spend an hour or so with you. I miss you."
She waves her hoof at your concern. It doesn't seem like she can feel pain.
She shakes her head as you suggest staying up more, giving you a reassuring pat on the hand. As you mention missing her, she pauses, gives a little nod, then hugs you again.
I hug her as best as I can without squeezing her too tight. "Well," I say. "You wanna come to bed with me, or just do whatever? Can you even sleep while you're in there?"
She nods at your second question, climbing up and into your coat pocket and following you wherever you want to go.
I stand up and make my way to our room. I shove the last of the mix into my mouth on the way, set Violet in the bed, take my clothes off, and drop like a rock, careful not to smoosh her. "Let's see if I can actually even get to sleep."
The events of the day start to weigh on you, and by the time you hit the bed you're starting to feel like taking a nap anyway. Violet curls up on the pillow behind you, and you feel her clinging to your back as you fall asleep. It's not long before you're out like a light.
Your dreams are restless and unpleasant. You have an unpleasant nightmare where the ship crashes and burns with everyone else on board, and you are being made to watch by an unseen entity.
You are roused from it by the feeling of something touching your face, and Etrigan calling your name. It takes you a moment to come to. Violet has been trying to rouse you for a while, prodding you fruitlessly, while Etrigan is at the foot of your bed. Behind him on the drawer, Purdue looks on with slight concern."Oh good, you're awake,"
says the spectral stag with relief as Violet stops attacking your face. "Nothing serious, I hope. …I came to wake you, seeing as you wanted to be up later tonight."
Judging by the position of the moon through the window, it seems about 9pm. You don't feel well rested at all.
I slowly sit up and groan, rubbing my eyes. Well. So much for getting sleep to fight the exhaustion. Glancing out the window, I shake my head. "Yeah," I mumble. "Yeah, thanks." Groggy and a little dazed, I swing my legs over the side of the bed and rub my forehead. "Guess I should go ahead and get ready."
Rabi hardly has enough time to remark on it before the whole world's upended, letting out a panicked whinny as he tries to catch on to something!
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
Quick to act, Zunden expends one of her Creation orbs, creating a platform made of earth and stone to prevent the group from falling indefinitely.
>instant auto: Spending Orb: Creation (9)
[1d10+1] Creating a new orb to replace itRoll #1 9 + 1 = 10
As you get out of bed, Vi clings to your arm, sitting on your shoulder. "Need a lift?"
Etrigan asks as a Servitor passes you your gear. "I could move the ship nearby to where the Mournwings are.">>739107
You invoke its power, but nothing seems to happen.>>739461
You manage to grab on to one of the upside down stairs, clinging for dear life and breaking your fall for a moment.>>739462
The nonagon rune flashes as you invoke the power of Creation. A small, circular layer of dirt manifests underneath you, only just big enough to fit you and the others. It doesn't seem like it'll hold for too long, but it should be enough to cushion the fall.>>739462>>739107>>739101>>739461
You hit the platform Zunden conjured headfirst, preventing you from tumbling into the abyss infinitely. You're a bit dizzy, but the soft dirt cushions the impact, luckily. Your other companions follow suit, looking very disoriented.
It's around now that you notice that it's not just the altered gravity causing you to fall. Some unseen force pushes up against you, as if dozens of invisible hands were trying to drag you upward into the abyss. The dirt platform is crumbling as well, affected by the same force. You feel chunks of it fly off and into the void.
Looking down, you can see three coffins wrested free from their tombs, shaking violently as their prisoners try to burst out. The coffins tumble past you and go flying upwards, vanishing into the dark. No sign of the fourth coffin, or the mysterious singing statue.
"Well this is… less than ideal," Gawain grunts as he struggles to orient himself. He manages to stand up on the platform, though still visibly struggling against the force that draws you onward. "There must be a way to break this enchantment," Marisol muses, looking around helplessly, crouching on all fours upside down on the platform. Dawn just looks extremely confused as to what's going on right now, while Aurora is just clinging for dear life.
"M-Maybe it's the statue? I can't really go and check right now- if I try to project, I'm worried I wouldn't be able to catch myself." he says, letting go of the stair step and dropping on to the platform.
"we need something else to stand on… fast!" Hermodur points out the obvious.
He looks around for anything they can grab onto. [1d10] to find something to grabRoll #1 8 = 8
Zunden takes hold of Aurora's hooves, not wanting to lose her friend.>>739464
"Aurora, can you make your way over to ze ztatue? I'll imbue you wizh ze ztrengzh of ze tarot artifactz zhould you need it! You have wingz."
"It must be," Dawn points out. "As soon as it stopped, this happened…" She shifts out of the way as a chunk of platform breaks off under her. "If you want to try, I can protect you," says Marisol. "We all will!" Gawain chimes in confidently.>>739465
You look around. If you were to propel yourself off the platform with enough force, you think you could make it to the staircase and climb across to the chamber with the statue in it.>>739466
"I can… try…" She climbs across the platform and tries to fly to one of the tombs.
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Aurora manages to fly over to the staircase, crawling over with heavy exertion. Her still weakened legs almost give way, but she manages to force herself into the statue chamber. You can't see her from where you are anymore, and you don't hear from her once she's inside. Gawain looks over with a bit of worry.
If anyone's going to be able to do it, it's a cat! Hermodur gets a running start and leaps for the stairs!
[1d10] running leap!Roll #1 7 = 7
"I'll, uh… I'll follow her, I guess. At the least, if something changes, I can come back and report on it." the stallion says, trying to get himself somewhere safe and steady. (And wait for Gawain and Marisol)>Astral Projection
"Perhapz try and match ze zong ze myzteriouz voize waz zinging? You of all of uz would be ze mare to do it." Zunden says astutely, channeling her determination into her tarot to ensure whatever it is Aurora has to do next, she succeeds.
>Chariot on Aurora as she leaves
"Yeah," I say. "That's actually a good idea. It's a bit of a walk. Didn't even think about the fact that you can get me a few minutes away." I stretch and gear up, grabbing stuff I might need including
-The Mournwing Cloak over my coat
-My gas mask
-My sprayer with four canisters of sleeper poison and four canistes of oil
-The Lucky Lapis
-The wand of Haste
-The Uninvisible Bell
-The sneak dust
-My dart gun
-The other eight doses of my sleeper poison
-The ten doses of the Bileblood Venom
-My Good Luck Charm
-My empty bag
I look down at Violet. "Hey. Mind if I borrow your swords? In case I actually need them. The main mission here is get in and get all the stolen stuff I can find. Kill the mother if I think I can handle her." I look down and look at all my stuff. "Don't think I'm forgetting anything else."
You manage to leap over and follow Aurora inside the statue chamber.>>739470
They both move over and brace you as you slip into the astral plane, following Hermodur in. Your head pounds as your connection with Elaina takes shape once again…Still in bed. Still in and out of existence. Still can't move."Hey sis."Marisol walks in again with a sad smile. She's carrying a vase of flowers."Mom liked these. You remember? She had a whole bed of them. Thought you might…"She puts them on the table side."You can't even hear me…"She buries her face in her hands and sighs."Well, I hope you can smell these at least.""…Happy birthday.">>739471
She blinks and nods. "I'll see what I can do." She leaves with slightly more confidence, bolstered also by the power of the Chariot.
The platform crumbles a bit more, leaving you and the others stranded on a tiny island. "We're going to have to move. Quick," Marisol warns. "Don't suppose you have anything that can help?…">>739469>>739470
You head into the statue chamber. As you do, you find the pull upwards is even stronger here than it was outside. Looking back to Zunden and the others, you realize you can't see them from here. It's as if this chamber is veiled in black.
In the middle of the chamber is the statue, its head turned at an impossible angle, fixing Aurora in its gaze. The mare is suspended in midair, flailing and gasping, like she's being strangled by an invisible hand. You can hear a persistent, shrill ringing sound coming from the statue, piercing your eardrums.
>>739472"Then we're off."
You feel a lurch as the ship begins to rise. "Just head to the top deck and point me in the right direction."
You gather your equipment with the help of the Servitor and look in the mirror. You barely recognize yourself.
Violet just shrugs and gestures at the swords as if to say 'go for it'."Should I come along on this one?"
Purdue asks. "I could be your eyes and ears from behind."
Hermodur aims for the statue.
>Hunter's Eye on the statue
He then builds up a ball of magical fire in his hand. Once it's big enough, he chucks it with all his strength at the statue.
>Roiling Flame: ranged; Hurl an orb of unstable magical flame from your prosthetic hand. Crits on 9+, critfails on 2-. Recharge 1 by default. Further uses of it increase the crit range by 1, but also increase the recharge and critfail range, to a maximum of 6+ crit, 5- critfail, recharge 4.>[1d10+1]Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8
For a long, quiet moment I stare at myself in the mirror, a mixture of horrified and in awe. It isn't often I actually see myself geared up. It's surreal, and uncanny.
"Yeah," I tell Purdue as I strap on Vi's swords and grab the compass. "That's probably a good idea." I look down, look Violet over, and sigh. "I'd bring you along too, Vi, but they already killed one of my rats yester-" I pause. "Er… earlier, I guess. They'd probably tear you apart. I'm sorry."
Using the compass, I head above deck to guide Etrigan in the right direction. "Do you know if they have cannibalistic tendencies? A lot of swarming animals do. I imagine it's possible once they're cut off from the mother, and if they do then that'll make dealing with the last of the murder easy."
Zunden builds a vertical bridge using her newer Creation orb, using the fact that it's stronger than the prior one to hopefully get them closer to the doorway to the area Aurora went with a bit of a climb.
>Spending Orb: Creation (9+1)
[1d10+1] replacingRoll #1 5 + 1 = 6
Shaking off the vision, Rabi flats after Aurora. As he rounds the corner into the tomb and spots her suspended form being strangled, he almost immediately snaps back into his body- not much else he can do.>End Astral Projection>>739477
"The statue! It's the source of this, I'm sure. We need to hurry, though, it's strangling Aurora with some sort of magic."
"Working on it." Zunden asserts as stone and earth shape their way towards the doorway.
The statue does not move as the fireball bursts on its surface, though it seems to have broken its hold. Aurora falls to the ceiling, clutching her throat and gasping for air, as the statue's head swivels stiffly to face you. You feel a sudden death grip on your throat, and you feel yourself getting lifted off the ground…>Hermodur takes 1 hit>roll 1d10 to resist
You see three shadows crawling across the ceiling, solidifying into a sort of liquid state and pooling on the floor of the tomb, bubbling like boiling water.>>739477>>739478
What's left of the platform reforms into a bridge, giving you all access to the chamber. Dawn wastes no time crawling across it to the chamber, offering to teleport you all over as Gawain and Marisol follow suit. "If it comes to it, I'll try opening a Door out of here," she says, "though it may cost me my strength. Whatever happened here, it cannot be allowed to leave this crypt."
She shrugs and nods understandingly. "Probably for the best,"
Purdue agrees as you affix him to your belt.
Etrigan begins to steer the ship in the right direction, following your directions."I don't know,"
Etrigan admits. "But it would make sense if that's the case. In any case, they'll be thrown into disarray if the queen is slain, and it will most likely put an end to their infestation. Otherwise, stealing things back will only aggravate them."
Hermodur grabs at his throat both to protect himself and to see if he can physically feel anything grasping at it or if it's just an "empty" force. [1d10] to resist
He draws Mjolnir and readies the rocket. >Sentry, SharpenRoll #1 8 = 8
"Definitely. Let's hurry, please, they're in danger."
"Yeah, she's still a major goal. Just don't want to bet on being able to take her out. I want as many outs as I can get. I'm gonna go in, check out the situation, and then decide what I'm doing. If she's not too big I'm gonna try to put her to sleep and… well… you know. 'Deal with" her. If she is, then the target is the stuff. If I get the stuff there's nothing stopping me from burning the whole thing to the ground besides feeling a little bad." I look over my shoulder. "Actually I should probably bring extra oil in case I need to douse the place better. Probably just use the pepper oil I messed up a little yesterday. Burnt peppers shouldn't make it any less burnable."
"I have plazed ztrong zealz at ze entranze, but we likely cannot leave eizher until zheze zpiritz are dealt wizh." Zunden nods, moving forward.
Zunden, Rabi and the gang arrive, finding Hermodur suspended in midair, being stared at blankly by the statue of the queen. In the corner, Aurora is recovering from being strangled, while three liquid shadows bubble and roil on the floor. The pull of gravity is strongest here.
Hermodur manages to push himself away. It seems to be a physical invisible grip the statue's gaze inflicts, breakable with enough force. He falls to the ground, freed. The statue's gaze turns to the party, staring at Gawain!
[1d10] Gawain resist
The liquid shadows begin to coalesce into towering forms, vaguely resembling ponies…Roll #1 5 = 5
Etrigan gives you a side eye, looking a little amused. "It seems to me you're overthinking it all a little,"
he comments. "If it were me I'd sneak in, grab what I can, and try to kill the queen then run for it before it all gets out of control.""This is the place, isn't it?"
Indeed it is; the ship's come to a stop at the marshes you were in before, which lead up to the tree on the hill where the Mournwings nest. Even now, you get the vague nagging feeling of being watched. "If you want to grab anything else, now's the time."
Rabi skids to a stop as he rounds the corner (this time in his actual body) and spots the statue with Hermodur in its grasp. He pulls his bow out, and after focusing, fires an arrow of blueish, whispy energy!>Astral Strike: [1d10+1]Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
Free of the grip, Hermodur lands on all fours. He rushes forward with a leap, and swings Mjolnir wildly into the statue.
[1d10+3] [1d10+3]>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 4 + 3 = 7
/ Roll #2 1 + 3 = 4
I chuckle and rub the back of my neck. "Yeah," I say. "It's a bad habit. I used to have a problem with overthinning things before, but it got even worse when I came here."
-Grabbing the ruined spicy oil
I take a deep breath and nod. "Alright. Guess I'll be back."
Climbing down from the ship, I get low and try to blend into the shadows as I make my way toward the tree.
[1d10+2]Improvise, StealthRoll #1 10 + 2 = 12
Seeing shadows begin to form, Zunden charges her ring of light, wanting to burn them away with a magical flash.>Bask: Flash
Seeing her allies falter, Zunden helps Gawain resist the powers of the statue and balance the battlefield by invoking Temperance.>Temperance: Gawain's resist
Your shot hits the statue, but nothing seems to happen.>>739489
You slam the statue, only for your hammer to bounce right off. You hear the same resonant CLANG
as when you tried to break open the stone seal on this very tomb.>>739491
Gawain manages to wrest himself away through your interference, falling to the ground with a cough.>>739491>>739489>>739488
Marisol does a double take as Hermodur's hammer does nothing to the statue, which Zunden can see is labeled Our Lady of Anguish. Just to confirm, she dashes forward with her blade, only to find the same result.
Aurora gets back up. "Maybe if… if we can remove the crown…"
The shadows continue to coalesce, taking on solid form. All light around them seems to be dimmed by their presence. They take on the countenance of towering faceless horses, the shadows around them flowing like robes, their heads adorned with great crowns. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0wbnG9bwn0
Somehow, you find you know their names:
Veltair, first of the three fallen kings, wields a mighty cross-hilted spear.
Silgore, the second king, holds a terrible spiked flail, capable of cleaving through stone, clad in ceremonial armor.
Ganzeyer, the third king, wields a long, thin estoc, and his left hoof ends in a mass of shadowy ropes and chains which extend into the floor.
As they finish their coalescence, the room and the blackness within it seems to expand, swallowing everything until you stand in a neverending black abyss. At the center of it all is Anguish. You are vaguely aware of gravity having returned to normal.
Anguish fixes Marisol with her gaze!
[1d10] Marisol Resist
Veltair bounces in place, pointing his spear at Hermodur!
Silgore rushes forward, cleaving Rabi and Zunden with his flail!
Ganzeyer pulls upwards on the chains around his foreleg!
Gawain charges at Silgore with a battle cry, and Aurora follows suit with her rapier!
Dawn fires a magic blast at Ganzeyer!
[1d10+1] [1d10+1]Roll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #3 8, 5 = 13
/ Roll #4 4 + 1 = 5
/ Roll #5 1 + 1 = 2
>>739490Call for me in your mind if you need me,
he thinks to you, and the ship lowers to allow you to disembark.
You lay low as you trek through the shallows and reeds, keeping an eye to the sky. No sign of any Mournwings yet, luckily. Before long, you are heading up the hill towards the tree.
It's even larger up close; a tremendous hulk of dead, twisted wood, with many grasping branches reaching up to the sky as if in supplication. The trunk is several times wider than you are, and taller than a house. Looking up, you can see several Mournwings roosting. They are completely unaware of your presence. No sign of the Mother from down here. You'll have to be extra careful when climbing.
Dang. Not even a twitch. Not much of a fashion statement, but I really dig this cloak.
As I get up to the tree I knit my brow and look it over. Yeah, that's about what I expected. Looking around, I try to find a good path up that doesn't look like I'll get too close to any mournwings, grab onto whatever I can manage to get a hold on, and start climbing.
[1d10]Shimmy shimmyRoll #1 9 = 9
Hermodur squints in confusion as the hammer strike does nothing. His magic blast caused a crack. In that case…
Hermodur puts his prosthetic hand directly on the crack he made before. He holds his mechanical wrist steady with his other hand.
>Roiling Flame: ranged; Hurl an orb of unstable magical flame from your prosthetic hand. Crits on 9+, critfails on 2-. Recharge 1 by default. Further uses of it increase the crit range by 1, but also increase the recharge and critfail range, to a maximum of 6+ crit, 5- critfail, recharge 4.>[1d10+1]>crits on 8+, critfails on 3-Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8
"Drat- didn't work!" he says, running for the statue- and stopping almost immediately when the shadows take form. He pulls out his Splinterwood arrow and nocks it, before infusing it with light and firing it at the flail-wielding shade. For good measure, he folds Zunden's frozen light into the spell, as well.>Using Frozen Light!>Splinterwood Arrow (Light): [1d10+3]Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
"Begone, vanquizhed kingz- your kingdomz have long zinze fallen, now fall wizh zhem!" Zunden shouts, holding out her ring and flashing light to fill the room. Not trusting her staff to help with damaging Lady Anguish and not having the time to go for the crown yet, Zunden instead attempts to weaken the wight's powers by severing their connection to this realm.
>Expend orb: Severance (8) On Anguish's ties to the mortal realm
>Flash: spell, recharge 3; Emit a burst of magical energy, attuned to Light. Affects enemies all around you, but does not deal damage unless on crit, instead debuffing them with the effects of the Light element. (The target is momentarily blinded, suffering +1 DC to all rolls on its next turn, or +2 on a crit. This damage type deals twice as many hits versus undead enemies. Radiant spells can be used to illuminate the environment, providing a dazzling light source.)
[1d10+3]Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11
Purdue whispers nervously as you begin to climb. He keeps both eyes on the branches above and behind you as you start to climb.
It's no easy feat; there's very few places for you to get a grip on the trunk, and climbing it is a slow, and arduous process, especially given the weight of the gear you're carrying and your old wound from the Beasts of Braildorn acting up. Nevertheless, you manage to haul yourself up further and perch on a branch further up.
You can see now that the tree is actually hollow; the main nest for the Mournwings seems to be within the trunk, as are the vast majority of the birds. You can see a dark shape inside, and hear the fluttering of feathers, but you can't make it out too well in the dark of the night.
Pain shoots up my arm and I grit my teeth and wince. Jeez that smarts. It takes everything I have not to draw in a sharp breath. Yeah, probably should've made some kind of climbing claws or something to make that a little easier. Hindsight, I guess.
My breath catches as I see the shadow, imperfect as it is. I shake my head as I realize I can barely see anything inside. Really need to look into "see in the dark" enchantments or potions or something. Maybe try to get my mask's lenses enchanted. Wish I'd thought of all this at the swap meet.
Pulling my dart gun, I cock it, dip a dart in sleeper poison, and draw a bead on the shape, trying to get an idea if maybe it's large enough to be the Mother.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 3 = 3
You fire off a point blank blast of flame from your prosthetic, hitting Anguish in the chest. The force of the blow opens up a large, spidery crack across her surface. The statue remains unmoving as always, but the blow seems to have gotten through to her.>>739496>>739497>>739498
You canter away from Silgore, taking a glancing but painful blow to the flank, which you heal.
You produce the Splinterwood arrow and fire a well aimed shot at Silgore, piercing straight through his inky body. He falters and turns to face you exclusively. You redirect the arrow then to Veltair, who shrugs it off, and then Ganzeyer, who swats the arrow out of the void with a single elegant swipe.>>739499
You use the Severance rune just as Hermodur goes for a magical blast, which seems to weaken Anguish's enchantment. You barely manage to dodge taking a blow from the flail, knocking some scales loose.>Zunden takes 1 hit
You thrust your ringed fist into the air and unleash a blast of light, which sweeps across the unending void like a tidal wave. The kings recoil and make an unforgettable screeching hiss of abject rage and pain. There's a sizzling sound like branding flesh, and when the light subsides, the shades of the fallen kings seem weakened.>>739496>>739499>>739495
The kings recover from Zunden's devastating radiant pulse eventually, though Anguish seems unaffected. As Marisol wrests herself free, her gaze turns to the kings, and you begin to hear her singing her gentle lullaby, though this time it is different.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFRY6fzEQqw
Despite its soothing tone, this seems to bolster the fallen kings, allowing them to renew their efforts to destroy you!
As Ganzeyer pulls on his chains, a shadowy spike bursts from the ground beneath Dawn, flinging her into the air. She falls with a painful thud, curling up and trying to recover.
Veltair dashes forward at Hermodur, seeking to impale him with his spear!
Ganzeyer starts pulling upwards on the chains again, beginning to summon another spike!
Silgore swings his flail at Zunden!
Gawain sees Hermodur in imminent danger and charges forward to help him!
Aurora does the same for Zunden vs Silgore!
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6
/ Roll #3 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #4 1 = 1
/ Roll #5 5 = 5
Marisol pulls out her flintlock and fires a shot at Ganzeyer!
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
You're not sure now if it's just the one shape or several shapes. Hard to make out without getting closer.
Knowing just how bad of an idea this is, I lower the dart gun and try to actually climb into the tree to get closer. Guess I'd have to do it anyway, but I'd hoped I'd have the chance to give the sleeper poison time to kick in.
[1d10]More shimmyRoll #1 9 = 9
[1d10]Improvise, perception.Roll #1 7 = 7
You manage to lower yourself down to a branch, moving painstakingly slowly down the hole. Your eyes adjust slightly to the darkness, and you peer down at what you're looking at.
You can see that there are dozens of Mournwings down there, all roosting around a much, much larger Mournwing. It's about three times bigger than you are, large enough to scoop you up like a mouse in its talons. The moonlight reflects off of her nest, which is comprised of the usual twigs, but also lined with miscellaneous trinkets and baubles that have been brought to her by her horrid spawn.
I gulp. Welp. That's about what I expected. Hopefully this won't sting enough to give her the impression of an attack. Who knows, maybe she'll just think she got poked really hard by one of her little trinkets.
I aim the dart gun at her, draw in a deep breath, and hold just long enough to squeeze the trigger.
[Cheap shot, Instant/Autocrit]
You fire into the dark. You hear a soft thwack as the dart hits… something. It seems to have worked, in any case. Nothing stirs below, even after waiting several tense moments. "…Now what?"
"Well," I whisper. "I guess now I sprinkle some of the sneak dust, get down there, bag all the stolen stuff, and kill the mother. Spill some oil, light the place up, and get out. This is goin uncomfortably smooth, though."
Rabi skids to a stop and turns to try and help Dawn off the ground- it looks like she took a pretty nasty hit.
Hermodur sees the Roiling Flames crack the statue. He grins as he comes up with a reckless plan. His favorite kind of plan!
He continues to hold his prosthetic wrist out in front of him with his good hand while he builds up more magic in the palm of his robotic grib.
>Sharpen on Prosthetic Hand>[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Holding her claw out, she expends the Return orb she has in attempts to return the swing to it's starting position, undoing the attack.
>Spending Return orb (8), instant auto
[1d10+1] Replacing Return orbRoll #1 7 + 1 = 8
As the others engage the shadows, i slip out of sight, preparing an approach on the statue.
"Let us see how well the lady rules without her crown.."
[1d10] stealthRoll #1 6 = 6
Seeing her struggling to get her bearings, you rush over and help her up. She stumbles a bit, but reorients herself eventually and dusts herself off. "Th-thank you," she says, breathing heavily from her injury. She doesn't seem sure who helped her.>>739893
You nimbly dodge an attack from Veltair, forcing you to abandon your attempts to charge up your prosthetic.>>739895
The fallen king moves backwards as if being rewound through time, forced to stay his blow and move back to his starting position.>>739905
In the general mayhem of the fight, you take flight and watch from above, undetected by the wraiths below.>>739886>>739893>>739895>>739905
Zunden forcing Silgore away with Return makes Aurora miss her swing. Gawain flies up and takes a swing at the charging Veltair, only to get slammed with the king's ghostly lance in a sideways swipe, knocking him out of the air and to the ground. Marisol's shot lands, but Ganzeyer seems unfazed.
As Ganzeyer pulls up, Zunden notices bubbling beneath her feet…>roll to dodge if desired
Veltair wheels about and faces down Hermodur again, raising his bannered lance. The tattered flag flaps dramatically, despite the lack of wind.
Gawain tries to get up.
Dawn and Marisol both keep trying to take down Ganzeyer.
Silgore swings his mighty flail upwards at Aurora as she goes for a dive bomb attack!
Anguish's head begins to spin, focusing Rabi with her terrible gaze!>roll to resist, instant actionRoll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 10, 3 = 13
/ Roll #3 4 + 2 = 6
/ Roll #4 10 = 10
Rabi sets a hoof on the mare's shoulder to steady her as she gets back up to his hooves, before pulling the heavy Drangonslayer bow off of his back, kneeling, and trying to line up Veltair and Silgore. His weaves his light magic into the bow, before firing off a bolt of light.>Dragonslayer Yumi (Cleave 2, Light Element): [1d10+2]
>Resist roll: [1d10]Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Hermodur keeps charging up magic now that he's not in immediate danger.
>Sharpen>[1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
Using up my sun and dusting myself with sneak, I put everything into my attempt to get in and out unseen.
[1d10+6]StealthRoll #1 3 + 6 = 9
Gliding in behind the action, i find an opportunity and attempt to snatch the crown off the statue's head!
[1d10] StrengthRoll #1 9 = 9
You manage to climb down with great care, making your way all the way down to the nest. There must be hundreds of pilfered artifacts lining it, ranging from scraps of colorful clothing to particularly shiny jewelry and figurines, and even real gems. It resembles the trove of a dragon more than it does a bird's nest. The Mournwing Mother rests atop it all, hunched up and resembling a formless black boulder. You can see your dart poking out of her wing. Removing the trinkets will be almost impossible to do without disturbing the other Mournwings roosting above you, but you could give it a try…
Having no time to rest, Zunden uses the orb she's just created, Returning herself to the position she was at when she entered the room.
>expending Return orb to move to entrance of room (8)
[1d10+1] making yet another Return orbRoll #1 3 + 1 = 4
I run my paw across the top of my head as I assess the situation. There are way more items stolen than I'd expected, and the mother is actually sitting
on a lot of them. On top of that, I'm actually inside the nest, surrounded on all sides with no clear escape route besides climbing back out. Maybe this wasn't such a great idea.
Sticking to the plan, I pull out my bag and start quietly gathering stuff up, keeping an eye on the mournwing mother and the swarm. The sleeper poison should last more than long enough if its affect on Clawson means anything. That should give me enough time to gather the stuff, jab a sword in her, and get the hell out.
[1d10]Sneaky gathering (not sure if any modifiers apply)Roll #1 2 = 2
You line up the shot and let loose. The enormous arrow flies, piercing their ghostly forms and flying off into the void. They let out a terrible echoing roar as they seem to burn at the exposure to the light.
Before you can savor your handiwork, you feel an unearthly chill around your throat, and you feel yourself being lifted off the ground. You can't breathe…>Rabi takes 1 hit>>739926
You keep trying to charge up your hand, but to no effect.>>739937
You try to dodge out of the way, but a black shadowy spike thrusts out of the ground, knocking you into the air and flat on your back. You barely recover from it.>Zunden takes 4 hits>>739934
You swoop right in and cleanly snatch the diadem…>>739937>>739934>>739929>>739926
Everything seems to stand still as Silver grabs the diadem. The fallen kings freeze in place, and Rabi is released from Anguish's grip. The statue starts to rumble gently, cracks forming across its surface and black liquid shadows pouring from its eye sockets. The kings convulse and distort, like reflections in a roiling pond. There is an unearthly phantom wail of sheer agony and rage as the statue bursts apart, the kings getting shredded to pieces.
A ring of light forms at the perimeter of the formerly endless void, sweeping rapidly and closing in on the center of it all, where the statue was. You are blinded by the sudden flash of radiance; when you recover, you find yourselves back in the tomb, the statue nowhere to be seen. The singing has also stopped. It seems to be over. For now, at least.
You pry loose a silver statuette of a hare without any hitches. Encouraged by this, you try to reach for a nearby hand mirror, only to lose your grip and fall off the nest to the bottom of the hollow. Branches splinter and parts of the nest crumble loudly, and you hear the sudden deafening flutter of dozens of wings. Looking up, though, you see that the Mournwings have disappeared completely, save for their queen.
You hear the sudden flapping of wings coming right for you!>roll to dodge
Hermodur looks around as everything falls apart. And then becomes right again.
"Well that was… bizarre," he comments. He puts Mjolnir back on his back.
"Now what?" he asks everyone.
Rabi doesn't even have a chance to smile in satisfaction before he's yanked off the ground and strangled. He lets out a soft, panicked gasp and claws at the air a little, before being almost immediately dropped to the ground as Silver snatches the Diadem. He takes a few moments to catch his breath, before getting to his hooves and checking on everyone else. "Is… that it? Did we stop it?">>739937
"W-Woah now, let me help you up." he says, gently pulling her up to her feet and leaning her against him.
I look up in time to notice every single mournwing disappear. "Shit…" Giving the bell a quick ring to reveal the birds, I try to dodge out of the way of their oncoming attacks.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
I think really hard. Please tell me this works both ways.
"Zhank you, Rabi.." Zunden responds short of breath, "I am ztill ztanding, if only juzt.">>739950
Zunden goes to check on Aurora first, knowing she was sent in first, "Are you alright? We came az zoon az Rabi notized what waz happening.">>739934
"Maychanze may I identify ze diadem before we interact wizh it furzher? I worry zhat waz too zimple."
You quickly scramble to hide at the base of the nest, taking cover from the swarm of birds that are alerted to your presence. You get pecked and clawed at, though nothing more than surface scrapes. The fluttering of wings is deafening; they're all swarming to get to where you've holed up, angered by your intrusion.It does.
His calm, deep voice rings out in your mind. What is it?
Landing triumphantly, i twirl the crown on my hoof for a moment, looking quite smug as the shadows fall apart.
"Oho! Excellent work, everypony! With this, i feel we've soundly dealt with the lady and her ilk."
"A shame there's little of use among the ruins.. besides a lovely new piece of jewelry, of course." i add, eyeing the intact royal band with interest.>>739965
"Of course, Zunden! I wouldn't be so rash as to try it on immediately.. surely.." i trail off, hoofing the band over before i get any ideas.
>>739967Might need some help,
I think him. Can you hover over the tree for me? I'll fill you in on what to do if I need backup. Oh, and how good is your aim? Like, if you were pouring something into a cup from really high up, could you do it?
Looking around, I pull out the wand of haste and pop its last charge.
[1d10]Haste, ImproviseRoll #1 2 = 2
"Well, lean on me until you feel better." the stallion says, before starting to give her a squeeze… and deciding against it. He'll pat her shoulder a bit, instead.
Gawain gets back up, dusting himself off despite the beating he sustained. "Another victory for us!" he crows with a triumphant grin. "Well done, everyone!"
"Now we keep going, I suppose," says Marisol, looking a bit rattled from the whole affair. "Though, perhaps the saber and this crown will be enough for Sprig?…"
"He'll be interested in what's transpired here at least," Dawn comments, still nursing her wounds.
"I'm alright," says Aurora, rubbing her throat. You can see now that she has some faint dark marks from where the statue grabbed her, though it's unclear whether they'll linger.
Aurora turns her attention back to the tombs. "Those wraiths used some unique weapons and armor. Seems they won't be bothering us anymore. Maybe we could go through the tombs? …Actually, it's better not to risk it. Should we get out of here then?">>739965
You take a closer look at the diadem. It's quite ornate, and seems to emit a sort of shadowy smoke as an aura. You get the feeling putting it on would prove disastrous.
"Hrm… We should definitely leave this little crypt, to say the least. Should we risk looking around the ruins more?"
>>739969I'm not much of a deadshot, but I could try. Why do you ask?I'll bring the ship over now.
You try to cast the spell, but in the stress of the situation the wand just fizzles ineffectively.>no charge used on fail
The birds start tearing away at the branches of the nest in order to try to get to you!
"Shit," I say out loud. "Shit shit shit." Because,"
I say. When I give the signal I'm gonna need you to pour a barrel of gunpowder in the top of the tree. I'm going to try to get out without resorting to leaving a smoking stump, but it beats being eaten by a bunch of bug invisibirds.
Putting the wand away, I slide one of my oil canisters into my sprayer, and light the oilcloth.
Zunden shudders, "Avoid wearing it, it iz zomezhing we can give to ze collector. Bezt not try our luck wizh curzed objectz."
Turning to Aurora, she nods, "I would zhink ze worzt of zhingz zhould be dealt wizh,We zhould at leazt take a glanze. We had to fight for it after all."
"I admit my curiosity is not yet sated. Though, I'm unsure as to how exactly we'd learn more about this place."
Hermodur looks around for a way forward. [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Looking forlornly at the band, i nod and sigh, storing it away for now.
"Very well.. and i was so looking forward to a new piece for my outfit..">>739975
"With the largest threat presumably dealt with, i'd imagine the remainder of the ruins ought to be a simple matter of mapping out. Who knows, perhaps they've simply hidden away the proper relics further in?"
disappointed by the cursed find, i press onward, looking around the area with Hermodur.
[1d10] searchRoll #1 1 = 1
>>739981Understood. I'm in position now. A Servitor's going up with a barrel. Say the word.
You light the oilcloth. A spark of flame illuminates the scene, revealing the throng of swarming birds clawing madly in an attempt to get to you. >roll Perception in addition to your next action
Not satisfied with the small amount of stuff -or just singular thing, I guess- that I've managed to pick up, I pull out the haste wand and try again, keeping an eye on what's going on around me.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 4 = 4
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
With the threat neutralized, you take to exploring the tomb a bit more. It seems that the chamber of Anguish you're in now is the last chamber in the tomb, effectively meaning you've hit a dead end.
Nevertheless, you start looking around the tomb, starting with the coffins of the fallen kings. Apart from some slight unease at being presented with preserved bones, you don't get the sense that there's any lingering magic here, essentially making them safe to loot.
You find the weapons all the fallen kings were known to wield interred with them: Ganzeyer's chains and rapier, Silgore's flail, and Veltair's bannered lance are all there for the plundering. Rendain, the fourth king who Zunden made sure to seal, was interred with an elegant longsword. It seems impractical to take all four, especially considering the great heft of each weapon.>>739998
While exploring the catacombs, you find some sort of offering in Ganzeyer's tomb, hidden away behind his coffin as if it wasn't meant to be found. It consists of a plain silver ring on a chain.
You try to cast Haste again, but one of the birds pecks at your wrist, forcing you to jerk away.
You suddenly feel a warmth above your head, and the Mournwings seem to pull back, fluttering upwards and flocking to their mother. Looking up reveals that a stray lick of flame from the cloth has latched on to the nest, spreading rapidly amidst the dried twigs and leaves. Smoke is beginning to fill the air, and it's harder to breathe all of a sudden.
The Mother stirs slightly…
I sigh. Welp. So much for that. I pull out the Lunar Kinship Token and start gathering as many of the items as I can.
[1d10]Grabbing whatever I can manage. +1 If Lucky Lapis applies.Roll #1 9 = 9
"Hey- uh… I found some sort of trinket. A… chain with a ring on it. Should I, uh, take it?" he asks, looking at the others.
Rabi doesn't snag any of the weaponry, as most of it isn't something that particularly suits his style.
"Why not?" Hermodur replies to Rabi as he appreciates the fine weapons in the tomb.
As a lover of great weapons himself, he looks them over to see if they have any special properties. Of course, it's not like he has much qualifications to do so aside from having his own Mjolnir. But, it's not like he actually needs them anyway.
[1d10] to discern special qualities among weapons?Roll #1 3 = 3
Rabi cautiously takes the offering, in case it's cursed!
Zunden gets to work identifying some of the items.
[1d10]Roll #1 7 = 7
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
/ Roll #3 10 = 10
/ Roll #4 6 = 6
Seeing the weapons in good condition, i'm drawn to the Rapier sitting within the coffin of Ganzeyer.
"Interesting.. I had always wanted to practice a bit of fencing ages ago, though it seems rather large for a weapon meant to carry grace.."
"Wait, fencing? You don't mean like, ah… putting a fence up, do you?"
You start scrambling to grab as much as you can. You manage to grab the following:
A clay tablet with some unknown writing carved on it.
An onyx effigy depicting a dancing robed pony holding a cup of wine. She has antlers. Curious.
A well polished scroll holder. It seems empty.
The skull of a small, unknown creature, covered in gold. You're reminded a bit of Purdue.
A bag of coins in a foreign currency.
A hat with several beads and medallions hanging off of it.
A beautifully decorated plate. It's quite fragile.
The fire is starting to spread even more. You feel the beating of great wings as the Mother awakens, starting to fly the nest, accompanied by many of the Mournwings.
>>740020"I'll see you tomorrow,"
I both think and say. "Dump it now and immediately fly up and away."
I activate the Lunar Kinship Token.
"Dohoh, no no, the noble art of swordsplay, dear! Fencing is the act of using a rapier like this-">>740002
in an attempt to show an example, i try to heft the rapier from the coffin into a fighting position.
"-to attack your opponent, not by slashes but precise thrusts." i add, jabbing the rapier forward for emphasis.
"Oh! That sounds pretty cool, actually. I-I figured it was probably a phrase I hadn't heard of." the stallion says, chuckling a little bit.
Marisol looks over. "If nothing else, Sprig is sure to be interested in anything we find in these ruins. Best hold on to it until he can take a look.">>740010
They seem to possess magical properties, but identifying them is beyond you right now. Perhaps, if Sprig has no use for them, they could be remade by a skilled craftsman, or broken down into certain components…>>740024
The rapier is surprisingly lightweight for its size, but that doesn't make it much less unwieldy. "Maybe we could save up to have one forged in its likeness," Marisol suggests.>>740017>>740024
"Oh?" Aurora perks up, indicating her own rapier. "I've been practicing as well. And I think I'm getting quite good at it too. Maybe we could learn a bit from each other sometime.">>740014
You look over the weapons of war:
Rendain's sword seems to be enchanted with an everlasting flame woven into its blade.>single/great, applies Fire Elemental on crit
Veltair's bannered lance is enchanted with a dark aura that can manipulate the undead.>+2 weapon, gives access to Unholy Rally: >automatic, recharge 3; manipulate an undead enemy to serve you instead for 3 turns. This can be used on non undead with DC9.
Silgore's flail seems to possess the ability to invoke fear in the wielder's foes.>Great/Ranged, applies Terrify on 9+
Ganzeyer's rapier gives the wielder uncanny alacrity. >single, +1 to attacks, on attack crit the wielder can roll a second attack in the same turn
All worthwhile enchantments overall.
"We should probably take them all," Hermodur suggests. "If nothing else, I know at least 2 blacksmiths who could use them and reward us handsomely for the gift."
>>740023>>740021Understood. See you soon, sir.
You're not quite sure why he called you that, but nevertheless, you activate the Token quickly. You are presented with an overwhelming uncomfortable sensation, like being squeezed through a very thin pipe.
It passes as quickly as it comes. When you get your surroundings, you find yourself back at the temple of the moon priests.Or what's left of it.The once peaceful monastery has been reduced to cinders, now nothing more than a pile of blackened, broken wooden beams. Ash coats the ground, and here and there, you can see dead animals, charred and burned, or even monks who did not manage to escape. Nearby, you can see a gallows set up, where several ponies hang limply.
"Hrm… Hey, Zunden. Anything special about this ring?" he asks, holding it up.
"Other than that, I'd say these are, well… good finds, honestly!"
In spite of the extreme discomfort, I laugh as I realize that the plan more or less went off without a hitch. Me and Etrigan (probably) just destroyed an entire mournwing nest. I just wish I could've taken a-
My thought is cut off as I finally see the monestary. Slowly my smile falls, and I feel my knees go weak. Frantically looking around at the carnage, I finally feel them give out completely, sending me onto my ass. Slowly, I peel off my gas mask as tears fill my eyes. "No…" I croak. "I-" I can't bring myself to say anything else.
"An excellent idea, Marisol. A weapon as fine as this deserves to be wielded properly, albeit at a smaller size once the smith is finished."
"That would be lovely, Aurora." i reply, testing the movement of the rapier before opting to store it instead.
"My father was keen on teaching me the finer arts of swordplay, but i do admit i'm quite out of practice."
"I had always preferred the Concealability of a simple shiv, though it would do me well to branch out every now and then."
"Theze were not kingz zhat were meant to be rezpected, I have no qualmz looting ze zepulchre of tyrantz." Zunden says, treating the bag of holding lie a giant sheath for the lance, given the only dimension needed to worry about fitting is width. "I do dream of being able to ride Ganzen one day, perhapz I'll uze zomezhing ozher zhan a ztaff.">>740036
"I will inveztigate." Zunden responds, looking over the ring both for inscriptions to read with her glasses, and with her antiquarian's eye.
[1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Hermodur carries whichever ones no one else wants to carry.
Purdue is silent for a while before speaking up. "I'm sorry, brother. I don't know what this place is, but it must have been beautiful before…"
He trails off. "Who do you suppose did this? Bandits?"
The ring does not seem enchanted, but it seems to possess magical potential. Perhaps to be used as a catalyst for a spell. No telling what would happen if one were to do so, however.
"Oh, your dad tried to teach you? Was it just not your style, or did it take a long time to learn?"
"It was a monestary," I say, slowly and shakily pulling myself back to my paws. "I- They were pacifists dedicated to Luna. As far as I know there was literally no other place in the echoes as safe and welcoming, and they just-" I swallow. "Everything- everyone. Just gone." I go to the gallows and stop, just looking up at the bodies.
"I don't know," I say. "This reminds me of the farm. Mummers. Chanticleers, maybe. I don't know." Not imagining they left any clues, I start looking around for signs of who might have done it. Calling cards. Torn clothing. Maybe even bodies, if the monks or anyone else staying at the monestary managed to fight back.
You store the rapier on your back like a greatsword.
"Well, I suppose we'll learn together then," Aurora says with a slight smile. "I'm still learning how to fight in general myself.">>740049
With Zunden taking the lance and Silver the rapier, you take the longsword and affix its scabbard by your side.>>740049>>740043>>740036>>740041
Gawain grabs the flail with a bit of disgust at carrying something with such an evil history. As a group, you ascend back up the stairs and out of the catacombs. You are blasted by the feeling of fresh air for the first time in what feels like hours. Looking up at the sun, you see it's starting to get late, and it will be dark soon. Zunden notes that the seal she placed on the place still holds strong.
"Ugh. If I ever have to see a skeleton or a ghost again, it'll be too soon," Gawain comments, dusting himself off.
"Should we keep going?" Marisol asks. "It's getting a bit late."
"Maybe we should find Ezra and head back to Withick," Dawn suggests. "I don't fancy lingering here after dark."
"There's still plenty to explore," Aurora points out, gesturing at the hodgepodge of other thrown together ruins that dot the landscape ahead. "Maybe we should do one final sweep of this section. And if we feel the urge to revisit this place, we know Etrigan can fly us in now. What do you reckon?"
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
"I see little point in us exploring more. We've got a great prize. We can regroup and finally find our hiding spot tomorrow."
"Well.. It was certainly an interesting study, but it was always taught as sport rather than something more practical."
"Something short and thin as a dagger was far more effective in the city. Easy to carry, easier to hide, right? As Roamantic as a rapier was to fight with, it couldn't compete with the speed of a knife to the chest."
>>740057"No good deed goes unpunished, so they say,"
he muses somberly as you look up at the hanged monks. "I am sorry. This land does not favor their ilk, does it.
As you stare numbly at the bodies, you somehow recall Sprig's anger over Lysander's crimes, and his promise: to hang the dragon from a gibbet for the sport of his own birds.
This seems to have happened not too many days ago. The bodies haven't been picked by wild animals too much yet. As you explore the smoldering remains, you spot some movement: a hunched little Dog is picking through the rubble with a stick, a large sack slung over his back. He is dressed in grubby rags, and is oblivious to your presence, happily looting anything he can come across.
"A final curzory zweep might do uz good."
Zunden says, looking about.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
I put my mask back on and lift the nozzle to my sprayer, walking over to the dog. "You," I say, aiming the nozzle at him. "What happened here? Don't try to run. I've hunted better than graverobbers."
[1d10]IntimidateRoll #1 4 = 4
"Hrm… I suppose you're right." the stallion says, before letting out a soft chuckle and giving her a kiss on the cheek. "Besides- you're plenty romantic, rapier or no.">>740058
"Hrm… returning, or at least leaving the ruins for the night, might be a good idea. I'm not sure what to expect after dark. Exploring those little bits Aurora mentioned can't hurt though, right?"
"Oh, you!" i reply, laughing as i nuzzle into your neck.>>740058
Following Zunden's lead, i quickly take flight, using the height to scan further with a short glide around the area.>bounce
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
A quick sweep on the way back to Ezra and Jenny reveals little at first glance; however, Silver's sharp eyes spot a glint in the swamp. Examination reveals another hunk of the same ore Hermodur found before. The local blacksmith will be able to make good use of this.
You trek back to where Ezra and Jenny were, finding the gregarious amphibian regaling the enormous Swamp Strider with a ukulele ballad. "Alive, alive-oh, alive, alive-oh, singing mussels and cockles alive, alive-oh…"
He looks over as you approach, greeting you with a friendly wave. "Oh hey, you're back. And in one piece. How'd it go out there? Not too rough, was it?"
He notices Gawain among you and salutes. "Oh, found the guy you were looking for, that's good. Hullo."
"Good evening, sir!" the knight replies jovially. "I am Sir Gawain. These fine fellows were kind enough to allow me to accompany them!"
"Oh, well, if you're friends of theirs then you're a friend of mine. Normally I'd charge for a lift, but I don't think that'll be necessary."
"So. Ready to head back?"
He looks up as you bark at him and growls angrily. Instead of answering anything, he completely ignores your demands and starts scampering off, climbing over the smoldering wrecks expertly. Seems he wants nothing to do with you.
"Oh, for the love of-" I pull out my dart gun, dip a sleeper poison dart, load it, draw a bead on him as he runs directly away from me, and pull the trigger.
The ragpicker does a dramatic sort of 180 degree pirouette as the dart hits, and collapses face first. Out like a light. "Good shot, brother,"
"Yeah," I say. "Thanks. Didn't really bring rope with me, so tying him up isn't an option. Hopefully I can just load another dart and that'll be enough." I walk over to where he fell, pull the dart and pocket it, and sit on the ground beside him with my dart gun aimed right at him. Then I wait.
Turns out, you don't have to wait long. After a few minutes, he starts coming around, groaning and sluggishly trying to crawl away from you. He mumbles something in a language you don't understand.
I sigh and shake my head. "You really wanna get dosed again? I imagine you didn't have anything to do with this, but that doesn't mean you don't know what happened. I already have a feeling, but I want to hear it from someone else. Now stop, talk, and then we can part ways without any problems. Why is that so hard? Or I can always-" I point my dart gun right at him.
[1d10]Intimidate, improviseRoll #1 4 = 4
He doesn't seem to understand a word you're saying. He barks something at you and starts looking for escape routes. "I don't think he speaks our tongue,"
Purdue comments. "Hmm…"
I sigh and shake my head. "I don't believe it. Everyone I've met in the echoes does, but-" I put my gun away and hold up my hands to show I'm not going to do anything else. "Whatever. Just go. It doesn't matter I guess. There's no way this wasn't Lysander. I was just hoping someone could confirm it. "
The name Lysander seems to strike a familiar tone for him, and he looks at you with a bit of a frown. He grabs his things and backs away from you, seeming very wary of you all of a sudden.
"Are you going to leave or not? I won't shoot you in the back this time." Well, if everyone in the echoes wasn't afraid of Lysander I'd take that as a confirmation. I'm going to kill him. Slowly, I pull myself to my feet. "Unless you're going to stay and help me bury all these bodies then go."
He takes a few steps away from you cautiously, breaking into a full on four legged lope as he takes the chance to vamoose. Not soon after, you see him picking through a dead body, pocketing some things on it."It does look like the work of brigands,"
Purdue muses, "but they've most likely made a deal with our good friend the dragon. More evidence of his wickedness, I suppose. Why do you suppose they did it?"
Zunden nods, "We've exorcized enough here. Let uz get a move on."
"Yup- turns out it was an old friend of ours. Makes finding him even better, I'd say." The stallion says, giving Gawain a soft pat on the shoulder.
"I… think we're ready, yeah."
Hermodur is ready to head back.
"Indeed we are. I believe we've found enough information for now, though we've not come much closer to understanding just what these ruins are."
Gawain looks surprised, but appreciates the friendly gesture. "Always happy to be of assistance!" he says proudly, sticking out his chest a little.>>740598
"Maybe a second trip will be in order," Dawn comments.
"I'd hope not," says Marisol. "We didn't come here to unravel mysteries, we came here to explore and gather artifacts. We've done plenty of both."
"True enough," says Dawn. "I must confess I'm rather curious about the nature of this place. And, to be honest, it's welcome reprieve from what we've had to go through these past weeks."
"Grim times when fighting the living dead and breaking curses is considered reprieve in comparison," the Felid muses.>>740595>>740596>>740597>>740598
"Right then. All aboard!" He lowers the rope ladder and allows you all to climb up onto Jenny, getting her into motion. The enormous Strider lows and begins the ponderous journey back to Withick.
For the most part, it's uneventful. Gawain is very clear about his gratitude for your company. "I was, er, rather loath to admit it before," he confesses later on, "but I was rather, well, turned around. Not that I wouldn't have found my way back eventually. I always do! But… well, who knows what would have happened, really. I shouldn't boast. Not only did you do me a good turn, but you potentially saved my life. This knight expresses his sincerest thanks for your support!"
Aurora strikes up a conversation with Ezra. "Say. Where'd you find the name for Jenny? Just out of curiosity."
"Hm? Oh, it's from an old song. My brood-brother Ackayl used to sing it, rest him. Jenny of Oldstones."
"Oh! I know that one. 'High in the halls of the kings who are gone, Jenny would dance with her ghosts…'
…Oh, but I can't remember the rest right now. Damn."
The Batroc nods. "Yeah. Can't remember the words either. It's an old song. I think the griffon-folk came up with it."
Gawain perks up. "I certainly know the melody! But alas, not the words either. Not that you'd want to hear me sing. I'm a knight, not a minstrel. Hehe."
It has been about an hour now since you started the trip back. The sun has well and truly set by now, and Ezra has produced some powerful enchanted lanterns and affixed them to Jenny's head to help light the way. The journey is rather peaceful, and everything seems to be going according to pl-WHAM
Jenny jolts violently and lets out a low pained rumble. Something seems to have stopped her dead in her tracks. She shifts to and fro uneasily, unable to struggle much to avoid throwing you all off. Pulling out another lantern with a worried frown, Ezra leans over. "What is it girl?" he asks. "More Wineshrimp?">roll Perception
Having begun to doze off with the motion of the strider, i'm jostled awake and hop to my hooves, readying blister as I peer into the waters below.
"It seems it was too much to want an uneventful ride. Look sharp, everypony!"Roll #1 7 = 7
Hermodur stands up and looks around. With his one good cat eye, he's able to see in the dark decently well.
>perception with Hunter's Eye [1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
"Hmm? Ah, I hope it's something pretty minor, at least- I kind of wanted an easy ride back." >Perception [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"Let uz hope it iz juzt winezhrimp. Zhey were eazy enough to dizpatch."
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Rabi notices what's wrong first; at first it looks like Jenny's blundered into a net, but it's not a net at all. The glint of pale golden gossamer in the lanternlight indicates something more sinister…"Tak guna,"
Ezra curses, looking around. "Only one thing that could make webs like this…"
Sure enough, you start seeing them come from the surrounding trees: enormous, strangely beautiful spiders, with brilliant black and yellow banded legs and thin grey abdomens. You count eight of them in total, each about the size of the average pony. Curiously, a closer inspection reveals they are not just giant spiders; each one is surrounded by a swarm of tiny insects, almost as if they're being commandeered by something. Ezra freezes at the sight, and your companions reach for their weapons.
The spiders do not attack yet, surrounding Jenny but staying rooted in place for now. The swarms that cling to them spread out, forming a sort of perimeter. Ezra doesn't seem to know how to react yet; they aren't outwardly vicious, but they probably don't have friendly intentions either.
Zunden takes the turn to pull out the bestiary, reading up and letting the page write itself before making any sudden movements.
Looking up, I lower my slingshot, growing increasingly pale as I watch the spiders descend from the treetops.>>740605
"A-ah, Zunden.. Does the bestiary mention anything about our.. worryingly large guests?" I ask, unnerved.
"Uh… Ezra, any clue what this is? Are the spiders being, uh… controlled by the bugs?"
Hermodur draws Mjolnir. He revs it up and picks a spider closest to the party.
>Sharpen Mjolnir, Sentry>Hunter's Eye on closest spider
You read the bestiary.
>Threat level: Medium
>Spiders of unusual size found in forested and swampy regions. They are most notable for their great size, as well as their deceptive intelligence; unlike many spiders, Orespinners can be domesticated and even ridden. They are commonly kept and used as steeds by the Breezies of the central swamps. Orespinners are also noted for their affinity to gold and gems; much like Dogs and dragons, Orespinners are geophages, feeding on minerals found within stone.
>Immune: Poison>Resistant: Dark>Weak: Ice>>740607
"Aye. I should've known we'd run into these guys eventually…">>740608>>740607>>740606>>740605
After a few tense moments, the swarm starts to flare up in front of you, and a small cloud of the insects fly up and land on Jenny's head, facing you down. You can see now that they are not entirely insects at all; their diminutive stature belies a generally equine physique, save for their transparent insectoid wings and antennae. The Breezies begin to twitter and chirp in a language you don't recognize, though you don't have to speak the tongue to recognize their angered, demanding tone. "How queer," Gawain comments. "They don't seem to be looking for trouble. Quite the opposite; it seems we wandered into their lands."
"They should know better than to try and claim these paths. We shrimpers use them all the time," Ezra grumbles. "Well. This is a fine mess, innit. What now?"
"Hrm. Well, maybe we can just talk them into letting us pass? Do they really, uh… accept talking? It sounds like you've seen 'em before."
Looking slightly less unsettled, my attention is focused onto the situation at hand, distracting me from the spiders.
"Hmm.. were I able to understand them i could Perhaps explain the situation, but I'm a bit out of my depth."
"What do you suppose we should do? It'd be such a shame to fight somepony we could reason with."
"I could attempt to connect one of uz via runic magic, if zomeone wantz to play negotiator. I have qualmz wizh getting in a fight wizh zhoze who live on zhiz land az well."
"Cursed language barrier," Hermodur mumbles. "All it would take is to tell them we are just passing through. If you can find a way to communicate, then that seems the best choice," Hermodur nods to Zunden.
"Sounds like a plan," Marisol comments. "Silver is probably the best negotiator of any of us," Dawn adds. Aurora simply nods and keeps a watchful eye on the belligerent Breezies.
"Juzt do try to ztart talking to zhem az zoon az ze orb iz uzed - I don't want zhem zhinking it waz a hoztile zpell."
>expending Union orb (9)
[1d10+1] refreshingRoll #1 8 + 1 = 9
"Sounds like the best plan we can get- here's hoping." the stallion says.>>740611
"If anyone can, it's you Silvy. Good luck."
"Ah, an excellent idea zunden! I'm sure a word with their group's leader will be just the thing to gain us passage.
Zunden casts Union, the three rings interlocking and spinning before dissipating. The gathered Breezies throng and ready their needle-sized spears warily, chattering amongst themselves. Silver finds that she can understand them perfectly."Stay thy sorceries, flatlanders! Thou trespasseth on our rightful lands, and now the scaled beast would hex us?! The insolence! The ignominy! We shall stand for it no longer!"
I shrug. "They wouldn't bend the knee? He gets his strength from displays of power. They're-" I pause and hang my head. "They were
devoutly religious, so I wouldn't be surprised. Could have just as easily had something he wanted." I pause and think for a second. "Actually I think there might've been something in the middle of their monastary I can imagine him wanting, but I can't for the life of me remember what."
Once the magic takes hold, i bow in greeting to the assembled Breezies.
"Greetings! I am Silver Song. I speak for our party, humble travelers merely passing through this land, free from malicious plan or ill intent. We wish only to leave peacefully. Would you be willing to grant us this request?"
[1d10+2] PersuasionRoll #1 4 + 2 = 6
The Breezies look taken aback as they seem to understand you perfectly."What…? You understand us?"
They lower their spears slightly as one of the Breezies speaks, a stallion with an iridescent blue sheen. He looks you up and down suspiciously. "Doubtless the work of the reptilian witch,"
a gravely voiced mare comments.
The blue one doesn't seem very convinced, but less belligerent. "Thou art intruders on our territory. We shall not offer thee truce or succor, not without material payment for thy transgression. Wealth is of little concern to our kin, but thou flatlanders art replete with other goods, as is plain to see. We require an offering of peace, else we shall harrow thy Strider on command."
He crosses a foreleg stubbornly and stares you down.
>>740619"Or simply an act of cruelty. Who knows, really. What's done is done."
He looks forlornly at the ruins all around.
You start feeling a sort of tightness around your limbs and chest, the same uncomfortable sensation you felt upon activating the Token. It's a matter of time before you are spirited back to where you were, but you feel that you have a bit of time to look around still, if you wish.
"Yeah. I wouldn't be surprised. His cruelty seems like it'd be more practical than that, though." I shake my head. "Anyway, we're gonna be back soon. Really hope the tree is burned out, at least for the most part. Really ain't interested in being poofed back in the middle of a fire. Didn't think that far ahead."
For now, I guess I'll just take a look around. Doesn't seem like I'll have enough time to bury the bodies, so maybe I can find something noteworthy.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
Undeterred, I nod as the Breezie explains the situation."I see. If you would grant me a moment to convene with my group, i am certain they would agree to the terms."
Turning to the others, i gesture to the breezies with a wing.>>740616>>740613>>740615
"We have indeed wandered into their territory." i begin, confirming Gawain's suspicions. "To pass peacefully, they require an offering from us, not simply bit but something more substantial."
"Hrm… well, what do we have that we can give? That might be the easiest way to solve this."
"You zhould note we do not live here, zo we may never zee zheze landz again."
"How annoying…" Hermodur grumbles. "The only reason we stopped is because they made us. Otherwise, we would have harmlessly passed through none the wiser. Try pointing that out to them."
"If you instead wish to fight, I AM here for that."
You don't find much around the burned gardens or the sheds, and the temple itself is a pile of rubble. You do find something left forgotten amidst the charred wood and ash, though: a spyglass of some sort, made of brass and wood. It bears several rotating rings with numbers and symbols on them, allowing for different configurations, though the meaning of this is uncertain.
The feeling starts to get stronger, and you don't have much time to mull over the discovery before you are whisked back to the remains of the Mournwing nest. The choking, acrid smoke still lingers, your mask preventing you from suffocating amidst the remains. The pungent smell of burning wood is unbearable, and the heat from the fire and subsequent explosion still lingers in the remains of the hollow. Up above, you see the Fate's Fortune, which begins to descend to you. Etrigan peers over the edge. "Back already,"
he comments as a Servitor throws you a rope. "Shame you missed the explosion. It was quite a sight. How are the moon priests?"
"Food, maybe," Marisol suggests. "What would last us a meal is enough for a week for their kind."
"We could also give them some materials. Like cloth or rope," Dawn points out. "It's sure to be useful for them somehow."
"We could ignore them and go the long way around," Ezra chimes in. "It'd be fairly late by the time we get back to Withick, but we won't have to deal with no Breezies."
"Well.. We do
have the royal band we recovered from the tomb.. though given it's nature i'm not so sure they would be interested.">>740626>>740627
"Hm. You're right, perhaps they'll see reason once hearing our situation.">>740621
Turning back to the breezies, i clear my throat."Is there no means of passing uninhibited, beyond the payment of offering? We are strangers in this land, here for but a brief time. Granting this one kindness would ensure we not disturb your territory again."
[1d10+2] persuasionRoll #1 1 + 2 = 3
"Perhaps it would be best to travel around their land.. I suspect reasoning quick passage will be unlikely. They seem agitated enough."
I take a second to look around for any more items the mournwings stole, along with any dead and mostly unburned mournwings. "I'll be up in a second," I call to Etrigan, ignoring the question for the time being.
[1d10+1]Loot.Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8
"Would food work even? Is that something they'd want?"
Zunden watches patiently.
The main Breezie's eyes flash with anger. "Hogwash! Foreign to our lands thou may'st be, but the skinless beast thou travel'st with is wretchedly ken to us."
He jabs an accusing foreleg at Ezra. "His ilk are a pox on our kingdom. Always stealing from us! For decades it has been so! Driving us out of our homes with fire and axe, again and again! Curse them! Curse them, and all flatlanders!"
The other Breezies raise their spears and jabber angrily."If peace thou offer'st, then show thy good intent. Else, stand and fight or begone. We have spoken!"
The spiders below draw slightly closer.>>740633>>740634
"It's worth a try, isn't it?" Marisol shrugs. Aurora takes the hint and starts rummaging around for rations. Gawain looks a bit worried as they seem angered by Silver's words. "Oh fie, they seem rather riled," he says anxiously. "I'd rather not fight them. I'd feel rather bad about it." "They look alright to me," Dawn says with a bit of a smile. Marisol does a bit of a double take at her uncharacteristic self deprecating jab.
"Food is the best idea," Hermodur nods to Marisol. "I guess we could give the royal band if they don't accept the food."
You gather a good few miscellaneous artifacts - those that survived the blast, that is. Many have been burned, or blown to smithereens. You see several dead birds amongst the wreckage, but no sign of the Mother.
I try and fail to rub my temples through my mask. "Shit," I mutter. Welp. Probably should've been more thourough. Didn't expect her to be able to fly away in the middle of an explosion.
Shaking my head, I load up what I manage to find of the stolen goods and climb up to Etrigan. When I make it to the deck, I drop my bag, shrug my sprayer off my back, and collapse onto the deck. "You see the mother fly off?"
"I can't really understand what they're saying, but… eh. Sounds like it's not going particularly well."
taken aback by the reaction, i turn back to the others.
"Yes, perhaps the food will suffice." i reply, checking with Aurora for something to present them.>>740639
"Suffice to say they are not happy with the idea of passing through without payment." i reply with a nervous smile.
"We juzt had ze izzue of running out of food, mayhapz we take ze longer route?" Zunden says uncomfortably.
Etrigan shakes his antlered head. "We didn't have time to confirm or not. I had to move the ship out of blast range as fast as I could. It wasn't easy, let me tell you. Regardless. Their nest is destroyed, and that has to count for something. They'll have to look elsewhere for their treasures. Preferably far away from Withick."
He offers to help you up as a Servitor brings you a glass and pitcher of water.
"Well, it was worth the shot.">>740641
"How much longer is the long way?"
"Don't we have more food on the ship? Besides, the amount of time it would take to go around could just end up costing us the same amount of food."
I pull my mask off and drag the back of my paw across my puffy eyes. "Yeah," I say. "I know if I had my home blown up I probably wouldn't mess with the folks who did it anymore. Way easier just finding somewhere new than risk your life." I nod to the servitor even though it's still just Etrigan. As I drink straight from the pitcher I suddenly realize just how dry my mouth is. "Glad you managed to get out of the blast radius. I'll be honest, I had no idea just how big of a boom there would be. Was it pretty crazy?"
Aurora pulls out half a loaf of bread. "Didn't really bring much," she says apologetically. "I didn't think we'd be gone long…"
The Breezies look interested in the bread. "Sustenance,"
the leader says. "Enough for all our kin. Give it to us, prithee!"
The Breezies draw a bit closer.>>740643>>740644
"If we go around we won't be in Withick till near midnight," says Ezra gloomily. "Let's just give them food and be done with it."
"No complaints here- let's do it and be off."
Rolling with it, I take the bread thankfully and present it to the breezies."Our offering for safe passage. With this gift, have we reached an accord?"
he confirms. "You're lucky you had that token to get to safety. Only just managed to clear it ourselves."
Ganzen approaches from below, ridden by Violet. Seems they get along well enough these days.
They swarm to it quickly, spiriting it off to the other Breezies below. You hear some celebratory cheers."We have. This is a handsome recompense for safe travel. Thou art free to pass. But stray not from the path, flatlander. Else our accord be broken."
With that, he nods deeply, and flies off to rejoin the others.
I chuckle. "Probably would've gotten out sooner if I didn't. Took the token as a fallback measure, just in case. No way I would've had you blow the nest up if I didn't have it. Still, yeah. Really should've been more careful with the fire. Lucky I didn't get burned, even with the token." I look up at the sky to try to figure out about what time of day it is. "Gotta go turn this in in the mornin. Don't even remember asking how much I'm getting paid for it. Really hope it's at least as much as a barrel of gunpowder." I pat the bag. "And I even managed to find some of the stuff. More than anyone would've found if it was
"Zhat is all zhey wanted?" Zunden asks quizzically.
"Well.. they were after a fair offer, and given their size even a half loaf such as that could be a king's feast!"
It's nighttime still. About 10pm from your reckoning. "Aye, you did well. I'd offer a toast, but, you know."
Violet dismounts and trots over to you. There's a moment of comfortable silence as you recover your strength. The day's events are beginning to pile up on you. You're exhausted."So. The temple. How is it?"
Etrigan asks. "I'd like to go there again after all this."
I lean my head against the guardrail and close my eyes. I stay quiet for a long moment, and when I finally speak I can feel my voice croak. "They're dead," I manage to force out. "Maybe some got away, but the monestary… It's burned to the ground. Completely destroyed. There were bodies everywhere. They set up gallows and-" I trail off and look up at Etrigan with glaring, tear filled eyes. "My money is on Lysander. I can't say why for sure, but-" I shake my head, drop back against the rail, and fall silent again.
Violet freezes, and Etrigan's face falls. It's like a blanket's been thrown over the ship all of a sudden. "No…"
Etrigan dissipates for a moment from the shock, and the ship yaws slightly. Violet just sort of slumps over onto her haunches in despair. Etrigan's not quite sure what to say, trying to rationalize it. "They… Gods. They were pacifists too… Only one person in this land would be vile enough to attack them. Brigands would steer clear, they have no money. They- no, he- he must have taken the stone they held sacred. A powerful artifact like that in the wrong hands…"
He bows his head in grief. "He. Will. Pay,"
he growls softly.
I stare off into the distance, doing my best to keep my composure. "That's what it was," I say. "I remembered there was something, but I couldn't remember what." I don't think I've ever felt such a cold, all encompassing rage in my life. My entire body trembles. I swallow, and speak as calmly and evenly as I can manage. "He's going to pay for every single person he's hurt if I have to do it myself. The more I see, the harder it is to see him as anything but a monster."
I weakly pull myself to my paws and pick my sprayer up. "I'm exhausted," I say. "I'm going to go get some sleep."
>>740657"…When I died,"
he reflects quietly, "and found myself brought back by that tomfool warlock, the monastery was one of the first places I came across. They did not see me as the undead monster I was. They.. they helped me get on my feet again. To live as best I could."
He trails off."No trials, jury or due processes for him, Mr Black. That I can assure you. I'll kill him myself. What more could he do to me, after all. He's not a monster. He's something worse. A disease."
As you leave, he simply nods, brooding quietly. A Servitor offers to carry your equipment. Violet stands up, trembling slightly, and climbs up your leg into your pocket.
"I wonder if they realize that this makes them little better than bandits," Hermodur comments idly as they give them food in return for not being harmed.
"Actually… how do we know that this isn't a scam?"
"Well, that's a relief. Let's get a move on then, yeah?"
Watching them go, i settle back into my seat, ready to resume our traveling>>741069
"Frankly we don't. We've naught but their word they won't attack, though so long as we move quickly we should pass through unaccosted."
"A bite of bread seems a small sacrifice for safe passage," Gawain comments. "If that will placate them, then let them have it, I say.">>741069
"If they were like bandits, they would have attacked us first, then looted," Marisol comments. "They seem desperate. And angry," Dawn chimes in. "And we are trespassing in their territory, after all."
"Their territory?" Ezra says a bit incredulously. "They're the ones trying to claim all the swamp as theirs. Soon enough we won't be able to go two steps without being up to our armpits in Breezies."
"They were here first, weren't they?" Dawn points out. "I'd say they have every right to claim the swamp as theirs. Especially considering how Withick is starting to expand."
Ezra looks a bit miffed at this, but doesn't offer a retort, not wishing to start an argument. Breezie land rights seem to be a contentious topic in Withick.>>741070>>741069>>740652>>741071
Aurora nods in agreement with Rabi. "The sooner we get back the better."
Marisol looks up at the rising moon. "Should we go back to the ship instead of Withick?" she suggests. "It's getting late, after all. I doubt Sprig will be able to see us at this hour."
"We do have free rooms in the castle," Dawn points out. "Courtesy of Sprig. And we could stop to see Lily if we do so."
The others turn to you, asking for your input.
Letting the servitor take my stuff, I pick Vi up, pull her close, and head to bed, hoping I don't have more damn nightmares.
"Back to Withick, maybe? Might as well rest there, and meet with Sprig in the morning." Rabi suggests.
"If bandits are good at their job, then they don't have to hurt anyone. That way, when they get caught, they have less crimes to answer for."
"And, I agree with Ezra. It feels exactly like bandits to me. Like those bandits who claim a road and demand you pay a 'toll' to pass."
"A night at the castle sounds lovely, and it would be a quick trot to Sprig's office with the news come morning.">>741075
"Not a particularly demanding bunch though, those breezies. A half loaf of bread was all it took to leave in peace, hardly the haul a brigand would be interested in."
"It's a long time to them."
*a lot to them
What an odd typo
Zunden nods, "Yez, I agree. I zhink it iz better we return to Zprig one lazt time, trade away any artifactz we may not plan to uze. I know I have been zhinking of giving him ze pearl necklaze zhat ztranglez it'z wearer, he will have more rezipientz in mind for zhat gift zhan we ever will."
Vi clings to you like a koala as you head off to bed, curling up quietly next to you in bed. As soon as you lie down, the overwhelming exhaustion of the day's events hits you like a truck, and you fall fast asleep not a minute after.
The next morning, you wake up to the delicious smell of frying eggs. Violet and Purdue, having no sense of smell, are unfazed by this, both seemingly asleep at the moment. It's a sunny, cloudless day outside, with a bit of a nip in the air.>>741075
Dawn seems to want to argue against it, but decides it's not worth the energy.>>741074>>741075>>741076>>741224
"Sounds good to me," says Aurora quietly. She seems tired from the day's events.
"Huzzah! A night of revelry awaits!" Gawain proclaims exuberantly. His face falls a little as he sees how tired you all are. "…Er, if you would join me, that is. …Perhaps not." Dawn stifles a yawn, which spreads like a virus to Marisol. She fails to cover it, baring her pointy teeth in a big yawn of her own.
True to their word, the Breezies do not attack, forming a sort of honor guard on their arachnid mounts as you pass through. They follow you from a respectful distance as you traverse the swamp astride Jenny.
"Why do you suppose they won't leave us alone?" Aurora comments, looking back uneasily at the golden spiders.
"Maybe they want to make sure we don't mean trouble," Marisol presumes with a small shrug.
"It's only to be expected," Dawn comments. "They have every right to be suspicious of outsiders. …Thank you for negotiating so eloquently, by the way," she adds to Silver. "Without your help it would have gone a lot worse, I dare say."
Gawain seems in good spirits despite the encounter and everything preceding it, humming cheerily all the way to the outskirts of the wilds. Ezra passes the time commenting on the wildlife on the way back, pointing out different types of frogs and night birds just from their calls.
The hour is late by the time you return to Withick, disembarking Jenny at the docks where you began. Ezra hops off and says his farewells with a big smile. "Well that was a good little adventure wasn't it? Haven't gotten to transport drifters like that in ages. If you ever need a lift somewhere again, you know where to find me!" He sees you off with a big dramatic doff of his bucket hat and a friendly wave. Jenny lows in the background, as if to say goodbye.
"Ah, Withick," Gawain comments romantically as you make your way to the castle. "Such a quaint little town. The last homely house in the swamp, or so it's been called. By me, just now. Ahem." Marisol gives him a weird look.
You return to Caer Portach. At this hour it's a bit quieter than usual. There's only a handful of lingering barflies, and no music playing. The mushroom bartender is idly polishing tankards, while Lily sweeps some broken glass off the floor. As you walk in, she brightens up, quickly finishing her work before approaching you eagerly, almost tripping on a chair but hurriedly catching herself in time. "Heya! Didn't think you'd be back so soon. What's the good word? Just here to stay the night?"
I open my eyes and groan, both emotionally and physically drained from the night before. At least I didn't have any nightmares, I have a job to turn in, some stuff to pick up, some stuff to buy. I look down at Vi, smile, and gently pet her. And best of all, Vi gets her body back.
The smell of eggs pulls me out of bed, and for now I let Vi and Purdue rest. I slip on my coat, pocket my mask, and make my way to the dining room. "Morning Etrigan," I say, even if he isn't there. Pretty sure he can hear me from wherever.
"Oh! Hey, Lily." the stallion says, whinnying a bit and setting the chair back up straight. "things went… well, mostly! I think! Everything go okay here?" he asks.
He blinks once or twice, before shaking his head and saying "Right! Staying for the night."
"Why thank you, Dawn." i reply, laughing lightly. "I'm glad we could resolve the border trouble as well. Doubtless the fight would be rather messy, what with the giant spiders and swarm of breezies. It certainly saved us from quite the struggle."
Returning to the tavern, i greet the approaching Lily with a wave of a wing.
"Ah, hello Lily! We've scouted the ruins well enough, quite the dreary place but i'm certain Sprig will be satisfied with our findings."
"Come morning we'll have a proper debriefing, but for now we'll spend the night within the castle."
"Unfortunately, I do not believe I zhould drink az much az I did ze previouz night. I zhould prepare for my time wizh Norv and Violet. I do hope he'z been zafe.."
Zunden's stomach rumbles, looking to the tables, "Zhough I do zhink we could eat firzt."
"Sure! I'll get that sorted for you. Just a minute…"
Lily hurries off to arrange for your rooms, while you go and have a meager dinner at the inn. After eating, Lily shows back up and shows you to your rooms; they're more or less the same as the ones you slept in last night. The eventful day begins to weigh on you as you get ready for bed, and before you know it, you're out like a light.
The next morning, you wake up with the sun shining through the window. There's a bit of chatter downstairs from early bird customers. It's a beautiful day outside, if slightly chilly.
You hear the fluttering of wings outside. "Mr Sprig would like to see you."
It's the polite, slightly deadpan voice of his assistant Dahlia, emanating from a Harbinger. "He has deciphered your moon scroll, and eagerly awaits your own findings. Please follow the dove."
She wakes up slowly as you pet her, uncurling from the ball she's in and looking up at you. She gives you a gentle side hug."Good morning, Mr Black."
Etrigan manifests at the door with a slight ethereal whoosh. "I prepared some breakfast for you, if you're hungry."
You are. The events of yesterday have taken their toll on you; you're a little sore from all the exertion."Got plans for today?"
"Definitely exhausted. Meant to relax the last couple days, but that ain't exactly how it's been." I rub the back of my neck and stretch some. "Yeah, I'm starving, thanks. Guess those chickens Aegis bought are good good for more than just fighting with Vi."
I sit down and start eating. "Nothing huge. Gonna turn in the job, ask Sprig about something. Had some Stoneskin poison commissioned from the apothecary. I think I need to pick that up today." I rub my eyes. "Or maybe that was tomorrow. Sleeping twice in a day really messes with you."
As the party collects itself in the morning, Zunden approaches Silver again. "Now zhat I have rezted zome more, might I zpend zome time identifying ze crown we pried from ze zpecter yezterday? It gave off a zuch a menazing aura zhat I want to give it a zecond glanze before we pozzibly exzchange it to Zprig."
"Yeah! They set me up with a room and everything. I kind of live here now, I guess. Heh. Thanks again for all the help!"
"Oh, that's great to hear!" the stallion says, grinning a little. "I don't, uh… I don't have any way to keep in touch, but I'll keep swinging back from time to time and make sure everything's okay! And, just to chat.">>741231
Rabi rolls out of bed a little earlier than Silver and stretches out, before cantering downstairs to grab some breakfast. He flicks his ears when he hears Dahlia's voice, and pushes his (mostly empty) plate of food away before saying "Oh! Sure, yeah."
"Ah, an excellent point. The last
thing we'd want is to place Sprig at risk from a gift."
rifling through my things, i hoof the circlet over to Zunden, mindful of it's potentially dangerous effects.>>741231
"Wonderful, i'm eager to see the results. Lead the way."
Wearing my underdress with my things stored and ready, i wait for the others before following the harbinger.
Zunden attempts to study the object again, seeing if a night's rest has helped in the process
[1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
You head over to the mess hall, Violet trotting confidently behind you and hopping up on the table. You see a stray chicken give her a wide berth.
As you sit down, a Servitor presents you with a hearty bowl of scrambled eggs on toast. It's quite delicious. Ganzen appears from somewhere, rearing his neck up to see if he'll be able to filch a few pieces."Sounds like it. I can't remember the last time I slept,"
Etrigan comments. He realizes that might dampen the mood, so he quickly changes subject. "What's the poison for? Something specific? Will you need a lift somewhere?">>741238
You get a bad feeling just touching it. Turning it over and trying to use your magical senses, you glean a little. It is irrevocably cursed; while it will amplify the might of its wearer greatly, they will be doomed to be haunted by the spirit of Anguish, who resides within the diadem still. Her vengeful revenant, as well as the spirits of the four kings, will follow the bearer's every footstep, and attempt to reclaim what was lost. You sense the only way to undo this curse is to destroy it, or to go through some sort of ritual in the ruins. The name 'Rite of Usurpation' floats through your mind, though more than this, you cannot glean.>>741237>>741236>>741234
You depart as a group after getting ready; Gawain has bought a room for himself, not being one of Sprig's guests like yourselves, and remains fast asleep. You can hear him snoring extremely loudly in the next room.
You follow the instructions, following a Harbinger in the form of a silver dove as it flies through the corridors of Caer Portach. You're fairly certain this wasn't the way you went last time. It stops in front of a wooden door; opening it takes you straight to Sprig's study, despite the location not matching up with the geography of the place. Clearly some kind of magic.
You find Sprig hunched over the scroll, hands on the wooden table, studying it with curiosity. A map seems to have revealed itself. Dahlia is by his side, watchful as always. He looks up and smiles as you enter, catching the dove out of thin air and passing it off to Dahlia. "Good to see you again. How was the sojourn into our mysterious new dungeon? Tell me everything," he says eagerly.
I shake my head. "Nah. Just want to have it in case I need it. Seems useful, y'know?" I give Ganzen a piece of my egg toast and try to pat him on the head. "Just tryin'a stay prepared before I actually need to be, y'know? Don't think you can really give me a lift into town. I think that's why we docked so far away to begin with, so-" I shrug. "Thanks anyway."
"We acquired some impressive weapons," Hermodur says, displaying the one he carried (I think I carried one?).
"I'm curious as to how that door works," Hermodur says, pointing over his shoulder at the way they just mysteriously got into this room.
"Ah, much more information to glean wizh a rezted mind, zhough it doez not bode well. I will zave time and tell my findingz when we meet wizh Zprig."
When the group meets, Zunden steps forward with the cursed object, "Ze newezt ruinz were a crypt holding ze remainz of four dizgrazed kingz, zhat were rizen az zpecterz by a vengeful zpirit named Anguizh. We managed to banizh zhem and take away zheir weaponz zhey onze uzed in life, but zhey are not gone. Zhiz diadem iz pozzezzed by Anguizh, and while it ztrengzhenz ze bearer greatly, it will curze ze bearer to draw ze ire of zheze forgotten kingz and Anguizh herzelf."
She looks to the fellow antiquarian directly, "Wizh zome ztudy, I waz able to learn zhat it iz pozzible to do away zhiz curze wizhout deztroying ze artifact, but it requirez a Rite of Uzurpation zhat I imagine we would need to look zhrough your tomez to find how to perform."
following the dove to sprig's study, the direction taken to it leaving me slightly confused, i nod in greeting to the noble.
"My, what a dungeon it was! It appears to be some form of tomb, dedicated to several disgraced kings, souls still very present and hostile."
"We managed to disperse them, retrieving a rather dangerous souvenir." i add, retrieving the diadem for the collector to view.
"A diadem, worn by the lady of anguish. Zunden advises not to wear it, and i am inclined to agree, quite foreboding for jewelry."
"It went… okay, I suppose. Living statues seem very common, and one of them was cursed. We ended up re-sealing it, though we found some treasures of note."
Ganzen looks up at the piece warily, then as soon as you give it to him he runs off to inhale it in the corner.
Etrigan nods. "Makes sense. Never know when something like that will come in useful."
He looks a bit disappointed at not being able to help out, but nods understandingly. "Well. If you ever do need me, you know how to contact me.""I managed to extend the bond to the others, by the way. Over some distance too. I'm not sure how far it reaches, but it seems considerable."
He looks up at you as you ask about the door, giving a knowing smile. "Bit disorienting, ain't it. It took me a while to get used to it too. Sometimes, you can just walk through a door in this place and end up where you need to be. It's how I was able to escape with most everything intact. It just works." He gives you a little wink.>>741242>>741241>>741243>>741244
Sprig raises his eyebrows, handling the weapons with curiosity. "Hmm. This is quite a find. Quite a find indeed. Look at the curvature of the blade on this sword, the pattern on its crossguard. This predates our modern times by a good few centuries. Perhaps even dating back to the Age of Steel…"
He recoils slightly as Zunden places the diadem on the table, recognizing its curse. "Anguish," he mutters. "And four kings… The name strikes familiar. I'll… I'll have to do some reading. Why is this here, now of all times… Too many questions, and answers that'll just lead to more questions. Curiosity."
"As for this… Rite of Usurpation, did you say? That's rather beyond me. I know of magic, but I am an antiquarian, not an occultist. Maybe exploring these ruins would prove more fruitful… But enough. You have done your part for me, and I couldn't possibly ask for more. Not with the burden you carry."
"Now then. To the victor go the spoils. Behold!"
He pushes the artifacts aside to reveal the map. It seems to point off the coast of… somewhere. To a cave on an island that seems to be little more than a rock. Many sea monsters are drawn around it. Marisol bites her lip in concern as she sees it, and Aurora frowns. They seem to recognize it.
"The Isle of Glass!" Sprig announces, enjoying the dramatic reactions. "If you're looking to hide this… thing you carry, this forgotten place would be your best bet. It's in the middle of nowhere. Fraught with peril. Nigh impossible to get to by air or sea. Only a madman would dare brave it, considering what's made its home there." He looks up at you expectantly, gauging your reactions.
I give him a strained smile and nod. "Yeah," I say, finishing up my food. "I know. I appreciate it." I stand up and drag the back of my paw across my mouth. "I shouldn't be too long as long as I don't get held up. Might do a little shopping, but I'll keep in touch."
"Well, it definitely sounds perilous. Should we aim to reach it by foot, or is it possible- just difficult- to reach it by air?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.
"Isle of glass? I'm afraid i am unfamiliar with the locale, though given the drawing on the map it must be quite the nightmare."
Hermodur gives one last look over his shoulder at the door. Then, he shrugs. He looks for a nice wall to lean against. Then, he leans against it.
"Unfortunately," Hermodur says from his place against the wall. "A madman is exactly who we are hiding it from."
Zunden nods at Hermodur's responce, turning back to Sprig, "Zo it iz a well known plaze of perilz? Zhat iz a zhame. If ze only zhing protecting it iz peril, enough influenze and rezourzez can offzet zhat." Zunden frowns as well, "Ze unknown zeemed far better an optzion zhan to chooze a plaze zhat would interezt ze boldezt adventurerz."
As you wipe with your paw, a Servitor appears holding a napkin."Alright then. Stay safe out there, friend."
You depart the ship with Purdue and Violet in tow, the former needing to be roused awake. "Ah! I don't like being manhandled,"
he gripes, but accepts his fate nonetheless. He complains, but he seems grateful to be along on your adventures.
You make your way across the boardwalk and to the main gate of Withick. It's not too lively at this early hour; the various proprietors and denizens of the swamp town are only just starting to open for the day.>>741250>>741249>>741248>>741251
"There's a good reason no one's tried to take it," he reassures you. "It's teeming with Mirodan. Ferocious sea-dwelling amphibians that breed faster than you can slay 'em. One alone's nasty enough, but those waters are infested with 'em. Their slime's what gave the Isle its name. Not to mention…" He points out a smaller island in between the coast and the Isle of Glass. There seems to be a coral bridge connecting both islands. "Going by land means braving Blood Lily Island. The land bridge is only open for a few hours each day, and spend too long on that island and you'll get shredded by Fleshbanes.
"Air ain't exactly an option either," he continues. "Nowhere really to land on that forsaken rock. And the Mirodan are as fierce on land as they are at sea. Then there's all the other monsters dwelling in those waters. Kreel, Birdsbanes, Sea Wolves, Stranglers, Bubblers… You'd need a damn fleet to brave it. And unless Lysander has one of those up his sleeve, I don't see how he could get to it."
"Of course, there's the problem of how you'd
get to it," he thinks out loud. "The Isle's probably one of the deadliest places in the land that I know of. Maybe we could find other options?…"
"Oh, sorry, bud. Just sorta assumed. I guess I shoulda asked you if you wanted to stay on the ship." I adjust my bag on my shoulder. First thing's first. I head to the guard captain place to collect my reward.
"The island COULD be used as a trap," Hermodur suggests. "Lure in whatever forces Lysander has, cut off their retreat. They get trapped on the island and inevitably die."
"I.. I do not know I have ze energy or wherewizhal to plan zomezhing like zhat. If it takez a fleet to make a way zhere, zhan izn't it juzt an unattainable goal for drifterz like uz?"
You make your way to the guard station, telling the guards on duty you're here to see Captain Marques. They agree to let you in and escort you inside.
You find him poring over a mountain of paperwork, looking like he hasn't slept. He looks up, raising his eyebrows as he sees you. "Norv Black, Beastslayer. I suppose you can add another to your tally then," he says warmly. "At least I'm assuming that explosion last night was your doing."
"I, hrm… how would
we get there… I can scout things out without actually going there, but that might not help too much… hrm."
"Only if we ACTUALLY hide it there."
"Goodness me! One wonders how anypony managed to hide away an object there, let alone what would be worth the effort!"
"Such a place would hopefully be more than ample security for our purposes, but the effort to reach it would be staggering.">>741258
"Hmm.. making clear our intentions to place it there, only to lead them to doom while traveling elsewhere. Would he be convinced? We would have to become even further concealed if we're to complete the ruse."
"The ruse would likely not work long enough for it to kill off himself and his resources, no. Which is why we'd have to take away his ability to leave the island once he got on it."
I nod. "Yep. Told you I had it taken care of. Especially after I found out it wasn't some thieves guild. Problem with mournwings is the entire reason they were stealing shiny stuff was to feed to the Mother. But-" I shrug the bag off and hold it open. "I did manage to save a bunch of stuff. Not everything, but a bunch."
"Perhaps by lying in wait for his ship to arrive, then broadsiding them once they've landed?"
Then, Hermodur shrugs. "Then again, it depends on how committed we are to being his enemy."
"A diversion," Aurora chimes in, her eyes glinting as an idea strikes her. "We could draw him out on the Fortune and get away on the bottled ship!" She looks to the both of you for your reaction, proud of having come up with what she presumes to be an ingenious idea.>>741257>>741255>>741259>>741258
Sprig clears his throat to get your attention. "Ahem. If we can't come to a solution, perhaps there are other arrangements we could make. The Echoes are full of forgotten places. You went into one yesterday yourselves. If we could purify this copied city we've found, maybe the Egg could be hidden within. Or, I could find some other hiding places." He shrugs.
He looks through, raising his eyebrows in surprise. "A bunch is better than nothing at all." He offers to take the bag. "We should be able to return these to their owners ourselves. You did this town a good turn, drifter."
"So. What would you like as a reward?" he asks. "As captain of the guard, I could offer you quite a bit. Money? Treasure? Titles? Property?"
"As I said, it depends on how committed we are to being Lysander's enemy," Hermodur responds to Sprig, looking to the others.
"Hrm… I suppose it could be hidden within there, yeah. I'm not sure how safe it would be, but some of what we ran into would, ah… it'd definitely make for a deterrent, alright."
I blink. "I, uh-" I say, but pause. Had only really expected him to slide me a bag of coins and call it even. My jaw tightens, and I think for a long moment. "I don't know. I was thinking money would be the default. Didn't realize I'd have options. How much money? And what's the property like here?" I scratch my chin. "I was technically a lord for a minute, but I don't know if that's still tecnically true."
"He seems unlikely to give us a choice in that matter, yes? He'll chase us forever if it means finally taking what he wants, and nothing short of submitting or killing him would change that."
"If we still have what he wants," Hermodur points out. "If we actually DO hide it somewhere, then we wouldn't have it any more."
"Of course, he could just follow us until one of us gives him the information he needs."
Hermodur shrugs again. "I'm just laying the options out."
Zunden's mood falters, "Ah, I did not know you'd be zo involved in wanting to help wizh zhiz endeavor. I'm zure it iz zomezhing ze group can deliberate about later."
At the mention of information, my eyes light up with an idea!
"Zunden, your severance rune, to what degree can you control it? Could you sever the memory of our hiding place from our minds once the deed is done?"
"Zhat waz ze idea yez.."
"Ah.. right. That only leave the issue of location.">>741264
"I feel the city is too close to hide such a dangerous artifact, we would need something less conspicuous.. Have you heard of locales that could remain suitably out of the way?"
"Five hundred bits, for your services," he answers. "Or, the title of Esquire and deeds to a house here in Withick. I'm warning you though, it's not in the best shape. Been abandoned for a while. But with some renovations, it could be fixed up." You feel Violet do a bit of a double take in your pocket when she hears you potentially getting a title.
He blinks. "I want Lysander to squirm as much as you do, dear Reader. But I have my own fish to fry. I would merely like to help how I can by putting you on a good road is all.">>741274>>741271>>741267>>741266
"Well, here are some options. Miss Dahlia, the map, if you would." She wordlessly obeys, producing a wider world map. He points out a few locations, some of which you've heard of:
The Shifting Sands. Dawn flat out refuses to go there again.
The Forests of Silence. Inhabited by savage Breezies, the forest spans for uncounted miles. The deeper one goes, the further into the earth the forest grows, and the taller and darker the trees become. There's no telling what lurks at the heart of those woods.
Mount Venn. The largest mountain in the Echoes, a dormant volcano. Inhabited by all manner of beasts, reaching its summit would be easy by air, but it is a rather obvious target.
The Lands of Always Winter. Far to the south, this is a seemingly endless expanse of ice, snow and howling winds. Nothing lives here. You recall an account in a book of a dragon traveling for over a month in hopes of finding the end of these lands, to no avail.
The Lake of Tears. A lake afflicted by a nameless curse, blackening the waters and turning the surrounding lands foul. Nothing grows around it. In its center is a rock that seems to weep the black waters of the lake, giving it its name. It has an evil reputation, and for good reason.
The Weeping City. Hermodur has been here before, and you were all adjacent to it; the Swap Meet was held in its shadow. It is a forgotten, maze-like place where no living thing dwells, infested by the ghosts of the dead.
I look down and open my pocket enough to see Vi. "What do you think? A title and house sound like a better deal than 500 bits. Think I should take it?"
She looks up at you and shrugs. She doesn't seem to trust the deal much. There's probably a catch.
"If you want a place no amount of brute force could bully its way in, then pick the Weeping City. That place has no reason. An army is as likely to get lost as a small group. Even if we didn't wipe our own memories, we likely wouldn't be able to find the place we hid it again."
"If you're looking for a place no one could think to look, then any random place in the Lands of Always Winter will do."
Zunden grows increasingly more uncomfortable, "I zhink I may go to find Norvegicuz, I need to help him wizh Violet…" Zunden makes for the door.
"Zunden? Uh… is everything alright? Not going to stop you from helping out, but… " he lets out an uneasy whinny.
"I owed him it yezterday, it'z not zomezhing I zhould've delayed." Zunden responds hastily.
"My, so many places to hide it.. Would you have a more portable map for us to use? Choosing will take some time, and we've yet to fill Norvy in as well."
"Naturally the final choice will have to be made confidentially between the group. The fewer who know it's final resting place the better, as i'm sure you understand."
"Alright- I won't be one to stop you, Zunden." he says, rubbing her shoulder a little and letting her go.>>741283>>741276
"Good thinking- we can choose later, yeah?"
"Do you need help?" Hermodur asks with concern.
"Of course. I'm merely presenting options. I don't expect you to make a decision here and now. This task is yours, after all.">>741283
He nods to Dahlia, who vanishes amid the shelves, and returns with a smaller, identical scroll. "For future reference. I don't usually give up parts of my collection, but for this cause, I think it's worthwhile." He offers you both the map to the Isle of Glass and the world map.>>741279
Marisol nods in agreement. "It's a miracle we were able to find our way out of there. Which reminds me." She slips her paw into her coat; you are suddenly reminded of her own secret burden, to destroy the Dragon's Tears. "I would like a word in private, Mister Sprig. When we can."
"Of course, Lady Cerwyn. Anything for my esteemed guests." He nods sagely.
"I think braving the cold would be our best bet," says Dawn. "Nothing can find it there. It's… it's something C… Carabas mentioned." She trails off abruptly, lost in thought. Her horn sparks a little.>>741280
Aurora breaks out of her reverie as you speak up, going after you with a frown. "Zunden? A-are you alright?…"
Sprig blinks in confusion. "My dear lady, I hope I didn't offend…" Dawn and Marisol turn to you with concern.
"H'm…" I look up. "Seems like the deal is weighted more in favor of one side than the other. Doubt I can get a house for 500 bits most places, let alone qualify for a title. Is there more to it?"
"I zhink perhapz I'm juzt feeling a little ill, zhat iz all.
" Zunden speaks timidly, wanting out of the crowd, taking her leave, "Go ahead and continue to plan wizhout me.
"Mind if I join you for that conversation?" Hermodur asks Marisol quietly.
"We'll plan at the ship later, it's alright. Just, please, take care of yourself if you're feeling ill, Zunden. You mean the world to us.">>741286
"Of course, yeah." he says, stretching out a little.
A beat. "Well, I might've underplayed it a little," he confesses. "The place has a bad history. Previous owner was kind of a nut, to say the least. No one's lived there in a long time. It's real run down, and it wouldn't surprise me if it's haunted. On the other hand," he says with a cheeky grin, "it's free real estate." You see Violet looking up disapprovingly from your pocket.
Taking the maps, I sweep my wings out in a curtsy.
"Thank you again, Sprig. Your assistance in this is most appreciated. Let us hope for a swift and satisfactory end to the conflict at hoof."
With that, I see myself out with zunden, a twinge of concern for the saurian following behind
I swallow, and rock on my paws for a second. I mean, if that's it then it is
free real-estate, and
an official title. I glance between Vi and the captain before finally nodding. "I'll take it."
"Wonderful. Well, I guess that'll be that then. If there's anything you need, please let me know. I'm here to help."
Sprig decides to keep 3/4 of the weapons you retrieved, leaving you to claim the lance. You adjourn with the others, Zunden and Aurora making an early exit. "What do you think's eating Zunden?" Dawn asks with worry as you walk back to the inn.>>741288
Aurora follows you out. "What happened?" she asks softly, trotting by your side as you leave. "What's wrong?">>741289
Marisol nods subtly. You both linger as the others depart.
"So," says Sprig, a bit confused as to why you're there too. "What do I owe this private meeting?"
She opens her mouth, but seems to be lost for words all of a sudden. She looks to you for help, not seeming sure how to phrase her plight.
"She's looking to destroy a magical item. Might you be able to help with that?"
Violet somehow rolls her button eyes. Marques breathes a sigh of relief. "Alright. Just a mo'."
He gets up and comes back after a bit with a hefty iron keychain, which he gives to you. "There's a guard waiting outside to show you to the place. I'll speak to our mayor and eventually, someone will be in touch about making your title official. …Thank you. For everything. Really. We wouldn't have been able to get rid of those damned birds if you hadn't landed on our doorstep."
I take the keys and give him a dismissive wave. "Just doing my job. And it isn't like I did it pro-bono. Took a little more force to take care of than I expected, but it worked." I clear my throat. " On that note, I don't guess you'd be able to replace the barrel of black powder I ended up using, would you?"
"Fatez I juzt.. I don't know. I zhought I waz doing better, I'm right back to paranoia and fear. Why are we dizcuzzing zhiz ztuff zo openly wizh zomeone we met a day or zo ago? I've been coming up wizh planz I've wanted to talk about but we've been barely zcraping by on zuppliez, now we're okay zheir but let'z juzt lizt out all ze plazez we could ztick ze zhing zhat could end ze world to a collector of powerful objectz.
" Zunden shudders, slinking her way back to ship with her tail dragging in the mud, "Barely feel zafe outzide ze zhip..
"I'm, uh… I-I'm not sure what's eating her. I want to know, though. I dunno- maybe we'll have to just lock her in a room with us?"
"I might." His curiosity is piqued. "What's the item?"
"It's…" She's really struggling to spill the beans about the tears. She looks to you again as if to ask if she should. Sprig just looks bemused.>>741297
He frowns. "We don't have black powder here, sorry. Haven't been able to get any of that gear in. We just have archers and crossbowmen for defense.">>741298
Aurora nods. "I uh… I don't trust him much either. But he's on our side, and that's what counts. We shouldn't tell him where we're taking this thing, but at least we have potential headings." She gives you a reassuring rub on the shoulder. "Chin up. We just have to settle on something and then it'll almost be over. Just one last trip out to who knows where, then we can finally breathe. Right?" She gives you an encouraging smile.>>741299
"That seems a bit drastic," says Dawn. "We should talk to her once we get back to the ship. She was in good spirits for a while yesterday, but it seems she's going back to how she's been since the Sands… It's just been hard on her, I suppose. On all of us really. I feel there's hope in the future though. We're so close to being rid of the Egg…"
"Well, worth a shot. Thanks anyway. Guess I'll, uh… go check out that house now." I turn to leave and wave. "See you around, Cap." I step out and look for the guard.
"Aye." He nods and goes back to his work, too busy for proper farewells. Evidently all that needs to be said has been said.
The guard, an enormous fellow that looks like the offspring of a Diamond Dog and a log, salutes you. "Esquire," he grunts in acknowledgement. "Captain put you in charge of the Nibelung house, did he? Good luck."
He doesn't elaborate; nor, as you find, does he have to. The house looks almost archetypically haunted; a run down old two storey structure that barely looks like it's standing, with boarded up broken windows, a dark, dilapidated exterior, an overgrown, dried up garden with dead trees, and a pointed, jagged sort of roof. Needless to say, it gives off a threatening aura. "Yup, there is is," says the guard that looks like a log. "No one's lived there since before I was born. I were you I would've taken the money."
I hum and smooth the fur on my head. "Maybe. But, I mean, the land itself has to be worth at least 500 bits, right? Even if the house wasn't here-" I clear my throat. "Anyway, thank you. Guess-" I glance to the house and shuffle my feet a little. Even if it's actually haunted, that just means the ghosts are in there, trapped and suffering, right? I gulp and steel myself, pulling on my mask. "Guess I'll take a look around my new house." I take the key ring and try to find the right one for the front door.
"Yeah, you do that. I'm just gonna…" He takes the opportunity to slip away, leaving you all alone. You're starting to think this was an elaborate trap or something.
You walk up the front porch, breaking one of the rotting steps in the process, and open the door with your keys. It takes a while, and you have to force the door open. Inside it is just as bad as outside. A dusty, grimy structure, with rotting walls full of mildew and vermin. Cobwebs line every corner, and you can't shake the distinct overwhelming feeling of foreboding the house radiates. It's like something actively wants you gone.
You are currently in the main hallway. At the end of it seems to be the kitchen and the dining room, while on your right is a music room and living room. On your left, a staircase leads up to the second level, along with a second smaller set of stairs leading down to the basement.
"I glance down at Purdue and Vi." You, uh… You think this was a setup? Like they tricked me into taking care of another local problem for free as a "reward?""
>>741547"Aye, most likely. Still. If we do, it's free real estate!"
Vi nods vigorously, both at the setup and the promise of free real estate.
"Can't argue with that." I close the door and step off the steps. "Should probably go check out Sprig's and see if I can find anything about it. No sense going in blind if it is haunted." I make my way back to the castle.
Roll #1 5 = 5
You don't notice anything out of the ordinary as you leave…>>741549"Aye. Better being in august company for now anyway. That place gives me the willies."
You go back to Caer Portach. It's a bit quiet, not many customers here for breakfast. From what you can hear though, you're in luck. Your companions seem to be nearby!
Oh! Guess they're back. I pull my mask off, stuff it in my pocket, and look around for the voices.
"A-A little drastic, yeah. I'm just concerned she'll just try to brush us off, you know? She does so much for all of us, and it seems like she's cracking a little- it doesn't feel right to just ignore it."
" Zunden takes a deep breath, shivering, "I juzt gotta get it done and over wizh, before ze ztrezz killz me. I haven't felt like myzelf for a long while."
"It's Dragon's Tears," Hermodur says it for her. "We're looking for a way to destroy them beyond use."
"I do hope she's alright. I suspect that this business with the egg has taken it's toll on poor zunden. Hopefully once we've sequestered the egg away she'll perk up."
"If we let her brush us off, we're not doing our part for her," Dawn remarks simply.>>741636
"As it has on us all," Dawn muses. "We should do something to cheer her up, I think.">>741632>>741633>>741636
Norv runs into Rabi, Silver and Dawn in the inn. Looking around, you notice a vaguely familiar face having an early breakfast: a heavyset armored griffon who seems to dominate the scene with his presence. Silver and Rabi know him as Gawain, of course. He notices you all and waves hello, having a bit of a flash of recognition as he notices Norv, but too busy wrangling a comically large sandwich to offer a proper greeting right now.>>741634
Aurora nods grimly. "Yeah. We're all feeling it. You're not alone. We just have to take one more step, then we don't have to worry about that damn thing again."
"Hey. You hungry?" she asks. "Market's opening. Could go grab something for breakfast.">>741635
His eyes widen. "Dragon's Tears? May I…?"
Reluctantly, Marisol pulls the glittering crystalline tear out of her coat. Sprig's eyes gleam, enraptured by the sight of such a rare, illustrious artifact. Even Dahlia breaks character for a moment, looking surprised and intrigued.
"Now, why would you want to go and destroy such a rare and precious thing? It should be hidden away. In a collection, perhaps? Not to be used by anyone. …Except-"
"We're not here to trade it in," Marisol says tersely. "It's like Hermodur said. We need to destroy it. Grosvenor's developed an infatuation with immortality. She wants this. We can't let her have it."
Sprig pulls back sharply, like he's been struck in the face. "Hm. I see. I'd heard whispers of her machinations. I presumed she'd be after something like this, but I never guessed they'd been found. I can't imagine it was easy."
"No. No it wasn't."
Sprig smiles a bit, but knows better than to pry. "What you have there is something incredibly rare. It'll be a shame to see it go, but it's for the greater good. …I can help with this. Tears of a dragon, especially crystalized ones such as this, are only formed under extreme heat. Dragonfire forged them. And it's dragonfire you'll need to destroy them. Or something equivalent."
Marisol frowns. "So. What do we do then? Are you telling us we'll have to find a dragon to burn it for us?"
"That or drop it in something similar. A particularly powerful spell would do it. Or an active volcano. I heard a story once about an artifact that was destroyed like that, actually…"
I smile and wave, approaching the three. "How'd the trip go?"
"Nozhing haz ever been ze end here zhough. Zhere are no endz to Fate. Ze fool'z journey iz zyclical, we juzt have to hope not to be the same playerz ze nexzt time around. It will be hidden, not deztroyed." Zunden sighs, continuing to move uncomfortably through the humid enviroment. "Food iz good."
"Right. I'm not gonna let her do it. I'm not keen on losing anymore family, really.">>741637
Rabi gives Gawain a soft pat on the back as he struggles with a sandwich befitting his stature, before offering a warm smile and a small wave to Norvegicus.>>741638
"Crazy, but everyone came back alright- we even found Gawain!" he says, whinnying a little bit from the excitement. "Fought some, ah… statues? Spirits? Something like that. Things were dicey, but we pulled through. Got heckled by some sort of little… things on the way back, but we just dealt with them peacefully. What about you?"
"QUite the journey, stumbling onto a tomb
of all things out in the ruins, spirits of ancient kings left to rot within their graves. We managed to disperse them, hopefully, and report back to Sprig relatively unscathed."
She frowns a bit as you start waxing poetic. It's a bit lost on her. "It might as well be destroyed," she points out. "Lysander won't know where to find it. It'll be out of his reach forever."
"Yes, food is generally good," she concurs. She motions for you to follow as she heads towards the market. It's opening up for the day, but already lively. You can see all sorts of foods on sale, including fresh fruit and vegetables, freshly caught fish and insects from the surrounding swamps, and even a baked goods stall. Aurora, of course, gravitates towards this naturally.
There are other things on offer too, of course. Antiques, jewelry, books, clothes, and even exotic pets are all on sale. You can hear a street musician playing a calliope nearby, accompanied by a small, devious looking ape-like creature. Near the center, you can see a town crier setting up, an immensely fat Batroc in a white toga, getting ready to announce the news for the day. Overall, the Withick town square has a cheery atmosphere.>roll Perception
"Yeesh. Yeah, not big on fighting statues. Sorry I didn't come with you guys." I run my fingertip along my facial scar and chuckle. "Nothing too big on my end. Blew up a giant nest of predatory birds that turn invisible, and now I'm a titled landowner here." I give a small bow. "Sir Norvegicus P. Black Esquire, at your service."
I clear my throat. "Actually maybe it's just Norvegicus P. Black, Esquire? Not really sure how titles work." I glance at Silver, chuckle, and blush a little. "Actually, I guess you probably would. Probably sounded a little silly there."
"It was a shame to not have you around, but you kept yourself busy enough- I'm glad you came out of all that alright, though."
He cocks his head to the side, before asking "Titled landowner? Huh. Did you get it for taking care of the birds, or did you buy it?"
"Hello again," says Dawn politely to Norv with a soft smile. Gawain manages to wolf down his bite and greet Norv formally. "Hello, good sir!" he booms jovially. "And good morrow to my companions too! I believe we are acquainted from some time ago. The Moon Temple, I believe it was. As Mr Rabi has said, I am Sir Gawain, an unlanded knight of Andraxis. I happened to run into your good friends during their sojourn into the ruins north of here. A delightful expedition all in all! Even though it was rather perilous. Working together, we can solve any problem!"
"…Yes, that's the long and short of it," Dawn confirms, a bit put off by his scenery chewing. "I trust you've been keeping well?">>741643
"Oh? A house?" Dawn comments. "That should be useful in the future. How is it? Any good?"
Gawain sounds impressed by your achievement. "My! That must have been quite a sight to see! Allow me to be one of the first to congratulate you on your exploits!"
Hermodur gives Marisol a surprised look when she says the USE for the Dragon's Tears. But, he says nothing about it. Especially since he's equally surprised to see that the explanation actually put Sprig off.
"Great, so we just need to find a volcano," Hermodur nods. "Thanks for the advice. Is this answer acceptable to you," he turns to Marisol.
"Oh? I seems you've had quite the adventure youself, joining the landed gentry!" i reply with a chuckle.
"I suppose Esquire would be the correct title, Sir was reserved for knights, as i recall. Regardless, I simply must
see the land you've aquired, quite the reward to receive for extermination!"
"It was for dealing with the birds. It's a little bit of a fixer-upper, and might be a little-" I play with my claws and trail off for a moment. "Well, a little haunted. Nothing I probably can't help them with, though, I'm sure. Spirits stick around for a reason, so I imagine they don't want to be there any more than I want them there." I glance down at Purdue. "Unless they're bound by magic or something. Then I guess it's up in the air. I was just coming back to do a little research."
At the mention of the Lunar Temple my smile falls, and my eyes drift to the ground. "Right," I say. "I remember. I, uh- I need to drop by the bar for a drink. You guys headed back to the ship?"
I smile a little again and nod. "Yeah. Like I said, needs some work, but it was that or 500 bits. Seemed like a no-brainer. Kinda curious how to move up in title. Might ask Mr.Sprig."
"Lyzander izn't what I worry about…"
Sighing, Zunden picks out a fresh loaf of bread and and some insects, keeping her head looking behind her more often than it is facing forward.
[1d10] percepRoll #1 5 = 5
"The Moon Temple, yeah! It was great to run into another familiar face again." he says, flicking his tail excitedly.>>741648
"Well, hrm- I dunno how long we're sticking around for, but I'd be happy to help however I can in fixing it up a little. I'm not really the best at that, though- I didn't live in a house for that long." he says, with a soft chuckle.
She nods. "That or a dragon. Thank you, Mister Richelieu."
"Any time, dear lady. …On a personal note. I wish you and yours the best of luck. I'm glad to hear you're trying to break free of the Grosvenor shackles. Dreadful business your family went through."
She looks a bit stony. "…Thanks," she says curtly, and turns to leave. "We should… we should go and talk to that smith, shouldn't we?" she suggests. "About that ore you found. Or maybe just join up with the others." She seems eager to get a move on all of a sudden. You don't have to be an expert to notice something got to her.
"Yeah. Me neither. Never actually owned land, and when I actually had a roof I rented, so it's a little new to me too. One of the things Discord sold to Rosen and Glider is a bell that 'summons a guy'. Thinking maybe now is a good time to try that out. We actually have a timeframe for when we're leaving?"
"Correct, madame," Gawain confirms. "Sir is for knights and above. At least when I was in service it was. Perhaps things are different where Mr Black is from.">>741648
"Oho? Haunted, you say? We happen to have just finished clearing spirits from the ruins yesterday. What a coincidence!"
Purdue seems to feel noticed all of a sudden and pipes up. "Yes, hello, I am here."
Gawain almost does a spit take. "By the Three! …Er, apologies. I was taken a bit off guard. Hello! I am Sir Gawain of Andraxis.""Purdue. Pleased to meet you."
"Likewise, likewise." He seems a bit weirded out by the talking skull, but tries not to offend.>>741651>>741648>>741647
As Norv brings up future plans, Gawain clears his throat. "Ahem. I… er… Hm. How to put this without being untoward… …Oh, I might as well say it. Might I… Might I accompany you on your travels?" He looks a bit awkward all of a sudden. "I've, er… been traveling alone for quite some time. And it feels like we made a good team yesterday. It would be a pleasure to be in such august company, at least for a time. …Unless it's too untoward to do so?… Oh, never mind. I'm sure you have an important mission. I'd hate to be a bother." He seems very interested in his sandwich all of a sudden.
"Yes, good idea," Hermodur responds to Marisol. "I'd nearly forgotten about that. Let's go see that smith."
Once they are clear of the building, Hermodur turns to Marisol with a more concerned expression. "How DID your family end up in the service of Grosvenor?" he asks in a terse but soft tone. The kind of tone a person asks such a question in when they've obviously been through similar things.
Aurora looks a bit worried. She doesn't seem to want to talk about the Oneiromancer.
"Here. Let me pay for it," she suggests. She won't hear a word otherwise; she pays for a loaf of freshly baked, still warm bread, as well as a small bucket of caramelized crickets. The latter are delicious; almost like eating popcorn.
You don't notice anyone staring at you particularly for now. Aurora buys herself a large blueberry muffin and some apples, and starts looking around for a place to sit.
"It could be nice to have more company if everyone else is alright with it." I shake my head. "Just know what you're getting yourself into. I'm sure whatever you guys went up against in the tomb or whatever is a weekly occourrence for us."
"We're not on an easy route, as a warning… but, I think I'd be fine with it. We'll need to ask everyone else, of course."
"Hmm.. Given Zunden and Hermodur are still away, we may need time to consider the offer with them as well." i offer
"Your aid would certainly prove helpful, but it would be best to make sure the rest of us are on board."
You leave Caer Portach and head through the marketplace. It's lively and overall quite pleasant around this time, not too busy but not dead either. See >>741642
for a description.
Marisol gives you a side eye. "It's a long story. A lot of convoluted political nonsense. To cut it short, our grandfather screwed over the Grosvenor patriarch back in his day, and now we're still paying the price." She smirks wryly. "You sure you want to hear about that?"
You spot Zunden and Aurora doing some breakfast shopping. Marisol brightens up at the sight of food, and your companions. "You hungry?" she asks with a smile.
"Oh well, of course, of course. I wouldn't expect you to make a decision like that lightly. I'll be around here if you decide you'll have me. If not, though, I understand completely!" He gives a slightly forced smile, and doesn't seem to know how to finish his sentence, so he gives an awkward sort of nod and returns to his breakfast.
"For what it's worth," Dawn remarks to you as an aside, "we'll need all the help we can get, where we're going." "Where's that?"
Purdue asks obliviously.
"…Good question," Dawn admits. "Nowhere good though."
"Mmm. Well, we probably ought to track the others down, right?"
"Well," I say, turning back to Silver and Rabi. "I'm going to grab myself a drink, drink it, and then go talk to Mr.Sprig about a couple things. You guys going back to the ship, or you gonna stick around town for a bit?"
"I was more searching for whatever has you so downtrodden right now. It's unusual for you."
At the suggestion of food, Hermodur shrugs. "I could eat, but I also hate all the mooching I've been doing."
Zunden follows Aurora, walking tentatively with the food. "I rreally have delayed ze ritual for Violet for long enough.. I zhouldn't have gotten diztracted, zhe'z been trapped in a body zhat izn't her own.."
"I suppose it would be best to find the others before returning to the ship, we do
still have plans to discuss and need to confirm Gawain joining us."
"..though i'm at a loss to where they may be. The town isn't too large, surely they should be close, right?"
"Probably. You could try the market square. Can't really think of anywhere else they'd be in town."
"I don't know," she gripes. "It's just… there's a lot of pressure from my family traditionally to serve the Grosvenors, no matter what. Breaking it like this… it's as if a king's own bodyguard turned against them. It's just not honorable. But what choice do I really have? You know what she is. What she's done to my sister. I couldn't stand by and let her have her way anymore." She looks away. "I should've cut her throat in her sleep when I had the chance." She gives you an odd look and goes quiet for a good while after that.
She handwaves your concern. "Don't worry about it. It's on me. What are you hungry for?" She spots a fruit stand nearby, and smiles a little. "…Watermelon?" she suggests with a bit of a grin.
You find a bench to sit down on and start tucking in. "It'll be okay," she reassures you between bites of muffin. "It's getting done once we get back to the ship. Right? No rush on that. You needed time to rest. Hell, we all do. After all that's happened this is practically a holiday. Heh." She offers you a bite of muffin yourself.
"Anyway-" I wave as I turn and start walking toward the bar. "Meet up with you guys later."
You say your farewells to Norv for now and start heading off to the market square. (see >>741642
) While it's not too busy, you do spot familiar faces amidst the crowd fairly quickly. Hermodur and Marisol are browsing the stalls, while Zunden and Aurora are sitting off to the side on a bench.
"No one knows better than me the pain of leaving behind someone you've sworn your allegiance to," Hermodur responds to Marisol grimly. As he speaks, he grips his coat pocket.
"Even knowing what she's done, I am still impressed by your courage and will to do what you've done. I've only accomplished what I've done because I've had no other choice."
At the suggestion of watermelon, Hermodur smiles. Then, he looks down at the ground. "I am afraid you know more about me than I do of you," he admits. "But, yes, watermelon sounds lovely."
You say goodbye and head over to the bar. It's not really open for business yet, but Lily's there regardless, reorganizing a liquor cabinet. It takes her a good minute to realize you're there, and almost drops a glass. "Shit! Sorry. Uh, hey! What's up?"
I chuckle. "Hey, Lil. Can I just get a whiskey, straight, on the rocks please? A rye, if you got it, but I'd be alright with a burbon. How's the job treatin ya? Sorry I've been in such a hurry to get in and out the last few times I've dropped by."
"I don't.. I don't underztand ze optimizm. Her corpze iz being perzerved in a room on ze zhip. How iz zhiz time for a holiday." Zunden bemoans, quieting herself with pieces of the loaf of bred.
"Thanks," she says genuinely. "It's been a rough few weeks. But we'll pull through. All we need to do is find a dragon or a volcano." She laughs without an ounce of humor.
"Say. Can I ask you something? …Would you have done the same if it were Ailuros?" she asks earnestly.
She gives you a bit of a wink and buys a large watermelon slice for you. For herself, she buys a couple of mandarins, peeling them expertly with her claws.
"Sure! That's just, uh…" She consults a price chart real quick. "10 bits."
She gets the drink prepared as fast as she can, serving it to you with a smile. "Not bad, not bad. It got a bit intense last night, but I imagine that's just par for the course. Can't really complain, I'm getting free lodging in exchange after all."
"Just passing through again then? You reckon you and the others will be off soon?"
Entering the market square, i turn to Rabi, gesturing to the others with a wing.
"There they are! shall we split from here to speak with them?"
Her smile fades, along with the optimistic act. "I'm just trying to find something to smile about."
She's suddenly not as hungry, eating the muffin with much less enthusiasm. There's a bit of a lull in conversation.
"What I would have done if Ailuros had betrayed my trust?" Hermodur asks, contemplating the question. All the while he hasn't let go of his coat pocket.
"The question is so foreign to me, I don't think I could answer it," he admits. "Or, more accurately, I just can't imagine her doing that, so I can't imagine how I'd feel."
"But," he adds quickly. "That's the point, I'm making. Your courage is beyond my very understanding."
"Thank you," he says genuinely with a nod as he takes the watermelon slice. He finally lets go of his jacket pocket to take the watermelon with both hands.
"So, oranges, then? Is that your fruit of choice?" he asks before taking a bite of his fruit.
"Of course- that's one of the two, at least!" he says, offering a wave to Hermodur as they spot him.>>741680
I nod in thanks and probably
give her the bits. "Not totally sure. I imagine we're not sticking around too much longer, but we haven't talked about when we're leaving. I at least have a reason to come back. I have a house here now."
I swirl my whiskey around and take a swig. "I know you haven't been here long, but people in this industry tend to hear things. You haven't heard anyone talking about a 'Nibelung house' have you? Wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't, and I'm gonna go up and ask sprig if he has anything on it anyway, but figured it couldn't hurt to ask."
She looks a bit confused, but smiles. "Likewise. I can't imagine how much she meant to you to be so loyal. It almost makes me wish I felt the same way."
She looks down, noticing your hand in your coat. "What's in your pocket?" she asks curiously.
"Not oranges," she corrects you. "Mandarins. They're smaller. Sweeter. Easier to eat too." She pulls a slice free and offers it to you to try.>>741678>>741681
"I hope Zunden's doing alright," Dawn comments. "If you don't mind, I'll try to find her." She takes her leave and starts wandering off through the market square with her cane.>>741681>>741678
Marisol raises her eyebrows in greeting as Silver and Rabi approach. "Hello again. I guess we both had the same idea to come here."
Hermodur jumps as Rabi calls out to him. He was in the middle of a bite of watermelon, resulting in him choking on it. He coughs heavily. He waves at Rabi in response as he gasps for air.
"Hello," he chokes out casually as he gets the last of the watermelon out of his wind pipe.
"Oh you do?" she says in surprise. "That was quick. Planning to stay here for good after your mission's done?"
She shakes her head. "Been here as long as you have, sorry. Never heard of it. I'm sure Sprig has though. He knows everything."
Marisol stifles a giggle as you choke, thumping you on the back to help. "You alright?"
"Thinking about it. This is my kinda place. Good atmosphere, good food, secluded, the folks seem nice. This is the kinda place I can imagine settling down."
I take another swig of my whiskey, leaving just a little bit left. "Yeah, didn't think you would. It's only been a couple days. Thanks anyway."
" Zunden looks down, the half loaf falling out of her claws. "Zorry.
"Y-Yikes! Are you alright, friend?" he asks, setting a hoof on Hermodur's shoulder and giving him a concerned look.>>741683>>741684
"We came looking for you, actually. Gawain asked if he could join up with us, but we need to meet up with everyone so we can mull it over as a group."
"Correct. That and the matter of our next stop, but that could wait until later tonight."
"Yes," Hermodur says, getting the last of the rasp out of his voice. "Thank you.">>741683
"Ailuros was a goddess in flesh," Hermodur says practically tragically. "That's how much she meant to me."
He pulls the vial out of his pocket. It contains one last drop. "Dreaming Spring water," he explains. "The last drop. I've been using it to see her in my dream. That is until the last time… She was captured… To be executed."
He lets out a long, shakey sigh. "I'm trying not to think about it - think about her. She could have escaped. She MUST have escaped. She's Ailuros Bastet! I just… can't bare to be wrong. I can't bring myself to drink this last drop to see for myself."
Hermodur takes a slice of the fruit and tries it.>>741689
"I don't particularly have many thoughts on the subject at all," Hermodur shrugs.
"..I see. Well, if you're not opposed to the idea, that leaves Zunden to confirm.">>741689>>741686
"I believe i saw Zunden lounging nearby, shall we pay her a visit dear?" i ask, nodding towards the benches i saw her last
"Don't be. I should be more realistic," she admits. "There's plenty to worry about. But it's not all bad, is it? We'll have Violet back soon. And we have a possible heading for the rest of our journey. There's light on the horizon, I'd say.">>741689
"He's… certainly an odd one," Marisol comments. "Quite a talker. But I don't see any reason not to have him around. He means well. I think. If everyone's in agreement, I don't see why we couldn't have him along.">>741690
Marisol agrees. "We should have everyone here at once to discuss our next plan of action. It's not a decision we can make lightly, really.">>741691
"Well, you said it yourself. She's Ailuros Bastet. I doubt she'd go down that easily. Isn't it better to know for certain instead of having that lingering doubt?"
She trails off for a moment; then, does something a bit unexpected. She gives you a one armed hug, trying to comfort you for a moment, but pulls away quickly. She looks a bit embarrassed.>>741684>>741681>>741678>>741675
As the town crier finishes setting up and stands on a podium, you hear him ringing a loud, clanging bell to get the public's attention. A small crowd gathers to hear what he has to say. He reads off a tablet and begins in an impressive, sonorous voice:
"Hear ye, hear ye! 'Pickpocket problem persecuted on pyre!' The issue of burglars in our good market has been solved by a local drifter by the name of Norvegicus Black, known for his exploits hunting the Beasts of Braildorn. The burglars, a colony of Mournwings, have had their nest incinerated, and many pilfered valuables returned. Er… Mr Black has been awarded the title of Esquire for his exploits, and granted ownership of the Nibelung house!
"In addition, our illustrious mayor has called for a meeting at town hall in three days to return the stolen goods, as well as celebrate the end of the avian plague. Cake will by provided by…" His enthusiasm wanes, and he recites the rest in a monotone voice. He's said this a million times before. "Cake will be provided by the Guild of Millers. The Guild of Millers produces only the finest grains. True Withick Bread for True Withickers(tm)." >>741687
"Yeah! A lot better than you'd think from a town in the swamp."
"No worries. Do you need me to show you to Sprig's, or do you know the way?"
I finish off my drink and click the glass against the bar. "I think I've been in and out enough to know where I'm headed at this point. Is it actually alright if I just go back?"
She shrugs. "Should be. Never known him not to be in. …Even though I basically just met him."
"Well, alrifght." I stand and smooth my coat out. "Well, good talking to you, Lil. I'll see you around." I give her a quick wave as I turn and head in the direction Dahlia usually takes me to see Sprig.
"On to Zunden it is, then!" the stallion says.>>741693
"He's a talker, that's for sure. He's just kind of… I don't know… friendly? Warm? Open? Something like that. I like him.">>741693
Rabi flicks an ear, before saying "Huh. Norv really got busy while we were gone, then. Weird that they have to attach an… advertisement?"
"I just… can't bare to see her…" he trails off. He can't say the word.
Then, Marisol gives him a half-hug. He is alarmed by it, but quickly returns the hug with one arm of his own. He awkwardly doesn't say anything more about it.>>741693>>741697>>741692
Hermodur laughs when he hears the town crier. "It would appear our dog friend has been busy!"
Zunden waits for any negative response to form for a while, holding her tail in her lap. "Y-yeah. However impozzibly dim it feelz, zhere'z zomezhing zhere." She looks down at the piece of bread on the ground, going first to reach for it before deciding not to risk muddy bread. She holds her tail close to herself.
"Ganzen'z grown fazt."
"It was quite the surprise, apparently blowing up an entire nest in the time it took for us to handle the ruins, a very busy day indeed."
"Hopefully we'll have the chance to see this property of his, an exciting development."
She beams. "Yeah, likewise! I'm always around if you want to chat a little!""I like her,"
Purdue comments out of the blue as you head off. "Shame she can't come with."
You approach the door you usually g through, only to find it might be a bad time. You hear Sprig in a heated discussion with someone. Or something. The other person in the room has a voice unlike any you've heard before. It can only be described as gelatinous. It gives you the creeps like nothing else.
>>741699>>741693>replace last line
"Ah, Norv haz been buzy. It iz ztrange being zo well known for what we did in Braildorn dezpite being wanted criminalz zhere."
"Loud," Marisol suggests, suppressing a smile.
"Guess the money's coming from somewhere," she shrugs.>>741698
Marisol doesn't mention it either. The subject is dropped quickly.>>741698>>741697>>741700
"Maybe we could ask around about the Nibelung house the crier mentioned," Marisol suggests. "First though, we should go find Zunden, I think. Silver has the right idea. She seemed stressed before…"
"I imagine things have been shaken up in Braildorn since we were there last. I wonder if that price on our heads still exists."
You hear a familiar cane tapping. "Zunden? Are you around here?" It's Dawn; she's wandering around trying to find you. "I thought I heard your voice nearby…"
I rock on my feet for a second, lift my hand to knock, but drop it again. "Yeah, I should probably come back later." I look down at Purdue. "You know how many days it's been since we got here? I still have to talk to the group about Clawson's son, and go check on my poison, but time is a little muddled for me. Plus now that Z is back when can finally get Vi back into her body!"
"True. We never actually got to go to that blacksmith, though," Hermodur replies to Marisol.
>>741705"Two or three? I forget, brother. Sorry."
As you speak, the discussion stops, and you hear footsteps. Before you can react, Sprig opens the door. He looks a bit shaken by whatever was happening just now, but forces a smile and readjusts his glasses. Peeking behind him, you can see there's no one there. "Mr Black! What do I owe the pleasure?"
"Yeah, me too. Brain clock is all messed up." I jump as the door opens. "Oh, sorry. I just wanted to ask about a few things, but you seemed busy. I was just about to leave."
"Well you're here now." It sounds a bit passive aggressive. "What brings you my way, Mr Black? Or should I say, esquire?" He motions for you to enter his study. Dahlia is standing by the door like a guard at attention.
"Yeah! He's got a fancy title now, by the way! Neat, huh?">>741703
Rabi snickers a little, and says "Yeah, loud works too. But, yeah. Zunden seems off, and we need to help her."
"She always seems to have a lot on her plate, I'd imagine keeping everypony alive must be quite the stressful task." i reply, laughing lightly.
I rub the back of my neck. "I mean, I don't have to be." I give him a sheepish smile as he mentions my title. "Word gets around fast, huh? That's actually part of what I came to ask about. Information on the Nibelung house. And maybe about a couple of other books."
"Have you seen him since we got back?"
"I wonder how many more bountiez exizt for uz he'z plazed in ozher townz zinze."
Zunden's head turns to the voice, ushering Dawn over with her own and giving up her seat on the bench for her, "Are you alright Dawn? Why are you out looking for me here? Is someone hurt?"
Mhmm! Just bumped into him earlier, actually. He's having a drink."
"Well, his forge is on the way out of town," she points out. "We can swing by on the way back to the ship." She finishes off the mandarin and moves to get going to find her.>>741711
Marisol doesn't seem to find it very funny. "We owe her everything," she points out rather sternly. "It's nothing to laugh at.">>741714
"None here," Aurora points out. "And that's what matters."
"No, no," she assures you. "Don't get up for me. No one's hurt or anything. I just… I just wanted to see how you're doing. We all care about you, Zunden. We hate to see you hurt." >>741711>>741710>>741713
You all find Zunden, Aurora and Dawn sitting on a bench, apart from the main market. They seem to just be chatting, for now.>>741712
"Lightning fast," he confirms. "I thought you might want to know about that house. Unfortunately, I don't really know much myself. Shocking, I know. I only moved myself and my… assets… here to Withick relatively recently. I'm yet to get acquainted with the history of the place. But I do know I've heard nothing good about it. Something about a family that drove each other mad. Tore each other to bits, from what I heard. Shocking display."
A grim cloud hangs over the scene. "Er, is there something else you needed? You mentioned some books."
"Maybe I'll go ask the guard captain. Marquis, I think? And yeah. I wanted to know if you had any books on engineering and-" I clear my throat. "Uh… demolitions. I've mostly been doing stuff based on educated guesses and what seems right. Thought I could maybe actually research some stuff while I have access to a library. Or maybe not library. Whatever your collection is called."
He raises an eyebrow at the mention of demolitions. "Got a taste for explosions, did you?" he says with a bit of a smile. "I'm not sure if we have any books on that sort of thing. Seems a bit mundane. Do you recall, Dahlia?"
She pulls out a much larger and heavier book out of nowhere, having no problem propping up such a hefty thing with one claw, and pages through it. You notice the title reads 'The Book of Books'.
"We do not, sir."
Sprig's face falls a little. "Ah. Pity. Well there you have it. I'm afraid you'll have to look elsewhere for that sort of skulduggery, Mr Black."
I run my hand across the top of my head and laugh. "Well. Shoot. It was worth a shot. Thanks anyway, Mr.Sprig. And, uh… sorry for bothering you."
"Not at all, dear boy. If there's ever anything you need, you know where to find me." He gets a brainwave. "In fact… Miss Dahlia, the experiment, if you please."
"Yes, sir." She leaves the room and comes back a minute later with a Harbinger. It's a silver dove. You notice an identical Harbinger on Sprig's shelf.
"This is something I've been working on in my spare time. A variation on the typical Harbinger enchantment." He picks up the second dove. "Speak to one…"
"…And the other repeats it." The voice comes from the dove Dahlia's carrying. "A form of long distance communication, see? So. If you or your companions would ever like to speak to me, ask for advice or information, you have a way to keep in touch." He presses the Harbinger into your hands with a mysterious smile.
"Oh, wow." I take the dove and look it over. "That's really neat. You sure you wanna put up with that, though? Not sure why we'd bother you after we leave." I pocket it. "Still, thanks. I'm sure I'll be back some time before I leave. Maybe I'll just get ahold of you through this."
"You wouldn't be bothering me if it's for the cause," he reassures you. "Besides, if you do need my expertise, I'm just a hand's breadth away."
You say goodbye to him for now, leaving him to his work.
It has been just over a day since you left the party to undertake your ordained task. You have spent the time taking odd jobs, laying low and gathering money and supplies to be self sufficient. While exploring the docks, you have managed to secure transport through the swamp to the nearest adjacent colony that isn't Last Hearth; a small, unmarked settlement on the banks of the Broad River, which in turn would allow you to secure transport to the next major town, Sevenstreams. From there it would be a matter of more or less retracing your hoofsteps while you were with the others, heading southwest across Gaunt Vale towards the largest city in the Echoes: Braildorn.
It is currently mid afternoon, and you are on the rickety wooden-stilted boardwalks of the swamp town of Withick. Vendors are peddling all manner of wares from stalls or laid-out carpets; mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, but also antiques, jewelry, books, clothes, and even exotic pets. You can see a street performer juggling for a small audience, as well as a handful of infirm beggars hoping to score some coin. The market is lively, but starting to wind down for the day, as light begins to dim.
Through odd jobs, you have acquired 300 bits.
Aegis was still stocked with some of her personals she took from the ship before leaving. Aside from an extra set of clothes and the Harbinger, she was pretty much exactly how she was when she first landed in the Echoes
Thanking her Mother and father for teaching her many essential life tasks, which enabled Aegis to find a couple simple jobs, Aegis continued on, counting her bits and planning for the things she would need for her trip alone
Aegis made sure to look for a map first and foremost, then followed by getting some simple durable foods, and even stopping by the ones selling books and pets for anything that might catch her attention
You manage to secure a freshly made map of this whole corner of the Echoes, so much so that the ink is still drying. You review the nearby landmarks:
Withick seems to be the only major settlement in this whole swampy stretch of land. There are miscellaneous shacks and ruins dotted here and there, but this seems to be the only bastion for civilization. Landmarks include a very recently discovered stretch of ruins, named the City of Four Kings, as well as an expanse of bare, swampy terrain and dead trees, known as the Mudlake.
To the south is the hamlet you're eyeing for securing transport, a tiny little place that wouldn't show up on larger maps. It's called Riverrun, as it is built near the start of a delta of the Broad River.
Across from Riverrun is a much larger settlement called Sevenstreams. It seems like a good place to head for securing transport to Braildorn.
To the west is the foreboding city of Last Hearth, which you are all too familiar with. It is on the slopes of Mount Alken, the largest mountain in the Echoes, spearheading a range known as Auronsblade that stretches north.
Across from Last Hearth and crossing the Broad River again is a town called Auron's Rise. You don't know much about it.
The map costs you 40 bits.
As for food, you acquire about a week's worth of provisions, in the form of tins of hard tack and bags of dried fruits and nuts. Not very appealing, and a far cry from the meals you'd get with the party, but it'll help you survive.
This costs you 50 bits.
Overall: you are now at 210 bits.
While heading towards the books and pets, you start getting the feeling you are being watched from afar…>roll Perception
Aegis is all too familiar with the measures needed to take in case someone is following you, and would occasionally start up conversation with random street vendors, asking for prices on their wares, asking to pick them up and asking for directions, all the while sneakily stealing glances from everywhere around herself
Roll #1 3 = 3
You can't see who's watching you at first, but you try to pretend not to notice for now, going back to your usual business at the market.
The books on sale are mostly fiction, and what non fiction there is seems to be mostly historical records from the Dominion outside. As for the pets, they range from the more mundane and expected, such as cats, dogs, birds and rabbits, to more fanciful creatures such as the reptilian balaur Zunden keeps, a devious looking ape somewhere between a monkey and an orangutan with brilliant red fur, and what looks like a snake with a pair of arms and an almost feline countenance.
Someone catches the corner of your eye amidst the crowd as you browse the market; a tall, thin unicorn, covered in scars from head to toe, wearing a coat of black leather. You get the feeling he's been watching you for a while. You're not sure if he knows you've noticed him, but he's definitely noticed you. Or so you think. It's too early to be sure of anything.
Aegis didnt let her eyes stay on him for long and went her way through the market. Fetching some other important travel supplies such as ropes, hooks, lanterns and oil, a single-person tent as well as a blank book with a quiver and ink to write stuff down
After securing most of what she needed, Aegis started walking towards the most empty parts of the Withick…
You purchase the necessary supplies for your journey.>-50 bits, now at 160
You try to lose your unsavory tracker and head down a few paths to a quieter residential area. There doesn't seem to be anyone around here. It's much quieter than the bustle of the market square. Sparing a glance around, you don't see him following you anymore. Maybe you've lost him. Or maybe he's closer than you know…>roll Perception again
Aegis looked for a nice spot to sit down and rest her legs after all that walking, sorting her inventory but secretly being very aware of her surroundings
'1d10'Roll #1 5 = 5
You go through the gear you've acquired: a regional map, a week's worth of food and water, a good length of rope and grappling hooks, two lanterns, plenty of oil, a firestarting kit, a collapsible tent, a bedroll, a blank diary… It's a lot to carry, but you'll have to make do.
Your inventory taking is interrupted by a faint rushing sound, followed by two thwacks. It takes you a moment to realize the source; a pair of wickedly sharp throwing knives, each still glowing purple with unicorn magic, are sticking out of the wooden wall behind you, right above your head. It's almost as if they missed on purpose; one inch closer and you'd be dead where you sit.
Despite that, Aegis barely even blinked at the knives, only raising her head to the direction they came from, looking for its source
''Can I help you?''
You look up, only to see a puff of magic from the rooftop where he was presumably standing only moments before.
"I think you can." He seems to be projecting his voice via a spell; it doesn't seem to be coming from anywhere in particular. "Aegis Glaze, I presume. Shiver Wind's girl, smallest of the bunch?"
One of the knives gets pulled out of the wall by telekinesis, twirling around in midair before darting at you like an arrow!
Aegis doesnt move a muscle and remains silent, eyeballing the knife
This turns out to be a mistake. Your attacker's knife meets its mark, plunging into your left hind leg. Soon enough, the second knife joins it, skewering your other thigh. The flare of agony from the double stab is too much, and you are brought to your knees before you know it.>Aegis takes 6 hits, helpless
A puff of purple. The unicorn is in front of you now, half a dozen more blades floating behind his head in a halo, waving this way and that, awaiting his command. You notice the miscellaneous lumps and pockets in his coat all of a sudden; this assassin is armed to the teeth under his clothes. Perhaps even literally.
He looks down on you with a sneer. "Now what did you go and do that for? I thought the Junseis were meant to be bright." He paces around you with a sadistic smirk, as if contemplating what to do with you from here.
Aegis groans and bites her lip from the sudden piercing pain
''You had more than a dozen opportunities to kill me earlier. So you either want information out of me or some kind of comfirmation…'' Aegis says, doing her best to maintain composure ''Could you please do both of us a favor and state what you want so we can move on with our lives?''
He chuckles slightly. Another shock of pain as both knives are wrenched free, rejoining his collection. "I just wanted to have a bit of fun first, see if you lived up to the expectations your sisters set. I'm disappointed."
He vanishes and reappears on the rooftop above you again, a thin smile painted across his bony face. "What doesn't disappoint is that mouth on you," he continues. "You're a thinker, and a talker. Just like I'd heard. Now, put that brain of yours to work for a bit, if you can:
"I'm being paid ten thousand bits to kill each of you. I've already got you where I wanted you. So why am I NOT going to cut your pretty throat right now? Can you hazard a guess? It's not information, or confirmation, I'll give you that much as a hint. Humor me, Glaze."
Trembling, Aegis tried to stand back on her feet, trying her best to ignore the pain on her legs as she glared at the mysterious assassin, thinking for a moment
''You want a worthy prey. I know your type, you wont just do it for the money, you want to have your fun with a good kill to test you as a hunter. You want your desire for a challenge that will make you better and better. It is your ambition, am I right?''
Roll #1 5 = 5
You only barely manage to get up. He raises an eyebrow, seeming a little impressed.
"Well, you're wrong. But also… yeah. I've heard good things about you. So far you've been a bit of a letdown. Give me some sport, would you!"
Three knives break off from his array and fly at you!
[3d10]Roll #1 7, 3, 1 = 11
''Tell me what is it then''
This time Aegis tried to hunker behind her shield, being in no good position to dodge
'1d10' defendRoll #1 3 = 3
You raise your shield just in time, swiping it to the side to parry one of the incoming knives and crouching behind it for the second. The third goes over your head, then spins around and slashes downward, leaving a burning gash on your scalp. You feel a slight magical tingle as it lands.
"I'm giving you a message for your friends back there. If that wretch of a griffon doesn't deliver it first, maybe you will. Tell them Gavrilo's in town. That I'm not going to make the same mistake that moron
Clawson did. Tell them if they know what's good for them, they'll skip town. Before I change my mind."
He flings another knife your way!
[1d10]>Aegis takes 2 hitsRoll #1 8 = 8
Aegis raises her shield once more, but stops short, pretending that she lost strenght on her arm to lift it, allowing the knife to plunge her as she drops her shield on top of the nearby knife from his previous attack
As the knife hit her, she tried to focus on the faint magic she felt from the last one
You take the hit; the knife traces a deep gash across your collarbone, stopping just short of your artery. Your feigned loss of strength becomes real as the shield suddenly becomes much heavier.>Aegis takes 3 hits
You feel a twinge of magic from the knife under your shield. Gavrilo's perpetual smug grin becomes a frown as he sees the knife stuck under it. He reaches out to try and grab you instead!
[1d10+2]Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4
This was Aegis's time to retaliate. Pressing down a hoof on her shield, she quickly materializes a an ice shard the size of an arm aimed at Gavrilo
'2d10' Magic bolt, iceRoll #1 5, 6 = 11
Your shield flashes as you hurl an icy javelin at Gavrilo, breaking his grip. His eyes widen and he teleports himself out of the way, but not quite fast enough. The spear grazes his sallow cheekbone, leaving a bloody mark. Enraged by the tiny injury, he throws his coat back; two repeating crossbows, loaded with cruel spikes for bolts, manifest from within and soar above his head. He snarls almost like a feral beast and unloads a barrage of spikes and knives at you!
[4d10]Roll #1 2, 9, 4, 9 = 24
Aegis tried to call on her desperate strenght to take her shield and the knife under while Gavrilo prepared his next attack. hiding it on the secret pockets of her outfit. Seeing as she would not be able to outpace the incoming attack, Aegis decided to bet it all on reflecting it with a powerful swipe of ice, just like how she practiced
'1d10' Earthen strike, IceRoll #1 8 = 8
You call upon your strength and start glowing, mustering all the power you can to deflect the attack. A wave of ice sweeps across from right to left as the volley flies at you, sending knives, bolts and other assorted weaponry flying every which way, forming a wall between you and Gavrilo. When you dismiss it, Gavrilo hisses slightly as he sees you standing completely unharmed.
Then, he laughs. "Impressive! That's what I was looking for! So you're not completely useless after all."
Without warning, he reaches out with magic toward you. Your first instinct is to dodge; then, you realize the pain's actually subsiding. Looking at your bloody wounds, you see them closing. He's actually healing you.
"You can't deliver a message if you're bleeding out on the sidewalk," he explains. "Why are you here on your own, anyway? I mean if the others are anything to go by, you wouldn't be alone if you didn't have ulterior plans that don't align with theirs…" He watches you with curiosity, seemingly trying to read you for your reaction.
Aegis did what she did best and maintained a perfect poker face, keeping her eyes on Gavrilo and only occasionally glancing at the scattered knives and bolts for any activity
''There was some personal business to finish, and I had faith the others would be fine without me, until you decided to come along. I will do as you ask and deliver your message. I only hope you know what you're doing. From a mercenary to another, I warn you to not let your confidence exceed your skill''
He maintains his usual sickly smirk as you talk. He stops the healing process abruptly, and you feel a pang of pain as it reverses, reopening all the wounds at once. His horn flashes as he grabs you with telekinesis, bringing you up to his level, hanging you suspended in midair. "Next time we meet, you'll be dead, and I'll be rich," he hisses.
His attention is sharply drawn to the sound of marching voices and footsteps nearby. Seems like his cue to leave. He raises a knife; for a minute, you think he's going to attack again, but then he simply tosses it to you. "Here. Give this to Hermodur for me. Tell him I haven't forgotten about last time."
"Oh, and one other thing. Don't think for a minute that Grosvenor's blind to your pact. She wanted me to tell you: She's on the move."
With that, he vanishes in another burst of purple light, leaving you alone with the knife he left as a parting gift.
With a deep breath, Aegis collapses, panting on the floor as she takes a minute to recover
Trying to find the strenght to get up, Aegis puts away the second knife and begins limping away of the scene, hoping to find a medic
You manage to half drag yourself to a local temple of the Three, where your wounds are tended to for free.>timeskip
Most of the day is spent undercover, searching for your erstwhile companions. You end up learning that they've skipped town for the day, and will be back tomorrow. With not much else left to do, you check in at a local inn for the night, waiting to find them and deliver your message.
The following morning, you decide to head to the marketplace once again, keeping an eye out both for Gavrilo and for your companions. You overhear a town crier delivering some news. Reposting:
As the town crier finishes setting up and stands on a podium, you hear him ringing a loud, clanging bell to get the public's attention. A small crowd gathers to hear what he has to say. He reads off a tablet and begins in an impressive, sonorous voice:
"Hear ye, hear ye! 'Pickpocket problem persecuted on pyre!' The issue of burglars in our good market has been solved by a local drifter by the name of Norvegicus Black, known for his exploits hunting the Beasts of Braildorn. The burglars, a colony of Mournwings, have had their nest incinerated, and many pilfered valuables returned. Er… Mr Black has been awarded the title of Esquire for his exploits, and granted ownership of the Nibelung house!
"In addition, our illustrious mayor has called for a meeting at town hall in three days to return the stolen goods, as well as celebrate the end of the rapacious avian scourge. Cake will be p-" He deflates as he reads the rest of the scroll, and recites the rest unenthusiastically. He's said this a million times before. "Cake will be provided by the Guild of Millers. The Guild of Millers produces only the finest grains. True Withick Bread for True Withickers(tm)."
I smile and nod. "Well, alright. Thanks again. Anyway-" I hook my thumb over my shoulder. Busy day today. Got a couple other things I gotta do. So, yeah. Take care. Sorry for interrupting your meetin."
"Sorry for disappearing," Hermodur says as he and Marisol rejoin the group. "We just had some other business to attend to quickly."
Rabi offers a little bit of a friendly wave and settles in near them, before saying "Hey, friends. We were trying to catch up with you, if we could."
Aegis muted out the crier until the familiar name of Norvegicus was spoken and her ears subtly perked up
Getting her face off of her book, Aegis makes her way to a random bypasser to ask where she can find the Nibelung house
'1d10' perceptioneRoll #1 3 = 3
"Zhank you, Dawn.. I juzt need to get zhiz whole ordeal done zo I can rezt normally again." Zunden responds, still rather somber and speaking softer than normal, "Even if I can't zhake ze idea zhat it'll remain zhiz way even after we're rid of ze Egg."
"Nozhing to apologize for, I left early to clear my head. Err, attempt to anywayz.">>741984
"Zhank you, Rabi, I appreciate you looking out for me."
"It sounds like something stopped you," Hermodur says, prompting for Zunden to elaborate if she so desires.
You don't spot the party around, but you get an uneasy feeling that Gavrilo's not too far away.
After asking for directions from a guard, you head to a secluded part of town and come to the Nibelung house. If it can be called a house at all. It looks almost archetypically haunted; a run down old two story structure that barely looks like it's standing, with boarded up broken windows, a dark, dilapidated exterior, an overgrown, dried up garden with dead trees, and a pointed, jagged sort of roof. There doesn't seem to be anyone around, the citizens of Withick giving the house a wide berth. Needless to say, it gives off a threatening aura, and it's clear that no one's lived here for decades.>>741982
"Think nothing of it," he says dismissively. "You're welcome back here any time, my boy."
You leave him to it and head off into town, tracing your steps back to Pierrot's Apothecary. Pierrot himself, a tiny toad-like Batroc, is up on a stool reorganizing the shelves when you enter. He looks over and nods in greeting, hopping off and shuffling behind the counter. "Drifter," he croaks in his uncharacteristically deep voice. "Back for the commission, I take it." He starts rummaging behind the counter, producing a small wooden box containing several thin glass vials of the poison. "Eight shots of Stoneskin, as agreed.">>741983
Dawn and Aurora wave hello. "No rush. We're all a bit split up today," Aurora comments. "What sort of business?" Dawn asks with curiosity.>roll Perception>>741984
"Hey there," Aurora says with a smile. "What's on your mind?">>741986
"Don't we all," says Dawn, sharing your somber tone. "We just need to find a place and hide it as best we can. Then this whole nightmare will be behind us, for a while." "It won't stop there," says Aurora. "Hiding it won't stop any of our enemies from hunting us. We should go somewhere far away from everything in these lands. Maybe across the sea to Ovail…"
"It's… a tad secret," Hermodur repsonds to Dawn, sounding uncomfortable.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
Seemingly unfazed by the spooky mansion, Aegis approached the front deer and firmly knocked on it
I grin and take the box, looking the poison over. "Great! Thanks so much, Mr.Pierreo." I shut the box and put it away. "Hey, uh… while I'm here, I was wondering- You've lived around here for a bit, right? Do you know the deal with Nibelung House?"
The moldering door swings open with a creak as you knock. You feel a rush of cold air, despite the humid climate.
Within is just as bad as without. A dusty, grimy structure, with rotting walls full of mildew and vermin. Cobwebs line every corner, and you can't shake the distinct overwhelming feeling of foreboding the house radiates. It's like something actively wants you gone, despite no one obviously being home.
You are currently in the main hallway. At the end of it seems to be the kitchen and the dining room, while on your right is a music room and living room. On your left, a staircase leads up to the second level, along with a second smaller set of stairs leading down to the basement.
With a simple thought, Aegis conjured a floating wisp of light to illuminate the place, checking her surroundings
''Master Norvegicus?'' She asks, barely raising her voice as she navigated through the hallway and made her way to the kitchen
"Angered an entity zhat can enter your dreamz wherever you are, part of where my hopelezznezz liez." Zunden sighs, "I want to vizit Black Pudding after zhiz all. Not becauze he iz ze type to join a cauze, but he iz ze mozt approachable perzon I can zhink of zhat izn't
on a zide. I need guidanze." Zunden chuckles, looking at the tarot deck on her hip, "Maybe find myzelf again in ze prozezz.">>741989
"Alaz, Hermodur, I do not zhink it a tazk zhat iz pozzible."
"What about after we rid ourselves of our burden?"
"Zhere'll be zhoze after it, or zhoze we've angered along ze way."
"Of course, Zunden. You do a lot for us, and it's the least I can do to help.">>741990
"A couple things. I wanted to check and see if Zunden was doing alright-" he gestures to her, before continuing with "-and, we wanted to talk to the group about Gawain."
"If we do our job well, the former won't matter. And, we'll just have to rid ourselves of the latter."
His expression darkens. "Huh. Haven't heard that name in a while."
"It happened when I was a tadpole," he explains, "so my memory might be rusty. No denying the place has a bad reputation though. As I recall, there was this wealthy fellow who took up residence there. Nibelung. He was into all sorts of dark magics, they said. Conventional riches and extravagance were few and far between in these parts of the Echoes, so he turned to other measures to quench his curiosity… Eventually, guards were called from up in Portach, and…"
He trails off. "Well, I'm sorry to say, but I can't remember the details. It was a ghost story I haven't heard in decades. What I do know is, all of Nibelung's servants were butchered. And Nibelung himself never left his house alive."
"Sordid story. Probably for the best I don't remember it all. Why are you asking about local folklore anyway?"
I rub the back of my neck and let out an awkward chuckle, not making eye contact. "Well, I own the house now. Was just hoping to get an idea of how to approach it when I start trying to deal with ghosts."
The kitchen is barely a kitchen anymore. Rusted appliances and pots of food long rotted into black mush are strewn carelessly about the place. Pantry doors are flung open or ripped off their hinges, the insides crawling with rats and worms. A smashed clock hangs over the main bench, still futilely trying to tick after all this time.
You feel another chill of wind from behind you, like something breathing on your neck. The world seems to shrink as an unearthly coldness pierces your skin, grabbing your very bones in a death grip.
You feel like you shouldn't be here.
"Yeah, juzt rid ourzelvez of zhem." Zunden repeats.
A beat. "Alright then," she says with a smile. "Keep your secrets. But if it's something that can help us on our mission…"
"It's a great burden," says Marisol. "One that only we share. Bringing it to you all would only cause further problems. It's best if no one else gets involved."
"Ah. I see." She doesn't pry.
Out of the corner of your eye, you notice a figure standing on a nearby rooftop. The silhouette is of a unicorn. You feel like you're being watched by a familiar figure. Marisol's ears prick up as she notices it too, freezing in place. >>741996
She nods. "The Oneiromancer should be a priority. He has entered our world now. There's no telling what will happen from here. A meeting with Black Pudding is in order," she concurs. "He knows more of esoterica than any of us.">>741999
"That bumbling knight from yesterday?" Aurora asks. "What about him?"
Aegis's eyes widen for a moment as she gasps for air, swiftly turning around and raising her shield, a faint glow surrounding it
''Show yourself'' She asks defiantly, eyes scanning the path, looking threats and for the door she came from
He looks stony. "You bought that cursed lot? I hope you know what you're getting yourself into. No one's stepped foot in there in an age. It's probably teeming with ghosts. I think there were at least three… no, four bodies they found in that house. So uh, good luck with that."
No response. Your ears pricked up, you hear what you think is faint sobbing coming from behind a sealed iron door. The rusted old plate on it reads 'Cold Storage'.
"Shit," Hermodur curses under his breath, not making a show of him noticing the figure.
"Speaking of ridding ourselves of burdens, it seems this place is no longer safe from our enemies' eyes. Don't look, but Gavrilo is here. He's watching us from the rooftops."
"I'd usually suggest we wait until he tries to spring a trap so we can catch and kill him. But, he has a way of causing significant collateral damage on purpose."
I swallow. "Well," I say. "Thanks anyway. And thanks again for the stoneskin." I wave and turn to leave. "Chances are I'll be back for more stuff later, but for now I'll see you around."
Stepping back out of the apothecary, I let out a breath. Welp. Guess there's only one place left I can think to check. I head back to the guard house to talk to Marquis. Or hopefully someone
. A serious crime like that has to have some records, right?
Aegis squints slightly, recomposing herself and steeling her heart as she called forth a halo of magic as she slowly and cautiously approached the iron door, tentatively knocking on it
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 3 = 3
Zunden rubs the glove that hides her Union rune brand on her claw reflexively. "One ztep at a time zhough."
Rabi folds his ears back a bit, but isn't deterred. "Well, he was wanting to see if we'd bring him along. I didn't give him a concrete answer, since, you know… it needs to be a team decision, and all.">>742009
"It seems sir gawain wishes to join us as part of the crew. His assistance would be of use but it felt prudent to check how the others would feel."
"Who?" Zunden tenses up, resisting doing the exact opposite of what Hermodur said and keeping herself from looking up.
"I believe someone said you all fought him in your second visit of the desert. He's also the one who gave me half the scars on my body," Hermodur explains.
Aurora blinks. "Well, we'll need all the help we can get. He'd be a good companion, I think. If he wants to join us, we should let him.">>742009>>742013>>742015>>742014
"If Gavrilo's in town, then we don't have much time to waste," Marisol says. She looks genuinely intimidated at the idea of his presence. "We'll have to find Norv and wrap up business as soon as we can. Preferably covertly. If we could find someone that knows this place in and out so we can slip out of town unnoticed…"
You head to the guard house. Marquis seems to be off on some official business, but a deputy has been put in charge in his stead. He is a dour looking Dog with an unkempt mop of black hair. His name is Dario. He nods at you in greeting. "Esquire. What can I help you with?"
"He's already watching us. There's no 'unnoticed' about it. Better to stay overt. He won't attack us in public. If he would, then he would have done so already."
"On the other hand, if we go covert, it gives him an opportunity to attack us… Better to fight him now than to have him follow to our hiding spot…" Hermodur contemplates out loud.
"Yeah, I was hoping there was someone I could talk to about Nibelung house so I could properly address it. I know it was 'rewarded' to me to get me to deal with it, and that ain't a problem, but I kinda need some info if I'm gonna figure out how to go about it. So anything like crime records or even personal stories or local legends could help."
"Ah. Not someone we want to interact with, then.">>742017
"I just want to make sure everyone's fine with it- that's why we were trying to find everyone… anyways. How do you think we could slip out of town? I think we know at least one person that could help."
"Zhen it zeemz I will need to delay ze ritual for Violet furzher, we zhould leave, covertly."
Nothing happens as you knock on the door at first; then, you hear a faint whisper as the bitter wind blows around you, freezing your very heart. It sounds like a young boy."Is someone there?… It's cold… So cold…"
Not letting her guard down yet, Aegis glances around the kitchen
''A spirit?'' She mutters ''Forgive me for disturbing you. I didnt realize I stumbled upon your resting place. Tell me, do you need help?''
You notice Gavrilo move out of the corner of your eye. He raises his hoof to his mouth in a 'shh' gesture, then vanishes in a puff of purple smoke. You feel like he's taunting you.>>742022>>742021>>742019>>742014
"If we go covert we can spring a trap on him instead," Marisol points out. "Lure him into a place where we have the advantage and can retreat. The lower levels of town don't seem to be as inhabited. We could find someone who knows those parts and slip away that way."
"Or we could talk to Ezra," Aurora brings up, looking stiff and anxious now that the threat of an assassin looms over you. "Get a lift back to our ship."
"Or go back to Sprig and see if he can offer us a way out," Dawn chimes in.
"Either way," says Marisol. "If we have any business left in Withick, we should wrap it up as soon as possible."
"Uhh… It's gonna take some digging. Gimme a bit." He goes off and leaves you hanging for a while as he searches the archives, eventually coming back with a hefty looking book of records, open to a certain page.
"You're gonna be disappointed," he says, showing you the book. Pages are missing from it. "Someone's tampered with the records. All that's left are the names of the dead." He reads them out loud. "Rockwin Nibelung. Julian and Denise Rill. Sir Claude Greyhaven. And, uh, Liadan."
"Someone didn't want this to be found. Very odd. I'll have to report it to the captain."
as the others discuss, i try to blend into the shadows, slipping out of sight.
"Bringing him to Sprig is likely to risk his life as well. Perhaps it would be best to confront him is a more secluded area.."Roll #1 1 = 1
>>742024"Warm… Give me… warm…"
The already freezing winds grow somehow even colder, billowing around you and freezing you. It's like being cut with a frozen knife. It's difficult to move…>Aegis loses 1 hit
I sigh. Well, I didn't expect it to be easy. "Alright. Thank you. This next bit might be a bit much to ask, but I don't suppose there are any direct descendents of the victims in town? Maybe someone who might've been around when it happened? I understand if you're not allowed to give me that kind of information."
Dario shrugs. "I just work here, I don't know anything about that. Sounds to me like you're on your own for this one."
Maintaining her focus, Aegis endured the cold winds ands tried pulling the iron door ''Is this where you are resting?''
"Right- I'm… mostly done here, I think. Maybe check in and say bye to someone, but other than that… hrm. Might be easier to give him the slip, but he could just keep following us."
"Yeah. Alright. Thanks anyway." I walk out, leaving with barely more information than I came in with. Well, guees there's only one thing left to do. On-site investigation. I make my way back to Nibelung house.
"Zuch iz ze way it haz been for weekz. Let uz prepare to leave." Zunden nods.
"I think it would be best to avoid letting anyone know there is a Lysander assassin in town. I doubt they'd appreciate us knowing that we lead him here."
"Also, he seems aware that we are aware of him. So, the likelihood of ambushing him is far lower."
"Not that we need to ambush him."
"But yes, we should leave soon. I want to speak with the smith first."
Hermodur leads the way to the smith.
You try to wrench open the iron door, but it seems to be locked, not to mention rusted shut. It'll take both a key and great strength to get it open.>Aegis takes 1 hit
You head back to the house. You feel a bit uneasy when you notice something's off; the door is wide open. There's someone inside.
In addition, you get the feeling someone's watching you from afar…>roll Perception
''I cannot get to you'' She shouts so her voice can be heard through the wind ''Wait here, I will come back with help'' She calls out to the voice and turns around, looking for the exit
Keeping an eye on his location, you slip away into an alley, away from the rest of the party but still keeping them in sight.>>742027>>742032>>742036>>742035
"If it comes to it," says Dawn, "I could try and open a Door. Perhaps this affliction that's been hindering me has passed…"
"Maybe we should split up," Aurora suggests. "He can't follow all of us at once."
"Hermodur and I have business to attend to before we leave first," says Marisol. "We should reconvene back at the ship.">>742036
You split from the party for now and head to Roscoe the blacksmith's place. Sparing a glance back, you see that Gavrilo is not stalking you anymore.
You find the strapping young serpentine saurian working the forge as usual, currently curing some leather. He seems distracted, taking a moment to realize you're both there. "Oh. Mornin'. What can I do ya for? Don't suppose you've seen hide or hair of those bandits?…"
How does this place get creepier every time I see it? I lock my jaw and look around a little.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
>>742039"Please… hurry… Master Rockwin will be back soon…"
You leave the kitchen and head back to the main hall, seeing a figure standing in the doorway, looking around. It's Norv!>>742041
You look back and see a beggar approaching you. She's a shabby looking owl griffon; she looks like she was once a great beauty, but has fallen on wretched times. "You there," she calls over. "You're one of Hermodur's friends, right? Came into town a day or two ago?"
''Master Norvegicus…'' Aegis says, stepping closer ''I have been looking for you. And the others, where are they''
I tense up a little, but keep calm for now. "Yeah, why? You a friend?"
I jump. "Holy- Aegis! I thought you left! Wat are you-" I pause, knit my brow, and glance over her shoulder. "What are you doing in my house?"
"Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to find the bandits that stole your shipment. However, we DID find something else that may interest you."
Hermodur shows him the large clump of ore.
''I just told you. I was looking for you'' She replies, deadpan ''Where. Are. The others?''
"Gotcha. We'll meet back up with Gawain then, and head to the ship when we're done.">>742014
"Anything you want to take care of before we leave?"
"Of a sort. We served the same goddess. We're not on good terms, but… there's someone in town that's after him. He said to tell you and your friends that Gavrilo was coming." She purses her beak. "I don't like Hermodur, but I know bad news when I see it. You're all in danger. You need to leave, before he comes for you."
You have a sudden flash of recognition. This griffon was outside Caer Portach yesterday with that ill favored unicorn. You got bad vibes from them.>>742043
The griffon he's talking to does a double take. See the reply to Norv for a description. "Guessing you're with them as well. …" She puts two and two together. "Are you Aegis Glaze?"
''Who wants to know?'' Aegis turns to the gryphon
"Wait, you're the one who was talking to the unicorn. Yeah. That guy made me really uneasy. Guess it wasn't just paranoia telling me he was staring at me." I groan and rub my eyes with my thumb and forefinger. "Really hoped I'd be able to stick around just a little longer, but I guess the sooner we meet back up with the others and leave the better."
He flips down his goggles and examines it, letting out a low whistle. "Bless me. This is just what I was after from the shipment. Not the full crate of it, but enough for at least one weapon."
He looks up. "It'd be an honor to put this ore to work," he says humbly. "For you, I mean. It won't take long; I'd be reinforcing either your hammer or your, er, hand. Only a few minutes. No charge either; I'm only a humble smith, but I've always wanted to work on something as impressive as that." He looks a bit awkward. "What do you say? May I?"
Zunden sticks with Aurora, "But ztick in pairz at leazt, we don't want to be zingled out and picked off one by one."
"I was going to ask you to fix this shield," Hermodur says, showing him the partially broken shield. "But, that can wait. I'd hate to deny you your opportunity. And, my hand could certainly use an upgrade or two. Have at it," Hermodur says as he removes the prosthetic.
"My name is Minerva. I worked with Hermodur for a while. I… I was told someone was looking for you. I think you might have met him already. Gavrilo." She looks from you to Norv, then back. "Suppose we're both here for the same reason.">>742051
"I meant to warn you on the spot, but he probably would've killed us both."
''I have'' Aegis raises a leg to show off a scar ''I came here to warn Hermodur and the rest of my allies. But I did not expect him him to look for others to spread the message. Makes me wonder why did he not simply kill me when he had the chance…''
I knit my brow and look her over. "You sure you come from the same cul-" I stop myself and clear my throat. "Er, group as Hermodur? I can imagine the big lug saying a lot of stuff, but 'I was scared he'd kill us' doesn't make the cut."
I let myself relax a little, push past Aegis some, shut my door, and lock it. "Anyway, we gotta find the others and let them know we should leave."
Aurora nods. "I think I'll make my way back to the ship," says Dawn. "If anyone would care to join me, you know where I'll be." With that, she makes her way off into the crowd, tapping her cane as she travels off towards the main gate.
Aurora looks to you with a bit of concern. "Where should we go then? This Gavrilo guy will be nothing but bad news. Certainly shouldn't stay in one place too long."
''Before you go, I should warn you that there are others in need of help, Master Norvegicus''
Aegis points to the kitchen ''Your new house, it is haunted by spirits''
"Ze zhip zeemz zafezt, I don't know if zhere iz anyzhing elze I'd want to do in zhiz town knowing an azzazzin iz ztalking uz." Zunden says quietly, watching Dawn leave.
"I can do both," he says confidently. Having something to work on seems to have brightened his spirits a little.
You watch as he gets to work, picking away the ore after heating it to form a valuable alloy. From there, he starts working, reforging your shield to repair the cracks and making it even stronger than before. As for the hand, he weaves the metal into the exterior with expertise, forming patterns forged into the main body of the prosthetic. By the time he's done and it's cooling off, it's sturdier and fancier than before.>DC-1 to attacks with the prosthetic!
He wipes his brow and hands you the shield and arm once they're done cooling off. "Not a bad piece of work, if I say so. Haven't forged anything like that in a while." Marisol keeps watch for Gavrilo the whole time, but looks over, seeming impressed.
"He told me he was looking for you in particular. He wanted to deliver a message about a Lady Grosvenor knowing about you." She gives you a meaningful look.>>742057
"Call it a cult," she says dismissively. "I turned my back on all that long ago. He's too stubborn to do the same. It's over. Has been for a long time."
"Yeah, I'd caught that. Apparently some bad stuff happened there. Multiple murder bad. I was workin on digging up more info when I ran into you.">>742062
"Yeah. Stubborn is right. Well, alright. Thanks for the heads up."
Aurora nods and swallows, keeping an eye to the skies. "Let's follow her out then," she nods. "The longer we're here the more risk of running into him."
Hermodur nods with approval and grins with joy as he tests out the hand's motion. "Movement feels so much smoother now," he says happily. "You are as talented as you are kind. As thanks, I will try my best to find that lost shipment and get it back to you."
Once they've said their farewells, Hermodur motions for Marisol to come with him. They return to the ship.
''I see'' Aegis replies simply, not showing any intent with her own look>>742063
''The first priority is warning the others, then we can come back. Were you given the keys for this place, by the way?''
"Beyond reconvening with Gawain, I believe i'm ready to leave." i reply quietly, keeping watch for the assassin.
"The sooner we are aloft, the sooner we can escape this would-be killer."
You keep a wary eye to the sky for any sign of him, but see no trace of him as you head off to Caer Portach to fetch Gawain. Inside, you find the gallant knight talking Lily's ear off.
"…And then with one fell swoop, the lady Silver rushed in and snatched the diadem from the foul despot's head! A rush of cold later, and reality returned to normal, and the vile liches were vanquished and sealed forevermore."
Lily looks like she'd rather be anywhere else, but nods and smiles politely. She notices you coming in, and Gawain follows her gaze, beaming and waving! "Ah! Hello and good morning! I was just telling this fair maiden about our adventures yesterday. What brings you back here? Any news of my, er, proposal?" Lily looks like she needs rescuing herself.
Rabi focuses a little more on trying to keep an eye out for the assassin than he does sneaking off, but still feels a little concerned about what he might've missed.
"Hey, you two!" the stallion says, settling into a chair next to the two of them. "Yup- everyone was fine with it, it seems. You're free to come along if you'd like, Gawain."
[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 5 = 5
"Correct. We'd be happy to have you on board, Sir Gawain."Roll #1 1 = 1
You don't see any trace of Gavrilo on the way.
Gawain lights up. "Wonderful! It would be my great honor to join you on your quest! …Er, where are we going, exactly?" Lily glances from him to you, relieved to have a distraction.
Gawain glances behind you at a newcomer to the bar. "Oh? Are you a friend of theirs? The more the merrier! I'm sure we'll get along swimmingly!"
"That will have to be something to discuss with everypony back on the ship. Once the others have completed their errands we'll have to take another look at sprig's map.." i trail off, turning to see who Gawain is addressing.
Rabi quirks an eyebrow, before taking a look behind him. "Eh? Who're you talking about, Gawain?"
"Oh, ahem. I see. I'll be happy to chip in my thoughts where I can!">>742356>>742348
It couldn't be anyone else. A sallow brown unicorn in a black coat, covered in battle scars, stands in the doorway eyeing you down with malicious intent. Gawain's ever present smile fades somewhat as Gavrilo eyes you with murderous intent.
"Nice of you to split up," he remarks. "Makes my job a lot easier." His pale purple eyes shift from you, to an apprehensive Gawain, to a frightened looking Lily who seems to be looking for an escape route.
"Let's not waste time on chitchat. Are we doing this?" he drawls.
"Figured you'd been hanging around, but I guess my eyes aren't the sharpest." the stallion says, shrugging a little bit. "Anyways… if we're going to, maybe not inside here? I'd rather not mess the place up."
cursing myself for not being careful, i glare the assassin down.
"My, how bold, choosing now
to meet us, in the open as we are."
"You are not the first to try and kill us, nor are you the first to announce your presence beforehoof. Clawson was sent and dealt with before you, and i extend the same courtesy i gave to him. Leave us be and you may leave uninjured. refuse and share in his fate."
[1d10+2] persuasionRoll #1 1 + 2 = 3
"Seems like as good a place as any to do it," he shrugs. "Clawson got what he deserved anyway."
"L-look," says Lily nervously, "if you have to fight please d-"
A flash of magic and the rush of steel. Air leaves Lily's lungs as a knife buries itself in her chest. She wheezes and stumbles backward in numb confusion before keeling over and collapsing to the hard wooden floor.
Gawain stares in shock for a moment before drawing his blade and rushing forward. "I'm not much for talking anyway," Gavrilo shrugs. He disappears and reappears at the far end of the room in a puff of purple smoke, leaving Gawain swinging at thin air. Dozens of wickedly curved knives appear around the assassin, and he grins murderously, daring you to come closer.
"Lily!" the stallion shouts, before letting out an angered whinny and turning back to the Gavrilo. He draws his magic bow and forms a crackling arrow, before launching it at him from across the room.>Astral Strike (Lightning) [1d10+2]Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
shocked at his speed, i dive under a table to break line of sight
"Gawain, move Lily to safety, quickly! We will handle him!"Roll #1 8 = 8
Gawain nods and flies over to her, scooping her frail body up. She seems to be alive still, albeit barely. He knows better than to stand his ground and risk any more harm, so he backs off and heads deeper into the castle.
Seeing him try to get away, Gavrilo launches some knives at him. Gawain tries to deflect them, using his armored wings as a shield!
Silver takes advantage of the sudden chaos to hide under a table. Gavrilo hurls even more knives at Rabi, only to get knocked backwards as the stallion hits him with a magic arrow, rendering him helpless for a moment.Clever.
Rabi hears the assassin's voice in his head.I figured you'd have some astral tricks up your sleeve. Not bad. I'll have to steal that one.Roll #1 6 = 6
Rabi ignores the voice in his head for now, and decides to try and hit the assassin while he's down.>Magic Bolt (Lightning) [1d10+2] [1d10+2] Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
snaking under and between tables, i unlock my shivs and apply a coating of redwater before leaping up to slash the stunned pegasus!
[1d10] ruptureRoll #1 2 = 2
Gawain swats the knives away with a wing, being uncharacteristically wordless as he runs off to get help.
Silver takes advantage of the situation and rushes forward, plunging a shiv into his side as Rabi fires at him with a lightning arrow. His eyes pop open, and he vanishes in a puff of magic again, reappearing on the opposite side of the room. His horn lights up, and he grabs a plethora of chairs, tables and other furniture, forming a protective barricade between himself and you. He launches a volley of knives at you from behind it!
[2d10] vs Silver
[2d10] vs RabiRoll #1 10, 5 = 15
/ Roll #2 10, 8 = 18
Rabi lets out a short whinny and whirls around, trying to stay as calm as he can. Despite the barricade, the stallion takes a shot- trying to arc the dark bolt of energy around the obstacles.>Magic Bow (Dark): [1d10+2]Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12
with the oncoming wave of knives, i take to the air in an attempt to avoid most of the assault!>bounce
[1d10] DodgeRoll #1 9 = 9
Silver takes flight as best she can, doing a midair barrel roll and dodging the flurry of blades. They sail past her and fly into the liquor cabinet, breaking a myriad of bottles with an almighty crash of shattering glass.
Rabi free aims a black arrow, firing it upwards and trying to bend it downward with his magical talent. His aim is true, and you hear a grunt and see a flash of yellow light, interrupting a healing spell he was casting. The knives falter, and though Rabi is unable to dodge them, the weakening curse weakens their impact.>Rabi takes 1 hit
You hear a growl of anger from behind it, and the barricade bursts forward as he dismantles it in one telekinetic swoop. A plethora of broken furniture goes flying toward you!>roll to avoid damage from the debris
He follows up by trying to grab Rabi in a telekinetic grip!
[1d10+3]Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7
Rabi snickers a bit when he hears the grunt and flash of a failed spell, before trying to roll out of the way of the debris.>Dodge [1d10]
""N-None of that now!" he shouts, flinging another bolt of lightning. For now, the stallion's trying to avoid any fire.>Magic Bolt [1d10+2] [1d10+2]Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #3 3 + 2 = 5
Narrowly avoiding the spray of knives, i make an effort to shoot above the debris wave with a thrust of my wings!
Clearing it, she dives towards the assassin, slinging a coating of blinding agent into his eyes!
[1d10] blindRoll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
Rabi fires off a lightning bolt, but is hit in the jaw by a bottle shard, slicing him across the chin. Before he can recover, he feels himself getting lifted off the ground, helpless to move!>Rabit takes 4 hits
Silver manages to avoid the majority of the debris, but gets clipped on the wing by a plate, getting knocked off balance.>Silver takes 1 hit
Silver rushes forward and flings the blinding fluid at him. He hisses and recoils, suddenly jerking Rabi around and throwing him at Silver!>Silver roll to dodge>Rabi roll to break free
recovering my balance after being struck in the wing, i gasp in shock as Rabi is sent hurtling towards me, diving down to avoid him!
kicking off the ground i fly past him, striking out with my shivs as i go!
[1d10+2] melee +blindedRoll #1 9 = 9
/ Roll #2 7 + 2 = 9
/ Roll #3 3 + 2 = 5
Rabi struggles a little bit and tries to break free, though the slice across his face makes it harder to focus.>Break Free [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
Silver manages to fly out of the way, while Rabi is sent hurtling face first into a table, breaking it with the impact. Silver slices him across the foreleg; he winces and promptly drops Rabi, leaving him sprawling amid a mass of splintered wood.>Rabi takes 4 hits, helpless>freed from telekinesis
Gavrilo grits his teeth and grabs at the wound. "'Nother scar. Great. C'mere you." He pulls out dual repeating crossbows from his coat and unleashes a volley of barbed quarrels at Silver!
He follows up by trying to grab her as well!
[1d10+3]Roll #1 1, 10 + 1 = 12
/ Roll #2 4, 6 + 1 = 11
/ Roll #3 2 + 3 = 5
Ravi bounces him off the ground with a wheeze, but springs back up as quick as he can! He decides to try a slightly different approach, and shoots Gavrilo in the throat with a dull, purple bolt of magic from his bow!>Trick Ammo (Silence) [1d10+2]Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8
whipping past the crossbow bolt on swift wings, i swipe another coating of redwater onto a shiv before kicking off a chair to rebound and jab him with the slick blade!
"Are you alright, dear?!" i call out in between dodging boltsRoll #1 8 = 8
"B-Been better, but I'll be fine! Let's just take care of him!"
Silver jabs him, this time in the back. He grunts and stumbles, but seems remarkably resilient to the damage overall, though it still pains him.
Rabi gets back up, bloodied and bruised but still eager to fight. Gavrilo scowls as he does so, trying to dodge his shot!
[1d10]>will follow up with resultsRoll #1 5 = 5
Gavrilo tries to teleport out of the way, but isn't quite quick enough, taking a shot to the throat. He gasps and takes a knee as the magic prevents him from casting spells. His twin crossbows clatter to the ground. He doesn't waste time in lunging for one, doing a forward roll and grabbing it before unleashing a volley at both of you!
[1d10+1]Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
/ Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7
diving under a table, i land to try and avoid the bolt barrage!
breaking line of sight, i try to use the chaos to avoid detection
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 6 = 6
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
"Geez- you really don't quit, do you?" he says, trying to duck behind a table.>Dodge [1d10]
He ducks back out in time to fire off another lightning bolt from his bow!>Magic Bolt (Lightning) [1d10+2] [1d10+2]Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7
/ Roll #3 6 + 2 = 8
He gives you a roguish little shrug.>>742431>>742432
Silver manages to avoid getting completely skewered by the automatic crossbow, flying upward to avoid it. She takes a quarrel to the leg, though, bringing her down to the ground and collapsing. Rabi takes the full brunt of the assault, taking 4 quarrels to the chest, gut and forelegs, falling before Gavrilo!>Silver takes 6 hits, helpless>Rabi takes 7 hits, helpless
He grins and takes a few steps towards you, breathing heavily as you struggle on the ground. "I win," he says cockily, and readies his crossbow to deliver a killing shot-
A pommel to the head topples him over almost comically. Gawain stands proudly behind him, wielding his greatsword. Behind him are Sprig and Dahlia, the latter of whom is sitting on the steps with an unconscious Lily. Dahlia seems to know some healing magic; her stab wound seems to be rapidly fading as the austere looking hippogriff casts a spell through some unseen catalyst.
"On your feet, knave," Gawain growls, with genuine malice. "Mr Gavrilo," says Sprig sternly. Seems they have a history. The assassin crawls and snarls.
"Should've known you'd still be alive," he spits at Sprig.
"Oh I have my ways," he says. "Plans within plans, as they say. I were you I'd be running about now."
Gavrilo seems genuinely hesitant now that Sprig is around. He starts backing up as reinforcements arrive, rethinking his strategy as Gawain advances on him with sword in claw.
Rabi lets out a pained grunt as he's nailed by a crossbow bolt to the chest, and tries to get back to all fours.
"S-So, I'm guessing you know him? I'm afraid I don't have much of a clue who the guy is, but he's apparently after us.">Recover [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
Struggling to get back onto my hooves, I give a pained smirk as the others finally arrive.
"Well now, it seems the tables have turned! What say you save us the mess and surrender?"
[1d10] recoverRoll #1 3 = 3
"Do I know him? This was one of the bastards that ran me out of house and home," says Sprig. He's lost his usual carefree air, and looks deadly serious. You notice a stiletto in his claw that wasn't there a moment ago. >>742434>>742435
"You think I'm
trapped in here with you
?" he says, backing up even more. "You're sorely mistaken, Madame Cleaver." It takes you a second to register he's addressing Silver.
The dark spell around his throat fades, and he casts his gaze upward. As Gawain goes to charge at him like a jouster, he flashes a grin, his horn lights up, and the ceiling itself cracks and rumbles!>roll to avoid damage
[3d10] Sprig, Dahlia, GawainRoll #1 7, 7, 5 = 19
"O-Oh, come on! The stallion says, whinging nervously and trying to get underneath something. He hesitates just long enough to fire off another bolt of dark energy at the unicorn, though!>Magic Bow (Silence) [1d10+2] >Avoidance (swapping rolls with Silver if she rolls worse than I do- pushing her to better cover and all) [1d10]Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
/ Roll #2 9 = 9
I nod. "Well, we need to get going. Now. Not really any telling when he'll attack, and it'd probably be best if we were together when it happened." I walk by her and wave. "Thanks again.">>742066
I look from the door I just locked behind her, to the keys in my hand, and back to her. "Yes," I say, holding them up. I knit my brow "Yes I have keys. Are you alright?" I shake my head. "Anyway," I say. "Last time I saw them they were headed to the market square. Maybe they're still there. I have to talk to someone anyway."
Briefly surprised by the old title, i refocus and quickly dive for cover, hindered by the bolt in my leg
with effort, i try to crawl further under the scattered furniture to break line of sight, preparing to retaliate
[1d10] stealthRoll #1 1 = 1
/ Roll #2 7 = 7
Wood and stone rain from the ceiling with a thunderous crash of debris, blanketing the whole inn. As the dust settles, you survey the damage; Rabi's shot seems to have missed completely, and Silver has avoided the worst of the damage, being practically unharmed save for a few bruises. Sprig and Dahlia have retreated to the upper levels, also unharmed and protecting the unconscious Lily. Gawain is bruised, limping with gritted teeth through the rubble, having taken a blow to the head.
Rabi, in an effort to stop Silver from getting hurt, seems to have gotten the worst of it. He can't move; looking down, his left rear leg is pinned by a fallen wooden beam, crushing it at the knee. The pain is indescribable; it won't be fatal, but his leg is broken at the knee. No sign of Gavrilo, for now.>Rabi takes 1 wound
Sprig takes over caring for Lily as Dahlia rushes forward to help Rabi. She displays a surprising amount of strength as she tries to lift the beam, remaining as unshaken as ever. Gawain pales slightly as he sees Rabi injured, and wastes no time on chitchat, joining in trying to help free him from the beam.
Rabi lets out a pained scream as his leg is broken- same one that got impaled before, in fact. He curses a bit to himself and, after Sprig and Gawain lift the beam up, he pulls it free.
"I-Is he still around? We can't let him get the drop on us." he says, gritting his teeth.>[1d10] PerceptionRoll #1 6 = 6
being shoved out of the way of the collapsing roof, i wait until i wait for the rubble to settle before hearing Rabi's scream! Relatively unscathed, i rush to his side, scanning the room for Gavrilo
"Rabi! hold still, that leg is ruined. We'll have to have Zunden set it."
"What were you thinking, throwing yourself into harm's way again
?"Roll #1 2 = 2
"I-I didn't want to see you get hurt. I don't really want to lose anyone else." he says, huffing a bit.
Zunden does as such, following close to make sure the blind ally isn't taken advantage of.
You look around wildly, only to see a cloud of settling purple smoke. He's gone.
Dahlia does most of the lifting, moving the beam out of the way with help from Gawain and Silver. The knight grimaces at the sight of Rabi's crushed leg, offering to carry him on his back. "You shan't be able to walk like this. Where are our companions? I'll fly you there."
Sprig assesses the situation with dismay. "They've found us," he says quietly. "Miss Dahlia, when we're finished helping this young lady, we'll have to move again, I'm afraid."
"Yes, sir," she says, still standing by to help Rabi if need be.
"I suppose that means we won't be meeting again soon," Sprig says to you. "Not here at least. It's probably for the best if we don't know where we're going, all things considered. I've given Mr Black a way of contacting me if need be, but for now, we must go our separate ways. ..It's a pity," he remarks. "I did like this town."
"Sorry for dragging you into this." Rabi says, trying to keep from moving his leg too terribly much. "I didn't really know what all he was wrapped up in, but I shouldn't have come here regardless. Is there any way you'd be able to avoid having to skip town?"
I sigh. "You really must be more careful, dear. next time we may not be so lucky as a broken leg. I wouldn't know what to do if you met your end saving me..">>742446
"We had intended to draw his attention away from here, but it seems we weren't fast enough. Lysander's claws are everywhere, even a town as remote as this. A lesson to refrain from staying for long, i suppose."
"It was inevitable," he assures you. "Just wish it hadn't happened now. I'll figure something out, I always do. I don't see much of a solution to this conundrum, unfortunately. Not that I can't defend myself if need be, but Gavrilo will only be one in a line of mean sons of bitches that come here from now on. Best I get going and avoid any more entanglements.">>742448
He nods gravely. "He's only gaining more influence by the day. Hiding the Egg won't stop that. He has to die, before he becomes too powerful for anyone to handle.">>742447>>742448
"I guess this is goodbye then," he says, not without a hint of genuine regret. He extends one claw to shake your hoof in friendly farewell as he and Dahlia prepare to head off back into the castle. "Send my regards to the others for me, would you? I wish you all good fortune in the wars to come."
With that, he adjusts his glasses, and he and Dahlia leave the inn. Gawain, still looking unusually grim, motions to carry Rabi when he's ready to go. "Y-You'll have to give me directions to your hideout, of course," he says huskily.
Shaking his claw, i nod in farewell as Sprig and Dahlia take their leave.
"Right then, i suppose we should bring Rabi to the ship and fetch Zunden to heal him. We should still be parked outside of town.." i trail off, gesturing for Gawain to follow.
Assisting him, i lead the way out the castle and towards the ship.
Rabi squirms a little, before letting out an embarassed sigh. "I… uh, sorry. I'll be more careful, for your sake.">>742449
Rabi shakes when Sprig offers it to him, before folding his ears back a little "Take care, be safe. We'll tell the others, yeah.">>742449
"A-Ah- is Lily alright? Messing the tavern up is bad enough, I'd hate to have killed her." he whiskies nervously, before nodding to Gawain.
"If you can, that'd be so helpful," Roscoe says with a bit of a smile. "My pleasure.">>742451
"She'll survive," Gawain nods. "Miss Dahlia is an excellent healer. It'll take a while for her to recover, but she should be up and about in no time!" He seems to regain a bit of his usual confidence.>>742450>>742451>>742065
You reconvene outside the ship. Hermodur seems to have gotten his hand upgraded, while Gawain is carrying a wounded Rabi. Seems he broke a leg. Etrigan manifests at the top of the ship, looking on in concern. "What happened?"
he calls as a Servitor lowers a ladder for those without wings. Marisol bites her lip in worry. "If Zunden can't help, I think I might be able to help with that. I've treated broken limbs before.">>742066>>742439
"Just… just one last thing," says Minerva before you leave. "Send a message to Hermodur for me, would you? Tell him… tell him I'm sorry. And that next time we meet, hopefully it'll be under better circumstances.">>742445>>742439>>742066
Norv and Aegis meet up with Zunden and Aurora as the latter traverse the city streets. Aurora's eyes widen as she sees the crystal pony. "Aegis! I thought you'd left town," she says, looking a bit exhilarated. "Didn't think we'd be meeting up again so soon. …I, er, suppose you're here because of the hunter that's on the loose…"
"She will? Oh, thank goodness." the stallion says, letting out a sigh of relief.>>742452
Rabi looks disheveled and damaged, but manages a bit of a wave to Etrigan when he manifests on the ship. "U-Uh, we found Gavrilo. O-Or, uhm, he found us. No one died, but I feel absolutely awful right now."
"What happened!?" Hermodur asks in more amused exasperation than anything else at first. "We were separated for less than 30 minutes!"
Then, Rabi mentions Gavrilo. His countenance changes, and he grabs onto Mjolnir. From atop the deck, he looks around at the ship's surroundings. He doesn't let up on his vigil.
[1d10] to spot dangerRoll #1 10 = 10
"Aurora?" Zunden looks just as confused, "Did you leave zomezhing behind zhat you wanted? Or waz ze azzazzin trailing you?"
"S-Sorta messed up the tavern too. I hope it's not too damaged."
"We've managed to repel Gavrilo, but not without cost. He took quite the thrashing and fled after collapsing the tavern's roof on us. I suspect he'll be busy licking his wounds for now."
"Which is why we should leave immediately."
"Well, we've certainly identified his MO. He only attacks when we are in smaller groups. We need to stop splitting up."
I give her a small nod. "Hope you can get everything sorted out." Not looking back, I pocket my keys and make my way back to the market. >>742452
I frown. "I guess you've already heard, then. I saw him the other day. Haven't talked to him or anything, but I can't imagine he'll be pleasant to run into."
"Indeed. Once Zunden and the others have returned we can find relative safety in the skies."
"There's also the matter of the map Sprig gave us. quite a few remote places to sequester the egg into, something we'll have to decide soon as well."
"I hope those are all the keys for every lock in this place then. Now lets hurry, we can return and deal with the Spirit another time">>742452>>742455
Aegis nods "My business with Grosvenor will have to wait, Gavrilo coerced me into finding you to deliver a message, and a gift to hermodur. Where is he?"
"I'm pretty sure there are. Can't imagine why there would be rooms they didn't have keys for, but honestly you were in there more than me. I hadn't really even stepped inside yet."
"Sure as the sun rises in the morn!" Gawain proclaims confidently.>>742457>>742454>>742453
"Just so," Gawain says gravely to Hermodur. "Luckily we were able to hold the blaggard off, with a little help from our mutual friend Sprig. It is as the lady Silver said, he shan't be bothering us any time soon. But I doubt we've seen the last of him.""What about the others?"
says Etrigan worriedly. "Zunden, Dawn, Aegis, Norv? Did they not…?"
A few Servitors clear the downstairs table to help treat Rabi's broken leg. "Try not to move too much," Marisol says a bit sternly, taking on a rather matronly tone. "And, hm. You might want to consider going astral to help with the pain. This might hurt a bit. I'll be right back." She starts heading to her private quarters to retrieve something.
Gawain and Etrigan exchange a look. They each seem bemused by the other's presence. "You're a friend of theirs, I take it!"
"I-I suppose I am." Even when faced with a strange specter, Gawain doesn't lose his knightly demeanor, pulling himself up to his full height with a slight rattle and clank of his armor. "Sir Gawain of Andraxis. At your service." He extends a claw instinctively, realizing his mistake after a beat."Etrigan. Just Etrigan. I'm the caretaker on board this ship, I suppose."
"Oh!…" Gawain doesn't seem to know how to react to that, offering a stiff little nod.>>742455>>742461>>742776
"That can't be good," Aurora comments as Aegis recounts her experience. "Let's catch up with Dawn and head back to the ship. Unless you guys have something else to do around here…"
"Roscoe, the local smith, asked me if he could come with us. I told him to think on it for a few days instead of just jumping in. I should check with him and see if he still wants to, then we can go."
''Then lets get that over with quickly. The sooner we return to the ship the better. We cannot separate with Gavrilo on our tails''
Hermodur looks between Etrigan and Gawain with a smirk. "The fact that you two are both on board - and this interaction in general: this is a fantastic representation of what it's been like to be us."
"Worrying, I am wondering again why we dezided to zplit up when we learned of a zingle azzazzin trailing uz - our numberz iz what makez uz ztronger. Let uz keep togezher." Zunden grips her staff tightly, but still manages to offer a small smile, "I am glad you are wizh uz again regardlezz, Aegiz Glaze."
''I admit being truly on my own in the Echoes unnerved me. I am lucky you found me as soon as I landed here'' The crystal mare nods
''By the way, how are my chickens?''
"I have not been on ze zhip in ze day or zo zinze you have left, I apologize for not knowing."
"Gawain's a friend of ours from… before we met you even, I think." he says to Etrigan, before groaning a little. "I think I'm just going to take it easy for a bit. That leg was just starting to heal…"
"Why would the local smith come with us?" Aurora asks Norv in confusion.
You all move to the gates, having lost track of Dawn after she left for the boardwalk. Just near the guard outpost Norv's visited a few times is Roscoe's smithy, a humble forge like any other in the Echoes. Roscoe himself is an intense young saurian, serpentine in body, with a lean, muscular build and a white and brown scale pattern. He is poring over some blueprints when you approach. "Welcome to Roscoe's. How can…" He falters as he sees Norv with the party, his expression darkening. He doesn't finish the sentence.
I nod. "Yeah. Probably best not to mess around. Actually feels like we kinda already wasted a lot of time.">>742782
"I've actually been meaning to talk to you guys about just that. I, uh… I met up with Clawson's son our first day here. Roscoe. He might wanna come with us. Haven't been back to ask yet, and I haven't seen any of you since so no chance to talk about it."
I tuck a hand into one of my pockets and step up to Roscoe, studying him a little. Great. Guess I'm gonna be a reminder of his dad's death from now on. "We're leaving. You still want to come?"
That answers Aurora's question. "…Oh. That… that changes things." She's not quite sure what to make of it.
Zunden's expression shifts from worry to sympathy, "Doez he… know what happened?"
I nod. "He knows the gist. I don't think I mentioned Clawson was hunting us to begin with, but we're not the ones who killed him so I doubt that matters. He wants revenge on Lysander. Like 90% of the folks we meet."
I stay near Rabi's side, watching with concern. With some of my anatomical knowledge, i take a look at the extent of the damage.
"Hmm.. i do hope this doesn't leave the leg worse for wear.. The last thing we would want is for you to be confined to a crutch!"Roll #1 3 = 3
''I see. Lets hope your pet has not devoured all of them by now''>>742791
''Good. Any ally against Lysander and his plans is welcome, especially a smith''
"Quite the motley crew you've all assembled," Gawain remarks to you. "This must be a mission of grave importance.""You have no idea,"
Etrigan deadpans. Gawain looks a bit unnerved.
"…Well, I suppose I was going to find out sooner or later. What IS our mission?" he asks you.>>742785
"Oh, I wouldn't say friend. We only met rather briefly. But you made a memorable impression!" Etrigan doesn't seem quite sure what to make of him.>>742785>>742792>>742787"I'm sure Zunden will be able to mend it. She's fixed worse than a broken leg.
Silver can see that Rabi's leg is indeed broken; it's twisted at an unsightly angle at the shin. It looks like it'd take months to heal, under normal conditions.
Marisol returns with two potion vials; one of a semi translucent fluid, and one of a fizzing golden potion. She offers Rabi the former. "Drink up. It'll help with the pain. Silver, Hermodur, you might want to help restrain him. This is going to hurt, a lot, but since Zunden isn't here, it's all we have to fix that leg before it gets worse." Gawain looks a bit awkward, standing around and offering wordlessly to help if he can.
"I don't know if I should be the one to tell you," Hermodur says as he finds a place to sit. "In fact, I don't know if you want to know. The more you know, the more liable you are to become a target."
Zunden shakes her head no,
"I don't zhink we zhould, I wouldn't want to forze him down a pazh far more dangerouz zhan hiz current life, ezpecially conzidering what Lyaander did and iz capable of. Clawzon may have been contracted to kill uz, but I would not wizh to put hiz zon in harm'z way az well." She looks sullenly at Roscoe, "Lyzander will die for what he'z done, I wouldn't want you to be hurt becauze we zhought putting a dagger in hiz neck would remedy anyzhing better zhan uz doing ze zame." >>742789
At some point in talking, Zunden's eyes shift over to Aurora, knowing how she sought vengeance after her own parent's killer. However, her gaze quickly rights itself, hoping not to be obvious.
Trusting her judgement, i wince knowingly at her plan, before moving to hold a forehoof, readying presumably with Hermodur to keep him steady.>>742785
"Keep your breathing steady, dear. I'll be right by your side." i offer in reassurance, nuzzling your cheek before bracing myself.
''We should let him decide Zunden'' Aegis steps in ''He knows that if we fail, he and the inhabitants of the Echoes will not have a life under Clawson's fist, and that he could have made a difference and avenge his father''
Under Lysander's fist
He sniffs. "You must be those Drifters I've been hearing about, then." He returns your sullen gaze. "My dad… was what he was. I figured he was hunting y'all when your friend here told me he knew him. Not many other reasons folks crossed his path. I don't hold it against you. Y'all didn't kill him, and he didn't kill y'all."
Aurora notices your gaze. She opens her mouth to speak up for a second, but can't seem to find the words.>>742793>>742788>>742796
Roscoe looks down, weighing the decision. He seems to agree with Zunden. "…I'd like to come with you. I really would. But… this is my home, and my business. It ain't as easy as just up and leaving like that. Everything I have is here. …I think I'll have to talk to the collector up in the castle. My place is here, but it's no secret in town that he ain't a fan of Lysander. We should be able to work something out. There are other ways to fight this war."
"And, if you're ever in town, you can stop by here. I'd be happy to work on anything you need, free of charge. If it helps the cause." He nods resolutely, having a steely look in his eye.
"Gah, I hope I don't need a crutch. That'd be a real pain." he says, before letting out a deep breath and offering a bit of a smile. "Gotcha. Nice, steady breathing.">>742794
Rabi tries to avoid looking at his leg again after a quick glance, and doesn't waste any time before downing the potion and gritting his teeth.
I nod. "Probably for the best. That's why I wanted to give you a bit. Sorry I had to be the one to bring the news, but…" I doubt anyone else would have, I leave unsaid. "Anyway, yeah. Other ways to help out. Appreciate anything we can get. Thank you, Roscoe."
''Very well. Your service is appreciated and your help will be remembered. Your father would be proud of you, and if not, at least you can be proud of yourself''