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File: 1588945313024.jpg (567.97 KB, 1601x2000, 1552780103212.jpg)

 No.738288[Last 50 Posts]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6atrj5MCQDM

The armored skiffs hum low over the gray, humid earth, speeding toward the Castle of Silence. An AI gunship escort follows each skiff, weapons trained on the dark horizon. Inside your skiff's cockpit, the pilot grimly triple-checks the cloaking device to ensure they have enough charge for the ride back. Knight-Brother Mountain unlocks his harness and enters the ship's passenger hold, casting an apprising glare over the lot of you. You may have been hand-picked by Iron King Ischyros himself for this mission – even made to swear an oath of secrecy on pain of death – but the Knight-Brother's judgment was subject to his own insurmountable standards.

"Wake up, soldiers," Knight-Brother Mountain says. "We'll arrive within the hour. Consider it your new home; you're gonna be here a while."

Mountain flicks a button on a terminal in the center of the hold, portraying a holographic projection of a grand ziggurat, countless miles tall and wide, extending far deeper underground: Agatecastle is its official codename, but it is better known now as the Castle of Silence. Once home to millions and millions of souls of every race and walk of life, it is now nothing but a grave.

"For reasons unknown, Agatecastle fell to the Dreaded Ones, millennia ago," Mountain begins. "Either they infiltrated before the Castle's Heart could erect its protective barrier of light, or, worse, they broke through that barrier. If it's the latter, then whatever broke through could still be out there. And they'll come for the other Castles sooner or later. Agatecastle exists on no official records anywhere in any of the nine remaining Castles, so we have little to go on. All we know now is that the place is crawling top to bottom with Dreaded Ones.

"Your primary mission is to discover why the so-called Castle of Silence fell. Data chips, paper records, get whatever you can find that points to something concrete, something we can kill. As for your secondary mission: As you know, every Castle has a self-destruct mechanism, known as the Sword of the Five Gods, located on Layer Zero. It can only be operated by the keys and authorization codes held by the Castle's royal family. These should be located somewhere in the royal Palace, all the way down on Layer One. Find the keys and the codes from Layer One. Infiltrate Layer Zero and arm the Sword of the Five Gods. Then get the hell out of there."

Knight-Brother Mountain looks over his shoulder, through the glass windows of the cockpit, and flicks off the hologram; there is no need for it anymore. The dead steel walls of the Castle of Silence lurk at last upon the horizon.

(1/2)

 No.738289

>>738288
The skiffs begin their ascent, flying toward the topmost level of the ziggurat, entering a makeshift landing bay in the sixth floor of what what was once known as Layer Nine, the Observatory. Cloaking devices deactivate to let engines cool once the shutter doors draw shut behind them. The ships' doors open, and the mission's newest wave of soldiers step out, many silently aghast at finding themselves inside the corpse of a mighty Castle.

The sixth floor consists mostly of old skeletons of buildings, long since destroyed by the Dreaded Ones, and blessed for protection. Holy symbols and icons hang above the doorways, and mendicants of the Abbey splash blessed oil upon the newly arrived skiffs. Several soldiers stop to ask the mendicants for a blessing, but the Knight-Brother of each skiff starts ushering the newcomers toward a chapel near the center of the area.

The chapel is wide with a low ceiling, but it appears to have nearly finished its reconstruction, unlike many other buildings on floor six. Icons of saints and tapestries of their mighty deeds surround you. A mare stands before the altar. facing the lot of you. She wears the armor of a high-ranking Sage, with a heraldic tassel indicating that she holds place in one of the Noble branch families, most likely by marriage. Her eyes are comprised of several rings, not quite concentric, but contained within one another, creating almost a spiral shape; perhaps a mutation.

"Hail, brave souls," she says. "I am Magister Colonnade Reprise. I trust the Knight-Brothers briefed you on the mission's overview on the way here. I will cover the finer details. Before I begin, do you have any questions?"

 No.738290

I remain standing near the front of our group.
"How much of the castle is already secured?"

 No.738291

>>738290
You see that about 25 recruits sit with you in the chapel, and various ranks and Strata are represented. Most appear to be Warriors and Sages, followed by a few Commoners, and the very rare Noble.

"We have secured all of Layer Nine to serve as our forward operating base," Colonnade says. "The bottom three Floors, F-1 through F-3, are being used as a buffer space of sorts between our FOB and the rest of the Castle. We have secured those floors with hardlight turrets and drones. Between F-4 and F-9, you will be able to find beds, commissary services, armorer services, and so forth."

 No.738292

>>738291
"That much already? Okay. No more questions."

 No.738293

>>738292
Colonnade nods, and casts a look about the room. It appears that no others have questions either. "Very well. I just have a few things to add to the Knight-Brothers' briefing.

"As with all other Castles, Agatecastle is divided into nine Layers, which are in turn divided into nine Floors – plus Layer Zero, which comprises only a single Floor. However, Agatecastle appears to have undergone much… rearranging in the millennia since its fall. Whereas our Castles are organized neatly into clear and orderly streets, connected by stairwells, escalators, pedestrian walkways and a trolley system, Agatecastle has fallen into disorder, her streets blockaded by mountainous walls of debris. Many of her buildings have also been reconfigured and rearranged in ways contrary to schematics that we have brought from other Castles for comparison. Secret passages, trapdoors, teleporting brick walls – it all resembles a mad wizard's labyrinth more than a place to live.

"We believe this to be the work of Dreaded Ones capable of rearranging the landscape to their own design. We also have reason to believe that there is a power struggle of sorts between several powerful Dreaded Ones, who our scouts report seem to be undergoing territorial disputes. As such, we will be dividing areas of operation between various groups.

"As you know, each Floor and each Layer is connected by a series of stairwells and elevator systems. Find and secure these places, and we will be able to advance more efficiently through the Castle on our great crusade. Agatecastle's intranet system is down, and most of her electronics are disabled, but our scouts have also reported finding various terminals still online. If you have any technological expertise, you may be able to glean useful information from them."

 No.738294

>>738289
Lost was quiet for the moment as she let the others talk, her focus turned on potential threats that might be dwelling deep within this haunted place and how best she might handle them.

 No.738295

>>738293
I wait patiently to hear which group I am going to be part of.

 No.738296

>>738293
I stand in front of my bodyguard, eyes now closed, and continue listening to the speaker with a smile that hasn't parted from me.

 No.738297

>>738293
https://pastebin.com/td71B38P

"Hm, sounds like fun," Deadweight says to herself as she lounges in her seat.

 No.738298

>>738297
>>738296
>>738294
>>738295
Colonnade taps away at her magicomp. "I'm sending out assignments now. You'll find the names and appearances of your assigned comrades; rest assured that these groupings have been determined based upon your strengths and weaknesses to create well-rounded groups. A few here have not yet been assigned – they are the reserve team; if you feel that your group lacks any particular skillset or role, you can ask one of our reserve members to join you."

When you check your comps for your assignments, each of you sees the others' names, pictures, and their IDs for Concord – a magicomp app meant for sending discrete and secure messages via text and voice… and often used for comp games.

Included with that information is a set of directions for navigating down through the bottommost floors of Layer Nine, toward a particular stairwell that should lead toward the central areas of Layer Eight – also known as the Barracks.

Colonnade looks your way. "Your assigned area appears to belong to some sort of necromancer, judging by the number of undead accompanying the Dreaded Ones within. Your blessed weapons should be capable of hitting the ghosts and wraiths with little issue. I would caution against fighting the necromancer head-on, should you meet him. Spellcasters often have phylacteries and magical gems that they use to preserve their bodies against dark magic. Should you have to deal with the necromancer, you're better off trying to find the sources of his power to destroy them."

>If you want to hire an NPC to aid you, you can review the sheet here: https://pastebin.com/ZLRzqRpy

>The party cannot exceed 6 characters, however.
>Otherwise, if you are ready to go, simply indicate as such.

 No.738299

>>738294
https://pastebin.com/ExnY2CUM Forgot to link mine.))

She looked at the data and held her head for a moment as she felt the voice of her partner ripping through her brain, urging her to go alone and do… terrible things.

"I suppose we should add someone else to the group to assist us."

 No.738300

I've not got much in the way of money or connections to hire any help. Instead, I wander my way over to the people whose pictures I just got sent. Assuming they've not already found me since I stick out like a burnt thumb.

 No.738301

>>738298
I signal for my bodyguard to come with me, and I send contact invites through my magicomp device to the others I'm grouped with. With this done I'll leave the building for some fresh air.

 No.738302

Were we supposed to link our sheets?
https://pastebin.com/WP6KGSeF

>>738299
"We might want someone that can patch us up when we get hurt. I don't have enough medical supplies to help anyone else if they catch fire."

>>738301
I accept the invite.

 No.738303

>>738301
You step outside, where you see that the pilots of the skiff are waiting near their ships. Abbean medical workers load up medical pods, cylindrical chambers with glass domes, containing those badly wounded, into the back of the skiffs for further treatment back at their home Castles. Elsewhere, you spy new groups and old meeting with their teammates, exchanging names, intel and their abilities, talking strategy and theories of what befell this so-called "Castle of Silence."

 No.738304

>>738302
>>738298
"Hmm…" Deadweight hums to herself as she taps on her magicomp.

>Hiring Xu


>>738301
Deadweight sees a contact invite from somepony from her group pop up on her screen, and she accepts it. She messages to her, "Sup." Short and sweet.

>>738299
>>738302
"Looks like you're my group, or most of it I guess," you hear somepony say. You see a blue pegasus, clad in black, aerodynamic-looking armor. Her silver mane peeks out of her helmet. "I got some medical kits on me, and I'm getting in touch with someone who's a little more tech-savvy than me."

 No.738305

I write this general message to those who accept my invite.
[Greetings, this may sound sterile for any introduction but I am Lady Firmgold. Pleased to make your acquaintance now, and very happy to be assigned a team with you for the coming assignment!]

 No.738306

>>738305
Deadweight's magicomp buzzes. She texts back, "Cool."

 No.738307

>>738304
>>738302
>>738301
>>738299
A little while after you find one another, an armored and robed kirin with a deadpan look approaches you; her coat is light purple, and her mane a faded red. She lowers the visor on her helmet to get a better look at you as she sizes you up. "…Hiiii. I'm Xu. I've worked with Deadweight before. Nice to meet you."

Every word she speaks sounds like it has to be dragged out, kicking and screaming, like she'd rather be anywhere else.

"You guys ready to go?" she continues. "I'll add you on Concord…"

 No.738308

>>738307
"There she is," Deadweight says, seeing Xu approach.

 No.738309

>>738303
I'll hire Huitlapan using money, assuming there's not an upfront cost to it.

>>738304
"Oh? Good! I think I'm getting in touch with a healer."
You can see a red-robed orange unicorn covered in ugly, and fresh, looking burn scars.

>>738307
"Hello! I guess I'm ready. My guy should be here somewhere, unless I waited too long."

 No.738310

>>738307
"Wonderful! I am Firmgold, this is Steadfast"
I wave to the Stallion behind me, then continue talking.
"And we are ready enough. I believe we are, which is not to say I speak for everyone present, of course."
I wait and clear my throat again.
"Well of course I should let it be known that I'm not entirely someone of combat, sir Steadfast here is I can assure you- however I should expect my words to be of a higher gild towards our more straight-minded enemies."

 No.738311

>>738309
"My medical kits not good enough for ya?" Deadweight jests. She smirks and lightly punches the charred unicorn. "Just playin', I only got enough for myself, anyway."

 No.738312

>>738311
>>738310
>>738299
>>738307
The orange, burnt unicorn smiles at you all. He doesn't blink enough and has a singed red robe worn awkwardly over his new sage's armorsuit.
"I think we're ready to go, right? We need real introductions, not this tech stuff. My name is Conflagration. I set things on fire with magic."

 No.738313

>>738304
>>738307
The quiet hybrid nodded "They call me Lost Hope." she responded with a soft tone as she continued to hold her head as she slowly recovered from the feeling of the throbbing voice

"I am able to move yes."


>>738301
She took the invite and made sure her beat up magicomp was in working shape.

 No.738314

>>738313
>>738310
"Great. Regn knows whiz kid here didn't do well in public speaking," Deadweight says, swinging a foreleg around Xu and pulling her in.

>>738312
She lets go of the poor kirin and introduces herself. "I'm Deadweight. I fly and hit things, and things hit me."

 No.738315

>>738312
"Indeed, sir Conflagration. It's not a noble reason, unfortunately, but I am here to build a name for myself, hahah. As it is, but I do have access to a supplier here and, in time, will become one should we find things of worth in the lower levels. Sir Steadfast behind me will be my shield if things must come to combat."

 No.738316

>>738313
>>738310
>>738309
>>738308
"Aaaah! Hold onM, hold on, hold on!" a small voice cries from the chapel. "Wait for me!"

You're approached by a diminutive bipedal figure; about two feet in height, he is a Rodos, one of the rodent-folk. With a gray, hamster-like body and shiny black eyes, he doesn't cut an intimidating figure, but he has mid-rank Sage armor, suggesting he's decently accomplished. He stops to catch his breath. "Sorry, I only just now saw your message, Mister Conflagration. I'd be happy to join. Nice to meet you all. I'm Huitlapan, if you haven't already heard. Oh, Miss Xu, it looks like we'll be working together again."
"When was the last time?" Xu asks. Huitlapan looks devestated.
"Err… never mind."

Given that you're all ready, you follow along with the directions provided by Colonnade, descending from the sixth Floor of Layer Nine (L-9, F-6) toward Layer Eight. The FOB is heavily fortified and guarded, but all the way through, you can sense a constant atmosphere of apprehension from your fellow soldiers, knowing what evil lurks beneath them.

Eventually, you reach L-9, F-3, the first of the three buffer Floors between Layers Eight and Nine. The guard presence is constant, and you're forced to proceed through a labyrinth of fences and sandbags set up to deter any invasion from below. Hardlight turrets and security bots keep a steady eye on all doorways and staircases.

In time, you reach the final staircase, a very deep and winding one, descending in a spiral shape into Layer Eight: The Barracks. The staircase darkens the deeper you go, as the light from above gets further, and further away…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LbciQTAjJw

At the base of the stairs, you push open a door, and find yourself in a lightless stone room. The tiles are uneven, and the floor is marred by patches of mold here and there. Walls are marked with scratches and gouges, and a faint rotten smell tinges the air; your armorsuits automatically activate their air filters to catch any airborne pollutants. Huitlapan and Xu, who had been making small talk on the way down, immediately fall silent as they look about for danger.

There are two doors to the West, two doors to the East, and one door to the North.

 No.738317

>>738316
>>738314
I stay behind Deadweight and follow her through whatever door she takes.

 No.738318

>>738316
Deadweight nods to the Rodos. "Sup."

She moves through the fences and sandbags with ease, leading the group. She opens the door at the bottom of the staircase. She looks at the doors in the room, shrugs, and proceeds to enter the North door.

 No.738319

>>738316
>>738318
>Perception roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.738320

>>738316
Lost took a breath and pushed forward scanning the area with a small sigh. Dhampir was being a bit noisy and it was hard to focus on everything especially since he was raging at the presence of an Abbean member.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.738321

>>738316
"Oh, hm, Perhaps I should have bought the goggles after all. Steadfast would you be a dear and walk ahead of me now? I'm unsure of where the walls are in this darkness."
We'll follow Deadweight going north.

 No.738322

>>738316
[1d10]
Perception as I follow Deadweight through the north door.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.738323

>>738317
>>738318
>>738320
>>738322
>>738321
The door is not locked, and so you are able to exit, stepping out onto a pedestrian street littered with refuse. It's blocked to the east and to the west by great slabs of concrete, asphalt and stone, appearing by their smooth construction to be the work of some kind of earth-magic. High above you, the electrical panels used to simulate the passage of time lay dim, left in an eternal darkness not unlike that of the Castles.

With no passage available to the East or West, you look North again, finding a long wall, possibly belonging to some kind of office building. Three doors it has: One on the Left, one on the Right, and one in the Center. However, Conflagration notices with his magical senses that the Center and Right doors appear to be rigged with some kind of magical rune, with additional charms to make the runes invisible – no doubt some kind of trap.

 No.738324

>>738323
>left in an eternal darkness not unlike that of the Castles.

Correct this to:

>left in an eternal darkness not unlike that of the black sky of the Outlands.

 No.738325

>>738320
"You just had to get sent out here, didn't you? Gotta love the luck. Of course we'd get this assignment…" Dhampir grumbles in the back of your head.

 No.738326

>>738321
>>738320
>>738319
"Stop, stop. There's some kind of rune or magic somethingorother on two of those doors. The…uhh…middle and right ones. They might be traps. Step back and let an Abbean trained monk handle this."

>>738323
I use my unicorn telekinesis to lift a head sized chunk of concrete or asphalt and hover it over, through, and around the center door.
Do I need to roll for this if I'm taking my time to do it?

 No.738327

>>738323
I whisper loud enough for everyone to hear.
"I don't wish to be a bother, but we may have to take some time between areas to map our where we've gone."

 No.738328

>>738323
>>738324
Also, does this mean it's dark but not so dark that we can't see for a distance around us?

 No.738329

>>738328
The visors in your armorsuits automatically adjust for low- and no-light environments, providing you with a limited degree of night vision, allowing you to see your immediate surroundings, but not much beyond that.

 No.738330

>>738325
"Nobody asked you." she grumbled under her breath as she moved along with the others "You only wanna eat and kill when we go out anyway."

>>738323
>>738326
Lost stopped and nodded as she watched the mage do his thing with a curious look on her face.

 No.738331

>>738323
Not noticing anything wrong, Deadweight walks towards the Center door.

>>738326
"Oh, you don't say?" Deadweight says, stopping right as she was able to touch the door handle. Following his orders, she takes a few steps back.

>>738327
One of Deadweight's ears flip up. "Ugh, I suppose you're right," she says. She takes out her magicomp and draws a very messy diagram of the stone room they were in and the space they're currently in, making sure to include the doors.

 No.738332

>>738331
"You're going to want to get a whole lot more back than that. There's a pretty good chance of something exploding sooner or later."

 No.738333

>>738327
She nodded "A wise move," she said opening a mapping program on her magicomp and beginning a basic grid map.

 No.738334

>>738332
"Pff, like a little explosion would knock me down," Deadweight says flippantly as she walks back to the rest of the group.

 No.738335

>>738327
>>738333
"Good idea," Huitlapan says. "I'll try to sketch one too whenever things are quiet. Let's compare ours to make sure we're on the same page."

>>738330
"Oh, that's just mean. I have way more hobbies than that, Reject. Besides, it's not like I'm the only one with a voracious appetite."

>>738330
>>738327
>>738326
>>738331
As soon as Conflagration touches the chunk of asphalt to the door, it explodes – door, chunk and all – with a thunderclap and a blinding flash of harsh blue lightning, a charge so powerful that it arcs straight into the concrete wall across from you. Painful afterimages dance on your eyes for a few seconds afterward, and the air still crackles with electricity. From afar, a harsh gurgling, slurping drone can be heard. Huitlapan and even Xu turn pale with horror. "Bloodhounds," Xu whispers over short-range Concord communications. "Not far from here. Northeast."

Beyond the door, you can see a hallway leading Eastward, at the end of which is a staircase leading downward.

 No.738336

>>738334
"Told you. Hold on."
I grab some more chunks of asphalt and throw them, shotgun style, through the central doorway. Due to the nearby sounds I'm not going to be taking my time with this second highly-technical magical trap disarmament technique.
[1d10]

Assuming nothing happens I dart through the ceneter door.
"Quick, inside! Remember the right one is trapped!"

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.738337

>>738335
Lost winced but as soon as the fireworks went off she tried her best to vanish into the shadows without a sound. Better to strike from the shadows than be a target.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.738338

>>738335
"Oh my, a wonderful solution sir Conflagrate."
I then respond through the Concord app to this Xu.
"Please forgive my lack of knowledge but what are bloodhounds? I dare enough to say that information you provide would be of great use to us and our survival here, well and I would be the first to thank you for anything you can provide."

 No.738339

>>738333
Seeing her comrade making a map herself, Deadweight deletes the crude map she made on her magicomp.

>>738335
Right after she boasts about how an explosion wouldn't knock her down, the door explodes, and she freezes in the middle of her gait.

>>738336
>"Told you. Hold on."

She unfreezes. "Alright, alright," Deadweight admits.

>>738335
>"Bloodhounds. Not far from here. Northeast."

"Damn, alright," she whispers back.

>>738336
Deadweight takes flight and follows him through the center door.

 No.738340

>>738339
>>738335
>Knowledge roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.738341

Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.738342

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.738343

>>738338
"The fastest, meanest quadrupeds you'll ever see," Xu says. "And you won't see others because of how quickly their proboscis-tongue drains your blood. Come on, let's get to cover!"

>>738337
You vanish without a trace. Even Dhampir shuts up once he hears the call of the bloodhounds.

>>738341
>>738342
The lumbering gaits of the Bloodhounds trample toward you, claws gouging into stone and slavering tongues flicking at the humid, stuffy air. Lost Hope picks up the steady rhythms of two Bloodhounds. Though certainly not a full pack, it could still spell trouble.

>>738339
>>738340
>>738336
Xu and Huitlapan follow after you as you head down the staircase. It continues for quite a while, zig-zagging until it becomes a full-on stairwell. You realize that this isn't heading for a basement or a storage area; it's heading for the Floor below you: L-8, F-8. Perhaps owing to good fortune, you've come across the first of the stairwells between Floors that you'll need to find.

Eventually, you reach the bottom of the stairwell. A door lies to the East. It does not appear to be locked, nor trapped, and it is in fact slightly ajar, hanging partly off its hinges. You're able to peer through the gap and see that what lies beyond is a cafeteria / commissary, with many overturned tables and chairs laying about. Craters in the floor suggest that this was the site of some intense battle or battles over time. You cannot see from here if there's anyone around.

 No.738344

>>738341
I float my red cape over to you.
"Put me out with this if something happens, okay? You seem pretty competent."

>>738343
I take a moment to catch my breath then take a few safety steps away from the others.
"I'm going to arm up in case they follow us or something else jumps out."
I summon up some good old homing fire magic.
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.738345

>>738343
I follow the group downstairs at a near tumble, then make jot down our path in my magicomp- quickly writing notes for what we encountered and what the rooms look like.
"Goodness!"
>>738344
"I hope it doesn't come to that, sir Conflagration."

 No.738346

>>738343
She remained silent aside from firing a message to the rest through concord that it is only two at the moment. She followed along in the shadows waiting for one of the blood hounds to emerge so she may strike it.

 No.738347

>>738344
You conjure a single magical bolt.

 No.738348

>>738345
"It will, don't worry."

 No.738349

>>738343
"Score," Deadweight says to herself, realizing the stairs bring them down to the next floor. She enters through the East door without peeking through the gap. "Damn, the janitor's not doing their job," she quips.

 No.738350

>>738347
I'm going to use normal TK to grab one of the chairs and float it over to stand on the stairwell where anything coming down will have to move it or knock it over. I also put it high enough up the stairs so that it'll make a racket once it starts to fall down them.

>>738349
>>738343
I follow Deadweight through the east door.

 No.738351

>>738346
The drumroll of footsteps cease for a moment, before a shadow passes overhead, silent and swift – the ground quakes once two towering shapes, about six feet tall each, come and land before you. They are ghastly, with black, desiccated bodies, patchy-furred skin clinging to bones and misshapen muscle, bulging in some places yet dreadfully thin in others. With a bulbous torso and legs, and a snaking neck that resembles a thick worm more than a dog's head, the things can only be faintly called "Hound."

A split forms along the outer edge of one of the Hounds' eyeless, worm-like heads, splitting about a foot up the neck. A long proboscis droops out, nearly touching the floor. Needle-like teeth glint with saliva, and the thing has no eyes, merely pausing to taste the air…

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.738352

>>738346
I change apps and respond through Concord
[I've made a note about the creatures but please do not engage them. We are downstairs, having taken the east-door.]

 No.738353

>>738351
Lost knew that this wasn't going to end well so she took the moment to strike now before they fell upon her with no chance of fighting back.

She activated her mutation and formed a pair of claw like gauntlets with the biomass of Dhampir and then lunged forth to strike it

Mutation: Symbiosis Evolved

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.738354

>>738350
>>738349
>>738345
The commissary is fairly barren, besides all of the debris and rubble scattered around. Nothing really useful seems to be sitting around for the taking. There's a door in the Northwestern corner, leading West, and two doors to the South, adjacent to one another. One is labeled as a janitor's supply closet, while the other is unmarked. Finally, on either side of the stairwell door are two more doors, a male and female bathroom.

Your eyes pick up on movement in the corner of the room… you turn and see a lone pony skeleton with a broom and a dust pan, sweeping at nothing in particular, seemingly heedless of the massive damage that the commissary has taken.

>>738353
Bloodhound A makes a quick leap to the side, making a ghastly droning-gurgling sound as your attack meets air. It flicks you with its tongue, and an avalanche of pinpricks shoots through your arm as it strikes you.

>Lost Hope 5/7


Bloodhounds A and B quickly dart around you with their long limbs, encircling you like prey as they go for quick tongue-strikes.

[1d10] BHA
[1d10] BHB

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

 No.738355

>>738354
Lost quickly shouted to try and alert the others as she prepped her dual claws and decided to eat the damage and rush down the one who had struck her first.

[1d10][1d10] Dual attacks on Bloodhound A

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

 No.738356

>>738354
I watch the skeleton.
"Are we sure this is a bad necromancer and not a run of the mill necromancer? Skeleton janitors don't seem like a good first line of defense for an evil master of the dead."
I wave at the pony skeleton then walk over to the janitor's supply closet and check it out.

 No.738357

>>738354
"Oh dear."
I say out loud.
"Miss Lost Hope has engaged the bloodhounds, I believe. I apologize everyone but I must return to assist one of our teammates."
Then remove the chair blocking the stairwell before going up a level again.

 No.738358

>>738354
Deadweight spots the pony skeleton. "Oh, I guess he is," she says to herself.

>>738356
She stays put and watches Conflagration wander over to the janitor's closet.

 No.738359

>>738357
"What?" She pulls out her magicomp and looks at the messages. "Numbskull," she mutters before following Firmgold up.

 No.738360

>>738358
>>738356
"Could just be one of his lower-level flunkies," Huitlapan says. "Even evildoers and megalomaniacs require a staff to take care of their laundry and do the cooking."

As you go to the supply closet, you find that it possesses mostly empty bottles of cleaning solutions, gunk coagulated around the rims, and broken equipment, things that were beyond repair decades ago and never replaced. The janitor approaches, sticking his broom between you and the cleaning supplies, as if to say that it's dangerous to touch that stuff. You notice now that his broom barely has any bristles… but now it's uncertain whether he's even aware of that.

>>738357
>>738355
>>738359
Lost Hope manages to endure another strike upon her arm, the appendage nearly flopping limp from the pain and the numbness that follows each hit. BHA tries to wrap its tongue about her neck, but she ducks and jabs her claws into the beast's side, scoring deep hits through bone and muscle. BHA falls to the ground, scampering and kicking as it shuffles back to its paws. Deep purple blood gushes from its wound.

>Lost Hope 1/7


With a droning gurgle, BHB rushes forward to strike Lost again.

[1d10]

BHA stands, but raises its neck and screeches to the skies, spitting blood as it howls for help.

[1d10]

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

 No.738361

>>738359
>>738357
Just as BHA begins its cry for assistance, you make your way back up the stairwell, legs burning from your sudden sprint, and see Lost fighting with the Bloodhounds. Huitlapan, panting, arrives moments later.

 No.738362

>>738360
This time Lost made a jump back as she wished to avoid taking a hit again.

[1d10] Dodge

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.738363

>>738360
What a polite skeleton. Mom was right, I should have gone into Necromancy. Now that's a field of magic you can make a living on.
"Oh, sorry. Hey, guys…guys?"
I cock an ear then follow them back up the stairs. I replace the chair as I go up and see what the holdup is.

 No.738364

>>738360
I shout loud enough for Lost Hope to hear.
"It is but a fleeting moment of pain!" (Lay on Hands: Ranged)
[1d10]
As Steadfast rushes past me, and (Slam)s the large bloodhound creature! (Crit: 8+)
[1d10]

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

 No.738365

>>738364
Oh wait, LoH is instant, I double up this shout to reverberate through the room! (Word of Power!)
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.738366

>>738362
>>738360
"You dummy!" Deadweight shouts, seeing the mare engaged with the bloodhounds. She unsheathes her claymore and swiftly flies between Lost Hope and the bloodhound still standing, then charges into it sword-first.

>Tactician 2

>Protect Lost Hope
>Slam BHB roll

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.738367

>>738362
You narrowly step back in time to dodge the second strike, the tongue darting in within an inch of your face.

>>738364
BHA interrupts your assist with Lay on Hands by striking you with its tongue (as the space is quite packed as mentioned before, there is only the single Melee range for this combat).

>Firmgold 2/6


But then, you shout so loud that BHA gets sent flying back, crashing against a nearby shelf of rubble with a crack. Stone is dislodged from above, splattering onto BHA, ending its soulless unlife.

Steadfast cracks BHB on the head, but that just seems to anger the thing more than anything else.

>>738366
>>738363
Conflagration comes up just in time to see Deadweight stabbing her sword into the remaining Bloodhound. Deep purple blood drops from its wound, steaming and stinking like sewage as it hits the ground. With a groan and a growl, the Bloodhound raises its tongue. An arc of red lightning crackles down the tip, covering the tongue with a deep red aura that takes a sharp point near the tip. It arcs the tongue back, and jabs it into Deadweight.

[1d10+1] Autocrit

In the distance, you can hear the sounds of approaching Dreaded Ones. One sounds to be a Bloodhound… but more, that you can't make out just yet, sound like different varieties, drawn by the shouts and crashes of bloody combat.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.738368

>>738367
"Those were pretty close, weren't-hey! Stop that!"
I hit the last remaining Bloodhound with a burning magic bolt.
[2d10]

Roll #1 9, 1 = 10

 No.738369

>>738367
"Damn it, sounds like more are coming," Deadweight says, her sword lodged in the Bloodhound. "Agh!" she yelps, seeing its tongue coming straight for her. She pulls her sword out and flaps her wings to get out of the way.

>Dodge roll

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.738370

>>738367
"Ow…"
I lean against a wall and hold where I was struck, speaking into my magicomp attached to this leg..
"Everyone I implore you, we must leave this floor."

Steadfast attacks BHB if it doesn't go down from everyone else laying on damage.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.738371

>>738370
"I like that idea!" Deadweight shouts as she dodges.

 No.738372

>>738367
Lost panted heavily and moved to the corpse, jamming a claw into it and allowing Dhampir to feed on it "Ok, we need to leave now. Two is hard but if there's more than that I think we might die here." she said as she urged the symbiote to aid in her recovery with a few thoughts

"As is I made a mistake trying to fight alone. I'd rather not get us all killed."

 No.738373

>>738368
You feel a fire building up inside you in the same way that a burp sometimes gets caught in your throat and won't come out. This will only end in disaster, you realize. Your bolt strikes the remaining Bloodhound, and burnt flesh and muscle drop to the ground in a smoldering heap off of its shoulder.

>>738369
With little room to spare, you duck and parry the strike, avoiding what looked to have been a deadly attack.

>>738370
BHB trips Steadfast before his attack can connect, slamming him against the ground.

>Steadfast 5/7


>>738370
>>738369
>>738368
>>738372
Injured, burned and on the brink of death, BHB makes a break for it, running away from the site of the combat by scampering up a hill of debris before it can take any further punishment.

[1d10+1]

Huitlapan and Xu both double-take at Lost Hope, as the crumbled, bloody remains of BHA start to be sucked into it, bones crunching and flesh shredding into pulp as it's drawn into the claws. But, as the howls and calls of various incoming Dreaded Ones get louder, they snap out of it. "Let's move, come on, come on!" Huitlapan urges.
"I'll cover us, grab the injured!" Xu says, her horn glowing with magic.

>roll for escape if you wish to leave the battle


Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.738374

>>738373
I wish to escape with my minion
[2d10]

Roll #1 7, 6 = 13

 No.738375

>>738373
Lost decided to similarly make tracks. She hated to feed him with witnesses but there had to be some compromises right now.

[1d10] escape

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.738376

>>738373
I join the doubletake.
"Is that supposed to be happening? Should someone stop that? Screw it. Watch out for the chair on the way down!"
I escape back down the stairs and try to move the chair back out of the way as I do.
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.738377

>>738373
"Well, that's new," Deadweight nonchalantly comments as she spots Lost Hope absorbing the fallen Bloodhound. She then notices the still standing Bloodhound try to run away. "Oh, no you don't!" she says as she dives at it with her sword.

>Grappler roll

>Escape roll
>+2 bonus from Tactician

[1d10+2]
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #2 5 + 2 = 7

 No.738378

>>738376
"I believe so but we are not great enough in number to stop them!"

 No.738379

>>738376
"Hounds travel in packs, its to be expected it would cry for help."

 No.738380

>>738376
>>738375
>>738374
>>738377
Firmgold, Steadfast and Lost Hope manage to get past the doorway, but when Deadweight makes a break to grab the thrashing BHB, she and Conflagration notice a shadow passing overhead.

A massive hand with seven fingers, the skin gray as flint, covered all in shaggy, gnarled tufts of briar-patch fur, touches down upon the stone ground, just before the doorway. The wrist is so large that it completely seals off the passage. You follow the trail of the wrist upward, until your eyes lock onto the mountainous head looming above. A giant, all covered with a shaggy head of hair that flows down into its forest of a beard, studies the two of them. Its eyes, perfectly round, are two pale discs of gold.

The giant merely stares at the two of them, but a pressure begins to build up in their temples.

>Deadweight, Conflagration must roll mental fortitude, instant, in addition to their actions this turn.


Meanwhile, in the doorway leading to the stairs, Xu gulps, before charging up a spell.

[1d10+2] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.738381

>>738380
Lost leaned against a wall and looked at the giant hand "We… We should try and get that out of the way…" she panted as the pain started to get to her a bit. She debated striking it now but she wasn't sure it would help.

 No.738382

>>738380
>>738381
Deciding its better to try and fail than never try at all, she tried to rip open the back of the hand.

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.738383

>>738380
[1d10] Mental Fortitude

I brace myself and light my horn.
"BURN!
I launch my single homing magic fireball at one of the eyes.
[1d10]
And I strike the wrist with three burning storm bolts.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 10 + 1 = 11

 No.738384

>>738380
I speak to everyone on the magicomp
"Please excuse my volume everyone."
I then take a large gulp of air and scream (Word of Power)
"LEAVE US!"
[1d10+2]
As Steadfast follows up here with a (SLAM, Crit:8+) attack on the creature's arm blocking our stairwell.
[1d10]

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

 No.738385

"What the…" Deadweight looks up to what's casting the shadow. She stares at it for a second, then looks down at the doorway. "Crap," she mutters, seeing that its hand is covering the way down. Then, her head starts to hurt. "Damn it, this isn't good." She looks back towards the stone room they came from.

>>738383
"Wait, what are you⁠—" she shouts at the unicorn before he casts magic on the giant. She groans loudly.

>Mental fortitude roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.738386

>>738382
>>738381
>>738383
>>738384
The quarters are close and tensions high; it's not clear who fails, but in any case, Lost Hope is struck from behind by Xu's magic bolt, but there is little time for apologies, for Firmbold, Steadfast and Conflagration assail it with everything they have, slamming and striking the wrist and the giant with blessed weapons, commands and flame magic alike…

The giant's hand seems inhumanly durable, enduring the strikes and even the burning magic that sears its hide, but the bolt that strikes its eye elicits some reaction from it. A deep, deep bass droning rocks the area, shaking all that surrounds you, even rattling the bones and the very thoughts in your head, and the giant draws back its hand, covering its wounded eye. Before you can see where it goes, another drone echoes out, causing your very eyes to vibrate violently, dilating your vision. By the time your sight and hearing are back to normal, all has gone still…

>>738385
…Except for you. Something feels like it's… wriggling inside of your skull, swimming through the grooves in your brain. The feeling is brief, and the feeling is gone, as quickly as it came.

>Paused

 No.739155

Last time, on TCS…

A clandestine mission was underway in the ruins of Agatecastle, often referred to now as "The Castle of Silence." What was once designed to be an impenetrable bulwark for the millions of living souls against the brutal and loveless denizens of the Outlands now languished in total decay. A monthlong operation coordinated by Iron King Ischyros the Far-Seeking resulted in the establishment of a forward operating base in the Castle's topmost layer. Some weeks later, a collection of skiffs arrived, bearing approximately 100 souls that would venture forth into the bowels of the Castle of Silence and uncover the truth of what fate befell it.

One of the groups entrusted with this mission was a team of four, composed of Lost Hope, Firmgold, Conflagration and Deadweight. They had been assigned a subsection of Layer Eight that was believed to be under the control of a necromancer, given the presence of undead in addition to the Dreaded Ones roaming the grounds. To assist them, they hired a Kirin Sage by the name of Xu, and a Rodos Sage named Huitlapan. Together, they descended past the barricades that comprised the bottom three Floors of Layer Nine, and entered Layer Eight: The Barracks.

Once inside, their investigation began. The intelligence reports given by Magister Colonnade Reprise were accurate, for what had once been a sprawling and well-connected intelligence office designed to be used by Agatecastle's Warriors was now a ruinous and tightly-packed slum, the streets and tramways cut off by great and immovable pillars of upended concrete and heaps of trash.

Fortuitously, they quickly found the stairway to L-8 F-8, but while the others went on, Lost Hope was set upon by a pair of Bloodhounds, prompting the rest of the party to come back and assist her in battle. Though they triumphed against the monsters, the shouting and the clamor of violence that accompanied the battle attracted more Dread Ones, and so they made the decision to retreat. But before Lost Hope, Conflagration and Deadweight could enter the stairwell to the Floor below, a giant appeared, blocking off the exit with naught but his massive hand. Conflagration blasted the giant's eye, forcing it to move, and it unleashed a mind-rattling droning from the pain, before vanishing from sight.

 No.739156

>Everyone
The quarters are close and tensions high; it's not clear who fails, but in any case, Lost Hope is struck from behind by Xu's magic bolt, but there is little time for apologies, for Firmbold, Steadfast and Conflagration assail it with everything they have, slamming and striking the wrist and the giant with blessed weapons, commands and flame magic alike…

The giant's hand seems inhumanly durable, enduring the strikes and even the burning magic that sears its hide, but the bolt that strikes its eye elicits some reaction from it. A deep, deep bass droning rocks the area, shaking all that surrounds you, even rattling the bones and the very thoughts in your head, and the giant draws back its hand, covering its wounded eye. Before you can see where it goes, another drone echoes out, causing your very eyes to vibrate violently, dilating your vision. By the time your sight and hearing are back to normal, all has gone still…

>Deadweight

…Except for you. Something feels like it's… wriggling inside of your skull, swimming through the grooves in your brain. The feeling is brief, and the feeling is gone, as quickly as it came.

 No.739157

>>739156
I scamper down the stairs fast as I can.

 No.739158

>>739156
I move back down the stairs and clear them for the others to follow suit. I then take this time to attempt to lift Steadfast's spirits (restore Hits) via encouraging words.
"Dear Steadfast, this is but a moment of pain's sake."
[1d10] MIN6

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.739159

>>739156
The poor girl groaned and tried to shake the cobwebs out as she made to get up and escape.

[1d10] to Stand

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.739160

>>739159
"Come on, up you get! Hurry!" Huitlapan cries, holding up the arm wearing his magicomp in your direction.

[1d10+2] Heal

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.739161

>>739156
Still aloft, Deadweight holds her head in her hooves. "Damn. Damn damn damn damn damn. Damn it!" she exclaims, shaking her head from side to side like she's trying to get water out of her ears. "I felt something in my head. Know what it could be?" she asks no one in particular, hoping to get a reassuring answer.

 No.739162

>>739161
>>739156
Would I know?
[1d10] No knowing what I know now

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.739163

>>739161
>>739157
>>739158
>>739159
As Conflagration, Firmgold and Steadfast head down the stairs, Huitlapan's spell fizzles out, making weak sparks as his magical energy fails him. Lost Hope stumbles, her head spinning, voices and sounds coming in distant around her. The shrill, piercing whoops and low timpani bellows of of oncoming Dreaded Ones sets off a pain in her head, and a hunger in her stomach. Something crawls up the back of her neck, very familiar…

That sensation is cut short by Xu, who with a mighty groan, grabs both Deadweight and Lost Hope in her telekinesis, pulling them along into the doorway, before she shuts it. Huitlapan grabs the chair that Conflagration set up earlier, and jams it under the handle, before the two follow after Conflagration, Firmgold and Steadfast.

Eventually, the aforementioned trio make it down into the cafeteria area once more. The skeleton janitor, still sweeping, has put on a pair of headphones, the cord of which trail into his pocket.

>>739162
You recall fragments of a phenomenon in the data logs you studied as part of your training to be allowed into the Outlands. The haphazard scientific term is "Psychosites," and the common term is "Brain Worm." It is a result of a Dreaded One's direct psychic influence planting its seeds in the minds of its victims. Certain supernatural properties of the Dreaded Ones can cause it, and it is known to be capable of causing Mutations. It hasn't received much study, because the eponymous "Brain Worms" are very clever and capable of hiding themselves within the victim's psyche, overwriting mental processes in the process.

 No.739164

>>739163
"That thing seemed psychic, so maybe it's brain worms? I'm not sure if they're actual worms or some kind of memetic thought construct, but if I had to guess I'd say it's the later. Want me to try burning them out?"

 No.739165

>>739163
Lost let Xu carry her as she slowly looked up to the to source of the sensation "Please… not now."

 No.739166

>>739163
"Yipe!" Deadweight yelps as she's suddenly whisked away by Xu's magic.

>>739164
"Ah! No, no, I'm okay," she says nervously, throwing her hooves up in the air. "I'll just look it up," she says, whipping out her magicomp. She looks anxious as she stares at its screen.

>Knowledge

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.739167

>>739163
I hastily mark down what's on the level above us before perking an ear up to what Conflagration says.
>>739164
"Mister Conflagration was it? I don't believe now's the best time for… well, excessive countermeasures to what may sound psychic. With all respect to your august knowledge of course."

 No.739168

>>739165
The sensation lingers for a few moments, like a sprawl of fingers spreading all around your neck and shoulders… but after a moment, it starts to recede. All right, whatever you say. But if you can't keep us safe, I'm taking the wheel, Reject, his voice growls.

>>739164
>>739166
>>739167
You eventually make it down to the cafeteria as well. The skeleton janitor gives you a dirty look for tracking hoofprints in where he just mopped.

>>739166
With a trembling hoof, you scan through the magicomp's data records, trying to find something, anything relating to the Psychosites phenomenon. But you turn up with nothing. After a few seconds, you realize that your hoof trembling is not a result of your emotional state, but truly involuntary…

 No.739169

>>739166
"You sure? Well, good luck. You take the lead."

>>739167
I shrug.
"I figure it's a sooner or later deal. There's worse ways to die. Like getting your teammates stuck into a fight we could have avoided."

>>739165
I shoot a dirty glance your way.

 No.739170

>>739168
She winced and slowly climbed out of Xu's grip and taking to her hooves before taking a seat "I… I apologize for endangering everyone."

 No.739171

Posting a recap of the description of the Commissary area for a refresher:

The commissary is fairly barren, besides all of the debris and rubble scattered around. Nothing really useful seems to be sitting around for the taking. There's a door in the Northwestern corner, leading West, and two doors to the South, adjacent to one another. One is labeled as a janitor's supply closet, while the other is unmarked. Finally, on either side of the stairwell door are two more doors, a male and female bathroom.

 No.739172

>>739169
"Perhaps that is true Mister Conflagration, but perhaps we would have needed to deal with them upon our return to the more civilized parts of this hiv- castle. I believe that we are still better off than before."
I turn to look at the available paths leading out of this commissary.
"I believe we should first examine what these passages lead to before making a choice whereupon we should take. Miss Lost Hope, Miss Deadweight, would you be so kind enough as to weigh your input here?"

 No.739173

>>739171
Lost decided to take the moment to take a peek in the unmarked door.

 No.739174

>>739168
>>739168
Deadweight's gaze drifts from the screen to her trembling hoof. "Shit!" she exclaims, almost dropping her magicomp. She stuffs it in her saddle bags then tries to keep her composure. Nothing she can do now. "Uh, let's go there," she says, pointing at the door in the Northwestern corner.

>>739170
"Just don't lag behind again," she chides the crystal pony.

 No.739175

>>739173
Beyond the unmarked door to the South, there is a long corridor. It has many short, almost zig-zagging bends, probably to move around things like pipes and cables, but ultimately, it leads south for some distance, and then to the west; beyond that, you cannot see.

 No.739176

>>739171
>>739174
I follow Deadweight.

 No.739177

>>739172
Deadweight imparts her words of wisdom, "We'll just keep going. If it's a dead end, we'll go a different way."

 No.739178

>>739177
I close my eyes and nod.
"At your lead, Miss Deadweight."

I'll follow the group and continue mapping these rooms to the best of my ability.

 No.739179

>>739170
"Be that as it may, what matters it that you're alright, dear soul," Huitlapan says. "Any injuries I can assist with? I know I mangled that last attempt… their cries gave me an awful spook."

>>739174
>>739176
>>739178
You head past the Northwestern door, and there is a short corridor after it, which ends after no more than 10 meters in another door, this one locked. Xu raises her hoof for silence and caution, and uses her telekinesis to test the door from a distance. No traps, magical or otherwise, go off, but the handle does not turn, and the door itself does not budge; the door is locked.

>"Anyone good with lockpicking? And quietly this time?" Xu asks via Concord text message. Following her message is a string of annoyed emojis.

 No.739180

>>739174
The mare quietly winced and remained silent as as she turns to join the others

>>739179
It seems we have two options for how to continue. The other one doesn't have a door from what I can see."

 No.739181

>>739179
>>739180
"Really? Alright, maybe we should go that way," Deadweight softly replies.

 No.739182

>>739179
I switch apps and respond.
I do have the lockpicking tools for just such an occasion! Unfortunately I've not made an effort to learn the skill for it. Perhaps someone else does?

 No.739183

I text back.
"Afraid not."

 No.739184

>>739182
>>739183
"Well, let's go the other way, then," Deadweight says, already walking back.

 No.739185

>>739184
>>739179
I switch apps again and follow Deadweight

 No.739186

>>739181
Lost nodded and lead them back over to the other door.

 No.739187

>>739179
>>739184
I continue to follow.

 No.739188

>>739180
>>739182
>>739183
>>739181
Huitlapan responds with: (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻

And Xu follows that with naught but a single face-hoof emoji.

Deciding not to pursue whatever's down the Northwestern door, you proceed South, coming to the corridor that zig-zags to the South and West. What follows from that door is a long and winding path, curving and snaking this way and that through the guts of the rearranged Floor. After a little while of heading West for a time, the hallway eventually turns North, and after about 10 meters, it ends in a West-facing doorway.

The doorway is ajar, allowing you to peer through its gap. The door leads to a small storage area, set up in what looks like it used to be some kind of repair shop for weapons. The tools hanging from the wall are rusted beyond repair, and many foul-smelling and partly-rotted crates are stacked up from floor to ceiling.

A pair of skeleton Puroa, or catfolk, hang out in the storage area. One is sitting on a treasure chest, an unlight cigarette in his mouth. There is another treasure chest sitting beside him. The other skeleton inspects the crates with a clipboard in hand, which doesn't even have a sheet of paper upon it. Both skeletons are equipped with holstered firearms.

 No.739189

>>739188
Deadweight sighs in frustration. "Another dead end. Maybe we should just bash through the locked door."

 No.739190

>>739188
Huh, Looks like we might be able to salvage a few things from this place."

>>739189
Maybe there's a key in here?"

 No.739191

>>739188
"Oh my."
I cover my mouth with a hoof
"I certainly hope this behavior is only the work of magic."

 No.739192

>>739188
I wait to see what the others do.

 No.739193

>>739188
>>739190
"Maybe…" Deadweight looks around the storage area.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.739194

>>739192
"Exceuse me, Mister Conflagration, I hope this isn't presumptuous of me to ask but would you know if this type of… monster be reasoned with? I must admit I ignored the janitorial one prior as it posed no threat, as such this is a matter out of my knowledge."

 No.739195

>>739189
>>739190
>>739191
>>739192
Huitlapan raises his paw. "It looks like it's only the two Puros skeletons in there. If they're going to react negatively toward anyone, it'd be toward me. Why not I go in there and make of myself a distraction, then if there's something amiss, you can come in and help me, eh?"

>>739193
You see one door in the room's South wall, and though you can't see further without actually entering the room, you see the farthest edge of a North-facing doorway in the room's Northwestern corner.

 No.739196

>>739195
Perhaps I can slip in silently while you do so.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.739197

>>739195
"Mister Huitlapan, I don't believe putting ourselves in a position towards unnecessary danger should be the first choice. If these things show no aggression then perhaps they can be reasoned, or bargained with."

 No.739198

"Looks like there're a couple of other doors in there, actually," Deadweight relays to the rest of the group.

 No.739199

>>739195
"Right, well I don't wish to bear unnecessary pains but please excuse me."
I walk into the room and clear my throat to get the skeletons' attention.
"Good Evening, I don't wish to be rude but I am quite interested in knowing if you two are sentient? Please excuse this faux pas as I'm not well versed in your magic."
Word of Power?
[1d10+2] MIN6

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12

 No.739200

>>739199
>>739197
>>739196
>>739198
As Lost Hope attempts to subtly enter the room, her forehoof catches upon a upon a bit of debris from a rotten crate littering the floor, and the stumbles forward, throwing open the door with a BANG in the process as she tries to grab onto anything to stabilize herself. She skids to a halt without falling, but ends up uncomfortably close to the skeleton with the cigarette.

Speaking of which, the two skeletons jump in shock as Lost Hope stumbles in. The one with the cigarette draws his rusted, antique gun and levels it at Lost Hope, while the other one backs away, using his clipboard as a shield. Xu grits her teeth and charges a spell upon her horn–

It is at this moment that Firmgold steps in as if all that was happening here was perfectly natural. The two skeletons relax and sigh, and the one with the cigarette holsters his gun. The two skeletons chatter away, rattling their jawbones and periodically looking at one another and nodding, but their conversation is completely one-sided; you cannot understand a word that they are saying, and judging by their confused expressions, neither can Huitlapan or Xu.

"The question, then, is whether they can understand us," Huitlapan whispers.
"Looked like it," Xu whispers back. "They seemed to pick up on what Firmgold said."

As you get a fuller view of the room, you can see that there is actually another door; one in the center of the Northern wall, leading North. That makes for a total of four doors: The one on the East wall, which you are at now, the Southern door, the Northern door, and the Northwestern door.

 No.739201

>>739200
Lost groaned and rubbed her head sheepishly as she made her way in "Do you uh… do you mind if we open those chests you guys have?" she asked curiously.

 No.739202

>>739200
I let out a disappointed sigh, then forcefully perk up as I speak with some hoof gestures to see if we can communicate this way.
"I must apologize first because I cannot understand your dialogue. However it would benefit myself and my compatriots were you to assist us in allowing our passage through here. I would be greatly thankful for such an allowance."

 No.739203

>>739199
>>739200
"No! What're you⁠—" she loudly whispers before Firmgold waltzes in. Finding that the skeletons are actually quite sensible, she goes, "Huh," then enters the room.

 No.739204

>>739200
If they don't get shot right away I step out of cover too.

 No.739205

File: 1590204651905.jpg (137.48 KB, 631x827, L-8 F-8.jpg)

>>739204
>>739201
>>739202
>>739203
The two skeletons stand aside, allowing you to get at the treasure chests if you so wish. As Firmgold makes her request for help, they nod.

"If there are no objections, I'd like to make the first request," Xu says, stepping forward. "You guys happen to have a map we can use?"

The clipboard skeleton nods, ushering her over to the desk, where you see an old tablet. The screen is cracked, but it seems to have some juice left. The skeleton powers it on, and hands Xu one end of a universal connector cable, connecting the other end to the tablet. He taps away at the tablet for a moment, and Xu nods with gratitude. "Can I borrow that for a sec?" she asks, gesturing to the cable. The skeleton nods, and so she disconnects it from the tablet.

Xu then turns to you. "Here, I'll transfer the floor layout to the rest of you," she says, holding out the cable.

If you agree to let her initiate the file transfer, you receive a blank map of the local area, like so:

 No.739206

Lost decided to investigate the chest that the skeleton had been sitting on first.

 No.739207

>>739205
I'll save my map and agree to have this one sent over for reference.
"Thank you very much Miss Xu, this is a great help."

I then close my eyes and bow my head to the skeletons.
"And to you two as well, I offer my thanks. We shall be out of your way as soon as we can."

Then turn to the group.
"We have a map, where should we go next? I must advise that knowing this level doesn't absolve us of the enemy's whereabouts."

 No.739208

>>739205
Deadweight plugs into Xu. "Huh, well that makes things a little easier."

>>739207
"It looks like there're stairs down there," she says, pointing to room 8. "Gotta figure out where we are first, though…"

 No.739209

>>739206
>>739207
>>739208
"Wait, I'm not so sure," Xu says. "I wish this map was annotated, but everything looks all out of date around here– who knows how old that tablet is. But I'm alsmost positive, based on the path we took to get here, that we came from Room 8. We should be standing in Room 3 now, don't you think? The shape of the doors is definitely the same."
"Yes… makes sense to me," Huitlapan says. "So the closest rooms would be Room 7 and Room 2, right?"

>>739206
You investigate the chests, and they are mostly full of junk, but you find a few noteworthy things.
The first is a bag of Schillings: 85 in total. The second is a toolbox with a rusted-shut lid you manage to pry open after a few tries. Inside is a set of metal components that someone back at the Forward Operating Base might pay for, along with a few gemstones for magical engineering – 3 in total.

And finally, there is a set of keys, similar to what a custodian might carry with them. Quite a few keys dangle from the ring, as well as a single security keycard. You might be able to use that upon some terminals, if you find any.

 No.739210

She grinned and pulled the keys out "JAckpot." she said as she put the gems in her pouch for now considering that to be her cut for now.

 No.739211

>>739209
Meant to tag this))

 No.739212

>>739208
"Hm, correct me if I'm wrong but we took a southern pass to get here. There are only two stairwells here, one of which we came down."
>>739209
"Honestly I'd like to believe that you're correct. We should operate on the idea that we're between rooms Seven and Two. Would that make us in room Three, or perhaps that's wishful thinking?"

 No.739213

>>739209
>>739212
Deadweight stares at her magicomp. "Ah, I see. I guess the stairs down are in Room 6, then," she brings her eyes closer to the screen. "Which is in the opposite corner of this floor," she says. She groans in frustration.

 No.739214

>>739213
>>739212
>>739210
"It looks like the quickest route would be to pass through Rooms 7 and 9," Huitlapan says. "Then, take either 1 or 5 into Room 6 and head downward."
"Should we even bother with the other rooms?" Xu asks.
"Well, there's always the chance we might miss an elevator if we try to get through too quickly," Huitlapan says.

The skeletons go back to chilling.

 No.739215

>>739214
"It would serve us well to know what lies in each room, in case we need to scour them for safety's sake."

 No.739216

>>739214
>>739215
"Should we just backtrack to Room 8 and go through Room 11 then either Room 1 or 10, whichever looks clear?" Deadweight suggests, cautious despite her cocky attitude. A good Warrior is an alive Warrior.

 No.739217

>>739214
>>739216
I concede to the group here. Hopefully the keys I found will be useful. There's also some schillings and parts in those chests if anybody wants to nab them."

 No.739218

>>739217
"You found some keys? Nice," Deadweight says as she takes a look at the chests, nabbing whatever's left.

 No.739219

>>739217
"Noted, thank you Miss Hope."

>>739216
"Trying the door from room Eight to room Eleven may prove easier with the keys Miss Hope found. I agree that it's possible for us to fast track our passage down."

 No.739220

>>739218
>>739219
She gave them both a small grateful smile

 No.740081

Last time, on The Castle of Silence…

After catching their breath from the attack of the Bloodhounds and the ominous roar of the giant, our explorers descended to L-8 F-8. Conflagration discerned that Deadweight had been infected with the phenomenon of Psychosites, or Brain Worms, given her symptoms. They were difficult to study, and even harder to cure, given their ability to embed themselves within the victim's psyche, not merely their body, and begin their mutations with their very thoughts.

They circled around south and then west through L-8 F-8's corridors, until they reached a storage room populated by two skeletons. Firmgold averted a confrontation by assuaging the skeletons' fears. However, while the skeletons could hear them, they could not understand the skeletons.

Xu got the skeletons to transfer over an unlabeled area map, and they discerned that they were in what was labeled as Room 3, giving them a few options for reaching the stairwell down just off of Room 6 (the cafeteria where they entered was Room 8; triangle-shaped stairways represent ascending stairways, square ones represent descending stairways).

 No.740082

>Everyone
Deadweight obtains 85 Schillings, a small toolbox full of old metal components, and a security keycard labeled as L-8 F-8. It may be possible to reconfigure its software for other Floors with enough technical expertise.

Huitlapan and Xu take the opportunity to stretch while you discuss what to do next. Your air filters detect that the air here is safe enough to breathe, so they retract their visors and drink some of their water rations as well.

 No.740083

>>740082
I try to lift my spirits with encouraging words (Lay on Hands)
"It is but a moment's pain, forget the pain and it too shall pass."
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.740084

>>740082
While everything is calm I summon up some burning homing magics.
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.740085

>>740083
Weariness leaves your body, and the strain and tension of the earlier confrontation winds down, leaving you refreshed.
>full Hits restored.

>>740084
You manage to produce a floating fire orb overhead.

 No.740086

>>740082
Lost remained quiet for now as she focused on calming herself and making sure her 'Guest' was mellow after having a meal.

 No.740087

>>740082
After stashing the goods into her saddlebags, she holds up the keycard. "Hey, Xu, think you can do anything with this?"

 No.740088

>>740083
"I hope this pain of mine passes," Deadweight says, holding her forehead with her hoof.

 No.740089

>>740088
"I am… familiar with a voice inside of my head, Just find something to anchor your self to and it should be easy to resist anything that feels… alien."

 No.740090

>>740089
Deadweight tilts her head to the side. "Uh, alright…"

 No.740091

>>740086
Deep in the recesses of your mind, a voice burps.

>>740087
She studies it for a moment, before passing it back to you. "Looks functional still. Should be able to get us into any systems we come across, assuming they still have electricity. Is that what you mean?"

 No.740092

>>740091
"Looks like it's only for things on this floor, would be great if we could use it for the other floors, too," she says as she puts it in her saddlebags. "I guess we can cross that bridge when we get there."

 No.740093

>>740081
>>740084
After that I start fiddling around with my magicomp to look at the map I got. I've never had much of a liking for these sorts of things beyond the bare necessities. While trying to fiddle with my drawing tool and map I also try to clear the Concord notifications of old unread messages. Once that's finally done I go back to musing over the map and trying to make notes on it. After a while I go back to fiddling with Concord to try and make it stop bothering me.

>>738305
[It's nice to meet you too. The stairs are so broom skeleton's here so the locked door has to be zizag doors here and there no no maybe why's it recording what I say stop stop it stupid how]

>>740083
>>740082
>>739220
>>739218
"Anyone have any clue what room we're in? I'm sure we started in eight. I think maybe we're in three right now. Or two. We were heading vaguely in their direction I think."
I suck a burn on my lower lip.
"Or maybe seven? Would skeletons install new doorways?"

 No.740094

>>740092
"Oh, I see," Xu says. "It's possible, but I'd need to get into a terminal with high enough permissions in order to reconfigure this keycard's permissions. Assuming whatever's taken over this Castle hasn't changed the network too much, that's going to be tricky – standard Castle computer systems are all built around the principle of least privilege."

 No.740095

>>740091
"Wonderful! I don't wish to act unbecoming with this but we should hurry quietly along, there's a good chance that whatever reached out for us on the floors above wouldn't remain stationary after we escaped it with Mister Conflagration's quick thinking."
I move into the center of this circle.
"And of course it would be rude to continue these… talks in front of the busy workers!"
I force a chuckle to show that I mean no offense, and then look at my magicomp

 No.740096

>>740093
"We should be in Room 3. Let's go back to Room 8 and make our way over to Room 11. Gotta get to Room 6," Deadweight says, pointing at her magicomp.

>>740095
"I agree. Let's get a move on," she says as she leaves the room.

 No.740097

>>740093
>>740096
Lost just nodded because she was about as lost as one could be right now with all of this.

 No.740098

>>740096
>>740094
I stick behind my meatshield and follow her.

 No.740099

>>740096
She also follows after the pegasus.

 No.740100

File: 1591407712696.jpg (218.77 KB, 631x827, L-8 F-8 Automap v1.jpg)

>>740095
>>740098
>>740097
>>740096
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBtunJ2Im9M

The skeletons offer you a nod on the way out, and you leave Room 3, taking the winding path all the way back to Room 8, the commissary. The janitor has completed his smoke break, and is now sitting at a table, smoking an unlit cigarette.

You notice that your automapper functions on the Magicomp have activated now that they have map data, and have automatically traced your path. You can turn off this function under the Settings tab, if you wish, or draw your own paths.

 No.740101

>>740100
Deadweight matched the doors in the room to the doors on the map. "Alright, now… this door," Deadweight says, pointing at the northwest door.

 No.740102

I guess Room 11 would be our next stop then?"

 No.740103


 No.740104

>>740100
I check the locked door to the northwest again, then walk over to the skeleton.
"Want a light? Also, do you have keys to that door over there? Someone left it locked."
I point in the direction of the locked door to the northwest.

 No.740105

>>740102
>>740104
>"Want a light? Also, do you have keys to that door over there? Someone left it locked."

"No, we shouldn't attract any attention. You have those keys, Lost?"

>Sneak

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740106

>>740105
"Which is why I'm asking if our friend can unlock the door for us. Er, unless he already gave them to someone?"

 No.740107

>>740106
The pegasus turns around. "Oh, thought you were talking to me. My bad," she says.

 No.740108

>>740107
"No, but I can set something on fire for you too if you want. Just point."

 No.740109

>>740108
She chuckles. "I'll keep that in mind."

 No.740110

>>740105
She nodded and similarly tried to join her in sneaking.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.740111

>>740104
The skeleton leans forward and holds out his cigarette for a light.

 No.740112

I tap it with my horn and spark it alight.

 No.740113

>>740100
>>740104
>>740111
I stand quietly and watch to see what this skeleton does when Conflagration interacts with it with a pleasant smile on my face.

 No.740114

>>740101
>>740103
>>740105
>>740110
At the moment that Deadweight opens the door, she happens to be speaking, over her shoulder, to Conflagration. Behind her, Xu and Huitlapan turn pale and freeze.

Deadweight spins about, and beholds that she has opened the door to a central courtyard, an outdoor space in the midst of this compound. Dead grass fills the center, and low stone benches are arranged around the perimeter, flanked by crumbled statues of heroic Warriors. But scattered about the courtyard are stinking, rounded heaps of slime, grime, and heaps of garbage. Each is between the size of a griffon and a buffalo, and vaguely dome-like in shape, slithering about like snails, leaving trails of toxin in their wake.

Between her and them, you can see an elevator door – a quick way to ascend and descend the totality of the Layer.

They show no reaction to Deadweight's appearance, but in her shock, the door leaves her grasp, and its handle slams against the near wall. As the sound rings out, each heap of slime, ten in number, slowly start to spin, presumably turning her way.

>>740112
>>740113
The skeleton puffs away at the cigarette, clacking his teeth with approval and gratitude. When Conflagration asks for the keys, he gestures down the hall where Deadweight, Xu, Huitlapan and Lost Hope are – they have already opened the door beyond.

 No.740115

>>740114
"Oh, Conflagration the door is open!"
I point to the rest of the group and walk to them.

 No.740116

>>740114
"Oh! Thanks, buddy."
I trot over to check out this new room then look over their shoulders.
"Those look unhealthy. Are we fighting or running? Let's all of us get on the same page this time, okay?"

 No.740117

>>740114
>>740116
"I vote running." the mare responded from her hiding place in the shadows.

 No.740118

>>740116
>>740114
I quickly try to pull up some more homing magic before things get hairy.
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.740119

>>740115
I stop where everyone's at, then cover my mouth at the sight.
"Oh.. goodness, must we go through this path?"

 No.740120

>>740114
And, assuming this isn't trying to do too much at once, I wrack my brain to see if I know what these are.
[1d10] recall roll

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.740121

>>740117
>>740114
Lost meanwhile scans the area for the quickest path through them all.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.740122

>>740114
Deadweight grimaces at the slimy masses.

>>740116
>>740117
>>740119
"Ugh!" Deadweight groans. "This is the quickest way to the next floor. They don't look that quick. Let's just see if we can go around them." She peaks out the door and points to the right, at the northeast corner of the room. "Either one of those doors'll get us closer to Room 6," she says. She flies over to the door closest to them, the one leading into Room 10, and tries opening it.

 No.740123

>>740122
>Movement
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.740124

File: 1591410626321.jpg (224.7 KB, 631x827, L-8 F-8 Automap v2.jpg)

>>740118
>>740120
As you conjure two more orbs, you recall your training on sighted Dreaded Ones in the Outlands. These are what are known as "Sludge Heaps," amoeba-like Dreaded Ones that drift toward the most toxic of waste heaps and congeal bodies out of what they can soak up. Slow to move but unceasing in hunger, they are known to carry the most vile of diseases. All Castles incinerate their trash to prohibit their propagation.
>Sludge Heap
>20 HP
Weak: Fire
Resist: Water, Melee
Null: Nuclear, Plasma, Eldritch, Dark
Absorb: Poison, Disease
Repel: None

>>740122
>>740121
>>740115
>>740123
Deadweight bolts for the door north of you, finds it locked, but swiftly finds the master key from the ring, and opens it up before the Sludge Heaps can descend upon her. (Circles are the Sludge Heaps, X is Deadweight). But though they are slow to move, they're slithering en masse toward you, porous mouths opening up all over their surfaces. Bony fragments and shards of glass slither into place to form makeshift teeth.

>Make movement rolls, instant, if you are attempting to escape the room into the door Deadweight's at.


Huitlapan and Xu make a beeline for the door.

[2d10]

Roll #1 6, 1 = 7

 No.740125

>>740124
The "E" designates where the elevator is.

 No.740126

>>740124
Lost did her best to follow Deadweight to the door and into the room in her stealthed state.

[1d10] Movement

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.740127

My eyes light up as I remember what these are. Figuratively, at first, then literally as my horn lights as well and I start casting.
I send my three burning orbs at the three closest sludge heaps between me and the door Deadweight is at.
[3d10]
And hit the fourth closest with a burning magic bolt.
[2d10] take the highest
Then gallop off towards Deadweight's door, steering clear of the sludges.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9, 8, 8 = 25 / Roll #2 8, 5 = 13 / Roll #3 5 = 5

 No.740128

>>740124
"Yeesh!" Deadweight exclaims as she takes another look at the Sludge Heaps, but she notices something past them. "Is that an elevator? Damn."

 No.740129

>>740124
Hold my nose and direct Steadfast to be my shield as we both dart after Deadweight
[2d10] Myself, Staedfast

Roll #1 10, 4 = 14

 No.740130

>>740129
>>740128
>>740127
>>740126
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UO-WTS6KUg
As you make for the door, Xu momentarily panics, turns sharply, and catches her hoof on an upraised flagstone, stumbling with a scream onto the concrete. Conflagration covers her with a spray of fireballs, which ignite upon contact with the four closest Sludge Heaps, spewing a heinous smoke from their bodies. The Heaps make a hideous sound of stone and metal scraping together.

>16 damage against Sludge Heap A

>12 damage against Sludge Heap B
>12 damage against Sludge Heap C
>12 damage against Sludge Heap D

>Xu 2/5

Xu panics, trying to scramble back to her hooves as she charges up a spell…

[1d10+2] Magic Bolt vs Sludge Heap A

The burning Sludge Heaps press onward, reaching out toward Xu to pull her in toward them…

[4d10+1] Poison damage vs Xu

The rest of you make it toward the door that Deadweight has opened, and Huitlapan fires a bola from his crossbow at one of the statues, trying to knock it down between Xu and the Sludge Heaps.

[1d10+1]

The other Sludge Heaps are too slow to get near to you this round.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 5, 7, 5, 2 + 1 = 20 / Roll #3 1 + 1 = 2

 No.740131

>>740130
"Xu!" Deadweight yells. She opens her wings and jumps in front of the kirin. "Come on, can you move?"

>Protect

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.740132

>>740130
"Hey!"
I grab Xu with non-burning telekenesis and try to pull her to the door with the rest of us.
[1d10]
After that I snap off another burning magic bolt at the closest sludge heap to our doorway.
Spell Resonance

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.740133

>>740130
I call out from the safety of this opened door.
"Miss Xu this is not the time for a horrible reveleation, please Stand!"
Lay on Hands!
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.740134

>>740130
Lost paused and decided to help as well as she forced Dhampir to emerge from her body to form a shield to help mitigate the damage Xu and Dead would take.

[1d10] Intercept/Shield
>Symbiosis Evolved making a Shield

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740135

>>740130
Without waiting for an answer, she tries to pull the kirin to the door she just opened.

>Pull Xu away

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.740136

>>740135
>>740134
>>740133
>>740132
>>740131
Huitlapan's attempt at protecting Xu backfires, for the statue wavers, and starts to fall toward her. Just in that moment, Xu fires her spell, only for it to be on the trajectory to collide with the statue that will fall atop her. Deadweight dives forward in that split instant, weathering both the statue's impact and the spell's blast upon herself as a barrier. Deadweight then tries to grab Xu up, but she sees that Sludge Heaps lunge forward to grab her, and so spins to cover Xu with her body. Vicious, searing poison washes over Deadweight, and a most terrible heat burns at her back and wings, burning through her suit.

>Deadweight stores 10 Hits and 3 Wounds of damage via Protect


Conflagration then blasts Sludge Heap A, pushing it off of Deadweight.

>2 damage to Sludge Heap A (Automatic deals minimal damage of 1, x2 due to Weak: Fire)


Xu, hyperventilating, pushes herself back up and backs up, slamming against the wall behind her. With horror she points forward at Deadweight, who is still in the grasp of Sludge Heaps B and C. Lost Hope runs in, attempting to cut Xu free with a shield, but Sludge Heap D turns toward her, splashing her symbiotic shield with burning acid.

>Lost Hope loses 5 Hits


Xu gathers her courage, and bashes Sludge Heap B with her shield.

[1d10+1]

Huitlapan loads another Bola and fires it at Sludge Heap C.

[1d10+1]

Sludge Heaps B and C try to pull Deadweight away, their poisonous touch corroding through her armor.

[2d10+1] Poison Damage

Sludge Heap A is too weak to do anything, and starts crawling away, trash falling to the ground as it retreats.

Sludge Heap D tries to glop onto Lost Hope, dragging her deeper into its maw.

[1d10+1] Poison Damage

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #3 8, 8 + 1 = 17 / Roll #4 1 + 1 = 2

 No.740137

>>740136
"Turn yourselves away you vile creatures!"
I use Word of Power to make these things wriggle and miss their attack.
[1d10+2] Word of Power

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.740138

>>740136
"Agh!" Deadweight cries as her skins comes into contact with the toxic waste. She clenches her teeth. "Come on guys, through the door, go go go!" she yells as she tries to evade the goos.

>Evade

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.740139

>>740136
>Mental fortitude
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.740140

>>740136
I guess I shouldn't be blasting fire at these things when they're attached to my teammates. That doesn't mean I can't finish the running one off.
I stay right by the door and blast sludge heap A with a burning storm bolt. Only a single one.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.740141

>>740136
Lost screamed and returned her biomass to claws as she tried to rip the beast that was attacking her apart so she could devour it.

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

 No.740142

>>740141
>>740140
>>740140
>>740138
>>740137
By Firmgold's command, Sludge Heap C releases Deadweight from its grasp, and though it quickly tries to snap her up again, Huitlapan's bola flies through it, bisecting the sludge monster, which causes its mouths to collapse in on themselves for the turn.

>Sludge Heap C helpless for 1 turn


Xu smashes her sleagh into Sludge Heap B, letting Deadweight pull her arm free of its maw, still stinging and corroded from the vicious sludge. Sludge Heap B starts to melt and dissolve, and so turns, slithering away from the battlefield.

>Sludge Heap B loses 4 Hits, retreats


>8 Hits and 4 Wounds stored up from Protect; ordinarily evasion rolls lessen damage but Poison always deals 1 wound, can't be reduced with evasion


Deadweight then shudders involuntarily, feeling something, like a distracting thought, bouncing about her skull, but she shakes it off, and dives into the corridor between Room 11 and 10.

Conflagration catches sight of Sludge Heaps A and B trying to retreat and recover, and lobs a fireball. It explodes upon contact with B, and the spewing flames splash over, annihilating the nearby A and C in their blast, eliminating the three in a single wave.

Sludge Heap D bites down on Lost Hope's arm, but her shield becomes claws, and she rips them upward, splitting Sludge Heap D's head into quarters as she pulls herself free. She stumbles, feeling woozy from the excess of poison, and drops to the ground. Sludge Heap D falls over in a slump, unable to move as it tries to gather itself together.

>Lost Hope 0/6


>5 damage to Sludge Heap D


Huitlapan turns toward Lost Hope, raising his magicomp, and fires a flash of green code her way.

[1d10+2] Heal

Xu, having gathered her nerve, tries to strike down Sludge Heap D before it can recover.

[1d10+1] Basic Attack

But as she moves in, the other Sludge Heaps approach, their sights now on Conflagration, clearly the biggest threat with his flame magic.

Sludge Heaps E and F try to grab him up.

[2d10+1] Poison Damage

Sludge Heap G goes for Xu.

[1d10+1] Poison Damage

Sludge Heap H sets its sights on Huitlapan.

[1d10+1] Poison Damage

Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #3 9, 2 + 1 = 12 / Roll #4 4 + 1 = 5 / Roll #5 10 + 1 = 11

 No.740143

>>740142
Lost groaned and laid there for a bit as she tried to recover her senses and let the poison in her system purge itself.

 No.740144

>>740142
I watch the effects of my spell with a big, warm grin while the burning sludge reflects in my eyes. After a few moments of reverie I notice the other sludge heaps coming my way.
"Okay, you can burn to! All of you can burn, come on!"
I backpedal and try to keep distance between me and them.
[1d10]
I call up my burning homing magics to help me out.
[1d10]
And blast and Sludge Heap E with a burning Magic Bolt.
[2d10] take the highest

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 10, 4 = 14

 No.740145

>>740142
Deadweight dives through the door and makes a crash landing in the corridor. Having just barely gotten away from the Sludge Heaps, she takes a moment to catch her breath. She pants heavily, hissing through her teeth in pain.

 No.740146

>>740142
"Turn to the sewers or fall!"
I use Word of Power
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

 No.740147

>>740143
Huitlapan's code supercharges your suit's medical systems, expelling excess poison via emergency antidote injections. The suit stands upon its own, and you recover your balance as it does.

>Lost Hope 7/7


>>740144
You sidestep Sludge Heap F's bite, and manage to kick it back, but Sludge Heap E manages to grab onto your other hoof, digging its improvised fangs into your suit. Poison flows in through the open wound, setting your arm ablaze within.

>Conflagration 6/4


But before either Sludge Heap can take another chance on you, you cast a mighty bolt, and incinerate the both into smoke and ashes.

>20 Damage to Sludge Heaps E and F.


>>740145
It's as you take your first breath that the pain truly sets in, as the delayed shock of poison and steel-crushing bites assails your back and arms, waves of flame coursing throughout your muscles and bones. You can do nothing but spasm involuntarily until your armorsuit's morphine dispensers can dim the pain enough.

>Deadweight 3/4


>>740146
By your command, Sludge Heap H, which had beelined for Huitlapan, suddenly backs away, slithering back onto the dead grass. Huitlapan gives you a brief nod of gratitude.

Xu's shield bash does little to Sludge Heap D, but given how weak it already is, she manages to disrupt its recovery. Sludge Heap D starts to slither away in retreat.

In a breief instant of clarity, the remaining Sludge Heaps take stock of the carnage. A, B, C, E and F are now dead at Conflagration's hooves. D is on the retreat, leaving naught but G, H, I and J, the latter two of whom have not yet begun to battle…

[1d2] wait for results

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.740148

>>740143
>>740144
>>740145
>>740147
>>740146
With sudden alacrity, the remaining four Sludge Heaps split up, retreating for the storm drains! They shuffle off sheets of metal and twists of plastic and bone, speeding themselves up as they scatter for the exits. Huitlapan and Xu look on in disbelief, for it is a rare thing that Dreaded Ones should retreat.

"Wh-what do we do!?" Xu asks. "Attack?"
"Wait! What if there's more?" Huitlapan asks.

 No.740149

>>740148
Lost shot a nod of thanks to the healer and moved to the bodies, extending a tendril from Dhampir to try and devour the remains of the sludge heaps if she could. She assumed he'd enjoy the nourishment she could get.

"I say we let them go and run for the elevator."

 No.740150

>>740147
"Gah!" the pegasus cries, the pain really setting in now. She tries to calm herself as much as she can, but she sweats like a pig as she convulses on the floor.

 No.740151

>>740148
"If there are more, we should be well equipped to deal with them on our return trip- should these ones be allowed to live of course. I don't make a point to be within striking distance of something so awfully stenched, not that there's one among us of course!"

 No.740152

>>740150
Lost moved to help Deadweight after she finished getting what food she could into Dhampir.

"Let me help you." she said quietly

 No.740153

>>740147
"Bur-OW! BURN! Hahahah! Who's next?"
I prance through the ashes of my attackers. My six burning homing magics seem to prance around me too, looking like tiny ponies made of flame.

>>740149
"Hahhhh, yeah, that's probably a good idea. Also, what blazes are you? That's not normal."

>>740150
I walk over and try to help you up with my TK and support you with it.
"Come on, let's get into safety and our healer can look at you."

>>740147
"You doing okay, Xu?"

 No.740154

>>740153
>*what in the blazes are you?

 No.740155

>>740153
"I have been told I am many things…" she answered cryptically "Honestly I do not know."

 No.740156

>>740152
>>740153
Deadweight draws a deep breath in, takes Lost's hoof, and with Conflagration's assistance gets back up on her own four hooves, though she's still trembling. "Thanks," she says, more weakly than her usual self. She follows them to the elevator.

 No.740157

>>740149
There's not much besides a few puddles of gelatinous green goop that weren't instantly evaporated by Conflagration's mighty fire spells.

Dhampir grumbles as he feeds upon the carrion of the battlefield. Ugh! Can't you ever get us something tasty? This stuff's absolutely foul. I'm not meant to feed on muck like this!

>>740149
>>740150
>>740151
>>740153
The moment that the Sludge Heaps are gone, Xu collapses to the ground with a whimper and a sigh, hanging her head. She is initially unresponsive to Conflagration's question, then at last looks up, partly admiring the prancing fire-ponies. "I'll be alright in a second… D-Deadweight, where is she?"

"Over here," Huitlapan says, kneeling by her. He hooks his magicomp to hers via universal connector cable, and takes control of her suit's medical systems to administer healing drugs.

>Deadweight will regain 1 wound every 2 turns.


Those of you who took damage during the battle notice that your suits are covered with burns and gaps where the poison touched you. It would be prudent to get that patched up.

 No.740158

>>740157
Lost simply had Dhampir do some patchwork fixes and slowly helped Deadweight over to the elevator. She turned her mind inward to her guest.

'Is there anything you can do to help her?'she questioned

 No.740159

>>740155
"I guess that works for me, so long as you're on our side."

>>740157
I help Xu up and let her lean on me while we make it to the elevator.
"Can we take this thing up and make it back to civilization, or will this only go down? We ought to find a safe place to catch our breaths before we try to blaze more trails."

 No.740160

>>740157
I'll take a long drink from my canteen when I make it onto the elevator.

 No.740161

>>740153
>>740155
The pegasus ignores the conversation they're having about what the crystal pony is. None of her business.

>>740157
Deadweight sighs in relief as the Rodos optimizes her suit's medical systems. "Sorry you had to go through that, Xu," she says to the kirin, letting her seldom seen soft side through.

>>740159
"I got a couple of armor patching kits on me. Not enough for everyone, though," she says once they make it to the elevator.

 No.740162

>>740157
I follow everyone to the Elevator.
"I don't wish to make assumptions about everyone's trust, or of the creatures we've faced, but perhaps it would do us well to clean this place before it's infested again? I'm unsure of what those things were but they seemed to be filled with that very refuse we're standing over."

 No.740163

>>740162
"That's not a bad idea, actually."

>>740157
How much time would it take to gather all this trash into a pile and incinerate it, like a functioning castle would?

 No.740164

>>740157
Sorry for so many posts.
I focus and use normal, non-fire telekinesis to start pulling all the trash together into a bonfire set up in the center of the room.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.740165

>>740158
Well, there's always one option,Dhampir says. But I don't think you or her would like it. At least at first. You wouldn't be lonely, though, afterward. That I can guarantee.

>>740164
>>740159
>>740158
>>740161
>>740162
Xu grimaces, trying to put on a tough visage. "That's fine, let's keep going, before any more show up."

As you gather near the elevator, Xu and Huitlapan inspect it, removing the plating around the call buttons to inspect it.

"Minor damage to the aetherios circuitry," Xu says. "Nothing that can't be repaired, though. This was haphazard sabotage. I could fix it with enough time. What we need is to get the power back on. According to standard Castle design, each Floor has its own power grid – isolating the Floors onto separate grids minimizes widespread damage in the case of blackouts. If we can find a computer bank anywhere, I can figure out where the closest generators are."

As she covers this, Huitlapan aids Conflagration in gathering up all the tangible trash that the Sludge Heaps left behind, and increases the power on his air filter once the first flames start up. "Make sure you wash your armorsuits inside and out, everyone. Wouldn't want anyone having to go back to Ironcastle with the flu now. Heh."

 No.740166

>>740165
Lost frowned. That would be a… last resort option for her. She moved to the door Deadweight had opened before "I suppose we had best start exploring the rest of the floor then to see if we can find the grid." she said stretching a bit "Should we leave someone behind to watch the elevator or move as a unit?"

 No.740167

>>740165
"We need a safe place to take our suits off first, Huitlapan. Actually, I guess we could go back and hang out with the skeleton janitor a bit."
I grimace at the word sabotage.
"You mean we can't go anywhere yet? The generator has to be close, right?"

>>740166
I shake my head.
"No way. Everyone sticks together. Last time we split up I almost got smashed by a giant and Deadweight come some kind of hypothetical brain worm."

 No.740168

>>740167
She winced lightly at that as she was the one who had made the mistake of hanging behind.

 No.740169

>>740168
I raise the singed remains of an eyebrow but don't say anything.
"Hey, can your weird black things eat ideas or only dead stuff?"

 No.740170

>>740165
"I don't wish to douse either motion, but are we to find the stairs or locate this generator room first?"
>>740167
>>740166
"I agree with Mister Conflagration, we would do better to move as a group."

 No.740171

>>740169
"Ideas?" she asked confused as she looked at Conflagration

 No.740172

>>740165
>"… If we can find a computer bank anywhere, I can figure out where the closest generators are."

"Ugh!" Deadweight groans. She sighs, then says, "I guess it'd be best to get the elevator working. I don't wanna be on this floor any longer than we have to be, though." She flexes her limbs, trying to get them to feel something other than chemical burns.

>>740167
>>740168
"It'd be faster if we split up, but you're right, we should stick together to be safe. We'll just check each of the rooms until we find it."

>>740170
>"I don't wish to douse either motion, but are we to find the stairs or locate this generator room first?"

"We should find the generator room. If we can get the elevator working, it can fast track our way down the floors."

 No.740173

>>740171
"Well, technically a psychokinetic entity. Closer to an idea than a physical thing, I think. Or maybe ghosts. Anyways, Deadweight has at least one of them crawling around in her mind. Think you can slurp it out with your weird tendril things?"

 No.740174

>>740173
"Yeesh, what?!" the pegasus exclaims. She doesn't want whatever's crawling around in her head to stay in there, but mind-slurping doesn't sound too great, either.

 No.740175

>>740173
She blinked and decided to ask Dhampir.

'Can you do that?'

 No.740176

>>740174
"It's either that or we take you back to camp soon and see if they can fix you there. Or leave it and let it start mutating you. I don't know if it's normal mutations, or something freaky like our friend hungry hooves over here, or you explode into tumors, or you become a dreaded one, or what. A little bit of potential brain damage never hurt anyone."

 No.740177

>>740172
I close my eyes and nod to the Pegasus
"Of course, Miss Deadweight, then I defer to yours and Miss Hope's judgement for which room we shall traverse to next."

 No.740178

>>740166
>>740172
>>740170
>>740167
"Ideally," Xu says to Conflagration. "But what Magister Colonade Reprise said comes to mind. She said that the Floors and Layers had been divided between various powerful Dreaded Ones. I would think that those in charge do so by keeping control over the Floor's power stations or other resources."

She turns to Firmgold. "There's a chance that the power station could be outside of this territory that we're in. In which case we may have to put out a call over Concord to see if any teams in other areas have found a power station near them."

"I don't think that'll be a problem," Huitlapan says. "The skeleton we got the map from had a tablet, remember? How would he have charged it without power? I think that, if these Floors are divided between and among competing Dreaded Ones, they'd want to deny power to their competitors via the power station's control systems. The fact that the skeleton's tablet was charged suggests that the power to this area is in fact on, the elevator's just not connected to it for one reason or another."

"I think we're getting too far off track considering possibilities," Xu says. "Assuming that the problem is that the elevator isn't connected, the solution remains the same: Find the nearest power station and route power to the elevator, repairing any machinery necessary to do so."

>>740175
I could, he says noncommittally. You sure you really trust me with that possibility, though? You know my appetite for distractions.

 No.740179

>>740178
'Considering how he just dealt with those sludge heaps, do you really wanna try and risk getting torched?'

She remained silent otherwise as she discussed with her guest.

 No.740180

>>740178
I nod when Xu speaks.
"That makes a lot of sense. This floor was a necromancer Dreaded One, right? So foul and evil that he reanimates cheerful, helpful skeletons. Are we sure this isn't a normal necromancer posing as a Dreaded One to keep the real Dreaded Ones away?"

 No.740181

>>740179
My dear, sweet Reject, you know there's nothing that I'd ever do to put you in harm's way, Dhampir replies, his voice dripping with poisoned honey.

 No.740182

>>740181
'I'm serious, I will willingly let you and I die if you try to harm her.' came the biting reply to the being as she found her backbone with him.

 No.740183

>>740178
I try to uplift Steadfast's spirits with Lay on Hands, and words of appreciation that he continue with us for this long.
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740184

>>740176
"Eeugh, uh, stop talking," the pegasus says to the unicorn, not liking the imagery. She grumbles, then says, "I just wanna get this mission over with."

>>740177
She nods back at the earth pony.

>>740178
>>740179
>>740180
>>740183
>"… Find the nearest power station and route power to the elevator, repairing any machinery necessary to do so."

Deadweight sighs. "Alright where should we start?" she asks no one in particular. "Actually, think one of those skeleton'd know where it'd be?"

 No.740185

>>740182
FINE, fine. But I'm warning you that stepping into someone else's mind is dangerous business even when I'm not screwing around. I can't guarantee absolute safety, but I can get as close as possible to it. I'll need her to relax and offer me mental permission in. You'll need to get on the same mental wavelength as her, too… try to picture the same thought as her. Focus on the exact same thing, try to put your minds in tune.

>>740183
It just comes off as kind of awkward, and nobody really feels better after it.

>>740184
>>740180
>>740182
>>740183
Huitlapan nods. "Looks like you were making friends with the janitor earlier, mister Conflagration. I think he could probably point us in the right direction, if not introduce us personally."
"We should have a backup plan just in case these friendly skeletons are aberrations and not the main thing," Xu says. "An offering of some sort, or a negotiation point. Maybe even a threat if necessary."

 No.740186

>>740185
>>740184
She stepped out of her mental space and walked over to Deadweight "Dead, I can… help remove those mind worms if you want me to, but it's not going to be easy."

 No.740187

>>740184
"Trying to avoid a cure is the brain worms talking. Try and keep focused on being yourself."

>>740185
"My friends and I can be the threat, Xu."
The prancing pony fireballs orbit my head in a wide, orange halo for a few rotations then go back to lazy circles over, under, and around my body.
"But what do we offer a necromancer except bodies? I don't think the Magister will sign off on that."
I look over at the door leading back to the janitor's room.
"I don't want to get the janitor too close to the necromancer if we can help it. If it comes down to a fight I don't think it'll have any choice but to defend its master."

 No.740188

>>740186
Deadweight pauses before replying, "Really?" She grimaces to herself, trying to weigh the risks.

>>740183
>>740185
>>740187
"Alright. How about you guys go see if you can get anything out of the skeletons, and I'll stay here with Lost to try to, eugh, get the thing out of my head."

 No.740189

>>740188
"As our group's leading expert on brain worms I feel like I ought to be present for the surgery. Or snack. Whichever."

 No.740190

>>740188
She nodded "It will not be easy, but it is possible. We will need to focus on the same thought though."

 No.740191

>>740187
I step forward.
"Mister Conflagration, I don't wish to interrupt your speculation but I do have a wide variety of contacts that can… potentially source anything we need. Of course this being that I can first afford whatever is needed, haha."

 No.740192

>>740189
"Snack?!" Deadweight exclaims. That unicorn's not one to mince words.

>>740190
"Uh, alright, then…" she says, a little uneasy. "What should we… think about?"

 No.740193

>>740191
"But necromancer needs? Those are kind of specific, I'm pretty sure. If you think your friends can come up with bribes for a necromancer or Dreaded One we're all ears."

 No.740194

>>740191
>>740187
"If it's in service of the mission, there's a good chance we can convince the Magister to offer something of a blank check," Huitlapan muses. "Aether crystals, sulfur, mercury, chalk… lots of things that may be harder to acquire out here."

As Firmgold adds her own offer, Xu raises her eyebrow. "Contacts, huh? Sounds handy. Who's this contact of yours?"

 No.740195

>>740192
"Uh… cute Puppies." she said reach forward and trying to find a mental equilibrium with the Pegasus.

 No.740196

>>740195
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740197

>>740195
The pegasus smirks. "Alright, sure." She closes her eyes and tries to focus.

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.740198

>>740192
>>740190
"Well it's eating the brain worms, isn't it? Or drinking. Absorbing? Deadweight, is that an amoeba or some kind of magic construct or part of your body?"

>>740194
"Hmm. Sure! I like it. Imagine if we could have been paying Dreaded Ones to go away all this time."

 No.740199

>>740198
"I don't know! Shut up," Deadweight tells him, her eyes still closed.

 No.740200

>>740198
>>740195
Woops, meant to ask Lost Hope that last question.

 No.740201

>>740194
"Miss Xu I don't wish to come off as rude with this, as I don't wish to create any issues while we're working together, however a good number of my contacts don't wish to be named. However I'm sure that we can count on them as a second source for materials as needed."
I smile at the Kirin

 No.740202

>>740198
"Absorbing I believe. And he's his own entity but we are… bonded."

 No.740203

>>740196
>>740197
Lost Hope feels control temporarily leave her, as a tendril extends forth, and slowly touches to Deadweight's temple. Deadweight experiences a cold, slow spread of pressure worm bit by bit through the grooves in her brain, like defrosting ice dripping down the surface of a rock, spreading through every crevice.

Well hello there, a deep, hoarse male voice says in both minds. Don't mind me, just trying to find the old pest here… Grah! SHIT!

Deadweight has a similar involuntary outburst of her own, suddenly exclaiming SHIT! as well.

>>740201
>>740198
Xu shrugs. "I hear you loud and clear."
"We won't pry, and if the necromancer's smart, he won't either," Huitlapan says.

 No.740204

>>740203
Lost felt odd experiencing what it felt like to be bonded to another being even partially "Just remain calm and focus." she slowly responded trying to calm them both.

 No.740205

>>740203
>>740204
My eyes narrow a little and the orbiting fireballs/microponies start to speed up. I keep quiet and watch for any worms that might try to jump ship, or anything else that might go wrong.

 No.740206

>>740203
Deadweight controls her breathing, trying to remain calm as the "surgery" commences, but then, she opens her eyes and suddenly exclaims, "Shit!"

>>740204
The pegasus closes her eyes again and breathes. "Alright."

 No.740207

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.740208

>>740204
[1d10] Please no hurt fren

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.740209

>>740205
>>740207
>>740208
Little bastard bit me… Come here you little… got… almost…

Suddenly, the tendril yanks back, and all at once, all the sprawling feelings spreading through Deadweight's head do as well, a sudden and reversing rush of cold out through her skull. Huitlapan and Xu back away in horror as the black tendril holds up a long and psychadellically-colored… thing. It appears in species to be some kind of long worm, or centipede perhaps, by its long shape and myriad appendages, but it is almost helix-like in shape, and appears squishy and underdeveloped, almost like an embryo, covered in its own amniotic ooze. Fractals of dirty rainbow color spread off of it as it struggles in the tendril's grasp, like oil and water.

Also it's about eighteen inches long.

"That was in her head!?" Huitlapan squeaks.

 No.740210

>>740209
Lost froze as she stared at it "Please… Please eat that in such a way that it never exists again." she said aloud.

 No.740211

>>740209
Whatever I was going to say is cut off by this sight, as all I can do is utter in shock.
"Goodness."

 No.740212

>>740209
"Dang! That's more physically real than I thought it would be. Bigger, too."
I hunt through my bags for paper and pen before remembering I didn't bring any. After that I poke around inside my magicomp for a note tool, but settle on recording my observations over our concord group chat.

 No.740213

>>740209
>>740212
Rolling for note quality and how often I ping random members of our group chat while trying to take notes.
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.740214

>>740209
At the sudden rushing sensation, the pegasus opens her eyes wide and hollers, "Woo!" She then gets a look at the thing that was in her head, and she practically jumps. "Yeesh! That was in my head?" she echoes Huitlapan.

 No.740215

>>740212
>>740213
I quietly turn on the recording app on my Magicomp and then politely ask Conflagration what in the non-existent sun that thing is.

 No.740216

>>740210
Little bastard bit me!

>>740210
>>740212
>>740211
>>740214
The tendril morphs and mutates, splitting branches from its main body until it becomes a full hand. It tosses the grub up, catches and crushes it all in one fell motion. When the hand opens once more, the grub is completely gone, the skin of the black hand bubbling like the surface of a tar pit.

Huitlapan and Xu both look like they could've gone their whole lives without seeing that.
"…Bright side…" Huitlapan murmurs after a while. "It's comforting to know we have a way of mitigating that if it comes up again!"

>>740213
You record the execution in crisp 1080p and manage to avoid putting on a caption by accident.

>Paused

 No.740217

>>740215
I keep my eyes glued to the ongoing scene.
"That, misses Firmgold, is a Psychosite. A manifestation of psychic malice. Also known as a brain worm. It's what we've been going on about for the past few minutes. Keep up."
I keep madly tapping away notes while talking."

>>740216
"Yeah! This could revolutionize the treatment for this condition! Now we have to make sure that Lost Hope's weird bits actually ate it and didn't get infected by it in turn."

 No.740218

>>740217
"Ahaha, of course Mister Conflagration."

 No.741084

Last time, on The Castle of Silence…

Last Resort obtained a set of keys from the region's storage room, while Xu obtained a map of the floor, which she then sent to the rest of the party. They decided to make their way back to the commissary, and then loop up to the northeast, where the stairs to the next Floor were.

However, that changed once they reached Room 11, the central room of the region. It was an open-air courtyard, one that had an elevator on its western wall. It was, however, guarded by a pack of Dreaded Ones called Sludge Heaps, amoeba-like creatures which congealed gunk and trash about them to bolster their power. It was a dangerous battle, but after the party slaughtered over half their numbers, the remaining Sludge Heaps lost their nerve and retreated, discarding their gathered trash to increase their speed.

While Huitlapan dealt with the party's injuries, Xu examined the elevator. It required minor repairs to its control panel, and it needed to be hooked up to a power supply, but it should work once those were acquired. They'd be able to descend all the way to the bottom of Layer Eight with it. If they could find a working terminal room, Xu would be able to locate the nearest power station; from there, they could reroute power to the elevator.

Finally, Last Resort compelled Dhampir to assist Deadweight with the problem of her psychosites, by connecting their minds. Dhampir successfully removed the psychosite, which had now grown to nearly eighteen inches in the brief time that it was in her head, and crushed it into blood and guts.

 No.741085

>Last Resort
Little bastard bit me!

>Everyone

The tendril morphs and mutates, splitting branches from its main body until it becomes a full hand. It tosses the grub up, catches and crushes it all in one fell motion. When the hand opens once more, the grub is completely gone, the skin of the black hand bubbling like the surface of a tar pit.

Huitlapan and Xu both look like they could've gone their whole lives without seeing that.
"…Bright side…" Huitlapan murmurs after a while. "It's comforting to know we have a way of mitigating that if it comes up again!"

>Conflagration

You record the execution in crisp 1080p and manage to avoid putting on a caption by accident.

 No.741086

>>741085
"And there's no way the journals will refuse to publish me this time!"
I remove my armor and use one of my three armor patching kits on my it to repair the damage from the Trash Heaps. I also drink from my canteen.

 No.741087

>>741085
Deadweight audibly gags a little at the sight. She clears her throat, tries to regain her composure, and says, "Alright, let's find that power station."

 No.741088

Did we burn the trash that was left over from earlier?

 No.741089

>>741088
ye we did

 No.741090

>>741089
Great!
>>741085
Clear my throat to get everyone's attention
"I don't wish to press for time, but are we to explore the rest of this level for a possible terminal that controls this Elevator?"

 No.741091

>>741085
I wave at the skeleton janitor and show him the map.
"Can you point out where the power station is, friend?"

 No.741092

>>741085
THe mare shivered as she felt her partner consume the creature and felt her own form feel oddly satisfied at it. This was a most unpleasant curse sometimes.

 No.741093

>>741086
You patch up your armorsuit nicely.

>>741087
>>741090
>>741091
>>741092

See >>740124 for the map.

The janitor enters the courtyard at Conflagration's summons, and stares a good long while at the bonfire, its last embers still smoldering in the middle of the dry dirt and dead grass. He sighs, shaking his head, then turns to Conflagration. He taps Room 5, up in the northwest corner of the map. But, he then points at Room 1, directly north of your position in Room 11. He jaws something that you cannot hear, and shakes his head gravely.
"Something dangerous there?" Xu asks.
The janitor nods, continuing to mouth inaudible words.
"Well, thank you for the warning, sir," Huitlapan adds.

 No.741094

>>741093
"Thanks, buddy, and sorry about the mess."

>>741092
>>741090
>>741087
"Do we want to go by way of room five or room seven?"

 No.741095

>>741090
"If we can find a skeleton who can point us in the right direction, we hopefully won't need to explore the whole level."

>>741091
>>741093
"Huh, that was a lot easier than I thought it'd be," Deadweight says.

>>741094
"Let's try going around to be safe," she says, making a path with her hoof from Room 11, to Room 10, to Room 6, then finally to Room 5.

 No.741096

>>741093
I nod my thanks to the Janitor.
>>741094
Perhaps, if time is not the utmost of course, we could attempt our passage through room Seven. Then again I'm sure we could locate and secure the stairs if we were to proceed through room ten."

 No.741097

>>741093
With one of her two armor patching kits, Deadweight patches up her armorsuit as well.

 No.741098

>>741094
>>741093
Seems about as good as anything else." she said quietly as she wanted to disappear at the moment.

 No.741099

>>741095
"That works for me. Lead the way."

 No.741100

>>741099
"Alright," Deadweight says before walking back into the hall she had crash landed in just earlier.

 No.741101

>>741100
I will follow not far behind.

 No.741102

>>741098
Uh, hel-lo? Can I get any appreciation or at least some sympathy here? I've been injured in the line of duty, and you're just moping again. Unbelievable.

>>741098
>>741097
>>741096
>>741095
>>741094
Deadweight, Huitlapan and Xu also take the time to repair their armorsuits as you discuss where to go next. Once they're finished, and your course of action decided, the janitor nods to you, and gets to work cleaning up the last bits of refuse and filth left behind by the Sludge Heaps.

Proceeding through the Eastern Door, you head into Room 10, which seemed to have once been some sort of lounge, but is now devoid of anything of note. You head north through the halls, until you reach Room 6, which appeared to have been mostly a directory space, as there are faded maps, now too tattered to read and out of date anyway, hanging from the walls.

https://youtu.be/BZT_aSkeMB4

There, reclining on a chair near the northern wall, you see a lightly armored donkey jenny. A maul waits at her side, and she appears to be at ease down here. She waves in greeting as you enter the room.

"Hail, souls," she says, retracting her suit's visor. "Finding progress easy? I've been scouting about with a fair bit of ease, myself."
"Where's the rest of your team?" Xu asks, a bit skeptical.
"Oh, I just thought I'd have a look around on my own before recruiting others," the jenny says.

 No.741103

>>741102
"Pretty easy, except for a small giant attack. Who else is on your team?"

 No.741104

>>741102
This is… mildly suspicious." she said allowed as she looked around for a potential threat.

I'm not in the mood to argue Dhampir, I always feel like this when I have to show people you. But thank you.

 No.741105

>>741102
I smile at the Jenny
"It's so wonderful to see someone else down here, aha. What would your contact link be, might I ask? We're on a personal expedition ourselves."

 No.741106

>>741102
"I wasn't aware anyone else was assigned here," Deadweight says, more than a little suspicious, herself.

 No.741107

>>741104
Now that's what I like to hear, Dhampir retorts. I'll let you go… this time.

>>741106
>>741103
>>741104
>>741105
"Well, it's just me so far," the jenny says. "I'm Thuda. You might have seen my file under the folder of unassigned members."
At Deadweight's comment, Thuda shrugs. "Well, honestly, I wasn't. Those of us who were brought along but not directly assigned were supposed to serve as a reserve corps of a sort and sit on our hooves back in Layer Nine. But waiting around isn't really in my blood, so I thought I'd have a look around. I just came back from seeing L-8 F-7, and F-6 before that."
"You've been down three floors on your own?" Huitlapan asks.
Thuda nods. "Thought I'd get ahead of the competition. If you'd like any info about what's awaiting you down there, I'm willing to sell what I know. Let's say… 30 Schillings per hint."

 No.741108

>>741107
Lost narrowed her eyes under her helmet glad her eyes couldn't be seen for now as she waited to see if anyone might buy the hints because she had no desire to.

 No.741109

>>741107
I double check the unassigned members folder. At least, I try to find the right folder and look through it.
[1d10]
"Be careful with the undead down here. They're very friendly and helpful. I'd be very upset if something happened to my janitor friend."

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.741110

>>741109
You end up opening Chrirper, but without an intranet signal, there's no way for you to post hot takes or see what others have posted.

 No.741111

>>741107
"Hmm," the pegasus hums, narrowing her eyes at the donkey. "Alright. We don't need to 'buy' any of your hints, though."

 No.741112

>>741110
I don't see her in here. Disturbing. My little fire ponies and I keep our eyes on her.

 No.741113

>>741107
"Excuse me a moment everyone."
I turn around and drink from my canteen, finish it off by sharing the rest with Steadfast (adding Lay on Hands) before I pop a water capsule in it and rejoin the group discussion.
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.741114

>>741111
>>741109
>>741108
>>741113
>Steadfast restored to full Hits
Thuda looks a little disappointed that nobody wants to buy her hints, but shrugs it off. "Don't worry, I've encountered a couple of the docile skeletons down there. I'll let you have this one for free, however: Others aren't nearly as friendly on the floors below. It seems that the less they resemble us mortals, the more likely they are to attack on sight. Watch your backs down there."

She stretches. "There anything else I can help you with? I think I'll just catch my breath before getting back to it."

 No.741115

>>741114
Seeing the donkey offer some helpful advice gratis, Deadweight lightens up. "Huh, thanks," she says. She digs into her saddlebag, grabs 35 of the 85 schillings she found earlier, and puts them on a chair near Thuda. "Here. Found these in one of the rooms on this floor."

 No.741116

>>741114
"That's good to know. Try not to get brain worms. If you do I've got a patent-pending process to get them out. Only a hundred and fifty shillings."
I'm stuck in this room until my meat shield moves on.

 No.741117

>>741114
"Keep an eye out for sludge heaps. They seem to be congregating nearby and they might have gotten into the elevator shaft and spread out." she said giving a fair warning

 No.741118

>>741114
>"There anything else I can help you with? I think I'll just catch my breath before getting back to it."

"Nah, we're good, but thanks for the tip. Good luck," she says before moving on to Room 5.

 No.741119

>>741114
"Indeed, we shall be on our way before you. Good day Miss Thuda."
I follow Deadweight out of here.

 No.741120

>>741119
>>741118
>>741117
>>741115
>>741116
"Oh!" Thuda says. "Well, thank you very much. If we cross paths again, I'll hook you up. May the Heart keep you close."

She waves goodbye, as do Huitlapan and Xu, and you head west, taking the winding corridors through the wrecked and dark hallways, until you at last come before a great set of double doors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q16T1-qcxtw

Beyond them is a dimly-lit room, or at least what's left of it. The walls to the east and to the south are not walls at all, but are rubble heaps, made by a combination of the ceiling caving in and the floor below being pushed up, perhaps by some kind of seismic activity. In what's left, you see a tangled mess of low-humming generators, winding pipes, and twisting wires, made visible only by the harsh green of the few remaining computer terminals. A raised platform is before you, where the terminals sit.

Xu looks about cautiously, and then approaches the platform. "Just keep an eye out for me, and I'll see what I can do…"

 No.741121

>>741120
I walk into the room an extend my little, orbiting fire ponies as far as I safely can to try and provide more illumination.

 No.741122

>>741120
I'll follow Xu up to the platform, fishing something out from my saddlebag.
"I do have a hacking cable if that would help some, I've not had the need to utilize it, myself, heh."

 No.741123

>>741120
>"… May the Heart keep you close."

Deadweight nods back at the jenny as she leaves.

>"Just keep an eye out for me, and I'll see what I can do…"


"No prob," Deadweight says with confidence as she saunters into the room.

 No.741124

>>741120
Lost decides to try and find a small nook to conceal herself in to watch from the shadows.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.741125

>>741122
"That'd make things easier, actually," Xu says. She uses it to hook her comp to the terminal, then peers into her comp's screen. "Let's see… would rather not have to brute force it…"

[1d4]

>>741121
>>741123
>>741124
As Conflagration spreads out his homing orbs to illuminate the room, he exposes the poor state of the power station. The room and its equipment have all taken quite a beating from whatever force it was that destroyed most of the western side of it. The occasional skittering creature – vermin of various unpleasant sorts – hides from the oncoming light of his flames. As Lost Hope tries to find somewhere to hide, one such dreg darts between her hooves, and she falls flat on her rear from the loss of balance.

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.741126

>>741125
Ow…" she said a bit embarrassed.

 No.741127

>>741121
>>741125
>>741124
>>741123
>>741122
Xu looks at the terminal screen with undisguised contempt. "…That should not have been that easy."

You glance at the screen and see that the UI is up. "I don't know why we bother training techs about opsec if they're just going to…"

She trails off, grumbling about the poor security practices of the former workers, and looks genuinely angry. After a few moments of poking about in interfaces, you hear one of the generators picking up speed. "…Okay, I've got the elevator going. Almost want to stay here and tighten this system up."

>>741126
Huitlapan waddles over and offers his paw. "Everything alright, ma'am?"

 No.741128

>>741127
>>741126
>>741123
>>741122
"Were we going to find that necromancer and offer him a deal to go away? And was he on this level or a different one?"

 No.741129

>>741127
"Any reason we should?" Deadweight asks her kirin pal.

 No.741130

>>741129
"Oh, oh. What if someone turns the elevator off while we're riding it? I'm not good at ladder."

 No.741131

*ladders

 No.741132

>>741127
"I don't mean to sound greedy by suggesting it, but if tightening up what's left of the system in this room would garner more for us to split - well I would be all for it."

 No.741133

>>741127
She nodded with a sigh "Just getting spooked by a small creature is all." she said glad no one could see her blush.

>>741128
I have no idea but I'd rather an ally than an enemy."

 No.741134

>>741127
>>741130
The pegasus hums to herself in contemplation, then says, "Seems pretty unlikely, but I suppose it's still possible. How long do you think it'd take, Xu?"

 No.741135

>>741128
>>741133
"If we don't happen to run into him, I think we should just keep going downwards. No need to spend the time to find him."

 No.741136

>>741135
"Right."

 No.741137

>>741134
>>741130
>>741132
>>741129
"In my professional opinion, we should," Xu says. "I could basically lock this terminal up so tight that nobody else on this Floor but me could operate it. Nobody would be able to cut the power to the elevator on the way down unless they destroyed this power station outright, and they don't seem willing to do that, considering they've kept it going this far. However, the sound of the generator intensifying is going to attract anyone with a set of working ears."
"And that janitor seemed very alarmed about whatever's in the room just southeast of us," Huitlapan adds.
"I could lock this up in about… ten, fifteen minutes?" Xu says. "Five if I manage to rush."

>>741128
"I don't know if we ever discerned that," Huitlapan says. "Want me to find that Thuda jenny and ask her? I've some pocket change left."

 No.741138

>>741137
"Sure, we can spare a few minutes," Deadweight says with a nod.

 No.741139

>>741137
"If you wouldn't mind going back to her, please. Worst case scenario: I'm sure whatever is in there is flammable. Everything is if you put your mind to it."

 No.741140

>>741137
Lost nodded as she once again tried to slip into the shadows to ambush anything that might try to investigate or intervene.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.741141

>>741137
"I'm sure we can spare the time for that."
I turn around and address everyone.
"There doesn't seem to any visible threat for this room, am I correct in asking?"

 No.741142

>>741141
"I don't see any."

 No.741143

>>741141
>>741142
"Yeah, this room looks pretty safe. Just a few varmints."

 No.741144

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.741145

>>741139
Huitlapan gulps, and slinks toward the door. "I'll call in on short-range communications if I'm in trouble."

>>741139
>>741138
>>741140
>>741141
Xu gulps and gets to work. "I'll ask you all to keep the chatter down. The drone of the generators will be bad enough for my focus…"

[1d10+1] rolling to see how much time it takes Xu to secure the terminal

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.741146

>>741142
>>741141
"Wonderful!"
I take out ration capsules and then pass them to everybody here, fishing out one for myself to eat from during our slight downtime.

 No.741147

>>741145
Deadweight nods soundlessly.

 No.741148

[1d3]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.741149

>>741146
Deadweight says a little, "Oh," as a ration is passed to her, shrugs, and proceeds to dig in.

 No.741150

>>741145
Lost seems to be having issues in this cramped room and decides to sit quietly and wait.

 No.741151

>>741146
"Hey, yum."
I eat my meal.

 No.741152

>>741150
>>741144
>>741149
>>741151
You freshen your bodies and minds with some light eating now that you have a moment to stop and focus. After about five minutes, Huitlapan darts back into the room, trembling lightly, but otherwise unharmed. "I cannot fathom how she does it," he mutters to himself, then sits down with the rest of you. "I just caught her. She says she's not seen the necromancer herself, but as it turns out, she's not the only one lurking the floors on their own. Her contact claims that the Necromancer has been seen mostly between L-8 F-1 and L-8 F-4. Very seldom does he ever go to the upper half of this layer."

At about seven minutes in, Firmgold hears distant, heavy footsteps to the southeast. Their gait is uneven, their steps irregular… most likely not the giant that you saw earlier. She focuses, and hears one set moving further south, and another set, to the west.

Near the end of the eighth minute, Xu sighs, and stops her incessant tapping at the terminal's keyboard. She sits back and wiggles her hooves a bit. "It's done. They won't be able to crack that unless they're willing to risk bricking the console, but we should still be safe to get on the elevator now."

 No.741153

>>741152
I pause from teaching my little fire friends to do backflips.
"We're ready to go down now?"

 No.741154

>>741152
>"I cannot fathom how she does it."

Noticing the Rodos trembling, Deadweight asks, "You good, dude?"

>"…but we should still be safe to get on the elevator now."


"Good work, Xu," she says, patting the kirin on the back, regardless of whether it makes her uncomfortable or not.

 No.741155

>>741153
"Sounds like it. Let's head back to the elevator."

 No.741156

>>741152
I finish my ration, wrap it up and stow it somewhere to be disposed of later.
"Thank you miss Xu, thank you Mister Huitapan, however this may be unrelated but I can hear… something, or perhaps somethings that were mentioned in room one. They are heavyset creatures I would expect, one going south and another going west from that room. Perhaps they are confined to that room alone, or haven't had reason to leave?"
I force a light chuckle
"But of course it may not be a problem if we leave it alone!"

 No.741157

>>741152
"Then I suggest we hurry before we meet something that happens to be in the mood to meet and more than likely eat or beat us to a mush."

 No.741158

>>741156
I double check my map.
"Room one…south…west. Wait a minute. Doesn't that put one of them in our elevator?"

 No.741159

>>741156
>>741157
>>741158
"Damn, alright, guess we better get a move on while we still can," the pegasus says as she stashes what left of her ration in her saddlebag.

 No.741160

>>741159
"Lead the way!"

 No.741161

>>741154
"I failed to appreciate just how much of a comfort it is to go about in a group as large as ours until I was separated from you," Huitlapan says. "Thuda is made of sterner stock, it seems."

Xu just squints at you.

>>741158
>>741157
>>741156
>>741155
"That's what I was worried about," Xu says. "What if something's already gotten on the elevator? That could be why you heard something going south, Conflagration."
"You think they'd realize it this quickly?" Huitlapan asks.
"If the lights are on, they'd probably see it," Xu says. "Let's operate on that assumption and scope out the elevator room."
"Okay… that just leaves the question of how we're going to get back there," Huitlapan says. "Same route as before?"

>roll perception and state the route by which you'll be traveling

 No.741162

>>741161
Lost voted to go the same route figuring it would be the safest back.

[1d10] Perception.

>>741159
"The two of us should probably take point."

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.741163

>>741161
I stay behind Deadweight whichever way she goes.
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.741164

>>741161
"Miss Thuda exploring this floor still would be a great help I'm sure, but I'll follow what ever direction we go."
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.741165

>>741161
>"Thuda is made of sterner stock, it seems."

Deadweight chuckles at Huitlapan. "I see."

>>741160
>>741161
>>741162
>>741163
>>741164
>"Same route as before?"

"Sounds good, probably the safest way to go," she says before leading the way through Rooms 6, 10, and 11."

 No.741166

>>741161
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.741167

>>741165
>>741164
>>741162
>>741163
Grouping up together, you sneak back via the path that you took earlier; when you reach Room 6, you find that Thuda is gone, as is the payment Deadweight left. Room 10 is as empty as before, and eventually you get back to the door leading into Room 11.

Deadweight is the first to the door, and opens it a tad but Lost Hope's sense of danger suddenly spikes. Dhampir's tendril reaches out and pulls Deadweight back from the door. Xu reaches into one of her bags, and produces a small mirror, which she floats out an angle to let you see beyond the door. You see that the elevator door is open, and a single skeleton delivery pony is inside, carrying boxes on a dolly. With a bit of adjustment, you can at last see what Firmgold heard earlier – a hunch-backed mass of bone, skin and flesh, haphazardly sown together. It's comprised of a central body, and multi-jointed legs made of a mishmash of whatever bones happened to be lying around, it seems. There is hardly rhyme or reason to its design, for it has an odd number of legs, sprouting at irregular intervals along its body, which is about six feet in height and eight in length. Three heads hang at the tip of its mass, more or less evenly spaced.

The skeleton delivery pony stares at the abomination, visibly trembling. The abomination simply stares back.

 No.741168

>>741167
Is that abomination in the elevator also?

 No.741169

>>741167
Should we assist our friend or sit back and wait?"

 No.741170

>>741168
You see that it is outside the elevator, simply waiting for the skeleton courier to step outside.

 No.741171

>>741167
>>741166
"Deadweight, can you cover me long enough for me to step out and get a few shots off at that thing?"

 No.741172

>>741167
I whisper to everyone.
"Perhaps we should lure it away from the elevator, for if we start to come out victorious - it may begin to attack the mechanism instead."

 No.741173

>>741172
I've been psyching myself up for some pain, but I stop.
"Hey! Good idea. Think you can shout at it and get it to follow you? I have a clear shot in this hallway."

 No.741174

>>741173
"Perhaps if I were to gather its attention, but we should all be ready for if it can take those miniature dancing stars of yours Mister Conflagration."

 No.741175

>>741164
>>741167
>>741168
>>741169
Deadweight suppresses a yelp as she's yanked back from the door by Lost Hope little friend. Looking into the mirror, she inaudibly expresses her annoyance by throwing one of her forehooves in the air. She gets on her magicomp and messages to the group, "Must be one of those unfriendly undeads that jenny was talking about."

>"Should we assist our friend or sit back and wait?"


"Let's wait a bit, hopefully it'll just go away."

>>741171
She nods to him. "If it comes to that."

>>741172
"That's a good idea, too."

>>741173
"I could even fly to Room 1 and try to lure it away from the elevator while you guys get in, then I can try losing it before meeting you guys back in the elevator."

 No.741176

>>741172
>>741168
>>741175
>>741169
Terrified, the skeleton courier holds up something like a tablet to the abomination. It shows no reaction. The courier mouths something, and then takes a single step forward–

The abomination, swift as a stampede, steps toward the courier, snapping the jaws of its central head. The courier gasps and falls back in terror. The dolly keeps the doors from shutting, and the abomination goes still once more.

 No.741177

>>741175
"Firmgold said she heard another thing, didn't she? Wandering off alone sounds like a good way to get eaten. Besides, I need you or a you-sized block of steel between me and whatever I'm burning."

>>741176
I frown.
"Whatever we're going to do we need to do it fast. Things are heating up for our buddy over there."

 No.741178

>>741176
Firmgold starts breathing faster, shaking the jitters out of her body, and paws at the ground a few times.
"Everyone, please be ready with everything you have. I'm going to gain its attention and come running back."

 No.741179

>>741174
"I can go in as bait, but if you're really okay with it, be my guest."

>>741176
Deadweight grimaces at the sound of bones snapping. "Definitely unfriendly."

>>741177
"True. I'll go with you, then. On your cue."

 No.741180

>>741178
Deadweight nods in acknowledgement.

 No.741181

>>741167
As calm as I can control, approach the door and open it while keeping myself out of that room. Clear my throat and speak loudly.
"Excuse me, but I don't believe we met!"
Get the giant rotting creature's attention.
"Perhaps I'm not seeing this correctly, but you're supposed to allow utility its passage. I'd like you to come with me to settle this inconvenience!"
Word of Power [1d10+2]

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.741182

>>741179
"No, I think Firmgold's trying to lure it into the hallway. If we're all going to jump out then maybe you should keep her safe?"
I stamp.
"I don't care. I'm ready to start burning."

 No.741183

>>741177
>>741178
>>741179
>>741176
I say we just rush it. It's better to get rid of it for the sake of removing a threat, protecting the friend, and making sure it's clear for whoever is coming in after us." she said as she grew a bit agitated seeing the friendly skeleton in danger.

 No.741184

>>741183
Deadweight nods in agreement.

>>741182
"I'll stay with you. It's probably gonna start targeting you once you start hitting it."

 No.741185

>>741181
Uhh! Whatever the case I make sure to quickly lead it into the hallway I'm in and towards the others!

 No.741186

[1d2]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.741187

>>741184
"Good! Let's just…back up a bit to give ourselves some room. And don't let it past."
I take a few big steps back from the door.

>>741183
I float you over my canteen and a water capsule.
"Get ready to put me out. My lucky hotstreak won't last forever."

 No.741188

>>741187
She nodded as she had Dhampir ooze out to form a pair of dual claws to attack with.

 No.741189

>>741182
>>741184
>>741183
>>741185
One of the abomination's side heads perks up, raising its twisted neck at a gruesome angle to get a look at Firmgold. The abomination's central mass writhes and bubbles, limbs retracting inward, and then outward once more as it reshapes itself to face Firmgold, rather than turn about. Its central head, that of some large and predatory bird, stares her down, as it takes a single inquisitive step toward her.

The courier, who can now see all of this, stands there, his body still frozen in abject, unthinking fear.

Huitlapan and Xu stand back with the rest of you, waiting for the signal to attack.

 No.741190

>>741187
Deadweight stays close to the unicorn.

 No.741191

>>741189
I glance at the one step it took towards me, then continue as I walk backwards from the room further into the hallway..
"Of course taking our time to settle this matter is considered rude in other castles, but then I'm sure your… well, employer won't understand if things simply fall apart."
Spellbreaker [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.741192

>>741189
>>741191
Deadweight holds her breath as she waits to see how this all plays out.

 No.741193

>>741189
>>741191
I scoot to the side so Firmgold will be able to run past me and tap Deadweight's flank to signal her to move over too.

 No.741194

>>741189
Lost decides to try and add to the damage figuring ripping it apart wouldn't do anything to help it either.

[1d10+2] Rupture.

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

 No.741195

>>741193
Deadweight furrows her eyebrows at the unicorn and blushes, then with a quiet snort she scoots to the side with him.

 No.741196

>>741191
As you speak your magic words, the abomination takes another step toward you, and stretches up to its full height, extending its multi-jointed forearms. But just as it reaches its full height, nearly nine feet in total, its front half suddenly crumbles. A heap of bones and flesh fall to the ground like so much trash spilling from a tipped container. The avalanche of grave material falls about your hooves as the abomination's front half falls to pieces.

>>741194
>>741193
>>741195
Lost Hope gouges her claws into the abomination's back half, drawing blood from the flesh visible. The back half still stands, but does nothing, standing totally still.

Huitlapan and Xu look on in stunned disbelief. Neither speak as they look on. The courier remains rigid with shock.

 No.741197

>>741196
I jolt and jump as meat falls at my hooves, bouncing away from it further into the hallway.
"Not to plan- this is not to plan please destroy this heap!"

 No.741198

>>741196
>>741194
>>741195
I watch Lost Hope run into the room.
"Awwww, crap! Plan B! Plan B! Get in there!"
I smack Deadweight's rump to get her moving and charge past as fast as I can. As soon as I'm in the room I get ready to fire off a shot, then trip over my cloak and roll a few feet when I realize that it's not moving any more.
"…was that all it took? Firmgold, your outside voice is astounding. The foals on your playground must have all been deaf by the time they got their cutiemarks."

 No.741199

>>741196
Lost kept up the attack because she wanted to make sure it went down before it had the chance to keep it going as she used her dual claws to keep mauling it.

"I know this wasn't the plan but It's better to put this thing down before it tries to reform!"
[2d10] Dual Weapon

Roll #1 7, 8 = 15

 No.741200

>>741197
Deadweight chuckles to herself. Nobles.

>>741196
>>741198
The pegasus snorts more loudly this time when the unicorn unceremoniously slaps her flank and flies at him as least partially to give him a piece of her mind, but she stops as well, finding the monstrosity already incapacitated. "Huh. Well, I'm not complaining. Let's get to the elevator, I guess."

 No.741201

>>741200
just cause it bugs me, pretend the responses in this post are flipped for chronology's sake

 No.741202

>>741200
>>741197
>>741198
>>741199
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcGD8x4BiLg
As Lost Hope scores two true strikes into its back half, suddenly the beast stirs, diving forward into the heap of flesh and bone that spilled before it – and onto Firmgold herself. In the brief instant of its charge, you can see new skulls emerging from its mass; one of an ape, and one of a crocodile, side by side. With a gruesome rattling, the two heads wrench open their filthy maws, ravenous and putrid and covered with rot.

[1d10+3] vs Firmgold
[1d10+3] vs Lost Hope

Note these are separate actions, it gets multiple per turn

Xu gulps, trying to get around those in the hallway. Before her are Conflagration and Deadweight, and the corridor is narrow. "Move, move! I need a clear shot!"

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

 No.741203

>>741202
I ran into the room.
I untangle myself from my cloak.
"A trick! Get him, friends! Let's show that monster the power of friendship burning brightly!"
I point a hoof at the abomination.
"Charge!"
I fire off all six of my crit-summoned fiery homing magics.
[6d10]
I join my magic with theirs and cast a burning magic bolt at the abomination.
[2d10] take the highest roll

Roll #1 6, 10, 2, 5, 3, 10 = 36 / Roll #2 6, 7 = 13

 No.741204

>>741202
Lost responded by just going back in to rip the beast apart even more with her claws as she let Dhampyr's prodding egg her on to hurt it more.

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9

 No.741205

>>741202
"No! No! Get off me! Steadfast!"
I use Word of Power to make it miss that attack, or the attack it would make again
[1d10+2]
Steadfast uses Slam!
[1d10] Crit 8+

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.741206

>>741202
"Agh! Okay, that's more like what I was expecting," Deadweight says. She gets out of Xu's way.

>>741197
"Firmgold! Try yelling at it more," she shouts in urgency.

>>741203
"Oh yeah, cause friends slaps friends' butts," she remarks as she charges in with him.

>Protect Conflagration

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.741207

>>741206
"Huh? Oh, the rest of you should keep attacking too, yeah!"

 No.741208

>>741206
>Attack

>>741207
"Ugh!" Deadweight groans in annoyance.

 No.741209

>>741206
>>741208
>Tactician 2

 No.741210

>>741208
"Just ignore him, if we work together we can beat this thing into dust before it's a threat!"

 No.741211

>>741210
"Looks like it's a little too late for that," Deadweight says in reply.

 No.741212

>>741203
My bad

You create a firestorm about yourself; the odor of burning flesh, metal and bone fill the air as you pelt the abomination with every ounce of flame from within. Great chunks of its body fall off, but the greater half of its body still remains.

A trio of arms lunge forth from its burning mass, but Deadweight shoves you aside, letting the abomination grab her instead; its three hands clamp around her neck, crushing and wringing her windpipe.

>>741206
>Deadweight has 9 Hits of damage stored
Your eyes burn and bulge from the sudden pressure all around your neck, and it is now that you realize that you are being drawn into the body of the abomination.

>Roll to escape, non-instant; failure means being drawn inside.


>>741204
You cut and cut into the hide of the monster, but there seems to be little end to the heaps of rotted, putrid flesh. Pus and indeterminate gunk spew out from each wound, mixed with the near-black red blood.

The crocodile head clamps down onto your helmet, and though it hardly dents your suit, you feel yourself being dragged into it, same as Deadweight.

>Roll to escape, non-instant; failure means being drawn inside.


>>741205
You skip back just before the monkey head's jaws can clamp down onto you. Steadfast raises his weapon, but another arm sprouts from the abomination's body, sweeping him back before he can swing.

>Steadfast 9/7


>>741207
>>741208
>>741206
>>741204
Xu gulps and readies a spell to attack the abomination.
[2d10+2] Magic Bolt

The abomination's body stirs and shudders. One of the hands that grabbed Deadweight by the neck releases her, and side-swipes at Conflagration.

[1d10+3]

The monkey's head shudders, twitching and shuddering over to the right. From the surface of the flesh-mass underneath, you can see something bubbling…

[1d10+3]

Huitlapan grabs a piece of sharp rubble and loads it in his crossbow.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 1, 7 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #3 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #4 7 + 1 = 8

 No.741213

>>741212
>Lost Hope 6/7

 No.741214

>>741212
Lost gave something like a hiss and did her best to try and yank herself free from the nasty monstrosity.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.741215

>>741212
>>741207
Deadweight shoves the pyromaniac out of the way and quickly finds herself in the monster's very tight clutches. Practically panicking, she tries to pry the thing's hands off of her neck with her hooves as she flaps her wings as hard as she can.

>Escape, Pegasus Flight

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.741216

>>741212
"Let go of them you monster!"
Word of Power
[1d10+2]
Steadfast activates Counter and attacks the thing!
[1d10]

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

 No.741217

>>741212
Burning flesh is far too familiar…metal?
"Hey! That wasn't supposed to hurt her! Mits-ack!"
I try to jump back out of the way of the swiping claws.
[1d1] dodge.
I spell resonance another burning magic bolt at it.
"Mits off! BURN!"
Storm Bolt 2
[1d10+1]

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

 No.741218

>>741214
>>741215
You manage to wrench yourself free, stumbling back from the abomination's grabs, with Deadweight nearly flying out of the courtyard altogether from her powerful wing-beats.

>>741217
>>741217
Deadweight then drops to the ground and tanks another hit for Conflagration, bearing the full brunt of the abomination's swipe against her side as it breaks against her wing at a hideous angle. Conflagration manages to get another few bolts in, blasting chunks away from the abomination.

>Deadweight 20 Hits of Damage Stored


>>741216
Your efforts are rewarded with naught but a sucker-punch to the throat, deadening your voice. Steadfast attempts to retaliate, but as the abomination loses its grip on Deadweight, it redirects those hands, grabs Steadfast, and slams him against one of the concrete benches nearby.

>Firmgold 4/6

>Steadfast 4/7

>>741216
>>741217
>>741214
>>741215
Huitlapan's rock sails into the liquefying flesh of the abomination, but comes sailing back out soon after, propelled by the force of another head emerging from the muck. A third skull, that of a lion, takes its place in the center between the monkey and the crocodile. As the third head surfaces, you can feel a distinct thrilling of aether about you, exuding from the abomination like heat from a flame, quickly growing unbearable. To make matters worse, its movements quicken!

It interrupts Xu's spell by shoving her against a wall, leaving a crater indentation.

>Xu 2/5


It sweeps an arm at Conflagration and Firmgold.

[1d10+3] Cleave vs 2

The monkey's head attempts to bite down upon Steadfast.

[1d10+3] basic attack

The arms sprouting from its back attempt to grab onto Lost Hope

[1d10+3] Grab move

As if breaking out a trance, the skeleton courier pulls the dolly back into the elevator and slams the "Close Doors" button.

"NO!" Xu screeches, and runs for the door.

[1d10]

Huitlapan grabs another bit of debris and arms his crossbow.

[1d10+1]

>Paused, reply for next time


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

 No.741219

>>741218
Lost was lost in her furry and decided to bring both her claws down to rip more and more of it's flesh apart.

[1d10+2] rupture.

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.741220

>>741218
I back off and try to speak through my choked words
"Ignore this pain, sir Steadfast. It will lead to glory."
[1d10] Lay on Hands

Steadfast uses Slam
[1d10] Crit 8

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.741221

>>741218
It's getting hot in here, just how I like it! Wait, no, this isn't the right kind of fire.
"The heads! Kill the heads! Smash the heads! Firmgold, do that crumbling thing again!"
I roll to the side and lash out at the sweeping arm with my maul.
[1d10] dodge
[1d10] maul

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 8 = 8

 No.741222

>>741218
Deadweight frees herself only to find herself having to bear another blow for Conflagration. Grunting loudly, she swings her sword at the thing.

>As if breaking out a trance, the skeleton courier pulls the dolly back into the elevator and slams the "Close Doors" button.


"Wait!" she shouts, seeing the courier retreat back into the elevator. She flies over to try to keep it from closing.

>Stopping the elevator

[1d10]
>Lone Knight basic attack
[1d10]

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

 No.741223

>>741222
note to self, ask autumn if the bonus from pegasus flight would apply here

 No.741938

Last time, on the Castle of Silence…

The party searched L-8 F-8 in search of a power station that they could use to reroute energy to the elevator in the courtyard. Along the way, they met Thuda, a donkey jenny from the same reserve group that they recruited Xu and Huitlapan from. She had apparently gone on to the floors below them, and was now in the business of selling intel about what awaited her fellow explorers. When nobody wanted to buy one, she offered a freebie: The lower floors harbored few, if any, friendly undead. The less that an undead resembled a member of the mortal races, the more likely it was to be feral and attack on sight.

They moved on, and found the power station in the northwestern quadrant of their assigned area. Xu was able to reroute power to the disabled elevator, and spent some extra time increasing the security measures on the terminal so that only she would be able to use it from now on, preventing anyone on this floor from cutting off the power before their descent could finish.

When they went back to the courtyard, they saw that a corpse abomination, little more than a heap of bone and melted flesh with legs and arms, had entered the courtyard to investigate the noises of the elevator. A skeleton courier, apparently coming from a lower floor, was trapped by its gaze. They attacked the abomination to secure the way forward.

 No.741939

>>741219
You parry its grab with a swift clashing of claw upon bone, but the abomination shoves you back before you can score deeper hits.

>Lost Hope 5/7


>>741220
Your voice is lost in the din of combat, but Steadfast rolls to his hooves, and brings down his strike onto the monkey's skull before it can bite him. The skull hangs at an angle, yellowed teeth insatiably chomping at the air.

>>741222
>>741223

You stretch out your arm as you fly toward the elevator, and manage to get it across the threshold an instant before the doors can shut. The doors shudder as they close onto your hoof, and begin their slow retraction. The courier cowers against the far wall as they slide open once more.

But before you can turn about to focus on the abomination again, you feel a fist slam down onto the back of your head, crushing you against the ground. You black out for a few seconds, and when you come to, you see Xu trying to pull you up. The abomination has sprouted another limb from its back, which it used to strike you just now.

>Deadweight takes 25 Hits, goes to 0/6


>>741221
You take a glancing strike to the side, but retaliate against the sweeping limb, and your maul breaks the limb straight off, tossing it across the room from the momentum.

>For everyone:

Xu and Deadweight are at the open elevator. She's got one hindleg stretched back to keep it open as she pulls Deadweight to her hooves.

[1d10] Helplessness recovey assistance

Huitlapan fires a bolt at the dangling monkey's head.

[1d10+1]

With its first attack, the abomination latches its newly-grown limb onto Deadweight's leg, and attempts to pull her into its fleshy body.

[1d10+3]

With its second, the dangling monkey's head clatters its teeth, trying to crunch down onto Steadfast in retaliation.

[1d10+3]

With its third, the abomination tries to grab onto Conflagration this time.

[1d10+3]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #3 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #4 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #5 6 + 3 = 9

 No.741941

>>741939
Deadweight breaths a sigh of relief as she manages to get to the elevator in time, but the moment doesn't last long as she gets knocked out from behind, and when she comes to she finds herself in between a tug of war between Xu and the abomination. She tries to free herself from the abomination's grasp.

>Recover

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.741944

>>741939
Lost groaned and then rushed to try and keep the beast from trying to grab Conflag by striking at it twice with her claws.

[2d10]

Roll #1 9, 10 = 19

 No.742304

>>741939
I scamper away from its grab and try to fire a burning magic bolt back at its faces as I go.
[1d10] dodge
[2d10] magic bolt

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

 No.742305

>>741939
"Vile beast, I refuse to see you whole!"
Spellbreaker [1d10]

While Steadfast makes a roll to remain at 1 Hit
[1d10]
And if he succeeds, continues to attack the monster.
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 8 = 8 / Roll #3 7 = 7

 No.742307

>>741944
>>742304
Conflagration leaps back, catching only a scrape against his shoulder as the hands fall short of their full grab, though his armor cushions the blow. Lost Hope darts in from the side, and breaks the abomination's arms clean off.

>>742305
The monkey head crunches down onto Steadfast's midriff, and blood gushes in a hot red spray from the wound. That blood which lands upon the abomination's skin quickly vanishes, sucked into its body as sustenance. But Steadfast remains conscious, and bashes at the abomination's flesh, undeterred by the horrid wound.

>Steadfast 1/7


But he is not there for long; Huitlapan's rock sails into the skull, breaking off part of the jaw, which lets Steadfast pull himself free. Then, your command causes the monkey head to fall from the abomination's body; the brittle bones, severed from the cursed mound of flesh, break as they hit the floor.

>>742305
>>742304
>>741944
>>741941
Xu screams as the abomination yanks Deadweight from her grasp; Deadweight sails through the air for a moment, before the arm retracts into the flesh, pulling Deadweight inside with it. The rest of the bones on the outside of the abomination's body start to retract as well; the flesh bubbles and boils and steams, producing a horrid stench somewhere between burning oil and rotting meat.

Xu fires bolt after bolt at the heap of flesh.

[2d10+2] take higher

Huitlapan grabs for another stone, but his eyes light with alarm. "Duck and cover!" he shouts, running for an overturned stone bench.

The orb of flesh wriggles, the boiling intensifying. Suddenly, small shards of bone, mostly teeth and jagged broken ribs, come spraying out in wide arcs like wave after wave of machine gun fire.

>roll dodge twice; both are counted, and are treated as a single instant action.


[2d10] Xu
[2d10] Huitlapan

Roll #1 3, 8 + 2 = 13 / Roll #2 7, 6 = 13 / Roll #3 4, 3 = 7

 No.742308

>>741941
The wad of flesh closes about you, sealing you in a pitch-black tomb of gore. Though you can see nothing, you can feel a dreadful stabbing from all sides as shards of bone puncture your suit. A sudden force upon the wounds starts to suck out your precious lifeblood, threatening to leave you a desiccated husk.

>Deadweight 0/5, will lose a wound each turn until freed

 No.742309

>>742307
I drop to my belly and try to not get shot.
[2d10] Dodge
I also try to reach into its gets with my telekinesis and yank Deadweight out and over to the elevator.
[1d10] TK

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

 No.742310

>>742307
"Agh!" Deadweight shrieks as she's pulled into the abomination's body, and her cries are silenced after being completely engulfed in the rotting flesh. She squirms, trying to free herself from it.

>Recover

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.742311

>>742307
Lost did her best to evade the blows with her manuverability.

[2d10] Dodge

'But she also did her best to rush at the beast and rip it open enough for Dead to escape

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 2, 4 = 6 / Roll #2 10 + 2 = 12

 No.742312

>>742307
Dodge myself [2d10]
Dodge Steadfast [2d10]
"Leave us already!" Word of Power [1d10+2]

Steadfast uses Slam! [1d10]

Roll #1 5, 4 = 9 / Roll #2 1, 5 = 6 / Roll #3 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #4 3 = 3

 No.742313

>>742309
A stray tooth knocks against your head, sending you into a spiraling daze. As your focus ebbs, you try to pull apart the mass of flesh to free Deadweight, but the abomination in its horrid strength, pulls against you; the pressure from its counter-pull crushes down onto Deadweight, squeezing out more and more of her blood.

>Conflagration 1/5


>>742312
You manage to duck behind a fallen statue, taking only minimum fire (1/6), but as Steadfast runs forward to deliver another blow, he catches several to the chest, and falls in a heap upon the grass, gasping for air.

>Steadfast 0/6


>>742309
>>742310
>>742311
>>742312
As Deadweight feels the strength leaving her body, Xu's magic bolt explodes across the surface of the beast's flesh, opening a small hole for air.

Lost Hope sprints forward, charging through the bullets that crack her visor and dent her suit, leaving deep and bloody welt and bruises even though they do not puncture the armor. In a final leap, she digs her blade into the hole Xu's bolt opened, then rips outward, gouging open the abomination's body in a spray of flesh and bone. Deadweight slides out on a stream of muck, rolling lifelessly onto the grass.

>Deadweight 0/3, no longer taking continuous damage


Huitlapan immediately casts his healing program onto her.

[1d10+2] Heal

As the mound of flesh hangs open, you can see several skeletal remains within. A pair of broken skulls glare out at you, then roar, spewing spit and flesh from their rotten tongues.

>Abomination unable to attack this turn due to Word of Power!


Screeching, Xu grabs a nearby stone vase and slams it onto the abomination.

[1d10] basic attack

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.742314

>>742311
>>742313
>Lost Hope 0/6

 No.742315

>>742313
"Steadfast, stand! Please!"
[1d10] Lay on Hands (Ranged)

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.742316

>>742313
I fire off a two-hit storm bolt into the abomination's exposed core, then step back onto the elevator.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.742317

>>742315
>>742313
Steadfast will try to stand up. [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.742318

>>742313
Lost groaned and slowly did her best to Rise

[1d10] Stand up

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.742319

>>742313
>>742318
Sliding on the grass, Deadweight coughs and gasps. She gets back up on her four hooves, trembling. She grabs Lost and shouts, "Come on, we gotta get to the elevator! Screw that thing!"

>Lost Hope recover

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.742320

>>742317
>>742315
Steadfast is barely able to get his breath back; seeing this, Huitlapan runs over and hoists him onto his shoulder, demonstrating surprising power for such a small figure.

[1d10] helplessness recovery assistance

>>742315
>>742316
>>742317
>>742318
>>742319
Conflagration blasts off chunks of its rotted flesh, but still the beast persists in its horrid unlife. Deadweight nearly collapses as she tries to help up her fallen comrades, her body still cold and sallow despite the sudden hit of morphine and healing gel injected by her suit's supercharged healing systems.

As Xu charges in, the abomination sprouts two sets of amalgamated arms, made of many arms all clasping one another in sequence to sturdy themselves. Though it is little more than a heap of burnt flesh now, it still has fight left in it. It slaps Xu away, then sweeps at the lot of you next.

>Xu 1/5


Abomination uses Cleave vs Lost Hope, Deadweight.

[1d10+3]

Abomination uses a grab attack against Steadfast (and Huitlapan since he's right there).

[1d10+3]

Xu throws herself over Lost Hope as a shield.

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #3 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #4 1 = 1

 No.742321

>>742320
I call up my little fiery friends with homing magic.
[1d10]
And I toss another storm bolt at the abomination with Spell Resonance.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.742322

>>742320
"I'm not sure this thing can actually die! Get everyone inside the elevator!"

 No.742323

>>742322
"Nonsense! It must go down!"
>>742320
I shout again for it to stop attacking us.
[1d10+2]
As Steadfast uses SLAM on the undead.
[1d10] Crit 8+

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.742324

>>742320
>>742323
"Screw it! It's not part of the mission, damn it!" Deadweight yells.

 No.742325

>>742320
Lost shuddered and once agian tried to get up and evade

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.742326

>>742320
Deadweight flaps her wings to avoid the abomination's attack.

>Evade

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.742327

>>742321
You conjure four bolts, and sear off another chunk of its flesh from its hide.

"It's smaller than it was earlier!" Xu shouts. "I think we've almost–"

>>742325
>>742321
>>742323
>>742324
https://youtu.be/8fp_5nbwkGo?t=29

With a sickening crack, the abomination strikes Lost Hope, Deadweight and Xu. Lost Hope and Deadweight manage to remain on their hooves, but Xu is tossed through the air, her helmet breaking clean off from her suit as she's flung head over hooves. Her limp frame skips across the marble courtyard until she rolls to a halt. Blood pours from her mouth, and she lays unconscious.

>Xu 0/3

>Deadweight 6/4
>Lost Hope 7/5

Huitlapan looks up and sees the hand coming for Steadfast, and intervenes at the last moment, shoving Steadfast away. The abomination grabs Huitlapan instead, holding him in a choking grasp. Huitlapan's eyes bulge, his legs kicking weakly as he's dragged into the air.

[1d10] breaking free

>The abomination cannot act this turn due to Word of Power


Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.742328

>>742327
I try to pick Xu up and bring her closer to the elevator with my TK.
[1d10]
After that I fire off all four balls of homing fire at the abomination.
[4d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8 / Roll #2 4, 3, 6, 3 = 16

 No.742329

>>742327
"Steadfast, please help free mister Huitlapan!"
The large stallion attacks that arm holding the rodos up.
[1d10]
"I demand of you! Abomination! End your grasp this instant!"
[1d10] Spellbreaker

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

 No.742330

>>742327
Lost groaned and rushed forward to slash at the beast to free Hu this time.

[2d10] dual weapons

Roll #1 9, 3 = 12

 No.742331

>>742327
Deadweight growls, then she swings her claymore at the abomination, adding to the annihilation.

>Slam, bonus from Talent, crits on 9+

[1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.742333

>>742328
The abomination sprouts another arm to defend itself, but your bolts swerve around and under it, and burn the flesh surrounding the arm. It falls to the ground, and you note that this was easier than severing its earlier limbs; the abomination is on its last gasps of power.

As you pull Xu's unconscious body into the elevator, the abomination's body boils, and more bone shards come firing out, pelting you with a barrage of shots, slamming you against the elevator's far wall.

>Conflagration 0/4


>>742330
The abomination punches down at you with another arm, but as you take the blow, you cut Huitlapan free.

>Lost Hope 3/5

>Huitlapan 0/4

Huitlapan, wheezing for breath, forces himself back up.

[1d10] recovery

>>742331
>>742329
The abomination drops to the ground, propping itself up by naught but an arm. Its other limbs lie in shambles about it, leaving it with naught but its single arm and its skulls. But it musters its strength, and its skulls bite down onto the arm Lost Hope just severed. It sweeps at Deadweight, slapping her toward Steadfast and Firmgold. The former two manage to remain up, but Firmgold slams the back of her head against the east wall of the courtyard, laying there in a daze.

>Deadweight 5/4

>Steadfast 6/6
>Firmgold 0/5

The abomination does not sprout any more limbs, neither does its flesh boil. Instead, the severed arm held in its teeth, it makes a break for the elevator, sweeping at Lost Hope and Deadweight.

[1d10+2] Cleave vs 2

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11

 No.742334

>>742333
"Ow! Why can't you be nice like the others?"
I try to get back to my hooves.
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.742335

>>742333
Lost groaned and did her best to avoid the blow as she ran back in to take its last limb off and leave it immobile.

[1d10] Dodge

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11

 No.742336

>>742333
I try to shake myself back to reality, and get up
[1d10]
Steadfast, without much direction, tries to (Help Huitapan <1-4> / Help me <5-8> / Attack the Abomination with SLAM <9-10>)
[2d10]

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

 No.742337

>>742333
"Gah!" Deadweight grunts as she's slapped by the decomposing arm, but she manages to keep herself unfazed. She spots Huitlapan having trouble recovering and flies over to him to help him up.

>Huitlapan recovery

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.742338

>>742334
You manage to get back up, adrenaline pumping as you feel the blood drip down the inside of your suit.

>>742337
Huitlapan collapses again, grabbing at his throat as he wheezes and hyperventilates, clearly losing himself in a panic.

>Huitlapan 0/3

[1d10] Recovery

>>742336
>>742335
>>742334
>>742337
Lost Hope and the abomination swing their weapons across one another, a momentary stillness descending upon the battlefield. An instant later, blood and gore flash from the abomination's hide, spewing out in a wretched black stream as its last arm falls free. Lost Hope and Deadweight drop to the ground a moment later, left in a stunned shock from the sweeping blow they just endured.

>Lost Hope 0/4

>Deadweight 0/3

The abomination lays motionless for an instant, one of the skulls rolling out from its open center. But it stirs once more, calling upon the last of its twisted strength. Its final skull, stained black with blood, launches itself out, connected to the mass of flesh by naught but a trail of nerves and vertebrae. In a last-ditch attempt, it throws itself at Xu's limp form, teeth bared to feast upon her.

[1d10+3] Chomp

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6

 No.742339

>>742338
"No you don't! BURN!"
I smash that last skull with a burning magic bolt before it can hit Xu.
[2d10]

Roll #1 2, 2 = 4

 No.742340

>>742338
I attempt, once more, to get up.
[1d10]
As Steadfast SLAMS the thing!
[1d10] Crit 8+

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.742341

>>742338
"Huitlapan!" Deadweight exclaims, but before she's able to help him, she's hit once more by the abomination, and it leaves her dazed. She tries to pull herself together.

>Recovery

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.742343

>>742338
Lost let out a slow groan as she tried to stand once more so she could rise and potentially finish the beast.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.742344

>>742341
>>742339
>>742340
>>742343
Steadfast severs the abomination's spine, halting its leap toward Xu. Like a serpent when it's been caught, it bends down to try to bite his throat instead, but Steadfast then flings it away. Conflagration, seeing his opening, runs in.

Small sparks snap all about him, and in the next instant, all about him – abomination, skulls and severed limbs – are engulfed in a mighty inferno. Flames billow outward, evaporating all nearby; Deadweight narrowly evades it, grabbing up Huitlapan as she rolls free of the flames. Lost Hope dives behind a fallen bench in the same moment, feeling the fires sweep over her.

The flames are as brief as they were fierce; soon all is over. Conflagration, blackened by smoke, lays in the center of the abomination's remains. Naught of it stirs anymore.

>Conflagration 0/3


Huitlapan wordlessly rubs his throat, looking between Xu and Conflagration. With a pained expression, he stops to heal Conflagration first.

>Healing automatic, combat over

 No.742345

Deadweight lets go of Huitlapan before she practically faints, falling flat on her belly with a heavy sigh.

 No.742346

>>742344
I scream when I catch on fire, then start to laugh through the scream.
"There you are! There you are! I was getting worried when you didn't show up. Things were going too good!"
Stop drop and roll, then I try and pick myself up when it is finally over.

 No.742347

>>742346
Oh right

 No.742349

>>742344
I let the calm settle over me, trying my best to ignore that stench of a great many carcasses making this abomination. When my breath has caught up with me, I look at the group and speak.
"Every venture to this level and perhaps past it would see that thing try and end us. I apologize for bringing all of you into staying to see its end, and the injuries that followed, but this was a creature that would persist until it or we were dead."
And then look around the room.
"Oh my, in all this fervor I forgot where we are headed to."

 No.742350

>>742344
>>742345
After giving herself a moment to compose herself, she gets back up on her hooves, takes out one of her medical kits, and walks over to the Rodos. "Need some patchin' up?"

 No.742351

>>742344
"Thanks, Huitlapan."

 No.742352

>>742349
That said, I do use Lay on Hands to restore Steadfast to full Hits

 No.742353

>>742344
Lost groaned but wasted no time in quickly letting Dhampir begin to consume and feast upon the Abominations flesh. Better to eat it then let it risk returning.

 No.742354

>>742353
>>742351
>>742346
>>742350
>>742349
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSGPoLCY0xU

Huitlapan nods to Deadweight. He taps a bit on his magicomp, and a panel slides back on the chestpiece of his armorsuit. You see several ports marked for the injection of healing gel and purification foam from the canisters contained inside the kits. Once Conflagration's worst injuries are dealt with, Huitlapan runs to Xu, examining her wounds next.

"Severe head trauma… a few of those teeth won't make it…" he mumbles, his voice low and hoarse. "She's probably not going to be accompanying us soon. Deadweight… better get those wounds examined for contamination."

Firmgold also heals Steadfast to full, while Lost Hope makes short work of the abomination's remains.

>>742353
Remarkable work back there, Dhampir says. You've got a real art to your swings when you get angry. You should do that more, by the way.

 No.742355

>>742354
"Just shut up and eat this thing. Try and undo any damage you can find inside me while you're at it." she muttered aloud as she kept at it.

 No.742357

>>742354
I stay inside the elevator and keep a leg stuck through the door to hold it.
"I've got a couple of medkits and a couple of armor patch kits left. Does anyone need help or do you healey types have enough juice left to keep working?"

 No.742358

>>742354
Without another word, Deadweight hooks Huitlapan up to the canisters in the med kit. She follows him to Xu with the med kit in her hoof, and she bites her lips as he examines the kirin. She sighs when her own diagnosis is given. "Alright, since we have the elevator, we can go up to the forward operating base and back down without any trouble. We should resupply and get our wounds checked before going any further down."

 No.742359

>>742357
I would like to make use of a medkit, Mister Conflagration.
>>742354
I'll walk to the Elevator with Steadfast in tow

 No.742360

>>742358
"That sounds like a better idea than camping out on the bottom of Level 8. Maybe we can find a necromancer for hire up there. We're all a bit out of our element here, even though fire's the best element there is."

 No.742362

>>742360
The pegasus chuckles. "For sure." She goes to the elevator, helping anybody who needs help getting in.

 No.742364

>>742355
Your tail leaves your control, morphing into a flat flap, similar to the flipper of a scuba diver. It slaps the back of your head, then turns back to normal.

>>742358
>>742357
>>742355
>>742359
"I agree," Huitlapan adds, sighing as Deadweight's medkit augments his suit's healing functions. In time, having recovered some of his strength, he gives a once-over on the party, dressing the most immediate of your injuries.

You ride the elevator back up all the way to L-8 F-9, where the elevator stops. There's a button between the Layer-8 and Layer-9 sections for requesting a move between the Layers. Once there, you place a call over short-range relay to the logistics team at the forward operating base. Once their encryption team verifies that you aren't Dreaded Ones hijacking or even falsifying a signal, they give you the go-ahead to report on what's happened so far. You inform them that you're in possession of an elevator and wish to come back to the base. They approve the elevator transfer; soon, you feel the elevator rising up from L-8 F-9 to L-9 F-1.

Finally, after all that long and complicated security clearing, you emerge from the elevator inside one of the refurbished buildings on Layer-9. The elevator deposits you in a makeshift decontamination room, where several of your fellow souls wait in specialized armorsuits.

"Hail," one of the decontamination crew says. "Set your collected belongings on the table here and step forward. You'll get your injuries treated in full in the next room."

 No.742365

>>742362
"Thanks for covering me when the fight started. I'm sorry, I thought that monster would go down as fast as those weird things Deadweight picked a fight with."

>>742364
"Hello to you too. You know there's a giant out there? Big fella."
I don't think I picked anything up down there but I put everything I need to on the table and head into the next room.

 No.742367

>>742364
I step forward and start undoing my equipment that'll get set out on the table, Steadfast by my side doing the same. We head through to the other room IN THE NUDE

 No.742368

>>742364
Lost quietly walked out and nodded as she moved into the next room and took a seat.

>>742362
For reasons she wasn't entirely sure of she watched the pegasus she had saved earlier during the struggle.

 No.742369

>>742365
The pegasus broodingly imparts some words of Warrior wisdom, "Never underestimate an enemy."

>>742364
Deadweight sighs as they arrive at Layer-9. At the decontamination room, Deadweight places the 50 Schillings and toolbox filled with metal components they had found below on the table, then she steps forward.

 No.742370

>>742369
"Tell me about it. I wonder if I can find bottles of lantern oil or cooking grease to throw at monsters before I light them on fire. Something tells me that's a good idea, and can't possibly backfire."

 No.742371

>>742370
She laughs and rolls her eyes. "Oh, boy."

>>742368
She notices the crystal pony eyeing her. "Uh, you alright?" she asks.

 No.742372

>>742365
As you tell the decontamination guy that, he looks disappointed; not that there's a giant down there, but more that he doesn't get to see it.

>>742365
>>742367
>>742368
>>742369
In the next room over, armed guards stand by as you're examined head to hoof for signs of physical contamination, following by a questionnaire for signs of psychic contamination. Finally, an Abbean nun subjects you to a spiritual divination, holding crystal pendulums about you as she asks the gods for a diagnosis on whether or not you've been spiritually contaminated. In the end, you all check out just fine, and spend about an hour getting your injuries treated in the third room. It is during this treatment period that Xu regains consciousness. You overhear talk among the decontamination crew as they process her for a transfer to the main medical center to deal with a slight fracture at the back of her skull.

At last, you are released from the decontamination center and allowed to exit into the lobby; through its windows, you can see the rest of the forward operating base's teams busy at work. You've been given back your possessions as well, with all of them having been approved by the decontamination team.

Before you can exit, two of the decontamination crew enter the lobby, wheeling Xu on a gurney. She looks up and squints at you. "…Sorry I dropped the ball back there."

 No.742373

>>742372
I'm more than a little surprised Lost makes it through all that, but I guess she would have been checked out before coming here.
"Don't worry about it, Xu. We all dropped the ball. We'll do better next time."

 No.742374

>>742372
As Xu says sorry, Deadweight's eyes water. "No, I'm sorry you had to go through that. I know how much you don't like going outside," she says with a soft laugh.

 No.742376

>>742372
I follow up Conflagration's response.
"I believe we've done everything we could back there, as we all came back Miss Xu."

 No.742377

>>742371
Lost went red and looked away sheepishly as she was a bit embarassed she was caught looking.

>>742372
She frowned softly "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you Xu." she said after getting close.

 No.742378

>>742377
Deadweight blinks in confusion, looks at herself to see if there's anything on her, then just shrugs as she finds nothing.

 No.742380

>>742377
>>742376
>>742374
>>742373
Xu squints even harder as you offer her comfort, and frowns. By the time that Lost Hope gets close to her, you get the sense that Xu's nearly on the verge of hissing like a cat. "Alright, alright, dial it back," she mutters. "I'll be off the reserve teams for a few weeks at minimum, but… I'll look you up when I'm back."

Huitlapan nods. "I'll be honored to join you again," he says.

Xu offers you all a wave, and then the decontamination crew wheel her back into the hallways to be sent to the main medical center.

Huitlapan sighs, then looks your way. "Well, I say we take some time to unwind before going back in. Resupply, get something in our stomachs. Maybe find another member to round out our skills. What say you?"

 No.742381

>>742380
Deadweight clears her throat. "Oh, oh yeah, sure. Get better soon and all that," she says to Xu with a wave and a smirk. She nods to Huitlapan. "Sounds like a plan."

 No.742383

>>742380
"I want food that hasn't come from a pill, and I ought to start writing about what I learned of those brain worms."

>>742377
"I'll get you all the documents you need when I'm done. How would you like to go into business as a genuine useful scientific oddity?"

 No.742384

>>742378

She did her best to not stare any more at the other mare but she couldn't help it now and then.

>>742380
She nopted the small bit of discomfort and backed away with a small nod feeling worse now.

>>742383
That remark honestly stung her a bit.

 No.742385

>>742380
I return a smile.
"I have everyone's details and will be ready for the next time we head down."

 No.742387

>>742384
I clap you on the back with a hoof.
"Great! You'll be able to help…I'm not actually sure how common brain slugs are. You'll be able to help some number of people. I'm going to the cantina."

>>742380
I head off to rustle up some grub.

 No.742388

>>742381
>>742383
>>742384
>>742385
Huitlapan accompanies you to the FOB's central area. No more new ships have arrived since yours; the gap in the zigurrat's eastern wall has been sealed by the emergency shutter once more, and rows of armored skiffs sit at the ready in case there needs be a sudden exodus from Agatecastle.

You see, not far from the office where you were briefed, a building where many are headed, having been repurposed from its old designation into the FOB's cafeteria. Even from here, you can smell meat and vegetables being grilled. You make your way inside, and see various off-duty souls waiting at various lines inside. Signs hang over each of the tables that line the walls, listing what you can order. The food, of course, is free, so naturally people are getting as much as they can get away with before a chef starts to threaten them with a cleaver. Rows of tables are set up inside and outside for people to sit at once they've gotten their orders.

 No.742390

>>742388
I get in whatever line is offering the most charred vegetables I can find.

 No.742391

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.742393

>>742388
I continue to smile while getting into a line for grilled meals for ponies.

 No.742394

>>742387
"Oh… Oh! Oh yes I could help with those."

>>742388
She grabbed a plate of veggies for herself and some more undercooked meat for Dhampir to feast on.

 No.742395

>>742388
Deadweight takes in the smells. "Mmm. Damn, delving sure does work up an appetite." She gets in line for some of those scrumptious veggies.

 No.742396

>>742394
I sit across the table from you and watch you eat.
"What's the limit on what you can eat? Brains slugs aren't exactly physical. Can you eat someone's bad ideas? Or addictions? Oohhh, that could be lucrative, couldn't it?"

 No.742398

>>742390
>>742393
>>742394
>>742395
The air fills with chatter about you as you get your grub and sit. Huitlapan arrives last, but you can see that has acquired nearly every salad that they were serving, coming back with three plates balanced upon his forearms like a professional waiter. He wastes no time digging in, stuffing his cheeks as far as they will go.

This room was most likely a cartography studio for the Obesrvatory, as there are maps of the Outlands lining the walls. Statues of famous and well-traveled Warriors fill the spaces between the tables, as does the occasional diskos.*

*As your characters know, the world is a flat disc, known as the Diskos; models of the world are referred to with a lowercase d.

 No.742400

>>742394
>>742396
>>742398
Deadweight takes a seat with the group and digs in.

 No.742402

>>742398
Thirds sound like a wonderful idea. I'll be going back for those, and seconds, when I'm done with my plate. Some iced tea, too.

 No.742403

>>742400
Lost peeked up at her shyly now and then but kept her looks well hidden.

>>742396
"Whatever my um… friend can get a hold on I guess."

>>742398
She made a note but otherwise ate quietly.

 No.742404

>>742393
"You know a lot about money, right? How much would you charge to get rid of bad dreams or addictions?"

>>742398
I wonder if the Diskos might have gotten flipped over and that's why the world went strange. Gravity means we'd not fall off…I think? I wish I had something to write this idea down on.

>>742403
"Oh. Can you ask, uh, it? Him? Her? Where'd you'd find it? Are there more of them?"

 No.742406

>>742404
I have no idea where he's from. I guess I could ask him…"

 No.742407

>>742403
Deadweight takes a furtive look at Lost when she finds her looking at her again. She looks back at her food and furrows her brows in thought. A brief moment passes, and she widens her eyes, takes one more quick look at the rock pony, then looks back at her food, raising her eyebrows as she takes another bite of her delicious baked potato.

>>742404
She squints at the unicorn with a smirk. "Sure, dude."

 No.742408

>>742407
"Huh?"

 No.742409

>>742404
I finish chewing my food before I answer.
"Addictions? Whoever's asking price, though I'd expect a few thousand at the least. Any less and there would be ponies line from one end of a hive, er, castle to the other. For bad dreams, perhaps not much unless they're plaguing me."

 No.742410

>>742408
"Mhm," she hums with a nod as she fills her mouth with more of that potato-y goodness.

 No.742411

Huitlapan hums a hymn to himself as he munches through his salads. He finishes eating before any of you, and is swift on his paws to go get himself some seconds.

 No.742412

>>742409
"That's wonderful! I'll finally be able to afford my fire insurance premiums."

>>742406
"Let me know what you find out. I bet we could write something about him, too."

>>742410
"Okay."
I go back to eating my grilled veggies.

 No.742413

>>742412
Deadweight sniggers at the thought of Conflagration having fire insurance.

 No.742416

>>742411
"Oh yeah," Deadweight says, shoving her hoof into her saddlebag. She pulls out the toolbox with the metal components in it and unceremoniously slams it on the table with it open. "We can probably sell these."

 No.742417

>>742413
>>742409
>>742406
I yawn.
"I don't know about you all, but I'm beat. Once I get a nap I'm going to be ready to go back down."

>>742411
I head back to whatever sleeping area I have and write up a patent application for using a mutualistic shape shifting magical entity to remove psychosites while leaving the subject's mind intact. After I get the ball rolling on having that sent wherever it would need to go I tuck in for some sleep.

 No.742418

>>742407
It was her turn to look a bit confused by the whole reaction she got.

>>742411
>>742412
She decided to ask her friend 'What exactly can you eat Dhampir?' she asked internally

 No.742420

>>742417
I do this after it's clear that I can't get anything more out of Lost Hope and that no one else wants to talk to me, I mean.

 No.742423

>>742416
"Oh, they should have somewhere in the commissary where you can turn those in," Huitlapan says. "You should try to look for a specialized buyer, they'll pay more than the more general junk flippers."

>>742418
Just about anything, if I try hard enough, Dhampir says. Though, anything I eat, you'll eat too. As such, I take care to not upset your delicate pony stomach.

>>742420
>>742417
There's nowhere in the FOB that you might be able to get a patent filed – you'd have to get in contact with someone back at Ironcastle, most likely. You do know, however, that Seneschal Colonnade Reprise – along with the other heads of the operation here – would be able to have that information sent on your behalf. You leave a notice with the Logistics Team that you have a message for her. She's in a meeting at the moment, so the team member informs you he'll deliver it once she's out.

Once that's filed away, you head back to the barracks, claim an open bunk, and settle in for some shut-eye.

>Paused

 No.743161

Last time, on The Castle of Silence…

It was a battle hard-fought, but the delvers at last slew the flesh-and-bone abomination that had come to investigate the appearance of the elevator on L-8 F-8. They would now be able to descend between all nine Floors of Layer Eight as they pleased, greatly facilitating the expedition's efforts.

During the battle, Xu sustained a grave injury, and in the medical examination that followed, it was discovered that she now had a fracture at the back of her skull, which would lay her up for quite some time. They would need to find someone else of technical skill if they wished to have easy access to the Castle's other power and elevator systems.

But that could wait for later. For now, they needed to eat, clean themselves, and rest, before getting back to the depths of the fallen Castle that waited far, far below them.

 No.743162

>Deadweight
"Oh, they should have somewhere in the commissary where you can turn those in," Huitlapan says. "You should try to look for a specialized buyer, they'll pay more than the more general junk flippers."

>Lost Hope

Just about anything, if I try hard enough, Dhampir says. Though, anything I eat, you'll eat too. As such, I take care to not upset your delicate pony stomach.

>Conflagration

There's nowhere in the FOB that you might be able to get a patent filed – you'd have to get in contact with someone back at Ironcastle, most likely. You do know, however, that Seneschal Colonnade Reprise – along with the other heads of the operation here – would be able to have that information sent on your behalf. You leave a notice with the Logistics Team that you have a message for her. She's in a meeting at the moment, so the team member informs you he'll deliver it once she's out.

Once that's filed away, you head back to the barracks, claim an open bunk, and settle in for some shut-eye.

 No.743163

>>743162
I've got no cash to spend and no one to talk to so I'll take this chance to get my beauty sleep.

 No.743164

>>743162
"Oh, sounds good," Deadweight says, flicking her head up in a nod. She throws the toolbox back in her saddlebag, gets up, and announces, "I'm gonna go sell these parts. You have my Concord," then she walks to the commissary.

 No.743165

>>743162
In the morning I'll ask my group if there is anything they would like to buy from my suppliers here.

 No.743166

>>743163
>>743164
>>743165
Deadweight sells off her findings at the commissary, getting for herself a haul of 150 Schillings for her negotiations. No small sum for a toolbox full of scrap metal and old tools, but with the expedition still getting off the ground, perhaps prices have not yet settled in just yet, and speculation abounds.

Eventually, you retire to the (co-ed) barracks, find any unclaimed beds lined up in the stark and spartan bunkhouse, lay your heads and get some sleep.

At around 0500 Hours, a standard wakeup time for trained soldiers of a Castle, you are awoken by a notification upon your magicomps.

>"Hail, souls," the message begins. The sender line identifies Seneschal Colonnade Reprise as the author. "Late during the dark hours last Cycle, I heard that you are the ones to thank for finding and re-activating one of the elevator systems on Layer Eight. Well done. You will find that I have sent 500 Schillings to each of your accounts. Please be in touch with one of my scribes if the transaction did not make it through. Expect further and more bountiful rewards should you prove to excel in your future endeavors. And Xu, I believe I may speak for all of us when I say that we are praying for your swift recovery."


A slew of old-school text emoticons follow the message that signify the Senechal's well-wishes for the injured Xu. It seems that Colonnade, despite not looking much older than any of you, does not use the more modern emojis.

Indeed, after you check your accounts, you see that you have all gotten 500 Schillings richer.

 No.743167

>>743165
"Maybe. What kind of things do they have?"

 No.743168

>>743166
I'll save the message and send a message to my supplier.

>>743167
"Obviously a wonderful myriad of trinkets useful to us, Mister Conflagration! I assure that you would find something to peak your interest for some situation."
I chuckle a bit and pull out a small scroll of things that my supplier can get for us.
"I apologize that I must warn you these prices were made in the old hives, they're more volatile here."

 No.743169

>>743166
Lost smiled but pondered upon what exactly she could do with the new money in her account.

 No.743170

>>743168
I take the list and look over it then my eyes light up, little flames seeming to dance inside.
"I've heard of these things. Take me to whoever I can buy an Unorthodox Psalter from. If I have schillings left after that, the counterattack circuitry."

 No.743171

>Re-posting the links to purchasable materials for reference:

Standard goods: https://pastebin.com/6akpremc

Black market goods: https://pastebin.com/bq1bhTfR

 No.743172

>>743166
"Sweet," Deadweight says, looking at her balance. "Might wanna stock up on some more kits."

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.743173

>>743170
"Of course, Mister Conflagration."
I'll get closer to him, our cheeks almost touching as I speak into his ear.
"Now are you sure these two are all you wish to buy? I must apologize if I'm being forward about this but my supplier does not wish to bring items they'll have to take back."

 No.743174

>>743173
"I'm sure. Also do you think Steadfast is going to be okay seeing you this close to another stallion? It seems unseemly."

 No.743175

>>743172
>>743170
>>743169
>>743168
As you meet up once more, Deadweight notices another curious notification in Concord. In the group chat set up for silent communications, Huitlapan and Xu have been talking, both last Cycle, during the Dark Hours, and this Cycle, just before the Waking Hours. Xu's messages gradually diminish in quality, dropping punctuation, capitals, and even proper spelling by the end. It seems that she went under painkillers at some point, and Huitlapan had a hell of a time trying to keep her spirits up as she went through many mood swings. Garbled references to Deadweight can be found here or there, and though none really make any sense, they at least seem good natured.

Xu's status now shows her as playing a video game. Deadweight recognizes its deliberately inconspicuous title – one of those notorious dating simulators where you can name every character… who knows what she may be naming hers.

 No.743176

>>743166
>>743169
>>743175

Lost decided to grab 4 medical kits and a thermographic upgrade for her suit for now. She figured this would help her cover for any injuries people suffered.

 No.743177

>>743175
Deadweight scrolls through the chat in passive curiosity, and the more she reads the higher her brow is raised. Her face then suddenly scrunches up and turns slightly red when she sees Xu's status on Concord. She may be familiar with the game. She raises a hoof up to her mouth and clears her throat, then says, "Think I gonna… stock up on some supplies."

 No.743178

>>743177
*"Think I'm gonna…"

 No.743179

>>743177
Lost looked at Dead curiously as she seemed to be thrown off a bit. She tilted her head as she looked at her with a confused look on her face.

 No.743180

>>743179
Seeing the crystal pony look at her curiously, the pegasus says, "W—what, something on my face?"

 No.743181

>>743174
I'll back up and give a polite nod.
"Well Mister Conflagration I'm sure our supplier will have this order ready for us."
I'll send an encoded message for an Unorthodox Psalter and Counterattack circuitry (200 shillings) buried under another purchase of 5 ration capsules, 5 water capsules, and 4 medical kits (200 shillings of my own to spend)

 No.743182

>>743180
"You had a funny look on your face. It was… what's the word… cute?"

 No.743183

>>743181
I'll send you however much it costs.

>>743175
Assuming the prices are as listed I'll also buy an armor repair kit, medkit, weapon repair kit, and two decanters of Noble's Wine.

 No.743184

>>743182
Deadweight blushes again. "Cute? No, I was just… reading something on Concord. Whatever," she says, rolling her eyes to hide her embarrassment.

 No.743185

>>743183
>>743174
>>743176
>>743177
>>743181
At around 0630 hours, a nondescript courier covered in crates (which are clipped everywhere, from his legs to his back to his shoulders) comes around the barracks, finds Firmgold and Conflagration, and drops off a few cases for them. He makes a few marks on his magicomp, says he doesn't need a signature for either delivery, and soon heads off, grumbling about how he needs to get himself a new pair of boots already.

Huitlapan soon joins you, periodically checking his comp. He laughs every now and again, clearly trying to suppress his laughter. "Hail, fellows. Are we ready to venture further onward?"

 No.743186

>>743185
I check my goodies and do whatever installations are needed.

 No.743187

>>743184
Lost giggled as she found that to be even cuter. SHe didn't know quite why but she liked seeing her get all flustered.

>>743185
Lost nodded gently "I am though I suspect we would like to find another to join us."

 No.743188

>>743185
>>743186
The damage attribute for my counterattck circuitry will be Fire.
The catalyst is tagged as Prism.

 No.743189

>>743187
>>743185
>Add a saddle bag to the purchases as well as a data chip

 No.743190

>>743185
"I don't wish to be rude in saying this but we would be amiss without someone to fill in the gap that Miss Xu wonderfully made."

 No.743191

>>743190
>>743186
>>743187
>>743189
Huitlapan thinks to himself for a moment. "Right, we will be sore in need of technical skill and a bit of extra firepower now that miss Xu is laid up with her injuries for the moment. Regrettably for us, I believe that some of the reserve corps has already found groups of their own to delve with, but if we put out a call for assistance, and a promise of suitable reward, we may find those who have not yet been taken along. Shall I get started on that?"

 No.743192

>>743191
"Go ahead. See if you can find a technonecromancer."

 No.743193

>>743185
Deadweight took the hour to stock up on supplies, getting 3 ration capsules, 3 water capsules, 4 armor repair kits, 1 medical kit, 1 belt pouch, 1 canteen, 1 compass, 1 data chip, 7 firecrackers, 1 Abbean Mead, 1 Noble's Wine, 1 Warrior's Homecoming, and 1 Peasant's aid, spending 550 of her 650 Schillings.

>>743187
>>743190
>>743191
"Yeah, that sounds good. Regn knows what we would've done without her gettin' that elevator working."

 No.743194

>>743193
>scratch that, no compass, just two more firecrackers

 No.743195

>>743191
Anybody would be good at this point."

 No.743196

>>743191
"Indeed we should, I wouldn't believe there is someone who can wholly replace Miss Xu, but for now I'm sure we'll find someone suitable enough."

 No.743197

>>743192
"Tech– tenonechr… Nec…" Huitlapan stutters and mumbles as he tries, desperately, and fails, badly, to spell the word out on the comp.

>>743192
>>743193
>>743195
>>743196
By the time that Deadweight finishes with her shopping, Huitlapan gasps. "Hey, we've gotten a hit. Quite the early riser, isn't he? He's been up well before us. I'll go meet him and show him where the rest of us have been, then we can do a bit of an interview."

Huitlapan departs. Around 10 minutes later, he comes back, followed by a reptilian figure a few inches taller than Conflagration. He retracts his helmet, revealing that he is of the Zawatil race, and in particular of a salamander variety. His skin, at the moment, is dry, and of a light, stone-colored complexion. His eyes are quite large, and he blinks slowly.

"Greetings…" he intones in a somewhat high tone of voice. "I am Cautaa… I am here for the interview…"

 No.743198

>>743197
"What do you do and how good are you at it?"

 No.743199

>>743197
"Greetings Cautaa, I am Lady Firmgold."

 No.743200

>>743197
"Techno with a 'ch,' necro with a 'c,' mancer with a 'c,'" Deadweight says, trying to help the Rodos with his spelling.

"Sup," she says to the salamander with a nod, "My name's Deadweight."

 No.743201

>>743197
"My name is Lost Hope."

 No.743202

>>743201
>>743199
>>743200
"Sup…" Cautaa repeats.

>>743198
"I can raise many kinds of dead, both inanimate flesh and bones, and wandering Souls of all kinds," Cautaa says. "And should I get my hands on an electrical spirit, I may even raise most machinations. I hear that I am replacing the great Xu… while I cannot perform such admirable feats of hacking as she can, most technology is badly secured against the sheer brutality of spiritual influence."
"My, I hadn't realized Xu was a bit famous," Huitlapan says.
"Back in Ironcastle, her Chirper is well-followed. It was with great sadness that her followers learned that she would be away for a long while," Cautaa says.
"Such clout!"

 No.743203

>>743202
"That's cool. There's some very nice skeletons downstairs. Presumably a lot of less nice skeleton abominations below that."

 No.743204

>>743202
"… What's a chirper…" she muttered.

She shook her head "Regardless your talents sound like what we need at the moment."

 No.743205

>>743202
"I'm sure you'll find yourself at particular strength in our layers, Mister Cautaa."
I'll send a message to Huitlapan and ask what this individual's hiring cost was

 No.743206

>>743202
"Sounds legit to me," she says with a shrug.

 No.743207

>>743206
>>743205
>>743204
>>743203
Huitlapan writes back that Cautaa is going to require a cut of 10% of the treasure that the group rakes in. He adds that Xu and himself are going to have to ask for the same amounts. Following that is a long-winded apology from Huitlapan, because he really doesn't want to impose or overcharge, but their services sadly do not come cheap, and so on and so forth… basically, Huitlapan feels bad about demanding a cut of the profits.

Cautaa fiddles about with his comp as he awaits your answers. "If you wish, I may perform some small demonstrations of my skills, should that aid in your decisions."

 No.743208

>>743207
I look at Huitlapan.
"Did you and Xu not get your bonus for the elevator?"

 No.743209

>>743208
"Oh, we did!" Huitlapan says. "This is just for the money that we make on the side with whatever valuable things we manage to bring back."

 No.743210

>>743207
"No, no, yeah, for sure," Deadweight says to Huitlapan, raising a hoof in assurance, "You get your cut. It's only fair."

 No.743211

>>743209
"Oh, sure thing."

>>743207
"Go ahead, Cau. Raise us something."

 No.743212

>>743207
"I suppose that's fair. And anything you wish to demonstrate is fine Cautaa."

 No.743213

>>743207
"I don't believe it's necessary, Mister Cautaa, I trust we'll experience the extent of your abilities during the expedition. I don't wish to sound rude with this, I assure you."

 No.743214

>>743213
"I appreciate it, but since the others wish to see, we can treat this as me being a braggart more than anything else."

>>743210
>>743211
>>743212
>>743213
Cautaa takes from his side a peculiar totemic fetish, part wand, part dreamcatcher. Its handle is made of a bundle of metal, strung tightly together with covered wire, which connects to an outer ring in the shape of a sickle, which is strung up with a small section of clear holiday lights. He shakes the catalyst, and the lights come alive; small sprites dance about inside the lightbulbs, sparkling in turn. Cautaa then points the catalyst at Huitlapan's magicomp, and the screen briefly glows blank, before turning back on. Huitlapan watches on in horror as Cautaa effortlessly takes control of the comp, scrolling through pictures, game libraries, badly disorganized file folders, and so on. "Hrm… you have great taste in films…" Cautaa says to Huitlapan. "But not all of these look to be licitly downloaded…"
Huitlapan grumbles something about piracy. "If you're quite finished, we're convinced of your skillset, good sir."

 No.743215

>>743214
"Neat."
I turn to the rest of the party.
"I'm burning to get going. When do we leave?"

 No.743216

>>743214
"I believe I heard nothing of serious note, and I'm happy to know that you're willing to explore the lower levels with us!"
I'm ready to go then.

 No.743217

>>743214
Deadweight blinks at Cautaa's magic trick, dumbfounded. "I'm impressed. You're hired."

>>743215
"I'm ready," she says.

 No.743218

>>743214
"I should put movies on mine. All I have is some games that came on mine." she said thinking aloud.

 No.743219

>>743215
>>743216
>>743217
>>743218
With yourselves once more prepared and steeled for the expedition into the Castle, you make your way back to the cluster of buildings where the elevator deposited you. There is quite the crowd gathered around it already, mostly the non-combat personnel brought along to restore the Layers once they have been re-conquered in the name of the Castles. They're fixing up the nearby areas, and the way to the actual elevator tower is quite a winding path, as you navigate around caution tape and detour signs.

Eventually, you manage to make your way to the elevator's great doors after informing the construction workers that you in fact were the ones to restore it. Said workers part ways for you, giving the doors a wide berth, as if Dreaded Ones themselves might jump out of it. In fact, that very well may be a possibility: A security team stands at the ready about the doors, ever-vigilant.

Huitlapan hits the button to call the elevator. "So… which Floor shall we descend to? F-8, as we were before? We may descend as low as F-1 if we so wished."

 No.743220

>>743219
"I feel like we should poke around each floor at least a little bit."

 No.743221

>>743219
I'll calmly walk into the elevator while responding to Huitlapan
"I believe going through each level would help our cause more than going straight to the bottom. However that's merely my opinion."

 No.743222

>>743219
"I agree with the others, lets just go down to the floor after the one we were on."

 No.743223

>>743219
>>743220
>>743221
>>743222
"Yeah, I guess the mission *is* to figure out what happened to the place. I think we've explored F-8 enough; let's go down to F-7."

 No.743224

>>743193
>math's wrong, deadweight had 50 schillings left of the 85 the party found while exploring, 150 schillings from selling the parts, and 500 schillings from the elevator bonus, so she had a total of 700 schillings before buying the supplies and now has 150

 No.743225

>>743223
>>743220
>>743221
>>743222
Huitlapan sighs with relief. "Good, I was worried what may transpire if we sought to rush through to the end. F-7 it is."

The elevator arrives, and the security team raise their blessed weapons at it. The doors part, and though it is empty inside, two of the security team stop to inspect it, chanting hymns as they do. Once they are satisfied that it is clear, they direct you to enter, pledging that the light may keep you on your journey.



At around 0810 hours, the doors slide open, releasing you into a subsection of L-8, F-7.

If you will, a moment of context:

Each Layer's Floors are specialized for some purpose in the interest of organization, and as such, each Floor has its own designation, with the higher Floors tending to be of a logistical and administrative purpose, consisting of endless horizons of office buildings and high-rises. F-7, for whatever reason, tends to be the transition point of sorts, in the form of naught but endless places where one may lose their money – a commercial Floor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JELt1jxJsHQ

As the doors part ways, you find yourselves in the open-air husk of a vast shopping mall. Three levels are above you, and a fragmented glass ceiling hangs high above. There is vast evidence of ancient fire damage all about, as the stores are naught more but burnt openings.

The mall extends to the West and to the East, and to the South; this door deposited you facing Northward.

"My…" Cautaa says. "Here I am with a light wallet…"
"We just did a bit of shopping ourselves," Huitlapan says.

 No.743226

>>743225
I start my magicomp and reoopen a new layer to draw this level with.
"I'm sure we can do some window shopping here as well. So if I'm not too forward, which direction are we taking first?"

 No.743227

>>743220
>>743225
Deadweight takes a look at her surroundings, then turns to Conflagration. "You weren't here earlier, were you?" she jests with a smirk.

 No.743228

>>743227
"Not until we find a time machine I won't have been. I'll stick behind you."

 No.743229

>>743225
Lost activated her thermographic visor and scanned the area for any stores that might still be mostly intact.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.743230

>>743229
You don't spy much of interest about here.

 No.743231

>>743225
>>743228
"Alright." Deadweight looks around a little more, seeing if any place in particular would have any clues that'd help them with their mission.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.743232

File: 1595393121108.jpg (121.95 KB, 799x799, L-8 F-7.jpg)

>>743231
>>743229
>>743228
>>743226
You look about for something resembling a directory, and in the process, get a better view of your surroundings in general. What strikes you in particular is how badly ruined the egress is about here. What was once clearly an orderly, if formulaic building, is now little more than a junk heap; bridges and the ceiling have collapsed in places, blocking off many paths. Disruptions in the earth below have also caved in many parts of the floor, creating sinkholes into which fixtures such as fountains and middle-of-the-path merchants' booths have fallen.

Eventually, you do find a directory, though the map inside is quite faded and burnt. Much of it is indecipherable, the text too badly damaged to make out. Still, there is a general shape that can be observed…

"Hrm… it appears that we're here, at location 8," Huitlapan says. "Perhaps there are exits to the east or south?"

 No.743233

>>743232
"The south seems like a good place to start for now."

 No.743234

>>743232
>>743233
Deadweight shrugs. Yeah, let's try going south. Looks like there's more to see," she says before beginning her walk over to location 10.

 No.743235

>>743232
>>743233
I'll copy the mall's map over to my own and keep adding details to it.
"Of course, Miss Hope, I'm right behind you."

 No.743236

>>743232
>>743234
I stick behind Deadweight.

 No.743237

>>743234
>>743235
>>743236
Lost nodded and moved along with Dead, keeping pace with her at the front of the group.

 No.743238

>>743236
>>743235
>>743234
>>743233
As you proceed deeper south into the ruins of the mall, your bodies pick up on the faintest thrilling of aetherial currents in the atmosphere – signs of concentrated magical power, almost like the ripples in the air caused by a heatwave. But, more strangely, what follows is the occasional bar of static shooting across the fronts of your visors, as well as on your magicomps, disrupting the visuals upon the screens. Ahead, there is very little light, but you can see the gleams of many electronic screens, arranged in heaps. It is difficult to see what may be causing it, as much of it is obscured by the darkness ahead of you.

>"I believe we may have an anomaly before us," Cautaa types in the group chat.

 No.743239

>>743238
"Mister Cautaa you are the expert here. Should we stop and assess this issue or find somewhere safer to confront it?"

 No.743240

>>743238
"Well damn," Deadweight types back.

 No.743241

>>743238
Lost once again used her visor to scan, checking if there was any temperature changes that might be suspicious.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.743242

>>743241
>>743240
>>743239
>"Hahaha, perhaps I am not the person to ask, if you wish to have escape be on the table," Cautaa types. "My vote, naturally, is to press onward."

The low-light vision in your visors reveals that the path ahead is covered in a carpet of wires, all entangled with one another like so many bonds of ropes. The coils of wires lead toward a great heap of electronics of almost every kind imaginable. Monitors, desktops, laptops, phones, consoles – all of them are gathered together in some strange way, perhaps as a haul that some robber wanted to be off with, or perhaps as some kind of junk heap for dismantling, or…

As Lost Hope puts on her thermographic visor, she can see a collection of vaguely diamond-like shapes floating about over the heap of electronics. Their number varies – at first, there are only three. But then one will split apart into two smaller ones, as will another. Those split ones will merge with those nearby, reforming themselves into their original trio. What they are is unclear, except that they are invisible to the naked eye.

 No.743243

>>743242
>Cautaa are you familiar with anything that's shaped like a diamond and seems to split and reform over and over?"

Lost asked in the group chat as she kept her eyes on them.

 No.743244

>>743243
>"No, but an orderly shape and repetitive action suggests some kind of relation to metals or stones, or electronica of some kind… hard to say with just a glimpse."

 No.743245

>>743236
>>743239
>>743242
>>743243
Deadweight peers into the darkness with her visor. She types in the group chat, "So, we goin' in or turning back?"

 No.743246

>>743245
"I see something and it doesn't seem like a threat so I suppose moving forward is fine."

 No.743247

>>743242
>>743245
"I believe that we should make an effort to understand this phenomenon in case it may be hostile."
What state are these electronics in?

 No.743248

>>743246
>>743247
"A shape-shifting diamond sounds a little unsettling, but yeah, might find a clue here," Deadweight replies. She gingerly walks towards the electronics heap to get a closer look.

 No.743249

>>743247
Their condition varies; all appear to have sustained some degree of damage, some more severe than others. Most would probably work again if given some maintenance, while about 30% appear beyond saving.

>>743248
>>743247
>>743246
As Deadweight gets nearer to the heap of electronics, Lost Hope sees the three diamonds near the top of the heap start to stir. They split into many dozens of smaller selves, and rush toward Deadweight, surrounding her. Once they do, many more diamonds start to appear about her, growing in size rapidly.

Deadweight, for her part, feels the temperature about her start to skyrocket, as if she were trapped inside of an oven. The air ripples about her in sudden awful heatwaves. Just when the heat seems to reach a fever pitch, her body becomes pleasantly cool… too cold, in fact. It feels that the heat is in fact leaving her body out through her limbs, pooling into her suit. But she is now so cold that she can hardly feel her suit's extreme heat.

>Deadweight loses 2 Wounds


Huitlapan gasps and steps forward, but Cautaa hisses, grabs him by the scruff and yanks him back.

>Paused

 No.743250

>>743249
Lost's entire form bristled as she prepared to rush in, only to stop due to her own apprehension over her previous rushes coming forth.

Still seeing Dead get hurt quickly made the mare very angry and upset.

 No.743251

>>743249
"Damn!" Deadweight exclaims under her breath, nearly collapsing. She tries to get herself back to the group.

 No.743862

>>743249
>>743251
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.743863

Last time, on The Castle of Silence…

Our delvers arose on the next Cycle refreshed and rested. For their work in activating the elevator system for Layer Eight, the Ramparts, they each received a bonus of 500 Schillings. They topped off their supplies, some of which consisted of contraband goods they were able to purchase through Firmgold's contacts in the black market. They then recruited Cautaa, a zawatili technomancer who was quite an avid fan of Xu's. He asserted that his skills were nothing in comparison to hers, but he demonstrated some ability to manipulate electronics from afar using electric spirits – revealing Huitlapan's pirated film library in the process.

After eating a balanced breakfast, they decided to not head straight down to the lower Floors of Layer Eight, and instead at least visit each Floor in turn to see if there may be anything worth taking rather than passing up. A more thorough approach would be slower, but could very well pay off, if they made a valuable discovery…

They proceeded back to the section of the FOB where the elevator awaited them, finding it heavily guarded and under work by a construction crew. When they informed the guards of their intent to dive deeper into Agatecastle, the guards allowed them through, and they descended to L-8 F-7.

L-8 F-7 happened to be the commercial Floor of the Ramparts. High-rises, department stores, malls, shopping centers… in all directions, as far as the eye could see, was nothing but the wasteland of a once thriving economy. They emerged into an abandoned mall, which seemed as though it had been destroyed by a vast and all-consuming fire. They looked about, and found the remains of a burned directory. It provided an incomplete image of the mall, but given the destruction and ruins that lay about, it was probably more or less accurate.

They proceeded south from their location, and in one of the darker corridors that awaited them, they saw a high and strange shrine of sorts, made from a heap of mostly broken electronics. The magical currents surrounding it caused visual disturbances upon their visors, and in thermographic vision, it was possible to see a trio of floating diamond shapes above the shrine.

Deadweight took a step closer to investigate it, and was immediately beset by the diamond shapes. Immediately she grew hot, then terribly cold, as whatever the diamond shapes did seemed to sap the heat right out of her body.

 No.743864

>Firmgold
Their condition varies; all appear to have sustained some degree of damage, some more severe than others. Most would probably work again if given some maintenance, while about 30% appear beyond saving.

>Everyone

As Deadweight gets nearer to the heap of electronics, Lost Hope sees the three diamonds near the top of the heap start to stir. They split into many dozens of smaller selves, and rush toward Deadweight, surrounding her. Once they do, many more diamonds start to appear about her, growing in size rapidly.

Deadweight, for her part, feels the temperature about her start to skyrocket, as if she were trapped inside of an oven. The air ripples about her in sudden awful heatwaves. Just when the heat seems to reach a fever pitch, her body becomes pleasantly cool… too cold, in fact. It feels that the heat is in fact leaving her body out through her limbs, pooling into her suit. But she is now so cold that she can hardly feel her suit's extreme heat.

>Deadweight loses 2 Wounds


Huitlapan gasps and steps forward, but Cautaa hisses, grabs him by the scruff and yanks him back.

Deadweight attempts to move, but barely manages to slump backwards, falling onto her back legs. It is a sensation akin to fighting off sleep paralysis, her entire body feeling now like nothing more than a sack of limp and dreadfully cold meat.

 No.743865

>>743864
I try to pull Deadweight away from the pile of junk with my telekinesis.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.743866

>>743864
>>743865
"Ghk—" is all Deadweight can mutter as she feels her strength leave her in seconds.

 No.743867

>>743864
Lost growled and decided to do what she could to track the beings.

[1d10] Hunter's Sense

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.743868

>>743867
You sense that their dwelling is in the great heap of electronics laying before you in the strange, almost shrine-like network of cords and broken machinery. If that gets destroyed, then they, like bees left without a hive, would have little options other than immediate dispersal. It's getting to it that's the trouble – upon closer inspection, you can even see burned skeletal remains laying among the broken tech.

"Wait!" Cautaa says. ""It's an anomaly, it can't be fought through normal means!"

>>743865
>>743866
Conflagration yanks Deadweight back, and she slumps in a heap before you. Huitlapan falls by her side, performs a quick diagnosis upon his magicomp, and gets to healing her. "Quick! Get a fire going, we need her temperature to get back up!"

[1d10+2] Heal

"Damn it…" Cautaa grimaces. "I should have known…. It took her bioelectricity. Could be any number of various subtypes, but I'd bet my last Schilling it's some kind of data wight… we'll have little luck trying a direct approach."

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

 No.743869

>>743868
Her jaw starts to vibrate, trying to restore some warmth.

 No.743870

>>743868
"A fire? I can do that!"
That giant heap of electronics will make a great bonfire. Rare earth metals and plastics aren't that bad to inhale.
I strike the pile of electronics with a two-hit burning Storm Bolt.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.743871

>>743870
Deadweight's eyes open wide, but she doesn't have the strength to yell at the dummy.

 No.743873

>>743868
"THe pile is like a hive, destroy it and they'll have no where to go." she vocalized for them all to hear.

 No.743874

>>743869
>>743870
>>743873
Cautaa gasps and leaps back as a flame starts to pop off at the base of the electronic shrine. "W-well! That's one way of dealing with the problem…"

Huitlapan stammers, shocked out of his focus by the bursting of the flames. Nervously, he starts to drag Deadweight closer to the flame to warm her up.

"Incoming!" Cautaa gasps as the flame picks up. The surface of your magicomps, and your visors, start to cloud with a wave of dark static, completely leaving you blind.

[1d10+2] vs. all

"It's an anomaly, there may be another way of dealing with it!" Cautaa stammers as he stumbles back. "We must appease it! We may bring graver curses upon us like this!"
"The hell with it," Huitlapan says. "It attacked with little provocation!"

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.743876

>>743874
"If you've got any ideas I'd love to hear them!"
I step back and summon up my burning homing magic.
[1d10]
I also pull up my visor so I can see.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.743878

>>743874
Lost did her best to avoid the issue by yanking her helmet up and looking for any more visible threats.

 No.743879

>>743874
Deadweight lets Huitlapan drag her towards the flame, and the heat brings some strength back to her. She flicks up her visor to be able to see and braces for whatever's coming.

 No.743881

>>743874
I use my sheer will to break the life of this magical thing.
"Oh! Stop that!"
[1d10] Spellbreaker

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.743882

>>743876
You conjure two orbs.

>>743876
>>743878
>>743879
>>743881
Smoky air, putrid with the scent of burning plastics, glass and who knows how many unpronouncable chemicals aflame, fills your suit; it is paradoxically frigid cold with the chill of the Outlands, and bitingly hot from the fire. All of you feel a horrid chill come over you, along with a kind of forward momentum leaving your bodies, like the heat's being physically yanked out from the front of your bodies into the heap of electronics. As Firmgold attempts to break the effect, she can feel the entities before the party "tug" upon her magic, yanking even more of her life force – bioelectricity, Cautaa said – out from her.

>all lose 1 wound, Firmgold loses an additional one


"Back!" Huitlapan cries as he and Cautaa suddenly drag Deadweight back. "Back, back!"

[1d10+2] Heal on Deadweight

If you choose to go back with them, you feel the draining subside once you're about ten more feet away from them. "This should be without the effective limit of the spirits' power…" Cautaa says.
"You seem to know a lot more about them than you let on before," Huitlapan says.
"N-never mind that," Cautaa says. "If we take our time here, striking them from a distance, we could get by just by annihilating them from a distance… provided that they do not jump to any nearby electronics."
"An awful lot more…" Huitlapan growls.
"B-but, we'd be robbed of the research opportunity if we were to discern their desires…" Cautaa protests.

By now, Deadweight has gotten used to the shock that affected her body, and is able to move once more. Huitlapan gives her muscles a massage to get the warmth back into them.

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.743883

>>743882
I back up until I stop feeling drained. Once my suit has a chance to air out I snap the visor shut again.
"Any suggestions, Cautaa? If you want to make Huitlapan money you have to do Huitlapan work. He's a master healer, you know."

 No.743884

>>743882
Deadweight grimaces at the strong chemical smell. Her limbs squirm, trying to help Huitlapan and Cautaa get her away from the epicenter.

 No.743885

>>743882
Lost shuddered and shivered as she looked inward for an answer Dhampir is there anything I can use you for here to help insulate against this?!

 No.743886

>>743882
I move back as well, bracing myself against the bulk of Steadfast to a safer distance.
"Goodness."

 No.743891

>>743883
Huitlapan groans and shudders, especially as his healing programs seem to make Deadweight's condition worse. He seems to be of the type psychologically wounded by compliments.

>>743884
>>743883
>>743886
Huitlapan gasps and shudders as he messes up the treatment of Deadweight, who feels herself falling back into wooziness. "M-my apologies, miss Deadweight!" he groans.

>Deadweight 11/4 (miscounted your max, 11/4 is correct)


Cautaa looks at the machinery surrounding the pile, and with a guilty expression, tries to raise one.

[1d10+2] Raise Dead w/ Electrical Spirit

>>743885
You hear quite a bit of sniffing around in your head. Skirt along the eastern edge here, second door down. There's an old sporting goods store. Drop your magicomp and raise your visor, but you should be able to find enough rubber in there to stop a bullet. Otherwise, this thing's going to keep kicking, and I'll bet it'll pursue us. This Cautaa guy… I don't like him.

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9

 No.743895

>>743891
Hope nodded as she fully removed her helmet and dropped her magi comp, limpering up a bit before making a mad dash for the store following his instructions.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.743896

>>743891
While everyone else is watching the fire I made I'll turn around to keep an eye behind us.
[1d10] perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.743898

>>743891
Deadweight starts feeling lightheaded and is having trouble keeping her eyes open. "I'm… buh…" she slurs, trying to reassure Huitlapan, but probably doing the opposite.

 No.743901

>>743891
I stand and wait for someone to do something as I'm at a loss for ideas.

 No.743902

>>743895
You break out in a sprint for the second door on the east side of the corridor, but just as you get past the first store, a pillar of heat stabs into your side, followed by a dreadful cold all throughout the right side of your body. Your suit starts to lock up, the armor plating and inner weaves shutting down and becoming immobile as the data wight wreaks havoc on your suit.

>You lose 1 Wound


But, a swelling of power fills your body, a hideous strength not your own…

On your hooves, I didn't give you permission to stop! Dhampir barks. You're paying me back for this power, now move!

Thanks to that strength, you're able to press through the pain, and stumble into the sporting goods store. Much of it is damaged, but you see some rubber equipment you can don to jury-rig an insulated suit against the bioelectrical attacks.

>>743896
You look about, but get distracted by the thought of all the great fires you might be missing behind you.

>>743898
>>743896
>>743895
>>743901
"She made it!" Huitlapan exclaims as Lost Hope manages to get into the sporting goods store. At the same time, Cautaa gets a toy robotic pony to run away from the heap of electronics, trailing with it some kind of makeshift whip made of torn power cords and tangled-up AV cables. "I am ready to strike if you wish to slay this thing!" Cautaa says.
"You're not getting off so easily…" Huitlapan mutters under his breath.
Cautaa winces. "Erm… well, it should be of a moderate intelligence, less than ours but still reasonable," Cautaa says. "Mayhap we can bargain with it, or give it an ultimatum. It should be getting desperate now that its shrine is aflame. Or we could just attack."

 No.743903

>>743902
Lost felt like vomiting from the way her muscles were squeezing her insides but she quickly created a claw from Dhampir and used it to begin cutting the rubber into pieces she could attack before looking for some tape.

[1d10] crafting if necessary.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.743904

>>743902
That's a good point. I turn back around to admire my handiwork.
"I thought we were here to kill everything that wasn't us or very polite. That's not one of us, and it's not polite. Why exactly would we want to leave it alive?"

 No.743905

>>743904
"I believe we left it alive to study, mister Conflagration, yet this thing's purpose has been set after it lashed out at us."
>>743902
I watch as the shrine continues to burn

 No.743906

>>743902
>>743904
>>743905
"Fmm! Hmm, mm…" Deadweight mumbles, raising a hoof up but letting it fall to the ground just as quickly.

 No.743907

>>743905
"We're here to blow the entire place up. Realistically, how much studying can get done in a couple weeks, or month, or whatever when you need to be constantly guarding against attack?"
Actually, I'm Sage. What would be the benefits of studying this and how much studying could actually be done considering the limited timeframe and danger posed by the surroundings?
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.743909

>>743904
>>743905
"If I could but tame it, I could surely extract whatever useful knowledge of the area and technological systems it holds…" Cautaa says, very clearly enjoying the prospects of it. "Given enough time, and perhaps some offerings with which to appease it, I could fashion some kind of permanent thrall… picture one of those digital companion apps, only made into a technological attack dog, hacking systems at your command!"

"Er, well…" Huitlapan says. "A tantalizing notion, but a riskier one than just destroying it. How would we subdue it?"

"Weaken it and bargain with it, or capture it in some kind of digital storage unit," Cautaa says. "I have a data chip right here, if you don't want to endanger any of yours."

>>743907
You mull it over, and figure that Cautaa is basically telling the truth about the data wight's capabilities. You figure that he might have it converted in about three days, if he's worth is salt as a Sage.

>>743903
You put together a fairly well-insulated suit of rubber armor that you should still be able to run about in with little impediment to your speed.

 No.743910

>>743909
"Sounds good. Let's do it."

 No.743913

>>743909
[1d10+2] Heal

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.743914

>>743913
>>743906
You regain 1 Wound

 No.743916

>>743909
Lost let out a sigh before popping the other claw out and rushing out to attack the pile with little regard for the being of the creatures as she was quite mad at them.

[2d10] dual attack

Roll #1 10, 9 = 19

 No.743917

>>743907
Deadweight shakes her head, trying to restore her sense of awareness. "Our mission is to find out what happened to this place, blowing it up is secondary," she informs Conflagration.

 No.743918

>>743917
"Oh, I had it backwards."

 No.743921

>>743918
"Figured a pony like you'd only remember that part of the briefing," the pegasus jests with an eye roll.

 No.743923

>>743918
>>743917
>>743916
After you come to a consensus, Lost Hope leaps from the sporting goods store, covered in a red and black mass of rubber insulation, foam padding, and at least three or four different teams' logos, all in a patchwork of insulatory armor. With her claws flashing in the light of the flames, she cleaves through a great chunk of the electronic shrine, scattering glass and shrapnel everywhere in her wake. Cautaa, taking that as the signal to attack, waves his electronic totem, sending his minion in to attack. Huitlapan takes a bit of debris, and loads it into his crossbow.

Lost Hope feels a beam of heat directed at her, but it's greatly muffled by the rubber insulation, and doesn't stop her in the slightest. A flash of heat flares in the space above the shrine, signaling the data wight's displeasure.

[1d10] Cautaa's minion attacks the shrine!

[1d10+1] Huitlapan shoots the shrine!

Lightning arcs from the space above the shrine, scattering a volley of broken electronics at Lost Hope in a makeshift projectile attack!

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #3 7 + 1 = 8

 No.743924

>>743923
"Well, whatever then. Let's burn!"
I fire both my homing magics at the shrine.
[2d10]
I pop off my Spell Resonance to hit it with Storm Bolt again.
And I hit it with another burning two hit Storm Bolt.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8, 8 = 16 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.743925

>>743923
Lost did her best to evade the attack before trying to rip out something important from the pile.

[1d10] dodge

[2d10] Dual attack

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 1, 9 = 10

 No.743926

>>743923
I watch with anticipation to see this thing made servile to Cautaa's whim, failing this flow of events to our desired result, I enact another force of will through spellbreaker.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.743927

>>743923
"Hmph," Deadweight says, crossing her forearms with a smirk. They look like they're having fun.

 No.743930

>>743927
>>743926
>>743925
>>743924
The debris rips through Lost Hope's makeshift armor, scoring many cuts along the sides. The data wight then blasts her with a ray of bioelectric heat, knocking her to the ground in a suit that suddenly feels like a pressure cooker. She lands atop Cautaa's small minion, and it falls to the ground with her.

>Lost Hope 0/3


But just as it charges up another attack to strike her dead, Huitlapan snatches its attention with a rock through one of the shrine's monitors. Then, Conflagration unleashes a volley of explosions against it, ripping up great chunks of cords and screens as broken tech goes flying everywhere about. You sense heat beginning to disperse everywhere as the data wight searches for a place to flee, but Firmgold's counterspell causes its attempted jumps to fail.

With nowhere to run, the data wight starts to concentrate all its gathered heat into small beads, compressed so tightly that it even becomes visible to the naked eye, a blinding-white dot of light. It then launches these bullets out, a last-ditch effort to take you down with it!

[1d10+1] Conflagration
[1d10+1] Firmgold
[1d10+1] Huitlapan
[1d10+1] Cautaa
[1d10+1] Deadweight

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #3 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #4 10 + 1 = 11 / Roll #5 8 + 1 = 9

 No.743931

>forgot actions

Huitlapan tries to heal Lost Hope
[1d10+2]

Cautaa commands his minion to jump in front of Firmgold
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.743934

>>743930
I roll to the side, dodging, and fire off a burning magical bolt at it.
[1d10] dodge
[2d10] magical bolt, keep the highest

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

 No.743937

>>743930
I try to hide behind the bulk of Steadfast, as he jumps to shield me!
[1d10] Myself
[1d10] Steadfast

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

 No.743939

>>743930
>>743931
>>743930
Lost groaned, standing up and moving the armor over to try and patch the hole before cracking her neck and letting out a cry as she tried to rip something out from the pile that would be considered load bearing or important.

[1d10+2] Rupture

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7

 No.743941

>>743930
"Lost!" Deadweight shouts as the crystal pony's hit by the high-speed debris. With astonishing celerity, she bounds across the rubble to help Lost up

>Lost recovery

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.743943

>>743937
The bullet rips clean through Cautaa's robotic minion, which barely slows its momentum. Steadfast narrowly ducks in behind it, taking the brunt of the hit onto himself. He slams back into you as it shoves him back, and you barely manage to skid back without him falling onto you, or you onto the burnt carpet and broken tiles below you.

>Steadfast 1/7


>>743934
The data wight is the quicker draw, and your shot goes haywire as its heat bullet jabs into your side, knocking the air from your lungs.

>Conflagration 1/4


>>743939
>>743941
>>743937
>>743934
As Deadweight runs in to aid Lost, the data wight takes aim at her, and hits her dead in the chest with its heat bullet. She presses onward despite the hit, so it follows it with a focused wave of bioelectric heat, forcing her to stop as she cooks in her very suit.

>Deadweight 2/4


Huitlapan, enduring the data wight's shot against him, manages to heal Lost Hope.

>Lost Hope 7/4


But in the next moment, Cautaa goes down, the shot aimed at him puncturing clean through his suit's leg.

>Cautaa 0/4


Seeing another chance to escape, the data wight, now becoming visible as a flickering data diamond, moves toward Deadweight.

"It's t-trying to possess her suit!" Cautaa wheezes through his teeth. "A magicomp, data chip, a keyboard, grab anything with circuitry! Catch it! Use it like a net!"

[1d10] He attempts to rise
[1d10] Huitlapan helps him up

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.743945

I use my telekinesis to launch both my data chips at the data weight.
[2d10]

Roll #1 3, 10 = 13

 No.743946

>>743943
Lost moved quickly, grabbing the minion Cautaa had created before and hurling it at the diamond as she saw a bit of read thinking about it hurting Dead again.

 No.743947

>>743946
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.743948

>>743945
*wight

 No.743949

>>743943
"Wonderful, Steadfast! Simply wonderful!"
I use Lay on Hands to restore Steadfast's hits to full
[1d10]
Before he launches his bulk at the shrine and attempts to slam it
[1d10] Crit 8+

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.743951

>>743943
"Gah!" she exclaims, getting hit right in the chest. Seeing the diamond visible at last, and heading towards her, she flies up with a flap of her wings, trying to evade it.

 No.743954

>>743951
>>743949
>>743947
>>743946
>>743945
Steadfast is a little unsteady on his hooves until Firmgold restores him with an encouraging word. In the last moments that the red diamond is visible, you can see it dispersing, like fog being blown away by a powerful fan. Only, it's being pulled away – into Conflagration's two data chips, and into what remains of Cautaa's robotic minion. The diamond fragments into roughly three pieces, each one going into a different object.

At last, all the heat in the corridor subsides, and you are left in peace.

"Well, well," Cautaa says with a wince. "That was better than expected. By splitting it into three, we've reduced the chances that the little sucker can get away, owing to its power being split up like that. Well done."
"Hush," Huitlapan grumbles. "I need to fix all these wounds. All of you, line up! Miss Firmgold, I'll need your assistance if you can spare it…"

 No.743955

>>743954
"My assistance? Mister Huitlapan, I must apologize as I'm unsure what to be of aid with."

 No.743956

>>743954
I grab any loose scraps from Lost Hope's armor and wrap my two data chips up in them before sticking them back in my pouch. After that I line up for Hu.

 No.743958

>>743954
Deadweight pants as she looks down to see what came of the deadly diamond, and she breathes a sigh of relief finding it gone. She glides down to Huitlapan. "Maybe with the AC back on you'll have a better time focusing," she teases Huitlapan.

 No.743959

>>743955
"I confess that I am, as they say, shook," Huitlapan says.

 No.743960

>>743955
I protest but walk over to see what my assistance amounts to.

 No.743962

>>743958
>>743954
Lost panted heavily, feeling utterly drained with the whole thing before suddenly lunging forward and hugging Deadweight, just glad she was safe.

 No.743966

>>743962
"Oh," Deadweight blurts, caught off guard by Lost's sudden hug. She's not really sure what to do; this isn't very professional. She lets a couple seconds pass before deciding on returning the hug, albeit with a casual one-hoofed tap. "I'm… glad you're alright, too," she says to her.

 No.743967

>>743962
>>743958
>>743956
>>743955
After quite some time (and some breaks, as Huitlapan really does seem stressed by the whole ordeal), Huitlapan dresses all your wounds. The minor dents in your suits shouldn't be much to worry about, and as for Cautaa, the ones in his should be small enough to wrap up with some of the scraps from Lost's makeshift rubber armor.

"Err, since you're the victors, to you go the spoils," Cautaa says.
"Hrm?" Huitlapan asks. "Do you mean ownership of the… data wight, you called it?"
"That, but also the left-behinds," Cautaa says.
"Whatever could you mean?"
"When anomalies are dispersed, they are known to leave behind strange artifacts," Cautaa explains. "Check where it was floating earlier, there may be something of value you can dig up."

>roll for loot if you so desire

 No.743969

>>743967
I carefully dig through the pile with my telekinesis.
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.743970

>>743967
I choose to [1d10] loot

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.743971

>>743967
"Oh yeah?" Deadweight says in response to Cautaa. She trots over to the scene of the crime and sees if it left anything interesting.

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.743972

>>743967
>>743966
She pulled away after a moment blushing "SOrry I… just got worried is all."

she scurried away to start looting the area.

[1d10] Looting

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.743973

>>743972
Noticing her blushing, she smiles and blushes too. "Don't worry. I'm still in one piece," she assures her with a chuckle.

 No.743974

>>743969
My expanded racial is 1) Posh 2) Hornlight
[1d2]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.743975

>>743972
>>743971
>>743970
>>743969
Conflagration, Deadweight and Lost Hope find about 70 schillings between them, scattered about among the rubble and the debris from the battle. Firmgold, however, finds something of note, buried under a broken monitor. A curious looking thing, it seems to resemble a small bolt of white cloth at first glance, and in fact is quite soft when touched. However, when she touches it, she finds that it crackles with electricity, but of a very tame sort. She can feel her will connecting to… something within it, a kind of minor intelligence that recognizes and obey her commands.

>Thunder-Bolt: Artifact; Ranged; An anomalous artifact that can generate a powerful amount of electricity, but requires time to charge up. Once per scene, you can unleash some of that electricity on a target. This can be used to power machinery with no power source, light up a dark area, overload systems and break them, or, in combat, it can stun an opponent for one turn as an automatic action, unless they have Null, Repel or Absorb Lightning.

 No.743977

>>743975
I look over my shoulder at Hu and Cau.
"Do you two want your seven shilling share of the loot now or when we get back?"

 No.743978

>>743973
"I know I just…I saw you get hurt and it really bothered me." she mumbledquietly.

>>743975
She took 25 of them and then regathered her gear and took the small toy with the Wight in it, using some of her rubber armor to wrap it up and insulate it.

 No.743980

>>743975
"What an odd curio… Perhaps a remnant of this shrine?"
I show huitlapan

 No.743982

>>743975
>>743977
"Meh," is all Deadweight has to say about her loot. She chuckles and says, "You can keep my 'share.'"

>>743978
Deadweight takes a second to hear her quiet mumbling. "Well, I'm glad. It's nice to know somepony cares about me," she says gently with sincerety.

 No.743983

>>743982
"Oh, good."

>>743975
I take 25 shillings and float 7 each over to Hu and Cau for their 10% cut and send the rest to Firmgold.

 No.743985

>>743982
She gave her a small smile before putting her helmet and magicomp back on.

 No.743987

>>743983
>>743982
>>743978
>>743977
Huitlapan glances at the modest pile of coins you have collected. "Actually, I'll get my share of the next anomaly we come across. You can split what you've collected as you wish."
"Indeed…" Cautaa says. "Getting to study the data wight is more than enough for me."

>>743980
Huitlapan and Cautaa study it. "That it is," Cautaa says. "Anomalies are sought by treasure hunters for their capacity to spontaneously generate matter that has no business being there, in complete defiance of such small-minded notions as causality and conservation of matter."
"And such strange properties too…" Huitlapan says. His fur stands on end as he touches it. "My goodness! That one will be of no use to me. I shall be blinded by my fluff if I get near it."
"If you ever come across an artifact that you wish to discard, I know someone who will give you a much better price than an average merchant," Cautaa says. "But, I'll need you to keep hush about it… many artifacts fall into contraband categories depending on their properties. You could get locked up for a long time if a seneschal or a snitch gets wind of you selling artifacts to the wrong buyers…"

 No.743989

>>743987
"I shouldn't have to worry about that, Mister Cautaa, the best 'artifacts' are rarely known to be discovered afterall!"
I laugh and take back this cloth. Pocket it in one of my belt pouches.
"Well! I believe this was a great learning experience! I don't wish to be forward with my decision but these shrines should be disposed of at every chance, given what we know about them now."

 No.743990

>>743987
I keep the extra 14 then.

 No.743991

>>743987
Lost nodded and decided to scan through the rest of the stores with a quick glance. Might as well see if there was anything of note before they moved on to the last area.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.743993

>>743987
>>743989
>>743990
>>743991
Deadweight snickers seeing the Rodos turn into a big fluff ball. After they examine the thingamadoodle, she says, "Well, I guess we should get a move on. Haven't found out about anything other than that the current denizens of this floor like sewing."

 No.743996

>>743989
>>743990
>>743991
>>743993
There doesn't seem much else that can be usable around here… but Lost does notice the remnants of security cameras laying about amid the electronica shrine. Not just for home use, but armored ones used by Castle security forces. Thus, there may be a guard room somewhere that could be used for gathering information on just what went down in the mall here.

Cautaa double-checks the picture of the directory that he took earlier. "I concur, miss Deadweight. Let's see… we found the directory at location eight, and this must be location ten, by my reckoning."
Huitlapan takes a note of that. "Either back and east to location three, or further south to location two, those appear to be our choices."

 No.743998

>>743996
"I guess we might as well keep going south," Deadweight says with a shrug.

 No.743999

>>743996
>>743993
"I'm going wherever Deadweight goes."

 No.744000

>>743998
>>743996
"There might be a security room in here somewhere. I'm finding armored security cameras in the rubble."

 No.744002

>>744000
"Oh hey, that's a good idea," Deadweight says to Lost. "Hmm, if I was a security room, where would I be?" she asks herself, tapping her chin with her hoof as she looks around.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.744003

>>743996
"I believe we should go back and purchase electric padding for our armor before going further, however there is a chance more issues may arise in that absence. I proceed behind everyone of course."

 No.744005

>>743996
I light up my horn and cast a bonfire glow around the surrounding area to help the search for the security room.
[1d10+1] perception

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4

 No.744006

>>744003
"I'm hoping that was just a one-time thing," Deadweight says, referring to the deadly diamonds.

 No.744008

>>744000
>>743996
Lost similarly starts looking for the room, using her Thermals if it might help.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.744010

>>744006
"As am I, Miss Deadweight, simply one of those things reduced us to almost nothing. But! Danger is what

 No.744011

>>744010
-lies before the path to greatness! I endeavor to the finish as much as you will, Miss Deadweight!"

 No.744013

>>743998
>>743999
>>744000
>>744003
>>744008
In your search for a security room, you head south, entering location 2, per the conventions of the directory. You soon see the reason for why it's such a large area – it's a two-floored food court, with a non-operational elevator, escalator and stairway system connecting the two floors. Fading neon lights and quirky architecture grab your attention. Nostalgic shades of pink and near-green teal cover the walls, which are painted in the images of beaches on the verge of the Dark Hours (AKA Sunset but there's no such concept in this setting).

As you enter the first floor of the food court, Lost Hope notices something at the far back of the area. A set of double doors, with one having been beaten in from outside; it lays on the floor off its hinges. Painted across both doors, you see: "NO ENTRY / SECURITY PERSONNEL ONLY."

 No.744014

>>744011
Deadweight rolls her eyes with a smirk. "For sure. We'll see if we can cop any next time we're back up at the FOB, but I don't think we need to go back up right away. We just got here."

 No.744015

>>744013
"I don't like how big this place is."

 No.744017

>>744013
>>744014
>>744011
Lost whistled and pointed to the doors at the back "Damaged but still up. THey're probably more intact than the rest of the place.

 No.744018

>>744013
"What strange simplistic colors to adorn a mural with. Perhaps the elder sages would know."
I take a picture of the walls, then a few selfies
[1d10] don't/do it

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.744019

>>744018
And then I photobomb everyone to show the legitimacy of this place and our discovery to it.

 No.744021

>>744013
>>744017
"Oh, nice," Deadweight says, noticing the doors. She canters over to them to investigate.

 No.744022

>Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.744024

>>744014
>>744015
"I find it somewhat nostalgic," Cautaa says. "I remember once that there was talk of creating a trolley system for the malls in Ironcastle… but the mall went under before the project could be finished. It lay there, half-completed… it's probably still like that."
"Hrm," Huitlapan grunts. "Even in an empty mall, the vastness of everything just makes me think of how much people loved to buy new things and throw out the old…"

>>744018
>>744019
You snap some truly legendary pictures of the scenery to stake your claim in this brave new frontier.

>>744017
>>744021
You peer past the broken door into the hall to the security guard's quarters. The chamber is dark, and signs of violent scuffle and resistance are plain to see, trailing off into the darkness beyond. Blood turned black with age, burn marks… even bullet casings.
"Guards turning their guns upon citizens…" Huitlapan mutters, aghast.
"Mayhap it was the opposite," Cautaa suggests. "Let us tread lightly; this place may not be occupied by living flesh and blood besides ours, but I sense that aught may be amiss."

>Paused

 No.744450

Last time, on The Castle of Silence…

Our delvers imprisoned the data wight by making use of two data chips, and the remnants of Cautaa's robotic minion. The wight was divided into three as a result, and Cautaa would need to spend some time re-configuring it before it could be a useful and loyal thrall to the party.

They pressed further south from the site of the battle, reaching a food court. At the back of the food court lay a security guard's room. The camera systems there might be able to shed some light on what befell Agatecastle, and what might be lurking further below them…

 No.744451

>Deadweight, Conflagration
"I find it somewhat nostalgic," Cautaa says. "I remember once that there was talk of creating a trolley system for the malls in Ironcastle… but the mall went under before the project could be finished. It lay there, half-completed… it's probably still like that."
"Hrm," Huitlapan grunts. "Even in an empty mall, the vastness of everything just makes me think of how much people loved to buy new things and throw out the old…"

>Formgold

You snap some truly legendary pictures of the scenery to stake your claim in this brave new frontier.

>Everyone

You peer past the broken door into the hall to the security guard's quarters. The chamber is dark, and signs of violent scuffle and resistance are plain to see, trailing off into the darkness beyond. Blood turned black with age, burn marks… even bullet casings.
"Guards turning their guns upon citizens…" Huitlapan mutters, aghast.
"Mayhap it was the opposite," Cautaa suggests. "Let us tread lightly; this place may not be occupied by living flesh and blood besides ours, but I sense that aught may be amiss."

 No.744452

>>744451
"Hmm…" Deadweight gingerly steps through the quarters, looking for any clues.

>Perception

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.744453

>>744451
I summon some burning homing magic before I head in.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.744455

>>744453
You conjure four orbs.

>>744452
Your visor's low-light scanner automatically activates once you get deep enough into the darkness, revealing that the bloodshed and signs of violence go deep into the guard's quarters. Blood stains the walls and floors deeply, marred by bullet holes, shell casings, and gash marks everywhere – including the high ceiling.

Curiously, however, there are no corpses to be seen.

Ahead, the hallway splits three ways: One heading further ahead, that is, to the East, one heading to the left, that is, North, and one heading right, that is, South.

 No.744456

>>744455
>>744452
Whichever way you want to go, Deadweight. Keep your head low in case I have to shoot over you."

 No.744458

>>744455
"Weird. Lots of blood, but no bodies…" Deadweight remarks under her breath. She takes a look at each way the hall goes, seeing if any particular way would be more propitious.

>Perception


[1d10]

>>744456
The pegasus chuckles. "Alright, hothead," she says, lowering her head slightly.

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.744459

>>744455
>>744456
And I'll see what I can from behind her.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.744460

>>744459
>>744458
The Eastern hall ends in a door that is locked by a numpad and a keycard scanner, but both the North and South halls are open. To the North lies a barracks and locker room, complete with a shower and a bathroom as well. To the South lies a fairly roomy but still spartan break room – a few fridges, some microwaves, an arcade cabinet. What stands out immediately about the break room is that it's packed with food that one wouldn't normally find in a break room. Sorted canned foods, frozen goods, dried vegetables, and so forth. It's also apparent that a concerted effort went into cleaning this room; it's the only one not marred by any blood.

Cautaa and Huitlapan occupy themselves with the keycard and numpad lock on the Eastern door.

 No.744464

>>744460
I'll shine my hornlight into the break room. Does it look like anyone has set up any traps, tripwires, etc. to guard their food stockpile or warn about visitors?
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.744465

>>744460
Looking towards to South, Deadweight suspects that a squatter must have made a home here—and that any clues have probably been cleaned out with the blood. She better not disturb whoever's there, anyway. That's not part of the mission. While Cautaa and Huitlapan occupy themselves with the Eastern door's lock, Deadweight proceeds towards the North hall.

 No.744467

>>744464
You hear the subtle, yet familiar beep… beep… of a hardlight turret, coming from the far eastern end of the break room. You can't see it; it must be hidden behind some kind of obstruction. Perhaps one of the overturned tables over there…?

Its presence here raises some eyebrows, to say the least. Hardlight turrets aren't allowed anywhere near areas civilians might trespass; several Nobles have been the subject of scandals for employing hardlight turrets on their personal property. Such turrets are designed solely for use against the Dreaded Ones, but can be jury-rigged to fire on anything identified as a target. Without the proper IFF tags, you'd assuredly take the heat.

>>744465
The first part of the area is the locker room, divided into male and female sections; males on the western end, females on the eastern end. At the far corner of each locker room, you can see a shower and bathroom area. Most of the lockers here are closed, and those that are open are totally barren. Many of the open ones show signs of having been smashed open; a few lockers, with heavier duty locks, have been similarly beaten and dented, but remain closed.

 No.744468

>>744467
"Hey, Cauta! Can hardlight turrets see through tables?"
I pick up a food container with my TK and toss it into the air to see if anything shoots it.

 No.744469

>>744467
Lost scanned the area quietly before deciding to go into Stealth so she could try to evade the gun.

[1d10] Stealth

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.744470

>>744467
"Hmph," Deadweight huffs. Doesn't look like any clues would be here. She goes back to see if the two nerds made any progress with the keypad.

 No.744472

>>744470
>>744469
>>744468
"Generally speaking, no," Cautaa says, waddling over. "It needs to have line of sight, but a few years ago there was a report of a Noble who went to jail for augmenting his with thermographic targeting syst–"

As Conflagration grabs ahold of a can of beans, a hint of light gleams through the darkness. You just barely catch the flash, hidden partly behind an overturned table and a cabinet tucked away in the far corner. A single shot rings out, striking the can at the top corner. It whizzes through the air, dodging a few more shots from the turret, and strikes (some might say beans) Lost Hope in the head, knocking her back into Cautaa's arms. He shudders and pushes her back onto her hooves, backing away with an uncomfortable look.

"Hope?" Huitlapan asks, waddling over. "Are you quite alright?"

Lost Hope is now covered with beans, but not seriously injured. Dhampir laughs uproariously.

>Lost Hope 2/6

 No.744473

>>744472
"Bingo!"
I send two magical fire orbs back along the path of its traces.
[2d10]
They were a crit summon, so at least they'll deal one hit.

Roll #1 5, 3 = 8

 No.744475

>>744469
>>744472
Walking back, Deadweight sees the crystal pony get bonked in the head with a can of beans, and she erupts in laughter, falling back on her rump and holding a hoof up to her face. "Pffhahaha!" She wheezes and says, "You, you look like you've bean better," before breaking up into laughter again.

 No.744476

>>744473
*tracers

 No.744481

>>744472
Lost made a truly depressed noise in her bean covered state

 No.744482

Fixed health

 No.744483

>>744473
You hear some hardlight shots, then a whirring and a sputtering as the fire bolts hit their target. The beeping continues, so you know the turret is still active. But, you can see a small fire smoldering in the corner of the room where the bolts struck. Despite the universal tendency for corporate to cut corners, it looks like both the table and the cabinet that surround the turret are made out of genuine wood. You'll certainly smoke out the turret this way, but the fire will consume the break room, if left unchecked.

>>744473
>>744475
>>744481
Cautaa and Huitlapan head into the male locker room, and come back anon, carrying a pair of wet washcloths, and one dry one, which they offer to Deadweight and to Lost Hope. You can see Huitlapan biting back a laugh, while Cautaa still seems to not yet be over the unwanted physical contact.

roll perception: Hearing

 No.744484

>>744483
[1d10] perception
I know first-hoof that you can beat a fire out, so I'll do just that. I use my TK to lift the smouldering furniture and start smashing it into the area where the turret is.
[1d10]

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

 No.744485

>>744475
>>744483
She just sheepishly takes the clothes and starts cleaning up embarrassed.

 No.744487

Damn browser.))

 No.744488

>>744483
>>744485
"Ah, oh," Deadweight howls, wiping away her tears before taking the washcloth. "That was great," she says as she walks to Lost Hope to help clean all the beans off her.

>Perception

[1d10]

>>744484
She notices smoke coming from the break room. She turns to the unicorn and says disapprovingly, "Hey, what're you doing?"

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.744489

>>744488
"Disarming a trap. I'm good at that sort of thing. Remember the door when we first least the beachhead?"
I continue to focus on battering the beeping darkness with the furniture.

 No.744490

>>744488
"It was embarrassing." She murmured

 No.744493

>>744489
"Interesting method," Deadweight remarks with narrowed eyes.

>>744490
Deadweight snickers. "I'm sure you didn't mean to get hit in the head with a can of beans."

 No.744494

>>744493
"Did it work, or did it work? And why do I smell beans?"

 No.744496

>>744494
Deadweight chuckles. "You didn't happen to throw a can of beans just now, did you?"

 No.744497

>>744496
"Oh, is that what it was?"

 No.744498

>>744493
Lost grumbled but accepted the help quietly.

 No.744499

>>744497
"Definitely wasn't a can of butterflies," Deadweight jests.

 No.744507

>>744488
>>744485
>>744484
Sounds of crunching metal and sparking aetherios electricity fill the air as Conflagration both smashes the hardlight turret into crunchy little pieces, and also dulls and stamps out the fire that he caused just nearby it. But in the middle of two smashes, you hear another sound – at first, a very soft, deliberate, delicate sound, something like cloth or leather of some kind setting down onto the floor. Following that comes a sound of many inter-locking metal components – some kind of weapon being armed.

Huitlapan and Cautaa fall silent, their blood running cold.

It came from the entrance to the security station, back west, the way you came.

 No.744508

>>744507
I tilt my head to the side, listening, then give my head a shake and turn around to face whatever this new threat is going to end up being. I keep out of the doorway to give our brawlers room to work.

 No.744509

>>744507
Deadweight's ears fall flat. She puts a hoof to her mouth, signalling them to be silent. There being no other way out, Deadweight bears her claymore and slowly walks back to the entrance.

 No.744511

>>744509
>Sneaky sneak
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.744515

>>744507
Lost jumped up ready for a potential fight.

 No.744516

>>744509
>>744508
>>744515
https://youtu.be/vsQEeAjQw0g

Deadweight hardly rounds the corner of the hall before she sees the business end of some kind of jury-rigged grenade launcher pointed in her direction. Obscured partly by the neon lights coming from the food court, there appears to be a Vola on the younger side, wearing a rag-tag collection of clothing that, upon inspection, makes him look taller and wider than he actually is. Once you get a better look, you can see that he really is a scrawny kid. He's not wearing any sort of armor apart from his cumbersome clothing.

"I-Identify yourselves," he manages to stammer out, continuing to hold up the launcher.

Huitlapan and Cautaa immediately set their jaws, saying nothing as they raise their hands in surrender.

 No.744518

>>744516
"Huh… somebody is actually alive down herte?"

 No.744521

>>744516
"I'm Conflagration. Your family's been living here since things went bad, right? That food stockpile's yours? I had the feeling at least a few people could have made it if they were skilled and lucky. And don't point that at us, it's dangerous."

 No.744522

>>744516
>>744521
Seeing the kid, Deadweight immediately loosens up. "Oh, haha," she chuckles. "Hey, kid. We're an Ironcastle expedition team sent down here to figure out what happened to the place," she tells him. Then, she realizes something. "Oh my Regn. Conflagration, you definitely just burned down this little guy's home. You dunce."

 No.744525

>>744516
>>744518
Lost sighed "I would recommend putting the weapon down, from the looks of it, it might misfire and hurt all of us."

 No.744526

>>744522
"No, I burned down his turret and one of his tables. And a can of beans. We can replace his stuff."

 No.744528

>>744518
>>744521
>>744522
>>744525
"I… I need to see proof," the kid says, not lowering his weapon. "Stay where you are and stop asking questions until you can prove you are who you claim to be!"
"It's apparent to me that the lad's near a breaking poin…" Huitlapan begins, but shuts up once the kid tilts the barrel of his weapon toward him.
"The gods…" Cautaa whispers. "No Dreaded One can speak of the gods and live."

 No.744531

>>744528
What kind of proof do I have that I'm from Ironcastle?

 No.744532

>>744528
"Whoa, now," Deadweight says, motioning with her hoof. She raises up her magicomp and gestures to it with her head. "See? Not everyone has one of these bad boys." She puts her hoof back down. "We're not gonna hurt you. In fact, you can probably tag along with us back to the forward operating base. Lot safer up there. I almost died to some heat diamond thing on this floor, can't imagine how you survive down here," she says with a chuckle.

 No.744534

>>744531
Identification files on your Magicomp carry with them some of the highest-level authentication stamps available, proving their authenticity. There's also any sorts of memorabilia or icons that you might have of the gods. Though depictions of the gods vary, a commonality is that particular Castles will surround their religious images with decorations indicative of their particular Castle. That is, Ironcastle surrounds their icons with symbols of iron, Silvercastle with images of traditionally silver objects, Coppercastle with copper, and so on.

 No.744539

>>744528
Lost tries to send him some of her ID papers on an open channel unaware others could see the mostly classified pictures.

 No.744540

>>744534
"I've got to have a few things with Fyr on them somewhere in here."
I start telekinetically digging through my pouch and naming things as I take them out. My faith in Fyr isn't strictly heterodox but that's not important right now.
"Ummm. Spare clothing, spare spare clothing, medical kit, lamp of life, ration capsule…here we go! Canteen. See the little pictures on it? Ironcastle design. And those little fire bits on it are for Fyr. They look a bit like a lamp oil company's logo but the guy selling it said that was a coincidence. I got this for a steal, I tell you, even if the water always tastes funny."
I slowly hover it over to the kid."

 No.744544

>>744539
>>744532
>>744540
The kid, who doesn't have a comp, is unable to receive Lost Hope's transmission, but seeing your identification files, and the iconography of the gods you carry with no adverse effects, shocks him into belief. After a while of holding his weapon aloft, he eventually lowers, but doesn't sheathe it.
"Wh-what do you mean, base?" he asks.
"Where we are stationed," Huitlapan says. "We have been sent at the behest of the Iron King to see what befell Agatecastle, so that it might not happen again. With your cooperation…"
"N-no," the kid says, suddenly tensing again. "I'm alright here. You… you can just keep moving on. Take what you need and get going."
Cautaa raises an eyebrow in surprise.

 No.744549

>>744544
"Well you don't have a turret any more so you might not be alright. We got rid of that weird anomaly thing between here and the elevator if that's what has you worried. Also, we fixed the elevator. Also there's a necromancer raising corpses and making abominations around here somewhere. At least move up a level where the skeletons are mostly nicer."

 No.744550

>>744544
"Uh, you sure, little dude? Don't need to do anything for it; we just wanna know your story."

 No.744552

>>744544
"Oh.."
I clear my throat and speak up.
"Sweetheart, I- we are just as surprised to see you as you are to see us. Dearest apologies that we've intruded upon your.. uhm, domicile to which I am painfully sorry. If we could have a minute of your time, you would find that we're not intending to harm you. May we, at the very least, ask for your knowledge about this level?"
[1d10+2] Word of Power

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.744553

>>744544
Lost decided to take the moment of distraction to once again try going into the shadows.

[1d10] stealth

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.744555

>>744549
>>744550
>>744552
>>744553
https://youtu.be/bcsVafsOF9A

Lost Hope slips into the shadows while Firmgold holds the kid's attention. The revelation of the turret's fate clearly frustrates him, but instead of anger, he seems to sink into defeat. "Shit… took me a day and a half to get that thing running."
"A day and a half?" Cautaa asks. "Why that's bordering on record time… but we're getting ahead of ourselves. What's your name?"
"…Green," the kid says. You notice that his plumage is of various shades of green and teal, as befits his name and vice versa. "Well, if we're going to talk, we'd better not do it out here."

He shuts the door to the guard's area as best he can, dragging over some debris to serve as a simple barricade. He moves to the eastern door, punches in the door code and swipes the keycard, unlocking it. Beyond that door lies a wall of monitors in front of a double-wide terminal desk, with a vast series of controls for controlling all the camera feeds. Fresh cigarette butts are stamped out everywhere but the ashtrays. Huitlapan wrinkles his nose at the crime of underaged smoking.

 No.744556

>>744555
Lost slipped into the room and immediately began to scan the area looking for any reasons for his defensiveness.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744557

>>744555
"Hey, he got the door open in record time too. Mind if we get a copy of the recordings? Our bosses want to know what happened here."
I head into the security room and look around.

 No.744559

>>744555
>>744557
Deadweight elbows Conflagration in the side when the kid mourns the loss of his turrent. She follows Green into the room.

 No.744560

>>744559
"What? You saw it try to shoot Lost Hope."

 No.744561

>>744555
I will gingerly step into his abode and not touch anything that's laid about the floor.
"Wonderful, thank you so much for putting such trust in us. I must admit that trust is a great currency here, and as some measure of trust to you-"
I'll bring up one of my pict-collections and display it in presentation mode.
"Oh my, this is a lot, haha. Well here we are descending the vessel from Iron Gate, here is us just outside the chapel from briefing.."
I flip through a few more picts and then gauge his attention, bored or not I'll probably stop the slideshow.
"In any case, there are hundreds at the upper levels and possibly more to come if this exploration proves successful."

 No.744563

>>744555
When Green introduces himself, she replies with a cool smile. "Hey, Green. My name's Deadweight." She follows Green into the room

>>744560
Deadweight throws a hoof up into the air in exasperation. "No one was supposed to go in that room. Since it was all cleaned up, I thought it was obvious it was somebody's home."

 No.744565

>>744555
>>744561
"Yeah, it's a nice place," Deadweight says to Green, gesturing to the pictures as Firmgold presents them.

 No.744566

>>744563
"Obviously. That's why I went inside. If it upsets you so much I guess I'll stick closer to your behind in the future and only go where you go. Honestly, you're too worked up about this."

>>744561
>>744555
"It's got fresh vegetables. Not the canned stuff. They don't taste canned, at least."

 No.744570

>>744566
"I feel bad about the kid!" Deadweight tells Conflagration, a little worked up.

 No.744572

>>744570
"Well he's a kid living in a dead castle possibly by himself so of course you should feel bad. I do too."

>>744555
"Is anyone else left or is it just you?"
Do we know how long ago this castle died?

 No.744578

>>744556
Whatever it is that has the kid still on edge and reluctant to take you up on the offer of safe dwelling, you can't quite tell. Nothing jumps out at you as being a deal-breaker against seeking out safety and security.

>>744566
His eyes widen. "You have any meat, by any chance? Canned, dry, fresh, it really doesn't matter."

>>744572
"Just me, as far as I've come across," Green says.

>>744557
>>744556
>>744561
>>744563
>>744565
>>744566
Something about the pictures seems to make Green intensely uncomfortable, judging by his progressively widening grimace. He soon breaks it off, looking away without giving any explanation as to why. He accesses the terminal, and brings up the security feed, displaying all of the mall and the exterior as well. The area outside is quite full of Dreaded Ones, stalking and fighting among themselves as they wander the dark perimeter surrounding the mall. But, for some reason, they don't get near the mall itself at all. In fact, as the other monitors show, there seem to be almost no Dreaded Ones inside the mall at all, save for the occasional vermin.

"You'll want to see this footage, then," Green says, digging through an archive folder, until he finds footage from just over one year ago.

https://youtu.be/VlSPkJ0zy7M

The footage is all in black and white with a low framerate, almost giving it the quality of an old film. It begins as predictable, with families and acquaintances of the Warrior Stratum, as well as off-duty Warriors, milling about in the mall, shopping and eating and generally going about their business. A muffled, garbled crashing, or cracking, comes from out of frame, loud enough to get the attention of all the nearby patrons. Then, they begin to flee, as a stampede of more mortals comes in, running in abject terror, even the Warriors themselves, stomping over anyone unable to get out of their way. The stampede is in turn pursued by wave after wave of Dreaded Ones, of diverse kinds and varieties.

It is an abject slaughter; the vast crowds prevent those Warriors, with the weapons and bravery to face certain death, from being unable to unleash the full powers in their arsenals. The Dreaded Ones, seeming to know this, take advantage by making shields of the fleeing civilians, running through them for cover or even picking them up to use them as living shields and weapons. Those few Warriors desperate enough to attack, despite the living shields, meet with unthinkable disaster.

Huitlapan and Cautaa eventually turn away, unable to watch any more of the abhorrent footage. Green falls silent as well, but keeps it going, keying through the different angles and sectors until you tell him otherwise.

>roll perception / combat knowledge to analyze the invasion

 No.744580

>>744578
Lost remained silent and began to look through things as quietly as she could in her stealthy state.

 No.744583

>>744578
"Not with me, no, but there's plenty at the camp."
I watch the footage with a large frown and try to discern what I can about the footage.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.744587

>>744572
She harrumphs, apparently not a fan of Conflagration's fiery method of problem solving.

>>744578
When Green says that he's by himself, Deadweight feels compelled to ask about his parents, but she stops herself. That would probably be too heavy. One thing at a time.

Deadweight looks at the monitor, and she feels a sinking feeling in her stomach as she watches. "Oh my…" she begins to say, but her voice trails off as Green brings up more angles of the carnage.

>Combat knowledge

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.744588

>>744587
>+1 bonus for special talent

 No.744589

>>744578
I attempt Perception [1d10]
"Might I ask, do you still keep a calendar?"

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.744595

>>744589
>>744580
>>744583
>>744587
The entire premise of the footage is simply unthinkable. You know that every Castle is enshrouded in a barrier of light produced by its Heart, and that this light only grows more powerful the deeper one descends through the Castles, hence why the Nobles and Royals live near the very bottom, closest to its protective energies. Any Dreaded One that so much as approaches a Castle should be annihilated in a peal of holy flame. Yet, these fight their way through without any deterrence from the light.

Several other points jump out at you:
1. After seeing multiple different camera views, you note that the Dreaded Ones seem to reach this Floor from below, coming up escalators, elevators, and stairwells. None come from above. This would suggest that they came up from the vast ramps which connect Layer Eight to the Outlands. Those ramps are located on the fifth Floor of every Castle. Something must have happened to the guards assigned to those gateways to the Outlands, and it must have been something big: They have the heaviest armaments of any Castle personnel, and are assisted by a number of sealing bulkheads within those ramps.

2. The Warriors of this floor, whether on-duty or off, had a sworn duty, as all Warriors do, to die ten thousand deaths before turning their back on a foe, so much more so when the innocent and defenseless are about. Yet, the Warriors, just as the civilians, turned tail and fled. Even with a stampede and mass panic, there should have been a far greater proportion of those who would stand and die in battle rather than flee from their sworn foes.

3. Perhaps explaining the second point, you notice, in every shot, there is always one single living soul that not one Dreaded One attacks. Even when surrounded by Dreaded Ones, even when overtaken by them, they are not attacked. It is these souls who lead the charge into the crowds, shoving and stomping over all in the way. Rather than rebuke them, the crowds instantly fly into panic once these souls run among them, even when there are no Dreaded Ones about. The panic they cause precedes the appearance of the Dreaded Ones. Upon close inspection… these runners seem to be marked by some kind of sign upon the forehead, but the footage is too grainy to make out.

And, finally…

4. The footage is from one year ago, but Knight-Brother Mountain said that Agatecastle fell countless millenia ago.

>>744589
"Yeah," Green says, pulling out a grubby old phone with a cracked screen. "Well, I have one at least. Stopped making detailed notes a while ago, just cross off the dates. Why?"

 No.744597

>>744595
Lost quietly shot a message to the others on her comp "Something doesn't seem right about this kid. Try pumping him for personal info if you can."

 No.744598

>>744597
>>744589
>>744588
>>744583
Just to make sure you're all pinged))

 No.744599

>>744595
"Kid, were you brought here by some kind of salvage team or are you a survivor of this place originally getting overrun?Also, how old did you say you were?"
Interesting. This kiddo doesn't have that sign on his forehead, does he?
>>744597
>>744588
>>744589
"Well that's some interesting footage. Anyone have an empty data chip so we can snag a copy?"

 No.744600

>>744595
"I can't believe it," Deadweight says, her mouth agape, "This just raises even more questions."

>>744595
>>744599
"For sure." Deadweight takes out her brand new data chip and offers it to Green. "Do you mind if we got a copy of this footage? I'm sure the boys upstairs would give a handsome reward for it. Maybe even a new turrent."

 No.744602

>>744595
"Mister- well where are my manners here? I sincerely apologize- I am Lady Firmgold. If you'll allow me to get closer, I do wish to impress upon you the, well I don't mean to cause uproar with this but officially it's said to have been a millennia since Agate Castle was reported to have fallen."
I watch his reaction to this, hell during my explanation I'll be recording everything between us for later examination.

 No.744603

>>744599
He has no suspicious markings, that you can see… but he is bundled up under quite heavy clothing. You can't see much of his body. Perhaps, if the marking doesn't need to be on the forehead…

>>744600
>>744597
>>744599
Green scrolls back on his phone's calendar, apparently not remembering the name or number of the Cycle from so long in isolation. "I'm seventeen," he says. "And no, I've been here since it happened. Hid myself with a few others, but… well, I haven't seen them for a few months or so. Stopped texting too."

>>744602
>>744600
Green listens as he plugs in the chip and begins the file transfer of the footage. Despite his shaken mood, he still seems to have enough of a sense of sanity to look at Firmgold as if she just began speaking in tongues. "Millennia?" he repeats. "That's obviously wrong. I mean, even setting aside the fact that… well, that I'm not an old fossil, the footage is timestamped in both the video and the metadata."
"All the more reason to come with us," Huitlapan presses. "We cannot avenge your Castle-kin and kind if we are mistaken as to what has happened. If you assist us, we shall be able to–"
"I said I don't want to go back with you," Green insists.
"But you never gave us a reason why," Cautaa retorts.
"I'm just…" Green stammers. "I– I get the wrong vibe off it."

 No.744605

>>744603
>>744602
>>744600
>>744599
Lost sent another message to the group "Perhaps it is best we leave him behind? I'd rather not deal with another fight so soon."

 No.744606

>>744603
"Heyyy, Huitlapan. If he's not going back with us the least you can do is check him over for lice and stuff, right? Get rid of any parasites he might have picked up wandering around?"
I fumble around with my magicomp while talking and am eventually able to send a chat to the whole group asking Huitlapan to check Green for any markings like the ones those strange people had in the footage.

 No.744607

>>744603
"Hmm," Deadweight hums solemnly as Green speaks of his comrades. When Green talks about "getting the wrong vibe," Deadweight hums again, this time in curiosity.

>>744605
Deadweight messages back, "There's nothing wrong with the kid. He's just shaken up."

>>744606
Deadweight messages, "Hold your horses. Let's at least wait until the footage is done transferring, first."

 No.744609

>>744603
"Of course. Would you like for me to take that footage off your hoov- er, hand- aha, claws perhaps? I do have some ration capsules to trade if you'd like."
I take out [1d5] ration capsules coupled with water capsules and place them on the desk near Green.
"Of course we are here on a mission, any information about this level beyond the food court that you could provide would be the utmost assistance to us."

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.744614

>>744607
"I think you might not be seeing the warning signs I am." she shot back

 No.744617

>>744614
"Don't jump to conclusions," she shoots back at the shot back.

 No.744619

>>744617
"Given whats happened down here, it's healthy to be a bit suspicious."

 No.744620

>>744619
"Sure, just don't burn any bridges."

 No.744621

>>744617
"Actually, maybe we should. Oh, and can you send Xu a message for me asking if she's alright? I can't figure it out."

 No.744624

>>744603
>>744621
"Lol sure," Deadweight messages back. She brings up Xu on Concord and messages her, "Heyyyyyyy how's my best kirin friend doin," without proper punctuation.

 No.744643

>>744603
>>744606
Persuasion
[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744644

>>744624
You get an error message informing you that your intended recipient is out of range. Magicomps have a limited range when they are not on Castle intranet, in order to protect against Dreaded Ones capable of altering or even creating electronic signals and falsifying authentication keys.

>>744643
>>744609
>>744607
>>744606
Green looks hungrily at the capsules offered, and scoops them into his pocket. "S-sure, alright."
Huitlapan nods, leading Cautaa, Green and Conflagration to the male's locker room. Once there, Green cooperates, nervously taking off the many layers that he's thrown on to protect against the severe chill. Huitlapan gingerly looks over him, picking off imaginary bits of lice to keep up the charade.

It's when Huitlapan gets to Green's head, that he freezes, eyes widening.

Upon the back of Green's head is a faded red mark, not made of any ink or paint that you can tell – it seems almost as if it were his natural feather color in that spot. But is assuredly unnatural. Even in its faded state, it emits a malevolent energy that the magic-sensitive party members can feel with little effort, creating a chill that permeates even your insulated suits.

>Paused

 No.744645

>>744595
To clarify this part:

The ramps connecting the Castles to the Outlands are on the fifth Floor of each Castle's Eighth Layer – the Ramparts. The way I wrote it implied that each Layer's fifth Floor had a ramp connecting to the Outlands. This is not the case. Officially, there are no other connections between the Castle and the Outlands, besides the ramps on the fifth Floor of the Eighth Layer.

 No.744649

>>744644
"Aw, right, damn," Deadweight says, seeing the error message.

When she sees that the footage is done transferring to her data chip, she swipes the data chip and puts it away, breathing a sigh of relief.

>>744643
>>744644
Seeing Huitlapan take Cautaa, Green, and Conflagration away, she messages the group. "Try not to kill him or anything. We can still get information out of him. Stay on his good side as long as you can."


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