Last time, on Anno Castra…560 posts and 2 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
The party set out from Ironcastle with their deliveries in tow, and bore witness to the awesome destruction of the land caused by the stampede of the Dreaded Ones. All the badlands to the north, east and west had been trampled and reshaped by the passage of the Dreaded Ones who were whipped into a frenzy by the Siren Singer's call. Crags and hills had been stamped flat, low valleys uprooted and shaped again into steep crags. Heaps of rubble and corpses of trampled Dreaded Ones lay underfoot. At least now this meant a somewhat easier passage from Ironcastle to their first stop.
They headed north over the trampled badlands, and found that the Old World town had been little affected by the stampedes, even though the land surrounding it had clearly been trampled. Why the town and the fortress was spared was unknown. It was getting late in the Cycle, so they decided to stop and rest here.
By the lakeside just south of the Abandoned Fortress, they saw a Helping Hoof, an Old World tankpony robot, designed for household cleaning and defense. It had just slain a pair of Sightseers, and took up residence in the Fortress. After some deliberation, the party went to the Fortress to investigate. There, the robot ambushed Zamrud, but seemed to be asking him for directions in Old Equish. It sought to know where it was in relation to a place called "Canterlot," a term unknown to the party. They discovered that the robot had a function for learning new languages and regional dialects, and so they spent the rest of this Cycle teaching it modern Equish by providing audio samples.
Good decided to give it a "Spicy Señorita" accent. Its ultimate accent would be determined by the aggregate of the audio samples provided, so other party members still have a chance to influence it in that regard, if desired.
"Hmm… had not accounted for that." He mentions to Godspeed. "I don't suppose we'd be fortunate enough that he'd be satisfied with a picture taken from our magicomps? Or Sancho's testimony?"
As Galdrar agrees to the proposal, Zamrud can't help but let out a slight slight of relief. "One Cycle will be all we need. Shall we shake on-"
He pauses, noticing Good's little scorpion coming out with its armored claws waving frantically. Fear for the young noble taking over his mind, he thinks of an excuse to let him in the hospital.
"If you don't mind, I would like to guarantee the well-being of the caravaners before we set out. Would you mind if I took a look while you see to your men out here? I'm certain the guards you have looking after them will be more than enough to deter any untoward actions on my part."
[1d10] Persuasion to go check on the hospitalRoll #1 7 = 7
"Hrm." the griffon looks to the frantic little scorpion, and then glances up to the hospital.>>745179
"Would you prefer to go alone?"
Zamrud looks up towards Qhapaq, contemplating the idea of taking too many of their own member with them and leaving them vulnerable to the bandits pulling something while they're out here….
"Actually, I would care for the company. I imagine you might have some interest in these hostages as well, after all…." he says without directly saying out loud to the bandits of there being another Aya present.
Seeing that both Zamrud & Galdar are handling negotiations right now, Grutar decides to waltz over and check out on what Trajan is getting all upset about, allowing him to ride on Safey. "Wot is it, why you clickin' so much?" Grutar says as he peers around outside the hospital.>Perception
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
The youngling cries out in pain as the mare, her body still weak from imprisonment, spills some kind of tincture over his arm wounds. Before she can lose herself, Billy steps in, intuitively grabbing the proper sheafs of moss to clean and disinfect his wounds. Good manages to put moss over the youngling's burned eye, in the fashion of an eyepatch.
Still weak, the mare manages to fumble a handful of mushroom caps into the colt's mouth. "Chew, not too fast," she instructs. The youngling nods, holding back tears. His two friends stand at the sides, paralyzed at all that's going on. >>745179
"A necromancer as powerful as he would have little trouble fashioning a towering laboratory of stone and metal and crystal, with technology to rival ours. Yet he chooses to live on an isolated snail farm. I doubt a selfie would satisfy him," Godspeed says.>>745179>>745180>>745182
"Go," Galdrar says. "Even if you were to deceive me, you would not get far."
Trajan turns about when he sees that he's gotten your notice, and heads back to the hospital. Through the window, Grutar can see the incident unfolding with Billy, Good and the injured youngling (see top post).
"Well, that was a pretty messy start. I hope you don't plan to mess around with guns anymore without the know-how." Billy frowns a bit. " Are you doing well over there Good?"
Grutar decides to head outside seeing there are more allies in need of help. He jogs over and looks around at everyone to figure out what is going on. "You guys need any help?! I got a couple of med kits if someone's hurt!"
Good nodded softly as he sat back.>>745183
Good cleared his throat and spoke so the three could hear them "I hope… this convinces you of the folly of your ways." he said simply "That attacking others is not a good path." he said as he turned to the mare and suddenly helped stabilize her with his form, acting like a crutch for her.
"A… selfie?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.>>745183
Qhapaq nods a little bit and heads off towards the hospital, after Zamrud and Trajan.
Zamrud winces at Godspeed's rather blunt criticism. "Well, now, a 'selfie' wasn't exactly how I was going to describe it… but, point taken. Hopefully we can take enough to satisfy both parties. Appealing to their 'better nature' went as well as one might expected, so I thought to offer a different bargain.">>745187
"It's when you take a picture of yourself in certain locations or events to share on the network.">>745183>>745184>>745186
Getting leave from the big bear himself, Zamrud follows Trajan quickly to the hospital, turning inside to see the messy situation with the young colt guard of the bandits bleeding out of his eye while Good, Billy, and one of the mare hostages tend to him. "By the Abbey, young lord, Billy! What's going on?" He says, noting the wound first and foremost.
He looks to the healing spheres he concocted earlier, offering them up to the mare. "These healing salves are meant for less critical wounds, but might they help?"
"His weapon detonated and took his eye out." Good said flatly as he was honestly doing his best to remain calm now but part of him was genuinely seething at that bear outside for making the youngling do this.
As everyone gathers in the hospital, they see the situation. The four hostages, Qhapaq recognizes as Aya – not in a strict, interpersonal sense, but by an intangible, subconscious recognition of kinship that Outlands Mutant clans share, for which there is no word in Equish. The two younglings who weren't injured gather around the one who was. You can see the odd nature of his injuries, how his right cheek and hoof were burned, the left eye, not the right, seems to be badly injured.
The youngling looks up at you in a daze, entering a sort of muted stupor, probably from the mushrooms. He shows little reaction until he sees Godspeed, at which point, he lowers his head with fear.
The hostages look toward you, and you can see that they are in little condition to move, for their limbs are weak from choked-off circulation. The mare who attempted to treat the youngling looks up. "These two saved the child's eye," she says, gesturing to Good and Billy. "You have warriors quick of mind and bountiful of heart in your company."
"My – agreement," La Senorita says. "Employees of the month for the month of – record not found."
Good sighed and looked to God with a curious look "You… you did something that lead to this situation didn't you?" he asked, not so much accusatory as curiosity.
>>745188>>745190>forgot to respond to last part
The mare nods, taking the spheres. "We will follow up with these in a moment, let the first medicine run its course."
Forgot to link.))
Billy lightly giggles from senoritas comments. "I do wonder what the robot goes on about at times." Billy sighs as he looks around himself at his group.
"Ah- I see. Castle phrases are strange…">>745190
Qhapaq looks to the younglings and frowns a tad- it doesn't look like much of anything good happened, but none of them seem dead. When he turns to look at the hostages he folds his ears back and removes his mask, taking a moment to tuck it away in his saddlebags before setting a large, heavy hand on her shoulder as lightly as he can. "I am glad we arrived when we did- you do not look well, fellow bone. We have more yet to do until we free you, but we will work as quick as we can."
"About as strange at the phenomena itself. I personally don't understand the appeal, at least to the degree it has in our culture. Kids these days feel the need to take them everywhere.">>745189>>745190>>745184>>745192
Zamrud looks over the mysterious injuries of the boy, but sees that all that could be done for him between the mosses, the mushrooms, and Good's healing is already taken affect. He looks to the mare as she gestures to Billy and Good, smiling. "I'm in full agreement at that, miss. Billy and Good are both fine young men. They do us all proud."
He looks around at the situation, then to the immobilized Aya. "I apologize. I'm certain this is all coming at you too quickly, but I feel it best to update you on the situation. We're travelers who happened upon your caravan and these bandits, and sought to stage a rescue. Originally our plan was to trap the bandits and coerce them to let you go in exchange for keeping your goods, or at the very least their own lives." He sighs. "Unfortunately, appealing to their conscience went about as well as to be expected, and if Vitki himself wasn't enough, Galdrar has me convinced they might have willingly sacrificed those in the trap to avoid giving you up. I was trying to find the path of least resistance, and perhaps made a poor deal in the making. Nonetheless, all that's left is to follow through."
He looks to Billy and Good, "The Shadedrinker we're hunting is a wealth of resources far more valuable than anything in the caravan. They've agreed to trade it for the freedom of everyone here. We shall hunt it down as we originally planned, take as much as we need to satisfy Granpaw, and then allow them the rest and escape with all of you."
"Well good on you two!" Grutar says with a wide smile as he pats the both of them each with his good paw. "We have the best on the spot medics!"
"I'd have rather gotten rid of that nasty bear." he muttered.
Zamrud looks to the young Good, closing his eyes and nodding. "Perhaps this place would be better if we did. But, as hard as it might be to believe, it may also be worse off. Remember this, young lord: no matter how well intended, our actions will always have farther reaching consequences."
"I fail to see how the world would be worse off with someone like him gone. Those who rule by fear are no better than any dreaded one." he grumbled.
"Along with my simple request to free the hostages, I gave him practical advice about playing with guns," Godspeed says. "He is the one who refused my request, and refused to heed my advice.">>745196>>745195>>745197>>745194>>745193
The four hostages listen with growing frustration as they learn that they must remain here for a while until the deal with Galdrar can go through. But the mare who tried to heal the youngling nods, muttering a few words in the Aya tongue to her companions.
"Very well," she says. "We shall wait for your victory. It is assured, for you have one of our bones with you."
"Suggestion," La Senorita says, popping the trunk slightly, to reveal the delivery crates carried within. "Can you tell me where the post office is?"
The mare looks inside the trunk. "Oh, I recognize that mark. I did not think you were delivery runners; you are not in the uniform. Go upstairs and get my tablet. I will pass along directions to your computers."
Good gave the large mare a wary glance but let it go for now with a sigh. He found her annoyingly confusing.
"Yeah, I don't see you doing anything wrong Godspeed. We just got to learn how to fix mistakes, even ones that are not our own." Billy looks down at the youngling.
Grutar brushes his beard as he gets lost in thought, now finally wondering if making a deal with bandits is a good idea.
"The fact that we could strike a deal with him proves he's better than any Dreaded One." Zamrud counters. "I dare say, while I abhor the plans he had for them, he at least left these poor souls 'alive' as well. It's less than ideal, but in a land as merciless as this, we have to consider who is the lesser of two evils.">>745201>>745195
As the Aya mare confirms their connection with Qhapaq, he turns to look between them. "So you are his people. I was worried when one of the bandits mentioned your name. You have my word on my castle and King, you will be returned to your tribe shortly."
As La Senorita brings out the delivery crates, he turns to look at her and then the mare once again. "A moment, are you also who we were meant to deliver this to? Even when I heard you were Aya, I assumed you were broken off from the main group and we would need to find the full tribe to make this delivery.">He goes up and gets the tablet as requested after she answers the above
"I apologize we cannot act faster- I will ensure your safe return to home, once this is done." the griffon remarks, setting his talons on each of the captives' heads, one at a time.
He was silent for a while as he let things simmer but in general he would have just preferred taking the monster out and making the world a better place on the whole.
[1d10-1] Rolling perception
Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2
Godspeed pats your head. "I am happy to have your confidence," she says.>>745204>>745205>>745203>>745202>>745206
"We dwell in many tents," the mare says, wiggling her head affectionately at Qhapaq's touch. "The place you deliver to is not our home, but the home of our blood. You help them, you help us. You help us, you help them."
The mare fiddles with the tablet for a while. Qhapaq can see that she's scrolling through screen after screen of icons. Mostly gacha games and fairly useful applications – no viruses ("evil spirits"), unlike the tablets of the older Aya. Eventually, Zamrud receives a data transfer request from a user by the name of Nina, and the mare identifies herself as such. The transfer consists of some coordinates to the delivery site, a bunker some blocks to the northeast.
"Head north on Willow Wisp Street for one mile," La Senorita says once she's been given the directions.
"Indeed," Nina says. "Thank you, and good hunting,"
Billy lets out a smile from the pat. "That did turn out less horrible than I imagined honestly. None of this could have been done without all of you guys." Billy states to his group.
Good who had been stewing at this point looked to the Younglings "Never let fear rule you." he said simply before moving off. He collected his Scorpion comrade and moved with him in silence now. The distaste over the situation was palpable on the little noble.
Grutar nods in agreement with Billy. "Aye, I second that."
Zamrud contemplates the mare's meaning. "If I am understanding you correctly, you all trust one another to handle such a delivery?" He shakes his head. "I do not think that attitude would go far in Ironcastle. Too many self-interests, even among the nobility."
After looking over her shoulder towards all the icons, and seeing their delivery is so close, he rubs his chin. "A mile is hardly any distance at all. Godspeed, did you happen to see which direction the Shadedrinker's trail was leading in? Perhaps we may do so on the way.">>745212>>745210
As Good makes a passing word to the Younglings, the colts catch Zamrud's attention. "Pardon me for asking: what are three young men like yourselves doing with an disreputable company like this?"
"Mmm, yes. We will help greatly, I hope. Be well until our return." Qhapaq says, getting up from the group of captives and getting ready to leave with the others.>>745214
"If needbe, Godspeed and I could pursue the Shadedrinker. I would not feel comfortable leaving them here any longer than I would want."
"Pursue, but NOT engage. This thing is dangerous, we should try and take it as a unit."
As he looks over the tablet, his eyes perk up upon noticing a few familiar applications on her device.
"Mysticreatures Out?" He asks, looking to her, "And Furious Avians? You… have games on here?"
The three nod, offering mumbled farewells and the like. The injured one has drifted off to sleep so that he can heal. Trajan, sensing your darkened mood, sticks close and rests his claws on your shoulder.>>745214>>745212
The two younglings who are still awake exchange a few words in the Feoh language. It bears some passing similarity to what you have heard of Qhapaq speaking the language of the Aya – but these are only about as similar as, for example, Horspañol and Itailian are in Ironcastle. "This is our clan," one answers. "We are of age, and must hunt. This is just what we know. What do you mean, disreputable?">>745217
"Yes," Nina says. "But they took some reprogramming before they could be usable without intranet access. It is tricky having to trade Mysticreatures over infrared instead of intranet, but it is a good way to pass time on the open road.">>745211>>745212>>745213>>745214>>745215
"The last trace of the Shadedrinker was an east-northeast one," Godspeed says, saddling up her bags. "Somewhat off of your delivery route, but not by far. If there are living souls in this city, it will not leave before it can feed and regain its strength."
Nina shudders. "For your health, I hope you do not find it during a meal."
Good found his attempts at comfort nice as he moved away from the group. Part of him genuinely debated having a good shout at the bear but he was silent for now as he left the building by himself, trying to find the path on his own for now.
The little noble did not have the best handling of his darker emotions.
[1d10] TrackingRoll #1 1 = 1
"Yeah, I do hope so too." Billy mumbles letting his imagination get ahead of him on their target eating.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Qhapaq snorts a little bit, before shaking his head. "What you know is weakness." he says, pulling his mask back on and turning to leave.>>745216>>745218
"Very well. I… will hold, then.">Tracking: [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
Zamrud nods. "I see. They are your family. I suspected, but I wanted to make sure for myself." As they ask what he means by 'disreputable', he shakes his head. "All you need to know what I mean is, consider heed the young colt who helped save your friend's eye. That is it." He nods to the resting boy. "I wish him a speedy recovery.">>745218
"I suppose I'm just surprised. Firstly, that you have time to play video games while surviving out here. And secondly… well perhaps it was a bit prejudiced but, the only Aya I know personally did not even know of a 'selfie' until today, much less Mysticreatures." He says with a slight blush.>>745218>>745222
"If it is not too far out of the way, I say we should see to the delivery first. We have not yet had to engage in combat while also defending our package, I would like to see that continue up to its final destination. It should not take us long at all to diverge course slightly."
[1d10] TrackingRoll #1 2 = 2
"Qhapaq," He asks on their way out. "What is considered 'of age' for the Aya? How old do you consider for warriors? 16, 18?"
"Of age? It would be 18, I believe. The Feoh are a weak tribe- weak mind, weak body. They likely do such things of desperation."
"Just as it is in your Castles, technological skill varies among our people," Nina explains. "All of us bones and flesh and blood may be one Corpse, but we are not all so similar as to be all of one mind. Mother Aya imparted many diverse kens to us.">>745220>>745221>>745222>>745223
The bandits give you a wide berth as you leave the hospital, with Galdrar simply watching you in silence as you go. Qhapaq can sense the great bear's eyes resting on the back of his skull, not moving for a minute until you are out of eyeshot.
You follow along with La Senorita's directions as best you can, walking along the lonesome roads as they wind through a city choked by its own industry. No street is straight, no path is clear. Everywhere you go, the streets are congested, both by the cramped architecture, the factories, the warehouses, the sky-scraping apartments more dense than the poorest warrens of the Commons, and by these strange vehicles that lie all about. They resemble something between the communal, light-powered trolley-cars of the Castle, and the more traditional wooden carts used by families in the Castles. They lay about, crashed into buildings, run up into sidewalks, strewn about in great heaps all about the road, sometimes necessitating that you climb over them or go around.They're motor vehicles.
After about an hour, you find yourselves approaching another intersection. A thick fog settles over all that is ahead of you, dense and white.
"Turn right onto Frostclaw Lane," La Senorita says. "…Danger. Be aware of hazardous conditions."
>Paused, reply for next session
Good remained silent for a while as she watched the others. He had made a choice regarding the others plan. He was going to accompany Qhapaq and Godspeed on their scouting journey.
One might deem his choice the lesser of two evils in his current feelings.
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"Hmm. You know more of them than I did. Had we recognized them for what they were, I might have reconsidered making that deal with them, but I did not feel like making any orphans out there today on the chance the young ones were related. Though, I am in agreement with you: between their thievery, hostages, planning to sell to slavers, and forcing young and unprepared colts into positions they are not ready for, I must say I am less than impressed."
He turns back to look at the bear as they walk out. "Galdrar is the exception, however. He's strong as any four of us put together, at least. I got a good sense of his strength earlier. Hopefully this deal goes well for all parties involved, but if we do need to confront them, we should take him together.">>745226
"Right. I imagine there are many in Ironcastle who don't even know how to work Accord either. My apologies for my assumptions, Nina, that was unbecoming of me. I doubt it would be of much good to you all the way out here but, one of the Princes loves the game as well and might wish to trade.">>745226
As they head out into the sickly, industrial city, Zamrud keeps his wits about him as they look for both their bunker and for any signs of trouble in the highly packed, susceptible to ambush surroundings. As they come across the thick fog up ahead, Zamrud raises his brow, feeling a sense of dread coming from the fog
"Senorita, could you elaborate a bit on those 'hazardous conditions'?"Roll #1 3 = 3