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File: 1591974137397.jpg (507.7 KB, 1920x1152, 1551406503602.jpg)

 No.740659[Last 50 Posts]

Last time, on Anno Castra…

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.

 No.740660

Your alarms beep for 0600 hours. Your rest was peaceful and uneventful, overall. Good, who took the first shift, saw nothing of note out on the horizon, and in general it seemed that this stretch of the badlands lay almost totally abandoned since the passage of the Siren Singer.

The second watch, overseen by Zamrud, was similarly without note. The only real issue was the number of bugs that needed to be chased away from the campsite, as they had been attracted by the crumbs following the mishap that was the grilled cheese and bisque. At least the bugs seemed to like it.

As you rise and collect yourselves, you see the Helping Hoof rolling around the perimeter of the Abandoned Fortress, having apparently begun a shift of guard duty on its own initiative.

 No.740661

>>740659
Likely if Grutar had any audio samples, it was clips of dogs like him getting into scuffles or getting into not really fatal but still relatively painful AND comedic accidents. The whole time Grutar laughing at the videos while he told the machine of different similar incidents he has had or his friends have had.

 No.740662

>>740661
Such programs were surprisingly popular between 20 and 30 years ago, and as such, there are ample archives of footage, highlight reels, "Best of" compilations, and the like, along with amateur submissions that never made the final cut for these programs. The Helping Hoof watched with silent rapt the previous night as it studied your samples.

 No.740663

>>740660
Good had done his best over the course of his shift to put on an effeminate sounding voice and an accent to try and help the robot learn while he kept watch. While the first task was easy due to his normally soft spoken and slightly high pitched voice, his accent skills needed a bit of work.

He stirred and popped some water from his canteen to wash the nasty taste of morning breath and what remained of the previous nights less than decent meal.

 No.740664

>>740659
>>740660
>If the accent was wanted, the griffon could've been convinced to offer up some of his voice as a sample for something more fitting to what the party was looking for.

The griffon arises rather early, as he always does. He's ready to go whenever the party decides.

 No.740665

>>740663
>>740664
Trajan hops out of his little sleeping-place, rising along with the others. He looks up at you and clicks his claws as a manner of greeting.

 No.740666

>>740665
Good smiled and reached into his pouch and pulled some rations out to split with his little buddy for a quick meal.

 No.740667

>>740665
Qhapaq looks down at the scorpion and clacks his talons together in response.

 No.740668

>>740660
When Grutar manages to wake up, he would go through a usual routine of taking his rations and then making sure all of his equipment is on him at the ready.

 No.740669

>>740665
Little ol Billy waves his hand at the group while rubbing at his eyes with his other claw as he lifts himself from the world of dreams. "Goodmorning." He states out loud in a yawn.

 No.740670

>>740659
>>740660
The next morning, after Zamrud begrudgingly cleans up after his somewhat disappointing show of a dinner last night, he rises bright and early to see over the others, stretching his limbs and trying to whip together some simple eggs and hash-browns for a quick to-go breakfast as he looks about their campgrounds within the Fortress.

"Hope you all slept well last evening. We have another long day ahead of us."
After he finishes cooking, he goes and looks for the Helping Hoof, curious how its compilation came along last evening following his Equish lessons and the others' attempt at providing it with an exotic accent.

 No.740671

>>740669
>>740670
>>740668
>>740667
>>740666
After checking that your equipment and deliveries are intact, not robbed, and ready to go, you set out for the Fortress's front entrance once more, and once you are there, the Helping Hoof comes around the corner, its one eye lighting up a friendly shade of blue.

"Buenos días, señores," it says in a somewhat ambiguous voice, neither male nor female. "I seem to be having trouble locating the coffee maker. Please present your coffee maker in front of the retinal scanner now so that I can whip up a fresh pot this morning."

These terms – días and morning – hold no meaning for you, strange words that you can't recall ever having taught it.

>when ready to depart, Zamrud roll 1d100

 No.740672

>>740671
Upon hearing the notion of coffee, Grutar starts to look around to the others. "Wha-… Coffee? Did one of you bring a coffee maker with you and didn't tell me?!" He seemed annoyed at the idea of someone hiding all the coffee for themselves, especially in the morning.

 No.740673

>>740671
Billy decides to wave at the machine amused, announcing his own feelings with a giggle. "Well ain't that something new, did any of you do that?" He asked pointing to the bot before them.

 No.740674

>>740671
>>740672
"Perhaps it simply remembers things from… whatever its original purpose was intended to be. I, for one, do not have a coffee maker."

 No.740675

>>740671
Well I assume its trying to learn." he went looking on his magicomp for videos that might have the accent needed to match the words. He assumed those were words associated with the accent on context.

 No.740676

>>740674
"Can robots remember things? They don't strike me as the type to do so?" Billy can't help but think out loud in a question.

 No.740677

>>740671
As he meets up with the Helping Hoof, Zamrud rubs his chin, intrigued by the odd vernacular. "Odd… I do not think we covered those in our lessons. But, regardless," he smiles, "It is a pleasure to be able to hold a conversation with you in a modern language. I have a few items I use to brew coffee in the morning, if you'd care to use them."

"Now, we have to be getting on fairly soon, but unless you have anywhere more important to be, would you care to travel with us? Considering how you handled the Dreaded Ones in this area, I think your company would make us all feel a good bit safer."

[1d100] When ready, here's the roll

>>740672
Always prepared, Zamrud shows off a few items from his camping kit: a simple bean-grinder, a can of 'Ebirony' beans, and the camping stove he uses to heat the water. "Doesn't beat the sort I tend to brew in the kitchen, but when on the road, I find it pulls through in a pinch."

Roll #1 100 = 100

 No.740678

>>740677
[1d100] Non rigged

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.740679

>>740677
[100] test

 No.740680

>>740677
>>740675
>>740674
>>740673
>>740672
>>740673
Good references again and again the archives of text, audio and video media stored upon his comp. Every comp assigned to those with clearance to explore the Outlands receives a veritable library of such content, a few terabytes in size, to help them interpret any comparable Old World fixtures they come across – signs, machines, and the like.

However, Good searches for every possible spelling of 'dias' and 'morning,' but turns up only a small collection of hits each time. Said hits exclusively consist of declassified records of mythology relating to supposed technological feats of the ancients, known as "The Moon" and "The Sun." Strange devices they supposedly were, Lamps much like those each of you now carries. Artist renderings depict them as rectangular or cylindrical devices, propped on high mountains by miles and miles of sprawling black wires.

As Zamrud offers his coffee-making technology, the machine's eyes blink. "Please present your coffee maker in front of the retinal scanner now so that I can whip up a fresh pot this morning."

 No.740681

>>740680
He huffed and frowned and began to look up Senorita since that was a word he knew and others knew. That might get some audio logs worth looking for. He'd query the bot later about the meaning of those other words when it didn't sound quite so creepy.

 No.740682

>>740680
"I…" he says in confusion, looking at the tools he provided. "If you mean a proper coffee machine, I'm afraid it's rather difficult to carry one on our excursions. We wouldn't even have an outlet, most of the time."

"If these items won't do, then you do not need to worry about it. If you don't mind my asking, I was curious about the conversation we were holding yesterday: you mentioned you were 'lost'?"

 No.740683

>>740681
>>740680
"Did you manage to rest well." Billy asks good heading toward him at a slow wobbly pace.

 No.740684

>>740680
>>740682
Qhapaq nods a little bit when Zamrud speaks up about being 'lost', waiting patiently to hear about what exactly's up.

 No.740685

>>740677
Grutar grins widely when he catches sight of the chance at some morning coffee. "Now that's what I like to see!" He says, before offering to get some beans grinded up and some water boiled for a nice brew before they had to go.

>>740680
>>740682
Grutar leans in and whispers quite loudly. "Do you think it's trying to make a joke?"

 No.740686

>>740685
Zamrud smiles as he goes at the grinder, "I honestly do not think I would survive the Outlands without it."

As he whispers to him about the Helping Hoof, he whispers back, "I hazard a guess that this machine was not programmed for sarcasm."

 No.740687

>>740683
He looked up and beamed at Billy "About as well as I could my friend."

 No.740688

>>740687
Billy returns the smile. "Happy to hear my friend." He nods.

 No.740689

>>740681
Your search returns many results from Bronzecastle, where it seems that much of the media you "studied" when placed before your home computer originated, brought over by traveling import merchants. Bronzecastle's citizens speak mostly Horspanol, and where ponies maintain a slight racial majority in Ironcastle, donkeys and Vola maintain a majority in Bronzecastle. They are known for being industrious, playing the accordion, and having livers of steel – or bronze, as it were.

>>740681
>>740682
>>740683
>>740684
>>740685
"I am assigned to–"

The robot's voice catches slightly, and pauses. "FETCHING DATABASE RECORDS…"

A few seconds pass. Perhaps its internal circuitry requires repairs. "The Grand and Holy Patriarchate of the Fourth Boreal Empire of Canterlot. My GPS shows that I am… ERROR: UNDEFINED… kilometers from my assigned domicile. Do you think you could help point me in the right direction?"

'GPS' – another strange term. Perhaps it could be related to DPS, or Diskos Positioning System, which your comps use to map out your current position.

Once that discussion ends, you set out for the northeast.

As you travel along, the Helping Hoof follows along with you. It does not chime in on your conversations, generally speaking only when spoken to. Even then, it seems capable of only offering canned responses, no more advanced than a chatbot. It periodically stops and scans things in the environment, and an automated message plays, indicating its attempts at re-calibrating its GPS, only to fail.

About four Cycles pass in naught but slow and steady travel. After about the middle of the third Cycle, the stony and rough hills of the badlands gives way to lower, more even land. The earth underhoof becomes soft, and all is permeated by a cool moisture that defies the natural geothermic warmth of the luminescence that the earth usually produces. Near the end of the third Cycle, you notice clumps of mushrooms growing from the earth, in small gathered patches. Upon the horizon loom higher silhouettes, outlined by your armorsuits' visibility filters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lN4FqiUzz3c

At around 0800 hours, on the fifth Cycle since your departure from Ironcastle, you reach the boundary of a most unusual forest, made entirely of mushrooms, some of which stretch to the size of the sequoias grown in Ironcastle's Orchards. Even higher above the caps of the mushrooms, comes a mist-like vapor, which hangs in the air, coloring all with a faint, ghostly blue light.

There is no semblance of a clear path anywhere about you, but on a hill high above, you can see the outline of a rough and small shed. You cannot see an easy way to get up to it.
At about 0800 hours on the fifth Cycle,

 No.740690

>>740689
Good had spent a good chunk of the trip finding those voices which spoke the tongue to which he was more accustomed to in the Bronzecastle accent and played the audio to the Robot from time to time as he found decent ones.

Upon reaching the fungi forest though he was a bit stumped "Would some aerial views maybe help us forward?"

 No.740691

>>740689
Grutar starts to ponder more about the mushrooms, wondering if he has ever seen this in his ventures before and observes it longer to figure out what they may be. Possibly if they can eat them too.

>Figure out uses for mushrooms?

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.740692

>>740689
"Hrm… from what I can imagine, the robot may be attempting to use something that simply isn't avialable anymore. Perhaps, if we have the time, we could let it see the 'DPS' we have? Maybe it will recognize the terrain or landscape of where it is, if nothing else- this could help it find this 'Canterlot'." he suggests, humming a little in thought.

>>740689
>>740690
"Hrm… if needbe, I could get airborne and try to get a better view." the griffon says, flapping his wings a couple of times. "Though, that mist…"
>[1d10] Knowledge roll

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.740693

>>740689
Billy points to the mushroom. "Do you think these mushrooms would be safe to eat? I do have a strong stomach for these things."

 No.740694

>>740689
"The Fourth Boreal Empire of Canterlot… fascinating." Zamrud does not recognize the name immediately, but is nevertheless made infinitely curious about this lost country.

"Well, I am afraid you are indeed a far way from your home: I do not know how to direct you towards it. Might I recommend traveling with us, and perhaps we can piece together some clues on to where that may be."

>>740689
After a long four days of travel through the Outlands, Zamrud perseveres, keeping to the safest routes along their journey towards the destination for their package as he keeps a constant eye out for trouble, following his instincts for spotting out danger.

Upon the fifth Cycle when they reach the edge of the forest, Zamrud looks up in curiosity at the tree-tall Mushrooms, turning his head in curiosity. "Fascinating… what could be making this fungi grow to such a size?" Curious, he tries to pull off a small piece of one of the stalks to study for later.

>>740690
>>740692
>>740693
"It might, Good, but I agree with Qhapaq. I do not like the looks of that mist coming off of the caps, it might be some sort of toxic spore they release."

>>740693
"You read my mind, Billy. Imagine the flavor of a gigantic stuffed mushroom using one of these specimens…"

 No.740695

>>740694
>>740690
"Muchas gracias for your assistance," the Helping Hoof says. It patiently studies Good's archival footage of raucous, spirited Bronzecastle mariachi.

It strikes you that you have not yet named this robot, or if it has given you its name.

>>740694
>>740693
>>740691
>>740692
Qhapaq recognizes the larger mushrooms above, and the mist they produce. But first, some backtracking. It is more than likely that this forest you are in is not made of mushrooms, but a mushroom. What appear to be multiple organisms are in fact one single organism, bound and fed by the same tangle of roots underneath – a single composite mushroom that paradoxically can even contain multiple species of mushroom.

To get to the point, the mushrooms above are Proavus Cathedra, and produce a mist that is hallucinogenic if inhaled in large quantities. Grutar recognizes the mushrooms below, distinguished by their flatter and more colorful caps, as Progenies Cathdra, which are generally safe to eat but not very tasty.

 No.740696

>>740695
"Well, if anyone needs more rations, we can always collect some of the mushrooms there. Taste may not be the best but hey, neither is some of the strongest drinks!" Grutar says, ready to pluck a few of the more edible mushrooms he finds should the party decide to head that way.

 No.740697

>>740696
"Hey hey, taste isn't everything. The texture might be nice. I have had a few foods like that before. So I think they would be worth grabbing." He sticks his tongue out from the side of his mouth.

 No.740698

>>740695
>>740690
>>740694
"Ah." the griffon says, blinking. "This is a single mushroom, in a way- they are all connected, in spite of the different types." the griffon says, pointing to the ground. "As for scouting above… I do not think it would be wise. The mist is being produced by the very large mushrooms, and in large amounts it can be a potent hallucinogenic. The mist is sometimes used for various practices among the Aya, though we should limit our exposure.

 No.740699

>>740695
He made a note of this but figured it'd be better to let someone else name the robot as he had already named the scorpion he considered his friend and battle brother.

>>740694
That is true, I suppose caution would be good. Also do you have any idea what we should call our mechanical friend here?"

 No.740700

>>740695
>>740699
"Right…" he says, not quite sure what 'muchas gracias' itself means but assuming by the tone it's appreciative.

"Out of curiosity, what do we call you? I know you are a 'Helping Hoof' but, do you have a designation? A moniker?"

>>740697
>>740696
"Agreed. Few ingredients taste good when eaten raw, given the right spices and amount of heat I would think these could make a delicious treat." He says, grabbing at a few of the 'Proavus' as well.

>>740698
"These are all connected to the same mushroom? What an organism, I can barely imagine the mass."

"Good call on the mist, Qhapaq. I agree: let's make due on foot best we can, if we find ourselves in more dire straights we can chance an aerial scout later. You said it is only in large amounts? Suppose holding your breath while going through it should be safe enough then?"

 No.740701

>>740700
"You may call me… ERROR: FILE CORRUPT… what can I call you?" the robot answers.

 No.740702

>>740701
>>740699
"You may call me Zamrud. As to your name… I am afraid that is somewhat difficult for me to pronounce. Would you accept a new one?"

 No.740703

>>740700
"Holding our breath would indeed help, yes. It would likely be best to avoid doing it until necessary, since we do not know where else within this tangled mass the mist may lie. I am quite hardy, so if it is for the best, I will scout."

 No.740704

>>740702
"To add a new nickname, please say 'Nickname Entry Protocol,' followed by my new nickname. Please note that it may take up to 15 minutes for me to recognize my new nickname."

 No.740705

>>740704
>>740699
"Fair enough…" he pauses, looking to Good. "Well, it would appear it's in need of one. Any suggestions, young Lord?"

>>740703
"Right, but as you said: avoid doing it until necessary. We just entered the woods, let's not count ourselves out just yet."

 No.740706

>>740705
I surrender to you my friend. It would be selfish to name all of our companions myself."

>>740698
Ah I see. I would be remiss if you were hurt because I asked you to fly there. I suppose we should search for a path to that shed by foot."

 No.740707

>>740704
"I am ok with not giving a nickname, I doubt I can come up with anything better than you guys can." Billy mentioned out to the group.

 No.740708

>>740705
>>740706
>>740703
>>740699
>>740696
>>740697
You proceed on hoof to the cabin, somewhat tricky business now, for the ground underneath is not only hilly and raised, but covered with clusters of mushrooms now. Your robot follows along, crushing the mushrooms underneath with its treads.

The cabin lacks a front door, and several of its panels are missing as well. It seems to have been empty for quite a while. Inside is the remnant of a bed, devoid of all but a mattress, and across from it is a typewriter, two standing combination lockers, and a small cloth bag. While everything in the cabin appears immeasurably old, covered with a patina of rust and dust, the cloth bag looks relatively new.

 No.740709

>>740708
"Hrm. Perhaps someone else is passing through here- this bag is very much so not like its surroundings." the griffon notes, looking around for anything else, inside or outside of the cabin, that might look recent.
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740710

>>740708
While Grutar searches for as much as he can grab, he keeps a watchful eye out for any dangers or treasures that he may find along the way.

>Plucking Edible Mushrooms while looking around

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.740711

>>740708
>>740708
Good looked around and decided to try his luck and opening the lockers by means of brute force or even some of his magic to help achieve the feat.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740712

>>740708
>>740711

Following the example of his friend he decides to try and pry open the metal boxes. Kinda like a treasure chest that lacks decor.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.740713

>>740706
"Really? Me?" Zamrud says, rubbing his chin as he thinks of this development. "Hmmm… well, I could give it a shot."

He turns towards the Helping Hoof, "Nickname Entry Protocol," he says, before taking a few moments to consider a name.
>still thinking of a name, will post separate so as not to hold up the game

>>740708
As they spot out a cabin ahead, Zamrud follows the group over the rough terrain, looking ahead with curiosity at what it is doing here. "Hmmm… I wonder how long this cozy little hovel has been standing here?"

[1d10+1] Perception
[1d10] Alleycat

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.740714

>>740709
>>740711
>>740712
>>740710
As the party members gather around the lockers, there is a sudden and loud crashing from above, and a heavy, nail-filled board snaps and falls from the ceiling, cracking down onto Billy, Good and Qhapaq. Each of them lose 1 Wound. After the board falls, you hear a rapid skittering and a babbling, clicking sound. Some hideous, deformed little creature, probably a Dreaded One, barely larger than a mushroom, runs out from the cabin into the misty forest.

It's as you follow the trajectory of this small Dreaded One out the door that you see another small figure, a pony wearing a hood, standing at the threshold. She appears to be a filly, judging by her stature, but most strangely, she isn't wearing an armorsuit. It's as you look at her arm, which is aloft and holding mushrooms in the crook, that you can see she is naught but bone – a skeleton. She looks at you briefly, and from beneath her hood, there is a brief telekinetic glow.

An old-world shotgun floats out from the side of her cloak, and points at each of you. She clatters her teeth in a mimicry of speech, but you cannot understand what she is saying, if anything.

 No.740715

>>740714
Good let out a cry of pain as he was suddenly impaled by nails and partially crushed, Though he quickly moved to stand between the skeleton and his friends

"Oh uh, hello there. I'm sorry we didn't know this was your home, we thought it was abandoned." he said trying to fill the door enough to take any kind of shot head on.

 No.740716

>>740714
>Have an idea on the name but will introduce it after this scene

>>740714
As the board falls away and lands on Good, Bily, and Qhapaq, Zam's eyes light up with alarm, as he reaches for his sachsum. "Dreaded One! Everyone keep sharp."

He follows the creature outside, looking to see where it goes before his attention is drawn to the filly standing not too far away. This disarms Zamrud at first as he cautiously approaches, only for him to double-back with shock as he sees the filly is naught but a skeleton.

As she prepares the shot-gun, Zamrud raises his knife to bear, but keeps the other hand out. "Hold your fire, miss. We did not come here to start a fight."

 No.740717

>>740714
"Ouch!" Billy loudly exclaims as he was attacked by the building. As he gets back up and spots the skeleton filly he makes another exclamation. "Huh, who is this?"

 No.740718

>>740714
Qhapaq says something- likely a curse, though not in a language that's understood- as the board bonks him on the head. He hisses softly and touches the wound softly, as if to check the severity. Within seconds, though, the wound seals itself shut. It's like he never got hit in the first place.
>Accelerated Healing: As an Automatic action (Recharge 3), you may further accelerate your body's regeneration, restoring full hits or a single wound if already at full hits.


>>740714
When Qhapaq looks back to what was going on, he looks at the shotgun with a mild amount of concern. Since she has yet to say anything, or can't say anything at all, the masked griffon simply dips his head in apologies, before holding a hand up cautiously.

 No.740719

>>740715
Qhapaq will gently step in front of Good Intentions, trying to remain as nonthreatening as possible.

 No.740720

>>740715
>>740716
>>740717
>>740718
The filly backs away a few paces, but continues to jaw away, the movements of her mouth becoming more pronounced and seemingly agitated. And then, to make matters worse, the blue eye of the Helping Hoof turns red, and it turns its head toward the filly…

[1d10+2] Mystery roll, wait for result

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.740721

>>740714
Grutar returns from his mushroom hunting venture and spots the skeleton, he's about ready to smack that gun right away seeing it being pointed at each of Grutar's friends. But he takes a quick moment to try and figure out what exactly this thing is in the first place.
>Knowledge Roll
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.740722

>>740721
All in all, she looks like she could be a real threat. You can't see much of her, for her hood and cloak are rather oversized.

>>740721
>>740720
>>740719
>>740718
>>740717
>>740716
>>740715
Each of you receives a ping on your magicomps, and the screen indicates that it's sent by the Helping Hoof, judging by the serial number displayed as the sender of the message. It forcibly downloads an attachment, sending your virus scanners into a frenzy. Suddenly, a voice plays from your comps.

"…y'all varmints gonna git it if you can't lissin t' some basi' direct'shns and quit snoopin' in my claim!"

A synthesized voice, but one of a filly. The filly leans in to get a better look at your comps. "What inna… you recordin' this? Ain't gonna stop me from givin' you a few extra eyes if you mean trouble."

 No.740723

>>740722
"Oh no we assure you mam we mean you no harm. We just didn't understand you until our friend there helped us. We will happily leave your home." he said putting on his polite voice and doing his best to try and come across friendly despite the pain he was in.

 No.740724

>>740722
"Ah! I suppose the Helping Hoof can translate." the griffon says, smiling a little. He turns back to the skeletal mare, before cocking his head to the side. "We have difficulty understanding you, without the robot's help. We did not mean to intrude, and would be fine leaving."

 No.740725

>>740722
Grutar is like any other dog from Zinccastle, they don't take kindly to threats and especially ones that are made when in the outlands. "If you don't stop wavin' that thing around, I'm going to break it before it even hits the ground!" He barks at her, letting the creature know he's about ready to bite back if they keep waving their weapon around at his allies.

 No.740726

>>740722
Billy scrunches his face at the lingo not quite understanding the meaning behind it but understanding the intent. "Well I didn't expect this, but I honestly was expecting to find the unexpected. Does that count?" He taps his chin.

 No.740727

>>740725
Grutar I understand your anger but let's try to make friends here. She might be able to help us."

 No.740728

>>740720
>>740722
>>740724
As the Helping Hoof's eyes turn read, and it makes ready to look like it's charging the skeleton, Zamrud looks to it with alarm, "Hold on! Do NOT engage, I-"

He is interrupted by the ping on his magicomp, suddenly listening to the rather 'colorful' southern tongue coming through on their computers.
He smiles widely, looking to Qhapaq. "I do think you're correct, Qhapaq. Well done!" He says to the Helping Hoof, before stating out its new name. "Señorita."

He turns to look towards the skeleton filly after hearing her translation, shaking his head. "Not a recording, a translation. I apologize if we stepped onto your property, we had no idea it was already claimed. Though…" he looks her up and down, "I must say if we did, we did not imagine its owner would look quite like you. You are a skeleton?"

 No.740729

>>740727
"I don't make friends easily with someone threatenin' me or my pals."

 No.740730

>>740729
I Understand Grutar, but we did invade her home. She has a right to be a bit peeved."

 No.740731

>>740730
Grutar grumbles a bit before he speaks back up. "Well if she goes peppering you with a round, don't say I didn't warn you!"

 No.740732

>>740725
"Threaten me again and I'll pop you and let that tool of yers rust in the garden shed," the filly retorts, undaunted.

>>740726
>>740724
>>740723
>>740725
>>740728
The filly looks at you, then at the delivery packages that you carry, for the packages themselves are about her own size as well. She then focuses on Zamrud. "And y'all couriers are in the wrong neck of town. This here's th' Ghostroot Forest. That stampede from a few weeks back is still bein' felt around these parts. Dreaded One territories have been thrown all out of whack lately, got a lot more roamers around here, lookin' to stake a claim. That varmint dropped from the ceiling's probably one of 'em. And that's not even to mention those bandit sightings."

After a bit more hesitation, she lowers the shotgun, but makes sure it remains visible at her side. "How much you folks willin' to pay to ensure your goods get to their destination on time?"

 No.740733

>>740732
Er I assume you are asking for a toll to pass through your lands safely? I assume you are one of these Death Knights or Necromancers we have been informed live in this area?" he asked as he moved closer and took a seat on the ground.

 No.740734

>>740732
"Ah- yes, we barely missed being caught in the stampede ourselves. Were you, uhm… caught in it?" he asks, before humming a tad. "As for the other part, I believe I will leave that to my friend, Zamrud."

 No.740735

>>740732
"Do we really need to pay, I think we have been getting along well as we are now with a few hiccups here and there, but nothing impossible so far. Though the guarantee does sound good." Billy sits on his thoughts for a while.

 No.740736

>>740732
"HAH! JOKES ON YOU, THIS TOOL IS MY ARM!" Grutar says with a guffaw.

 No.740737

>>740732
"The Ghostroot Forest." He says, looking about the many towering mushrooms. "An appropriate name. I can certainly understand how such a tumultuous event such as the stampede could shake things up around here, I am particularly curious as to what 'bandits' you are referring to."

>>740734
>>740732
As Qhapaq asks him how much he's willing to pay to see their goods get through on time, he turns a brow up at the filly. "It depends. How much difficulty would we have to deal with were we not to pay anything?"
[1d10] Alleycat to detect danger

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.740738

>>740734
"Nah, Granpaw's egg-ray-gores done a fairly good job of keepin' 'em at bay. Every now and again one of 'em might slip through the cracks, though we are on th' edge of th' territory. Bound to have a few here and ther'."

>>740736
"Y' got my condolences, then, stranger."

>>740733
>>740735
>>740734
>>740736
>>740737
Zamrud's getting some bad vibes from this whole situation, and in fact this entire region. A lack of paths indicates that it's rarely traveled, but as they've heard and seen, the dangers of the Outlands are not limited to the tangible and the visible. Getting through on their own would be significantly more dangerous without a guide than with, in any case.

"It'll be a real pain gettin' through without a guide. Fer a smaller fee, I can tell the guards that you're to be let through, but they won't offer you any more help than that. But if yer lookin' to get past all the bandits on the other end of the territory, you'll want an escort. If yer interested, I can put you through to Granpaw hisself."

 No.740739

>>740738
>>740737
>>740736
>>740735
>>740734

I suppose this Granpaw would be worth meeting if only to have an ally in this land. What do the rest of you think?" he turned to look at the rest "It may be a risk but I think it'd be better than braving a potential Dreaded one herd."

 No.740740

>>740738
"I don't like any of this, Lads. And I don't exactly wanna buy what they're sellin'. They'll probably be just as likely to wave their weapons in our faces."

 No.740741

>>740738
>>740739

"Huh, that does sound quite nice. Do they use a different type of currency out here. I can't quite remember though." He looks to good.

 No.740742

>>740741
They might be willing to accept ours, I do believe that I have some left over."

 No.740743

>>740738
"Right. I thought these woods might be difficult to navigate, particularly with the mist above making aerial scouting troublesome. And what's more, beyond simply getting lost, AND the potential of dealing with bandits, there are more of your people out there running tolls that will prevent us from passing through should we not pay." He says, very wary of the whole affair.

"Out of curiosity, what are your rates? The smallest for simply passing by your people, and the full sum for hiring your personal services as an escort?"

>>740739
>>740740
"Personally, the whole deal feels like an extortion racket. I'm not only skeptical of their claim to this land, she doesn't immediately strike me as the most trustworthy either. Though, as the young Lord pointed out, it might do us better to be courteous with locals, particular given we're transporting valuables. Let's at least see what her rates are before we make any hasty decisions."

 No.740744

>>740738
>>740743
>>740739
"If you all think a guide would be wise, I will not object. Shady or no, better knowledge of the Outland is vital."

 No.740745

>>740744
>>740739
>>740740
>>740743
>>740741
"You Castle folk use Schillings, right?" the filly asks. "We've taken those before. Ain't a whole lot of trouble, that. But I can't answer on th' rates. Depends who you are and what you're carryin and how far you're goin'. On th' whole, Granpaw will take care of that. In the end, it's his call anyway whether you'll even get some help. But, I ain't seen him turn a soul down yet. If you come up short, maybe there's some work he needs doin'."

 No.740746

>>740745
I see, well then I suppose it would be best to meet this Granpaw so we may can figure out how much we might owe him."

 No.740747

>>740745
"As long as the side job doesn't take too long for us to finish our quest I don't mind doing it. What does gunpaw usually ask of creatures?" He pipes up with a question.

 No.740748

>>740745
"Well… I'm with you lads with whatever choices you end up going with. Even if I might not like it." Grutar says, assuring he'll be cooperative and prepared to do almost whatever it takes to support the group.

 No.740749

>>740744
>>740745
Zamrud nods contemplatively to Qhapaq, before turning to look at the filly again. "We do indeed use schillings. At any rate, it sounds as though we need to conduct our business directly with this 'Granpaw' gentlemen? In which case, would you be so kind as to lead us to him so we may discuss it in person?" He says, being careful not to mention exactly what it is they carry.

>>740748
>>740746
"If it is any consolation, Grutar, I am not a particularly big fan of it either. But the best path to take is usually the one of least resistance."

 No.740750

>>740749
>>740745
Qhapaq nods a little in agreement, staying silent for now.

 No.740751

>>740747
"Farmin'. Cleanin'. Reattunin' the egg-ray-gores. Always somethin' needs doin' around here, and only so much he trusts others to do. Most of it he wants done himself. Ain't much of a Necromancer."

>>740746
>>740748
>>740749
>>740747
>>740750
The filly nods as you agree to go see this 'Granpaw' she mentioned. "Go on and step aside and let me get my bag, and I'll take you right over. Oh, and the stuff in the lockers ain't mine. We don't really consider this part of our territory. You can go ahead and take it if you want."

>you can make two attempts to break into the lockers, or take another look around the cabin for anything else of note.


Once your business in the cabin concludes, the filly turns and directs you to follow her. She digs in her cloak, and produces a wand, of sorts. It's more like a chunk of mushroom stalk, and is nearly as thick as her very arm. She points it at the mushrooms before her, and they recede into the earth, allowing her and you to pass over them without difficulty. They rise again once you're past.

After about a two hours' walk through the mushroom forest, you come to a chainlink fence that runs through the forest. Behind it sits a tall donkey skeleton wearing heavy armor. He nods as you approach, and opens the gate for your entrance. Beyond the fence lies a vast yard, and a series of connected farmhouses that comprise a somewhat homely and humble estate. Farmworker skeletons of various races work the fields, growing special clusters of moss, roots and mushrooms for produce. Certain skeletons work with the aid of giant snails, about Qhapaq's size, who lug around carts and the like as beasts of burden.

"Granpaw!" the filly hollers as you approach the doublewide doors of the central farmhouse. She tilts her head. "Prob'ly in the back. Granpaw!"

After a moment, the doors creak open, an unexpected figure slides from the darkness. Out steps a buffalo skeleton, all shrouded in black, save for his prominent horns, and his magnificent ivory skull. The air chills as he approaches, and your bodies instinctively tense, with every one of your hairs standing up on end at the sight of him.

'Granpaw,' as he's called, says nothing to you, sizing you up at first, but especially la Senorita. Granpaw is about eye level with Grutar, but if you count his back, he's about as tall as Qhapaq.

 No.740752

>>740751
"Right, let us take a look around for anything of use, then we may be on our way. Also, I do not think you gave us your name, Miss-?"

[1d10+1] Looking around the cabin for anything else of note

>>740751
They follow the filly as she lowers the mushroom stalks in front of them, causing him to look behind with awe. "Interesting…"

When they reach the village, he looks around at all the various skeletons hard at work, a small, surprised smile appearing on his face. "They're ALL skeletons. Incredible, what sort of sorcery is at work here?"

When the filly calls ahead to the central farm house, he turns his head to look at the buffalo skeleton, eyes widening as he feels all the hairs on his tail stand up at once. Urging himself to be calm, he is the first to break the silence, offering a courteous bow. "Hello. I take it you might be Granpaw?"

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.740753

>>740751
[1d10] Locker break in attempts
[1d10]

He froze a bit as he looked at the skeleton "Well… it's a pleasure to meet you sir, my names Good Intentions, I heard you might be able to help us cross these lands and deliver a package." he said holding out a hoof to shake.

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

 No.740754

>>740752
[1d10]
[1d10]
Locker attempts

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

 No.740755

>>740751
Grutar goes ahead and revs up his drill, getting ready to break through the locks to pop open the lockers. "Well, at least this will help keep my mind off things."

>Open lockers Attempt #1

[1d10]
>Open lockers Attempt #2
[1d10]

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

 No.740756

>>740751

Billy just gives a nervous wave from the back of his group quite unsure what to say in this predicament to make a good first impression.

 No.740757

>>740751
"Is everyone else okay? That wooden plank sounded like it hit more than just me." the griffon says, ruffling his wings a little bit.

After being told it's okay, the griffon will try each of the lockers.
>Attempt 1 [1d10+1]
>Attempt 2 [1d10+1]

>>740751
The trip through the estate is… interesting, to say the least. Qhapaq gives the giant snails a curious look before moving on, trying to keep from falling behind. His wings are more ruffled out than usual, but his expression is unreadable through his mask. He doesn't say anything upon seeing the buffalo skeleton, but does dip his head in greeting.

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

 No.740758

>>740757
>>740756
>>740755
>>740754
>>740753
>>740752
"Rind," the filly answers.

Zamrud gets the first locker open, and Grutar manages to get the second one open. The first locker contains a bag of gemstones of various kinds, jewelry, and golden coins – 30 coins in total. This looks like the result of some kind of small-time Old World robbery.

In the second locker, Grutar finds two crates, each about 3x3 feet in size. Inside, the crates are packed with an alarming amount of blasting sticks. They're old and inert now, but with a little chemical treatment, they could be armed once more. Even in this state, they're worth a shiny Schilling indeed.

As for Qhapaq, since the others have already excavated the lockers, he looks about in the rest of the cabin, and sees the glint of something under the floorboards below the sparse bed. It's an easy thing to pry the termite-chewed boards apart, and it's there, submerged in dirt, that he finds a lockbox about 1 foot wide and long.

>>>


After sizing each of you up, Granpaw's mouth lowers itself, but he speaks without moving it further. His voice pours from it like a current of oil.

"Yer a long way from yer shelter, couriers of Ironcastle," he begins. "Goin' to trade with the Mutants, ain'tcha."

He looks down at Good, then at the packages you carry. "Set 'em down afore me."

 No.740759

>>740758
Good paused and decided to oblige him as he felt a bit of a chill but he decided it would be best to go along with him and cooperate.

"Well the Aya but yes sir."


>>740757
Good turned and looked back to his friend as he could see that he had some tension visibly radiating off his form.

 No.740760

>>740758
After opening up the locker, Zamrud takes a look at all the jewels and coins hidden away, counting them up before putting them away, intending to split them for later among the group since finding them in the locker was a group effort.

>>740757
Zamrud takes note of the ruffled state of his friend, moving to his side to check in. "Is everything alright, Qhapaq? You seem nervous."

>>740758
>>740759
Zamrud's hairs continue to itch, but he forces a smile. "You're quite observant, Granpaw. We are indeed from Ironcastle, and heading for the tribelands for such a purpose."

As he asks him to put down the packages they carry, Zamrud holds up a paw in front of Good, dissuading him from doing so. "Thank you for having us in your village. I am Zamrud Permata Bahasa. Miss Rind was kind enough to explain that you were willing to offer us passage through your territory, and possibly provide escort, for a nominal fee. Would you be willing to discuss such a matter?"

 No.740761

>>740760
Good paused and gulped as he decided to let Zam take the lead for now.

 No.740762

>>740758
Grutar grins at his find, making sure he has to keep these safe, he pops open Safey and decides to store the blasting sticks inside.

 No.740763

>>740758
"Quite lucky we finally managed to get these things open, surprised by the amount of trouble the chest gave us." he laughs a bit at himself.

 No.740764

>>740758
Qhapaq tucks the lockbox away into his saddlebag after brushing it off.

>>740758
>>740759
Qhapaq bristles slightly, but otherwise doesn't react. He sets his pack down, but his large talons don't leave it.

>>740760
"Later." he says, taking a moment to tuck his wings back in.

 No.740787

>>740761
>>740762
>>740763
>>740764
>>740760
Zamrud is able to distribute 4 gemstones and 6 golden coins per party member, minus la Senorita.

Granpaw's skull turns toward Zamrud, who can feel the temperature subtly drop around him. "Depends what you're carryin', son. Get tribe bandits in disguise comin' round here, 'gain and again. Moving drugs. Weapons. People. Bad news for the ranch, t' get tangled up in business like that."

 No.740795

>>740787
Qhapaq stays quiet, as before. Whether or not they show the supplies is up to the others, but he bristles a little bit more.

 No.741554

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party learned that their new robot companion, La Senorita, was from a placed called he Grand and Holy Patriarchate of the Fourth Boreal Empire of Canterlot – perhaps best abbreviated as Canterlot. Not one of the party had heard of such a land, nor did their Magicomps have any information upon the topic. It also spoke using strange terms – dias and morning – that none in the party had taught it. Their Magicomps contained reference to those terms in their database of mythologies; the terms seemed to be associated with the mythical 'Moon' and 'Sun' spoken of in Mendicant Rudolph's manifesto, but their exact meaning was unknown.

La Senorita was a long way from home, so much so that its pathfinding system could not calculate the distance back to this "Canterlot." In any case, it seemed amenable to an alliance, and so it joined the party.

From there, they set out from the Abandoned Fortress, traveling for four more Cycles, until they at last reached the Ghostroot Forest, a sort of halfway point to their destination. As they explored an empty shack on the forest's boundary, they met a skeleton filly by the name of Rind, who accosted them with an Old World shotgun. They managed to talk her down, however, and learned that she lived at a farm with her Granpaw not too far from here. She floated the idea that he may be able to offer them some form of protection in the form of an escort through the forest. The party decided to investigate, and went with Rind to meet this Granpaw.

Oh, and as it turned out, Granpaw – a massive buffalo skeleton wreathed in deep black robes – was a Necromancer.

 No.741555

Zamrud is able to distribute 4 gemstones and 6 golden coins per party member, minus la Senorita.

Granpaw's skull turns toward Zamrud, who can feel the temperature subtly drop around him. "Depends what you're carryin', son. Get tribe bandits in disguise comin' round here, 'gain and again. Moving drugs. Weapons. People. Bad news for the ranch, t' get tangled up in business like that."

 No.741556

>>741555
Huh, well that is something new. Only have seen dreaded ones out here so far. Billy dislikes the idea of fighting against his fellow-creatures. Is there any known creature gangs out here? He tries to recall.

 No.741557

>>740764
Zamrud takes note of Qhapaq's timid demeanor, but nods his head in response to his wishes. "Very well."

>>741555
"I understand." Zamrud says in response. "I shall give you the most honest answer I am capable of: none of us have a clue. Our client specifically tasked us with delivering the contents without divulging it to us, as a form of protection for both ourselves and their company. That is the whole truth of it."

"I am willing to assume it is the most expensive of whatever it is you would charge us for allowing passage. What would that come out to?" Zamrud says, contemplating whether to use his Mutation to see inside of the package or not yet.

 No.741558

>>741556
[1d10] knowledge roll

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.741559

>>741555
>>741554
>Qhapaq waits quietly, as said before.

 No.741560

>>741557
>>741559
"Money ain't really the issue, at the bottom line, son," Granpaw says, giving another glance over the party. "Castle folk… be a hundred Schillings each if I don't know what's in it. Seventy-five if you drop 'em down before me, like I asked."

>>741558
>>741556
You know that, in addition to the Aya, there are other clans of Mutants that eke out small existences in the Outlands, although you aren't familiar with them in depth. Some of the more compassionate factions of the Castles – especially the Charismatics of Ironcastle – have sought to bring these tribes into the Castles for their protection, but they are thoroughly in the majority; most of the Castles bear no ill-will toward these Mutants, so long as they stay far off in the darkness, while a few disparage them as being no more than Dreaded Ones in disguise, tainted beyond hope of salvation.

 No.741561

>>741560
"What are these bandits that come by out here? Do they go by a name around here?" Billy asks out loud a bit worried that these might be a danger he hasn't heard of before. Something more than mutant tribes he knows of.

 No.741562

>>741560
>>741557
"Do we pay, or open?"

 No.741563

>>741560
As he lays out the pricing, Zamrud looks in his coffers: 100 Shillings isn't exactly cheap, but well within his affordable range, even able to cover everyone himself if need be. He nods his head, turning to look at Granpaw. "I understand. I'm afraid we must keep the contents of the package undisclosed if at all possible. We would not be upholding our responsibility as couriers if we did not. But let me discuss it with my comrades briefly, if we may have a moment."

>>741562
>>741561
"A hundred shillings should be well within all our price range after the previous job, correct? Would any of you be opposed to simply paying their toll?"

As Qhapaq suggests opening, he shakes his head. "I don't think that would be wise. More than likely there is some means our clients placed upon the package to deter its being opened by anyone other than its intended recipient. However," he taps the side of his head. "If we were really curious enough to know, I could take a small peek."

 No.741564

>>741561
"I ain't usually stop to talk to 'em… nor do they ever come close enough to trade words," Granpaw says. "…But now and then I'll get somethin' out of the Egregores. Call themselves the Skinners, these ones."

>>741562
>>741563
La Senorita waits patiently, having no stake in the matter.

 No.741565

>>741564
>>741563
"Very well. Payment it is."

 No.741566

>>741564
"I am well and fine with paying. Well worth it for the journey in itself in my opinion." Billy nods his head.

 No.741567

>>741565
>>741564
Zamrud looks between his compatriots as he confirms their collective decision, and he turns back around to face Granpaw. "After some consideration, we're willing to take you up on your offer for 100 Shillings a person. 500 will do then, to receive safe passage through your lands?"

 No.741568

>>741567
>>741566
>>741565
Granpaw nods, then looks back at La Senorita. "…Four hundred will do. This one ain't more than a tool."

La Senorita offers no retort to the insult, simply standing guard at your side, her eyes on the Death Knights waiting at the farm's perimeter.

Granpaw collects the money from Zamrud, then walks off the porch, heading for the farm's gate. "You're a mite different from the other Castle folk we get around here, you know."

 No.741569

>>741568
Ignore the remark about La Senorita.

 No.741570

>>741568
As he offers the money to Granpaw, Zamrud smiles, happy to see a good deal go fulfilled with no complications (for once). As Granpaw makes his comment, he turns up a brow. "I could certainly think of a few reasons why you might say so. Which one in particular?"

 No.741571

>>741568
Qhapaq pulls his pack on and sits up, before following after Granpaw and Zamrud.

 No.741572

>>741570
>>741571
"Fer starters, yer talkin' to me, not swingin' at me or sneakin' around," Granpaw says. "Most yer folk would tend to stick to the third, up until they saw all this, at which point they'd switch to the second."

As he speaks, he follows the edge of the fence Eastward, trudging through a thicket of dead trees separated by a narrow path between them. He's bulky enough that his body would, normally, collide with the trees on either side, being too wide to pass… but when he comes to them, his frame simply passes through the trees, as if either he, or they, were simply non-existent. Judging by the trouble that Qhapaq has with passing through the trees, getting covered with minor bumps and scratches along the way, it seems to be the former.

Granpaw eventually comes to a wider stretch of clearance amid the trees; a rounded space, where in the center there is a stone fountain, from which murky, luminescent water bubbles up. Tied around the fountain is a great black chain, which rises up and up, until at its top, you see something like a candle-holder. Atop it is a large and white spherical shape, resting atop the holder. Although it seems to be something of a gas, it retains its rough form without dispersing.

Granpaw busies himself with undoing the chain from the lantern. He begins to whistle, and just as you might start to wonder how, you can hear wind being pulled through every gap in his bones.

 No.741573

>>741571
As the group makes their way towards the outer gates, Zamrud turns to look at Qhapaq, whispering, "Would now be a good time to talk, or would you prefer until we're out of the village entirely?"

>>741572
"Ah. Well, I certainly can't deny there's many in Ironcastle who'd swiftly jump to either of those options. The Outlands are a dangerous place, after all. However," he smirks, "I've come to learn that just because the Outlands are dangerous doesn't necessarily mean everything in it 'is'. And I've also learned many problems one could solve with violence can be more efficiently remedied by diplomacy."

As they move through the mushroom woods, up to the stone fountain, and as the gas bubble comes up from below the water's surface, he turns to look at it with curiosity. His observations are interupted by the whistling bones of the buffalo skeleton besides him, prompting him to ask. "Some sort of ritual, I presume?"

 No.741574

>>741572
"Man, what a turn of life we find this place. I think it is pretty luck don't you think?" Billy turns his head.

 No.741575

>>741572
Qhapaq narrows his eyes a little, though remains quiet. Now that they're on the move, he seems to calm down. The brambles and trees give him trouble, and after enough time of trying to squirm through them he simply resolves to take the nicks and scratches- they likely won't be there for long.

>>741573
"Let us wait until we leave the village. I do not care for blasphemers, but I will be as respectful as I can stomach while we are within their village." he says, his voice low.

 No.741576

>>741575
"Blasphemers?" Zamrud repeats, his interest now very piqued by his friend's peculiar behavior. He shrugs. "Hmm. Very well. Soon as we're out of ear-shot. Forgive me, I did not know this would be difficult for you, I appreciate your patience."

 No.741577

>>741572
Good who had hither to been more on the silent side for now gave a small noise of surprise at the sight before him as he for the most part clung a bit closer to Grutar as he felt he would probably be on the safer side there.

 No.741578

>>741577
>>741573
>>741574
>>741575
"Just a bit of a tune," Granpaw says as he finally finishes undoing the lock on the chain. The thing, whatever it might be, floats a bit like a balloon, despite the great weight of the chain and the candle-holder-like apparatus at the top. He holds out the chain for someone to take hold of.

"This here Egregore, yer gonna wanna to hold onto tight until there's an emergency," Granpaw says. "Take the lock as well, chain it up when you make camp. Best hope you won't have to let it go. I'll fix you up with one of my Knights now."

He starts to head back to the main gate once someone's taken ahold of the mysterious floating chain.

 No.741579

>>741578
As the little ghostly orb floats with the chain, Zamrud takes responsibility and grabs hold of it, looking at the peculiar thing, studying it. "Must be buoyant, to float with this heavy chain attached to it. What is Egregore, exactly? Not some sort of Dreaded One, I hope?"

 No.741580

>>741578
>>741579
"I am bit worried what emergency would be needed to let go of this Egregore here. Is there anything we should be particularly worried about?" Billy tilts his head.

 No.741581

>>741578
Qhapaq looks the Egregore over with a frown, nodding idly in response to the buffalo's comment.
>[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.741582

>>741578
>>741578
Good shuffled a bit nervously at the orb moving but otherwise tried to put on the visage of being brave about the whole thing.

 No.741583

>>741579
"Thoughtform," Granpaw answers. "If you've ever seen folks get all caught up by an idea, that's the beginnings of one. That one right there," he says, motioning to the spherical wisps atop the candle-holder. "Is the result of a bunch of folks putting their heads together for a common cause… namely, keepin' things peaceful 'round here."

>>741581
You can't tell for certain, but you do not feel any of what the shamans of the Aya describe as signs that one is in the presence of a Soul. No warmth, no vibrations, just a hollow coldness. If you had to bet, it'd be a safe bet that this one is Constructed, not Ascendant.

>>741580
"Shade-Drinkers," Granpaw says. "See a dark cloud driftin' along the way, a mist that never quite spreads out, has a penchant for goin' right up to unsuspectin' travelers… that's when you leggo the chain and leg it. Most other things in this Forest, you should be fine, if'n you stick close with the Knight, don't get split up."

>>741579
>>741580
>>741581
>>741582
As you get back to the main gate, Granpaw walks a little back toward the house, whistling through his skull. In the distance further into the farmlands, you hear the far-off sounds of armored hoofsteps making their way toward you.

But before you can see your escort, you all become acutely aware of a cold prickling at the backs of your necks. You turn – indeed, nearly out of unrepressable instinct, more than direct will – and look to the south, where you see a lone figure, wearing an armorsuit of the Castle. They stand at the edge of what's visible from the farm, and though the light is dim, you can see that they aren't wearing any armorsuit, but one with the tassels and phylacteries of an Exarch – a high-ranking member of the Abbey… a holy inquisitor and execuioner.

From here, you cannot tell who wears the armor, only that they are an equine.

 No.741584

aren't wearing just any armorsuit*

 No.741585

>>741583
"You're a skeleton as well aren't you?" he inquired curiously as he seemed to be a bit expectant of this and not seeing anything that might actually be alive.

 No.741586

>>741585
The Exarch makes no response, simply standing at a distance as they survey the farm.

 No.741587

>>741586
Good frowned before deigning to flash the being his houses symbol to see if it might get any sort of reaction from them.

 No.741588

>>741583
"I don't think I ever had to bout with shade drinkers. Do they do anything unique with how they fight or is there any way to combat them besides fleeing perhaps?" Billy asks, unsure if those would be worth it fighting the dreaded ones on the surface.

 No.741589

>>741583
>>741583
"A Thoughtform…" Zamrud repeats, holding on to the chain tightly as he listens to the explanation. "Remarkable. If I may hazard a guess, if the sole reason for this Thoughtform's existence the idea of maintaining peace, I assume that it will somehow keep us safe as well as we travel through the forest? Why must we keep it locked up while we sleep?"

>>741583
As they approach the main gate of the village, Zamrud's hairs stand on end as a result of the cold prickling, staring at the armored invididual ahead of them. "Ah. Our Knight, I presume." He spots the tassels and the phylacteries, before raising a brow. "A member of the Abbey…?"

 No.741590

>>741583
Qhapaq hesitates for a little, but decides that it's probably not as bad as it could be. He'll shrug, and follow along with the others.

>>741583
>>741589
"We will be watchful for such things, then." the griffon says, before looking to the Exarch. "I would assume so, from how he looks."

 No.741591

>>741589
I am skeptical they remain one anymore."

 No.741592

>>741589
"Same reason I told you to let it go when yer in trouble," Granpaw says. "Once it's let go, it'll set about on the hunt."

>>741588
"If you breathe it in – and it's real good at gettin' past those little air filters yer suits got – it pulls you right outta yer body, and moves in once yer gone, takes over, with very few signs that anything's changed. Might be able to burn 'em out, considerin' they travel by the air. Weak to smoke… but you'd need to burn down just about everything nearby to make enough smoke."

>>741590
>>741589
>>741587
>>741588
The Exarch studies you for a little while longer, before turning about, and stepping back into the darkness that lies to the south.

From the north, Granpaw eventually comes back, accompanied by a bulky Death Knight, concealed head to hoof in armor. The Knight says nothing, but eventually extends his hoof to Qhapaq, with whom he stands at about eye-level.

"Sancho here will accompany you to the Forest's edge," Granpaw explains. "Just don't give him reason to turn back, and you'll be safe as houses."

 No.741593

>>741592
:Yeah, I am unsure how I would be able to handle a fight with something like that. Dreaded ones are quite the trouble with such unnatural abilities." He grimaces at the thought of losing his own body to such an evil thing.

 No.741594

>>741592
Good studied the being that approached trying to see if he could ID what lay under the armor.

 No.741595

>>741592
"On the hunt? The hunt for 'what', exactly?" Zamrud asks, a bit confused about its nature. "Is it violent?"

>>741592
As the Exarch disappears back into the brush, Zamrud uses his telescopic sight mutation to try and see where it goes for a while
[1d10+1] Perception

>>741592
As Granpaw returns with their guardian knight, Zamrud smiles and bows his head, "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sancho. Here's to a smooth journey ahead of us."

He turns to look at Granpaw again, "Pray-tell, how deep 'is' the forest? How long will it take to traverse, will it be more than one Cycle?"

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.741596

>>741592
Qhapaq offers a short nod, before shaking Sancho's hoof as he offers. He looks to where the Exarch was, making note of his disappearance, before saying "Very well. I will try not to."

 No.741597

>>741592
Good looked back to Granpaw "Any other advice before we leave?"

 No.741598

>>741595
You zoom in and track the Exarch's movements. They head a bit south, and then west, before eventually stopping to sit atop a mushroom. They keep their eyes on the lone path heading out from the farm, and you get the sense that they're waiting for you in particular.

>>741595
Granpaw just stares at you. You get the feeling that if he had eyes, they'd be rolling. "Boy. If it weren't violent, I wouldn't be sendin' it with you for protection, would I? It's mostly deterrent. You let it go if you come up against somethin' fool enough to attack when it sees you got both an Egregore and one of my Knights with you."

>>741593
>>741594
>>741595
Sancho notices Good trying to get a better look at him, and raises the visor of his helmet. You can see that he has a donkey's skull for a head. Suddenly, two eyes roll forward from the back of his skull, settling into place in the eye-sockets… although, they're a bit off. The lack of skin and eyelids makes them look a bit more like googly eyes than anything else.

"Howdy fellas," Sancho eventually says, his voice far higher and more nasally than Granpaw's. "Let's, uh… let's stay focused out there, fight as a team, and uh… we'll all come out a-okay."

>>741597
>>741595
>>741593
"Gonna be a few Cycles out," Granpaw says. "You get started now, you should be at the end of the Forest in two, maybe three more Cycles. Ain't go that way often. When you set your camps, keep smoke burnin'. Don't matter if it's low… just make sure there's always some smoke about."

 No.741599

>>741598
Good found this to be both amusing and a bit horrifying as he nodded "Heh yes uh… lets be a proper team."

He looked back to the leader and nodded "Duly noted sir."

 No.741600

>>741596
You notice Sancho's got a very strong hoofshake. It becomes clear he's trying to show off. If you wish to rise to the challenge, roll… at DC 8.

 No.741601

>>741599
"Yep, we all got ourselves to work together. I do trust you that we can all make it through together!" He pumps his claw into the air in a show of confidence.

 No.741602

>>741598
Keeping note of the Exarch's location, Zamrud turns his attention back towards the Egregore. "I suppose I understand. It's just, and I know appearances can be deceiving, but it is hard to believe the collective thoughts of 'keep things peaceful' could be a brutal force. Seems contradictory."

>>741598
Zamrud's eyes perk up, not anticipating such a voice from their protector, but smiles and nods his head. "Well said."

As Granpaw mentions how long it'll take to go through the woods, Zamrud rubs his chin. "I see. We'd best be off as soon as possible then, to make up as much ground as we could. Does your village have a shop by any chance? We're well supplied as is but you never know when you might need more."

 No.741603

>>741598
Grutar finally returns with a flask full of the strange alcoholic concoction he was likely tipsy from. "I take back everything I said before. This place is GREAT! They make some real weird stuff, but it has a great kick and burn to it! These guys don't seem all that bad either!" Grutar says, seeming much more joyous about this place than his previous demeanor. All because of booze.

"Hey, who's the new guy? He comin' with us?" He asks, waiting for a confirmation before he would address Sancho. "Well welcome to the group, just make sure while you're with us you watch our backs like how I'll watch yours."

 No.741604

>>741600
>>741598
[1d10+2] Hoofshake.
Qhapaq eyes the knight with a bit of suspicion, partly due to the eyes. He'll mask it, though.

Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9

 No.741605

>>741602
>>741602
My mother once said 'The things some people do for peace will shock you'." he responded

>>741601
He smiled and laughed "Well said Billy. I like the enthusiasm."

 No.741606

>>741605
Billy nods his head and smiles.

 No.741607

>>741602
"Do you or do you not carry a weapon for yer own protection?" Granpaw asks with incredulous exasperation.

>>741604
You manage to avoid having your hand crushed by Sancho's mighty hoofshake. He chuckles, then lets go.

>>741599
>>741601
>>741602
>>741603
Granpaw nods to Zamrud's second question. "Have a look 'round. If you're a bit tight for money from payin' the escort fee, you can most likely get some things in exchange for a bit of hard work, assumin' you're not in too much of a rush."

Granpaw leads you past the central farmhouse, taking you round the back to a series of smaller abodes. There are many huts, some constructed of wood, others carved into particularly large and wide mushrooms, and various skeleton workers and their families are out and about. It's a surprisingly lively commune, and despite the overall grim nature, being born from necromancy, there seems to be an atmosphere of peace and optimism among the residents.

>rather than list off what the residents have for sale, post descriptions of anything you'd want to acquire and, if such a thing is available, I'll write that or its closest equivalent

 No.741608

>>741607
Good for the most part was impressed they were all skeletons and jut went along with the group as he was quite content with his belongings for the moment.

 No.741609

>>741607
Qhapaq hums a little bit, checking the occasional stall. He's pretty satisfied with what he has for now though, so he doesn't look too far.

 No.741610

>>741607
>>741605
"Of course I do." He says, pointing to the empty orbs on his bandolier he uses for his burning alchemics. "And, I suppose I can see where you're coming from. If it creates peace through any means necessary, presumably the things we would need it for would not know any other means to peace than through force. Still, a Thoughtform… what a curiosity."

>>741607
As they're escorted to the central farmhouse, Zamrud looks for gas masks, something that might guard against the noxious fumes above should they need to ascend above the mushrooms at anypoint. While he's at it, he looks for any particularly interesting ingredients found locally he couldn't get back at Ironcastle.

 No.741611

>>741609
Good decided to pair up with Qhapaq for now "So Qhapaq… would you care to tell me what its like as a member of the Aya? I'm afraid I don't know very much of your people."

 No.741612

>>741607
"I'm fine with stickin' around a bit longer to get some of those real good shrooms to help us with the trip back home."

>If others are fine, will do work in exchange for more rations/possibly water rations too.

 No.741613

[1d10] Bartering Roll

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.741614

>>741607
Billy finding the stall for the wand he was very curious about decides to barter for it with the shillings he has on him.

NonCombat Talent:[Unnerving frame]: Passive:Purposeful or not, Billy is quite intimidating in appearance that others are more likely to listen; You have +1 on all social rolls.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.741615

>>741612
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.741616

>>741608
>>741609
>>741610
>>741610
>>741612
La Senorita stays close, her mysterious software being your only means of hearing the voices of the dead. She aids you in your negotiations with the locals.

You end up staying a few hours longer than intended so that Grutar can pick up work tilling the mossfields in exchange for some food and water – they come in the form of preserved snails and purified water. The work is hard and a bit outside his field of expertise, but they pay him for what he accomplished; he comes away with two Cycles' worth of food and water for himself. Not much, but could still be useful.

During this time, Billy manages to find a wandmaker. After a short discussion, the magician agrees to make a mushroom wand for him for 75 Schillings. It takes a few hours but once he's done, Billy receives a wand – a chunk of dried and hardened mushroom stalk with runes etched into its side. The wandmaker tells Billy that the wand can help him identify and communicate with mushrooms, and even issue simple commands to them. He can make them grow, move out of the way, tell him about what they've seen around them, and if there is anything else of note around or happening that may not be obvious.

Initially, Zamrud's search for gas masks proves fruitless, until he finds a mechanic among the workers. After a brief conversation, he learns that the mechanic's son has an aptitude for working with aetherios circuitry and modifying it. It would be against Castle regulations, but the mechanic's son can, for 75 Schillings per person, augment the air-filtering capacity of the Armorsuits, drastically improving their ability to filter out poisonous material. Foes such as the Shade-Drinker will still prove a threat, but the improved filters may at least slow the process by which the insidious monster works its dread magic.

 No.741617

>>741616
Billy nods his head in thanks as he heads forward out to settle with good happy with his own purchase.

 No.741618

File: 1593235798447.png (54.72 KB, 256x256, T_Pictos_Mask_Wood_01.png)

>>741611
"It is… very different from life within the Castles. People must be harder, as where we live rarely offers the safety of a structure like Ironcastle. Like Mother-Aya, we and our ancestors adapted to survive on what scraps can be found in the Outland. To be an Aya is to accept the imperfect, or the damaged, or the flawed, and to find the strengths within them. However, despite that, weakness is not tolerated. Those too weak to survive the Outland will not find the respect or the sympathy of the Aya."

The griffon stops walking long enough to tap his mask, before saying "Though, I imagine you are curious of the mask, too. The masks are a connection to our past- Aya craft their mask when they reach adulthood, with guidance from their ancestors. Because of this, some mask patterns may repeat from time to time. Parts of the mask- eyes, colors, shape, how you carve it- these things give meaning to the mask, and are colored by your own personality and life. It is for this reason that young Aya do not wear masks such as mine, but ones that are a plain, smooth, simple white- it represents the growth the Aya has yet to undergo."

 No.741619

>>741616
After his hard work, Grutar chalks up his lack of expertise just simply on his slowly growing age. He's still thankful to get food and water in places like this at least, despite the food being very very strange.

 No.741620

>>741616
Qhapaq watches Zamrud and Billy deal with the shopkeepers as he talks, more out of curiosity than anything else.

 No.741621

>>741618
He nodded intently as he listened to the words from the massive griffin "I suppose my life must seem somewhat… soft." he said with a small self deprecating laugh as he let him explain "But I must say that I find your story about the mask to be very interesting. It's somewhat like a hoof or a finger print for those who have them. They may seem similar to others but they are their own unique thing." he said as he kept up with him.

"I would like to visit your home sometime, if only to repay the kindness you had in seeing mine Qhapaq." he said looking up, his smile visible through the glass faceplate of his helmet.

 No.741622

>>741616
>>741618
>>741617
Zamrud contemplates the deal offered with increasing their armorsuits' natural filters to provide more protection against not only the hallucinogenic mushroom spores above, but also against enemies they're likely to face in the forest.

As Qhapaq shows off his mask to Good, he calls them over. "Qhapaq, speaking of your mask… while shopping around, I found a mechanic who will be able to modify our armorsuits' air filters to better handle the fumes from the mushrooms. I figure we should at least see that our flyers, as the ones most likely to go above the forest, should be outfitted with them. Would you be opposed to seeing if your mask could be modified with it? It is also 75 shilling apiece, but I will be willing to assist with the payment."

 No.741623

>>741622
Good perked up "I might as well invest myself so I can be safe for the most part." he said perking up at Zam's words.

 No.741624

>>741622
>>741620
The mechanic calls over his son, who takes a moment to examine Qhapaq's mask. He cautions that it would be possible to install a filter for this mask, but that doing so would require the installation of the mask into an insulated frame, drastically adding on to the appearance of the mask, though it wouldn't detract from the overall look of the mask's face. Though they are simple farm folk, they at least know enough about the Aya to recognize their masks and their importance to the clan when they see them.

 No.741625

>>741621
"Masks will change at times, as you grow. From what I have been told, you might make a new mask when the ancestors push you to do so, or when you feel it is the right time." the griffon says, before shrugging. "And, to be honest, I do. Even if I do respect you and the others, life in the Castle feels… strange. Unusual. But, it is nothing to feel bad about." he says, giving Good a soft pat on the head.

>>741622
>>741624
"So long as it can be removed from the frame once I no longer need to filter the air, I can accept that." he says, pushing the bits into Zamrud's paw with a short nod.

 No.741626

>>741623
"I think that would be very wise. I think I intend to invest in it for myself as well. Better safe than sorry."

>Paying 75 for a Filter


>>741625
>>741624
As Qhapaq hands him the shillings needed for the enhancement, Zamrud nods, handing them over to the mechanics' skeletal son. "Will that be doable?" He asks him in reference to it being able to be removed

 No.741627

>>741625
He smiled up at the big griff and gave him a playful little punch in the arm "I understand, but as I have said, my door is always open to you." he said with the usual warmness he carried for his friends,

>>741626
>>741624
He nodded as he went to the mechanics and handed them the money as well.

>75 bits for a filter.

 No.741628

The son confirms that Qhapaq will be able to remove and slot in the mask from the insulated frame, with the caveat that he might break the frame if he does so carelessly, but adds that he'll show Qhapaq how it's done.

While Grutar works and while Billy waits for his wand to be finished, the mechanic's son takes you to his workshop, and begins to work on the circuitry of your air filtering system. It's a bit uncomfortable having to sit still for so long, but around the time that Grutar finishes his work, the son at last finishes the modifications to your suits and mask. Qhapaq, Zamrud, Billy and Good all end up with an upgraded air filter system… a bit of a steep price at 75 Schillings each, but a sound investment considering what they've heard of the forest's dangers.

>Paused, make a post for next time if so desired

 No.741629

>>741624
I decide to follow in the groups step for a filter as well.

>75 shillings for a filter

 No.741630

>>741627
"Mmm. I will… keep it in mind, Good." the griffon says. He doesn't really feel the punch, but it's the thought that counts.

>>741628
Qhapaq promises to be careful, but ultimately the griffon cares more about the mask than the frame- if the frame breaks, it breaks.

 No.741631

You obtain Augmented Air Filters

>Augmented Air Filter: Automatic Free Action; Regeneration 2 per Charge. Does not start Regenerating until deactivated.*

>Effect: While the Augmented Air Filter is active, you can spend any of the four Charges, listed below, as an Automatic Free Action when you are prompted to roll resistance against hazardous airborne substances.
>Charge A: You automatically succeed against the check
>Charge B: You succeed against the check on DC-4
>Charge C: You succeed against the check on DC-3
>Charge D: You succeed against the check on DC-2

*Regeneration periods differ from Recharge periods in that an item / skill with a Regeneration period can, generally, be used at any time so long as you have at least one Charge left. Some powerful items and skills might have both a Regeneration and Recharge period, but this is rare. In most cases, items and skills with Regeneration periods do not start Regenerating until they are deactivated.

 No.742070

Last time, on Anno Castra…

Granpaw entrusted the party with an egregore, a thought-form in the shape of a white, flame-shaped cloud sitting in a candle-holder that floated like a balloon. In the event of an emergency that could not be overcome by other means, they were to release the egregore's chain, and run as it went on the attack. In addition, he assigned one of his knights, a donkey by the name of Sancho, for more conventional dangers they might meet along the way.

While Granpaw was busy tracking down Sancho to conscript his help, the party felt themselves being watched from outside of the farm. They saw an Exarch, a high-ranking member of the Abbey, keeping an eye on them from a distance. This Exarch was alone, but seemed to be no worse off for it; typically, they handled the darker duties of the Abbey, as inquisitors and executioners, and had the power to match. The Exarch left shortly after revealing his or her presence, sinking back into the darkness outside the farm before Granpaw could see them.

After getting their escort, they picked up some augmentations to their armorsuits' air filtering systems to assist them with avoiding the powers of airborne Dreaded Ones and poisonous airborne susbtances more generally.

 No.742071

The son confirms that Qhapaq will be able to remove and slot in the mask from the insulated frame, with the caveat that he might break the frame if he does so carelessly, but adds that he'll show Qhapaq how it's done.

While Grutar works and while Billy waits for his wand to be finished, the mechanic's son takes you to his workshop, and begins to work on the circuitry of your air filtering system. It's a bit uncomfortable having to sit still for so long, but around the time that Grutar finishes his work, the son at last finishes the modifications to your suits and mask. Qhapaq, Zamrud, Billy and Good all end up with an upgraded air filter system… a bit of a steep price at 75 Schillings each, but a sound investment considering what they've heard of the forest's dangers.

You obtain Augmented Air Filters

>Augmented Air Filter: Automatic Free Action; Regeneration 2 per Charge. Does not start Regenerating until deactivated.*

>Effect: While the Augmented Air Filter is active, you can spend any of the four Charges, listed below, as an Automatic Free Action when you are prompted to roll resistance against hazardous airborne substances.
>Charge A: You automatically succeed against the check
>Charge B: You succeed against the check on DC-4
>Charge C: You succeed against the check on DC-3
>Charge D: You succeed against the check on DC-2

*Regeneration periods differ from Recharge periods in that an item / skill with a Regeneration period can, generally, be used at any time so long as you have at least one Charge left. Some powerful items and skills might have both a Regeneration and Recharge period, but this is rare. In most cases, items and skills with Regeneration periods do not start Regenerating until they are deactivated.

 No.742085

>>742071
Good fiddled with it a bit before making sure everything was online and took a seat next to the other two for the moment as he let them get ready.

 No.742088

>>742085
Can I have some help a bit. I have been stuck with this feeling of excitement and nervousness with going out here. I have been learning so many things in this larger world, but I do know there is so many dangers here that I don't know how to combat. What do you think?" Billy asks of his companion.

 No.742091

>>742085
>>742088
Sancho nods. "I hear livin' in a Castle will do that to a fella," he says to Billy. "You're just a little shocked after bein' sheltered for so long. You guys are out here wrapped in so much metal and reinforced fibres that it's a wonder how you can move or breathe. Meanwhile most of us here are doin' just fine with the clothes on our backs."

You note that Sancho is covered entirely in armor, and that the skeletons, being held together with what must be a form of magic, most likely do not share your biological concerns.

 No.742092

>>742070
>>742071
Qhapaq pulls his mask back on once it's returned to him, being as careful as he can- he'd hate to mess it up right after he got it back.

 No.742093

>>742088
"It takes experience, and time- some problems have solutions that take work to learn. Other problems are simply avoided."

 No.742096

>>742091
>>742093

"That does sound right. I don't know anything else that could explain it. So I do thank you for that." I nods his head in a little bow. As his hoof taps against the ground as he waits.

 No.742098

>>742088
I've learned to just buck up and go in prepared for the worst but expecting the best. It doesn't hurt but it sure does help." he said being a bit more chipper than usual.

 No.742099

>>742098
>>742092
>>742093
>>742096
Sancho goes to a nearby shed, and retrieves a grizzled-looking axe of metal and bone, the handle stained black with a mysterious substance. Dark gemstones are embedded into the shaft. He sets the axe over his shoulders, and after casting an appraising glance at the party, heads southward toward the gate. "Alright, any one of you fellas wanna take point, or am I up front all by myself here?"

La Senorita rolls along after Sancho.

 No.742100

>>742099
"I don't mind joining you over here. I am pretty bulky myself here." Billy speed walks over in response to their new companion.

 No.742101

>>742099
Good looked back to the robot and did his best to try and talk to it for now as he nodded at Sancho. He also spared a few looks at Qhapaq now and then

>>742092
So is your tribe a static or a nomadic one? I would assume nomadic given how most Dreaded ones roam." he asked during one of his glances

 No.742104

>>742101
"Nomadic, yes- it is quite normal for tribes to keep on the move. There are some that shelter in older, broken Castles, though." he says, humming in thought.

>>742099
"I can, if needed."

 No.742106

>>742101
>>742100
>>742104
https://youtu.be/DSMkc7M-XgI

La Senorita occasionally responds to Good during their small talk, but most of it is nothing more than canned responses, pre-recorded messages in a robotic tone. None of it is particularly noteworthy. Sancho gets the gate, letting you all out into the darkness of the Ghostroot Forest just south of the massive farm.

There's a path leading out from the farm, but it is a short one. Small mushrooms gather all around you, filling up the space between the taller ones towering overhead. "Yeah, we don't really get anything in terms of hoof traffic in these parts," Sancho says. "And almost none of it is friendly. I hear Rind pulled a gun on youse when you showed up? Well, it's to be expected. Anyway, I'm ramblin'. We'll have to make our own path here."

He takes the axe from his shoulders, ready to cut a swathe. "Any particular choice of direction, fellas?"

>roll perception for hints on what may lie around you

 No.742108

>>742071
>Zamrud pays 150 for two, covering himself and Grutar's costs

>>742099
Following their purchase and Zamrud double checking the filter's mechanisms, he looks to Sancho as he offers to take point, shaking his head. "By all means, go on ahead. If you are to be our guide, I find it most efficient if you were to take the lead."

>>742106
As they leave the town, Zamrud take a look around with his telescopic vision, wondering if he may catch the Exarch again that left the village as he determines what direction might be safest.

[1d10+1] Perception

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.742109

>>742108
You aren't sure how or when it happened, but a distinct buzzing in your ear, followed by a small pressure on your cheek, tells you that a fly has gotten inside of your armorsuit. If you're willing to brave the cold of the Outlands, you may be rid of him by raising your visor…

 No.742110

>>742106
Billy idly nods his head as he keeps up with the group on point. Checking left and right to keep up with his job.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.742112

>>742106
>Perception: [1d10]
Qhapaq nods a little bit as he idly listens to the rambling, mostly focused on keeping an eye out for any trouble they might come across.

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.742113

>>742109
As the buzzing pesters Zamrud to no end, testing even his impressive patience, the cat lets out a disgruntled growl, reaching up to open his visor ever so briefly to let the miserable creature out.

As he does so, he answers Sancho's question:
"The east, preferably, is where we're headed."

 No.742114

>>742104
"I see. Is there any place you would say your favorite place to rest has been?"

>>742106
Good still kept up his attempts of trying to help the robot learn with his attempts at an accent as he scanned behind them for now.

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.742116

>>742114
"We made camp by a river once- things were far calmer there than I was used to. It was nice, for the time we stayed.

 No.742118

>>742113
A terrible and paradoxical mixture of frigid cold and sweltering humidity floods into your suit as you raise the visor. The fly, caught in the rapid change of air pressure, is flung out into the darkness, where it almost assuredly meets an instant death.

>>742110
>>742112
>>742113
>>742114
"East it is," Sancho says, trampling over the smaller mushrooms in the path. Occasionally he fells some waist-high mushrooms with a thwack of his axe. Around you, you can see stalks of older mushrooms, having been cut down long ago, half-buried in the soft, damp earth. Newer, smaller mushrooms grow over them, their roots draining the old mushrooms of nutrients in a slow sapping. The skeletal remains of unknown life-forms poke out among them; some with slagged flesh still clinging to their white bones.

At about 1300 hours, Qhapaq notices the sensation of eyes upon his neck, coming from somewhere further up. He peers up, and sees the Exarch from before sitting atop one of the Proavus Cathedra, hidden among the mists. He is the only one to notice them.

Meanwhile, Billy assists Sancho in taking the lead, his eyes peeled for any dangers. Occasionally, small, rodent-like Dreaded Ones scurry underfoot, but they are quick, and flee before you can get a good glimpse at them, darting between the smaller mushrooms upon the forest floor. They do not show any signs of aggression to you, for now.

 No.742119

>>742118
Good for the moment seemed keen on just talking to Senorita and listening to Qhapaq as he kept on.

>>742116
Did you go for a swim in the water? I like swimming back at the castle when I have the time."

 No.742121

>>742118
>>742119
Billy decides to wave to the back from the front to his companions. Being more leisurely than he would otherwise with the extra companion.

 No.742122

>>742121
Good smiled and waved right on back to him with the same enthusiasm.

 No.742124

>>742118
Zamrud shutters as the atmosphere tenses up every nerve in his body, but quickly replaces his mask to avoid any more danger to himself as he lets Sancho lead the way to the east. As they walk through the forest of mushrooms, Zamrud approaches Sancho as he leads the way and decides to strike up a conversation.

"Earlier, Granpaw appeared to quite literally phase through the trees. Is that something you are all able to do or only him?"

>>742121
As Billy leads the way, Zamrud offers him a nod of approval in taking charge in way-finding for them.

 No.742127

>>742119
"From time to time, yes- I always preferred flying, but… swimming could be nice." he says, thinking back.

>>742118
"The Exarch follows. He is hidden within the mist." the griffon says, raking the dirt with his talons lightly.

 No.742129

>>742124
Your suit's temperature regulators quickly purge the atmospheric disturbance, and normalize the internal temperature to a more comfortable coolness. A notification appears on your magicomp, warning you to keep your suit sealed while outside of proper shelters.

>>742119
>>742121
>>742124
>>742127
Sancho shakes his head to Zamrud's question. "Nah… he's capable of more than a few things that we aren't. Some of them are the simple conveniences that you saw earlier. Others…" he pauses, and shudders. "They're best not witnessed. We get very few travelers in this area for a reason – and neither us Knights nor the Egregores are that reason."

"The Exarch?" Sancho asks Qhapaq. He stops, readying his weapon, and looks about, but clearly cannot see where the Exarch lies hidden.

"Exarch–" La Senorita interjects. "A high-ranking– member… the Abbey."

Its voice becomes stilted, jarring. It jumps from line to line, synthesizing a sentence from various disparate audio clips, instead of using the generated voice that you brought into being with your audio samples.

"And– an – extreme danger," La Senorita adds.

 No.742131

>>742129
"Oh yey! She's learning!" Good chimed before nodding "But she's right, it seems someone in the Abbey deemed us worthy of being watched right now. I am… unsure why. They're hard to understand even at the best of times." he said a bit distastefully.

 No.742132

>>742129
I decide to strike up conversation with our new skeletal companion. "How often do you have to escort? Do they usually go well?" Billy asks with a tilt of his head.

 No.742133

>>742131
>>742132
"Maybe once every couple of months," Sancho says, keeping his eyes peeled on the environment. "But this is the first time I heard about any of this Exarch business – and the robot just said he's an 'extreme danger'. You know this guy? Where is he?"

 No.742134

>>742129
"I see…" Zamrud says in response, more than a little perturbed by that skeptic description. "I suppose it is fortunate then, that he is so benevolent. I must admit, I had my concerns when we first arrived, but I see he is rather amicable." Zamrud suggests, seeing if Sancho has a different opinion.

As Qhapaq and Senorita both make notice of the Exarch tailing them, Zamrud turns to try and find the mysterious stalker himself, rubbing his chin. "How very peculiar… I suspect he must know we're on to him by now. Why does he not simply show himself?"

He turns to the others, "My first hunch is to continue onwards and let him approach first. If Stealth is his specialty, I doubt our approaching him would do anything more than scare him off. Best just to keep an eye on him for now and see what he does."

[1d10+1] Searching for him

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.742135

>>742133
"Ahh, that is quite spacious in time. I am unsure what the robot is going on about. My group is also trying to figure out what is with it. Quite an enigma honestly. Sorry for not being able to fully answer your question." Billy bows his head.

 No.742136

>>742134
You cannot see the Exarch, nor any trail that might lead to them.

 No.742138

>>742129
>>742134
"Hrm… I think it would be best to wait, yes. Searching for him will not do us much. Regardless, I imagine he simply does not want to."

 No.742140

>>742133
"Well no. All we know is that he seems to be interested in us but we had no idea he was here until earlier."

 No.742142

>>742140
>>742138
>>742136
As Zamrud fails to make note of the Exarch's position, he nods in resignation, looking to Sancho to continue the journey before he looks to Senorita, his interest piqued by the change in voice clipping.

"Interesting analysis… Senorita, why is it you say Exarchs are a danger? You are aware of what the Abbey IS?"

 No.742144

>>742142
>>742140
>>742138
>>742135
"Perhaps – present company – prohibits interaction," La Senorita posits.

You realize that she seems to know quite a bit about the Abbey for a machine that seems to have spent quite a bit of time wandering the Outlands, and being from this mysterious and unknown country of Canterlot.

"Huh?" Sancho asks, looking over. "You think they don't wanna be around me? That's… I dunno if that's a good or a bad sign. Well… looks like we're at an impasse. I'm here to protect you, and I'll be darned if I don't. My vote is we just keep on movin' and let this shy Exarch keep on where they are. Any opposed? You wanna try somethin' else?"

 No.742148

>>742144
"I mean I showed him my house symbol and they moved on so I think they're strictly observing for now. I think moving along would be best."

 No.742149

>>742144
"I think Senorita here can wait with what it has to say to us. Protection can't wait. Especially after we just had to pay for it methinks. So unless everyone else who had to pay I don't think we should do something else." He shakes his head at the idea.

 No.742150

>>742148
"Wait, wait," Sancho says. "You saw him before? When was this?"

 No.742151

"Shortly before we met you actually. They didn't really say anything."

 No.742152

>>742144
"I see…" Zamrud says as Senorita answers why the Exarch may be avoiding them, taking note of the peculiarity of her even knowing of what the Abbey *IS* despite pre-dating it by millenia. He decides to ask her more on this when they stop for camp later.

He turns to Sancho, "Let us move on. If he wishes to engage us without your being here, he may do so once we've exited the forest. I agree with your assessment, particularly if Good DID already attempt to communicate and it merely wishes to observe."

 No.742153

>>742144
"Best to ignore him for now. No need to go chasing in the mist."

 No.742154


 No.742157

>>742152
>>742151
"As in, this was back at the farm…?" Sancho says. "…If they didn't approach you then earlier, then maybe it really is me, and the rest of the family, that they don't want to be around."

>>742149
>>742152
>>742153
"If you wish to go out, I will remain behind and take care of whatever chores you assign me until you call me back, or until you call to tell me to come to you," La Senorita says, switching back to her standard lines and synthesized voice. "You can reach me at any time at…"

La Senorita makes something of a dial-up tone, a sound that only the older members among you might recognize. You each receive a notification on your magicomps, on the Concord application. It tells you that you have received a request to make a connection to a third-party program, and warns you that such programs may be viruses in disguise. It gives the name of the program, but you cannot read it – it only shows up as black squares on the screen. This happens when a comp does not have the requisite font installed to display certain text. Perhaps it is the script of Canterlot.

>You can leave behind La Senorita to meet the Exarch, as Billy suggested and La Senorita offered. Regardless, if you wish to leave the Exarch behind, then Billy, roll 1d100 for navigation.

 No.742167

>>742157
>>742157
"Sancho, why don't you and Senorita hang back, then we'll use the transmission service Senorita possesses to contact you both once we're ready for you? We can't understand what it is you are saying without her translation protocols anyhow, so there's little sense in separating you two."

"The rest of us will forge on ahead slightly, and see if that draws the Exarch to come speak with us. If he makes contact, or does not meet with us after one hour, we will contact you and rendezvous back together. Does that agree with everyone?"

 No.742168

>>742167
"I don't mind. I don't see anything wrong with the plan suggested here." Billy nods his head.

 No.742169

>>742157
>>742167
I agree with Zamrud, that seems like the best option."

 No.742171

>>742167
>>742157
"If you think it is wise, Zamrud." the griffon says, bobbing his head a little bit. "Let us make it quick, though."

 No.742175

>>742171
>>742167
>>742168
>>742169
Sancho sets his jaw grimly, then nods. "At the very least, keep the Egregore with you. That, I'm not willing to let you part with just yet."

You leave behind Sancho and La Senorita, and pick your way over the floor of mushrooms all about you, heading in the direction, somewhat Southeast, that Qhapaq saw the Exarch.

In the darkness ahead, you see a shadow drop from above, though it makes no sound. A figure steps forward, and at last, you see that it is the Exarch, their visor a muted gray screen lacking all reflection.

Suddenly, the visor recedes into the top plate of the helmet, and the helmet – begins to retract. Folding back as easily and swiftly as one might pull back the hood from a sweater, the helmet slips back with technology more advanced than that in your armorsuits.

https://youtu.be/D-UGmfA10Ic

At last, the Exarch reveals their face – her face. Before you is a zebra mare, slightly older than Zamrud if you had to guess. Her mane is short, and kept in a bun, and she has a jagged scar, which goes down from her left eye, where the upper and lower lids meet, down her cheek – almost like a crooked glasgow smile. She carries a left-bladed falx at her side.

"At last we meet, fellow Souls," she says in a soft voice. "My name is Godspeed. If I may, I had a question for you."

 No.742176

>>742175
leaf-bladed*

 No.742177

>>742175
"Well now I feel sorry for thinking you were a stallion on size… Er sure, I am Good Intentions of House Titanite, I will answer any questions within my power to answer." seeing she seemed to mean no harm.

 No.742179

>>742175
"As long as it isn't rhetorical. I am not good with any of those. I can never give anyone a satisfactory answer on those ones." He grimaces at the thought of his previous experiences.

 No.742180

>>742175
Qhapaq widens his stance when he sees something drop from above, though he relaxes slightly when it's revealed to be the Exarch. The masked griffon eyes the Exarch for a little, before nodding. "I am Qhapaq. Ask your question, Godspeed."

 No.742184

>>742175
As the Exarch finally makes herself known, and reveals her face in the process, he offers a light bow of his head. "A pleasure, Godspeed. Though I must insist, we're not overly fond of stalkers. If you wish to speak to us, we prefer the straight forward approach." He shrugs. "Or Concord is rather popualr."

"I am Zamrud. If you came all this way simply to ask us something, then by all means, ask away."

 No.742187

>>742184
>>742177
>>742179
>>742180
"The domain of the Necromancer, back there, the one that you visited earlier," Godspeed begins, pointing Westward. "Is a place whose master trafficks in souls and undead. Recently, the master defeated a Dreaded One called a shadedrinker, which had captured the souls of two of our compatriots, fellow soldiers of Zinccastle."

Indeed, you recall seeing a mission blurb bearing that description when you checked the Mission Board five Cycles ago. Nobody took that Mission, but you should still have it in your Magicomp's intranet cache, if you wish to pull it up and review it.

"When I saw that you had left his domain, I wanted to hear your appraisal of the place," Godspeed continues. "I intend to enter his domain and recover those souls. So – would anyone miss that place?"

 No.742190

>>742187
Good frowned "I would recommend not doing this. For several reasons but most importantly for the sake of our survival." he said simply "He is the lesser of two evils when it comes to the Dreaded ones and while I am… sorry for the loss of your comrades, destroying an otherwise peaceful place would only hurt the area more." he said trying his best to be diplomatic.

"But… what if we convinced him to free the souls of his own volition so no one has to get hurt?" he said figuring a compromise could be met here.

 No.742193

>>742187
>>742190
"Yeah, I do agree with you here Good. I do prefer to not have this area to suffer from such, and there should be a compromise."

 No.742194

>>742187
"Of Zincastle? We thought for a time you might be from Ironcastle."

As Godspeed makes her intent known, Zamrud narrows his glare, deep in thought as he cross his arms. "I see… you have my condolences for your comrades. It is not a fate anyone deserves."

"But, from what I observed: those skeletons appear mostly harmless. I am not overtly fond of their toll-keeping, but I suppose one has to get by somehow in the Outlands, and they are certainly capable of helping those who would fall prey to this forest's dangers otherwise. If have in-depth knowledge of this place, and without them any future travelers who came here would find themselves lost without their expertise and knowledge of its hazards. I cannot condone its destruction if only for the well-being of those yet to come through here who they may help."

"I would recommend speaking with their leader. He has proven, at least to me, to be a reasonable being. If you explain the circumstances of your compatriot's souls, he may yet be able to assist you."

He pauses, "Are you capable of understanding them? We are only able to do so thanks to a Helping Hoof droid we were able to program."

 No.742198

>>742187
>>742194
"Mmm. I do not like them, but I do not think it would be wise to do such a thing." the griffon says, looking to Zamrud. "The Helping Hoof robot does seem to be able to help in that aspect."

 No.742203

>>742198
Zamrud turns to Qhapaq, "ON that subject, while we're away from our skeletal tour guide… you were very on edge while we were in the village. Would you care to talk about it now?"

 No.742204

>>742198
>>742194
>>742190
>>742193
Godspeed tilts her head, and smiles despite the grim subject matter. Her smile shrinks as you defend Granpaw and his farm; it becomes a small line, still curved upwards at the ends. Something about it – how it treads the line between smile and something else, creates an uneasy feeling in the backs of your heads, and in your stomach.

"Oh?" she says at the end of your appeals. "I wasn't expecting to hear such appeals from fellow Souls. Nor did I think I would have the luxury of other options available to me. Very well."

She looks to Zamrud and Qhapaq. "If I am to petition the Necromancer instead, I will need its assistance indeed. If you don't mind me borrowing it for a time, I will send it back to you once I am done."

 No.742206

>>742204
Good was mildly peeved at the snub but considered it a win that she was willing to be diplomatic about the whole thing "I would appreciate her coming back intact mam."

 No.742207

>>742206
>>742204
"They are rather uninformed about this matter I believe. Probably should talk to them about this new matter first for this is also the first time we are learning of this exarchs issues. Yes?" Billy looks to his group.

 No.742211

>>742204
>>742204
Zamrud thinks on this for a moment,

"In general, I would take no issue with lending Senorita… that is our Helping Hoof's designaton… to you. However, in this specific instance, that would prove a problem. We need Senorita to communicate with our guide as well, you see, if she goes with you we will be unable to understand Sancho."

"Allow me to speak with her and see if her translation protocol could be routed through our communications array - if I could send Sancho's clickings to her remotely, then she sends me back a translation message, she could feasibly leave us and go with you to the village. On loan, of course. Otherwise, I must insist we go with the both of you."

 No.742212

>>742204
>>742211
"Perhaps it would be easiest if we simply return with them to the farm- it could not take too long for the issue to be talked out." the masked griffon says, shrugging.

 No.742214

>>742206
>>742207
>>742211
>>742212
Godspeed waves a hoof, almost apologetically. "I don't want to interrupt your goings; surely you have a mission in progress as it is, if you're outside the Castles. But if it's not possible for you to communicate with your robotic assistant remotely, I will be as swift as I can in my dealings. Shall we go see where those two await you?"

 No.742216

>>742214
"Yeah we do have a mission, thank you for understanding. I hope things do turn out better for you as well." Billy bows his head.

 No.742219

>>742214
Zamrud nods his head, "Of course, let us go see them. You know," he chuckles, "We could have done this much earlier had you approached us in the village. Did our walking among them unmolested not seem to suggest it was amicable enough? Or are you simply shy?" He says in a good-natured teasing manner.

 No.742224

>>742219
She stares right at you without a word, retaining her strange not-quite-a-smile. You feel that if you remain in this position for very long, her stare will bore a hole through your head.

 No.742226

>>742214
>>742219
Qhapaq nods a little, and turns to head back towards Sancho and the Helping Hoof. His expression can't be seen, but he seems to at least look in Godspeed's direction for a while.

 No.742227

>>742214
"Good felt his fur bristle a bit and he remembered his mothers less than favorable words about the Abbey but he deigned to give her the benefit of the doubt as he fixed his glasses after opening his helmet.

"It seems fine."

 No.742228

>>742224
Zamrud's smile slowly subsides, coughing as he feels she did not appreciate his humor as much as he thought she might. "Ah… ahem. Right, well, let us go on and return to them." He says, trying to not let the awkwardness linger on too long.

 No.742233

>>742226
>>742227
>>742228
As you go back to where Sancho and La Senorita wait, the former tenses, and you can see that he's gripping his axe tightly. Godspeed simply gives him a nod, and her helmet folds back over her head as she looks at La Senorita. The robot gives her a greeting, but not much else. "What an interesting old contraption," Godspeed concludes. "Have you found anything interesting in its memory-banks?" she asks.

Regardless of how that conversation goes, you take about another hour to head back to Granpaw's farm, during which time Godspeed explains her mission to Sancho. He says little to either support or dissuade her, and in general seems quite uneasy about her.

At last, you arrive back at the farm's gates. Godspeed looks to you once more, somewhat apologetic as before. "Since it seems that I was apparently too shy last time, would one of you mind introducing me to the master of the house?" she asks.

 No.742235

>>742233
"A bit, but unfortunately, though they've endured spectacularly, the millenia have taken somewhat of a toll on her hard drives. Much of her memory is corrupted. We've learned of a 'Canterlot' however, possibly the name of a country from a bygone era."

As they approach and he notices Sancho gripping his axe, he nods and tries his best to keep the situation as calm as possible by stepping in when needed. As they come back to the gates, Zamrud mumbles lightly as she throws his joke back at him, but puts on a calm smile. "I would be elated to. Have faith, Godspeed, Granpaw will surely be willing to help once he understands the circumstance."

 No.742236

>>742233
Good stepped forward "I will, I was a bit quiet before, it'd be good to try and speak up a bit this time."

 No.742238

>>742236
As Good offers to do so, Zamrud bows and waves the way forward with his arms. "Be my guest, young Lord."

 No.742239

>>742233
"I will wait outside, if it is all the same to everyone else. I will be close by if needed, however."

 No.742240

>>742233
"Sadly we haven't been able to find anything. It seems to be very old though with old support and strange phrases." He grunts looking back to senorita. Quite an enigma.

 No.742243

>>742240
>>742235
"When we are both less busy, I must have one of the Abbey's technicians have a look at what may be saved from its memory," Godspeed says.

>>742235
>>742236
>>742239
>>742240
"If ya don't mind, pal, I'll stay here witcha, keep ya company," Sancho says to Qhapaq. He avoids Godspeed's gaze as it sweeps back over him. Godspeed does not remark on his reticence or fear, but simply walks into the grounds with Zamrud, Billy and Good at her side. Through one of the windows in the central farmhouse, you see Rind washing dishes. She glances up as she puts a glass aside, and her eye-less skull rises with recognition of your group.

Rind opens the door to the farmhouse, drying her hooves on her apron. "Back so soon? We don't do refunds or exchanges on bodyguards."

>Paused, reply for next time if desired

 No.742928

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The party left Granpaw's necromantic farm, taking with them their newly augmented air filters, a bodyguard by the name of Sancho, a skeletal donkey, and an emergency measure in the form of an egregore, a thought-form given shape by magic.

About an hour out from the farm, they encountered once more the Exarch who had been following them for some unknown amount of time. Sancho and even La Senorita seemed apprehensive about getting close to them, seeing them as, in La Senorita's words, an "extreme danger." After some debate, the party left behind Sancho and La Senorita, then drew closer to where the Exarch waited.

The Exarch revealed their face, removing their helmet altogether despite the ungodly cold and humidity of the Outlands. As it turned out, the Exarch was a scarred zebra mare by the name of Godspeed, and an envoy of Zinccastle. Her mission was to retrieve the Souls of two of her allies from Granpaw, and planned to annihilate the entire farm to get them. The party appealed against that idea, and Godspeed was surprisingly quick to consider their view. Though she did not want to impose or interrupt their journey, the party offered to escort her back to the farm and help her make a case for the release of those Souls.

 No.742929

>Billy, Zamrud

"When we are both less busy, I must have one of the Abbey's technicians have a look at what may be saved from its memory," Godspeed says.

>Everyone

"If ya don't mind, pal, I'll stay here witcha, keep ya company," Sancho says to Qhapaq. He avoids Godspeed's gaze as it sweeps back over him. Godspeed does not remark on his reticence or fear, but simply walks into the grounds with Zamrud, Billy and Good at her side. Through one of the windows in the central farmhouse, you see Rind washing dishes. She glances up as she puts a glass aside, and her eye-less skull rises with recognition of your group.

Rind opens the door to the farmhouse, drying her hooves on her apron. "Back so soon? We don't do refunds or exchanges on bodyguards."

 No.742930

>>742929
Zamrud nods in agreement with Godspeed. "Indeed. If you would care to, you would be welcome to Ironcastle anytime for its investigation."

>>742929
As they return to the farmhouse, Zamrud gives a small bow to Rind. "No returns or exchanges here, Miss Rind. A small errand popped up we thought best to see to before making our way out of the forest, is all. Might we speak with Grandpaw once more?"

 No.742934

>>742929
"We have come with a guest who wishes to speak to Grandpaw and make a request of him. We hope to make it a pleasant and diplomatic exchange if possible."

 No.742938

>>742929
Billy comes in waving his claw. "There is no need for refunds at the moment. Just a separate issue has come unexpectedly here." Billy announced.

 No.742940

>>742929
Qhapaq waits by Sancho, trying to keep as much of an eye on Godspeed as he can.

 No.742944

>>742940
"Wanna smoke?" Sancho offers, holding up a small leather case.

>>742940
>>742938
>>742930
>>742934
Rind notices Godspeed and looks her up and down… and ultimately stands resolute before her, showing none of the fear that Sancho expressed.

Godspeed nods to Rind. "It is as they say. May we come in and speak with him?"

"Lemme check. You park yerselves right there," Rind says, then turns about, heading deeper into the farmhouse's front hall. "Granpaw! Those folks come back a'knockin'. Anything gonna explode if they step over the threshold?"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-UGmfA10Ic

A few moments pass, before Granpaw's form slides silently into view at the end of the hall. He and Godspeed immediately lock into eye contact, and a current electrifies the air. Granpaw straightens and makes sturdy his stance, and though his face is naught but bone, you can tell that he's regarding her with a different kind of respect than what he showed you. Where he looked upon you with a certain distance, he regards her with caution, and a respect that one shows for danger – such as when a warrior meets another whose power rivals, or even outstrips, his own.

"Who might you be, miss?" Granpaw asks.

"Heart-borne Godspeed," she answers, giving a very particular title awarded to distinguished Abbeans. "Exarch of the Abbey. You have in your possession the Souls of two of my allies, which you wrested from the Shadedrinker you slew not long ago. I have come to retrieve them, and inter them to their rightful rest."

"A mighty bold thing, to claim what's been taken by battle," Granpaw says. "I trust y'all brought back these folks with you to help make your case."

"I did not want to bother them, but they offered," Godspeed says.

Granpaw does not take his eyes off of Godspeed. "Well then, what'd y'all have to say about all this?" he asks you.

 No.742947

>>742944
>>742944
>>742934
Zamrud's hairs stand up on end as he witnesses the two forces confronting each other, unprepared for such an intense greeting. He ponders if these two have more of a history than he's been led to believe…

Resolving to let the young Lord try his hand at peacemaking first-hoof, nods his head towards the colt, then towards the electrified stand-off between Granpaw and Godspeed

 No.742948

>>742944
"I believe we could maybe make a deal if it is possible. Perhaps render a service that allows us to earn the souls for Godspeed here so everyone goes home happy?" the young noble said as he stepped forward and tried his best to emulate his fathers stern flat tone.

"I'm sure there's something you might be willing to want that's worth the souls of her compatriots." He added trying his best to remain calm and strong.

 No.742951

>>742948
>>742944
"Yeah, I would like this all to resolve peacefully as well. So we can all be happy and the like." Billy nods his head.

 No.742955

>>742944
Qhapaq tilts his head to the side and looks over the case presented to him, before asking "What is it?" He flicks one of his ears and looks back to the farmhouse occasionally, just in case he hears anything more than some normal conversation.

 No.742957

>>742955
"Tellin' me you never seen one of these?" Sancho asks, then pops open the case, revealing a velvet interior. Inside is a pouch, some small sheafs of paper, and a set of matches. He pours some of the pouch's contents, an herb of some kind, into the paper, rolls it, and offers it to you.

>>742947
>>742948
>>742951
>>742955
"Souls aren't easy to come by," Granpaw says. "You Castle folk have the right idea, stayin' in your burrows like y'are. Those who can't live out here shouldn't try much else. It's a disaster when they do – and y'all should understand that."

"If we're going to talk about power and the rule of might, this conversation may head in a dangerous direction," Godspeed says. "As I am sure that someone as strong as yourself must understand."

"Course," Granpaw scoffs. "If'n you want these Souls that I have taken from that Shadedrinker, I wanna see that you could've done it yourselves. Lucky for you – one of them got away. Headed northeast. Mighta gone as far as Oath, by how fast it was goin'. Take it out, bring it back here, and I'll release the Souls."

 No.742959

>>742957
"I assume the device you gave us would be satisfactory for helping destroy such a creature?"

 No.742962

>>742957
>>742957
Zamrud looks between the two as they lay out the terms for the Souls' retrieval, not entirely agreeing with Granpaw's philosophy that 'to the victors go the spoils'. "Northeast does also happen to be in the direction we were headed, and one less Shadedrinker running around in the Outlands is better for everyone involved. You could accompany us on our way out of the shroom forest, Godspeed, we'll slay this Shadedrinker, and then you can return to reclaim your comrades' souls as we continue on."

 No.742963

>>742957
Huh, quite an interesting way this has turned out, Billy thought. Kind of like a test of one's might and worth. I wonder what they think about it.

[1d10] perception

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.742967

>>742957
>[1d10] Study!
"Hrm… I do not smoke much, so I do not think I have." the griffon says, taking the rolled paper and looking it over.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.742970

>>742967
The herb is actually a particularly rare and expensive kind, one you have not encountered at all outside of the Castles, owing to the difficulty of its growing. It is called Dragonsnort, known for its strong and harsh odor, and the inordinate augmentation that it provides to one's focus. How Sancho obtained it all the way out here remains unknown.

>>742963
You glance at her expression, and she has a kind of curious gleam to her eyes. As if this trial's main reward might not be the rescue of those captive Souls, but in seeing the battle with the Shadedrinker itself.

>>742963
>>742962
>>742959
>>742967
"On its own, not even the Egregore will be enough to cut down a Shadedrinker," Granpaw cautions. "When I handed it over to you, I told you that when you use it, yer supposed to cut and run. Yer sendin it to its demise when you use it like that. But, in the hypothetical, if you were to weaken the Shadedrinker enough, the Egregore could very well pull through. If you do manage to survive, the Egregore will be able to bring it back."

Godspeed looks with surprise at Zamrud. "You're agreeing to the terms?" she asks. "I have already asked much of you as it is."

"City of Oath –" La Senorita interjects, synthesizing a sentence out of audio clips from her data. "– along – the fastest available route – to your destination."

"Regardless of whether it is on your way," Godspeed says. "It is a risky task. I say again that I had intended to do this on my own for your safety."

 No.742971

>>742970
"I think its best that we work together then to accomplish both goals then." he said looking to Godspeed. "It's best we all work to keep things in the castle safe. Living or dead." he then turned back to Grandpaw.

"Do you have any advice about how to best defeat the creature?"

 No.742972

>>742970
"Hmm… that is a particularly rare herb to find, yes?" the griffon asks, attempting to light the roll.

 No.742973

>>742970
>>742971
"I don't see an issue if everyone agrees to to join Godspeed in this task. Though I do admit I have my own interest in this new task." Billy nods his head.

 No.742974

>>742970
>>742971
"Good Intentions put it best. I'm sure our Castles may not agree on everything, but we all have common interest in survival. Regardless of it being an immediate threat or no, eliminating this Shadedrinker can only help. Especially if Oath is in our path regardless, I see no reason not to be a kindly neighbor and assist you where we can."

 No.742976

>>742972
>[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.742980

>>742972
>>742976
You light, and take a hit of it, and though your eyes burn and water, you hold in the smoke, and eventually release it. The smoke curls in the air, taking the shape of a strange collection of serpentine dragons, criss-crossing and overlapping in curious interlaces.
"Yeah, cost me a bundle," Sancho says. "Bought it off of some travelling raiders a while back, and I like to save it for the most part. But, that mare… she's strong, can't deny that. Something about her though… it's like – you know that feeling you get when someone's sizing you up?"

>>742971
"Air gives it a certain degree of invulnerability, while earth and water make it easier to strike," Granpaw says. "It's why I suspect it mighta ran as far as the old city – not much of earth or water out there. Just ol' sludge – that, and captive lightning."

>>742973
>>742974
>>742971
"Then I am in your debt, and shall see to it that Zinccastle hears of your deeds," Godspeed answers, before looking back to Granpaw. "We shall take our leave, if these terms are agreeable to you as they are to us."

Granpaw nods. "Unless you got yerselves any more questions, Rind will show you to the gate."

Rind clicks her tongue. "First it's the trash, then the dishes, now I'm a host. I gotta do everything around here."

"I brought you into this undeath, little lady," Granpaw says. "Could take you out just as quickly."

"Yeah, yeah," Rind dismisses. "You wouldn't be able to find nothin' round here without me."

 No.742983

>>742980
Good nodded and made a note of that as he felt his water pellets and canteen before following the others out as he quietly contemplated the threat they were preparing to deal with.

 No.742984

>>742980
"I appreciate the kindness for listening to us Godspeed. I am sure this issue will easily be resolved with you here with us." Billy gives off a big smile.

 No.742985

>>742980
Qhapaq blinks once or twice, looking at the smoke with a curious expression. He shakes it off, before nodding. "I do. I do not… know what to think of her. It concerns me, somewhat." he says, humming a little. "It seems as if things are going well."

 No.742986

>>742980
Zamrud chuckles at Rind and Granpaw's exchange, offering one more bow to Granpaw as they depart before whispering to Rand as they depart, "I imagine he does not let many speak back to him in that way. You two must share quite a bond."

As Godspeed thanks them for their assistance, he waves his paw, "Really, it is little trouble. As we have said, it is on our way regardless. I would not wish the fate to have befallen your comrades on anyone, it is only natural we should want to try and reverse it."

"I'm surprised you are doing this all on your own. There are no other Exarchs who could assist you?"

 No.742990

>>742986
"The others are his employees, but I'm his daughter," Rind says. "By adoption, of course. Ain't never knew no parents beside him, though, so I don't think of him as anythin' other than my paw."

>>742984
>>742986
"And I appreciate your appeal," Godspeed says to Billy. "Had I gone in there by myself, as I had intended, it would certainly have played out far differently. He's a frightening chap – I am surprised you deigned to speak with him face to face before."

She then turns to Zamrud. "Exarchs are a small rank within the Abbey. The burdens asked of us are heavy, and few can carry them. In face, I am sure the Seneschals will be none too happy to discover that I left on my own. But, I prefer to act solo – you may have surmised from how I pushed against your assistance time and again."

>>742983
>>742984
>>742985
>>742986
Rind opens up the gate for everyone, and they file out. Sancho straightens up when Godspeed approaches. "Everything's worked out, it seems?"
"Of course, thanks to your allies," Godspeed says. "Oh, and, Sancho – those travelling raiders you bought your Dragonsnort from make their business by attacking groups such as ours. I would thank you not to patronize them further."
Sancho gulps. "Wow… you've got some good hearing to catch that all the way from the farmhouse."
Godspeed smiles.
"…I won't do it again," Sancho says.
"Thank you," Godspeed says. "Now, are the rest of you ready?"

>roll navigation if so

 No.742992

>>742990
"I am, but I would also ask you not threaten our guide and ally Godspeed. You may be a friend and an ally but I won't stand for threats against those who are helping us." the small colt said locking eyes with the larger mare, a hint of annoyance on his eyes behind his glasses.

There was a mild humor in seeing a small colt such as himself scold the larger mare.

 No.742993

>>742992
[1d10] Navigation

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.742996

>>742990
"The way I see it, we already have our hands full with the Dreaded Ones. Better to try and negotiate wherever you can and save one's energy. Though honestly, we were lucky to have Senorita: I do not imagine communication would have gone so smoothly without her."

As she explains how she prefers to act solo, he nods. "And I assume you're just as effective alone as with a group. Still, there are times where it's beneficial to have others watching your back."

>>742990
Zamrud waves a kind farewell to Rind, looking to Sancho as he nods in affirmation. "Indeed, we have our course. We are to travel to the Northeast, aiming for Oath." He takes hold of the chain to their Egregore, gripping it tightly as he prepares to assist with the navigation upon securing his helm.

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.742997

>>742990
>Navigation: [1d10]
Qhapaq puts his mask back on once the others return, making his expression once again unreadable. He nods a little, and turns to depart.

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.743000

>>742990
"I am ready whenever everyone else is. Happy to have everything here sorted out." Billy stretches a bit before walking a bit ahead.

[1d10] Navigation

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.743007

>>742992
"You have my word that I shall be on my best behavior from now on," Godspeed says.

>>743000
>>742997
>>742996
>>742993
>average of 3.5

Rind waves as you saddle up once more. It takes only about 45 minutes to get back to where you encountered Godspeed for the first time, now that you know the path and have cleared out some of the shrooms in your way. Your comps and La Senorita make use of their DPS systems to keep you on the right path. You notice, as you check the mission information, that there's a map file included with the details. The deliveries are to be made to a bunker on the far end of an abandoned city – and it turns out that the city is named Oath.

It is around 2100 hours, after quite a long trek of navigation that you are stopped by a most horrid stench; your visors do not show any notifications of noxious gas, so it is unlikely to be poison. It is as you look onward that you see the source: A vast swathe of the forest lies before you, made by the mass felling of the giant mushrooms, which lay all about in chunks, cut into pieces by something incredibly powerful. Among the mushrooms lay the remnant of some many dozens of Dreaded Ones, cut in a remarkably similar fashion, their corpses stewing in rot.

"Oh…" Godspeed says. "My apologies. I meant to steer you away from this direction."

 No.743008

>>743007
"I assume… this is your handiwork?"

 No.743010

>>743007
"Understandable, it is quite a foul place here." Billy can't help but scrunch up his face and cover his own nose in reaction.

 No.743011

>>743007
Zamrud looks through the mission dossier as he discovers that Oath is the very same city they need to make their delivery at, grinning at the fortuitous nature. As they continue traveling deep into the later hours of the cycle, Zamrud seizes up as his nostrils are affronted by the stench, wondering how much worse it might be without their new filters installed as he turns to look around for a source as he notices the copious amount of nearby Dreaded One corpses.

Zamrud looks to Godspeed with confusion. "You've been through here before…? Interesting. I don't suppose you might have an idea of what happened to these Dreaded Ones, do you?" He asks, already having an idea of the answer…

 No.743014

>>743007
Qhapaq looks over the remains of the Dreaded Ones with a soft hum, trying to avoid breathing through his nose… or, the avian equivalent. "Here before? Your work?"

 No.743016

>>743014
>>743011
>>743010
>>743008
"I passed through this cut of the forest on my way south from Zinccastle," Godspeed says. "Though, I got a bit lost, and paid for it when I was assailed," she says, gesturing to the corpses of the Dreaded Ones. "But, it would be inauspicious to linger here long, or to let this scent cling to us. For those without Souls, the smell of Death is a potent attractor."

"Suggestion," La Senorita says. "Navigate – against the – current – of the winds."

 No.743018

>>743016
"So this IS your handiwork." He notes the impressive pile. "I see why you're able to work alone in these lands."

As Senorita proposes navigating upwind, Zamrad nods. "A good suggestion. What direction is the wind blowing now, will it be taking us too far out of the way if we move against the wind?"

 No.743019

>>743016
"That sounds like a great suggestion. I honestly wouldn't have thought of it. Does it work out with where we have to go?" Billy asks of Senorita.

 No.743020

>>743016
Good nodded at both "Good suggestion Senorita." he said letting her take the lead and lingering with Godspeed in the back.

He was giving her a wary glance, looking to see if she might have some ulterior motive. HE was willing to believe that she was very much genuine about her reasons to do this and be here… but his mother had always left him viewing the abbey and its ilk with suspicion.

 No.743022

>>743016
"Yes, it would be smart to avoid drawing the ire of any other Dreaded Ones." he says, nodding a little bit. "Perhaps, even if going against the wind was not the right way, it would make for a decent detour."

 No.743025

>>743018
>>743019
>>743020
>>743022
"Calculating…" La Senorita says. "…Suggestion. Head south-southeast, then east, and loop north."

"Say, that's the direction of the old Airy Hills," Sancho says. "It's where Granpaw found those two Shadedrinkers, too. Might be able to find some clues there… just hope you lot brought yourselves some good hiking boots, else you might find yourself takin' the fast way down. It's pretty steep, that direction."

"I enjoy a good hike," Godspeed adds.

 No.743026

>>743025
"I think I will be fine. I have a good sense of balance me thinks. Will you be fine Godspeed?" Billy tilts his head.

 No.743028

>>743025
Good nodded and continued to watch her before finally breaking his silence after they began to move.

"What exactly do you do Godspeed?" he asked after a pause as he continued to look at her.

 No.743029

>>743025
>>743025
"A bit out of the way, but a little extra distance will be worth it to avoid a slew of Dreaded Ones in our way." As Sancho points out the Airy Hills are in that direction, he nods in agreement with Godspeed. "Indeed, we didn't come out here expecting a leisurely stroll. Might as well put some exercise in. It's getting late in the cycle as well, perhaps when we reach Airy Hills we can find a good campsite for us to bunker down and rest for tomorrow while searching for clues to our wayward Shadedrinker."

 No.743031

>>743025
"I believe I will be fine on the way down." the griffon says, flapping his wings a couple of times. "I will remain close to others- if someone falls, I will catch them."

 No.743036

>>743028
"Every Cycle's tasks vary," Godspeed says. "But often I am on missions such as these, those too dangerous to allow onto our Mission Boards for the Warriors and Sages to take as they please. The plan was originally for someone to fight against the Necromancer – hence, why I volunteered for the task. Hearing of it, I could not possibly allow others to go, and be slain by him. You lot have thrown those plans into disarray, however. Not that I am complaining. Defusing a situation is as effective a way of solving it as annihilating it."

"That's… one way of looking at it," Sancho says. "Certainly how Granps does it… he's more on the latter side than the former, though."

>>743026
>>743029
>>743028
>>743031
Following La Senorita's directions, you spend the next hour and a half of travel cutting and hiking your way to the south, then to the east, taking the route most distant from the stench of the rotting Dreaded. As you begin your curving path back north, the terrain noticeably becomes more rough, growing steeper at irregular intervals, and with no small quantity of rocks among the mushrooms to make things more treacherous. A few stumbles and trips are had here and there, and though there are no major injuries, you are sore before long.

At about 2245, you reach the base of a series of plateaus among the hills. The mushrooms atop the hills are generally smaller than the ones below, which are all at the height of trees. There are trails winding every which way about you, leading further up where you might find a vantage point.

"Reconfiguring movement gears," La Senorita says. "We apologize for the inconvenience."

 No.743037

>>743036
"Dreaded ones sure do seem more straightforward in handling rather than other creatures. I have yet to meet one who would even say hi! Quite ride of them all." Billy chuckles to himself.

 No.743038

>>743036
He was silent for a moment as he mulled over her words "I have always heard that the Abbey was far more likely to resort to the quick and violent path to achieve it's goals."



As they reached the area he spoke up "Perhaps we should look for somewhere to rest. We're drawing close to the turn over point and we've been hiking for a bit." he said rolling his legs a bit as he

 No.743039

>>743036
"If you don't mind my saying so, Sancho, Grandpaw could learn a lot from the former. I can certainly speak to the benefits of negotiation. Though, I understand it is difficult without an easy means of communication. If I could, I would offer some sort of replica of Senorita's translation protocols."

>>743036
As it gets on late in the evening, Zamrud feels the latness of the day start to take hold of him, slowing his pacing somewhat but pushing on to keep up with the others, especially as the incline starts to build. He assists others where he can and looks around the growing hills, noting in particular the shrinking height of the mushrooms. He grows concerned, looking up above. "I can't help but notice the mushrooms are getting smaller. Most likely due to the higher altitude, but does that mean the noxious fumes above are closer to us now?"

As they reach the base of the plateaus, he pauses, "Shame the darkness out here is so thick. I imagine we might have quite the view otherwise. Sancho, where did Granpaw fight these Dreaded Ones, near the peak? I'm contemplating how far we should go before resting."

 No.743041

>>743036
Qhapaq keeps his wings a little pushed out, just in case someone falls off the edge. He wants to be ready! "If there is no other way, I can attempt to carry you up, one at a time- to be safe, yes?"

 No.743045

>>743037
"It is for the best that you have not yet met one that can speak – you should pray that you never do," Godspeed cautions. "To be able to speak is to be able to deceive. And that is a far more valuable and far more potent weapon than anything that souls such as we have ever produced."

>>743038
"So many adherents of Blod would readily agree with you," Godspeed says. "Perhaps out of all of us, they are the ones who grow the most drunk on their intoxicating vitality, and zeal for life. This inspires them to strike first, and to strike with the aim of complete annihilation of our foes… But Blod is not my patron. I am no stranger to violence, but if there are other solutions, I am not one to turn them away out of hoof."

>>743039
"Oh, trust me, guy, he doesn't need 'em," Sancho says. "Guy talks with mushrooms and rocks just fine."

>>743039
>>743038
>>743037
>>743041
"The fumes from the shrooms will only reach dangerous levels of concentration at the peak of these Hills," Sancho says. "I'd say as long as we don't get too close to the highest plateaus, we'll be alright."
"Calibration complete," La Senorita says.
"Your suits will automatically engage the air filter systems if you stray too far," Godspeed says. "Worry not."
As for Zamrud's second question, Sancho shrugs. "He's not a talkative guy. Didn't get into the details on how he fought it, only that he got one and the other got away. See if you can find concentrated globs of astral matter anywhere."

 No.743049

>>743045
"True, which is why I do prefer fighting dreaded ones over any other creature so far. So much more straightforward. Thank you for the warning, the way you do put it makes it sound quite scary honestly." Billy nods his head.

 No.743051

>>743045
>>743045
He looks down at his magicomp, "Well, it's near on 2300. I'm sure we're all feeling pretty tired, but why not search for clues while looking for a suitable campsite. Surely 'astral matter' isn't something too easily missed."

Zamrud starts scanning the hills with his mutated eyes, looking around for either a solid, defensible positon they can safely camp or some evidence in the Hills of the Shadedrinkers

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.743052

>>743045
Good was silent for a bit "Then who do you follow?" he asked simply as he wanted to probe her a bit more.

 No.743054

>>743045
>>743051
"Good thinking- perhaps, a campsite first? Having a place to settle our things and lighten our burden would be good."

 No.743057

>>743052
"Fyr is my patroness, and it was in her fires that I was baptized when I ascended to Exarch," Godspeed says. "It was through her aid that I attained the title of Heart-borne, by the way. What about yourself?"

>>743049
>>743051
>>743052
>>743054
Whatever "astral matter" seems to look like, you cannot detect any nearby, but Zamrud does find a curved cluster of rocks and earth which provide a form of natural shelter. Sancho comes over, sets down his pack, and begins to roll over a few more stones to make another wall. "Qhapaq, Billy, Good, see if youse can dig up some clay we can pack these gaps with. Fortify this a bit and we'll have a proper little secret base."
"You would need more than stone and clay to fortify that against Dreaded Ones of any serious magnitude," Godspeed says.
Sancho rolls hie eyes through the visor. "Just a joke, lady…" he mutters, before wincing, recalling Godspeed's incredible hearing.
Godspeed doesn't seem to get it.

>Paused

 No.744178

Last time, on Anno Castra…

The negotiations with Granpaw over the Souls of Heart-bound Exarch Godspeed's two companions was a tense one. Granpaw showed none of the fear that Sancho had expressed in the Exarch's presence, but he was very clearly preparing for some form of conflict if things broke down – a conflict that, at least in Granpaw's view, could have gone either way. Granpaw believed strongly in the right of conquest, and agreed to release the Souls only on the condition that the party prove they could have rescued those Souls themselves; they would need to defeat a Shadedrinker, and recover its remains – in the form of leftover astral matter. The egregore would be able to take care of that final task, if it should survive the battle, and so there was little need for an additional weapon or tool for its recovery.

The party agreed to those terms, and despite some initial protests from Godspeed, she was amenable to them as well. Billy, in particular, noticed her eyes glimmering with intense interest during her protests, suggesting those protests may not have been what they seemed.

They set out from the farm once more, journeying northeast. Later on, they came to the sites of a calamitous battle, resulting in dozens of mangled and vivisected Dreaded Ones, and a great portion of the Ghostroot Forest being cut to pieces in a similar fashion. Godspeed took credit for the violence, but was regretful that the party saw her handiwork. More dangerous, however, was that the scent of death and carnage would eventually attract more Dreaded Ones to their position if they stayed overlong and let the scent cling to them. They decided to proceed downwind to the southeast, then loop back north. Such a route took them within the range of the Airy Hills. According to Sancho, Granpaw's battles with the two Shadedrinkers took place around that area, and they may be able to find some trace of it if they looked diligently.

By the time they arrived in the hills, it was nearing the Dark Hours, and so some rest was in order. They set about making a camp as they searched for signs of the battle.

 No.744179

>Good
"Fyr is my patroness, and it was in her fires that I was baptized when I ascended to Exarch," Godspeed says. "It was through her aid that I attained the title of Heart-borne, by the way. What about yourself?"

>Everyone

Whatever "astral matter" seems to look like, you cannot detect any nearby, but Zamrud does find a curved cluster of rocks and earth which provide a form of natural shelter. Sancho comes over, sets down his pack, and begins to roll over a few more stones to make another wall. "Qhapaq, Billy, Good, see if youse can dig up some clay we can pack these gaps with. Fortify this a bit and we'll have a proper little secret base."
"You would need more than stone and clay to fortify that against Dreaded Ones of any serious magnitude," Godspeed says.
Sancho rolls hie eyes through the visor. "Just a joke, lady…" he mutters, before wincing, recalling Godspeed's incredible hearing.
Godspeed doesn't seem to get it.

 No.744181

>>743054
>>743057
Zamrud nods in agreement, looking for a campsite as they also prepare to look for the Astral Matter, and as they search he spots out the cluster of rocks they could use for shelter. He sets down his bag alongside Sancho, noting as he asks the others to start digging up clay to pack the gaps in. He offers a very, VERY light chuckle, and turns to Godspeed who looks on with a serious look.

"He was being sarcastic." He tries to explain simply, before taking another look around with his enhanced vision for astral matter before deciding on what to make for dinner. "Sancho, silly question but, do you eat at all?"
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.744182

>>744178
>>744181
"Have you managed to do well over this Journey? Certainly a lot of exciting things have occurred over our journey." He shares a smile with zamrud. "have had my own trouble traveling and excitement."

 No.744183

>>744181
"Only if it tastes good!" Sancho says. "Granpaw can cook a mean snail back at the farm."

You find nothing of note around the campsite.

>>744182
"On a scale of one to–" La Senorita splices. "I – rate it – 'very enjoyable.'"

 No.744184

>>744179
"My beliefs towards the pantheon of the Abbey are… hard to put into words. My mother has painted a most unplesant picture of those whose beliefs fall into what one might dub zealotry. While My father is observant he has never been one to stress following their words."

He paused "Frankly I know not whether I truly believe in them or reject them. I feel like I cannot make a decision based on my own experiences." he said with some trepidation.

 No.744185

>>744182
"Do you mean in general or this one in paricular? So far, I'd say it hasn't been so bad, save for the money we've dropped so far. Rather, we've been fortunate in not needing to fight any Dreaded Ones, and made quite the discovery in Senorita."

"Overall, these last few trips into the Outlands have been among my favorite. You're all quite capable companions. Last time was your first time being to the Outlands, Billy?"

>>744183
"Ah, escargot." Zamrud says in intrigue, "Certainly an exotic dish, I have not had much chance to partake myself. Are there snails around here, I did bring some garlic spice and a bit of butter."

 No.744186

>>744185
"Indeed it was. Quite many new things were found out and about here. So many creatures I haven't met before. It has been very exciting. If I am to be honest." Billy nods his head.

 No.744187

>>744184
"There was a time when I would have chastised such a lack of solid faith," Godspeed says. "But I have come to think that the gods are not so inflexibly stringent. Is it better to be sincere in unbelief, or to have a false professed belief? I cannot answer that, but I think your honesty is laudable."

>>744185
"There are some wild snail packs that roam around here," Sancho says. "But they spook easy, and they might stampede if they smell some Dreaded Ones nearby. If you can find one, I can show you a recipe or two."

 No.744188

>>744186
"Well, I am glad you are so enthusiastic about the Outlands, Billy. I must agree, while it is a most hostile place, there are many things you would never see inside the Castle either. Keep that curiosity and excitement, but do not let it become overwhelming. You MUST keep your wits about you out here, remember."

>>744187
"Well, while we're searching anyhow, I will see if I can procure a few snails…"

HE pauses. "Stampede? They are 'snails', are they not? I think we could either runaway or catch up to them at our whim."
[1d10+1] Also looking for Snails to cook up

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.744189

>>744187
Good was pensive as he mulled over the words of the Abbean "It is… nice to hear someone say as much." he finally said "Perhaps I have a bit biased due to my mothers views on the Abbey. Not that she has viewed them as exclusively negative, but she has made it clear she views them as ones to stop potential progress."

 No.744190

>>744179
Qhapaq hums a little bit in response, turning to begin digging around for any clay he could find.
>[1d10+1] Digging!

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.744191

>>744188
Sancho leans forward at you in complete disbelief, then shrugs. "Forgot y'all are a bunch of Castle folk. You've never seen an Outlander snail stampede. It has nothing to do with how fast or slow they go… it's how nothing can endure that stands in their way."

>>744189
"It is unfortunate, but I would agree with her," Godspeed says. "Too much of their zealotry leads them to retreat into obstinate simplicity, casting aside the wonders of our world in favor of more of the same. I find that those who remain inside the Castle their whole lives are the ones who delve into such… fetishism, insisting that there's nothing that anyone needs more than to toil and sweat and have a family – nothing wrong with that, but there is more to the world than any of us yet know. Those who wander into the Outlands seem to be the only ones who get that."

>>744190
>>744189
>>744186
>>744188
As you make your preparations for the Dark Hours, Zamrud and Qhapaq discover some snails living in some low-lying brush, during Qhapaq's dig for clay. One of Qhapaq's fingers strays too close to a snail, and it suddenly darts forward, biting the tip of his finger, leaving a deep welt that turns an alarming shade of blue soon after the damage is done. Zamrud, however, is able to harvest them by snatching them from behind.

At the same time, Sancho and Godspeed set up a cairn of rocks about your campsite, with Godspeed leisurely pushing about rocks that Sancho cannot so much as budge without straining and grunting. The rest of you are able to help insulate and secure it by packing in dug-up clay. After about an hour, the shelter is ready.

"Standing guard," Senorita says, rolling up beside the shelter with her gunbarrel on the horizon.

 No.744192

>>744191
He nodded for a moment "I see. My mind has admittedly slipped on this Godspeed, but do you hail from Ironcastle or are you from another?"


Good yawned a bit loudly and went into his rations and began to prepare some dehydrated veggies to go along with their Snail meal.

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.744193

>>744191
Qhapaq ignores the bite, despite the rather concerning color it turns- it'll heal on its own in time, most likely. He'll focus instead on helping secure the campsite with clay, and settles in once they've finished.
"Should someone watch with the robot? Or just rest, for now?"

 No.744194

>>744192
"Zinccastle," Godspeed says. "How interesting it is that such similarities exist between the Castles, despite their vast distances. I hear that Gold and Silvercastle complain of the same problems we've discussed as well."

 No.744195

>>744191
Grutar had been trudging back to keep an eye out for any flanking creatures that wanted to sneak up behind, but seeing as the group travels more he manages to pick up the pace to reunite with everyone.
"I didn't find any Dreaded Ones on my scouting trip, so if there's any around then they're being real sneaky-like." He says, before finally going over to sit with the others and enjoy a few of his rations finally.

 No.744196

>>744191
Zamrud raises a brow at Sancho's statement. "I've never looked at snails with such an intimidating outlook before."

>>744191
>>744193
As Zamrud and Qhapaq dig for snails, Zamrud is relieved to be able to grab a few of them from behind, but as he turns to see one dart forward and bite Qhapaq, his eyes open wide at the odd color it turns.
"These are no ordinary snails. I know your healing factor will likely take care of it but, I am pretty sure that isn't the color you want to see when something bites you."

As they finish setting up their mini-fortress by packing in the holes with clay, Zamrud looks at their improvised structure with pride, setting aside the snails he caught inside to take one last look around the area for Astral Matter with his mutant eyes before setting out on foot.
[1d10+1]
"I imagine Senorita is armed enough to take care of herself: we found her treading over the corpses of several large Dreaded Ones, remember? Besides, they shouldn't be drawn to our campsite if no one is there."

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.744198

>>744194
He nodded "Well… If you ever find yourself in Ironcastle." he rummaged through his pack for a moment before presenting her with a copy of his house crest. "I would be more than willing to have my house give you the gift of Hospitality." he said with a soft smile "It'd be nice to have an outsider to our own Abbey around to speak with in a more pleasant location. And perhaps you and my mother could have a friendly debate or otherwise pleasant conversation with one another."

 No.744199

>>744191
Billy happily takes a relaxed pose leaning back on his own arms behind his head. "I am quite thankful for what we have here." He says to himself looking around.

 No.744200

>>744198
She examines the crest, and suddenly beams. "Oh, so that's why it looked familiar…" she says, more under her breath than a friendly word should be. She seems lost for a moment, then looks back up. "If I am ever in the area, perchance I may stop there for a visit."

>>744196
>>744195
>>744193
>>744192
>>744199
Qhapaq notices that the blue discoloration of the wound lasts for a few minutes after the wound itself finishes healing. It fades eventually, but a higher dosage bite may prove far more dangerous. A snail stampede just might be as deadly as Sancho says…

Good prepares a decent spread with his vegetables, and Sancho prepares the snails, flavoring them with garlic and butter from Zamrud and some stuffing from his own provisions. "Alright… country surprise snails, all ready to go. I think I left my dinner bell in my other suit of armor, but it wouldn't be smart to ring it anyway, huh?"

Godspeed sniffs the snails, then looks back out at the darkness. "I'm going to have another look around outside, if anyone wishes to join me. I shan't be long; I prefer not to stay up too late."

>timeskip to next Cycle ready whenever

 No.744201

>>744200
Billy indulges in his item which spawns food for him before considering in going into the food from his team. Waiting for them to finish before him.

>ready for timeskip

 No.744202

>>744200
He nodded and made sure she had the crest before he turned to eat his meal, taking Trajan out and letting him enjoy some of their shared meal as he prepared to rest for the night. He was a bit tired of volunteering for the night watch.

 No.744203

>>744200
Grutar gets himself set up to rest for the night, once again using his drill as a way to rest his head even if uncomfortable looking he's quite used to it.

>Ready to timeskip

 No.744204

>>744196
"Ah- I will be careful then, yes." the griffon says, shaking his hand a little. He'll make sure to avoid being bitten more.

>>744200
Qhapaq happily eats the snails and veggies- he's very clearly not picky. He flicks his ears and looks to Godspeed, before shrugging a little.
>Ready to Timeskip!
>>744196
"Good food, as always."

 No.744205

>>744200
As Sancho prepares the snails, Zamrud keeps a very close eye over him to see how he prepares the snails so he may recreate the recipe. "They smell delicious. I can't help but ask though, assuming that blue coloring on Qhapaq's bite is poisonous, are they really safe to digest?"

He takes out some mushrooms he'd gathered from earlier, cutting out the stems so that the round pods serve as the perfect container for the butter/garlic drenched snails to eat, while he cuts up the stems into a side dish, a warm flavorful mushroom soup.
[1d10] Cooking

As Godspeed says she's going to take another look outside, Zamrud says, "I'll accompany you, if you don't mind. But stay for dinner, you won't want to miss this.
[1d10+1] one last perception check if you need it for going outside and looking
>Ready for next Cycle after food / search with Godspeed

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 9 + 1 = 10

 No.744206

File: 1596249661182.jpg (33.42 KB, 425x326, mushroom escargot.jpg)

>>744205
Pic Related

 No.744207

>>744202
Trajan in particular seems to have quite a taste for snail, because he polishes off his portion in short order. Once he chases it down with your vegetable spread, he rolls over onto his back, clearly stuffed.

>>744205
Sancho laughs. "That's the secret ingredient! A mark of true mastery in the art of snail-cookin' is sizzlin' the poison just long enough at the right temperature. Too much, and it loses that zest. Too little, and it'll kill ya."

>>744201
>>744202
>>744203
>>744204
>>744205
Godspeed stops at Zamrud's urging, her nose twitching as she smells all the dishes prepared. "Oh… fine. Not like it's getting any darker out there."

Although Good's vegetable platter is respectable, and Sancho's garlic mushroom snails have a nostalgic, old country flavor that makes you feel at home, it's Zamrud's hearty mushroom soup that is the highlight of the meal.

After the meal is done, the group prepares their sleeping arrangements, while Zamrud and Godspeed scout north of the camp to look again for traces of the battle. After they climb a few rocks, and get a view of the Ghostroot Forest, they spy a loose and wavering trail of some kind of mysterious pale green substance along the tops of the mushrooms below them. It is not quite solid, nor liquid, but seems to be some kind of semi-tangible ethereal gas. Somewhat transparent, it radiates a faint energy that ripples through the air as if it were the surface of water. The trail heads further northeast, and in the faint light upon the horizon, you can see the silhouette of some kind of city.

"Let's retire for now," Godspeed says. "We'll want the others at their strongest before we head on to face such a creature."

>>><<<


At about 0500 hours, your alarms ring, and you wake up in your campsite. None of your possessions are missing, nor any of your members. The worst you can say is that you're a bit cold and thirsty – an uneventful rest, but a welcome one.

Godspeed, already awake, sits outside with a pot of coffee at her side, studying the Outlands sky.

 No.744208

>>744207
Goods face crinkled at the sight of the black liquid as he moved to have some water for now. He hated coffee so he was going to take a hard pass on it.

"That was the best meal I've had on one of my trips out of the castle." he said speaking on the previous night.

 No.744209

>>744207
Grutar yawns as the alarms blare, his free hand lazily reaching for his own to stop before he finally gets up. He approaches Godspeed and brings out a small mess kit cup. "Mind sparin' any coffee? Could help wake up these old bones."

 No.744210

>>744208
"Happy to hear there. Are you feeling ready to get going out there?" Billy stretches out while he gets up from his rest in the base.

 No.744211

>>744207
Qhapaq is up about as early as he always is, and takes some time to stretch out and get ready for the trip to come. He'll abstain from coffee, but offers a nod in greeting regardless before slipping his mask back on.

 No.744212

>>744207
>>744208
As they awake, Zamrud lets out a small yawn, quickly making for his instant-coffee packs and boiling a fresh pot to get started on the day as he reflects on the decadent meal they had last evening. "I'm rather proud of my creme of mushroom, but Sancho you were dead on about those snails, they were delicious. I was nervous when you first mentioned the poison, but I suppose it's no different than boiling certain shellfish. They certainly did have the right amount of spice."

>>744209
>>744210
As he brews his coffee, he offers some to Grutar to help him awake, before turning to Good and nodding in agreement. "Soon as we've packed up camp we'll be on our way. Godspeed and I found some astral matter strewn about before we retired, we have a trail to follow."

 No.744213

>>744212
"Sounds like a plan. Thank you for that. I doubt I would be able to find it myself." He nods his head.

 No.744214

>>744212
Grutar smiles and takes the offer, raising his cup in a cheer. "Thanks, Techie." He says before sipping away at his cup.

 No.744215

>>744210
"That I am. How are you Billy my friend?"

 No.744216

>>744215
"I am doing alright, thanks for asking. How do you think our journeys will go from out here?" He scratches at his chin in thought.

 No.744217

>>744216
I am hopeful of our chances."

 No.744218

>>744208
You see that Godspeed may not be so different. Her coffee is nearly white, and you could swear that you spy a solid mountain of sugar peeking up over the surface of the drink.

>>744212
"That's the handy thing about being dead," Sancho says. "I don't have to worry while I practice. I'm not so handy with those little portable stoves you guys use, so I was a little worried toward the end there. But, if you did croak, Granpaw could fix that up nicely."

>>744209
>>744212
Godspeed holds up the pot to answer Grutar's request, but when she sees that Zamrud's making his own, and beats her to the offer, she just sits there for awhile, leaning forward and staring at the coffee that Zamrud's poured. She sets the pot back down. "Cream and sugar are off to the side there," she says, gesturing with her spoon.

>>744217
>>744216
>>744214
>>744212
>>744211
Sancho reaches into his pouch, producing a tray of small honey cookies, which he places near the coffee pot. When Godspeed dips one into her coffee, eats it, and nods with approval, Sancho grins a bit.

"Now then," Godspeed says. "As Zamrud mentioned, our trail leads to the northeast, in the direction of Oath. The Shadedrinker fled some time ago, and I doubt that, after a confrontation with someone like your Granpaw, it's going to stick around the Ghostroot Forest. Be prepared for urban or forest combat situations."

"Fetching combat subroutines," La Senorita says.

>Billy, roll 1d100 when ready for departure

 No.744219

>>744218
"Happy to hear that everyone is feeling ready and that you are all rested. I haven't heard anyone speak of any troubles so far." Billy nods his head as he readies to head out with everyone.

[1d100]

Roll #1 29 = 29

 No.744220

>>744218
"Always prepared, yes. Let us be off." the griffon says, wiggling his talons and stepping out.

 No.744221

>>744214
"Oh, please, I'm not *that* technical."

>>744218
To Sancho's offer of Granpaw's 'help', Zamrud sputters a bit. "Ah… well, probably best we avoid that. Would not want to be a bother."

>>744218
As Zamrud notices Godspeed's offered cup, he looks on with shock, his nostrils only having recently picked up the delicious scent of OTHER freshly brewed coffee. He looks at his own, feeling quite embarrassed at having not noticed, and goes for an empty mug. "You know, mine might be a little off, I'm not certain I brewed it right. Could I trouble you for some of yours, Godspeed? I prefer it dark."

>>744218
After partaking of Sancho's honey cookies and 'hopefully' some of Godspeed's coffee, he takes a bite, looking to her as she explains the situation. "We'll follow its trail until we've located its hiding spot. Then, perhaps we can split to take it from either side, in case it tries to flee."

 No.744222

>>744218
>>744221
"You helped me with my tech, so that makes you the techie." Grutar states with a chuckle, before taking at least one spoonful of sugar for his coffee with a nod and thank you towards Godspeed.

After he is finished with his cup however is when he'll move back to his sleeping space to gather and equip his proper belongings.

 No.744223

>>744218
Good approved of her complete and total adulteration of the nasty bean juice into something drinkable.

For now though he grabbed a cookie and went to join Senorita in her move to be the combat bot they needed."

 No.744224

>>744221
Godspeed pours you some. When you go to taste it, your tongue nearly curls up from how powerful it is. There is little wonder as to why she has diluted it with cream and sugar so much.

>>744221
>>744220
>>744219
>>744222
>>744223
With your possessions gathered and your bodies fed, you head out from your campsite, following the trail that your quarry has left for you.

This region of the forest is darker, lower and more dense than the western end, through which you entered and eventually met Granpaw. The Cathedra are shorter, more tightly packed together, and the ground below you is rarely even, rolling in dips and waves and crests, almost as if it were an ocean stopped in motion… at times, the augmented air filters in your suits automatically activate, warning notifications flashing in the corners of your visors. It is never hard to find alternative routes from where the poisonous spores of the Cathedra fall, however.

As you wander, you encounter surprisingly little in the way of Dreaded Ones. Ample tracks in the ground suggest that many of the local ones have headed west in a hurry. What few you do encounter are relatively small bottom-feeder types, and run away with nary but a look from your fighters.

Despite the relatively easy going, however, Qhapaq cannot shake a very peculiar feeling that rests upon him. Rather than the ominous weight of being watched, it is more of… a presence, standing always in close proximity to him. But when he looks about, it is only his allies by his side. The feeling comes and goes in waves, sometimes stronger, sometimes weaker…

In this way, four Cycles of travel pass.

>>><<<


At 1145 hours, on the tenth Cycle since your departure from Ironcastle, the soft and marshy earth of the Ghostroot Forest gives way to harsh and chipped asphalt. Your hooves touch down onto what appears to be some manner of old road. The road trails from the Forest, out through a barren badlands, and just beyond that, you see an Old World industrial zone. High fences topped with barbed wire surround dilapidated warehouses and silos, laying amidst a sea of concrete and asphalt like the bones of giants.

 No.744225

>>744224
Qhapaq flicks his ears and looks around from time to time, as if looking for something. Nothing ever seems to show itself, so the griffon puts off the most of it… though, the feeling can't be shaken off quite so easily. He doesn't seem to notice much of anything else, instead focusing on the odd, unsettling feeling.

>>><<<

"Ah- we seem to be close to our destination, yes? Getting there, at least."

 No.744226

>>744224
As always on a trip when he's not focused on digging, Grutar focuses entirely on keeping an eye out for any dangers on their travels. When they pass by the different warehouses, he can't help but keep more of an eye on the structures thinking any one of those could be a hive of those Dreaded Ones.

>Perception for any potential dangers.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.744227

>>744224
>>744225
Billy shivers from the strange feeling. Looking towards his team he calls out. "Are you feeling ok? Something is feeling quite strange don't you think?" He tilts his head.

 No.744228

>>744222
"True, but even if I am the most technical among us, I'm not sure I'm suited to the nickname. It's misleading. Why not something drawing attention to my other skills like, 'Professor' or 'Gourmand'?"

>>744222
Zamrud's tongue seizes up as he tastes the impossibly strong drink, looking down at it with shock. "Agh… uh, that's good. Strong, but good. But, I think I *will* take some cream and sugar after all." He says, putting in a bit of sugar and creme until it's palpable.

>>744224
Zamrud keeps his wits about him as he traverses the thickening forest, keeping eyes on his respirator as they chime in to let him know of noxious spores becoming too prevalent. He notices the tracks in the ground indicating Dreaded Ones, but is thankful to find they are of a negligible size.

As the days pass on and on towards their drop point and the trail of their Shadedrinker, Zamrud having made sure to procure as many snails and mushrooms as he could to bring back with him to IronCastle, he looks across at the heavily industrialized area before them, putting a paw on solid concrete as he looks around at the fallen metropolis.

"Senorita, do you have any information on our current location?" He asks, curious if she knew anything of this part of the Old World.

[1d10] Alleycat

>>744225
"Very close, this should be near where we were tasked to drop off our package."

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744229

>>744224
"This place is… much nastier than the previous ruins we entered." he said warily as he remained close to Senorita for now.

 No.744230

>>744227
"Mmm. There is… something, I think. A presence. It is not the feeling of being watched, but something feels close all the same."

 No.744231

>>744228
Grutar would have scratched his head with an expression of genuine confusion. "Isn't a Professor the same as a Techie? I thought they worked with that sorta stuff."

 No.744232

>>744229
"It looks like an industrial area. The last ruins we visited seemed like businesses or homes, this seems more like cold, hard manufacturing took place."

>>744231
>assume response retroactive four days ago?
"Well, I suppose so, but I refer to Professor in the specific sense of a teacher."

 No.744233

>>744232
>Yes
"So what like… Profie?"

 No.744234

>>744227
>>744226
>>744225
>>744228
>>744229
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dpCiSDa51o

Old oil, chemical spills, and untold centuries of smog fill the air as you proceed deeper into the remnants of Oath. The closer you get, the more you can see the remnants of the city beyond. Twisting metal of collapsed building frames, heaps of bricks fallen from their stations, great swathes of streets overturned and uprooted, leaving behind deep craters in their wake. Huge sprawls of freeway ramps surround and weave through the city outskirts, etching their way through the sky.

"Oath –" La Senorita says. "Named after – missing record – in – missing record – once the commercial hub for neighboring communities through its proximity to – and… but at the cost of overall resident health, and the greatest wealth disparity within the country."

After you get past the warehouses on the city's outskirts, you see one of the first signs of life you've come across in a while. A merchant caravan lays overturned in the middle of the road ahead. By its construction, it appears to have belonged to a mutant group, as it is made through basically jury-rigging multiple Old World carts together, with a wagon at their center. Countless boxes, crates, bags and satchels lay scattered about, their contents variously ransacked.

Both Grutar and Zamrud can sense that they are not the only ones with their eyes on the caravan. Further up the road, in the windows of what appears to have been a hospital, Zamrud sees shadows moving about in the low ambient light.

 No.744235

>>744234
"That creature right there seems to be in a very unfortunate position. Being out here and have gone through quite a lot. From what I see at least." Billy grimaces.

 No.744236

>>744234
As they get a better look at the decrepit city, and Senorita explains how even when it was alive it was far from healthy, Zamrud gives a sad sigh. "It appears even the Old World had its problems. Seems this city was short of a few ethics."

As they spot the over-turned merchant caravan, Zamrud's ears droop, "That caravan is new however… looks like it was recently raided. One of the mutant tribes…?" He furrows his brow. "I certainly hope not belonging to the Aya."

As he catches the glimmer of shadows moving in the distant hospital, the hairs on Zamrud's tail stand up, and he gets the urge to check it out with his telescopic mutation.
[1d10+1] Observe the movement in the window

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.744237

>>744232
>>744234
Good slowly approached the the Caravan "Perhaps we should loot it? Or otherwise scout the remains?"

 No.744238

>>744234
"I don't feel right about this place, Lads… I swear, one of these buildin's is gonna contain some sort of nest inside it, I just know it." Grutar continues on, when his eyes have settled on the hospital he gives the whole thing a once over to see if it might be safe or dangerous, shelter or a trap.

>Determine safety of building

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744239

>>744237
>>744238
Zamrud holds up a paw to hold up the group, pointing towards the hospital. "Don't go near it yet, Good. We're not the only ones here."

 No.744240

>>744234
>>744236
"Hrm… this is not an Aya caravan, I think." the griffon says, trying to get a better look at the ransacked carts.
>[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.744241

>>744239
He nodded and paused as he turned his own gaze to the hospital scanning it.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.744242

>>744240
>>744237
>>744238
>>744236
>>744235
Zamrud and Grutar, from their examinations, can confirm that there's a group of shadows in the hospital's windows. A group of raiders, it looks like, from the shape of their bodies and of their ramshackle armor in particular. The windows are dark, and so it's hard to make out precise detail, but from whenever one or two get too close to a window, you can see them going over what appears to be quite a bit of loot, varied in nature, as well as no small amount of currency, both physical Schillings (which are rendered as silver coins with the icon of the Abbey in their center) and a kind of flat, cylindrical brass coin – the currency of various Mutant tribes, as Qhapaq knows.

"Can you see how many there are?" Godspeed says.

You aren't – many of the hospital's windows are boarded up, leaving you only a few glimpses through which to see within. At minimum, there seems to be seven bandits within.

>>744240
There don't seem to be any bodies about, and you can't tell how much of the cart's contents are left. However, it does seem that many bags were left behind, and some crates have not been cracked open. You can't see what's within, so it's hard to tell why they were left behind.

>roll knowledge / tactics

 No.744243

>>744242
Qhapaq frowns as he looks over the cart's contents. Something about it doesn't seem right, though…
>Knowledge/Tactics [1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.744244

>>744243
Billy leans forward along with Qhapaq trying to scope out and follow what his teammate is seeing. Maybe he can help.

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.744245

>>744242
Zamrud looks to Godspeed, "Not yet. Give me a moment," he says, deciding this would be a proper use of his mutation's special properties to see through the walls and get the full picture of what it is they're up against.

>[1d10+1] Using Mutation's higher tiered ability to see through solid objects, will suffer -1 penalties to Perception after this


Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.744246

>>744242
Good decided to sit back and let the others decide for now as he focused on potentially tapping into his mutation.

 No.744247

>>744242
Grutar looks around for good tactical spots that they could possibly use against these folk if things get rough, after all he doesn't know if every person out here is friendly or hostile.

>Look for vantage points/good cover

[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.744248

>>744244
>>744243
It's very classic bait, you ascertain: leaving out some of the remaining loot to attract others eager to pick away at the scraps. They most likely have lookouts ready to sound the signal, that way they can mobilize in a moment to attack the scavengers that their bait allures.

>>744245
>>744247
>>744246
>>744244
>>744243
And this, you confirm. Zamrud can see, through the walls of the hospital, that there are about twenty living Souls inside. About twelve of them are fighting-age Mutants of various races, each one distinguished more by the strange deformities and curious Mutations they sport, making them less than mortal in the eyes of any pure-blooded Castle dweller. Three of them appear to be younglings, probably just now turning old enough to be brought along on their first hunts. The remaining four appear to be mutants of a different sort than the main group, bound and gagged. Hostages to be held for ransom, it seems. The older ones are concentrated on the second floor of the hospital, sorting the stolen goods. The younglings keep watch over the hostages on the first floor, behind a fortified barricade.

Grutar then spies, atop the hospital, several covered shelters for lookouts. He can see two more mutant raiders atop the roof, keeping an eye on the road for travelers from the east, and the west. Currently, the party is gathered behind the wall of a nearby warehouse, just out of their sight.

 No.744249

>>744248
"I'm not much of a long range dog… so if we're goin' in there at all then I think we should go in from underneath. I don't have this drill for nothin'."

 No.744250

>>744248
"So what how would everyone like to proceed through this?" billy looks over to his group unsure how to handle this himself.

 No.744251

>>744248
"Ah- this is a trap, for sure. I think they might be waiting for us to take the cargo left behind as bait…"

 No.744252

>>744251
"Should we try to avoid them altogether or confront them? I worry about fighting these thinking creatures." Billy grimaces to himself.

 No.744253

>>744248
>>744249
>>744251
>>744250
As Zamrud's eyes light up bright green and he gets a full picture of what lies in side, he groans, closing them as the strain gets to him. "There's about sixteen raiders inside that building, four of them younglings. In addition, there are four hostages tied on the first floor, most likely taken from the caravan down there. The younglings are guarding them while the adults are all situated on the second floor, sorting their appropriated goods from the caravan."

"So, it is unquestioningly a trap, but it would appear we've a situation in the hostages they've taken. Which, I suppose brings us to the question: do we wish to involve ourselves?"

 No.744254

>>744249
>>744248
"I could try hitting it with a singularity but its not exactly something that differentiates between target's."

 No.744255

>>744249
>>744250
>>744251
>>744254
>>744253
"Does it really have anything to do with your delivery?" Sancho asks.
"Wasting an opportunity…?" Godspeed notes.
"Look," Sancho says. "Even setting aside the farm's defenses, and Granpaw's power, we didn't last this long in the Outlands by picking fights what aren't ours."
"A fair point," Godspeed says. "But in this case, we're going to be in Oath for quite some time as we track down the Shadedrinker. 'Twould be prudent to at least ascertain where we stand in relation to the locals. Free the hostages, and gain some loyalty with their tribe. Bargain with the raiders, and we may purchase easy passage through the city. Stay out of it, and we gain little, but keep our presence hidden, at the very least."
"Could we really take sixteen full-grown raiders, though?" Sancho asks.

 No.744256

>>744255
>>744255
"Well if we can separate the hostages, I could just bring the building down on top of them maybe."

 No.744257

>>744255
"It would take a lot of luck in a direct confrontation. We do need to do something sneaky if we involve ourselves. Such as isolating the raiders in smaller groups don't you think? Though I don't know how. to be honest."

 No.744258

>>744253
>>744255
"Sancho is right- we risk much by picking a fight. We may be able to handle them, but there could be more danger nearby. Though… I would not say no to attempting to intervene."

 No.744259

>>744255
>>744257
>>744258
"Twelve full-grown raiders. Four of them are barely older than Good, if that. Whatever our course of action, we should try to leave them be."

"I agree with Godspeed. Deal with the raiders or help the hostages, if we are going to be in Oath for some time we should endear ourselves to one side or another. Leaving them alone, we merely set ourselves up to be their next target."

"Considering what all we have at our disposal, twelve Raiders shouldn't be too much of a problem for us. Though as before, I am always a fan of trying to reason before battle. What if we reversed the Raiders' trap upon them?" He looks at the hospital, "If we could find a way up on to the roof, perhaps trap them from both sides, we could give them the ultimatum to surrender rather than jumping right to killing."

 No.744260

>>744255
>>744253
"If there's hostages in there, then I'll want to help them out. Delivery or no delivery, it's the right thing to do, we can't let possibly good people die when the rest of the place is dyin' around us." Grutar states, fully intent to help but waiting to hear the rest of the potential plans.

 No.744261

>>744259
"I do like the sound of that. I do feel satisfied in committing to that plan." Billy nods.

 No.744262

>>744256
>>744257
>>744258
>>744259
>>744260
Godspeed hums as she mulls over the suggestions.
"We've always got an ace in the hole," Sancho says, tapping the chain of the egregore.
"Under no conditions will we allow Granpaw's creation to run rampant in a fight with our fellow souls," Godspeed says flatly, her gaze piercing into Sancho. "…I have a thought. I doubt these raiders would be using such bait tactics if they were in control of much of the city, or even of this local area. The fact that they have traps and lookout towers suggests ongoing hostilities either with passing travelers, or with other local gangs. Perhaps their hostages have other members nearby who may be rallied to the cause. Or, perhaps there is another faction entirely that we might recruit to attack this one. Or…"

She leans forward, with a bit of a smile. "What say we have these raiders provide some… unorthodox help in the hunting of our quarry?"
Sancho steps back with shock, his jaw hanging down, aghast.

 No.744263

>>744262
As in using them like cannon fodder?"

 No.744264

>>744263
"They are using bait as well, it's only fair," Godspeed says.

 No.744265

>>744264
"I suppose if we could ensure that the others are safe."

 No.744266

>>744263
>>744264
Grutar scratches his beard. "I'm not so sure about that… But it might work, the chaos would definitely stir things up enough to get the jump on both of them."

 No.744267

>>744262
>>744264
>>744263
>>744261
>>744260
"You suggest using the Shadedrinker itself to attack them…?"
He pauses, contemplating the suggestion. "That is fiendishly clever. But I can't say I approve. Dreaded Ones are monsters the likes of which I wouldn't wish upon anyone, even bandits. Plus, I'm not a fan of introducing any element into a plan that we do not have any control over."
"We could go looking for the hostages' fellow tribesman, but who knows how long that will take or if this group will still be here when we return. If we are to act, we should act now."

"I came up with another idea just now, though. Rather than fighting them in the hospital, we drag them out of it: two or three of us take the bait, drawing the bulk of their forces out from the hospital. The rest of our group lies in wait for them to come claim their prize, and then we jump them and turn the tables, forcing them to surrender."

"If they try to use the hostages against us, perhaps we should have a third team to infiltrate the hospital at the same time to free them. Three colts shouldn't be too much trouble for any one of us, I imagine."

 No.744268

>>744262
"That is quite the unique idea and quite miscievious as well. I am quite interested in how you would pull it off, and if you are willing to listen to any concerns we may have with the plan." Billy takes a sitting position before his group.

 No.744269

>>744262
>>744267
"I am not good at infiltration, but I may make good bait- it will take a concentrated effort to wound me in any way I would not shrug off in short time." the griffon suggests, before frowning. "It is hard to say where their fellow tribesman are, so it might take too long to find help for the hostages."

 No.744270

>>744269
>>744265
>>744266
>>744267
>>744268
"Twelve grown bandits, two lookouts, three squirts and four hostages…" Sancho says. "Steep odds."
"Numbers matter little to those who know how to fight," Godspeed says. "I wouldn't wager that your Granpaw would surrender if one hundred raiders came knocking at his front door."
"No, but he's a different case than squishy people like us," Sancho says. "Well, crunchy in my case."
La Senorita perks up. "I have a strong craving for – violence."
"Coming right up," Godspeed says. "Zamrud, since the majority seems to favor your plan, I'll let you have the lead. Divide the groups as you see fit."

>Pause

 No.744740

Last time, on Anno Castra…

Our explorers broke camp at 0500 hours, following the trail of astral matter left behind by the wounded Shadedrinker to the northeast. After four Cycles of tracking, they reached the outskirts of the city of Oath. They soon learned that the ruined city was home to at least one band of hostile mutants, and possibly more. A partly looted caravan lay overturned in the road before them, in the middle of an intersection. It was intended as bait, left there by the bandits who had raided it, in order to attract more scavengers.

In a nearby hospital, a group of seventeen bandits had made their base. Two stood watch on the roof, twelve adults counted the loot on the upper level, and three younglings kept watch over a group of four hostages. The hostages belonged to a different mutant tribe than the bandits, and were most likely the original owners of the overturned caravan. The party weighed their options for approaching this situation. Sancho seemed to want little to do with it, while Godspeed, still focused on their quarry, proposed the grisly solution of using the bandits as bait for the Shadedrinker.

In the end, Godspeed and Sancho deferred to Zamrud's leadership, agreeing to take his orders for this operation. Oath was, after all, a large city, and making connections with the local groups would likely help them find their delivery location.

 No.744741

>Everyone
"Twelve grown bandits, two lookouts, three squirts and four hostages…" Sancho says. "Steep odds."
"Numbers matter little to those who know how to fight," Godspeed says. "I wouldn't wager that your Granpaw would surrender if one hundred raiders came knocking at his front door."
"No, but he's a different case than squishy people like us," Sancho says. "Well, crunchy in my case."
La Senorita perks up. "I have a strong craving for – violence."
"Coming right up," Godspeed says. "Zamrud, since the majority seems to favor your plan, I'll let you have the lead. Divide the groups as you see fit."

 No.744745

>>744741
"I can dig a tunnel straight to where they are and we can ambush them from behind!" Grutar gives his suggestion to Zamrud and the others, revving up his drill arm for a brief moment. "Or you can just point me in the right direction, whatever works best!"

 No.744747

>>744740
"I am more than willing to trust your judgement, Zamrud. Put me where you wish."

 No.744748

>>744741
"Should I be needed for anything in specific?" Billy tilts his head looking up towards his group.

 No.744753

>>744745
>>744747
>>744748
"If it makes anything easier," Godspeed offers. "I can go alone, and dispatch the younglings keeping watch over the hostages."
"'Dispatch'?" Sancho asks, tilting his head.
"Dispatch, deal with, defeat, take whichever synonym you prefer," Godspeed says.

 No.744754

>>744741
>>744753

I would prefer if we didn't kill any kids if need be. THey can still be turned onto a better path."

 No.744755

>>744753
>>744754
"I don't like killin' anyone who doesn't really deserve it. There's enough Dreaded Ones dwindilin' our numbers that we don't need to be cuttin' down lives these days."

 No.744756

>>744754
"We are in agreement," Godspeed notes, with her trademark small smile. "I have no intention of killing anyone, if you do not wish it."

 No.744758

>>744756
>>744753
"If you believe you can manage it, then yes. That might ease things up on our planning."

 No.744759

>>744753
"It seems like everyone else disagrees with the idea. Though I don't mind helping you with these plans. I rather not cause discord between everyone by doing anything disagreeable." Billy frowns a bit in thought.

 No.744762

>>744745
>>744747
>>744748
>>744753
"I would rather Godspeed stick with us: twelve on one, I think you would be most necessary with the largest group that will confront us. However," he points at Grutar, "An excellent point regarding your ability to dig tunnels: that gives mobility our enemy does not have."

"Alright, here is what I am thinking," Zamrud gets down low, drawing a small map into the ground with his pointed claw

"Team 1 will consist of Senorita and Qhapaq, who should be durable enough to serve as our 'bait', if you don't mind the term. They will investigate the ruins of the caravan and draw out our would-be captors."

"Team 2 will consist of myself, Grutar, and Godspeed. We'll be hiding in Grutars tunnels and will jump out after Qhapaq signals how many are coming for him and Senorita on our magicomps. We'll jump out and trap the bandits between us and Team 1, and convince them to surrender with them ensnared in our trap."

"Team 3 will consist of Billy, Good, and Sancho: you will infiltrate the hospital where the hostages are tied up and the younglings are guarding them, dispatching the latter and freeing the former to reduce any leverage the bandits have, as well as dealing with their look outs on the roof. Then, after you're done there, you can come to meet act as our back-up in case the bandits try to force a confrontation."

He dusts off his paws as he looks at the plan. "Well, that's what I have, anyways. Any questions?"

 No.744765

>>744762
"I do not mind the term, no." the griffon says, shaking his head. "What sort of signal do I give, Zamrud?"

 No.744766

>>744762
"I am fine with this plan."

 No.744767

>>744765
"A quick message on your magicomp should suffice. Failing that, we may want to come up with something else, preferably a phrase that can inform us of how many are coming after you." He taps his chin, "If the magicomp doesn't work, call out a sentence with EXACTLY as many words as bandits coming to take you in, assuming we can't get them to send all twelve."

 No.744768

>>744767
"Very well- I will send a message, then." he says, bowing his head a little before slowly reaching over and patting Zamrud's head. "I will be more careful than before. Good luck to you."

 No.744769

>>744762
"Just tell me where to start diggin' and how far, I'll do the rest!" Grutar says, saluting as he does to show that he is pumped and ready.

 No.744770

>>744769
>>744767
>>744766
>>744765
>>744762
Godspeed's smile fades when she's told to come along with the rest of the group. She, however, raises no objections to the plan. "I trust that you will be able to handle the negotiations with the bandits. As you have seen, I am a bit shy with new faces."
Sancho nods. "Hey, maybe my mug will be enough to spook them kids into cooperating! Heh heh," he says, trying to raise Godspeed's mood.
She totally sandbags him.
"Whenever you are ready," La Senorita splices. "Which – I hope – will be soon."
Godspeed raises her eyebrow. "An AI with sass…"

 No.744772

>>744768
As you pat Zamrud's head, the cat-man closes his eyes, feeling somewhat demeaned by the affectionate gesture, but nonetheless offers a smile to Qhapaq, "I appreciate you taking my earlier comments to heart, my friend."

>>744769
"Start with digging a tunnel from here to the hospital so that Team 3 can get there easily, then for Team 2 to jump out from…." he looks over towards the caravan, trying to find a good 'ambush point' for Grutar to dig a tunnel to for them to trap the bandits
[1d10-1] Perception

>>744770
Zamrud takes note of Godspeed's fading smile, rubbing his chin. "Certainly, negotiations are well within my ability to handle. Though Godspeed, out of curiosity: are you good with children?"

He turns to look at Senorita, "One moment, Senorita, Ironcastle was not built in a day."

Roll #1 10 - 1 = 9

 No.744773

>>744770
>>744762

"I don't mind my role. I only worry I am not a sneaky face. Though that is probably my benefit out here. I will do my best." Billy nods to himself.

 No.744775

>>744770
Grutar starts to eye around for a spot to begin digging, talking with the rest of the group to ensure that they're ready before he would begin digging.

>>744772
Grutar salutes to Zamrud as he begins the tunnel for Team 3, giving pauses for when Zamrud needs to help direct him. Wanting to make sure he doesn't mess this up, he starts to overheat his weapon for this.

>Overheating, pick the higher of the two.

[1d10]
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.744776

>>744773
"I'm afraid I don't think stealth is really any of our forte, Billy, but I would like you to accompany Good and would like SOMEONE else to accompany the both of you to deal with the hostages. Not only do greater numbers ensure you'll take down their adolescent jailors with minimal casualty to either side, but just in case some of the bandits hang back you'll need at least a few extra hands."

 No.744777

>>744770
>>744772
"In that case, I think it is best to start now, Senorita and I can get started with ours." the griffon says, making towards the caravan for the 'bait'.

 No.744778

>>744776
"I am sure I can take care of them. As long as things go to plan of course. Would be troublesome if my luck were to curse me suddenly." Billy frowns at his own thoughts. "Bleh, hope I haven't cursed myself."

 No.744779

>>744772
"Not particularly," Godspeed says. "But my most notable accomplishments, prior to my ascension to Exarch, were in my handling of hostage crises during the Monger's Row Riots, back in Zinccastle."

>>744772
>>744773
>>744775
>>744777
There are a few options as far as ambushing via a tunnel.

The caravan is in the middle of a three-way intersection, with the three ways being West, North and East. The sidewalk entrance to the hospital is on the South end, and there is no road there. You are on the West road, and the lookouts currently face to the North and to the East.

A pitfall could be handily dug between the caravan and the hospital's sidewalk entrance. It would take some time, and cause some noise, but there's enough room to create a pit deep enough to trap most of the bandits.

However… because of the way the caravan is laid out, it is likely that the bandits would not leave from the front entrance. Doing so would alert their prey to their approach, leaving them all three streets as escape routes. They would most likely go out the side entrances, located further back along the hospital's exterior, and trap their prey in a pincer formation. As such, pitfalls on the West or East streets would be of better use, either for pitfall traps or for tunneling behind the enemy.

 No.744780

>>744779
>>744778

Good turned to Billy and Sancho "Shall we move to try and slip in the back entrance then?"

 No.744781

>>744779
>>744778
>>744766
"You don't say?" He says in response to Godspeed remarking on her earlier hostage situation handling. "Well then, in that case, Billy, Good," he turns to them, "Why don't we switch out Godspeed on Team 3 to go with you. Sancho, will you be alright working with Grutar and myself?"

>>744779
>>744775
He nods as he contemplates the various directions the bandits may come from, contemplating the 'obvious' route from the South as unlikely given the possibility they'd see them coming. He turns to Grutar,

"Alright: we are on the West Road. I imagine our enemy will come from either the West or East as well, avoiding a direct approach from the South due to it being too obvious. Dig a tunnel leading to either the West or East side, as well as a third exit going behind the hospital for Team 3 to use. That's three entrances total. Then, built a pit-fall on the East and West side ahead of where we'll jump out to trap them, if that's not too much to ask: if they fall into a pit-trap, it'll make our cornering them on either side that much more effective in making them surrender."

 No.744782

>>744780
"Up and ready whenever everyone else is. So yes." Billy nods his head to good.

 No.744783

>>744782
Good shoots him a grin and looks to Sancho.

 No.744785

>>744781
Grutar gives another salute as he has taken a bit of rest from his first digging to cool off lightly, but then continues on to make the West tunnel before he would move on to attempt the backdoor exit tunnel.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744787

>>744779
>>744781
"Alright- that sounds good, then. Once we handle the ones that have not fallen into a pitfall, should we meet up with you and the others?"

 No.744788

>>744782
>>744780
>>744781
>>744787
Sancho grumbles slightly. "Here I was lookin' forward to givin' 'em a good scare… though maybe Mutants see way scarier things than a skeleton out here."

Sancho switches out for Godspeed, as Zamrud says. She smiles to Good and Billy. "I may be the more experienced one, but I will have need of younger folk such as yourselves. I'm too old and grouchy to deal with kids."

>>744785
>>744781
You two and Sancho head back further up the West road to avoid the risk of the sound carrying, and Grutar begins to work on the tunnel. The asphalt and concrete give way with ease, weakened by millenia without upkeep, but the ground below is hard and compacted. The work takes some time, but soon enough, Grutar has made an underground tunnel on the West side, and loosens a chunk of the western end of the intersection to serve as the pitfall trap.

>>744787
La Senorita turns to you. "Would you care for a game?" she splices.

 No.744789

>>744788
"A… game? I suppose, yes." the griffon says, cocking his head to the side. "What sort of game is it?"

 No.744792

>>744789
A panel slides open on La Senorita's front chassis, revealing a screen. She scrolls through several menus, but you cannot read their contents – all of it is written in what is presumably Old Equish. "I have many games," she boasts, but you'll just have to take her word for it.

 No.744793

>>744788
"No worries sancho, you can always come and spook me anytime. I don't mind." Billy gives him a smile.

 No.744794

>>744787
"Yes, once we deal with our bandits, we should mop up any left over who stood behind in the Hospital. Good luck out there my friend, stay safe."

>>744788
To Sancho, he puts his paw on his shoulder, "I'm certain your ability to inspire fear will be put to perfectly good use against the bandits that will be coming out way." He nods to Godspeed, "Good luck. I'm entrusting you with the young lord and young Billy, so bring them back unharmed."

>>744788
As he follows Grutar and Sancho, Zamrud nods in approval as he easily tears through the concrete and solid earth, looking out towards the hospital to make sure they are not caught through too much noise on their part
[1d10-1] Making sure we're not spotted by keeping watch out for Grutar.

"Soon as those tunnels are in, we hop in, then jump out when Qhapaq alerts us the bandits have fallen into the pitfall."

Roll #1 6 - 1 = 5

 No.744796

>>744788
>>744782
He blinked and shrugged as he was fine with Godspeed joining them instead "This is fine too." he said with a chuckle.

"You don't look that old Godspeed." he added.

 No.744797

>>744788
>>744794
"Just one more tunnel then!" Grutar says, a wide grin on his face as he's really working that drill of his digging away.

[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744798

>>744796
"I feel old," Godspeed says, with a rare and dry laugh. "Time is not what you think it is. A week may take a decade to pass, and a decade may take place within a week."

>>744793
>>744794
>>744796
>>744797
One of the lookouts on the roof, the one responsible for keeping an eye on the North road, seems to have vanished. You can't tell where, or what he's up to, only that he is now gone."
"We might want to step on the gas here…" Sancho mutters.

Deep down underground, Grutar succeeds in the construction of the East tunnel and pitfall. Perhaps more would increase your options, but with that lookout gone, it's impossible to tell just how much time you have left.

 No.744799

>>744798
"Yeah, we should hurry for the chance we can get. Is Good ready?" Billy looks for his teamatte.

 No.744800

>>744798
>>744799
He nodded and motioned for them to moved, heading down one of the side streets to try and get in behind the hospital.

 No.744801

>>744800
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.744802

>>744798
Zamrud nods to Sancho, "Indeed. One of their lookouts are gone. I can only hope to take a break rather than reporting on what he's seen. The tunnels should be good as they are, we're out of time. I'll send an alert on the magicomp to the others to be aware, if no-one takes Qhapaq or Senorita's bait, Team 3 will be in trouble."

With that, he sends a quick message out on the magicomp
>"One lookout gone, keep alert."
Brief and to the point as he dives into the completed tunnels with Sancho and Grutar, ready to spring a trap on the bandits coming after Team 1.

 No.744803

>>744799
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.744804

>>744798
With not much time left for him, Grutar tries his best to get the last bit of the tunnels set up for everything to work.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.744805

>>744792
Qhapaq looks over the illegible options on the screen, before nodding a little bit. "You pick."

>>744794
Qhapaq's expression can't be seen under the mask, but Zamrud can guess he looks happy.

 No.744806

>>744805
Trying to act natural, the griffon will begin to head for the caravan and root around- he's likely done it before, anyways.
>[1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.744807

>>744803
>>744801
>>744800
>>744799
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adh99_Q735w

Followed by Godspeed, you enter the campus of the hospital by cutting around the far end of one of the nearby warehouse offices, braving back-alleys and parking lots full of debris, clutter, grime, and the occasional unidentified bones or flesh-heaps festering in gutters. Once you reach the back of the hospital grounds, and approach the hospital proper, Good notices two doorways available to them – on the West end of the hospital is a fairly ordinary-looking door. On the South end, is another door, but this one appears to be locked. Through its translucent glass, he can see the shadow of some kind of object near the base of the door as well – a trap, perhaps?

It is not hard to surmise that the West door is the one the bandits prefer to use. The South door will be harder to get through, but less likely to lead into the path of a bandit.

>>744804
Your drill starts to get uncomfortably warm as you attempt to tunnel South. A sudden resistance as your drill meets a harder object. A bone-rattling screeching, followed by a deafening shrillness, fills the air, leaving you in a daze. You see that you've drilled into some kind of old pipe running beneath the street level. It's thick enough to have stopped your progress.

>>744805
La Senorita queues up a quick game of Pong, but it must regrettably be cut short once the plan goes into motion.

>>744802
>>744804
>>744803
>>744802
>>744800
>>744799
>>744806
The ringing of the pipe that Grutar hit can be heard all about the hospital, muffled as it is. The other lookout turns his attention toward the caravan, where Qhapaq and La Senorita rifle through its contents. Much of what has been left behind appears to be various grades of assorted junk, broken weapons and a mishmash of wild mosses and grubs that grow in the Outlands, probably whatever the caravaneers had rustled up for a trail meal.

Among the wreckage, however, Qhapaq finds two things of note, in the central car of the caravan. The first, appears at first to be some kind of armorsuit, but on closer inspection appears to be a robot, in the form of a pony, but at the size of a buffalo. It is primarily black with gunmetal gray highlighting on the joints or not as heavily armored areas. There are painted flames that start at the hooves and rise up about half way; they start as a honey color before transitioning to pink along the outer areas. Its visor is red, and beneath the smashed glass, one can see a system for a laser firing.

Laying over the robot is a tattered, faded scrap of cloth, little more than a rag now. It appears at first to be a blanket, but its shape implies it was to be worn as a tunic. It is quite small, befitting a youngling. It is deep brown and warm red, and covered with intricate patterns, evocative of eyes.

Qhapaq notices, out of the corner of his eye, the other lookout disappearing from the roof.

 No.744808

>>744807
"Ah. They certainly were thorough, it seems." he remarks, inspecting the tunic and setting it aside where he can find it later. He looks over the robot with a curious hum, poking at it a couple of times before frowning "And… automated guard, perhaps. Curious."
>Perception: [1d10]
Qhapaq tries to keep an eye out- all things considered, it's a pretty normal reaction.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.744809

>>744807
>>744804
As Grutar's drill hits a pipe, Zamrud's sensitive ears clap down, holding up his paws as he hisses, "Stop the drilling, stop the drilling…!", looking above the solid earth as he tries to listen for any noise.

"Hopefully they don't think more of that than a decaying city falling apart naturally. That pipe's going to cause a few issues, we don't want to risk making too much noise and drawing them to the tunnels. If you think you can get around it, let me know, but otherwise we'll have to hope the traps we've set up so far will be enough. Qhapaq and Senorita should be in position now, we just need to wait for him to signal the bandits' coming over the magicomp, or hearing them fall into one of the pitfalls you dug."

 No.744810

>>744807
>>744803

"The South Door might be trapped but its more than likely going to have no bandits around it." he said noting the glow "I would say the unorthodox play might be the best here if we want to keep our presence hidden til we can get the drop on them."

 No.744811

>>744807
>>744809
"Bah! Sorry lads, these sorts of things happen when you dig in old ruins like this. I gotta dig around, we're gonna have a bit of a delay!" Grutar warns out, however this doesn't stop him from trying to make an alternate route.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.744812

>>744807
>>744810
"That does make sense. Do you have any idea what kind of trap it is, or where it is down there?" Billy tilts his head. "A big worry of mine is it being an alarm where it goes against your plan here of avoiding a bandit."

 No.744813

>>744812
"From what I can see it's something glowing but other than that… no." he said as he moved trying to peak into the glass.

 No.744814

>>744813
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.744815

>>744813
"Maybe it is a bomb then? Should I go ahead to test it out and see a way around before anyone else? I think I am more durable than others here."

 No.744816

>>744808
The robot is so badly damaged as to be non-functioning, you soon notice. The limbs of the robot, and indeed much of its torso, are all broken off from the main body, and delicately organized in a heap. The tunic probably lay over it to keep it all in place.
"He is – somewhat – cute," La Senorita says.

Behind one of the darkened windows of the hospital, you notice the shapes from before mobilizing. The lookout must have passed along word of your arrival.

>>744810
>>744812
As you speak, Godspeed tugs you back around the corner of the auxiliary building, out of sight of the hospital. From the West door, four bandits pour out, taking another side-street to loop around to the West road. You hear a squeaky door open from the East side as well. It's safe to assume they're using similar tactics on that end – limited forces, if only because Qhapaq and La Senorita, as dangerous as they look, are still only two targets.

Once the bandits are on the move, you get closer to the South door. Through the blurry glass, you can see some kind of crude bomb; a stake in the floor across from the bomb reveals its triggering mechanism as a tripwire, not a laser. Low-tech, easy enough to disable.

>>744811
>>744809
The ground above you subtly vibrates with many footsteps – the bandits must be on the move, you surmise. Grutar, pushing the drill to its limits, manages to make another tunnel to the South, reaching behind the hospital, where Good and Billy are with Godspeed. The caravan is also flanked on the West, South and East sides with pitfalls. Only the North side, where Qhapaq and Senorita are, is safe to walk.

 No.744817

>>744816
"Thank you kindly, Godspeed for helping us when we were distracting ourselves. It is much appreciated when you did take action. So shall we attempt to disarm this, or go around it?" Billy asks of his nearby teammates.

 No.744818

>>744816
Qhapaq hums a little, and shakes his head "I suppose they did not care to use its scrap, even- how wasteful." The flames are an… interesting touch, though. Quite stylistic."
He'll try and see if he can get an idea of how many shapes he'd seen moving; [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.744819

>>744816
"Indeed it is a bomb. I might be able to manipulate Gravity with a shot through the window to undo it… unless either of you are capable of a sneakier attack?"

 No.744820

>>744816
>>744811
As Grutar swiftly digs a final tunnel to the South, Zamrud clenches his paws, "My goodness… well done Zamrud, that was in record time."

As the earth shakes above them, Zamrud nods, "And none too soon, the bandits are on the move. Let's move back, they'll be coming from either the East or West roads, we'll want to be ready to flank whichever trap they fall into." He pauses, "Or possibly even both, I am only now realizing they have the numbers to come at him from either side. Qhapaq should be sending us a notice on the magicomp soon, if they split their forces I shall take one side while you two take the other. Hopefully, they're less than clever and strictly stick to one."

 No.744821

>>744819
"I think that is good enough. My idea was just to pull out the wall it was attached to honestly." Billy glares at the trap still wondering if it is feasible.

 No.744822

>>744816
>>744820
"Toldja I'm the best at diggin'! Want me to do anythin' special or just backup Qhapaq when he is goin' in?"

 No.744823

>>744822
"No, this will have to do for now: the bandits are literally above us as we speak, any more digging now will alert them. You've done more than enough my friend, now we just have to pray it pays off."

 No.744824

>>744818
"Suggestion," La Senorita splices. "Neatly organized – useless – tunic, an article of clothing – laying across. Sentimental – or – religious value."

Before you can get a good count on how many bandits are approaching, you can see for yourself: From the East, and the West, come two groups of four Mutants each, a grubby lot, wearing whatever was at hand. You see everything from dented pieces of stolen armorsuits, to trash bags, to handmade spiked leather garb. Their weapons are in similar condition, but far stranger. Simple spears and swords have as their neighbors strange hand-cannons and particle weapons, cobbled together from funnels, cardboard, plastic and bone. And pipes, you see a lot of pipes.

The eight bandits look you over without a word, frisking you and La Senorita with their gazes. Those few who make eye contact seem to be appraising your eyes for their market worth more than anything else. They're both currently keeping their distance from you, not close enough to fall into the pitfall traps.

>>744819
>>744817
>>744820
You get into your positions, awaiting Qhapaq's signal.

 No.744825

>>744824
Qhapaq hums a little bit in response to Senorita, and shrugs a little bit. He goes to say something, but stops as he hears the mutants approach.

The griffon stands up to his full height, looking back at the group. His mask hides any expression he's making, but it doesn't muffle his voice. "You are not of the Aya, are you?" His voice carries well enough, given his size.

 No.744826

>>744824
>>744825
Zamrud holds up his paw, signalling a moment to hold until he hears some sort of signal from above from Qhapaq.

"The footsteps have stopped, but none of the pitfalls have gone off. What could be going on up there?" He says, opening up his ears to try and hear the movements of the bandits above.

 No.744827

>>744824
"So good, do you think you can manage your plan in disabling the bomb?" Billy tilts his head.

 No.744828

>>744824
Good prepared his magic but held until he heard something that seemed like a signal.

 No.744829

[1d10] Perception (listening)

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.744830

>perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.744832

>>744825
One of the bandits, chewing a strange and yellow-looking bit of gum with as wide a mouth as he can manage, smiles at you. "We're just the local folks, friend. We like to keep track of who's coming in and out of our neighborhood. As you can see, the old town's in a spot of bother. We'd rightly appreciate a donation or three, if you can manage to spare anything."

The bandits show off their weaponry in a fashion like out of an old flick. You get the feeling at least one of them is a film buff. In any case, it's clear that they want a lot more than one or three "donations."

La Senorita remains silent.

>>744830
It's muffled, but you hear Qhapaq's voice, just barely. Eight sounds come from him… must mean eight bandits, as you discussed before.

>>744829
You lose track of the conversation as your eyes start to burn, first from their over-exertion by your mutation, then from all the dust that fills the tunnel air.

>>744827
>>744828
You hear Qhapaq's signal – eight words, confirming what you heard from all the footsteps leaving the hospital. That leaves six adult bandits, three younglings, and four hostages inside.

 No.744833

>>744832
Good nodded and adjusted to aim a spell at the base of the door trying to hit the crack and thus raise it up using his mutation.

[2d10] Magic Bolt

>Mutation: Repulsive Force


Roll #1 4, 10 = 14

 No.744834

>>744832
>>744833
Billy tries to follow the shot with his eyes as he stands beside good ready to head along with him.

 No.744835

>>744832
>Assuming Grutar passes along word that Qhapaq spoke eight words
"Eight words, so eight bandits. The rest must be inside, hopefully the others can handle them. I still don't hear any of them having fallen into the pit-traps yet, I wonder if we can get them to step into it before we jump them…"

He turns to Sancho and Grutar, "You two take the East Tunnel, I'll take the west. Don't engage them outright just yet, make a big entrance that may coerce them to rush forward into our traps. Then we'll take them from either side."

Zamrud moves towards the West tunnel entrance and peeks outside to get a look at the bandits, readying an explosive napalm sphere to give them that last push needed into their well laid traps.
[1d10+1] Appraise on the first Bandit he sees
[1d10] Distill Life in preparation for the upcoming fight

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.744836

>>744832
"I am afraid I have nothing to spare." the griffon says, shaking his head and looking to Senorita. "I do not have anything on me of value, anyways. And, the robot is not a thing upon which a price can be placed."

 No.744837

>>744832
>>744833
>>744835
Seeing everyone go in and hearing the command of Zamrud, he makes a quick nod before charging down the East Tunnel to run into any bandit he sees to knock them out with his big drill arm.

>Martial Slam: Crit on 8

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.744838

>>744834
>>744833
Door and bomb both begin to float away from the impact of Good's mutation; the door's hinges break away easily, owing to its poor maintenance; as for the bomb, the newfound slack on the tripwire keeps it from detonating, effectively rendering it dead.

With the door and the bomb set aside, Godspeed takes the lead, silently gliding into the room despite the weight and heft of her armor. She leads the way down a long hall, checking each empty room and exposed corner you encounter. Most of the rooms on the ground level are totally desolate; overturned shelves and rotted chairs are all that you find of note.

It is as you reach the end of the hall that things become complicated. In the middle of what was once a lobby and waiting area, is a ring of barbed wire and other debris, a kind of makeshift cage. In the middle of it lies the four hostages, bound and gagged. Surrounding them are the three younglings. Each of them is no older than Good, and armed just as poorly and haphazardly as the adult bandits.

The three of them aren't paying attention in the slightest, and are instead looking out the hospital's front windows to where Qhapaq is surrounded by the adult bandits. While they're distracted, you notice that one of the hostages is trying to file through his rope bonds.

>>744836
>Bandit of Feoh
>A weak bandit of the Feoh clan, one of the lesser Mutant clans of the Outlands, often the subject of raids by the other clans, who regularly take their plunder and even their young and fit for slave-trading.
>HP: 25
>Weak: None
>Resist: None
>Null: None
>Absorb: None
>Repel: None

>>744835
You ready your healing potions in case the negotiations don't go as smoothly as hoped.

>>744837
>>744836
>>744835
"Oh don't worry," one of the Feoh-bandits says to Qhapaq. "We're quite learned with all this money business. We'll be able to put a right proper price on both of you."

https://youtu.be/Ceh0-42FXg0

He flicks out his knife and spits out his gum. "Let's get 'em, boys!"

As the eight bandits rush forward to attack Qhapaq, the ground erupts beneath all of them, as the pitfalls open up in the earth. Grutar, who happened to be running toward the East tunnel exit at the time, gets buried along with them.

>Grutar 1/5

 No.744839

>Paused, but make reply posts

 No.744840

>>744838
"So shall we handle them quickly by grabbing one each and restraining them while they don't see?" Billy looks to his comrades. "Or would any one of you have a better approach here?"

 No.744841

>>744838
Grutar digs himself out of the rubble and starts to assess what is going on around him, before looking to see if any bandit is still awake to bop them.

>Give them a bop

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.744842

>>744838
Good inhaled and scanned the room as he prepared to possibly raise a singularity, but he pulled out his Falx and creeped over to the cage to help them, figuring that Godspeed might be able to handle them all with Billy's help.

>>744840
"I think it'd be best for you to help God while I free the captives."

 No.744843

>>744838
Qhapaq chuckles deeply, before shaking his head and letting out a sigh. "Feoh. I suppose I should expect no less." the griffon remarks, before looking down into the pit to see the state of the various bandits.

 No.744844

>>744838
As he analyzes the bandits' formidableness, Zamrud grins as they suddenly sound the charge, watching them fall right into their trap. While he winces at Grutar falling into theirs on the opposite side, he lets out a sigh, hopeful that he'll be able to fight them off or at least dig his way out, more so with Sancho still above ground. He comes out of hiding, approaching the pit-fall where the four bandits on the West side fell in.

"Well, curious you should mention putting prices on others." He says aloud upon approach, pulling out a few of his flammable concoctions to put into his spheres. "While we're on the subject, I feel compelled to ask how much you believe YOURS are worth." He says peeking over the edge into the pitfall, holding up the flammable sphere above it.

"I wouldn't recommend any more unnecessary action on your part: the fire from this chemical reaction spreads quite quickly and evenly in such a small space. However, I see no need for such barbarism. Not yet, at least. What say we re-open negotiations, gentlemen?"
[1d10] Intimidation / persuasion

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.744845

>>744840
>>744842
Without a word, Godspeed steps forward, her hooves as silent as ever even on the cold and trash-covered tile floor. She stops and waits in the middle of the lobby, but does nothing to either rescue the hostages, or to open negotiations. The hostages look over at her, desperation written on their faces, but as they begin struggling, Godspeed raises her hoof to her lips for silence.

>>744841
The bandits in the east pit groan and struggle to get free, dazed and confused by the explosion. They gasp with a start when you emerge from the rubble, and raise your arm to strike. One of the bandits more alert than the others grabs a hunk of rebar and flings it at your head, knocking you back with a dent in your helmet and a ringing headache.

>Grutar 0/4


You see La Senorita looking down over the edge of the pit, her barrel trained upon the bandits. "Arms outstretched," she commands.

[1d10+1] Intimidation

>>744843
>>744844
The bandits in the west pit bear various injuries, ranging from simple cuts, scrapes and bruises to sprains and trapped limbs. Out of a combination of shock and pain they struggle to get free, but the leader drops his knife and raises his hand when he sees Zamrud's bomb. "Hold it, hold it, hold it!" he hollers in as loud a voice as he can manage. It's not a stretch to imagine he's calling to those still inside as well. "Let's not be hasty. The negotiations never ended, we're just keen on more… assertive tactics than your ordinary chap. The same, I see, applies to you lot."

The bandits lay down their arms, but quite close to where they lay, you notice.

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.745117

Last time, on Anno Castra…

Our explorers set their plan into motion. Zamrud, Sancho and Grutar oversaw the construction of tunnels along the West, East and South, along with a trio of pitfalls in the areas immediately surrounding the overturned caravan. With that in place, Qhapaq and La Senorita went out to the caravan, which lured out eight of the twelve adult bandits. With the hospital clearing out, Good, Billy and Godspeed infiltrated the first floor, sneaking up on the inexperienced younglings who had stopped watching the hostages in favor of watching the confrontation outside.

The eight bandits fell for it, dropping into the pitfall trap as expected. They still held the advantage in numbers, and their unofficial leader seemed intent on signaling their distress to those still inside. Especially with the unfolding hostage situation, the situation was not yet won…

 No.745118

>Good, Billy
Without a word, Godspeed steps forward, her hooves as silent as ever even on the cold and trash-covered tile floor. She stops and waits in the middle of the lobby, but does nothing to either rescue the hostages, or to open negotiations. The hostages look over at her, desperation written on their faces, but as they begin struggling, Godspeed raises her hoof to her lips for silence.

>Grutar

The bandits in the east pit groan and struggle to get free, dazed and confused by the explosion. They gasp with a start when you emerge from the rubble, and raise your arm to strike. One of the bandits more alert than the others grabs a hunk of rebar and flings it at your head, knocking you back with a dent in your helmet and a ringing headache.

>Grutar 0/4


You see La Senorita looking down over the edge of the pit, her barrel trained upon the bandits. "Arms outstretched," she commands.

[1d10+1: 3] Intimidation

>Zamrud, Qhapaq

The bandits in the west pit bear various injuries, ranging from simple cuts, scrapes and bruises to sprains and trapped limbs. Out of a combination of shock and pain they struggle to get free, but the leader drops his knife and raises his hand when he sees Zamrud's bomb. "Hold it, hold it, hold it!" he hollers in as loud a voice as he can manage. It's not a stretch to imagine he's calling to those still inside as well. "Let's not be hasty. The negotiations never ended, we're just keen on more… assertive tactics than your ordinary chap. The same, I see, applies to you lot."

The bandits lay down their arms, but quite close to where they lay, you notice.

 No.745119

>>745118
Good for the moment focused on very slowly creeping over to the captives to help free them. He was prepared to use his blade to start undoing the bindings.

 No.745120

>>745119
[1d10] for sneaky sneaky.

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.745122

>>744845
>>745118

As the bandits put down their arms, Zamrud smiles, though he makes sure to keep a sharp ear out for any more risky business coming their way in case this is another trick.
[1d10] Alley Cat (DC 4)

"Less assertive on our part, the word I'd use is 'opportunistic'." He says as he lowers his bomb, but keeps it gripped tightly in his paw. "I suppose we should start with introductions. My name is Zamrud Permata Bahasa. My associates and I were passing through when we noticed a caravan in distress, so we thought we'd do our civic duty and investigate. What might your name be, sir?"

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.745123

>>745118
Grutar sits up and rubs his head in the daze as he's trying to stand up, unsure if he needs a moment to recover from the bashing. "Augh… Not as bad as havin' a fist shaped rock fall on your head but that one is gonna need a drink…"

>Attempt self recover

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.745124

>>745119
Billy follows goods lead with his claws in place of using a knife to work on the prisoners bindings. Feeling confident in his dragon nature to cut through it.

 No.745125

>>745124
[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.745126

>>745118
Qhapaq digs his talons into the edge of the whole as he watches patiently- he's not one for making deals, but the griffon remains on guard in case anything's tried.
>Perception: [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.745127

>>745122
The fur on the back of your neck stands up on end. Without even needing to look at the hospital, you can tell that the remaining bandits are mobilizing, heedless of how well these negotiations might or might not be going. But you can tell that they're not coming out, even though they could have by now.

>>745126
>>745122
"Vitki, good sir," the Mutant replies. You can see, under his half-armor, half-garbage garb, that he is a very grubby mustelos, a badger of some sort. "And your neighborly spirit is quite admirable, but we have the situation wrapped up quite nicely. We were just in the middle of a little break when you came a'knocking. We're set up right over yonder, and we'd love to invite you in for a spot of Outland Tea, if you care for some."

He grins, showing off a mouth halfway full of teeth.

>>745126
You sense something is amiss with Grutar, overhearing La Senorita (see below).

>>745123
As you rise to your hooves, one of the mutant bandits, a grubby minotaur with dark and leprous skin, runs forward, shoving you with an elbow to the neck against the back wall of the pit. Two other mutants join him, jamming your drill-arm back into the rock wall to keep it from shredding either of them.

A laser-blast fries the earth right above the minotaur's head. The barrel of La Senorita's gun glows with deep red light. "Cease and desist," she demands.

[1d10+1] Intimidation

Sancho walks along the perimeter of the pit, silently brandishing his axe as he approaches the bandits.

[1d10+1] Intimidation

>>745125
>>745120
Carefully, you cut a gap in the barbed wire surrounding the four hostages, and creep in. Good manages to get one hostage free, but just as Billy cuts the ropes binding the second hostage, said hostage, a younger mutant mare, falls backward onto the floor, unable to retain her sitting position. You see discoloration in her hooves from the ropes strangling her circulation.

She lets out a yelp as she falls backward onto the broken glass, and the three younglings leap with shock. As they turn about and spot you, they raise their guns, but Godspeed slides in front of the both of you.

"Hello," Godspeed says simply, not looking particularly concerned about their weaponry. "I'm going to have to ask you to put down the weapons and let us escort these fine folks home."

"D-don't move!" the lead youngling stammers, keeping his gun aloft. "Drop your weapons!"

Godspeed smirks. "That doesn't really address my request. I'll ask you a second time: Lower your weapons and let us leave with these hostages of yours."

"Shut up!" the youngling says, then looks at the two of you. "You two, stay where you are! You're outnumbered!"

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11

 No.745128

>>745127
Despite being shoved around and having his drill moved around, Grutar just mumbles "I'll get that out." as he continues trying to rise to his little doggy paws.

 No.745129

>>745128
>Recovery
[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.745130

>>745127
Good got his shield up and paused before looking back to the group and moving to cut the rest free, using his shield and his body to block as he did so. He figured Billy and God had the rest covered for now.

 No.745131

>>745127
Billy doesn't mind the yougling as he tries to handle the hostages in front of him.

 No.745132

>>745127
Zamrud, feeling his instinct screaming of danger, makes sure to keep half an eye on the hospital, but puts his hopes in Good, Billy, and Godspeed to be able to handle things there.

"A pleasure, Vitki. Your hospitality and offer of tea is very generous, but at least for the moment I hope you might understand why I am more comfortable where I am. Especially considering there's a great many of you and only four of us." He makes a point of hiding the existence of the others in the hospital. "I admire your professionalism: unless my eyes deceive me, this caravan was just taken very recently, and there isn't a body to be found anywhere which suggests a clean operation." He nods towards the hospital, "We happened to have enough time to notice you had a few 'guests' in your camp already."

Zam waves his paw about in the air. "Now, I understand everyone has to make ends meet one way or another in the harshness of the Outlands. But surely, the same goes for those unfortunate fellows who previously owned this caravan, don't you agree? What we propose shouldn't come as too unreasonable I hope, Vitki. We ask that you release the individuals you've appropriated, along with at least *some* of their goods so they might land on their feet. Oh, and let us go on about our own business as well, of course."
[1d10] Bluff / persuasion

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.745133

>>745132
>>745127
Qhapaq flicks his ears and looks over to Senorita, before looking back to the bandits and frowning.

 No.745134

>>745128
>>745129
The minotaur glowers at you, digging the bone of his elbow deeper into his throat, but a shadow passes overhead, and he looks up, then stumbles back, his face frozen in a grimace of fear – so too do the other bandits back off, freeing you. A cold presence radiates from the shadow, but it diminishes once the bandits crawl away across the broken earth. Sancho reaches down and helps you onto the asphalt above the pit, dusting you off.

>>745130
>>745131
The two quiet younglings look at one another with fear and indecision as you cut the last two hostages free. Their leader steels himself after a moment of indecision, raising his gun for Billy's head. You see his hoof tighten about the trigger, when–

"I'll ask you a third time," Godspeed says. "Lower your weapon, and let us all leave. If you don't stop playing with that gun, you're going to shoot your eye out. Your left eye, in fact."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sr9FuxL2ypo

That specification causes the three younglings to turn pale. When you look back at Godspeed, something's different about her. Though you cannot see her face, and though her appearance has not changed… it is almost as if she has grown larger, standing over all in the room. Even the four hostages look as though a quiet and cold fear had taken a death grip over their stomachs.

>>745132
>>745133
"A feel-good proposition, sirrah," Vitki says. "It would make for a wonderful fairy-story. But alas, a warm heart does not make for a fat wallet… unless you've trotted up to the organ-shop, that is!" he laughs. Sorry mate, but me and mine come first, and if that means some Aya raiders go a little hungry or have to do a little hard labor on the slave-market, then so be it. But you sound like a chap who has respect for hard work. How about you help us all out of his hole, and I'll make sure you get set up with a kind slave-driver. Extra water breaks and all!"

As the rest of the mutants pick themselves up, they guffaw at the proposition.

 No.745135

>>745134
"Thanks, Sancho." Grutar says with a nod of appreciation as he's shaking off the debris from his beard.
"Now, what other lads to mess with." Grutar says as he's already eyeing the area around.
>Perception to assess the area
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.745137

>>745135
You see, over on the west side, that some of the mutants near the back of the pit are getting awfully close to their dropped weapons…

 No.745138

>>745134
As Vitki makes his counter offer, Zamrud offers a kind-hearted chuckle as he squelches the disgust in his stomach at the mention of organ-harvesting or slavery. "Really, you would do that for us? Your generosity truly is inspiring, my friend."

He holds the orb in his paw aloft, "Though, I might remind you I have a bit of leverage in my negotiations. I understand you have little reason to let these - Aya, you called them? - these Aya go out of the goodness of your hearts, but surely you have an interest in those hearts still *beating* as well?" He gives an extra toothy grin at that last line.

He pauses, his ear flicking. "Hmm… what if I told you I could get you an even better prize than a few measly workers? The reason my associates and I are passing through these parts is we are hunting a particular Dreaded One you see. A Shadedrinker. Perhaps that might be of interest to you?"

[1d10] Intimidation / bargaining

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.745139

>>745137
Grutar is going to make a mad dog dash over to the mutants, wanting to show them who's boss and try continuing the intimidation tactics by smashing his drill down onto the dropped weapons in attempt to disarm them for good.

>Smash it with a drill!

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.745140

>>745134
Good inhaled gently and slowly moved beside Godspeed "I would recommend… that you apologize and make it up to these folks for holding them hostage."

 No.745141

>>745140
[1d10] to use them purdy words.

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.745142

>>745138
>>745134
The griffon ruffles his wings up and growls a little as the bandit mentions the captives being Aya, and digs at the ground with more hostility. For now, he leaves it to Zamrud to continue talking- while he has his mask on, his emotions are plain to see in the rest of his body.
>Intimidate [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.745143

>>745140
>>745134
"Thank you guys." Billy smiles to himself as he continues at his work.

 No.745144

>>745142
>>745139
>>745138
Grutar suddenly drops into the west pit, smashing to pieces a jury-rigged laser gun that a bandit was gradually inching towards. Between his show of power, Qhapaq's silent malevolence, and Zamrud's cruel, calculating coldness, the eight Feoh bandits lowe the bravado that their pure numbers had afforded them.

Vitki gulps, but tries not to show it. "A quarry like that would certainly pay for the emotional distress we've suffered here, the damages to the roads, and the time we've spent in these pits! But, I'll need to run it by our leader, Galdrar. If you would be so kind as to offer me a claw up, brother…?"

>>745143
>>745141
With pale faces, and shrunken eyes, all three younglings drop their laser weapons. They mutter some words, but their voices are low, and their eyes even lower, unable to face any of you. Gradually, the strange sensations surrounding Godspeed subside, until she seems to be naught more than a zebra mare (somewhat on the short side). She looks back your way as Billy helps up the four hostage mutants.

"Your orders for me?" she asks.

 No.745145

Grutar stays on his toes as he's eyeing all of the bandits, he just simply keeps an eye on them all as he waits for his allies to deal with this lot.

 No.745146

>>745144
"Great job Godspeed. you handled this outstandingly billy gives off a big smile for his newer comrade. "How did you learn such a good skill for out here?"

 No.745147

>>745144
"Er… I guess make sure everyone outside is fine?" he said as he collected the weapons and took a look at the hostages and their former captors, taking a head count of things. Perhaps he could work things out better since unlike the adults, these guys seemed to have a path to a better life still ahead of them.

 No.745148

>>745144
>>745139
>>745142
Zamrud grins in satisfaction as Grutar steps in to smash one of the bandits laser pistols. "As I said before, I would recommend ceasing any more hostile tendencies for the moment, gentlemen."

As Vitki acknowledges the deal would be worthwhile, Zamrud smiles. "Then, I believe we have the makings of a deal then. I would be more than pleaesd to run it by your boss, but I have the distinct feeling it would be unwise of me to step into that hospital alone with you. Would you mind calling him out here so we can speak in person?" He rolls the orb in his paw. "Before my hand gets tired, preferably."

[1d10] Persuasion

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.745149

>>745148
>>745144
Qhapaq extends his large, razor-sharp claws and frowns from behind his mask. "You will get your 'claw up', but ask your leader out first. I do not trust you, Feoh."
>Intimidate: [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.745150

>>745146
>>745147
Godspeed does not answer Billy, and instead heads back outside. She shows no reaction when many sets of hooves comes trampling down a set of stairs from above – the four remaining adult bandits, it sounds like. One set in particular sounds significantly larger than any of the others.

The younglings are still too shaken by Godspeed's terrifying presence to react, but the four hostages almost immediately fall into quiet distress. They start trying to get up to flee, but like the mare who fell earlier, their limbs are bruised and discolored from their bindings, and unable to move much.

>>745148
>>745145
>>745149
"I don't think I'm going to have to, on second thought," Vitki says. "I think I can hear him coming already."

Indeed, from the hospital comes a muffled sound of deep and heavy footsteps. The remaining glass in the building rattles with each step. La Senorita rolls over to you. "Suggestion: Restrain hostile elements."

Sancho heads over as well. "Yeah I'm gettin' a bad vibe off this one. Flex, boys, we'd better look a lot tougher than we are for when this guy gets out here."

 No.745151

>>745150
"I know how to get them worried." Grutar says as his drill starts to rev up and make the usual sound of grinding bone when it is on passively. "They try anything then I'll boil every bit of my blood to make them know not to mess with us."

 No.745152

>>745150
Good looked to the captors as he sighed "Bar the door Billy, We're better off holing up in here and waiting." he said as he looked back to the younglings "You must know this isn't a good way to live right? Hurting others for the sake of maybe a caravan worth of goods?"

 No.745153

>>745150
"Well this is unfortunate, I was hoping things would be cleaner in getting hostages out. Shall we run out or confront them everyone?" Billy tilts his head looking to his group.

 No.745154

>>745153
"Not wise, they're not in any shape to fight and they could get hurt."

 No.745155

>>745150
As the building starts to shake with the sounds of heavy steps, Zamrud takes his eyes off of Vitki to take a look at the hospital, his ears folding back and his eyes narrowing as he senses the massive threat approaching.

"Punctual, I see. And I agree, Sancho. Keep an eye on those holes, don't let our new friends out of your sight for even a moment. Time to stand up straight for their illustrious boss." He says, ready to do the talking of a life time to try and buy everyone a ticket out of this mess.

 No.745156

>>745154
Billy nods his head. " I will try to make sure everyone does keep up with our group." Billy falls a bit behind the ex hostages making sure they are able to folow and checking behind himself.

 No.745157

>>745150
Qhapaq hums a little bit, and turns and takes a step back to keep both the hole and the building in sight. While he does, he kicks a bit of dirt into the hole, on to Vitki's face. By accident, clearly.

 No.745158

>>745156
>>745154
Before the younglings can answer, four shapes hurtle down the staircase near the northern side of the lobby. Three of them, relatively ordinary mutant bandits by the looks of them, do not take notice of you as they make for the western exit.

Then, with a heavy thud, the last figure leaps down from nearly the midpoint of the staircase, cracking the lobby tile where he lands. He is a massive, gray-furred bear, covered at various points by a suit of leather and bone and metal – judging from the spikes running along his back, and on the shoulder pads, he's the leader.

He pauses, and takes one look at the younglings cowering before you. His gaze does not leave them, and they seize up with terror, even moreso than when Godspeed made her threat. Trembling, the lead youngling picks his gun back up, and points it at you, but his gaze doesn't leave the massive gray bear as he awaits approval.

At last, the bear leaves the lobby, having not said a word nor even changed his expression. The other two younglings pick up their guns in turn, leaving you right back where you started.

>>745157
Vitki makes an esoteric gesture as he spits up dirt. Roll to identify.

>>745151
>>745155
>>745157
Ahead of the heavy stomping, Godspeed emerges from the east side of the hospital, moving with a singular purpose up to where the group stands. "Are you all alright?" she asks your group.

https://youtu.be/PREuczpwrzE

But before you can answer, the source of the heavy stomping emerges from the western sidewalk near the hospital. Flanked by an entourage of three guards, you see the leader – a massive gray bear, about as tall as Good's father, decked out in leather armor augmented by spikes and bone, not a bit of trash upon him, unlike his crew.

The bear, Galdrar, looks down at you with a silent gaze. Sancho gulps, and La Senorita backs up a bit behind Qhapaq.

 No.745159

>>745158
Grutar still hasn't backed down his stance as he stands with the rest of his crew.

 No.745160

>>745158
>Identify: [1d10]

Qhapaq stands his ground and glares at the bear, flicking his tail a little when Senorita slips behind him.

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.745162

>>745160
If nothing else, it was an insult.

 No.745163

>>745158
Good ighed and took a risk, gently placing his hoof on the gun and shaking his head quietly. He just gave the youngling a small smile hoping maybe he would relax at seeing someone who didn't want to fight as he tried to push the gun down.

 No.745164

>>745158
As Godspeed approaches them, he turns to look at her, nodding. "Quite so. The traps went off with nary a hitch, managed to grab eight of them. How went things inside the hospital?" He asks her, in a quiet voice so as not to alert the other bandits that their hostages are gone.

As Galdrar comes stomping out, Zamrud's ears fold sharply back, a grim smile plastered on his face as he stares up at the exceedingly large, well decked individual. Cats can't sweat, but Zamrud certainly started feeling like it as the monster approached.

Nonetheless, he steels his nerve, and takes a confident step towards Galdrar, keeping his chin up and analyzing their enemy.
[1d10+1] Appraise

"Glad we could make your acquaintance. I dare to presume you are Galdrar, the leader of this band? I am Zamrud, and I would like to make a proposal if you're willing to hear it."

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9

 No.745165

>>745163
He sighed "Please, we don't need to fight, nobody needs to be hurt." he said hoping his words might be the final push needed.

[1d10] to use those kind words.

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.745166

>>745163
>>745158
Billy stands guard beside the hostages attempting to protect them from any upcoming harm. "Would you kindly not point those weapons to my companion." Billy calls out ahead to the younglings.

NonCombat Talent:[Unnerving frame]: Passive:Purposeful or not, Billy is quite intimidating in appearance that others are more likely to listen; You have +1 on all social rolls.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.745167

>>745159
>>745160
>>745164
>Galdrar the Shattering Tongue
>One of the few members of the disgraced Feoh mutant clan who inspires fear and respect among the other clans. His roar is said to summon earthquakes, and even his whispers may rumble the earth.
>10/10 H/W
>Weak: Gun
>Resist: Slash, Pierce, Dark, Eldritch, Nuclear
>Null: None
>Repel: None
>Absorb: None

Galdrar nods, surveying your group. Sancho tenses up, and La Senorita scoots further behind Qhapaq.

"I hope this proposal may be worth more than the value of my merchandise your people are attempting to steal," Galdrar says. Though his voice is a low whisper, the words rumble through your bones, shaking up everything inside on their way passing through you.

>>745166
>>745165
The lead youngling starts to hyperventilate as he weighs his options. "Look– look… I… if he sees you with the captives again…"

After pacing a bit, and shaking his head with anxiety, he grimaces, and points the gun at Billy's forearm. "I'm sorry, but…!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AO3iHKp1odg

As he squeezes the trigger, the gun explodes, badly burning his forehoof. The explosion is near the base of the gun, and directed upward. The colt turns his face away, but the damage is done… and strange.

A chunk of his right cheek has been burned, but so too has been his left eye – a burn covers it entirely now. Nowhere else on the left side of his face been damaged, besides his eye.

You recall Godspeed's mysterious words…

The youngling stands there, frozen in shock, as the hostages yelp with horror. The mare who fell turns to you. "Upstairs– they took our healing mosses upstairs!"

 No.745168

>>745167
He paused and looked to Billy "Billy go get the mosses! I'll stay with him." he said dropping down and using his canteen to try and get the burning metal to cool rapidly as he worked, pausing only for a moment to produce Trajan "Little buddy… I want you to head outside, and if you think you can help them… try and help. I trust your judgment right now… but more than anything else… please be careful." he said to his little friend.

 No.745169

>>745167
Billy cringes at the scene seeing the youngling hurt himself with the gun he pointed. Feeling uncomfortable with the young being dying or being incapacitated.

 No.745170

>>745167
Grutar remains stoic as he's ready to leap into action when it's needed.

 No.745171

>>745169
>>745168
"Billy! Go get the mosses!" Good barked now.

 No.745172

>>745170
>Perception
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.745173

>>745167
Zamrud grins, though his tongue clicks nervously at him admitting to realizing Team 3 was acting in the hospital. "I fear you misunderstand us, my friend. We are less interested in the merchandise than its previous owners." He knows, deep down, *exactly* what Galdrar meant, but thought to try and make the distinction known.

"And, at any rate, I'm certain you'll find it is. My team and I are currently hunting a dangerous and powerful Dreaded One known as a Shadedrinker. However, we only require one specific component, and I feel it'd be a waste to let the rest of it rot. I understand the bodies of Dreaded Ones have a number of useful purposes, do they not? Trading, medicinal, poison, hallucinogenics, trophies, just to name a few."

"My proposal is thus: you allow your appropriated guests to walk, along with at least some of their goods, as well as allow us to pass through your territory. In exchange, in addition to releasing your compatriots currently exploring the bottom of these holes, we shall deliver onto you the corpse of this Shadedrinker to use as you see fit. What do you think?"
[1d10] Proposal

He turns to Godspeed, whispering, "I hope I am not overstepping my boundaries: the ONLY thing we need of the Shadedrinker is the souls it devoured, correct? You need no other part of it?"

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.745174

>>745171
Billy nods his head and goes to rush ahead to grab the mosses as instructed. As he goes forward he calls out to good. "Please be safe while I do!"

 No.745175

>>745173
>>745167
Qhapaq remains silent for now- he's not the best talker, and he's probably got little to say right now. Regardless, he recognizes Galdrar well enough to hold his tongue for now.

 No.745176

>>745169
>>745168
Trajan is already on the way, skittering across the floor to the western exit, heedless of keeping a low profile with this colt's eye on the line.

The youngling stumbles to the ground, his shock giving way to pain and confusion. "Wh– what did I do wrong…?" he asks.

Billy heads upstairs, finding boxes and boxes of looted merchandise scattered haphazardly in the halls and empty rooms of the hospital. Fortuitously, the caravaneers' possessions lay close at hand, and it is not long before Billy finds a pouch full of strange mosses of gray and blue, and mushrooms, and many more strange harvested organisms in vials and bulbs.

When he gets back downstairs, the mare clumsily takes the pouch from him, her movements still unsteady as blood gets back to her limbs. She dabs at the burns with swathes of the mosses to treat the injuries.

[1d10-1]

>>745173
>>745175
>>745172
"Granpaw requires proof of the hunt, sealed away in the egregore," Godspeed whispers back. "Twill be hard to pay off Galdrar if it devours too much of the quarry."

Galdrar thinks over your proposition, the only sound in the air being that of his heavy breath. "Very well… not many would bargain with such a suicidal task. I will give you one Cycle to complete this. Any longer, and I will come and find you, and we shall find an alternative means of payment.

Grutar notices Trajan, Good's little buddy, running out of the hospital, his claws clicking and tail flailing to try to get everyone's attention. Something obviously has him upset.

Roll #1 2 - 1 = 1

 No.745177

>>745176
Good shook his head and did his best to assist the mare. He was no medic but he could figure out what she was doing.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.745178

>>745176
Billy attempts to aid in the help of the youngling in looking for the mosses. getting down.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.745179

>>745176
"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 hospital

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.745180

>>745176
"Hrm." the griffon looks to the frantic little scorpion, and then glances up to the hospital.

>>745179
"Would you prefer to go alone?"

 No.745181

>>745180
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.

 No.745182

>>745176
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

 No.745183

>>745178
>>745177
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).

 No.745184

>>745183
"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?"

 No.745185

>>745183
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!"

 No.745186

>>745184
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.

 No.745187

>>745183
"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.

 No.745188

>>745183
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?"

 No.745189

>>745188
"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.

 No.745190

>>745184
>>745185
>>745186
>>745187
>>745188
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."

 No.745191

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.

 No.745192

>>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."

 No.745193

>>745191
>>745190
Forgot to link.))

 No.745194

>>745190
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.

 No.745195

>>745188
"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."

 No.745196

>>745195
"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."

 No.745197

>>745190
>>745193
>>745194
"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!"

 No.745198

>>745196
"I'd have rather gotten rid of that nasty bear." he muttered.

 No.745199

>>745198
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."

 No.745200

>>745199
"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.

 No.745201

>>745191
>>745194
"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."

 No.745202

>>745201
Good gave the large mare a wary glance but let it go for now with a sigh. He found her annoyingly confusing.

 No.745203

>>745201
"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.

 No.745204

>>745201
Grutar brushes his beard as he gets lost in thought, now finally wondering if making a deal with bandits is a good idea.

 No.745205

>>745200
"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

 No.745206

>>745201
>>745205
"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.

 No.745207

>>745205
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.

 No.745208

[1d10-1] Rolling perception

Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2

 No.745209

>>745206
>Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.745210

>>745203
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,"

 No.745211

>>745210
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.

 No.745212

>>745210
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.

 No.745213

>>745210
>>745211
Grutar nods in agreement with Billy. "Aye, I second that."

 No.745214

>>745210
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?"

 No.745215

>>745210
"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."

 No.745216

>>745215
"Pursue, but NOT engage. This thing is dangerous, we should try and take it as a unit."

 No.745217

>>745210
>>745214
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?"

 No.745218

>>745212
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."

>roll tracking

 No.745219


 No.745220

>>745218
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] Tracking

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.745221

>>745218
"Yeah, I do hope so too." Billy mumbles letting his imagination get ahead of him on their target eating.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.745222

>>745218
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

 No.745223

>>745218
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] Tracking

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.745224

>>745222
"Qhapaq," He asks on their way out. "What is considered 'of age' for the Aya? How old do you consider for warriors? 16, 18?"

 No.745225

>>745224
"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."

 No.745226

>>745223
"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

 No.745227

>>745226
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.

 No.745228

>>745225
"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
[1d10] Alleycat

"Senorita, could you elaborate a bit on those 'hazardous conditions'?"

Roll #1 3 = 3


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