No.743859[Last 50 Posts]
The party have concluded their business in Withick, having made an ally of Sprig, gaining a new companion in the form of the griffon Sir Gawain, and being rejoined by Aegis. However, not all is well. They have been effectively forced to flee the peaceful swamp town due to a new threat, a nefarious assassin and old enemy of Hermodur's called Gavrilo. Employed by Lysander, Gavrilo has delivered a mysterious dagger to the party, its purpose unknown.
Not all is despair, however. The party have decided on a heading after much debate; they have opted to head southeast, retracing their original journey and traveling back towards Durenwol Fen. There, they hope to strike a deal with the Beldam, a captive spirit of the swamp, and have her keep the Cuckoo's Egg safe from harm in exchange for her freedom. To do that, however, they will first need to deal with their old acquaintance Black Pudding, an adversary of the Beldam. With his current whereabouts unknown, the party have opted to follow his trail, heading to his last known whereabouts: The cursed hamlet of Larkstead, which has been plagued by a false Oneiromancer. This mysterious entity is a puppet of Lysander and Grosvenor, intended to act as a threat to distract from their true intentions…
She blinks. "Makes sense. I just hope we're ready for him, when the time comes. If not…" She lingers on the possibility of failure. It seems to be eating her.>>743342>>743343>>743340>>743339>>743336>>743322>everyone
The ship lowers closer to the ground to get a better view of the aftermath of your cannon assault. You see that there's three surviving Mummers, stumbling to get away and escape into the surrounding wilderness.
"Maybe we should let them go," Aurora remarks. "Having more reports of us in this area might throw Lysander and his goons off our trail.""Should we land to look around?"
"I say we head to those ruins over there and plant the decoy Egg like we planned," says Marisol, folding her arms. "If nothing else it'll buy us some time."
"Not to mention the possibility of further adventure!" Gawain chimes in enthusiastically.
"Maybe someone should
have a quick look down there, but I do wanna check out the ruins too after." I step away from the guardrail. "Anyway, yeah. I say we should let'em go. I'm sure even if somehow they still wanna attack the little village the guards'll be on high alert after the cannon blast."
"I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Lysander is setting himself up for defeat. When the time comes, he will die by his own designs.">>743860
"Decoy egg sounds like a good idea," Hermodur nods.
"Hrm… a quick look couldn't hurt- then we can check out the ruins. As for the bandits… yeah, let's let 'em go."
"We zhould let zhem zee uz heading towardz ze ruinz, zo zhere iz zhat rumor too. I plan to zpend ze time we're zhere creating many zeveranze runez around the ruinz, az zhey will exzpect uz to try and hide it az bezt az pozzible. It will alzo hide ze true nature of ze egg until inveztigated phyzically." Zunden says, continuing to try and shape the wood with a creation rune.
[1d10] CreationRoll #1 1 = 1
''I'll follow along then, I want to be there if you run into something bad lurking in those ruins… By the way, have you found a good use of the Liber Animarum while I was gone?''
"I have barely been on ze zhip in ze time you left."
"What makes you so sure?" she asks. "He's striking deals with people left and right to expand his influence. Grosvenor included. …I don't know how much her plans have changed, but I think we should be more afraid of her than of him.">>743877
You gather some dirt, wood and stone from the ground below and form it into the shape of an egg. It holds its form for a moment, then just crumbles apart. You now have a pile of dirt on the floor of the ship. A Servitor appears with a dustpan.>>743880>>743877>>743872>>743875>>743861"Let's see what we can find then."
Etrigan lowers the ship to ground level, and a Servitor lowers the ladder for ground access. There's not much in the immediate area that you can see, mostly dirt and shattered stone, but you might be missing something.>roll for looting
I take a look around, taking my bag with me to make sure to grab some dirt.
And also shoveling dirt into my bag.Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5
"Exactly. He is the least threatening part of his own operation. Everyone hates him. Even the people he employs. It's only a matter of time before that sort of situation catches up to him.">>743888
Hermodur inspects the stone to see if it's anything special.
[1d10] lootingRoll #1 2 = 2
Aegis shines up a light and does a through search, carefully pressing down on cobblestones and the walls for hidden buttons or triggers>>743889
The wisp of light produced by the crystal mare also shone on the Lapis Norv was holding, drawing her attention to it ''Master Norvegicus. I believe that belonged to me'' She stated stoically, standing still
Zunden continues shaping, frustrated.
[1d10] CreationRoll #1 9 = 9
'1d10'Roll #1 8 = 8
Rabi will take a look around for a little!Roll #1 9 = 9
At first I'm not totally sure what she means. I tilt my head and knit my brow, about to say as much when it dawns on me and my eyes widen a little. "Oh!" I say, flashing her a sheepish smile. "Yeah. Sorry. You just said-" I pull the lapis over my head and hold it out. "Sorry."
''No need to apologize, I'm the one who forgot to ask for it. Thank you for keeping it safe. I know it must be hard for you to part with such a nice gem''
You don't find much to loot amidst the debris.>>743889
You grab some of the dirt. As you all look around, Marisol arches an eyebrow. "What are you doing?">>743890
"Even if it does, it's still a dragon," she muses. "A dragon that thrives on petty revenge and sadism. Even alone, defeating him will be easier said than done.">>743893
You manage to get the dirt and stone to come together into a coherent shape, roughly the same size, shape and colour as the Egg. Knocking it a bit reveals that it's more or less stable through the power of your runes.>>743894>>743897
As one of the brigands limps away, he inadvertently leaves behind a satchel. Inside, you find two smaller bags: one filled with coins and the other filled with a strange emerald green powder. There is also some sort of key inside, with a bone-shaped motif running across it. It looks valuable, and you can sense some magical energy coming from it.
>Silver rolled a 3
While you don't find anything valuable in the traditional sense, you spot some interesting mushrooms growing near a tree, pale pinkish things with clusters dark red tendrils of some kind. Consulting your notes might yield some information on this strange fungus.
Hermodur waits for the others to decide it's time to go. In the mean time, he surveys the area to make sure there's no one else around waiting to ambush them.
[1d10] perceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
Aegis joined the contents of the coin bag with her own, and opened the other bag and sniffed it>>743899>>743897>>743893
She presented the odd green powder and the bone key to the others (Gawain and Marisol included) ''What can you tell me about this?''
Eyeing the mushrooms curiously, I flip through the alchemical guide for information on these strange mushrooms, careful not to disturb them as i search
[1d10] knowledge (just in case)Roll #1 3 = 3
Satisfied with the egg, Zunden investigates the object Aegis presented her, "Let uz zee if I can identify your find."
[1d10] AntiquarianRoll #1 9 = 9
I glance up at Marisol as I shovel handfulls of dirt into my bag. Looking back down, I'm not sure how it isn't obvious. Looking back up at her with furrowed brow, I say, "Collecting dirt?">>743912
"That," I point to the green powder. "Is some kind of green dust. And that," I point to the bone key. "Is clearly a Skeleton Key."
Aegis gives Norv an indecipherable look for a few seconds too long in silence
''I see. And what do you suppose this key is for?''
"Huh. Take a look at this." the stallion says, looking over the key. He chuckles a little as he notices the motif, and says "Maybe it's a skeleton key."
You see one of the brigands peering out from the treeline, making note of everyone around. When he sees you staring back, though, he winces and scurries off into the green. Most likely not the last you've heard of them. "Most likely not the last we've heard of them," Gawain comments.>>743912
"Oh, I've seen this before," says Marisol, referring to the green powder. "Powdered Wildfyre. Very volatile. Handle it with caution."
You recall the strange green liquid that caught aflame in bright green at the castle out of time you stopped at at one point. It must be the same substance in solid form.>>743915
You flip through and quickly find information. Seems like a decent find!
>Death Gripper>A dangerous mushroom found in some parts of the Echoes. When powdered, it is a key ingredient in an incredibly deadly poison known as the Strangler.>>743920
A beat. "…But why?">>743919>>743928
It turns out, that's exactly what it is. This Skeleton Key, from what Zunden can glean, will open any lock, changing size and shape to fit whatever it is applied to. However, it can only be used six times before crumbling to useless dust. "Someone had a sense of humor," Gawain comments as he flies back on board the ship.
"Good," Hermodur responds to Gawain, grimacing at the retreating slaver.
"Oh. Sorry. I bought these metal and wood oranges filled with gears. If you plant the gears they grow into more oranges, meaning I have a constsnt supply of gears, metal, and bits of wood."
''So that is what they planned to do with this'' Aegis carefully puts away the powder ''An easy firestarter like this could be put to a better use than starting forest fires''>>743928>>743920
''So, any lock? Even the non-conventional ones? Do you think this could open the door in the inner part of the City of Tears?''
''…Do you think this could open the egg?''
"Zhere iz no lock to ze egg. Az for ze Zity of Tearz, zhere iz ze chanze it could work." Zunden muses.
"We should head back to ze zhip and get a move on to ze ruinz."
"My, what an exciting find! Something to increase poison potency was just what I needed."
Preparing my bag, I ready my jambiya and carefully cut free the death grippers from the ground, setting them inside.
[1d10] harvestRoll #1 3 = 3
''Truly odd how a common thug could be carrying around something with so much potential. I dont think they planned any good for this other than to escape prison cells if they were caught''
Aegis followed the others back into the ship
"Let's, uh… let's not try that last one, ahaha…" the stallion chucjles, before nodding "And, yeah- it probably could. You'd only have six uses though.">>743938
"Oh- you found something for your poisons? That's great!"
"Indeed. Quite the nasty thing, part of a recipe for a strangler poison when ground into a powder. Just what i need if we ever need somepony poisoned!"
"Strangler poison?" he asks, cocking his head to the side.
"Yes, by the looks of it a powerful paralytic, the victim's airways quickly closed due to swelling. Not very subtle but if imagine a very quick affair."
"Oh. I didn't know you were an inventor. Did you make that device of yours too?" >>743935
"I don't see why it couldn't," says Marisol. "Open the door that is. I know of a secret entrance through the Haventunnel though. It's how Hermodur and I were able to get in.">>743938
You manage to harvest the death grippers and put them away for later use.>>743944>>743950
Marisol's ears perk up. "The Strangler?" she repeats. "You have the recipe for that? It's probably one of the deadliest poisons you can make here in the Echoes. I've only seen its effects once. It's horrible.">>743942>>743940>>743938>>743936>>743933>>743932
You return to the ship and fly over to the nearby ruins. It's little more than the crumbling remains of some sort of underground structure, with stone staircases and corridors dug into the earth and a wall at the top surrounding it all. Looks to have been some strange sort of fortress at one point.
Taking a closer look, you can see the upturned remains of some wooden structures on the lower levels. Looks like the place was ransacked fairly recently. If there was anything outstandingly valuable before, it's probably gone now, but there might be something left over.>roll for looting if desired
Gawain peers over the edge, then back at you, then shrugs a little. "Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained!" He flies into the underground fort to look around.
Rabi blinks a couple of times, before nodding. "A-Ah! That does sound pretty nasty, yeah. The only toxins I've ever dealt with before this were animal venom.">>743953
Rabi hums a little, looking the fort and saying "Guess we're a little late to the party. But, there's no sense in not looking around a little.">[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
''What were the effects?'' Aegis speaks up, snooping in on the conversation
Aegis follows right after ''Do not stray too far, whoever was here before might have not triggered all the possible traps this place holds
'1d10+1'Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9
"If it was this easy to ransack, is this even worth the decoy?" Hermodur ponders aloud.
With the grippers stored away, I approach the sublevels, with the others, sifting through the ruined area as we go.
[1d10] searchRoll #1 3 = 3
Instead of looting, Zunden looks for a good spotting place for the Egg replica.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
I blush a little. "Well," I say. "I wouldn't say I'm an inventor
but I'm a bit of a tinkerer. Definitely not on par with some of the really skilled smiths I've seen around the echoes. I mostly just dabble." I pull the bag over my shoulder and smile. "I'd like to think I'm getting pretty decent, and creative enough to make things work, though. The poison sprayer was actually made by a smith named Hadrian. Definitely not that skilled.">>743953
I give the place a quick, cursory once-over.
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
"Well it's in the name, isn't it. It chokes them. Their faces turn as purple as the crystal the poison takes the shape of.">>743963
"We don't lose anything by doing it," Marisol points out.>>743968
"Oh, I've heard of Hadrian. He's the best smith around. Grosvenor commissioned him several times.">>743961>>743957>>743963>>743964>>743965>>743968
You head down into the underground fort, combing the ruins. You find a good hiding spot at the very bottom of it, inside what looks to have been a food storage cupboard. Searching for valuables reveals a few long-dead skeletons, among which you find 100 bits, a bronze studded helmet still in great condition, and a pair of strange, bladed metal rings. Those versed in exotic weapons would recognize them as chakram.
Hermodur picks up the bronze helmet and looks it over.
[1d10] to examineRoll #1 5 = 5
Zunden begins preparing Severance runes carved into wood and stone to prevent the location of the decoy egg from being scryed.
[1d10] SeveranceRoll #1 10 = 10
"Yeah. It's been really useful so far, and I'm pretty sure I can use it for even more than I have. So far most of the time it's been a flamethrower or spray sleeping gas. Also wanted to experiment with potions and smokescreens and stuff, but I haven't had much of a chance."
''This would be more useful with the rest of the armor'' Aegis comments on Hermodur's helmet ''Are you thinking of suiting yourself properly?''
"I still prefer the utility of intimidation over the practicality of full armor. Besides, I'm not certain I could maneuver properly in armor."
Taking interest in the strange weapons, I examine the design further.
"Oh my, what a curious pair of blades. How does one fight with a ring blade?"
''You cant intimidate a arrow away from your lungs. I dont think the safety of protecting your organs can be beat by being more intimidating. Besides, with or without armor, I dont think it'd make much of a difference in your case, Master Hermodur''
"Ah- paralysis and swelling of the airways." he says, flicking his tail.>>743976
"Hrm… well, I guess this is about what I expected to find here. Does anyone want some, uh… ringblades? I think I've seen these before, but the person was dancing…"
You turn the helmet over. It's a tarnished bronze hue, with several studs along the bridge of the nose, and two narrow eye slits. Around the eyes is decoration almost giving the impression of a bird of prey. From the tip of the nose downward is a sort of veil that drapes downward over the neck and shoulders. Looks menacing. And, more importantly, sturdy while still being lightweight. Marisol looks over your shoulder. "Cool," she remarks.>>743981>10, 5, 6, 4
You manage to engrave several potent Severance runes to keep the false Egg well and truly warded from prying eyes. No one should be able to spy on it through magical means now.>>743984
She nods. "Seems that way. Quite an ingenious device. I imagine we'll be able to make good use of it. Say. Maybe you should work with Silver. She knows a thing or two about making potions, after all.">>743992>>743995
"Oh, I've seen these before!" Gawain chimes in helpfully. "Quite a nasty weapon in the right hands. They're thrown, mostly. Like thus!" He demonstrates by taking one and throwing it. It wobbles through the air and bounces off a stone wall rather pathetically. "…Er, but with more finesse, of course. A rather tricky weapon. Ahem."
"Which is scarier: a beast which fears your arrow or the beast which does not? I was raised to be a messenger, not just a fighter. The combat itself is a part of sending that message. It's not just about winning the fight. It's about affecting an air of uselessness: the idea that fighting won't result in anything effective. If done effectively, the fight is already won before the battle has begun."
"This is why I am satisfied with these scars," he says, gesturing to half-burnt face, the glass eye, the missing ear, the gouge across his abdomen, the stab wounds in his chest all of which are on top of his older scars. "It demonstrates that others have tried worse and it didn't work. That effect would be lost from armor.">>743997
"Hmm," Hermodur mutters with some dissatisfaction in response to Marisol. "Previously mentioned obscured view of the scars aside, I already have enough trouble with my vision with only one eye. I don't want to obscure my vision worse."
"Would you like it?" he offers.
"Ah- I see! I've never been particularly great at throwing things, but that sounds rather neat. Something like that would be pretty tricky, I imagine."
Content with the amount of runes, Zunden gives the place a once over herself before she leaves back for the ship.
[1d10] lootRoll #1 3 = 3
"Yeah, I've actually been thinking about that. Getting her to check out some of my potions and dilute them, seeing what recipes she knows, stuff like that. Can't ever seem to catch her, though." I laugh. "Actually sorta seems like we all usually have our own things going on, even during lulls."
Aegis scrutinizes Hermodur's many scars as he motions to them ''Hm. Yes You have an excellent idea, it can be said that a battle never fought is already won, but my earlier point still stands. Your scars wont stop blade or bolt. What will you do when you are faced with something you cannot scare away? I'm sure you will wish you had the armor''
"Interesting.. If nopony is terribly bothered by the idea, I'd like to take them along for myself. A ranged blade would be quite helpful, provided I learn how to wield it."
"The answer to that is obvious: one of the two of us will die," Hermodur shrugs.
"I understand your concern, and I would agree with it if I were a fighter. But, I am not. I am a messenger. My primary concern is preventing death. Not just my own and my comrades, but the enemy's as well. Each death is a failure. If I have a path available to me that ends a fight before death occurs, then I will take it. And, that path involves less armor."
''Very well. At least you stay true to who you are and that by itself is admirable'' Aegis nods and looks away, but a couple seconds later looks up to Hermodur again
''Also, I apologize if I intruded in your personal life like that. I always feel like I should speak my mind in how I think one could improve, I was raised in such an enviroment, but I have come to realize most people dont appreciate that''
Hermodur smiles. "Think nothing of it. The notion of improving others was the basis of Ailuros's goals. No one ever improved without realizing that they needed to improve. It all starts with communication. As the messenger of Ailuros, my role was a valuable part of that process…" he trails off, looking sad.
She blinks. "Hm. It needs some work done, but I have been meaning to get some better armor than this." She looks down at her rather shabby brown cloak and black leather tunic. "Sure. Why not. Thanks." She gives you a bit of a smile before tucking the helmet under her arm.>>744007
Unfortunately, you don't find much of interest.>>744009
"Mm." She seems to agree with that sentiment. "We ought to come together more.Put our individual skills to better use. We'll need every advantage we can get with what lies ahead.">>744016
"Not at all." You take the chakram. They're rather small, and tricky to wield. Especially given your lack of digits. You'll need some decent practice to be able to wield them effectively in combat.
That night, you prepare for what's to come. Everyone else is asleep, except for Etrigan, who seems to be brooding on the upper deck. You can hear Dawn in her room as well, pacing restlessly.
I take a deep breath. Well. Here goes. I look down at Vi and smile. "Well," I say. "You ready?"
"I will do my bezt. I am zhinking how I will go about zhiz, zomezhing to Zever her zoul from the doll, Zever half of yourz, Return herz to her body, zhen uze Union to bring yourz and herz together. Zhere a lot of moving partz."
She looks to Norv, I know not want ze zenzation of giving half your zoul will be like- do you need zomezhing to bite down on? Reztrainz? We can alzo azk one of ze ozherz to be here for ze prozezz."
My face pales a little and I swallow. "Actually, uh… yeah. Restraints and something to bite down on could be a good idea. If we don't need em we don't need em, but if we do and we don't have them- well…"
I rub the back of my neck. "You think any of the others would wanna be here?" My eyes widen a little. "Oh!" I grab my mask, pull my Good Luck Charm out of it, and hand it to Zunden. "Here. This could be good, too."
"Zhank you, Norvegicus." Zunden takes the charms, taking out her Arcana artifacts, "Ideally, zhiz will not be down to luck, but ze gezture iz appreziated regardlezz."
She pulls some twine from the bag of holding, gesturing for Norv to lay down on the bed. "It zhouldn't need anything too ztrong, juzt to prevent you hurting yourzelf if you flinch or move around."
Zunden rubs her chin, "Marizol and Gawain are razher new, I don't want to get ze reputation of being a necromanzer to zhem, even if zhat may be an accurate dezcription onze zhiz iz over…" Zunden looks down, "Likewize, perhapz performing necromanzy in front of Etrigan would be razher inzenzitive, given hiz pazt. Dawn or Aurora could be choizez if you dezire, ozherwize we zhould be fine wizhout."
I lie down on the bed and nod. "Yeah, I think Dawn or Aurora would be fine. Probably Dawn, honestly. I'm not sure Aurora would have much of a reason to want
to be here. What do you think?"
"Ze only reazon I zhink we'd need anozher party prezent iz if performing ze ritual taxez my body enough to pazz out, I would need zomeone to enzure I'm zafe. Zhall I fetch Dawn zhen?"
"Oh. Yeah. I didn't think about that. Go ahead."
Zunden heads to Dawn's door, knocking if she doesn't hear the casting of spells.
Dawn opens the door with telekinesis. She seems to have been poring over a scroll written in Braille. Looking around, you see she has a good few books written in the same script. She seems to know why you're here. "Ah, Zunden. …I take it tonight's the night, then. I'm guessing you'll be wanting me to help. Resurrection isn't something I've ever studied extensively, but I'll do what I can."
She looks up and grabs your coat nervously.
"Juzt to enzure zhere are no complicationz, you zhould not need to do anyzhing related to ze ritual yourzelf." Zunden nods despite it being a useless gesture, "I zhould be mentally prepared for zhiz."
"Hey." I reach down and pet her, giving her a reassuring smile. "It'll be fine. Just about everything is in place, Z knows what she's doing, and I'm as prepared as I can be for what's coming. By tomorrow you'll be back in your body."
"Both of us should," she says quietly. "I don't know what this will entail.">>744125>>744126
Dawn follows Zunden back into the room where Norv and Violet are. The latter has a strange reaction as Dawn enters the room; she seems to look around, as if it's dawning on her what's about to happen, then squirms out of Norv's pocket and falls to the floor, starting to try and bolt to the exit.
"Hey!" I try to stand and scramble after her. "It'll be alright! Come back!"
[1d10]Roll #1 8 = 8
"Zhere iz ze parazitic azpect of ze doll," Zunden goes to scratch a rune onto the door, preventing any entity from entering or leaving this room for the next 30 minutes, "I know not if you've actually been zpending time wizh Violet, or juzt ze doll uzing her az a battery. Regardlezz, zhiz zhould be remedied tonight."
[1d10] SeveranceRoll #1 1 = 1
Norv manages to grab her. As Zunden scratches a rune on the door, it closes gently, and wood forms around the frame interior, effectively turning it into a wall. Dawn looks confused; then, when Zunden speaks, she nods. "Ah. The Crucible. Definitely not the last trick it'll have."
The doll keeps struggling to get away from Norv.
Please don't do this.
"It iz unfortunate, but I take zolice in ze fact we have a limited amount of zoul to zacrifice in case a zimilar zituation occurz. We may have a new hozt for it zoon enough."
She looks to the doll, trying to appeal to the artifact, "You are not unwelcome here, only zhat zhiz dog iz willing to give half hiz zoul to return hiz loved one to life. We can keep you on our perzon in caze one of our alliez diez, zo zhat we may not loze zhem fully and zo zhat you may have life again. Do not zhink zhiz an act of malize."
I tear up a little as the doll tries to break free. I know it was Vi before. That much was obvious. Now, though, I'm almost certain it's the doll acting. I hold her against my chest and try to stroke her head to calm her down.
They'll both die.
Dawn stands by to begin the resurrection.
I lie back down on the bed where I was before, but keep holding Violet.
Zunden looks uncomfortable, holding up a claw, "If I may make one more precaution, I wizh to uze one more artifact before we begin. Zhiz will, however, require me to briefly become unconzciouz." Zunden says, removing the lute from the straps on her back. "I want to dizprove a zuzpizion I have."
The other one seems to be still, for now.>>744137
The blind one tilts her head. "What are you planning?" A pointless idea.
"Uh, alright. Whatever you think is best, Z. You're in charge of this thing.">>744138
I hold her tighter and close my eyes, resting my cheek on her.
"When I zaved Etrigan from being conzumed my ze Oneiromanzer, I undid fate zhrough ze effectz of a Zonata zhat haz allowed me to have vizionz of Ze Zhree in ze pazt. I have vizited zhem twize, but I want to confirm zhiz iz not zomezhing zhat will cauze more harm zhan good."
The other one is temporary. And fading. Meat will rot. This will last longer.
It enjoys your caress.>>744140
The blind one doesn't know what you know. "The Three?… Well, if you think it will help. It seems you're more knowledgeable in the Echoes' esoterica than I am, at least this time. I hope it works…" It won't.
I keeping my eyes closed, I whisper, "Then we can rot together."
"Zey knew of what would happen in ze dezert, I do not wizh to attempt zhiz lightly, nor overztay a welcome."
Zunden pulls out the Moonlight Sonata, letting the sheet music take her as her claws wait on the lute.>
The reptile plays. A cacophony worms from her fingertips. Everything writhes around her. Your ears scream for mercy, and you find yourself on your hands and knees. The blind one continues to stand, and see nothing. And know nothing.
The reptile will destroy you.
>roll to resist the Crucible's will>But it will fail.>>744143
You begin to play. You hear something in the back of your mind, like the thundering of great wheels.>freed from the Crucible
You feel Norv standing up all of a sudden, but keep playing, letting the arcane melody carry you away. You feel your heart pounding, your spirit soaring as the fateful melody carries you away…
You are in that empty space between spaces. A wrinkle in existence. A black nothingness, save for that omnipresent stone wall that stretches into the horizon on either side.
They are there again. You, and yet not you. Young, middle aged, and ancient. They are huddled together, whispering to each other, glancing back at you on occasion. Every once in a while, the Three laugh, sharing some private joke. They know you're there, but don't seem too interested in paying you much mind.
My eyes dart around as my head is filled with the voice. My ears- I squeeze my eyes shut and shake my head, trying to will it away. We're doing this for Vi. It'll be alright. We'll be fine. It'll be just like it used to be.
[1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
>>744144No, it was definitely the Crucible using my thoughts, not their voices.
Zunden nods to herself, sighing relief even in the strange place. She looks nervous to approach, but eventually does so, "I erm.. already have had my question answered just by arriving here. I am not sure when I should I be here, if ever. what does He visit for?"
You know it won't.
The blind one does nothing as you draw closer to the reptile. You should destroy her before she does you.>Don't try again.>>744146
They don't acknowledge you at first. When you draw closer, they move away from their huddle, snickering slightly. Their claws are slippery with blood, but there's nothing there they could have come from. Oh, she's back, she's back! And still after answers…Poor child. So lost and confused. Why not rest a spell?
You notice there's an old rocking chair behind you.Hm. Well if you must know. He wants what you have. What all of your kind have. What most of you fear. What you're working to undo right now.
She traces a familiar symbol in the air: two eye shapes, criss crossed, with a circular eye in the center. It looks around wildly, focuses on you, then is gone.
No. My vision grows blurry as I start to cry. I keep trying to resist, attempting to call out to Dawn to stop me.
[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
Zunden nods, assuming she understands, but refrains from resting at the chair, "That would explain his motivations a lot actually. I don't think I should linger, but I feel as if I understand better. The Crucible means you didn't actually rezeive one of mine, did you?"
She can't stop you. "Is something the matter?"
You take another step forward. The predator is blind to her own peril.
I try to nod and say, 'It's controlling me."
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
>>744149"We have. And we haven't.""So many riddles…""Time is a strange thing, sweetin. Especially now, and then, and thereafter. Don't you worry. It's not anyone's time just yet. Why not try to relax over a nice cup of tea?""You didn't come here for tea. You came here for answers. As much as we can provide. Don't pretend otherwise. Ask your burning question and begone with you."
You hadn't noticed before, but they're gathered around a round table, taking turns knitting with a needle and thread. Or maybe they're not taking turns, and it's just one of them doing it. Or maybe all three at once. Maybe they were never doing this at all. You also notice there's no coffins this time. "You're not in the wrong place, are you dear?…""Heh. If she was lost she'd be home by now.""Home again, home again, jiggity jig…"
You feel weak all of a sudden. Your knees give way, and you collapse. You see the Crucible running away, towards Dawn. Looking down at your hands, you notice your claws are bared, inches away from Zunden's vulnerable throat. You feel a great weight being lifted off your shoulders.>freed from the Crucible
Dawn continues to stand there blankly. A mild, insipid little smile starts to form on her face, and she absent mindedly crouches down and picks up the Crucible.
"One more, though maybe it's two, and I take my leave. Is it the music that brings me here? I don't know if it's the artifact or the thought behind it." Zunden asks, watching what they're knitting.
I gulp and close my paw. Looking up at Dawn, I slowly step toward her with my hand out. "Dawn. You should probably give that to me."
They're not knitting anything. It's just a single string. As it trails downward and to the floor, it seems to pierce through it as if passing through water, continuing onwards infinitely. Following it in the opposite direction, you can see the string goes upwards as well. A single thread, stretching infinitely in both directions."All of them. And none.""Why, you are a special thing, aren't you? You've always had this. Wouldn't you agree? Something that pulls you towards us, ever since you were a wee little sprog. Those little things you have, they just… nudge you towards us.""Home again, home again, jiggity jog…""What else do you want, then? Be quick about it. We're not obliged to humor you."
A familiar door opens behind you.
She doesn't seem to hear you. Under her bandaged eyes, you see dampness. Her smile grows, until she herself is weak at the knees, sobbing tears of joy. She clutches the Crucible close, and it goes limp. "I knew," she whispers. "I always knew you'd come back… They said you were dead… They won't take you from me again… Never again…"
"As I just said, I take my leave. I have had answered what I needed, now I need to start what I intended to."
Zunden returns herself to consciousness, feeling ready to perform the deed.
"No…" I rush over and try to pry the crucible away from her. "It's not him! Violet is in there. The crucible is lying to you."
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
"That's not what we're asking.""Isn't it? I thought… Oh…""It's a question you should ask yourself, really. What do you want from us? What would you have happen? Think about it! And come back to us with answers.""If you can find them.""If you can find them.""If you can find them."
You walk through the door, reawakening in your body. You find Norv confronting Dawn, who is clutching the Crucible with a rapturous grin.>>744160
"GET AWAY FROM ME!"
You wrench the Crucible away, only to find yourself blown clear across the room by a blast of concussive magic. Dawn faces you down, hovering a foot above the air, glowing with energy, face twisted with rage. Her horn lights up. "YOU WON'T TAKE HIM FROM ME!"
[2d10+2] Magic BoltRoll #1 3, 6 + 2 = 11
I hold the crucible tight and turn around, shielding it with my back. "Dawn!" I shout. "It isn't him! It's trying to trick you! It's using Violet's soul, but right now it isn't even really her either. It's trying to use you!"
[1d10]Persuasion?Roll #1 7 = 7
Eyes opening, Zunden subtly scratches Severance into the wood again, clutching The Devil in her other claw, She turns her head to the Crucible, "You have never had any choize in ze matter."
Invoking the powers of The Devil for the first time, Zunden severs the ability for the Crucible to hold a soul within it, making it impossible for it to take host.
>The Devil: automatic instant; Give yourself or a target any roll result you desire, without modifiers. However, this guarantees a future roll of theirs in the session, usually their next, will be equal to the "opposite" of the declared result. A 1 becomes a 10, a 9 a 2, etcetera. This opposite roll may be redirected to the invoker of the Devil card, but only if the opposite is a 5 or below. If the target of the Devil card dies or is otherwise incapable of rolling again before the next session, the opposite roll is granted to the invoker if the result was negative, or the nearest ally of the target if the result was positive. Can be used once per day without consequence.
"Oh, neat. I'm going to need more popcorn for this one!"
A familiar, genteel voice, brimming with playful joy, rings out around the room. Looking around, Discord is nowhere to be seen.
Norv's words fall on deaf ears as Dawn, entranced, fires a crackling orb of silver magic into his chest. He is knocked backwards and takes a knee as it explodes violently, searing his skin and burning his fur.>Norv takes 3 hits
Zunden's invocation makes the Crucible writhe, flopping out of Norv's grasp. Simultaneously, Dawn gasps, clutching her chest and leaning against the wall, released from its grip. On the floor, the Crucible squirms and turns, its limbs contorting in impossible shapes and twisting like licorice sticks, the little wooden box in its torso rattling and shaking violently, threatening to burst out of its chest like some vile parasite.
If I go, so will Violet.
"No!" I say. "You're saying whatever you can to keep us from doing this. This is to save
"If you tell ze truzh, zhen we never could've returned Violet in ze firzt plaze. We loze nozhing in doing zhiz."
Given that the doll is incapable of taking in another soul at the moment, Zunden looks to Norv,>>744165
"We will try ze act wizhout your bindingz, hold zteadfazt. By intuition zhiz will be eazier wizh your willingnezz. Let go ze worriez, and focuz on what iz driving you to make zhiz zacrifice."
>Assume this part would be after Norv does so, if he wants to make a post saying as such
Zunden extinguishes two of the orbs surrounding her, bringing part of Norv's willing and living soul together with Violet's expired one.
 Severance (Orb), Half of Norv's soul
 Union (Orb), The two souls of the lovers
You'll regret it.
The Crucible's flailing reaches a fever pitch as its torso continues to rip at the seams; then, pathetically, it collapses, deflating into a pile of sawdust and burlap. You feel a tremendous weight lifted from the room. Dawn slumps over, seemingly having passed out.
Zunden begins the rite. Severance appears across Norv's chest, and a ripple appears in the air, almost like some strange gas. Norv feels a sudden tightness in his chest, followed by a feeling of overwhelming heat, then cold, then heat again, alternating over and over. It's like getting plunged into flames then drowned in an icy lake, except there's no pain. Not physical, at least.
Three rings interlocked appear above Violet's body, which begins to glow slightly, like one of Zunden's suns. The rippling effect reappears, echoing the Severance rune. It's as if they're speaking to each other. Norv feels weakened all of a sudden, like the energy's been punched out of him by a spiritual fist. There's a feeling of sudden… distance. Apathy, perhaps. Ennui. It's all so meaningless all of a sudden.
As Zunden continues to concentrate, both runes fade away gently. The numb feeling Norv is experiencing doesn't, however. Looking over at Violet's body, nothing seems to happen…
With one last orb being extinguished, Zunden tries to return the breath of life to Violet by invoking Return to finish the rite.
 Return (orb)
I clutch at my chest as my heart races. My lungs burn, and I can feel my breathing grow heavy. So this is what it's like to have your soul torn in half. I squeeze my eyes shut and clench my teeth together, trying to steady my breath. Boiling. Freezing. My body trembles.
Finally, the entire thing stops and I collapse. My breath is still ragged, and there's a feeling I can't place. Or maybe it's a lack of feeling? Not quite sadness.
Finally catching my breath, I stand, walk over to Vi, crouch down, and wait.
Dawn starts to come to. Zunden invokes Return. Nothing more happens.
I wait and reach out to rest my hand on her side. "Hey," I whisper. "Vi? It's Norv. You there?"
Zunden goes to check in on Dawn, offering to help the mare up, "Everyzhing alright, Dawn?
" Zunden says, speaking with some weakness from doing all she can think of to finish the rite.
She gladly takes your hoof. "I… I think so. What happened? I feel like I blacked out the minute I entered the room… Did it work?…"
Takes your hand*
"I performed the rite, unlezz I have forgotten an azpect it iz all zhat waz needed to be done. Now I am not zure what happenz."
Zunden tries to think of anything she may have forgotten [1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
I don't take my eyes of Vi. "I don't know. Maybe it takes time?"
Nothing comes to mind…>>744177>>744176
Dawn joins you both, looking over to Violet anxiously. Nothing happens.
You wait a bit longer.
A bit more.
Dawn looks defeated. "…I think we should-"
Violet turns over, as if stirring from a deep sleep. With a soft groan, she gets up, opening her eyes and looking around.
Something's different. Her left eye is a deep reddish purple, as normal, but her right has changed. Where once it was green, now it is a dead, milky white.
She stares around the room in confusion, looking through you all, clutching her head. "Where…?"
Zunden lets out a deep sigh, leaning against one of the walls and burying her head between her knees. "Zhank goodnezz…"
Zunden peaks a look at the Crucible, seeing if it still holds enchantment.
[1d10] AntiquarianRoll #1 4 = 4
My lip quivers just a little as she stirs. When she stands up and looks around, I can't keep myself from throwing my arms around her. "I knew it would work," I say. "I knew we could put you back. I love you. It's only been days, but I've missed holding you so much."
The Crucible is inert. For now.>>744364
She looks a bit surprised, grunting a little as you throw yourself at her. "Oof! Whoa, hey, steady on. Bit forward of you, innit. You're Norv, right?">>744363>>744364
"Easy," says Dawn gently. "You've been through a lot. Try to relax. We can explain everything."
"Sorry, do I know you?" says Violet innocently. "Uh, I feel like I'm missing something here… Zunden? Norv? Where are we? This isn't the Monastery, is it?… Gods, my head feels…" She tries to get up, but almost falls. "Agh… What's wrong with me?…"
Seeing Violet's state, Zunden quietly prepares a Union orb.
[1d10] Union (Frozen)Roll #1 5 = 5
I let her go and slowly take a step back, open my mouth, close it again, and take a second to try to figure out what to say. "Yeah? No, we're back on The Fortune. I-" I swallow, and, a little less enthusiastically, gently rest my hand on her side. "Vi, are you okay?" I chew my lower lip, and finally say, "You died at Last Hearth, but we were able to bring you back. Just in time to go back to the spring, too. Like you wanted."
You summon a Union rune. Violet does a bit of a double take. "Damn, when'd you learn that? Never seen anything like it before.">>744374
"I… I think so?…" She seems a bit weirded out by you touching her, but doesn't shy away. Most likely too confused to. "What's a Fortune? What do you mean I died? Is this some kind of joke?" She seems annoyed.
"No, Vi-" I study her and step back again. "I-" I take a deep breath. "Is the Lunar Monastery really the last thing you remember? That's been-" I look up at Z and knit my brow. "Months, right?"
"I can attempt to create runez zhat'll let you zhare memoriez, but I do not zhink I will be at my one hundred perzent until I have rezted again - ze ritual to bring her back waz taxzing, ezpecially wizh my vizit to ze Zhree beforehand."
Zunden looks to Violet, "You have zomeone talking to you like zhey know you, I'm uzing far more technical zpellz zhen you've ever zeen, and are in a plaze you do not recognize, while ze zhree of uz are talking about zhingz you do not underztand. Pleaze take a breazh, apply logic to ze zituation, and realize your memoriez may have a gap."
"M-months?" Her annoyance turns to trepidation. She pulls away and tries to stand up again. She manages to do so this time, hauling herself up. She looks at you both with slight panic. Zunden's words seem to stop her from completely freaking out. She swallows and nods. "I… Just… …What happened? Tell me everything. Please. I get the feeling I shouldn't be here."
I rub the back of my neck and give her some space. "Pfew. Everything. That's gonna be a doozy. I'll have to flip through my journal to remember everything, probably. Definitely to remember everything in order. Let's see. Braildorn is really where stuff started happening. Before that it was just mostly traveling. You got kidnapped in Braildorn by Lysander, who I guess you remember different than you would now." I look away. "Actually, come to think of it maybe you still think he's dead? After that we saved you and sorta stole his ship." I close my eyes and think. "I think that was after
we visited the Sands the first time?" I scratch my head trying to get everything in order. >>744384
"Yeah, I'm gonna need your help. Probably would be better if we have her something to work with for now, even if we give her sorta replacement memories later. If that's even how it would work, and-" I look back at Vi and knit my brow. "And if you're even comfortable with that."
"You died, zo yez, technically you zhouldn't. I will work to help you reztore your memoriez, but for me to have zome time to rezt, and to give you time to calm down and acclimate to being alive again, I would recommend we attempt zhat in ze morning."
The saurian takes another deep breath, and exhales slowly, "Ze mozt bazic information zhat iz I zhink you will need to know before breakfazt iz zhat we are currently on an airzhip owned by Lyzander, ze very one from your pazt, which we took after az Norv zaid, he kidnapped you. He haz allied himzelf wizh a maliziouz entity zhat can invade one'z dreamz, who iz intent bringing great harm to reality. For zhiz reazon, I would azk if it iz okay you zleep wizh a few charmz around your neck tonight, juzt for protectionz zake. Zhere are multiple alliez on zhiz zhip you will not recognize, a bat pony priezt from ze Moneztary, Dawn here, a ztag wizhout a phyzical body who can control zhiz zhip, a cryztal pony mage, a female felid, and mozt rezently a gryphon knight. Zheze, along wizh an infant balaur, are friendz, zhould you run into zhem on zhiz zhip."
"I mean technically she'd probably recognize Gawain and Aurora, and maybe even Dawn if she remembers the Monastery. Just not as friends or anyone she really knows." I shift and let out an uncomfortable laugh. "Actually, she probably wouldn't recognize Gawain as a friend anyway. I haven't even really talked to him yet either."
"I don't know at what point in ze Moneztary ze haz her memory from. We may have juzt arrived."
She nods, frowning in bewilderment. "Lysander as in the
Lysander? Gods. You guys have been busy, huh. That's… a lot. Last I remember we were just going to head to the Monastery. Part of me hopes this is just a weird dream."
"…Hold up, hold up. I died? How? When? Explain that.Seems like kind of a big deal." She smiles dryly, then swoons a little and catches herself. She's still weak from the whole ordeal.
"Helping a mare ezcape a zity zhat preventz it'z rezidentz for leaving in exzchange for ratzionz we needed to zurvive." Zunden says, looking concerned, "Az I zaid, it iz bezt for you to rezt before we try catching you up. Norv, I do not know what you wizh to do in zhat regard."
I move to catch her on reflex. "Hey," I say. "Easy. You need to rest." I freeze. My mouth suddenly feels really dry. How much should I tell her about that? >>744391
I nod. "In Last Hearth," I say. "We were fighting a bunch of their Keepers trying to escape, and the fight didn't go so well. Most of us barely made it out, but you-" My eyes drop to the floor. "Anyway," I say. "Yeah. I, uh…" I laugh. "I guess you wouldn't be comfortable sharing a bed tonight like we usually do. If you want I can take a different room for now. Until you start getting things back."
"Last Hearth," she mumbles. "What the hell were we all the way out there for? Weren't we going to the Sands? Or is that past now?…"
She blinks and looks over to Norv with a slight frown. "What do you mean like we usually do?…"
Zunden looks to Norv, "Let's keep from continuing to talk more and more until daw- err, until morning." She turns back to Violet, "You're weak, and ze rezt of ze party will be awake to confirm what we are zaying in ze morning, let uz wait till zhen."
I shuffle my feet and feel my face grow a little hot. "In braildorn, we sorta- Well…" I clear my throat. "Sorta started goin steady? We have been for a while."
"Oh. Right. Sorry. We all should probably get some sleep."
You notice Dawn has elusively exited the room.
"We… I…" She looks at you both at a complete loss for words, her gaze lingering on Norv with an unreadable expression, trying to make sense of it all. "……Yeah. Alright. Good idea. I, uh, guess I'll try and get some rest. Dunno if I can, but I'll try. ….Goodnight? I guess? This is all really… weird." She rubs her temples.
"Can I get you anyzhing to eat or drink before you rezt?"
I feel tears welling up in my eyes a little as there doesn't seem like there's really anything there. "Alright. Goodnight. I lo-" I catch myself and frown, and nod. "Goodnight." There's something wrong, though. It hurts, yeah, but I'm not as crushed as I'd expect to be. Maybe it's because I'm confident it'll come back when we can get her memories back for the most part?
"Some water would be great," she says with a smile. "I'm…really thirsty. Actually.">>744399
She notices the wounded look in your eye, and her expression softens. She tries to think of something to say, but can't seem to find the words. "…I, uh… I can find a room for myself. This is yours, isn't it?…"
I force a small smile. "Not your fault. There're, uh… There are plenty. I think. They're filling up so I'm not totally sure how many are actually left, but there should still be several at least."
"You haven't ate or drank in dayz, technically, I azzumed az zuch."
Zunden unseals the door, allowing a Servitor to visit with one.
A Servitor enters with a glass of water, along with some fruit. Violet tentatively drinks and starts eating, then proceeds to promptly annihilate the rest.
"…Sorry, didn't realize how hungry I was. Heh. I, uh, think I'm going to go lie down for a bit, if it's okay. Lot to process right now, you know? And, uh, thanks. For everything. You're good people."
I smile, a little more genuinely this time, and laugh. "Yeah," I say. "No prob, Vi. I'll see you in the mornin." I give her a short wave. "Night."
"Be zafe, I'm glad you're back." Zunden says softly, making sure Violet has access to the Severance charms before leaving her to herself.
The rest of the day goes by without much incident. You return to the ship with your spoils of war and continue on your journey. Etrigan estimates you'll reach the Dreaming Spring the following afternoon, assuming there are no further interruptions.
Silver has time again to practice her potion making skills. She may craft one more of any of the following:
>Alacrity Draught: A potion that stimulates the sense and improves reflexes. Dodge rolls autocrit for the next 3 rounds
>Addersfang: A wicked burning venom. When applied to a weapon, on the next successful attack the target will take 1 hit/rd for 3 rds, or until helpless. Stacks with repeated uses.
>Pheromone Tonic: A potion that seems to attract baser animals. Useless if ingested, but when applied to something, will draw creatures to it over time.
>Aqua Vitae: A potion that closes wounds and cures all manner of ailments. Functions as per Heal when imbibed.
>Snailgut: A potion that stimulates natural healing and numbs the user to pain. Target takes 1 less hit of physical damage until the end of combat, but suffers a -1 to Dodge rolls.
>Beast's Bile: A poisonous gas, despite its name. When release, will release a cloud of noxious, stinging vapors that will gradually blind and choke anything in a 30 foot radius.
>Potent Redwater: A stronger brew of Redwater. Rupture gets a +2 and crits on 8+.
>Potent Midnight Oil: A stronger brew of Midnight Oil. Sleep Serum gets a +2 and crits on 8+.
>Potent Sightsbane: A stronger brew of Sightsbane. Blind gets a +2 and crits on 8+.
The following morning, you wake to the delicious scent of pancakes. You feel well rested, more so than usual. From the kitchen comes cheery humming from Gawain, to the tune of Jenny of Oldstones, the song Aurora sung earlier.
I wake up alone in my bed for the first time in- I think for a second. Since we even got the ship? There was probably another time, but I can't recall. For a while I just lie in bed and stare at the ceiling, restless but also not able to will myself to get up.
Finally I smell someone cooking and decide it's probably time to go ahead and get dressed. I just slide on my pants and my white undershirt I got with my newest suit, not bothering to gear up. Before anything else, I stop at the bag of dirt I'd planted eight of the clockwork orange gears in to check on it and, even though I'm not totally sure if they even need water, lightly water them. If Purdue is awake I bring him. If he's not then I bring him with me.
Heading to the kitchen, I'm surprised to find it's Gawain and not Etrigan cooking. "Mornin," I say, taking a seat in the dining area. "That's that song I hear Aurora singin a bunch, ain't it? Been trying to noodle the melody out on my sax." I chuckle. "Got part of it, but I guess I should really probably crack open the book I got with it and learn to play properly."
Her resting place being in a corner of the dining room since hers was lost, Zunden stirs from her pile of pillows and blankets when she hears movement. Taking a deep breath, she positions herself so that she might watch Violet's door, replenishing her orbs in the meantime.
[1d10] Union (frozen)Roll #1 4 = 4
Hermodur silently enters and awaits delicious pancakes.
Rabi rolls out of bed and stretches out, giving his recently-healed leg a bit of extra stretching before hopping to all fours and heading for the kitchen. He'll stop long enough to give Silver a kiss, if she's still in bed.>>744454
Rabi flicks his ears and smiles a bit as he takes a seat in the dining area, giving both Gawain and Norv a friendly wave. "Morning, both of you. Pancakes smell great, Gawain."
As usual, Aegis wakes up a tad early and goes through her morning routine. Shower, brush, dress up and leave the room looking nice and tidy after an hour of preparation
This time the first thing she does is to visit Aurora before breakfast
I knit my brow. "There a reason you slept in her"
Zunden blinks, "Have for ze pazt week or zo."
The clockwork oranges grow remarkably fast. You can see a copper pipe poking out of the dirt already. Purdue is fast asleep, as usual. You hear him mutter something indistinctly as he slumbers; you think you hear the word 'conjunction'.>>744457
Your rune fizzles out of existence as you conjure it, not quite stable enough to hold its form.>>744471
You find Aurora up above deck as usual, reading a book. She looks up and smiles. "Hey. Good to have you back. What's on your mind?"
"Ah- morning, Zunden. You want some help picking out a new room, or something? Can't have you just sleeping in a corner."
Your leg feels more or less healed, though it's still a bit sore. You should be back to normal by tomorrow.
"If it iz an izzue I can move, I have juzt been too preoccupied wizh bringing back Violet, ze Egg, Oneiromanzer, et zetera. I zee no purpoze in moving everyzhing back to anozher room if it will not be a permanent home."
"W-Well, it's not. I just want to make sure you're comfortable."
Using more of the ingredients gathered, I begin to brew a batch of more potent Redwater, the thin red liquid slowly bubbling over the burner.
Refreshed after a good night's sleep, i slip on my underdress and trot over to the table to examine the spread of breakfast.
"Ah, Sir Gawain, How goes things this morning? The cooking smells wonderful!"
"I came to check your recovery" Aegis replies bluntly, giving Aurora a look over "You seem as healthy as usual. How have you been feeling?"
"Yeah, but you could still use a bed in the other room or something."
"It iz not uncomfortable."
"Huh. Well, alright. As long as you're comfortable. Did you need help moving your stuff? I'll help next time I'm not too busy if you want."
"Legs are still a little weak," she confesses. "Luckily I have wings to fall back on. I'm getting there though. One step at a time." She puts the book away and stands up, leaning on the walking stick she's been using while she recovers from her injury. "What about you? I heard you ran into that bounty hunter.">>744500>>744466>>744457>>744462>>744454>>744471
You gather in the kitchen, soon joined by Aurora, Marisol, Dawn and Etrigan, all looking well rested.
"Good morning everyone!" says Gawain cheerily, bringing out a steaming plate of pancakes with all the usual topping options. A Servitor sets the table for everyone. Marisol smiles at the sight of the hearty breakfast. "Thank you, they look wonderful."
"Think nothing of it. My way of repaying you all for your hospitality!"
The pancakes are as delicious as they look. As you begin to tuck in, you hear footsteps, and a familiar face appears around the corner.
"I-is there room for one more at the table?…"
Violet enters the room, looking out of sorts. Her left eye is a milky white, and she overall looks a bit out of sorts, but offers a meek smile in greeting. "Yeah, I'm here. Kind of. Still getting my bearings. Apparently I missed a lot. Don't even remember getting this… ship? We're on a ship, right?"
Hermodur happily eats a large pile of pancakes. When Violet comes in, he looks up at her in confusion.
"How?" is all he asks. It's more bemused confusion than shock or awe.
I look up and smile, probably a little more excited than I should be to see her. My tail beats against the sides of the chair as I fail to keep it from wagging, and I give her a wave. "Morning," I say. "Yeah. Plenty of room. And yeah, ship. The Fate's Fortune. Don't remember its original name, but it's a- uh…" I pause and look between Etrigan and Zunden. "Sanctuary? Am I remembering that wrong?"
I dig out some pancakes and douse them with syrup. "Anyway, yeah. Big breakfast. Plenty to go around."
"Yes. I think it could have gone better" Aegis raises a leg to show scars "I also learned that I might be a poor judge of character, but I'll learn. Come, we can talk more after breakfast"
Aegis silently watches the punished Violet show herself
"Do you remember me?" She asks
Eating my buttered and syrup'd pancakes, i pause mid-bite and visibly pale as i see the ghost of Violet arrive into the hall.
"..oh my. V-violet?"
"…Violet?" the stallion asks, setting his fork down and turning to look at the mare. "I-I, uhm… yes?"
"I will move my zhingz today, I apologize for worrying ze bozh of you." Zunden looks down.>>744512
"I had prezerved her body in a zpare room when zhe pazzed, I learned of ze ritual zhrough a rare concoczion given by Pudding'z alchemizt. It waz taxzing, and Norv had to make a zacrifize of hiz own." Zunden says, picking at the pancakes, "Zhe holdz no memoriez from before ze moneztary."
*made after ze moneztary
"Why specifically then?"
"How curious.. And what was Norvy's sacrifice?"
Aegis chews her pancakes, eyes locked on Zunden
I let out an awkward chuckle. "That's-" I clear my throat and avoid eye contact. "That's not important. Vi is back! That's what matters!"
"I know not, perhapz it waz dependant on how long her zoul rezided in ze Cruzible, and it slowly ate away at memoriez."
Aegis cold gaze turns from Zunden to Norvegicus
I shift a little and take a bite of pancakes, continuing to avoid eye contact. "Really," I say. "Look at me. I'm fine."
Rabi huffs a little bit and folds his ears back, before wrapping his forelegs around Zunden and pulling her into a hug. "Please, don't apologize- you've done nothing wrong, Zunden. You do a lot around here, and I just want to make sure you're comfortable.">>744519>>744529
"It's, ah… not important, huh? Well, hopefully it isn't. But, yes- Violet's back! Losing people is really, well… hard. Especially when I still feel like that was on me."
The others look about as surprised as (most of) you are. Aurora looks at her blankly, while Marisol looks a bit apprehensive at her appearance.Dawnand Etrigan don't look too shocked though, having been privy to the ordeal.
"Yeah, it's like Zunden said. There's a big gap in my memory. Last I remember was traveling to the Monastery. Whatever happened, it probably… erased everything else." She swallows. "But I'm here now. Right? It's like Norv said. I, uh, don't really have the full picture of what's going on though.I think I'll have to get caught up… or…" She doesn't finish that thought.
"There's a couple of new faces for me, yeah. I met Dawn last night, but I don't know about half of you." She refers specifically to Aegis, Aurora, Etrigan, Marisol and Gawain.
The latter, as usual, is eager to introduce himself. "Well, allow me to welcome you back, good lady! I am Sir Gawain, an unlanded knight of Andraxis. I'm rather new to all this as well, so I suppose we have that in common!""Etrigan. I control the ship."
"I'm Aurora. I got picked up right after the Monastery." She doesn't really elaborate.
"And I'm Marisol. Also rather new. I joined the group when Hermodur returned. My former employer is an enemy of ours, so I'm here to help."
"Uh, too many names to keep track of, but hi." Violet finds an empty spot at the table and quietly starts serving herself breakfast. Norv notices Dawn staring in his direction for a moment.>>744536
Violet blinks. "On you? Why?"
Aegis just continues staring for a moment, chewing slowly before swallowing
"You look fine" She says with no intonation to her voice>>744537
"I am Aegis Glaze. How is the wound on your chest? Did it regenerate completely?"
"Hmm… I wonder if we can use this memory loss somehow," Hermodur muses out loud.
I silently eat my pancakes, briefly casting glances up as others talk. I linger a little longer as Dawn almost seems like she's staring at me, but I don't say anything.>>744538
"Yeah! See! No big deal."
"I know not if I can reztore her memoriez, only zhare our own." Zunden says, then turning to Hermodur, "And we do not know if it iz a mental block, or totally gone- zhere iz ze rizk zhat zhe might not be able to accezz zhem, but an enemy could."
"That doesn't mean you are fine. I'd suggest you told at least one of us what exactly you have done, Master Norvegicus" Aegis makes a cut on her pancake, not breaking eye contact "You very clearly show when you are bothered, so it might help to have someone to vent to"
Rabi folds his ears back a little, and says "W-Well, we were… escaping Last Hearth, we took a route I helped scout out. Maybe if I'd scouted it out better, you wouldn't have gotten… y-you know."
I look up at her and knit my brow. "I mean I'm not feeling anything bad. No pain or anything. No real negative side effects at all, so there's not much to tall about. But-" I shrug. "I don't know. Maybe."
I feel my blood freeze in my veins, and sink down into my chair a little. "Blown up," I finish. I guess she's bound to find out anyway.
"Very well" Aegis nods "I will come to you later to talk about it"
"Interesting.. A shame so much was lost, but if it meant returning to life we can hardly complain!"
"We'll be making a detour to the Dreaming Spring as we decide our plans for the egg, a welcome chance to relax, if only briefly."
"I don't feel anything, so I think so?" She looks down at her chest; no scarring or anything. It's like it never happened.>>744541"Use how?"
Etrigan asks from across the table. "Uh, I'd rather not be a guinea pig, if that's alright," says Violet quietly. Her demeanor seems changed from when you knew her; more quiet, introverted even. Though it might just be her getting her bearings after her ordeal.>>744542
You get the feeling she's thinking about what happened that night. She was there. She knows.>>744543
"Maybe we should ask Black Pudding about it, when we find him," Dawn suggests. Violet pales and freezes. "B-Black Pudding? You're visiting him? Why? We shouldn't… No. Bad idea. We don't want anything to do with him.">>744546>>744548
Violet raises her eyebrows and pauses mid bite. "…Blown up?… How?… What happened? Is… is there something you're not telling me?…">>744554
"What Egg?" she asks obliviously. "Are you raising chickens or something?"
"We were surrounded by keepers. The guards at Last Hearth. Everyone was in a bad way, and I tried to buy some time to get everyone out. I kind of had something back that I was gonna save for an emergency, and it was an emergency. I pitched an explosive into the middle of the keepers, but it came up short. We all got caught in the blast -most of us, anyway- but you…" I trail off.
"We're working on a complicated plan to hide an egg that could destroy the world from Lysander," Hermodur gives Violet the massively abbreviated version.
"Honestly, I'm not sure how this is better for her than the doll," Hermodur says, looking to Zunden.
"I must agree. Unless Violet is in shape to fight like she did before, this seems like a sacrifice with little payoff"
"You, uh, you got killed in the explosion. I'd thought we'd had a safer route, but I hadn't scouted it out well enough."
I slam my fist on the table. "Are you serious?!" I shout. "She's not some kind of tool. Her value isn't based on how much she can contribute to the team."
"I suppose being trapped as a doll would be quite upsetting.. though the memory regression may have wiped even that from her mind."
"..My, that sounds needlessly cruel. She Is
our friend, after all, should we not be happy for her?"
"Well, she doesn't need to fight- I don't think we were bringing her back to do that, anyways."
"I didn't say there was no payoff" Aegis taps the sides of her mouth with a napkin "At the height of the stakes we are in currently we need all the help we can get to save both worlds"
"Ze doll wazn't her, zhe had no memory of it, it waz a parazite pretending to her." Zunden affirms, "Zhe haz free will, ze ability to finizh her life razher zhen have it cut zhort.">>744558
"Zhat iz fair, Violet, I have never required you to meet wizh Black Pudding in ze pazt, and I do not wizh to ztart given how you've alwayz been made uncomfortable by zhem."
"I wasn't talking from a combat perspective. I specifically said FOR her. Personally, I'd rather be stuck in a subpar body but still have all of my memories. Memories are what matter. They make you who you are."
"Wait…" Hermodur sidetracks. "The doll could fight?">>744576
"How could you tell?" Hermodur asks curiously.
"When we tried to remove her zoul from ze Cruzible, it began to referenze Violet az anozher being alltogeher. It holdz pzychic powerz zhat were interfering wizh our zhoughtz."
"I wonder what it was made for…" Hermodur muses.
I relax a little. "She hasn't lost all
her memories. And it's really shitty we keep talking about her like she's not right there. She has an opinion too. As far as we're concerned she doesn't even have to stay with us anymore. She has a way out of this. She can just go back to whatever she was doing before she met us and not put herself at risk anymore."
She sets her jaw. "That's… a lot. I mean I knew you guys weren't on good terms with Lysander and all, and I heard there was some pretty high stakes stuff, but this is… well, everything. What's this I keep hearing about a doll though?" Your slight seems to have gone over her head; though, not over Marisol's. You notice her stop eating and start watching you like a hawk over the table. Gawain coughs slightly and becomes very interested in his plate.>>744562>>744568
"I… Oh. …I see." She doesn't seem too hungry anymore, overwhelmed a bit by the implications of that. "…I think I should, uh… I don't know." She plays with her food a bit.>>744576
"Not just that, I think it's a bad idea to go making deals with him in general. Unless there's no other way, I think we should do something else."
"I don't think there is," says Dawn calmly. "We've reviewed all out options, and contacting him seems the most expedient solution to our predicament.">>744577
"It fought back against us," Dawn muses darkly. "Warping our sense of reality. It was…" She trails off, not finding the right word to describe it.>>744579>>744577>>744575>>744574>>744571>>744582
"I, uh…" Violet speaks up. "I think Norv's right. …I should go. Next chance we get. I mean, I like you guys, but this is way over my head, you know? I'm not really cut out for all this. I always worked better off alone anyway. Maybe once this all blows over we can meet up again. Somehow."
Aegis chews quietly for a moment before raising her head
"A fateful mission"
"No memories if we fail"
"Prowess is crucial"
"Are you going to with her, then?" Hermodur asks Norv.>>744585
"I didn't take you to be one for poetry," Hermodur comments.
"Very well. Then at least enjoy the food, it is a blessing to have such a hearty meal made for you by another">>744586
"My Sister taught me the value of having hobbies besides combat and the goods it does to the mind. Since then I could never stop"
Even being the one suggesting it it still hurts to hear. I force the last of my pancakes down my throat and nod. "That might be what's for the best. Lysander- I think they all think you're dead, considering… anyway, I might not use the same name if you can help it, but it might be a good idea. The things we've been running into…" She doesn't have to deal with that anymore.>>744586
I slowly shake my head.
"If zhat iz what you dezire, I will not ztop you. I do not imagine you would be going wizh uz to do zhiz when we firzt met, it waz monzhz of uz knowing eazhozher. I worry for when you will be found alone by ze enemy and attacked for zhingz you do not remember, but you are a capable mare." Zunden says, still picking at a pancake she's barely started, "I couldn't bring back ze Violet we knew, but at leazt you will have a chanze to live a full life."
"Oh my, so it was very much worth the effort then, the wretched doll holding Violet's soul hostage!">>744592
"Would there be some means of helping her with her eye before she leaves? It would be a shame to let her go with only one working eye.."
Hermodur opens his mouth to say something, but then he realizes. "Oh… right…"
"Sorry." the stallion manages, gently setting his fork back down. He doesn't feel particularly keen on eating right now, either.
Aurora does a bit of a double take at the haiku, smiling to herself in recognition.>>744586
"Why would he… Oh. R-right. No, I think I'll do this alone.">>744591
As she realizes what this means to you, she looks a bit hurt. "I… I'm sorry, Norv. It's… it's just not me. You know? Please don't think I have anything against you for what happened. I'd like to stay, but this is just… well, too much for me. I can't handle all this. I'm sure you'll do great though. All of you! Right?" She gives you a rather forced smile of encouragement, but you can tell it hurts her to see you like this.>>744592>>744591>>744590
"Thanks for understanding," she says quietly. "I know I'm in great company, but I'm not really the save the world type. I've had to go undercover before anyway. And hey, this doesn't have to be a goodbye. I'm sure we'll meet again eventually."
"Now, let's not linger on all that, yeah? I don't gather we're anywhere near a settlement anyway. That can come later. Where are we headed now? The Dreaming Spring, right? I'm guessing it's to help free that Swamp Spirit and…" She puts two and two together and frowns. "Hold on. What is it you're going to Black Pudding for exactly?"
I return her smile with an equally forced one. "Nah," I say. "Don't worry about it. You'll probably be safer this way, anyway."
"Honestly it might be best if you just didn't know. You can't extract information that isn't there."
Hermodur silently contemplates what he's going to do when he arrives at the Dreaming Spring.
What would have been a hearty breakfast is dampened by the bittersweet reunion. As the day progresses, Violet keeps mostly to herself, occasionally exchanging pleasantries with whoever she runs into. She recovers her personal effects from Norv's room, but doesn't seem to feel comfortable in them anymore.
Much of the day is uneventful. Gawain seems a bit more subdued after the breakfast, serving sandwiches for lunch and not much else. Violet and Marisol do a bit of sparring at one point. Despite having been out of commission for so long, she's still got some moves.
Late in the afternoon, you arrive at the Dreaming Spring; or at least, where it's meant to be. Down below and all around is nothing but dense woodland, stretching in all directions as far as the eye can see. Etrigan brings the ship to a halt, leaving it hovering over the canopy. "Hmm. I thought it'd be easier to find than this. The map says it should be here, but it just… isn't. …Should we disembark and take a look around?"
"It's not like we have another option," Hermodur nods. He grabs his stuff and stands ready to disembark.
"Are you certain that you aren't simply misguided, Master Etrigan?"
I look out over the dense forest. "Think the compass would help lead us the rest of the way? Unless part of the spring is underground or something. I'm pretty sure me and Vi ran into some of it a while back, so that wouldn't be too surprising, but we could specifically try to search for the flowers."
I pull out the second Compass of Want and do just that.
"While I am not a betting lizard, I imagine zhat one muzt rezt near ze locazion in order to find it. A zmall guezz into ze nature of ze plaze." Zunden muses.
I remain conflicted in Violet's changes, mostly spending my time enjoying the view as we sail along and making sure my potions are in order.
as we approach the location of the spring, i look over to see.. nothing?
"Hmm? how strange, the springs are missing?"
Rabi, for what it's worth, tries to keep Gawain in slightly better spirits- he might not be the best at it, though.>>744610>>744615
"As good an idea as any." he says, looking over the canopy and frowning. "No time like the present."
>>744612"I've never been wrong before,"
"We could just search from above," Aurora points out. "Probably best to disembark though.">>744615>>744618
"That's a good idea," Dawn chimes in. "Maybe they only reveal themselves at night?…">>744618>>744615>>744613>>744612>>744611>>744616
Etrigan brings the ship down in a small clearing, and lowers the ladder for you to descend. Violet opts to come along to explore a bit, wanting to spend a bit of time with the group before she leaves. You may have one other party member accompany you from here.
Norv's compass seems to point you in the right direction, but it leads right through the woods you're in, a dense thicket of bushes, saplings, vines, and other such greenery. It'll be difficult to carve a path through all this.>roll Navigation
Hermodur has claws for such occasions!
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 2 = 2
Aegis actively avoids getting any torns on her battle dress, traversing through the brambles with care
'1d10'Roll #1 1 = 1
After spending the descending getting ready, I pull my coat on and slip my gas mask in my pocket, already having replaced my good luck charm from last night.
I sigh as I see just how dense the place is. Welp. Guess I didn't expect this to be easy.
[1d10]NavigationRoll #1 5 = 5
As we land, i take the time to add the plating to my battle dress, diembarking with a quiet clattering of mail.
"Right then, i suppose we should get started. A curious development, but i'm certain the springs are here somewhere.."
I follow the others as Norvy leads us further into the brush
[1d10] NavigationRoll #1 2 = 2
Zunden follows the others, not wanting to leave the ship but accepting she should be there to prevent any harm.
[1d10] navRoll #1 4 = 4
"I definitely trust Etrigan's judgement, that's for sure. This isn't much of anything I'm used to, but hopefully I won't get too
lost."Roll #1 7 = 7
Gawain accompanies you, flying down with a confident grin. "I'm certain we'll get to the bottom of this mystery!"
You start pushing through the undergrowth, to little effect. More than once you get completely turned around, despite the compass. You find a few paths laid out, but they don't help much as you push through all the greenery. It doesn't seem like this place gets many visitors. Gawain helps by taking the lead, hacking down the worst of it with his zweihander. Violet uses her dual blades as machetes to whack through it as well, but the more you cut down, the more seems to spring back up.
Before long, you're forced to face the facts. "Seems we're rather lost now," Gawain bemoans. "I-I'm sure we'll find this place eventually!" "Maybe we should retrace our footsteps and go back to the ship?" Violet suggests. "Try another path from there?"
Both your companions fall silent as you begin to hear voices in the distance.>roll Perception
"Now now, i'm sure this is but a minor setback! All we need is a few moments more with the compass and we'll be all set.. Now, which way is it pointing again?"
[1d10] navigationRoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 3 = 3
Rabi flicks his ears, trying to listen carefully.>[1d10] Perception>[1d10] Navigation
"We could, yeah. Aside from that and 'keep going', I'm not really sure… well, what else. Maybe there's a way to… I dunno, look at this place differently?"Roll #1 8 = 8
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
"I should have considered the possibility of us being lost. Forgive m-" Aegis cuts herself short and perks her ears at the sound of the voice
'1d10-1' perceptionRoll #1 10 - 1 = 9
Zunden keeps quiet, not wanting to alert those talking ahead. [1d10] percepRoll #1 4 = 4
I try to keep following the compass, but it pointing in a straight line seems like as much a problem now as ever. I pause and my ear twitches as I hear the voices.
[1d10]PerceptionRoll #1 8 = 8
You overhear parts of the conversation. Two male voices are speaking:
the woods. Why does she want this water anyway?"
"Who knows. Says it's to be able to see things?"
"What's that meant to mean?"
"I dunno. Ask her yourself when we get back."
"If we get back. Swear this place doesn't want us to be here. All these branches and vines and just, ugh."
"Why couldn't we have just been sent on a raid or something instead?"
"Shut it you two." A third male voice, gravelly and menacing. "Or I'll see you get thrown to Tiny when we get back."
Violet tenses up. "Sounds like bandits," she whispers.
"And they're as lost as we are," Gawain adds. "Should we try to take them on? Surely there's not as many of them as there are of us."
"I say we ignore them and keep searching. If we even can. I didn't miss this part of bushwalking."
You hear the faint rumble of thunder. Seems like a storm's coming eventually.
"I feel ambuzhing zhem in a plaze foreign to uz would be unwize, let uz be covert and try to find it dezpite zheir zimilar mizfortune." Zunden continues searching. [1d10]Roll #1 10 = 10
"Maybe we ought to keep searching, yeah. We're bound to find something eventually… or, maybe we won't. But, I'm sure we can figure out a way to find it.">[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
"Judging by their conversation, they don't seem like common bandits. They must have been ordered by someone to come here. I think we should confront them now but if you think wiser to move on then so be it"
'1d10+2'Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7
"But what stops them from ambushing us?" I whisper, pulling out my dart gun. We should probably take care of them now before they're a problem. I pull out a vial of sleeper poison and- I freeze. Am I seriously planning on ambushing three guys who I don't know anything about? I slide my dart gun back into my coat and nod. "Yeah. Let's keep looking.
[1d10]NavRoll #1 6 = 6
"So, they're searching for the springs as well? Interesting. With luck we can yet avoid them among the brush." i add, following Zunden's lead
[1d10] searchRoll #1 4 = 4
You creep closer to the voices, going as stealthily as you can. Before long they come into view. There's more than their voices suggested; a party of twelve, well armed and prepared for a lengthy journey. They seem to be currently huddled over a map, bickering amongst themselves, not noticing you. You also become aware that you have the high ground on them, though this might not be as much of an advantage as you'd hoped; the ground ahead slopes sharply downward, almost at a 90 degree angle. They're a good eight feet below you; you wouldn't be able to see them if it weren't for them clearing out bushes in their path. Getting down there will be tricky for those without wings.
Aegis takes a moment to get a good look at them. Seeing if she could find anything from their attire, equipment, weapons etc
"Plan?" Hermodur whispers.
peeking over the edge to see the armed group below, i pull back and turn to the others.
"My word, that's quite the group. There must be a way around them.. perhaps we should check the compass?"
'1d10' squintRoll #1 9 = 9
"Hrm… yeah. Let's look for a way around this, yeah?" he asks, trying to take a look for other ways around.>Perception [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
"Perhapz a diverzion in ze wrong direczion? Juzt have zomeone create a noize back ze way we came from."
Woah. Way more than I expected. I glance down at the compass to see if the group is going in the same direction. "Yeah," I agree. "A diversion is probably our best bet. Really don't need to take on that many ponies at once." I rub my chin. "But then again me and Silver could probably
pick a few off before a fight actually breaks out. Hit the leader with a sleeper dart and maybe get someone else before they actually find me. The forest is really dense, and if there weren't so many makin so much noise I doubt we woulda seen em. Same probably applies to them, right?"
They are of varied races, with no real uniform to their gear except the overall rough quality of it. Closer inspection though reveals a tattoo on each one's forelimb: a skull over two crossed axes. This coupled with their mean, weathered appearance seems to confirm Violet's suspicions of them being brigands.>>745033
Violet and Gawain both look at you, then back at the bandits, then shrug. "I say we try and avoid them," she says. "Or distract if we can. Don't fancy fighting all those guys at once." "Perhaps we can take them by surprise," Gawain suggests. "We do have the high ground.">>745034>>745038
The compass is pointing you straight ahead, directly through their numbers. They seem to be heading in that direction now, much to Violet's chagrin. "So much for sneaking around them. Looks like we're gonna be running into them eventually." "If we move quickly, we could beat them to the Spring," Gawain chimes in. "There's far less of us.">>745036
The cliff seems to slope a bit more gently down a ways off to the left. You could make your way down from there, or try and go down the steep slope. To the right, the foliage seems to let up a bit, opening into a small clearing. There could be a long way around that way.>>745037
"That could also work," Violet nods. "Only question is who's gonna try and draw them off."
Rabi hums a little as he tries to spy out a better way down, before flicking his ears and humming. "Maybe we could cause a distraction from a distance- like, an arrow?"
"Ah, that might work. Something akin to a flare? given their numbers they would be inclined to investigate, giving us time to circle around them."
I shake my head. "Beat them to the spring and then what? They're obviously going the same place as us. We're just as likely to run into them there and not have the advantage. Past setting traps once we get there I think we're just setting ourselves
up for an ambush by avoiding them." It does seem like I'm in the minority here, though. I rub the back of my neck. "But I guess if everyone else wants to try and avoid them then I don't want to give us away."
I try to think of something, but I brought pretty minimal gear. If I had the bell I might be able to have Butler do it. Pretty sure he can disappear at will, so probably wouldn't put him in any danger, but I left it back on the ship. I hum, taking a look around. "Maybe I can scout ahead and set some traps there. If we can move faster circling around maybe we can set an actual ambush up."
''Just and arrow?'' Aegis questions Rabi ''If they are not clueless they will just trace where it was fired from. How about something a bit more loud and compelling, like an explosion?''
"Mayhapz I could collect water uzing a rune, cauze a zplazh a wayz away. Perhapz zhey'll zhink ze Zpring iz zhat way."
Rabi blinks, before shaking his head a little "Oh! No, I don't use normal arrows, Aegis- I make them out of magic, so I could fire off a bolt of light or fire. Something kinda flashy?"
''Yes, the sound of water will surely bring them running if the Spring is what they're after. How much will be needed?'' Aegis presents a wooden bottle
"Hmm.. I suppose you have a point. If they are searching for the springs as well, leading them into a trap would be a better course. Numbers wouldn't matter if most are caught up in pitfalls or nets."
"I like to limit bloodzhed if pozzible, do we have enough time to zet zhoze kind of trapz? We have no way of guaranteeing ze direction zhey will go."
"This all based on the assumption we all can't simply mind our own business. Perhaps there's enough room at the spring for everypony?"
"You think you could set up some quick traps then, maybe? Might work."
I let out a dry chuckle. "That's assuming a lot from a group of bandits." >>745050
"If we can't get far enough ahead for me to set something quick up like a log trap or something then there's no point skirting around them to begin with because they'll catch up shortly after we make it to the spring. If I take my last swig of the strong ale then I can set up a pretty hefty log attached to a tripwire. Could take a bunch of them out at once.">>745048
I turn the compass around. "But we do. They're probably following their own compass of want. Which, if they're anything like me -and by the way they're hacking through the forest they probablh are- they're making a beeline. Unless there are obstacles you can't hack through if we're in a position where the compass points straight ahead we're somewhere we'll probably cross their path."
"I'll prepare a rune to return you to uz in ze caze you get captured, zhen."
"If you're sure, then."
"Between the ale and the rune, we may as well give it a try. Shall we circle around them while you prepare the trap ahead?"
I laugh. "Thanks for the vote of confidence. Probably still good to have, just in case.">>745053
I nod. "I'm sure. Like I said, it's better than getting ambushed by a dozen brigands while our backs are turned."
I pull my coat off, peel off the mournwing cloak, and slip it on back over the coat. "I'll be back."
I make my way into the forest, keeping to thicker brush as I make my way straight ahead.
[1d10+2]StealthRoll #1 5 + 2 = 7
Roll #1 8 = 8
Zunden begins preparing an orb
[1d10] Return (frozen)
Roll #1 6 = 6
"Be careful," says Violet slightly anxiously.
You take off from the rest of the group, looking around the dense underbrush for a fallen log somewhere ahead. It doesn't take too long to find one; a hefty black-barked hulk of wood, covered in moss and fungi, twice as wide as you and about four times as tall. It's the trunk of a dead tree. You've positioned yourself somewhat far ahead; however, you find yourself facing a problem. You won't be able to move this log or set up your trap without making significant noise. It's sure to draw attention to yourself, so you'll have to work quick.>>745057
You conjure yourself a Return rune.
Not content with the held orb's strength, she uses it on a fallen branch, attempting to make a strong orb with the sun's burst.
 Return branch to tree
[1d10+1] Return (Frozen)Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
I take a step back and look at the surroundings. Rubbing my chin, I try to find a good spot where most of them will probably be funneled through. Between a couple trees or something. I know the sinew probably won't hold it, so I try to find some nice, thick vines. If I do I throw one over the top of one of the tree limbs between the trees, then save one to attach to the trigger.
Once I get an idea of how I'm actually going to set it up, I get to work.
[1d10]One to find sturdy vines
[1d10]One to rig the trap
[1d10]One to be quietRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
/ Roll #3 3 = 3
Ruse the one, good luck charm the 3.
With not too much else to do, Rabi will wait patiently.
You watch as a nearby branch floats off the ground and reattaches itself to a nearby try, the splinters and cracks sealing as if it had never been. Violet watches in slight awe. "You've gotta tell me where you learned all that sometime. That's so cool."
You fail to conjure another for now.>>745060
With a bit of ingenuity, you manage to set your trap, finding some powerful vines and using them to rig the log trap. Moving the log around with the Whale Ale makes a whole lot of noise though. You hear the nearby bandits get alerted to your presence…>>745062>>745059>>745054>>745046>>745033
Not long after Norv takes off, you hear some loud rustling in the undergrowth from his location. The bandits seem alerted.
"Something crawling about. …Cara, Millwood, Jorran, Garth, you're volunteering to investigate."
"Shut up and go. Now
Four bandits begrudgingly split off to investigate, at the behest of their leader. He is a one eyed, snaggle-toothed Diamond Dog with a wild mane of brown fur.
Violet and Gawain shrink away from the cliff edge and look back at you with concern. "Now what?"
Well, guess they heard me. Still, doubt they have any idea what I was actually up to. Might not be a bad thing if it lures them in. I load a sleeper poison dart into my dart gun and try to slip back into the brush before they actually catch up and find me.
[1d10+2]StealthRoll #1 7 + 2 = 9
''Master Rabi, I think now is the time for the 'flashy' arrows''
"Well… hrm. We better be ready to move fast, then- They might've spotted him." he says, frowning a little.>>745065
He flicks his ears a little, before looking to Aegis "Hmm? Might be, yeah- if everyone's sure, I can fire it off to distract them."
Zunden chuckles quietly, "Black Pudding taught me runecraft, unfortunately."
Zunden tries preparing the Return rune again, a little frustrated.
[1d10] Return (frozen)Roll #1 8 = 8
Hermodur quietly draws Mjolnir and revs it up out of sight.
He sizes up the lead bandit.
>Hunter's Eye Diamond Dog bandit leader
"Hmm.. Perhaps i can move into position while they're busy. A spot of sleeping poison will certainly help."
crouching low, i slink into the treeline, circling down into the foliage to wait nearby.
[1d10] StealthRoll #1 8 = 8
''We'll see if we can trust Master Norvegicus to succeed, and if not Zunden can bring him in, but in either case stand ready to fire at moment's notice''
Aegis follows her advice and summons a set of crystal orbs behind her
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 7 = 7
You hide in the bushes, laying on your belly as they approach. A squad of four approach; a griffon, an earth pony, a crocodile saurian and a Dog. They look armed to the teeth, and are moving in single file, scanning the area intently.>>745067
Your Return rune flips about like a coin as you conjure it. "Never heard of such a thing," Violet remarks, watching with interest.>>745068
You keep an eye on the leader. He seems to be scanning the horizon with his single eye at the moment, doubtless looking out for any other threats.
Violet nods. "I'll go with Silver and catch them off guard." She grabs her dual blades, frowning a little as she briefly wonders what happened to her spear, and takes off after Silver into the bushes. "I'll, er, stay my ground with the rest of you, I suppose," Gawain says sheepishly. "I've never been good at staying quiet for too long."
Two icy orbs manifest behind you with a subtle hiss.>>745069
As the bandits start putting themselves on alert, you flit out of sight, taking the long way around to hide in the nearby foliage, completely hidden. You are aware of Violet following you, soon splitting up to flank them.Roll #1 2 = 2
''We'll be the artillery then, Master Rabi, be ready''
Aegis turns to Gawain ''Master Sir Gawain, you'll be our first defence, dont let them get to us''
I quietly lie in wait with my dart gun at the ready. As I see them start to make their way this way, I search on the ground for a rock or stick or something and toss it a little away from the tripwire, attempting to coax them toward it. I should have left something subtle as bait, but I guess it's too late now.
"Of course. I'll be ready." the stallion says, putting his magic bow away in ordr to ready the Dragonslayer Yumi.
safe in the undergrowth, i prep my shivs and wait for the commotion of traps sprung.
"I only see the leader. You'll have to tell me when to unleash hell on him."
"Zymbolz of baze conzeptz, zhat are zhaped by one'z interpretation of ze conzept, wizh zheir power defined by zheir meaning and intent." Zunden says, shaping another as she watches Violet follow Silver.
[1d10] Severance (frozen)Roll #1 7 = 7
You grab a rock and throw it. The griffon perks up. "Over there. Easy now. We don't know what we're dealing with."
"Probably just a mosscat or something," the earth pony gripes, picking her teeth.
The saurian takes the lead. "Don't worry lads, I'll find whatever's out there. I've got the ears of a fox and th-"WHAM
He doesn't get the chance to finish his sentence as he springs the trap. The log swings towards them, throwing all four bandits into the bushes like bowling pins. Three of them are out of commission, but the fourth, the mare, seems relatively unharmed. She pulls herself up and starts running back to raise the alarm. "Men down! Men down!">>745076
"The only problem is how to get down there safely and in a timely fashion," Gawain muses. "I have wings so I can fly, but you…" Idea. "Say. What if I were to give you a boost?" he suggests.>>745077
You conjure another orb. The eyes blink and look around before settling into their usual shape.>>745077>>745076>>745075>>745074>>745072
You don't have to wait long. You hear a commotion of splintering wood, followed by yelling. The bandit leader turns sharply, growling. "Ambush. Stay close, boys. Someone's got the drop on us!" They start heading towards Norv's position.
Springing into action, i wait for the bandits to begin moving, creeping forward to stab the bandit furthest back, applying a coating of midnight oil as i approach.
[1d10] Sleep serumRoll #1 8 = 8
I draw a bead on the bandit leader, take a small breath, hold, and squeeze.
[Cheap shot, automatic, autocrit]
''Now'' Aegis muters before getting a bit closer to the cliff's edge for a clear shot and unleashing frozen hell on the nearest bandit
'1d10' homing Magic, ice
'2d10' Magic bolt, iceRoll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 2 = 2
/ Roll #3 4, 5 = 9
Zunden prepares the final orb of hers, watching from more of a distance.
[1d10] Union (frozen)Roll #1 6 = 6
"I can make do," Hermodur says to Gawain as he swings back Mjolnir like a golf club. The front opens up. He launches a magic ball at the bandit leader.
>[1d10+3] [1d10+3] ranged attack>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 7 + 3 = 10
/ Roll #2 6 + 3 = 9
Rabi nods a little bit and draws back the bowstring, forming a bolt out of light and firing it at the bandits. The bolt spreads out into a wave, trying to catch a couple of the bandits
>Dragonslayer Yumi (Light Element, Cleave 3): [1d10+2]Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10
Well, three ain't bad. I wait until the still standing mare is out of sight and step out of the brush, circling back around toward where the group was to wait, watch the fight from the side, and wait for a good opportunity to snooze someone.
You shank one in the back, wrapping one hoof around his mouth and dragging him into the bushes. He's out like a light in a matter of seconds, and no one is the wiser.>>745081
Your volley of magic misses, hitting the side of a dead tree. It seems to weaken the trunk; you hear a wooden creaking and groaning after the fact. The bandit, a blunderbuss-wielding griffon, yelps and takes to the air!>>745082
The familiar three rings coalesce with a faint clang
You hit him straight in the chest, making him stagger backwards and take a knee. He clutches his chest and looks upward, face twisted in pain and anger. He lets out an inarticulate cry, pointing towards you as he makes eye contact. The other bandits are on full alert, and start swarming to attack the party!>>745084
You anchor the longbow and draw an arrow of light, which bursts in a brilliant display, blinding three of the bandits. They yell and cower, raising their arms to defend themselves.>>745085
The fight is only just beginning. Seems the party took the opportunity to spring their ambush!>>745085>>745084>>745083>>745082>>745081>>745079
The bandit leader, whose name is Ahab, pulls out a black longbow and fires an arrow at Hermodur!
[1d10+1] [1d10+1] Higher roll succeeds
The blunderbuss griffon runs and guns, flying toward Aegis and opening fire!
Two crossbow wielding Felids, including one who was blinded by the light arrow, fire at Rabi and Aegis respectively!
[1d10] vs Rabi, DC8
[1d10] vs Aegis
Those without ranged weapons start heading up and around to your location. Violet takes the opportunity to pounce out at one and tackle him to the ground!
Gawain lets out a battle cry and swoops down to meet them, unsheathing his zweihander!Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
/ Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4
/ Roll #3 7 = 7
/ Roll #4 9 = 9
/ Roll #5 6 = 6
/ Roll #6 4 = 4
Zunden prepares for battle, heading towards those with ranged weapons while channeling magic.
>Bask: Flash>move zones
Hermodur side-steps the arrow while he swings another ball of energy at Captain Ahab.
>[1d10+3] [1d10+3] ranged attack>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 1 + 3 = 4
/ Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11
Rabi nods a little bit to himself, and tries to line up another shot- this time, aiming for one of the ones moving towards them.>Lightning Bolt: [1d10+2] [1d10+2] )Take Higher)Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
/ Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3
With one dispatched and my cover intact, i approach the leader of their band, applying a blinding agent to my shivs next, waiting for him to turn before slinging the soaked blade at his face!
[1d10] BlindRoll #1 1 = 1
I stick to the shadows in the treeline, looking for the best one to fire on. Seems Hermodur has the leader under control, so I fire at one of the crossbow weilding felids.
[1d10]Cheap shot, improvise, autocritRoll #1 2 = 2
Aegis raises her shield in front of her and backs off, reloading
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 6 = 6
You join the fray as Gawain charges in to 1v4 the bandits.>>745088
Your ball of energy sends him barreling backward, slamming into the tree Aegis hit. It creaks even more, and you hear wood splintering. Groaning, he pulls himself up, minding the delicate tree.>>745089
Despite being blinded, the Felid manages to clear his vision, firing a crossbow bolt at you. A rush of pain shoots up your right foreleg as it hits you in the elbow. You stumble backwards and fall momentarily.>Rabi takes 5 hits, helpless>>745090
As Ahab recovers from getting hit by Hermodur's blast, you rush out to try and blind him. His ears prick up, and at the last moment he shoots a powerful arm out with a snarl, grabbing you by the face and throwing you to the ground. Without hesitating, he wraps the longbow over your head and starts pulling you backwards!>Silver takes 5 hits, helpless>grappled>>745091
The Felid that shot at Aegis does a little 'huh?', turning around. He does a double take and smacks you in the jaw with the butt of the crossbow. You see stars!>Norv takes 4 hits>>745092
You back off and conjure another orb, but are not quite fast enough to avoid the incoming shots. You are hit by two quarrels and the blunderbuss shot, knocking you over, winded.>Aegis takes 5 hits, helpless>1 homing magic orb>>745087>>745088>>745089>>745090>>745091>>745092
Violet's attack misses as her attacker sidesteps her, kicking her in the back. She grunts and whirls around, lashing out with her dual blades and engaging the bandit in single combat!
Gawain takes on two of the other bandits at once, cleaving at them with his sword!
A fourth bandit breaks off, going after Zunden with an axe!
The griffon shotgunner starts flying to target Zunden!
Ahab yanks Silver backward, one hand on the bow and another grabbing her by the mane. He grins evilly in Hermodur's direction as he starts using her as a meat shield!
The Felid Norv attacked extends his claws and lashes out at him!
The other Felid breaks off and starts gunning for Violet!Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
/ Roll #3 8 = 8
Zunden raises her claw, beckoning her allies to rise again through the healing power of her magic.
[1d10] Healing Bonds, Rabi, Silver, Aegis>Temperance if failsRoll #1 1 = 1
Grimacing, Aegis tries rolling back to her hooves and into action
'1d10'Roll #1 8 = 8
Rabi lets out a panicked whinny, before muttering "A-At least it's not the bad leg.">Recovery: Arabian Endurance
I wobble a little and shake my head trying to get my sight strait. Everything comes back into focus right as the felid swipes its claws at me. Instead of trying to get away, I growl, pop my sun, and lunge at him, trying to bite him.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6
Slammed into the ground with my mane being painfully pulled, i grit my teeth and buck against his grip!
"Why the nerve! Unhoof me this instant!"Roll #1 9 = 9
Hermodur pauses briefly. Then, he smirks. Ahab is underestimating them. He's underestimating Silver. And, he's underestimating Hermodur's resolve to attack anyway.
He swings for another attack. Either Silver will get out of the way in time, or he's wrong, he'll hit them both, and he'll likely lose his grip on her.
>[1d10+3] [1d10+3] ranged attack>DC-1, take the higher rollRoll #1 10 + 3 = 13
/ Roll #2 3 + 3 = 6
Zunden spins around and lashes with her tail, tripping up the axe wielding bandit before channeling healing magic into her allies. They all find their wounds healing as quickly as they appeared, and filled with the strength to keep fighting.>Rabi, Silver, Aegis all healed>>745097
You heal yourself with the sun, but are unable to dodge the incoming claw swipe. Gashes appear across your chest with a spurt of red. Instinctively, you rush forward, biting his shoulder briefly. You get a mouthful of fur. The bandit yowls and pulls back, doing a bit of a capoeira spin before getting into a defensive position.>>745099>>745098
Silver manages to pull away just in time, kicking Ahab in the shins and pulling the longbow off of her. He growls and barks ferally, grimacing in pain, only to get blasted in the face by Hermodur's attack. He hits the tree again. The impact proves too much for it to handle, and it starts splintering and cracking…>Silver roll to dodge>>745099>>745094>>745095>>745096>>745097>>745098
The axe bandit gets back up and shakes his head before charging Zunden again!
The shotgunner, now in range, fires at her!
Gawain strikes both bandits down in one mighty swing. Without missing a beat, he rushes to help Zunden, Rabi and Aegis!
The brigand attacking Violet headbutts her, knocking her to the floor. Seeing him having the situation under control, the other Felid instead fires at Aegis!
The Felid fighting Norv extends his other set of claws, swiping furiously at him!
Ahab looks up in slight horror as the tree begins to collapse. He's too weak to get out of its way, but chooses to take this last opportunity. He pulls out a metal orb and whispers something to it before throwing it at Hermodur!Roll #1 5 = 5
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
/ Roll #3 8 = 8
/ Roll #4 3 = 3
/ Roll #5 9 = 9
Holding out her ring, Zunden explodes in a ray of light.
[1d10+2] Flash: spell, recharge 3; Emit a burst of magical energy, attuned to Light. Affects enemies all around you, but does not deal damage unless on crit, instead debuffing them with the effects of the Light element. (The target is momentarily blinded, suffering +1 DC to all rolls on its next turn, or +2 on a crit. This damage type deals twice as many hits versus undead enemies. Radiant spells can be used to illuminate the environment, providing a dazzling light source.)Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9
It's an unlikely shot, but you know what? What the hell, why not? Hermodur decides he doesn't want this man to succeed at anything. So, he aims his next shot specifically for the tiny ball.
>[1d10+2] [1d10+2]>ranged attack, DC-1Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9
/ Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3
Kicking away from the dog, my elation is cut short as the sound of the tree collapsing brings me back to attention. Scrambling to get away from the tree, i use the commotion to slip back into the shadows.
[1d10] stealthRoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 1 = 1
renewed, Aegis tries shooting the gryphon with the blunderbuss out of the skies again
'1d10' homing magic, ice
'2d10' magic bolt, iceRoll #1 3 = 3
/ Roll #2 3, 6 = 9
"Thanks, Zunden!" he manages, before lining up a shot at the Axe Bandit and the Shotgun-Wielding Bandit.>Magic Bow (Lightning, Split): [1d10+2]Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
Not letting up, I focus completely on the felid attacking me. Not having an actual weapon, I pull the sleeper coated dart out and let my dart gun fall to the ground. Trying to step inside the felid's claws, I lunge out and attempt to stab the dart into the side of his neck.
[1d10]Cheap ShotRoll #1 7 = 7
You move away, avoiding taking an axe blow to the collar. The buckshot from the blunderbuss catches you, though, peppering you with shrapnel. It smarts like nothing else.>Zunden takes 2 hits>>745102
It's an almost impossibly precise shot you're aiming. Your fireball goes wide, but only by a hair.>>745103
You try to scramble away, avoiding getting crushed by the falling tree, but a branch splinters off and hits you on the head. You are knocked to the ground, only just managing to get back up.>Silver takes 3 hits>>745104
You clip his wing, forcing him to land momentarily. He grunts and turns to face you, reloading.>>745105
Your shot misses, electrifying a nearby boulder.>>745106
You charge him. You feel a flash of blinding pain as his claws sink into your gut, but you manage to stab him in the neck with the dart. He gasps, reels, then his eyes roll up and he slumps over. Exhausted from the exertion, you find yourself sinking to the forest floor on your hands and knees.>Norv takes 4 hits, helpless>>745106>>745105>>745104>>745102>>745101>>745103
An almighty creaking and crashing rings out as the tree gives in, falling and crushing Ahab under its enormous weight. The ground quakes, and a cloud of dirt and debris flies up, limiting your vision momentarily. Through it all, Zunden thrusts her fist into the air, a flash of blinding light sweeping across the battlefield. Those bandits that are left are incapacitated by the burst of light, blinded and knocked away.
It seems the worst of it is over; however, Hermodur notices the metal orb is emitting a sinister fizzling sound…>Hermodur roll to avoid the grenade blast
Zunden waits a small bit to make sure Ahab as expired before returning the tree in place with a rune carved into the tree.
[1d10] ReturnRoll #1 8 = 8
My chest heaves as I look over the felid, and I clutch at my stomach. I wince and pull my paw away as a sharp pain shoots back through it. My mind wanders back to that cannibal in the Shifting Sands so long ago, and the scar across my face aches with a phantom pain that feels almost as real as the slashes across my chest and stomach. Something seems different, but I can't really figure out what.
I jump as the tree slams into the ground, pulling my thoughts away. Right. Battlefield. Even though most of the bandits are out of commission probably better to focus for now. Drawing in a sharp breath as I try to stand back up.
[1d10]RecoveryRoll #1 10 = 10
Aegis trades glares with him, looking down at the gryphon from her high ground, reloading as well
'1d10' homing magic, iceRoll #1 3 = 3
"Shit," is all Hermodur has time to say before he holds up the shield to activate it's mostly-broken magic.
>Bulwark [1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
"Gah- almost. Everyone alright?">>745111
"S-Shouldn't have said anything." he says, folding his ears back as he spots the grenade.
mostly clearing the tree's collapse, i briefly see stars when a splintered branch bonks my head. with a pained hiss, i shake it off and return to the others.
"Phew.. Is everypony alright? Have we sent them scattering to the wind?"
[Last 50 Posts]
You invoke Return, but it's only partially successful. The tree starts lifting slowly before suspending in midair. A closer look reveals it's falling in slow motion; it'll be a few minutes before it's back where it just was. The grisly crushed remains of Ahab lie beneath.>>745109
You stand back up, looking around and getting your bearings. Seems the fight's over, for now.
You feel an unexpected tap on your shoulder. It's Violet. She's holding some medicinal herbs, looking a bit roughed up but in decent shape all things considered. "Here. You might want to line those wounds with these, if Zunden doesn't have time for us. …You alright?">>745110
The griffon is no more, having been knocked out by Zunden's blast of light. Looks like it's all clear now.>>745111
You lurch backwards and throw the battered shield up to defend yourself from the explosion. A deafening BOOM
rings out as the grenade goes off, with a flash of flame and magical blue smoke. Your ears ring as you recover, dizzy but otherwise unharmed. Your shield, however, is a goner. It absorbed the brunt of the explosion, getting shredded and warped into an unusable mess of steel. It's not much more than scrap now.