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File: 1606645804525.jpg (7.04 MB, 4096x4096, TR Map.jpg)

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The party have continued their journey, continuing due south towards the perilous Isle of Glass. On their adventures, they have sought out the sorcerer Black Pudding, rescuing him from the clutches of the false Oneiromancer Malverlain. They have since learned that Pudding has apparently destroyed the Beldam, eliminating a potential ally of theirs. He has offered to join them in their travels, at least for a time. Since then, the party have ventured due south, to the pirate town of Broome, their final stop before continuing onward. Here, they have stopped to rest, recover, and resupply for the battle to come…
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I lick my jowels and gulp, anxiously shifting around some. "Yeah. That's about what I both expexted and was afraid of. Guess we're right there, huh? Still. It doesn't mean chaos we can't deal with, right? Or does that depend on what's next?"


File: 1614324512295-0.jpg (111.67 KB, 350x600, maj11.jpg)

"It iz unavoidable, but az I zaid - it iz not ze end. I do not believe eizher of uz zhink tommorow will go flawlezzly and wizhout effort. You are right, juzt becauze it iz upon uz, doezn't mean we are not preparing for it. It iz far better to ready ourzelvez zhen to deny it haz arrived."

Zunden reveals the final card, another possibly seen before if Norv had once spied on Silver's first card reading. The card features a stern-faced armadillo girdled saurian wearing a crown and holding court. In one hand he holds an ornate sword, and the other a balanced golden scale.

Zunden does not grimace as she did with the Tower, but continues to tap her chin pondering. "Well, it iz anozher of ze Major Arcana, and it'z appearanze iz interezting. Zhiz iz Juztize, which unlike it'z brozher Judgement typically comez before ze Tower in termz of ze fool'z journey. I zhink again it iz a pozitive zign we do not zee Ze World, a card zhat zignifiez completion and fufillment." She pauses, "Zhough I zuppoze mozt of uz would want zhiz all to be concluded neatly az well."

She catches herself and raises a claw, "I diztract myzelf on a card zhat waz not drawn zhough. Juzt az ze cardz are only what you make of zhem, Juztize iz about what you put into a zituation and what you take out of it. Juztize zymbolizez cauze and effect. All of our pazt and prezent turmoil will come togezher to provide clarity in ze end, wizh all your prior and current aczionz having conzequenzez. Good will beget good, bad will beget bad. I would zhink zhiz card after ze Tower would more zymbolize balanzing of moving zcalez - an aftermazh of evening out after fiery chaoz."


I stop filling the shell and quietly look the cards over. Chaos, and its result. Past actions having their payoff, good or bad. I run my paw across the top of my head. "Thank you," I mumble. My grip around the bomb tightens a little, and I shudder as my heart races. Then, looking up at Zunden and grinning, I say, "Yeah. Tomorrow's gonna be fun."


"If good is to beget good, zhen let uz go into ze frey wizh pozitive energy and conviczion. I will begin work on ze charm for you, here iz ze bag-" Zunden looks through it one more time, pulling out a couple more trinkets, one being a wooden medallion, "Oh, zhiz may be helpful incaze you go overboard. If you wear zhiz, you will not be able to breazhe air, but it allowz you to breazhe water." The other object is the last ring from the set of those that used to be the ship's fulcrum, "If you are to board, and have any idea how to make an clever ztatement to ze drake about hiz old property. I am not good wizh quipz or jokez in ze heat of ze moment, but ze zight of it might rile him up at leazt."


I let out a snorting laugh and put the shell back down again, taking the ring, the medallion, and the bag. "I'll do what I can. Not sure how witty I'll be, but I can definitely try. And the water breathing could be useful, considering. Just hope if it comes to that I don't run into anything too nasty in the sea." I study her for a moment before, finally, "Thanks Z. I know you been stressed. I know we all have. Ain't even really got much time to talk to eachother in a bit we all been so busy with our own things, but I know this whole thing's really been getting to you. So yeah. Thanks. For everything."

I start to pick the bomb up again, but pause. "Hey. One of your runes can link stuff, right? Does it do anything specific or depend on what you want it to do?"


"Zhank you Norvegicuz, we all have been ztrezzed yez, zome wizh more toleranze or having different wayz to cope. You've went zhrough more zhan I or ozherz zave Dawn, I'm… I have a lot of empazhetic feelingz I do not know how to zay right. Zhank you too."

Zunden nods, "Perhapz, do not take for me az an exzpert, I have only been exzperimenting wizh runez for a few monzhz. Union bringz zhingz togezher: it haz bound an agreement, linked ze vizion of two, bound Etrigan'z zoul to ze zhip zo he waz not taken over by ze Oneiromanzer…"

Zunden rubs her chin, "Mozt of zhem zeem more zpiritual conneczionz, but I could attempt phyzical onez too."


I pick up a nearby knife, pull a little off the spool of fuse, and cut off two more or less equal lengths an inch long. "Think you can try using it on these two? I wanna try something out. If it works and doesn't take too much out of you I'd appreciate a few pairs. You're fine if you don't want to, though. Just somethin I've been messing with in my head."


You manage to refine all your slime samples, providing you with just the right mixture, after a bit more brewing. When combined with some of your other potions, you should be able to get a more potent mixture going!
>Mending Mix: Combine with a beneficial potion to improve its effects. (x3)
>Current inventory: https://pastebin.com/NJs66YVt


With the condensed mix dripping into the vials lined up nearby, I then begin the process of applying the mix to my already formidable potion stores!

Taking the first vial, I retrieve my dose of snailgut, Transferring it to a larger flask before gently adding the mending mix shortly after, swirling the contents for an even mixing.
[1d10] Alchemy, Mending mix + snailgut

Roll #1 2 = 2


>applying to alacrity draught and High Aqua Vitae


The transparent Mending Mix fizzes and froths violently on reaction to the potions, causing a violent bubbling that surges and creeps inexorably up the sides of the vials. They start shaking on their racks from the violence of the chemical reaction. You are forced to cork them to avoid causing an accident. When the storm passes, however, you are left with three potions, glowing slightly now, looking overall more potent and more effective than ever before.
>Aqua Vitae has become High Aqua Vitae
>Alacrity Draught has become High Alacrity Draught: Duration extended to 5 rounds
>Snailgut has become High Snailgut: effects improved to -2 hits taken until the end of combat


After the initial panic of the potions nearly spilling, I'm elated to see the glowing results!

With the experiments done, I practically prance about the lab as I finish cleaning the equipment and secure the potions for later.


We can attempt it yez, do you mind me zcratching into ze table wizh my claw or do you have parchment on you?"


"I have a couple pieces of paper. One sec." I reach down and tear another piece of paper out of the back of a now three-quarters-full journal. "Was using some as a funnel for the viridust, so I don't have a anything to write with."


"Nor do I have any ink - I'll juzt make zome zcratchez, it iz ze zhape and intent zhat matterz."

Zunden scratches the rune of Union into the paper, attempting to once again bring the two pieces of fuse together.
[1d10] Union

Roll #1 7 = 7


It seems to work, but the newly created fuse is flimsy, and prone to defects. But it should serve its purpose.


"Great. Now let's see if what I hope happens happens." I pull out what looks like a springloaded pair of tweezers with a chunk of rusted iron on one prong and a piece of flint on the other, bring one of the fuses up, place it to it, and pause. Slowly, I look over at the barrels of viridust, gunpowder, and everything else. "Yeah, probably better to do this somewhere I don't risk blowin everyone up." I stand up and make my way out of the cargo hold. Setting one of the fuses on the floor, I put the striker to the one in my fingers, squeeze, and release. The spring springs back out, striking the flint against the iron and sparking the fuse.



Roll #1 5 = 5


It works. As you light the fuse on one, so too is the fuse lit on the other. They start burning down very fast; faster than most fuses you've seen before. You'll have to be careful using them.


I grin and drop the fuse I'm holding, letting it burn out on the ground. "Even better than I hoped for. Perfect." I look up at Zunden. "Thanks. Think you can make just one more? I want to set up a little Hail-Mary. Just in case. This'll let me do that."


"Of courze - I do not know how much magical knowledge iz required to practize runecraft myzelf, but would I not want to create zome artifactz for ze crew before tommorow I would perhapz like to teach you what our ozher Black ally taught me."

Zunden focuses on the carving once again, now having a better understanding of what Norv wishes for and tries to link the fuses to go off at the same time.

[1d10] Union

"It might be important to tezt ze range of which zheze will ztill function too, you only tezted zhem lezz zhan a few pazez away."

Roll #1 2 = 2


[1d10] but with extra effort and less talking this time

Roll #1 5 = 5


each failed roll being some time and effort until the first success

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 5 = 5 / Roll #3 9 = 9 / Roll #4 6 = 6 / Roll #5 5 = 5


"Yeah. From what I seen you do it'd be useful to know at least some. I can think if all kinds of things I'd wanna try out with em. Mainly the making things and connecting things ones."


It takes a few minutes of etching and invocation, but you eventually manage to connect the two fuses. This one should be more stable than the other.


"Zhere we are, I will begin working on your Return charm now. I zhink to better enzure it'z zuccezz, after it'z crafted I will zhen link it to you and ze zhip via Union. It will only be able to be uzed by you, and only to ze plaze it iz bound to."


"Good. Thank you, Z. I'm gonna get back to work, now. Long couple of days ahead of us." Or short, I guess. Depending on how all of this goes.


File: 1614412866408.png (56.37 KB, 585x714, Healing Bonds.png)

Zunden returns to her room and pulls out her sewing kit, cloth, and twine, making crude cloth wrist braces, using the twine to physically stitch in the symbol of Return into the fabric, a rather time consuming task given the complexity of the return rune's multicircle pattern. Knowing creating an artifact that's reusable would likely require much stronger magic, Zunden instead opts to make one time charms imbued with the concept of Return, ready to be linked between a person and location through Union.

>instant Frozen Return rune (6)

[1d10+1] Making another Return rune (regular action)

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9


You take the makeshift bracers, flimsy affairs, and strengthen them with the familiar circular symbol. The enchantment on both will hold until it's invoked, but won't survive the usage. They'll break on use, as you intended.


Zunden then sets out to seek down Rabi on the ship, intent on talking to him about his prior ghosting.

"Rabi? I wizh to zpeak for a few minutez."


Rabi is in the kitchen area, seated at the table with a cup of tea. He looks significantly more haggard than the last time Zunden saw him. "H-Hmm? Oh, hey, Zunden. What do you need?"


"I wanted to zpeak to you on ze matter of your astral projeczion - you are indeed alright, correct? I want to make zure you're zafe after what happened."


"I'm, uh… i-it's gotten worse, but Dawn's done a little to help… stabilize things, I think. When this whole things over, I think it won't be a problem anymore, one way or another."


"Ahh.. I created a charm to help if you indeed get zeperated and cannot return eazily - what did zhiz ztabalization entail?"


"Y-You could do that? E-Err… you did that? That'd be really good, actually. I really appreciate that Zunden, r-really." he says, letting out a sigh of relief. "And, uh… she granted me some of her magic? Temporarily, I think. I-I was having trouble re-connecting with my physical body when we tested what was wrong."


"Well I have ze Return rune, which haz allowed objectz to return to a ztate zhey were before, or where they were before. I figured- if are ztill wearing ze zame clozhing while projeczion, and we conzider your phyzical body your deztination to Return to, it would zheoretically work. Do you zhink zuch a zhing would be uzeful?"


"I… think it could, yeah. In case things go kind of wild again, I could try to snap back to my body- avoid something nasty, at least." he suggests, sipping from his cup of tea. "Anything to help would be appreciated, really… thank you."


File: 1614416073869.png (56.11 KB, 585x714, Healing Bonds.png)

"Put zhiz around one of your forelegz zhen, and I will bind your zoul to ze deztinazion of your body."

>once worn
Zunden takes the forehoof in her claw, holding the bracer and disipating her powerful Union rune, properly attuning Rabi's soul to his body through thaumaturgy.

>Instant Auto, held Union roll

>[A simplistic bracer made of cloth and with a stitched design of the Return rune. On use, destroys the object and returns the recipient to the bound destination with it's capabilities equal to the rolls used to create it (RETURN: 9, UNION: 10. Bound User: Rabi's Soul. Destination: Rabi's Body]

>also using the +1 from using an orb to refresh a new Return rune

[1d10+1] Return (frozen)

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2


Rabi slips it around his foreleg without much delay, and allows Zunden to work the necessary magic into the bracer. Once the process is complete, the stallion gently wraps Zunden in a hug, and says "Thank you. I hope I don't have to use it, but… it makes me feel safer."


Zunden returns the hug equally as gently, not wishing to prick the saddle arabian with her thorns. "Ze felid you're bound to- zhe can forze people out of her body, no? Perhapz it will be uzeful zhere, if you are to fight her. Keep our zpiritz zafe, you are ze only one who can defend uz from her properly."


Rabi feels a gentle warmth in his chest as Zunden weaves her magic. Like a part of him, previously missing, has been replaced with something else. He feels more… whole, somehow.


"I-I can actually feel the change, I think. I feel… whole, again. Sorta. It's nice." he says, nickering a little bit. "And… right. I won't let her hurt any of you- I don't care what her life was like, or why she's like she is. I won't let her hurt my family."


"I am glad to help in any way I can, be zafe dear." Zunden smiles, "Here iz to ze dream of onze again being on warm non-inzect zandz onze again."


"Ahaha… yeah. Some non-insect sands'd be appreciated, that's for sure. Maybe we can find something like that out here, sometime… anyways. I've still got the pot of tea, and Gawain left some of the leaves. If you'd want to join me, I could make another pot."


"I've got one more relivery and zome runez to remake, but I'll ztop here wizh you and drink zome tea firzt. Zhank you Rabi."


File: 1614419726770.png (55.7 KB, 585x714, Healing Bonds.png)

Zunden works to replace her runes such.

>Frozen Return

>Frozen Union

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 6 = 6


>Zunden takes more time making the Frozen return rune, each failed roll taking up more of her night


Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 7 = 7 / Roll #3 2 = 2


File: 1614516575576.jpg (108.17 KB, 1000x664, 1_DSC_0201nikon1.jpg)


A full moon looms on the horizon. The waves roil. Far to the northwest, a great storm brews, staining the black skies eigengrau.

The drifters have their final meal. Drink their final drinks. Sleep their final sleeps before the quiet comes.

Etrigan watches from the prow. Just staring out at the waves under the moonstruck sky. Will he remain after all this is done? Should he exist anymore? …Does he exist?

A part of him longs for release. To be free of this half-life.

But perhaps a half life is better than none at all.

Gawain polishes his armor, and tempers his beloved sword. The greatest challenge a knight can face awaits. Yet is he truly a knight, or merely a pretender? What is knighthood, really?

This wasn't meant to be his fight; yet, it's one that has to be fought. Not for knighthood, but for everyone. Everywhere.

Marisol closes her eyes and sits, shutting out her thoughts of tomorrow. Trying to forget about the world for just one night. But she can't. She won't. Elaina… She carries so much hate, for everyone. She's in pain. And she needs to be healed. One way or another, this is her war.

She needs to be the one to make things right.

Violet sharpens her swords. She is adrift; for reasons she can't explain, she feels a tug of melancholy, pining for something she can't remember.

She has lived two lives. One that seems as if it happened to someone else; yet, she has… impressions. Feelings. Visions in her mind's eye of something torn from her. Maybe she can reclaim it. In some way.

She is split in two, but like her twin blades, maybe two can become one.

Purdue tries to stop himself from sleeping. He can see the stars through the porthole. They're moving. Aligning. It's happening here and now. He should warn them of what he knows, but if he does, it will make things worse.

No. It's time. The wheel of fate must turn on the drifters. After three lifetimes, it's time to let go.

Dawn shrinks away, trapping herself in a reverie of her own creation until the thunder comes. She uses a portion of her strength to conjure something for herself. A perfect world in her mind palace, one free of the impending doom.

For one last night, she is loved. She is whole. She is happy.

And in the crow's nest, Aurora sings…



Across the bay…


Gavrilo puts down his spyglass with a lopsided grin. It's in range. Finally. Now the real show begins.

He un-manifests the spyglass and takes to the air, flying out of the crow's nest and onto the bridge. He trots eagerly below the upper deck, with its helm and guns. Past the main deck, where the armory, capstan and galley are. Down past the lower decks, past the captain's storage, cockpit and cabins, and into the hold.

This long, cold room is kept in good condition. Cruel meat hooks line the walls, with those… things… the boss brought with him hanging from them, like marionettes. He notices that feral cat on rent from Grosvenor working on one of them.

A single grey and white cuckoo bird stands perched near an iron table; whatever lies on top is covered by a stained sheet. Gavrilo's lip curls a little. He doesn't fancy what's under it, but whatever pays.

"Boss. I've seen it. We're in range now. Is it time?"

The bird's head turns to the newcomer.

"Yes. Mobilize the crew. Let's not waste any more time. Not that it matters, but do we know what they have?"

"Couldn't make out much, nah. It'll be over quickly anyway, I reckon." Gavrilo picks his teeth and glances at the misshapen sheet covering the table. "We gonna be bringing that thing?"

"We'll be sending him first as a messenger. Then you, like we discussed. Let them see what's going to become of them."

"Grouse. Can't believe I'm getting paid for this." Gavrilo cracks his neck and stalks off as Lysander takes flight.



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