Things are starting to go 'bump' in the night, day, and wherever smoky pillars arise at dawn. After a tense night, as the doors and shutters creaked from outside pressure, you and your quiet town awake to a ravaged wilderness and another pillar of pitch black rising into the sky. This smoke is unlike any other, it does not dissipate, or sway to the breeze. Within the material void that rises are stars, nebulas, comets that have no similarity to that of the night. The day is quiet and most ponies have vacated this town for an extended vacation at nearby Tall Tale. The nearby pub is likely empty, as towncentre billboards won’t have anything on this, the best course of action for anyone brave enough is to meet up near this pillar of smoke conveniently located at the base of a nearby mountain342 posts and 2 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
That is definitely not what Gorchander expected to happen. Is it possible to grab one of those glowing orbs from earlier?
I draw my gun.
"Hello out there!"
[1d10+2] IntroductionsRoll #1 8 + 2 = 10
"Come on, Card Trick, do you really expect them to be friendly after I just broke somebody's window?"
"Are there even still windows to break?"
"I'm extemporizing… extrapolating!"
You shine a light to the road as everything goes quiet again. There is a cloud of dust that comes barreling your way where Gorchander's rock cause havoc.>>753332
Yes, you can grab one of the nearby orbs around this vending machine. Silver Lining has put his light out to show a great cloud of dust that's coming your way from the thrown rock's direction.>>753333Something whispers to you, always a voice from behind."Hello yourself- rousing the sleep- you should leave- she won't like anyone being here- she knows you're here- you should leave"
"We've angered the witch. Get ready."
I'll squint a little and frown.
Is there… something at the head of that dust cloud or is it just the cloud?
"Just so you know, I don't have a dust-busting spell."
I use Climate Change to alter the weather so those raindrops come down more steadily and it becomes a torrential downpour.
"Do you think normal weapons will be effective?"
>>753338"The witch- yes her- witch the bitch- we don't want her here- get rid of her- follow my voice- no mine- you'll find her.">>753339
It's dust, lots and lots of choking dust. The light brown kind that makes you sneeze and cough.>>753340
You start to bring humidity from the tunnels outside in. Everything gets a little stuffy, then soon a light rain begins to fall. The dust cloud is broken up soon when the water turns into a drizzle right over you three.
I follow the sound of their voice, whispering: "Hello?"
"Follow me, guys."
I start to follow the sound.
Oh I hate that kind of dust.
And now I'm soaked. Great.
"I guess that solves the dust problem, though. Do we just follow the screaming or do we have another way of hunting her down?"
You are lead by whispering voices that, by now have made themselves known to you all, through the darkness where the glowing orbs trail eventually ends. The passage through this massive labyrinthine building with shifting darkness and imposing silence nearly cuts into the voices that goad you into one particular destination. Eventually the three of you stop hearing voices and you are left in the dark.But before anyone gets scared, you feel the sensation of light touching the bottoms of your legs.
sounds like a good reason to look down!
I stomp down and jump to the side.
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
You look down and see that this light cuts off at just below the middle of your legs.>>753713
You jump to the side and see that there's is a large black visor, or curtain, or even wall between you three and an open doorway with light coming through it. Silver Lining and Gorchander's legs are lit by a strong lamp coming through this doorway. Think a two-way mirror that filters light
Weird, but not harmful at least.
"Ancient magic or technology, I suppose?"
I'll wiggle a leg in the light for a second.
"Does anyone see a door?"
I toss one of my cards at the strange black thing to see what happens.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
Your card flies through the black thing and lands on something smooth, but you don't see where.
"Seems like it. No door that I can find.">>753715
Does the barrier feel solid?
"Well, the light's coming from somewhere…">>754073
I suppose since we're back in darkness I'll have to see if I can get my lamp going again. However temporarily.
hello it is me>>754075
"In theory, yes."
Your lamp is lit and the path in front of you suddenly stops dead to immediate black. When you put your lamp closer to the floor, this immense darkness looks like a wall as though it were covering something. You can see half of Card Trick illuminated by your light, and the other half of him is covered by this… curtain, or door, or sheet.>>754076
When Silver Lining turns on his light, you don't see the lamp or a portion of him behind this strange sheet of void. The sheet looks to be covering the light that comes from a small through-way directly in front of it, there is a dull blue luminance from this passage.
While you two stand in front of this place, the disembodied whispers have stopped speaking to either of you. One, or all of them has given a last message that this is where they can't enter.
"It's a ghost-blocking, light blocking curtain of some kind. Think we should tear it down? Ghosts are tricky."
I pick up my card and shuffle it back into the deck before stepping all the way through.
Well, if i can push it out of the way and move through it, I will. And once we're in a properly lit area i'll douse the light again.
"Well, as long as it doesn't set off any alarms or come alive and attack us, I don't think we really need to worry about it. It's probably just there so ponies don't see the light's on."
You pass through into the small passage. Blue-lit metal adorns the floor, walls, and ceiling here before it descends by a staircase. What feels like an overlong walk ends at a complex looking door that opens from a turn-handle at it's middle. You find yourselves in an empty observatory with a closed, dome ceiling where makeshift stars on it look more to that of a city from a bird's point of view. In the middle of this space is a cloaked pony standing on their back legs and their back turned to you. The pony seems to be comparing two open books held by spectral claws covering their front hooves. This pony speaks in a soft, female voice
"I hate that door, it creaks and clanks for no other reason than to be creaky and clanky with its rusted metal."
"I guess you're the witch, huh? What's your story?"
[1d10+2] Smooth TalkerRoll #1 4 + 2 = 6
Hmm. Don't recall if Card Trick ever went down between when I cast bolster and now. I don't think he did… So it should still be active.
"I take it you're the one responsible for the troubles in the mine, lately?"
Giving up the element of surprise probably isn't the best idea but she at least gets a chance to defend her actions before we go murderhobo.
One of the pony's ears flicks when you speak.
"Smooth Talker? That's not new, but perhaps for now I'll oblige you.">>754083
"I am, and I would prefer to be called that than 'lunch' by that dirt kicker bunch."
The pony turns around to face you while their books are still held up. Cyan blue with a glowing orange mane and eyes, the mare lowers her books with a bored expression.
"I am a simple pegasus looking through their spoils, the bitch who's killed many, pulled a heist across time, but had to watch my prize sink into time unknown before because forbidden knowledge makes a certain princess's blood boil."
"Well, it is somewhat… easier that you don't deny the fact you've killed a lot of folk over the last couple days."
I'll orbit my shield and rapier into position.
"I don't suppose you'd be willing to surrender quietly?"
"Ooh, time travel? Neat. Anyways, this is the part where I tell you you're under arrest and to come quietly. Why don't you actually do that instead fighting? We can have a nice, boring end to this adventure."
[1d10+2] Smooth talkerRoll #1 9 + 2 = 11
"Killed? I paid them what they're owed. Don't come crying to me just because a few sacrificial dogs decided instead to explode. This is my story and I'll leave it when I damn well please, you'd have better luck trying to collapse this impossible building down on me.">>754086
"I- ugh, seriously?"
[1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
The mare drops her books and undoes her cloak, letting both fall to the floor.
"You're really cutting it close to keep using skills on me, but these aren't fists yet, so I guess we'll see."
A pair of wings unfurl from behind her, a pegasus. She walks unsteadily towards you two with a clearly dissatisfied look.
Well, if she's coming quietly, she's coming quietly. That's good enough I guess. I'll sheathe my rapier.
The books, however, I'll levitate up from where they fell. Evidence, after all. The cloak too, since we're not barbarians and if it's raining on the walk back we're not going to let her just get soaked. I'll wrap the books inside the cloak for now, so it's all in a bundle.
"You'll have to forgive me if I hold onto these for the time being."
I've got no rope so there's nothing we can use for restraints…
"Out of curiosity, though, what exactly did you do to those dogs that turned them into gems?"
"Listen here, missy!"
I walk right up to her and boop her nose in a disciplinary fashion.
"Murdering is wrong no matter who you are and no matter who they are. You don't get to get away with it just because you're 'special'."
I start shuffling my cards.
"What are you? Some sort of time traveling, magically endowed pony that knows secrets not meant for mortals? You've upset a princess badly enough that she's acted against you, maybe you've cursed each other's names? Pretty special, huh?"
I deal out the princess card of the highest suit.
"Well, I've known like, two or three others like you. The reason its two or three is because one of them made a paradox and doesn't…never…"
"Won't have not ever will exist. See what time travel does?"
I deal another princess card of the same suit.
"Another got blown up by an inquisitor I'm friends with."
I deal yet another princess card of the same suit.
"And the last one succeeded in her evil plan, got away with it all, then slipped on some ice and broke her neck. Really special."
I deal another identical princess card.
"So save all of us, yourself included, the trouble and give up."
All that talking took a lot of breath.
I add a turn of recharge for a +1.
[1d10+2] Sharp Tongue with cardsRoll #1 4 + 2 = 6
"Whatever, I'll take them back eventually. And that was blood refinement magic, didn't you see?">>754090
!!! [1d10-1]Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2
and then the sharp-tongued booping happened and now i have to see the fallout.
The mare is surprised by getting her nose booped, and moreso when you deal the cards without ever looking at them. A tear runs down her face from your story, the words cut at her far deeper than what she may have read in the chambers down here.
"I'm sorry. I didn't, I never cared to think about what I was doing. This was supposed to be a- oh god I don't even know what this was supposed to be. I just, I want to get out of here."
I gently pat her back.
"There there. We all make bad choices sometimes, but we don't always get a chance to make amends. Come with us now, please."
I keep my eye on her but give her the benefit of the doubt that she actually will give up.
"I don't suppose there's another way to leave the mines than going back through the dog villages? They might not accept us bringing you out instead of… you know."
The pegasus' wispy ethreal claws dissipate and she falls to all fours again.>>754095
"There is, I can teleport us straight to the surface. I'll have to use some of the choramance spells for it though."
"As long as it's to the entrance of the mine, and outside of it, it should be alright."
And if she teleports us eighty feet in the air, well, I'm not sure how good I can catch Card Trick while winking in quick succession to kill fall momentum.
"Go ahead. We trust you."
The pegasus whispers as a single ethreal claw comes back out from the tip of her hoof that she uses to draw out complex looking patterns. The end design looks like a door that poncy unicorns from Canterlot love to have. With a few more words the pattern lights up and the teary eyed mare looks at you both.
"It's ready, we'll end up at the diamond dogs' entrance to the mountain."
And with the loudest popping sound of a cork, all of you flash out of existence in this observatory and pop back into place an inch above the ground at the entrance to the mineshaft. The trees are still destroyed, there are still massive pillars of starry substance that float into the air from the hole, but it looks close to evening. Surprisingly there are still no signs of Equestrian guards despite what could be a whole day or two since this happened so close to your town.
The mare speaks up "I can't believe I did all this."
"Well, ponies tend to lose sight of things when they focus too much."
Since that starry thing is just a fancy distress beacon, I can just… pick up the source of it, right? Since we've "solved" the problem.
I pat her back again.
"I'll make sure you get a chance to make this right. What's your name?">>754097
"Back to town, I guess? Best to not stay out here."
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The pony remarks that you can't pick it up, but she dispels the beacon and slowly the last of this magical smoke rises into the sky.>>754101
"Tasia, I don't like my old name and I'm too far from my homeland for anyone to know me."
With no reason to stay here, you head back to town. Eventually an Equestrian Guard escort arrives, takes the pegasus for questioning and doles out an appropriate reward for your part in solving this mystery. Word does reach you that Tasia's sentencing involves community service, but almost none of that service is ever shown to occur in public- as tabloids have stories from time to time about the Princess scarfing cakes from all manner of exotic cultures.
Townponies do come back, but unfortunately few of them believe that you solved what looked like a massive season-wide calamity in less time than the Markers of Friendship are capable of. This is the one problem of living in Tall Tale, most stories are considered to be hoisted up on pillars of smoke.