At last, the final sight of the Tartarian Descent Team is engulfed by the interminable darkness. 630 posts and 1 image reply omitted. Click reply to view.
The Great Seal rends the earth with a deafening quake, as it slides nearly shut, open only by a hairsbreadth. The Loyal Kerberos, ten thousand Umbral Hounds strong, holds one end of Shei's Black Thread in one of his mouths. He leers at it contemptuously, but holds it nonetheless as agreed.
Most of the others accompanying Sir Pryce cannot look anymore at the Great Seal, ready to direct their thoughts to anything other than the fates of their friends… and foes. Sir Estuary is the only one who seems composed. He looks to Pryce, and with a slight bow of his head, says, "Perhaps we should make for the surface, milord. We have no further business here."
"And when they catch wise to your tactics, focus their fire on Alloy, and kill him, what's your backup plan?" Grantz deadpans.
Alloy swallows hard.
"I won't let that happen," Pryce says sternly. "I' wouldn't bring somepony out her without the intention of also seeing them home after."
He turns to Alloy, seeing that the topic probably isn't boding well on him.
"You've trained a lot, you don't need to worry," He adds to help him relax.
Pryce then looks back to Grantz.
"Your original plan was to kill the dracoknights. A surprise attack or ambush would only work once, and then you'd need to face them down as any other battle would go. We can operate the same for this plan, only instead aiming to subdue and disarm. After that, we can remove their power, not letting catch wise until after its too late for them to stop it.">Persuasion [1d10]Roll #1 4 = 4
"Talk is cheap, Pryce," Grantz says, and stares you down. "I will leave you to answer to the loved ones left behind when bold words and easy promises fail you, when you fail to save a comrade, or a non-combatant, because you took unwarranted mercy on a foe who would not take mercy on you.""Grantz,"
Vortigern says. "That's enough. Even in the worse case scenario, our side has gained another soldier. I've fought alongside Alloy's elder sister. If he can fight half as well as her, I wouldn't want to cross him."
Finding himself outnumbered is only looking like it's bothering Grantz further… this could go south quickly.
"I know its not easy," Pryce says, trying to speak with understanding of the toll the villages have gone through. "But look at what we're trying to help with. These dragons have lorded over these lands abusing their power. Fighting back and fending them off will change things. But if we show the mercy they never did, sparing the lives we can when they have not, things will change for the better far more easily when the dust settles." He says, looking to the village leader.>Persuasion [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
"Enough," Grantz says. "I will not hear any more of an outsider's fantasies. You should learn our history before you pretend to know our future."
As Grantz rises to leave…
"I agree," Alloy says.
Grantz raises his head, concealing his surprise.
"So rather than waste time trying to argue about it, let me demonstrate what I'm trying to offer," Alloy continues. His voice has taken on a strange… viscosity
that it did not possess earlier.
[1d10+7]Roll #1 5 + 7 = 12
"Let me take point in only the first ambush," Alloy continues. "And I'll demonstrate why Sir Pryce's plan is the right choice. If any of your soldiers are hurt to the point that they can't continue onto the next ambush, we'll abide by your plans for all the following encounters. My abilities can kill as easily as they can knock the target unconscious, as I said."
Grantz is silent for a while, his expression unreadable…
battle," Grantz says. "That's the extent of your chances. Be ready to move at the top of the hour."
He gets up to finish preparations, while your allies silently recover from the tension of the argument.
Pryce watches as Alloy speaks up for the plan and a chance to show himself. When Grantz agrees, Pryce nods as he announces them to be ready.
After he leaves, Pryce looks to Alloy.
"Thank you, I don't think I could've gotten him to agree with how that was going."
"Don't thank me yet," Alloy whispers. "I had to use a different gift of my divine heritage to make that work…"
As Alloy alludes to the truth of the matter– your holy quest rushes back to the theatre of your memories. Your orders on behalf of the Union to thwart the schemes of the outlawed Buiwong cultus, his manipulation and deception of your allies, the war of gods, the burning of churches… the shattering of reality, the deluge of angels and demons back into the mortal realm…
Pryce's expression falls into one of concern at the whisper. "…What do you mean?" He asks slowly. All the past months of his life, the journey and the strife caused by Buiwong, rise in his mind. He tries not to assume the worst, but it is difficult.>[1d10]Roll #1 3 = 3
You can feel spiders crawling around your legs… you look down for them… they must be invisible spiders… many of them…
"I… leaned on his will," Alloy confesses. "Definitely wasn't easy, I'd wager I just barely managed to push him into letting us pursue our plan. When it wears off, he might have some questions… but for now, we're in the clear."
The spiders have begun to ascend your legs, slipping beneath your cloak, armor, and clothing.
Pryce shakes a hoof at the sensation, trying to shake off the spiders that must be there.
"No, no, you can't just do that…" Pryce says, his voice raising a bit, accusatory and horrified. "There's boundaries you don't cross. You can't, I won't
let that start up again!"
His wings ruffle, and he starts to feel very uncomfortable.
Alloy suddenly backs off, while your allies fold in around you. But you can hardly see or hear them… For a moment, one that you could swear lasted eons… Alloy's face is a masque of Buiwong's.
"…ce. Pryce, my boy."
"Hey, are you there!?"
"Everyone give him space to breathe!"
Warmth and light envelop you, and the spiders– you realize now they were never there. Only your allies. You sweat profusely, and Hopper splashes you with cool water, revivifying you.
KP is folded up beside you, semi-conscious, like one trapped in sleep paralysis. Lockjaw nudges and shoves him, trying to get him back up, while Spitshine and Sugar check his vitals.
Alloy is gone.
It takes a moment for Pryce to realize what's going on or what his surroundings are, even taking some seconds after being splashed before he snaps back into reality.
"Wh… What's going on?" He asks, dazed. He looks around at everypony, not feeling so great as he tries to collect himself. He sees KP even worse off, his face falling.
Then, after a moment. "…Where's Alloy?"
"You were whispering with Alloy," Zjetya said. "Then you started to lose it."
River points with her wing around the side of the council-house. "Vortigern took him over there. The poor soul was starting to tear up…"
KP gradually comes to, finding himself surrounded by Sugar, Spitshine and Lockjaw. The jho practically bowls over the kids as he runs about KP, trying to roll him up onto his hooves.
You see that there are a few onlookers among the villagers. Onion gives them a thumbs-up… as well as a stare that says, "Mind your own damn business."
"If anyone asks," Onion says. "You had a bad allergic reaction. Ginger tea. Damn shame, it's real good for ya otherwise."
"He… oh no," Pryce mutters, feeling an immense wave of guilt fall over him.
KP grumbles as he starts to come too.>"Whu… What happened?"
He says weakly before Lockjaw rushes over. It takes some effort to push him to his hooves, and he keeps to hanging onto the deviljho for support.
Pryce glances to some of the onlookers, then to Onion.
"When did I pass out? I didn't do anything, did I?"
Lockjaw lays himself flat. He's already wearing his saddle – he must have had someone else set it up this morning. Looks like KP won't be going anywhere without Lockjaw at his side this time.
Onion shakes his head. "Y'were only loopy for a few seconds. Yelled s'mth'n 'bout things starting up again. But with the way y'were shaking, I thought y'were havin' a seizure. I tried to get y'to lay on the grass, but River stepped in an healed y'before you could hurt yourself."
You hear hoofsteps approaching. Vortigern and Alloy are back, with Alloy hiding just behind Vortigern.
"Are you alright, sir?" Alloy asks.
KP throws himself onto Lockjaw, taking the support.>"I don't even remember what happened."
Pryce frowns as Onion retells what happened, feeling awful at losing control like that.
He looks up at Alloy and Vortigern as they return.
"I'm… fine," He answers, though his face betrays it. "I'm sorry, Alloy. I shouldn't have snapped at you like that. …A lot of bad memories came up."
Lockjaw rises, ever a trusty steed.
"No, I'm sorry," Alloy says, bowing his head. "I acted rashly; I was afraid we were about to lose what I had come all this way to do… what I had finally managed to beat my father to do… I'll take full responsibility when it wears off."
"When it does," Vortigern says, her expression grave. "Let me talk to Grantz first."
Pryce stands up, Alloy's apology making his guilt all the worse.
"Still, I should've had better control over myself. I could've explained how we handle things before, and I shouldn't have put past feelings on you. I'm sorry for how I acted" Pryce says. "In the future, let's avoid those methods."
Alloy nods, and extends his hoof for a shake.
Pryce takes his hoof to shake, glad to have reconciled.
Near the top of the hour, you see Grantz and a group of warriors gathering near the village perimeter, by a great outer gate. Grantz floats above them, performing head-counts. Several of the warriors are distinguished by their war-paint – they must be the captains.
It's go time. Select an ally to be your battle companion.
As the warriors start to gather, Pryce looks to the group for themselves to get ready.
"Seems its time now… River," He says, looking to her. "I need you to stick with me. I'm not entirely sure what happened earlier, but if something like that comes up again I'll need you to help me snap out of it."
River nods. Hopper splashes your ear with water. Seems he doesn't intend on sitting this out, either.
Vortigern looks to Onion. "I hope you don't mind, but as I was going to tell you earlier, I've volunteered you for remaining with the village for this raid, along with the kids."
"I was just gonna ask about that myself," Zjetya says. "What're the village defenses looking like?"
"I'm heading those," Vortigern says. "Along with about a third of our fighting force. Will you join us?"
"Yep," Zjetya says.
Sugar and Spitshine look disappointed, but they know the game's out of their hooves at this point.
Pryce flicks his ear as it's spritzed, looking down to Hopper.
"And you too, can't forget about my little buddy," He says, scooping up the frog.
"I don't plan on letting any of them slip through, but be safe out there," Pryce says to Zjetya as she takes on for joining the village defense.
"Look at it this way, somepony has to look after our home," Pryce says to Sugar and Spitshine for their disappointment.
KP nods in agreement.>"Nopony will get to our airship without our say!"
The others give their goodbyes and well-wishes, and then, you part ways.
As you, River and Alloy reach the edge of Grantz's group, he sees you, and nods. He raises a hoof, and the chatter from the gathered warriors falls silent.
Grantz begins to speak to the warriors in the language of the tribe. As he does, the warriors part ways, allowing a path for you and Alloy to step forward.
Assuming you do, Grantz continues. You hear your name, and that of River and Alloy, a few times each. The warriors look a bit confused, but none raise any objections. You feel eyes sizing you up… but the work you've put in for the village as of late has softened what would otherwise be cold and sharp appraisals.
Grantz then shouts something, and the warriors salute him, beating their chests twice. They start to organize around the small number of captains with their specialty warpaint. He descends and turns to you. "You got all that?" he asks, a gruff joke.
As Pryce walks to join Grantz's group, he feels a small tinge of discomfort, their small group splitting even further as they prepare to battle. But, he can't let this be a distraction, if he does his job the others have nothing to worry about.
He looks up when Grantz speaks, then steps forward at the gesture. He glances around the warriors as they're eyed up, likely questioning their new plan.
Pryce nods as Grantz comes up to them. "I get the gist, if you want to run it one more time," He jokes in return. "I assure you, we won't let you or the villages down."
"The battle plan is to find the Dracoknight's tribute caravan while they're en-route," Grantz explains. "Once found, we'll approach from a high altitude to evade their lookouts, descend, and then dive-bomb them on my signal. We have to scatter them before they can take formation. They'll be spear-fighters, like us, so the ideal tactic is to isolate them, then harass them in pincer teams from behind, as far away from the business end of the spear as possible. They're trained to drop their spears and switch to secondary weapons in events like that. It's the window provided by this weapon switching where we can deal the most damage."
He looks to Alloy. "And it's where you'll have the key opening to drain their power. My people will guard you as best they can."
Alloy gulps, and suppresses a look of guilt. "Understood, sir."
"If we have to retreat, I'll count on you to provide the distraction, magician," Grantz adds. "Our people stick to ritual magic. The magic you have at your command is an edge only you can boast in this fight."
Pryce nods. "Understood. What should we expect from them, or the power they have from the dragons, when the fighting starts?" He asks to know what to expect in the fray.
"They'll want to form a phalanx," Grantz says. "Or other formations. That's why we have to separate them. The spear's greatest strengths are its greatest weaknesses; it's long, and one end's pretty dangerous. But it's a pain to maneuver in a hurry if you're got from the sides or back. Hence, the secondary weapons. As for their draconic powers, they can increase their speed and power for a time, so even when outnumbered and surrounded, they're no easy targets. That's why we need to be quick to shut them down, or retreat. And if we retreat, scatter until you're sure you're alone. Our village is hidden by ritual magic. Now that you've been here awhile, you're attuned to it– you'll be able to get back by making a beeline for the outer wall. But, if they follow you into the illusory zone surrounding the village, they can still chip away at the magic if they realize what's going on. Understood?"
River and Alloy nod.
"Isolate, work fast, and don't lead them back to the village. Understood," Pryce nods, set on the plan.
Grantz looks back to Alloy. "Since you're flightless, you're riding in a palanquin."
Alloy looks surprised. "Thank y–"
"Don't get comfortable," Grantz interrupts. "The injured, the captive, and the dead will ride back on them. If they get filled up, it's a long walk back."
"U-understood," Alloy answers, then goes to find an open seat among the palanquin-fliers.
Grantz takes the lead at the village gates. They part, and he leads the fighting forces out.
Pryce says nothing, but is determined to ensure there won't be any dead filling those palaquins after this mission.
As Grantz begins the lead out, Pryce looks to River.
"Looks like its time," He says, following as they march off to take on the dracoknights.
Pryce pauses for a moment before they start.
"One sec, before we head out," He says to River. His horn glows white, and he taps it to her forehead, establishing a thread between them.
"Just to be safe.">White Threads [Auto]
>WHITE THREADS>Attribute: Buff>Tags: Spell; Ranged; Automatic>Effect: Create a telepathic link with the Target.>Duration: Until Dispelled>Recharge: N/A
River nods. You can sense her struggle to find a bit of levity in this, your forging telepathic bonds so soon after your episode with Alloy's "enhanced persuasion…" but the dread of battle makes her disposition too grave for joking.
The pegasus warriors rise into the sky, and you along with them.
>roll for perception
Pryce feels as if he should say something with the looming dread, but with this bond he feels it's enough, their focus is needed for what's to come.
He takes flight, following along the warriors, aligning his mind in preparation for the battle.>Perception [1d10]Roll #1 1 = 1
The pegasi tribal warriors ascend higher and higher into the sky, threatening even to breach into one of the lower layer of clouds, for cover. Wind, water and ice chill you, a stark contrast to the summer heat. Alloy, captive in his palanquin, draws his poncho about himself, and shivers.
Some time later, Grantz signals you to fly higher. Before you can see the reason why, clouds rush into your eyes, forcing them shut from the sting of the vapors. You're flying blind now.
Pryce climbs higher into the sky with the warriors, higher than he's ever flown before himself. The decreasing temperature takes some getting used to, even with his fiery foreleg to provide some warmth.
Pryce barely notices the signal to even greater heights before the clouds start to blind him. He tries to wipe the vapors away from his face, attempting to fly upward.River, can you see? These clouds are blinding me, I can't tell where I'm going.
He thinks out to her, glad for this thread as he tries to regain his vision.>Clear the clouds [1d10]Roll #1 9 = 9
You sense River flying ahead. She manifests her spear, and trails out the pommel to touch upon your forearm, until you clear out the clouds from your vision.
And not a moment too soon, either– Grantz has raised his forearm, and drops it down, like the blade of a guillotine.
The pegasi warriors dive at his order, bound for an unknown destination.
>roll to dive!
Pryce follows with the spear, keeping up until his sight returns. When it comes to with Grantz calling to drop, Pryce grows a little concerned that he's cutting these calls too close. But still, he keeps up, diving with the others at the command.>Dive [1d10]Roll #1 5 = 5
Your heart and stomach race downward – or rather, upward – as you join the others in their dive. Blades of vapor and wind cut across your skin, and as you hurtle down through the clouds, your body protests, fearing the ground being too close below–!
But when the clouds do break, you can see a large detachment of armored pegasi, as well as a smaller number of armored griffons and kirin, far below, heading for a great, walled village. The tribal warriors fan out, aiming to split the detachment.
You have the initiative for now– but it won't last long.
Pryce takes a moment once the dive breaks, not used to doing such drastic and quick flight maneuvers. He looks down at the detachment, their target in sight. he is surprised to see kirin with the group, assuming that they'd be only fliers given the terrain and with how they come from much higher up. But he can't take time to dwell on such things.
As the warriors spread out, Pryce moves towards the rear of the detachment, if in the possibility they need to cut off their retreat. His magic holds onto the hilt of his Memory-Pluck, and his horn glows to prepare an array of flaming arrows for himself.>Homing Magic [Flare] [1d10]>Flare [Fire]: Bright flashes and loud bangs disorient the target, adding one stack of Flare when hit. When a target reaches 4 stacks, they are stunned that turn.Roll #1 6 = 6
In seconds, shouts of chaos and confusion erupt from the Dracoknights, as they all too late sense the tribal warriors descending upon them. The detachment tries to form up, but hails of stones and crossbow shots disrupt their movements. In an instant, a frenzied melee breaks out as the two groups meet. Axes and spearpoints glint in the light.
As you draw your weapon and conjure an arrow, you and River descend upon a lone Dracoknight. His face is impossible to see behind his wyvern-like helm, but he's remaining cautious. He turns to face you, and River sweeps behind him, her own shortspear drawn.https://youtu.be/SG_grNR3u98
The Dracoknight tries to take you out first!
While he's occupied, River goes for his side!
[1d10+3] Basic Attack
>Dynamic Duo specifies "Start of Combat," therefore it is being considered Turn Zero>Declaring Dynamic Duo on Pryce>Holding Instant Action for nowRoll #1 9 + 3 = 12
/ Roll #2 5 + 3 = 8
Pryce raises his blade, meeting the Dracoknight head on to keep himself as the target. He dashes forward, swinging his sword out at the knight to clash, whistling a tune as the battle begins.>Basic Attack [DC5] [1d10]>Hymn of the Cedar Tree Shrine [Self] [1d10]>Radience [1d10]
Tags: Single, Guarded (Reduces Critfail Damage by half)
Effect: Steals a Target's Skill upon hit, enabling you to use it while they can't; Normal success = 1 Use, Critical = 2 uses; Only one (1) Skill can be stolen at a time
Duration: Until used or Dispelled
HYMN OF THE CEDAR-TREE SHRINE
Tags: Spell; Instant
Effect: Target will take only 1 Hit of damage from every damage source each turn.
Duration: 2 Turns or 3 on Critical Success
Recharge: 3 Turns after Effect ends
Tags: Free Action
Effect: Generate Roll - 5 Sparks for use of Will of the King Skills.
Tags: Passive; Instant
Effect: While worn, the Cloak takes half of all damage and negative Effects on your behalf; As an Instant action, you can inflict all stored damage and negative Effects onto a Target to whom you can touch the hem of the cloak.
Recharge: N/ARoll #1 10 = 10
/ Roll #2 6 = 6
/ Roll #3 8 = 8
SAVE THE WORLD
Attribute: Almighty or Weapon Attribute
Tags: Passive; Free
Effect: If this character scores a Critical Hit on an Attack in Combat, all other Savior-aligned allies can make a single Basic Attack as a bonus Free Action. Failures on this Attack do not result in retaliatory damage. Critical Hits scored on this attack do not proc further activations of STW, and STW can only Activate once per turn.
>>763441>River's STW attack (Almighty)
[1d10+3]Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13
You tank much of the initial hit on your cloak, and it greedily drinks up the excess damage.
>3 hits stored, Pryce 7/6, HCTS activated, 3 Sparks
Between you and River, you pummel the Dracoknight, leaping in and backing out whenever he tries to jab you or her with either end of the spear.
>Pick a single 1-point Cleric or Paladin Skill
River cracks the Dracoknight in the jaw with the pommel of her shortspear, and he goes down into the dirt.
"Alloy!" she shouts, but you can see that he's occupied with other combatants.
The Dracoknight's trying to rise…
>will recover next turn unless restrained
>Homing Magic: 1 [Flare]>SSC: 3 hits>Sparks: 3>Hymn of the Cedar-Tree Shrine: 2 turns>>763445
Pryce keeps his sword at the ready after they quickly down the first knight, seeing a flash of his abilities through his sword.>Choosing Word of Power
With Alloy occupied, Pryce looks down at the Dracoknight. He takes the living chain out of his cloak, and sets it out to bind the knight.
"We'll work our way over to him.">Chain [1d10]
Effect: This chain can be given orders to wrap around anything; Requires a roll of 9 or higher to break free; Reassembles over a period of 24 hours if broken.
Duration: Until Dispelled
Recharge: 24 Hours after brokenRoll #1 7 = 7
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The Dracoknight swings at the chain with an axe, but River knocks the weapon from his grip, and you bind him up.
No time for catching your breath, however– a pair of griffon Dracoknights have seen you capture the first knight, and rush in, shields and spears readied!
[1d10+4] Smite vs. River
[1d10+4] Spellbreaker vs. Pryce (targeting SSC)
River retaliates with a beam of light from her spear-tip!
[1d10+4] Wrath, Light AttributeRoll #1 3 + 4 = 7
/ Roll #2 4 + 4 = 8
/ Roll #3 4 + 4 = 8