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Sir Pent slithers off of your arm and crawls over to Sparkler, and bumps his head against her arm until she relents and gives him a pat. Sir Pent soon bites off an old scale, one already on its way to falling off, and holds it out to her. Curious, Sparkler takes it, and after some deliberation, starts to mash it in a pestle while her healing takes its effect.

*Click click* the beetle continues, patiently awaiting your questions with its forelegs folded up together in a professional posture.

Your shark senses tell you there's something worth taking in this room… but it might be a nap.

Juniper flings herself into the pool outside the room, and Cycle follows suit. Juniper then climbs out and steps through the doorway with no issue.

"Looks like the Mechpriests would have had to purify themselves with a ritual bath before entering here," Juniper says. "But for our purposes, just stepping into the pool is enough to enter one of these kinds of chambers, I suppose."

"Yeah…" Chiu mutters, but she does not sound very sure.
916 posts and 3 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.


"Gotcha. I don't thinks gods are that farfetched. The princesses can do a lot, and would probably fit to god status compared to some of these I bet."



"Which is exactly why they AREN'T gods," Cutlass retorts.


"I have known times of hardship in my travels, but I have never turned to such, though I suppose I was never driven to such a level of desperation." Willow mused a bit before sighing "Regardless it's not too surprising, I was never sure of any of the supposed divinity in those around me."

"I kinda believed it." Two Tons added shyly "They seemed pretty sure of it themselves."


"…How do you mean?" Cloud asks, dumbfounded.


"Your vote of confidence is much appteciated…" Two Reeds mutters with head lightly bowed. "When I have my divine spirit back I will be sure to prioritize your crop harvests and success in warfare."

"OF COURSE!" the Fish guffaws.

Despite the embarrassment and horror (same thing) on Kukulcan and Two Reeds' faces, the Fish looks and sounds like he considers it all the highest of praise.

"You can't be from the Ribcage if that's your reaction to it," the Fish says. "The Ribcage, eighth of the seven seas, lives and breathes pure nonsense and delusion, whether below or above the surface of the waters. The daily absurdities and constant impossibilities are just what draw pirates here to risk it all, day by day, for where else can dreams come true? Leave behind the safety of your logic, outsider, the water's just fine."

The Fish turns to Kukulcan. "Surely you know, 'Thunder Serpent' – the Mechpriests of the old religion impersonated the gods in their highest of ceremonies."

"Yes… I do recall," Kukulcan says, his tone uneasy at first. "We gods sat around the feasting table when we first saw it… we were surprised, confused, amused… watching them retell and reenact our stories to try to invoke our power and favor… you were there, I recall."

"Hmm…" the Fish muses. "That's all true. Maybe you're the genuine article, or maybe that was just a good guess."

"I have regained the divine spirit of a god– my own divine spirit!" Kukulcan insists. "It's only natural that I remember what I was there for."

"Yeah yeah yeah we heard you the first time," the Fish says.

Two Reeds just looks exhausted.

"I'm sure we could keep going in circles on this," the Fish says. "But you fine finless folks came here to get my help, and I'm gonna oblige. If you have no more questions or requests, I'll get the Sun Serpent down here so we can talk battle."


The Fish would find that Cerulean had stopped listening when he started going off about delicacies, pastries, and the like. Seems the general message he was conveying was lost on the seemingly always-hungry shark.

""Huh, talk battle? I mean I guess, but I wanna talk food again a bit longer." That was as much of a confirmation from Cerulean as Fish was likely to get.


There are some leftovers at the sushi table that the apes left, but nothing too fresh at hand, sadly.

"Bring it up with the Sun Serpent," the Fish suggests. "But I hope you like barbecue… he can't really do anything besides that."


"There is a logic to all things, even if we do not know it yet." Willow responded a touch annoyed at the fishes tone "But I respect your direct manner."

Two Tons, and thus the fish, trotted up to Two Reeds as best he could to give some reassuring hoof pats.



Cutlass rolls her eye at The Fish. "Your lack of logic does not sway me, crab. Immense power does not make you divine, no matter how much you delude yourself."

"You're right that I set out to the sea for freedom and adventure. But, the entire concept of gods diminishes that romanticism. The notion that anything has the potential to achieve such heights through their own mortal will is infinitely more appealing than this ridiculous divine farce."

"But, far be it from me to look a gift horse in the mouth. If you are willing to help, I won't say no. I just won't have the romantic idea of adventure dragged through the mud with these foolish notions of being 'illogical'."


"Now when you say battle… Is that going to be real or be like what we did with you?"


"Hmm… is it possible that, if they are not who they claim, that they perhaps somehow inherited the memories as well? Otherwise, that does seem as if it is a good argument for them being, well… genuine."

Alder digs through his pouch and finds a cooked piece of fish for Cerulean- she seems hungry!

"I suppose we should try to be, well… timely. Go ahead?"


"Hmm," the Fish says. "Having not lost my divine spirit, can't really say one way or the other… but it's plausbile. Ritual impersonation of the gods, so precise as to even remember details, as if you'd lived them yourself… they'd make good Mechpriests if nothing else."

"No, no, true god from true god over here…" Kukulcan insists, annoyed.

"I meant the final battle to drive away the Vault," the Fish says. "But who knows, the Sun Serpent may want to test you himself. Be ready to ball."

Two Reeds, claimant to divinity, impostor goddess of magic and warfare, bone of the earth, blood of the sea, breath of the sky… accepts the headpats with meek humility.

The Fish just blinks at you a few times. "Tch, man you don't get invited to *nothing*, do you?"

"I-I… will invite her to my birthday," Ossie counters.

"That's a lie!" Schnitzel cackles.


"To summon the Sun Serpent," the Fish continues. "I'm gonna need to piss him off 'til he deigns to come on down and take a bite outta me. All of you, focus your minds on me. Gather up your fears, worries, doubts and even your guilts, wad 'em up like a ball, then send 'em right at me! I'll use that power to put a pincher in ol' Sunny boy' side and get his attention."

Your allies, a bit caught off guard by the unorthodox command, take a moment to think, before closing their eyes in meditative focus.


"Right, forgot about that one too…"

Cloud's a little surprised by the method of calling down the Sun Serpent.
"Fears and worries? Easy, this island was full of them," Cloud quips as he focuses on such to send to the Fish. It comes relatively easy, with his near death experience, dealing with Stone Cold Classic, and his other trials on the island. And then the future worries with Chiu and their kid coming, plenty of emotion is focused up.



"With Aura, there's a thousand and one ways to lie convincingly."


"I've been invited to enough 'parties' to know that they are not a place that I want to be," Cutlass says flatly. "Thus the aforementioned desire for freedom."


"And, for the record, while I am focusing my doubts at you, it's only because I'm convinced that you have an aura power that does something with it," she says stubbornly as she focuses all the pent up frustration she has experienced over the past few days at this dumb crab.



[1d10] for Cutlass to feel the unfiltered hate she feels at just about every moment

Roll #1 1 = 1


"Mechpriest? I assume they work on the strange machines we have interacted with? Why does light seem to mess with them, anyways?"

Thinking negatively certainly doesn't seem difficult to Alder- he's got plenty to be worried about. Between Splendid's delayed death, the attacks that have been going on, his laundry list of concerns and, fears, and worries of not being good enough…



[1d10] to not cry

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Oooo! Barbecue! I have no idea what that is, but it sounds good!" Perhaps understandable, considering it'd be kind of tough to grill/barbecue anything while submerged in water.

Cerulean eyes the cooked fish a bit, despite all the sushi she ate earlier. Though she shakes her head, turning it down, in order to save as much stomach room as possible for the near-future barbeque.

"That's…odd. Don't think I ever really threw anything like that before. So I just…." She begins trying, not sure how to link her mind up with Fish's mind, but she began thinking about the times she was worried for the others she's been traveling with, especially the ones who went missing for awhile or were getting possessed by the black seawater gunk. Then was the worry over her various pets/travel buddies and making sure they were safe. And what if she didn't like barbecue?! Then calling Sun Serpent down might be all for nothing!


Alder blinks in surprise, and giggles a little bit. Tucking the fish away for later, he settles with reaching up to pat Cerulean's shoulder.


Willow was a bit perturbed by that thought, but did so as best he could.

Two Tons was moments from opening Reeds a hug, though upon the fish's request, opted to do so after the plan so as to not mess it up.

[1d10] Willow
[1d10] Two Tons

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


Cutlass's emotional turmoil gives your allies brief pause. But, should you choose to peek about during the silence, you might see that the others are not so far off. Splendid, Hollow Promise, and Auspicious Sign are likewise grimacing from their recent sufferings. And even the three assassins, normally so stoic, nonchalant, even flippant, cannot help but look ill at ease as they process their travails, all the mental and emotional damage that's built up. Physical wounds may heal with time, but those of the heart and mind require a deeper treatment – whether you are god, mortal, demon or otherwise. Perhaps this may be the first step of that peculiar medicine.

When you have transmitted your dark emotions in the direction of the Fish, you see him scuttling across the surface of the lake for a time, before he sinks back down below the surface. The water grows still… then darkens… bubbling, waves radiating from that center. Remembering the Fish's last appearance, your allies back away and find cover from the splash zone– just in time too, for the waves give way to rumbles, as if the lake shuddered in its very own earthquake…!

A massive eruption blasts forth from the lake, spraying rainfall through the sunlight! Out of the midst of the sunshower, a dreadful beast, chimeric and nightmarish, floods into the sky, sparking and snarling, bleeding and raving, mutated in accordance with all the dark fears of your confessions. The monstrosity hurtles into the sky, clawing its way toward the winged Serpent so high above. A blinding flash engulfs the two gods, flashing and strobing in a sight you can barely behold from how bright it is!

An eclipse engulfs the sky– as a burnt shape falls back down toward the water. The monstrous Fish plummets, his body black and charred, breaking apart in air. The Sun Serpent continues on his path across the firmament.

By the time the Fish reaches the lake, he is naught but a tiny crab shape, barely enough to disturb the water when he crashes into it.

But after him, amid a black rain of charred parts, there floats a diamond-shaped, flat object. It emanates a continuous, warm amber light, and resembles to you the scale of some kind of reptile.

The eyes of the Fish emerge from the surface of the lake after a time. He bubbles and foams, groaning with pain. "Ough… never gets easier. Yo, someone get this thing hitched up and tow it closer," he says, gesturing to the brilliant amber scale.


With the reminiscing past, Cloud steps back as the Fish dives back into the lake. He watches the show as it rockets into the air to clash with the Sun Serpent, glad they don't have to fight it themselves after seeing the Fish char mostly away.
With the scale floating over the water, Cloud looks for a net to fish it in at the crab's direction.
"So you just knocked a piece off of it?"


Cerulean watches the fireworks occur, and everything quite literally falling. She blinks a bit and promptly asks, "so is this that 'barbeque' stuff you were talking about?"

Once she got an answer, she's swim out and help by trying to jump out of the water to bash into it to move it closer.


Needless to say, Alder is a little shocked by the eruption and the eclipse- he hadn't been certain of what to expect, but it was likely to be terrifying nonetheless! He lets out a nervous warble and scoots back, but… when it finally lands, it's almost nothing. "Ehm… w-what, exactly did that do? I thought we needed the entire thing…"



Cutlass goes uncharacteristically silent during these events, mostly just experiencing an intense amount of ennui that causes her to tear up. The most effort she puts into anything is hiding her tears.


Cutlass silently tows the scale to shore with her telekinesis.


Two Tons rushed over, mind overwhelmed but managing to get into trying to help tow it in with a net.

[1d10] Two Tons

Willow meanwhile was uncomfortable about it all the theatrics, but calmed once it slowed down "Thats better." he muttered uncomfortably

Roll #1 9 = 9


"I did a lot more damage than that, for the record," the Fish says. "But if the whole ass Sun Serpent were to float on down here, we'd all be barbecue!"

You tow the scale back to shore, finding it surprisingly heavy. You eventually leave it some distance out, for the scale radiates a significant heat in addition to its light. Then, as it comes to a halt, the surface of the scale darkens, revealing a curling, twining shape – a snake, clad in feathered, magnificently vibrant rainbow wings. Regalia adorns it, headdress, robe, cloak, bespeckled jewelry of obsidian and turquoise, gleaming and majestic and ancient.

"Brother," Kukulcan and Two Reeds whisper.

"Sister… Brother…" a voice, deep and reverberating, replies from the surface of the scale. "You're… a bit different from how I last saw you. But you'll do. You'll do."

The Sun Serpent's gaze turns your way in silent appraisal – the judgment of a god.


Cloud is surprised as the scale rises up as a smaller serpent.
"Hold on, there's two serpents now?" He asks, looking up to the Sun Serpent still in the sky.


WIllow didn't wilt as he looked up at the majestic serpent, eyes analytically evaluating it, making a note to make an aurascope, and he quickly moved to that breaking down his fishing device quickly.

Two Tons meanwhile was far more in awe, presumably still having the crab upon his back, he waved up at the serpent "Wow you're huge!"



Cutlass watches these happenings with fascination. She contemplates what these things were before they become so powerful. A thought occurs to her…

>Soul Sight on "The Fish"


Alder squirms a little bit when the image of the snake on the scale turns to look at him, before huffing a little.

"Hmm? No, I imagine this is like… a visual version of a calling conch, perhaps? A projection."

"Hmm- so, you can recognize them, sort of? But, ah, that is not important- we ought to get to the point, yes?"


Cerulean blinks at the large serpent looking at her, and she doesn't seem to know how to react from the intense entrance. Though she eventually blurts out the first thing on her mind.
"Huh, neat. So a family reunion in addition to a fishing trip."


The divine miniature of the Sun Serpent looks your way, then flicks its head back. "Sup foo– uh, hmm. Hmhmhmph." It clears its throat. "Greetings, mortals."

The Fish nods as Alder prompts them for the point. "Right. They've passed my little trial. Now it's your turn to test them, Sunny."

"I've been keeping an eye on them," the Sun Serpent says. "And I have heard the Moon Serpent attest to what she has seen of them. Nothing on this island we do not see. We have seen them aid this island, the people, the gods, the land, the animals… and the impostors alike."

Kululcan and Two Reeds shudder, but do not protest as they have been before.

"I know they're good people," the Sun Serpent says. "Well– 'good' might be a strong word. Reliable, let's go with that. So, I see little need to subject them to further tests, if they are in a rush to meet our common enemies."

Even as it says this, you see the Serpent's tail a-rattling. The tip of its tail holds a golden, radiant orb. The tail rattles, twirls the ball, then starts to dribble it. "… but if they feel like a little more practice…" the Serpent continues. "I can oblige."

Splendid's eyes glimmer with familiarity as she remembers the ball game over which the beetle watchkeeper presided.

In your mind's eye, you see a simple brackish water crab lingering near the mouth of the river. It is a mere beast, simple in thought, simple in desire. Yet as nature is given to a peculiar taste for mutation and randomness, this crab did not come out of its eggshell without a few idiosyncrasies of its own. It is possessed of a curiosity more alike a sapient creature. Strange and unfamiliar things, it finds itself drawn towards. So when the people of the neighboring town carve themselves an idol of stone, only to drown it in the lake, and throw stones and curses at it… this crab's curiosity draws it closer.

The Fish catches you staring at it, and stares right back.



Curiosity drove the crustacean to be more than it is. Cutlass can understand this. She even sees a bit of herself in it. She nods at The Fish when it stares back at her.

Then, she looks to the miniature version of the Sun Serpent.

>Soul Vision


"Hmm… oh! I think we have done that before, yes- though, that looks a little bit more dangerous to play with than a standard ball." Alder suggests, before looking to the others. "Should we go for a little more practice, or?" He asks, tilting his head and looking to the others.


Willow continued to idly dismantle his machine and create his aurascope as he wasn't entirely focused on the serpents words.

Two Tons though noticed that dribble of the ball curiously and tilted his head with interest at it.


"Hey, I think I've done a pretty good job at being good," Cloud counters as the Serpent judges them.
As it speaks of them being fairly reliable with little need for further test, he smiles in relief.
"Oh, cool. That sounds perfect."


Nature does not distribute its qualities evenly across its progeny. This snake, one of a sizable clutch, was not curious, but it was sociable, as far as snakes ever can be. Ancient astrologers, seeking apt metaphors for the trajectory of heavenly bodies and the festivals and fastings they bring, found their images in nature. Quite literally picking up a snake to demonstrate. This snake and its sister realized they would be fed and cared for if they tolerated this attention from these mathematicians, and so accepted the roles provided them, attending ceremonies, carrying the ritual orbs representing Sun and Moon. Habit became duty, repeated for centuries with pride undiminished.

"Are you okay?" the Sun Serpent asks as you stare.

"She needs some shades, we're blinding her," the Fish suggests.

"Regardless of the answer," the Sun Serpent says. "Tomorrow morning, we should strike. With each passing night, the Metal Men advance further from the Vault, taking more of our island away. Now that we are gathered and strengthened, I will spend this night amassing my strength, and direct the Moon Serpent to send word to all those others you have aided, so that we may be ready."

The Fish nods. "Those of you ready to ball, he'll show you the way."

The scale bearing the Sun Serpent's muted image starts floating toward the northern end of town. Any who wish to observe or partake of the ball game, are advised to follow. Droplet, Make Believe Splendid and Colobok head on up, while Ossie stays with Cutlass. Hollow, Auspicious and Schnitzel stay as well.

>optional encounter (ballin) available, as is a timeskip to the evening, your last chance to prepare for the attack on the Vault


"Ready to ball?" Cloud questions. Seeing a good deal of the others follow after the Sun Serpent, Cloud follows suit, wondering what's up.



Cutlass smirks. "I find your existence to be very fascinating," she says to the two 'gods'.


"Regardless of your opinions of the game itself, it would be rude to not at least watch," Cutlass says to her crew. "If you've a mind to play, go ahead and do so. I, personally, am not much for… that sort of physical activity. But, I always appreciate watching high level play."


"If you do play, do take care not to lose another body part," Cutlass advises sarcastically.


"Ready to ball? Ball what?" Cerulean, with her shark-like curiosity, begins to follow more on an instinctual level of wanting to find out what is about to be balled.


Two Tons opted to join in, dragging Willow to watch while he tinkered.

>Two Tons joins ballin


You can feel it in the air. You need no soul sight, magic, nor any other ability to sense it. This Sun Serpent is about to retort with something incredibly rude in front of everybody, retaliation for your fascination and doubt.

But the Fish draws near to the Serpent, and whispers something. The sense of danger recedes. An act of mercy. Ossie's hackles fall back down as she relaxes.


"Thunder Serpent!" the Sun Serpent calls. "You're in charge of the barbecue. You and Smoke-and-Mirrors."

Just happy to be acknowledged by their titles, Two Reeds and Kukulcan accept this deputation.

The Sun Serpent leads you north, where in an open space much like an amphitheater, you see a great walled arena with raised seating all about. Mounted on one wall is a stone ring. The Sun Serpent floats toward the middle of the arena. In a divine act, the Serpent pushes the orb forward, and it actually leaves the surface of the scale, a glowing orb of light, that peculiarly has its own weight and heft, and plenty of bounce.

"We can split up into as many teams as you like," the Serpent says. "Basically, whichever team gets the most goals when time's up, they win."

The Sun Serpent expounds on a few more particular rules, concerning the appropriate and forbidden use of limbs, sportsman-like conduct, and sudden death. It's all fairly straightforward to handle.

"Oh. And captain of the losing team(s) gets put on the barbecue."

"Like, they have to cook?" Splendid asks.

The Sun Serpent licks his lips.

Splendid gulps nervously.

"He's just messing with you," says the Fish. "We don't do that. Anymore."


"Hrm… well, if we are going to waity until tomorrow anyways, why not do a little bit of… 'balling'? Splendid and I did it before- it was rather fun, I think." He suggests, prodding Splendid's side and smiling.


Cloud looks around the amphitheater, wondering what they'll be doing until he sees the ring on the wall.
"Oh, so its kinda like an old form basketball," He says, getting interested in ballin'.
"…I think I'll pass as captain," He comments at the serpent's last rule.

"What could I possible lose in a ball game?" Cloud says dismissively.



"Smoke-and-Mirrors?" Cutlass asks, looking to Two Reeds, assuming that is supposed to be her 'divine' title.


Cutlass finds herself the most comfortable seat in the amphitheater.

>[1d10] to find best seat

"I expect nothing but the best from my anyone on my crew who intends to participate," Cutlass provides her own rendition of cheering from the sidelines after the rules are explained.

Roll #1 9 = 9


Two Tons raised his hoof "I'll try being a captain!"

Willow took a seat and resumed making his device.


"Soooo…just get a ball through a hoop? Seems harder in the air than in the ocean." Cerulean watches as the game seems simple enough. The deluge of rules information seems to go through her head without sticking too well, but she seemed more like a learn-by-doing sort of shark anyway.

"But there will still be an after-game meal, right? Its hard to not feel hungry after doing a lot of moving around and stuff," she says/asks in response to Fish's reassurance of nobody ending up on the barbe.


"That's me!" Two Reeds says. "The mirror is obsidian."

The seats, being made of stone, take a certain perspective on life and materialism to be comfortable. But to aid that along, the monkeys bring you an old scrap of blanket to serve as a cushion if you want it.

"Yup," the Sun Serpent agrees. "Winner gets first in line!"

With that less violent wager on the table, a wave of competitive fervor emboldens your allies. Rather, most of them are actually about to become your rivals in sport and in feasting.

>Those who wish to participate, remind me of your hair color, and select your teams

"We'll do a practice round to warm up," the Fish says. "Don't need you pullin' or tearin' nothing before the big battle on la mañana."

The Sun Serpent tries to whistle so he can be the referee, but failing that, as he lacks lips, he settles for establishing his rattle as the signal.


Cloud isn't too intensely focused on winning for the time being. This feels like a nice relaxing break from the fighting that he welcomes.
"Good idea," He comments at the proposition of a practice round, taking the time to do some stretches to not mess with his recently recovered body.
>Good with whatever team. Blue mane

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