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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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File 139315339009.png - (385.76KB , 1800x1200 , 1.png )
563992 No. 563992 ID: 30357e

Unfortunately, the sky is the limit.
Expand all images
>>
No. 563993 ID: 30357e
File 139315340979.png - (182.47KB , 900x900 , 2.png )
563993

Astral hates the road.
It's so long. Endless, even. Yet it's her only hope.
For this road is the only road on which her kind can walk.
And she must keep moving.
>>
No. 563994 ID: dee30d

Is there no branching points? No rest stops? What pray tell is the nature of the star-filled road?
>>
No. 563995 ID: 53ba34

your kind? are there more like you?
>>
No. 563997 ID: 576d9b

What drives you onwards? An objective, enemies, the simple reality of living?
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No. 563998 ID: 13ef94

why not step off the road... and start making your own?
>>
No. 563999 ID: 30357e
File 139315930648.png - (242.63KB , 900x900 , 3.png )
563999

>Is there no branching points? No rest stops? What pray tell is the nature of the star-filled road?

It wasn't supposed to be used this way.
It was for lost stars to find their way back home.
But that's the last thing dear Astral wants to do.
So she walks this endless road of gas, trying very hard to get lost.
>>
No. 564001 ID: 30357e
File 139315937319.png - (303.96KB , 900x900 , 4.png )
564001

>why not step off the road... and start making your own?

She wishes for nothing more than that.
She searches for a new way out at every fork on the road.
...Could this be the one?
>>
No. 564003 ID: 0b54f4

Perhaps. One way to find out, I suppose.

What happens if you simply try to step off the path?
>>
No. 564017 ID: 9ddf68

looks kinda like a black hole, are those good or bad?
>>
No. 564040 ID: a87e3a

>>564001
Is that a black hole?
>>
No. 564082 ID: 30357e
File 139322491395.png - (234.90KB , 900x900 , 5.png )
564082

>Is that a black hole?
Astral doesn't think it's a Hollow. But she's been wrong before.
>are those good or bad?
Hollows are the most terrifying thing Astral can imagine, besides the Reckoning.
>What happens if you simply try to step off the path?
Without a trail, she'll be stuck again. Astral wants none of that.

Astral is disappointed, as usual. It's just a large comet.
Not even any gas for her to drink.
She wonders whether she should try to take some of the ICE - it might prove useful later.
On the other hand, her bag doesn't have a lot of room to carry things, especially considering it contains her FUEL SUPPLY and ASTRAL SPARK. She can only carry around four relevant items without losing concentration and burning something up.

Should Astral take the ICE?
>>
No. 564083 ID: 53ba34

can you just, drop it later if we have to? then i say yes.
>>
No. 564084 ID: a87e3a

Sure, let's take it. Still a decent amount of room in the inventory.
>>
No. 564122 ID: e9e331

take it for now, might come in handy down the road and if not we can always just toss it.
>>
No. 564127 ID: 4a75fa

You can always discard the ice later if you need the room for something else, right? You might as well take it. Maybe it'll be useful.
>>
No. 568974 ID: 30357e
File 139651708630.png - (187.90KB , 900x600 , 6.png )
568974

>Sure, let's take it.

Astral carefully melts all but a small part of the comet, placing it in her bag. It might be useful later.
>>
No. 568975 ID: 30357e
File 139651721774.png - (128.43KB , 900x600 , 7.png )
568975

And then she returns to the road.

It doesn't take long before another detour emerges.

On the left, a dying star. She might be able to learn something from it, if it hasn't already gone hollow.

On the right, a newborn star. She might be able to catch some of the excess fuel that the baby can't hold on to.

In the middle, the endless road continues.

Which path should she take?
>>
No. 568976 ID: 256d52

Talk to the dying star. You need wisdom more than food.
>>
No. 568991 ID: ffa549

>>568976
I'd agree with this.
>>
No. 569004 ID: 95fea5

>>568976
sounds good
>>
No. 569168 ID: 461142

giving it some company is the least you can do for a dying, uh, man?
>>
No. 569185 ID: 9ddf68

could we do both? talk to the dying star and then see what we can get from the newborn?
>>
No. 569280 ID: e1609c

favicon in the favicon thread, go approve it if you like it
>>
No. 569287 ID: 2c6ff1

So uh, our choices are to possibly gain wisdom but risk being EATEN, or gain fuel and risk... what? Nothing?

I'd rather go for the low-risk option personally.
>>
No. 569981 ID: 30357e
File 139712241236.png - (140.65KB , 900x600 , 8.png )
569981

>Talk to the dying star. You need wisdom more than food.

Astral wanders close to the ancient creature.

It's one of the oldest she's seen. She wonders how it has survived in such a state, but then sees its many limbs, grasping in all directions for any scrap of food.

Is this her future? No. She'll never end up like this.

But maybe it knows something about how to escape the road, or a way to survive. Its decrepit gaze settles on her. She hopes it's not considering her for dinner.

She resolves to ask her questions and quickly leave. The atmosphere is... uncomfortable.
>>
No. 569983 ID: 189a54

Keep at a safe distance from his tendrils just in case, and inquire about what he's doing here, and about his life. Maybe he had a similar goal as you.
>>
No. 569988 ID: 53ba34

ask if he has ever seen a way off the path.
>>
No. 569993 ID: ffa549

Be polite, and ask ask the elder if it would be willing to share any of its wisdom with you. You seek an escape from the road.
>>
No. 570017 ID: 1c677c

Ask why there is duality, darkness to contrast light
>>
No. 571344 ID: 30357e
File 139783320238.png - (99.24KB , 900x600 , 9.png )
571344

>Keep at a safe distance from his tendrils just in case, and inquire about what he's doing here, and about his life. Maybe he had a similar goal as you.

Astral keeps far away from the ancient, but it seems she doesn't have to worry. Its long arms are stretched too far, and its movements are slow and easily predictable.

She asks about the ancient's life. Its words are as slow and deliberate as its actions.

I am Elt. I was born from the remnants of Sy and Wro.

This means nothing to Astral. She never cared much for ancestry. At least she knows Elt's name. Elt continues.

I have never strayed from my duty. I have outlasted original predictions. I am now free. You, too, are free. But far too young to have done your duty. You may be simply lost, or, possibly, a Fallen. Either way, the Reckoning will find you in time. But I will speak to you for now. It is rare to find another, let alone a listener. Speak, that I might find catharsis.

>Ask why there is duality, darkness to contrast light

Since First Light, we have existed in opposition to the darkness. Our origins are unknown, but our purpose is clear.

Elt hesitates, glancing at Astral.

...Clear to some. We are the lights in the darkness. The lonely sentinels of this empty mire which surrounds us. We may fade, but from our corpses rise new sentinels.

Astral asks what the sentinels defend against.

Anything which might threaten the road, or each other. Our enemies within, such as the Hollows, the Fallen, and our enemy without... that force at the edge of all things. The Darkness. It cannot be understood, nor destroyed, but it affects everything, and it has always been our enemy. We fight it simply by existing. Our light is our weapon.

>ask if he has ever seen a way off the path.
>You seek an escape from the road.

...You wish to willingly elude the Reckoning? To stray from the path? You are destined to become a Fallen, there's no doubt about that.

Astral's hopes fall, but Elt rumbles slightly, as if uncomfortable.

There is a way. As I am free, I may tell you without fear of reprisal. But I will not help without incentive.

Astral hesitates, fearing she knows the answer. Nonetheless, she asks what Elt wants.

I am weakening. I need to be rekindled. Give me your fuel, and lend me your spark to burn it. Then I will show you the way.

Astral isn't sure. This could be her way out. But fuel is hard to find on the road, and she won't last long without it. The idea of letting Elt touch her soul is also a bit worrying.

What should she do?
>>
No. 571350 ID: 189a54

It doesn't seem like you have much of a choice in the matter. Fuel may be hard to come by, but an opportunity like this might never come again. Accept his demands; if you're really worried about not being able to find more you could always just hide a small amount for yourself before giving the rest.
>>
No. 571351 ID: 9294dc

you could always start eating Elt until he coughs up the info, since he's harmless.
>>
No. 571352 ID: ed883b

I would ask of you to tell the truth, but as I do not know it, it may hinder as much as help you. So I advise you tell that you seek not to leave the path so much as see beyond it. The darkness so shrouds everything beyond our light, surely there is more that lies in that deepest void eternal, waiting for one so brave as to risk their very soul to bring light to it?
I do not entirely trust him either, but even free of his duty, he may still be bound to his morals. That said, he may have also embraced his "freedom" as a way to escape his morality, and his fate.
You must give him reason not to turn on you. Reason to believe you might well return to the path with knowledge no other star has ever found.
>>
No. 571354 ID: 824f43

In this moment, Elt, you are free. But will you remain so, if you are rekindled? You spoke before with conviction; you believe in the duty I seek to escape. You lived one life for those beliefs. Can I truly trust you would betray that same purpose for another life?
>>
No. 571355 ID: 9ddf68

isn't there that newborn just behind you? couldn't you replenish yourself from some of the stray fuel from her or is that a no? If so then might as well go with this guy's plan if not I say keep walking, you now know there is a way off the path but we just have to find it and hopefully without giving up more of ourselves then we can recover.
>>
No. 571378 ID: 2c6ff1

>>571344
If he truly thinks you are destined to become Fallen then he might just kill you. You should try to convince him of your moral character before allowing him to get so close. Tell him why you want off the road, and ask how you can trust him to not eat you wholesale. That is the danger, right? If he can touch your soul he could eat you?

What is a Fallen anyway?
>>
No. 571410 ID: 30357e
File 139787140969.png - (147.17KB , 900x600 , 10.png )
571410

>you could always start eating Elt until he coughs up the info

Astral... will keep that in mind. She isn't sure it's necessary. Not yet, anyway.

>isn't there that newborn just behind you? couldn't you replenish yourself from some of the stray fuel from her

Astral keeps this in mind. She may be able to scrounge enough excess fuel from the newborn to make it for a while.

Now the only problem is trusting Elt with her Spark.

>That is the danger, right? If he can touch your soul he could eat you?

Astral worries that Elt might simply extinguish her. Astral's Spark is small and bright, but vulnerable when exposed.

>In this moment, Elt, you are free. But will you remain so, if you are rekindled?
>even free of his duty, he may still be bound to his morals.
>You spoke before with conviction; you believe in the duty I seek to escape.

I have already outlived all predictions, and outlasted my duty. My vigil is over. I wish now only to wander and to learn. I hold no judgments over you, I merely state facts. The Reckoning will find you eventually. You will Fall. But the Reckoning no longer holds power over me, and thus I see no reason not to help you. But I need to eat.

>You must give him reason not to turn on you.
>You should try to convince him of your moral character before allowing him to get so close. Tell him why you want off the road

Astral breathes in deep, and then tells Elt everything.

Her birth. Her brief childhood. Her assignment. Her escape.

Elt asks many questions, and Astral answers everything she can.

The questions Elt asks and the answers Astral gives will take the form of a discussion/question thread. http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/80950.html This thread will continue as a side discussion/question thread about anything Wandering Stars-y. Astral will answer questions posted in either thread.

Elt seems more understanding of Astral's situation, but it's hard to gauge his emotions.

Fascinating. You are a true anomaly, and I hope the Reckoning realizes that. Still, I must eat before I help you on this journey. Do not fear me. I will not cut short a story this interesting.
>>
No. 571411 ID: 2c6ff1

>>571410
Do it.
>>
No. 571417 ID: d22893

>>571410
He seems like an ok guy.
I would trust him, so go ahead.
>>
No. 571421 ID: 9ddf68

...there still is that kid behind you... god damnit I don't want to do this but at the same time he might have something that will save your ass down the line if these Reckoning do come after you.
>>
No. 571429 ID: 824f43

...there is little chance you will find success along the path you have chose if you are not willing to take risks.

Bare your spark to him.
>>
No. 571467 ID: 7a750e

fiiiine.
you can eat him afterwards.
>>
No. 571821 ID: 30357e
File 139809398748.gif - (1.00MB , 900x600 , 11.gif )
571821

>fiiiine.
>Do it.
>go ahead.
>Bare your spark to him.

Astral breathes deeply, prepares herself, then opens her coat slightly.
>>
No. 571822 ID: 30357e
File 139809404786.png - (11.95KB , 900x600 , 12.png )
571822

...

"I feel weird."
>>
No. 571823 ID: 30357e

>>571821

(animated)
>>
No. 571825 ID: 824f43

Huh. Was that supposed to happen?

Where are we now? Is this some sort of mental landscape, or are you someplace different? Is the road still here? Are you the same? You look different.
>>
No. 571843 ID: ca0da5

>>571823
Why doesn't it loop?
You look... rather sharp now. Are sparks normally so bright they flood the immediate vicinity in light?
>>
No. 571844 ID: 23e893

you look weird.

where's the geezer?
>>
No. 571855 ID: 6adc92

Oh dear.
Have you gone all inside out? 'Spose you wouldn't know.
Looks like you're off the path though! And...still alive, maybe sort of. We should probably check that. Blank white voids are usually the worst possible place to wake up after baring your soul to ancient morally ambiguous zealots in exchange for existentially pertinent favors. But you know, you were, after all, trying to leave everything you've ever known or experienced, so a little novel sensation is to be expected.
>>
No. 571872 ID: a641d9

look around
>>
No. 572031 ID: f20c15

>>571822
Might be worth pulling at yourself a little.
>>
No. 572043 ID: 30357e
File 139826322913.gif - (168.04KB , 900x600 , 13.gif )
572043

>Might be worth pulling at yourself a little.

"It's hard to touch anything. It's all... shaky."

>a little novel sensation is to be expected.

"It isn't bad, just... weird."

>look around

"Not much to see."

>where's the geezer?

"I don't see anybo... oh, hello."

{animated}
>>
No. 572045 ID: 824f43

Elt? Is that you?

What's happening? I don't understand.
>>
No. 572046 ID: d0f81e

don't tell him he looks even uglier than before.
>>
No. 572060 ID: ca65e6

>>572043
A bit frayed around the edges, isn't he?
>>
No. 575155 ID: 30357e
File 140063173728.png - (307.33KB , 900x600 , 14.png )
575155

>>Elt? Is that you? What's happening? I don't understand.

"Yeah, Elt, what's going on?"

"Your spark reacted violently... I believe our sparks are merging, but this place - I do not understand. A space of utter light and... whispering voices?"

>A bit frayed around the edges, isn't he?

"Yeah, what's up with that? I thought I just helped you."

"From what messenger do these strange messages come from? This place is unnatural, child. We have to go. The longer we stay here, the more our sparks shall degrade."

"I don't know... What do you guys think?"

"You turn to the voices for guidance? What power do they hold over you?"

"Quiet, Elt, I need to listen."

"..."
>>
No. 575156 ID: 2bfcdf

Er, wait, I thought we were just part of your mind or something. Well, that's mysterious. Maybe we're the origin of light itself or some weird shit like that.

Follow your elder's advice, don't endanger him or yourself. It's not like you can do anything here, wherever here is. Should your sparks be merging? I suspect not, but is it a good or bad thing?
>>
No. 575157 ID: e1609c

>>575155
We give her advice, mostly. Nothing sinister, in all we guide we simply seek success in whatever their goals might be. Call it a hobby.
Anyhow, I'm wondering what would happen if you and elt were to touch here. As it is, I cant think of anything else to do that would get us out of here, it being a GREAT STONKING WHITE VOID.
>>
No. 575158 ID: 53ba34

the only thing i can think of that would have such an inversion is to have somehow entered the Antimatter universe, where everything is opposite.
>>
No. 575160 ID: d6c045

>>575155
Well, people do what we ask them to, so probably lots?

Don't worry we're totally irresponsible reliable sources of information and advice.

Given the tidal forces involved neither of you are going to be able to pull away without getting hurt. Is fusing like this such a bad thing?
>>
No. 575161 ID: ca0da5

If there is some safe method of departing this "realm" and returning to as it was before, then by all means, go for it.

We are, in a sense, "children," Elt. We are not pure innocence, but we do intend to help, yet at the same time, do not know much unless we are told it.
>>
No. 575192 ID: 761017

>>575158
That's not how antimatter works, unless that is how it works here in Astral's universe?

I think, perhaps, Astral may actually contain/may be a wormhole made stable by exotic matter, linking to another universe. The light is probably a flood of virtual particles as they are probably close to violating the Visser limit by passing back to the other side, bringing Astral's wormhole too close to a parent wormhole and forming a closed timelike curve.

As for the whispering, who knows? Maybe it's not a wormhole to another universe, but to another layer of existence, where the physical pales to dimness in comparison to the metaphysical energies that abound. Holographic universes are a thing after all, and "magic" is simply affecting the a chosen super-layer's projection so as to affect the end-hologram in a specific way.
>>
No. 575193 ID: 761017

>>575155
>"You turn to the voices for guidance? What power do they hold over you?"

The power of companionship!
>>
No. 575197 ID: 2bfcdf

Wait, actually, let's test that power. See if we actually have any.

Astral, do a little dance.
>>
No. 575204 ID: 9a281a

>From what messenger do these strange messages come from?
We're... listeners. Observers. Advisers. We aid those who listen on their journeys, and remember their stories. All we ever ask in return for our help is the privileged of being an audience.

I would suspect it was Astal's desire to be free of her fate, the same desire that drove her to risk exposing her spark to you, that drew us to her. We're drawn to stories worth remembering, and where we will have an impact.

>we should go, this place is dangerous, what do you think?
We know nothing of this place, the risk it poses, or why our whisperings have here become overt.

However, by the same token, I doubt Elt understands what this place is, or what risk it actually poses to you. His caution may be prudent, but the advantages and hazards of lingering versus a swift departure are... unknowable.

How do you depart a place when you are not sure of your means of entry?
>>
No. 575349 ID: 321d85

Well, you should probably try to avoid letting your sparks merge, at least.
>>
No. 598537 ID: 30357e
File 141347562491.png - (174.84KB , 900x900 , 15.png )
598537

Astral has... dreams, she thinks. Yet they fade so quickly.

"You wake, fractured one? After so long, I did not think it possible."

"E..lt?" Astral whispers the name, pausing to realize her voice is broken, and looks down to see her warped body beneath her.

"I have watched over you. I could not stay with you in that place forever. When I returned, you were like this, sleeping, twisting.

Astral stares at herself. What's happening to her? Could she be... "...hol...low?"

"I do not think so. Just out of focus, I believe, but I cannot be certain. You are an anomaly in many ways. For all I know, this could be your version of Hollowing."

Astral tries to speak, but fails. As her body briefly splinters and her spark is wrenched, she screeches a tortured sound. Her anguish seems to twist her form even further.
>>
No. 598538 ID: 436cdc

Try to calm down, if you can. There's not much we can do about this, so it would be a futile endeavor to panic over it.
>>
No. 598540 ID: 8b533b

Stop fighting it. Relax, calm yourself, wait for it to pass. Allow yourself to stabilize, to come into focus. Trashing and struggling will only destabilize or warp you further.
>>
No. 598541 ID: 2fd516

>>598537
Focus, Astral. You must recover. This state cannot be permanent.
>>
No. 598548 ID: 30357e
File 141347906078.png - (343.20KB , 900x900 , 16.png )
598548

>Focus, Astral. You must recover. This state cannot be permanent.
>Try to calm down, if you can.
>Stop fighting it. Relax, calm yourself, wait for it to pass. Allow yourself to stabilize, to come into focus.

Yes... Yes.

Astral shuts off her senses, reaches out through her spark, collecting the splintered embers of her being.

Yes. She feels them. She knows them. She reaches out. Tentatively, they respond. Old friends recognizing each other.
>>
No. 598549 ID: 30357e
File 141347909851.png - (105.16KB , 900x900 , 17.png )
598549

Eventually, she feels connected, stable. Maybe not whole, but close enough for now.

Elt hands her her things silently, observing her. She grasps them weakly.

In time, Elt speaks again. ”I do not especially care for you, aberration, child though you may be. Once you have recovered, I shall uphold the bargain, and tell you what you wish to know. After that, I shall leave you.

Astral nods, thoughts still hazy, her items hanging limply in her shaking limbs.
>>
No. 598551 ID: 9ddf68

so what were the questions you wanted to ask him again? How can you leave the path without becoming fallen? How can you live without worrying about the Reckoning? The hell happened to you? these sound good right?

Oh and is that newborn star still letting off extra fuel? It might help to collect some.
>>
No. 598553 ID: 8b533b

>>598549
Awful cold, considering you damn near killed yourself, or maybe worse, just to give him a second chance. Ingrate.

Still, you're in no condition to call him on it. You're weak, and we're getting the information you paid dearly for.

>what ask
How to elude the Reckoning. What do you need to know, to do, to stray from the path?

How long were you out? What happened? You've never heard of someone exposing their spark going like this. He calls you an anomaly, an aberration, what does he see that makes you so different?
>>
No. 598565 ID: 4f004c

>>598553
>Awful cold, considering you damn near killed yourself, or maybe worse, just to give him a second chance. Ingrate.
Cold, maybe, but I don't think it's rude. He's being true and honest. Astral is an Aberration, yes; as the very definition is "Different from the normal." Astral not only is trying to wander away without becomming a hollow, she's got other differences as well.
He does not care for her status as an aberration, that is a two way statement. He does not enjoy it, but it does not repulse him, either. He does fear what may happen if he spends more time around her, as her exposed spark was quite dangerous indeed, but he's not about to run for the hills, he'll simply wander off on his own merry old way after giving her what she asked for in exchange.
>>
No. 598574 ID: 30357e
File 141349624707.png - (87.61KB , 900x900 , 18.png )
598574

>The hell happened to you?
>How long were you out? What happened?

”I have no idea. In my several billion revolutions, I have not seen anything like that place. A void - not of darkness, but of light… And those voices… Our minds touched along with our sparks, and I followed you into that space. I tried to pull you out, but you seemed adamant about staying, listening. As I woke from the merging, I found you twisted and unconscious. You remained that way for a few hundred of my revolutions.”

>He calls you an anomaly, an aberration, what does he see that makes you so different?

Astral hardly needs to ask, but she does so anyway.

”You work against your own kind. You betrayed the Reckoning. You wander without a system, flitting about on the Path. Your road will most likely bring nothing but ruin and suffering. You carry possessions with you, rather than waiting for them to come to you. In many ways, you are as much an oddity, a perversion, as any Hollow. At least in the eyes of the Reckoning, at any rate. Fortunately for you, I have had time to develop a less strict outlook.”

Yeah. About what she expected.

>How to elude the Reckoning. What do you need to know, to do, to stray from the path?
>How can you leave the path without becoming fallen? How can you live without worrying about the Reckoning?

The questions she has spent all of her life asking herself. She speaks them in a hushed, hoping tone. At the same time, she collects herself and seals her coat.

”Wherever you go on the Path, the Reckoning shall follow you. It is ever-reaching, ever-vigilant, and if you proceed the way you have, you will find no haven, no matter how far or how long you are willing to search."
>>
No. 598575 ID: 30357e
File 141349626817.png - (135.79KB , 900x900 , 19.png )
598575

Astral’s hopes seem to die with Elt’s words. She feels herself losing focus again, but Elt leans closer, keeping her together.

”Be patient, child. No, you can never find a way beyond the attention of the Reckoning… But you can find a way beneath it.”

Astral stares at Elt, mystified. He whispers a question, speaking in an unsettling tone.

”How much are you truly willing to give up, if it means you will attain your freedom?”
>>
No. 598577 ID: 2fd516

>>598575
So long as you have your spark and your mind, you will be fine.
>>
No. 598579 ID: 2ec61a

anything.
>>
No. 598584 ID: 88960e

Almost anything. So long as what I give up doesn't defeat the purpose. (For instance, suicide could be considered an escape, but it's not worth much).
>>
No. 598589 ID: 9ddf68

not sure. There's a limit but I just don't know where it lies. I'll know when I see it but at this point mostly anything... within reason.
>>
No. 598608 ID: 30357e
File 141350537044.png - (68.28KB , 900x900 , 20.png )
598608

>So long as you have your spark and your mind, you will be fine.

”And if you had to lose even that?”

Astral is surprised. The only things she’s ever heard of that could destroy a spark are the Reckoning and the Hollows. But after a moment of thought, she nods again.

>Almost anything. So long as what I give up doesn't defeat the purpose.

”Heh. Well, you shall have to work some philosophy on that part, I think. What’s important to you - what freedom means to you - could change, depending on how you find it.”

Elt turns, pacing a few steps. Astral waits, a little impatient.

”…There are worlds within our world, Astral.You may have even seen some of them, though they probably would have appeared as simple rocks to you. Many of these worlds are barren, lifeless; but for the few, the rare few, there are inhabitants. Faster creatures. In the time you slept, one could have grown, lived a full life, and died. Yet they live lives of passion and creativity, marking their small corners of the universe with indomitable will.”

Elt turns to look at Astral again. ”Their sparks die almost as fast as they are kindled, but they kindle sparks of their own. They have the rare gift of forging life from life, where we may only find birth in the death of others. This gift is so precious that the Reckoning guards these small worlds with our light, shielding them from the void. By its own decree, these worlds are not to be touched or disrupted, even by the Reckoning itself.”

Astral is confused. She asks Elt why he’s telling her this, if the worlds are so small.

”I am suggesting you descend, Astral. It would mean giving up your spark, and the vast majority of your lifespan, but it would give you the freedom that you seek. You would answer to no one, to nothing. But you would be a fraction of what you are now.”

”So, now that you know, tell me again. What… are you willing to give up?”
>>
No. 598614 ID: 88960e

...Wait, what happens to my spark, to the rest of me, if I do this? Where does it go? Does a small part of me just split off, while the rest wonders if it worked?

What would I be, on one of these little worlds? How would I become that?

How do I find one of these worlds?
>>
No. 598617 ID: 9ddf68

what do YOU think of this Astral? This is going to effect you most, so what do you think of it?

I mean if we're on our last legs and we're going down anyways I don't see much reason not to give it a shot but this sound like one of those "no going back" things. I will support either answer you choose but this is something you should think on before you decide.
>>
No. 598622 ID: 2fd516

>>598608
...well, what's the point of just wandering the path? There's nothing to do out here, is there?
>>
No. 598643 ID: 89b2a2

>>598608
Descending like that-abandoning your form-will lead to even further strangeness such as you are.

You must also find a suitable world to descend upon.

Finally, a whisper, since we appear to gather knowledge from elsewhere: Sometime there will be a tiny spark which may be able to affect and twist the very firmament. It may be useful to join that spark or ensure it may do so.

"A full life worth living is defined by the events that occur within, not the length upon which it is is measured."

Nevertheless, at the moment, you are young and healthy. Tell him such, and that you have time to ponder the question. Thank him politely for the advice and the company.
>>
No. 598666 ID: 30357e
File 141355792246.png - (229.78KB , 900x900 , 21.png )
598666

>what do YOU think of this Astral? This is going to effect you most, so what do you think of it?

Astral will do anything to be free. The Reckoning can’t be far away, now, considering how long she slept. She’s got to work fast if she wants a way out at all. She resolves to finish up quickly with Elt and get moving.

>"A full life worth living is defined by the events that occur within, not the length upon which it is is measured."
>There's nothing to do out here, is there?

Elt smiles. ”I suppose not. Then you have made your decision?”

Astral asks a few more questions, first.

>...Wait, what happens to my spark, to the rest of me, if I do this? Where does it go? Does a small part of me just split off, while the rest wonders if it worked?

”I do not know. It may be preferable to burn out with the help of another star., so that as much of your spark as possible survives.”

>What would I be, on one of these little worlds? How would I become that?

”You would be an equal to those small creatures which inhabit the planets. As for how to become that… You must focus yourself more tightly than ever before, constraining your spark until it is minuscule enough to descend. With your current spark, I doubt you could do so. Once again, I suggest burning as much of yourself away as possible.”

>How do I find one of these worlds?

”Ah. That would normally be the tricky part. Each of these precious worlds is guarded by a star like ourselves. But you are in luck.”

Elt conjures a simple image out of embers. ”Though you are an anomaly, you are not alone in defying the wishes of the Reckoning. One world-guardian has a similar… distaste… for the rules. His name is Stell, the Radical. If anyone can help you, he can. I may direct you to him, if you so wish.”
>>
No. 598682 ID: 2fd516

>>598666
Yes, please.
>>
No. 598692 ID: 9ddf68

>>598666
what can you tell me about Stell?
>>
No. 598797 ID: 330ce5

That sounds dandy let us descend upon a new world, let's get going!
>>
No. 598833 ID: 30357e
File 141364604872.png - (106.29KB , 900x900 , 22.png )
598833

>Yes, please

“Very well.” He creates a more complex image detailing three paths. “The leftmost road is the longest and safest, though if you fear the Reckoning catching up to you, it may be dangerous in that way. The middle road is comparatively the shortest, yet most protected. A number of guardians dot the path, and they will be less forgiving than I am. Finally, the rightmost path leads through a Hollow den. Though it is fairly short, it is, also, a Hollow den."

>what can you tell me about Stell?

“He has defied the decree of the Reckoning, and has begun communicating with the residents of his world. I do not believe he fully respects the power of the Reckoning. He is foolhardy, yet honorable. In this, I believe he is your perfect match.”

>That sounds dandy let us descend upon a new world, let's get going!

“Very well. Is there anything else, or shall we take our leave of one another?”
>>
No. 598840 ID: 9ddf68

well thank you for your help

so Astral, what can you tell us about guardians and hollows as in how dangerous they are and whether or not you think you could survive one or more in a fight? Because you're hurt right now so I'd rather avoid a fight if possible but at the same time if you think you could slip past the guardians or the hollow more or less unmolested then those would be the better routes. Again though you're hurt and if you don't think you could slip though without causing trouble then I think the right long path is the only route we can actually take.
>>
No. 598850 ID: 89b2a2

>>598833
You passed out for awhile. You can't take the leftmost path.

That leaves the middle or right. Do you feel like avoiding guardians or being hounded by hollows?
>>
No. 598853 ID: 2fd516

The rightmost path has the least chance of being followed by the Reckoning, which would be best for Stell's long-term survival. That said, I do not know how dangerous Hollows are. Could you bargain with them? What about the guardians, could you bribe them? If we took the left path, could you take a shortcut where the tight curve happens?
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No. 598854 ID: 30357e
File 141366199038.png - (87.49KB , 900x900 , 23.png )
598854

>That leaves the middle or right. Do you feel like avoiding guardians or being hounded by hollows?
>I do not know how dangerous Hollows are. Could you bargain with them? What about the guardians, could you bribe them?
>Astral, what can you tell us about guardians and hollows as in how dangerous they are and whether or not you think you could survive one or more in a fight?

The Hollows are… nightmares. Empty stars without sparks, who consume all things they can find, aching to sate their endless hunger. If Astral is go the rightmost path, she’ll probably want to keep a wide berth from them, and proceed very carefully, unless she wants to end up Hollow herself - and that’s even worse to her than being found by the Reckoning.

On the other hand, guardians are stars like her. Young, vibrant, but willing to fight to the death for the cause of the Reckoning. That’s all she knows about them. They may be better or worse than the Hollows; at least Hollows are predictable, and dumber in their desperation. She has no idea what the guardians would do to her if they found her. Best case? Turn her over to the Reckoning. Worst case? Consume her spark.

Either way, it’s grim. She isn’t sure which path is better or worse.

>If we took the left path, could you take a shortcut where the tight curve happens?

Going off the Path is far more dangerous than following it, even in this situation. It’s very easy to get lost out there, and blindly wandering the void for eternity is not her idea of fun.
>>
No. 598856 ID: 2fd516

In that case the right path is a double death trap. The path has a gap at two points, so you'd have to venture off it.

If you think you can sneak past or fight the guardians then take the middle path. There are far fewer foes there than the rightmost path. If not, then you're just gonna have to fucking book it down the left path. On a side note you could maybe get some trading done while you're there. Maybe you can bribe someone to delay the Reckoning?
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No. 598863 ID: 30357e
File 141366564152.png - (138.93KB , 900x900 , 24.png )
598863

>In that case the right path is a double death trap. The path has a gap at two points, so you'd have to venture off it.

There’s a difference between slight gaps and big gaps. The gaps on the right road look like they have small islands Astral can cross. The left path would mean walking off into nothingness.

>On a side note you could maybe get some trading done while you're there. Maybe you can bribe someone to delay the Reckoning?

Astral has nothing to bargain with. She just has some ice and her spark.

Besides, nothing can delay the Reckoning.
>>
No. 598864 ID: 2fd516

>>598863
Ohhhhh, so those dots on the right path aren't all Hollows.

Let's go right. Time for creepy stealth action.
>>
No. 598878 ID: 2ec61a

can you distract hollows? throw some stellar mass away from yourself so they chase after it instead of you.
>>
No. 598883 ID: 9ddf68

...I'm thinking we should head right. Hollows eat your spark but are dumb ass hell, maybe clever, but still dumb. Guardians will either capture you or also devour you speak, just in a different sense. Both paths suck with the middle one looking like you'll have to deal with guardians one at a time or the right path which means you'll have to deal with a lot of hollows all at once. The thing that tips it for me is that if you take the right path then the reckoning, assuming they take the same path as you, will also have to deal with the hollows while the middle path they'll more then likely just walk on buy, and with people to tell them they've seen you.

Right is my choice here.
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No. 598887 ID: 30357e
File 141367853226.png - (74.51KB , 900x900 , 25.png )
598887

>can you distract hollows? throw some stellar mass away from yourself so they chase after it instead of you.

Astral doesn’t know. She’s never been close enough to try.

>Let's go right.
>Right is my choice here.

Astral decides to swallow her fear. The right road it is.

But first…

>thank you for your help

Elt smiles. A big, warm smile. ”Mm. You are quite welcome. I am sorry for lying earlier.”

Astral tilts her head. Lying?

”…I do care about what happens to you. Your spark has given me the same sort of freedom which you search for. Take care, dear Astral. I so hope you find what you are looking for.”

And with that, he goes.
>>
No. 598888 ID: 30357e
File 141367854827.png - (37.39KB , 900x900 , 26.png )
598888

And so, too, does Astral.
>>
No. 598889 ID: 30357e
File 141367856857.png - (119.95KB , 900x900 , 27.png )
598889

It hasn’t been long since the Path forked. Yet Astral senses something ahead.

…It looks like a lost star. Yet… She can never be too careful, especially here.

It doesn’t look like it’s seen her yet, but it surely will if she goes any further.
>>
No. 598890 ID: 2fd516

>>598889
Wait a moment and observe.
>>
No. 598892 ID: 2ec61a

too late to turn around now.
>>
No. 598907 ID: ad381c

Run forward, there is no turning back
>>
No. 598939 ID: 30357e
File 141374825870.png - (135.91KB , 900x900 , 28.png )
598939

>Wait a moment and observe.

Astral can’t. She doesn’t have the time.

>Run forward, there is no turning back
>too late to turn around now.

With a moment to steel herself, she charges forward, fast as she can, barreling down the Path. Behind her, she hears a forlorn cry:

“Huh-!” It’s hoarse, but young. Maybe younger than Astral. “No, please! Please… Come back! You have to have something! You have to! I feel so empty, it hurts, it HURTS! PLEASE!”

She doesn’t stop to look back.
>>
No. 598940 ID: 30357e
File 141374827939.png - (110.96KB , 900x900 , 29.png )
598940

She only stops running when she sees a den of Hollows, and a break in the path. She’s tired, now. They’re far enough away that they haven’t seen her, but she isn’t sure if she can chance running this time. If she stumbles even once…

She stops, mind already working on plans and ideas.
>>
No. 598941 ID: 2fd516

>>598940
So, was that guy you passed up turning hollow, or already hollow?

Can you dim your light? Or maybe hide under the path while you travel?
>>
No. 598942 ID: 9ddf68

could you travel under the path? or hell, your white, the path is white, think if you took your coat off and just stuck as low as you can to the path you'd blend in and be able to sneak past or is that just not happening?
>>
No. 598943 ID: 8b533b

How do hollows happen, anyways? Are they self-perpetuating? (Ie, those fed upon by a hollow become hollows themselves). How long can a hollow last, without a spark? What keeps them going, supplies them with power?

Possible tactic: your end-goal is to compress and burn off a great deal of your own spark to become a being small enough to inhabit one of the protected worlds. This means you have a reserve of power that is ultimately expendable. Could you use that somehow? Move faster, or make attacks, or something, at the cost of burning reserves?

>could you travel under the path?
That is a point. This is space. We have a z-axis to abuse. Can you just walk on the underside of the path?
>>
No. 598947 ID: 2ec61a

try to make a ball of heat and light and throw it away, off the path, but such that they see it fly past.
>>
No. 598948 ID: 330ce5

Look hard upon the broken path, tell us what do you see?
>>
No. 598958 ID: ad381c

Rest while keeping an eye on your front and back, the 'safest' way technically would be the break in the path, compress yourself and gather as much stamina then go for a jump onto the break.
>>
No. 599079 ID: 30357e
File 141391440946.png - (65.91KB , 900x900 , 30.png )
599079

>Look hard upon the broken path, tell us what do you see?

The Hollows appear to be devouring the Path, piece by piece. They must be very hungry indeed. It’s no wonder that there are gaps in the road.

>could you travel under the path?
>Can you just walk on the underside of the path?

Astral isn’t sure what the point would be. They would still sense her as soon as she got close enough.

>So, was that guy you passed up turning hollow, or already hollow?

Astral does not distinguish. If you’ve lost your spark, and you’re still ‘alive’, then there’s no hope left for you. It was most likely just disguising itself to get visitors closer.

>How do hollows happen, anyways? Are they self-perpetuating? (Ie, those fed upon by a hollow become hollows themselves). How long can a hollow last, without a spark? What keeps them going, supplies them with power?

Some Hollows are born from the warped death of a star; sparkless mutants who consume everything they can find. Others have their sparks ripped from them later in life, becoming Hollowed over time. To lose your spark, yet be unlucky enough to survive it… Many who are fed upon by Hollows become Hollow themselves, as the Hollows devour mainly the sparks of stars, but, if given enough time, nothing survives their hunger.

>Possible tactic: your end-goal is to compress and burn off a great deal of your own spark to become a being small enough to inhabit one of the protected worlds. This means you have a reserve of power that is ultimately expendable. Could you use that somehow? Move faster, or make attacks, or something, at the cost of burning reserves?
>try to make a ball of heat and light and throw it away, off the path, but such that they see it fly past.

Astral rests, regaining her strength, and as she does so, she focuses on cutting a chunk off of her soul. The pain is… beyond anything she has ever experienced, yet she lets no sound escape her. She doesn’t dare.
>>
No. 599080 ID: 30357e
File 141391443507.png - (160.96KB , 900x900 , 31.png )
599080

It has the intended effect. The Hollows howl with anticipation and rush away, leaving the path ahead wide open.
>>
No. 599081 ID: 30357e
File 141391445131.png - (87.08KB , 900x900 , 32.png )
599081

>Rest while keeping an eye on your front and back, the 'safest' way technically would be the break in the path, compress yourself and gather as much stamina then go for a jump onto the break.

She doesn’t hesitate. She goes.

The leap is a difficult one…
>>
No. 599082 ID: 30357e
File 141391446491.png - (103.08KB , 900x900 , 33.png )
599082

..but she makes it.
>>
No. 599083 ID: 4d85c5

No time to relax, or celebrate. You don't know how long it will be until the hollows return to the path, or one of them turns around and sees you. Keep moving.
>>
No. 599084 ID: 330ce5

you should probably get a move on then, also good job.
>>
No. 599087 ID: 9ddf68

way to go kid, no just run like hell and get out of here before they come back. you can rest when you don't have to worry about getting your spark eaten while you sleep.
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No. 599089 ID: 30357e
File 141391826210.png - (70.16KB , 900x900 , 34.png )
599089

>No time to relax, or celebrate. You don't know how long it will be until the hollows return to the path, or one of them turns around and sees you. Keep moving.
>you should probably get a move on then
>no just run like hell and get out of here before they come back. you can rest when you don't have to worry about getting your spark eaten while you sleep.

Astral doesn’t need to be told twice; she’s gone.

>also good job.
>way to go kid

Astral likes to think so! She smiles.
>>
No. 599090 ID: 30357e
File 141391828437.png - (208.13KB , 900x900 , 35.png )
599090

…but her smile fades when she reaches the last gap in the path.

In her way stands the largest Hollow she’s ever seen.

And it sees her.
>>
No. 599093 ID: c06a9a

...Hrm. We COULD do the spark split thing, leave it behind us, and when the hollow goes for it, dodge and make a break for it...Or if we're careful about how far we get away from the path/how we do so we might be able to bounce off the path, arc around the hollow, and then land back on it...Alternatively, we could try throwing the ice at it to slow it down (would that slow it down?)
>>
No. 599094 ID: 2fd516

>>599090
How the fuck are we going to get past that? A distraction won't work since it already sees you. Can you fight it? Talk to it? Endure its assault and escape with even a little bit of spark left?

Jump off the path to go around it while still keeping the path in sight so you can return to it?
>>
No. 599096 ID: 89b2a2

The distortion a hollow provides may be sufficient to act as a guide itself, even without the path, particularly if the shattered remains of the path swirl about.

Can you orbit around it?
>>
No. 599097 ID: 62e7fb

You said hollows are stupid right? Think about how you can trick this thing, but think quickly I don't think you have too much time.
>>
No. 599106 ID: 2a00eb

>>599097
Agreed we might not have much time, I think you should combine your actions, when it attempts to lunge at you, shed off a spark as a decoy, compress yourself and charge forward as low as you can. Go straight, the path is there, just hard to see with all the distortion.
>>
No. 599108 ID: 4d85c5

What does big mean, here, though? That it's fed enough to grow, or that it was a large star before it was hollowed out?

We can't count on a simple distraction, since it's already made you. We also don't know if this large hollow is as dumb as its lesser contemporaries.

If it's slow enough, we might be able to dodge from path-fragment to path-fragment, but we can't really count on that.

We might be able to do a spark trick again... but that takes time to setup, and it's already made you.
>>
No. 601644 ID: 30357e
File 141576003945.png - (60.49KB , 900x900 , 36.png )
601644

>What does big mean, here, though? That it's fed enough to grow, or that it was a large star before it was hollowed out?

Astral isn’t sure, but she guesses it could be either or both.

>...Hrm. We COULD do the spark split thing, leave it behind us, and when the hollow goes for it, dodge and make a break for it...Or if we're careful about how far we get away from the path/how we do so we might be able to bounce off the path, arc around the hollow, and then land back on it...
>Can you orbit around it?
>Jump off the path to go around it while still keeping the path in sight so you can return to it?
>If it's slow enough, we might be able to dodge from path-fragment to path-fragment

Astral is ready. She pushes all fear and doubt to the back of her mind.

She’s going to do this. She knows she will.

She splits off a part of herself again, much more easily than last time.

She readies herself, and leaps once more-
>>
No. 601645 ID: 30357e
File 141576008182.png - (213.27KB , 900x900 , 37.png )
601645

…Only to find herself caught.

The Giant Hollow interrupts her momentum, yanking her closer with the force of its breath.

In an instant, it has devoured the part of her spark she was using as a distraction, and now she finds herself facing the same fate.

She tries to keep from panicking, tries to focus, to think.

But it is very difficult.

She finds she is utterly terrified.
>>
No. 601646 ID: 07a835

>>601645
What would happen if you threw your ice in its face?

Can you propel yourself by streaming off bits of yourself forcefully, like a rocket? Can you stretch yourself to grab the path, to pull yourself away?

You cooouuuld try begging it to let you go.
>>
No. 601648 ID: 462fe7

Hrrm. Okay so, I've got an idea. You still have the ice right? Launch it quickly at him. If I'm right, the propulsion from that SHOULD get you away from him for a bit. Even if that doesn't work ,the ice might give him something to chew...
Alternatively...
Split yourself. Split yourself so that you end up with the smaller portion of the spark. Split yourself so that what's left of you can hide in your coat if that hollow wouldn't be interested. If it would be then throw the coat and backpack at it, and the ice alongside it. With any luck, you'll give it an actual mouthful and it won't be able to draw you in.
>>
No. 601651 ID: 9ddf68

uh, hollows still share the same weaknesses as you right? as in if you poke one in the eye it will still hurt like a son of a bitch right? If so think you can throw something at it to maybe stun it, even for a second and then run like mad to the part of the path that is still intact and run like mad.
>>
No. 601769 ID: 7c58ae

I'm not sure throwing anything at him will work. He's sucking inward, anything you throw will be drawn into his maw.

We need to generate thrust away from his gravity. Or even better, along a vector that allows us to use him for a gravitation slingshot to the other side.

...can you generate a controlled explosion with your spark? Release a portion of the stored energy, violently? We need a rocket, here. Be a shooting star.
>>
No. 614279 ID: 30357e
File 141932677552.png - (210.47KB , 900x900 , 38.png )
614279

>What would happen if you threw your ice in its face?
>You still have the ice right? Launch it quickly at him.
> you can throw something at it to maybe stun it, even for a second and then run like mad to the part of the path that is still intact and run like mad.

Astral is willing to try anything. She throws as much of the ice as she can before her limbs become incapacitated by the force of the Hollow's hunger.

It seems to have little or no effect. The Hollow starts digesting the ice immediately.

>Can you propel yourself by streaming off bits of yourself forcefully, like a rocket? Can you stretch yourself to grab the path, to pull yourself away?
>Split yourself. Split yourself so that you end up with the smaller portion of the spark. Split yourself so that what's left of you can hide in your coat if that hollow wouldn't be interested.
>...can you generate a controlled explosion with your spark? Release a portion of the stored energy, violently? We need a rocket, here. Be a shooting star.

Astral tries, but she's being pulled together by the Hollow's pull. Her spark feels like it's being crushed, like her whole body is warping. She can barely think under so much pressure.
>>
No. 614282 ID: 30357e
File 141932689948.png - (104.47KB , 900x900 , 39.png )
614282

>Talk to it?
>You cooouuuld try begging it to let you go.

Astral's mind feels like it's dying. She feels her body, her spark, her soul being wrenched away from her as the Hollow brings her close.

She has just enough thought left to shout out simply:

"Please don't eat me! I don't want to die!"
>>
No. 614283 ID: 30357e
File 141932697899.png - (231.73KB , 900x900 , 40.png )
614283

...all of a sudden, the pressure ceases. Astral feels like she's alive again. She can think.

Astral sees tiny lights flare up in the two most gigantic eyes she's ever seen.
>>
No. 614284 ID: a19cd5

>>614283
"Please, I just want to continue my journey. I just need to make it to the other side."
>>
No. 614285 ID: 9ddf68

uh...thanks? for not eating me
>>
No. 614297 ID: 30357e
File 141932921408.png - (112.61KB , 900x900 , 41.png )
614297

>uh...thanks? for not eating me

Astral waits for some response. She thinks this must be a fluke. Any second now, she's going to get gobbled up. She knows she's doomed. Of course she's doomed! Hollows can't think. They're mindless-

"...You're welcome."

...Astral is scared.

>"Please, I just want to continue my journey. I just need to make it to the other side."

"Where are you going? Can I come?"

It's like a child's voice. The largest, loudest child.

Astral feels like she's dreaming. Or crazy.

...come to think of it, she's been called both of those before.
>>
No. 614298 ID: a19cd5

YES oh my god YESSSSS
"We're going to escape the path. I've been told there's a way, by reducing my spark."
>>
No. 614300 ID: ea0ad9

Where you're heading you will have to shed a lot of your form and become an insignifigant speck... If the Pseudo-Hollow, as I'll call it, since this one seems to still be able to think, wants to come along, it will have to shrink itself down as well.
Actually, I'm not even sure how much of a Hollow it is, since it seems to have a rather orderly form right now.
>>
No. 614303 ID: 1ae57f

>Can I come?
Maybe? Can you travel?

...can you make yourself smaller? It's a very small place I'm going to. Even I'm going to have to get smaller.
>>
No. 614305 ID: 30357e
File 141933133870.png - (52.57KB , 900x900 , 42.png )
614305

>"We're going to escape the path. I've been told there's a way, by reducing my spark."

"Whoa! That sounds neat! You're neat!"

Astral... is neat. Apparently.

She's also feeling very surreal.

>Where you're heading you will have to shed a lot of your form and become an insignifigant speck... If the Pseudo-Hollow, as I'll call it, since this one seems to still be able to think, wants to come along, it will have to shrink itself down as well.
>...can you make yourself smaller? It's a very small place I'm going to. Even I'm going to have to get smaller.

"Huh? Oh! Daddy was teaching me how to do that! Look, look, I'm gonna do it. Are you watching?"

Astral watches, obligingly.

In an instant, the... Hollow?... is smaller. Dramatically so.

"Did you see? Did you see? I'm so neat."

Astral stares at the tiny nightmare.

"...Oh! But don't worry, you're still neat, too!"
>>
No. 614307 ID: 223c09

>>614305
okay, uh, if we were to take this along with us to a planet, would it still hunger? Would it still eat people?
And for that matter, how will Astral keep herself going there?
>>
No. 614308 ID: 2ec61a

yes that is neat. we will need to talk to the guy at the end to find out how small we need to be.
>>
No. 614309 ID: a19cd5

...daddy?
>>
No. 614327 ID: ea0ad9

Never seen anybody able to go from being giant like a Hollow to turning small like a particle! That is pretty neat. Hopefully you can learn to do that by the time you reach your destination, it would be useful for being small enough to be on the planet.
>>
No. 614330 ID: 30357e
File 141933767512.png - (110.29KB , 900x900 , 43.png )
614330

>yes that is neat. we will need to talk to the guy at the end to find out how small we need to be.

"Ooh, we're going to the end of this road? Maybe we can say hi to daddy!"

>...daddy?

"Yeah! Daddy Stell! Well, he always tells me to call him 'brother', but that's silly, 'cause he's my daddy!"

>okay, uh, if we were to take this along with us to a planet, would it still hunger? Would it still eat people?
>And for that matter, how will Astral keep herself going there?

Astral wonders. She isn't sure herself. Astral remembers to ask these (and many, many other) questions when she meets, er, 'daddy'.
>>
No. 614333 ID: 2ec61a

well, which way is the road?
>>
No. 614356 ID: 742b4a

>>614330
It seems Stell has figured out a way to bring a Hollow back to life. Amazing. I wonder if the Reckoning know about this.

Ask the kid if it's still hungry all the time.
>>
No. 614361 ID: 1ae57f

Wow. We've met an adorable little monster.

...I suppose that's some comfort. Who's going to attack you when you're in the presence of a hollow?

And I guess we have a way to introduce ourselves to Stell. If he thinks the hollow would be a threat to the marble world, he can probably talk it out of it (it'll listen to 'Daddy', right?).

>what do
Does it have a have a name? You're Astral.
>>
No. 614365 ID: 9ddf68

...well shall we continue then?
>>
No. 614416 ID: 330ce5

Ask for a name, also might want to start walking again time stop for no one.
>>
No. 632960 ID: 561f64
File 142820845654.png - (158.55KB , 1000x1000 , 44.png )
632960

>Astral asks the kid if it’s still hungry all the time.

“Oh, always! I feel like I could eat a thousand galaxies! But Stell tells me not to be silly when I say that. So maybe I can’t actually. But maybe I can someday, if I’m good!”

>Do you have a name? I’m Astral.

”Stell tells me I used to be called Itria! Sometimes when I think really hard, I can sort of remember. Mostly I just take daddy’s word for it! So I’m Itria!”

>...well shall we continue then?

”Yay! Adventure!”

>stop for no one.

Astral never would. Not unless she could get something more important than the lost time.
>>
No. 632961 ID: 561f64
File 142820848034.png - (279.72KB , 1000x1000 , 45.png )
632961

Astral hopes now is one of those times.

”Dadddddy!”

No response.

”Oh, he must be off visiting his pets. Darn.”
>>
No. 632962 ID: d3be40

Time to go. Your new ally should be effective against the other hollows.

Well, don't ask what he is just yet. You don't know much about him and the wrong question might tick him off. Earn his trust and survive to the end.
>>
No. 632964 ID: 296917

>>632961
I suppose we'll have to wait. This is your final destination. Prepare yourself, Astral...

Ask Itria if the Reckoning has given Stell any trouble.
>>
No. 632965 ID: 5db52c

Study this 'visiting'. He's projected a tiny piece of himself down to the world, and is concentrating on it?
>>
No. 632966 ID: 296917

>>632965
Oh hey yeah maybe we can do the same thing?
>>
No. 632967 ID: bd8b82

start working out what bit you want to send down. a dot from your heart? a spot of your mind? you will need to slough off a considerable amount of mass to be small enough. but don't start until he is back.
>>
No. 632970 ID: 9ddf68

any way to brake him out of it or are we just going to have to wait?
>>
No. 632988 ID: 561f64
File 142821648940.png - (290.97KB , 1000x1000 , 46.png )
632988

>are we just going to have to wait?

”Yeah, let’s just wait. He gets real mad if you interrupt him. It’s scary.”

>Ask Itria if the Reckoning has given Stell any trouble.

”Oh, Stell talks about the Reckoning sometimes! He says they don’t like him much, and that he doesn’t like them either. He also says a lot of angry stuff I don’t understand.”

>I suppose we'll have to wait. This is your final destination. Prepare yourself, Astral...

Astral is prepared. But she’s not good at waiting. She hates waiting.

>Study this 'visiting'. He's projected a tiny piece of himself down to the world, and is concentrating on it?

Astral stares at Stell. Stell appears to be in some sort of trance. He looks like he’s focusing his essence very delicately, and letting only the very smallest edge of himself graze part of the small circular rock.
>>
No. 632989 ID: 561f64
File 142821653016.png - (446.43KB , 1000x1000 , 47.png )
632989

>Oh hey yeah maybe we can do the same thing?

Astral doesn’t think she’d be able to do it very easily. But she'll try to practice it, at least.

>start working out what bit you want to send down. a dot from your heart? a spot of your mind? you will need to slough off a considerable amount of mass to be small enough. but don't start until he is back.

Is… that how it works? Astral doesn’t know. Astral doesn’t know if she wants to lose any part of herself, or even what part of her is the most important in any case. Every part of her spark is important to her.

Astral doesn’t think she’s very good at this.
>>
No. 632990 ID: 296917

>>632989
Maybe instead of removing stuff, you can compress what you have? Not to the extent that you become a Hollow, but... I dunno, be more efficient with your mass. Don't spread around what is "you" so much. Try to just... become smaller.

We *were* told that you would need help. Maybe Itria knows how it works?
>>
No. 632992 ID: f75cf9

>>632989
Unfortunately, you'll probably have to lose some - most, even - of your spark. That tiny dot, that Stell has sent to the surface? Still big, by surface standards - about four times as tall as the average inhabitant.

And compressing isn't going to work too well either - any significant portion of your mass would likely cause catastrophic events on the surface.

Hopefully you'll be able to keep your mind intact at least.
>>
No. 632994 ID: 9ddf68

>she doesn't want to lose any part of herself
well maybe you can take a piece of each part of yourself when you go. I mean we don't really have any idea how this is going to work anyways so it might be possible but don't get your hopes up.
>>
No. 632996 ID: bd8b82

i would say the most important part is the part of you that wants to live no matter what.
>>
No. 633041 ID: 5db52c

>Every part of her spark is important to her
Well, you already sacrificed some of it, today. How did you decide which parts to rip off, then?

It might also less be a problem of paring down as condensing.

...or maybe you'll have to let Itria eat most of you to get small enough.

In any event, you shouldn't try anything without talking to Stell, first.

>what do
Maybe ask Itria if there's anything you can do to pass the time? Play with the (terrifying monster) child.
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