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In memory of Flyin' Black Jackson
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581224 No. 581224 ID: eaa372

I studied the basics of shape shifting under my mother before setting out to refine my technique. What kind of animals did I study over the years?

Pack Hunters

I studied the way wolves hunt together and how their numbers whittle down their prey. As a result I have mastered taking the shape of a wolf but more significantly I have developed an experimental technique that could potentially allow me to separate into up to three separate entities.

Prey

Watching the behavior of mice, and other small creatures has shown me the value of a light step and sharp senses. Careful examination of pelts has also inspired me to practice shifting the colors and textures of my skin in order to blend in with the environment.

Primordial Beasts

There were once creatures who have survived in a time before humans were born on this earth. Terrifying feathered beings armed with incredibly long claws and unusual limbs. What little I know of these creatures has been gleaned from obscure books and carefully preserved bones. The forms that I can transform into are powerful but cannot be mistaken as any local wildlife.
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No. 581225 ID: 2fd516

>>581224
Pack Hunter seems like the most flexible set.
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No. 581226 ID: 9ddf68

Primordial Beast simply because I like the idea of bring something long thought gone back to the here and now.
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No. 581235 ID: d7800e

Pack Hunters or Prey
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No. 581236 ID: 53ba34

Prey, color and texture changing is something the cuttlefish does best, and they are awesome. therefor us doing it too also awesome.
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No. 581237 ID: 65b2c8

Primordial Beasts.
Because before the land was inhabited, the seas were full of monsters.
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No. 581239 ID: 53ba34

>>581237
yes, becoming a sea monster when fighting on land is great idea.

(sarcasm)
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No. 581244 ID: e31ca1

Prey - Stealth path for the win!
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No. 581246 ID: 4d1168

Primordial Beasts. Top of the food chain, baby!
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No. 581250 ID: 6ba2dc

Primordial Beast.
Who needs subtlety, when Godzilla/Cthulhu is on the prowl
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No. 581279 ID: ce6963

Pack Hunter for splitting powers!
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No. 581282 ID: a76fa2

Primordial, since that includes fighting, very likely flying, and possibly future access to actual bird forms when we are feeling subtle. (A bird is, after all, more closely related to a velociraptor than a triceratops is.)
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No. 581283 ID: 0ee153

I assume "all of them" isn't an option but if it is I vote for that.

Primordial beasts if it isn't.
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No. 581290 ID: f461c5

Im going to have to vote for Primordial Beasts first, or Pack Hunters second. The multiple body thing is the most useful seeming, but I want to see what you can do.
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No. 581292 ID: 2f4b71

Pack hunter.
A Fire Upon The Deep-style pack intelligences! Whoo!
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No. 581380 ID: eaa372
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581380

Paradigm has specialized in Primordial Beasts! She now has access to the Feathered Clawfoot form and can grow feathers without transforming. As a result of her studies she is now capable of examining skeletons to invent new forms.

That was the last of the deer and I’m not even half-way through this winter. It’s impossible to do any proper research into shape shifting while on the verge of starvation. I could try going south towards the sea and the hope that the fishing hamlets might have food to trade. This region isn’t known to be bountiful however so I may simply encounter more starvation. To the north I saw smoke plumes and heard sounds of conflict, foreign soldiers battling each other over who knows what. Perhaps I could steal what I need from their camps in the heat of battle, just have to avoid being caught.
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No. 581393 ID: 2fd516

>>581380
Well, your shapeshifting isn't great for stealth. Let's go check the fishermen.
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No. 581406 ID: 24dc7a

Do you have marketable skills aside from your shapeshifting? For that matter, is shapeshifting socially acceptable enough for mercenary work with it to be viable?
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No. 581424 ID: 9ddf68

so there's nothing to hunt around here then? did the fighting scare off the animals or is game simply scarce around these parts? Also just how socially acceptable is your ability to transform into other things? either way I say head south. While the solders may have food they also know how to fight which might make taking there food a bit more then it's worth.
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No. 581484 ID: eaa372
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581484

>Scarcity
Scarcity happens often enough in nature that I wasn’t surprised by how little I was able to scrounge up before winter. A normal human could barely survive the winter in these conditions but I burn through food faster than most humans to support my transformations.

>Marketable skills
I know how to butcher most animals and work leather. I am also damn good tracker so I can catch all the signs that a decent hunter would miss.

>Prevalence of magic
Certain forms of magic are constantly in high demand, specifically of the healing and fireball throwing variety. Shape shifting is historically associated with scouts, spies, and assassins in this region. Lots of local folklore about evil witches changing their shapes to terrorize locals, none of which is based on substantial evidence. I haven’t heard about any shifter’s being burnt at the stake in the past century here but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to admit you are one.

>Possessions
I have
-1 pine bow
-1 quiver of bone arrows
-1 waterskin
-1 satchel
-1 fur cloak
-1 spare set of winter clothes
-1 bronze hunting knife

>Go south
I’m not eager to steal from trained soldiers so I’ll try to work out a deal with the fishers and work my way along the coast.
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No. 581487 ID: 9ddf68

so what can you tell us about the south lands?
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No. 581504 ID: 321d85

What are the attributes of the Feathered Clawfoot form? Can you fly? Is there any non-obvious benefit of growing feathers without transforming? How quickly can you do these things? Do they take energy each time you do them?
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No. 581514 ID: 50338d

Let's avoid the conflict zone for now. A lone woman traveling through that kind of area puts you at risk for being attacked. And if and when you then use your abilities to defend yourself, you're very likely going to have soldiers hunting you. Not a good situation, high risk.

Especially if you've been focused on mastering your art (transformations) but are unpracticed in it's applications (combat, stealth, etc).
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No. 581633 ID: eaa372
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581633

>Transformation
I’m down to around 5 seconds to switch between forms. I can grow feathers discretely underneath my clothes. The Feathered Clawfoot form is good for long range tracking and pouncing attacks.

>Southern villages
What little I know I learned from a traveling tradesman who passes through the woods in the spring. One of the villages has huge carvings of sea creatures up on the cliffs while another has stone monoliths in unusually pristine condition. I have no idea which one will have the best chance of having food to spare.
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No. 581634 ID: 2fd516

>>581633
What's that in the road? A puddle?
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No. 581635 ID: e20f8e

>>581634
A black and blue rock?
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No. 581636 ID: 9ddf68

what's that?

Also if I had to guess I'd say that the sea village would have more spare food. I mean lots of fish in the sea and all that so unless you have a thing against fish if you're looking for food that would probably be the safer of the two bets.
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No. 581775 ID: eaa372
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581775

>Investigate
It’s a scarf that smells of cinnamon and damp earth. My mother’s scent! Of course she uses this to get my attention since she’s too paranoid to simply walk up to anyone in the open.

I want to follow the scent trailing off this scarf but I know better than go following her scent right away. I’m never quite sure what she’s going to do if I go to her, perhaps another lesson but I’d rather not get dragged into more education. Most of her lessons on shape shifting involved correcting my mistakes after I tore muscles or dislocated a joint. I’ll admit she mended any injuries I received during training but her teaching methods are part of the reason why I left home in the first place. She’ll likely be watching my response.
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No. 581779 ID: 50338d

...she'll be watching you? As in, in line of sight?

Then you may not need to bother tracking her by scent. Your main form is birdlike, right? Could you just shift a part of yourself? Say... shift to really good bird eyes to pick out where she is? Maybe cover up what you're doing by holding the scarf up to your face, as if you were taking the scent, as you shift.

Then, when you're facing her, call her out.
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No. 581784 ID: 2fd516

>>581775
Look around to see if you can spot her. I say we put aside the scarf for now and come back after we get some food.
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No. 581843 ID: eaa372
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581843

>Shape shift eyes
>Line of sight
Partial transformations were the first thing I learned about shape shifting. Originally I started off with mimicking a cat’s eye but since I’ve left home I’ve developed much sharper eyes than what nature could come up with.

Raptor Sight active. Paradigm can quickly identify targets three times further than the human eye can and see at night when activated.
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No. 581844 ID: eaa372
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581844

“If you have line of sight on me I have the same on you Mother! I’m not in the mood for more lectures!”
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No. 581845 ID: eaa372
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581845

“’No more lessons’, I understood that message perfectly when you left home without any warning Paradigm. Today you’re simply my daughter who needs a decent meal. If you step out of the open to share a meal with me I’ll tell you why I’m here while we eat. No lectures, no tests, just talk.

Damnation! She figured out I’m short on food and prepared accordingly.
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No. 581847 ID: 2fd516

>>581845
Then you should have nothing to fear. Go see what she wants. Even if she is mildly irritating.
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No. 581850 ID: 24dc7a

It seems worthwhile to find out why she is here if not to follow you. Plus, food is good.
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No. 581856 ID: 9ddf68

go see her but don't eat her food... at least not at first. See what she want's first and if this is more or less a social visit then might as well have a nice family meal. If she's trying to buy a favor out of you however it would be wise to find out what that favor would be before we commit to anything.
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No. 581866 ID: 483d7f

Would she try to poison or drug you?
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No. 581913 ID: 50338d

All right. Two simple concerns.

Do you trust her to keep her word? If so then it's safe to accept her offer. Secondly: how bad is the break between you? Are you too proud to accept her help, or to compromise at this point?

If you can trust her, and you don't feel like you're compromising yourself, you should probably accept. You could use the food, and it's probably to your benefit to at least hear what she has to say. And if you are leaving the area, it can't hurt to leave things with her on slightly better footing than before.
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No. 581991 ID: eaa372
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581991

>Poisoning
She’s not malicious just a creative teacher with a few choice pieces of insanity. When she taught me how to neutralize poisons she ate the poisonous mushrooms along with me, even threatened not to cure herself if I didn’t neutralize the poison in my own veins.

Mother could never cook worth a damn so one of the earliest things she taught me was how to shape my stomach into something that could digest raw meat. I never had enough time to learn how to cook during my studies out in the wilderness with her so the only time I ate civilized food was when she sent me out to purchase paper and ink. I always sequestered enough of her money to purchase spiced buns stuffed with chicken and honey. The baker’s son, Brandt, always gave me a discount, obviously with ulterior motives but he was good for the stress relief when I became frustrated by mother’s tutelage.

“I don’t have any good news I’m afraid. Brandt’s gotten himself caught up with some foolhardy adventurers exploring the tidal caves towards the south, in winter of all times. I don’t understand how these adventurous types get the idea that precious treasures naturally accumulate at the bottom of dark caves.”

“Brandt’s all the way out here?”

“I see I have your attention. It gets worse, a coven of witches calling themselves ‘The Sisterhood of Light’ hired out the adventurers to explore said caves. They have some daft ideas too.”

“Let me guess, they think that holy artifacts naturally accumulate at the bottom of dark caves.”

“They’re only going to find some easily aggravated sea serpents. For the time being they’re content letting the adventurers to handle the search so they’re not directly operating in the area yet. If we’re quick we can interrupt their search before they murder everything living in those tidal caves.”

Ah, two things she actively despises adventurers and religious types poking their noses in places that they don’t belong in. Always said they justified unnecessary suffering with things like glory and piety. I’m more concerned about Brandt being caught up in this than whatever Mother’s interest is in this business. When I left home he couldn’t even nock an arrow properly so I have no idea how he got involved with adventurers.
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No. 581998 ID: 2fd516

>>581991
Well generally the idea is that unsavory types hide out in dark caves, and store their ill-gotten gains there.

Why does your mother care about Brandt?
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No. 582026 ID: ce6963

Well, seems we've got something new to do.
SAVE BRANDT!
And yanno, the creatures within that cave. If there IS anything to find, someone like you or your mother might be better suited to the job.
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No. 582049 ID: 50338d

>Why does your mother care about Brandt?
She doesn't. She thinks we do, and is using his presence as a means to get us to help her in chasing adventures and religious types out of where she doesn't think they belong.

>If we’re quick we can interrupt their search before they murder everything living in those tidal caves.
The question, of course, is in how she plans to interrupt them.
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No. 582083 ID: 9ddf68

well we were heading down there anyways soooooo why not? but I really hope she isn't planning on just going down there and killing everyone, because if anything that would only bring more adventures trying not only to recover the artifacts in caves but also those trying to slay the "evil" witches obviously hoarding these treasures... what we all know that's what they'll think. If something big, bad, and scary is there then they'll automatically assume that there is something worth guarding/stealing there and send more guys to get it.
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No. 582162 ID: eaa372
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582162

>Brandt
She’s clearly using him to convince me to come along and keep me distracted from her actual goal. The fact that she identified the faction the witches belong to means this is more than just her picking a fight to protect the local wildlife from being hunted. Her personal preferences are not driving her actions.

“Are you hoping that I’ll focus on escaping with Brandt while you act on your actual plan?”

That’s unnerving. This is the first time I’ve made an accusation that caused her to pause.

“I know you’re out of patience for all the measures I’ve taken to protect you. There are things that I’ve wanted to hide from you indefinitely. Painful truths about me will come to surface if you choose to stay. When we reach the south to search for the caves you have to decide whether you want to flee with Brandt in ignorance or risk your life dealing with the Sisterhood at my side.”
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No. 582163 ID: eaa372
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582163

We’ve left for the southern village with the cliff carvings

Mother hasn’t disclosed her secrets yet and I have to decide on what I want.
Brandt or her secrets?

Is there anything I could ask her to get more context along the way?
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No. 582170 ID: ce6963

Hrrrm...
I think a way to dig into this might be this:
"Mom, where do we shape-shifters come from?"
It's a long shot, but I'm betting there used to be more of you guys then a mother and her daughter.
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No. 582176 ID: 707a11

Secrets first, then we choose. Making a decision without all the information is bologna. Insist.
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No. 582183 ID: 24dc7a

>>582176
This. If she is really reluctant we can try compromising by promising first that if we don't want to join after hearing it we will just go with the previous plan of grabbing Brandt and leaving. In any case, we should know about these sisters since if they are as nasty as she implies and any survive a fight with her they might try to attack us for revenge.
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No. 582197 ID: 9ddf68

see if she at least wont tell you why these sisters have her so worried? I mean if she has picked a fight with them and they find out about you then what she doesn't tell you about them could be the death of you. If you can get her to tell you the whole story then you can chose whether or not to help her or to run off with your friend.
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No. 582700 ID: eaa372
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582700

“Where do shape shifters really come from mother?”

“There’s no lost traditions of some lost bloodline of noble shifters if that’s what you’re asking, your education was improvised. Shape shifting’s a rare talent so it’s hard to find other shape shifters and even more difficult to find reliable ones. I used to search around in the blind hope that there could be some hidden enclave of shape shifters somewhere but when I gave birth to you I realized that I’d have to create my own.”

“You never shared that with me.”

“Because it hasn’t been feasible until recently. Six months ago a handful of half-starved shape shifters came to my doorstep for help controlling their talents. A few weeks later I found someone who could play surrogate father for maladjusted younglings who could transform into animals with large teeth. That stability attracted a few more and I became confident enough to start seeking out more.”

“How does the Sisterhood fit in all this?”

“I intend to recruit one of their apprentices. A young woman who’s been placed in the same position I was in before I left the Sisterhood. She’s being tested for loyalty while under observation.”

“Wait you used to be part of the Sisterhood of Light?!”

“It wasn’t a long apprenticeship, took almost a year before I realized they didn’t have my best interests at heart. Unfortunately for them I already had experience in turning my body into a weapon."
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No. 582703 ID: b23908

Hrrrm... Alright then Mother. Let's do this, besides, if there's that many of us Shifters out there, how's the Sisterhood going to stand in our way?
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No. 582711 ID: 9b57d3

>>582700
She got away fine. Are they really so dangerous as to pose a danger to you as well?
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No. 582723 ID: 9ddf68

alright so she's trying to build her own enclave and sees a way to do that and strike a blow against some of her old business partners. Alright then, but why did she want you to grab your old friend and run off then? Does she think something bad is going to happen?
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No. 582752 ID: eaa372
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582752

“Why were you telling me to run off with Brandt earlier then? If you were able to take them on before then the two of us should be able to handle them, right?”

“I succeeded in fleeing from the Sisterhood only because I killed one person who wasn’t paying proper attention. They’re extremely dangerous if you give them the chance to regroup and coordinate.”

“Any advice on preventing them from coordinating then?”
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No. 582753 ID: eaa372
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582753

“We follow the scent of the girl’s handlers and wipe them out in a surprise attack so they won’t know what exactly happened when their apprentice doesn’t return. Care to take the lead and track somebody who doesn’t know your blind spots? I got my hands on something that has their scent.”

I could track the scent on that stocking in either form. Should I indulge her and show her the Feathered Clawfoot form I’ve worked on?
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No. 582755 ID: 256d52

Yes.

You're going into a dangerous situation. It's good for her to know what you're capable of now, or she might even have some advice for you.
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No. 582772 ID: 50338d

>They’re extremely dangerous
...what makes them dangerous, in particular?
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No. 582791 ID: 9b57d3

Hang on, why does she want to wipe them out? Why do they deserve death, exactly?
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No. 583024 ID: eaa372
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583024

“I’ll handle it but I have to ask, what makes them so dangerous that you have to wipe them out?”

“Because I murdered the previous leader of the Sisterhood to protect my unborn daughter! Because right now there are seven lives that are relying on me to protect them from being snatched up by the ambitions of the Sisterhood! I’ll freely admit that I still feel animosity towards my former sisters but this isn’t about petty revenge. It’s about saving another child who doesn’t understand her talents from exploitation.”
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No. 583035 ID: 50338d

I'm not questioning your motives, mother. I'm asking for specifics, as to the nature of the threat they pose. If you wish me to attack them, I would like to at least know what I face.

A warrior is made dangerous by his sword. We by our art. What is the sisterhood's weapon?

>combat
(Question to our character, not for her to ask mom) how does combat and injury work with shifted forms? If you are injured while shifted, do the injuries carry over when you morph back? If not, does you other shape need time to recover before it can be used again?
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No. 583076 ID: 9b57d3

Okay, but what are their ambitions? Are they trying to take over the world? Wipe out all magical creatures? What?
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