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File 163198472971.jpg - (967.32KB , 1053x562 , sojourn_titlecard.jpg )
1010895 No. 1010895 ID: 673fe6

||=========||
|| SOJOURN || NOTE: This will be a NSFW / 18+ only quest!
||=========||

It is the FOURTH AGE, and now is a time of dire peril and uncertainty; the GREAT KHAN, AZAD KHAZARAD,
has perished at the apex of his ascension ceremony — leaving prophecies in tatters. Once mighty empires
teeter on the precipice of destruction, and the greatest among them, the KHANATE OF KHOR, lies in ruin
beneath a dark and mysterious PALL.

From the heart of the KHANATE, a terrible CURSE has begun to sweep the land, the spreading PALL warping
the very landscape and changing those with the misfortune of its touch in strange and sometimes MONSTROUS
ways. Sages say this is a prelude to the END TIMES: if left unchecked, all may be lost.

Desperate to avert calamity, many have dispatched expeditions or even armies, hoping to quash and forestall
such great perils and open the way to the FATED CITY at the heart of the KHANATE, where it is said answers
may lie. Few have returned, and the realms of man have grown restless -- and those beyond watch with
a growing concern.
191 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1014346 ID: e7c7d3

Looks like a Rascal to me
>>
No. 1014351 ID: c92a02

Looks like a dog, silly. I'm gonna call him Soot.
>>
No. 1014370 ID: b73e3a

It's only correct to name this dog Pylar the Proctrix. Or Pie for short. Perhaps her night vision can help us.

So, the two possibilities of treasure are the unexplored east, and "something beautiful" to the north. I feel we should change our direction and head towards the north first then.
>>
No. 1014394 ID: f6821f

>>1014345
Canines are known for the acuity of their senses, perhaps this one will serve as a boon as we sneak about, provided she doesn't bark and reveal our positions. Pylar the Proctrix, Pie for short, shall aid us in the quest for TRUTH in the ENDLESS DARK of the PALL!

For now, we ought to settle Pie back to her slumber and give venture to the remainder of the hall. With Gerald's insight and your own light footedness, the remainder of the traps should be traversed with ease.
>>
No. 1014563 ID: 9c850e

>>1014345
Crystal Crumpsy
>>
No. 1014648 ID: 92c1dc

Sir Snoutsley
>>
No. 1014649 ID: 00ffb0

Woof-o-the-Wisp
>>
No. 1014685 ID: e2f5cc

>>1014649
supporting
>>
No. 1014983 ID: 673fe6
File 163678222212.jpg - (188.53KB , 750x450 , soj_044.jpg )
1014983

Contemplating with great gravitas, you consider a suitable moniker for your newly discovered 'polterpooch' -- a woof-o-the-wisp by classification, you wager. Something about the gleam in those shining eyes strikes a chord with you, and you settle on a stroke of serendipitous inspiration: Crystal Crumpsy, the woof-o-the-wisp. You do consider if she might enjoy some pie, should you happen upon such a confection in your explorations.

Nevertheless, both spirits are returned to their kalatite resting place as you turn your focus back whence you came: intent on venturing northward over the span the SARKEN had tread before subjecting yourself to whatever possible traps or hazards may lie further eastward.

Thanks to Gerard's detailed recount and your own keen eyes, you are able to avoid several missteps while you maneuver your way down the central passageway from the entry antechamber. A smell of soot joins the lingering aroma of ash as you ply against the darkness therein -- and true to Gerard's word, it proves to be particularly resistant to light against its seemingly supernatural gloom. Still, you continue lighting sconces as you go, the better to retrace your steps later if need be.

You arrive at the chamber Gerard spoke of -- or at least, its upper approach. Squarely in the center of the broader chamber is an enormous opening in the floor, while at the far end of the span you spy a sizable double-door with some sort of bas-relief carved into its surface. A high arched ceiling looms above you overhead -- and though much of the chamber stands vacant, you glimpse several places where you suspect chests and other containers had rested previously, judging by disturbed dust.

Embedded into the cracks of the heavy stone tile of the floor to the right of the open drop are a pair of pitons, though presently bereft of rope; you reflect that this may have been how Gerard and his fellows descended in their own exploration here.
>>
No. 1014984 ID: 673fe6
File 163678225917.jpg - (296.59KB , 750x450 , soj_045.jpg )
1014984

Taking to a low, careful position you brace yourself and peer over the precipice of the broad opening in the floor. Far below, there is another large chamber shrouded in heavy darkness -- with four immense columns supporting the corners of the pit above. An eye-catching glow draws your attention behind the far pillar on the right -- and there you spy grisly remains beside a slender shard casting light about its vicinity.

Close to the corpse, you can make out what you suspect may be a sizable stone sarcophagus or container of some kind -- its nearest surface detailed with a carved relief you can barely make out as a figure in a circle or dome. It is difficult to make out much else about the chamber below, its periphery veritably pitch black save for the space near to the shard. You can smell the coppery tang of blood and viscera even from your perch on high.

You estimate the descent to be roughly thirty feet (or nine meters.)

INVENTORY as of this post: https://pastebin.com/vm1qgRj7
MAGIC as of this post: https://pastebin.com/E8iTCvFQ

How do you proceed?

> _
>>
No. 1014985 ID: 92c1dc

Crystal Crumpsy, the woof-o-the-wisp has quite the snout. Could we ask this entity if it is within their power to sniff out any traps that await us in the area below?
>>
No. 1014986 ID: 96c896

Use the rope on the pitons so you can go down there. Seems like Gerard was trying to climb up the wall? Now you know there are traps, but you know he got near the sarcophagus safely, at least.
>>
No. 1015005 ID: b73e3a

So Gerard was cut in half. The height of the cut seems around one meter above the ground. Should be easy to evade, either by ducking or jumping.

Let's go down and light up the room. Take the shiny next to Gerard's body.
>>
No. 1015742 ID: 673fe6
File 163754358503.gif - (9.27MB , 750x450 , soj_046_animated.gif )
1015742

Before you proceed down into the chamber below yourself, you ply the kalatite vessel once more -- manifesting C.C. to leap down into the darkened span below to scout it out. Darting to and fro with swift, bristling energy -- the ethereal canine sets to earnestly sniffing about the different corners of the chamber. Your long ears catch the airy whuffs and rumbles of the wispy creature, eyes following her movements as you observe from above.

When she has finished, she whisks back into the vessel whence she came with a tingly crackle of essence and energy that warms your fingertips -- and you become aware of the result of her reconnoitering, having spied no active creatures or threats that she could recognize among the dark recesses of the chamber. You are again alerted to the remains of the man, which you yet presume to be Gerard's -- but you can see them from on high as well.

Hurrah! Animation!
>>
No. 1015743 ID: 673fe6
File 163754363235.jpg - (190.84KB , 450x750 , soj_047.jpg )
1015743

Gathering yourself up, you make your way over to the pitons and retrieve what has proven to be a most trusty length of rope from your bag; securing it to that anchorage, you give a few firm testing tugs of the line with your weight to assuage concerns -- and then ease yourself over the edge, lowering down into the gloomy darkness of large span beneath you. Cool air chills your limbs as you gingerly descend the rope, the quiet creak of its taut fibers the only discernible sound to reach your ears.

Once your feet are on the ground, you breathe a terse sigh of relief -- your mask partly muffling the scents of the chamber to a degree, but even then scarcely suppressing the unmistakable smell of blood and viscera left to linger unattended for some time. Your eyes faintly water from the odor of it all and it would seem whomever had been with Gerard abandoned any notion of recovering his remains.
>>
No. 1015744 ID: 673fe6
File 163754369668.jpg - (242.71KB , 750x450 , soj_048.jpg )
1015744

You retrieve the source of the glow, finding it to be a small smooth shard of white crystal -- the likes of which you have never seen before. It emits a soft and almost chilly light naturally, yet you can feel from the faint stirrings of awareness that it responds to your mental focus as an arcane implement might. You suspect that you could utilize the shard as a lens through which to express your magic, GLOW coming to mind for obvious reasons -- but it is likely that other cantrips and rites could also be amplified or modified when cast through it.

While you found mundane torchlight left wanting against whatever strange supernatural gloom seems to cling to your surroundings, you follow your intent to illuminate the space by channeling your GLOW cantrip through the crystal shard -- and find that this seems to much more readily combat what may be magical darkness. In the process, you glean a clear vantage of where Gerard had found the object -- having apparently been part of some sort of large carved mural in the chamber's wall.

An enormous depiction of one of the figures you spied among the statues and other imagery you've passed spans much of the high wall before you: a crowned and armored man wearing lenses over his eyes holds an arm outstretched, as if he might be carrying a lantern or other object. Where such would be, instead a niche recess has been carved into the wall with a small shelf, presently occupied with a bronze bowl; you glimpse what appear to be other crystals and objects in the bowl, though it's a bit high up for you to discern more clearly from your present vantage.

Beneath the depiction lies what is either an altar or some sort of sarcophagus, the front of which also sports a carved mural of a sort. Here, too, you spy a figure wearing curious lenses, surrounded by a nimbus of light with arms outstretched -- and a delineation that suggests they may be shielding themselves from something beyond. To the right of this heavy stone construct lie the dismembered remnants of a SARKEN man, with dried gore splattered in arcs down along the wall and onto the mural above.

> _
>>
No. 1015750 ID: 8483cf

Try and find the source of the "snap" that killed Gerard.
>>
No. 1015752 ID: 96c896

>>1015742
>C.C works like a remote dog nose
Damn that's incredibly useful. Can anyone else see your spirits?

>mural
Well, the trap is likely a blade of some sort that comes out of that groove. See if you can figure out what activates it- wave something expendable in front of the groove, for instance.
Maybe you can knock down the bowl with a stick?

Examine the sarcophagus, but don't try to open it. I'd imagine it's trapped to deter grave robbers... it might be too heavy to lift the lid anyway.
>>
No. 1015839 ID: e79fc8

>>1015744
A "boob"y trap
Whatever is in that bowl is of sufficient value that someone designed a lethal mechanism to protect it...

If the wall groove is horizontal, stay below that level as you approach the fixture beneath the mural. Remember your ears!

If you are nervous to do this, see if you can grab some of the Sarken remains to set off the trap and gain an idea of its behavior
>>
No. 1015979 ID: f57349

Judging by position of the body I'm guessing the blade moves from left to right. Could you pry up a flagstone out of the floor and use that to block the trap mechanism?
>>
No. 1016194 ID: ab862d

I think it would be interesting if we could COMMUNE with the dead king that lies here, however, the spell doesn't seem designed to do that.
I dunno. Maybe if we used the crystal shard to improve it, it might work. But I suppose simply shining an improved GLOW onto the sarcophagus could rouse something.
>>
No. 1016520 ID: 673fe6
File 163840744299.jpg - (361.02KB , 750x450 , soj_049.jpg )
1016520

As you ponder the sarcophagus and its carved depiction along with the mural above, you consider the stonework -- certainly heavy in appearance, and whether or not it is trapped you find yourself wanting for better leverage in pursuit of potentially shifting the lid aside.

Further, you reflect on your COMMUNE cantrip: should the spirit of the interred Lord linger, it might be possible to converse -- but the crystal you hold does not seem to resonate with that particular magic as it does your GLOW, and a more involved ritual may be in order to reach out to the dead from further beyond. Still, it's an inspiring thought which you tuck aside for future research with your grimoire.

Assessing the vicinity, you deduce that the darkened recess beneath the mural may be a slotted blade of a sort -- and likely part of the 'snap' which befell Gerard and left the man in pieces on the floor. Shining your GLOW, you can more clearly make out the groove -- but it's not hard to imagine it being more easily overlooked without the benefit of magically imbued illumination on your side down here.

For a moment, you consider the flagstones underfoot -- though you ultimately decide they are too large and heavy to upend without a prying implement and you're not wholly confident you'd be able to move one with any efficacy on your own. Next, you contemplate how the mechanism might be triggered, and means by which you could 'safely' test it without risking life and lapine limb.

Anxious nevertheless, you decide to check the remains for something to extend your reach -- and though you wrinkle your nose at the brief consideration of risking Gerard's cold limbs over your own, you find a sword close to the corpse as a far more suitable substitute. Adopting a low crouching stance, you shed your SHROUD to more fully regain your concentration -- after starting to feel the creep of fatigue from sustaining it for so long.

Laying your long ears back with a conscious pause, you then proceed to test a few wary approaches to the mechanism: first, you shine the GLOW onto the sarcophagus itself -- though nothing seems to shift or rouse from that alone. Next, you wave the blade in front of the groove without an apparent response -- before finally extending your arm and nudging at the bowl in an effort to dislodge it.

Finding the bowl surprisingly heavy, you're startled by the swift and sudden SNAP! as a blade whirs out from the far end of the groove and towards you with alarming alacrity -- before it CLANGS harshly against the sword in your grasp, jolting your arm and twisting your wrist as it's very nearly send careening from your grip as it is swept aside.

You can feel a dull, throbbing ache in your wrist and forearm alongside a faint tingling in your fingertips -- but a quick check finds your ears intact and no loss of your form for the test. You feel confident now that some trigger has been set to respond to the bowl being jostled or moved -- and observed, however fleeting, that the blade had length enough to catch over the top of the sarcophagus beside you.

You have gained:
> Curved Sword

Longer delay than I would have liked with the holidays and whatnot, but we're back! Your right arm smarts after testing the trap, but you're otherwise intact at the moment; there may still be more that you can do in experimentation with implements, magic or otherwise -- but the main focus first was puzzling out the wall trap.

You decide to...

> _
>>
No. 1016522 ID: 96c896

>>1016520
Alright so the trap only triggers once the bowl is disturbed. That means we could climb up higher, and safely take the bowl from above the trap.
>>
No. 1016563 ID: 6c227a

Are the carved out recesses for the eyes hiding any mechanisms? they look quite deep.
>>
No. 1016632 ID: ab862d

Avoid the trap, obtain the treasure. Still, remain on the lookout for any secondary traps that the bowl could trigger.
>>
No. 1016766 ID: b6986d

>>1016520
Try moving or removing the contents of the bowl first, before moving the bowl itself. I still support trying to put the Glow back in its place, though.
>>
No. 1016785 ID: 673fe6
File 163877335633.jpg - (248.34KB , 750x450 , soj_050.jpg )
1016785

Reflecting on the mechanism, you conclude that movement with the bowl is the primary trigger -- though you suspect that interacting with the contents of the bowl could also cause the trap to spring; it's possible that adding or removing shards from it carefully might lead to different results, but you can't be certain.

As you stand pondering on attempting a combination of rope work and acrobatics in an effort to avoid the blade and access the bowl from above -- your attention falls to the front of the sarcophagus for another look as curiosity jogs your thoughts.

Crouching down, you take a closer look with the GLOW to examine the 'eyes' of the carving: sure enough, the recesses are actually rather deep and you can spy what seems to be another mechanism you might interact with hidden away within. Both holes seem to correspond with a pair of square, angular niches -- and with light probing using your fingertips, you think the raised circles of the eyes could be turned after inserting something into each.

You decide to...

> _
>>
No. 1016787 ID: 8483cf

Look for corresponding tools to insert and turn!
>>
No. 1016788 ID: 96c896

Try inserting the crystal in there? I think the crystal that was on the floor was from the bowl; Gerard must've managed to grab a crystal just before being cut in half.

I wonder if you could just throw your rope to pull the bowl off the shelf?
>>
No. 1016789 ID: ab862d

apply your breasts on the carved head, accidentally pressing down on the large chained studs (which stand out rather conspicuously), to unlock the secrets. Perfect plan!

Alternatively, crystals, square glowing ones... into the holes...
>>
No. 1017268 ID: 89649e
File 163942984576.jpg - (293.84KB , 450x750 , soj_051.jpg )
1017268

Deciding to take a closer look at the mechanism with your new discovery, you draw close and probe out its surface -- and taking care to avoid any potential springing mayhem, you assuage your concerns by confirming that the eye holes seem solely meant to accept implements. As you press close to train a weathered ear for sounds of its inner workings -- your admittedly generous bust applies pressure in a bout of bosom serendipity: the raised studs of the figure depress, resulting in the eye lenses extending outward with a series of soft, steady clicks and whirs.

Cautious, you give a moment's pause to ascertain if any further triggers were about to ensue -- before tentatively testing above the sarcophagus once more, only to find that the blade trap no longer emerges! Satisfied by your ingenuity in putting your breast foot forward, you collect the other crystals from the bowl overhead and find a matching pair among them just the right size for acceptance in the holes below.

Inserting both shards in tandem, you give a testing turn -- and sure enough, further clicks and whirs result before the enormously heavy stone lid before you recedes out of the way and into the chamber wall. Raising your head past the precipice, you brace for interred remains only to discover no such corporeal leavings. Instead, you find...
>>
No. 1017269 ID: 89649e
File 163942989013.jpg - (438.38KB , 450x950 , soj_052.jpg )
1017269

A blade laid out with reverence over silk of a royal purple hue, a matching scabbard at its side -- a sword of some length with a stout blade and an ornate pommel. By the length of its grip, it looks to be a hand-and-a-half; its finger details are somewhat lost on you, for you are no expert at swords -- but you suppose it may be a long-sword or even a 'bastard' sword, if there is no certainty for its origin.

Curious, you grip the supple leather hilt to the weapon and lift it from its resting place. You find that the blade leans away from you as you hold it, though your posture and lack of familiarity with so large a weapon seem culprit there. It's rather heavy, you decide -- at least markedly more so than the more slender blades your buune brethren favor.

While you are not trained with a weapon of this sort yourself, it could still be useful -- and you imagine it might prove quite exemplary in the hands of a more capable wielder.

Belatedly, you concentrate for a moment to probe at the sword with your more arcane senses -- and are left with the impression that it has had enchantments woven in its creation.

A marvelous enchanted sword -- a bit heavy and unwieldy in your hands and too large to stow in your bag. However, with its scabbard you could sling it about yourself to carry along.

You decide to...

> A) Remain in the chamber and explore it further for anything else you might have missed.
> B) Climb back up, proceeding deeper into the HALL OF LORDS.
> C) Climb back up, but begin to make your departure from this place.
> D) _
>>
No. 1017271 ID: 69985e

>>1017269
Time is if the essence for there is no promise of continued uninterrupted time in the HALL, just as there is no promise the SARKEN won’t have taken their positions once more and be investigating the trail of fires left behind. If we are to solve the riddles of the HALL, we must make haste: B), and make way toward the opposite hall.
>>
No. 1017282 ID: 094652

You got the main prize, bug out for now.
>>
No. 1017284 ID: 3a06e7

>eye lenses extending outward
Lmfao! Not only did that work, but his eyes popping out like that, I'm choking...

Take the sword and the crystals.
B) The treasures seem worth the risk to continue. And if it's not us, then someone else would eventually take them. Hmm, I'm not sure if this chamber is a dead end. Use a crystal to amplify your GLOW to make sure. If it's not, then continue through any passage. If it is, then return back to the intersection and take the path east, as Gerard said was still unexplored.
>>
No. 1017292 ID: 96c896

🅱️
>>
No. 1017304 ID: 8483cf

B. Lords!

But we'll never be royals
>>
No. 1017533 ID: 3425ba

>>1017269
C. While there is certainly plenty of loot to be had we have already pushed our luck enough as is, and without a clear goal here there is no point in staying when we could be pressing furthur into the Khanate. Not to mention the men up above. Also there is the matter of finding peace for our dearly departed Gerard, and his remains.
>>
No. 1017638 ID: 89649e
File 163971823377.jpg - (260.10KB , 750x450 , soj_053.jpg )
1017638

After some careful adjustment you sling the weighty blade in its scabbard to rest across your back before gathering up the remaining gemstones and shards to stow on your person. Using the GLOW, you take another look about the chamber below -- but upon finding no other discernible egress, elect to head back up your rope with your newly found loot... that is at least once you ponder what to make of your assurance to Gerard that you would see to his remains if you're able.

Unfortunately, in pieces or as a whole the man's corpse weighs more than you do and is cumbersome by a fair measure. There may perhaps be other means of helping the SARKEN spirit move on just the same -- but the conundrum of how to recover the pieces of the man and his viscera presents a dour obstacle.

Still, you gather up what you imagine to be funerary cloths from within the sarcophagus and do your best diligence to at least -collect- his remains together again and go about the hearty work of shifting them to rest at the base of your rope. You could, if you so chose, attempt to haul up the man's earthly leavings once above -- or otherwise leave some indication, that the other SARKEN might reconsider his recovery in your stead.

Limbered up and nimble as you are even with the new weight at your back, your ascent of the rope is swift and confident as you haul yourself back onto the cool, dusty stonework of the passage above. With your empowered GLOW in hand, you cast new illumination down the magically shrouded corridor -- and are reminded in that moment that a curious door remains nearby at the end of this passage as well along with a few conspicuous divots your light catches along the walls.

An interstitial update to go with the B vote before, as there was a bit of a spread on where to ply; I'll aim to do a follow-up update after this, but wanted to give a chance to consider the door close by as well and reach a consensus on what you'd like to do with Gerard's body.

You consider your options...

> A) Investigate the door close by, with an eye on suspicious wall spots.
> B) Go west from the original antechamber, where Gerard indicated a 'frightening adversary' spooked the SARKEN
> C) Go east from the original antechamber, where Gerard indicated tricky traps had forestalled the SARKEN
> D) _

Please also vote yea or nay on whether or not you'd like to try to bring Gerard's remains along as well.
>>
No. 1017642 ID: 094652

>>1017638
Ten internet points says those are projectile/spear traps.

Go west for now but set up some bait near the door.
>>
No. 1017646 ID: 96c896

>>1017638
Hmm, there is one way to definitely get the man's corpse out, but... it involves cutting it up into smaller pieces. Not sure if he'd appreciate that.
You could, alternatively, put him in the sarcophagus, where the sword was?

Get his opinion on those plans.
>>
No. 1017650 ID: 3425ba

>>1017646
What ARE Sarken burial rites like anyway? Also I doubt he'd enjoy being interred in a Khanate tomb, considering they hate each other apparently. For now we can try hauling him up, then we can drag him out when we are done here or leave him for his friends.

Lets go B
>>
No. 1017653 ID: 3a06e7

A - Oh, right, would be better to check out this path first.

Bring just Gerard's head. If Gerard later complains, just tell him that, uhh, that the head basically is his whole body and that the rest of it is unnecessary hubris, not required for him to rest in peace.
>>
No. 1017656 ID: 2beeb7

Try to haul him up (is there any way to loop the rope through the bundle for an imprivised "block and tackle"-like setup?)

If you fail, well, at least you tried to the best of your ability.
>>
No. 1017673 ID: 2f1313

>>1017638
A strong B) and an attempt must be made to make good on your promise, for what ills would the coven incur if a witch disrespects the spirits of the dead?
>>
No. 1017754 ID: b6986d

>>1017638
> A) Investigate the door close by, with an eye on suspicious wall spots.
Be careful of pressure plates or tripwires!

Bring the remains up too, promises to the dead (especially when they held up their end of a deal to help you) aren't to be broken lightly.
>>
No. 1017865 ID: 89649e
File 163997005553.jpg - (330.25KB , 750x450 , soj_054.jpg )
1017865

Gazing to the doorway nearby, you deduce the approach to be likely trapped -- and ultimately elect to turn your focus towards the western passage from the antechamber instead. First, however, you resolve to recover Gerard's remains from down below -- and once assured that the way above is cleared for now, you scurry back down the rope and set to the task of... bundling the man's body as best as you're able for transport; secured with the rope, you ascend once more before bracing your strong buune legs before working to slowly but surely haul the not inconsiderable weight up with you.

It is hard work, but you feel it prudent to keep your word for the departed as best as you're able: at the very least, you'd help make sure he would not lie forgotten in the pit of an ancient burial place not of his own people. Shouldering the weight of man and blade alike, you can feel a heady burn in your hamstrings as you adjust to the new burdens while doubling back whence you came to the antechamber.

Once at the entrance, you assuage your own anxiousness in affirming that the way to the surface remains opened and unoccupied for now; you then elect to leave Gerard's remains resting there before you proceed down the western passage -- the better to remain light on your feet ahead.

Bearing Gerard's remarks of a 'frightening adversary' rebuffing the SARKEN down the passage ahead, you elect to eschew lighting torches as you go -- instead fostering a soft GLOW sufficient to guide your way through the darkened span. Along the way, you pass a number of sconces with the scent of extinguished flames reaching you, which you gather to mean the SARKEN had lit the passage before but allowed it to gutter out in their absence.

Cautious and quietly, you keep a steady clip as your sandals stir scarcely a sound, keeping your cloak drawn close and your eyes peeled behind your mask. You resolve to remain conscious of time, however: it would not do to linger overlong in the more readily accessible reaches of the HALLS, especially knowing that the SARKEN have already plied and looted portions of their depths.

You have gained:
> Enchanted Heavy Sword
>>
No. 1017866 ID: 89649e
File 163997012001.jpg - (213.73KB , 750x450 , soj_055.jpg )
1017866

Along the way, you pass along several spans of packed burial chambers for what you estimate to be 'lesser' individuals among the KHOR and the lords interred here: largely unremarkable niches in tight proximity with few ornate markings -- though a fair number of receptacles in which to burn incense, judging by the surprisingly aromatic remnants among all the dust and desiccation. Small keepsakes have been scattered about and picked over unceremoniously -- a few small personal affects, perhaps left by loved ones, discarded or brushed aside in the haste of your predecessors seeking valuables.

It is clear that this wing of the HALLS saw more common foot traffic, even prior to the SARKEN making headway here -- and though you remain vigilant, you find no indication of traps having been set throughout these chambers and the halls which connect them.

At last, you exit the passageways and enter into a broader chamber with a long series of open archways before you -- various burial urns and other objects of simple art arrayed in the wing around you. Quietly, you stalk to peer past one of the archways and lay eyes on a much larger chamber beyond with a high ceiling and enormous arched passage into some immense cavern further still.

You are certain this is as far as the SARKEN have been, for you spy the source of their apprehension as Gerard spake: a startlingly large figure adorned in heavy steel plate, seemingly standing vigil. Wielding an immense shield easily as long as you are tall, the figure stands as if scarcely encumbered -- while a long, wicked poleaxe or halberd rests in their grip, its shaft braced on the stone floor. A heavy hood is drawn over the figure's head, obscuring their face from the light; you would wager they stand nearly two heads taller than the SARKEN men you'd encountered!

Before the figure, a huge span of broad stone steps descend somewhere deeper -- but behind them, you can faintly make out what you imagine to be the crypts and catacombs of far more prestigious or important likes.

INVENTORY as of this post: https://pastebin.com/fmiV3zjV
MAGIC as of this post: https://pastebin.com/E8iTCvFQ

You decide to...

> A) Attempt to contact the figure, or otherwise openly approach.
> B) Attempt to somehow sneak past the figure, or otherwise remain undetected.
> C) Attempt to engage the figure, or otherwise get the drop on them.
> D) _
>>
No. 1017867 ID: 2f1313

>>1017866
My inner FromSoftware child is telling me to say 'that dude will have a great equip load ring, we should backstab him until he sleeps', but we are simply not equipped to handle Havel at this point. Discretion is the better part of valor: we can engage him when we are good and ready -- or better yet, let him be a silent guardian of our rear as we venture to the chamber beyond him.
>>
No. 1017868 ID: bdc340

Contact
>>
No. 1017869 ID: 094652

Sneak past and leave the ghost dog in front. Wait until someone fights the golem before you decide to fight or run.
>>
No. 1017878 ID: 96c896

B, use SHROUD to sneak past.
>>
No. 1017893 ID: 3a06e7

A guardian, huh? If it's magical, then I doubt it relies purely on eyesight to keep unwanted people out, so I wouldn't rely on SHROUD to work.

A. I think this option is safe and without downsides. If it fails, it should be easy to retreat from someone in heavy plate armor, and then try something else. But if it works, well, then we'll have to convince it to let us pass or something. Or it may require some sort of key item. What to say? That we came to talk with the lordship?
>>
No. 1018235 ID: a8998c

> A) Attempt to contact the figure, or otherwise openly approach.

I think that this fellow is exceedingly scary. However, physically sneaking past him has risks. I suggest that we should use our Commune power in order to contact him while we remain hidden in the shadows. That way we can initiate a dialogue without exposing ourselves to a swing of a massive blade.
>>
No. 1018389 ID: 89649e
File 164048922814.jpg - (276.77KB , 750x450 , soj_056.jpg )
1018389

Observing the silent sentinel, you consider it pertinent to remain undetected -- weighing your chances at sneaking past their vigil, though you are uncertain if the aid of your magical SHROUD would aid you in this instance. For a moment, you reflect what treasures or sorcery might adorn the figure in question; ultimately, you decide that your first course of prudence is instead an effort to make contact... safely, preferably.

In this, you engage your magic of COMMUNE in order to reach out to this being from shadowy cover afar: coalescing your cantrip with deft and practiced focus, you can feel a faint tingle coalesce as you give voice to your best officiate greeting you can muster. "El tlinn co, guardian." You declare in a friendly tone, indicating a welcome. Then, you deign to try your best elucidation with the trade tongue of man.

"I have come to visit thee Lordship." You offer of your intent to the tomb beyond.

With your words, the sentinel stirs only slightly before a voice booms from beneath the hood.

"WHOM APPROACHETH THINE LORDS? SPEAK OF THOU'ST CREED; FOR THOU ART MEASURED, IN THY REQUEST JUDGED."

Your response is...

> _

You can freestyle a bit here, or give general intent on what you'd like to say / ask -- and we'll see how things unfold from there!
>>
No. 1018390 ID: 2f1313

>>1018389
[Speech 60] I'm new in town, and wanted to pay my respects.
All manner of things awry in the world above, we seek the old wisdom of the kings lives and deaths to steel us for a harrowing journey ahead.
>>
No. 1018394 ID: 094652

"The Pall shall be stopped.
By the will of the Buune, ever vigilant."
>>
No. 1018405 ID: c92a02

Start beatboxing.
>>
No. 1018410 ID: e51896

>>1018390
this
>>
No. 1018419 ID: 3a06e7

I am the Hero of the FOURTH AGE and Bulwark against END TIMES, Vanquisher of PAAL and Savior of KHOR, Slayer of SARKEN and Subduer of Rolph the Evil Peeing Man, Rhiannon of the Briar Spire and Sentinel of the Obsidian Sanctum, Seeker Kaia... the Holy Princess... yeah :smirk:
>>
No. 1018838 ID: 89649e
File 164090812631.jpg - (266.95KB , 750x450 , soj_057.jpg )
1018838

Given pause by the proclamation, you reflect on what you might say -- perhaps prose on your perilous quest to the PALL, or another manner of presenting yourself. For a moment, you even consider the aggressively lilting form of verbal sparring favored by fauns, 'bleatboxing' -- but you decide against it, being ill-practiced and wary of how such a sentinel might respond to that more confrontational call-out.

For all the likes of treasures and traps, you elect for honesty in your own trials: announcing yourself to the guardian plainly.

"I seek the weesdom of lords and kings that the Pall may be lifted!"

"IF THOU ART OF HONORABLE TRUTH, HIDE THEE NOT IN SHADOW AND PRESENT THYSELF!" Booms the guardian.

Though you are hesitant, for your paths has proven one of enduring caution -- you can feel a swell of boldness within your buune heart; what truer way to assert the importance of your mission than to bare your spirit?

You emerge from the shadows and stride forward into view -- almost reflexively reaching to touch your mask before electing to remove it such that the guardian can see your face and perhaps in doing so recognize your sincerity.

"I am Kaia, Rhiannon of the Briar Spire, Sentinel of thee Obsidian Sanctum and Seeker of sight beyond sight. I will stand for thee Khor and seek salvation -- from thee Sarken, and all that lurks in dread." You surprise yourself with the vigor your voice carries, feeling confidence swell all the more as your long ears tingle -- before reflexively thumping your foot with emphatic energy as you declare: "The Pall shall be vanquished, its curse undone -- by the will of the Buune, ever vigilant!"

A silence follows as stillness hangs in the musty air of the long-buried halls. Adrenaline leaves you feeling bristled, pulse racing, your tail twitching of its own accord beneath your cloak. For a time, you wonder if some great cleaving blow is about to descend, bracing for the possibility.

"THOU ART MEASURED," declares the towering sentinel, "MAY THY CREED DOTH PROVE TRUE."

With a great and momentous weight as if some living glacier of steel and stone, the guardian makes way to the deeper chambers that you may pass; your relief is palpable, and you waste little time in advancing into the great span beyond.
>>
No. 1018840 ID: 89649e
File 164090825156.jpg - (229.53KB , 750x450 , soj_058.jpg )
1018840

Descending dusty stone steps, you enter the deeper halls beyond the sentinel and gaze into the long sprawl of high archways supported by massive stone pillars. Among each, you can make out the recesses of a great multitude of burial places within this deeper span.

While you might have expected more ostentatious resting places for the more esteemed Khor, the seemingly simple niches have been steeped with occupants both ancient and otherwise; each appears to be appointed in such a fashion as to suggest their import to the rulers of this place.

You can scarcely wager as to just how many individuals may be interred here, but feel confidence now that these catacombs must span much of the greater city above for as spacious and packed as they've proven to be.

Part of you is tempted to ply the long halls to your flanks but much of your focus is drawn to the passage immediately before you: an immense hall at the top of a small flight of steps flanked by another pair of braziers. Above, a carved mural depicts a seemingly wondrous city wreathed with light, a tower of massive height at its very center -- this strikes you as something of import.

Faintly, you can smell pleasant herbs on the air over the otherwise ashen and dusty aromas of the halls. Something about the passage before you reminds you of the entrance to the halls on the surface as well. With the guardian standing vigil at your back you are at least confident of some measure of safety there -- now, for the way forward...

You decide to...

> A) Explore the burial niches along the side passages first.
> B) Don your mask and hood once more before proceeding stealthily ahead.
> C) Remain a bold buune and conduct yourself openly, proceeding ahead.
> D) _

If you'd like to do anything with the braziers as well, just indicate a yea or nay / what you'd like to do, since that can go independently of any of the above.
>>
No. 1018843 ID: 96a9a8

>>1018840
C. We are alone here.
Lighting the braziers makes sense, considering the mural. We even have a cantrip for it.

I dunno what we'd find in the side passages anyway, aside from loot, and I think graverobbing would piss off the guardian.
>>
No. 1018874 ID: 2f1313

>>1018840
It is the earnest nature of our plight that we were granted access, it is this boon that stays him from thrashing us. C), go forward unto the breach and know that history favors no heroes that skulk and consort in shadows.
>>
No. 1018896 ID: 8483cf

C! Light em up!
>>
No. 1019103 ID: b6986d

>>1018840
Light things up! And continue to show proper respect as best you can while you journey deeper, being earnest and honorable about your intentions has worked well so far.
>>
No. 1019168 ID: 89649e
File 164109727773.jpg - (190.78KB , 750x450 , soj_059.jpg )
1019168

Resolving to boast such braw mien for what lies ahead, you set to task with your KINDLE cantrip to light the braziers here in kind -- the great swell of crackling flames casting long shadows as they warms your form quite deeply. Where before you had caught lingering remnants of herbs, your lungs catch a blend of incense as smoke wafts up to the high ceilings above; your eyes adjust to the new flourish of illumination as the further recesses to your flanks deepen in their shadowy niches.

For a few moments you gaze up at the relief of the city over the entryway -- its great tower seeming to catch your attention in some manner of resonance. However, you do not linger overlong and instead set forth, proceeding down the grand hall ahead as sandals treat soft footfalls and your cloak lightly flourishes in your wake.

Some fifty feet you tread as the light from the braziers dances after you and quiet reverberations of each motion seem to form a faint ambiance around you. At the far end of the passage, your find yourself stepping out from beneath a ring of archways into the center of a round chamber with a high domed ceiling of stone before your attention is swiftly seized by the stirring of much movement above you.
>>
No. 1019169 ID: 89649e
File 164109731112.jpg - (315.99KB , 750x450 , soj_060.jpg )
1019169

Before you is a sight which gives you pause, the thump of your heart nearly skipping a beat as light blossoms from overhead: arranged in an array of tiered stone thrones are eleven figures which gaze upon you from on high. Each bears some manner of robe, armor or both coupled with stately or regal accouterments -- crowns, mantles, circlets, jewels and other markings of station and import. Save for a single hulking figure clad wholly in heavy armor, each of the figures is plainly skeletal in form -- yet the lot of them prove quite animate, even without your having to COMMUNE!

"What manner of creature is this?" One voice intones as one of the figures gestures a bony hand towards you.

"Not a woman of Khor, it is plain!" Declares another.

"Ears as a rabbit..." Another mutters as you can feel the gaze of many empty sockets bear down on you.

"An outsider -- yet be this a pilgrimage?" Yet another figure seems to muse.

Much such discourse is given to a clamor among the assembly over your regard; your ears prick to the shift of chain link as one figure near to the center gestures with some agitation over your shoulder. "This hilt is known to me!" He balks, thrusting a bony finger in an accusatory fashion. "Baghatur!"

"Enough!" Cuts the tone of a skeletal woman to your left, her bare skull seeming to affect a particular grin at you. "Let this one speak for herself." She dips her hooded head towards you. "It has been long before one has stood before us as such. We have heard your declarations -- now, we would hear more of you."

It would seem you stand before an assembly of ancient lords of the KHOR, quite animate at present; you have no doubt there is a well of power in this place which may perhaps influence your quest ahead.

You decide to...

> A) Seek a boon from the old bone lords, some manner of magic or treasure or 'blessing'
> B) Seek wisdom from the wisest lords, knowledge to aid you in your mission to the Fated City
> C) Seek inspiration from the ancient assembly, to better empower your personal experience
> D) _

Feel free to get creative here, and to include anything you'd like to say or ask; I'll use the voting to help guide an overall direction and goal here, but will try to also incorporate as much as I can from anything you'd like to try to establish or discover -- this is a big opportunity to further shape your character along the way.
>>
No. 1019170 ID: 8483cf

A. I'm gonna be honest, I doubt I could use the wisdom very well. Ask for a get out of jail free card, or lacking that, awesome powers that can get us out of a bind in the future.
>>
No. 1019173 ID: 2f1313

>>1019169
This council of lords is likely the best font of knowledge we will find. Their knowledge, let alone their wisdom, could prove invaluable to our quest. B)!
>>
No. 1019175 ID: 96c896

B. We're in sore need of knowledge. Power is nice, but without knowing where to point a blade it's useless.
But why not all three options? You will accept any help they are willing to give.
Also ask how they are in this state.
>>
No. 1019177 ID: c92a02

A. Cantrips are cool, but could you teach me a real spell? Something to help me sneak into the city, maybe.
>>
No. 1019207 ID: db9d01

Keep calm. Identify yourself and explain your mission. If you know any Bune diplomatic gestures now's the time to break them out (kneeling ? gift giving ?)

B is priority, knowledge is power, but if they seem sympathetic to your cause trying pressing them for additional help.

Offer to return the sword. You meant no insult, you were trained to make use of any resource you can lay your hand on.
Also ask if there is somewhere to intern Gerards' remains. Might be an alternative to hauling a sack of bones back to his sister
>>
No. 1019329 ID: af2f11

>>1019207
Good idea, but probably shouldn't bring up the body of their enemy.
Explain that the city has fallen and the original resting place for the sword would have been compromised shortly had we not found it first. If they would like the sword to stay, they may want it to stay with them behind the guardian.
>>
No. 1019427 ID: b6986d

>>1019169
Option B, for B Polite. Explain how you got the sword and ask if they want it returned to a safe place.
>>
No. 1019443 ID: 094652

Consider offering to masturbate in front of them in exchange for an extra boon. Might be dumb, but if they still have enough vigor to argue amongst themselves...
>>
No. 1019460 ID: 076735

B. Knowledge is pretty much what we came here for.
>>
No. 1019493 ID: db9d01

>>1019443
Well this does seem to be their first encounter with your species... perhaps the more scholarly boners would like to inspect your physiology.

Y'know for research.
>>
No. 1019499 ID: 676f44

>>1019169
B) Seek wisdom from the wisest lords, knowledge to aid you in your mission to the Fated City.

"I am of the Buune, ward and warden of the Earth and her gifts. It is in this duty that we seek your knowledge and wisdom of the Fated City of the Khanate, for the PALL that ails us is little of this earth by it's nature, and such location is its seeming source. It is by this that we request aid, as it threatens the creations of both Earth and Man alike."

That sound good?
>>
No. 1019970 ID: 89649e
File 164169024711.jpg - (252.44KB , 750x450 , soj_061.jpg )
1019970

Beneath the gaze of the ancient assembly, you steel yourself and steady your nerves before mustering your response -- head held high as you bristle with braw buune resolve: knowledge is what you seek most of all, any and all boons by which to better pursue the arduous path that yet lies ahead in these cursed and dying lands. Yours is an impassioned appeal, elucidating your order's charge -- and the duty you bear in seeking out the Fated City at the heart of it all. A grave matter, for grave lords to consider.

You offer to return the enchanted blade if bade, explaining the fall of the city above 'neath the tread of foreign armies -- though you strive for politeness and respect as you do so. With an audience so steeped with bones, there is a part of you that contemplates the way of Khasma's disciples in offering a more salacious presentation for your skeletal audience; however, this did not bode as the time and place for bawdy boning (though you do recall a sister of the spire who offered emphatic praise for the passion and pottery ghostly paramours could offer when one was duly possessed by such a drive.)

Midst the assembly are mutterings as you conclude -- some openly skeptical of your prospects while others seem moved by your manner -- at least, as much as you can tell from empty sockets and gleaming boney smiles.

"She cannot possibly bear such a duty." Glowers the figure near the center once more with a dismissive gesture while his opposite steeps bony fingertips. "Perhaps her purpose is to aid the one who shall? A Khor hero, to bring salvation to the Khor?" Several seem to take to this latter notion -- the lord gesturing to the blade at your back. "Bear it past yonder walls if truly you seek to reach the Fated City -- that you may find the Baghatur."

Leaning forward in her seat, the skeletal lord to your left stirs once more. "Prick those long ears of yours keenly now -- we may not have the reach once held, but we know of things yet that you should heed..."

You nod, feeling your ears twitching higher reflexively -- listening intently as they begin.
>>
No. 1019972 ID: 89649e
File 164169096625.jpg - (325.57KB , 750x450 , soj_062.jpg )
1019972

There is much to be learned from the buried lords -- and that which they impart upon you comes from a variety of speakers as they proceed. Not all here are of the Khor, you are surprised to learn -- many, in fact, were once the lords and lieges of other realms of man who fell beneath the spread of the Khanate in time -- their lands and peoples pressed into vassalage, brought into the greater fold. Here beneath this city at the furthest of the Khanate's borders was erected a bastion beneath which to inter them among the honored dead, those whom the Great Khan had found esteemed and noble orders to join among the Khor.

Such a ceremonial assembly was not entirely without its ulterior intent, however: through the focus of kalatite threaded among the foundations of these halls, the magi of the Great Khan would allegedly have a vantage over the lands beyond and a means by which to commune and weave essence over great distances. From your tutelage among the sisters of the spire, such notions are not unfamiliar to you -- but both the necessary mastery and quantity of energies involved would doubtless be precarious. You consider if this may have played a role in the swift and sudden proliferation of this fell curse -- but listen onward as they continue.

Deeper among the lands of the Khor are several sites of power, erected as they were at focal points where the flow of spiritual essence and arcane energies were at their zenith; you imagine this to be the likes of 'ley lines' or similar principles from your magical studies. At these locations, great magi and their subordinates held vantage over the sprawling lands of the Khanate while essentially helping to coax and cultivate the further flow of magic for use in esoteric ceremonies and rites. Much of this, it would seem, was at the behest of the Great Khan's most trusted oracles in pursuit of their prophecies -- such that the man himself, Azad Khazarad, might 'ascend' and usher in a Fifth, everlasting golden age for the Khor.

As your order and others had ascertained and suspected, so too do the lords here seem to share the idea that the Fated City is where the root of such must lie: whatever happened has clearly gone terribly awry and thrown wide the shadow of the terrible Pall.

Though this bastion was once meant as a bulwark to alert and summon the armies of the Khor against foreign threats, the chaos sown by the curse assured ruin -- and now the Sarken and likely others march deeper into the Khanate as well. In their last fleeting correspondence with the lords from on far, two of the magi entreated aid while a third spake of the arrival of a siege -- but the lords have heard nothing further for many days now. They had expected the arrival of clergy from above -- but only you arrived.

Sensitive to the threads of spiritual essence as they are, the lords can see the 'thickness' of your own; coupled with your bold declarations it would seem that despite reservations, these are desperate times -- and the looters above are unlikely to do anything at this bony court's behest...
>>
No. 1019973 ID: 89649e
File 164169152513.jpg - (195.47KB , 750x450 , soj_063.jpg )
1019973

While the lords are uncertain if you are any sort of 'hero foretold' or the like, they seem to recognize your potential as well as your sensitivity to the weave. As such, they implore you in your journey inland to seek out one or more of the magi -- or failing that, the places of power and kalatite foci they tend -- and gather their reserves of spiritual energy to take to the Fated City. There, the assembly warns, great magical barriers may bar the way within the city and the great tower at its heart.

Such a journey as yours need not be taken alone -- doubtless there are others as well seeking to find their way to the Fated City, whatever their own daring duties or dreams may be. You might yet find stalwart companionship among such persons... or perhaps rivals, instead.

To aid your trek, the lords impart on you the locations of three of the magi places of power in the lands beyond -- you make note of these destinations that you may later reference them again when considering your chartered course. These destinations are:

The Vaults of Volkregar, a site secluded in easterly wetlands and overseen by a magi charged with the observation and study of antiquities and oddities.
The Sundered Sanctum, a site overlooking a stygian rift to the northeast and governed by a magi overseeing the penitent practitioners of sinful ceremonies interred there.
The Last Vigil, a site high in the northern mountains overlooking the vast stormlands beyond Khor and overseen by a magi protected by a revered honor guard.

No word was received from the magi of the Sundered Sanctum by the lords. A fourth magi may yet be found in Khel-Ranak, a fortress along the main roads -- but the lords assert that this is where a siege had arrived, and suspect it has fallen to the Sarken host since.

Beyond this, the lords impart that they are willing to reveal to you an alternative egress from the halls -- one which leads through a temple at the surface, originally meant for the clergy seeking their counsel.

Much to consider, all told; grave and foreboding matters abound. You decide to...

> A) Seek additional knowledge from the gathered lords before departing, with questions you have in mind...
> B) Make haste with what you have learned, taking advantage of the secret egress to return to the city through a temple...
> C) Bid the assembled lords farewell, but double back that you may yet explore the remainder of the halls for possible boons...
> D) Insist more fervently upon additional aid from the assembled lords, whatever the cost.
> E) _

A lot to read and take in! Several possibilities to seek out in your travels ahead, should you make it out of the city here -- though it is ultimately your decision to heed or discard the wishes of the assembled lords here; I encourage you of course to arrive at your own conclusions as the story continues, so weigh the counsel of those you parlay with as you wish.
>>
No. 1019974 ID: 8483cf

D. The lords have admitted that these are indeed desperate times. Why not make certain that our quest to seek out magi succeeds?
>>
No. 1020001 ID: 676f44

>>1019973
Eh, I think we're good here.

> B) Make haste with what you have learned, taking advantage of the secret egress to return to the city through a temple...

Let's get a move on and get to these MacGuffins.
>>
No. 1020036 ID: db9d01

Thank them for their counsel and ask for a skele token or some other emblem/marker, to show their endorssment of your quest. It might be useful icebreaker if we ever encounter this "real hero", you're supposed to assist. (Also pout a little about being called a sidekick.)

Also make a humble personal request for any advice they can offer to a student of the Occult, nothing major just something to guide you to greater magic.

Give them your best formal bow, and maybe wiggle your hips a little on the way out via the temple.
>>
No. 1020046 ID: 1a1d89

>>1020036
Definitely ask for a token of some sort (maybe the sword itself would serve as one?).
>>
No. 1020356 ID: b6986d

>>1019973
Seconding the suggestion that we should ask for a token that would gain the cooperation of another would-be preventer of the end of the world if we meet them.

After that, we should go to the LAST VIGIL, since we could better survey the extent of the Pall from such a height.
>>
No. 1020527 ID: 89649e
File 164231475092.jpg - (320.87KB , 550x750 , soj_064.jpg )
1020527

Offering your thanks to the lords, you give them your best formal bow with a swish of your cloak, your tail giving a reflexive wiggle of its own accord as you do. A member of the assembly leans forward as you do, perhaps to return the gesture as you dip low? Eyeless sockets gazing intently down, you can't help but suspect that even were the lord's corporeal form intact, he would not be making eye contact at this moment.

This notion is sufficient prompt for you to impress upon the import of these desperate times, insisting upon any further aid they may yet be able to render you -- perhaps as a 'weaver' yourself.

After a brief deliberation, the lords acquiesce: imparting on you an intonation which proves sufficient to grant you INSPIRATION.

Echoing faintly in the distance your long ears prick to the sounds of a commotion, coupled with a familiar bellow. "WHOM APPROACHETH THINE LORDS?" It would seem that at last, others have followed whence you came. No doubt, one among their number has suffered caltrops on the way.

"Hmmph. Invaders and brigands." Sneers a lord above. "Best then that you depart, lest you be waylaid. Pass below twixt the arches -- find passage to the temple above and venture forth with pep."
>>
No. 1020528 ID: 89649e
File 164231484271.jpg - (290.04KB , 450x450 , soj_065.jpg )
1020528

With the thought of providing proof of your task ahead, before you leave you entreat the court for some manner of token or symbol that you might show others their apparent faith. To this, there is some muttering and commiserating once more -- before the lords acquiesce, bestowing you with a curious bell. Fashioned of bronze, the bell is inlaid with numerous markings as well as a depiction of what seems to be a phoenix. Checking within the cup of the bell, you find no clapper present -- rendering the implement silent. You stow it in your bag for safe-keeping, before making your leave from the court.

INVENTORY Updated. You have gained:
> Phoenix Bell
>>
No. 1020529 ID: 89649e
File 164231488370.jpg - (298.03KB , 750x450 , soj_066.jpg )
1020529

Setting out, you delve past the archways beneath the assembled lords with a wiggle of your hips as you depart, padding deftly into a dark and narrow passage beyond. With the aid of your GLOW focus, you're able to navigate the hidden tunnel with relative ease and expedience.

After some time, you arrive at the base of a well with a stone spiral staircase -- ascending several flights with a faint tingling of your hamstrings. Once you near the surface. cool air faintly brushes through your hair and fur as you find yourself in a small round chamber with a high open belfry above.

Cautious as you are, you take the time to check the vicinity for any sounds of further commotion before braving beyond the door and finding yourself emerging from the rearmost chambers of a temple.

Deserted, the broad hall of reverence has been partly ransacked -- and someone has removed the head from a statue overlooking the empty congregation, nowhere to be found. Deciding not to linger overlong, you find your way to a side door to exit out to the city streets again at last.
>>
No. 1020530 ID: 89649e
File 164231494262.jpg - (309.11KB , 750x450 , soj_067.jpg )
1020530

Eyes and ears keenly attentive, you follow along the main thoroughfare from the cover of alleyways before finding the northern city gate. While the southern approach had served to rebuke the encroach of troops, once the city had fallen securing passage deeper into Khor territory was an inevitable affair. From a distance, you find no sign of a sentry ahead, near as you can tell; perhaps the threadbare remainder of Sarken in the city are now tied up being measured by the sentinel below.

You are free to leave the city and venture on in your QUEST.

You decide to...

> A) Set out for The Vaults of Volkregar, a site secluded in easterly wetlands and overseen by a magi charged with the observation and study of antiquities and oddities.
> B) Set out for The Sundered Sanctum, a site overlooking a stygian rift to the northeast and governed by a magi overseeing the penitent practitioners of sinful ceremonies interred there.
> C) Set out for The Last Vigil, a site high in the northern mountains overlooking the vast stormlands beyond Khor and overseen by a magi protected by a revered honor guard.
> D) _

Past the city, you're returned to overland travel through the wilderness; the vote here mostly informs your next general goal, though there will no doubt be other encounters and obstacles along the way to any of these destinations. You're welcome to deliberate or put forth other immediate goals.

Since you have INSPIRATION, the next time you make camp you'll also be able to choose another advancement.

>>
No. 1020531 ID: 96c896

>>1020530
I don't suppose we could find whoever the Sarken were chasing? Could be an ally.
>>
No. 1020533 ID: c92a02

Head for the wetlands. Maybe they'll be able to tell you about your bell.
>>
No. 1020535 ID: 8483cf

A: Vaults, but only after D: we take a break for some well-deserved R&R. Maybe at a buune & breakfast?
>>
No. 1020545 ID: f57349

>>1020531
Yeah, let's follow up on that before leaving. Gerard might know more about the pattern of activity, and Crystal Crumpsy could probably track scent trails starting from some spot where we actually saw the mysterious cloaked figure.
>>
No. 1020547 ID: e4b19e

D. I like donut's idea of taking a break before going anywhere maybe for an entire day. Maybe find a beach, or a lake and go skinny dipping or something
>>
No. 1020570 ID: 34dfce

>>1020545
Thirding this.
>>
No. 1020589 ID: 1ee277

>>1020547
I am inclined to believe this, but with a twist on >>1020531 in attracting them by way of skinny dipping. Our keen senses should be enough to clue us in to any potential peepers and yellow certainly doesn't blend in to nature well.
>>
No. 1020694 ID: 676f44

>>1020530
> A) Set out for The Vaults of Volkregar, a site secluded in easterly wetlands and overseen by a magi charged with the observation and study of antiquities and oddities.

Thinking this. Not a fan of going for a rest now.
>>
No. 1020709 ID: 34dfce

>>1020589
That assumes that they would actually be attracted. Not everyone is into girls, or people outside their species (and the chance of them being a Bunne is pretty much zero).

They could potentially target us for leaving our belongings, but that would assume that they are a thief.

Basically, luring them via skinny dipping doesn't seem likely. I mean, we can do it still, if we want, but I think if we do it, it should be separate from luring the mysterious stranger.
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