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File 166873871922.png - (256.10KB , 522x700 , 15-1.png )
1049539 No. 1049539 ID: 9272af

Chapter 15
Adult content 18+

First thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/860238.html
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Moot_Point
Previous chapter: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1013588.html
73 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 1052512 ID: f57349

>>1052413
Conveniently there are some mountain peaks right near the starting beacon, which Gabe presumably measured as part of originally finding this place. We'll need an accurate clock, though, and ideally some way to indicate the exact center of the scrying window.
>>
No. 1052560 ID: ccbdd0

>spy on the kobolds
oh really, you have fun doing that?
>>
No. 1052573 ID: 9272af
File 167200525867.png - (120.36KB , 700x346 , 15-21.png )
1052573

Gabe blinks back surprise at the emotional outburst and shrugs. “Its fine, no biggie. We’ll just have to measure it ourselves. Let’s see…” He angles the viewpoint up and does a scan of the skyline. “Doesn’t look like things changed much, at least. Okay now lets line up these peaks.” 

Gabe maneuvers the orb into position and gooses it forward. “They should be about five miles apart according to the map.” He starts counting under his breath as the landscape sails by underneath them. The ice-capped mountain flies past their point of view and Gabe nods. “Three minutes and fifteen seconds, not bad. See? We know where and when to search, and we have a benchmark of speed and direction. Hardly useless at all!”

Muir sulks at the bottom of his prison, clearly a little put out that these mortals are so adeptly use his machine.
>>
No. 1052585 ID: c29e6e

It's because there's a combination of people's efforts going into this Muir. You made it and understand it's purpose and various dials and levers, Graves remembers the exact dates and names of places we're looking for, Casey knows where those places are in modern context, SOMEONE made this map being used as reference for directions, and Gabe's savant level mathematical understanding is calculating the exact coordinates from said reference. It is called "teamwork", and if you weren't such a narcissist tyrant you'd have had people with varied specializations that could have helped you with this.
>>
No. 1052588 ID: dee951

Most Tyrants and Dictators and the like still have their advisers and experts. What were his like? Was there some who he trusted?
>>
No. 1052593 ID: 83fb9f

That's teamwork, Dude. Powerful mortal tactics, that.
>>
No. 1052604 ID: c74ddc

>>1052588

Probably not. It seems like Hekal was a bit of an odd man out among vampire lords for valuing others and their opinions.
>>
No. 1052896 ID: 9272af
File 167236884747.png - (203.68KB , 700x688 , 15-22.png )
1052896

The mouse’s eyes dart to the side, trying to stay focused on guiding the machine. “Hey man, its just teamwork. We’re just cooperating and combining our skills. Didn’t you have people you relied on in your day?” 

Muir scowls and says nothing. 

“Vampires tend to be… selective about their companions: the Mountain Lord notoriously so.” Mr Graves says. “Lord Hekal was actually a bit of an oddity among them. From what I’ve learned in my service, the most important thing to a vampire is usually their lair, specifically their mana well.”

“What else did I need?” The imprisoned undead waves his arm at nothing as if demonstrating his point. “I had my servants, my machines, and my mountain: which I built, myself, from the corpse of a primal earth elemental! All of the other idiots were scrambling for power and I vowed to wait it all out, safe in my fortress.” 

“And that’s what got you defeated.” Casey remarks, not unkindly, “It was the combined efforts of Madame Moot and the First Guardians that slipped right into your mountain and stopped you.” 

Muir opens his mouth to say something and hesitates for a moment before saying, “I had… never seen magic like that before. It wasn’t even like the portals you use today. It was wild and savage, ripping my mountain apart from the inside.” 
>>
No. 1052898 ID: 96a9a8

Yeah, it's been refined a bit since then. Tamed, you could say. The world moves on, society and skills advance without you when you turn your back to the world.
>>
No. 1052904 ID: 9a2966

>A slain earth elemental
Wait, so this entire place was - or was powered by - the body of a dead elemental? Hoh, now THAT sounds like a story you'd like to hear someday. The stuff of legends - unless Casey knows those legends already?

Shame they are dead though - you've only had the pleasure of meeting one truly powerful elemental in this day and age - and you'd not have a feather on their neck harmed if you could help it. They were quite nice.

>Never seen magic like that before
Well, that magic disappeared with Moot (until recently, anyway) when she took Hekal and herself... elsewhere. With any luck, you can position the scry so that you can observe through the portal and see the other end to get a clue as to where.

>Came into my mountain
Knowing what you do, it seems probable Muir was attacked because he had a mana well and it needed to be capped. Did they ever try to talk it out or give an ultimatum? Given that Muir was so passive, that could have been considered as an option, even if not a well-considered one given that he'd probably never give up his home base and power source.

No offense, but you do agree with what they did, as much as it was an invasion of his quiet, private sphere. The world did not need a ceaseless procession of power-hungry, asocial immortal warlords - or a singularly powerful tyrant left over at the end.

From your perspective, at least, it feels as if things have progressed for the better since that time.
>>
No. 1052917 ID: 4b0f55

Portal magic is much more refined nowadays. But by all means, tell us what it was like back then.
>>
No. 1052931 ID: a2d88b

You've actually seen the contrast between old and new portal magic. It's very likely the First Teacher helped codify it into a teachable form.
>>
No. 1052954 ID: 104149

>>1052917

We already saw a glimpse of what Moot's original portal magic was like with Clio. Before she was trained, her portals were wild tears and holes rather than nice neat portals. Imagine that, way back in the days when all magic was operating on a x10 modifier.
>>
No. 1053187 ID: 9272af
File 167279871908.png - (219.23KB , 700x500 , 15-23.png )
1053187

“Can you tell us anything about the First Guardians? Like what happened when they attacked you?”

Muir squints, looking back into the mists of time at his moment of defeat. “It took me a while to even realize the mountain had been breached. I was scrying and noticed that the kobolds were busier than normal, animated by some… unseen purpose.” 

“I finally found them: a cat in a red cloak, a Fey I had heard about, the one called “the teacher”, and a third figure who seemed to be a spirit of some kind.” The vampire continues, “Immediately I turned the rocks of the mountain against them, trying to crush them. The Fey protected them with the same magic that currently imprisons me, while the cat tore some kind of hole in space and they escaped. For more than a day I chased them through the mountain: having to scry them out and attack, only for them to escape.”

“Time was on my side though, I could see that they were getting tired, and their magic starting to weaken. I could tell that they were trying to find the source of my mana and I was determined to stamp them out before they could. “
>>
No. 1053188 ID: 9272af
File 167279872654.png - (139.87KB , 500x700 , 15-24.png )
1053188

Coming to the end, Muir sighs and glares at Three- Horns with a hatred honed over the centuries, “I remember… I was here at my machine, searching through the corridors of my fortress when I heard the door creak open and saw a servant girl peek in at me. I turned and ordered her away but felt myself grabbed from behind. At some point I had lost track of the spirit, and the little lizard led him right to me.” 
>>
No. 1053196 ID: e12308

Who was the medium??!!
Also, It's clear now that Muir lost because his hat wasn't tall enough.
>>
No. 1053197 ID: 15c72a

Hey that might be a cool thing to watch...
>>
No. 1053200 ID: 9a2966

>>1053197
Solving the mystery of the first spirit mystic while we're here? Why not!

Though perhaps we should focus on the task at hand and do that after we've verified what happened to Hekal.
>>
No. 1053202 ID: 83fb9f

It seems likely they would have found you anyways, Miur.
>>
No. 1053219 ID: 800359

>>1053200

Why not both?
At the same time.
>>
No. 1053397 ID: 9272af
File 167306464749.png - (118.11KB , 700x461 , 15-25.png )
1053397

“Before I could think, the bastard ripped me out of my body and was draining away my mana. I managed to slip free and fled back to my innermost sanctum only to find it sealed by a crystal barrier.”
>>
No. 1053398 ID: 9272af
File 167306466725.png - (182.42KB , 500x700 , 15-26.png )
1053398

“As I struggled to find some way in, the cat appeared, brandishing some kind of glowing blade. Rather than face her… I dove into the rock itself and hid. When I emerged… my mana well was sealed, and the kobolds had been taught how to hunt and cage me. I spent centuries trying to grow stronger, feeding off of kobolds that were asleep or unprotected, trying to conserve my mana.”

“What did the spirit look like?” Casey asks, “We’d love to know more about one of the first Mediums.” 

“I didn’t get a good look at him.” Muir shrugs. “He could have been a dog… maybe a cat? Some kind of mammal. Its hard to tell with etherial forms.”
>>
No. 1053399 ID: 9272af
File 167306468072.png - (172.01KB , 591x700 , 15-27.png )
1053399

“Uh, guys? I think I found it…” Gabe turns to tell the assembled group.

Kol asks, “You sure?” 

The Sender nods, his face looking pale. “Just a hunch.” He says.

In the glowing circle of mercury, a crowded warcamp sprawls by a river. Above it, the looming shape of a bargast blots out the stars. 
>>
No. 1053401 ID: 15c72a

>>1053399
Very nice. Let's find the throne room, and then wait for/fastforward to the confrontation.
>>
No. 1053409 ID: f8da40

So the first medium's identity remains a mystery. Buuuuut, who do we know that was good at taking spells apart and putting them back together, who might've created medium magic from necromancy (as Casey has deduced), and, it stands to reason, could've been its first practitioner?
>>
No. 1053411 ID: ceaf93

>>1053398
wasn't it said that there was only one person who wielded a portal as a blade, before our friendly neighborhood thief that is?
>>
No. 1053412 ID: 15c72a

>>1053409
...you're saying Lord Hekal is the First Medium?
It fits, doesn't it. Moot shows up, Lord Hekal vanishes, and then the wells start getting sealed, without anyone seeing the third member of the group.
>>
No. 1053581 ID: 9272af
File 167331336662.png - (197.29KB , 700x500 , 15-28.png )
1053581

“Okay, lets find the throne room and see what happened.” Kol leans in to eye the image. 

Graves points to a surprisingly plain building made of stone and says, “There, the throne room is in that building.” 

Gabe navigates the spell forward, passing through walls until it locates a low, wide room. Its center is dominated with a map, covered in colored stones and markers, showing the boundaries of war. At one end of the map sits a man in a throne, brooding over the sea of information: an expression of frustrated intelligence carved into his stony features. He wears simple, well made armor, with nothing to identify him as anything other than a common soldier. Despite this, the vampire radiates a pale, cold authority that marks him as an absolute ruler. 

At his side, Rodwin offers his loyal council with his branded tongue. The Fey points to the distribution of forces and offers his analysis without fear of reprimand. 

Hekal looks at the devil with an expression that seems… sad and immensely tired. For the first time in hundreds of years his voice is heard, although slightly unclear and warbling due to the spell. “True, true. In all honestly, I don’t know if there's enough power in the world to stop this war.”

“My Lord…” Mr. Graves makes a move to reach for the image before remembering himself. “Its him. Its really him…” The undead seems breathless, despite not needing to breathe for the last few centuries. 
>>
No. 1053582 ID: 83fb9f

The man, the myth, the legend. How long can can we watch this? We don't have the patience of the fay.
>>
No. 1053583 ID: f89136

>>1053581
Every time we learn more about him I'm more and more impressed at his tactical wit and marks of leadership. Not surprised they had to jump him to get the upper hand. Though it makes wonder what a man so seemingly wise wanted out of eternal life.
>>
No. 1053600 ID: 15c72a

Is there a fast-forward on this thing?
>>
No. 1053613 ID: 492304

I wonder if sealing the mana wells was Hekal's idea the whole time. As tired as he was of the endless magic superweapon wars of the Wild Age, was he really recruited by Moot to stop it, or was it the other way around?
>>
No. 1053614 ID: 9e7f25

>>1053613
Considering he's a cat, watch it turn out him and moot are relatives.
>>
No. 1053615 ID: 800359

>>1053583

Maybe he had a goal that met with Moot's.
If I were a betting man I'd say: a place to live for mortals, safe from all the magic users, the Fae wars and the chaos.

If Moot suggested him a way to access and close the mana wells he hadn't access to before (namely: her own magic), he might have been quickly convinced.

Hekal doesn't seem to me like a gloryhound or someone with ambitions of grandeur. The "noble goal through any means necessary" sounds like his hat though.
>>
No. 1053704 ID: 9272af
File 167357948202.png - (138.92KB , 500x700 , 15-29.png )
1053704

“We’re here too early.” Kol points and says, “Rodwin is still here. He told me that Madame Moot appeared and sent him somewhere else.” 

“You can speed it up, use the counter on the left.” Muir says from his prison. The caged vampire seems just as invested in seeing the events play out.

Gabe fiddles with the controls and the scene flicks forward in a rapid series of images. The vision suddenly flares with red light and he stops the spell. Caught in mid-stride, Augustine Moot steps out of a ragged tear in the world, as if her statue had stepped down from its pedestal and come to life. 

“Its really her… I can’t believe we’re seeing this!” Gabe breathes. He fiddles with the controls again and movement resumes. 
>>
No. 1053705 ID: 9272af
File 167357949894.png - (160.39KB , 500x700 , 15-30.png )
1053705

Rodwin leaps to his master’s defense, his face twisted in surprise, “What? Who the Blazing Fates are you?”

A moment later, he disappears: falling into a scar of light cut at his feet. 

Hekal looks at his lieutenant’s disappearance with concern, but a complete lack of surprise. “I do hope he’s not dead…”

Augustine shoots back, her voice full of wary spite. “Nah, he gotta a bit ova walk though.” The Claiomh Solais glows in her right hand, which she aims at the vampire. “So whas this all about, then? You invite me here to kill ya?” 
>>
No. 1053706 ID: 9272af
File 167357950813.png - (167.69KB , 700x500 , 15-31.png )
1053706

Fascinated by the sword of light, Hekal leans forward. “So that’s it? The blade I’ve heard of: the one that carves its own fate…” He sighs and sits back in his throne. “No, powerful as it is, I doubt even it can kill me, at least not in a way that matters. That’s actually why I brought you here: to give you the tools to undo the damage done to this world.”
>>
No. 1053715 ID: 8b6f88

>>1053706
That's a hell of an offer. What's the deal?
>>
No. 1053716 ID: 15c72a

>>1053706
Oh boy here we go. We're going to need to watch this whole exchange, and try to get a view through the portal Moot creates at the end of the meeting, so we can see where they're going next. Of course, if they outright say where they're going that's good too. Even better if they go into detail about their schedule before they leave...
>>
No. 1053718 ID: 30b9f6

Holy heck, so he did suggest a collaboration!

We never got a clear timeline from Rodwin, did we? If the capping of the mana wells started before or after his master disappeared... that'd be a fairly obvious tell in hindsight. Combined with the possibility of Mediums using a form of magic developed and taught by Hekal himself, that means...

Heck, we might not even need that sneak peek through the portal to see where he went. Call on Rufus and Pezzi! They were concurrent to the time, so get them to come in here and look at Hekal. Do they recognize him as their one-time teacher?

I wonder why he never returned to Rodwin and his people, though - if they won the war, he ultimately could have. Maybe something occurred to prevent it. Maybe he had to give up too much to be able to go back, or got put an end to in one of the later fights.

One thing's for sure - if he truly helped put an end to the wars Hekal's people and servants deserve the Guardians' aid. There'd be a debt there for sure.
>>
No. 1053719 ID: 1f71e5

>>1053718

Even more than that, who wants to bet it was Hekal that helped the otherwise illiterate and uneducated Moot codify Sender magic with all the precise mathematics and measurements, probably even helped found the Academy?
>>
No. 1053722 ID: e12308

So, Moot’s gate magic has the same shape as Clio’s did, just a ragged tear in space. But the Great Gate that she made to save the people of Moot Point was a perfect circle. Is Hekal the one who showed her how to stabilize her gates?
>>
No. 1053724 ID: 9caf29

>>1053719
Frankly that sounds more like the work of Tuvara-Malli, but perhaps Hekal was the one who got them together.
>>
No. 1053725 ID: 022c47

>>1053724

He probably did that, at least. It's looking like the sealing the wells was indeed Hekal's idea, and he brought Moot here to start building an A Team with which to do it.

Now that I think about it, I don't think Rodwin ever mentioned Hekal's own mana well being sealed, but it can be assumed it was at some point. I wonder if that's also what he brought Moot here to do. To test this plan on his own well first, to see if it's even possible to begin with
>>
No. 1053771 ID: a2d88b

>>1053725
I'm taking back what I said, perhaps it was Hekal after all, since I found a remark from Graves about him:
> “Very impressive.” The skeletal ghoul nods sagely. “Never really understood how magic worked, to be honest. Lord Hekal made it all seem so easy. He could pick it apart like a clock and put it back together without missing a tick of the second hand.”
>>
No. 1053961 ID: 9272af
File 167392103927.png - (114.26KB , 700x500 , 15-32.png )
1053961

Yah fuck’n wat?” Augustine cocks her head in disbelief, glaring daggers at the warlord. 

“I’ve heard the rumors: you’ve been appearing out of nowhere, attacking and stealing from the great powers. Trying to disrupt the wars by slaying the vampires.” Hekal expounds, waving a hand at the map in front of him. “But it won’t work. You could cut me down right now, and my spirit would just inhabit another body. Even the Fey and Elementals have their ways of cheating death.” 

“That’s why I want to help you. None of this will end unless someone can seal the mana wells. I can teach you to do that, as well as many other things.”

A smile spreads thin and wide across Augustine’s lips. She starts to laugh: a monotone, rapid-fire laugh that might follow a dirty joke in a bar. 

She stops abruptly and huffs, “You must be some kinda stupid, you know that? I spend my whole life hopping from town to town trying tah escape the fighting: having to steal and hide just to survive. And you fink you can just summon me like a pet and make me one o’ your lackeys? Eh?” Her eyes narrow to gleaming slits, “I ain’t nobody’s soldier.” 
>>
No. 1053962 ID: 9272af
File 167392104617.png - (137.54KB , 700x565 , 15-33.png )
1053962

Hekal pauses to think about this, his expression full of concern. “Yes, perhaps I misspoke. I have no intention of…” He pauses again. “I built this army with… every intention of remaking the world into something… enduring, something better. But it is an ungainly, impossible thing to control. Every movement, every order causing untold chaos and damage. It is like trying to do surgery with a scythe!” His hand comes down on the arm of the throne with a thump and he sighs. 

“But you…” He looks back to Augustine, his eyes pleading, “You have the scalpel we need. A knife to cut out the cancer, and I can provide the stitches to  heal the wound.” 
>>
No. 1053974 ID: 7309d2

...is this going to end with them having sex?
>>
No. 1053981 ID: f89136

>>1053974
Moot doesn't strike me as someone willing to bed someone this stiff, stoic and also technically a corpse, but who knows, maybe she isn't so picky.

Man, Clio certainly is her spitting image though, lifestyle, temperament, raw talent, everything but her accent. I wonder who Moot had kid/s with.
>>
No. 1054005 ID: fa3034

>>1053962
So what, he can paint himself as a savior in the aftermath? Moot, how can he prove he's legit?
>>
No. 1054006 ID: 15c72a

If Moot doesn't want to be a lacky, then she can just demand to be in charge.
>>
No. 1054014 ID: c28082

>>1053962

Odd metaphor, but fitting, considering the destruction this war has already caused. Alright, fair enough. Tell us about your stitches, and maybe we'll prove partial to your methods, vampire.
>>
No. 1054017 ID: 9a2966

>>1054005
Proving his intentions would be the big 'un here. This is a tough sell, as he surely can tell.

If he renounced his old ways - this damn game of pawns and players, toying with people's lives and deaths - and abandoned his whole damn necr-operation here to come with her... that'd be a neat start. Moot could enforce it, too - he'd only be able to go where and when she pleased if she dumped him somewhere his physical form couldn't easily escape in-between whatever tasks he's got planned. And if he offed his physical form to escape spiritually, she'd know during a check-in.

If he really has a plan that only needs him and her - if he can swear to this - then he won't need any of these armies and trappings of rule, yeah? Then that's the price for Moot's power is his power. His role and authority, now and forever, ceded to the people. Moot ain't gonna prop up some lich just for him to get away with lording over everyone in the end, no matter how well-intentioned.

Or the two of them can start duking it out now - and he can see how long it'll take him to get back from the furthest reach she can push her portals. There's some... interesting places out there.
>>
No. 1054019 ID: 9c856e

>>1053981

Hekal's a cat (at least in his current body), Moot's a cat, it's not too far-fetched an idea. They clearly end up trusting each other quite a bit, so who knows how far it went with time
>>
No. 1054021 ID: 2a82d3

>>1053981
Even kids aren't the exact model of their parents. This is more along the lines of reincarnation. That could've been was her final measure to keep his ambitions in check and ensure he'd live up to his word: a way of having "her" see the results of his efforts through fresh eyes.

As to the question of whether they "were intimate", it has horrifying yet intriguing implications. She would not even remotely consider it unless he proves here and now he can eventually, and perhaps literally, warm up to her as a person not a tool.
>>
No. 1054026 ID: 889865

>>1054021

To be fair, we've already seen Casey get intimate with Sir Opinel, a literal animated dead body. In contrast, I think the body a vampire usually inhabits might still be alive.
>>
No. 1054085 ID: 9272af
File 167409690044.png - (123.45KB , 587x700 , 15-34.png )
1054085

“This is fuck’n weird…” Moot scratches her ear, shifting uncomfortably as the warlord begs for her assistance. “So what, you want me to help beat all the vampires, then you take over? Rule the world?”

Hekal looks at the arraignment of forces on his war room table and sighs. “I don’t deserve to rule this world. I’ve been running this machine of death out of pure, delusional spite. It would be best for it to end and be forgotten. If you help me seal the wells and stop the wars, you may do with me whatever you see fit.” 

“What about them?” Augustine asks, one finger poking at the map, “All them men? You just gonna leave em? They gonna be forgotten too?”

“Yes. I must trust them to do what they can in my absence.” The warlord says simply, with a twinge of regret behind his cold voice. “The longer they continue to draw power from me, the more the lust for mana will consume them. They’re good soldiers and I can’t imagine my betrayal will be easy for them, but I cannot lead them any further.” 
>>
No. 1054086 ID: 9272af
File 167409691959.png - (165.33KB , 700x500 , 15-35.png )
1054086

Madame Moot paces as she thinks, her face scrunched up in a scowl. She huffs, clearly having come prepared for a fight, and now being asked to make a deal with a hated enemy. 

She spins on her heel and points with the sword of light, accidentally lopping a chair in half in the process. “Whats to stop you from doing a double-cross when we’re done, then? You know: when I’m not useful?” 

“An astute thought.” Hekal admits, which prompts a satisfied grin from the cat. “What do you propose?” 
>>
No. 1054088 ID: 43bc19

May be easier said than done for Rodwin, he's dedicated all those centuries in a giant dog to his master's vision.
>>
No. 1054124 ID: fa3034

Some sort of collateral, assurance, physical or spiritual proof of pact.
>>
No. 1054128 ID: c29e6e

Cue graves falling into existential dread.

>>1054124
A good thought. There's nothing more binding than a contract made by a fae.
>>
No. 1054130 ID: 2a82d3

Simple. Be a pain in the ass to double-cross. Be the student that has to and will one day surpass the rival master one day. (Basically, a shonen protagonist.) Train herself to eventually be his better in a variety of ways, and in a way prove herself always useful. If her magic fails him, her strength won't. If her strength fails him, her leadership won't.

If he's abandoning his army, obviously there will be a power vacuum to take advantage of. Was it actually comprised of all undead, or were some merely conscripted to be such? Getting her start liberating people from such fates, providing salvation from undeath, it's no wonder she'd be remembered as a saint. It works as a test of character too: in his absence, do they serve the man, for his power, or for his ideals? Only the third group could make the counter-intuitive decision he's making today.
>>
No. 1054135 ID: e5709d

There's only one viable means to ensuring an all-consuming undead overlord will lay down and die to a mere mortal at her command:

Link your souls together.

Ensure that if she dies, he dies with her. If she suffers, he'll suffer as well. If he throws her down a well and deprives her senses to keep her unconscious and as a new source of power, that just empowers the passive sense-share generated through the soul-link, which will allow her to assume direct control of Hekal.

Maybe add a third soul as an overwatch, to ensure he can't run circles around her.
>>
No. 1054136 ID: 15c72a

>>1054086
A truly binding pact will require assistance from a Fae.
>>
No. 1054139 ID: 8c7af7

"Gonna teach us how to seal a well, will ya? I see you've got one, yerself"

Even just knowing where and how he draws his power, and how to end it, is a pretty good assurance for a teleporter
>>
No. 1054141 ID: 904418

>>1054139

Yep. They gotta start somewhere. Sealing Hekal's own well, a vampire's most precious resource, would the best gesture of commitment he could offer
>>
No. 1054144 ID: 7309d2

This quest has been running so long, I'm no longer sure how much I remember from previous ones. How much have been said prior to this on Hekal's own attitude towards the war? I just also found his propasal not completely in line with his status. If he could provide a bit more on his motivation behind the change of heart it might be more convincing.
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No. 1054428 ID: 9272af
File 167443161955.png - (98.19KB , 700x500 , 15-36.png )
1054428

Augustine chews her lip for a moment and says, in halting tones, “Ow ‘bout… we get us a third party? Right? Maybe one of them Fae? I ain’t dealt with them much, but rules is rules with them.”

“There aren’t many Fae willing to deal with me, but you may be on to something. There’s someone I’ve had an eye on; perhaps they can be of help.” The vampire nods in sagely agreement. “Someone they call ‘the Teacher’.”

“An another thing: you want my trust? You gotta show me how to seal a well. You can start with yer own well.”

“I anticipated as much, and agree to your terms.”
Hekal stands up, a full head shorter than the Sender founder. “My well is here,” he points to a spot on the map, “Impossibly hidden in a place with no name. Can you take us there?”
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No. 1054429 ID: 9272af
File 167443162332.png - (202.74KB , 700x700 , 15-37.png )
1054429

The cat nods and rips open a gate with a claw.

The vampire approaches and examines the gate spell. The ragged edge shivers with a furious, uncontrolled energy: the sign of a self taught mage.

“Fascinating, its less of a ‘thing’ and more of a ‘place’…” he comments.

“Yeah don’t touch it, lest ya want ta lose a finger.” Augustine holds up a hand, revealing an unusually short pinky.

The vampire nods and steps through, “You know, with some experimentation, I daresay you could make it much safer…” He steps through the blinding light and into history, followed closely by Madam Moot.
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No. 1054434 ID: 36784c

>>1054429
Well? What are you waiting for Gabe? You saw the spot Hekal pointed at on the map. Can't you work the mercury device to look at where Hekal and Moot are going?
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No. 1054441 ID: 43bc19

>>1054428
By the sea huh? I've got a hunch the answer was under everyone's feet the whole time.
>>
No. 1054449 ID: fa3034

>>1054429
The start of something great..
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No. 1054469 ID: 2f94e0

Rather surprised to learn Hekal's well isn't buried directly under his citadel or something. While I suppose keeping it hidden is just as good if not better than keeping it defended, how would you even hide something as powerful as an open mana well to begin with?
>>
No. 1054487 ID: edfb1b

Interesting. Is he responsible for making the portals a lot less jagged later on?
>>
No. 1054491 ID: 7b65e9

that.... would explain why the Barghast went back to Moot Point isn't it?
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No. 1054500 ID: 823a1a

I wonder if the scrying machine can go through that portal, it is "more of a place than a thing" after all
>>
No. 1054577 ID: a5218e

>>1054491

Nah, Rodwin took the Barghast to Moot Point because of the lichfire flare that Adrian shot up, thinking it could be something connected to Hekal.
>>
No. 1054596 ID: 7b65e9

>>1054577
That's right, I forgot about that.
Still, would make a good combo of circumstances...
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No. 1054635 ID: 9272af
File 167461407513.png - (148.68KB , 500x700 , 15-38.png )
1054635

“Follow them, Gabe!” Kol insists.

The mouse pushes the spell forward, passing through the plane of the gate spell. Gabe rotates the viewpoint, “Crap! Looks like we can’t follow them.”

“Did you catch where they were going on the map?” Casey asks.

“Yeah…” Gabe nods, “It looked like it was that wasteland Sifr took us too. The one poisoned with spite.”
>>
No. 1054646 ID: 15c72a

I guess we're going to find out why it was poisoned, then... Maybe one of Hekal's lieutenants found out about the plan and fought the duo?
Should be easy to find this time. We have a timestamp, and a location, and the gate should be easy to spot.
>>
No. 1054679 ID: 03f49f

Uh oh. I'm going to hazard a guess that their first attempt at sealing a well didn't go, uh, well...
>>
No. 1054681 ID: 9a2966

>>1054679
Or maybe there's one well left - and they needed to hide it but good. Somewhere that would only be accessible to someone with Madame Moot's skills.
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No. 1054689 ID: 9272af
File 167469756682.png - (138.93KB , 500x700 , 15-39.png )
1054689

“Can you navigate us there?” Kol asks.

Gabe pauses to think and nods. “I- I think so. Might take a while. Maybe an hour or so? Hekal said it was hidden, so maybe longer.”

Three-Horns speaks up to remind them, “My shielding spell won’t last that long. It may be better to retire for now and return after we’re rested.”
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No. 1054710 ID: e5a713

>>1054689
Fair enough. Let's break off and assess what we just learned. Cause this is literally history.
>>
No. 1054719 ID: e12308

Darn, I guess that rules out visiting his well, unless somebody knows how to protect themselves from Spite for an extended search. Hopefully we won’t need to try.
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No. 1054723 ID: 15c72a

>>1054689
Alright. How long until another cast?
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No. 1054726 ID: e5709d

We need to think about what we're going to say to Rodwin and the rest of Hekal's regiment. They aren't going to take the fact that Hekal effectively gave up on them well; sure, he wanted them to 'live' but he also made it clear they could never save the world and became unimportant to his greater plans.

Maintain the machine, we don't want it breaking down after this.
>>
No. 1054731 ID: bbb04b

Yeah, let's assess; we already had our suspicions from the journal, but it's starting to look like Hekal might be the third member of the original Guardians and the inventor of medium magic.

We should also be on our guard as we delve deeper; dream oracles aren't infallible, I'm pretty sure, but I'm also confident in saying they aren't normally this fallible with their recent losses. We can't dismiss the possibility that this one merely sacrificed a few playing-pieces to try and get us to where they want us to be. Such as uncovering the location of a hated foe for them - one that escaped the scope of their powers. Or perhaps uncover a way to undo the sealing of the wells. (It doesn't sound like the Court of the Reflected Sky are really fans of what the Guardian Trio did.)
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No. 1054736 ID: cd8054

"retire for now and return after we’re rested"

Translation: Sex, likely with another kobold orgy~

Also, who wants to bet that something will happen to the machine that disables it before it can be used again? Maybe an attack from the Court of the Reflected Sky. This one scrying could be the only one they get, and they'll have to find another way to get the rest of the story.
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No. 1054762 ID: 9272af
File 167478762931.png - (175.06KB , 700x500 , 15-40.png )
1054762

“Fair enough, I’d rather not be around all this mercury without protection.” Kol agrees, his dreads bobbing as he nods. “About how long would it take to recover?”

The kobold leader closes her eyes for a moment, gauging her remaining mana supply. She responds, “Three or four hours with food and rest.”

The mice share a few glances of silent communication and Kol speaks up, “Sounds good. That’ll give us time to unpack everything we saw and try to figure out what to tell Rodwin. I doubt he’s going to be happy hearing Hekal betrayed him.”

As the group turns to leave, Graves raises a bony hand. “Um, I don’t need actually need any protection. I can’t navigate as well as Gabe, but if you give me a map and point me in the right direction, I could steer things for a bit.”
>>
No. 1054764 ID: 7accea

I still think regrouping is the better idea. And even if he's dead the Mercury could still do something to his bones, but I'm no doctor so don't quote me on it.

If he double insists though it "should" be fine.
>>
No. 1054767 ID: e12308

How does Graves feel about Hekal's actions?
>>
No. 1054769 ID: 15c72a

>>1054762
Before Graves uses the device, we need to break the news.
>>
No. 1054772 ID: f8083d

I think it's best to discover whatever it has to show together.
>>
No. 1054792 ID: fa3034

Let's still take our rest but have Graves go ahead of the others so by the time they're rested he should be pulling up to the appointed place.
>>
No. 1054793 ID: 36784c

>>1054769
What are you talking about? If you're saying we need to tell Graves about what we saw, then there's no need to do that because he's been in the room the entire time. He already knows.
>>
No. 1054795 ID: cd8054

Oh yeah, just how delicate is Kol gonna have to be, breaking this news to Rodwin? He spent so long and sacrificed so much searching for his lost lord, taking care of the army as best he could, all out of love and loyalty. To find out it was all for nothing, and that Hekal not only never wanted to be found but willingly abandoned him... what's gonna happen if the person currently in control of an undead army gives in to despair?
>>
No. 1054802 ID: c28082

>>1054762

Good idea! We can let Graves maintain the spell so we needn't go through the whole process after we start the thing up again. Definitely owe him a favor later, for this.

As for Rodwin, however, was he honestly betrayed, or had Hekal simply taken an opportunity given to him to end things quickly and decisively, rather than in a drawn-out war? It might not be the resolution he desired, but it may be best to let Rodwin decide the matter for himself.

The two were close enough for such confidence, so perhaps ... perhaps the truth won't come as quite so unexpected or bitter, after all these centuries.
>>
No. 1054891 ID: 8eee37

>>1054762
Good idea, but when the gang comes back Graves should leave and clean himself up. Being dead doesn't mean you can't become contaminated.
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No. 1054918 ID: cfb4f1

Hekal claims he can't be killed, but what about Sending? You know, that thing Gabe does when he opens a portal to the afterlife so a spirit can move on. I think that's what Moot eventually ends up doing to Hekal. After all, if Gabe can do it to a lich, then it's not too hard to believe that Moot could do it to Hekal after she figures out how to do it and when Hekal consents to it.

>>1054762
As long as Graves isn’t following some secret orders to prevent anyone from discovering the truth, which will result in him destroying the mercury machine, then yes he can do this solo.
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