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File 169638705296.png - (125.58KB , 501x700 , 16-1.png )
1073931 No. 1073931 ID: 706b74

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/quest/res/1049539.html
Expand all images
>>
No. 1073932 ID: 706b74
File 169638709412.png - (178.62KB , 700x500 , 16-2.png )
1073932

The windows of the house rattle as Gabe’s portal closes with a thunderclap. The morning sun filters through a slight haze of dust kicked up by the Sender’s arrival.

“Guys? I’m home!” Gabe announces, as if it weren’t apparent.
>>
No. 1073934 ID: e5709d

Gabe: Find spare dildo
>>
No. 1073939 ID: 273c18

Time for kisses.
>>
No. 1073944 ID: e6919e

Find the bedroom and slide in for cuddles
>>
No. 1073946 ID: 2a82d3

Pile-on in 3, 2, ... they haven't gone anywhere, have they?
>>
No. 1073947 ID: b31a26

well, that's one way to wake your friends, best hope they slept well!
>>
No. 1073948 ID: fa3034

Follow your nose, is anyone cooking? Maybe you can hear something?
>>
No. 1073949 ID: e2e905

Tip toe up the stairs to surprise them.

added new thread to the wiki
>>
No. 1073951 ID: c65741

They're probably just woken, those portals aren't quiet.
>>
No. 1073975 ID: 706b74
File 169646993873.png - (175.05KB , 700x500 , 16-3.png )
1073975

“Gabe?” Comes the reply. Casey and Kol stick their heads out of the bedroom door and scurry downstairs, still undressed.

“Hey, are you okay?” Kol asks as they exchange hugs and kisses.
>>
No. 1073980 ID: db478f

>>1073975
Rested, maybe but missing the others, probably.
>>
No. 1073983 ID: 2a82d3

He's been figuring some stuff out, but is, for now, making plans for the next adventure. Some days, you just wanna go on a quest to gather three gems, ya know?

Since everyone just got up, get some breakfast first.
>>
No. 1073991 ID: f8083d

Breakfast seems good, yes.
Helpful to ease into the conversation too.
>>
No. 1073992 ID: 73086d

Calmed for now. Had enough Del time--now need mouse time. Gotta get that love from all over. And give a lil' too, sharing is caring.
>>
No. 1073993 ID: 5d7584

No longer panicked, maybe just a bit of "Not thinking about all that" right now, but that's what cute boys, girls, and therapists are for, probably.
>>
No. 1073994 ID: e2e905

Breakfast at the bakery?
>>
No. 1074161 ID: 706b74
File 169664476023.png - (134.13KB , 700x500 , 16-4.png )
1074161

Gabe smiles back, “Oh yeah. Del fixed me right up!” He rolls back his cape to show his unburnt fur.

“No, I mean… yeah that’s good… but are you okay?”

The Sender sighs and frowns, but his thoughts are interrupted by a rumble from his stomach. “Actually can we get breakfast first? If I stayed any longer at Del’s she was gonna take me on a morning jog.” His voice rings with the hollow dread of someone who just dodged a bullet.

“We haven’t eaten either. We’ll get dressed.” Casey suggests, “Wanna get something from Miki and Raithe’s?”
>>
No. 1074162 ID: 706b74
File 169664476791.png - (164.75KB , 522x700 , 16-5.png )
1074162

Gabe's portal deposits them next door to the bakery a few minutes later. The door jingles as they crowd inside and are greeted by Miki's perky smile.

"I thought I heard a gate! How's it going guys? You missed the morning rush!" She bubbles with barely contained delight as they step up to the counter and exchange hugs. "Can I get you anything? Or are you just here to say 'hi'?"
>>
No. 1074168 ID: 1db616

How about something simple? Like a Croissant, a Donut, a Danish, and a few Biscotti?
And be sure to compliment that haircut!
>>
No. 1074170 ID: db478f

>>1074162
Something sweet and maybe a booth? Do they have coffee here?
>>
No. 1074171 ID: e5709d

Seed paste pastries with a cream filling.
Yes, that kind~
>>
No. 1074175 ID: b31a26

Here to ask how its been over some food!
do you have any weird foods?
>>
No. 1074176 ID: 2a82d3

Yo Miki! How's married life treating ya?
>>
No. 1074179 ID: 06b50a

Treat them, would you? These guys could use some friendship and carbohydrate-based comfort.
>>
No. 1074186 ID: 273c18

Pancakes.
>>
No. 1074191 ID: e2e905

An almond croissant can always fill that void in the heart.
>>
No. 1074231 ID: 81de61

Get some decadent sugary pastries. They all deserve a treat
>>
No. 1074387 ID: 706b74
File 169687963984.png - (184.21KB , 700x500 , 16-6.png )
1074387

“Can I get an almond croissant?” Casey asks.

Kol considers his order, “Uhhh a danish for me.”

“A donut and a biscotti for me.” Gabe grins, “Do you have any coffee too?”

Miki’s tongs go to work snagging their breakfast and she giggles. “For customers, no. But come on back to the kitchen and I’ll put some on.” She scurries to the door and flips the sign to say “Back in a few minutes.”

Munching happily on the pastries, they follow the baker behind the counter and into the kitchen.

“How’s married life treating you?” Casey asks.

Miki grabs a kettle from the counter and fills it with water. “Surprisingly, not that different. The wedding was like being in a dream, and now we're back down to earth. We’re still getting used to the whole calling each other husband and wife thing.” She knocks on the door of the oven. “Raithe, honey, would you be a dear?”

An orange, blazing hand reaches out and grasps the kettle from beneath, causing the metal to slowly glow cherry red. “Sure thing! Oh, hi guys!” The salamander’s head peeks out of the furnace and grins.

As Kol finishes up his danish he mentions, “I like your haircut, Miki.”

“Oh, thank you!” She pats the soft fuzz at the back of her head. “I did feel like I needed something different after the wedding. Kind of a ‘new chapter in life’ thing. Plus tying up that bun was kind of a hassle.”

“Tell me about it.” Kol chuckles, his hand reaching for the tight bundle of dreads.

“We haven’t seen you since the wedding. How have you been?” Raithe asks, clearly happy to have more people to chat with at work.
>>
No. 1074390 ID: fa3034

In the thick of it with the guide and Barghest. The more we dig, the more that we find needs fixed.
>>
No. 1074394 ID: b1805a

>>1074387

Oh, you know. A lot has happened. It's been rough in places, but we're here. The whole Barghast situation seems to be okay, and we may have figured out some crazy stuff related to Moot and the mana wells, too.
>>
No. 1074401 ID: e5709d

"Exhausted. First time we fought a Lich."
>>
No. 1074422 ID: 2a82d3

I guess you could say you'll have to wait longer for that surrogacy you asked for. Not unless you'd like us to take your kid-to-be adventuring, would you? A fire ward could come in handy :D

But seriously, are they building out their little nest? Has business been picking up? It sounds like she's been busy.
>>
No. 1074427 ID: e6919e

"We met another lich. Sex was not an option this time."
>>
No. 1074428 ID: b31a26

We... had a rough sending, our first, taking a break in a place the opposite of that
>>
No. 1074544 ID: 706b74
File 169707911062.png - (160.88KB , 700x500 , 16-7.png )
1074544

“Had a bit of a rough day yesterday.” Kol sighs and looks to his partners, who nod along in agreement. “We had a bit of a breakthrough with our search for Hekal, but we also had to deal with another lich. It… didn’t go well.”

“Oh fuck… are you guys okay?” Miki takes the steaming kettle from her husband, apparently unbothered by the heat. She transfers the water into a large ceramic coffee maker and sets out some cups and saucers while it brews.

The mice shrug and shift uncomfortably. “Yeah, for the most part.” Casey answers, “But it got dicey and we had to banish him.”

“Oh, honey…” Miki frowns and looks on sympathetically.

“Slag me…” Raithe shakes his head, “That sucks, guys.”

“Yeah, we kinda just wanna take it easy today, if we can.” Kol says, folding his arms and leaning against the countertop.

The smell of brewing coffee fills the tiny, intimate space as Miki fills everyone’s cups. “Well, you three are welcome to hang out as long as you want. Raithe and I are happy to have the company."
>>
No. 1074549 ID: 09fceb

Go with the flow. And the flow is saying bakery smells and friendships.
>>
No. 1074559 ID: fa3034

>>1074544
Have we ever thanked them? Ever since these two first met, things have been up for you guys. A lot of growth started with this bakery.
>>
No. 1074619 ID: cbc90c

It sounds like you could use a vacation, or some time off from your duties as Spirit Guides. There can't be a better time to do it. Your lead at the scrying machine as gone dry, if for now, and you are not ready to take the Spirit Guardian Trials at this point. In a way, you saw a person who is defined and thus defined himself by his accomplishments, to the exclusion of all else, and what that ultimately leads to.

Maybe put the cap the magic for the day, too. Just tour the town you live in. Try to live like regular citizens of Moot Point, and put yourself in their shoes to understand what you're defending. The other guardians will pick up the slack.
>>
No. 1074693 ID: 706b74
File 169724518731.png - (190.65KB , 700x500 , 16-8.png )
1074693

Kol lets the scent of the coffee fill his lungs and takes a sip. While not as powerful and complex as a cup of fey coffee, its rich and warming and perks him up immediately. Around him, his partners are visibly relaxing and decompressing as the worries from yesterday start to drift away. 

“By the way, we never really thanked you, did we.” He says.
Miki looks up from washing out the coffee pot: a pair of elbow length gloves protecting her fur from the water. “For what, the coffee? Don’t worry about it!” 

“No, I mean, thanks for that too. But ever since we first helped you out, we’ve worked better as a team, and you helped introduce us to so many people. Just wanted to thank you.” 

Miki and Raithe share a surprised glance before bursting into laughter, gouts of flame erupting from both of their mouths. The fire rakes over the walls of the kitchen as the mice retreat from the flames. An orange sigil glows on the ceiling as the kitchen’s fire ward activates and protects the building, leaving only some soot and the smell of burnt flour. 

The bakers manage to stifle their laughter and clamp their mouths shut, little wisps of flame sneaking through their fingers as they contain themselves. 

Once the situation settles down, Miki and Raithe take a couple of deep breaths and sigh. “Sorry! Sorry about that!” Miki says, “Fates I haven’t laughed like that in years.” 
“What’s so funny?” Casey asks, her heart still racing from the twin flamethrowers. 

“Guys…” Raithe answers, “You literally changed our lives! We’re so much happier having met you! We can’t thank you enough!” 
>>
No. 1074697 ID: 3a02c7

Then… it goes both ways! And that’s good! We were good influences on one another! Be it by biscotti or otherwise.
>>
No. 1074699 ID: 8b8c72

>>1074693
Well, then cheers to friends!
>>
No. 1074723 ID: 2a82d3

It is too easy to forget all the people you helped when on a big adventure, isn't it?
>>
No. 1074751 ID: 7e6fd4

Doesn't take much to change a life, but it certainly takes a bit of effort to change one for the better!
>>
No. 1074791 ID: e5709d

"Hm. You should be careful; one day, all wards in the world might decide to follow a different fundamental law and die."
>>
No. 1074937 ID: 706b74
File 169759451728.png - (99.79KB , 495x600 , 16-9.png )
1074937

“I guess we all helped make each other’s lives better.” Kol admits.

“And everyone else too.” Gabe chimes in, “Del, Vivian, Caleb…”

“Cecil, Three-Horns, Clio, Flashing Feathers…” Casey continues.

“Nixxy and Fennel, Cauldera, Nemo, and so many others...” Kol nods along in agreement. “We’ve all been there for each other. Although, its the person we have to help next that I’m really worried about…”
>>
No. 1074938 ID: 706b74
File 169759452155.png - (82.33KB , 384x600 , 16-10.png )
1074938

“You mean Rodwin, right?” Casey asks.

Kol sighs, “Yeah.”

“You mean that guy who brought that… dog-mountain thing here?” Miki asks, her face darkened by uncharacteristic concern. “What’s up? Everything alright?"
>>
No. 1074948 ID: c21ceb

oh y'know just the fate of the world as we know it as well as a trip to the actual afterlife where we meet actual god
>>
No. 1074950 ID: 2a82d3

Geez, you'd think a smart guy like his master Hekal wouldn't forget to leave instructions on how to disassemble that thing. He had to leave behind something when building this town, wouldn't he? Some clues to where he went? Maybe even a message to his favorite advisor, to help him pass on?
>>
No. 1074956 ID: e5709d

"There's just... no easy way to break the hard truth to him. And we're worried he'll freak out at the slightest insinuation that his beloved master abandoned him; even if it was for their original cause, he had all that time in the university to write Rodwin a letter and..."
>>
No. 1074959 ID: fa3034

They came out here looking for someone but it seems like that person didn't want to be found. Explaining that someone like Rodwin is going to be.. difficult. There has to be a way we can break the news easily.
Speaking of, Are we opposed to showing them The same footage we saw? It would be an unaffiliated third parties' records. Hard to argue against.
>>
No. 1075109 ID: c4ad4a

There's really not much sugarcoating that can be done with Rodwin, unfortunately. If we lie, or leave out any details, or go to any effort to spin it, for his sake, he'll know. He's going to want the truth, and wont appreciate any attempt to keep it from him or shield him from it.
>>
No. 1075168 ID: 706b74
File 169785054743.png - (151.05KB , 700x558 , 16-11.png )
1075168

“Usual stuff: fate of the world, have to go on a mission to see the fates.” Gabe says with a feigned bravado. His eyes dodge away from Miki’s gaze as he scratches the back of his head nervously.

“Rodwin wants us to uncover what happened to his master, Lord Hekal. But what we found… we’re not sure how well he’s going to handle it.” Casey says. “It seems like Hekal betrayed his whole army, or at the very least abandoned them.”

Kol shakes his head and continues, “Also, Rodwin is trying to hold the bargast together with the last of his mana. If he fails, the remains of Hekal’s army could emerge, hungry for mana.”

“Hungry for mana?” Raithe slinks back into the oven and closes the door. His voice comes through muffled by brick and iron, “Awwww slag me. All us elementals are going to be like a buffet for the undead…”

“Awww I won’t let anything happen to you, honey.” Miki leans her face against the raging furnace, unbothered by the heat.
>>
No. 1075169 ID: 478b88

Well not just elementals, it's everyone. It really wouldn't be a good idea to reveal what we know to Rodwin until we have a definitive reason why Hekal dropped everything to seal the mana wells.
>>
No. 1075170 ID: c4ad4a

Let's not put a damper on the happy couple's mood, now. Miki and Raithe don't need to be shouldering those kinds of worries.

Honestly, Vivian and Caleb might be better choices if the gang really needs someone to talk to about Rodwin right now
>>
No. 1075173 ID: 18c249

shouldn't we be asking Graves how to break it to Rodwin?
I forget is there anything other than Rodwin stoppong us from just, Sending the undead, though honestly I don't remember if Rodwin is Fae or undead, and if Undead if there's anything else holding him here, all I know for certain is we need to tell him at some point, and that telling him will be a part of getting rid of all the undead
>>
No. 1075287 ID: fa3034

Yeah we're not here to scare everyone but how to break the news tactfully is our current head scratcher
>>
No. 1075345 ID: e5709d

Send a small report to Rodwin, but encrypt most of the message.
>>
No. 1075497 ID: 252c5b
File 169819414622.png - (99.65KB , 700x613 , 16-12.png )
1075497

“Not just elementals: everyone in town would be in danger.” Casey shakes her head. “And we still don’t actually know what happened to Hekal, or have a definitive answer for what he did. It might be better to hold off on telling Rodwin, until we know more.”

“I’m not sure how much more time we have.” Kol sips his coffee and chuckles darkly. “But considering all we went through yesterday, we should probably relax while we can. And you two don’t need to worry about all that. The Guardians have been working on how to protect the town if need be.”

“Honestly, you’re helping plenty just by getting us to relax.” Gabe says as he stirs his coffee with a biscotti, “Feels like we’ve been doing nothing but running around chasing legends.”

“Well is there anything else we can do for you guys?” Miki asks.
>>
No. 1075498 ID: db478f

We're open to ideas for day trips and mini vacations
>>
No. 1075704 ID: c74f56
File 169837168928.png - (136.33KB , 700x589 , 16-13.png )
1075704

“Why don’t you take a day off? Come out with us somewhere!” Casey suggests.

“Yeah! I’m all wired up and ready to go!” Gabe says, polishing off his drink. “I can gate us wherever you guys wanna go.”

“Wherever we want to go, hmmmm.” Miki thinks for a moment and her eyes go wide as inspiration strikes. She scurries out of the kitchen without another word; her footsteps thumping through the kitchen wall as she rushes upstairs.

The mice look to one another and ask Raithe, “What's she doing?”

“No idea…” the salamander admits as his wife’s feet drum softly on the ceiling.
>>
No. 1075705 ID: c74f56
File 169837169424.png - (135.04KB , 461x700 , 16-14.png )
1075705

There's a scrape and a thump, as if something heavy was being pulled aside and opened before the footsteps doppler back downstairs. Miki re-emerges in the kitchen, tiny flames licking at her face as she pants excitedly.

In her arms is a flat, plain box: made to hold something only used for special occasions.

“I figured since we have everyone here: maybe we could go visit Vivian?” She asks sheepishly, opening the box to reveal a folded piece of red silk: a piece of the fey’s heart left in her care. “I wanted to go see her after the wedding, but I’ve been too shy to ask, and I kept making up excuses to put it off.” Her fingers trace the edge of the exquisite cloth, as if still in disbelief that its real.
>>
No. 1075712 ID: b6c09a

Vivian! she seems quite good at taking minds off of things... as well as advice, for both Rodwin and Life.
that reminds me, didn't we get something from a Selkie at some point?
>>
No. 1075713 ID: e536d8

Oh hell yeah, Viv chapter! Maybe we can get Kol and Casey "familiar" with Viv, hehe
>>
No. 1075714 ID: 4fd9cd

>>1075705
Oohh great idea! Let's see another friendly face. It'd be interesting to see how our friends have interacted with each other
>>
No. 1075716 ID: 273c18

Oh yeah weren't we going to find out if the Fey have any records from back then? One of the First Guardians was a Fey so if someone spoke to her during that time we might get some info.
>>
No. 1075718 ID: e5709d

Oh come on, you just had a wedding!

JK let's have a poly-orgy
>>
No. 1075834 ID: c74f56
File 169854869372.png - (181.95KB , 700x500 , 16-15.png )
1075834

“Oh yeah, she keeps taking that out to look at. She put in a chest to stop wearing it out with her eyes.” Raithe chuckles from his oven.

“Ahh! Don’t tell them that!” Miki hugs the cloth to her chest protectively, “Vivian’s an important, busy person! I just didn’t want to bother her… but maybe she’d have time to see all of us?”

“Actually that’s not a bad idea.” Casey says, putting her cup aside. “Viv might be able to give us some advice on the situation with Rodwin. Plus… yeah, it’d be nice to see her again. We’d probably want to ask if it’s alright first: fey can be very particular about invitations.” She turns to her partner. “Gabe, can you find her on your scrying gem?”
>>
No. 1075835 ID: c74f56
File 169854869956.png - (144.48KB , 700x500 , 16-16.png )
1075835

The mouse gives a thumbs up and pulls the crystal out of his pocket dimension. Holding it up to his face, he concentrates for a moment as the fey’s face appears within.

Vivian have looks up from a book that she was reading and smiles, “Gabe! I had a feeling someone would come calling today, but didn’t expect you! How are you?”

“Thats me, Viv: always unpredictable.” He winks, earning a laugh like a bark from the singer. “I’m doing good. Listen, we were just hanging out with Miki and Raithe and wanted to see if it would be okay to drop by and visit. Are you busy?”

“Busy? No, I was just enjoying some reading in my sanctuary. I’d love to see you all!" She tucks a finger into the book and fishes out a ribbon to mark her place. "You know how to get here, right? Just throw my sash up into the air and let it drape over the doorway."
>>
No. 1075842 ID: 53dd1a

The same way she's draped herself all over your hearts. that's very cheesy nevermind
>>
No. 1075875 ID: 42c104

We'd be honored. Let's finish up our snacks and head over. Would be rude to bring crumbs.
>>
No. 1075935 ID: 2a82d3

>>1075834
Miki seems quite flustered to meet. Is she wanting to seek advice or magic from a wise old Fae, or just taken by her razzle-dazzle?
>>1075835
So Viv, have you heard anything about our new angel friend? Settling down, or participating in earthly delights?
>>
No. 1076059 ID: afc43a
File 169880659045.png - (136.59KB , 649x700 , 16-17.png )
1076059

Gabe giver her a thumbs up and tucks the crystal away in his pocket dimension. “Got all that?” He asks.

Miki nods, looking a little shocked. “Oh- okay? Really? We can come visit? Just like that?” She glances down at the silken sash as she clutches it tight.

“You okay, Miki?” Kol inquires, “You’re looking a bit flustered.”

The chinchilla bobs her head in something approximating a nod. “It’s just that… I grew up listening to her music all the time and she’s… well, amazing, and I’m just a plain little baker and… oh Fates, I don’t knowwww…” She trails off as anxiety and desire tug her heart back and forth.
>>
No. 1076065 ID: 3a8aa9

not to be grim, but end of the world scenario on the horizon. The biggest fey celebrity in the world would love to see you. Don't flounder this one
>>
No. 1076069 ID: fc8ab3

Amazing or not, she's just a person. A person that'd love to see you. And from outside, it's easy to see people as incredible beacons of inspiration. You're an amazing baker that creates works of mutual art in the kitchen with your husband. From outside, you're just incredible too. C'mon, just have fun.
>>
No. 1076077 ID: 2a82d3

Someone help her come up with an icebreaker, like they have something in common.
>>
No. 1076081 ID: b6c09a

Your food is amazing too! ask Raithe!

well, if you are feeling so anxious, you could bake her something special... or talk to her through the crystal first, before we visit

a peptalk? hmmm... you are both creators of temporary things, music and food, calling yourself "just" a baker is calling her "just" a musician, both these arts are special! together, you could feed both body and soul~
Also, I feel that were she the baker and your the singer, but all else the same, you'd be exactly as flustered as you are now, if not more so
>>
No. 1076091 ID: c4ad4a

The more you think about it the worse the anxiety will be. Just go for it and everything will be fine.
>>
No. 1076108 ID: b3eab7

Well, ours is a job where you sometimes meet interesting people... but also get to see them as exactly that: people, with their own feelings, strengths and weaknesses.
>>
No. 1076167 ID: afc43a
File 169889186782.png - (147.86KB , 700x500 , 16-18.png )
1076167

“Honey, come on.” Raithe says, emerging fully from his perch in the oven. “We’ll be fine. Besides, someone who’s made truefire shine like you is anything but plain.”

Miki looks up at her husband meekly, but thankful for the support. “Awww.”

“Well, why don’t we bring her some snacks? I’m sure Viv would appreciate that.” Gabe suggests. “Baking is like art, right? Viv’s all about art!”

“Yeah, I don’t think there’s anyone in the city who could call your baking plain.” Kol agrees.

Casey chimes in, “Plus, it would be rude to refuse a fey’s invitation…”

“Oh-okay…” Miki nods slowly, gaining confidence. “Let’s do it…” she takes a deep breath and throws the silk up into the air. The fabric arcs into the air as it slips through her fingers; still reluctant to let go until the last possible moment.

It drifts like some diaphanous sea creature before settling over an unnaturally square invisible surface. The sash hangs in impossible defiance of gravity, forming a perfect curtain which drapes all the way to the floor.

“Raithe, can you bring that tray of scones you were warming?” Miki asks, taking off her apron. She grabs a jar of jelly off the shelf: preserves from an apricot orchard outside of town she sells in the shop. She tucks it into a basket with the scones and squares her shoulders as if preparing for battle. “Alright, let’s do this.” She states, determination set on her fluffy face.
>>
No. 1076168 ID: afc43a
File 169889187620.png - (156.74KB , 500x700 , 16-19.png )
1076168

With Kol holding the curtain aside, Miki is strides into Vivian’s heartspace, followed by her husband and friends.

They emerge inside a dimly lit foyer decorated with lengths of silk: the long red sashes winding up columns and draping down from the ceiling giving the room a distinctly organic feeling.

“Hello? Vivian? Its us!” Gabe announces.

A glowing figure emerges from the darkness and strides towards them, “Hey everyone!” Caludera traces a hand across the silk as she approaches.
>>
No. 1076194 ID: 47580e

Eee gosh how *are* you? Catch up!!
>>
No. 1076197 ID: 2a82d3

Hey firebird! Scone?

Love what you've done with the place. Nice of Viv to make room for you in her heart/home. Though, that also means it'd be rude to ask about any empty rooms.
>>
No. 1076198 ID: b6c09a

A dragon, a Phoenix, a firebreather, Vivian has a lot of fire friends!
>>
No. 1076813 ID: afc43a
File 169948903438.png - (127.13KB , 700x500 , 16-20.png )
1076813

“Cauldera!” Raithe flaps up to greet the phoenix and they share a hug, "How are you?"

"Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic." She turns to lead the way, "Come and join us in the garden!"

Raithe follows, the two elementals lighting the way for the rest as they journey through Vivian's sanctum.

"Wow this is much nicer than your pocket space." Casey remarks, looking at the high ceilings and columns.

"Yeah, well she has like a hundred years more practice." Gabe admits, "Plus I don't use mine for, you know, hosting parties and stuff."

Cauldera leads them through a doorway and into the sunlight, stepping out across a thick, soft lawn.
>>
No. 1076826 ID: 2cf42f

What sort of garden stuff is she growing? Didn't realize she had a green thumb.
>>
No. 1076835 ID: 6d249a

Woah, how did Vivian get sunlight in a pocketspace? That's got to be some kind of pseudo-sunlight, right?
>>
No. 1076843 ID: f24c1a

Take in the sights and smells, what's she growing?
>>
No. 1076844 ID: b9f892

are those rose bushes?
>>
No. 1076849 ID: 124485

>>1076813
With the number of fire uses here, I certainly hope everything in here is fireproof! We wouldn't want to burn Vivian's special place!
>>
No. 1076989 ID: afc43a
File 169967171322.png - (152.23KB , 700x500 , 16-21.png )
1076989

Raithe halts at the doorway, his eyes wide with amazement as he stares at the phoenix’s feet. Despite the heat of her blazing feathers, the plants around her remain lush and unharmed.

“You noticed?” Cauldera remarks, reaching up to caress the underside of a wisteria flower. “Its all warded. You don’t have to worry here.” Her smile is hard to read; a kind of pride sneaking around the edges of her beak.
>>
No. 1076990 ID: afc43a
File 169967171911.png - (167.26KB , 700x500 , 16-22.png )
1076990

Cautiously, the salamander lowers himself to the ground and reaches out with one foot. Putting weight on it, he sinks his toes into the lawn with a look of amazement. “Oh! Oh that’s weird! I- I always wondered what grass felt like! I just thought it would be fluffy like Miki!”

“Hey, don’t compare my fur to grass!” Miki wails, “Do you see all this? You know how hard I work to stay this fluffy?”

Her words fall on deaf ears as Raithe takes the moment to roll around in the grass in a giggling fit. “Heheheheh it’s so tickly!”

“Raithe, come on! What if Vivian sees?”

“Sees what?” Says an elegant voice, which seems to speak in harmony with itself.
>>
No. 1076994 ID: db478f

Who's going to be the one to sit down next to Raithe and scratch his belly?
>>
No. 1076997 ID: 7695ec

sees a fire elemental enjoying life! (literlly and figuratively)
>>1076994 probably Gabe, the goober... though I can see Miki being teased into doing it, perhaps by Vivian and/or Gabe
How were these plants warded, couldn't have been nearly as easy as warding a house, houses aren't alive!... usually
>>
No. 1076998 ID: 7e6fd4

Oh yeah since everything's warded, the elementals can be freely touched! Get over there and pet that salamander!
>>
No. 1077010 ID: 2a82d3

If there was ever a time to go the natural experience, Viv would be the first, wouldn't she?
>>
No. 1077011 ID: 273c18

>>1076990
Introduce yourself to Vivian. No need to get off the grass.
>>
No. 1077224 ID: afc43a
File 169993387496.png - (208.71KB , 700x585 , 16-23.png )
1077224

“Vivian!” Miki squeaks and Raithe sits up suddenly, his face flushed white-hot with embarrassment.

The fey smiles at the pair and greets her guests. “Welcome everyone, to our garden. So good to see you all.” She’s dressed casually for the day: wearing a shawl and simple, well-made dress that somehow still radiates with class and elegance.

“Thanks for having us over! Lovely place you have here!” Kol replies, looking around at the greenery.

While pretty, there’s a kind of haphazard look to the garden that's hard to place. Rather than the clean, immaculate lines of Cecil Ochre’s estate; roses and hydrangeas are cluttered on top of one another while morning glories and star jasmine fight for space among the trellises. Many of the plants still seem young, giving the impression of a jungle that has yet to fully develop.
>>
No. 1077225 ID: afc43a
File 169993389994.png - (177.08KB , 700x629 , 16-24.png )
1077225

“Wait, so everything in here is fire warded?” Gabe asks, “Including us?”

Vivian nods and tugs at her shawl to better show off the gem on her choker. “As long as I keep this on, yes. Why?”

A moment later Raithe is tackled back to the grass as the mouse clambers on top of the elemental and rubs his belly.

“Gabe! Don’t just jump on my husband!” Miki huffs.

“Sorry, couldn’t resist.” Gabe looks up and grins as one of Raithe’s legs kicks lazily behind him. “He looked so happy getting to touch grass, why not let him indulge?”

The baker opens her mouth to counter, but is paused by memories of growing up mostly within her family kitchen. Whenever she got to play outside, it was only under hawk-like observation: her mother or father always nearby with a bucket of sand or water in case of an accidental fire.

Miki sighs and shrugs, smiling as the pair tussle on the turf.
>>
No. 1077227 ID: 9dd4bd

Everyone pile in. Give that good hubby some bellyrubs and tactile contact. Ear scritches, aw yisss
>>
No. 1077228 ID: fa3034

Vivian never fails to impress, how did she achieve this garden?
>>
No. 1077230 ID: 2a82d3

Oh, do they feed on fire instead of water? That'd be neat.
>>
No. 1077232 ID: c65741

She did say OUR garden, looks like they're an official package! Or she did a sort of fey ritual where she shares her heart with another. Either way, it's lovely that there's love!
>>
No. 1077258 ID: b1805a

>>1077225

Pet the big glowing fire-puppy. Do it now.
>>
No. 1077316 ID: afc43a
File 170001739765.png - (166.95KB , 700x499 , 16-25.png )
1077316

As more of the mice pile onto Raithe and start giving him scritches, Miki turns to address their host. “Thank you for letting us visit!” She holds up the basket of still-warm scones and offers them to the fey. “We, uh, brought these for you!”

Vivian takes the offering and looks inside, “Ohhh? You know I haven’t stopped thinking about the deserts you made for the wedding. Thank you!”

Blushing a bit, but feeling more confident, Miki asks. “So this place is all a part of you, right? Does that mean the plants are too?”

The singer chuckles as she spreads jam on a scone, “They used to be. My heartspace was always- well... too dark and broody to grow a proper garden. The glamour is tied to my mood, you see, so it just created whatever I felt like in my mind: mostly moonlit nights and dark, tangled vines.” She points at Cauldera with a knife still dripping jelly and continues, “But having her around brightened things up a lot, literally and I wanted to give her something special.”

“So she let me grow real plants!” Cauldera beams, “I don’t know a lot about gardening, but I’ve worked in a foundry before, so I’m no stranger to hard work. I don’t know what it is, but getting down in the dirt is so… satisfying!“ The phoenix hugs Vivian from behind and gives her a beaky kiss. “I love it so much, Viv!”

“She still has to be careful while watering. This place is protected from flame, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Still, nothing makes my heart glow like seeing someone create for the first time.” Vivian croons happily.
>>
No. 1077319 ID: db478f

That truly is a magical moment. The pride of Creation. Is that why Vivian is drawn to the arts so much?
>>
No. 1077324 ID: 478b88

Awww that's amazing! I don't think I've ever seen Vivian this happy before, it looks like she really found her other half! Who knew Fire elementals make such great partners?
>>
No. 1077347 ID: 200443

>>1077324
miki presumably.

Anyway, it's true though, never seen her this happy before. Maybe tell her that! It's really great!
>>
No. 1077375 ID: afc43a
File 170010373059.png - (122.23KB , 700x542 , 16-26.png )
1077375

Gabe looks up from petting Raithe’s long, fiery belly and remarks, “Considering how dark it used to be here, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you this happy before!”

The kitsune waves a hand as if to say "oh you" before taking a bite of her scone.

Vivian’s eyes open wide: revealing a pair of glassy, black mirrors like deep pools of water. She pauses with the biscuit still held to her lips.
>>
No. 1077383 ID: a9af05

>>1077375
Seems like Miki's cooking skills are very amazing! Vivian seems like she's struggling to process the wonderful taste she's experiencing!
>>
No. 1077387 ID: 053820

Isn't liking delicious baked goods kind of a fae thing? Gentle teasing may be in order. See Miki? You are amazing.
>>
No. 1077393 ID: 2a82d3

Yeah, her new bird really does seem to bring out the twinkle in her eyes. I think.

Is her gaze piercing into your soul, or is her mental headset getting a call from the void?
>>
No. 1077394 ID: bc5ee7

Oh wow, is something wrong? We've never seen her eyes either. Are they supposed to be that dark?
>>
No. 1077401 ID: 7695ec

So were the scones just THAT good or should we be worried, it's cool if you simply have creepy eyes, though if something happened it might happen to REALLY be the time to discuss Rodwin, though I would hate for it to be dark in here again
>>
No. 1077402 ID: fe276d

What kind of scones were these again..?
>>
No. 1077420 ID: 124485

>>1077402
The delicious kind
>>
No. 1077425 ID: f14228

Isn't that the eyes of an undead, like Sir Opinel's?

Well, no matter. Fey folk go about undeath in a different way, as has been shown. But it might explain why someone of her age and power is gracing the mortal realm - and why they've been gloomy about it. But there's been enough doom and gloom of late, for sure! So let's just let Viv fully enjoy Hearthfire bakery's honest offering and relax for a bit before moving on to the more important business at hand.

And if there's something special about these scones, Miki should explain. Given Vivian's wide-eyed expression maybe someone should jokingly ask just HOW much love she poured into these - and may they have one?
>>
No. 1077438 ID: b1805a

>>1077375

Going to just reach here, and say we're about to see an impromptu fae opera about how good it is, "Yakitate!! Japan" style.
>>
No. 1077440 ID: 5d7584

>>1077375
Looks like she just took a hit of the GOOD stuff.
>>
No. 1077479 ID: eb0a9c

Kol: Contemplate how relationships could have gone very differently in an alternate timeline where Wraithe and Cauldera asked for relationship help from the trio instead of breaking up.
Then remind Viv that this didn't happen.
>>
No. 1077611 ID: afc43a
File 170036153243.png - (126.97KB , 700x500 , 16-27.png )
1077611

“Vivian? Are you-“ Miki asks, suddenly concerned that something might be wrong. Before she can finish, the scone disappears in a flash of teeth and a sound like a snarl.

Vivian’s tongue flicks over her lips lightning fast: a little scarlet streak like a fox escaping a hen house. “You made these?” She asks, her voice breathy and serious.

Miki nods, terrified as the fey towers over her and leans close.

“Please excuse me for a minute.” The kitsune takes the basket and dives into the bushes, disappearing with a swish of her tails.

“Is she okay?” Miki asks.

“I don’t know.” Cauldera admits. “I’ve only ever seen her get that intense about art or music. What was in those?”

“Just the usual stuff: flour, water, salt, sugar, blueberries, butter, milk…” She pauses to think, “Maybe the butter was off? No, it seemed fine. Hey Raithe! Those scones came out like usual, right?”

The salamander moans from his happy place under several mice, “Uh- huhhhhh…”

Miki rolls her eyes and shrugs, “Ugh he’s gone. I don’t know what to tell you.”
>>
No. 1077612 ID: 54b29b

Cauldera's still there, maybe er, well, what does she DO when this happens with art or music? Would it be a good idea to peek in and check in on her?
>>
No. 1077613 ID: db478f

You know what they say, baking is an art
>>
No. 1077614 ID: 7e6fd4

Oh my god, Miki's baking is so good it made the ever elegant Vivian feral over some scones. That's a high praise if I've ever seen it!
>>
No. 1077617 ID: 8b8c72

Fae take art VERY seriously, and there is the old saying that baking is more art than science, so...
>>
No. 1077623 ID: 0a437e

you forgot the ingredient love!
but seriously what emotions and memorious did you put into it, if I remember right fey can deal in some abstract things curtesy of magic, so love is probably an actual ingredient?
>>
No. 1077634 ID: 2a82d3

Just get his OK to check up on Viv, Miki. He'd understand whatever that entails.
>>
No. 1077798 ID: afc43a
File 170062293245.png - (133.22KB , 700x579 , 16-28.png )
1077798

A few minutes later and Vivian re-emerges, her hair sticking up in a few places and brushing leaves off her dress. In her hand is the basket , which is now empty, save for a few crumbs. “Back! Sorry to worry you! I’m… fine!”

“Are you sure, because if-“

“Please-“ The fey insists, “Um, how to put this… How would you feel about providing me with one of those every day? Fresh?” She smiles with a mouth full of worryingly sharp teeth.

“Uh- I mean, are you sure? The blueberries are seasonal, so sometimes we do currants or raspberries…” Miki stammers.

Vivian stops her, “It can be anything, as long as its baked and fresh.”
>>
No. 1077799 ID: afc43a
File 170062293834.png - (145.18KB , 700x500 , 16-29.png )
1077799

“Is this one of those fey things?” Miki asks, nervously.

“Yes- no- well…” The kitsune struggles to explain, “Yes it is a fey thing. But no, I’m not proposing a formal contract: I’m not going to steal you away for a hundred years over breakfast.”

She continues, “You know how fey are about art, right? To us, art is like a kind of magic: its a change placed upon the world by thought and skill. Some, like myself, consider it to be our highest calling. A form of worship, if you will.”

“What are you saying?” The chinchilla asks as Vivian bends down to speak eye to eye.

There's a sigh and Vivian rests a hand on the baker’s shoulder, “I’m saying that those scones were, quite literally, a religious experience.”
>>
No. 1077800 ID: a8590d

It's ok Miki. Just take a soft breath and tell her the same was true about her performance. But, like, maybe less literally. Anyway, you'd be honored to put aside some pastries for her for your batches each day!
>>
No. 1077801 ID: 75f40b

I think at this point it's okay to be just a wee bit flustered
>>
No. 1077803 ID: 124485

>>1077799
>“I’m saying that those scones were, quite literally, a religious experience.”
I'm pretty sure that this is the highest compliment Miki has ever received!
>>
No. 1077804 ID: c5249f

Hmmm, personal daily catering seems like a good deal, but I'd sure get sick of eating the same thing every day. It seems like a transactional relationship like this would be detrimental to both parties, as the supplier would be more of a supplier than a friend, and the receiver would either get sick of the product or grow reliant on it. Even though it isn't a fey deal, it's still a dangerous transaction. Tread carefully.
>>
No. 1077805 ID: c5249f

>>1077804
I'm saying snarfing something down in a bush and calling it a religious experience is probably not a good thing. Fey or not, that's sketchy.
>>
No. 1077810 ID: dc4bad

>>1077799
A little concerned about how seriously she's treating this, so ask why the sudden sober tone.
That said, this IS high praise and if there is no contract or other form of binding, I'm thinking there's no issue with her having something you've made fresh of a day.

(She's probably not gonna need told but also just manage expectations that, with or without warning it might not happen on days where you are on holiday or sick or whatnot)
>>
No. 1077811 ID: 273c18

Damn, your scones are THAT good?
>>
No. 1077814 ID: c63f2c

Is she kidding? No? Okay.

As far as Miki is concerned, she's not providing something here she's not already making for other customers. If Vivian is able to appreciate and honor a frickin' breakfast scone as something divine and want more of it, that is simply just flattering as all heck.

Would Viv be alright, though? If Miki should happen to get sick, take a vacation, etc. the supply may not be as steady as once a day, and then... well, she'd have to do without. Though Miki could make some longer-lasting treats to tide Viv over and just set up a delivery schedule, ah wait, but she wanted fresh. Hm... if Cauldera could do the final cooking touch, she could prepare some ready-to-bake goods and give a few cooking lessons? Having a fire elemental in the kitchen isn't going to be a problem in the Hearthfire Bakery, after all.

Anyway, yeah, duh. Miki would love to provide baked goods every day! It's her job and calling and as long as the bakery is open and nothing unforeseen occurs, Viv will always find something to put on her palate. It's a non-binding but heartfelt promise!

Just calling Vivian a regular customer would be a supreme honor in itself, y'know? And now that Miki knows she likes them good-fancy eatums, she sure has an excuse to keep polishing her skills.
>>
No. 1077827 ID: debc82

>>1077799

Congrats, girl! Your scones are so good, you made a Fey see the divine.

There is no higher form of praise.
>>
No. 1077829 ID: 2a82d3

Does Viv have any insight or wisdom from this, that she'd like to share?
>>
No. 1077935 ID: afc43a
File 170088239773.png - (159.06KB , 700x500 , 16-30.png )
1077935

“I- I’m honored! That’s incredible!” Miki staggers, a little punch drunk by the surprise. “I gotta… you’re sure?”

“I know art when I see, or taste it in this case.” Vivian nods.

The chinchilla’s mind races, knowing any agreement with a fey needs to be fully considered. “What happens if I miss a day? Is that going to be alright?”

Vivian nods reassuringly, “I’ve lived for over a century without your baking, a break now and then won’t be a problem.”

“Good, because Raithe and I need vacation and sick days.” Miki scratches her head and eyes her husband as he wriggles in the grass. “Actually, you know, Raithe is just as important to making these as me. I wonder if he could teach Cauldera to bake them for you. That way you could have them fresh whenever you want.”

“Me, baking? Sounds fun! I’d love to give it a shot!” The phoenix beams.

“I don’t get it. Why are my scones so important? I mean I put a lot of work into them, but…” Miki asks.

Vivian sits back on the grass and sighs, “Do you know why I only sing opera from mortal composers?”

“No, why’s that?”

“Fey culture is very stagnant. Its beautiful and vibrant, but very slow to change. Much of our lives are dictated by laws and the fates, as interpreted by dream seers.” Vivian holds out a hand and a nearby vine grows to coil around her fingers. “Everything we might need, we can just ask for as long as our magic is intact.”

“But mortals innovate: they’re creative and quick. Everything is busy and dramatic and your lives are so full and passionate.” She smiles fondly, “Not to say that those are traits exclusive to mortals, but it makes your world and your art very special to some of us.”
>>
No. 1077936 ID: ae0c62

Consider it an honor. Do you have to shake on it?
>>
No. 1077940 ID: 395885

I wonder what changes Vivian will notice in Miki's art of baking as time goes on, I hardly believe she is simply going to stop improving after all, especially with Vivian as an even more direct motivation
Who knows maybe there'll be some rare ingredients growing in this garden at some point
I wonder what Elemental Culture is like, in comparison, lets ask Cauldera about it
>>
No. 1077943 ID: b96996

Tell her that there may be specifics to work out later, but you'd love to bake for her. It's not like you aren't a pretty big fan of hers too, after all. It's nice that such powerful creatures can find such incredible joy in mortals when they're doing nothing but living their happy lives. The founders of this era really did make the right choice--for everyone involved, it seems.
>>
No. 1078096 ID: 2a82d3

She's already done so much for you, your marriage, and your future. It's really the least you could do.
>>
No. 1078189 ID: afc43a
File 170114095022.png - (141.21KB , 700x500 , 16-31.png )
1078189

Miki smiles and sits down next to her, “I’d be honored to bake for you, Vivian.” She watches as Raithe rolls over, trapping Gabe underneath him and giggles, “I had heard some stuff about fey culture, but never realized you thought that way about us.”

“Mmm-hm. Especially among the younger generations of fey. Its one reason the craft guilds have been able to flourish lately: lots of demand for mortal masterworks.”

Cauldera joins them on the lawn and Miki asks, “What about elementals? I’ve asked Raithe but he gets all evasive when talking about life on the elemental plane.”
>>
No. 1078190 ID: afc43a
File 170114096232.png - (129.08KB , 500x700 , 16-32.png )
1078190

The phoenix nods and shrugs, “That might be because it's very alien to what you're used to.” She waves a hand, her fingers trailing fire like sparklers.

“For one, the elementals you’re familiar with are only a fraction of the types that exist. There are sound elementals, and steel elementals and even stranger beings that are made of… I suppose math is the only way to describe them. The reason for that is that everything on the elemental plane is alive: the mana diffuses into the world at such a rate that it constantly creates more.”

Miki stares with rapt fascination as Cauldera continues to speak. “For most elementals, life is actually very brief and violent. Those that are born from the ether are tiny flashes of existence that prey on one another for their mana, gradually growing larger and stronger: sometimes surviving but most of them don’t.”

“The oldest and most powerful of us are beings so vast, you would hardly recognize them as alive. When a fey says something like ‘Root and Stone’, those are the forces they’re calling on.” Vivian smiles at this and nods in confirmation. “Many of them are in constant conflict with one another, but they do so through ever shifting alliances and unions. The result is chaotic and wild, but ironically even more static than life among the fey.”

The baker tilts her head, her ears flopping to one side, “Why’s that?”

“Because the slightest wrong move can undo centuries of balance.”Cauldera sighs, “Everything happens on a timescale that most mortals can’t even comprehend.”
>>
No. 1078191 ID: 9d3006

Sounds kind of sad and chaotic... It's very gladdening such wonderful elementals like you two are here and (relatively) safe now. Maybe in a few centuries or something some other spirit mediums undead and fae will get together to help make more of a peace between such massive powers.
>>
No. 1078195 ID: 2a82d3

So, do elementals treat the mortal realm like a ls neutral ground, effectively lawless for better or worse? Can they enter freely, or do they have to be summoned by a mortal first? Cults can definitely start that way.

Could Casey be considered to have been cultivating her own elemental, or group of elementals, within her body? It would explain why her powers tend to be temperamental in nature. They even settled down when she did right by Flashing Feathers, like they were sympathetic to him.
>>
No. 1078198 ID: 598d4a

here's a stretch, does that mean the moon might be an elemental? are the winds just one big elemental or a collective winds? is my soup alive?
>>
No. 1078199 ID: fa3034

Can't even imagine..
But you're here now and isn't that something to happy about?
>>
No. 1078200 ID: 395885

I wonder why only a fraction of the elemental types enter our plane, or is it only rare that a "math" elemental does so (and is noticed)
it feels weird (at least I imagin Miki would feel so) that both elementals and fey seem to have some preference to this plane, when the reverse is mostly untrue
>>
No. 1078224 ID: b0f4c4

>>1078189
Looks like Gabe's enjoying the big ol flame lizard pressing him into the grass.
>>
No. 1078227 ID: eb0a9c

The question is how complex the overlying conflict is. Generations of black-ops agents warring over a childish spat between two overgrown gods is nothing honorable to write about.

So, Wraithe and Cauldera had to fight for their lives as kids, but it was a natural process for most rather than an endless war for some.
>>
No. 1078418 ID: 3aa426

The Elemental Plane and the Perception Range from Awful Hospital are the same place.
>>
No. 1078437 ID: 273c18

Hrm, didn't we come here for a reason?
>>
No. 1078832 ID: afc43a
File 170191351672.png - (137.78KB , 529x700 , 16-33.png )
1078832

“So why do elementals come to the mortal plane anyway?” Miki asks.

Across the grass, her husband looks down at the mouse beneath him with a suddenly self-conscious expression: his cheeks taking on a white-hot blush. Gabe’s eyes go wide as something as-yet unseen catches his attention and he starts wiggling excitedly.

“All kinds of reasons.” Cauldera explains, “For some its a kind of neutral territory with which to conduct business. There were a few powerful ones who built kingdoms here, but without a stable source of mana most of them returned to their home planes. For me, I just wanted to see something new.” Her hands run idly through the grass as she talks, the blades tickling at her molten fingers.

“Well then, could I ever visit the elemental plane?” Miki continues, all the while hoping she’s not bothering the phoenix.

Cauldera smiles back at her, seemingly just enjoying the chat. “Not safely. You’d need much more than a fire ward to survive there. Even Fey visitors require lots of preparation and magical protection: just about the only ones that can travel freely are angels and they’re pretty rare.”
>>
No. 1078834 ID: f212fd

Oh, you know Litany, maybe they could help? Or is it not really something they have the ability to provide to others? Traveling the elemental plane sounds neat, though admittedly from the description it sounds kind of chaotic.

Gabe seems to be having fun. Miki might get to enjoy some boy love in a moment if things keep going on like this.
>>
No. 1078862 ID: b23ea2

makes me ponder the hows and whys of angels, that they can go there and be intact

not that we are going to be finding the answer right now, seems like Gabe got Raithe's "blood" pumping down there, and Vivian has certainly noticed their tussling, the plants may not be her but the ground is
>>
No. 1078864 ID: 273c18

Oh, we know an angel. So if we ever needed someone to go there, we know who to ask. Actually I forget if we can contact them at all.

And in response to my earlier question, we don't have a reason to be here do we? It's a day off. Though, we could technically ask if Vivian has any info on the First Guardians, or knows anyone who could give us some info.
>>
No. 1078867 ID: 32c482

Aw c'mon Gabe, you know you gotta ask permission before gettin fucked by someone's husband! Unless of course you've already made an agreement with Miki that whatever happens happens
>>
No. 1078869 ID: fa3034

What makes angels so special? But any who, if there's anything you guys could do to make their time on the mortal plane more enjoyable, you'll be glad to help where you can, right?
>>
No. 1078870 ID: c4ad4a

Good thing we happen to know one who's free and untethered by any fey contracts or loyalties, and is a good sweet friend (potentially with benefits).
>>
No. 1078871 ID: 2a82d3

Oh no, Gabe is being attacked by a dragon. Better get the lube.
>>
No. 1078873 ID: 273c18

Miki should probably notice and go have a quiet chat.
>>
No. 1078877 ID: e4a3dc

>>1078832
Oh? What's that Gabe? Is someone knocking at the back door?
>>
No. 1078932 ID: afc43a
File 170201228310.png - (78.60KB , 376x500 , 16-34.png )
1078932

Raithe sits up, the red tip of his cock peeking up from behind Gabe’s tail. He tries to cover it with his hands as he looks around, flushed with embarrassment. The salamander locks eyes with his wife, who giggles at his plight; giving him a wink and a little nod of encouragement.

“That reminds me, I wonder how Litany is doing…” Vivian muses; her tails wagging as she watches the flustered salamander.

“That’s the angel you and Gabe met, right? The one you set free?” Miki asks, trying to split her attention between Raithe and Vivian. “What makes them so different from other fey?”

Vivian clear her throat and explains, “They say that angels were the first our kind: thought to be a kind of transitional step between elementals and fey. What is certain, is that their ability to survive almost anywhere and travel the in-betweens of the world makes them valuable as messengers. So much so, that only the oldest and most powerful courts employ them as servants.”
>>
No. 1078933 ID: afc43a
File 170201228824.png - (153.54KB , 500x700 , 16-35.png )
1078933

A lump bobs in the elemental’s long neck as he gulps anxiously, feeling like a fish out of water. There’s a soft rubbing under Raithe’s shaft as Gabe tucks his knees up under himself and grinds gently against the dragon: slowly drawing him out to his full length.

Relaxing a bit, Raithe lets his hands rest on Gabe’s hips; his claws slipping under the mouse’s waistband and sliding his shorts down. His thumbs rub little circles in the sender’s fur as curiosity replaces embarrassment. Gabe’s ass isn’t as soft as Miki’s and his fur coarser, and instead of her fluffy, curly tail, his is thick and surprisingly muscular. And there, where the bare skin of his tail meets his fur is an eager little patch of pink: waving excitedly at him

>>
No. 1078936 ID: fa3034

Might need some prep down there, buddy! You are after all, a full sized salamander.
>>
No. 1078937 ID: 2a82d3

Makes sense that the fey were derived from the elementals. How do you think the first angels and "elves" were created? Or made, if they case may be? Do you think you can get in touch with Litany?

Let's see how long we can keep a serious conversation going, before anyone else gets the urge to start "doing like they do on the Discovery Channel". As his ex, Cauldera must be getting exceptionally flustered.
>>
No. 1078938 ID: efaac3

I mean it's right about common knowledge that there's a web of who's fucked who in this group, but Cauldera is pretty much no different! But if it does make her uncomfortable, maybe she could be accompanied to a different room
>>
No. 1078941 ID: 7695ec

What happened to the other two mice?
my my, fucking in a fey's heartspace sure is something, makes me wonder if Vivian is down for some lovin, too. Perhaps Vivian could have some fun with Miki and Cauldera!
we can try to keep a half serious conversation going, maybe a question about why this layered world, if elementals became fey then fey become as and so on, though at this point only The Fates would know for certain
>>
No. 1079011 ID: afc43a
File 170209918513.png - (176.57KB , 700x500 , 16-36.png )
1079011

“Do you need me to prep?” Gabe asks, trying not to break the flow of things, “You know: lube and stuff?”

Raithe gives him a bashful glance and admits, “Oh! No, that stuff doesn’t really play nice with me, even while warded. I usually just, uh, kind of make my own.” He rubs his dick experimentally between Gabe’s ass-cheeks and a thick droplet of raw mana leaks out, easing the friction.

The mouse smirks and props himself up on his elbows, bracing for whats next. “Well then, go ahead big guy. Don’t keep me waiting…”

The elemental runs a forked tongue over his fangs and angles his shaft into position, letting his weight push the tapered tip past any initial resistance. Gabe moans happily as he’s slowly spread by Raithe, his hands gripping fists full of grass as he's filled up inch-by-inch.

>>
No. 1079012 ID: afc43a
File 170209919240.png - (184.06KB , 700x500 , 16-37.png )
1079012


“Shall we join them?” Casey asks, her hand already at work underneath Kol’s waistband.

The Medium nods, “In a minute. Let’s let them have a little fun first.” He says, slipping a hand down the curve of her ass and kissing her.

>>
No. 1079013 ID: afc43a
File 170209919708.png - (181.07KB , 700x525 , 16-38.png )
1079013

“Oooh, that brings me back.” Cauldera sighs, looking on at the show. “He tries to be so gentle at first.”

“I know, right?” Miki giggles, “Its very sweet.” She shares a knowing glance with one of the few people to have had Raithe as a partner. “I always have to remind him to go harder.” She shuffles a little as her arousal grows, pressing against the tight fabric of her pants.

The baker glances at her hosts: on one side of her Vivian watches with rapt attention, one hand tucked under her dress and slowly rubbing back and fourth. Opposite her, Cauldera lays back on the grass, her thumb rubbing in circles around the curve of her breast.

“Uh, heh, so if fey descended from elementals, and I guess mortals descended from fey: does that mean there’s something descended from mortals? Like, why is everything layered like that?” Miki asks, trying to keep the casual conversation going, even as she sees where things are headed. Her heard races and her head spin as she tries to keep from babbling. The baker feels excitement gripping her but feels suddenly out of her depth and unsure of how to proceed.

“Mmm- Its one of the great questions, and there’s many theories about such things.” Vivian responds, catching her breath as her tip raises the hem of her dress. “Are there places even further from the Sea of Dreams than the mortal realm, with less mana and no natural magic? Much time has been spent debating what life would look like on a plane like that; if it could even exist. It seems... unnatural and alien.”

She continues, tilting her porcelain muzzle skyward as her pleasure builds. “Ah- of course, such thought goes both ways. There was a mortal philosopher named Rutattezen who theorized that there might be some place beyond the Sea of Dreams: a great untergeisterwelt. To get there would mean passing through the great collective source of mana. However, its unlikely anything could make that journey and survive: at that point even the spirit loses its sense of ego and breaks down.”

The kitsune looks down at Miki and pauses, “I’m sorry, I must be boring you with all of this talk. Please, as your host: would you like to join us?” She asks, twitching aside her dress in an invitation.

>>
No. 1079014 ID: efaac3

Oh, actually please continue on Rutattezen! A place where something's spirit would break down in... then how about something without a spirit? like a machine?

But of course, an expeditious handy can come before some handy exposition!
>>
No. 1079015 ID: 7695ec

we wouldn't be asking questions if we thought you were boring!
though, we could never decline such a open invite
>>
No. 1079019 ID: 2a82d3

Not boring at all. Philosophy and horniness pair great together. You could listen more from herall day.

On the other hand, be curious about what bird breasts feel like. Would they make for nice pillows? Try them on your head.
>>
No. 1079020 ID: 7695ec

>>1079014 Given that the Elemental Plane 2 higher has literally everything be alive due to mana density, I doubt anything trying to go there wouldn't have a spirit. Maybe the power of Love could hold a spirit together?
>>
No. 1079027 ID: e4a3dc

>>1079013
Seems you're the last one without your goods on display Miki. Shouldn't stay overdressed in situation like this. Show off what raithe has had all to himself.
>>
No. 1079055 ID: b1e615

Are undead technically descended from mortals? am I just crazy trying to think of them as perhaps a legitimate category potentially worthy of not-scorn

Either way, there is no reason not to continue mixing interesting discussions with sex it makes it hotter.
>>
No. 1079065 ID: fa3034

When in Rome, Miki. Hot knowledge and a hot show.
>>
No. 1079089 ID: afc43a
File 170226726375.png - (209.50KB , 700x500 , 16-39.png )
1079089

“Oh, its not boring! Its just- uh, hang on a second…” Miki pauses to shimmy out of her pants and slip free of her panties. The baker tosses her shirt aside and sighs, “I wish I had worn something a bit more flattering, but I didn’t exactly expect this to happen... Although, maybe I should have at this point.” She says, casting an eye over towards Gabe as her husband drills him.

Vivian smiles and pats the ground next to her, “Come, won’t you show me what else those hands can do?”

Miki bites her lip and scooches closer, reaching out uncertainly at first. Her shaking fingers wrap around Vivian’s shaft, feeling her pulse beating in the palm of her hand. The chinchilla stares, still in disbelief, and pumps back and fourth experimentally.

Vivian moans and bucks her hips up into Miki’s grip, encouraging her to go further. The baker nods to herself and starts getting into it: letting years of dough kneading guide her in the simple, repetitive motion.

She looks up, taking a moment to experience the closeness with the beautiful fey: watching her expressions and listening to her voice as small pants slip past her lips. Miki takes a deep breath and a gentle, earthy scent fills her senses: like leaves kicked up in an autumn forest.

“Uh, so… tell me more. About this… under-ghost-thing you mentioned.” She insists, deeply fascinated by this whole experience.

“Ah! Well, what do you want to know?” Vivian asks.

“Um… could something that isn’t alive pass through? Like a machine or something?”

“If only it were that simple. The Sea of Dreams imbues life into anything that enters it. Mmm- it’s why the elemental plane is so chaotic. Its thought that even matter begins to break down when exposed to that much mana.”

There’s a shuffle behind Miki and she looks to find Cauldera sitting there. “Mind if I join you two?” The phoenix asks.


>>
No. 1079090 ID: eb0a9c

Okay there's definitely an alternate universe out there where Raithe never broke up and Miki became an ascended fangirl

Orgy time
>>
No. 1079091 ID: 2a82d3

Actually, Cauldera should check on the other guests. They'd like the extra company, and do like to keep things fresh with their fun. Has she ever thanked them for helping with the molting?

Hey Miki, there's a way to keep an eye on your hubby, practically sharing longing gazes with each other, while satisfying your host. Sit down and think. It'll come to you.
>>
No. 1079092 ID: fa3034

She's more than welcome to join, of course. Just keep working that dough.
>>
No. 1079102 ID: 7695ec

I am certain neither would mind Cauldera joining, maybe Miki could ask for a thought from her in this beautifully strange mix of philosophy and fucking, what's an elementals view on this?

it does make some sense matter begins to break down in the sea of dreams, it IS the realm of, among other things, the dead
>>
No. 1079182 ID: efaac3

Ooh Miki working out all the tension in a big celebrity, has to be a lot of tightness in that kitsune! When's the last time she had a real good massage?
>>
No. 1079239 ID: afc43a
File 170244151424.png - (191.71KB , 500x700 , 16-40.png )
1079239

“S-sure!” Miki responds, before staring straight ahead with a glassy-eyed expression. ”This isn’t happening, I’m just having a dream, right? I’m just fantasizing about being sandwiched between two hot women and talking about the structure of the universe”. she tells herself.

Miki’s quickly brought back to reality as Cauldera grasps her hips and pulls her into her lap. The chinchilla gasps as the elemental’s rigid cock rubs up against the base of her tail. The firebird reaches around and cups under Miki’s balls, gently massaging them back and fourth as Cauldera’s thumb teases the base of her shaft.

“Oohh, you’re so cute and fluffy! I can see why Raithe was so smitten.” Cauldera giggles in Miki’s ear. She finds her head cradled between a pair of breasts, wreathing her in a halo of soft, shimmering plumage. “You know, personally I think there’s something down there, past the sea of mana.”

Miki wriggles in place, her head swimming from the stimulation. “Ah- l-like what?”

“No idea.” Cauldera chuckles, “Maybe the Fates know, but it might be what made the planes in the first place. Something vast and powerful.” Her hand traces up to caress Miki’s cock between impossibility warm fingers.

“Ah! Ohhhhh… Vivian…Cauldera…” Miki feels herself getting lost between them and simply asks, “Don’t stop… please.”

Vivian chuckles to herself and stands up, out of Miki’s reach. Red silk pools on the ground as she slips out of her dress and lets her shaft bob freely. A hand comes to rest on the back of Miki’s head and the kitsune asks, “Very well. If you’d like, we can dispense with the pleasantries.”


>>
No. 1079240 ID: afc43a
File 170244152028.png - (223.80KB , 700x500 , 16-41.png )
1079240

A few feet a way, Gabe braces himself against the turf, pushing back against the thrusts of the eager dragon. Part of him is surprised by how light Raithe is, but it makes sense considering how rarely the elemental ever touches the ground. Still, his shaft is nice and thick: reaching deep inside his body and leaving behind a slight tingle of mana-infused precum.

“Ah! Yeah! Th-that’s it!” He says over his shoulder. “Give it to me harder!”

Something catches the sender’s eye and he looks over at Miki being cradled between Vivian and Cauldera.

“Oh, hey! Look who’s having fun, too!” He nods his head in their direction.

Raithe follows his gaze and his eyes widen. The salamander’s jaws split into a molten smile, panting raggedly as he feels his temperature rising. Seeing his wife attended to by two beautiful women, one which his ex, does something to stoke an internal fire never felt before.

>>
No. 1079241 ID: 7e6fd4

Oh my, is Raithe discovering a voyeuristic side of himself? Of course, anyone would love to see the girls having fun!
>>
No. 1079242 ID: 042212

Mana doesn't exactly seem massive... at all, and elementals are mostly mana, so there's not much there to be heavy
stoke the fire and feel its burn, fucking destroy Gabe, Raith! Stoke them into fucking Miki as hard as she likes too, if seeing her simply toyed with like this lights a flame, than what will seeing her rode by cauldera and her face occupied by Vivian do?
>>
No. 1079243 ID: fa3034

Imagine asking the Fates the nature of the universe is one of the most commonly asked questions. Ah well, eyes up everyone. There's live shows for all of you.
>>
No. 1079245 ID: 0aa5b9

Nomf his ear. Let the squeaking commence.
>>
No. 1079280 ID: afc43a
File 170253043707.png - (200.14KB , 700x563 , 16-42.png )
1079280

Miki turns her attention away from Vivian and Cauldera for a moment to check in on her husband. To her shock, the baker finds him staring with an intensity she’s never seen before: a gaze she could only describe as smoldering.

She pauses, Vivian’s shaft inches from her lips and shoots him a questioning look ”Are you okay with this?

Raithe nods back, slowly, his eyes never leaving Miki’s.

The chinchilla smirks and leans in to nuzzle Vivian’s cock, keeping her eyes trained on the salamander as she does. Her tongue snakes out, getting her first taste of the kitsune as she traces the shaft up to the tip.

Cauldera cuddles her close and murmurs in her ear, “Ohhh, it’s been a while since I've seen him like that.”

>>
No. 1079281 ID: afc43a
File 170253044430.png - (236.48KB , 500x700 , 16-43.png )
1079281

Gabe chuckles, reaching up to drag Raithe’s head next to his. “Ah! You like that big guy? Seeing Miki have some fun too?”

The elemental doesn’t respond immediately, instead panting in his ear as little flames begin to flicker at the corners of his mouth. When he does speak, its with the low growl of a hungry beast, "Yesssssss..."

The sender is distracted by something wet landing on his shoulder, only to find that Raithe is drooling: a trail of long, golden magma dripping from between his fangs. “Heh, you alright back there?” He asks, only for the dragon to flap his wings and buck into him, knocking him off balance and forward into the soft grass.

“Oof! Okay, you’re-“ Gabe begins only for Raithe’s jaws to clamp down on his ear, causing the mouse to let out the most embarrassing cry of pleasure ever to escape his lips.

“AiiiiuuAHHhhuuh!” He warbles, ass in the air and face flushed bright red. His hips rock back and forth as Raithe begins railing him; the long draconic body uncoiling and flexing like a whip being cracked.

>>
No. 1079285 ID: fa3034

Oh damn, unleash the dragon. Hold on, Gabe. Vivian, enjoy the show.
>>
No. 1079288 ID: 042212

Cauldera was holding back the Gossip from Miki? Shame! tell us!
perhaps getting Casey and Kol withing line of sight and miki going down on vivian will get Raithe going even more
>>
No. 1079306 ID: c7248c

Okay, so what I’m wondering is, what happens to Gabe once he gets a massive infusion of mana courtesy of our dear drooling dragon? We’ve already seen the effects on Miki (spontaneous strengthening of innate magical abilities) and with Casey (magical trance with development of previously unknown magical techniques, thanks to Flashing Feathers). Especially given Gabe’s unexpected badassery against golem in the last chapter, I’m really excited to see what he’ll be capable of once Raithe is finished with him. Here’s hoping Kol doesn’t end up feeling like the odd-one-out…
>>
No. 1079326 ID: afc43a
File 170261336122.png - (164.59KB , 500x700 , 16-44.png )
1079326

“You’ve seen him like that before?” Miki asks between licking and nuzzling Vivian. “I’ve never seen him so intense.”

Cauldera giggles as her ex continues to pound the mousey twink into the carefully manicured lawn. “Raithe doesn’t like to show it, but all draconic elementals can be kind of… possessive. He’s very shy about his nature and comes off as a big sweetheart; but part of him wants nothing more than to bend you over and claim you as his own right here.” Her fingers trace delicately up the curve of Miki’s back, sending her dense fur into a shiver.

Miki looks over at her husband, her brow knitted with worry. “Are you sure he’s okay with this, then?”

Cauldera nods reassuringly, having spent many years as Raithe’s partner. “He wouldn’t have given you the go-ahead if he didn’t trust us. Just be sure to show him plenty of love when we’re done and remind him who you ‘belong’ to.” With one hand, she lifts Miki’s thigh up, lining her up with the phoenix’s hard cock. “In the meantime, why don’t we give him a good show?”

>>
No. 1079327 ID: 042212

Sounds like the hidden secret to ass destruction is "I am yours"
one spit-roasted bunny coming right up
>>
No. 1079329 ID: 17abec

ooh, is Raithe claiming Gabe here? There's a lot of teasing potential here
>>
No. 1079332 ID: fa3034

>>1079327
Chinchilla, actually
We should definitely let Vivian direct the show.
>>
No. 1079469 ID: afc43a
File 170295798052.png - (211.90KB , 700x500 , 16-45.png )
1079469

Raithe stares through a reddish haze as the baker is lifted up and slowly speared on Cauldera’s shaft. Miki’s moans reach his ears before being muffled, making him snort little gusts of flame. Something inside him seethes volcanically, demanding to know what they’re doing to his wife, while another part of him feels nothing but excitement from watching two beautiful women pleasuring her. His heart flutters as Cauldera winks at him while bouncing Miki’s ass in her lap: the two loves of his life together, stoking his flames higher.

The conflicting emotions roil inside the elemental, driving him to fuck the squeaking figure in front of him even harder. Raithe hangs on to the mouse-boy’s ear in a savage mating bite, his hips shaking and battering him like a rag-doll. He plunges deep, feeling the sender’s tailhole clutching at him, his legs struggling to hold himself up under the pounding. Gabe is tight and warm around his red-hot cock, and he babbles incoherent mewling as the salamander works him over.

The mouse feels his body struggling to accommodate the savage pounding as he’s claimed by the dragon. Gabe’s eye’s flutter as his cock is slapped up against his belly and paints his chest and chin with white streaks of cum. His whole body shakes like a tree in a storm as he empties his pent up load all over himself; the constant fucking keeping him rock-hard in spite of the mess.

>>
No. 1079470 ID: afc43a
File 170295799271.png - (150.32KB , 700x500 , 16-46.png )
1079470

Gabe looks up through the haze of endorphins as someone reaches under his dripping chin and lifts his head.

“Having fun there?” Asks Kol, his cock tapping against the sender’s nose playfully. “Should we show him who you belong to?”

>>
No. 1079472 ID: fa3034

>>1079470
Oh man, is this going to be total sensory mayhem? Good luck, Gabe. Remember to breathe.
>>
No. 1079473 ID: 1476cc

Have raith drool lava all over him. We want to make aftercare fur brushies mandatory so he won't melt as soon as he leaves the warded space.
>>
No. 1079474 ID: 18c249

Kol fucking the same person as Raithe is dominating literally in front of his nose will sure be fun for the two of them, is Casey off to join the girls then?
Have Raithe growl and vibrate Gabe some too, the opportunity is too perfect
>>
No. 1079475 ID: 17abec

May want to watch it on those ears, are those teeth sharp? It'd be a shame if there were less Gabe ear to tease
>>
No. 1079597 ID: afc43a
File 170313299493.png - (266.88KB , 700x665 , 16-47.png )
1079597

Miki takes a deep breath as Cauldera pushes forward, filling her ass with phoenix cock. The chinchilla falls forward onto all fours while she’s taken at both ends by beautiful women. Soft hands reach down to hold her in place, fingers pushing through her dense fluff to caress her curves.

Miki’s fur muffles the sound to a gentle “pap-pap-pap” while Cauldera begins thrusting, bouncing her forward into Vivian. The baker feels the tell-tale tingle of elemental pre-cum leaking inside her, setting her body ablaze with sensation.

“Root and Stone, you're good at this!” Vivian exclaims as Miki’s tongue twists and coils around her cock.

The chinchilla blushes a deep red at the praise, responding with a surprised “Mmph!” as the thick shaft slips in and out. Miki is given a moment to breathe and she pants, “Ah! Th-thank you! Raithe really likes the way I give head.”

The kitsune cups her cheek with long, pale fingers and thrusts forward again. “Mmm, so many talents. No wonder he adores you so.”

She looks back over at her husband, finding him bent over Gabe and pounding in a frenzy while Kol takes his mouth. While Caulder and Vivian are careful and soft in their lovemaking, Gabe is worked over: the pair seemingly in a competition to see who can fuck him senseless.

Miki’s suddenly distracted as another figure sprawls on the grass next to her . “Hey there.” Casey says, “Mind if I get in on this?”

>>
No. 1079598 ID: fa3034

Wherever she can squeeze in, I say.
>>
No. 1079601 ID: 2a82d3

The kitsune and the tentacle mistress in an orgy? Practically criminal this hasn't happened yet.
>>
No. 1079622 ID: 431293

You know where Casey could be? Just below Miki. I'm sure she wouldn't mind being plowed by a cute chinchilla and being used as a cushion for the fae and elemental.
>>
No. 1079636 ID: afc43a
File 170321415132.png - (253.28KB , 700x591 , 16-48.png )
1079636


“Ah! Uh- sure?” Miki responds, already blushing from all the attention. Vivian and Cauldera pause their spit-roast so that the chinchilla can reposition herself by climbing on top of Casey.

As Miki aims herself at the mouse’s opening, she pauses. “You’re still not ready to… uh, you know?”

“Not yet. We’ll call this a dress rehearsal. Okay?”Casey grins, spreading her legs to embrace her friend.

They both gasp as Miki pushes forward through her folds, sinking deep inside. The baker’s warm fluffiness covers Casey like a blanket, and she holds Miki close as their hips bump together.

The chinchilla rocks her self in and out experimentally, feeling Casey’s slickness easing her passage. “Oohh, so that’s what it feels like.” She says with a satisfied sigh.

“You’ve never been with someone with a pussy?” Casey asks, giggling warmly.

Miki laughs, “Well, no one that I’ve gone all the way with. Mmm, you feel nice…”

“Glad to be your first, then.” Casey hugs her friend close as Cauldera and Vivian take their positions at either end.

>>
No. 1079641 ID: fa3034

>>1079636
A day of many firsts, it seems. Hope everyone is ready for this rocking! Don't lose your senses.
>>
No. 1079776 ID: 431293

New experiences!! Miki's gonna have to have the chance to do this with Casey some more, clearly it's an underexplored activity for her. The good news is that everything is going swimmingly here.
>>
No. 1079780 ID: 2a82d3

If you can't make your first time gentle, make it fun and memorable. Viv probably understands that well. Try to synchronize with the other threesome, so that both groups climax around the same time.

A proper dress rehearsal would have Raithe provide the chaser*, but he's busy with a different performance he should finish first and a spitroast is hard to co-ordinate. He should alternating his thrusts with Kol properly, so that Gabe is never without.

* In theory, one of Casey's eggs could be spliced with either donor's DNA.
>>
No. 1079918 ID: afc43a
File 170373167911.png - (235.56KB , 500x700 , 16-49.png )
1079918

Miki closes her eyes, feeling Cauldera slip back inside her as she finds her rhythm. The thump-thump-thump against Casey’s hips is driven deeper as the firebird matches the chinchilla’s pace. The elemental’s glowing fingers curl elegantly around the curve of her hips, dragging Miki back into Cauldera’s thrusts again and again. Casey reaches up from underneath her and spreads Miki’s ass in a double hand-full, easing the passage of that red-hot shaft into her tight tailhole.

Vivian leans in, her teeth gleaming in a satisfied grin, as Miki and Casey take turns bobbing and licking at her shaft. “Ohhh, you two work so well together! Ah! Yessss.” One hand strays to her own breast: kneading and toying with herself as she’s serviced by the pair. They occasionally pause to entwine their tongues and kiss hungrily, only to dive back to pleasuring their host.

Casey lays back and cranes her neck so that she can nuzzle and lap at Vivivan’s shaft and balls. She giggles drunkenly as Miki is driven up into her: the warm fluffiness of the baker making it feel like the binder is being fucked by a cloud. While lacking in the length or girth of Casey’s usual partners, there’s an electric thrill to being taken by someone who’s normally so sweet and timid.

>>
No. 1079927 ID: fa3034

Just a regular pile of gals being pals. Hope the boys aren't getting too far ahead.
>>
No. 1080006 ID: afc43a
File 170381716311.png - (221.93KB , 700x500 , 16-50.png )
1080006

Gabe rocks in place, trying to stay on his hands and knees. Kol pushes forwards, past his lip while Raithe keeps up his steady hammering from behind. Caught in a Newton’s cradle between them, the mouse does his best to keep up with the constant motion.

Having already cum once, his nerves feel like they’re on fire. And yet, after spending a night being healed by Delilah, he feels incredibly pent up and eager for release.

The thick shaft under his tail slams up to the hilt inside him, grinding against his entrance and angling against every wall. He moans desperately around Kol’s cock as the tip bumps against his prostate, rubbing a tingling coat of mana-laden pre-cum over it.

“That’s it. Take it…” Kol murmurs, holding the mouse’s head in place so he can fuck his mouth. He drives himself in deep, stopping short of throating his partner; letting Gabe work his tongue along the underside of his shaft.

Even half-drunk from all of the dicking, the mouse’s skill with fellatio is remarkable: keeping his long incisors angled away and forming a tight seal with his lips. The slicked-up cock works in and out in an easy sawing motion; Kol trying to time his thrusts opposite to Raithe’s rhythm.

“Mmm, you like that?” Kol asks conversationally, “Been a while since you got it from both ends. We ought to do this more often. We should have Caleb over, see you can handle what he gives me.”

All this talk of sharing makes Raithe grip Gabe even tighter, his claws digging furrows in the manicured lawn as he redoubles his efforts. His exertion has him snorting and growling into the mouse’s ear as he takes Gabe from behind.


>>
No. 1080007 ID: fa3034

There's something to be said about a dragon's horde. Don't be afraid to get your hand on the other side there, Kol. Play with Gabe's other ear.
>>
No. 1080018 ID: 2a82d3

Wanna take a guess at who the fox is aiming at? She'll know the right moment to fire her cannon.
>>
No. 1080200 ID: 694621
File 170416477466.png - (209.98KB , 500x700 , 16-51.png )
1080200

“Oh, did I strike a nerve there?” Kol teases, locking eyes with the growling salamander. “Well, if you want to claim him, you better be ready to leave your mark on him!”

He reaches out and grabs Gabe’s other ear, feeling the sender “mmph!” through a stuffed mouth. Using the hand-hold, Kol speeds up his thrusting, keeping the sender steady as he really fucks his face. “Ah! Come on! Let’s see-hah- who claims him -hah- first!”

Raithe growls, picking up his pace in order to match the challenge. His dick reams the mouse hollow: slipping in and out as Gabe’s shivering muscles struggle to handle the pace. Concerned only with finishing as fast as possible, the elemental clenches his teeth as he feels himself nearing the edge.

Gabe feels the tell-tale tug of the dragon flaring inside him and moans a warning of his own climax.

“Yeah! Yeah! Gonna cum?” Kol pants, feeling his balls tap against the sender’s chin. “Come on! Take it!” Gabe’s tongue spasms around his shaft, swallowing and gasping for air as he’s filled from both ends. “Nearly there, buddy!”


>>
No. 1080201 ID: 694621
File 170416480766.png - (227.23KB , 509x700 , 16-52.png )
1080201

It all crashes to a halt, starting with Gabe. The jackhammering against his prostate tips him over the edge, bucking him up into Raithe’s hips as he spills cum down his legs. “Aaaahhh! Ah! Ah!” Unable to hold on, he cries out as his whole body shudders in ecstasy.

As he does, wet saltiness fills his mouth and spatters against his face. Through a pink haze of bliss Gabe watches as Kol’s balls tighten against his body; his hand clutching the base of his shaft as the medium paints his load all over his whiskers. The mouse swallows what he can as Kol swabs his throat a few more times, ensuring a coat of white across every inch of Gabe’s tongue.

Just as things seem to have tapered off, Raithe slams to a halt inside him. The sender’s eyes go wide as a liquid fire fills his insides, sending him over the edge again in an instant. Behind him, the elemental rears back, roaring flames as he leaves his mark deep inside Gabe’s well-fucked tailhole. The magma colored liquid quickly runs out of space and spills out of him, dripping down his balls in a cascade of pure mana.

>>
No. 1080202 ID: eb0a9c

Quick grow boobs
>>
No. 1080203 ID: 17abec

Oh no! Raithe really left his mark, huh? Hopefully that doesn't affect how sensitive it is.
>>
No. 1080205 ID: c4ad4a

I wonder what special effect this will have on Gabe, getting pumped with that much pure mana. Just look what taking a load from Flashing Feathers did to Casey
>>
No. 1080206 ID: 376dd3

Damn, gabe actually looks really cute with that piercing now, happy accidents!
>>
No. 1080209 ID: fa3034

Oh damn that is an actual hole in the ear. Looks clean at least.
>>
No. 1080309 ID: 694621
File 170433565645.png - (254.42KB , 700x700 , 16-53.png )
1080309

“Looks like the boys are busy wrapping things up…” Vivian pants, bucking her hips forward as Miki and Casey take turns servicing her. Her body aches for release, full of little pre-climax shivers as her muscles tense up. “Let’s not keep them waiting!”

Her delicate hands guide the two partners faster, pushing them until they’re throat-deep on the kitsune’s shaft. The pair work their tongues over every inch, trying to keep up the pace as her balls tighten against her body.

“Ah! Ahnnn! There we go!” Vivian’s voice hits a high, melodic note as she climaxes, lowering in tone as the satisfaction of orgasm hits her. Her cock pulses in Miki’s mouth, splashing against the back of the surprised chinchilla’s throat and coating her tongue.

Casey switches with her, slipping the tip inside and pumping her hand along the shaft. She’s rewarded with a groan and a fresh flood of cum: painting her mouth white and leaking around her lips as she sucks greedily.

The last few dribbles spatter onto the pair, who giggle as the Vivian makes a mess of them both.

>>
No. 1080314 ID: fa3034

Who's next, phoenix, mouse or chinchilla?
>>
No. 1080315 ID: 2a82d3

Time for each couple to rejoin together for some aftercare, unless peeps wanna keep going.
>>
No. 1080376 ID: 694621
File 170442503931.png - (270.33KB , 700x581 , 16-54.png )
1080376

“My turn now. You ready?” Cauldera asks, speeding up her pace.

“Yu-uh!” Miki manages before being driven up into Casey by the phoenix. The baker hangs on tight as her fluffy ass is pounded; her eyes rolling back from sheer bliss. Her own cock sends back desperate warning signals, buried deep inside Casey and ready to blow.

The mouse grabs a double handful of velvety fur, spurring her on as the three bodies ratchet towards an ending. “Yah! Fuck! Come on!” Casey pants while Miki’s dick slams into her g-spot at just that right angle. The frantic intimacy between the two friends sends an electric thrill down her spine, setting her fur on end.

“Ahhh! I can’t hang on!” Miki warns, her voice squeaking like a string in tension.

“Do it! Cum in me!” Casey commands, feeling how ready she is.

Miki goes mute, her hips slamming to a halt inside. As she floods Casey’s pussy with pent up cum, she finds her voice and collapses onto her friend. “-A! Ahhhhhhhhhh!”

Even as the baker finishes, Cauldera grips her hips and keeps pistoning: her blazing shaft hammering against Miki’s aching prostate. The elemental grins, feeling the tiny chinchilla tighten around her as she buries herself up to the hilt inside. “Ahh! That’s it! Take it!”

The first jets of liquid mana hit her insides and Miki doubles over in ecstasy. Her whole body shakes as another orgasm rips through her so soon after the last.

Behind her, Cauldera hisses like steel being quenched as she fills Miki’s tailhole. The excess cum erupts from around the tight seal and beads on her fur in little glowing streaks. The chinchilla’s eyes roll back and her body shudders as she collapses in a fluffy, blissful haze.

>>
No. 1080379 ID: da220a

Ok seriously fire elementals are just the best, out of curiosity what would happen if you were to bring Nixxy and Fennel into a fire-warded area, think they'd get on well?
>>
No. 1080380 ID: 17abec

>>1080379
I kind of doubt it, there's the fire ward to protect the water elementals from the fire, but not a water ward to protect the fire elementals from the water
>>
No. 1080391 ID: eb0a9c

Is there pregnancy now?
>>
No. 1080395 ID: b0c039

>>1080380
That is a shame but also reasonable. Maybe a sauna, though?
>>
No. 1080460 ID: fa3034

Most excellent stuffing
>>
No. 1080697 ID: 694621
File 170485152764.png - (186.00KB , 700x500 , 16-55.png )
1080697

A pale hand reaches down to help her sit up, “There we go. Are you okay?”

Miki tries to answer, but is interrupted by a gout of flame traveling up her throat. Before she can control it, the excess mana roars out of her in an inferno, wreathing Vivian in a blaze of crimson.

The kitsune falls back in surprise, her fire ward glowing as it shields her from the heat. She clutches at her throat for reassurance before relaxing.

“Oh Fates! I’m so sorry! I couldn’t stop it! Are you okay, Vivian?!” Miki stammers. Her hand flies to her mouth, covering it in case of further outbursts.

“Wow… that was… beautiful.” Cauldera remarks. Her cock shifts inside Miki’s sensitive tailhole, clearly aroused by the sight. Nevertheless, she slips free of the baker and sighs dreamily, “It reminded me of the first time Viv and I met: with her singing wrapped in foxfire.”

“Ahhh! I’m sorry! Its all that mana! The same thing happens whenever Raithe… Oh shit! Gabe!” Miki’s eyes go wide as realization hits.




>>
No. 1080703 ID: 17abec

oh yikes. might not be the best time for fire after the magma gate. That heat could stir some bad memories.
>>
No. 1080706 ID: 2a82d3

Oh no, is this a mana overdose? If there's a time to call the healer, now would be it. Given the urgency, Delilah won't mind a house call. There are worse reasons for the fae to kidnap someone.

A water elemental to absorb the excess mana might help too, if Casey isn't up for it.
>>
No. 1080715 ID: fa3034

How does a mana surge affect a sender..?
>>
No. 1080716 ID: c4ad4a

>>1080703

I don't think it's the fire they gotta worry about with Gabe, it's a supercharged Sender that's gotta find a way to burn off all the raw mana he's been pumped with, lol
>>
No. 1080717 ID: 273c18

>>1080716
Agreed. He's... well, he could try using the mana to form a gate blade? Everybody give him room.
>>
No. 1080718 ID: 2a82d3

>>1080716
He's going to try to release into as many partners as he can at one, isn't he. Maybe even at the same time, some how. Holy f***.
>>
No. 1080799 ID: 694621
File 170502664645.png - (83.50KB , 700x386 , 16-56.png )
1080799

Gabe pulls himself off the ground, struggling to control his limbs as energy courses through them. “Ah- ah-ah… oh fuck…”

Miki and Casey help him up and look him in the eyes, which seem to glow from within. “Gabe, are you okay?” Miki asks.

“Ah! Feel full… can’t think…” He manages.

“Gabe, you’re charged with mana! You need to burn it off!” Casey tells him. “Open a gate somewhere! Make it as big as you can!”

The sender looks around and grimaces, “Ah! Not enough room… Might cut someone… hang on…” he closes his eyes and focuses.

He extends a hand and opens a gate about the size of his palm. Inside the ring of light is an absolute blackness speckled with impossibly bright stars. Wind howls, tugging at Gabe’s mantle as air is pulled through the portal.
>>
No. 1080806 ID: 7695ec

where even- is that space!?
WELL, I suppose connecting something that far at Minimum from within a Heartspace should burn a lot of mana fast
>>
No. 1080807 ID: dd3fe0

The good news is that the rate of air going out is one atmosphere, nothing but air is getting sucked out, and there is a LOT more where that came from; this being a super big problem is totally a myth from fiction. That said, don't get too close to the portal anyone, alright?
>>
No. 1080817 ID: 15ccb1

>>1080799
Make sure the gem on Vivian's choker doesn’t get sucked through the portal! If the gem gets sucked out, then the fireproof ward will disappear and everything inside Vivian's heartspace will accidentally be set on fire by the fire elementals, which will give Vivian a severe case of literal heartburn!
>>
No. 1080818 ID: 17abec

ah shit. Making a gate into space is impossibly dangerous, use the other sender spell! Ward up! Or instead of making one big gate, try making a series of smaller gates in rapid succession, like slices. The former is probably the better idea, but do one of 'em quick!
>>
No. 1080819 ID: 17abec

Actually I wonder, what would a supercharged ward do? It could make a really big one, but what if Gabe made a ward so potent it manifested a real object?
>>
No. 1080820 ID: eb0a9c

If only we had a drone...
Well? Try to make a drone thing.
>>
No. 1080824 ID: 273c18

>>1080799
CLOSE IT
>>
No. 1080832 ID: 124485

>>1080819
>what would a supercharged ward do
Well, wards usually keep spirits out, so a supercharged one might push away everyone except for Gabe himself.

Hopefully it’s not powerful enough to accidentally push the elementals back to their elemental plane.
>>
No. 1080833 ID: 7c1f1c

Does it take more mana to open and hold a gate to places that are farther away? If so, this might not be a bad option to hold for a little while in order to burn off the excess. If we need something more, then it might be prudent to open a successtion of portals.

I'm also intrigued by what this suggests might be possible. If Gabe gets spitroasted between elementals both fore and aft, could we make it to the Moon?
>>
No. 1080834 ID: b3eab7

If you have (or can conjure) anything that could plug it (e.g. a board), you should plug the hold instead of closing it, so Gabe can keep discharging mana.
>>
No. 1080836 ID: 2a82d3

Be curious enough to look, but not curious enough to get close.
>>
No. 1080839 ID: 3b4f14

>>1080834
That's not how it works, the edges of the gate are dangerous. Remember, that's how Clio lost the top of her ear!
>>
No. 1080841 ID: dd3fe0

>>1080817

Again, air isn't RUSHING OUT crazily fast, you aren't in a super extreme high air pressure environment, you are at normal air pressure! There isn't NO danger, but it isn't so extreme.
>>
No. 1080842 ID: 273c18

>>1080839
Clio's portals were unrefined since she was self-taught. The edges of a stable portal are... uh... I think they're mostly safe once the portal is finished opening.
>>
No. 1080873 ID: 694621
File 170511254468.png - (120.76KB , 700x500 , 16-57.png )
1080873

“Gabe! Close it! Close it!” Casey warns. Slapping his hand down.

The sender’s fingers close into a fist and the light disappears with a tiny thunderclap.

“What was that? Where did that gate go?” Casey asks, shaken by the sight.

Gabe shakes his head and shrugs, “I just reached out and opened the furthest beacon I could find. I don’t know where it was."

“Those stars, they looked like when we were on top of the highpeak. Wherever it was, the air was thin too.” Kol remarks.

“What, like above the world? Out in space?” Casey cocks her head in disbelief and asks, “Why would there be a beacon out there?”

Gabe looks just as confused as her as he scratches his head “No idea. Senders are forbidden from making space gates. Apparently everything in space is moving really fast and gates are more or less stationary. “ His fingers trace the edge of his earlobe and his eyes shoot open, “Ah! What happened to my ear?!”
>>
No. 1080875 ID: c9e71c

>>1080873
>His fingers trace the edge of his earlobe and his eyes shoot open, “Ah! What happened to my ear?!”
Raithe gave you a little love bite during sex.
>>
No. 1080876 ID: d1bdfe

A good excuse for an earring, seems like. It should be fine, if nothing else you know a healer.

Funny though. Could there be a beacon that far out because of Guardian sssecretsss? What purpose would such a thing even serve? Surveillance? …hiding spot?
>>
No. 1080877 ID: eb0a9c

Wraithe bit too hard. Heal it.
>>
No. 1080878 ID: 17abec

I don't think that can close up, I imagine healing magic has it's limits. But it looks mad cute on a rambunctious fella!
>>
No. 1080879 ID: 17abec

but if there's a space gate and not a beacon on top of the mountain; does that mean there's a gate out in space? I'll hazard a guess and say there's a moon base
>>
No. 1080901 ID: fa3034

How does it feel? Does it hurt at all? Looks pretty clean for a cauterized hole.
>>
No. 1080903 ID: 9f8a37

I'm not sure we've ever heard the details on how beacons are formed--I was under the impression that every Sender made their own beacons, and wasn't aware that a Sender could use one created by someone else. If someone left a forbidden beacon out in Space, then that might be a clue worth keeping in mind as we poke our nose further into the past. If we can do some math and figure out where it is, then we might want to remember to try to see when this space portal was opened the next time we use the scrying machine.

But why would someone not just open a forbidden portal into Space, but set a waypoint there? What would keep someone going back to the endless void? (I'd be quite tickled if it really is on the Moon. Especially in an age when magic was ten times stronger, it might not even take a mana injection from an elemental to get the juice to go that far.) This is probably something to alert the Academy about; they might want to remove the beacon, because it's forbidden, and if they don't, it's probably because there's some special reason it's supposed to be there. As ascendant Guardians, we might be trustworthy enough to be informed of why.

Also, I'm sure when Raithe sees that he's left a hole in Gabe, he'll feel bad and be apologetic. Gabe should say he'll call it even as long as he gets to top next time.
>>
No. 1080905 ID: 273c18

>>1080873
Raithe left his mark on you. You better not heal it.
>>
No. 1080906 ID: 273c18

Why would someone set a beacon in space...? Well, one possible reason is they put something important out there and somehow kept it from floating off. Or used it to dispose of something, but why leave a beacon? Maybe it was a temporary prison for something and then whoever set the beacon forgot to remove it, or died before they could?

Do we know anyone that could go through and look around safely? I guess we could just tie a rope to something sturdy and have someone go through. Though, we might want to do that somewhere with less air pressure, or... are there things such as airlocks?

Another possible reason for a beacon in space is to use the space portal as a weapon. To suck up your enemies, or at least get them stuck to the portal. I get the impression that would be a bit dangerous for the Sender, though, since they'd be close to the portal themselves. Oh, one last reason is to use it to remove vast quantities of water or lava from a location.
>>
No. 1080913 ID: c4ad4a

Who wants to bet that space beacon was made by Moot herself? Back in the age when Sender magic could be a lot more powerful than it can be today. Gabe probably never would've been able to connect to it without being supercharged by raw mana. In any case, I have a feeling the question of "why is there a beacon up there" will become very very important.
>>
No. 1080914 ID: c4ad4a

I imagine Hekal and Moot did some pretty wild experiments with Sender magic as he was helping her codify and refine it. That beacon could very well have been one of them, to test the limits of what she could do.
>>
No. 1080916 ID: 17abec

oh and if it takes a massive surge of mana for someone to make a portal massive, does that mean that mean moot was "charged" like gabe just was?
>>
No. 1080950 ID: fd69ae

Raithe got a bit nippy, but you look cute as fuck with that there just FYI. If you don't like it, miiight be a good idea to gets some poodle based help
>>
No. 1080957 ID: c4ad4a

>>1080916

She may not have needed a supercharge. Magic back then in the Wild Age was a lot more powerful than it is now. Just look at the Claíomh Solais. The one Clio can make is a lot smaller than Moot's, apparently because the magic has diminished. It stands to reason that Moot, or any Sender she taught in that time period, wouldn't have needed a boost to make gates that no Sender today ever could without assistance.
>>
No. 1080965 ID: 665632

What Is This, a Crossover Episode with the Sunfish?
>>
No. 1081122 ID: 694621
File 170537340758.png - (137.73KB , 700x500 , 16-58.png )
1081122

Kol eyes the new perforation, “Looks like Raithe’s mating bite was pretty serious; though all that mana he was drooling seems to have healed the edges. “ He reaches up and pokes at it experimentally, “Does it hurt?”

“Not really…” The mouse slips a pinky into the gap and tugs at it. “Just a little sensitive, I guess.”

“I’m so sorry!” Raithe moans while hiding his head in his hands. “I- I don’t know what came over me! Are you okay?”

“Oh, I’m fine. I just didn’t expect that from you, of all people.” The sender blushes, still feeling a bit hollowed out by the rough treatment. “Uh- yeah, to be honest, it was… kinda hot.” He admits.

Miki rounds on her husband and shoots him a look of smoldering interest. “I’ll say! I've been wondering how to get you to go rougher on me. Next time, I get to be in the middle.”

The salamander holds his tail in front of himself bashfully, “Uh- if- if you’d like… heh.”

“Only if you feel comfortable with it, dear. We’ll talk about it later.” She kisses him on the fiery cheek and chuckles, “My big, greedy dragon…”
>>
No. 1081126 ID: 8b8c72

>>1081122
Honestly, there are worse (and less sexy) ways of getting your ear pierced.
Gabe should get a big, gold ring to put in it, or maybe a pin shaped like a salamander.
>>
No. 1081132 ID: fa3034

Fashionable and on point for the sender!
>>
No. 1081151 ID: 184595

Yes, now's the time to compliment Gabe on the new look, and speculate about fashionable applications for the new hole. Vivian and Caldera might be able to make less orthodox suggestions with Fey inspiration.
>>
No. 1081152 ID: 13bbb3

Out of curiosity how sacrilegious would it be to wipe the cum off the bottom of his tail with his sender robe
>>
No. 1081155 ID: c4ad4a

If the ear hole is healed and now (probably) permanent, Gabe should look into getting a ring for it, now that he's got an ear piercing
>>
No. 1081161 ID: 2a82d3

Methinks the baker is asking for further affection from her "greedy dragon". Raithe would be more confident as a Dom if he studies on how much mortals can take before serious harm is done. Not that there's anything wrong with being a cinnamon roll. That makes for good aftercare.

Gabe must have gotten a lot out of his system, and not just mana. That must be enough a relief for his closest buddies to give, at least, a hug. Really, there should be More cuddles. More cuddles for everyone.

>>1081152
Kol should help with that. With a towel, not his clothes. Definitely not his tongue.
>>
No. 1081280 ID: 8a1605
File 170554920370.png - (139.36KB , 700x500 , 16-59.png )
1081280

“How exactly do beacons work, Gabe? I’ve never really learned about them, other than that Senders use them.” Casey asks.

“Oh, well, they’re pretty much our most basic spell. Like gates, they’re not really an object: they’re more like an invisible reference point in space. We usually place them somewhere that’s considered safe and with plenty of room so that nothing around gets cut by the gate.” He replies, still touching his ear experimentally. “Its mostly a way to make blind jumps safer.”

“Mmmhmm, and you can use beacons other people have created?”

Gabe nods, “Oh yeah, its how the Sender gate network functions. There’s a trick to focusing your mind and they stick out like… well, beacons, I guess. ‘Course you can’t tell where they lead to like that: it just gives you a direction and distance. We use ley-line maps to use the ones we aren’t familiar with.”

Vivian appears carrying a tray with a tea set and places it on the lawn for the mortals, “I thought we could use some refreshments after all of that. I must say, I haven’t had that much fun in a while!” On the tray is a simple earring crafted from reddish gold, which she hands to Gabe. “I thought this might suit your new piercing.”

“Oh! Are you sure?” Gabe asks, feeling the mass of the little golden lump.

She waves a hand dismissively, “Take it, I have far too much jewelry as it is. Once you get to be over a hundred, you have to be willing to let go of little treasures or they’ll clutter up your life.”

He fits it into place with a little help from Casey and moves his head around as if testing the balance. The added weight tugs at his ear slightly, lagging behind his movements like a memory of Raithe’s jaws. The thought stirs his cock again slightly and he blushes as he thanks Vivian.
>>
No. 1081281 ID: c65741

Nice, a proper handle to tug for that ear!
>>
No. 1081286 ID: fa3034

Everyone gather around and get refreshed
>>
No. 1081288 ID: 124485

>>1081280
>Gabe confirms that it's possible to use beacons created by others
Then who made the beacon that Gabe used with his portal earlier? There has to be a reason why someone put a beacon out in space, right? There's no way it was put there by accident!
>>
No. 1081289 ID: 273c18

Do Beacons last forever? Seems like there should be rather a lot of them considering how many Senders there have been over the years.
>>
No. 1081290 ID: 184595

While taking refreshment, Kol and Casey should sit on either side of Gabe. They're still sort of welcoming him back after yesterday.

And in that vein, this trip is about relaxing and taking a day off. Whatever mysteries lie behind the gate to space, they can wait. If Miki is too shy or star-struck to talk to Vivian directly over tea, the mice can break the ice. Gabe especially has an in to ask about things Miki might be interested to hear about Vivian's life and career.
>>
No. 1081335 ID: 8a1605
File 170563454726.png - (273.14KB , 700x500 , 16-60.png )
1081335

They sit down to join her while waiting for the tea to steep. The grass is cool and soothing on their over-worked bodies, so they opt to stay nude for the time being and enjoy the casual atmosphere; cuddling together in a post-orgy haze.

“While we’re here: we wanted to ask you something, Vivian.” Casey remarks, “About Rodwin.”

“You mean the branded fae controlling the bargast?” Vivian sighs. “I’m afraid there’s not much help I can give. Fey are forbidden from giving any kind of aid to a devil, even if I do sympathize with him. However, I’d be happy to offer any kind of general help you need.” She over-emphasizes the word and subtly tilts her head, as if tipping her hand for the mouse.
>>
No. 1081337 ID: c4ad4a

Honestly, we mostly just need information and advice rather than direct assistance at the moment. Though it's good to know that Viv is willing to provide the latter if need be. We just have to go the long way around to asking for it, without it being directly and fey-legally for Rodwin.
>>
No. 1081492 ID: 184595

So we know that sometimes, fey get a magical brand that marks them as a devil. But sometimes, even after being so branded, they can still have noble intentions are serve loyally.

Supposing, just for the sake of argument, that such a devil served with great devotion in a conflict a few hundred years ago, and was still loyal to his leader and his cause, how do you think finding out that that leader had betrayed him and the cause all those hundred years ago would affect that devil's ability to continue to funnel substantial quantities of mana into a hungry mana sink?
>>
No. 1081572 ID: 43bc19

Is Vivian literally incapable of consciously aiding a branded fae? Or will some other fae court enforcer know and come fuck up any fae that tries?
>>
No. 1081727 ID: 8a1605
File 170606305879.png - (137.58KB , 500x700 , 16-61.png )
1081727

“Ohhhh, sure. Wellllll- our friend has a problem…” Casey continues.

“Mmm-hmm. Tell me about your friend.” Vivian nods, sipping her tea.

“You see… uh- lets say, hypothetically, he got in trouble a while back and felt very betrayed by -uh… his old co-workers because of it.” Casey stammers, “So… he left his job to go work for someone else.”

“Very understandable, mmm-hmm” The kitsune responds with very perfunctory sympathy.

“Right, well, his new boss- who he looked up to- gave him a lot or respect and trusted him for a long time.”

“Mmm-hmm…” Vivian hums into her tea.

“But the new boss up and vanished one day, and he asked us to find out why.” Casey continues, “Annnd we may have found out why…”

Vivian is silent, but her ear twitches expectantly: ready for, as it were, the tea.

“Aaand it turns out his new boss may have… depending on how you look at it, also betrayed him.”

The fey’s brow furrows and she leans in for more info. “Betray how?”
>>
No. 1081730 ID: be9d27

Okay uhhh he transferred from ceo of the company to a small corporation and left a power void. And also wiped out all other competition. And also cut off all assets from outside sources, rendering the entire economical system completely empty, allowing the lower class to rise into their own power into a more peaceful age.
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No. 1081745 ID: 184595

I think the best way to put it would be that this new boss "took the money and ran." In a deliberate bid to set his own enterprise up for failure, he robbed it of its stock and store, and then removed even his leadership, disappearing without a word. Because this heist was executed in secret, our ever-loyal friend thought his boss must have had some reason for vanishing, and for keeping silent about it, and that he'd surely return once he was able. So this friend of ours friend has been trying so hard to keep the ship afloat until his boss returns--and we know that if he learns the truth, he'll be devastated to hear that it was all deliberate sabotage.
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No. 1081746 ID: eb0a9c

His intent to fix the world didn't change, but he completely ghosted from his old family and never gave them a note.
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No. 1081748 ID: 273c18

His boss left to go and do something heroic, but that task conflicted with our friend's duties. It left him without purpose.
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No. 1081750 ID: b4226d

He helped make the world how it is today and correct systemic injustices, but in doing so, he abandoned every single person that knew him.
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No. 1081758 ID: 2a82d3

>>1081745
This metaphor works. A more charitable way to put it is that he decided to put his business talents to work for the public sector or government, therefore invested his assets into building it. You could even say a Fae was involved in the decision, but it'd be a stretch to say his hand was forced on the matter as he was looking for different work before she got involved.

I think that'd be the biggest worry: He could blame the city for the betrayal.
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No. 1081983 ID: 8a1605
File 170641211257.png - (104.58KB , 700x500 , 16-62.png )
1081983

“He… I guess, abandoned him.” Casey sighs, “Him and everything he worked to build. He realized what he was doing was… wrong and worked with… other people in order to change the world.”

Vivian sets down her cup. Her lips pursed into a thin black line turn her face into a stoic pale-white mask.

“Our friend has been trying to hold everything together, but he’s barely hanging on.” Casey continues, “And what his boss did.. changed the world… genuinely for the better. But we’re worried about our friend and what he’ll do…”

Vivian taps idly against her now empty teacup with a claw, drumming out a little porcelain clatter. She’s silent for a while, her face unreadable as she thinks.

“Hmm…” she says after enough thought, “doing what’s wrong… that’s the tricky part. Fey have a very… complicated understanding of right and wrong. To us- well, most of us- its often overshadowed by things like… duty, obligation, law… Your friend-“

“-Who is a fey-“ Casey interjects.

“-Who is a fey… probably won’t care if his… boss was trying to do the right thing: his duty is what matters.”

“But that’s the thing: in a way he never abandoned his duty.” Kol interjects, “His goal always was to better the world, he just realized what he was doing wouldn’t work and needed help from someone else.”

“True…” Casey lays back on the grass and tucks her hands behind her head. “But its going to take some work to convince our ‘friend’ of that.”

“What about… if we tell him another fae was involved?” Gabe suggests, “He doesn’t know about, um, you know…” he lowers his voice in a stage whisper, “the Teacher?”

Vivian’s ears perk up at the sound of the name and she grins. “Now there’s a thought. Normally I’d say it would be a bad idea, but a certain Teacher was very instrumental in advocating for a better system of justice and representation among the fey. In her day, she was rather infamous for fighting against the systems that were at work against your friend. He probably still won't be happy, but he might have a better understanding of why his boss left.
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No. 1081985 ID: efaac3

I mean. Chances are that the teacher can already see the outcome, given that she saw through the scrying machine. Maybe there's a place and time that you can catch her with the scrying machine? But that seems too convenient. Gathering information and preparing a conversation with the "friend" seems like a good play.
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No. 1081986 ID: 273c18

>>1081983
Alright. So, we need to give him some important backstory about what his boss was doing, before telling him the final result of his boss leaving.
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No. 1082023 ID: c4ad4a

I wonder, would there be any way Rodwin's spirit could share Kol's body for a brief bit? To show him the events in-person through the scrying machine? Or can he not afford to be away from the Barghast at all, even temporarily? That way, if Rodwin reacts badly to the revelation, they'd have a chance to calm him down before he can do something...impulsive.
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No. 1082058 ID: 184595

We can work with duty and obligation. It might be tricky to work around Fey magical legalism, but it may be the only path towards a relatively peaceful resolution.

We now know, and can access definitive proof, that Hekal's primary goal was bring an end to the endless wars. This is why he abandoned his troops; he was convinced it was the only way to peace. And it worked! Few and Mortal and Elemental now live alongside each other in harmony. If we can convince Rodwin that disbanding his forces and allowing the Baghast to dissolve are not a surrender, but the only way to preserve his master's victorious peace, once and for all, this might be the path towards the smooth resolution possible.

I'm unsure how exactly we could use the Teacher's presence to our advantage, except as an illustration that Hekal always wanted to collaborate with Mortals. Maybe we can say that because he worked with a mortal and a mortal sympathizer, collaborating with us is extending his legacy...?
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No. 1082165 ID: 8a1605
File 170666505220.png - (155.15KB , 566x700 , 16-63.png )
1082165

“Okay, we can work with that…” Casey says, gazing up at the strange pseudo-sunlight filtering into the garden. She briefly wonders how it works, and whether its real: certainly real enough to grow plants at least. “Sounds like the Old Teacher was a pretty divisive figure.”

Vivian chuckles and holds up a hand vertically, “Leucrottas have always had a difficult place among the fey. Most courts draw their political power from the presence of dream seers: using their scrying magic to determine the future.” She holds her other hand up alongside the first, parallel to it. “And yet Leucrottas, through each facet of their gems, can see many futures: and if you ask them, they say each one is a valid possibility. By their very nature, they are a contradiction of all the power that the courts wield.”

“How does that even work?” Gabe asks.

Vivian’s brows curve into an elegant, broken arch and she shrugs, “Its a question that has persisted as far back as the courts themselves. Rather than address it, they pretended it didn’t exist and pushed the crototta away to the fringes of fey society.”
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No. 1082168 ID: 184595

So Hekal was the least outsider in his secret alliance. As if his actions needed more reason to be secret; a mortal and a ghettoized minority wouldn't make great rallying points for his forces. Is this something we'll need to be careful of with Rodwin? It might at least bolster the idea that unity and cooperation, even with perceived outsiders, would be labor in his master's footsteps.

Random, probably fruitless thought: Muir's scrying machine uses a liquid-mirror lens to focus its images of the past. If this were replaced with some sort of refracting prism and the machine were run, uh, in reverse, would it be possible to reproduce the Leucrottas' ability to project the image of multiple futures?
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No. 1082173 ID: ab9504

It's too tempting to try to use the mirror to contact the hyena. It's extremely freaking tempting. She might have advice. Or she might troll you but still.
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No. 1082269 ID: 7311d9

The only logical lines I see with the contradiction is either they show a likely future, or they somehow impose one of the futures.

The easiest way to test that would be a Leucrotta cross reference session, which apparently the courts don't want.

Somewhat sus.
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No. 1082284 ID: 8a1605
File 170684368167.png - (147.10KB , 500x700 , 16-64.png )
1082284

“So the Teacher was an outsider, just like Ro- our friend. He might understand that her goals aligned with his own; that it wasn’t really a betrayal.” Casey nods along, piecing things together.

“And even he doesn’t understand, she at least commands respect.” Vivian points out, “Even her opponents are careful with how they talk about her.”

“I’ll say. Ometra was terrified of even saying her name: as if she was going to swoop out of the sky and fly off with them.”

“For all they knew, she could. I’ve heard that before she left, the Teacher made arrangements that shook the foundations of several fey courts.”

“What do you mean ‘arraignments’?” Kol asks.

“Oh, you know… sometimes during a trial, a messenger might arrive with a note that would cause a high judge to leave without a word. Or a major conflict would be avoided by a king stepping down for seemingly no reason.” The kitsune chuckles darkly. “Its hard to tell how much was a result of her actions, but apparently she practically terrorized the ruling class. She was arguably more dangerous missing than when she was still around.”

“Sure would be nice if she left some arrangements to help [i]us[i/]…” Gabe mutters.

“Yeah, well, I wouldn’t hold my breath there.” Casey sighs and shakes her head. “I’m pretty sure that if she was going to help, we would have seen it already. Still… it’s possible.”
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No. 1082288 ID: 8b31df

She smiled at you. Think of it. If she <i>didn't</i> leave anything to help you, it's because she knew you would be up to the task. Confidence boost!!
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No. 1082290 ID: c4ad4a

"she practically terrorized the ruling class"

You would be hard pressed to find a stronger endorsement of someone's character, lol
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No. 1082291 ID: 32c482

so we're pretty much going into a devil encounter with bad news and hoping for the shadow government to help? awesome plan!
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No. 1082292 ID: fa3034

>>1082284
Who's down for some more cuddles? The heavy stuff pulls you down, but some arms can help ease the burden
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No. 1082295 ID: 7c1f1c

I think we have a framework for talking to Rodwin, now: we can emphasize that Hekal's secret alliance was full of outsiders like him; that their actions were opposed to the same established order that branded him a devil; and that a project of disarmament today connects directly to Hekal's ambitions of peace, which allows us to frame it as fulfilling a duty to his master.

If we want to look for hints the Teacher might have left us, I think we need to take a trip to the Sender Academy. There, we can double-check her book for clues hidden in the thicket of her Fey poeticism, and we can ask about the Space Beacon.

Here's why I think those coudl be leads: if she was good enough to foresee that she'd be scryed on from five hudred years into the future, then she might have been good enough to foresee other things happening in five hundred years. If she could see into multiple timelines, then she might have been able to take action to favor certain timelines over others. If she could foresee who specifically was scrying on her, then she could try to leave a breadcrumb tail for specifically them to follow five hundred years from her time. She could leave a book in an underground chamber knowing that the same people looking in on her secret meeting would be the ones to discover it. She could get her confederate to leave a Beacon in space, knowing that the only person to be infused with enough mana to reach it after the Mana Wells were sealed would be one of the same future spies. Now, if the Sender academy knows about the Space Beacon, then maybe they can tell us more about it, and we can go from there. But if they don't know about the Space Beacon, then that might be beacuse the one who put it there was the only Sender in existence before the Adacemy was founded, fuled by the First Age's ambient mana. If the Academy doesn't know about the Space Beacon, then that seems like a really good reason to try to scry on its opening, on the chance that Moot put it there specifically for us, guided by her friend's future sight.
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No. 1082303 ID: 273c18

Hmm, that Space Beacon *could* be her doing, couldn't it?
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No. 1082458 ID: 8a1605
File 170707001280.png - (73.83KB , 700x513 , 16-65.png )
1082458

“Maybe she did help us.” Kol says, thinking aloud. “We did manage to find an extremely well hidden book that ties the three of them together. Maybe there are more clues hidden inside?”

“We’ve scoured the book already. If there’s more there, then its very well hidden.” Casey sighs and sits up with bits of grass stuck in her hair.

Gabe fiddles with his earring again and wonders, “Is there anything we missed? Anything else we found in the old Guardians hideout?”

Casey frowns and shrugs, “The only other thing that survived was that tube, but all it had was a rolled up… star… chart.” Her voice trails off as she remembers.
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No. 1082463 ID: 86d8fb

>>1082458
>star chart
And because Gabe accidentally discovered a gate beacon in space, I have a feeling that star chart is somehow related to that.
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No. 1082465 ID: 32c482

oh hell yes mice in space!! get ready to fly
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No. 1082469 ID: 23b110

well well well, seems you will need to remember where you put it, and see if you can match the gate to something on it, wonder why no one figured out there's a beacon up there, though it's not like there's a reason to check
must be fun being Vivian watching one of Teacher's schemes come to life in front of her eyes
Question is, will this help with Rodwin or something else
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No. 1082470 ID: 184595

It's kind of convenient that we already have a sort of spacesuit from when we first visited the kobolds. Space seems the way to go.
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No. 1082556 ID: 4b0f55

When it comes to connecting the dots and space is that constellations?
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No. 1082791 ID: a3931e

Maybe we're gonna have to explore the surface of the moon?

The only way I can think of doing that would require someone putting their soul in one of those golem bodies. But even with that, i don't know how safe it would be.
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No. 1082805 ID: 8a1605
File 170735947423.png - (117.15KB , 700x500 , 16-66.png )
1082805

“Wait, what? Why didn’t anyone mention this before?” Gabe asks.

“It literally didn’t seem important! We wanted info about Augustine and the Guardians, not… space!” Casey gets up and dusts the grass off her legs. “It was neat, and old, but didn’t seem relevant!”

“Well, where is it?”

She scowls and thinks, “Should still be in the library. I think they were looking into a way to display it.” The mouse sighs and pauses, “Okay, look: we don’t know for sure if its important or not. All we know is that there’s a beacon in space, and someone left us a space map, right? Right?”

Casey looks to Vivian who is clearly delighted: as if listening to a joke meant only for her.

“I think I’m beginning to understand what it was like working with Tuavara-Malli…” She grabs her clothes and says, “Come on, get your pants on! Let’s get over to the library.”
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No. 1082806 ID: 32c482

Well, so much for a day of relaxing. Don't forget to thank Miki for bringing y'all here! And Raithe for the extra mana. Might need it again to get to space again.
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No. 1082812 ID: adb507

And Vivian!! Great insight, girl, give that dick a polite smooch and skedaddle.
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No. 1082823 ID: 273c18

This is exciting! SPACE!
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No. 1082829 ID: 23b110

Tuavara-Malli?
does this mean Miki and Raithe is coming with us? it would be neat for them to come on a snip-bit of an adventure, we should ask... if they are not asleep, or need to go back to work
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No. 1082840 ID: a3931e

Let's go to the library and see if we can learn anything.

Who knows? We might end up finding another secret entrance that leads to another secret room with the ghosts of more old guardians to give us another test that we have to pass!
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No. 1082851 ID: fa3034

Thank everyone for the good time here
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No. 1082862 ID: 0ec7ef

She fled to the one place that hasn't been corrupted by the Fey.

SCHPAYSE!
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No. 1082982 ID: 8a1605
File 170752972982.png - (124.46KB , 700x500 , 16-67.png )
1082982

“So much for relaxing…” Gabe mutters as he shimmies into his shorts.

“Thank you for everything, Vivian. We’d love to stay, but we really better check this out.” Casey gives their host a peck on the cheek as a farewell.

The two look to Miki and Raithe, who seem to have fallen asleep on the grass curled up together.

“Let them rest. I suspect that they’ve been letting each other work too hard.” Vivian waves away any worry and nods sagely, “Come visit again soon! This was a lovely way to spend a morning.”

“Bye Viv! Bye Cauldera! Your garden is beautiful!” Gabe says as he opens up a gate to the Sender university.

The phoenix blow a fiery kiss in their direction as the portal closes with a small roll of thunder.
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No. 1082983 ID: 8a1605
File 170752973310.png - (132.71KB , 500x700 , 16-68.png )
1082983

Ashe looks up from her desk to see the guides approaching. “Oh, its you three. What kind of lost legend do you have for me today?” Her eyes are drawn to a gleam in Gabe’s ear and she assesses it curiously. The mouse blushes as though embarrassed, which just serves to raise further questions in the librarian’s mind.

“Actually, we need something from you. Do you remember that star chart that was with the tome of the First Guardians?” Casey asks.

“Sure, we got it framed to protect it. I think we hung it up in the astronomy section. Apparently its very accurate considering how old it is.” Ashe scoots her wheelchair out from behind the desk and leads the way. “Dare I ask why you need it?”
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No. 1082985 ID: 273c18

"It may be a clue left behind by an ancient oracle" just about sums it up.
>>
No. 1082998 ID: 7e6fd4

What if I told you it isn't a chart, but a trail?
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No. 1082999 ID: c4ad4a

Well, Gabe may or may not have got supercharged with mana (don't ask how) and may or may not have connected to a sender beacon out in space, that may or may not have been put up there by Moot herself.
>>
No. 1083002 ID: 275adc

There's a beacon in space
Moons Haunted
>>
No. 1083014 ID: eb0a9c

"We think we know how the author was so precise. We just need to cross-reference some data within the chart to find out where they made the recording."
>>
No. 1083028 ID: fa3034

Solving mysteries, of course!
>>
No. 1083036 ID: c4b5da

>>1082983
>why do you need it?
We're hoping it's a clue that will lead us to something.
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No. 1083046 ID: 184595

Mariana is a nerd, we can leverage her curiosity: "We think we've found something the chart might point to," or "We've made a discovery we think the chart might help explain." If she already knows something, this might stir more suspicion than interest.
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No. 1083115 ID: c4ad4a

We don't really have any reason to beat around the bush with Mariana, do we? She's seen enough of the gang's antics and discoveries that she can be more or less given it straight.
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No. 1083445 ID: 8a1605
File 170804143061.png - (132.49KB , 700x500 , 16-69.png )
1083445

“Welllll… we think its a clue left for us.” Kol says diplomatically.

“Us? Like you in particular? Or ‘us’ in the…” Ashe waves her hand at the shelves of the library as if to indicate the whole of the academy.

“Hard to say…” Casey scratches her neck, suddenly feeling self-conscious about how much of a hunch they’re relying on. “We suspect that Tuavara-Malli might have left it for us.”

“The old Teacher? What makes you say that?”

“Because Gabe opened a gate into space.” Kol points as the Sender, who bashfully ducks behind him.

“Gabe! You know better than to do that! That’s like… one of the things we teach students on their first day!” The librarian rounds on him and glares.

“It was a accident! I didn’t know it was in space!” The mouse wails.

“None of this is making sense. Tell me everything: in detail.” Ashe demands.

“Okay, well, I was getting railed by Kol and a fire elemental-“

“Less detail! Less detail!” The lizard holds up her hands hand and shakes her head, “You know what? That’s on me. Should have known better…”
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No. 1083446 ID: 275adc

>tell me everything:in detail
well we went to Miki's to recover from a banishing-
actually I wonder how much of it is ACTUALLY personal stuff, like Miki having access to Vivian's heartroom-
after getting pierced by Raith in two different ways, Gabe had to portal due to Mana, and opened the farthewst beacon he could, which was in space, we talked to Vivian about the Bargast problem amd learned some about the Teacher...
If the starchart is as surprisingly up to date as you say, it was made by a Seer no matter how you cut it, and given where it was found...
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No. 1083447 ID: b3eab7

To make a long story short, Gabe ended up with excess mana to vent and tried opening a gate to the farthest beacon he could sense. Which, much to his surprise, was in space.
>>
No. 1083454 ID: 184595

The key details here are that we found a Beacon in space, meaning that we weren't the first to open a portal there, but someone used to be making regular trips there; and that it was accessible to Gabe only because he had a surfeit of mana. This means that the Beacon must be very far away, and the fact that it's farther than most Senders can reach might indicate it's from before the end of the previous Age.
>>
No. 1083457 ID: fa3034

Isn't she at least a little bit curious about this beacon in space? This could be her chance to be a part of the adventure!
>>
No. 1083544 ID: 8a1605
File 170822615199.png - (102.36KB , 700x500 , 16-70.png )
1083544

“Anyway…” Gabe continues, “I kinda got supercharged with mana and needed a way to burn it off. I couldn’t open a big gate safely, so I looked for the most distant beacon I could find and opened one there.”

“And it was in space? Wh-why? How? And you think it’s connected to all the stuff that’s been happening?” Ashe glares at them with diamond eyed curiosity.

“It’s because we were talking about Tuavara-Malli and whether she might have left us any more clues, and Casey remembered the star chart.” Kol explains.

“We didn’t think it was important at the time, but maybe it is…” Casey says as they round the corner to the astronomy section. Hanging in the middle of the isle is a framed parchment, depicting the movement and position of dozens of constellations, as well as a very detailed elliptical of the moon’s orbit.
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No. 1083545 ID: 273c18

>>1083544
Are beacon coordinates locked in place relative to the surface of the Earth? It might be that we need to go to the moon, but... hmm. How fast is the moon orbiting compared to the earth's surface? I'm thinking it might be dangerous to gate to the moon using the beacon due to how fast it's moving compared to you. Maybe there's some way you could bleed off the excess velocity? Where is the beacon exactly, compared to the orbit of the moon?

Or is the beacon itself useless and it was simply placed to give us the idea of opening a gate to the moon, which is simpler than trying to use the beacon since it's possible to open a gate between two moving locations? Also now we have to think about how to survive once we're there. There's no air up there, and no atmosphere to block radiation... though if we go there when the destination is in the Earth's shadow the radiation is less of an issue(I think?).
>>
No. 1083546 ID: f1407c

So we're going to the moon, we need the necessary prep. Do we know any elementals that can give proper air in the atmosphereless moon?

You could find a way to re-magnetize the whole moon and get air that way

Or crazy idea: what if the moon gate was made to try to redirect the spite into the moon where it couldn't hurt anyone? I mean if going to the ghost zone for mana goes south, we've got half of a backup plan with sending the bargast's spite to the moon to dispose of it there.
>>
No. 1083551 ID: dd3fe0

>>1083546

Isn't that a bit premature? Also, you need air, heat protection, coldness protection, protection from the air going away, protection from radiation / sunburn, protection from jumping too enthusiastically and floating off (if it is a SMALL moon), glare protection, etc. etc.
>>
No. 1083556 ID: 7c1f1c

>>/questarch/945012
> [T]he academy makes it a point to warn students: no moon gates.

I think the academy needs to make an exception.

Now, I do find it is conceivable, and I would even say that it's quite likely that the relative position of the planets and the stars should have a special, deep significance or meaning that exclusively applies to only us. Tuavara-Malli's message to us is that when the moon is in this position in its elliptical, and it's nighttime in the part of the planet that the chart shows facing the moon, and the stars and moon in the sky are in the same position as they are on the chart--that's when we should pump Gabe full of mana and open a portal at that Beacon again. That's when the moon will be in position for us to explore it, and find whatever the Teacher left there for us. I'm sure there are astronomers that can project when the stars will be right, and that projection can be used to plan our moon mission.

We know exactly such an air elemental, and we have suits designed to use his feathers for air supply. (Is there any way Tuavara-Malli might have goaded us into exploring the Kobold's mountain, so we would have the suits ready for this moon shot? It might be worth thinking back to check.) It's time to revisit those suits and address any problems that would make them insufficient for the vacuum of space. We'll want to plan a schedule for a feather harvest from Flashing Feathers based on the projected time the stars will be right.

There's another critical question if we're going all the way to Moon Point: can we get back? I'm not sure we're prepared for the logistics of supercharging Gabe on the lunar surface. If he can open only the one portal from earthside, are we limited to the amount of time he can keep it open? Maybe Gabe could practice, and learn to hold an overcharge long enough to go through the portal, explore the moon, and still open another back earthside. Failing that, maybe he can practice holding portals open longer, so at least we can have more time with a single portal. And in any case, we should tell all the elementals we know to keep their calendar clear the night of the mission. I'm sure Gabe could use as much mana as they can give him.
>>
No. 1083573 ID: 273c18

Wait, is that something labeled in between the earth and the moon?
>>
No. 1083574 ID: 273c18

>>1083556
>getting back from the moon
Well, if we can plan things out well enough, Gabe could stay planetside and open a second portal for a return trip at a predetermined time. Or, we can get a second Sender to do that for us.

Gabe has a pocket dimension to carry supplies so in theory we should be able to spend a lot of time there without much risk, and we can even use it for an emergency shelter in case of a suit puncture or something of that nature.
>>
No. 1083589 ID: 8b8c72

It seems to me that the most likely place to hide anything safely that would be hard to reach would be on the moon.
Who in their right mind would ever open a portal on the moon?
>>
No. 1083845 ID: 8a1605
File 170848432167.png - (143.36KB , 700x480 , 16-71.png )
1083845

After some searching to find a ladder, the star chart is brought down for examination. There’s a sketchy quality to the lines with the delicate ink laid down over the shadows of countless erased and scratched out computations. Some water damage seems to have seeped in to tarnish one corner of the map, but otherwise, its remarkably intact for something that spent the last century in an undine’s lair.

“Right, what do we know about this thing?” Casey asks.

Ashe adjusts her glasses and states, “As I said, its very accurate considering how old it is. From what we’ve found by analyzing the handwriting, we believe its written by the same person who wrote the last section of the tome.”

“-Who we now know to be Hekal.” Casey interjects.

“So I’ve been told.” Mairana nods as if acknowledging a student in class. “It seems that whoever made it adapted a system of math that Senders use in our spell-casting in order to calculate the orbit of the moon as accurately as possible. “

“I’ll say…” Gabe says, peering at the faded scribbles, “If these numbers are correct, it could be accurate to within a couple of meters.”

“And look here-“ Kol points at a pinpoint interrupting the arc of the moon’s path, “There’s a star here, unlabeled and sitting directly on the orbital trajectory. I’m willing to bet: that’s our beacon.”

“Okay… so assuming its locked in place, that means the moon would only be in position once a month, more or less for the beacon to be usable.” Casey takes out her notebook and starts jotting down thoughts: Moon beacon? timing? velocity? air???? Getting back?

“So, you guys think he’s still up there?” Ashe asks, looking at the expressions on their faces. “Wait, you can’t be seriously thinking of going there, can you?”
>>
No. 1083861 ID: 18c249

Space is calling (will you pick up the phone?)
we must know what sort of secrets are the secrets that get hidden on the moon! (hopefully they include the secrets to dealing with Rodwin)
questions, questions, and how to solve them, the first should be how to do a repeat act, that portal must have be difficult to open with the distance and we'll need to do it at LEAST twice more, probably more if we want to test things before hand
>>
No. 1083862 ID: fa3034

Can't graduate past being guides if we never look for new paths.
>>
No. 1083868 ID: 273c18

>>1083845
>going there
Well, someone has to. The intent of the star chart is very clear. A different group could go, I suppose, if there's anyone more qualified.


Hmm, depending on the orbital velocity of the moon and how portals work, the landing could be very rough and opening a second one for the return trip could be very difficult. The most likely case is that the exit portal is opened on the other side of the moon, after the beacon crosses over. ...considering that we can open gates once we're on the moon to quickly traverse its surface (or outright teleport to the other side) that's not so tricky. Then again maybe the exit portal doesn't need to be cast using the space beacon, maybe Gabe can just set a beacon in the sealed room and use that to get back. Since it'll be a vacuum we won't have to worry about the air pushing us away from the portal on the return trip.
If one side of a portal can be set to have a different velocity, then we just have to match the moon's velocity. Easy.
>>
No. 1083880 ID: 3895d8

>going there
I can't see why not? I mean we've got a couple of robotic scouts that can probably survive in space. We could even put Kol into a robot.
>>
No. 1083885 ID: 184595

We have to at least take a look, and we should be ready to go. The Teacher is teaching, we need to get taught.

Most importantly, this is one of the only leads we have on help with the Barghast situation. If Mairana has any better leads, or has a good reason we shouldn't go, then speak now!

Beyond the potentially momentous thing she's already spoken, I mean; if Hekal has been hiding out on the moon for five hundred years, then Rodwin can hear the truth at its source.

Another potential lead to file for later: we've overcharged Casey, and she got wings. We overcharged Gabe, and we got the Moon Beacon. (Flashing Feathers must have finished outside that time he was with Gabe.) We haven't tried overcharging Kol yet—what superpowers might he acquire?
>>
No. 1083893 ID: b3eab7

Well Someone going there will be necessary at some point, but perhaps we can start with sending a scrying device. Time is ticking down, though.
>>
No. 1083902 ID: b31a26

to be honest, we should probably ask the help of some of the people who are literaly right here, in this building
>>
No. 1083965 ID: debc82

>>1083845

Undead vampire lord with presumably no need to eat or breathe? Yeah, its quite possible that THIS is where he disappeared to.

As for why he never returned? That seems to be the most pertinent of questions.

Hekal was one of the most accomplished and powerful non-Fey casters known, and if he derived all of this (and presumably used it as a system of early gates and beacons), then something (or someone) found a way to stop him.
>>
No. 1083999 ID: c572e3

>>1083845
Wait a tic, are airships/aircraft a thing in this world, or any kind of land vehicle for the matter? Bit off-topic but it kinda occurred just to me is all.
>>
No. 1084240 ID: 8a1605
File 170865947657.png - (145.46KB , 500x700 , 16-72.png )
1084240

“I… I don’t know.” Casey digs her fingers into her hair as she runs out of room on her notebook and flips to a new page. “I think we need to talk to Cecil about whether it's even feasible. He organized our trip to the Highpeaks and helped design the low-air suits we used: if anyone can plan for something like this, its him.”

“The Academy isn’t going to like it.” Ashe grumbles, “They’re going to want some hard proof that someone is up there before they sanction an expedition like what you’re proposing.”

“I know, but this might be our best lead. The Teacher left this for us to find, and we should see where it leads.” Casey shakes her head at her notes in disbelief, “If Hekal wanted to hide, I can’t think of a better place.”

“We could try using scrying?” Gabe suggests. “If we work out roughly where the beacon will intersect with the surface and see if there’s any sign of him.”

Ashe “hmmm’s” as she considers this. “It would be moving pretty fast, you might just get a blur as the moon goes past.”

“What about using the quicksilver machine? It can pause the scrying and we can check the beacon location at different points in time?”

“That might work, though someone would have to pilot the viewpoint up to the beacon. We also don’t know if the machine even works for something that far away.” Kol points out. “Worth trying though.”

“We could just use a telescope. Though it would have to be a pretty powerful one if we hope to see anything useful.” Casey writes each point down as they’re mentioned.

Ashe nods, as if reminded of something. “You know, we’ve traded books with a school out past the Razor Sea before. Supposedly there’s a group of astronomers out there working on a pretty big telescope.”
>>
No. 1084244 ID: c5249f

okay whatever happens, don't make a Uranus joke. Unless it's really funny.

Of course I doubt Hekal would let himself be visible to the naked eye, but it'd be good to check anyway!
>>
No. 1084247 ID: 065ad8

Hold on, if the moon's speed is a problem, how do you lock portals to the rotation of the planet? Can't you just adjust something on that principle to lock to the moon instead? Or near the moon, to get a better look at it? Open the portal in a small, strong sealed glass box to prevent the air blowing out.
>>
No. 1084249 ID: 273c18

>>1084240
Alright let's put someone on the quicksilver machine, someone to try scrying it, and also some people to visit the telescope. No reason not to try every approach, we're not lacking in manpower.
>>
No. 1084256 ID: b31a26

Hey, I wonder, could we ask Flashing Feathers for aid in the form of air?
>>
No. 1084259 ID: 7c1f1c

It's not necessarily someone, it might be something. We don't know what's up there, but it must be important for Tuavara-Malli to have left us the trail. There's no reason not look before we leap, though, so I agree we should use all means to scout ahead. A preview of our landing site by scrying or telescope could inform our preparation a great deal.

I'm a big proponent of trying to snoop out when the Space Beacon was first opened, and what it was originally used for, so I'm all for firing up the Quicksliver Machine again. We need to go th the Kobold Mountain anyway, to see if Pezzi and Rufus want to try being astronauts. Their robot bodies might have enough juice for one last big adventure.

It's too costly to fire up the Quicksilver Machine whenever we want to, though; when we turn it on, we need to make it count. If there's a problem with looking at the moon or the Space Beacon, then I think we should have a backup plan, something else to look at. Maybe we can ask Rodwin if there's anything in the past he wants to see? Graves might have some ideas, as well. Watch Moot and company seal a mana well? Maybe look at when Moot moved the whole town, to witness the majesty of the event.
>>
No. 1084260 ID: 58dd24

>>1084247
for most portals, everything is rotating in the same reference frame, so relative distances are not changing.

I definitely want to see that telescope though.
>>
No. 1084326 ID: c572e3

>>1084240
Guess the three of them will be playing Cecil and Flashing a visit soon enough...
>>
No. 1084370 ID: 8a1605
File 170874547910.png - (152.92KB , 644x700 , 16-73.png )
1084370

“If you could talk to someone, get us a chance to use that telescope, we’d really appreciate it.” Kol says before turning to Gabe. “Why don’t you ask Mr. Graves if the quicksilver machine will work?”

Gabe whips out his scrying crystal and concentrates until the undead’s skull appears inside.

“Huh? Who’s there? What do you want?” The skeleton demands. Over his shoulder, the controls of the quicksilver machine are visible. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Sorry! How goes the scrying?” Gabe asks. “Find anything good?”

“Nothing useful. Moot’s gate magic makes them remarkably difficult to track down .” He grumbles.

“We were wondering, would it be possible to scry on… the Moon?” Gabe asks.

“The Moon? What do you mean ‘the Moon’?”

“Like, the Moon-moon? Like, the surface of the Moon?” Gabe clarifies.

“How far away is it?” Mr Graves asks as if unsure if this is some kind of joke.

“Uhhhh….” Gabe consults the map and finds the closest distance. “Ohhhh, yeah like 250,000 miles…”
>>
No. 1084372 ID: 17abec

is Graves in the scrying machine alone? it's a bit of a tall task to ask of one person, no matter how much time they've got.
>>
No. 1084376 ID: eb0a9c

You don't want to push that thing too hard, especially since you just executed the original designer.

Start off with a general vertical movement and periodically check the machine's stats for signs of stress.
>>
No. 1084385 ID: 273c18

>>1084370
250k miles... assuming it can go like 100 miles an hour that'll still take 2500 hours, which is over 100 days. That's far more time than we have, unless there's a way to set the scanning function to superspeed. 1000 mph would be more doable but I'm not sure we have 10 days.
Can it go faster than that? If not then I suppose that eliminates this avenue of approach.
>>
No. 1084858 ID: 8a1605
File 170917655897.png - (182.22KB , 700x500 , 16-74.png )
1084858

“I… don’t think that’s going to work…” Graves admits. “Not if you want it anytime soon.”

“Ohhhh yeaaahh.” Gabe runs the numbers in his head and remembers the speed the machine operates at. “That would take… months, I guess…”

“Is there any way to speed it up?” Kol asks.

“Not that I’ve found yet. But if I figure out how, I’ll have the kobolds contact you.” The skeleton shrugs with a slight rattle and turns back to the controls.

Gabe tucks the scrying crystal away and sighs. “Well, so much for that idea.”

There’s suddenly a deep, low rumble from outside that shivers all of the books on their shelves; the odd tome dropping onto the floor with a “thump”.

“What the litchfire was that?” Ashe exclaims, looking around in a panic.
>>
No. 1084860 ID: b23ea2

...was thatthe barghast moving? we need to go check what it was one way or another
>>
No. 1084864 ID: 273c18

>>1084858
Well first thing's first, find out what that is. If our client is being impatient then we can at least tell him we have a strong lead.
>>
No. 1084869 ID: 184595

After all this laying of plans, we can only hope that this latest disturbance doesn't interrupt all of them. But the best-laid plans of mice, as they say...
>>
No. 1084914 ID: debc82

>>1084858

BIIIIIIG gate?
>>
No. 1084944 ID: 8a1605
File 170926183170.png - (171.19KB , 700x526 , 16-75.png )
1084944

The mice rush to the window alongside a number of concerned students, looking for the source of the noise. On the other side of the city, past the rolling curves of the river, the vast bulk of the bargast heaves in place. The trees on its back crash and break against one another as if caught in a gale, while dirt cascades down its slopes as it struggles to raise its head.

“Oh no…” Kol mutters.

Casey shakes her head, thumping a fist against the window frame in frustration, “Just as we were making so much progress…We were so close.”

Gabe looks to Ashe as she uses a small gate to help re-shelve a few fallen books.

She sighs and nods, “Its fine, go ahead and gate out. You have my permission.”
>>
No. 1084945 ID: 8a1605
File 170926183635.png - (175.24KB , 500x700 , 16-76.png )
1084945

The mouse finds a clear space and opens a portal, dropping the trio off just outside Rodwin’s cave.

The ground bucks like an unruly bull beneath them, and they crouch low to keep from being thrown around. There’s a clatter as Sir Opinel emerges from the cave and approaches.

The knight hails the arrival of the mice, “Oi! Thank the Fates you’re here!”

“How bad is it?” Kol asks, trying to stand properly.

“Worse than we thought.” Opinel shakes his head and tucks his crooked teeth into a frown. “He’s tried to hold out for too long. The whole bargast is going to tear itself apart if we can’t stabilize him.”
>>
No. 1084946 ID: af9a7d

Priority 1: How do we help?
Priority 2: We gotta try to get rodwin to see reason and let you send some of his master's army so he doesn't lose control like this.
>>
No. 1084947 ID: 273c18

Maybe if we tell Rodwin what we've learned that'll be enough to let us Send some folks to reduce the load?
>>
No. 1084952 ID: f3e128

oh, time's up. something has to be done. The brash method would be to send the bargast to the moon and hope for the best, but it'd take a hundred Augustines to make a gate that big go so far away.

I think we may have to cut losses and send some by force, even if it adds to the spite.

We could also risk feeding it some living mana a few dozen abyssal reapers should do something.

If we could get a ward up somehow, it might stall the bargast's dispersal, even if by a few minutes. I'd call this a national emergency, get all hands on deck.

Talk to Rodwin, but maybe telling him that Hekal was working against his own army would be too much at the moment. Everything's already crumbling down, we definitely don't need Rodwin to join the pile. Keep things together until we can get somewhere, ideally the moon to follow the thread we're after.
>>
No. 1084961 ID: 7c1f1c

Whatever the case, we need to talk to Rodwin. His well-being is tied directly to the Barghast, yes; but beyond that, we still need his political support and understanding. The last battle of the First Age must not be here and now. We may have to Send some of the barghasts residents to lighten the load, we may have to invite Spite onto the Barghast, but if we do that, we must do it with his knowledge and permission.

Exploring alternatives--I don't think we know of any sufficient reserve of mana we could dip into that might help keep things stable while we wait for the stars to align for a moon trip; a mana infusion is a long shot at this point. We know that elementals can infuse other beings with mana, but is there any elemental that could operate on the scale of the Barghast, physically and magically? The elder water elemental that Gabe and Delilah visited might be the only one we know of, but he's tired and apathetic. We can't rely on him. If the thing hiding on the moon is a mana well, that might do the trick, but we don't have access to it. I don't suppose it would be possible for a bunch of mages to mass loan mana à la spirit bomb? That sort of band-aid probably wouldn't buy us enough time for anything meaningful (like a moon trip), anyway.

If worse comes to worst, we might want to have some mitigation strategies ready. If we can't stop the Barghast from rousing, can we lure it closer to the Banishing Fields? We want to at least get it away from town, and that seems like the place we'd want to go if it looks like we have to Banish some people. We know the Senders are on alert, so if we need to cut big things or reinforcements for Banishing, we should be able to lean on them. I don't know what sort of Bat-Signal we might be able to shine, but this is reason to exercise whatever emergency protocols there are. Scramble the Guardians?
>>
No. 1084963 ID: 273c18

We don't have to tell him Hekal's goals, but we can definitely tell him that we think Hekal is on the moon.
>>
No. 1085192 ID: d2d0f8

So if Rodwin needs to be stabilized in order to keep the Baghast intact, that leaves us just two options. Rodwin either needs an big injection of mana right now, or his load needs to be lightened.

And with the gang not having access to the mana they need for option 1, nor the time to get it, that only leaves one thing to do.

Everyone's saying that we shouldn't tell Rodwin the truth, but I don't know. Maybe a little bit of it is exactly what Rodwin needs right now. Think about it. He's holding on to this army because it belonged to Hekal, and Rodwin intended to return it to him. They'll never convince Rodwin to let it go while he's still hanging on to that, even now. But, if he was told that Hekal abandoned the army and never intended to take it back, maybe Rodwin will allow at least part of the army to be sent. If he wants a fuller explanation on Hekal's actions it's the only way he'll ever get it.
>>
No. 1085392 ID: 8a1605
File 170958556275.png - (281.00KB , 700x530 , 16-77.png )
1085392

“Take us to him.” Kol asks.

The soldier nods and leads the way. The group pauses at the edge of the cave, trying to assess its stability before scuttling in. The stones seem to slither beneath them as they delve deeper, into the root system of Rodwin’s chambers.

There, in the central chamber, Hekal’s last general sits in a coil of living wood. His form is hunched and sagging, bark peeling from his body as the bargast struggles to stay together.

“I’m going in!” Kol says without hesitation, letting Casey catch his body as his spirit dives into Rodwin’s mind

Kol phases into the devil and emerges into a hell-scape. Gone is the white room and long table; replaced with a burning skyline that outlines vast, dark figures striding abreast in a line.
>>
No. 1085393 ID: 273c18

It's a memory of the war? Anyway, tell him you've made progress, you think you know where he went. If he doesn't seem to be listening then you'll have to snap him out of it. Maybe telling him Lord Hekal did what he did so that they wouldn't have to go to war would manage that.
>>
No. 1085394 ID: f3e128

Hm. He doesn't seem like he's in the best mood for negotiations. I hope we're not that late, but I don't think he'll take the news too well. He looks hurt, and to go through all of this for a master who may have betrayed him would hurt even worse.
>>
No. 1085435 ID: 2e3471

*War Without Reason starts playing*

Time to get close enough for him to hear the good news, good luck.
>>
No. 1085440 ID: 949027

Fates, that’s some memory. You alright there, buddy? We’ve finally some news, but can’t deliver it if the Barghast’s comin’ apart. You got any reserves to pull from? Anything we can do to aid that in the moment?
>>
No. 1085442 ID: eb0a9c

"War's over, general. Hekal led a covert strike force with Augustine before anyone (but us) could scry them. We never found out what became of them after they succeeded.
After all, we can't search the moon."
>>
No. 1085454 ID: 184595

I think it would be best to take things slow. Rodwin's not in a good headspace right now, ruminating on war and death; call his name, and see how he responds. We may not have any opportunity for explanations until we calm him enough for him to return his mind to the present.
>>
No. 1085534 ID: d4e021

We don't exactly have the news he's looking for but we do have news. Plus we're learning more everyday.
>>
No. 1085539 ID: b3eab7

>>1085442
This is actually brilliant.
>>
No. 1085648 ID: 8a1605
File 170977553290.png - (279.01KB , 500x700 , 16-78.png )
1085648

Kol swoops down and holds his arms out as if to hold back the behemoth. “Rodwin! You need to stop!”

The giant’s head swings back and forth in order to focus on the gnat pestering him. A building-sized eye narrows and Rodwin makes an animal grunt of recognition. “You? What?”

“You need to calm down! Pull yourself together!” Kol shouts over the calamity, “The bargast is falling apart! The war is over!”

The response takes time, as if drilling into the horned skull slowly. Rodwin’s branded tongue waves as he speaks, like a grotesque banner draped between his teeth, “Nnnnever over! Hekal’s will must be ffffollowed! Stand aside orrr perish!”
>>
No. 1085652 ID: 395885

you could make a damn good argument about Hekal wanting peace, I don't think telling this to Rodwin right now will end well for you. INSTEAD you should tell Rodwin you need his help to get to Hekal, and he needs to pull himself together and THINK
>>
No. 1085653 ID: f3e128

I think you could back down, but you could also tug at the proverbial chain and tell him to honor the deal. He needs to be focused enough to realize that killing you is a mistake.

But also maybe don't stand so close to his mouth. You're in prime biting distance.
>>
No. 1085655 ID: eb0a9c

"BUT HEKAL COMPLETED HIS OBJECTIVES AND WON! The whole point of your crusade was to make all the other maniacs lose before they could end the world, and he did it by sealing the wells! He worked with Augustine in secret and didn't tell you or your forces; I think he didn't want to risk any chance of spies within your ranks yapping to everyone that they were about to lose their magical powers so they could collectively gang up on his tiny strike force! The only thing we don't know yet is if he survived![/i]
>>
No. 1085659 ID: d2d0f8

Hekal's will was that the war must end! And he abandoned the army to make that happen!
>>
No. 1085663 ID: fa3034

He got what he wanted though. Your lord helped end the war. Not the way he thought he would, but he did. Are you not proud of that?
>>
No. 1085669 ID: a09489

Hekel's WILL was to stop the wars and bring peace! That's the entire reason he did everything he did!! Come on man, you're even pretty sure where he is! Don't wage war in the name of a man who specifically wanted to end it!
>>
No. 1085752 ID: 184595

Rodwin is clearly not in his right mind, not receptive to reason. Kol has said he's ready to die, but his safety should come first; whether or not Rodwin can be stabilized, losing Kol here would leave us hamstrung.

I think that before we try to explain what we've discovered about Hekal and his mission, we need to return Rodwin's mind to the present day and to his pledge of non-agression. This calls for personal and emotional appeals: Kol should make sure that Rodwin remembers him, and when they've spoken previously. If Rodwin can be reminded of the non-agression pact, chastised that Hekal would not have approved of such duplicity, then we might be able to move on to our latest discoveries, and talk of what to do about the deteriorating situation.
>>
No. 1085803 ID: 8a1605
File 170994473661.png - (207.57KB , 500x700 , 16-79.png )
1085803

“Hekal’s will was an end to war! Remember?!” Kol hollers back, “Just before he disappeared?”

The colossus steps back as if struck, clutching at his head. “No! Was that… what happened?”

“He told you he was tired of endless war! He was looking for a solution!”

“How…” Rodwin grumbles in a voice like distant thunder. “How could you know that?” He raises a hand wide, blotting out a chunk of sky, as he prepares to swat Kol out of the air. “You must be working with her! The lady in red!” The devil seethes.
>>
No. 1085810 ID: eb0a9c

>>1085803
"The lich in the mountain! We beat him into submission with his ex-slaves and fed his soul to the tides! He was making a time machine; he failed, but what he made lets us see through the past without directly interfering! We're almost done finding out what happened to Hekal, but each time Augustine opened a portal, we have to do another week of research figuring out how to reconfigure the machine! We'll let you see it if you want."
>>
No. 1085822 ID: 273c18

Go on, tell him. Tell him *Hekal* was working with the lady in red.
>>
No. 1085839 ID: d2d0f8

The Lady in Red didn't take Hekal. Hekal left with her, willingly!

How we know that is a long story and we'd be happy to tell him if he just calms down
>>
No. 1085910 ID: f14228

A mighty scrying device! Found in the vampire lord Muir's demesne, where we managed to persuade his spirit to teach us its use. We traced through history and discovered these truths to follow. Graves can attest to them, too. He remained at the device, trying to keep at following the thread of truth.

The parts found:

A future was foreseen by the Teacher, an outcast leucrocotta - one that offered war's end. Hekal seized the chance for that future,together with two others and became the First Guardians who went around closing down the mana wells fuelling the endless wars.

This with the Teacher - and Madame Moot. Hekal was already offering Moot an alliance when the Teacher joined them, claiming to need a... scalpel, in place of a scythe, as he put it. It also explains how Moot could kidnap him from the very seat of his power - he invited her and went willingly along. Though his plans did not seem to have coalesced too much beyond this, at least until the Teacher was found waiting at the very site of his well, and gave pact and guidance there.

During that first moot of the three, Madame Moot opened her big mouth at the Teacher, and the three of them were bound to a deal she proposed in her wroth - to build a world where mortals could live and die in peace: her price for her assistance with Hekal and the Teacher's plans.

Closing the mana wells that supplied the war appears to have but been the start - and it started with Hekal's own well, closed by his own spell. This moment too you got to witness, and the effect of the closure was... grim, to say the least. Indeed, Hekal's big issue - the one that made him change tactics and leave his armies behind - was that there were dire consequences to the abundant usage of mana from the wells in the wars, even for his soldiers' sake. He'd discovered that a poison slowly seeped out from them, anathema to life, bound to doom the world in long term.

It made the world deaden in great radius around his well when he closed it - today we call such a thing Spite, and it lingers for centuries, draining all life where it touches. Even Hekal's skill and knowledge at the time could not prevent deadly disaster at that first attempt. He must've refined his technique in the aftermath, for the closure of the other wells. Or... somehow redirected the effect of it to the already-extant dead zone.

It is why the Spirit Guides and the Guardians are so important still - to prevent the abuse that would keep that grim zone from growing to envelop the world. It is why sending all of the dead kept here would be disastrous, so close to town. Spite is generated when an undead passes unwillingly. This was recently witnessed with Muir, who could not face his final end with grace.

You don't know all that's happened afterwards, as the immediate historical trace was lost in the disaster. You don't know why Hekal never sought out Rodwin and his armies again, even after the wars mostly ended - but you do mean to find out and to find them if they still exist in this world - to go to the very Moon, if need be, to look for him there. You so swear.

But... given what you know, there should be hope. Hope that this interminable vigil ends on a blessed note, that the facet of the future seen by the Teacher was favorable and true still, that Rodwin's fate was not an afterthought. That his faithful duty can be rewarded, as is right and just.

Uh... what else... oh! When you were portal-dumped, Hekal did say of you: "I do hope he’s not dead…” - rather deadpan, but with concern.

Oh, and they appear to have been the founder of the Mediums and taught mortals the very spiritual means through which we speak now. Two contemporaries of his - mediums turned spirits, not liches - yet exist, so it is truly possible Hekal too does. If he does, you'll get him here, so he can face you and pay you respects for your long loyalty's due.

Just hang in there until we can get a boon of mana to help stabilize things until then, okay? That's all we ask.
>>
No. 1085992 ID: 30f3c0

Tell him he underestimates Hekal, who managed to rope her into his project.
>>
No. 1085998 ID: 273c18

Ohh yeah, that's a crucial detail. She was working for him, not the other way around.
>>
No. 1086038 ID: 184595

Remember our talking points: duty and obligation. Rodwin strives to fulfill Hekal's will, and we want the same thing Hekal wanted: an end to war. Our top priority at this point isn't to tell Rodwin the whole story, but to get him to calm down and focus on the present.

If he's hostile at the memory of Moot, then it may be best to stay silent on the subject for now. We can bring her up a little later, when he's in a better position to reflect that her own position was not unlike his own.
>>
No. 1086252 ID: 8a1605
File 171028797665.png - (196.12KB , 500x700 , 16-80.png )
1086252

Kol dives and dodges away from the devil’s palm and shouts “I’m not working with her! Hekal was!”

The fey’s eyes go wide and he’s thrown off balance by the shock. “You LIE!” He roars, ripping up a hillside with a swing of his claws, filling the sky with shattered rocks and trees. “He would NEVER!”

“He needed her!” Kol’s spirit attempts to climb away from the debris only to be plucked out of the air by Rodwin. The mouse struggles as held level with the devil’s eyes. “They did what an army couldn’t! They worked in secret to close all the mana wells!”

“How would you know that? More lies…” Rodwin’s eyes narrow into slits that glow like billets of steel being forged.

“Its not! We found a machine that lets you scry into the past! It was made by the lich king Miur!”

Rodwin pauses and snarls, “The old mountain king? He was just a lonely old fool! He couldn’t have-“ Suddenly, the brand on his tongue flashes red and the titan roars in pain.
>>
No. 1086256 ID: f4ebaf

Would, could and did. Please don’t lie to yourself, Rodwin. Muir was a legend of his time, and paranoid to boot. He wanted to peer beyond his realm, to see his enemies coming.

Hekal, on the other hand, was tired. Worn. Worried. He would happily have seized an unparallelled chance to end the wars and the damage they wrought on his own terms.

Especially given what he had found out about the mana wells and their relationship with the deadly byproduct we know today as Spite. A truth that disturbed him so much he sought out Madame Moot’s assistance, a scalpel to replace his scythe.
>>
No. 1086263 ID: 273c18

>>1086252
Tell him he knows that Miur could, he cannot lie. And Miur did. Through it, you have seen that there was a third person in their group. A seer, who has left you clues, and the last clue you found leads you to believe that Lord Hekal went to the Moon.
>>
No. 1086280 ID: 273c18

Actually maybe this is a good time to ask him to let you go so you can tell him more without the threat of immediate out-of-bodily harm.
>>
No. 1086304 ID: fa3034

We have more truths and are finding more every week. Just calm down and we can tell you all that we know as we find out.
>>
No. 1086305 ID: eb0a9c

>>1086252
"We killed Muir! You can see the scry machine for yourself!"
>>
No. 1086309 ID: 3a8aa9

Remind him to keep it together. He may be a devil, but does he still have access to fey magic? Tell him to scrounge around your memories and see for himself.
>>
No. 1086327 ID: bee3a9

Tell Rodwin he knows Muir would have the ambition to ser all, and the stubbornness to pull it off.
Tell him he knows closing the mana veils accomplished Hekal wish of ending the war while also taking the fey courts down a peg, and he knows Hekal had the ingeniosity and daring to make this gambit.
Tell him he knows that if such a ruse required recruiting the red lady, Hekal had the charisma to pull it off.
>>
No. 1086362 ID: 8a1605
File 171038026546.png - (107.40KB , 500x700 , 16-81.png )
1086362

“You’re the one lying here!” Kol yells as the pressure around his spirit form increases. “You know that Muir was clever enough to scry into the past! We caught him and made him tell us how it worked!”

Rodwin braces himself on his fist as he glares at the tiny figure. For the moment, he dares not speak, lest he trigger his brand again.

“We saw what happened that night: the night Madam Moot appeared in Hekal’s warcamp” Kol continues, “He called her there in order to end the wars together. Her magic let them hunt down the mana wells and seal them, ending the age of wild magic. They worked together with someone known as the Teacher to form the Spirit Guardians.”

The devil’s eyes widen at the mention of the first Binder and his grip starts to loosen.

“You knew her?” Kol asks.

“I heard of her… spoken among my old court as a fool… going against the order of things.” Rodwin speaks haltingly, seemingly more lucid as he listens.

“She tricked Moot into forming a contract, so they were all bound to work together. Hekal saw that using the mana wells was poisoning the world and he knew they had to be closed.”

“But why abandon his army? We were…lost… directionless…” Rodwin suddenly seems much smaller, as if some trick of perspective has shifted: replacing the seething colossus with an uncertain and worried fey.
>>
No. 1086364 ID: 273c18

>>1086362
Tell him you don't know that part of the story yet. You have one good lead, but you need more time. You have to go to the moon next, or somehow scry it.
>>
No. 1086366 ID: fa3034

It seems he was willing to make some terribly hard choices. We're sorry you had to find out this way.
>>
No. 1086367 ID: efaac3

I'm curious, what does kol think happened? I want to hear his take
>>
No. 1086368 ID: eb0a9c

Because if there was even a single spy among his ranks, that spy would sacrifice everything to tell the Lords that this one suicidal upstart was going to take all their power with him - and then the Lords, contrary to everything they had done for centuries, would band their vast armies together just to stop Hekal.
>>
No. 1086369 ID: 2bcba1

I don't know. Maybe he thought that saving the world was worth the sacrifice. Maybe he let you get teleported away because he trusted you to be able to handle things when he was gone. Maybe after living for so long, he no longer wanted to be making decisions that affected so many people. All you know is what you saw, and that there's more to this story. You were still looking into it when this all happened to distract that.
>>
No. 1086373 ID: 273c18

Maybe Graves will find out, if he manages to spy on any more conversations. Oh that gives me an idea. We should be able to find the group again by simply watching the other wells. They have to visit each one to close them so we will be able to find them at each one, no matter where they teleport from or to.
>>
No. 1086374 ID: d2d0f8

>>1086362
Tell him that's the part we don't know yet. That's the part we're still trying to find out. We didn't want to tell you until we had the whole story, but with the barghast about to fall apart it was kinda now or never.
>>
No. 1086375 ID: dc4bad

>>1086362
when last we saw him he was seizing the newfound opportunity lest it pass him by, we haven't seen where that road ultimately leads him but it is not difficult to imagine that something on that road has prevented him from reconvening with you all and explaining everything.
>>
No. 1086380 ID: 184595

>>/questarch/1053961 suggests that Hekal was meditating on how to end a vampire at the time he met Moot. He wanted to stop the war and seal the wells that were poisoning the mortal plane; the vampire generals would have been obstacles to that end. He was a vampire general himself, but one who's weary, trying to end things, ready to move on.

I suspect that Hekal is not waiting for us on the moon. We see Hekal now as the first Medium, and as such, he would have been instrumental in establishing the Mediums' practices. Among these practices is the initiation ritual in which one must face and accept one's own death. I suspect that this is a re-enactment of the first Sending: Hekal making a voluntary trip to the Ghost Zone. My going theory is that he felt he was not exempt from the fate to which he subjected the other vampire generals, and needed himself to exuent if peace in mortal realms should last. It may have even been a concession to Moot, or an acknowledgement that his permanent death was the only way to ensure he could not make a grab for power after eliminating his competition ( >>/questarch/1054086 ).

As a Medium who witnessed Hekal's weariness first-hand, this is something Kol might be uniquely positioned to communicate.
>>
No. 1086382 ID: a94810

Tell him for all you know he intended to come back but never could.
You're still looking for the truth, but your only lead is a beacon in space, on the moon's orbital trajectory.
>>
No. 1086437 ID: 43bc19

You know, maybe Rodwin’s feelings about Hekal were more than just professional. The whole business with him working with Moot is in his mind another instance of her “stealing” him away. Tell him if he holds himself together long enough he can hopefully get answers and resolution from the man himself.
>>
No. 1086629 ID: 8a1605
File 171072792058.png - (204.62KB , 500x700 , 16-82.png )
1086629

“We… don’t know exactly. We wanted to find out more before telling you, but we ran out of time.” Kol says, looking around. The wartime memory seems to have been replaced with a verdant glade, flanked on either side by towering ash trees. Their branches arch up and tangle with one another, forming an organic vaulted ceiling and giving the appearance of a forest cathedral.

“We do know that he was tired of conflict, he said as much to you. He founded the path of the Mediums, which I belong to, and taught us to protect the natural order of life and death… maybe he decided his work was done and left our plane?” Kol shrugs.

“No… you don’t know him like I did. I would know if he were really gone.“ Rodwin shakes his head as he uncurls from his prone position. “Tell me: what do you think happened to him?”

The mouse pauses for a while as he mentally gathers what they’ve found. “I think he trusted you, and wanted you to watch over his army. It seemed like he was… almost ashamed almost of what he had done and wanted to erase his name from history. Everyone knows who founded the other two Guardian orders, he never wanted to be associated with the Mediums.” Kol sits down next to the devil and shrugs, “I think he knew the age of the vampire lords was over, and wanted to ensure it stayed that way.”

“So you think he left, and I know he’s still out there.” Rodwin’s shoulders slump with the weight of exhaustion. “Where does that leave? Where could he have gone?”
>>
No. 1086630 ID: 275adc

Somewhere no one but a seer or panicked sender could think of, up into space, a beacon "on" the moon
>>
No. 1086631 ID: 478b88

We'd be quick to say the moon, but we should check a few places in tandem. We don't quite have the time to dally around and search slowly, so maybe we should have a few recon teams?
>>
No. 1086632 ID: eb0a9c

Evidence points to the moon, but it's going to take far longer to find a way there. It costs mana to make a portal that far.
>>
No. 1086635 ID: 62bec3

We have a suspicion that he went to the moon. It really does make the most sense with how he seemed to not want anybody to contact him again and being undead, he could just survive up there. But yeah, there ARE still a few other options. With the star chart guidance though, it makes sense if you're being guided towards that beacon from the past, so that's a VERY good bet.
>>
No. 1086640 ID: fa3034

We still have leads to follow.
>>
No. 1086642 ID: 273c18

>>1086629
Tell him he's either hiding somewhere like Miur did, or he's not even on the planet anymore.
>>
No. 1086644 ID: d2d0f8

Well, we know that Hekal, Moot, and The Teacher sealed Hekal's own mana well, but something went wrong. The didn't do it right. At some point they must've figured out how to do it properly, but don't know where exactly they went after that. The only other lead we have is a sender beacon up on the moon, and we're fairly certain that Moot herself put it up there. We have no idea why, but we figured if Hekal wanted to hide that would be a pretty good place.
>>
No. 1086649 ID: 184595

How would Rodwin know that Hekal is gone? Is there actually some kind of psychic or magical connection they share that would be lost if Hekal had departed? Or is this just a very strong intuition based on intimate knowledge of Hekal's character?

I think it's worth telling Rodwin about the moon. Maybe Hekal had mentioned it before to Rodwin? We can forecast a date when the stars will be right, and that might give Rodwin something concrete enough to look towards and keep his mind off the past.
>>
No. 1086661 ID: 8b8c72

>>1086629
There's a non-zero possibility that he's on the moon.
>>
No. 1086662 ID: 478b88

we might be able to stuff rodwin in a robot and have him travel the moon too? I'd imagine only mediums would be able to traverse the moon since they can use the robot vessels
>>
No. 1086670 ID: debc82

>>1086629

We're going to the moon.
>>
No. 1086778 ID: ce11ca

We don't know yet, but we have leads (moon, etc, feel free to expound) and more importantly, have already found more impossible secrets in the time we've known each other than others found in centuries.

If it exists, we'll get to it, and we'll tell you.

But to do that, we need to be safe.

You don't need the leverage anymore. We're finding this out for the sake of history, and we'll reach better conclusions if we aren't rushing to get things to you.

Which is it, Rodwin? Truth or placations? Because it's getting to the end game, and they're going to conflict.
>>
No. 1086845 ID: 8a1605
File 171098675825.png - (126.29KB , 500x700 , 16-83.png )
1086845

Kol scratches at the back of his neck and reluctantly admits, “Uhhhh well… we think he might be… on the moon?”

Rodwin stares at the mouse as if he had suddenly grown a second head, before bursting into laughter. The devil’s cackling is interspersed with uncontrollable “baaah’s” as he rolls back onto his butt and kicks his hooves.

“You- you’re serious? Baaaah-ha ha ha ha ha! I can tell by your face! You’re fucking serious!” The devil bites his tongue and yelps before succumbing to a second fit of laughter.

“Look, we just learned about this. We don’t even know if its true.” Kol sags as he tries to explain. “All we know is that there's a gate beacon in space near the orbit of the moon, and the Guardians left a map to it. If he wanted to hide away from the world, there’s nowhere more remote than that.”

“Bha-haaaaa ha ha ha! The moon! Sure, why not?” Rodwin shakes his head and falls backwards into the grass. “Fuck, I haven’t laughed like that in centuries…”
>>
No. 1086848 ID: 9816bf

This is a better reaction than it could be at least??? Maybe you can help, er, convince Rodwin to think about how we can stop everything from getting destroyed and all your elemental friends from getting slurped up like milkshakes by a zombie army now?
>>
No. 1086849 ID: fa3034

Well, hope you're feeling better. As you can see, we're still working on this..
>>
No. 1086850 ID: d2d0f8

Well, Rodwin has calmed down and is in a better mood. Mission accomplished there, at least. I guess now the problem is getting Rodwin to actually take the moon idea seriously. We should relay what we last saw Hekal doing, the incident with sealing his mana well, and point out that we really don't have any better leads on what happened to him after that. At least, not right now.
>>
No. 1086852 ID: 273c18

Alright, ask him how long he can hold the barghast together now that he's calmed down. Or, even better, would he be willing to move it away from town now that you've got most of the information he wanted? We can deliver the rest later.
>>
No. 1086854 ID: bc5ee7

Ah, nice! He seems to be relaxed a little or he's completely lost it. Has he sworn before? He might do something reckless.
>>
No. 1086870 ID: 41019a

Also, at the risk of coming across as snarky, it might be worth reiterating to Rodwin that we just used a magic device to look back in time thousands of years, is going to the moon really that ridiculous compared to everything else that's happened?
>>
No. 1086885 ID: 8a1605
File 171107149602.png - (122.31KB , 500x700 , 16-84.png )
1086885

“I’m glad you’re feeling better at least.“ Kol’s mouth hardens into a thin, serious line as he speaks, “But right now, we need your help. The bargast is crumbling and we’ve got to hold it together.”

“What? No! The horde!” Rodwin sits up suddenly and plunges his hands into the earth. There’s a rumble from the real world as he re-exerts control. “I’ll do what I can to stabilize it, but… I’m at my limit. You have to get me more mana if we can hope to contain things.”
>>
No. 1086887 ID: fa3034

Well.. how do we do that in the confines of this mindscape? Unless we somehow 'water' his tree form?
>>
No. 1086893 ID: 9816bf

Ughhh.... this is... really a bad idea and they'd have to be cool with it but you do know at least four elementals that shouldn't be bound by the whole shunning-the-fae brand he's got, if they'd be willing and consenting to help. Fire, fire, wind, water, not exactly balanced with a lot of earth, but it's maybe worth a shot to ask.

...Maybe more if you count your robot friends. It's a big ask to ask them to sacrifice the time they have left for this but it's not like they aren't devoted to saving people, ugh. damnit rodwin.

Did the kobolds ever unearth a lot of magic in rocks at any point?

And, the obvious one, can you bring him to a mana well? Either unseal it or an unsealed one?
>>
No. 1086894 ID: 40076e

Are those fish an option? the one's the Selkie was using to keep his husband alive?
>>
No. 1086896 ID: 0a437e

best we can do is either trying to convince some elementals to give you some power... or Sending some of the horde
sadly, mana wells are as much a bad idea as last time something like this was brought up, also since sealing the wells was one of Hekel 's goals bringing up using a mana well to Rodwin could end in Fist to Face, but more likely Rodwin would just yell at as for a bit
>>
No. 1086897 ID: 273c18

>>1086885
How much, and does he have any ideas regarding that? There aren't many sources of mana around here.
>>
No. 1086898 ID: 32c482

yeah it's time for the obligatory fishing minigame solution until we can find a more permanent one
>>
No. 1086899 ID: e2e905

Can't the Medium or Binder order participate on their own? If each give a drop of mana, that might be enough to stave off the effect, despite how grim it must be? protection mana

If not, I agree with the elemental idea suggested by

>>1086893
>>
No. 1086902 ID: debc82

>>1086885

... how much do you like fish?
>>
No. 1086917 ID: 184595

The only method we're currently aware of for mana transfer directly from an elemental might not be effective for Rodwin's current physical form (a tree). We're able to talk to him like this only because Kol is able to bridge the gap, using Hekal's art.

...So does that mean we could use Kol as an adapter to funnel manna through his body into Rodwin's? It seems like something worth trying; at the very least, I want to know what superpower Kol gets when he's topped up with elemental mana.
>>
No. 1087032 ID: 0ec7ef

>>1086917
...Kol, you're gonna have to hug fuck that goat.
>>
No. 1087055 ID: 09fceb

If Rodwin could possess Kol's body that might be a way to bridge the gap, but would that leave the barghest unrestrained while he powered up?
>>
No. 1087064 ID: f14228

Don't forget the best bet may be going to the Ethereal Sea/Plane - or as Rodwin called it, the Sea of Dreams - to visit the Font of the Fates and graduate as Guardians. The source of mana itself would be the best place to pick up a ton of it for the Barghast's needs and possibly necessary for such a wild project as prepping for an expedition to the moon!

Of course, there's also the other thing that could help slow the depletion of Rodwin and the Barghast's reserves: sending.

Given what you've discovered you seriously doubt Hekal would begrudge his undead army their final rest - or still need them all for a war that's effectively won. That said, he will probably wish to speak to those who stayed true and loyal to the end and beyond if he can be found and a return be arranged.

But for the rank and file, for those less whole, for the more tired than dedicated, you would suggest Rodwin consider allowing their sending. It may be tought, but perhaps some mana can be spared to check for volunteers? If the devil's sense of duty still can't allow it, then fine.

You will at least arrange it so that Graves can make reports on what's being discovered through Muir's scrying device - it'd probably ease Rodwin's mind to have these things attested to, regardless.

... huh, actually, does Rodwin have any other good ideas for spots and times to scry in the past using Muir's device? You kinda forgot he's contemporary to all this too. Times and places where the First Guardians attacked other mana well owners of the time would be of particular interest, you think. Perhaps there's further clues to garner from those. Like how the heck there aren't tons of Spite-spots dotting the lands, as with the original closing attempt.
>>
No. 1087136 ID: 8a1605
File 171141152380.png - (210.68KB , 500x700 , 19-85.png )
1087136

Kol nods and tells him, “We’ll be back as soon as we can.” He feels the anchor of his own body pulling him back, and lets himself be drawn out of the devil’s mind. As he sits up, he sees the chamber pulsing like a heart; the many roots of Rodwin’s body coiling out in a seething mass to buttress the bargast's body.

"Kol, you're back! How'd it go?" Casey asks.

"Not good. I managed to bring him back to his senses, but he says he's at his limit. We need to get him more mana or the whole bargast will fall apart." Kok gets up and shakes some life back into his muscles.

Gabe looks up at him, his eyes full of naked anxiety. “I thought we had more time…”

“Seems like Rodwin thought so too.” Kol sighs, “What do we do?”

“We need mana, right? Can we get some elementals to donate some?” Gabe asks.

“I don’t think a few elementals are going to be enough; even if we got every one in the city to help.” Casey frowns and shakes her head. “I think… if we’re going to get enough…”

They trio exchange worried looks, no one ready to finish the hanging sentence.
>>
No. 1087137 ID: b31a26

well, IF Hekel went to the moon AND is still there, there would probably have to be a mana well... something which is useless to this situation as we cannot reach it in time
In fact, there is really only two ways to get enough mana, bring mana to us, or go to mana
A Rock and a Hard-place
>>
No. 1087138 ID: b31a26

And yet, I think only one solution is a "Good" one here, but we shoulld ask Sifr or someone of the like
>>
No. 1087147 ID: f14228

>>1087136
...you're going to have to go to the Ethereal Sea. C'mon Casey, you can say it. With gusto, not fear, or trepidation. You've come so far, after all.

Time is wasting. Contact Sifr. He said you were ready, if anyone. Inform him of the situation. Say it's time. For the good of Moot Point and all the many good folks in it, you gotta do this.
>>
No. 1087148 ID: 32c482

I hate to say it, but I think we need to stop stalling. We're as ready as we'll ever be and it's time to go through with this.
>>
No. 1087290 ID: 8a1605
File 171160000326.png - (164.49KB , 700x500 , 19-86.png )
1087290

“The Ghost Zone…” Gabe finally says, tasting an acrid pang of fear in the back of his throat.

“Sifr warned us we would have to go. I guess its about time.” Kol nods, trying to keep his cool despite the pounding in his chest.

“R-right.” Casey shakes out her hands in a little fidgety dance. “Let’s check things out topside before we go… take care of things”.

The mice clamber back out of the cave as roots continue to wind through rock and stone behind them. As they reach the surface, Sir Opinel greets them.

“What’s the situation?” He asks.

“We got through to him, and he’s holding it together, but he needs mana.” Casey explains as quickly as she can.

Opinel nods and points: in the valley nestling the city, red lights flare and distant thunder booms from dozens of Sender gates. “Your friends started arriving a few minutes ago, seems they’re setting up a perimeter.”

“What’re you going to do?” Casey asks.

The soldier squares himself up, “I’m going to see if I can round up the undead that still have their senses. If I can get a squad together, we can keep the horde pushed back until you return.” He nods at the Binder as he prepares to do his duty.
>>
No. 1087292 ID: 273c18

>>1087290
Alright, so, how is this done? Do you need to do a ritual?
>>
No. 1087293 ID: fa3034

To say we haven't been preparing for this would be a lie. Let's steel ourselves and meet up with our friends. We have no shortage of those.
>>
No. 1087304 ID: f3e128

We may not have time to meet up with friends now, and to say our goodbyes or whatnot would seal our fates. We need something to strive for to make it out of the zone, yeah? Or is it a more meditative ritual? Do we need to be open to the blessings of the fates?
>>
No. 1087341 ID: 845434

Still, getting more mana is, at the end of the day, just sticking a band-aid on the problem. Even with the massive boost of mana from three new guardians, how long will that last before it runs out? A year? Two? Eventually, something is going to have to done about the undead army. Granted, that is a problem for the future, but it is still a problem.
>>
No. 1087358 ID: 7c1f1c

I think the short-term objective is to get enough mana to last us until we can get our moon mission in, then play it by ear depending on what we see on the moon. If we can pull enough mana from the Ghost Zone to tide us over until then (maybe with a little buffer?), then we can work with that.

The Senders are on the scene, too; with Opinel's help, I think they're going to start Sending some of the horde, the ones that don't have enough sense to know what they're doing.That should help lighten the load, and stretch what mana we collect on the other side.
>>
No. 1087421 ID: 8a1605
File 171176330792.png - (143.91KB , 570x700 , 16-87.png )
1087421

“Right… thank you, and good luck…” Casey gives the undead a kiss on his cold cheek as a farewell.

“Joining battle one last time, with a lady’s favor? I have all the luck I need!” He gives her a rakish salute while grinning like a different sort of rake before hurrying off.
>>
No. 1087422 ID: 8a1605
File 171176331433.png - (103.67KB , 500x700 , 16-88.png )
1087422

“So… how do we even do this?” Casey asks, “Is there some kind of ritual, or what?” 

“I- I don’t know. I always assumed so.” Gabe shrugs and turns to Kol. “Its not something they taught in the Academy.” 

“Let’s find the Guardians, maybe they’ll be able to help.” 
Gabe nods and fetches his scrying gem, bringing up the vision of Sifr inside.

The Medium pauses mid-conversation and looks up. “Who-? Oh! It's you three! Just who I was hoping to hear from. I take it you're aware of the current situation?” 

“Yes uncle, we just spoke to Rodwin and got him to calm down. He’s trying to regain control but needs mana.” Kol says, poking his head into view of the crystal. 

“Then it's as we feared… good job getting this far, but I take it you know what you have to do now, right?” 

“Well yes and no. We know what we need to do, but not how.” Kol explains. 

Sifr nods, his pristine goatee dipping like a pen into an inkwell. “Okay, I suppose I should have gone over that. Get down here and I’ll tell you what I can.”

As Gabe dismisses the scrying spell, Sifr’s voice is cut off as he issues orders, “Okay, you lot! Make room! Important Guardian business!” 
>>
No. 1087423 ID: 8a1605
File 171176331875.png - (141.18KB , 700x500 , 16-89.png )
1087423

Gabe opens a gate and the mice step through into an anthill of activity. The air is thick with ozone as gates crack closed, one after another; depositing groups of Guardians and Guides who take up positions in a loose semi-circle around the Bargast. Heavy blocks of stone are teleported in with ground-shaking thumps, before being moved into ad-hoc fortifications by Binders. Magic using citizens from all walks of life join the marshaled forces, hoping to lend a hand with whatever gifts they have at their disposal. Together they've assembled a line of defense, using the river as a natural barrier.

Sifr issues a few commands to a Binder supported by a pair of glowing crutches, who nods and heads out to follow his orders.

“What a mess. We've talked it over and our current plan is to funnel the horde into choke-points, and lure them into sending gates. We're counting on the fact that most of the undead are too senseless to create any spite, but we won't know for sure until things get dicey.” The master Medium shakes his head and claps his hands in a businesslike fashion, “Okay, what can old Sifr help you with?”
>>
No. 1087424 ID: 3a8aa9

I suppose we need a tutorial on how to get to the ghost zone without getting overwhelmed by mana. We've got quite the lovely thing going on right now and it'd be a shame if we lost it now.
>>
No. 1087425 ID: 395885

Is the method to getting there "just walk into the sending gate" or do we need to do something extra specil like a prayer to the Fates or some such
>>
No. 1087426 ID: 273c18

>>1087423
How do we go there, and how do we get enough mana back?
>>
No. 1087914 ID: 8a1605
File 171219502393.png - (138.73KB , 700x459 , 16-90.png )
1087914

“Uh, how do we do this?” Kol asks, “Getting to the other side?”

“Oh that’s the easy bit. You just open a spirit gate and go through. Simple as that.” Sifr’s hands make an opening motion as if to further illustrate.

“That’s it? There’s no ritual or anything?” Casey asks.

“Nope, not that we really have time for one.” The Guardian continues, “Now, once you go in, you can’t leave the same way. The only way out is through.”

“Right, okay. How will we know-“ Kol starts.

“Where to go? You’ll find a guide, they’ll tell you what happens next. Oh and try not to draw too much attention to yourselves.”

“Attention from who?” Casey leans in to ask.

The Guardian shakes his head and holds up a hand, as if to say sorry, privileged information . “Once you’ve crossed over, you need to hurry. I don’t think I need to tell you what will happen to your bodies if you spend too much time in the presence of all that mana.”

Sifr reaches out and gives his grand-nephew a hug and slaps him a couple times on the back. “Best of luck, you three. Don’t keep us waiting.”
>>
No. 1087915 ID: 33044e

This is it, folks. Now let's do a 40 panel reminiscence of everything we've been through
>>
No. 1087917 ID: fa3034

Our friends are at our backs, they will be cheering us on from here. You three have each other at your sides. There's nothing you haven't been able to best. You got this.
>>
No. 1087918 ID: 6fe2f9

>>1087914
>try not to draw too much attention to yourselves.
>“Once you’ve crossed over, you need to hurry. I don’t think I need to tell you what will happen to your bodies if you spend too much time in the presence of all that mana.”
So basically we shouldn't try and fuck everything that moves like we always do because it'll waste time and we'll potentially die. Good to know.

Hopefully the importance of this mission will be enough of an incentive for everyone to keep their clothes on for once.
>>
No. 1087919 ID: 273c18

>>1087914
Thankfully everyone in the party has experience with mana oversaturation at this point. Also, hmm, if our medium were to try to astral project in there would he die for real?
>>
No. 1087921 ID: eb0a9c

Looks like you're not @#$%ing the Fates.
Time to do the most important thing you'll ever accomplish between sex sessions.
>>
No. 1087922 ID: feca34

You don't want to spend long there, but... is there anything you still need to bring? Food you can probably go without, but water maybe? I'm remembering tales of people being stuck in the underworld by eating the food there. I wonder if you could make yourself last longer against the mana by using your own constantly? Or would that make things worse?
>>
No. 1087927 ID: 7b65e9

I get that we are in a hurry but we should probably do a quick "goodbye" tour to everyone. At least so they know, share blessings and prepare themselves... just in case.
>>
No. 1087931 ID: f14228

If a call be given to anyone before we go, perhaps one to a certain messenger Angel ought be?

If anyone has any tips on how to traverse such a place and the freedom to offer them, it'd be they... right?
>>
No. 1087933 ID: 184595

I don't think there's anything we can do to prepare that's worth the time. The Barghast is stirring right now, and we need to get going. Believe in the uncle that believes in you; Send it, Gabe.
>>
No. 1088006 ID: 8a1605
File 171227634434.png - (90.95KB , 700x542 , 16-91.png )
1088006

Gabe swallows, raising a pair of shaking hands and starts casting a spirit gate. The spinning disk of light starts to grow out of a pinpoint before something sparks and it winks out.

“S-sorry. I’ll try again.” Gabe says, trying to hold himself steady. His breath rattles between his teeth as an acrid taste fights its way up his throat.

“Wait. Are you okay? What’s wrong?” Casey stops him, taking the Sender’s hands in hers.

“Y- eh… I-“ Gabe stammers before looking into her eyes, his pupils tiny pinpoints of terror. “I just- I can’t stop thinking about Miur and what happened to him when we… banished him.” He squeaks, “What if I’m not ready? What if…” the mouse leaves the horrible implications unsaid as he looks to his partners.
>>
No. 1088007 ID: 273c18

Gabe, you got this.
also it doesn't do that to living people.
>>
No. 1088008 ID: eb0a9c

"Nobody is ready for everything, Gabe. Not even those who are ready to die.
But we still have to be."
>>
No. 1088010 ID: 184595

Spite shouldn't be an issue; all of the mice are taking the trip willingly. The issue of confidence is much more pressing at the moment. But Kol and Casey are there, and they have a long history with Gabe. They know what he's capable of, and have built a sort of trust between the three of them that's rarely seen. They should give Gabe a hug and a kiss with a word of encouragement and solidarity. It couldn't mean more from anyone else.
>>
No. 1088015 ID: 52227d

The only part of him that actually went through was the part of him that was still alright. When you find him on the other side he's probably going to be different.
>>
No. 1088019 ID: f3e128

Hug, Kiss, no pressure. You're ready. You're the most talented sender in the world. You sent a vampire with no casualties aside from a few burns. And those burns weren't even caused by the vampire, it was your one-tap summon magma that shut down his geomancy spell (geomancy spell from the most powerful geomancy user in the world btw). Not to mention, you made a gate to the moon the next day. Most of all, you're not alone. You've got the best two partners going with you, you've got this.
>>
No. 1088028 ID: fa3034

Hug him.
>>
No. 1088059 ID: 8a1605
File 171237393437.png - (137.12KB , 700x442 , 16-92.png )
1088059

Across the river, there’s a rumble as part of the bargast collapses. The dust billows and settles while shapes are visible moving in the gloom.

“Ah fuck…” Casey lets out a curse barely audible over the bustle of the defenders.

“I’m sorry- let me-“ Gabe stutters, trying to pull free of her.

“Hey, hey.” She says gently, “Its okay. Look, remember when we all started together? None of us really knew what we were doing and were still figuring out our magic? Yesterday we took down a vampire lord, and this morning you opened a gate to the Moon-“

Sifr holds up a finger to interject, “Wait, what was that?”

“We’ll tell you later. The point is: we’re ready for this. We don’t know what to expect on the other side of that gate, but whatever happens: we’re right there beside one another. Right?”

“Right.” Casey makes room for Kol to join them, taking one another’s hands in a ring. “We’ve got this, together…”
>>
No. 1088064 ID: 273c18

Cmon let's go into the spooky zone!
>>
No. 1088065 ID: eb0a9c

Tap-dancing your way through hell!
>>
No. 1088073 ID: fa3034

Together!
>>
No. 1088075 ID: 7b65e9

As three bodies but one soul.
>>
No. 1088080 ID: f3e128

Now there's a pep talk! Let's get it on!
>>
No. 1088086 ID: f14228

Oh, and hey, never forget all the good you've done with these spirit gates already.

Remember Allayne? You all helped her not to be scared of the unknown. Casey even gave her a special gift in passing, haha. And that was how you got to make friends with Mr. Ochre and all that resulted from that, too.

The Lich Adrian as well - he was so afraid of leaving his husband alone and without ever finding his skin again. You solved that, let him get off a good worthy farewell. Kol's sure made sure that Caleb's not been left on his own since either.

And Cliff, who got so into his rhythm and his work he didn't even notice he was dead! And so unsure of what he was to do without that work. It was cleverly done by Gabe to find a way to help him move on - and without ruining an ongoing performance at that! A fact from which more good friends were made.

You got nothing to be afraid of going where you're going. You know the good that comes from it, and the good that returns to it, and the good that came from every time you did it right.

You're good Guides. And you'll be better Guardians.
>>
No. 1088225 ID: 8a1605
File 171254381685.png - (216.90KB , 500x700 , 16-93.png )
1088225

The Sender nods and lets his heartbeat steady for a moment before stepping back and try again. Gabe’s feet scuff against the stone as he thrusts his hands forward. He focuses his mind, until it becomes a drill piercing through the realms of magic. The mouse slowly spreads his hands, skinny back muscles working against an impossible, invincible force as he opens a doorway into another place.

“That was a good one.” Kol tells him, stepping up next to his partner. He’s forced to shield his eyes against the intense light streaming through the gate.

“Are we ready?” Casey asks lining up opposite Kol.

Gabe let’s out a breath he’s been holding back and nods “Whatever happens, I’m right there with you guys.” He repeats back to her.

Together the mice cross the threshold of the gate and start walking. The world of the living closes off behind them and they stride into the blinding glare of the spirit realm.
>>
No. 1088230 ID: 273c18

>>1088225
Once you're on the other side take a moment to get used to the mana, and then proceed with caution. Look around, you'll probably find your guide soon enough.
>>
No. 1088235 ID: eb0a9c

Roll Credits!
>>
No. 1088236 ID: f3e128

Well... what do you see?
>>
No. 1088237 ID: fa3034

Nothing short of the biggest step in your lives and you're doing it with your two best friends and lovers.
>>
No. 1088239 ID: b31a26

next chapter!
more seriously, now THIS is a moment of anticipation and anxiety, walking into what can be called the afterlife with chins held high
>>
No. 1088250 ID: 7b65e9

My hype is immeasurable right now.
>>
No. 1088478 ID: 8a1605
File 171279935166.png - (222.87KB , 700x500 , 16-94.png )
1088478

After walking for what seems like an age, the light fades into a strange glow that seems to come from everywhere.

The trio look around to assess their surroundings, finding themselves in a fogbank at the edge of a vast forest of pillars. Unlike trees, their texture is pale and feathered with a white fuzz of growths, and they taper at their base rather than their top. They stretch up into the fog, looming impossibly tall, forming an uneven colonnade that seems to support the heavens themselves.

Small, flickering lights float through the gloom like wayward fireflies. They meander in small groups, following some unseen current that draws them further into the unusual forest.
>>
No. 1088480 ID: 3a8aa9

Oh, huh. I thought it'd be much spacier in here, oh well! Probably keep quiet and start walkin'
>>
No. 1088489 ID: 273c18

>>1088478
Keep moving, follow the lights.
>>
No. 1088505 ID: bcb9b2

those lights... are probably souls, and they seem to know where they're going!
>>
No. 1088509 ID: 273c18

Is that a figure in the distance?
>>
No. 1088510 ID: 184595

Is there anything but to move forward, into the forest?
>>
No. 1088516 ID: f14228

Tracing the path of the lights seem the wisest. Maybe don't touch anything you needn't.
>>
No. 1088542 ID: 8a1605
File 171289050114.png - (140.98KB , 700x500 , 16-95.png )
1088542

Gabe looks to his partners and asks aloud, “Everyone in one piece? What now?”

“Well, Sifr mentioned a guide. But I don’t see anyone.” Kol states, twisting his lip up in thought.

“Should we follow the lights? Wherever we need to go, it seems like it’s through these… trees.” Casey points out.

“Okay, everybody stay close…” Kol says, taking the lead. “Remember: don’t attract attention.”

Together they step into the forest, trying to follow the general flow of the lights.

“You feel that?” Gabe asks, his fur standing up a little as if charged with static.

Casey nods, “I’m tingly. It must be the mana in the air. If it’s affecting us already, it’ll be even more intense the closer in.”

“You know, don’t know what I was expecting, but not this. What even are these things?” Gabe asks, poking a finger towards the strange “Trees”.

“They’re taproots. These trees grow from the elemental plane. Their roots extend down into this realm while their canopy stretches into the feywild.”
>>
No. 1088543 ID: 33044e

gabe dont touch it, it might send mana coursing through your body or kill you

also probably prepare yourselves to be completely overwhelmed with mana, let it flow through you instead of trying to take it all on.
>>
No. 1088544 ID: bcb9b2

wow the worlds are like, stacked? wild
is there any way for you guys to passivly release mana? none of binding, gateing, or spiriting really seem conducive to passive use
>>
No. 1088545 ID: 273c18

>>1088542
Cross-planar organisms? Neat! What other things are there like that/
>>
No. 1088546 ID: fa3034

With a steadily building amount of mana, It will be difficult to disperse that and also not attract attention. We need to be quick here.
>>
No. 1088547 ID: bcb9b2

wait do the taproots draw mana from this plane? they could be a good way of getting rid of mana
>>
No. 1088548 ID: 6ca62f

I'd like to say "don't fuck anything" while we're here, but given the gang's track record, who knows. If it does actually come up, it may, keyword being "may," not be a bad idea.
>>
No. 1088566 ID: 665632

>>1088544
"passivly release mana"
That's an interesting idea. Casey's wings can probably do that. Kol has the puppet body control thing, though I don't imagine it's comfortable to maintain for long. Not sure what sender magic has that effect.

The trees are very interesting. I always look forward to see landscapes and scenes on other planes. They should visit feywild and elementry plane in the future.
>>
No. 1088593 ID: f14228

I imagine deliberately feeding the roots with mana could have some consequence in the fey realm above, though. Should be careful with that as well - at least with channeling too much mana into a single tree, instead spread it out - assuming that's even possible and doesn't do that whole 'attract attention' bit.

Perhaps wait until it becomes urgent to try (but not too urgent)?

You also need to find a guide! Perhaps it would have been a good idea to call on Litany for advice before going? Then again, you don't know the 'old ways' of calling on Angels, do you Gabe?
>>
No. 1088891 ID: 8a1605
File 171324267694.png - (148.36KB , 700x500 , 16-96.png )
1088891

“Wait, how do you know that?” Casey asks, looking at her partner with skepticism. “I’ve never heard of that in all my studies of the feywild.”

“Me?” Kol asks, blinking back surprise. He looks around, as if confused that she’s addressing him. “I was about to ask you the same thing.”

“What? Kol that doesn’t make sense.” Casey turns and demands, “Gabe, which one of use said that thing about the trees?”

The mouse looks back and forth nervously and admits, “I-I don’t know! I wasn’t really paying attention.”

“What? How would you not know? We sound nothing alike!” Casey grumbles.
>>
No. 1088896 ID: c572e3

>>1088891
i think someone might be above you, or below you, or behind you.

whatever the case, i think your guide issues are solved.
>>
No. 1088897 ID: 273c18

>>1088891
Haha I think someone else entirely said that. Perhaps it is our guide? Ask which way you should be going.
>>
No. 1088900 ID: 3e4c55

>>1088891
None of you said that. Theres a 4th person here, but they haven’t revealed themself yet.
>>
No. 1088903 ID: fa3034

We've already been guided to new knowledge. Isn't that something? Greet your guest.
>>
No. 1088905 ID: eb0a9c

Waaait a minute.
I think we're the fourth (et al) persons.

*Deep Breath*
CASEY, YOU REALLY NEED TO GET A HOBBY. EVERY DAY WE SEE YOU ON BREAK, IT'S SEX-SEX-SEX-CHALLENGES-TO-EARN-SEX, EVERY MOMENT ALL THE TIME.
Does I haz your attention, mortal?
>>
No. 1088906 ID: 16423f

WOW that is peak shenanigans, though I also can't believe none of US caught it either, that's pretty damn funny. ANYWAY say hi to the guide... wether or not they have a form, or are an amnbiguous voice in the wind
>>
No. 1088909 ID: 184595

Is that a person-shape emerging between the roots? It might be the promised guide.
>>
No. 1088910 ID: 3a8aa9

Casey breaaathe. Remember, stay calm. Anyway I think it's safe to say that you're not alone here, and why would you be? You're the visitors. What kind of host would leave unattended visitors?
>>
No. 1089059 ID: debc82

>>1088891

Oh hey, voices in the magic plane.

Yeah, we probably should have foreseen that one.
>>
No. 1089074 ID: 8a1605
File 171340065395.png - (50.08KB , 700x500 , 16-97.png )
1089074

“Wait! Hold it!” Casey brings up her palms in a sort of rational wall against confusion. “There’s someone else here, right? Is this some kind of fey trick? You can come out now!”

There’s a shape in the mist: not a solid object, but a void roughly the size of a person.

“You were quick to catch on…” Says someone through Kol’s voice.

“Are- are you our guide?” Casey asks, squinting as she tries to make out any features of the speaker.

“I’m a shepherd of sorts.” Says Gabe’s voice. “The souls tend to get lost amid the roots without my help.”

“Oh, this is going to get confusing.” Kol states, “Nice to meet you. I’m Kol, this is Casey and Gabe.”

“Well met. I take it you’re trying to find the sea of mana and font of souls?” Says the guide through Casey’s voice.”
>>
No. 1089075 ID: 16423f

trying to find the sea and mana and souls half-quickly, both to not suffer from the mana, and because we don't got much time up top
>>
No. 1089077 ID: 8b8c72

>>1089074
Right on the first try!
Would it be so kind as to guide us there?
We're a bit pressed for time.
>>
No. 1089082 ID: c65741

I suppose you're the one that tells us to be disturbingly vague about everything that happens down here? And we are trying to find the sea, but we're also here to seek wisdom from the uh... Big guys. Are we allowed to say their title down here?
>>
No. 1089085 ID: eb0a9c

"Okay, so can you draw a diagram? Like everyone else, we'd like a map, but you know better than us of how complicated it gets around here, so we just need a simplified model of which conceptual areas are connected strongly."
>>
No. 1089155 ID: 8a1605
File 171348825394.png - (177.25KB , 700x500 , 16-98.png )
1089155

“Can you help us?” Casey asks the figure, “We’re running short on time. There’s people back on our plane that are counting on us.”

“I’ll take you as far as I can.” They respond, this time as Gabe. “But you are to tell no one of what you learn here.”

“We understand.” Casey nods, “Um, what should we call you?”

“You shouldn’t.” The voice responds, before sliding back into the fog, “Follow me.”

The mice scurry after them, trying to keep the stranger in sight: something easier said than done. Between the ever-present fog and shifting light of the lost souls, following the invisible figure requires constant attention.
>>
No. 1089166 ID: fa3034

>>1089155
Be very careful not to get separated.
>>
No. 1089167 ID: 273c18

>>1089155
To your left, Casey.
>>
No. 1089168 ID: b3eab7

>>1089166
This. In fact, holding hands might be a good idea.
>>
No. 1089185 ID: eb0a9c

Tie your tails together
>>
No. 1089421 ID: 8a1605
File 171383136483.png - (185.15KB , 700x500 , 16-99.png )
1089421

“Everyone stay close! Last thing we need is someone getting lost.” Casey reaches out for her partners and clasps Kol’s hand.

“Wait, where’s Gabe?” She asks.

Kol looks around, trying to peer through the haze of mana, “He was just here a minute ago.”
>>
No. 1089422 ID: 273c18

>>1089421
Perhaps you can ask your guide?
>>
No. 1089425 ID: c5249f

Surely he didn't go too far in the two panels that you last saw him in, being right before you ran into them.
>>
No. 1089426 ID: 124485

>>1089421
Perhaps this is a test? Perhaps you're all supposed to be separated and taken to individual trials that you must pass and you’ll meet up again later?
>>
No. 1089429 ID: eb0a9c

Tie the tails before you go off in search.
>>
No. 1089433 ID: b3eab7

Before anything else, yell at the guide to wait, otherwise you'll be split up and stranded.
>>
No. 1089435 ID: 665632

Could be purely coincidental, but--
>>1088542
First frame when the guide first spoke, it is using Kol's voice; Kol's not in the frame.
>>1089074
Second frame when the guide showed itself, it used all three mice voices alternatively, while none of them were in the frame.
>>1089155
Casey chased the guide in this frame, while it responded with Gabe's voice, who's again not shown.
>>
No. 1089482 ID: 184595

This may be an opportunity to see how benevolent your guide is. Will it stop, so you can find Gabe? Will it urge you onwards, regardless? Come what may, don't let go of each other's hands, and don't abandon your Sender. Its the strength of your intimacy that has seen you here, and it would be a rank betrayal to ignore that now.
>>
No. 1089555 ID: 8a1605
File 171392319784.png - (221.34KB , 700x600 , 16-100.png )
1089555

“He can’t have gone far, right?” Kol says, looking in every direction. “Is this some kind of test?”

“I don’t know, but if we don’t do something we’re going to lose our guide!” Casey squints, trying to spot the translucent shape moving through the trees. “Hey! Wait up! Someone’s missing!” She calls out.

“Fuck! What do we do?” Kol asks.

The Binder frowns and comes to a conclusion. A glow extends from her tail and wraps around his. “Go find him. I’ll run ahead and try to get our guide to stop. Tug on the tendril once if you find him and twice if you need help.”
>>
No. 1089563 ID: 7e6fd4

Oo that's a pretty good solution! If not for the fact that you're expending mana by doing that. Watch them tentacles, make sure they don't go out of control!
>>
No. 1089569 ID: 273c18

We really don't have to worry about expending mana in here. Quite the opposite. However, we also can't attract attention by spending it in flashy ways.

Alright Kol needs to try retracing our steps while Casey follows the guide.
>>
No. 1089575 ID: fa3034

Given the nature of this place I don't think there's a safe spot for Kol to project. Just focus on the feeling of the binding magic. If it falters or your tail goes numb, be very careful.
>>
No. 1089587 ID: 184595

This is a trial that Casey's abilities are proving adept for; will there be other trials for Kol and Gabe? In the meantime, I think that Casey's tendrils could prove even more useful; could she send them out as feelers to try to give Gabe something to hold onto so she can reel him in?
>>
No. 1089709 ID: 8a1605
File 171409353447.png - (145.16KB , 700x481 , 16-101.png )
1089709

Casey takes off after the guide, waving her arm and trying to catch their attention. “Hey! Stop! Wait up!”

There’s no response from the invisible entity as it continues to bob through the fog.

“Spite me!” Casey seethes through her teeth. The Binder takes off in a dead run, silently thankful for Delilah’s training as her legs pump frantically.

Despite her efforts, the mouse finds herself no closer to the guide. As if trapped in Xeno’s paradox, the little hole in the fog continues on out of reach.
>>
No. 1089710 ID: 8a1605
File 171409354025.png - (148.90KB , 500x700 , 16-102.png )
1089710

Kol tests the drag of the binding spell before setting off to retrace their steps. Trying not to overlook anything, he takes his time, looking around every root for his partner. “Gabe! Gabe, where are you? Come on, man!”

His ears perk up as Gabe’s voice comes drifting through the fog. Sounding oddly distant, the Sender calls, “Kol?! Over here!”
>>
No. 1089712 ID: c21ceb

Casey, save your breath. If you're not getting any closer while running, it may be a trick of the eyes, like a rainbow. Also don't yell and draw attention. Maybe hide if applicable. And Kol, Stay on your guard! That might not be Gabe. If they can mimic voices, there may be any other entities.
>>
No. 1089714 ID: 273c18

Anything you can do to see better, or hear better, Kol?
>>
No. 1089719 ID: fdd26b

Could be a formless voice, could be space fuckery, through a few questions that way, where are you what does it looks like what did we do yesterday etc.
>>
No. 1089722 ID: fa3034

Open your senses. Focus. Is that truly him? Or just the fuzzy memory of him, like a dream?
>>
No. 1089724 ID: b3eab7

Approach carefully, Kol. This can be Gabe, or not.
>>
No. 1089729 ID: 7c1f1c

Kol has a lifeline, and we must trust in our lifeline; we pass or fail this trial as a unit. Having no other leads, I think it safe to trust our lifeline, and explore towards the voice. As you move to it, it can move to you; encourage it to do so. But in the midst of such bewildering magicks, a measure of caution is still warranted; speak to the voice of things only Gabe would know, and see how it responds.
>>
No. 1089734 ID: a172c6

Of course all of you are panicking. All the Guardians before you had to take this test, but they're not allowed to talk about it, so all three of you have come in here blind on what's supposed to happen. It probably hasn't occurred to any of you that this is supposed to happen!

Sifr specifically told you that you'll find a guide and they’ll tell you what happens next.

The Guide told you to follow them, which you currently are not doing! All you need to focus on is following the Guide, not searching for Gabe. In fact, he's probably already out of this forest and both Kol and Casey are the ones that are lost, not the other way around.

Sifr also told you to not draw attention to yourselves and I'm pretty sure running around screaming for Gabe is attracting a lot of unwanted attention right about now!

Remember: This is all part of the test to become Guardians, which you are currently failing!

Stop looking for Gabe and just follow the Guide. It doesn't matter if you get split up because you will eventually meet back up later!
>>
No. 1089741 ID: 124485

>>1089710
The spell on Kol's tail kinda looks ike it's been cut. I think something might have broken Casey's spell and they've been separated.

>>1089734
>Sifr said don't draw attention to yourselves
>called for Gabe is drawing attention
I think Casey using her magic might also draw attention that we don't want.
>>
No. 1089811 ID: 8a1605
File 171418317031.png - (109.09KB , 700x500 , 16-103.png )
1089811

“Gabe, is that you?” Kol calls back, worrying about Sifr’s warning.

“Yeah! Its me!” Gabe’s voice replies.

“… Prove it! The guide uses our voices, right?” Kol demands.

“What? Er… okay, how about this: this morning you and Raithe spit-roasted me while everyone else watched!” Comes the reply.

“Yep, that works! Hang on!” Kol nods and hurries in the direction of the voice.

He comes around the curve of a root and finds the Sender looking confused. “Dude, where’d you guys go?”

“We were following the Guide! What happened to you?”

Gabe points at an invisible figure a few dozen feet away and says, “So was I.”
>>
No. 1089812 ID: c21ceb

Oh that's... confusing. Are they personalized? Is there something tricking Gabe? But maybe they're each off to confront one of the fates?
>>
No. 1089814 ID: bcb9b2

Do not forget that this is a Trial, you three musketeers are gonna be tested, this is the first.
Hey Kol you should Signal Casey now
>>
No. 1089815 ID: bcb9b2

wait will Casey even know to turn around? will the guide guide her back to us? ...Maybe gabe should try using the tether to make a portal to her? or should these to try to run/gate to her?
>>
No. 1089838 ID: 273c18

>>1089811
Hmm. Well, you can follow both. Go with Gabe while Casey follows her guide. If either of you reach the destination then the tether can be used to guide the missing person(s).
>>
No. 1089841 ID: 791ade

Was it ever specified there only would be one Guide?

Maybe you all got one each.

Still, you could have some insurance. Tie a loop of Casey’s binding to Gabe.
>>
No. 1089856 ID: f4beea

>signal Casey
According to what >>1089741 said, the spell on Kol's tail looked like it was already broken and it's possible that we've been separated from Casey already.

But I don't know if that's true or not.

>>1089811
>Gabe points at invisible figure
>claims he was following Guide
I think the point of this is to separate everyone so they can take their own test and trying to stick together is running out the invisible time limit that Sifr implied we had in this place.
>>
No. 1089975 ID: 184595

I'm worried about splitting up. These are the three bi mice, who always see each other through difficult situations. And Spirit Guardians always come in a set of three—has there ever been two who passed the trial, but a third who did not?

I hold that this is a test of sticking together, and we will pass it by resisting the proctors' efforts to split the team up. I don't think the lifeline to Casey is yet broken; the same glob of magic holding the lifeline to her tail is still affixed to Kol's, last we saw it. In this test, it is the power of the Binders that sees us through.

But it's sure that our time is short, and we should gather Gabe and rush back to Casey's side.
>>
No. 1090024 ID: 8a1605
File 171443797273.png - (162.23KB , 500x700 , 16-104.png )
1090024

“Wait, are there two guides?” Kol asks, blinking away shock.

“I never took my eyes off them.” Gabe insists, “I didn’t even realize you guys were gone until a minute ago.”

“Man, what the fuck is going on?” Kol clicks his tongue in frustration. “We should probably get moving. Shouting like that probably attracted attention, right?”

“Yeah, but what about Casey? Is she okay?”

“Oh, right!” Kol tugs on his tail, stretching the binding spell taut for a moment. ”She’s following the Guide too. At least I hope she is.”

“So what do we do now?” Gabe asks, looking anxious.

“If we’re following fae rules, we need to follow the guide above all else. I’ll stick with you, I guess, and we’ll hopefully meet up with Case on the other end of this forest.” Kol holds his hand out and Gabe takes it. “Hopefully we don’t get split up again.”
>>
No. 1090025 ID: fa3034

>>1090024
Give each other a repetitive hand squeeze as you follow. If the rhythm is interrupted, be wary.
>>
No. 1090026 ID: 3a8aa9

I don't think the forest is trying to trick you, I think this is a test of overcoming whatever's thrown at you, not anticipating it.
>>
No. 1090027 ID: eb0a9c

Once again, tie tails.
Remember to yank your tail once like Casey said!
>>
No. 1090111 ID: 8a1605
File 171461256025.png - (138.50KB , 700x500 , 16-105.png )
1090111

Having felt Kol’s tug at her aura, Casey slows down. The mouse opts to conserve her energy, as long as the guide remains perpetually out of reach. Taking deep breaths, she calms her heartbeat and lets the rush of adrenaline fade.

She kicks herself mentally a little, knowing that this is the kind of trick fae like to pull on guests: assuming the guide is even a fae.

After what seems like entirely too much walking, the mouse finds herself at the edge of the great rooted forest and looks around. The glow of mana is even brighter ahead and there’s some kind of shimmer in the air that’s hard to discern.

“Casey! Hey!” Gabe’s voice catches her attention and she turns to see her partners emerging from the mist.
>>
No. 1090115 ID: fa3034

>>1090111
Link back up but be mindful not to lose sight of your guide.
>>
No. 1090120 ID: 273c18

Is that really your tether? Confirm it.
>>
No. 1090147 ID: bcb9b2

you should probably tether Gabe as well, so you aren't stuck holding hands the whole time, you probably need those hands for something sooner or later
>>
No. 1090167 ID: 8a1605
File 171469812651.png - (185.78KB , 700x500 , 16-106.png )
1090167

Casey waves and eyes the pair cautiously, “Wait, how do I know you guys are really Kol and Gabe?”

Kol reaches back and tugs on his tail. Casey feels a corresponding tug at her own tail and accepts that as suitable evidence. “How about Gabe?”

“Yeah, its him.” Kol confirms.

“Yup, I told him about how earlier he was spitroasting me with Raithe, while you were in the middle of a Miki sandwich.” Gabe replies.

“Yeah, that tracks.“ The mouse nods, confident in her knowledge of her partner. She extends another binding tendril, connecting the trio together by the tail, “What happened? How’d we get split up?” Casey asks.

“I don’t know. Gabe was apparently following the guide the whole time, so I just stuck with him.” Kol shrugs. “Maybe there are two guides?”

“Speaking of. Where’d our guide go now?” Gabe asks, looking around. Ahead of them, the roots seem to thin out, revealing a vast pallid-grey sea of dunes. The lost souls waft out over the desert , headed towards some kind of strange glitter on the horizon.
>>
No. 1090168 ID: 273c18

I don't think you need them anymore. Head towards the glitter.
>>
No. 1090171 ID: 3a8aa9

It could be a bad thing that we lost the one part of this journey that we were warned of/were expecting but it'll probably be fine.

Also maybe don't go towards that glitter. If dead folks are going there, then that means you're on the wrong path.
>>
No. 1090183 ID: 7c1f1c

"The only way out is through;" a Spirit Guardian is one who has walked the paths of the dead. If our guide has left now that the mice are out of the forest of roots, then there is nowhere else to go but forward, following the flight of souls.

But do try to be cafeful--you don't want to draw too much attention to yourselves.
>>
No. 1090187 ID: bcb9b2

how did we get here? the answer is did you expect a plane more or less made of mana to be stable.
the soul trail is still the best bet, in lieu of the guide, who we might meet again, or might not. Onward!
>>
No. 1090188 ID: fa3034

>>1090167
That's quite the long walk. But would using a gate be wise?
>>
No. 1090373 ID: 8a1605
File 171492863496.png - (190.92KB , 500x700 , 16-107.png )
1090373

There’s a squeal and a crunch behind them. They turn to see something horrible and leggy being impaled by a giant talon. The clawed foot peeks out from underneath a cloak or a wing that seems to shed light off of it like water off of a duck.
>>
No. 1090374 ID: 8a1605
File 171492864087.png - (111.28KB , 500x700 , 16-108.png )
1090374

The mice follow the edge of the shape upwards and realize that what they’re looking at. Standing right next to them is their guide.

“Seems like you were followed.” They say in Kol’s voice. “Ah, that happens.”
>>
No. 1090377 ID: 3a8aa9

Oh! thank you guide, let's not stray too far from the guide this time, and keep your wits about you.
>>
No. 1090378 ID: fa3034

>>1090374
Show respect, thank them for being your guide.
>>
No. 1090390 ID: 273c18

Dang, we never heard that thing behind us? I guess we need to be more alert.
Thank your guide/savior and ask which way you should go next.
>>
No. 1090394 ID: 43bc19

I’m almost afraid to ask what that thing would have done to Gabe. Was it some sort of demon?
>>
No. 1090416 ID: 7cbed7

Perhaps this is the thing that Gabe was following, having been misled, and it followed him out after Kol changed his course. Fortunate, in any case, that our guide was here to take care of it.

And this guide--it's in Binder colors. Is this a presence Casey knows, if only by reputation? A word of thanks may be appropriate, but it's probably best not to pry. We must speed the mission forward as discreetly as possible.
>>
No. 1090422 ID: b491ec

um, excuse? good to know there are living(?) things here that aren't maybe a fate, though one wouldn't think so given... souls go here, not even to stay
>>
No. 1090506 ID: 613a07

>>873010
Uh, folks, I think we might actually have just encountered our
first of the Fates: “ MINERVA, the moon, preserver” (appearance tracks: a huge white owl, see the post referenced above in Chapter 4 https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/872282.html )

In this case, what seems to ace been preserved is Gabe’s ass, perhaps from whatever spite is left of Muir in this realm if my intuition is right.

Ask if your guide is known amongst mortals by the name, or serves, Minerva, and what they mean by “followed”? Followed through the gate just now, or followed in a broader sense?
>>
No. 1090612 ID: 8a1605
File 171522230548.png - (163.54KB , 500x700 , 16-109.png )
1090612

“There’s things living down here?!” Kol asks, once the shock wears off. He eyes the carcass of the thing, which appears to be oozing liquid mana from its broken exoskeleton.

“A few.” Comes the reply in Gabe’s voice, “It’s a harsh environment, so they tend to be… robust. Most are benign, but some take interest in travelers. I would take care if I were you.”

“Uh… sorry, but was… was all of that a test?” Casey asks, reeling from seeing the immensity of the guide.

“All what?” Comes the reply in Kol’s voice.

“Uh, us getting separated and lost? Finding one another again?”

The voice that replies is her own and it seems slightly amused, “No, you did that to yourselves. I don’t know why you people worry so much. After all, I’m always nearby.”
>>
No. 1090613 ID: 17abec

I'm curious as to why she used our voices for a while there, but I'll just chalk it up to vague mischievous entity reasons. Let's get back to the task at hand though, I'm sure there's no time to waste. Unless time moves slowly down here or what have you. Is she the all-knowing all-seeing kind of ethereal entity or do we have to fill her in on the barghast situation?
>>
No. 1090616 ID: d87606

If we did that to ourselves, then it's to us not to do it again. Stay close; make use of Casey's tether, hold hands or tie tails if you have to.

But do ask the guide if we might speed along. As fascinating as the experience is, we don't have much time to indulge our curiosity.
>>
No. 1090618 ID: fa3034

Sorry, it's a mortal thing to worry. Now that we're together again, where to?
>>
No. 1090619 ID: 273c18

"nearby". That's why Casey couldn't keep up, because Minerva decides to always be at a set distance from any mortal in the Spirit Realm. A kind of omnipresence, I suppose.

Anyway, ask where you're going next. Follow the souls?
>>
No. 1090663 ID: 64f49c

"always nearby" is definitally a little weird, still think "guide" is a Fate posing as a sheet ghost. well at least we can't get seperated again.
...it would probably be a Very good idea for Kol to ask if he can use his spirit magic here safely
>>
No. 1090710 ID: 8a1605
File 171539079786.png - (155.31KB , 700x500 , 16-110.png )
1090710

“Oh fuck. You- you’re one of the Fates…” Casey stares, stepping back as realization finally hits. “M-M-M-“

The figure turns and two eyes open, revealing a pair of blazing, golden rings that burn with the radiance of the sun. The intensity of their focus sweeps over the mice like a scythe, rendering them mute as pillars of salt.

After a few moments, the eyes shut, mercifully hiding themselves behind the veil of invisibility.

A voice quite unlike anything spoken by a mortal advises, “You might want to keep moving, unless you intend to stay here…” It sounds like a silence followed by a brief squeak in the dark, or the snap of jaws around a neck, or a last breath beneath a snake’s coils. It is the voice of death itself.
>>
No. 1090715 ID: 17abec

Well that's about how meeting god would go, yeah? Yeah. Let's follow god's advice.
>>
No. 1090716 ID: fa3034

Yes. Of course. Let's, do that..

Remember to breathe, everyone
>>
No. 1090717 ID: 273c18

>>1090710
We're probably going to be meeting each of them in this journey. Also, that was MUUT, not MINERVA. The "absence" we've been seeing was mistaken for the white feathers of MINERVA. ...heh, death is always close, isn't it?

Get moving. Respectfully.
>>
No. 1090718 ID: 17abec

Damn, there really was a muut to this point
>>
No. 1090719 ID: 64f49c

oh
WELL, that was intense, at least we will be able to try bracing ourselves for the other two
we REALLY should get going, anyhow
>>
No. 1090725 ID: 21ba3c

I'm guessing it's probably not a good idea to try and speak their names. Not here. Names have power.
>>
No. 1090742 ID: 124485

>>1090710
This is why Uncle Sifr said that you're not supposed to talk about anything when you leave this place.

Also, it seems like they don't want you to say their name.
>>
No. 1090751 ID: bcb9b2

Not sure how you would describe them, if were you allowed
>>
No. 1090754 ID: eb0a9c

That does not look like any of the original ménage a trois.

Moving on!
>>
No. 1090767 ID: 184595

As you dash away, don't forget to hold hands. Staying together will be what gets you through this ordeal.
>>
No. 1090882 ID: 8a1605
File 171564797197.png - (93.20KB , 700x362 , 16-111.png )
1090882

“Y-yes sir! Er, y-your honor! Er your Fatedness!” Casey squeaks, and the trio retreat in a scramble. They slide and half-tumble down a dune, trying to get away from the Fate of Death’s lair.

As they escape, the voice of the Fate follows them, as though spoken just over their shoulders. “Head for the lights, towards the Palace of Memories.”

When they finally stop running, they look back to see no sign of Muut. With his duty fulfilled, the Fate seems to have left to stalk other prey.
>>
No. 1090883 ID: 17abec

Oh heavens the palace of memories, that sounds like a place that's gonna get in our heads and tempt us with sex and/or exposition (sexposition?)

Anyway that Muut guy was kinda spooky, but surely that was the worst of the fates, right?
>>
No. 1090884 ID: eb0a9c

I think it's going to tempt us with crazy fantasies, tricking us into getting distracted so we stop guiding the team.
>>
No. 1090895 ID: fa3034

Don't push yourselves too hard. Death has passed. Keep a brisk but manageable pace. Be proud you met one of the Fates.
>>
No. 1090896 ID: 273c18

>>1090882
Well this part of the trip should be more straightforward. Refresh your memory on how to recognize the Fates, keep watch on the sand dunes for any weird creatures, and move towards the lights.
>>
No. 1090897 ID: 273c18

In particular, watch your step Gabe. Something's weird about that sand you're stepping on.
>>
No. 1090929 ID: 7b65e9

Don't forget to walk without rythm!
For death, he was quite civil.
I recommend making sure the "ariadne's thread" is still tied around you three. You never know
>>
No. 1090932 ID: bcb9b2

I'd say try not to let any paranoia lead you astray, nothing else is quite as good as destroying you as you.
Palace of Memories... seems like the name of a place that you reflect all that has happened to you, combine that with the fact Muut has left you alone and there is likely another Fate in there waiting for you, only question is which?
...not much of a question, given the nature of this next place is so closely Minerva, for how could we understand without Memory, and Melek Taus is the last stop on the journey through here, governing creation and presumably recreation
>>
No. 1091028 ID: 8a1605
File 171582574159.png - (128.45KB , 700x384 , 16-112.png )
1091028

“Okay, lesson learned: don’t say the Fate’s names.” Casey says on the behalf of the group.

Gabe catches his breath, hunched over with his hands on his knees. “Didn’t think they’d be so touchy about it.”

“Well, names are power.” Casey explains, “And power attracts attention.”

“Don’t draw attention. Got it.” Gabe sighs, sitting up.

“How about it, Gabe? Think you can gate us over there?” Kol points towards the horizon and the strange lights.

The Sender nods and waves his hands, opening a gate for them.

As they land on the other side, gate closes with a thunderclap that seems to echo oddly across the desert.

“Huh, weird. I thought I got the distance right.” Gabe says to himself, as he looks out over the sand. Its still impossible to pick out details, but the distant shapes seem to look like a collection of towers, or buildings.
>>
No. 1091035 ID: 273c18

>>1091028
The desert is probably messing with your senses. The thunderclap might attract attention too, but... I'm not sure we have much of a choice considering we're pressed for time. Can't just walk all the way there can we?

...could the shapes be shadows cast by something smaller than you think? Look lower in the dunes.
>>
No. 1091039 ID: fa3034

>>1091028
Almost seems you could just reach out and touch it.
>>
No. 1091041 ID: 124485

>>1091028
Perhaps this is part of the test? You might have to get there the old fashioned way, with no using portals for shortcuts.
>>
No. 1091043 ID: dcda60

may be a case of optical illusion, may want to experiment a bit, you can look through a portal without going through yeah? open one up above and look through it, much more likely to see truth
>>
No. 1091057 ID: debc82

>>1091028

I suspect "distance" here isn't normal. You might not be able to necessarily calculate this one, so much as feel it out.

Gates were old fey magic, were they not? Perhaps its time to try and understand their very foundations.
>>
No. 1091099 ID: 7c1f1c

Space may be different here, or the look of things confusing. Can Gabe look back and identify where the mice came from? It might be possible to recalibrate his intuition, if so.

If things are indeed farther away than they appear, it might be prudent to use at least one more gate to get near the Palace, given the need for expedience, but approaching it on foot once you're near enough for the sound to be noticeable would be the most likely to avoid undue attention.
>>
No. 1091163 ID: 8a1605
File 171599531254.png - (109.55KB , 700x500 , 16-113.png )
1091163

“I’m guessing that space works differently here than on our plane.” Casey glowers at the distant palace as if it had offended her. “There’s gotta be a way to get there quicker, right?”

There’s a rumbling in the distance as a dune heaves up and then sinks. The phenomenon travels in a line, headed towards them as something massive burrows through the sand.
>>
No. 1091169 ID: 17abec

well whatever way you want to get there, you may want to do it quietly. Or hitch a ride, whatever you guys are gutsy enough to do.
>>
No. 1091171 ID: 273c18

I think we're gonna need to ride that worm. Casey can bind it, Gabe should be able to make a portal for everyone to get on its back.
>>
No. 1091175 ID: fa3034

Ride it, ride it, ride it
Or at the very least, portal away if gets too close
>>
No. 1091196 ID: 184595

This is what happens when you walk rhythimcally!

If we're gonna ride the worm, we're gonna need hooks. Can Casey provide those? Failing that, another jump might be in order, to speed the mice toward the Palace. If the previous jump is any indication, Gabe should feel free to overshoot.
>>
No. 1091216 ID: 7b65e9

Bless the Maker and his coming
You guys should absolutely tie yourself to each other right now. I believe the terrain is about toe get unstable.
>>
No. 1091529 ID: 8a1605
File 171634349243.png - (186.34KB , 700x500 , 16-114.png )
1091529

“Okay! Time to go!” Gabe yelps, ripping open another gate.

As they land on the other side, the boom of the closing gate causes the grains of sand around them to dance like rice on a drum. A distant roar echoes back in response.

“Shit! Its the gates! The sound is alerting them!” Kol shouts.

Gabe checks their location and swears, “And we’re still miles off from the palace. Every gate seems shorter. Its like the space is harder and harder to push through.” He turns to the others, his face pale and worried. “What do we do?”

“If they’re drawn to the sound, maybe we can use that.“ Casey suggests.
>>
No. 1091530 ID: dcda60

from what side does the gate unleash its mighty CRACK, both? that would make things difficult, simplest plan is to use 2 sets of gates, one set, with increasingly large distances so it would seem, for transport, another set simply to lure the IT away. but how shall you time the gates? Depends on how the IT behaves, learn quick!
>>
No. 1091532 ID: 273c18

Oh I see. Yeah, you're going to need to make distraction gates. Draw off the worm with a pair of gates, and then once it's a good ways away you can make some gates for travel. You might also want to try figuring out how the math needs to be adjusted? Try opening one further out than you think is required. Aim to the side of the "city" if you're worried about slicing things. Or, I don't suppose it's possible to figure out how to make a quieter gate?
>>
No. 1091536 ID: 17abec

Yeah but that's only if they're attracted to the sound. They could be attracted to mana manipulation in general, given the abundance. I mean, in such a strange place, what predator couldn't sense the mana around them shifting? If you're feeling up to it, maybe try using Casey's tentacles to distract (or somehow wrangle) the worm?
>>
No. 1091546 ID: fa3034

The solution might be portal heavy and I don't know if Gabe will have enough mana for that. We should try to be as economical as we can with our placements.
>>
No. 1091597 ID: 8a1605
File 171643726761.png - (156.16KB , 700x418 , 16-115.png )
1091597

Gabe picks a nearby hill and creates a pair of gates a few feet apart. The double “boom” of thunder echoes out over the dunes, and within a few minutes, A massive creature converges on it.

The beast erupts out of the sand in an explosion of teeth and scales, coiling blindly in search of food. As the mice watch silently, the worm rapidly gulps down a mountain of sand, hoping to capture some wayward creature in its gullet.

The sandworm continues to probe for food, inching closer to the trio, seemingly unaware of their presence. Just as it turns to leave, a gate opens above its back and the mice drop into position.

Casey’s tendrils unfurl like long whips, anchoring themselves under the creature’s upper jaw as she wrestles for control.
>>
No. 1091601 ID: fa3034

The others should support Casey maintain her grip but more so than that, all three of you should keep your balance. This thing WILL wip around to shake you off. Can Kol help control this thing spiritually?
>>
No. 1091602 ID: 273c18

>>1091597
Alright, Kol, lend your strength to Casey. Help with the steering, you're the one with the raw physical strength here.
>>
No. 1091622 ID: 17abec

hell yeah, yeeeeeeehaw
>>
No. 1091638 ID: 7b65e9

Giddy up!!
>>
No. 1091792 ID: 8a1605
File 171668693643.png - (212.96KB , 500x700 , 16-116.png )
1091792

“You got it, Case?” Kol asks before a tendril wraps around him and Gabe, lashing them all together.

Casey huffs and leans back, her feet digging into the rough scales for purchase. “Strong bastard! Could use a hand!”

Kol’s spirit steps out of his body and drifts beside her, connecting with her aura to help reel in the beast.

The binder gives the worm a yank and it slowly heels over to one side, giving it a straight path to the distant palace.
>>
No. 1091795 ID: 17abec

hey be sure to hold on to Kol's body! Don't leave that behind with all the spirits around, I'm sure they're itching for a vessel
>>
No. 1091797 ID: 6f9444

>>1091795 there's also the fact it might fall off if not held onto
Poor Gabe is just stuck here being terrified, maybe holding Kol's body but unable to do much
Unless he has enough Mana and Stamina to Gate a Sandworm, Given the Plane he may have the mana if he pushes himself, but I don't know how long the Sandworm, thus the time the Gate needs to be open, is
>>
No. 1091802 ID: 273c18

Doing good. Just keep everyone on the worm, and get off once you get close to the city since you don't want to crash into anything that would be rude.
>>
No. 1091810 ID: fa3034

>>1091638
Careful not to cut up your feet on said rough scales. Bloody soles and sand is not a fun combo. Take a knee if you need to keep balance.
>>
No. 1091913 ID: 8a1605
File 171684944373.png - (54.45KB , 700x351 , 16-117.png )
1091913

“Gabe! Give it some motivation!” Casey orders from over her shoulder.

A moment later, more thunder rings out over the sand-scape and the great leviathan takes off like an arrow. The mice hang on gamely as dunes are cut in two by their passing, sending up grainy clouds in their wake.

As they travel, they pass by countless floating souls, drifting on the unseen river of mana. Occasionally a fully formed soul flits by in a blur; turning to watch with a vague, unconcerned confusion.

Getting closer, the mice feel a tingle under their skin as the density of raw magic intensifies.
>>
No. 1091917 ID: 6f9444

well, definately heading towards the sea of mana
you can almost make out the shapes! definetly bright though
>>
No. 1091918 ID: 273c18

Huh, are those mortals in the cloaks?
>>
No. 1091930 ID: fa3034

Our mana economy is about to get flooded.

On an unrelated note, I wonder if Gabe has access to his heart space in here
>>
No. 1092049 ID: 8a1605
File 171703023697.png - (112.30KB , 700x500 , 16-118.png )
1092049

“You see that?” Gabe asks, pointing at the figures behind them. “Were those people?”

“Hard to say!” Casey shouts over the roar of rushing sand. “Couldn’t tell!”

The shape of the Memory Palace draws closer over a hour or two of travel. As details become clearer, they realize its not actually a structure: rather, its a array of glass or crystal panes suspended in midair. The collection moves slowly; creating a brilliant, kaleidoscopic effect that lights up the pallid air. A strange sound thrums through the air and into their bones, as if someone were running a finger around a wineglass several miles wide.

As they get close, the sandworm seems to react, pulling at its reins and attempting to turn away.
>>
No. 1092057 ID: 17abec

I'd say you're close enough to dismount the worm. Do a quick headcount before you go anywhere though, don't want to leave anyone.
>>
No. 1092060 ID: 273c18

Yeah time to get off I think.
>>
No. 1092067 ID: b491ec

well, if it doesn't want to be here that means it probably won't eat you, but maybe don't use a portal to get off anyways
now to see if it really is a sort of Hall of Mirrors
>>
No. 1092069 ID: fa3034

>>1092049
Time for clean getaway! Uncertain how safe it is to place a portal in front of you and have you guys jump into it as the worm gets closer. Might be safer to just hop off the side and hope the worm turns away.
>>
No. 1092116 ID: 184595

Dismiss the hooks, and let the worm on its way. It may be a harsh tumble on the sand as it submerges; a rolling dismount could soften the blow. The increasing mana is a good sign that the ultimate goal, a wealth of mana, is at hand; in its path, the Palace awaits.

But a palace of memory? We've glimpsed briefly only Gabe's. Will the troubles of his childhood return to his mind? Will the others be forced to grapple with similar problems from their past?
>>
No. 1092163 ID: 124485

>>1092049
Don't forget to grab Kol's body when you jump off!
>>
No. 1092223 ID: 8a1605
File 171720018265.png - (206.59KB , 700x500 , 16-119.png )
1092223

“Should be safe at this point. Come on.” Casey releases the sandworm from her bridle and it turns to leave. The mice clamber down the creature’s flank and roll off into the dunes.

Gabe dusts himself off and waves a goodbye. “Thanks for the lift!”

The trio hike up and down the sand dunes, approaching the Memory Palace. As they draw closer, they notice that the density of drifting souls increases: clustering around the transparent structure like moths drawn to a flame.

The sand around them hisses from constant movement as panes of glass slowly rise out of the dunes to join the hovering swarm.

Looking around, the mice realize they aren’t alone: more cloaked figures meander around the maze of glass, taking individual panes and studying them before letting them float back into position.
>>
No. 1092225 ID: eb0a9c

In some ways, this is the point of life. Creating stories for future generations to read, enjoying them, and repeating the cycle in different ways.
Now, the problem is that there's no general instruction manual, so importance gets overwritten with whimsy, and far too often.

>What do
Read a pane, then etch a story of your own in turn.
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No. 1092226 ID: 6f9444

try looking into the planes both individually and as a group, see if you see anything. Still try to keep moving though
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No. 1092256 ID: f01d22

Wonder if the gang is liable to run into anyone they know here. In spite of what we've been led to believe, it seems that some souls do indeed maintain their individuality after crossing over.
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No. 1092273 ID: 17abec

This seems like a well of infinite knowledge that would really sting to try to understand, maybe it's a log of everything everyone's ever done? The "Book of Life" so to speak?
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No. 1092403 ID: 8a1605
File 171754661022.png - (146.39KB , 500x700 , 16-120.png )
1092403

Casey reaches out and plucks a pane of glass from its place among the others. She stares into it as though using a scrying crystal and the surface erupts into the image of a person running through a forest.

She grabs another, which reveals a couple making love.

She grabs a third, which shows someone losing a hand of poker.

“It's memories! It's the recorded memories of everyone who ever lived!” She gasps, looking around at the vast constellation of crystal.

“Look!” Kol points at a drifting soul as its smoothly intercepted by a blank square of glass. The transparent surface flashes with a brief exchange of mana before it sails off to take its place among the millions of other recorded lifetimes.

“So much knowledge…” Casey whispers as her eyes light up with potential. “So many answers…”
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No. 1092405 ID: c8380b

Who are the cloaked figures? Are they searching for answers themselves? They couldn't possibly hope to find something specific in an infinite library of mortal lifetimes.

Memories here have been recorded from souls that have already been purged of spite. Would this make the collection incomplete? Ask one of the attendants if you can collect an empty pane to see how they react to spiteful memories later.
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No. 1092406 ID: 17abec

This is the sort of place you could get sucked into. But while you're here...

You might as well look for people you know, such as Allayne, Adrian, Clay, Moot, and Muir?
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No. 1092411 ID: c38708

>>1092403
But what good is a library if you can't search or narrow results? There might might be a way but there might not..
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No. 1092414 ID: 6919a5

>>1092403
Get a hold of yourself Casey. As fun as it would be to look through everything, you don't have the time for it.

You need to continue on with your test to become Guardians!
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No. 1092416 ID: eb0a9c

Don't break anything.

Who created all this? The Fates? It's too automated towards mortal interests to be a natural occurrence...
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No. 1092437 ID: f01d22

So much knowledge and so many answers, but without a way to find what you're looking for specifically, it's worthless. You'd just be sifting through random memories of random people. It would be best not to fall into the trap of trying to hunt through it all. Remember what we're here for.
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No. 1092448 ID: 273c18

>>1092403
Casey we can't stay here. We have to keep moving.
Let it go. Maybe you can come back someday.

I expect that you will be sworn to silence on what is present here, which means you can't use it to find Lord Hekal.

Also, this is definitely where the Fate of Preservation lives.
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No. 1092481 ID: 8a1605
File 171763691837.png - (193.58KB , 700x500 , 16-121.png )
1092481

“You could spend a lifetime looking through this place.” Casey does a little spin as she takes in the gallery of memories.

“Uh, but we don’t have a lifetime. They need us back in Moot Point…” Gabe points out.

“Plus, we don’t know how to find anything.” Kol adds. “There’s millions of memories here.”

“Come on! We have to try to find something!” Casey runs her fingers through her hair in exasperation, “You remember what Sifr said: we’re only allowed to make this trip once! It’s our only chance to figure out what happened to Hekal!”

“But… we’d never be able to tell anyone about it, right? We can’t bring any information back!” Gabe sags as futility weighs down his shoulders.

Casey stomps in a circle, huffing with an uncharacteristic fury. This irony, nay injustice to the fields of science and history, sets her teeth on edge in a way rarely seen by Kol or Gabe. She explodes with a shout that rattles the panes around her “WHAT’S THE POINT OF THIS PLACE, THEN?!”

Several cloaked figures turn at the sudden outburst. One of them steps forward and calls to her, “Casey? Is that you?”
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No. 1092487 ID: 273c18

>>1092481
Oh, guess we get to find out who the cloaked figures are.
Also Casey, the point of this place is to preserve history. It is a tomb for all the lives that have ever been lived. No one is forgotten, not truly. It's beautiful, in a way, but also dizzying in its scale.
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No. 1092493 ID: fa3034

Ground yourself, Casey. Eyes forward, ahead of you. Not behind you, looking into the past.
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No. 1092494 ID: 124485

>>1092481
>One of them steps forward and calls to her, “Casey? Is that you?”
Is it possible that one of the many ghosts that you've peacefully Sent here during one of your previous missions is here? Perhaps that's who is calling out to you?

It would be hilarious if it ends up being that one ghost girl that you gave your panties to as she went through the portal!
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No. 1092507 ID: 17abec

whatever this place is, it's not for you, Casey. You are visiting a realm that mortals were never supposed to see until the very end. Now get it together and think of the future. All of it could be lost if you linger too long in here.
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No. 1092518 ID: 184595

Mom and Dad! They'll be thrilled to see that Casey is carrying on their legacy of scholarship, and that she's so willing to get nerd sniped by history, even in the face of her home's destruction. But perhaps they'll be in a unique position to remind her that this place is not for mortals, and any point it might have is moot as far as mortal knowledge goes.
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No. 1092521 ID: a65c0e

The point of this place, whatever that point may be, is for the souls that are here to stay, forever. Not for those that are just visiting for a very limited time.
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No. 1092523 ID: 8ddca3

...you should probably inform WHOEVER this spirit is that you are alive and on the... what was it called, was this just called the trial or does this have a name like "senders pilgramige"? either way, a short stay, for better and worse
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No. 1092533 ID: eb0a9c

>What