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1077945 No. 1077945 ID: 9ea24b

Short VN game in this setting: https://tippler.itch.io/march-time
Discussion: https://questden.org/kusaba/questdis/res/135483.html

Gore and violence warning. No onscreen sex. No chance based events.
385 posts omitted. Last 100 shown. Expand all images
No. 1081910 ID: 9ea24b
File 170630492512.png - (18.06KB , 500x500 , p126.png )

I ponder the use of perfume as I make my way to the east side of the city. Perhaps the incoming merchants will have scents strong enough to mask my natural stench and I will be welcomed back into society once more.

As George promised, I find the soldiers stiff and bloody on the ground next to their temporary home. They seem to have been shot with arrows, leaving noticeable puncture wounds.

I struggle with the skinning, but it goes much better than my attempt to build a cart. I finish with the black cat when I hear the sounds of approaching wagons. Should I go see the new arrivals or complete my project first?
No. 1081915 ID: a7a180

Finish your work, I'm sure they'll leave the worm with a corpse hanging out of their mouth as they flay felines alone.
No. 1081918 ID: dacc9f

Project first. We would not want to frighten away the new traders by revealing ourselves in this state.
No. 1081941 ID: 5ebd37

They would likely be alarmed to see you covered in blood. Finish the task at hand first, then roll in some clean mud to hide the blood.
No. 1081957 ID: 9ea24b
File 170639857404.png - (16.44KB , 500x500 , p127.png )

Apparently I am not presentable and should finish my project and clean up before I greet the mortals. I suppose that makes sense, much of the fur flying around has stuck to my slimy body and all matter of grease and blood is matted into it.

I set the first pelt aside and start on the next one. With my vast experience, I finish skinning the gray cat after only an hour! I am very proud of my improved dexterity and ability to handle my lonely friend.

I try to set up my effigy as I imagined it in my mind, but unless I am touching the corpses to keep their muscles in place, they do not stay upright.
No. 1081958 ID: 9ea24b
File 170639858848.png - (14.38KB , 500x500 , p128.png )

The pelts smell good which means I should bury them. I sigh and dig a hole, rolling in the loose dirt to clean myself, then store the naked bodies in the little house. It looks like George took the soldiers’ horse and cart after he killed them, as a proper industrious citizen should.

By the time I retrace my path back to my well and take the new tunnel into camp, the fresh arrivals have dispersed to claim houses for themselves. From my vantage point I can see many animals and carts, and a short stout orc woman deep in conversation with Wulfa and Erogalf.

“You don’t have any legal basis for inhabiting these homes or leading the rebuild. What happens if the king sends a new lord who thinks you consort with demons and practice witchcraft?”
No. 1081960 ID: a7a180

"Then he can take it up with me, his constituents. Hi, I'm the citizens of Pliny. You can call me Pliny."
No. 1081965 ID: f2320a

" dont know why this is a saying 'there's more than one way to skin a cat' and i figured out two ways to skin a cat, Wulfa do we have anyone who knows how to treat a pelt?"
No. 1081976 ID: e2bf78

"This king, I imagine, will be too busy fending off Icher's army to care much at the moment."
No. 1081982 ID: 5ebd37

"Surely the king will find it easier to just demand taxes off us than to send someone to fight us."
No. 1082015 ID: 9ea24b
File 170645918955.png - (16.05KB , 500x500 , p129.png )

I studiously memorize several cool one-liners as I wiggle myself free and approach the newcomer. Erogalf gives me a big smile when he sees me coming and Wulfa looks happy as well. I feel encouraged, not everyone wants me to stay away!

“The king can take it up with me, the spirit of Pliny. I expect he’ll be too busy fending off the invasion to concern himself with our rebuilding efforts until we are back at full strength.” I say.

The short woman has bulging biceps and is vaguely familiar, which means she must be the other wishmaker besides Smit. I wait patiently for her to stab me, but instead she walks around my body, observing my fine figure.
No. 1082016 ID: 9ea24b
File 170645921334.png - (16.83KB , 500x500 , p130.png )

She turns to Erogalf. “You said it controls the dead and hears voices. It smells like rotten fish. I don’t see how you can convince everyone that it’s benevolent.”

“I have done nothing wrong! I am helping protect everyone and skinning soldiers and digging useful holes.” I say indignantly.

“Honey.” The orc snaps her fingers in front of my face. “I’m not saying you’re bad. I’m saying you’re going to be blamed for bad things. Doesn’t help that the Vishelt are actively using their own spirit for their slaughter.”

“We’ve asked Pliny to only visit once a day. She doesn’t have to interact with the others and we can pass along any requests for labor.” Wulfa says.
No. 1082020 ID: a7a180

Well, what if you tried to make what we do sound cooler? Protector spirit of the town. Taking vengeance upon the invaders.
We'll just... keep out of sight of the lord I guess.
No. 1082027 ID: df60a9

Your concern for the future of Pliny is heartwarming.

Our active intervention need not continue beyond the destruction of Icher; in truth, we would like very much to return to sleep and soak in the wishes of Pliny again.
No. 1082031 ID: 273c18

Tell them you smell like this because you were born from a tainted well. Rot has become part of your body. You think you can control the dead because of how your citizens were dead when you were born.
No. 1082041 ID: f2320a

we are also the collective spirits of the dead of the city
No. 1082090 ID: 9ea24b
File 170654592962.png - (10.32KB , 500x500 , p131.png )

I cannot let my reputation sink with my new citizens or else I will not be able to buy perfume or claim authority to whoever the king sends eventually. I shudder with agitation.

“What is your name?” I ask the short orc.

“Call me Jor.”

“Jor.” I prostrate myself in front of her, which admittedly is my default state of being. “I can see you care for the city. Please understand that I am the protector of Pliny, the aftermath of a terrible invasion. I cannot help how I came to be or my powers, but I will try to be as unobtrusive as possible. I beg of you to spread these words.”

I wait for Jor to ask for gold or mana in exchange, but instead she gives me a long look and nods.
No. 1082091 ID: 9ea24b
File 170654594228.png - (13.14KB , 500x500 , p132.png )

I am elated. “I am good. I am. Tell the people that I am good.”

“I heard you the first time.” she grunts. She walks away, leaving me with Erogalf and Wulfa.

“Flint made your cart.” the elf says to break the silence. “Also we noticed George slept in this morning. If you loan me some mana I can set up a warning system and let you know as soon as Icher is within five miles.”

I am starting to feel physically uncomfortable when giving mana to Erogalf. I do not want to be surprised by Icher but perhaps I should trust my own methods of detection.
No. 1082101 ID: 58b8b1

Watch how he reacts to saying no. Is there any way you can corroborate his mana usage?
No. 1082104 ID: f5b173

Are you feeling like resting in your well no longer rejuvenates you as much?
No. 1082110 ID: 5ebd37

Tell Erogalf that you can't keep holding his hand, its time he learned to stand on his own two feet.
No. 1082111 ID: 273c18

Ask if there's any spells to make you less stinky and disease-ridden.
No. 1082166 ID: 9ea24b
File 170666519483.png - (7.62KB , 500x500 , p133.png )

Currently I am at full mental, physical, and magical capacity, the issue is that I do not like it when I give Erogalf mana. Liking and disliking things is still a fairly new concept to me, slightly separate from what is pleasing and displeasing. I also have no way of corroborating how much mana he actually needs for a spell. The only other magic user I know is Telarin, and I do not know whether she would assess Erogalf fairly.

I decide to test Erogalf’s reaction to my saying no, even though I cannot think of a method besides my enhanced hearing to detect Icher.

“Erogalf, I think it is better if you do not rely too much on my mana. Unless there is a spell for eliminating my scent or risk of disease perhaps we should halt this particular arrangement.”
No. 1082167 ID: 9ea24b
File 170666520773.png - (12.39KB , 500x500 , p134.png )

His eyes narrow a little. I cannot see much else of his expression behind the fake beard.

“I mean, yeah that’s fine, since Telarin and George and Flint are still happy here, we’ll still stay. I thought you’d want to know when Icher is close since they could sneak in and pick us off while our guard is down. Also, if you want to be less of a health hazard you should bury that corpse you carry around.”
No. 1082171 ID: f5be24

"The corpse wish was to have a friend before it fell down the well, and I became its friend. If i bury it, it will have to be with a new friend, another corpse"
No. 1082172 ID: 5ebd37

Early warning does sound good, but it seems like every time we see Erogalf he wants more mana. Does our relationship have to be so transactional?
No. 1082175 ID: df60a9

Humanoids call that a glare. He does seem to be holding back anger. I'd guess he's holding back because the others are still fond enough of us to be upset if he were to be verbally angry.

Ask him to speak in private, without the beard. Tell him that we wanted to see how he would respond, and that he seemed more angry than disappointed. Ask him why.
This is important, to see if he is merely controlling and power-hungry or if there's a deeper reason, something important to him that he can't accomplish without the extra mana.

Honestly, there's no reason to deny his detection plan if you can recover in time for the fight with Icher. This was just a matter of gauging Erogalf's motives.
No. 1082198 ID: cb78f4

As long as I keep in inside it shouldn’t be a problem. I think the stink is more pervasive than that.
No. 1082223 ID: 273c18

Have we considered bathing, yet? Honestly it doesn't make sense that you're getting smellier if it's just from your nature. The corpses have been rotting in that well long before you woke up, the decomposition process should be over and done with. Maybe you've been digging through sewage too much and need to wash it off.

That said, there's an angle we can use. With how stinky and disease-ridden you are, do you think you could pass for Pestilence? If you can make your "art" line up with that theme then maybe we can use that as a way to get Icher to lower his guard. Tell him you think you're a horseman too.
No. 1082228 ID: 9ea24b
File 170674854288.png - (13.38KB , 500x500 , p135.png )

I am not getting smellier, I think that my people have merely grown tired of dealing with what they consider a highly unpleasant scent. Erogalf’s suggestion would help reduce my odor, but I am reluctant to part with my lonely friend, much less Smit’s partner. The thought displeases me because it goes against my nature.

I am also not a spirit of pestilence specifically, though I am told cities are often rife with disease. Icher found it humorous when his own soldiers were sick and I bet he would be similarly amused if I made any of my citizens ill. I do not know what a “horseman” is, Icher would have come from a hole that was near horses to have such a shape.
No. 1082229 ID: 9ea24b
File 170674855839.png - (14.06KB , 500x500 , p136.png )

Wulfa has been standing here listening to us, and I ask her to excuse herself so I may talk to Erogalf in private. She seems happy to go.

“Erogalf, please remove your beard so I may see your face.”

The elf does what he’s told, removing his hat, sideburns, and shaking out his hair as well.

“Why must our relationship be so transactional?” I ask. “Why do you seem angry when I deny you one time?”

“You told me that I should have specific spell requests whenever I needed mana and knowing when Icher is near is pretty damn important.” he says bluntly.

“I thought elves were naturally gifted with mana, could you not use your own?”

“It doesn’t work like that. I need a spirit to accomplish anything important, they have access to the most mana but they can’t even use it. None of you realize how much of a waste it is.”
No. 1082234 ID: df60a9

So he finds mortals' lack of mana frustrating, and feels like spirits are hoarding mana that could be put to use.

Ask more about what Erogalf hopes to accomplish. Tell him that extracting mana is unpleasant, like if he had to cut himself and bleed to cast spells. The experience is frightening, and we wanted to know if we could trust him.
No. 1082242 ID: 8f9bc4


You wouldn't be here working with Erogalf if you didn't realize what a waste it is. He can do the things with your magic that you cannot do alone. You didn't realize setting up a warning system for Icher was important to Erogalf. You thought he was just trying to think of helpful things to do.

You're willing to undergo temporary discomfort to help him. You just want him to understand that it does hurt you to give up mana, and there are things you can do with your magic that he cannot. Such as make use of corpses, or become larger.
No. 1082252 ID: 5ebd37

aye, and tell him your arraignment can continue, he just shouldn't have such a cheerful expression when he wants to wring you like a sponge.
It's seeming like people only barely tolerate you even though you're very helpful, and its disheartening.
No. 1082258 ID: 8f9bc4


That's something called "imagination" where Pliny speculates on what it would have looked like if a red thing had crawled out of a hole next to horses. There are no actual horses, hole or Icher (yet).
No. 1082260 ID: 273c18

Oh, you're right, I didn't properly read that last sentence because I was distracted by the Suspicious Background Detail.

Tell him that's not quite right, you have to use your mana to move corpses around. But you agree, what he's suggesting is important and if he can't do it himself then he can have some mana... but you need mana to fight Icher. There needs to be a careful balance here so you don't run out and lose.
No. 1082261 ID: 273c18

Also by horseman I mean War is one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Icher is also in the form of a man on a horse. A horseman. It's very on the nose.
The other three Horsemen are Pestilence, Famine, and Death. There may or may not be more, such as Chaos, Conquest, or Pollution.
No. 1082265 ID: f2320a

Well we have access to mana in the same way non-spirits have acess to meat, blood, sweat and tears sure you can take enough to not kill but it still hurts..... its scary its like dying again
No. 1082322 ID: 9ea24b
File 170690290681.png - (11.99KB , 500x500 , p137.png )

“I understand that I cannot cast spells, though I do have my own magical skills in reanimation. What were you hoping to accomplish with more mana?”

Erogalf scuffs the edge of his staff against the ground. “I could heal any injury or sickness, grow plenty of food, win every fight, I don’t know, anything useful you could imagine really.”

Those ideas all sound beneficial and I nod to show I approve.

“I do not like giving mana because of the resulting physical discomfort, but If you allow me to fully recover after each exchange I see no reason our deal cannot continue. I think this Icher alert system would be helpful.” I say.
No. 1082323 ID: 9ea24b
File 170690291949.png - (17.71KB , 500x500 , p138.png )

Erogalf reaches for me immediately and I shrink away.

“Move slowly or you will frighten me. Imagine you are taking blood from a mortal.” I stammer. I still have no way of knowing how much mana Erogalf needs versus what he takes.

He obeys and slowly presses the tips of his fingers into my slime. I give him mana until I am lethargic, but not at risk of shrinking.

“I want my people to love me as I love them, but it seems as if they only tolerate me.” I say softly, once he’s done.

Erogalf shakes the goo off his hand and turns away. “It takes time to form emotional connections. Even then, you can’t force people to like you.”

Should I try to do more today or rest in my well?
No. 1082328 ID: f2320a

"You scare me a bit how eager you are to eat me"
"But what if i am nothing beyond useful and then i am thrown away"
Also never use discomfort it trivalizes our own experiences hurts and painful is closer and does not make it seem light
No. 1082333 ID: 7e0dd2

We should ensure we are in peak condition.
No. 1082355 ID: 5ebd37

rest, make sure you're in peak condition for the fight.
No. 1082419 ID: 9ea24b
File 170700874364.png - (15.66KB , 500x500 , p139.png )

I expect Icher will arrive within a day or two thanks to their great speed and go back to my well to recuperate for the upcoming fight.

While I rest, I do not think about much since most of my thoughts would be redundant. I do mentally chew on my new fear of Erogalf and his ravenous desires, which is confusing since I plan to continue working with him.
No. 1082420 ID: 9ea24b
File 170700876330.png - (9.30KB , 500x500 , p140.png )

Speaking of Erogalf, I become aware that a fair amount of time has passed when a bright blue communication circle appears in the dank depths of the well. I feel back to normal, and the tiny, stone rimmed window to the sky is lit with stars.

“Icher is on the east side of Pliny. He’s listening.”

That is all the elf says. It is up to me now, except I’m not sure how to coordinate my approach. I know to hide my armor plates, but I need to lure Icher to my current location somehow and hope our eventual fight makes enough noise so that the adventurers know to come help. But wait, I left the cat corpses at their shack. Oh how am I to impress Icher with my effigy?
No. 1082426 ID: 2f9996

Icher does not know we know that he's here. If we go to meet him, he will know we were spying for his arrival. We need to seem relaxed, even excited when he appears.

We should sneak to retrieve our effigy pieces and make it seem we are working on them somewhere near the corpse pile.
No. 1082427 ID: eb0a9c

Work on melding yourself into various mortal shapes. Freak out when Icher catches you multiple-naked.
No. 1082495 ID: 9ea24b
File 170709305053.png - (16.73KB , 500x500 , p141.png )

As explored previously, I cannot shapeshift besides some minor squashing and stretching. Icher should not know that we know they are here, unless they happened to be listening at the exact moment Erogalf contacted me. I decide this is unlikely.

In that case I exit my well and sneak toward the shack, moving as quietly as possible. Since I have a hard time hearing Icher’s light footsteps it is only fair they have trouble hearing me. I successfully retrieve the little bodies, which are stiff and bloated, and return to my well. Should I make noise to draw Icher here or wait for him to show himself?
No. 1082619 ID: 9ea24b
File 170717443847.png - (10.96KB , 500x500 , p142.png )

The voices are quiet, leaving me to make my own choice. If I want to maintain the illusion that Icher’s visit is a surprise then I will move naturally and therefore make enough noise to be detected.

I put the cat corpses into position and then check on all of my hidden stashes of bodies to make sure I will have good access for the fight. There’s even a piercing squeak when I accidentally crush a rat.
No. 1082621 ID: 9ea24b
File 170717447923.png - (17.05KB , 500x500 , p143.png )

The feeling of unease I experienced when Icher was stalking me in the army camp creeps up through the soil. It isn’t as strong this time, which makes me feel confident. I strain to hear his footsteps, and catch the clink of a greatsword blade tapping the hard dirt.

The spirit bursts into motion as they come into view amidst the burnt rubble, charging me. I dodge the initial obligatory impalement and manage to sneak my unarmored head under the next jab.

“You would betray me after only a week? How did my soldiers die?” Icher sneers.
No. 1082636 ID: 15cb56

They tried to challenge us, so we put their skills to the test, and they failed.

A useless soldier is only good for raw materials. So we decided to carve them into a monument to your raw, stripped majesty. Do you like it?
No. 1082638 ID: 5ebd37

They demanded more than their fair share of food, when we tried to reason with them they attacked and we defended ourselves.
Such undisciplined soldiers, since they couldn't follow your example in life I thought they might in death. Do they not now look the part?
No. 1082687 ID: eb0a9c

"Is their death not the point of all this? You sent two feeble yet fecund messengers to a literal back-water village as 'messengers'. They were clearly sacrifices, appeasements to slake the bloodlust of my villagers."
No. 1082699 ID: 9ea24b
File 170727071605.png - (13.43KB , 500x500 , p144.png )

I was originally planning to say the soldiers’ deaths were an accident, but the voices seem to be in favor of a more direct approach.

“They asked for too much food so my citizens killed them, sir. I collected them afterwards, look here.” I gesture at my monument. “Did you not expect them to die when you sent them here? Especially since you would know George has taken residence in Pliny.”

Icher grinds their gray teeth together. “I told you failure would result in punishment. This is failure. You will be punished.”
No. 1082700 ID: 9ea24b
File 170727074146.png - (27.88KB , 500x500 , p145.png )

“Yes but–” I reach my free tail for the cat corpses and have them trot around in a circle. “Look at this! Look what I can do in mockery of the dead! Isn’t it amusing, sir?”

Icher watches me manipulate his soldier’s bodies in silence for several minutes. I make the slippery paws of the top cat swing a short sword, have the bottom cat rear up on its hind legs, and even make both cats salute. I run out of ideas eventually and let the bodies flop onto the ground again.

“That is very amusing.” Icher admits. “Meodin did mention you controlling a dead man in lieu of hands.”

His eyes narrow as he looks around my impromptu cemetery with its occasional protruding limbs. I need to distract him and loosen the sword before he becomes suspicious. What did Smit advise me to do again?
No. 1082702 ID: c5c93c

Smit advised that the self-centered love to hear themselves talk.

"The decay you leave in your wake is most pleasing to we of the rot. We would love to hear of your manifestation, the violence from which you were born." Behave like a fawning sycophant.
No. 1082703 ID: c5c93c

Oh, and the sirs. Don't forget the sirs.
No. 1082708 ID: 5ebd37

You could have your lonely friend demonstrate wielding a sword(badly), then praise Icher's clearly much superior swordsplay. surreptitiously get closer to one of your secret tunnels.
No. 1082717 ID: 273c18

Ask him how he came to lead the army in the first place. Was he born in their camp, like you were born in your city?

Oh and complain about how your citizens don't like you because you smell and spread filth, and there's no way you can think of to stop being that way.
No. 1082814 ID: 9ea24b
File 170736128145.png - (20.69KB , 500x500 , p146.png )

I cannot spit up my lonely friend while I am impaled which means I must distract Icher with idle, self-centered chatter. I gesture to my well with my tail and they snap to track the motion.

“That is my hole, sir. I was born when the city was already destroyed and most had fled. How was such a powerful spirit like yourself born if the army is still intact?”

“Naive, young Pliny. I was created with intention, by my commander on Vishelt soil. After uniting the various nomadic tribes of the land he went to the great ogre shaman and learned a ritual to raise me from a battlefield. I rose from my bloodstained hole to a great swell of chanting.”

While Icher talks, I subtly wiggle my head to loosen the blade.

“Afterwards we burned the shaman in her home with her many fetishes of power, then scattered or recruited her apprentices.” he continues. “We began the conquest that would spread my influence over great swathes of land so that I could grow from a weak filly into my current form.”
No. 1082815 ID: 9ea24b
File 170736129658.png - (22.23KB , 500x500 , p147.png )

“Do your soldiers like you, sir?” I ask, slight bitterness entering my tone. “My citizens think I smell and spread filth, after all I do for them.”

Icher chitters for several seconds. “How sad. I am regarded with great respect. I have my own regiment and I am invited to meetings on tactics and strategy.”

My list of reasons to hate Icher grows once more. I have worked the sword out of the ground though I am gripping it within my head flesh to keep it in place. I can dart for my holes and begin my attack or ask further questions.
No. 1082817 ID: df60a9

Do you sense the others in position? If so, we may begin the attack.
If not, we should distract him further. We should ask what he intends to do when his conquest of the soil is complete. Will his power grow until he sprouts wings with which to conquer the sky?
No. 1082818 ID: eb0a9c

Ask him how long spirits last. You wonder what will happen when there are no bodies left to stab and no bacteria left to infest.

Wait for your moment.
No. 1082821 ID: 273c18

Ask if he has ever felt remorse for his actions.
No. 1082831 ID: a7a180

Waste not your time on more questions, and strike while the dirt is, uh... cold.
No. 1082841 ID: 5ebd37

Heave the sword as far as you can, preferably against something loud, and lets get this corpse pile rolling.
No. 1082842 ID: f2320a

>"Oh are you a girl? If not the word is colt for a young male horse that then grows into a stallion"
No. 1082945 ID: 9ea24b
File 170750905089.png - (17.57KB , 500x500 , p148.png )

Based on Icher’s word choice, it seems he may be a girl in the same way Telarin considers me to be one. The irrelevance of gender to spirits continues to inspire me. I do not think Icher feels any remorse for their actions, spirits do what is in their nature.

I decide not to ask about all that, but I do have other questions. I assume the adventurers are waiting for the fight to break out before they rush over so I do not need to stall for time.

“If the war gives you power what will happen to you when it ends?” I ask. I am a little concerned about what will happen to me when the city is fully rebuilt and I am consigned to stay in my well permanently.
No. 1082946 ID: 9ea24b
File 170750907028.png - (12.56KB , 500x500 , p149.png )

Icher thinks about my question before speaking. “Conquered lands are never fully peaceful. Perhaps I will grow weaker as my affinity with this soil lessens, but I should not fade entirely.”

That sounds like a smart fancy word. “What is affinity?” I ask.

Icher laughs again. “Has your parasite wizard not told you? It is a measure of how much of the surrounding mana resonates with oneself. It applies to all things, but is a mortal term.”

They keep snickering. “Poor innocent Pliny. This punishment will grant you a small mercy.”

I roll to the side when Icher reaches for his sword, flinging it against the piles of stones as I dive into my well. How should I attack Icher?
No. 1082948 ID: eb0a9c

Unleash the swarm of undead in waves to attack and distract him, then dart in and constrict a leg until you can rip it off.
No. 1082964 ID: 273c18

Gather up a bunch of corpses, use them as a multitude of arms to grapple and wield whatever weapons you have available to deal damage. Hurl rocks if you have to. Basically, overwhelm the opponent with sheer mass and quantity of offense. You will be protected by your corpse shell so we don't have to worry about defense so much, and the corpses can carry you around so movement is taken care of as well.
If you can get that sword away from Icher then you have a huge advantage.

Be on your guard for any tricks Icher has up their sleeve. They should have some sort of special ability too.
No. 1082993 ID: 5d63ad

I realize something. Icher has a dead corpse on it, and we have some control of the dead... can we maybe perhaps possibly conceivably take control the dead guy on its back and have it like, choke or punch it or something?
No. 1082995 ID: 5ebd37

Send in bodies first, to pen him in. Let them wear him down, then pop out and constrict him. Your metal plates should keep you safe from any tricks.
No. 1083004 ID: 28c488

Use the corpses as traps to ensnare and grapple him. If we can, drag him to the ground or pry away his sword. If he gets free, use our holes to keep him confused about where we are.
No. 1083052 ID: 9ea24b
File 170759973681.png - (27.51KB , 500x500 , p150.png )

I hear Icher retrieve his sword as I get into position in the network of tunnels. I have to strain to extend my power through the lines of corpses for an all out attack, but it is worth it when Icher makes a startled bark followed by sounds of clashing metal.

The other downside of this method is that I cannot see what I am doing. I make sure Icher is buried under my waves of undead before I squirm through a tunnel up to the surface, spitting up my lonely friend and my short sword.

I am already feeling tired, but I cannot pause the offensive. I dive into the mass of bodies, sending the pile into a roil of twitching limbs. I find one of Icher’s legs and start hacking at it wildly.
No. 1083053 ID: 9ea24b
File 170759976794.png - (21.64KB , 500x500 , p151.png )

By the time I cut through the limb, I have to expel my lonely friend and half of my treasure as I shrink. I am less able to influence the surrounding bodies as well, and I have to throw myself at Icher as he moves to right himself. The retaliating longsword strike clanks off my loose armor and we fall back into the mass, tearing at each other.

Icher does not display any new powers. He shrinks for the first time when I cut off another leg, wounds bursting into more delicate appendages as his mass recalibrates. I am healing perhaps a touch faster than he is, but we are both taking so much damage that it might as well be negligible.

I distantly hear the adventurers arrive and squawk when an arrow pierces my side. Icher and I are so intertwined that any attack will hit both of us. I could let go and trust the adventurers to handle things, or I could hold on to make sure Icher cannot escape while weakening alongside him.
No. 1083058 ID: 5ebd37

Hold fast, Icher cannot be allowed to escape.
Trust your citizens to help you recover after.
No. 1083067 ID: e51896

Keep holding. if you can grab hold of the corpse on Icher and control it in some way, do so too.
No. 1083073 ID: 15765f

Focus on restraining Icher and exposing his body to the adventurers. Allow them to do the damage.
No. 1083074 ID: a7a180

Hold that horse with a dead man's grip.
No. 1083120 ID: 273c18

Hold fast. If you both shrink small enough then the adventurers can finish off Icher without your help. Try to conserve energy, and let your armor plates protect you.
No. 1083121 ID: 273c18

Oh, and if you have to throw up the Secret Corpse, put it underground so you don't break that wish. Though, at this point, I doubt anyone will recognize it.
No. 1083156 ID: 9ea24b
File 170768674252.png - (24.55KB , 500x500 , p152.png )

I am confident that my armor will give me the defensive edge, meaning that the sacrifice of holding on will be worth it to defeat Icher. I am able to make this decision with ease; I do not think spirits have a strong self-preservation instinct.

We continue to grapple as George shoots and Erogalf knocks us around with glowing magic projectiles. Eventually, Icher is forced to withdraw their rider-like growth into their body to conserve mass, dropping their sword in the process. I spit the last of my treasure and Smit’s partner to the side, hoping that the secret will go unnoticed in the large pile of bodies.

The attacks die down as I curl tight around Icher under my largest armor plate. He grips me loosely with pudgy baby fingers, silent.
No. 1083157 ID: 9ea24b
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I hear a thump and a clatter as George and his bow hit the ground. Footsteps. Flint lifts the armor plate with the blade of her ax and I peer out at her. She’s holding a little metal tin. Icher jolts beneath me.

What is this? I have moments to act before Flint reaches us. I will not let go of Icher, and with one last effort could force him against the exposed blade or trust in what Flint is planning to do.
No. 1083159 ID: 19ca09

They have probably knocked George out so that Erogalf can capture Icher for research or mana. End him yourself if you must. This is for Pliny's vengeance!
No. 1083165 ID: 5ebd37

This seems likely, do whatever you can to end Icher. If they wanted to change the plan they should have said so. Not your fault you don't know what they want you to do.
No. 1083172 ID: f2320a

Swallow the hand
No. 1083202 ID: a7a180

Force him against the blade. For Pliny!
No. 1083229 ID: 9ea24b
File 170775852639.png - (24.32KB , 500x500 , p154.png )

If the adventurers spare Icher, then the spirit will have a chance to escape and wreak havoc in the future, not to mention they did not tell me about this aspect of the plan. I will end my hated foe myself!

I heave Icher into the sharp point at the top of Flint’s ax. The spirit melts against me into reddish soil without another word.

I immediately feel better and start to thicken as the ground’s mana flows up through the bodies and spilt mud into me. I have defended my city and proven myself the superior spirit.
No. 1083230 ID: 9ea24b
File 170775855039.png - (15.03KB , 500x500 , p155.png )

Flint plucks me up with her callused fingers, turning me over and rubbing away the loose dirt. As a legendary war hero, I tolerate this remarkably well, especially since it interferes with my regeneration.

“Bring the light over.” she tells Erogalf. “I can’t find Icher.”

“I have defeated the enemy.” I say proudly, once the two elves are huddled over me. I will have to tell George once he wakes up.

Telarin and Erogalf look horrified. The wizard turns away and kicks a severed head, cursing, while Telarin sighs.

“Good job Pliny.” she says. “Let’s get you back in your well.”
No. 1083232 ID: 69ab37

A well deserved rest, after a job well done.
No. 1083244 ID: 8f9bc4

Be as proud and smug as the dog who helped hunt the ducks by scaring them all off into the sky.
No. 1083245 ID: 8511a9

Maybe warn that as long as war still exist, a new spirit could be born to take Icher's place (if the spirits of seasons are anything to go by) and they should always be ready to protect their city, and youll be ready to help defend it if need be.
But yes, rest is what we need.
No. 1083262 ID: 273c18

Heh. They didn't complain out loud. It really must have been something we wouldn't agree with.

Once you're back in your well and out of her hand, ask what they were going to do. Capture the tiny Icher and use them as a mana battery? That would have worked fine until someone stole the spirit from them, at which point it would become another disaster. Tell them you will still give Erogalf mana, whenever they stay here, so long as he's gentle.
No. 1083271 ID: 91afc1

Let's not be too hasty in letting on that we knew they were planning something and acted to prevent it. Not while we're too weak to deal with an angry Erogalf if he decides to be a little bitch. But we should be certain to convene with George about what mysteriously happened to him when he wakes up.
No. 1083281 ID: e51896

No. 1083282 ID: eb0a9c

Tell them that it was a triumph to defeat a war-spirit as strong as Icher, and that nobody here could imprison them for more than about a week.
No. 1083286 ID: 273c18

Honestly it's kindof amazing that Pliny is this strong. I guess city spirits must gain strength through the quantity and quality of offerings, and the well was full of them ready to feed a newborn spirit. Though, it's also possible that all the vengeful spirits of slain townsfolk helped empower her...
No. 1083287 ID: 273c18

Well, okay it can wait.
No. 1083288 ID: 273c18

It occurs to me that Pliny being very small has an advantage: she could control a corpse from within. Even a rat corpse. Maybe if we can get our hands on an elephant corpse or something, that would work as an easy vehicle at larger sizes.

Oh, we can use that to get both special corpses back into the well. Dig a tunnel up, sneak inside it and simply have it crawl/walk over and fall into the well.
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