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File 157966232803.png - (76.51KB , 500x700 , 11-1.png )
954051 No. 954051 ID: c70ff4

Chapter 11
+18 Adult content

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/940228.html
618 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 973460 ID: b1b4f3

Well, he can definitely handle that.
Help gather any bones that might still be missing.
>>
No. 973475 ID: 365ffb

Yeah he should be good for at least a little while. Try to assemble Graves nice and quick, do your best to limit your mana use so you don't stick out like a giant beacon screaming "eat me!"
>>
No. 973476 ID: fa2754

>>973453
Sorry Casey, seems like you're just going to have to get your hands dirty and reach into another bone pile
>>
No. 973500 ID: c70ff4
File 159608066179.png - (185.23KB , 700x500 , 11-179.png )
973500

“Okay, what’s left?” Casey picks up the skull and hurries over to the wall of bones.

“Errrr... shoulder blades, annnnd some of the arm bones. The smaller one, I don’t know the name for them.”

Casey finds a hollow space filled with shoulder blades and traces with her finger as Graves seeks out his missing skeleton.

“There, third one back.” The mouse shoves her arm in up to the elbow and feels around, pulling out a wide, flat slab of bone.

A few minutes of work later and she plops the remaining pieces down on the floor.

“Not enough for a proper tail, but I suppose I’ll ‘live’” Graves mutters. Various smaller bones start to rattle and drag themselves into position, forming hands, feet, shoulders, knees and spine. The undead slowly threads himself together with bits of magic until he’s standing for the first time in centuries. “That... oh that’s much better. Fates I’ve missed having legs.”
>>
No. 973502 ID: fa2754

>>973500
Make sure everything's aligned and get your stretching in, Graves. Casey, how's Opinel?
>>
No. 973503 ID: b1b4f3

What would be needed for a proper tail? We might have time still... depends on how bored Opinel is.
>>
No. 973601 ID: c70ff4
File 159624642937.png - (137.64KB , 700x542 , 11-180.png )
973601

“ We better use them, come on.” Casey waves towards the exit. “Opinel, you coming?”

The knight parries a few enthusiastic vertebrae and shrugs. His sword dances in the dim light as they make their escape, keeping a flurry of tiny bones at bay.

“Why are they so active? You said this shouldn’t be possible!” Casey asks as she stumbles back into the daylight.

“I don’t know. Normally the horde is content to sleep until called into battle. The bargast is supposed to keep them sustained.” Opinel sheathes his blade and joins her.

The various bones clatter to a halt at the entrance of the crypt before retreating.

“That must mean the bargast isn’t able to sustain them.” Casey kicks at a stray finger bone and frowns. “If this keeps up, we may not have to wait a year before there’s a whole undead army on our doorstep.”
>>
No. 973602 ID: e7848c

>>973601
Well that's concerning news. That means we'll need Graves all the more
>>
No. 973603 ID: cdabe3

oh dear, that's not good. we should probably bring this up to rodwin when we have a chance
>>
No. 973604 ID: 8fab7a

>>973601
Odd. Mmmaybe the issue is something different?

How do you communicate with 'the horde'? Normally, like. I mean, it's... still individuals right? Not some singular massive amalgamated conglomeration of souls.

... right?
>>
No. 973606 ID: b1b4f3

>>973601
Well... let's hope the leads we have pan out.
>>
No. 973608 ID: 8959f6

Well, this is bad news. Better bring it to everybody involved in the project of finding out what happened to Lord Hekal ASAP, as well as to Rodwin's attention. We're all gonna need to adjust our plans and timetables.

In the mean time, blocking up the crypt exits and sealing up any sleeping undead not in the crypts would be prudent, so they can't just wander out on their own, off the bargast and down into Moot Point.

Who or what could take a measure of the barghast's mana level and output as well as the mana drain of the sleeping undead hoard? We need that plus what the normal, stand-by levels of those are to figure out how much time we got left 'till they get hungry enough to wake up fully. Also to figure out how much of a mana deficit it's running. We might be able to delay things by adding more mana from outside, but we need a idea of just how much would buy how much time.
>>
No. 973610 ID: b1b4f3

Didn't we have a deadline of less than a year anyway?

...wait a minute. If Rodwin can't control the wild undead maybe that's why he's looking for Lord Hekal? In order to prevent an undead invasion?
>>
No. 973611 ID: 028f23

>>973604
I think the problem is that these are the bits of those people that aren't still connected to their souls.

Just like Graves wasn't connected to all of his bones. They were sleeping like he was, but separate from his body. They're supposed to stay dormant till they get reattached, but obviously they're not, so we have a bunch of mindless, soulless body parts flopping around looking for mana.
>>
No. 973612 ID: 8fab7a

>>973611
But there must be an animating force that's starting to leech ambient magic. I presumed it was spirits because, uh, what else would it be? They'd need the Barghast's magic to keep existing. If that's starting to not feel like enough they might just... start lashing out, instead of seeking, well, reasonable alternatives or going back into slumber.

Maybe the Barghest's supply still IS enough, even, it's just... well, richer stuff suddenly became available. So right now they're just acting a bit like magnets, going straight for the greatest attractor ('eyyy).

Maybe while still in slumber modus.
>>
No. 973845 ID: c70ff4
File 159658985352.png - (129.78KB , 500x700 , 11-181.png )
973845

“Casey!”

They turn to see a red robed figure waving at them from across the clearing. A gate opens and the figure hops through with a clap of thunder.

“Hey, I’ve been scrying all over. Ashe sent me by to give you a hand.” Mariana of the spirit guardians chirps brightly as the gate closes. “Sir Opinel, right?”

“Yes, I believe we met briefly before you went hunting the grave-fleas.”

“Such amazing constructs. We’d never heard of naturally occuring parasitic constructs like that.” She offers a hand to shake, “Mariana Rue-Larrey: guardian sender.”

“Well met.” They shake and Opinel grins, “You have good timing. We... have concerning news.”

“Oh?” The bird cocks her head.
>>
No. 973846 ID: e7848c

>>973845
Commence info dump. Casey, share notes. Graves, take your body through its paces
>>
No. 973851 ID: 3ed3c3

>>973845
The dead are rousing ahead of schedule, and we have no idea why.
>>
No. 973852 ID: b1b4f3

The dead... are restless.
>>
No. 973855 ID: b1b4f3

...oh god, what if the grave fleas were necessary?
>>
No. 973895 ID: 8fab7a

>>973845
Apparently ye olde ghostly bonehorde down below might not be quite satisfied by the current levels of mana the Barghast is providing.

Which is weird. Didn't the Spirit Guardians rid of a bunch of ticks that, well, was leeching off some of that too? If anything there should be more mana left than originally anticipated, no?

Anyway, long story short, you went down there to pick up some parts and your use of magic got them riled. They tried to glom onto you and may or may not be rilin' further. Sending in anybody with excess mana seems unwise if they leechin', unless it's to wholescale 'deal' with the problem, but thaaat might upset our more mindly new neighbours whose parts and buddies we'd surely be ruining.

Thoughts?

And the question is begged. Why now? They kept quiet so far. And no word has come in of that changing. Did Casey trip a latent trap/defense or what?
>>
No. 974038 ID: c70ff4
File 159676847633.png - (135.56KB , 700x500 , 11-182.png )
974038

“We were just down in the catacombs, “casey explains, “and we’re starting to get undead activity”

“Uh-huh?” Mariana side eyes Graves, who waves back.

“Oh no, not him. Thats Graves: he’ll be helping translate the vampire runes.”

The guardian raises a finger. “Wait, so we’re just going to have a skeleton wandering around the library?”

“Ooh, you have a library?” Graves stands up a bit straighter, his interest perked. “No one mentioned this.”
>>
No. 974039 ID: c70ff4
File 159676848010.png - (147.32KB , 700x500 , 11-183.png )
974039

Casey shrugs, “Unless you have any better ideas.” She continues, “Bigger problem though: there’s apparently tens of thousands of undead buried in the bargast and they’re starting to wake up. Sir Opinel thinks they’re hungry for mana.”

“Litchfire...” Mariana sighs, “Can they be controlled?”

Opinel waves his hand horizontally in a universal, non-committal way. “Vaugely. Some of them, yes, but the vast bulk of the army is made up of skeletal warriors. At the best of times they were made to follow simple orders, but if they’re hungry... who knows?”

“We best hurry then. The faster we figure this thing out, the sooner we can get them away from the city. I’ll let the other guardians know and see what we can do to contain the situation.” Mariana rubs her temples and groans, “And I have some math to do...”

Before Casey can ask, Mariana opens a gate for the four of them. Through the blazing ring, she can see the library of the Sender Order.
>>
No. 974040 ID: c70ff4
File 159676848895.png - (116.14KB , 500x700 , 11-184.png )
974040

Kol holds up the scrying crystal and watches the light glint through its perfect surface. “Thanks, you guys. I know Gabe is going to love it!”

“No, thank you!” Miki shouts back. She waves from her perch in Raithe’s arms as he hovers above. “There’s no way we could have handled that without you!”

“Yeah sorry!” Raithe continues, “We’ll let you know next time we accidentally invite a walking wildfire into town.”

“Its okay! At least nobody got hurt, and it was fun!” Kol waves back.

Miki’s face twists up with concern, “I hope Cauldera’s okay...”

Caleb grunts and nods, “Viv knows what she’s doing...”
>>
No. 974043 ID: b1b4f3

Wanna go check on her anyway?
>>
No. 974059 ID: 365ffb

Maybe you could go shopping for something she'd like? She <i>did</i> pull you guys out of that fire, after all!
>>
No. 974097 ID: 9fad0d

>>974040
I kinda wonder how Nixxy and Fennel's time with fire rescue is going. What sort of antics they're getting into once the fires have been dealt with and all that.
>>
No. 974283 ID: c70ff4
File 159709831244.png - (103.10KB , 700x500 , 11-185.png )
974283

“Do you think we ought to go check on them?”

“Mmmm... I’d wait a bit. Something tells me Viv’s going to want some time to get to each other better.” A deep “heh” rumbles out of Caleb.

“Ohhh, gotcha.” Kol snaps and cocks a finger. The mouse staggers over to a bench and flops into the seat with a groan. “Fuckin Fates, that was a lot.”

“For sure.” Caleb plods over and sits next to him. The bench creaks and rocks on an unbalanced leg. “You alright?” The selkie drapes a hefty arm around the back of the bench, framing Kol’s shoulders.

“Going to be sore, probably, but doing okay.” Kol sighs, “I can’t help think we’re forgetting something.”
>>
No. 974284 ID: c70ff4
File 159709832045.png - (199.01KB , 700x428 , 11-186.png )
974284

”Hello! Nixxy is here to help! You hang on to Nixxy, okay?”

“Downt wowwy! We got dis!”

”NIxxy is having so much fun!

“Dats gweat, Niwxy! Get dem owut of the smowke and check upstaiws for anybody ewlse!”

”Hang on to Nixxy!”
>>
No. 974285 ID: c70ff4
File 159709832616.png - (122.33KB , 500x700 , 11-187.png )
974285

“Eh, I’m sure its fine. Its been a long day.” Kol smirks back at the selkie. “How about you? You okay?”

“Yeah... I guess.” Caleb stares at his knees and scratches at his neck with a stray claw. “Just... seeing Viv again really opened up a lot of... stuff I’ve been holding back.”
>>
No. 974287 ID: 864e49

>>974285
Yeah, about that?
>>
No. 974289 ID: b1b4f3

>>974285
Offer your shoulder whenever he needs it.
>>
No. 974291 ID: e7848c

>>974285
These big ears aren't just for show big guy.
>>
No. 974316 ID: 028f23

>>974285
Seems that heartfelt talk might come sooner than I expected. Feel things out, see how the cards play. If it's the right time to have that chat, you'll know.
Magical resonance or what have you can take a backseat to emotional intelligence for the time being.
>>
No. 974324 ID: c70ff4
File 159719564027.png - (81.78KB , 700x500 , 11-188.png )
974324

“You wanna talk about it?” Kol offers.

Caleb shrugs like a small landslide. “I guess... I’m not good at talkin’...”

“Its okay. You said a bunch of stuff opened up: like what?”

“Just... Adrian. Every time I think I can finally move on, something reminds me of him and all the...the hurt comes rushing back.” Caleb sighs. “S’ weird, you remind me so much of him. But for some reason when I’m around you, doesn’t hurt like it should.”

“I... yeah.” Kol nods along. “I don’t know what happened exactly, but... when you were singing, I think I saw something. It was you and Adrian... and what happened.” The mouse pauses, as he picks through his sentences.

Caleb looks back at him with a strange mixture of hope and despair. “Really? What, like his memories?”

“Maybe? I don’t know. Its like something left of him, I guess.”

Caleb groans and scratches his forehead hopelessly. “Fu-ckin magic... “
>>
No. 974326 ID: e7848c

>>974324
Hold that boy's hand. He looks like he can use the comfort
>>
No. 974352 ID: 9fad0d

>>974324
Mayhap an evening with Kol and the other mice together might offer Caleb that comfort to some degree? The extra attention and affection might do wonders, is all.
>>
No. 974354 ID: 094652

Piggyback hug
>>
No. 974355 ID: 365ffb

Just tell him that whatever the case is, you're here to help him feel better and you're willing to take the time to figure things out when he's up for it.
>>
No. 974363 ID: dbd72b

getting possessed by someone that close to lichdom isn't a really common or encouraged phenomenon. we don't regret what we did, but there might be some lingering effects? The mana oil kept any real damage from happening, but there may have been some kind of "imprint"?

Looks like there's some figuring out for us to do
>>
No. 974403 ID: c70ff4
File 159728822623.png - (86.21KB , 700x500 , 11-189.png )
974403

The pair are quiet for a bit: the gulf of awkwardness between them swallowing up any conversation. Alone with their thoughts, they shift uncomfortably. Unable to take it any longer, they both try to speak and falter.

Caleb’s chest heaves a sigh as he finally breaks the silence. “Kol...I- I’ve been thinking...” He stares down at his calloused, shovel-sized palms. “You said that you wanted to hear... about everything. But I’m worried I’m just usin’ you... kinda...”

“What? No, Caleb, I’m here for you. I want to help.“
Kol lays his hand in Caleb’s calloused palm.

“I know that... I just... see so much o’ Adrian in you sometimes. I think I’m still trying to put off... accepting things.” His voice is a vulnerable grumble.

“You... you really think so?”

Caleb nods, still not looking at the mouse. “See, it feels like... I just picked up where I left off with Adrian, but I never got to know you.” The selkies eyes dart nervously between the ground and Kol. “Ya know what I’m saying?”
>>
No. 974416 ID: fa2754

>>974403
Caleb, you can just say you want to go on a date. It's okay. Kol's choice.
>>
No. 974417 ID: 9fad0d

>>974403
Definitely take his offer up on getting to really know Kol (and hopefully by extension Casey and Gabe as well)

Really though, it seems to have been a long and extremely eventful day for all involved. Bit of extra love seems welcome right now, in my opinion.
>>
No. 974422 ID: 365ffb

If you need help accepting things, you're talking to the exact right mouse. And sometimes learning more about someone new is going to help. Go ahead Kol, tell him you're up for showing him who you really are.
>>
No. 974430 ID: dbd72b

So... let's fix that. Kol, invite him somewhere you like that Caleb might be up for
>>
No. 974455 ID: c70ff4
File 159737417093.png - (137.83KB , 575x700 , 11-190.png )
974455

“I guess I can see what you mean.” Kol scratches at the back of his neck as he thinks about it. “What’re you suggesting?”

“Well... what if we start over?” Caleb nods to himself, feeling a bit more confident. “You and me: fresh start, that kinda thing?”

“Like a date?” Kol smiles back at him. “Didn’t think you were the type.” 

“Hey, now. Its been a while, but I still know how to show someone a good time!” Caleb chuckles. “Ya know, have a chance to get to know you, and your partners.” 

"Of course," Kol leans forward on his knees and smirks back at him. “You alright with me being open?” 

The selkie shrugs and folds his arms thoughtfully. “Eh, far as I see, its fine. Just another thing we should, you know, figure out.”

“Cool. Yeah.” Kol nods as he processes things.
>>
No. 974456 ID: c70ff4
File 159737418338.png - (144.75KB , 700x500 , 11-191.png )
974456

“So... I’ve got a question, since we’re getting to know one another. How old are you?”

“I’m...well... I’m eighty-four.”

“You fuckin dirty old man!” Kol backhands Caleb's leg playfully.

“What?! That’s like nothing for a fey!”

“Still though!” Kol, shakes his head and mutters to himself, “ Eighty-four!

“Okay, then kiddo: how about you tell me something about yourself?”

“Like what?”

“Like uhhhh,” Caleb rocks back as he thinks, prompting another creak from the bench. “You got any family?”

“Heh, yeah I’d say I have some family.” Kol nods and chuckles. “You already met my uncle Sifr.”

“Oh yeah. Nice guy.” Caleb mumbles.

“And I’ve got eight siblings back home...”

“Fuck’n Fates. Just a whole herd o’ya, isn’t there?”

“Three brothers, four sisters and Maoli, who’s agender. I’m the oldest though.” He waves a hand in a lazy circle. “I’m thirty-two, if you’re wondering.”

“I was, but wasn’t gonna ask after that ‘old man’ crack.” Caleb rolls his eyes. “You all get along, then?”

“Oh yeah, for the most part. They live up in the Stray Hills, near the start of the Path of the Mediums."

"Huh, alright...You got anything you want to ask me?"
>>
No. 974457 ID: fa2754

>>974456
You and Viv, eh? How much of a story is there? What's a fae childhood like anyways?
>>
No. 974464 ID: 365ffb

What's the best part of being a selkie? What's the best part about the ocean? Any secret insider knowhow?
>>
No. 974468 ID: b1b4f3

Seen any cool ocean spirits?
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