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959244 No. 959244 ID: f57349

You're running through the grand salon, an oval room 60' east-west by 45' north-south. Eight thin white pillars encircle a colorful 15' square mosaic in the floor, a lens of pale yellow glass in the ceiling 50' above, and a chandelier suspended halfway between, consisting of glowing orbs hanging from the hilts of twelve upturned golden swords. Elaborate gilded-bronze vines decorate the walls, framing small balconies on two upper floors.

Your shortness of breath, overheating, and shaky muscles imply recent prolonged heavy exertion, but you have no recollection of the specifics. Given how thoroughly ice-encrusted your clothes are, at least part of that hard labor must have taken place in a blizzard, and since your most recent memories of being outdoors were late spring or early summer in a temperate climate, far from any snowcapped mountains, the gap in your memory likely encompasses at least half a year.

There's a howling creature in your way, with shaggy white fur, possibly something an ape-demon sired on a polar bear, brandishing a severed human arm with not only clear killing intent but alarmingly supernatural expertise. Maybe you should do something about that first, sort out more nuanced strategic details afterward.
641 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
>>
No. 977651 ID: f57349

Having just checked, looks like Horizon Silver's Perception 2 is actually the limiting attribute for crafting, so it would only have been possible to buy one success with the Second Excellency. That's still five total successes with a two-die stunt, though, enough to make an exceptional-quality (resources 1) hand-cart or wheelbarrow despite only minimally adequate materials and lack of actual training in the relevant skill.
>>
No. 977653 ID: 0640da

rolled 3, 1, 1, 4, 9, 5, 3, 10, 9, 5, 8, 7, 4, 6, 4, 5, 3, 10, 9, 6, 2, 8, 1, 2, 6, 6, 8, 1, 9, 7, 6, 2, 5, 4, 10, 7, 2, 10, 6, 10, 1, 5, 7, 10, 1, 10, 6, 8, 3, 5, 8, 3, 4, 6, 5, 4, 7, 5, 3, 1 = 326

>>977538
She'd trust a butlerbot if they weren't so noisy, so she's clambering through the dark directly and doing her darnest to be quiet. Her ears should pick up any breathing or footsteps. Again, she'd allow a butlerbot along conditionally-- if they're quiet things and not noisy gear-filled machines.
>>
No. 977661 ID: f57349

>>977653
Butlerbots make a comical squeaking noise as they walk, somewhere in that range seven octaves above middle C which humans and even horses hardly ever notice. Other than that, they're quiet as librarians.

At least one pursuer seems to have been successfully trapped in the cold room, simply by ordering a butlerbot to close and lock the south door after anyone following you went inside, then leaving through the north door and promptly slamming it behind yourself. You never got a good look at them, though, and when you circle back around to the kitchen, dinner-in-progress is missing.
>>
No. 977673 ID: 0c17ec

rolled 8, 4, 2, 1, 1, 10, 6, 10, 8, 10, 6, 4, 2, 5, 7, 9, 6, 10, 7, 3, 5, 10, 4, 4, 5, 1, 7, 3, 9, 10, 1, 1, 3, 10, 8, 7, 5, 1, 3, 7, 6, 2, 10, 6, 2, 5, 3, 4, 7, 3, 7, 9, 5, 1, 8, 7, 2, 10, 4, 9 = 333

>>977398
>Not nearly as much of a blood trail as you'd expect. How did they staunch that gaping gut wound, and tidy themselves up, with barely any supplies and fingers like meat-hooks, all inside thirty seconds?
>Obvious route would be over the balcony railing into the hearthroom
Noir shrugs internally- never been able to solve riddles, despite how much he enjoys them and wants to be competent. Maybe they ate the wounded? They're cannibals, right? Could they eat a whole body without much of a mess, while on the run? Probably not...?

He shakes his head free of the internal monologue and jumps of over the balcony to continue the pursuit. The open space should favor his fighting style and tools over the failed assassins'.
>>
No. 977675 ID: 5f3f48

rolled 7, 1, 5, 2, 3, 8, 2, 6, 3, 4 = 41

>>977559
The woodpecker grits her beak in frustration, realizing that safely landing on the roof is beyond her current condition. She casts about, eventually finding a clear-enough patch of ground to land on, some distance away from the front door so as not to be immediately vulnerable to any naked cannibals that might emerge.

Landing, she resumes human form in a crouch, and begins speaking quickly in riverspeak to Desert Locust, seeking to convey the relevant tactical information.

"Hushed ones. Wyld tainted clawed cannibals, cold resistant or immune. Mute. They hunt in well coordinated packs, and from ambush, and they keep prisoners to feed on. They know not mercy."

In no shape to contribute to the fight herself (and still hurting from Des' hearthstone), the best she can do for now is to stay away from the threat until dealt with. As the swarm of Locusts seems quite intent on protecting her (and, she is reluctant to admit, she might not fare so well on her own if left by herself) Tasnim will suggest they take up watch near the front door of the manse, so the casteless might intervene if the conflict moves outdoors.

She then returns to her downy form, and will allows the swarm to guide her (hopefully as it finds an appropriate perch on which to conceal themselves and watch the door).
>>
No. 977685 ID: 0c17ec

rolled 10, 7, 6, 6, 5, 5, 3, 1, 7, 9, 3, 1, 10, 8, 7, 9, 5, 3, 7, 10, 1, 10, 6, 2, 1, 2, 7, 6, 10, 7, 10, 1, 1, 7, 7, 9, 3, 1, 2, 8, 2, 3, 2, 6, 1, 5, 4, 2, 10, 8, 5, 2, 8, 2, 7, 3, 8, 2, 10, 1 = 314

>>977675
Rather than attempt to endure the cold as a thousand tiny locust, Des herds Tasnim inside, pulling the door closed behind them and latching it shut. She then nestles into the ceiling among the hanging light fixtures and dark ceiling corners, behind the edges of grand portraits where she and Tasnim can still watch the entrance in case anything tries to open the door or escape.
>>
No. 977700 ID: 0640da

rolled 9, 4, 8, 10, 7, 10, 10, 6, 4, 2, 1, 8, 8, 3, 10, 5, 10, 1, 4, 7, 7, 3, 3, 8, 3, 1, 4, 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 3, 8, 4, 3, 2, 7, 7, 5, 10, 1, 10, 10, 2, 10, 4, 6, 10, 7, 1, 8, 2, 5, 3, 2, 5, 5, 2, 3 = 332

>>977661
Suppressing the violent and dramatic urge to fall to her knees and yell 'NOOOOOOOO!' loud enough Yu-Shan could hear her cries, she vows to herself-- vows to herself-- that she will not rest. No. She will serve justice against this atrocity. That they would hurt innocent soup... soup that has done no wrong to anyone. Her eyes water, and she wipes her tears into her arm... before steely resolve runs though her fur once more. From here on, those pursuers are her enemy. And she shall bring upon them a wrath equal to ten THOUSAND soups to avenge what has been done today.

...just as soon as she catches up with the physically and mentally stronger exalts. Right. Let's skedaddle.
>>
No. 977724 ID: f57349

rolled 1, 8, 4, 3, 4, 3, 6, 8, 4, 3, 3, 9, 9, 10, 5, 5, 5, 6, 10, 3, 8, 1, 9, 3, 7, 6, 8, 3, 4, 9, 6, 7, 6, 2, 9, 7, 7, 9, 1, 2, 10, 9, 2, 2, 5, 5, 4, 3, 9, 9, 7, 1, 2, 4, 4, 8, 4, 5, 3, 2 = 321

>>977454
Seven successes against four. Jan Do manages to catch up with the retreating Hushed Ones at the second floor landing of the west back stairs.

Effectively it's a Y-shaped intersection: Jan and Fox descending from the northwest, wounded Hushed Ones scrambling over each other to wriggle into narrower passages to the south, >>977700
and Patches hopping in from the northeast, taking the spiral stairs up three at a time.

Exquisite Etiquette Style would allow Jan to reflexively notice that Patches is distraught over some very recent loss, but not what it is exactly.

New Join Battle roll needed to see how many of them you can kill or capture before they slip away into the maze. It's built out of the same stone as the rest of the manse, but in narrow crawlspaces with much thinner layers between them, twisted together like a termite mound, tripwires and/or murder-holes plainly visible at enough of the available entrances that it's safe to assume the remainder simply have traps further in, or better concealed.
>>
No. 977729 ID: ac57f8

rolled 2, 8, 5, 1, 7, 4, 3, 7, 2, 3, 2, 8, 7, 4, 1, 10, 3, 8, 1, 2 = 88

>>977315
Along the roof of the ceilings, just low enough to make sure that she can clear the doors. Her absurdly sharp eyes and hearing strong enough to track a mouse from half a mile through a foot of snow are more than able to keep track of the hushed ones, and she'll spend a mote to shine a light to help Jan keep track of them.

Dex 3+Athletics 3+1st Dexcellency 3+stunt
>>
No. 977738 ID: ac57f8

>>977641
"Alright, that's a remarkable piece of charm tech to be able to build a cart that quickly. Now, when we go into workshop, I would like to say that the manse seems to have some sort of automated defense tied to the light that so far has burned me and my Lunar mate. I'm not entirely sure what the reason is, but I would like to request against turning on the lights.

"In fact, we can use that light." She points out the ongoing Anima banners illuminating the manse.
>>
No. 977792 ID: 990ad8

>>977738
Letting go of her tight grip on the cart's handle, Viatrix's eyes widen as she turns her head and fully notices the anima lightshow.
"It's urgent, innit?"
She asks, the hope for a negative answer
obvious from her tone.
"I'm guessin that Celestials don't flare about casually in this day and age"
>>
No. 977795 ID: ac57f8

>>977792
"Define urgent. Urgent that we get involved? Probably not more urgent than getting this ball of oil handled. Urgent enough for them to really push themselves? Absolutely, that's why they're going all out."
>>
No. 977815 ID: 990ad8

>>977795
"Well, I mean, if it's where they are and dangerous" Viatrix starts somewhat meekly,
trying not to sound like she's undermining
Ada's statement.
"We don't have any long range communication, right? Could they be trying to get our attention?"
>>
No. 978061 ID: f57349

>Time seems to slow as the samurai stands still, and then with a flash of black lightning, she stands beyond the formation of fleeing savages, blade extended to the side, as blood red petals once more float in the air. Distracted by this sudden reversal of fortunes, it was moments later that the attack caught up with the foremost hunter.

You emerge into an actual bedroom at the center of the maze. Numerous cylindrical frosted-glass chimes decorate the south, east, and west walls - a few of them, corresponding to tripwires along the route you just traversed, are softly ringing. Another Hushed One, presumably the same who was remotely coordinating the previous ambush, looks away from painting some sort of diagram onto the north wall to stare at you in open shock and dismay, then dives to grab a bladed weapon off the bed.
>>
No. 978161 ID: f57349

Jan Do kills the apparent leader of the group of Hushed Ones without recieving so much as a scratch in return, though it cost most of her mote pool. That weapon from the bedroom at the center of the maze is effectively a 2-dot Skirmish Pike with the essence battery option, built in this manse by one of the first age solars rather than to Mountain Folk spec.

Noir, Des, and Tasnim fought a dozen of the Hushed Ones all at once in the hearthroom, some of whom were carrying heavy bundles. Tasnim shifted back to Eight-Tailed Mole Hound form and took up a position on the central mosaic, relying on feral instinct to fight effectively despite the pain. One enemy briefly set foot on the ground,, got a calf-muscle pumped full of fire snake venom; the rest stayed out of reach, and definitely didn't leave by any ground-level route. Des's swarm formed a blockade, ensuring none escaped through the attic or south control-room balcony. Noir circled on his windblade, throwing that space warping needle to inflict numerous (but frustratingiy non-critical) wounds and occasionally brawling mid-leap between balconies and the central chandelier, but just as Jan and Fox arrived on the west balcony to help mop up, he turned around and the silent mutants were all suddenly gone.

That Hushed One Tasnim set fire to is also one of those two whose legs Jan Do wounded in the initial ambush. Clever Fox scored the actual capture, and the orichalcum-alloy manacles from the jail cell next to the forge seem strong and close-fitting enough to prevent escape. Dosing that one with Crane's Heart Elixir might enable Jan Do to detect them all remotely again with Hearing the Unspoken Word. Tasnim knows how to synthesize the elixir, but hasn't (so far as she can recall) had occasion to do so since exalting. Picked up most of the necessary ingredients on that trip to Shell Beach, though, and the rest can be synthesized with Scorpion And Toad Mastery or scrounged from among the various jars of colorful metallic salts in the glassworks. It'll take at least an hour to brew up, during which time a more conventional room-to-room sweep or other close attention to perimeter security might be advisable.

Once the oil has been safely bottled and immediate excitement seems to be over, Adamant Strix and Viatrix Senta have the chance to examine those bloody fingerprints Noir found on the control panel. [polar coordinate mode][highlight/reveal/seek][classify by qualia][air (aspect)][boolean operator:require both][balance-completing][end string][proceed without delay]
Somewhat inelegant, but that definitely wasn't the result of random keysmashing. For a natural-language interface it might have been phrased as a question:
"Where is the symmetrical air?"

Cold bread and raw apples for dinner. Patches the rabbit-beastfolk, pot of soup she was working on, most of the other food, that spare bottle of Celestial Wine stashed in Noir's room, and two of the three shovels were all apparently stolen during the raid.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the Middlemarches of the Wyld, Patches wakes up alone in a pit more than twenty feet deep, with broken legs. Nibsplitter is missing, but she still has all her other personal kit along with those four masks, the Tale of Penarys, and a two-week supply of carrots.
>>
No. 978162 ID: 0640da

rolled 5, 3, 6, 5, 7, 2, 7, 2, 3, 5, 10, 10, 9, 6, 5, 9, 1, 9, 1, 5, 6, 6, 2, 6, 7, 8, 4, 6, 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 2, 4, 4, 7, 2, 3, 1, 2, 8, 6, 4, 6, 3, 8, 2, 1, 10, 3, 9, 9, 2, 7, 7, 6, 10, 1, 2 = 310

>>978161
Patches groans. This was a stupid idea. Stupid, stupid... and now they've grabbed her and thrown her in this pit. For what, dinner later? She doesn't know, but she can recognize two things. One, her legs are broken... and two, she's been given an out. Feeling around, there's no nibsplitter at her side... but there's a book, and there are masks, and there are carrots all around. Maybe she can plot a way out of here... send a message to her friends. She thinks her first plan of action will be to gather further information about her surroundings, and the best way to manage that is to listen out for dreams. The more she can feel, the more hostiles she can number.

Calming her building anxiety, she focuses herself purely on survival... and Listening to Dreams Vibration. -3 motes-- within earshot, how many dreams can she feel within and around this pit?
>>
No. 978164 ID: f57349

>>978162
Apart from those mask-spirits, nobody nearby is dreaming hard enough to be intelligible. Background noise, dream-wise, suggests the pounding of whitecapped waves on rocky shores of a vast underground sea, though there's clear daylit sky visible overhead. The three maids and the cook are trying to wake up, but seemingly lack the strength to do so on their own.
>>
No. 978166 ID: afdebc

rolled 1, 5, 1, 10, 8, 9, 7, 2, 7, 9, 4, 3, 6, 2, 9, 1, 7, 7, 8, 4 = 110

>>978161
Battle completed, Jan Do kneels and allows her amber crystal to touch the blood of the fallen, which seems almost to drink it in greedily. She pauses a moment longer, then rises and allows a blood-and-verse-stained scrap of paper to fall to the floor.

The Dusk caste direct the manse's automated servants to collect the remains of the dead (proper funerary rites can be performed when the immediate aftermath of the crisis has abated) and to clean the blood and other gore, and then sets about organizing her fellows.

"We must make haste. We must search the grounds for any remaining hostiles, and for our missing companion."

Should be two or three groups—the searchers, whoever is staying behind with the doctor and/or whoever is keeping an eye on the prisoner, as no one should be alone at this point. Do we have volunteers? I'll start nominating people if there are none, but I don't have enough time to work out the division of labor exactly right now.

I think we want to do a systematic search, just going room by room, floor by floor. Not checking for secrets or examining any room in detail, just checking long enough to see if it's occupied, or has been so recently. It's a big building, and we want to cover the whole thing in an hour or so.
>>
No. 978167 ID: afdebc

>>978161
As soon as she hears from Jan Do how the hushed one's dearth of Compassion interfere with her tracking charm, the doctor and alchemist will commandeer Patches' recently abandoned kitchen and still-burning fire, in order to manufacture a batch of Crane's Heart Elixir. If they dose the prisoner, Jan should be able to find the other. And perhaps, the missing rabbit who had so recently sworn so earnestly to protect Tasnim.

The No Moon is absolutely taking one of her more combat-competent companions along as backup, as she doesn't enjoy the thought of getting ambushed by one of the remnants while she's brewing the solution.

She'll also drink one of the doses as soon as she's done, so the formula is added to her library of drugs.

Rolling Wits 3 + Occult 4 + Art of Alchemy 3 - Stone of Acrid Understanding 2 + Stunt
Might count as motivation resonant (although in this case we're trying to provide a medical drug to the prisoner because Patches deserves care). Possibly another bonus for whatever the tools in her Alchemy bag are worth, and/or if Viatrix or Ada opt to use Clay-Wetting Practice or Tool-Transcending Constructs to assist and provide tools / workshop bonuses.
>>
No. 978168 ID: afdebc

rolled 7, 8, 3, 10, 10, 5, 4, 4, 2, 4, 9, 3, 1, 8, 8, 9, 10, 8, 1, 4 = 118

>>978167
>>
No. 978170 ID: 0640da

rolled 3, 1, 1, 3, 5, 5, 7, 5, 9, 9, 3, 7, 1, 5, 10, 4, 4, 2, 5, 5, 2, 10, 2, 7, 10, 9, 1, 9, 5, 10, 10, 7, 9, 5, 8, 9, 4, 8, 2, 3, 9, 4, 6, 8, 4, 2, 8, 7, 2, 7, 10, 6, 3, 2, 1, 9, 4, 10, 4, 9 = 339

>>978164
This seems like an easy enough decision. What you need, out in this hole, is allies... allies who can be your legs, because Patches isn't really sure she'll HAVE legs at this rate. Knowing what she knows about spirits, they won't cut into her food intake either... so she glows bright, and tries to push motes into each of the spirits to bring them to life. She needs all the help she can get out here... especially since she's not sure how this hole works. The sound of the sea and a bright blue sky... but it's all underground. None of it makes sense.

Let's spend enough peripheral motes to glow pretty brightly, and bring these masks to life inside the pit with her. She'll spend as much as she can afford without dipping below 0.
>>
No. 978240 ID: d9acdc

rolled 5, 8, 1, 8, 4, 10, 5, 4, 7, 7, 2, 1, 3, 3, 9, 9, 1, 8, 5, 3, 3, 2, 3, 8, 10, 5, 4, 1, 8, 1, 6, 3, 10, 6, 7, 10, 6, 3, 3, 4, 4, 3, 10, 5, 3, 10, 2, 5, 4, 9, 1, 6, 8, 1, 9, 10, 8, 9, 9, 1 = 323

>>978166
Noir stands, perhaps a bit too close, to Jan Do, and whispers in her ear in old realm. He stammers out a request that they not disturb the blood trails in case that helps them to track down the assailants, and also that he'll lend his ears and windblade to whatever search parties are organized; he's eager to be of assitance after having to be so fiercly protected during the initial ambush, and failing to contibute similarly or stopping them from escaping.

Assuming he has Jan Do's help to act as a more confident set of hands and mouth piece, Desert Locust sticks close to Tasnim and heads towards the workshop to check on Ada and Horizon, while he and Jan Do head towards the chapel to search for that secret exit Felt mentioned, in case their mystery raiders escaped that way.
>>
No. 978241 ID: d9acdc

rolled 4, 7, 8, 7, 9, 10, 9, 3, 7, 3, 10, 4, 10, 4, 10, 1, 4, 6, 6, 7, 9, 4, 6, 10, 4, 6, 7, 9, 5, 10, 3, 4, 2, 4, 7, 2, 4, 2, 3, 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 10, 1, 1, 1, 10, 4, 10, 6, 10, 1, 4, 6, 9, 4, 10, 10 = 350

>>978167
Desert Locust sticks close to the alchemist- quite literally, since her cloud like body has been molded around the other lunar like armor since the start of the assault. As they push to reunite with The Adamant Strix and Horizon Silver, she *attempts* to push them down towards the control board and search for lifeforms in the area, if her swarm form can still man the controls.

Rolling I suppose to communicate and coordinate group navigation and activities without being able to speak outright?
>>
No. 978263 ID: afdebc

rolled 10, 8, 2, 10, 8, 8, 8, 5, 5, 9, 7, 10, 3, 1, 2, 6, 6, 8, 7, 2 = 125

>>978240
>He stammers out a request that they not disturb the blood trails in case that helps them to track down the assailants
"I will defer to your counsel." the abyssal agrees with a nod.

Jan is willing to check the chapel first, but suggests after that, searching the building wing by wing, from the basement up. If we lock the doors to spiral staircases (using thaumaturgy, as before), or the rooms containing them as we go, the central stairs will be the only way up or down, and one member of the search party can watch the central area while the remainder sweep a wing. This should hopefully limit the ability of anyone slipping in behind the searchers.

Also committing 3m to Hearing the Unspoken Word for the search scene.
>>
No. 978289 ID: f57349

>>978263
Quickest way to simplify partitioning of the interior is to lock the back stairs first: up one side, check in with the blood ape guarding the roof, then down the other. When you do...

Part of your curse as one of the Forsaken is to perceive certain things that wholesome, living people would not happily choose to know. Right now those senses are telling you that this blood ape is attempting to offer you the frozen severed head of a desecrated mutant corpse, her long dark hair (which hung loose in battle) now braided with surprising care and skill, with the unspoken intention to see how you respond to such a trophy, as part of a larger evaluation of your receptiveness to being formally courted.

As to guard duty, Feasts On Lion's Torment makes no claim of divinely perfect senses... but he does know much about the shedding of blood, and studied First Pulse Style partly as a devotional exercise in honor of his progenitor, Sondok, She Who Stands In Doorways, in her primary aspect as a vigilant warden. He has skirmished against Hushed Ones before, and is confident they could not have climbed this tree (which is now visibly sickly, particularly where Jan's anima lingered more than Noir's), nor breached the other roof access, silently or scentlessly enough to escape his notice, even if they weren't both injured and carrying plunder. Either they left by some other route or they're still inside somewhere.
>>
No. 978291 ID: f57349

>>978170
The bottom of the hole is three or four hundred square feet. Walls are loose earth, unclimbable. You've taken two levels of lethal damage and four of bashing damage. Fractured right tibia but the fibula seems intact. Worst massage ever. Two stars out of five, a halo of tiny chirping birdies. That leg will eventually be fine but you won't be able to safely put weight on it until after the carrots run low. Left knee... he says he's a cook, not a surgeon. Servant masks form a Drill 3, Mag 2, Might 2 unit with him leading and yourself a sorcerer, drinking hot carrot soup enriched by bizarre conjured spices and bedtime stories about civil engineering. Two maids cuddle up for warmth or otherwise actively serve you, one watches the horizon - for all the good it'll do, when that's only ten yards or so uphill - while the cook triages fresh-fallen debris into 'edible,' 'burnable,' or 'bedding.'

After the first full day in the pit you will no longer be at a -4 wound penalty.
>>
No. 978293 ID: f57349

>>978240
> request that they not disturb the blood trails
>>977398
> gore-soaked towel
Stains on the towel form a single word in Skytongue.
Tasnim's first guess (as a doctor) is a euphemism for arthritis, but the slightly more literal meaning is a soldier's pension.
Jan Do knows it can also refer to firedust weaponry, or cheap booze distilled by freezing - particularly in the context of comically mediocre ancestor-cult practices or isoamyl alcohol poisoning - or to the horror-story cliche of a wise elder's unheeded warning.
Root meaning, based on what Viatrix Senta can remember from her own formal schooling on the historical context of emergency comm protocols, is something like 'final speaker' or 'peacemaker,' but apparently it hasn't been a widely accepted term for actual military truce in a very long time, since Clever Fox knows that the Gethemane Accords, normalizing relations between the Guild and the Haslanti League more than a hundred and fifty years ago, and used as a starting point for broader international cooperation during the Wyldfog War, established a completely different word (which Ada and Viatrix both recognize is derived from an Old Realm term for sympathetic elemental scanners), along with the unmarked white flag, as protected symbols of intent to negotiate or surrender.
>>
No. 978302 ID: f5325a

rolled 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 3, 6, 10, 5, 10, 8, 10, 2, 1, 1, 2, 5, 6, 6, 3, 3, 3, 6, 2, 6, 9, 7, 1, 9, 4, 5, 3, 2, 10, 3, 7, 4, 4, 5, 8, 7, 7, 9, 2, 4, 4, 2, 6, 2, 6, 6, 4, 3, 8, 7, 6, 9, 4, 6, 3 = 308

>>978291
"Well, there ain't nothing for it." Patches shrugs. "Some call me a pollywanna cracker, but I ain't about to do no cryin' over what seems to be spilt soup and a broken knee... they beat me fair and square." Fair doesn't preclude them surrounding and bodying you to the ground, does it? "I'm Patches. Patches in Reality. And I'm so glad for your company. I ain't much... just an author. Maybe something of an engineer. But I do have stories I can tell you. At least we can keep each other company." Patches removes a book... at the very least they left her with her journals. "Now hold on, this is a bit of a doozy... don't quite understand myself what this is doing here. 'The Tale of Penarys'... again? Well. Why not, it's fresh and news t'me."

Patches is going to open up her book again and read it, aloud this time-- doing downright silly character voices, but the best she can. Charisma + Performance? Which is, I believe, 4 and 0, respectively. Surprisingly enough, there's less of an accent when she reads.
>>
No. 978319 ID: ac57f8

rolled 9, 1, 9, 5, 10, 3, 7, 9, 7, 10, 2, 5, 5, 10, 8, 1, 10, 1, 10, 1, 6, 6, 4, 4, 10, 1, 2, 8, 6, 5, 4, 6, 3, 6, 8, 3, 8, 5, 9, 5, 2, 6, 9, 1, 1, 2, 5, 2, 8, 3, 5, 6, 2, 1, 8, 10, 5, 2, 7, 1 = 318

>>978241
Alright, being re-introduced to the group by Des. "Seems like something big went down while we were solving the oil crisis."

>>978161
> [polar coordinate mode][highlight/reveal/seek][classify by qualia][air (aspect)][boolean operator:require both][balance-completing][end string][proceed without delay]Somewhat inelegant, but that definitely wasn't the result of random keysmashing. For a natural-language interface it might have been phrased as a question: "Where is the symmetrical air?"

That's definitely curious, but I want to examine this keypad and everything and see if I can use this to print the location of all people in the manse at this present time.

> Should be two or three groups—the searchers, whoever is staying behind with the doctor and/or whoever is keeping an eye on the prisoner, as no one should be alone at this point. Do we have volunteers?

"I'd like to volunteer for the searchers, since I'm really good at seeing things."
>>
No. 978321 ID: ac57f8

rolled 10, 10, 8, 6, 4, 9, 8, 3, 4, 6, 2, 8, 5, 9, 2, 6, 1, 4, 8, 4, 5, 3, 10, 7, 5, 8, 1, 8, 2, 9, 3, 4, 5, 8, 5, 3, 2, 2, 8, 1, 8, 7, 2, 9, 10, 2, 7, 1, 4, 9 = 275

Alright, so Fox is going to stay with the Prisoner, though since nobody should be alone, she has a proposal. "Jan, I know that you're terribly worn out from your earlier fight, so, you should sit with me so that we're not alone and you can rest, and be ready right away as soon as you can use them as a focus to hear all the other Hushed Ones."
>>
No. 978408 ID: afdebc

rolled 3, 2, 6, 8, 5, 5, 10, 2, 6, 9, 1, 2, 7, 2, 8, 5, 2, 5, 7, 5 = 100

>>978321
Clever Fox's argument resonates with Temperance and restraint and moves Jan Do, despite her desire to do her duty and continue the pursuit. Honor sometimes means ceding glory to others.

With a slight frown, she answers "Your point is wise, but I am loath to leave the searchers with only two in their ranks. Viatrix Senta, would you be willing to stand with my Noir and Adamant Strix in my place?"

The samurai knows the No Moon has no love of combat, but with the ability to grow armored plates and transform into a great metal bird, she does not fear for the Lunar's safety should the searchers encounter any lingering hushed ones.
>>
No. 978428 ID: f57349

>>978319
There's no printer, though you could certainly take manual notes. Also the manse's internal senses seem to have gaps. Probably wouldn't be noticeable to the untrained eye, but when you look closely at, for example, individual locusts while Des's swarm form moves from one room to the next, there are slight discontinuities where imperfectly extrapolated images are replaced as the realtime view becomes available again.

More importantly, northwest quadrant of the second floor? Holographic control-room displays show no corpse, no bloodstains, not even the maze of stony crawlspaces, tripwire chimes, and murder-holes. Just three empty bedrooms, laid out like a tidy unoccupied version of that symmetrical set in the east wing.
>>
No. 978461 ID: 4424d1

Once she overcomes the initial shock of having learned of the attack; especially the kidnapping, Viatrix glances down upon hearing Jan Do's request, only to realize that she's stepped forward just now without realizing it herself.
"So it wasn't a fluke?"
She thinks to herself, bewildered, trying to
look composed in front of the others.
"O-Of course, but..." Viatrix tries to get a quick assessing look at her companions, giving up upon realizing that she's awkwardly staring at a shapely cloud of locusts.
"-But who are these Hushed Ones? Are they some kind of criminal gang? More aliens from The Wyld?"
>>
No. 978501 ID: ac57f8

>>978461
"What wasn't a fluke? Being attacked by wyld mutants, absolutely not when we're as close to the Wyld as we are, since you don't start seeing Unicorns unless you're right next to a powerful Wyld Zone.

"As for what the hushed ones are, I don't know the specifics, but probably a stable line of people twisted by the Wyld with a relatively consistent mutation pattern. I know that's what a lot of the Wyld Barbarian clans."
>>
No. 978503 ID: ac57f8

rolled 2, 10, 1, 3, 7, 10, 1, 9, 1, 6, 1, 4, 6, 1, 3, 8, 1, 7, 1, 1 = 83

"Centuries ago, the Ice Walker tribes of the Haslanesh, the Haslanasha, and the Haslanosha people were guided by both their herd and their goddess, Arvia of the Crescent Eye, Master of 99 Forms. Arvia was slayed by the Wyld Hunt, which sent the nascent Haslan people into a spiral, shattered and broken by the loss of their goddess. They eventually grouped together, stronger than ever, as the Haslanti league and people, but some continued their ice walker traditions, others sold themselves into servitude to the Wyld for protection and revenge. The Hushed Ones are one of those groups that survived.

"They are utterly relentless merciless ambush predators who prefer kidnapping over battlefield execution, both to keep their victims alive as livestock for winter while travel over the routes they might be ambushing resumes, and in case one of their victims takes their mutations in the Wyld. Nobody knows if they're infertile or not, but more numbers is always an advantage for them. I'm guessing that if they have managed to get back to the Wyld somehow, we'll have a nightmare of a time trying to get through their defenses."

Fox hadn't actually fought Hushed Ones personally, but given that she was a frequent traveler even as a mortal, they were always one of the possible dangers she had to keep an eye out for on certain routes.
>>
No. 978565 ID: afdebc

rolled 7, 6, 3, 10, 1, 9, 1, 3, 1, 6, 4, 3, 5, 8, 4, 8, 2, 1, 10, 2 = 94

>>978503
"They are also immune or resistant to cold, mute, fight as coordinated telepathic packs, and are, quite literally, without compassion." the doctor coldly adds to Fox's summary in skytongue. "On the occasions their victims have been recovered from 'herd-pits' before falling prey to cannibalism or the wyld, the medical literature reports long lasting psychological harm and physical disability as consequences.

"It is quite important that we locate Patches."

If necessary, this can count as a social attack trying to convince Viatrix of the importance of taking action here. Charisma 3 + Presence 1.

If Viatrix needs further clarifying information, Tasnim is willing to provide further information, up to essentially the entire contents of their writeup in Compass: North >>977559
>>
No. 978651 ID: ccb8b1

>>978501
"No no no!" Viatrix protests meekly, holding her hands up defensively, her pale, freckled cheeks turning into a bright pink.
"I meant something entirely different. So different in fact, I didn't even mean to say it at all".
Hoping that the more composed Solar will let this embarrassing moment slide, she turns to Tasnim, glancing at Clever Fox from time to time as she speaks.
"They... They don't sound like barbarians to me, or like people at all. Things must be awful all around for... things like this to exist without anyone doing something about it"
She grimaces, looking at Tasnim in the eyes
"Doc, you just mentioned... Herd pits? That means that if.. [I]when[I/] we go, we've got to be ready for the possibility that miss Patches isn't the only one there. There could be more poor souls there who got nabbed from Jupiter knows where. We've got to be able to rescue them, too, and we're going to need a plan,
as well".
>>
No. 978671 ID: f57349

Proceeding with the sweep...

Sculpture studio has a phonebooth-sized block of stone with disturbing bas-reliefs carved into all four vertical faces. They seem more like distorted caricatures than accurate portraits of any real people, but there's also some meticulous anatomical realism. South-facing figure has a face contorted with rage, spots on fingertips and heel of hand are coarse, unfinished stone where they'd be pressed flat if clawing at an imaginary window. West-facing figure weeps, hands in a pleading gesture. East-facing figure is green-eyed and slack-jawed, with patches of unfinished stone on the right shoulder, right cheek, and tip of nose as if leaning limp against the fictitious glass. The last figure, concealed until you walk into the studio and circle around, has a broken jaw, missing teeth, and many other painstakingly rendered wounds. It's face above the lower eyelids is still embedded in raw stone, positioned high enough that the dome of an intact skull would have protruded past the top of the block. Left hand is raised as if to bite the fingers, or induce vomiting. Most striking of all, though, the figure's left elbow, and right arm up to the shoulder, protrude beyond the stone block's apparent original surface, tips of the right index and ring finger brushing against a brass vine on the wall nearly three feet away.

There are a few other chunks of raw material and fragments of broken statues, as well as a rack of tools on the east wall. About half the tools are missing, but probably nothing that couldn't be replaced... given a week or three in the forge and maybe another shopping trip. No hostiles lurking under the workbench, nor in the various storage cabinets of the game rooms or music studio.

Between the sculpture studio and the parlor where you spent your first night in the fortress, there's the chapel. It's much more richly decorated than elsewhere. Southern wall has a shallow niche with a low-relief carving of the Unconquered Sun enthroned as a divine king. To his right, smaller niche carvings depict Luna and the Five Maidens, while Gaia and the Five Elemental Dragons are in a similar arrangement on the left. All the figures are brightly painted with gold and silver accents and elaborate scrollwork framing each niche. The UCS has eyes of crystal and orichalcum foil, but no matter where you stand they never seem to be looking directly at you.
Altar at the south end is a marble drum, four feet high and three feet in diameter, originally capped and trimmed with orichalcum. Most of the filigree on the sides and about a third of the concave sheet on top was torn away and presumably plundered. There's still some ash in the center from a long-ago burnt offering.
Vaulted ceiling is enameled bright blue, with an enormous sun of crimson, yellow, silver, and gold at the apex. Center of the painted sun is a yard-wide disk of gray glass, which functions identically to the lights elsewhere in the manse. Floor is blue tiles with golden sunbursts, walls are a gilded latticework outlining diamond-shaped segments of veined marble with a gold boss in the middle of each, and a row of the usual vinework along the top.
Ada, Viatrix, and anyone else familiar with First Age religious practices will be confused and/or horrified by the architectural decision to place a shrine dedicated to the Unconquered Sun in a room with no exterior windows.
>>
No. 978691 ID: afdebc

>>978651
>There could be more poor souls there who got nabbed from Jupiter knows where. We've got to be able to rescue them, too, and we're going to need a plan, as well".
The doctor gives a weary smile, and responds softly. "We do what we can as we can, and confront the problems before us. Triage."
>>
No. 978722 ID: ac57f8

rolled 10, 8, 1, 6, 5, 4, 6, 5, 10, 9, 2, 9, 9, 3, 9, 9, 9, 8, 7, 9, 3, 4, 4, 7, 10, 1, 8, 6, 7, 4, 2, 10, 6, 2, 7, 5, 2, 4, 3, 3, 9, 4, 10, 1, 5, 8, 7, 4, 4, 6 = 294

>>978671
> Ada, Viatrix, and anyone else familiar with First Age religious practices will be confused and/or horrified by the architectural decision to place a shrine dedicated to the Unconquered Sun in a room with no exterior windows.

This had already come up with the paintings of the solars in the one room, but Ada/Sunset is going to go into another annoyed rant at how Kal Bax is an arrogant and tacky piece of shit, now doubly so that she's actually seen this chappel. "I bet that they made it so that the Unconquered Sun never seems to be looking right at you because he couldn't bare to stand under the Sun's gaze knowing that his tacky and blasphemous design choices are probably part of why the Sun turned his face on creation at all, and so what if he advanced the science of Geomancy by centuries, he was an insufferable piece of shit who loved to flaunt how much work he had published in standardized deliberative issue Geomancy text books to anyone that would listen to him yap about it, and he never stopped even when you're really trying to signal that it's a super awkward situation, because he knew that you wouldn't be rude enough to interrupt an ancient Solar, and then when you do say something he acts like HE'S the victim, and he gets minor sanctions placed against your nation for rude behavior.

"Gods, fuck Kal Bax."

As for actual actions, Ada is going to be using Essence Sight and the Twilight Anima power to search for and analyze anything magical that blips the radar, mentally filtering out the manse's background magic from her search.
>>
No. 978723 ID: f57349

>>978722
Yep, those eyes are definitely a load-bearing component of the manse's Outside Fate power. Altar and creepy statue don't seem to have any significant magical component beyond the obvious - it's an actual statue, not four or more petrified people. Does seem remarkably well aligned with both the manse's essence currents and the broader elemental poles. Maybe a patch job to balance out damage elsewhere? That sort of meticulous work on a two-ton stone block doesn't exactly suggest emergency repairs, and it's probably not enough of a weak point to cause outright power failure if moved, so it might be a longer-term counterbalance for deliberate deviation from the original blueprint elsewhere. Or just a weird art project.

No magical illusions are in evidence. There's a hollow space in the north wall, though, directly above the one Noir found previously. >>970721 Abrasions on an adjacent gold boss suggest it might actually be a button; sure enough, when pressed, a secret door slides open. Slots in the shaft's far wall form a ladder leading down. Looks like it's about fifteen yards deep, so the lower end would be level with the bottoms of the tomb-shafts, or that incendiary staircase. Just barely wide enough to accommodate the missing soup cauldron. Noir's investigative skill can confirm traces consistent with two or more Hushed Ones traversing the shaft, very recently, while holding something bulky, heavy, and/or delicate enough to present a significant inconvenience - he knows quite a lot about the biomechanics of one-handed mountaineering.

Bottom of the shaft is a small room, six feet high by eight feet square, entire north wall of which is a massive pair of double doors similar in some ways to those at the front of the manse. Bronze-bound stone, flat grinning face across the central seam. Hinge position and scratch marks on the floor suggest it opens toward you, but pulling on that handle would involve sticking your fingers between the mask's teeth - or using a tool, or magic, of course. Inside both nostrils there's a complex lock mechanism.
>>
No. 978865 ID: d9acdc

rolled 2, 2, 2, 9, 1, 9, 4, 5, 8, 8, 8, 10, 3, 7, 6, 10, 1, 8, 4, 5, 7, 8, 6, 4, 4, 7, 6, 4, 3, 3, 9, 4, 1, 10, 6, 10, 6, 3, 9, 1, 1, 7, 5, 3, 10, 10, 8, 3, 10, 7, 2, 10, 8, 5, 7, 3, 3, 8, 10, 2 = 345

>>978671
>East-facing figure is green-eyed and slack-jawed, with patches of unfinished stone on the right shoulder, right cheek, and tip of nose as if leaning limp against the fictitious glass.

Noir is particularly interested in the eyes- what's been used to color them? Gems? Pigment? Another type of stone?

>Altar at the south end is a marble drum, four feet high and three feet in diameter, originally capped and trimmed with orichalcum. Most of the filigree on the sides and about a third of the concave sheet on top was torn away and presumably plundered. There's still some ash in the center from a long-ago burnt offering.

Noir pretends to be looking about the chapel until he's confident no one is watching; he then takes a handful of shattered adamant from the previously swept up debris (keeping the rest in his pocket in case he needs to blind someone or cover an escape) and tosses them among the ashes, offering a whispered prayer common among the southern urchins.

"May the shade find me, heat avoid me, Men With Skicks* pass me by, and cool water grace my lips"
*technically this is a single word, with a variety of interpretations based on context, ranging from "respected elder" to "Immaculate Monks" to "Beatings from merchants/law enforcement"

>>978723
> Bronze-bound stone, flat grinning face across the central seam. Hinge position and scratch marks on the floor suggest it opens toward you, but pulling on that handle would involve sticking your fingers between the mask's teeth - or using a tool, or magic, of course. Inside both nostrils there's a complex lock mechanism.

Any blood, pronounced scrape marks, or other indicators as to how the mechanism was most recently operated?
>>
No. 978871 ID: f57349

>>978865
Charisma 4, Integrity/Performance 0, stunt 2, tool bonus +1 from the shrine
>rolled 2, 2, 2, 9, 1, 9, 4,
Pretty sure that wasn't a Resources 5 offering, so the prayer is unsuccessful.

Perception 5, Investigation 5, stunt 2, specialty +2
> 5, 8, 8, 8, 10, 3, 7, 6, 10, 1, 8, 4, 5, 7
Ten successes. Just enough dust on the floor to pick out footprints and realize that wasn't two or more Hushed Ones, it was a single individual climbing down, examining the door without ever touching it, then climbing back up in a hurry. Toes the same size and shape as whoever stole a celestial wine bottle from your room, actually, which neatly explains what she was carrying.
>>
No. 978875 ID: f57349

>>978865
>the eyes- what's been used to color them? Gems? Pigment? Another type of stone?
Medical-grade glass, complete with realistic iris striations. If some surgeon plucked one of them out from under the corresponding stone eyelid and installed it in a living person's face, most people wouldn't be able to tell. No dots in relevant Craft skills, so you'd have a hard time guessing how such a thing was made, but it seems like a pretty impressive trick.
>>
No. 978912 ID: afdebc

>>978289
>Part of your curse as one of the Forsaken is to perceive certain things that wholesome, living people would not happily choose to know. Right now those senses are telling you that this blood ape is attempting to offer you the frozen severed head of a desecrated mutant corpse, her long dark hair (which hung loose in battle) now braided with surprising care and skill, with the unspoken intention to see how you respond to such a trophy, as part of a larger evaluation of your receptiveness to being formally courted.
While she had earlier entertained the hypothetical of a code of honor build around the respectful taking of trophies, Jan Do does not herself subscribe to such a code. As such, she finds herself torn—while she would prefer to treat the remains of her foe with respect, and see the trophy head eventually receives proper funerary rites, she also does not wish to encourage the blood ape bringing her mangled prey, like an overgrown cat (a comparison, that while accurate, the demon would find insulting), much less his romantic interest.

Hmm. I believe attempting to determine the appropriate forms to politely rebuff the blood ape's attempt at courtship would be some manner of socialize roll?
>>
No. 978913 ID: afdebc

rolled 2, 7, 9, 1, 5, 10, 1, 4, 5, 10, 10, 1, 10, 5, 7, 3, 9, 5, 2, 8 = 114

>>978912
>>
No. 978927 ID: f57349

This particular blood ape seems more attuned to subtle social nuances than most, but that's an extremely low bar. Usual strategy recommended to demonologists for this sort of thing is to lay out simple, unambiguous rules, like "the use of the corpses of sapient beings as trophies is forbidden, instead they must be buried with appropriate funerary rites," or "you were hired as a wilderness guide, do not attempt to flirt or have sex with anyone while on duty, or with me personally at any time."
>>
No. 978956 ID: 0640da

rolled 1, 7, 2, 1, 9, 6, 1, 3, 1, 9, 6, 2, 10, 8, 10, 1, 1, 3, 7, 7, 2, 9, 9, 7, 4, 1, 4, 1, 10, 1, 1, 6, 1, 7, 7, 10, 3, 2, 1, 9, 3, 9, 2, 7, 4, 4, 7, 1, 10, 2, 4, 2, 4, 4, 1, 6, 6, 4, 5, 7 = 282

After familiarizing herself with a story, Patches tries to get comfortable with the pain. The next week or two, bed rest. The Hushed Ones have been nice enough to leave her group with some debris... she winces. "You never told me yer names, fellas... mind helping me-- sss. Splint my leg? I ain't in no shape to do it myself..."

Patches tries to learn the names of her friendly assistants, and a little more about their identity.

"Y'all former godbloods, or just born as spirits?"

Investigation 3 + Charisma 4 to learn their names, how they came to be... well, if they remember that, and their charm set.
>>
No. 979074 ID: f57349

>>978168
Batch of Crane's Heart Elixir is ready quicker than expected, smells nice and potent. How do you plan to administer it to the prisoner?
>>
No. 979091 ID: 4424d1

>>978691
"There's room in me for three people... seated comfortably" Viatrix emphasizes the last bit.
"Well, search and rescue regulations would have relaxed seating regulations if it meant saving more lives" she adds, nodding to herself.
"We'll need someone to track these... mutants back to wherever's their lair, someone who can either fight or scare them off, a doctor, and me, who can fly us out of harm's way"
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