[Burichan] [Futaba] [Nice] [Pony]  -  [WT]  [Home] [Manage]
[Catalog View] :: [Graveyard] :: [Rules] :: [Quests] :: [Discussions] :: [Wiki]

[Return] [Entire Thread] [Last 50 posts] [Last 100 posts]
Posting mode: Reply
Name (optional)
Email (optional, will be displayed)
Subject    (optional, usually best left blank)
File []
Password  (for deleting posts, automatically generated)
  • How to format text
  • Supported file types are: GIF, JPG, PNG, SWF
  • Maximum file size allowed is 10000 KB.
  • Images greater than 250x250 pixels will be thumbnailed.

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

Chapter 15
Adult content 18+

First thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/860238.html
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Moot_Point
Previous chapter: https://questden.org/kusaba/questarch/res/1013588.html
Expand all images
No. 1049540 ID: 9272af
File 166873899874.png - (92.15KB , 500x357 , 15-2.png )

The mountain pulses with activity, its corridors full of excited chatter. In the months since the visitors first arrived, changes have blossomed in the kobold village as the outside world has made itself known. 

Several of the lizards huddle in the central chamber, their eyes watching an empty space marked with a square, painted outline. 
No. 1049541 ID: 9272af
File 166873901053.png - (209.25KB , 627x700 , 15-3.png )

The chamber booms as a gate opens and the villagers beam as three of their kin come scampering through the portal. A several of the kobolds embrace the travelers as they return home, gossiping excitedly about their trip. 

Four larger shapes emerge from the disk of light: three mice and a skeleton. The Kobolds glare at the undead with noticeable unease, their conversation taking a lower, suspicious tone. 

“They seem to be adapting pretty well to the gate network. I’m glad the Academy was able to fit a daily gate into their schedule.” Casey remarks.

“There’s not too much traffic so its not a big deal, and once they get a few kobolds trained in gate magic, they’ll be able to come and go as they please.” Gabe waves at the kobolds amiably, who give him sharp toothed smiles in return. “ I’ve heard Zafi is picking up the theory really well.” 
No. 1049562 ID: 83fb9f

How goes your progress, you three?
No. 1049585 ID: 823a1a

we may as well check in on how they are doing since we're here, both as a whole and any individuals you care to
No. 1049695 ID: 9272af
File 166898681119.png - (152.76KB , 700x500 , 15-4.png )

“I hope this doesn’t take too long” Graves mutters from behind the mice, “I was making such good progress. I could be doing so much reading…”

“Oh, you’ll be fine. Besides, if our theory is right, what you’ll find here is more interesting than a whole stack of books.”

“I find that unlikely, but I’ll humor you for now.” There’s a sigh from the skull. “So this is Muir the Miserable’s old haunt? Its cozier than I thought.” Graves observes, casting his eyeless gaze around the stone walls. The austere, grey stone is daubed in broad strokes of colorful paint.

“Seems to be a work in progress. ” Kol says, pointing to a scaffolding loaded with cans and brushes. “They must really like the paint from the outside world.” The mural seems to have been inspired by the villager’s experiences on the surface: depicting trees, houses, food, and mortals of all shapes, under a sky that blends from day to night. 
No. 1049696 ID: 9272af
File 166898681621.png - (88.03KB , 338x500 , 15-5.png )

“You like it?” Says a voice behind them. 

The visitors turn to see Three Horns, draped in a colorful robe; which, on second glance, appears to be a shirt several sizes too big, held closed with a sash. “I’m so proud of them for making the village lovely! Also it makes the old man furious…”
No. 1049705 ID: 52910e

Greet the BOLD!! Compliment his outfit. Even if it does make him look like he just came out after doing the lewd with someone in that room.
No. 1049718 ID: 823a1a

is it odd, to be curious how Miur is doing in Gay Baby Jail?
though I wonder how Three Horns will react to our friendly Undead
No. 1049725 ID: 83fb9f

There she is! Greet her with open arms. Maybe she'll give a hug.
No. 1049756 ID: 9a2966

Hah, love what they've done with the place. The 'Old Man' deserves to see this place get livened up a bit.

Get the brief on how they're doing and introduce literal skeleton you dragged out of library closet.
No. 1049811 ID: 223077

I really, really like Kol's fashion sense.
The kobolds aren't bad, too.
No. 1049859 ID: add2e1


Yes I think a hug is in order.
A group hug even.
No. 1049941 ID: 9272af
File 166916894125.png - (140.62KB , 500x700 , 15-6.png )

“Three horns, you’re looking fantastic!” Kol reaches out to shake her hand. “How’ve you been?”

“I feel fantastic! Look at this color, and its so soft!” She does a little twirl to show off. “We’ve never had such comforts, because of this fool.” Her claws tap the surface of a glowing gem tucked in the sash of her robe, from which a pair of sullen eyes glare at them. 
No. 1049942 ID: 9272af
File 166916894762.png - (124.88KB , 529x700 , 15-7.png )

“Wait, is that him? The geomancer king himself?” Graves leans in for a closer look, clearly amused at the vampire’s imprisonment. “Funny, I thought he’d be taller.” 

The bound undead snarls and Three Horns laughs sharply. She nods at the skeleton with an appraising eye, “I was told that they found a rune reader. I didn’t expect one so… dead.”

“I hope you don’t hold it against me. My name is Graves.” The skeleton nods politely. 

“Call me Three Horns. Spirits and undead are welcome here, as long as they behave themselves.” The kobold leader smirks.
No. 1049947 ID: 0f5708

Sounds like a good policy. Best to keep that crystal tucked away though, in case they try something to escape. Hasn't been any other undead around until now, right? Don't want unexpected exploits!
No. 1049961 ID: 823a1a

Did we ever tell the story of this place (and our adventure here) to Graves? not to mention that have have a fair few more to share with Three Horns while we walk
No. 1050002 ID: 83fb9f

Graves has been a fine asset to our efforts, and we hope to continue that here.
No. 1050023 ID: c28082


Somehow I think we'll manage ;)

Anyway, let's catch up and inquire about why we're here.
No. 1050115 ID: 9272af
File 166932162412.png - (198.97KB , 700x477 , 15-8.png )

The lights in Graves’ eyes flicker for a second as if blinking and he asks, “Oh? Do you get many around here?”

The kobold leader smirks and turns her head to glance at a pair of approaching figures. “One or two…”
No. 1050117 ID: cf3ad1

Oh, we know those guys! What're they up to?
No. 1050120 ID: db478f

Ah, acquainted are we? Well acquainted?
No. 1050124 ID: 107c27

AAaaa these guys!! we love these guys! How'd they get all the way over here though or did I miss something
No. 1050269 ID: bbb04b

"Oh, hey! Actually, the way we met is a funny story... heh, if you guys really wanted some 'release' down in that chamber, you could have just asked~. I think we all know there's no way you actually didn't understand how your own riddle worked."

(Yes, I'm still on about the fact that the whole point of the 'correct' solution to the "one of us lies" riddle is to craft a question that will get the same true - or false, depending on how you phrase it - answer no matter which guardian you ask, and how "forgetting whose turn it was to be the liar" therefore shouldn't have been even remotely an issue.)
No. 1050288 ID: 9272af
File 166951860236.png - (121.57KB , 500x416 , 15-9.png )

“Rufus! Pezzi! Good to see you two!” Gabe hurries ahead to give the constructs a hug. “How are you doing?” 

“Kind of tired, but doing well.” Pezzi returns the hug with a careful, mechanical embrace. 

“Tired? What’s wrong?” Gabe’s ears fold back as he looks back and forth between them. 

Rufus shrugs with a clank, “These bodies use up our energy to move around and, as spirits, we can’t make any more.” The two Mediums share a knowing glance and he continues, “Sooner or later we’re going to have to abandon them and move on.” 
No. 1050289 ID: 823a1a

well... let us know when you do, BUT! until then we have stories to share and stories to make
No. 1050293 ID: 15c72a

Oh? There's no method of collecting energy for fuel?
No. 1050294 ID: dee951

Surely there's some substance or act which could refuel those bodies, somehow??
No. 1050295 ID: 85d357

As fun as having them around is, all good things must come to an end. We'll miss them when they move on. Hopefully they'll let Gabe have the honor of Sending them.

In the meantime, let's focus on why we're all here. Has anyone made any progress with the mysterious machine that was found in the mountain?
No. 1050299 ID: dacf01

It's frankly amazing and wonderful they were able to be in this realm for that long in the first place.

If there's a workaround, great! But, there's always an ending.

We should make the most out of whatever time's left
No. 1050300 ID: a67004

Come to think of it, the two robuts have yet to meet Casey and Kol yet probably.

Should remedy that.
No. 1050301 ID: 2a82d3

Is that why they're here? Three Horns is helping with that? She must be a comforting presence, if nothing else, and the experience would be good for her too.
No. 1050303 ID: f1650b

Well... you know, it's kind of weird. We've been learning lately about how, maybe our understanding of things isn't so black and white as we thought. There COULD be a way around that, and you're actually kind of on the track towards maybe finding it, too! either way though, it's nice to have them around.
No. 1050310 ID: add2e1

Let's call Caleb and arrange a high sea fishing trip.
Let's sea what kind of stuff can be done with refined fish oil.
No. 1050441 ID: 989e52

Being experienced mediums, after all the years, I'm sure they are prepared for this.

Do they have ANY unfinished businesses? Of course outside of...


...PROPER farewell from Casey and Kol.
No. 1050535 ID: 9272af
File 166976950077.png - (175.19KB , 500x700 , 15-10.png )

“We’re going to the spirit realm soon! We can bring you back some raw mana!” Gabe offers.

Pezzi chuckles and shakes his head. “Its fine. We no longer need to watch over the Guardian’s tome. As Mediums, we’ve been prepared since the moment we gave up our bodies.” The brass lizard reaches out to his partner and their fingertips hook together briefly. “Getting to share this time together was a nice way to retire before we leave.” 

“Yeah, after a couple hundred years of living in the library, getting to see the sky with you and Clio was worth it.” Rufus agrees. 
No. 1050536 ID: 9272af
File 166976951106.png - (122.42KB , 500x496 , 15-11.png )

“Heh heh heh. Good times…” Gabe grins as his memory drifts back to the free-fall fucking. “You know… I’m always down for another round, although maybe something more earthbound.” He leans in to confide, “I’ve only ever done that with at least one other Sender. Always safer to have more than one gate for in case things go wrong. I may be a dingus, but I’m not crazy.”
No. 1050545 ID: 15c72a

We just got here, I think we'd better get to business before pleasure.
No. 1050553 ID: 823a1a

question: robopenis?
but speaking of time, we DO need to check out that magi-computer
No. 1050575 ID: 83fb9f

Crazy fun, maybe!
No. 1051217 ID: 9272af
File 167046495649.png - (154.25KB , 500x700 , 15-12.png )

“So you hope to restart the quicksilver machine?” Three Horns asks Casey as they watch Gabe make future plans for mechanical fun. “I hope you know what you’re doing.” 

“Between what we’ve learned and Mr. Graves’s knowledge of vampiric runes, we think we can operate it. He’s been a huge help to us so far.” 

“Mmm…” the kobold leader nods noncommittally, “I trust your judgement, but I don’t trust that machine. Everything left behind by the old masters brings nothing but ruin.”

“I’m not sure if I should be offended at that.” Graves comments. 

The lizard blinks and looks at Graves out of the corner of her eye, “I’ll be happy to be proven wrong. Shall I lead the way?” 
No. 1051260 ID: 4b0f55

These are times of change, Three Horns. This past year alone has been a wild experience for everyone, we imagine.
No. 1051279 ID: 15c72a

Perhaps we should take some precautions...
No. 1051293 ID: bceec2

Let's go take a look at the machine and hope we don't kill everyone by turning it on.
No. 1051477 ID: 9272af
File 167072726562.png - (128.88KB , 700x500 , 15-13.png )

With Gabe having said goodbye to the robotic Mediums, the group steps onto the stone elevators and Three-Horns twists the dial to one of the strange vampiric runes. 

A moment later, the block of stone rumbles to life and floats into the central shaft of the mountain. The cube climbs several stories before changing direction and soaring into a yawning passage in the earth. Magelights flare to life along the darkened tunnel as the group huddles against the tug of inertia. 

“This is Muir’s handywork alright.” Graves comments as the walls of rock go flying past. “You’d think he would have put in a railing or something.” 

“He wasn’t exactly known for valuing the safety of others.” Three-Horns replies. “Here we are…”

The stone slows and docks itself in an empty space perfectly fitted for it. The group disembarks and steps through the massive metal doors.
No. 1051478 ID: 9272af
File 167072727357.png - (202.98KB , 500x700 , 15-14.png )

“I just had a thought…” Casey says, pausing at the threshold, “If he didn’t value safety, shouldn’t we be taking precautions? We’re about to be messing with several tons of very toxic liquid.” 

All eyes turn to the captured undead, who glowers at them unhelpfully. 

“Good point.” Three-Horns acknowledges. She snaps her fingers and a glowing network of lines traces through the air, forming a crystalline lattice around everyone . “This should keep us safe for a time. “ 
No. 1051484 ID: 15c72a

Nice. How long does it last?
We should start working, as not to waste the duration.
No. 1051497 ID: 83fb9f

Her application of magic is real neat. I think it's worth discussing in detail further over a meal. But for now, where do we start?
No. 1051689 ID: 9272af
File 167098647429.png - (160.04KB , 500x700 , 15-15.png )

“Nice work!” Casey nods at the binding spell. “How long will it last?” 

The kobold looks up at her handy-work and does a little mental calculus, “Long enough. Maybe an hour? Let’s not dawdle.” 

Mr. Graves steps up to the central console and begins examining it, his skeletal eyes alight with interest. “Okay… okay… I believe this is an indicator of date and time…” he points at a series of cylindrical dials mounted horizontally. “Some of these towards the bottom indicate direction. The right hand side appears to be related to control of the quicksilver itself: fill, purge, pressure. Also these dials seem to indicate some kind of spin control; does anyone know what that might mean?” The undead looks to the living group members for any clue. 
No. 1051707 ID: 823a1a

my first, and admitably only, guess is that it relates to the only cicular thing there is in the room, the circle that lies in the very center, unless it's a VERY sideways way of refering to the flow/cycle of the quicksilver
No. 1051710 ID: 15c72a

I'm guessing that disc in the center spins, but why? Maybe it has to be at a specific speed for certain functions to work?
No. 1051732 ID: 9a2966

Date, time and direction are curious functions for something to have.

I think... this might be a very advanced scrying pool? That can look into the past and/or future? Quicksilver has mirror-like qualities and/or could be shaped into all manner of shapes assuming a guiding force.

Fill, purge, pressure and spin control though... perhaps such values are necessary for recreating certain scenes - correctly set they allow the scry to become three-dimensional. Or there's additional functionalities to this that we're not seeing.

If it IS a scrying device - and let's be fair, someone who isolates themselves in a mountain fort might be very interested in having such a thing - then I wonder if this could be set to scry on the time and place of lord Hekal's disappearance.
No. 1051738 ID: c28082


... it's a portal device, or something like it. Not necessarily to somewhere but rather somewhen. Spin control could adjust the attitude of the resultant portal, together with the directional controls along the bottom.

The entire chamber is basically an open spell formula, powered by the mercury, and configurable through these controls.
No. 1051748 ID: 83fb9f

Some sort of controls for the Quicksilver but to what purpose? You don't think it's a dam but uncertain what sort of machinery requires fluid to operate. Logic gates?
No. 1051925 ID: 9272af
File 167115632729.png - (129.79KB , 544x600 , 15-16.png )

“Seems like it might relate that circular device set into the floor.” Kol points, “Why not try it?” 

The skeleton twists one of the dials and the central well creaks for a moment as an array of metal disks begin a slow, lazy rotation. 

“Interesting, it seems you can manipulate them individually.” Graves turns another knob and the disk shift slightly, forming a shallow parabola. 

“Stop! Get your hands off that!” A tiny voice screeches out of Three-Horns’ waistband. The kobold leader pulls the binding gem out and examines the wraith trapped inside. 

Muir bangs fruitlessly against the crystal wall and glares daggers at the skeleton. “You have no idea what you’re doing! The lattice with break if its not filled before spin up!” 

“Feeling more helpful are we?” Three-Horns teases, “You heard him, fill it up.” 

Graves nods and hunts for a moment among the controls before stabbing a button with a finger.

 The walls shiver as hidden machinery activates and hidden valves open in sequence. Liquid metal begins to pour into the network of channels surrounding the device, flowing with unsettling quickness as it seeks its way through the maze. Finally, the quicksilver pours into the central well, which, rather than beginning to fill, draws the liquid up into an unstable column. Once fully supported, the mercury spreads itself out and shapes itself into a shallow, reflective bowl as the mechanism spins faster. 

“That seems to be working. I’m guessing that’s a scrying medium.” Graves states, staring down into the liquid mirror. “What next?” 
No. 1051929 ID: 397626

Sounds like the best way to get info out of Muir is to look like you're going to use his precious gadgets the wrong way
No. 1051933 ID: 4b0f55

Yeah seems like just probing until our crystalline friend relents and gives more insight, is the way to go
No. 1051943 ID: b7f4e1

Hmm, I would assume scrying would use magic, and given that Muir is a Lich, one would assume Lich-Fire is an ingrediant, though who knows with him... at the very least, one could assume the direction and date controls are where and when you are scrying
No. 1051950 ID: 15c72a

Fiddle with the time and date settings.
No. 1051951 ID: 30b9f6

And direction. Get Gabe to calculate out something, he should be good at that.

Maybe... scry yourselves in some situation and location in the past, to see if it works that way?
No. 1051959 ID: 454238


Knowing Gabe, the coordinates he gives would probably be a time when the group was having sex~
No. 1052172 ID: e12308

I wonder if this thing has a re-dial function. Maybe we could look at the last time/place the device was pointed at.
No. 1052250 ID: 9272af
File 167150490919.png - (117.96KB , 500x700 , 15-17.png )

All eyes turn to the captured lich, who suddenly looks extremely self conscious. “What are you looking at? I just didn’t want that ham-fisted fool to break it! Thats my life’s work! You don’t even know what it does!”

“Its a dream- seeing device, right? An attempt at recreating Fey scrying magic.” Casey states simply, her eyebrow cocked with the confidence of a rapier. 

The geomancer stammers and goes quiet, his eyes flickering between the mice, “Who told you that? Him?” He asks, pointing at Graves. 

“Actually it was a Dullahan named Ometra we captured.” Casey replies. 

“That means nothing to me.” Muir says, despite his expression betraying a new respect for the spirit guides. “You can’t make me help you.” He finishes, slumping against the wall of his crystal prison in a tiny show of defiance.

“Are you sure? We’re looking for information even you might want.” Casey says conversationally. “We’re trying to find out what happened to the vampire lord Hekal on the night of his disappearance.” 

“Hekal? That old bastard? Why would I care about him?” Muir sits up, his feigned disinterest starting to crumble. “He always thought he was so clever, well look at what his cleverness got him? Vanished! I tried to spy on him, but he moved his fortress around too much.”

“Well that’s fortunate, I know where he was the night of the disappearance: within a certain margin.” Graves states as he fiddles with the date and time settings. “I could use your help with the controls.”

“Let me out first!” Muir demands.

Three-Horns holds him up to her face and glares, “Not a chance, slaver.”

The caged vampire lord slumps, defeated. “Ffffine. Hand me over.” 
No. 1052251 ID: 9272af
File 167150491502.png - (155.60KB , 500x700 , 15-18.png )

The kobold relinquishes the binding crystal to Mr. Graves, giving it one last menacing squint: daring Muir to try anything funny. 

The vampire lord begins pointing out a sequence of controls, guiding the skeleton in a startup of the scrying spell. A flare of mana courses along the channels, earthing itself into the central array and forming a poorly resolved image in the pool. 

“Its out of focus, use the knobs!” Muir snaps.

The skeleton adjusts the spin and angle until the disc forms a parabola with a more distinct image, “Like this?” The scrying spell comes into focus on the top of Muir’s fortress: its litchfire beacon blazing against a perfectly clear night sky. As the image from the past resolves, the onlookers crowd around the controls to get a better look. 

“That’s it! The machine always focuses on my beacon first. You can navigate with the orb.” Muir explains. 

Graves puts a bony hand on the impossibly smooth, stone sphere and rotates it experimentally. The image pitches sharply to the left. “Oh, that’s… huh.” The undead pans the scrying spell in a slow circle and clacks his jaw with irritation. “Um… does anyone have a map?” 
No. 1052293 ID: 9a2966

I hope someone took notes on that startup process!

Give it to Muir, this is a pretty interesting tool - it could become invaluable in understanding past events assuming it can be kept operational without it running out of, uh, battery any time soon, or rare parts and such wearing down.

Granted, it is pretty intrusive if used to scry on others - and it is also the kobolds' to make of what they will besides.

A map - or some math! Gabe would be the expert on the latter, no?

At least he could calculate the math of it, how far away something would be, the rate of movement to spin, roughly how many turns to get from point A to point B, etc.

One also has the stars to go by here, which should suffice for the directional sense. Those don't move, after all... much. From there it'd be a matter of staying steady and on target, maybe identifying landmarks of the time. Good thing Graves' hand is unlikely to cramp!
No. 1052307 ID: 15c72a

Yeah, Gabe should be able to navigate.
No. 1052356 ID: 83fb9f

We have no doubt access to probably every type of conceivable map but at the moment? Probably Gabe is our best navigator, I would say.
No. 1052386 ID: 9272af
File 167167640701.png - (133.91KB , 601x700 , 15-19.png )

“Oh, I do!” Gabe reaches into his storage space and pulls out a tome. He cracks open the book and pages through it until he finds the Highpeaks. “Okay, so… here’s where you are, that looks like… you’re facing south, towards the fernglades, here. 

“Do you know where Vianmille is from here?” Graves asks. 

“Uhhhhh…” Gabe flips through his atlas rapidly as he searches. “Is that a town or a river or something?” 

Casey thinks for a moment and says, “I think I’ve read about a ruin on the Tribune River with that name. Its downriver of Gristance, if I remember right.” 

“Okay I can work with that…” Gabe flips a few more pages and pulls a caliper out of a tiny gate in order to measure distances. “That’s… about 250 miles southwest of the Highpeaks.”

Graves looks to the controls and spins the globe to the left slightly. “So this way?” 

“Mmm, a little too far…” Gabe says, eyeing the stars in the image. “Want me to steer?” 
No. 1052387 ID: 9272af
File 167167641313.png - (129.92KB , 500x700 , 15-20.png )

The undead shrugs with a slight rattle and moves to make room for the mouse. 

The Sender gleefully takes the controls and gets his bearings. He finds that by pushing the orb rather than spinning it, he can move the spell in different directions. “How fast does this move?” He asks the lich. 

“What? Oh… I don’t really know. Why?” The undead responds, taken aback by the question. 

“Well, I need to figure out how far to go, right? There’s no compass or anything so we’re kind of flying blind here.” 

“Well the thing is..” Muir mutters, his hands clenching nervously. “Alright! I admit it! The blasted thing is practically useless!” He sags, overcome with a despair that seems to have built up over the years. “It can scry on any place and time, but using it to find anything useful is practically impossible! I mostly used it to defend the mountain and spy on the kobolds! I figured I would have centuries to work out all the problems...” 
No. 1052388 ID: 9dcfe9

Well... it’s not that bad, honestly. One could stay high in the air, tweak the date for a cloudless day and use landmarks for the initial location survey (Landmarks like a certain large statue!), plus presently modern times has an advantage in a ton of historical data (and modern maps) to work with, allowing one to narrow down both time and place. Spying in real-time might still be tough, but the past? Should be doable.

And since time can be tweaked, one can even start out from the perspective of the modern day, and tick back from there, easing things a little. Did you say it was downriver, Casey? Easy peasy, rivers are also good landmarks!
No. 1052393 ID: 6bc5d5

how does one handle three dimentionsal movement with that system?
trying to find something useful when you don't know either where or when is a needle in a haystack, even if there are a lot of needles that's a LOT of hay
but whe already know roughly where and when, and if the machine can actually get us there
No. 1052395 ID: 5046df

So what's Muir's definition of "useful?" He admits it can scry any place and time, and he uses it to defend the mountain and spy on kobolds. So how is it "useless?" It should work just fine for scrying Hekal's fate, since they already have an established time and place, it's just a matter of figuring out the controls and zeroing in on it.
No. 1052413 ID: 835c62

You're gonna need a baseline for travel speed. Pick out a known distance between two landmarks, like a pair of mountain peaks, and take down the time of flight. That should give you a reasonable estimate of how fast your viewpoint can move. The longer the distance the better.

Better to try to pick it out in the past. The modern ruins may not be the site itself, and if Graves is familiar with it he should recognize it pretty quickly.

We may also be able to update (downdate? backdate?) our contemporary maps if we take a look at the landscape from on high.
No. 1052492 ID: e12308

maybe scry up someone from the academy to help puzzle through this? They might have historical maps in the library
No. 1052512 ID: f57349

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Muir scowls and says nothing. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Kol asks, “You sure?” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holy heck, so he did suggest a collaboration!

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cue graves falling into existential dread.

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

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

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

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

Link your souls together.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

“Follow them, Gabe!” Kol insists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Can you navigate us there?” Kol asks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Translation: Sex, likely with another kobold orgy~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

As long as Graves isn’t following some secret orders to prevent anyone from discovering the truth, which will result in him destroying the mercury machine, then yes he can do this solo.
No. 1055029 ID: 9272af
File 167513326371.png - (175.79KB , 553x700 , 15-41.png )

“Actually, I’d like to get your opinion on everything first.” Kol says, his eyes flitting to his two partners. “Considering everything we just saw… how do you feel? How do you think Rodwin is going to feel? How do we break the news?”

Graves glances over his shoulder at the rippling mercury mirror and sags under his robe. “Sure… let’s, go sit somewhere.”

A short trip on the stone elevator later, and the party reconvenes in one of the communal areas of the kobold tribe. A couple of villagers stare curiously at the outsiders before being shoo’ed away by Tree-Horns.

Graves sits on a stone bench with a clatter and stares into the hearth. “This is… quite a bit to take in. I’m trying to wrack my memory for any hint that Hekal may have harbored these feelings about...everything, but… I’m finding nothing.”

“What about Rodwin? Will he be able to handle it?” Casey asks.

“I don’t know. He’s trying to hold the bargast together with willpower and his mana reserves. If that fails, it could all crumble.” Graves’s voice is haunting and quiet. “He was betrayed by his court once before and remained proud and powerful in defeat. But this is different. He’s waited so long. There has to be some reason why! Something more than what we just heard.”
No. 1055046 ID: bf44a0

We could only hope. I can't imagine a man so calculating and good to his soldiery had no reason to end it like this without a way to put them to rest.

But he also seemed to really not want anyone finding out. Were there any glory hounds in the ranks that would want this fighting to last forever or at least to the end? Someone who would rebel and sabotage his efforts in aligning with Miss moot?
No. 1055047 ID: f8083d

Perhaps we can look at if from another angle: Hekal was looking for solutions to end the war, preferably without taking a total defeat, and that he made no secret of (since he was discussing it with Rodwin before Moot arrived).

Hekal managed to get Madame Moot with him on a scheme that didn't just greatly weaken the Courts, but ended a whole age. Regardless of what happened to the man himself, Hekal actually won the war with this plan. The only thing wrong is that so few people know of it.
No. 1055048 ID: 15c72a

Alright, here's the plan. First, we keep tracking him until we see his final fate, or to the full extent that we can follow him.
If that doesn't give a clue as to his motives, then we can start looking into his past actions. Let's work backwards, starting from when he first sent Moot that summons.
No. 1055059 ID: e12308

It's entirely possible that He's still alive out there somewhere. Especially if it turns out he was the one who developed medium magic. Either way, we might be using this machine to track him for a long while
No. 1055093 ID: 9a2966

Well, there is wrong in that Hekal left the faction and supporters he had - probably painstakingly built - just to wander for eternity searching for him. Even if he allied with the Guardians, it's notable that they never tied up that loose end, for good or ill.

The question is why? What happened to let they AND Hekal leave them be despite the Guardians' apparent victory?

To reassure Graves, I think we can answer why Hekal left them to start with. At least, on a purely practical level. You don't drop good tools - or good friends - on a whim and you don't not keep a backup plan if you're a centuries-old lich (Right, Muir?). When he set off doing this, Hekal did not know for sure Moot and the Guardians were going to succeed. In a way, he preserved some of his forces and left a card up his sleeve by just leaving them in Rodwin's hands. Moot certainly wouldn't have accepted their help without reservation. So, if need be, Hekal may have planned to return to them if things went bad and his plans awry.

That they did not, and then that he did not, suggests something happened to him to leave him unable to. Perhaps the binding contract forged by the Fae was too strong. That his mana well is surrounded by Spite also suggests... that perhaps something dire occurred at a point. Whether an unintended consequence, a falling out, or just their enemies catching up to Moot and Hekal and causing havoc at his source of power - it remains to be seen.

Maybe it's time we spoke to our two golem-inhabiting mediums again? If they were contemporary to Madame Moot - someone must've trained them to become mediums. And that someone may be Hekal - or at least someone who was trained by him in turn. So let's get some oral! ...history going here!
No. 1055094 ID: 9a2966

Oh, and someone give poor Graves a hug. He must be pretty out of it. Reassure him that - kobolds willing, since it's their home and tool now - there is definitely space for him to investigate the matter better, get a fuller truth (and you certainly want that as well!).

>hint that Hekal may have harbored these feelings
Sometimes, like a sunbeam refracting through a crystal, you get to see hidden facets of people. No doubt Hekal's and Moot's stories were complex ones, from start to finish, and maybe the full of it will be hard to ever know - although with Muir's tool, there's a possibility.

But rather than spend days and years investigating it, you prefer to think of it this way: the way their stories reverberate to this day in the people and teachings they left behind and made a future for...? You don't think they were bad people, even if they kept things hidden. You don't believe in a Hekal who callously threw his followers aside. Something happened, for sure.
No. 1055103 ID: 9272af
File 167530500510.png - (173.82KB , 700x500 , 15-42.png )

“Well, if you look at it one way: Hekal wanted to end the war by any means necessary. That was no secret, right?” Casey points out. “And in that sense, he succeeded without committing his forces to combat. He may have just been trying to keep his troops safe.”

“True.” Graves admits before continuing, “Although it’s not like us undead were ever afraid of falling in battle. And why did he vanish? Why not tell anyone about his plan?”

Kol nods sympathetically, “Its something I’d like to know too. It seems like he was the creator of the Path of the Mediums, but why hide it? We could try tracing them forward in time and see if there’s any more clues.”

“That’s going to be hard if he’s traveling with Madame Moot. We’re going to end up chasing them around, assuming we even know where they’re going.” Gabe leans forward, his chin cradled in his hands. “Might be better to check his past. It’ll be easier to track.”

“That's going to be very time and energy consuming, either way.” Three-Horns scowls from her spot near the fire. “I only have so much mana to keep you protected.”

“Speaking of mana: Rodwin needs some way of stabilizing the bargast before it collapses. We’re running out of time.” Casey sighs, feeling the seconds tick away as indecision faces them.

“Maybe we should ask Pezzi and Rufus again.” Kol suggests, “Now that we know Hekal was the founder of the Path, they might have more insight about what happened to him.”
No. 1055104 ID: 9272af
File 167530501038.png - (138.52KB , 557x700 , 15-43.png )

Casey gives him a business-like nod and stands up, stretching her back after sitting on the stone floor. “Good idea. Mr. Graves, why don’t you work on navigating the quicksilver machine while we’re at it?”

“If you insist…” The skeleton’s hollow voice seems a bit more despondent as he stands to leave.


Graves turns around and is surprised when a pair of arms surround him. His bones shift under the heavy robe, feeling living warmth envelop them for the first time in centuries. “Eh!? What’s this?” He asks.

“It’ll be okay.” Casey tells him, “There has to be a reason for all of this. We’ll figure it all out, together.”

"Th-thank you... for everything." The undead relaxes in her embrace and continues, "Yeah... we'll come up with something." When Casey lets go, the skeleton stands up straighter, as if her compassion lit a fire within him.
No. 1055105 ID: a67004

So how are they gonna take him to the bonezone if he has no bone to zone?
No. 1055106 ID: 7a6db2

Ochre still has an ample collection of toys
No. 1055107 ID: f24c1a

Perhaps it's time to get something to eat and elevate our feet. They've been standing for a while.
No. 1055122 ID: 7309d2

Hekal's past...that's hundreds if not thousands of years, how are we going to check on that?

Supposedly Graves could provide a list of important moments for the vampire's realm, and we look through them try to gain some insight on how Hekal feels on an individual level. Still sounds like a stretch.
No. 1055174 ID: 9272af
File 167548347163.png - (217.50KB , 700x500 , 15-44.png )

“I’ll head back up to the machine and try to find where Hekal went. It’ll keep me occupied, at least.” Graves states, his voice growing more confident.

Gabe opens a small gate and pulls out a rolled up map, “If you follow the river to the ocean and follow the coastline south for… I’d say forty minutes, it’ll put you in the right area. Then head inland for about a half hour, until you reach a flat plain.” The mouse frowns and looks down at the map, “Around here… though finding the well might be tricky.”

“I’ll do my best.” Graves takes the map and stuffs it in his robe.

“We’ll catch up with you once Three-Horns is ready. In the meantime, we’ll go see what Pezzi and Rufus are up to.”

Three-Horns leads the trio down a flight of stairs to a larger building with a cloth draped over its doorway. The kobold leader strides inside with the confidence of a tiny ruler and the mice follow behind.

Casey waves as her eyes adjust to the change in light. “Hey guys, do you have a minute? Oh! Hi!”

The two robots pause their grinding as light slips into their chambers. “Oh? We didn’t expect you guys for a while, but you can join if you like.” Rufus says with a grin.
No. 1055185 ID: fa3034

Maybe we can relax and watch for a little bit before we decide if we're up for it. Give them a cliff notes version but try not to kill the mood.
No. 1055188 ID: d39f7f

What does Three Horns think? Seems good if Three Horns is up to it!
No. 1055192 ID: 361b88

Can't imagine how it wouldn't kill the mood. I would imagine that everybody could use a bit of something something to relieve the tension, though. As long as we don't take too long.
No. 1055210 ID: e7be99

Investigations can wait, robo-sex beckons~
No. 1055214 ID: 9a2966

We're about to drop some heavy stuff on them. Let them have some fun first.
No. 1055454 ID: 9272af
File 167582464455.png - (156.68KB , 484x600 , 15-45.png )

“Maybe, we actually came here to ask about something, but it might kill the mood.” Casey says, eyeing the pair. “What do you think, Three-Horns?”

The kobold responds by tossing her robe to the mouse and striding over to the mechanical lovers, “What I think is: I need to rest and recover, and what better way than a little pleasure?”
No. 1055455 ID: 9272af
File 167582465501.png - (122.02KB , 428x600 , 15-46.png )

Casey shares a glance with Gabe and Kol, who both shrug and nod. “Might take me a bit to get into the mood, but we can watch for a bit before jumping in.” Kol says.

“Sounds good to me.” Gabe says, grinning as he hugs the Medium from behind, “We can get you warmed up.”
No. 1055463 ID: f24c1a

Lavish that bold
No. 1055716 ID: 9272af
File 167608048438.png - (229.55KB , 428x600 , 15-47.png )

Three-Horns scrambles onto the bed, which creaks slightly under the combined weight of the trio. She fits nicely between the robotic Mediums, kneeling at the perfect height to admire their synthetic equipment. “Oh my, such craftsmanship. Are these both for me?”

“Absolutely, we insist.” Rufus says, staring down at the eager kobold.

The diminutive lizard tests out the shafts: running her hands down one and then the other, tracing their undersides with a forked tongue, grinning as the two partners stifle moans. “Ah, so you can feel that? Very impressive. How come you’ve never joined our villagers for our ‘celebrations’?”

“Ah, we were worried our weight and sizes might be an issue.” Pezzi replies as his hips buck greedily.

Rufus shuffles closer and closes his eyes, “… That and we’ve never been sure how your people feel about us using these old machines.”

“Mmm…ah-” Three-Horns bobs her head down Pezzi’s length before answering, “They were once used as a means of punishing our master’s greatest enemies: trapping their souls to become his servants.” A quick lick of her lips and she gives the pair a look of carnal intensity. “There would be nothing more satisfying than using them for our own pleasure. ” The kobold’s hips writhe as her fingers slip between her thighs, finding herself slick and welcoming.

No. 1055734 ID: f24c1a

Now spite is a hell of a motivator. If she wants that point emphasized, well then you're right at her service.
No. 1055772 ID: 7b65e9

Oho? Is there any "program" or "command" ingrained in the mechanical bodies?
Not to abuse them of course but something to play around in a kinky "domplay" manner if Rufus and Pezzi are ok with it.

That and it might as well reveal useful to know in the case we find hostile bots somewhere in the mountain.
No. 1056006 ID: 9272af
File 167635069147.png - (259.64KB , 590x700 , 15-48.png )

“Here, let us be of service.” Rufus insists, picking up the kobold and holding her close. 

Three-horns makes a small squawk of surprise as mechanical hands go to work caressing her; the soft, padded tips of their fingers tracing the sensitive lines between her scales. “Oh! Ohhhhh. You two are pretty good at this.” 

“After few centuries without bodies, theres a lot we’ve been carching up on.” Pezzi chuckles, “Plus, we have a few extra features.” 

The kobold gasps as Pezzi’s fingers hum with a low buzz. As vibrations course through her body, Three-Horns feels the stress of leadership melting away and she lets out a contented moan. “Ahhhhhh, thaaaat’s nice. Yes, more of that.” The massage runs down the lizard’s sides and between her thighs, gently kneading her pussy. 

No. 1056027 ID: fa3034

Give her a full work over. Those muscles need kneading. Keep the vibe between her legs constantly tho
No. 1056247 ID: 9272af
File 167651651785.png - (251.42KB , 700x539 , 15-49.png )

Gabe stands up and motions the other mice away, “Hang on, give me some room.” As Kol and Casey scoot back, the Sender opens up a fairly large gate, and a large, thick mattress sags out of it before landing on the floor with a “thump”.

"Much better! Gives us some room to get comfy!" Gabe says, plopping down on the bed before being joined by Kol and Casey. While Three-Horns makes high pitched gasps and sighs; Kol finds himself sandwiched between his partners as they slip his shaft free from his pants. The two mice take turns pumping and teasing his cock, feeling his pulse intensify under their experienced ministrations.

"Having fun?" Gabe asks into Kol's ear, like a devil on the mouse's shoulder, "You always liked an audience, how's it feel doing the watching?"

Kol gasps slightly at the touch, his eyes fixed on Three-Horns and his fellow Mediums. "Pretty good, I could get used to this…” His arms reach out for his partners, slipping under Gabe’s waistband and around Casey's hand.

"Mmm, well don't get too comfortable..." Casey purrs, "We'll need to put on a show of our own."

No. 1056276 ID: fa3034

Oh boy, are we going to show off each other? This sounds fun
No. 1056282 ID: a67004

Strip down and get to business then.
No. 1056408 ID: 9272af
File 167669389559.png - (176.79KB , 464x650 , 15-50.png )

“Come on, lets get these off.” Gabe tugs at Kol’s pants, slipping the mouse free. 

Casey shimmies out of her top and skirt while admiring the Medium. “Leave the coat, I like how it looks.” 

“Well you should: It is yours.” Kol chuckles, laying back on his elbows. 

Casey grins, “You know what else would look good? Gabe, get over here. If we’re going to show off, I wanna see Kol give you some head.”

“O-oh! Good idea!” Gabe quickly kicks away his hot pants: easy to wear, easy to lose. He climbs up onto Kol’s chest and boops his snout with his cock. “How about it, buddy? Gonna leave me hanging?” 

No. 1056462 ID: fa3034

Do it but maintain eye contact as much as possible
No. 1056467 ID: c04b24

Give his balls some attention first.
No. 1056534 ID: 9272af
File 167686782648.png - (216.12KB , 456x650 , 15-51.png )

Blushing as he locks eyes with the Sender, Kol runs his tongue along the middle of Gabe's sack and up the base of his cock. Fingers thread through his dreads and push him onto the gently thrusting shaft as he keeps his eyes up on his partner.

“Thaaat’s it.” Gabe grins as he watches the Medium at work, enjoying the warm feeling of Kol enveloping him. “Ah! You’re good at this. Been getting plenty of practice with Caleb?”

Kol “Mmmph”s as Gabe suddenly pulls him deeper, until his nose bumps right against the Sender’s hips. 

“Didn’t know you could top so well, Gabe!” Casey says, draping herself over his shoulders and admiring the view. 

“Nah, Kol's just a good switch.” Gabe chuckles, “I’m still way more comfortable getting bent over and railed crosseyed. But I know how much he likes getting to sub every once in a while.” 

No. 1056544 ID: fa3034

The three of you know each other so well. Like a well oiled machine. Casey, you have two partners to rival Three-horns. Think about how you three are going to put on a show.
No. 1056652 ID: 9272af
File 167695488571.png - (182.86KB , 482x650 , 15-52.png )

Casey hums to herself as a thought comes to mind: how to put on a show. Sliding backwards off of Gabe's shoulders, she kneels behind him and finds Kol's cock warm and waiting. With practiced ease, she lines herself up and slips it inside, eliciting a moan from the Medium's full mouth.

The mouse takes a moment to enjoy the feeling of fullness, grinding her hips in place and feeling Kol's girth shifting inside her. She bounces with little flexes of her thighs, giving her enough movement to slowly build her pleasure. Not content to just ride one partner: Casey grabs Gabe's hips and lifts them slightly so she can dip her nose under his tail.

The Binder leans in and runs her tongue up the tight space between Gabe's cheeks, earning a squeal from the Sender. She smirks to herself and pushes deeper, slipping past the tight ring and into the shallow space inside. Her fingers spread him on either side, giving her maximum ass access.

Gabe gasps out a lewd cry and tries to wriggle his hips, but the Binder tightens her grip on his asscheeks: holding him still while she works. The spasming Sender bucks forward, driving his cock against the roof of Kol's mouth and hanging onto the Medium's dreads with a death grip.

No. 1056703 ID: 4120ac

Nice to see that Casey has developed a liking for rimjobs!
No. 1056715 ID: fa3034

Don't be outdone, Three-Horns!
No. 1056870 ID: 9272af
File 167721163267.png - (180.36KB , 600x428 , 15-53.png )

Three-Horns sits up to watch the mice at work and nods approvingly, “Very nice. You three work together so well!”

She turns to her partners and asks, “Well? Are you going to let them steal the show? I’d say I’m ready: show me what those bodies can do.”

Rufus shares a glance with Pezzi and they smirk. “You heard the lady.”

“Very well. Should we start simple?”

“Why not?” Rufus lifts the kobold as if she weighed nothing at all, and flips her around. “Mind if I go first?” He asks.

“If you insist.” Pezzi replies.

“Well, one of you fuck me!” Three-Horns snaps, “Don’t just leave me AH-!” She gasps as the synthetic cock slides into her well-prepared passage. Being designed for larger creatures, the shaft rapidly fills up the space inside her; coming to rest against her back walls with slight bump.

“How’s that?” Rufus asks, trying to be conscientious of his size and strength. “Comfortable?”

“Oohhh. That’s- that’s a lot.” The kobold leader runs a hand down her belly, feeling a firm bulge between her hips.

“Don’t forget me.” Pezzi leans forward, bumping her snout with his tip.

Three-Horns graciously opens up, taking the mech’s shaft in her maw. His cock slips along her tongue and down her throat with relative ease, forcing her head out straight to accommodate him.

“Woah, you can really take the whole thing?” Pezzi remarks calmly. “Give me a tap if its too much.”

No. 1056872 ID: ae0c62

Never underestimate kobold elasticity! Start figuring out the rhythm. A leader appreciates initiative, after all.
No. 1057015 ID: 9272af
File 167745452670.png - (218.35KB , 700x401 , 15-54.png )

Hanging between the two Mediums, Three-Horns nods as much as the bulge in her throat allows. She feels the pair both draw back and start their rhythm, finding an easy pace with which to rock her back and forth. The kobold holds herself in place against Pezzi’s thighs, feeling her body stretch to accommodate the thick shaft.

Even as she's enjoying herself, Three-Horns furrows her brow: something is missing. The pace set by her two partners is mild and easy, clearly stemming from their concern for her. More used to the frantic humping of fellow her kobolds, instead of satisfying, it was achingly slow: like teasing foreplay that wouldn’t end.

She taps Pezzi once and he slides free of her mouth to say, “Ah! Yes! Faster!”

The Mediums share a glance and Rufus asks, “Are you sure? We’re-“

“Faster, curse you!” The diminutive leader commands, turning to snap at him. “Fuck me like a kobold! I want to feel it!”

“How about this?” The canid lifts her leg to give himself more access and thumps to a halt deep within her before sliding out in one lighting fast motion.

Three-Horns gives a cry of surprise, “Gah! Yes! Don’t stop!” She lets out a low, happy moan, which is muffled as Pezzi shoves his cock down her throat again.

With the two mechanical bodies building up speed, the kobold is given an intense ride. Three-Horns feels her own slickness leaking down her dangling leg as her pussy is hammered into bliss. She concentrates on taking breaths when she can, her throat clenching reflexively as the rough treatment leaves her feeling light headed. Her body is already sore and aching with each thrust, but clearly adapted to take a pounding: buzzing happily in a cloud of endorphins.

No. 1057039 ID: fa3034

Fuck that kobold pussy up
No. 1057045 ID: 9a2966

Muir, from his crystal and in a pithy show of revenge(?), informs the spirit-golems that there's still a, er, dark sordid function they have yet to discover... which they might as well put to use in utterly dominating that wench!

He informs Rufus to switch the rod's internal knob labeled 'oscillator' to the tenth, no... the eleventh notch, up from zero.

Everyone else be amazed and bemused as it becomes evident that Muir invented the vibrator, centuries before its time. It's the sort of fact that belongs in history books, y'know?
No. 1057124 ID: 7d0485

She wants it real rough, yeah?

Grab them horns and pull that tail! Give the gal what she wants!
No. 1057137 ID: 9272af
File 167764360614.png - (241.16KB , 427x650 , 15-55.png )

Drifting in a pink fog, listening to the distant drums thumping inside her body; Three-Horns hears a voice.

“If she likes it fast, do you think she’d like that feature?”

“Lets find out!”

There’s a sound like an angry buzzsaw and the kobold’s half-lidded eye go wide. The rumbling inside her is faster, more intense than the wildest fucking she’s ever received. Her whole body clenches tightly in response as every nerve in her pussy blazes to life. Her nostrils flare as she desperately tries to gasp around Pezzi’s cock.

“How’s that?” Rufus asks the squirming lizard impaled on his dick. “Better give her some air, Pez.”

The Medium slips out of her mouth and Three-Horns takes in a huge breath. She looks down in mute disbelief at the vibrating shaft between her legs and pants frantically.

“Like it? Bet you didn’t know we had this installed when we had these golems refitted.” Rufus beams. “A custom feature, recommended by one Mr. Ochre.”

Rufus takes hold of her horn and lifts her up to ride his cock, thrusting up into the twitching kobold with abandon. Her breathless panting gives way to a keening moan as she’s thoroughly reamed by the thick shaft. The world dissolves into a blur as Three-Horns is bounced like a toy against the mech’s hips: everything below her waist feeling as if it were made of jelly.

It isn’t long before her jaw clenches shut and legs shiver. Warmth blooms within the kobold leader and a trickle of wetness explodes, spilling out of her and down turning the scales on her thighs into glistening jewels.

As Three-Horns comes down from her orgasmic high, the three mice look on in amazement.

“Okay, I’m not leaving till I get a ride on one of those boys.” Casey states, thoroughly impressed and having experienced Mr, Ochre’s collection firsthand.

No. 1057145 ID: 0dadd8

Hope Rufus and Pezzi have the endurance for an extended session, because *everyone's* gonna want a turn on the vibrating robo docks now.
No. 1057146 ID: fa3034

Mediums, descend upon the mice.
No. 1057266 ID: 9272af
File 167781770979.png - (183.10KB , 700x500 , 15-56.png )

Gabe grins as his tail wags, “You should! They’re really intense!” The Sender turns to Kol, who’s been distracted by the spectacle. “How about it, Kol? Want to try it out?”

Kol blinks back surprise at the question, “Me? Don’t you want to?”

“Wellllll, yeah.” Gabe says smirking, “But something tells me Three-Horns is going to need some aftercare. I can take a turn later, if they’re still up to it.”

He leans in, his eyebrows bouncing suggestively, “Plus, it’ll let me watch, which I know you’ll like.”

The Meduim blushes and gets up to join Casey, who’s positioned herself on the edge of the bed. The pair raise their tails in offering and the Binder says, “Okay, guys. Take your pick!”

No. 1057267 ID: 9272af
File 167781771520.png - (194.38KB , 500x700 , 15-57.png )

Gabe takes the dazed and dripping Three-Horns from Rufus and settles down on the extra mattress with her. The mouse cuddles her close as her tiny chest heaves from exertion.

“You okay? That was a lot for a little lizard like you.” He says, reaching into his personal storage dimension with a hand and putting out a small thermos of water, kept chilled with a refrigeration charm. “There you go, you’re gonna need that.” He hands it over and helps her with the lid.

“M-merciful mountain!” The kobold coughs after a gulp of water. “I felt like I was taking the whole village at once!”

Gabe chuckles and nods. “I know, right? Next time you visit, we’re going shopping at one of Cecil’s favorite places.”

The pair lay back and snuggle, her cool scales on his fur, while Gabe’s erection rests invitingly against the cleft of her well-fucked pussy. The kobold purrs and squirms happily in place: not yet recovered enough for another round, but making sure Gabe stays hard and ready for more.

No. 1057269 ID: f24c1a

That thermos is a bit chilly, might want to keep your hands warm on something within reach.
No. 1057292 ID: aad581

Pezzi take Kol and Rufus take Casey. Pezzi goes for a couch surf, but holds Kol’s chin forward so that he can’t see the others, but knows they’re Watching. Casey gets flipped over and Rufus doesn’t go in yet, instead letting his dick buzz on the slit to let Casey feel the vibration first.
No. 1057319 ID: ec5c04


waitasecond where's the forehead jewel 0_0;
No. 1057685 ID: 9272af
File 167814680852.png - (198.63KB , 500x700 , 15-58.png )

“What do you think? Have a preference?” Rufus asks.

Pezzi takes a moment to deliberate between the two mouse butts before settling in behind Kol. “I have been wanting to top more…”

“Good choice!” Rufus chuckles and kneels next to his partner. With robotic strength, he flips Casey over easily and flops his dick down between her thighs. The Medium thrusts his hips enticingly and grinds against her slit before asking, “How about it? Think you can handle me?”

The mouse looks down at the tip as it rubs back and forth, gauging the length and thickness: realizing there’s even a small opening for releasing lubricant. “Oh, I think sooo~!” Her voice jumps an octave as the vibration kicks on, and Rufus leans in; pressing himself against her clit.

No. 1057686 ID: 9272af
File 167814682244.png - (270.36KB , 700x600 , 15-59.png )

“I-I’ll go easy, okay?” Pezzi says, leaning over Kol and holding him by the shoulder. Kol says nothing, just nodding and bracing himself, his eyes flickering over to Gabe and Three-Horns as they watch.

The Sender smirks, “Oh no, I wanna see you destroy that ass! Give it to him good!”

Kol’s blush goes crimson as he looks back at the mech. The corner of Pezzi’s mouth twitches upwards in a metallic smile as he nods, “Oh, well in that case…”

Kol nods and takes a deep breath as the weight behind him shifts and the thick shaft nudges itself between his cheeks. He gasps and moans as the tip sinks forward, pushing past the tightness of his tailhole with a slow, unstoppable pressure.

No. 1057687 ID: 14039a

Pezzi: Take it slow. Let it really connect and let Casey feel cared for. Make sure she's comfy.

Rufus: pin him down and pound that mouse hole
No. 1057762 ID: fa3034

Like well maintained machines starting up, build pressure
No. 1057958 ID: 9272af
File 167832907610.png - (268.28KB , 500x700 , 15-60.png )

Fully buried inside the mouse, Pezzi takes a moment to enjoy the warmth through his augmented senses. The Medium locks one hand on Kol’s shoulder and another around his tail, giving him complete control. “Are you ready?”

Kol gasps and nods quickly over his shoulder as the mech starts moving. The movement is smooth and fast, dragging out of him in an instant before driving back in almost as quick. The force is intense, Pezzi’s hips clapping against the mouse’s ass and slamming him forward into the bed. Without the powerful grip on his body, Kol feels as if he would have been sent flying. Instead, a high-pitched squeak slips out of him as his partner pulls back to do it again.

The robot fucks him up against the bed like nothing he’s ever experienced. Even Caleb, for as massive and powerful as he is, only has the weight and speed of a living creature. Pezzi’s thrusts drive his cock up into his ass like a freight train, leaving Kol’s body no choice but to make room. The mouse clings to the mattress with his claws and pants for air between each slam against his tail-hole.

No. 1057960 ID: d34e96

Mmmeanwhile Graves waiting patiently outside, twiddling his thumbs to tell the group that he finished navigating
No. 1058061 ID: 9272af
File 167841691164.png - (240.79KB , 700x500 , 15-61.png )

Casey looks at the blushing, squeaking Kol and bites her lip. “Yeah, get that ass…” She mutters, half to herself, half to Kol.

“Shall I give you the same treatment?” Rufus asks.

The mouse reaches down between her legs and caresses his dick, pressing it against the curves of her mons pubis and enjoying the massaging rumbles. “Mmm, not right away. Start slow.”

The mech gives her a nod and pulls back, slipping out of her fingers and aiming between her legs. The shaking tip fumbles against her folds for a moment before finding its target and sinking into her waiting passage.

Casey gasps and arches her back as Rufus takes his time filling her out. Halfway in, and she’s already panting and gripping the mattress. By the time he comes to a halt deep inside her, the mouse’s eyes are screwed shut and teeth clenched. As his hips bump flush with hers, his weight presses the vibration right into her clit.

Her world goes white and wetness paints the metallic surface of Rufus’s hips as Casey gives a mute squeak. Her knee’s instinctively draw up and together as the sensations ride up her spine like lightning.

“Already? We haven’t even started yet!” Rufus grins, “Let’s see if we can give you another one.”

“Ah! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh fu-uch!” The mouse manages between breaths.

Two hands grab her arms, pinning them to the bed as effectively as any binding spell. The Medium draws back until only his tip remains before pistoning into her. The mouse feels her hips lifted off the mattress as he drives himself back inside her, the powerful vibrations slipping in and out.

Rufus takes his time between thrusts: the force of his hips giving Casey just enough momentum to let gravity drop her back onto his dick as it spears her again and again.

She looks down between her breasts and watches the machine slowly and methodically fuck her senseless.
“Ah! Ah! Fa-ates! Yes! Yes! Oh Fu-uck!” Casey’s voice warbles as her entire lower body is slammed up into the air. Unable to move, or even think, the mouse gives into the overwhelming pleasure as she’s shaken like a ragdoll.

No. 1058064 ID: 72b3b2

Pezzi and Rufus are gonna end up ruining Kol and Casey for any other partner, lol
No. 1058065 ID: 755911

yea those two are gonna be sore for weeks lol
No. 1058076 ID: f24c1a

Don't forget to breathe, you two!
No. 1058217 ID: 7b65e9

Proceed to turn these mice into a puddle.
No. 1058369 ID: 9272af
File 167866501242.png - (223.01KB , 600x700 , 15-62.png )

“Heheh that’s it. Give it to ‘em!” Gabe chuckles, watching the pair get worked over. Three-Horns bounces up and down in his lap, riding his cock at a pace comfortable for her shaky legs. His shaft, while still big for a kobold, fits nicely into her well stretched pussy, massaging her sore inner walls.

“You know, I wouldn’t mind seeing Delilah take on those two.” Gabe comments as the repurposed golems continue their pounding.

Three-Horns pants as she savors the feeling of mouse dick inside her. “The big one? Ah! That’d be something to see! Unf! I don’t know who’d break first!”

Gabe gives his partner a hand, helping support her as she bounces in place. “You sure you’re okay to go again? I just saw you cum your brains out.” He asks.

Three-Horns nods back at him over her shoulder. “We recover quickly. I can handle it.”

No. 1058370 ID: aad581

Don't make her do all the work!! Ease her back a bit, she needs all the rest she can get
No. 1058502 ID: 9272af
File 167876394867.png - (192.40KB , 700x535 , 15-63.png )

“If you say so…” The mouse grins, flashing his over-large incisors, and grabs hold of Three-Horns. Holding her against his chest, Gabe lays back and thrusts up into her off of the mattress.

The kobold gasps and rakes her claws through his short fur, “Yes! Ah! That’s it!” The reptilian queen moans as her pussy is drilled; his balls tapping softly against the underside of her tail.

The mouse bites his lip, savoring the feel of the lizard writhing on top of him. Its rare that he finds himself with a smaller partner, and Three-Horns’s tight walls clench around his cock welcomingly. He keeps his pace brisk, knowing how fast kobolds prefer to fuck, but carefully enough to not tire himself out or pound her too hard.

No. 1058513 ID: fa3034

Gabe, master of aftercare transitionary fuckin. Keep it up and keep her satisfied!
No. 1059061 ID: 9272af
File 167927238153.png - (293.74KB , 700x549 , 15-64.png )

To Kol and Casey, ride is rough and fast. Their robotic partners exchange a nod and speed themselves up, thumping the pair into the mattress like tent stakes. Their cocks flash in out of the soft, pink mouse-holes in a blur, dripping lubricant down shivering, furry thighs.

As the mice are drilled, the Mediums chat to one another conversationally.

“They’re taking it pretty well, don’t you think?” Rufus asks.

“Mmm-hmm! I can feel him getting close.” Pezzi grins as Kol’s ass claps against his hips. “How’s she holding up?”

“Nearly ready. Lets do it together, okay?”

“Ready when you are!”

The mechanical Mediums share one last glance before speeding up, syncing their movements in a rapid duet of fucking.

No. 1059131 ID: fa3034

They're synchronized! Casey and Kol should hold to each other's hand and hold on for the ride
No. 1059225 ID: de521e

They're gonna need one hell of a nap after this
No. 1059398 ID: 9272af
File 167962176930.png - (170.24KB , 700x371 , 15-65.png )

Amid the dizzying pounding, Casey finds her arms free; Rufus having shifted his grip to hold her hips level. The mouse reaches out blindly to steady herself and grabs Kol’s wrist as he hangs on for dear life.

Kol lets go of the mattress to grab hold of Casey’s arm. They cling together instinctively, like tiny creatures buffeted by waves, their bodies limp and tired from the rapid slam-fucking.

Theres a distant voice in Kol’s ear as Pezzi says, “Oh wait, I still haven’t used the vibrator function!” And something wild and furious kicks on inside him with a buzz.

His whole body clenches around the mechanical cock, setting his nerves afire. The slick, humming shaft slips in and out of his tired tail-hole and angles right against his prostate. Unable to hold back, the mouse empties his cock against the mattress, unable to do much more than moan wordlessly as he cums.

Rufus beams as Kol goes over the edge. “Nice! Let me finish you off too!” His thumb hooks the edge of Casey’s vulva and traces up until he finds what he needs.

The Binder’s eyes go wide as his finger hums to life, vibrating against her clit as his shaft delivers more vibrations from within. Before she can register it, Casey feels herself going over the edge in an endless wave. She feel’s herself drenching the mattress beneath her as she throws her head back in orgasm.

No. 1059401 ID: f24c1a

Mice: Obliterated
Mission complete!
No. 1059402 ID: 8564ed

2 mice down, one to go... How's that Kobold holding up?
No. 1059593 ID: 9272af
File 167988338234.png - (198.33KB , 468x700 , 15-66.png )

As the two mechanical Mediums ease themselves out of their well-fucked partners, a little fist bump clanks between them.

“Nicely done! You’re really getting the hang of topping!” Rufus nods approvingly at Kol’s prone form.

Pezzi’s servos whirr as he shifts his weight self-consciously, “Heh, its been fun switching things up. Anyway, how’s our third mouse?”

The pair turn their attention to Gabe and Three-Horns: the mouse having worked himself faster at her insistence. Unable to get the leverage he needs on his back, Gabe rolls them both into their sides and holds the kobold close as he pumps himself into her pussy. His tail whips against the mattress as he drives up into her; his cock thumping a frantic rhythm against her front walls.

“Ah! Yeh- faster! Fuck faster!” The lizard pants, reaching back to spur her partner on with a slap on the ass.

Gabe groans, his muscles complaining as he struggles to keep up with Three-Horns’ needs: feeling himself rapidly running out of stamina.

No. 1059595 ID: 8564ed

Ah, looks like Gabe isn't keeping up... Maybe one of robots can lend a hand? At least a finger or two?
No. 1059678 ID: f8083d

She's impressive! A bundle of energy in kobold size.
No. 1059743 ID: 9272af
File 168005780113.png - (241.04KB , 500x700 , 15-67.png )

“Come on, keep it up!” Three- Horns demands, feeling her partner’s pace flagging.

Gabe pants, “Hah- trying- oh man…”

He’s interrupted as a heavy weight sinks into the mattress behind him, pulling him backwards like a gravity well. The mouse bumps to a halt against smooth, metallic curves and looks back over his shoulder.

Rufus beams back at him and takes hold of his hips. “Need a hand there?”

The Sender gives him a tired smile and starts to answer, just as a buzzing sensation prods up under his tail. “I- uhhhh!” Gabe’s mouth goes slack as the shaft wiggles its way in, spreading his backside around the soft synthetic curves.

“Hang on tight.” Rufus tells him, before drawing out and slamming back in.

No. 1059750 ID: 5d3433

Gabe always stuck as the middle mouse. Can't imagine this time lasting as long as last time
No. 1059768 ID: f24c1a

A Gabe filling is always welcome in this sandwich. Should we press from the other side as well?
No. 1059954 ID: 9272af
File 168023308530.png - (323.29KB , 700x700 , 15-68.png )

Jostled like a ragdoll, Gabe holds Three-Horns to his chest as Newtonian physics transfers his momentum up into her. His voice rises in pitch with each thrust, ending in gasping moans as the robot pounds his tail-hole.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s it!” Three- Horns moans delightedly. The rough ride is gives the kobold exactly what she wanted, with the added sensation of Rufus’s vibrations thrumming up through Gabe’s dick. She’s bounced against the mattress by the pair, her pussy dripping down her thighs as she’s railed roughshod.

“Ah-Oh!” Gabe announces, feeling himself tip over the edge. Between the tight kobold pussy and the vibrating mechanical dick, the mouse’s body surrenders to the sensations; his muscles bucking him back and forth in the bisexual sandwich. Warmth blossoms around his cock as, in turn, Three-Horns clenches and cums: her hoarse cry echoing in the tiny room.

Rufus speeds up his pounding, feeling Gabe shudder and tighten around his buzzing shaft. The mech clamps tight to the over stimulated mouse and slams his hips against the tight tail-hole one last time. The Meduim holds him there as his body fires off a jet of lubricant deep inside, coating the inside of Gabe’s ass with the translucent gel. “Yeah! There we go… nice and full.”

No. 1059958 ID: 00c7aa

Remember when this was supposed to be a short break? Anyway, assessing damages...

Kol, Casey, and 3H are physically spent, and Gabe looks a sneeze away from the ethereal plane. Looks like the break is gonna be longer than an hour.
No. 1059961 ID: 4b0f55

Mark another point down for the Medium pair. Wonder how they would fare against Del..
No. 1059966 ID: 273c18

Alright, time to cool down a bit.
No. 1060389 ID: 9272af
File 168049088747.png - (184.56KB , 700x527 , 15-69.png )

Gabe shudders one last time as the last of his strength leaves him, then flops onto Three-Horns.

“Hey!” The kobold bucks her head backwards, nudging the mouse with her horns. “Geh! Watch it!”

Gabe squeaks weakly and rolls over, his cock slipping free from her and trailing cum down their legs. His skinny chest rises and falls as he stares blankly up at the ceiling: lost in a post-coital haze of bliss.

“Everyone have fun, then?” Rufus asks. His dick slips back into his body and he wipes away stray fluids, leaving gleaming metal.

Pezzi looks back and forth at the exhausted mice and pauses. “Oh yeah, didn’t they want to talk to us about something?”

No. 1060394 ID: 00c7aa

Well at least one of them can still talk, right?
No. 1060402 ID: 72b3b2

That talk may have to wait until after a night's sleep and recovery. I don't think Gabe, Casey, and Kol are in a state fit for coherent thought right now.
No. 1060413 ID: 273c18

Nah, don't wait. Someone should speak up.
No. 1060502 ID: fa3034

Give them like 10 minutes rest
No. 1060601 ID: 9272af
File 168066580797.png - (184.23KB , 576x700 , 15-70.png )

Three-Horns sits up and assesses the state of the mice. “Yeahhhh, they’re gonna need a minute. “

“Do you remember what they were going ask about?”

The kobold wiggles her shoulders, working some of the soreness out. She stands up but, since her legs are still wobbly from the fucking, ends up falling on her tail.

She manages to pull herself up against the bed, standing as if nothing had happened. “Uh, right. Something about the vampire they’ve been looking for being the founder of your order.“

“Wait, what?” Rufus asks, shocked.

“Ohhhhh. Huh.” Pezzi nods looking considerably less shocked.

“Wait. Did you know about this?” Rufus turns to his longtime companion.

“I mean, I didn’t know who founded the Path, but figured there was some vampiric magic involved.” Pezzi shrugs.

“How long have you known?”

The mech shrugs again. “Sometime after we lost our bodies. Maybe a hundred years or so. I mean, look at us: we’re basically liches. We’ve just learned to suppress our hunger for mana.”

“Why would a vampire create an order dedicated to sealing the mana wells and fighting vampires?” Rufus questions, his ears twitching irritably.

No. 1060603 ID: ae0c62

Long story short; to end the war. Even the effectively immortal can grow tired of it.
No. 1060607 ID: 0da5a4

Just like that one Edwin Starr song. But he probably just wanted to annihilate all the vampires, himself included.
No. 1060608 ID: 72b3b2

Sounds like Rufus and Pezzi will have to be caught up on information more than they'll be able to provide any
No. 1060612 ID: 273c18

Because... he was a good man.
No. 1060620 ID: 0da5a4

Maybe he developed the technique to take down the other vampires? Maybe he knew he was the only vampire able to survive without the mana wells? Did he do all of this out of self preservation? And if he was truly good, why didn't he dismantle his army before leaving? What is good? What is a man? What is a mouse?

What I'm getting at is there's no confirmation that Hekal is a good person. Slaying vampires does not a hero make.
No. 1061258 ID: 9272af
File 168134842612.png - (158.16KB , 700x452 , 15-71.png )

“From what It sounded like, he wanted to stop the war. He said he couldn’t do it with his army, he needed to seal the mana wells.” Three-Horns explains. She stands up a bit straighter, feeling a bit more stable.

“Huh, I suppose that makes some sense.” Rufus paces a little, making clanking sounds like a clockwork toy. “But it took years for the wars to end, and a lot of lives. Ourselves included.”

“It was all for the best though. We sacrificed ourselves knowing that.” Pezzi catches his partner’s eye as he clatters past.

The Medium pauses and considers this. “Was it? Or was it all part of the long game? Maybe he had some future plans we haven’t seen yet? Some way of eliminating all the other vampires and seizing control.”

“I don’t have any trust for the old lords, but I’ll say this-“ Three-Horns squares her shoulders and nods to the mechs, “He looked… tired. He didn’t look like a man who wanted to rule the world.”
No. 1061265 ID: db478f

Plus he was able to convince Moot herself.
No. 1061300 ID: 273c18

Perhaps he wanted a place in the world for the undead? That's... sortof what happened with Mediums, although people don't know it.
No. 1061306 ID: f8083d

Speaking of founding the Path, I now wonder... could that actually predate Hekal's rise to power?
Like, IIRC the Path was founded by a dozen mediums, of which a handful survived the initial out-of-body experience. Could Hekal be one of those, who split off to became a lich and a vampire after the founding event?
No. 1061314 ID: 500a7d

Maybe despite everything, all he's seen, all he's done; he's still scared of death. He seems different from the other vampires; like he's not hungry for mana, he's not bloodthirsty, he's not power hungry, but it's kind of like he ran from something. Like he feels responsible for the armies he made in his long-winded attempt to dodge death.
No. 1061394 ID: 15f890

Yeah, he managed to convince both Moot and The Teacher to team up with him. And then he just... Disappeared from history. Despite everything he did, he apparently didn't want any credit or acknowledgement for it.
No. 1061541 ID: 9272af
File 168168854287.png - (117.78KB , 402x700 , 15-72.png )

“Maybe he didn’t want the whole world. Just a place for the undead. Somewhere where he could cheat death but live in peace?” Pezzi surmises.

Three-Horns considers this and shrugs. “Its possible, though I think we need more information before we make that call.” The kobold eyes the pair and asks, “So you were some of the early members, right? Are you sure Hekal wasn’t lurking around as one of the founders?”

Rufus shakes his head. “If he was, he was very good at hiding it. Mediums are pretty adept at detecting the undead and ghosts. Vampires can swap between bodies fairly easily, but its hard to suppress the nearby feeling of lichfire.”

“Hard but not out of the question: he was supposedly a genius, right? He might have found a way.”

“We wouldn’t know much about that.” Says Pezzi, “He was one of the major powers of the day, but dropped off the map before the founding of the Path. I guess we know why now.”
No. 1061557 ID: 37ff3c

What if he founded the path to take bodies indefinitely? Of course he founded the mediums, but what if he's a living medium in a living body? Did he find a way to resurrect himself? It would explain why he was undetected, because he would've renounced his own death. Less taking over a body, more claiming.
No. 1061560 ID: 273c18

Perhaps he possessed an artificial body, using the astral projection technique of the mediums. Remote manipulation of a puppet body, so that the lichfire isn't "nearby" where he is? That would enable him to go undetected, so long as the puppet body doesn't stand out too much.

Basically, the same thing they're doing, except his real body still exists, so he doesn't run out of mana doing it.
No. 1061631 ID: 34713f

Is it possible that, as the guy who all but invented medium magic, Hekal found a way to truly return to life?
No. 1061633 ID: 72b3b2

We don't really know what effect becoming a medium would have on an undead, do we? Pezzi and Rufus have admitted that they're basically liches that have learned to suppress their hunger for mana, and they don't give off any lichfire. Maybe becoming a medium had a similar effect on Hekal?
No. 1061644 ID: a106c2

I mean, he did kinda tell people to ditch their bodies... Maybe the 1/10 that fail the walled chamber are bodies that Hekal takes? Could he be among the living, acting as a medium?
No. 1061794 ID: 9272af
File 168204427197.png - (115.56KB , 700x451 , 15-73.png )

“Maybe he did find a way to suppress his lichfire. You two are basically liches, and you don’t give off any, right?” Three-Horns points out.

“She’s got a point.” Pezzi admits. “He could have just jumped from person to person, hiding within the Path the whole time.”

“Huh? Whazz up?” Kol rolls over and splays himself out, derailing the train of thought.

Rufus sighs, despite not having lungs or a need to breathe. “We were just theorizing whether Hekal may have hid within the membership of the Path by taking on new bodies.”

“Well… did he?”

“It seems possible. More likely than anything we can think of right now.” Rufus grumbles. “Though I can’t imagine the Esteemed Council will take that news lightly. You may want to plan a meeting with them.”

“I mean, we don’t really have time.” Kol groans and sits up as parts of his anatomy line up to lodge a series of complaints. “We need to get mana to keep the bargast stable.”

“We could go.” Pezzi offers. “We’d have to leave our bodies behind, since they shut down if they spend too long away from the mountain.”
No. 1061798 ID: 72b3b2

Of course this line of thought runs on the assumption that Hekal is indeed still "alive" and kicking somewhere. There's a decent possibility he isn't. Someone had to figure out how to use sender gates to open a way to the ethereal sea and help ghosts pass on. Maybe Hekal helped Moot develop that, and just like he tested closing mana wells on his own, maybe he was the first ghost to cross over via a gate, once he felt his work was finished.
No. 1061812 ID: f8083d

Hekal didn't sound like he had any desire to stay left in him.
No. 1061814 ID: 605c51

That's what I'm getting at, what if he's bored because he isn't allowed to die? Cursed with immortality because he cheated death.
No. 1061844 ID: e12308

Do these two know that Kol carried lichfire? I don't remember if anyone was able to tell, or if he can even still do it.
Maybe something about the way Mediums are at peace with the idea of dying allows them to stave off hunger for mana
No. 1061852 ID: 4bb4df


Honestly it's the best option we have right now, but we should find a way to keep in contact just in case.
No. 1061855 ID: 605c51

Right. Someone should go with them too, I'm thinking Graves, Mariana, and/or Cervantes. Graves as a witness and a couple of corporeal bodyguards would do well.
No. 1062052 ID: 9272af
File 168237629750.png - (129.45KB , 700x466 , 15-74.png )

“You going to talk to the council makes sense. As some of the first Guardians, they’ll have to listen to you.” Kol shrugs and continues, “Plus, if Hekal was hiding among the members back in your day, you might be able recognize him.”

“True. There’s also the possibility he’s not even on this plane anymore. If he helped develop the spirit gates, he may have used them to pass on once his work was done.” Rufus conjectures, “If you three are going to the Astral Sea, its likely you can find more information from someone

Pezzi flicks his tail nervously and interjects, “Careful, Ru.”

“Its fine, they’re allowed to know a little bit.” The canid gives his partner a reassuring smile. He turns back to Kol and nods with heavy, unspoken meaning. “All you have to do is ask around.”

There’s a knock at the door-frame that sounds like someone rolling dice. “Excuse me, I think I found something…” Mr. Graves pokes his bony snout through the curtain and takes in the various well-fucked mortals. “Oh, am I interrupting something?”
No. 1062053 ID: 78d696

Ohhhh they're probably talking about Graves! I'd imagine there would be an "in between" of dying and coming back as a skeleton, and since Graves has perfect memory, he'd know about the Astral Sea?
No. 1062058 ID: fc6285

Astral travel...while that's something we all look forward to and not directly related to the current story, I wonder if visiting the fey wild or even elmental plane first will help them adjusting in a higher mana environment?
No. 1062079 ID: fa3034

Missed the fun, Graves. Did you find something? Thought we'd meet you back at the controls.
No. 1062136 ID: bceec2

Ask Graves about what he found.
No. 1062139 ID: 03e676

Would Graves, and Sir Opinel and other necromantic undead for that matter, have ever even been to the Astral Sea?

I guess it depends on just how necromancy usually works. Whether it pulls a soul out of the Astral Sea, or whether it just prevents the soul from passing on to begin with, keeps them rooted in the material plane.
No. 1062172 ID: 9272af
File 168256632510.png - (131.68KB , 700x573 , 15-75.png )

“We were just wrapping up. You missed all the fun, Graves.” Three-Horns grins and stretches her nude body. 

The undead shrugs and states, “I don’t think I’m exactly equipped to join in. I was just coming by to tell you, I think I found something.” 

“Oh good!” The kobold turns and swats Gabe on his upturned ass, prompting a squeak. “Alright enough dozing around. Lets get moving” 
No. 1062173 ID: 05082e

3H, let the man breathe!!! He just met the fates ahead of schedule, the least you could do is spare a glass of water smh
No. 1062175 ID: 03e676

Be gentle with that ass! It's probably a little sore after getting the robo-dick treatment, heh
No. 1062178 ID: fa3034

Need to sic Del on Three-Horns sometime. That'll be a sight to see. For now, maybe the mediums can help those who can hardly walk?
No. 1062180 ID: 9a2966

It strikes me there's someone else around who's not fallen prey to mindless mana hunger over the ages - even without the Path. Right, Mountain Lord? Is keeping one's faculties just a feature of a certain class of iron-willed Vampire Lord?

>Passing on
Doubt Hekal would have passed on with unfinished business left - and the Barghast with his people on it makes it pretty clear he still had stuff to resolve.

Or sic Three-Horns on Del.

Go with Graves to see what he's found.
No. 1062182 ID: 03e676

Hekal didn't consider his army unfinished business though. If anything, it sounds like he forced himself to not care about their final fate, saying that he'd just have to trust them to make do own their own, and likely expected them to all fade away with time. And most did. That a small remnant would still linger so many years later and still be an issue as they searched for him, that seems to be a scenario that Hekal did not anticipate, as focused as he was on ending the war and closing the wells.
No. 1062301 ID: 9272af
File 168274050613.png - (135.59KB , 524x700 , 15-76.png )

As the mice are roused from their post-coital comas and dressed, Kol asks. “How about you, Graves? Do you know anything about what its like on the etherial plane?”

“Me?” The skeleton scoffs a bit and laughs. “No idea. I’ve only heard about bits and pieces.”

“You didn’t go there when you died?”

He shakes his head. “I lingered as a lost soul until Lord Hekal was able to stitch me back into my body.” He shrugs, “I couldn’t pass on: there was simply too much that still needed to be done.”

Kol nods as he pulls on his jacket. His legs still feel wobbly, but are stable enough to hold himself up. “I wonder if Muir might be able to tell us anything. He seems to have held up fairly well over the centuries without a source of mana.”

Three-Horns gives him a satisfied smirk, “Oh he hasn’t. He’s been feeding on kobolds every chance he’s gotten and tried to build up his power again. You have no idea how satisfying it was to finally catch him.”
No. 1062325 ID: 07b601

He's finally going to be useful for the greater good. Let's make sure of that.
No. 1062720 ID: 9272af
File 168325873119.png - (130.02KB , 500x700 , 15-77.png )

“We’ll make sure he’s useful, at least.” Kol responds.

“Honestly?…” The kobold ties her sash around her waist as a concession to modesty before sighing. “I’d rather you just take him off our hands. My spell won’t last forever, and I’d really rather not have him loose in the mountain again. Don’t you people send monsters like him to…” her hand waves airily “The other side?”

“Yeah, though something tells me he’s not going to be happy about it.” Casey grumbles, pulling in her top.

Gabe bites his lip and looks to his partners. “We’ve… never sent someone who’s not ready. Are we sure?”

Kol sighs and shrugs. “Muir’s had centuries to come to terms with his fate. My guess is that he’ll never be ready, but we should try talking to him.”
No. 1062721 ID: 9272af
File 168325873936.png - (128.01KB , 700x388 , 15-78.png )

Once adequately dressed, the group heads back to the elevator. The mice opt to sit for the journey through the speeding tunnels and rest their wobbly legs.

The lights on the wall flit by like cosmic objects in the dark as the trio sit silently. The weight of sending a vampire lord sinks into their minds, tugging everything around it with its gravitational pull.
No. 1062724 ID: f24c1a

Perhaps think of a final plea to his conscious to make peace and do some good for the world. If he still resists, maybe the guardians should take custody? It would spare you three of your first banishment.
No. 1062725 ID: 03e676

Well, there is binding magic that can last for hundreds if not thousands of years. Like the spell that Casey took off of Flashing Feather's seal. Maybe that could be combined with the spell she learned from Three-Horns to make something more long lasting. Then again, even if that could be co-opted to contain Muir long-term, is eternal imprisonment really something the Guides and Guardians do?
No. 1062728 ID: 273c18

"Ancient soul, why do you linger?"
No. 1062738 ID: f8083d

Yeah, ask what his unfinished business was.
No. 1062740 ID: e5709d

Just have a formal government trial consisting of the victims and their descendants of Muir's machinations versus Muir. If they find him guilty, they can shove him in the hole themselves.
No. 1062762 ID: 1fed94

He'll probably try to pull a fast one on the group. Can't be too careful. But if they do succeed, they'll more than prove themselves worthy of becoming guardians, yeah?
No. 1063231 ID: 9272af
File 168368451711.png - (99.21KB , 589x700 , 15-79.png )

Gabe perks up, “What if the Guardians could send him? Your uncle said he’s tackled vampires before, right?”

Kol shrugs, “Couldn’t hurt to ask. You got your scrying gem?”

“Its in my storage portal. We’ll have to wait till we stop to get it.”

A minute or two of travel later and the stone block comes gliding to a halt in the niche carved for it. The travelers clamber off of it and onto more solid ground while Gabe reaches into his dimensional pocket.

“Got it! Now, let’s see…” The mouse holds the stone up for everyone and concentrates.

“We’re doing a lot of scrying today.” Casey remarks as an image of green fire materializes.

“What!? Who’s there?” A voice demands, transmitting directly into their minds like a distant, angry radio.
No. 1063232 ID: 9272af
File 168368452389.png - (202.83KB , 700x612 , 15-80.png )

The image pulls back to reveal Ometra, holding a dripping plate and a rag. 

“Oh, its you three.” The dullahan sighs, “I suppose you want to talk to Sifr.” 
No. 1063246 ID: ae0c62

If that wouldn't be too much trouble. Trust you've been holding up well enough?
No. 1063331 ID: 1fed94

Reduced to a dishwasher. Honestly? This is an improvement
No. 1063333 ID: 9a2966

Hi, yeah, you'd like to speak with one (1) Sifr.

...and how are they holding up?
No. 1063340 ID: 4fbf45

Can they resist the urge to make a "How the mighty have fallen" joke?
No. 1063341 ID: 7b65e9


but yes seriously, Sifr.

Now, wouldn't be Ometra capable of giving us a few answers and advice himself? It's safe to assume he had to deal with vampires and liches at some point...starting with himself.
And now that he cannot lie... well.
No. 1063522 ID: 9272af
File 168385629779.png - (187.69KB , 700x646 , 15-81.png )

“How’s it going over there Ometra?” Casey asks, trying to hide her amusement. 

The lichfire blaze glares eyelessly and responds: “I am keeping busy.” Each word from the former justicar is an accusation, heavy and hot as molten lead. There’s a pause before the need to unload breaks through the indignation and Ometra grumbles, “I do not know how mortals live in such disarray. He-“ 

The undead Fey stops themself and puts down the plate. “I will get him.” They state before walking heavily into another room. They grumble some more, having to navigate around clutter built up over the years: a kind of coral reef of past adventures built from ancient cursed armor, lost tomes and artifacts of unknowable power haphazardly piled onto one another.
No. 1063523 ID: 9272af
File 168385630372.png - (150.50KB , 659x700 , 15-82.png )

Sifr comes into view a moment later, dressed modestly and wiping a bit of shaving cream off his cheek. “Oh, hello! What- er what’s going on? What can I help with? Found another ancient undead or something?”

“Not exactly…” Kol begins, “But it is about an undead. You remember that vampire lord we captured? Miur? Well, Three-Horns would like for us to do something about him. Her binding spell won’t hold him forever and she doesn’t want him loose again.”

Sifr nods sagely, “Mmhm, she’s right. Can’t keep him bottled up: that tends to go badly.” He states, clearly drawing on experience.

“We were wondering…” Kol continues, hesitation creeping into his voice.

“If me and the others would send him?” Sifr finishes the thought. “Need I remind you, the kobold entrusted him to you. And you’re very nearly Guardians yourselves: this is your job to finish.” He adds, “Though, we’ll be there to help if needed.”
No. 1063528 ID: 273c18

It will be very reassuring to have the Guardians there as a backup plan, thanks.
No. 1063542 ID: 2f7f6e

Backup's good, especially when it's your first time doing something like this, and advice from a team as experienced as them is invaluable. If things go well, you'll have trustworthy witnesses, and if they don't you'll have damage control.
No. 1063543 ID: db478f

Seems we can't totally avoid this one. We should still try offering community service as a last chance for Muir. Let his legacy end on a positive note.
No. 1063602 ID: b1805a


Fair enough, and backup would be appreciated, just in case.
No. 1063692 ID: e12308

Trying and convince Muir that it's time to move on might go more smoothly if we can convince him to be satisfied that his life's work -the scrying machine- has been fulfilled.

Maybe there's something specific that he wanted to see with it. We should definitely ask.

If there's no peaceful way to send him I guess Gabe should be ready to send the team and Muir to that Spite field, just in case.
No. 1063716 ID: 9272af
File 168402275077.png - (179.77KB , 700x658 , 15-83.png )

“ What if he doesn’t want to go?” Gabe asks. 

“Oh I suspect he’ll hang on by his bloody fingernails. A man like that will say or do anything to prolong the inevitable. Its our duty to care and help whoever we can, but some folks are beyond help or empathy. You’ll still need to try, at least.”

Casey furrows her brow, weighed down by concern. “That means releasing spite.” 

Sifr nods, returning her seriousness. “I know. Bring him to the place I showed you. At least there, the curse won’t hurt anyone.” 
No. 1063717 ID: 9272af
File 168402275649.png - (146.00KB , 700x500 , 15-84.png )

“Oh! That reminds me!” Casey shoots a finger up, “You know the quicksilver machine Muir built? We managed to get it working with the help of Mr. Graves and Muir. Its a scrying device that lets you see through time, and we were able to confirm: Augustine Moot and Hekal were collaborating, and Hekal was likely the founder of the Path of the Mediums.” 

“Oh, and the cursed place you showed us is likely where Hekal’s mana well was kept.” Gabe continues. 

The elder Bardo blinks back amazement as the news rocks him on his heels. “We’ll spite me… you’re serious? Can I see?” The old man practically begs: his curiosity and need for adventure momentarily overwhelming his usual bravado. 
No. 1063718 ID: ae0c62

In person or is scrying fine?
No. 1063719 ID: e5709d

"Bring dildos."
No. 1063740 ID: 36784c

Sure thing. Stand back and Gabe will open a portal.

You're also gonna need a protection spell to keep you safe from being exposed to all the mercury.
No. 1063755 ID: 94b45e

Priorities, Sfir. Send Muir, then use Muir’s Mercury Memory Machine.
No. 1063789 ID: b1805a


Don't see why not. We can take care of this sending, then spend some more time tracking down the secrets of vampire lords!
No. 1063833 ID: 34713f

"Yeah, we can get you in on this action, but remember; priorities. We need to send the dangerous lich before we do anything else."
No. 1063852 ID: 9272af
File 168420199620.png - (128.18KB , 585x700 , 15-85.png )

“Sure?” Kol shrugs. “You think you can give him a gate, Gabe?” 

“Let me get my cloak. Just open me a gate… 10 meters north of here.” Sifr hurries out of the room, knocking over a pile of forgotten tomes. “Blast! Ometra, be on your best behavior. I’ll be back shortly, I’ll tell you about it when I get home.” There’s a distant door slam as the Guardian chases the call to adventure.

Gabe snickers and creates a gate for the Medium,  who bounds through like an excited child. “Come on! What are you waiting for? Keep up!” He teases. “You lot move like an old mummy I once knew!” 

Kol rolls his eye and wills his sore legs into motion, trying to catch up with his elder. 
No. 1063853 ID: 9272af
File 168420201887.png - (139.60KB , 700x500 , 15-86.png )

The mice enter the channeling room to find Three-Horns and Mr. Graves waiting. “Who’s this?” The kobold asks.

“Sir Sifr Bardo, my lady. Kol is my great nephew.” The mouse bows, “Forgive me for intruding on your mountain, but simply had to be here to see this. I take it you are the illustrious madam Three-Horns I’ve heard so much about?”

The kobold leader nods in return , apparently satisfied by the Medium’s manners. “I am. Glad you could join us. Are we ready?”
No. 1063854 ID: 94b45e

Ooo Sifr the lady killer! But yes, ready as we'll ever be.
No. 1063860 ID: fa3034

Let's witness history.
No. 1063888 ID: 4882dd

Three-Horns has got her eyes on a new conquest~
No. 1063903 ID: bb78f2

Kol, how problematic would it be if... wait, maybe it's ok if Kol and Three-Horns haven't... at least I don't think they have directly... maybe it doesn't matter with as free spirited as everyone here is, but... I don't know where I'm going with this. It's weird. Casey or Gabe haven't tapped Sifr either, right? We haven't crossed that weird line? Would it be weird? Am I the weird one?

You know what, forget it. Everyone should still be exhausted, so lets just just focus on the cool scrying thing. Lets review now that we got the party fully together I think, what's the first thing to tackle?
No. 1063959 ID: 34713f

"As we'll ever be." Let's remember our priorities; send first, then we let Sifr see the goods.
No. 1063993 ID: 9272af
File 168437838252.png - (116.05KB , 700x500 , 15-87.png )

The mice cluster closer around the viewing platform and give the assent. Three-Horns once again shields them in a lattice of binding as the quicksilver machine spins into action.

The liquid stabilizes as the magic takes hold, and displays a large, flat plain, bordered by rolling hills.

“Observe.” Mr. Graves reaches for the controls and sets the chronometer into motion. As the seconds tick forward, a crimson rift opens up in empty space. Hekal and Augustine step out onto the scrubby grass and the vampire takes stock of their location.

“Remarkable. This is close. I think… another two kilometers in that direction.” He points off to the east and turns to his associate.

The cat nods and replies. “Yah, awright.” Waving a hand, she splits the air again and they step through.

“Fates, it really is her! Is that... Hekal?" Sifr breathes to himself.

It takes several gates before Hekal is satisfied. Augustine, looking a little annoyed, waits while he hurries off into the tall grass.
No. 1063994 ID: 9272af
File 168437838678.png - (120.43KB , 500x700 , 15-88.png )

The vampire waves her over and as she approaches, he presses a finger to a nondescript stone with a rune etched onto it. The ground rumbles and a narrow staircase opens up, leading down and into the dark. 

Madam Moot eyes the passage warily and asks, “So this’s it, innt? Yer place of powah? Feels weird round here.” 

“It has that effect on mortals. I’ve been studying it and it's why I reached out to you in the first place.” Hekal says with a touch of emotion to his voice: regret or possibly weariness. He leads the way and continues, “These wells are doing more than feeding into the magical wars, they’re changing the landscape in a way I don’t yet understand.” 
No. 1063996 ID: db478f

I hope someone is keeping notes on this like dates and locations. Phrases of interest
No. 1063999 ID: 4882dd

Changing the landscape in a good way, or a bad way, I wonder. We know how that area ended up, of course, but it's (probably) safe to say the spite blight wasn't natural.
No. 1064000 ID: 273c18

Did anyone confirm Hekal's well is sealed?
No. 1064029 ID: 1cb0b8

changing it in a bad way? In an undead-y way that might be unique to things like you? Or just a "too much mana floodin about the shop" way?

I'm gonna guess the paranoid assholes you call peers weren't about to let you study theirs
No. 1064159 ID: 9272af
File 168454955612.png - (112.41KB , 700x500 , 15-89.png )

The pair step through a heavy wooden door and into a low chamber, lit by the pale green glow of lichfire. Hekal stops a few paces in and holds up a hand. “Something’s off… there’s someone here…”

A voice speaks from the darkness, its cadence lyrical and otherworldly. “Yes. Someone is.”Something glitters in the half light as a fey stands and approaches: their movements are soft and fluid, and their expression unreadable from behind a pair of roughly cut gemstone eyes.
No. 1064164 ID: 94b45e

Omg!!! It's Tuvara-Malli, the Crocotta! They're the original teacher of Binder magic!! And with all three of them, it's the first spirit guide trio!
No. 1064165 ID: 94b45e

and quite possibly the first threesome
No. 1064167 ID: ae0c62

Pray tell, what interest does she have in this place
No. 1064180 ID: 9026bb

I wonder if Graves could ever fuck the friends, maybe as a Skeleton,Casey could use magic to make him an artificial dick.
No. 1064184 ID: 7b65e9

What do you mean unreadable, she clearly looks smug, look at this smile.
No. 1064190 ID: c48685

That saves Hekal and Moot the trouble of having to track her down
No. 1064274 ID: 94b45e

>>1064180 I feel like having a few characters that don't have sex adds to the story in a meaningful way. Graves has kind of shown themselves to be uninterested, and that's fine for them, y'know?
No. 1064916 ID: 9272af
File 168557728083.png - (123.40KB , 549x700 , 15-90.png )

Three-Horns and Casey both gasp at the sight of the Tuavara-Malli. The kobold’s eyes shine as tears build and she clutches at her heart silently.

“Who’s dis, then? Friend o’ yers?” Augustine eyes the figure warily, uncertain whether to fight or flee.

Hekal shakes his head and addresses the stranger, “You… you’re the one they call the Teacher, aren’t you?”

A term of derision”. The leucrocotta chuckles as she replies, “I have no school or students and I seek to teach the impossible. Yet, I am the Teacher.

“What are you doing here? How did you find this place?” The vampire lord demands.

Tuavara-Malli raises a finger to her eyes, “My kind see many futures: the one that took me here seemed the most promising, and the most interesting.” She folds her arms and nods at the pair. ” I have come to hear what you have to say.
No. 1064917 ID: e5709d

"Fine. I'm suicidal, we want to close the wells and make magic and profitable magic wars mostly die.
No. 1064925 ID: 94b45e

Well she said she could see the future, not necessarily hear it... Now as for what they want to say, I'd imagine Augustine is in no mood for words after being cheated of her vampire kill.
No. 1064926 ID: 94b45e

(unrelated note i LOVE her design it is so chef's kiss lovely)
No. 1064960 ID: fa3034

Hear what in particular? Reasons for being here? What those two are going to do here? The two of them possibly bickering as this progresses? I doubt she would interfere with the closing of the well. Seems like she's come to witness the start of something..
No. 1064962 ID: f8083d

A promising future indeed.
No. 1064965 ID: 30b9f6

If she can see future possibilities there is a distinct possibility Tuavara-Malli is in the past watching you in the future watch her in the past.

Give her a wave, a thumbs up and a 'call me' sign, respectively. Juuuust in case.
No. 1065041 ID: 9272af
File 168575060525.png - (136.42KB , 700x500 , 15-91.png )

Gabe leans in and asks quietly asks Casey. “How far can leucrocotta see into the future?”

As if to answer, the Fey twitches her head towards the scrying spell for a brief moment and grins. There’s no telling what she sees from behind the shining emeralds, but whatever it is, it clearly amuses her.

“Did she just?-“ Gabe starts.

Casey shushes him, as a shiver ripples through her fur.
No. 1065043 ID: 94b45e

Augustine's probably pissed as hell, seeing some fey say some cryptic stuff and then smiling at nothing like she's in a sitcom. I can only imagine a cat's patience has very thin limits.
No. 1065044 ID: e5709d

Quick flash your tits and see if it garners a reaction.
No. 1065048 ID: e4a3dc

If the team has been a point of interest for tuvara, I'm sure she's seen every centimeter of Casey nude and more at this point.
No. 1065062 ID: 0342cf

Those eyes.. that's quite the range. Hekal, you're a smart cookie. Surely you see what is going to happen here is big enough to get the Teacher's attention. Perhaps there's merit in fostering this partnership beyond the wells.
No. 1065073 ID: ee97bf

Isn't there a trick if you can see a short while into the future where you can iteratively send messages to yourself from future you's from within in a future vision to indirectly 'see' far further than you normally should be able to? For short, big things that can be put in a succinct message at least?
No. 1065077 ID: b1805a


Listen for now. Tuavara-Malli, being fey, clearly knows more than she's letting on, and likewise has power equal to Hekel and Moot.

But it's possible that THEY will be her first students, so to speak, and her teachings passed on to those who follow. We might just be about to witness the first use of binder magic, and the founding of the guardians.
No. 1065164 ID: 016279

Give a return wink and a nod, then resume watching.
No. 1065165 ID: 9a2966

Man, if only someone could give some kind of hint as to where you'd need to go to find Hekal in the future in order to resolve this whole barghest business.

Or teach you something useful for this whole situation, at least.
No. 1065226 ID: 9272af
File 168602088834.png - (239.53KB , 700x578 , 15-92.png )

“Uh- um- well-“ Hekal stumbles, clearly taken off balance by the unexpected arrival. He looks to Augustine for some kind of help, but the cat shrugs. 

“Yer were sayin somethin about yer well changin things?” She says, trying to get the vampire back on track. Clearly this day has gotten weird enough for the cat, and she leans against the wall with a mask of indifference: behind which lies the coiled spring of distrust. 

“R-right!” Hekal nods, grasping the thread like a lifeline. “Yes! The well!” He bustles around and opens a metal door with a squeal of protesting hinges. Behind it is a circle of stone enclosing a swirling vortex of lichfire and enclosed in a low, vaulted ceiling. “It’s changing things! We’ve been drawing from these wells as sources for our magic, but something else is leaking out with it. You can’t see it, and you can barely feel it unless you know what to look for. Whatever it is, it’s poisonous: slowly killing any living thing it touches.”  

Hekal turns to his fellow conspirators and pleads with them. “We need to seal them. If we don’t, it’ll just spread until everything on this plane is dead.” 
No. 1065233 ID: e5709d

Seer: Look for this theoretical magical poison
And then do the hanky panky with Hekal
No. 1065234 ID: fa3034

Would the plane being dead even matter for the war mongers?
No. 1065241 ID: dc4bad

Killing all living things it touches is bad on it's own, but wouldn't that be beneficial for undead, they run on mana itself anyway right?

Or is this something even more insidious, some manner of true death that stills even what would otherwise be timeless?
No. 1065242 ID: e5709d

The undead won't be able to replenish their numbers from the occasional accident in the long run if biological life goes extinct. Plus it would be boring.
No. 1065244 ID: 273c18

Strange. A precog powerful enough to see THIS far into the future should be able to tell exactly what anyone would do in reaction to whatever the precog does, so why distrust anyone? You could trust them to do whatever they're going to do, good or bad. Unless... her future-sight is unreliable somehow (meaning she looked at a scrying device that wasn't guaranteed to be there) or the details are obscured despite overall events being predicted (she looked at a scrying device that would be there, but didn't know exactly who was watching). Alternatively, I suppose the distrust could be an act to get those present to behave how she needs them to.

>magical poison
Interesting... stopping it is the first priority to be sure. What is it though? Research should be done to find the underlying cause, so that its damage could be reversed, or even prevented.
No. 1065248 ID: 30b9f6

Regardless of all else shutting down the wells is for sure a plan Augustine can get behind - a real tempting prospect. The Vampire Lords and other warmongers will be weakened and vulnerable, severely restricted in what they want to pull off. That gives mere mortals a somewhat leveler playing field.

But that poison thing... sounds even more serious than petty tyranny. And makes the cat now curious, despite herself. How does the poison relate to mana and mana wells? What IS it, really?

Tuvara's ability to see the future frames her own questions. Such as: What do they both think will happen upon removing so much mana after so much time spent introducing it upon the world?

One hardly needs be a Leucrocotta to see there will be consequences for those now dependent on it and upon the very world itself. If this scheme succeeds it will force desperate means, diminishment, exodus and permanent, permanent ends. Not all bad, in other words! But still, not all good either, as wonders cease. Yet worth it to nobly stop the poison's spread - assuming, of course, it stops at that alone.

What, after all, is the nature of mana? Why does death linger in places where mana is drawn in quantity?

Oh, on what rare and wondrous path do life and death depart?
No. 1065249 ID: b1805a


That's what lichfire is, though, isn't it? It's not true mana, but something derived from it, which hungers for mortal life to sustain itself.

The poison is the very well his power springs from, drawing life from everything within reach. That's why the field is so barren, why things shy from it. Little more than grass is tenacious enough to endure that kind of drain.

And these wells are everywhere, as we understand, sustaining the Vampire lords while slowly killing everything they themselves need to survive.
No. 1065254 ID: 94b45e

So... Vampires find mana irresistible, yeah? Any of 'em would simply dive in and take a big gulp of that mana pool without hesitation. However, Hekal is hesitating right now, so is he something more than a vampire? Something less?

And if the invisible stuff is deadly to living things, is that the same as Spite from ch. 11?

Meaning Hekal doesn't want to just get rid of all the vampires, he wants to save the living world. Hekal seems like a genuine guy. His character was dubious before, but he seems to be pretty trustworthy.

Also I don't think the poison is necessarily Lichfire, that implies it's gone through a lich/vampire. It's more like Sheer Mana.
No. 1065259 ID: da2b37

I wonder what's causing this leakage. The wells are natural phenomena (I'm assuming), so it doesn't make sense that they would leak Spite naturally. Maybe the very act of pulling mana from the wells is starting to corrupt them? Is the constant indescribably destructive magic warfare causing Spite to bleed out of the ethereal sea?
No. 1065315 ID: 9272af
File 168618317004.png - (113.30KB , 500x700 , 15-93.png )

Augustine shrugs again, “What’d you care? Yer ded already, raight? I fought ye wanted a world o’the ded?” 

“Undead can’t create our own mana. The world would become a barren rock, squabbled over by liches: each huddled around the light of their own wells as their memories of the world fade.” 

Hekal closes his glowing eyes and shakes his head slightly, “It… comes upon you slowly. Most undead don’t even realize its happening. It takes a very special mind, or a close tie to your past to hold on to who you once were.” He sighs, “Before long, all that keeps them going is the hunger for mana.” 

Tuavara-Malli cocks her head, looking confused, ”I thought the wells were natural to this world. Why is this poison leaking out now?”  

The lich king leans over the the roiling mana and stares into it, as if looking for answers within. “I don’t know. I don’t think anyone knows where the wells came from. But with the constant war, we’ve been drawing on them more than ever and I believe its upsetting some kind of balance. Like… every time we pull mana from them, we’re dragging something else with it.”

 He pulls himself away from the glowing portal and back to the world of the living, “Its like… trying to draw water from a well with oil on the surface. Each bucket pulls up water, but also some oil.”

”There will be consequences to sealing them.” the Teacher states with absolute certainty. 
No. 1065317 ID: 94b45e

Every action has consequences dipshit, it came free with your fucking existence

Jokes aside, Tuvara-Malli is probably talking about the Bargast situation up in the future. But the poison brings up an important question. Is unsealing them out of the question? If it's corrupting the world back then, then opening them up again is sure to something bad. Maybe that negative energy's been pressurizing for centuries? One thing's for sure though, opening the well is much less viable of an option.
No. 1065319 ID: e5709d

"And there will be worse consequences for allowing the world to starve to death. Let's do this."
Be sure to document exactly what you're doing so that future generations can undo or modify your work if it causes problems in the long run.
... Or rather, be sure to let the three sluts stalking your massive hard eyes do all the documentation for you.
No. 1065331 ID: 273c18

Surely the consequences of sealing them can't be as bad as letting the poison out.
No. 1065333 ID: fa3034

Given the circumstances and what's at stake, there really isn't any other options that this point.
No. 1065334 ID: 9a2966

Perhaps there is.

Or perhaps it at least is fair to start thinking about how those consequences can be mitigated.
No. 1065336 ID: fa8669

Are any of those "consequences" worse than a world of lich lords rotting away, staring at empty wells in a wasteland?

If you've got a suggestion, let's hear it
No. 1065339 ID: b9d6bc

If the magic WMD wars can't be stopped any other way, what choice is there? The world cannot continue as it is, so they either have to make a new world with new rules and figure out how to adapt to the consequences, or there eventually just won't be a world anymore.
No. 1065381 ID: 9272af
File 168627590969.png - (157.56KB , 700x479 , 15-94.png )

Hekal turns to her and nods imperceptibly, already knowing, yet hungry for more information. “How bad are we talking? Will it be worth it?”

The leucrocotta stares at nothing, following the thread of time. “It will be hard. Immeasurably hard. Not just for us, but all people. Most of my kind will retreat to the Feywilds, as will the Elementals to their plane. Mortals will remain and build something new to replace the old ways.”

“Good!” Augustine pushes herself off the wall and stalks closer. “They’re just scraipn by as is. Ya don know what its like fer us, do ya?” The cat huffs and glares. “Yew try growin’ a crop a wheat and ‘ave it ripped up ‘cause a big stone dog step on it? Or build a ‘ouse only to ‘ave it burned, or turnt to spiders, or the inside filled wif all kinds a mirrors that cut ya to ribbons!”

The first Sender points to herself and growls in a voice unused to so many words. “I’m lucky I got what magic I got! I been usin’ it to run from place te place me ‘ole life and you know what? Its the same no matta where I go! People ‘ungry, lost, scaert! Dey got nuffin!”

Her outrage pours off of her like a red mist as her hand curls into a fist. Light blooms from between her fingers as the Claíomh Solais extends, severing through the air itself with a pang of ozone. “Yew want me ‘elp, you gotta ‘elp fix all dis! You ‘elp build a world where none a us ‘ave to be scaert, where we mortals can live and die in peace!”

Tuavara-Malli stares into the scarlet light unblinkingly, and smiles as if privy to some secret joy.

Augustine Moot squints and barks, “What? Wot you smilin at?” Daring the leucrocotta to speak.

The strange Fey’s voice is lyrical and quiet in the dark, “I agree to your terms.
No. 1065385 ID: 273c18

She knows it'll work. We owe so much to her, don't we? I wonder if she's still around...
No. 1065387 ID: fc8ab3

I kind of like all three of them????
No. 1065395 ID: 94b45e

What a lovely band of Feliformia. Love that we're finally seeing Moot get pissed, can't wait to see her fuck shit up!!!
No. 1065407 ID: ae0c62

Oh joy. A fey contract. The world will remember this, Moot.
No. 1065419 ID: e5709d

She wanted to get married to the hand that holds the blade, didn't she.
No. 1065442 ID: 94b45e

Ah yes, a budding partnership. (Maybe even romance? :>)
No. 1065457 ID: ff169d

Not sure whether to be worried or reassured that she's turning this into a fey contract
No. 1065491 ID: 9272af
File 168636365832.png - (183.85KB , 700x550 , 15-95.png )

The cat’s eyes go wide and her lip curls in frustration as realization hits. “Oh… fffff-FUCK ME! Are you pissin wif me?” She stumbles back as if to flee. “I- I just did that didn’ I? We just mate a deal, didn’ we?”

She jabs her finger accusingly at the hyenid several times as she tries to draft a response. “You- you- you… What did we jus agree to? What ‘terms’?”

”I will help you bring peace to the world. In turn you will help me teach Fey magic to mortals.” Tuavara-Malli replies, unfazed by Augustine’s indignation or finger.

The Teacher’s request douses Augustine’s anger with a deluge of confusion. “Wh- Why? What? Me? How?” Questions come bubbling out of her in rapid succession and she turns to Hekal for further answers. The lich shrugs back at her unhelpfully.

”The courts are broken. We are bound by law driven mad, and contracts of Root and Stone are stretched thin. Oathbreakers sit on our thrones and condemn the innocent. Only those unbound by Fey law can bring order back.” The leucrocotta explains.

“An yew want me to ‘elp teach em Fey magic? Me, a teacher? Wif a big fancy school and all? Yew fookin joking, mate?” Augustine brays an ugly, bawdy laugh; her mouth hanging wide and flashing her teeth.

Tuavara-Malli smiles and laughs along as well: her unblinking eyes watching the construction of a school, as well as a statue and a sprawling city full of busy lives.

“Quit fookin laffin!” Madame Moot snaps, glaring daggers at her new partner. “Bleedin Fates I hate yew awready!”
No. 1065499 ID: 431293

Oh no I love them so much

In terms of fey contracts boy this is honestly a pretty ok one though
No. 1065507 ID: 2a82d3

Moot is selling herself short here. Even if she never wraps her head around being a teacher, it'd be natural for her to transition from fighting to finding and helping people in need. Portal powers are pretty handy in gathering resources to build a town, as well. She can work miracles if she has a head for logistics.

Teacher has much to teach her First Sudent.
No. 1065508 ID: 9ef82c

Secretly, very secretly, follow the terms of the agreement to the absolute bare minimum.
To help teaching magic is not the same as succeeding, and to mortals can mean as little as too.
Beat these things at their own game.
No. 1065520 ID: fa3034

Hekal, trying refocusing the group before the girls get too distracted. There's a lot to do ahead of you three.
No. 1065521 ID: 273c18

Maybe she thought about doing that at first... but it seems she eventually put some good effort in.
No. 1065528 ID: 94b45e

Welp, deal's made. Not much can be done now aside from carrying it out! Work's to be done.
No. 1065530 ID: 3fabea

That could've gone so much worse. The fey who troll are much better to deal with than the schemers. With the former, you just have to be funny.

Hekal: realize that whole thing was just puzzle pieces locking together and move us all along
No. 1065533 ID: 6bca81

That feeling when society as you know it is just a century long prank by a trolly fae with future sight.
No. 1065536 ID: 94b45e

More like eon. These events happened before history itself, making it highly unlikely that any of these chars are still alive. Hekal, maybe. But Tuvara is probably dead, and moot is 200% dead.
No. 1065538 ID: 9a2966

Wasn't Tuvara claimed to be alive by that Dullahan? Moot is the only one of the three here who is most definitely dead.

At any rate, a deal's a deal - a thousand times so with the fey - and this one seems... surprisingly good and well-considered. Even if Madame Moot has a lot of growing into her new role to do.

I also think, given Moot's powers, that the world can be glad it was Tuvara-Malli that managed to get a slip of the tongue from a hot-headed young powerhouse.

Now, if such far-reaching deals are to be made, perhaps Hekal too, should join in. After all, the deal here does not address the underlying threat.

Have this school work to address that and they'll both have his, aheh, undying support.
No. 1065539 ID: 94b45e

Couldn't find anything with Ometra saying that she's alive, but it did clarify why Moot was trying to preserve necromancy, so mystery solved I guess!
No. 1065567 ID: c72661

Tuavara-Malli neglects to mention that this will make her an outcast and traitor to the courts, hated by many of her own kind. It's probably why she's not around anymore in the modern day. It was probably the only way to make sure the fey courts leave Moot Point alone, because even now they're still hunting her.
No. 1065807 ID: 9272af
File 168671201913.png - (123.84KB , 500x700 , 15-96.png )

Unnerved by the lack of reaction, Augustine turns her attention back to the lich and barks, “Roight, you! Enuf fuckin about! Ya wanna be a part o’this deal? You can start by showin us how to seal yer well!” She looms over the warlord, her cloak blotting out the light and leaving the undead in shadow.
No. 1065808 ID: 9272af
File 168671202462.png - (136.61KB , 700x500 , 15-97.png )

“Ah! Of course!” Hekal dodges around her and busies himself at the edge of the glowing rift. The soft clack of chalk on stone follows him as he sketches out the framework of a very complex spell. He mumbles to himself, checking his figures and momentarily lost to a world of thaumic syntax and ley lines.

The vampire lord stands up and blinks at the lacework of chalk lines, before looking back at his co-conspirators. “Um. I’m not… entirely sure how this will work. The theory is sound, but I haven’t exactly had a chance to test it.”
No. 1065810 ID: 273c18

Alright, observers take note. Does this look like the current accepted method for sealing a well?
No. 1065813 ID: 94b45e

Mediums can get new spells via interaction, yeah? So could Casey get a new upgrade to that binding spell by inspecting the well?
No. 1065815 ID: a4f707

Figure out what he's doing. He probably knows how to do this, but it's understandable that he might not have expected to have gotten this far so this is prolly a bit new to him. Maybe see if you can help a bit?
No. 1065833 ID: b9d6bc

I'm returning to my old guess that this first test at sealing a well is why this area is covered with spite. It'll probably work, but with severe unintended side effects that they'll have to iron out for when they try again on other wells.
No. 1065838 ID: 9a2966

Untested? Sounds like one should have an escape portal at the ready.
No. 1065841 ID: 9a2966

A very good question. Wouldn't it be amazing if the current-day crew's reactions gave Tuvara-Malli the hint that this turns into a big ol' zone of NOPE in the future? Odds are bad stuff may go down and just future folks' reaction may be of aid in suggesting GTFO be the way to go.

... wouldn't it be funny if hints like those aided the originals in learning, say, the locations of their enemies' mana wells and helped getting one over on the fey courts? Like. This could be a HECK of an intel advantage! If a seer had a way to snatch reliable intel from all over the world in one's own present or immediate past - because THAT knowledge would be fixed - that vastly expands one's capabilities, especially for a great work like the one that's been proposed here.

It depends heavily on the limitations of how the visions work and whether the right things are observed, but... it might help explain why the theoretically immortal members like Tuvara and Hekal haven't shown up much since, or been in disguise if they're even still around. Aside from being hated (as a traitor to the fey courts and a vampire lord) - the future they WANTED to happen might not have included their direct presence. Or maybe something they saw as necessary is yet needed to happen, something their presence would invalidate.

It's not even like anything here and now has been predetermined either. The necessary intel could have come from any number of branching futures, the one important facet is that Muir's scrying device exists in use. Tuvara could've gathered information from any number of futures that were peering into her immediate present as a historical figure. The scrying pool becomes to her a conveyor of indisputable facts, a fixture essential to the futures she want to pursue.

Perhaps it's not so. Or perhaps it is, but the truth will forever be ambiguous. Tuvara-Malli seems to hold her future-vision cards close to her chest and her hopes and plans could stretch even further than the present of today. For one, the fey courts being broken - it's not like that is something that's fully resolved yet, is it?

(Fates, but if this is even close to right... that fey's a scary clever cookie. And Muir may have been her unknowing enabler through the introduction of past vision in her future visions.)
No. 1065865 ID: 94b45e

Alternatively, if the future vision can only see what the user sees, does that mean Tuavara-Malli is there with them?
No. 1065874 ID: 9272af
File 168679567810.png - (129.56KB , 700x500 , 15-98.png )

“Hey, wait! Pause it!” Casey shouts, causing the assembled group to jump. 

Mr Graves fumbles for a second before finding the right command, and the figures in the mercury grind to a halt. 

“There! That sealing spell! Anyone ever seen anything like that before?” Casey points at the runes laid out on stone.

Sifr scratches at his goatee and squints. “There’s a resemblance to the recorded text from the early days of the Path. I can’t read it though.” 

“Some of these runes resemble Sender spacial control runes.” Gabe points at more geometric shapes among the magical network. “There’s a framework underneath that seems to be mathematical.”

“I recognize this.” Graves states, “From the book: the last page has this spell written out in lines instead of a circle. I wasn’t able to translate it because of those extra runes.”
No. 1065877 ID: d0d49c

We're probably looking at some of the original mathematics that Hekal used to help Moot codify and refine gate magic
No. 1065884 ID: 273c18

Great, grab the book so you can refer directly to the paused image.
No. 1065896 ID: fa3034

Would this spell take multiple schools of magic to properly refine? We know this location becomes spite poisoned but was that because this initial sealing or was it after the fact with unwilling sending?
No. 1066035 ID: 9272af
File 168697063201.png - (229.81KB , 700x474 , 15-99.png )

“So it seems like Hekal helped develop the rune system the Senders use too. It would make sense considering Augustine wasn’t literate- at first anyway.” Casey remarks. “And we now know a way to seal a mana well, should the need arise.” 

Mr Graves nods and presses the control to continue the scrying spell.

Augustine makes an exasperated sound somewhere between a growl and a sigh. Her hands wave in tight little circles, flapping her cloak. “Fookin get on with it, man!” 

Tuavara- Malli just smiles, content to observe as always. 

The lich bobs a tiny nod to them, settling his resolve. “Right…” He turns back to his work and holds up the chalk. “Right. I guess we’re doing this.” He pauses, “You might want to shield your eyes.” 

Hekal kneels down and touches the chalk to a long tail of runes, sending a pulse of mana down the line. The letters seem to rise off of the stone for a moment, turning like a cylinder in a lock before settling back into place and thrumming with power. 

A tight ring forms around the edge of the mana well, shrinking slowly and inexorably. There’s a screech and a wail as the spell begins to constrict the flow of mana, causing the surface to seethe and bubble over. The chamber turns blinding as strange and unearthly light pours out of the tightening iris. 

Augustine covers her face with her cloak as the radiance pummels her like a physical force. Her cloak is whipped up from gusts of angry, magical wind, drowning her out as she runs through her sizable vocabulary of swears.

Tuavara-Malli stands against the gale, unfazed by its ferocity. Unblinking, her emerald eyes reflect the strange, rift as it shrinks to an unbearable pinpoint. She watches the mana well disappear from the world, seeing it again and for the first time, knowing the change this moment sets into motion. 
No. 1066041 ID: ae0c62

And thus, history in motion
No. 1066055 ID: cb71f3

Tuavara-Malli is an entire mood. Though all three of them are very different entire moods.
No. 1066073 ID: f8083d

This looks so badass.
No. 1066081 ID: 7b65e9

Well, I guess that's the start of the countdown for Hekal.
Now that he proved his commitment, is he going to be ok for the whole ordeal?
Guess even Moot has to admit he's honest, now.
No. 1066091 ID: b9d6bc

“And we now know a way to seal a mana well, should the need arise.”

Yeah, don't be so sure about that just yet Casey. Something could still go very wrong here.
No. 1066405 ID: 9272af
File 168740083922.png - (161.68KB , 700x500 , 15-100.png )

Augustine stands up and promptly vomits. “The fehck… ? Feel sick.”

Hekal looks around in a panic, “Something went wrong.” He states, dread dripping off of his words. “Quickly, its not safe here! Open a portal! Anywhere will do! Just get us away from this place!”

The cat waves a hand and rips open a gateway, through which the three of them abscond. As the gate closes behind them, Hekal turns to look at the empty mana well and shakes his head sharply in disappointment.
No. 1066407 ID: 8f9bc4


They sealed the mana, but not the something else! The something else just started flooding through!
No. 1066408 ID: cb71f3

Oh boy. Now you know what to debug...
No. 1066411 ID: 65b2e6

Where are they going through the portal? Will we be able to find them?... Tuavara-Malli! Before it closes, say where the portal's gone, please!
No. 1066412 ID: 273c18

Did we spot what was on the other side?
Well, presumably Hekal came back at some point to reduce the Spite output of the well, right? We could fastforward to see if they ever show up again... I feel like they must have done something, right? Or maybe... they decided that one well outputting Spite would only create a localized effect and wasn't worth fixing?

If they never seal it then we could consider trying to figure out how to do it ourselves.
We also know where they will eventually go- they're going to start up the academies. Also the giant portal rescue thing at Moot Point. Likely all of them were involved there. We can point the scrying device there and see how that went down.
No. 1066413 ID: b9d6bc

I guess the questions now are what exactly went wrong and how do they fix it so that it doesn't happen again? Clearly they figured it out before trying again, if Hekal's well is the only Spite-Blight region.
No. 1066444 ID: fa3034

We have that exact spell in the book. Can we decipher it then see what's wrong with it?
No. 1066461 ID: 8f9bc4

Spite is unleased by sending a soul to the ethereal plane before they're ready to go. Mana wells were holes punched through to that plane, that released the mana in it to the world. They're like a spirit gate lacking that "esoteric bit of spell construction" that makes them a one-way trip. So the mana coming from them would be much like a soul, on an unimaginably large scale.

Could it be that "the mana" was not ready to leave this world? It was the "soul" that cursed the land with spite once it was sealed away? If they solved that problem—but how do you convince a titanic amount of raw mindless magic itself that it's time to leave? Then did they figure out a way to banish things unwillingly, without any danger of releasing Spite?
No. 1066521 ID: 9272af
File 168757848971.png - (130.27KB , 536x700 , 15-101.png )

“Can we tell where they went?” Casey asks, waving a hand at Graves. The undead fiddles with the controls and rewinds the event to a point where the gate is still open.

The group crowds around the image and stares into the glowing rift.

“Looks like a bed room?”

“More like a bunk room, they’re stacked three high.”

Mr Graves makes a sound of understanding and states, “Sounds like a flop-house. They were common in the era: the cheapest of lodgings for travelers and those without residence.” He shakes his head despondently. “Finding them among the countless dingy inns is probably impossible.”

“Do we know anywhere else they might be in the past?” Kol asks.

“Well, we know when Augustine casts the Great Gate…” Gabe suggests.

“Not sure what we could learn there, but yeah.”

The Sender shrugs, “Mostly I just think it would be cool to see.” He admits.

“Fair enough.” The Medium gives him a grin, thinking along the same lines. “We’ll have to make time to find that later.”

“Why would the spell release so much spite?” Casey asks. “None of the other sealed wells have the same cursed effect, right? Sir Sifr, you said you know some of the intricacies of spirit gates; do you have any idea?”

The Guardian fiddles with his goatee for a moment, as he often does while thinking. “I have a theory or two, and I think it has something to do with the nature of mana and spite itself.”

The old man paces in the tight space of the binding spell, his cloak swishing behind him. “Mana is described as a kind of will. Its… what gives us and all sentient beings the spark of life and the ability to think and act. Furthermore, using mana to create magic is us imposing change on the world using that will.”

The others are silent as Sifr continues on, stringing his theory along as he continues. “Now… the fundamental nature of spite isn’t well understood, but we know a few things. It spills out when a spirit is forced to do something it doesn’t want to: when its will is forced. Its why our work relies on consent from spirits and its also theorized to play a part in why Fey culture is so dependent on rules and contracts.”

“So…” Casey continues the thought, “So closing the wells required consent. Consent of who? The etherial sea?” Her ears twitch as she tries to wrap her head around the idea. “But that’s… impossible, right?”

“I’m…” Sifr begins, rolling his eyes skyward as he does a little mental tally, “…afraid I can’t give you much information about that.” He tilts his head at her as if to say go on.
No. 1066522 ID: 273c18

Hmm. Maybe that's what Hekal did next. He went into the Sea to find the source of the Spite, so he could close wells properly.

How would one do something like that? Hopefully we know of a location or time of year that would be required?
No. 1066526 ID: 94b45e

...the fates. It's gotta be. That's why Sifr can't say anymore, he's bound by ethereal law from the fates or something like that. The fates wanted the mana pools open for the vampires to use. Or maybe just one of them? Spitballing, but could the fates be fighting? It makes sense that forces of Creation and Destruction would oppose each other.
No. 1066528 ID: e9b772

This must have been how going to the ethereal sea in order to become Guardians got started. It's what Hekal, Moot, and Tuavara-Malli had to do to get that consent they needed and end up becoming the first Guardians.
No. 1066536 ID: fa3034

Guys.. is it time to become full-fledged guardians?
No. 1066541 ID: 8f9bc4

Aha, he said "can't" not that he doesn't know. That's kind of terrifying actually. The final test to become a full-fledged guardian involves meeting someone so powerful they influence the entire ethereal sea. Someone who wants not to be known so dearly that they prevent guardians from letting even junior guardians know they exist.

And now you do.

This really feels like a "don't poke the bear" moment. I don't know if what Hekkal and Augustine did to seal the mana wells could help the barghast. At least if any of you do become full fledged guardians you'll have one chance to ask... permission to return enough mana to the world that massive armies of ravenous undead don't rise up to overrun the place. With how much the restless dead crave mana, and how many of them remain in this world and need help passing on, I think... sealing the mana wells might have been a really bad idea. It might be many generations from now until catastrophe, but what the Guardians are dealing with these days feels like the the beginning of the end.
No. 1066728 ID: 9272af
File 168792113896.png - (216.05KB , 700x625 , 15-102.png )

“But that’s… its too much! How do you convince a mass of mana that big of anything?” Casey’s head rolls on its side as if suddenly too heavy for her neck.

“The Fates.” Kol states, not knowing the full answer, but finding the puzzle piece he needs.

At the mention of the name, Sifr’s eyebrows twitch once, lightning fast. He says nothing: merely looking on.

“The Fates… they must have made a contract with the Fates? Right? Or something like one?” Kol follows the thread in halting fragments. “They couldn’t control the etherial sea, but maybe the Fates could. Its how we become Guardians: why we have to go to the spirit realm?” He looks to his great uncle for confirmation.

Sir Sifr’s answer is silence, filling the tiny space and punctuated by little creaks of leather as he shifts in his boots. When he does finally speak, its a polite and clipped tone read from a prepared remark. “I suppose… you will have a chance to find out. In short order.” The old man nods, as if satisfied with himself.
No. 1066734 ID: db478f

Is this him vouching for us? This is a big step that I would imagine requires a really good reference to even be considered.
No. 1066735 ID: cb71f3

Sounds like you figured it out. But the big question here is how are you going to ask to resolve all this. Some kind of happy state between mortals, fey, and undead that diminishes spite? You're going to need to appease the barghest with this, too, but it seems clear that not all undead are always strictly speaking evil. Something to think about. Maybe if the fates could somehow link an undead's strength to their sense of self like Hekel talked about, so they don't become a problem if they lose themselves? Or make undead INTO psychopomps, really link up the mediums with their origin again and integrate them into the whole spirit guide circle?
No. 1066738 ID: 273c18

We just need to find out where Lord Hekal went. Speaking to the Fates via the Guardian trial seems like our next big lead, since obviously the original trio did exactly that. The Fates would tell us what they did next, which would then give us another scrying target, etc.

We could also try scoping out the locations of other sealed mana wells.

It's possible we could try working backwards from the big portal rescue of Moot Point... The event itself might not tell us much about Hekal, but if we play it backwards we can see where Moot arrived from, and if that's identifiable then that's a location we can further work backwards from or spy on during other timeframes. We could also check known major landmarks from that era and the activity of the First Guardians, and just sit there fastforwarding until an important event happens. It'd be a lot of work though, with no guarantee of answers. More of a historian's job at this point.
No. 1066745 ID: cb71f3

Luckily we know a historian!

Maybe Casey can finally get her panties back from Allayne if she's still "intact" over there.
No. 1066842 ID: 9272af
File 168809001911.png - (137.10KB , 500x700 , 15-103.png )

“Okay…” Kol nods slowly, processing all that’s left unsaid: That somehow the trial of the Guardians factors in to the closing of the mana wells, and that some kind of bargain was made with the Fates. “So what do we do now?”

“Can we turn off the machine? I’m starting to get tired again.” Three-Horns grumbles, rubbing at the gem shaped brand on her forehead. “And its not like we got much ‘rest’ to be honest.”

Sifr tactfully allows things to remain unsaid, and suggests “Perhaps its best to stop for the day. You three have a lot to prepare for and, if I had to guess, not a lot of time left.”

“If you don’t mind.” Mr Graves speaks up. “I can stay here and continue to look for more clues through the scrying machine. I’ll work on the translation as best I can while operating things here.” He pauses and admits, “While the library is fascinating, the information contained in this device seems much more promising.”
No. 1066843 ID: 94b45e

Yeah, some real rest is probably a good idea. And there's no reason for Graves to not go scrying around. Nothing that comes to mind at least!
No. 1066845 ID: cb71f3

Thank graves, his help has and continues to be invaluable. And yeah, you guys really could use some rest after all that.

Wonder if those three in the past ended up doing the hanky panky together? Would be saucy if true.
No. 1066942 ID: ae0c62

I think it's time we head home. Some proper relaxation and some time to think things over would probably do everyone some good. Say hi to Nixy.
No. 1067032 ID: 9272af
File 168843766709.png - (124.75KB , 500x700 , 15-104.png )

“Good idea. If we come up with any useful times and places to scry, we’ll let you know.” Casey smiles at the placid bony face and gives him a little pat on the arm. “Thanks for doing this for use, Graves.” 

“Oh its no trouble. Considering I spent the last few centuries as just a head in a tomb, I’m quite happy to get to see the world.” 

As the turn to leave, there’s a tug at Casey’s skirt. 

The Binder looks down at the queen of the mountain, who glares at her meaningfully. “Forgetting something?” In her other hand she holds the trapped vampire, who looks around in alarm. 

“Wait, what’s happening? Where are you taking me?” 
No. 1067033 ID: 94b45e

Think we can pull a Cliff on this guy? Or is he too quick-witted to gaslight into a peaceful departure?
No. 1067034 ID: 273c18

"Where you belong."
No. 1067035 ID: 94b45e

"You know as well as I do... that you don't belong in this world, Monster!"
No. 1067051 ID: bb5196

Oh yeah, they kinda did forget about what to do about him, didn't they? They got caught up in... other stuff
No. 1067058 ID: fa3034

Not forget.. just unsure if we're ready to to what needs to be done.
No. 1067065 ID: cb71f3

Try empathy. Kol might be able to get through to him. Talk about what it was like to let yourself die. Talk about what happened when you got him out of your body and how to accept death. It... really might not work. But come on. You're spirit binders. And lich or not, monster or not, he deserves a chance to be given genuine peace.
No. 1067066 ID: f8083d

This. It's time to try and find a peaceful way for Muir to move on... And if that fails, you'll have to force him, but at least you'd have tried.
No. 1067078 ID: 9a2966

Not unkindly:

"To whatever's next, Muir."
No. 1067251 ID: 706b74
File 168869451982.png - (137.55KB , 700x597 , 15-105.png )

Casey sighs and accepts the glowing prison from Three-Horns. “We’re going to send you to the etherial sea. Where all souls go to rest.” 

“What? But- but I was being useful, like him!” Muir stammers, pointing at Graves. “ You can’t do this!” 

The mouse looks to her partners, who nod with a mutual seriousness. “Its not about being useful. We trust Graves: he’s been open and honest with us. And eventually we’ll send him too, but only when he’s ready and willing.” 

“Why can’t you trust me? What have I done?” The undead’s voice cracks as reality starts to sink in.

“Dude, you stole Kol’s body.” Gabe reminds him.

“And enslaved the kobolds.” Adds Kol. 

“And preyed on us over the centuries.” Snorts Three-Horns. 

Casey holds the crystal up to her face and addresses Muir calmly, “Normally we’re not supposed to send spirits unless they’re willing, but a vampire lord is too dangerous to have running around. Keeping you bound is taking its toll on Three-Horns. But…” she sighs, “We don’t have to do it right away. We can give you a little time to come to terms with things.” 

“You can’t! You can’t take me out of my mountain!” Muir pleads, scratching at the binding spell with translucent hands. 
No. 1067252 ID: 273c18

Maybe doing exactly that will help him come to terms. Show him what the world is like out there, so he can gain a bit of perspective. Just gotta find out how long the prison will last.
No. 1067253 ID: db478f

Offer to take him to any last places to see before you guys leave.
No. 1067265 ID: 34713f

... This mountain specifically? That's what he's scared of? Not the broad existential sword hanging over all life?

... He's afraid. Not just now; he's been afraid. Fear is why he's a lich. Why he locked himself away in a lonely mountain, isolating himself from the world. Why the only living beings he kept around him were kobolds he could easily force to submit. Why he tried to build the greatest scrying device in the world, and possibly succeeded.

He dedicated his whole existence to the pursuit of knowing everything, because he's utterly terrified by that which he does not know.

"Taking a leap of faith can be pretty scary, yeah. It needs to happen sometimes - there's no such thing as forever, after all. But it's easier when you have others willing to guide you through it."
No. 1067270 ID: e12308

Well, what would it take? You talk like there's unfinished business you's like to see done, but look. You're machine is finished! It works!

Would you not consider this thing your life's work? Your legacy? What more could you want, than to leave behind a technical marvel that can revolutionize the way the people of this world understand history?
No. 1067271 ID: 94b45e

Aggressive approach: "You've been a terrifying vampire lord for centuries, terrorizing anything you can get your hands on and now you think you're deserving of pity? You deserve worse. Much worse than what we're giving you."

Kind approach: "Muir, there isn't any more in this mountain than you think. Eventually, this fortress will be your prison and your torment will haunt you for longer than you can bear. You know as well as I do that you've overstayed your welcome."
No. 1067296 ID: 1f0d68

The gang has had an awesome track record so far, but the sad fact of the matter is that, eventually, they're gonna have to deal with a spirit that simply cannot be talked down. It's part of being a guardian. And Muir is likely going to be their first.
No. 1067313 ID: 8f9bc4

Yeah, stole Kol's body, enslaved the kobolds, preyed on them for centuries to survive after your Seekers blew up his mana well, created the device without which you would not have the knowledge you need to save the world from a feeding frenzy of the restless dead...
No. 1067315 ID: 30b9f6

>You can't take me out of my mountain!
It may be he's less afraid of his impending passing - and more fearful for his home, his legacy and all tied to it - and some ephemeral consequence he believe will come of separating him and it. It was always weird that in all this time, though he probably could have done so to hunt more easily (Given the kobolds knew of him and had the tools to hunt and imprison him!), his ghost never left his former domain. Was he really only fearful of losing the last of his unlife - or was it admitting defeat and the full loss of control over his greatest possession that he couldn't bear?

In that way he might have been a bit like a twisted Mr. Ochre. Someone who isolated themselves for an overlong time with their collection of toys - though brilliant creations they be - and forgot what it was like to live outside of it.

On that note, Flashing Feathers, who in reverse was freed from an ages-old binding imprisonment not too long ago, shares something with Muir in persisting beyond their respective time periods. Perhaps some words from a being older and wiser that has already seen some of this to-them-new world may grant a bit of perspective?

It might even be fitting. Muir made his name and career from a dead primal earth elemental. Perhaps a living air one can help put him to rest.

Well, the group will just have to see what they can bring him along for in the time remaining.
No. 1067413 ID: b1805a


Can't as in mustn't, or can't as in don't?

The distinction here might be critical, as Muir never has left his mountain, as far as we know. Let's probe for information, and keep talking with him. Nothing too firm, mind, as the goal is to help calm him down and help him accept things.
No. 1067446 ID: dc4bad

how long has it been since you've seen the world in person Muir?

come see some of the world unfiltered by spells and lenses and secondhand words and maybe you'll find peace can with moving beyond both this and your own self-imposed stasis.
No. 1067562 ID: 706b74
File 168903828989.png - (125.69KB , 500x700 , 15-106.png )

“Wait, you just care about the mountain? That’s it? You’re just concerned about being forced to leave?” Casey rolls her eyes and shares a disbelieving glance with the other mice. “You’ve been moping around this place for five hundred years because you’re scared to go outside?”

“You can’t talk to me like that!” Muir shouts back from behind a pane of crystal. “I killed a god of stone and built my legacy from his corpse!”

“No, you built a prison!” Casey retorts, “ A prison of fear you’ve been living in this entire time! You’re just scared!”

The lich snaps, his eyelid twitching as he counters. “Of course I was scared! You can’t imagine what it was like: every day was a new horror! Seas burned! Stars fell! Countless people died!” He growls, “It was an age of fear!”

“An age that the Guardians ended.”

The vampire lord’s voice falters and he stammers as the mouse continues.

“You were afraid, so you built a little kingdom where everyone under you would live in fear instead. You built machines and enslaved the kobolds and sealed yourself away, content to let the world burn. Come on, Gabe. Let's show this old fool what he's been missing out on!" Casey hefts the crystal and turns to leave.
No. 1067563 ID: 94b45e

Now that's cruel and fitting. Showing him glimpses of the world and taking it from him? Exactly what he deserves for taking countless years from the Kobolds.
No. 1067564 ID: 94b45e

Hmmm where to go first... Not many places you could take an era old shut-in. How about start simple: Mimi's place?
No. 1067589 ID: 273c18

He won't care about personal things. You want this tour to have breadth more than depth, at least until near the end when you can take him to a busy spot like a cafe.
Showing him multiple towns would help.
No. 1067593 ID: 33724c

I dunno, showing him the world he missed out on all this time seems like it would make him *less* at peace with passing on.
No. 1067597 ID: 7b65e9

If he wants to stay a bit longer to see the world before going with peace, I think that's still a preferable outcome to forcing him and release an ungodly amount of Spite in the process.

Surely he can be fitted with a mechanical body.
And well, if not, he would at least have closure.
The wind has changed old bird, time to spread those wings.

Let's show him the sea.
No. 1067616 ID: 9a2966

Show him town, on a normal day. Visit friends and places, cafes and bakeries. Zero stars falling, but normality and many kinds mixing. And as a cap on the day... take him to see something he might find confusing, fascinating, aggravating, aggrandizing and other -ings besides. For all his fear, it has sounded a little like he took some pride in his deeds - in his survival.

So show him how he's been remembered! As a historical figure, semi-neutral, a legendary recluse and inventor-king secluded in a hidden (and until-recently undiscovered) realm, he must've been a juicy source of inspiration, no? The 'King of the Mountain' - it's a title ripe for wild imagination!

And well, Gabe still got those season passes, so take this relic to the opera. Put Muir in the spectator's seat to the sort of historical and fantastical troubles in which he now plays a part - as a mythologized figure. Private box seating might be good, so you can chat and hear him complain about how the special effects leaves something to be desired and the historical inaccuracy of it all - and how his alter ego on the stage would never do this or that. Or maybe just be stunned by how his over-fictionalized self do and what, people actually watch this stuff for fun?

And to whatever he might say about it - point out that yes, this is one way mortals remember his time. The only way they can approach a fraction of what it was like to experience his era - through stories that reflect some of the themes of the era, however fancied up and sensationalized.

Then ask: what kind of real, actual story would he want to leave behind?

Because on one side you have the case of a tragic lord who could only hide away to the last. And on the other, a hurt and ancient soul who finally, finally saw freedom from that fearful age of strife and found his time in the sun.

That time is now. The Guardians are here to see him through it and the people of this age have been willing to give him grace - even the kobolds, bearer of the biggest grudge by far, did so by handing him over to the Guardians. Even when you made clear you would attempt to do with kindness what could be done with force.

A further point - what all out there is even after him? He's 'just' a myth, a legend thought long gone by all. He could do so much better than spend this remaining time being haunted by a past so distant. Even if something should come, some fey elemental ghost of vengeance? You got skills. You got friends. Ghost-score-settling is your THING. You'll guard even his afeared ass to the last 'till it's time to pass.

Cuz', buddy, stars falling? Don't mean jack when you can suck 'em straight back into space, man!

(Besides, they were probably, like, meteors not actual stars, right? Right.)
No. 1067729 ID: 706b74
File 168921264887.png - (159.94KB , 700x500 , 15-107.png )

Casey pauses, caught mid-stride by an idea, and turns back the Three-Horns. “Are there any of those mechanical bodies still around?”

A quick tram ride later and the mice find themselves standing outside a dusty room. Inside, a collection of brass automatons sag against one another in the dark.

Casey finds one that seems mostly intact and hauls it upright. “Okay, let’s seee… how does this work?”

“There’s a chamber here…” Three-Horns reaches up and flips open a hatch, “In the old days he had these glass orbs for storing souls, but the gem should work just fine.”

“Oh that’s convenient.” Casey slides the protesting lich inside and shuts the compartment.

There’s a grumble from the brass figure as it begins to animate. The glassy eyes light up and blink stiffly. “This is an indignity! I’m not some servant you can just push around!”

“Can it! We’re going to show you how to enjoy life and you’re gonna like it!” Casey snaps. She raps her knuckle against the chestplate with a hollow "gong" sound.

The machine clanks backwards at the threat of mandatory fun. “It won’t work. These bodies stop functioning if you take them out of the mountain for too long.” He sulks, looking for any excuse to evade being sent.

“Then we’ll just be quick about it.” She nods to her partners and consults with them. “Okay, let’s give this guy a bucket list. Something we can knock out in an afternoon and show just how much the world has changed.”
No. 1067732 ID: db478f

Oh boy, day trip! He should see the sender academy
No. 1067736 ID: 94b45e

ooh boy, a road trip with a reclusive vampire robot! How fun!
No. 1067738 ID: cb71f3

Public bath house.
See a play. Places of life and happiness.
Show him the fae, how they're getting along with mortals instead of dominating them.
Show him caleb, how he loved a lich, and how he let him go.
Show him a museum, how the world won't ever forget the important things in the past, even if they maybe won't always get every detail exact.
Show him the two ancient spirit guides in construct bodies, who know how to enjoy themselves even while they know it won't last forever.
Have a nice time just watching the city as the sun goes down.
Show him the barghest, why you're doing all this.

Show him the peace that the spirit guides created that never existed in his time. Show him why there's no need to fear anymore.
No. 1067771 ID: fc6285

Would this be a good chance to visit some part of the city we haven't seen yet?
No. 1067813 ID: 33724c

Okay, but first thing's first, how do they keep Muir from running off in that mechanical body and spitefully doing some kind of damage? Sure, it may not last long outside the mountain, but who knows what a vampire lord would be willing to do if given even a limited chance?
No. 1067829 ID: b1805a


Basically all of this.

Miur is horrified of leaving and has lived in a state of deluded terror since before the end of the Wild Age, with circumstances which only exacerbated his fear when he was defeated by Moot and company.

Helping him to realize that the world has improved, that he needn't be afraid anymore, is just the first step to getting him to pass on.
No. 1067830 ID: e5709d

"Do these come with functioning robo-penises and if they do then how do I remove them?"
No. 1067835 ID: 706b74
File 168938367659.png - (123.60KB , 700x500 , 15-108.png )

“How about Miki’s?” Gabe suggests.

“Good idea, though I want to save that for last. Miki’s impossible to not have a good time around.” Casey point approvingly in his direction.

Kol shrugs, “How about we show him the sea to start off with? The view is from the Point is pretty great.”

“Simple enough. You coming Mr. Bardo?” Gabe asks as he opens up a gate.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world, Gabriel.” The Guardian replies before doffing an adieu to Three-Horns. “Thank you for your hospitality. I look forward to visiting again.”

The kobold nods a goodbye, looking pleased to finally be rid of the lich. “Please do. More visitors would be most welcome.”
No. 1067836 ID: 706b74
File 168938369969.png - (150.29KB , 700x500 , 15-109.png )

The mice wave their goodbyes and Kol says, “Thanks again, Three-Horns! Take care of Mr. Graves for us, will you? Just send us a scrying message if there’s any trouble or he finds anything interesting.”

Muir is shoved through the portal with the rest of them and emerges in the bright light for the first time in centuries.

“Ah! Where are we? What is this?” The vampire demands. He shields his visual sensors as they struggle to adjust and wobbles on cranky, unstable legs.

“This is our home: Moot Point!” Casey waves a hand, pointing to the whole of the city and its harbor.

The mechanical body pivots to look up at the statue and sighs. “Ahh. I see. I recognize her at least.” He grumbles to himself. “I should have had a statue made. Why didn’t I ever think of that?”
No. 1067837 ID: db478f

Maybe because you've been living under a literal Rock for centuries. Come on, keep up. Bring them to shore.
No. 1067838 ID: b15e1f

How about the harbor next? Get him involved in some hustle n' bustle for a while. Should get him motivated enough.
No. 1067871 ID: 273c18

Who would see his statue if he had built one?
No. 1067886 ID: 7b65e9

It's still possible, Muir.
Why don't you give people a good reason to build you a statue?
No. 1067892 ID: 34713f

"We can commission a statue or at least a bust for you in the sender's university dedicated to your contributions to the fields of divination and historical anthropology, if legacy is what you're concerned with. That can be its own form of immortality."

In fact, the university might be a good place to receive a crash course in world events since he first holed himself up.
No. 1067895 ID: 3181e9

Seconded on visiting the sender's university. Guy was an intellectual, even if a bit of a self-centered coward. Seeing a busy library or a team researching some sort of new magic theory might make him realize that if he had opened up a lil to others, he could have made his paranoid villian lair into an underground city that Tolkien-esque dwarves would have creamed their trousers over till they saw the fates.

Perhaps find some sort of modern elemental research group, see other geomancers at work. Narcissists like seeing what they see in themselves, might give him some "damn, I could have thought of that... eventually... maybe..." moments :D
No. 1068249 ID: 706b74
File 168981771080.png - (153.54KB , 500x700 , 15-110.png )

“Also there’s the Academy. I guess you saw how it was founded, more or less.” Gabe points down the hill to the bustling school.

“Yes. I’m still, frankly, astonished that woman ran a school. Muir mopes some more and shakes his head.

“To be honest, so are we.” Casey admits. “Come on. Take us inside, Gabe!”

A moment of spellcasting later and the group is standing in one of the Academy’s gating rooms: a spacious chamber lined with scarred wooden boards over stone that smells faintly of ozone.

They wander out into the hallway and for the first time Muir seems to take an interest in something other than himself. “This is all carved out of rock? Its not geomancy is it? Its too smooth…”

He runs his brass fingers across the impossibly polished granite surface. His hand rings like a bell as he pulls back. “Its a batholith: deep stone, cooled and then brought to the surface by magic or weathering.”

“You really know your rocks, huh?” Casey tilts her head and nods.

Muir turns to her and, for once, without braggadocio or malice, says, “I was the greatest mortal geomancer who ever lived. And before I died I wrote the Principales Mineralium. I daresay, I know more about stone than the Fey or earth elementals.”
No. 1068250 ID: cad2c1

Did he write any books? I mean, that sounds like incredibly valuable information that he could share with others, and now there's a school that would readily accept and use it to enrich people!

What's a better lasting legacy than knowledge and for people to know how great and awesome you were?
No. 1068251 ID: f14228

Ah, so he did reach out to the world - through his books!

Show him the library.
No. 1068252 ID: db478f

Well, are there any copies left alive?
No. 1068253 ID: b15e1f

Oh, a rocks guy. More importantly, he seems to remember a lot from his life, I wonder how he died in the first place.
No. 1068255 ID: 273c18

Portal-cut deep stone. What a brazen display of magical might.
No. 1068291 ID: fd8ab9

Wouldn't recommend saying that to their faces but not hard to imagine one stubborn-as-a-rock faceoff between the three.

That said books like that are often referenced and cross referenced in followup study, using it as bedrock foundation for furture works. Perhaps seeing a collection of books that site his original works as source for their own studies may improve his mood?

Guy was a coward and a bit of an egotist... he probably didn't get a lot of sincere praise. Seeing a bunch of authors treating him with reverence may give him closure.
No. 1068307 ID: 82ccb3

"To be honest. So are we." Tongue in cheek aside, Gabes lineage is a bunch of tough country rough necks, but with simply the access to knowledge he became a magical savant. Perhaps she too just needed the people to help refine her self trained talent as Clio does now. Cause as it's just been observed from her talking about that which drives her, moot lived a particularly harsh life.
No. 1068381 ID: 706b74
File 168990564377.png - (165.38KB , 700x489 , 15-111.png )

“Hey Gabe, you think the library has a copy?” Casey asks.

“Yeah probably!” The young mouse turns on his heel and leads the way past a group of startled looking students.

Ashe looks up as the group approaches, looking a little irritated by the metallic footsteps of Muir’s new body. “You left with our resident skeleton this morning and I see you’ve brought back some kind of metal golem? Do we need to install a revolving door? Also, is that you Sifr? What are you doing wrapped up in these antics?”

The guardian bows slightly and chuckles, “Merely an observer, swept up in the river of fate, my dear.”

“Mmm, I find that unlikely. Who’s your clanky friend?”

Gabe pulls the lich forward, “Muir’s just visiting. We were wondering if you have a copy of… uh it was the Principum Minervum?”

Principales Mineralium.” Muir corrects.

“Of course. Its a fundamental text.” Ashe shrugs. “There are more modern works on mineralogy and earth magic, but most of them are still built off the the Principales.” She points towards the end of the main isle. “Its on one of the big lecterns over there.”

“Actually, do you have a pen? I have a correction I’ve been meaning to make about the formation of shocked quartz.” Muir asks.

The lizard librarian squints at him with a mouth half-agape from a mixture of emotions. Rather than acknowledge the request she turns to Gabe and demands, “Where do you keep finding these guys?”
No. 1068382 ID: db478f

Living under rocks, mostly
No. 1068389 ID: b15e1f

So there, Muir has a legacy. As a textbook writer for magic and a founding father of Geomancy. Wonder what else we can find, like living family?
No. 1068391 ID: 34713f

"If you write all your errata down, I'm sure they can see about releasing a second edition, and your machine will surely make just just as big of a splash - in both the fields of divination and historical anthropology."

It is funny to think about how foundational the fey and vampire lords of old were to our current understanding of the world. Maybe we shouldn't be shocked by a vampire potentially being the ultimate founder of the medium practices.
No. 1068413 ID: f14228

This is actually the correct response.
No. 1068420 ID: 33724c

Let's rewind a bit. It's been centuries since Muir's mana well was sealed and he was disembodied, right? Before that, how many more centuries did he spend in power as a vampire lord? And he wrote the Principum Minervum *before* he died. In this one little book, Muir has left behind a legacy that has lasted potentially *thousands* of years.
No. 1068444 ID: cad2c1


Also let him make the correction, c'mon, he's lived thinking about that for years that must be so irritating to know you need to fix but don't have the opportunity!

He should totally sign the first page, too.
No. 1068452 ID: 2230e6


This, I approve of this.
No. 1068473 ID: b1805a


I know we kinda need to send him, but ... would it be so bad if Muir got to spend a day or two teaching a class on the thing he literally spent his life perfecting?

I mean, not only is it a great way for him to get in touch with the outside world, but think how awesome it'd be for the students to be taught by an actual lich of untold geomantic power?
No. 1068802 ID: 706b74
File 169015973136.png - (101.36KB , 700x500 , 15-112.png )

"Usually under a rock somewhere." Gabe quips, pulling a pen out of his dimensional portal.

This earns him an intensified glare from the head librarian. "You are not about to let him write in one of our books."

"Come on, Ashe. He is the author." Gabe shrugs, "We don't want to send him without any lingering regrets, right?"

She pinches the bridge of her snout as the mental stress overworks her instinct to protect her books. "I... I don't even know what the school policy would be in this situation. I guess if he's the primary source it's acceptable. Just... leave a footnote and a citation."
No. 1068803 ID: 706b74
File 169015973619.png - (183.83KB , 500x700 , 15-113.png )

Muir clomps over to the book, trying to not look that impressed by the library but still craning his neck towards the ceiling. He stops at the podium and runs his hand down the edge of the paper. His fingers are ill-suited to turning pages, but he manages: finding familiar sketches and diagrams, framed by a lifetime of his own research. The tome isn’t anywhere near a first edition, but it is old, and has clearly seen generations of use and mending.
No. 1068808 ID: 273c18

Look over his shoulder. Make sure he isn't trying to find something that will help him escape.
No. 1068824 ID: f8083d

Over the shoulder is a bit too intrusive, but yeah keeping an eye on him is still a good idea.
Maybe peep through a small gate.
No. 1069051 ID: 706b74
File 169041978407.png - (173.78KB , 500x700 , 15-114.png )

“See? You have a legacy outside the mountain.” Casey says, having quietly followed him. “Most of us can only hope to have that kind of impact.”

“I… hadn’t considered that. To me, all that mattered was my little kingdom. I honestly didn’t think my book was that important.”

Finding the appropriate passage, he wordlessly scribbles in the margin a note the effect of impact events and how formations of quartz may show evidence of intense cataclysms even further back in history than currently known. He ends the edit by signing his name in common script as well as vampyric runes.

The vampire lord closes the book and reflects for a moment on the cover. Under the title is embossed the name “Muir the Magnificent”.

“Fates, I really called myself that…” he shakes his head. “Come on… let’s get this over with.”
No. 1069052 ID: b15e1f

Well if he's ready, then by all means. Let's get this guy sent. There's a peace in this solemn silence, if he wants to bask in it for another moment. Reflect on his afterlife and all.
No. 1069053 ID: e5709d

It's not that important, but it's a piece that few others would want to painstakingly build.
No. 1069062 ID: 06b50a

Get what over with, sending?

If he's ready, he's ready. It might be good to not draw it out so much. If not, there's plenty of other things to do.
No. 1069069 ID: fa3034

Let's not draw it out but if I was being sent I would appreciate a serene place. Perhaps a secluded part of the beach? Might not matter to him, but it is a small courtesy.
No. 1069077 ID: fc9035

Paired with a view of his mountain if possible.
No. 1069078 ID: fc9035

Really did wanna show him how the world changed as well. From what we'd just seen, it was a grim brutal place in his day. Sending him off with a sense that the world is now a place Worth living in sounded romantic.

But I completely understand not wanting to wait to send off one of the world most powerful undead.
No. 1069211 ID: 706b74
File 169060090722.png - (114.54KB , 700x391 , 15-115.png )

“Get what over with?” Casey asks, “You mean the Sending?”

“Whatever you call it. Sure. Fine.” Muir turns away from the book and stares off into space.

“Are you sure? We still haven’t seen the city or anything else?”

The robot, incapable of showing expression, merely shrugs. “I was never very interested in city life. I don’t think that would be different after all this time.”

The Binder eyes him for a moment, suspicious of the change of heart, but agrees. “If you say so. Uh, Gabe, you wanna give us a gate to the… uh, you know?”

“Oh, we’re leaving already? Uh, sure! We’ve gotta use one of the gate rooms, though.” He turns to lead the way.

Sifr nods his goodbye to Ashe and asks, “Would you mind letting Mariana know where we’re going?”

“Ohh, it's like that is it? Don’t you go letting anything happen to those mice. You hear me?” The librarian warns. Her hand goes to a drawer in her desk, which opens to reveal a scrying crystal.

The Guardian smiles, his mustache twitching with pride. “I have the utmost confidence in them.”
No. 1069235 ID: 273c18

We're gonna have to do this by the book. Once we're at the location, put up a barrier so he can't escape, open the portal, and then hopefully he doesn't give us any trouble when we toss his crystal through.
No. 1069239 ID: fa3034

Guess no Miki's, ah well.
It's not too late for parting words or last wishes, Muir. We can go when you like but know what we do is to secure our future. You were mortal once, and you did the same for yourself back then.
No. 1069630 ID: 706b74
File 169102659484.png - (217.02KB , 700x500 , 15-116.png )

A short journey later and the five figures step out onto the dead landscape above Hekal’s mana well.

“Hard to believe this was where it all started.” Kol says as tiny dust devils tango around his feet. He looks out at the distant ring of dragon's teeth, warding away the living from the cursed zone. “Whenever you guys are ready…”

Gabe shakes his shoulders loose and makes a few signs with his fingers. A large wall of crimson spreads and forms into a cube of gently glowing light.

“Okay. Been a while since I’ve done this. Here we go.” The mouse pumps himself up for a moment, as if about to break into a run. Instead he thrusts his hands forward and twists; spreading them as a pinhole of light pierces the gloom.

The Sender braces himself and spreads his hands further, working his way deeper through the fabric of the world. The spirit gate opens inch-by-inch, the tunnel of light widening as Gabe pours his concentration into the spell.

“I think I’m getting better at this.” Gabe says to himself, still focusing intensely as he stands up to admire his work. The gate hangs in midair in brilliant defiance of the colorless wasteland: creating a pocket of light and life in the vast nothingness.
No. 1069631 ID: 273c18

Alright pop that golem open and let's get him out and through.
No. 1069632 ID: fc8ab3

Is he still in it? eyes look a bit vacant
No. 1069640 ID: e5709d

Bind the birdy and throw them in, head-over-ass.
No. 1069644 ID: 273c18

Maybe we shouldn't put something as large as the golem body in the astral plane? The panties were bad enough...
No. 1069645 ID: db478f

Muir, it's time. We can take note of any words if you have them.
No. 1069647 ID: 7c2308

I half expect Muir to shove someone else into the portal and then try and get away.
No. 1069648 ID: 273c18

Actually, since the portal is open already, shouldn't we go in to do the whole, Guardian trial thing?
No. 1069729 ID: 7b65e9


I doubt rushing that would be a good idea. One step at a time, with careful preparation.
No. 1069751 ID: 706b74
File 169120080173.png - (212.29KB , 586x700 , 15-117.png )

“Well, Muir. Are you ready? Anything else you want to say?” Casey touches the shoulder of the mechanical body, which falls to the ground: inert.

She backs away instinctively to the safety of her partners. “Muir? The fuck?”

“Thank you for the pen: I used it to write runes releasing me on the mech. I did design them after all.” The lich’s voice seems to come from everywhere around them, “On second thought, I don’t think I’ll be going just yet.”

“Aw come on!” Gabe grits his teeth. “You’re not getting out of here. You know that, right?”

“Not without going through you.” Says the voice. “But it’ll give me a chance to show you why I called myself ‘Muir the Magnificent’!”
No. 1069752 ID: b15e1f

Son of a-
Alright, time to slay this fuckin vampire. No more nice mice, tear this guy apart.
No. 1069753 ID: e5709d

Correction: Time to ravage this slaver.
No. 1069755 ID: b15e1f

Yeah I don't know why we gave this guy the time of day to begin with, he enslaved a whole race until they were lost to time. Use the power of the queen to eviscerate this jackass.
No. 1069756 ID: db478f

This could have gone peacefully, Muir. You're making a mistake.
You still have that crystal, correct? Kol beat him last time but I wouldn't depend on tricking Muir again.
No. 1069765 ID: 273c18

Ah, so, when he got put in the golem, the golem's binding took precedence over the crystal binding? Not quite how I thought it worked, oh well.

You should know the drill. Don't let him possess anyone, use Gabe's portals to escape areas he douses in lichfire, wear him down until you can bind him again.

The ward covers the ground too, right? Don't want to let him hide down there.
No. 1069768 ID: 7b65e9

Alriiiiight, the guy had his chance and chose violence anyway, the time for diplomacy just ran out, time to gang this bossfight!

I'm sure you are all eager to put all those new techniques to the test.
No. 1069770 ID: 7c2308

Okay, but how much mana could Muir have to work with in his current state? He's a shadow of a shadow of his former "magnificent" self.


Also, called it.
No. 1069773 ID: 04fcac

Also in hindsight, considering how much magic is rune-based, giving a vampire lord a pen and then not paying attention to him for a few moments was probably a severe lapse of judgement, from Sifr at least, who really should've known better as a Guardian.

Which the Librarian is probably going to chew him out about relentlessly.
No. 1069774 ID: b1805a


Alright, fine. Let's talk. What is it you truly want out of this?

To hide in your mountain forever, hunted until you're finally destroyed? To cower away from the world, never having known it? To spurn everything you've ever accomplished, for a few more years of lonesome eternity?

You're not gone when you cross over, Muir. You'll have left behind a legacy -- maybe not the one you'd hoped for, but a legacy all the same. Maybe that's not the best concession after all that's come to pass, but it's far better than being remembered for your last moments being in defeat.

Let it go, willingly. That's all we ask.
No. 1069869 ID: 706b74
File 169137150028.png - (203.62KB , 700x500 , 15-118.png )

“Gabe, keep the ward up. Everyone else keep him protected.” Kol barks, backing up to cover the Sender. “He could attack from-“

Soil fountains up at one corner of the ward, forming a pillar that fires shards of stone at the clustered mice.
No. 1069876 ID: fa3034

Oh boy, is he going to try and wear down Gabe? Dive out of the way, or portal them back if you can manage both, Gabe.
No. 1069878 ID: 273c18

Can Binder magic stop them?
No. 1069900 ID: 7c2308

I don't suppose Casey can use that crystal binder magic she learned from Three-Horns as a physical shield on very short notice, can she?
No. 1069905 ID: e4a3dc

Just what I was thinking. And do remember, deflecting projectiles is easier than blocking them full force.
No. 1069906 ID: 273c18

Casey's on defense, sure, but... we won't get anywhere just defending. I think Kol needs to go on the offense at some point with a projection. Though, won't that leave him vulnerable to possession? Then again, Muir got driven out once before, he might not try the same trick again. ...actually, if he *does*, we can just go through the portal and drag Kol's possessed body in, so it's not a fail state.
No. 1070008 ID: 706b74
File 169163461276.png - (145.31KB , 700x500 , 15-119.png )

Light blossoms into a wall around Casey’s outstretched hand, shattering the stone as it pelts against it.

She blinks, dumbfounded for a moment, as the shield dissolves into a thousand fluttering butterfly wings. The Binder feels the brand on her shoulders pulsing with mana and says a silent “thank you” to Flashing Feathers.

“Didn’t know you could do that, Case.” Gabe gawks as little wings dissolve around him.

“Yah. Same. Remind me to experiment with it more, later.” Casey says with a slightly shaky voice.
No. 1070009 ID: 706b74
File 169163461814.png - (167.50KB , 500x700 , 15-120.png )

“He’s hiding underground. We need to flush him out.” Kol says, letting his spirit loose. “Keep an eye on my body, Uncle Sifr.”

The old Guardian smirks and nods, clearly in his element. “Show him what the name Bardo stands for, boy.”

Kol dives into the earth, feeling the material phase through him like fog. He pauses, letting his instincts draw focus in the right direction before kicking off like a swimmer.
No. 1070027 ID: fa3034

He probably won't be expecting you to meet him down there. Regardless, be careful. If possible, arrest movement and take him back up to the surface. In the air if possible.
No. 1070178 ID: 706b74
File 169189667174.png - (183.26KB , 500x700 , 15-121.png )

He comes upon Muir suddenly, tackling the lich in a tangle of limbs.

“Ah! Wha- How did you-?” The geomancer grapples with confusion as the Medium grabs his wrists and hauls him to the surface. “Oh you bastard!”

He extends a claw towards Kol’s unoccupied body and says something in a cursed language. A boulder the size of a refrigerator rips itself out of the ground and sails towards its target like the angry fist of a titan.
No. 1070179 ID: a8f755

Too heavy to block by the looks of it, but it might be possible to redirect it away from Kol's body. Casey, can you lasso it with a binding spell to try and pull it off course?
No. 1070181 ID: b15e1f

Gabe, quick moves; put a gate under Kol's body and get him out of there, and/or Casey, lock Muir's arms in place while Kol has him.
No. 1070182 ID: 4b0f55

I don't know who's going to be quicker to react here so suggestions for both; Casey, bind that rock before it hits anything or anyone. Can your spells silence or bind Muir? Gabe, portal that rock well out of range.
No. 1070183 ID: e5709d

Repeatedly punch him in the genitals until he falls unconscious
No. 1070186 ID: f8083d

Moving Kol's body will likely be easier than moving the rock. Faster, too.
No. 1070187 ID: 5d04f4

Gabe: cut the rock in half if you can, he probably can't as easily control two chunks with the precision he was focusing on one.
Casey: try to pull kol's body away from the oncoming rocks, shield him if you can.
No. 1070190 ID: 3a16f1

Gabe needs to keep up the ward to prevent Muir from escaping if he manages to break away from Kol holding him.

Uncle Sifr should move Kol’s body out of the way or smash the boulder with his superior techniques. Then Casey can use her powers to help Kol hold Muir in place.
No. 1070281 ID: 706b74
File 169215296513.png - (245.46KB , 700x500 , 15-122.png )

Sifr’s cloak snaps like a whip as he plants himself between the boulder and his nephew. He inhales and squares his shoulders before launching his fists in a series of machine-gun blows.

The stone rumbles as if in pain as Sifr hammers its surface with fast-forward erosion. A pause in the strikes comes suddenly as he gathers his strength before roaring defiance.

The Guardian’s punch comes like a lightning bolt, striking the heart of his target and opening up a thousand fault lines. As gravel dusts his boots, Sifr shakes the soreness out of his wrist and glares at the vampire with decades of practiced malice.
No. 1070284 ID: 273c18

Damn, when is Kol gonna start being able to do that?
No. 1070286 ID: db478f

That golem body is compromised. I don't think there's any holding him. We might just need to throw him through that portal.
No. 1070293 ID: 7c2308

Damn, is that some super advanced Medium technique or is that kind of physical toughness something all Guardians have?
No. 1070297 ID: 7b65e9

Turns out Sif was a master of Ki-Rata all along.
No. 1070307 ID: 3a16f1

Don’t be distracted by Sifr being awesome! Contain the lich before he can get away from Kol!
No. 1070352 ID: 706b74
File 169232675171.png - (198.23KB , 700x500 , 15-123.png )

Casey closes her fingers around empty air and focuses on her shackle brand. Her glowing rings materialize around Muir’s wrists, locking them in place. With his arms secure, Kol orbits around him, putting the spindly undead into a headlock. 

The vampire seethes and sputters under the combined frustrations, “I- I’LL KILL YOU ALL!” 

Despite the restraints, he snaps his fingers and chunk of terrain sits up and pulls itself upright into a bipedal form. 

“GET THEM!” Muir screeches, his voice becoming desperate and panicked as Kol continues to grapple with him. 

The construct shambles in the direction of the mice, its arms extended blindly. Its graceless movements are slow, but as unstoppable as a landslide. 
No. 1070356 ID: 273c18

Can Gabe portal cut it, while keeping the spirit portal open? I can't remember if he can manage more than one portal at a time.

Alternatively you could imprison the golem...?
No. 1070357 ID: 0190ce

He's double-bound right now. If there's any time for Gabe to take offense it's now. Slice the golem, and Sifr should punch Muir in the face if he tries to escape while Gabe's busy. It's risky, but it's probably the best bet to avoid people being injured.
No. 1070358 ID: db478f

Considering the effort it took Gabe to open the gate, I don't think it can be moved easily. Can Casey move those bindings into the gate? The golem might go down without Muir's influence.
No. 1070390 ID: cacc42

It's just occured to me that, if Muir had truly wanted to just get away, he could've. He had a clean opportunity just as they arrived in the Spite zone, before Gabe put the ward up, where he could've been long gone before they realized that the body was empty. Instead he chose to stay, gloat, and try to display his superiority. Muir's own arrogance will ultimately be his final downfall.
No. 1070462 ID: 706b74
File 169257429306.png - (179.20KB , 569x700 , 15-124.png )

The animated stone stomps closer, casting its long shadow over the mice.

Gabe thrusts his hand low, reaching for something deep and opens a gate as far beneath his feet as possible.
No. 1070463 ID: 706b74
File 169257431465.png - (1.92MB , 3500x2500 , 15-125.png )

What happens next is an outburst of sound and light unlike anything the mice have ever heard. Its the roar of something under unfathomable pressure unleashed for a split second before cut off abruptly by a comparatively quiet thunderclap.
No. 1070464 ID: 706b74
File 169257433264.png - (216.50KB , 700x500 , 15-126.png )

The mice stagger upright, recovering from the shock and staring for a moment at the cone of red-hot violence sprayed across the landscape. Clumps of glassy, cooling lava land in an uneven rainfall and clink gently in the dusty air.

Gabe’s skinny frame shakes with an uncharacteristic fury as his voice cracks, “N-Nobody threatens Kol and Casey!” His chest heaves and tears pearl at the corner of his eyes as he glares daggers at the undead.
No. 1070465 ID: e5709d

Muir: Devolve into multiple-personality gibbering as your soul dissolves
No. 1070467 ID: e3600d

Holy shit Muir's done the unimaginable
Gabe's pissed
The fates are absolutely quivering in the ethereal plane.
No. 1070468 ID: 3ed3c3

Did Gabe just open a portal to the planet's core?
That's pretty metal.
No. 1070470 ID: dd3fe0


Wouldn't even have to go that deep, to be honest.
No. 1070471 ID: b1805a


Now That's What I Call Geomancy!
No. 1070479 ID: 8f9bc4

And then Muir completely forgets he's in combat at all to totally nerd out about that amazing application of portals on deep earth drilling. What potential! You must show him more!
No. 1070482 ID: 7c2308

Holy fuck, Gabe is a crouching pretty boy, hidden badass!
No. 1070483 ID: 8ae4e1

Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's a hotter geomancer in town ;D
No. 1070488 ID: 7b65e9

Check if Gabe didn't burn himself or damage his eyes with the burst of the light and the heat convection.

Then fawn over how fucking badass he was right now.

I suggest the moniker "Corebringer" from now on.
No. 1070489 ID: fa3034

Casey, go to Gabe's side. He might need help coming down from this. He did well but it's not over. We need to arrest Muir's hand movements or force him through the gate or the magic is going to keep coming.
No. 1070494 ID: e12308

Hell yeah, Gabe! That was sick!
Keep the momentum and shove that pesky geomancer through the spirit gate while you have the advantage!
No. 1070509 ID: 0b965a

I always thought that if they needed to defend Moot Point they would place a pair of gates above each other and toss a rock in. Working in groups, they could be decently effective at placing a third gate underneath and dropping a terminal velocity boulder into it. Bonus points if you use a javelin or a ballista bolt instead.
No. 1070664 ID: 706b74
File 169284844842.png - (228.04KB , 700x500 , 15-127.png )

“Gabe! The spirit gate!” Kol shouts, fighting to close Muir’s beak. Further binding spells wrap themselves around the vampire’s hands and fingers as Casey closes her eyes and tries to maintain her grip.

“Oh! Right!” The Sender takes a deep breath and focuses. He finds it easier now: piercing through the different planes of existence until he’s staring into a sea as bright as the sun. He grits his teeth, spreading the brilliant disk as wide as possible, before shouting, “Its open! Casey, can you move him?!?”

The Binder nods wordlessly, opening her eyes to guide the captured undead to the entrance. “Get clear, Kol!” She warns.

Kol dives back to his body, turning to watch as the spirit passes over the threshold and into eternity.

Still trapped, Muir rants his last curses as the spirit realm beckons, “I’LL BE WAITING FOR YOU, YOU BASTARDS! JUST YOU WAIT!”

“I'm afraid that’s not how this works.” Sifr states. He looks on dispassionately as the surface of the gate begins to seethe and boil. Something dark spreads out around Muir like an ink cloud and blankets the glow of the ethereal sea.
No. 1070666 ID: 8ae4e1

No. 1070668 ID: fa3034

It wasn't pretty, but every guide has to see this at least once. Spite, fresh from the soul. Catch your breaths and check each other. You guys made it. Good job.
No. 1070671 ID: 7c2308

Now time to get out of the Spite zone and recuperate, pronto. Drop by Miki's and get something hot fresh from the oven.
No. 1070672 ID: 4120ac

*sigh* It's a shame. I wish Muir could've learned to accept his mortality and let go of his existence on this plane peacefully. But it seems the hatred and spite within him was too great for that to come to pass...
No. 1070673 ID: 273c18

Tell Muir goodbye. He will be remembered for his research, but also his tyranny.
No. 1070674 ID: 273c18

The victim mentioning a spider suggests we are not dealing with a human murderer anyway. We should confirm with her what the attacker looked like, though... It's *possible* that a spider creature saved the victim.
No. 1070675 ID: 7b65e9

Get clear of the fallout, check everyone's health, especially Gabe's, he's lucky if the backdraft of his little exploit didn't get him at least a little.
No. 1070676 ID: c572e3

Maybe that mysterious black mass is the souls of all the people he fucked over to death.
No. 1070685 ID: 8efd29

Damn. On one hand, that's a lot of spite poisoning the mana pool. On the other:
No. 1070706 ID: 8f9bc4

he wasn't ready to go...
No. 1070717 ID: f14228

Casey, step forward to join Sifr in staring down the lich, but less sternly (if shaken).

Keep it brief, but bid an official-ish farewell to Muir the Magnificent, one of the last of his kind. Appreciate also his kindness - you know - in not doing this in town.

As a history buff, you really, genuinely wanted to show it to him, to let him see a different age and compare his reactions to those of... another one who was lost and trapped until recent times.

And if it helps any - where he's going, you don't think his fears will follow.

Blow him a farewell kiss that whisks him into the sea.
No. 1070759 ID: e5709d

"Is that so."
Everyone: Riddle Muir with holes.
No. 1070818 ID: 706b74
File 169301370422.png - (308.09KB , 700x700 , 15-128.png )

“WHAT!? WHAT’S HAPPENING? STOP THIS!” The lich demands. He claws at his bindings feebly as his body begins to unravel.

Sifr nods to the mice and they gather around the stricken undead, “You lot haven’t seen this before, have you?”

“What’s happening?” Kol asks, already knowing in the pit of his stomach.

Sifr sighs, “Everything about him that doesn’t want to go is being left behind, further adding to the curse of this place: staining the earth one last time.”

“HELP! DON’T JUST STAND THERE!” Muir pleads, trying not to look at the spreading damage. “YOU CAN’T DO THIS!”

Gabe, Kol and Casey look on, glancing to one another with a shared discomfort but unwilling to act.

“You tried to prepare him, but…” Sifr says, as if reading their thoughts. “Some spirits are too old and far gone: he was never going to change in the first place. But its important we still try.” He points at Muir, who struggles desperately against the pull of the gate as if drowning “Look…”

As the lich slips one last time into the murky surface and comes apart completely, a seed-pearl of light blinks like a tiny flare before sinking into the gate and disappearing.

“Doesn’t look like there was much of him left worth saving. Oh well.” Sifr shakes his head, apparently unsurprised. “Brace yourselves. I always hate this next part.”
No. 1070822 ID: db478f

It might that help to hold each other's hands.. Brace yourselves.
No. 1070823 ID: cfd614

insert fart with reverb
No. 1070824 ID: e5709d

"What, are we supposed to sit here and get showered by Muir's taint?! I got it!"
Gabe: Redirect the gate through the hole you made into the earth so the miasma becomes fuel for the planet's core.
No. 1070826 ID: cfd614


And potentially explode the world with negative energy? That's much too risky. And if the explosion is stronger than the spite, it'll just blow the spite across the whole area. Nature should take it's course.
No. 1070870 ID: 7c2308

They saw what happened when Hekal sealed a well against its "will." It stands to reason this will do something similar, if on a far smaller scale
No. 1070874 ID: a9af05

>“You lot haven’t seen this before, have you?”
That's right. Every time we Sent a spirit through a gate, they were always willing to go. Even the previous lich we Sent was willing to leave after we helped him have one last moment with his selkie husband.

This is literally our very first time Sending someone that was unwilling to go.
No. 1070918 ID: 273c18

Literally brace yourselves. Gather together to weather the storm.
No. 1071000 ID: 084dcd

This was unnecessary.
No. 1071045 ID: 706b74
File 169318896636.png - (151.95KB , 700x378 , 15-129.png )

The mice have half a moment to understand before it happens: the gate closes with a thunderclap and with it comes a wave of something vile. It rolls over them in an invisible wall of nauseating miasma, spreading its cursed fingers through their bodies. The spite washes over the landscape, causing the blight to spread ever so slightly further.
No. 1071046 ID: 706b74
File 169318897114.png - (120.65KB , 700x441 , 15-130.png )

Gabe wipes his mouth, having thrown up, and holds his stomach. “Fates, that was awful…”

Sifr spits into the dust, having tasted bile himself. “It always is. Congratulations on having banished your first vampire.” He pats the Sender on the back and gives him a weary smile. “Everyone holding up okay? That was quite the trick with that gate, lad.”

“Oh, oh yeah.” Gabe touches his face and realizes how raw it feels. “I think I might have been a bit too close to that heat though.”

“It was incredible, Gabe.” Casey takes his hand, finding it still kind of shaky. “I’ve never seen you like that.”

“Very badass, buddy. Come here-“ Kol gives his partner a kiss before making a squeamish face.

“Dude, I just threw up. Let me brush my teeth first.”

Casey giggles and kisses his cheek. “Well, we should get those burns looked at. Also, the less time we spend here, the better.”
No. 1071047 ID: cfd614

Time for Gabe to heal up, highkey the mvp of the fight. And surely sending a vampire is more than enough for a promotion, especially with all teammates taking very little damage
No. 1071049 ID: 6b21fd

I think this calls for ringing up Del. That proximity to lava, no matter how brief, calls for a medical examination
No. 1071050 ID: cfd614

oh god we are not having another del scene, not after last year...
No. 1071051 ID: e5709d

Ask about how sustainable any of this is. From what we've seen liches can be huge dicks, but the means of execution is to... slowly mulch most of their soul and then intentionally spread the waste in a spiritual landfill? Can't they shoot it into space or find some means of recycling during the mulching process?
Gabe: Wonder if spirit guides are cursed to birth the reincarnations of the liches they purge. Then ask if the solution involves healthy sex lives.
No. 1071057 ID: 7c2308

Get Gabe healed up and celebrate his awesomeness by giving him some very gentle and loving TLC
No. 1071063 ID: fa3034

Let's get to Del's to rest up.
No. 1071065 ID: b23ea2

ah, so many questions, and only the Fates who we can hear the answers from
No. 1071067 ID: bf18db

That sucked. But at least it's probably over.
No. 1071068 ID: 7b65e9

as Pyrrhic as it was, this victory deserves a hurrah, and a moment of contemplation on how much you've grown in so little time.
Bruised, tired, but fully realized.
No. 1071069 ID: 273c18

Yes. Also, uh... if the blight expands every time a vampire is banished... does it ever shrink? If it never shrinks, then the doomed future may still come to pass. Either banishings stop and vampires run unchecked, or the world is blighted. On the other hand, it may take thousands more banishings before the blight becomes a serious problem, and vampires are pretty rare, so there's a lot of time to find a way to clean the blight.
No. 1071125 ID: 706b74
File 169327613173.png - (127.34KB , 700x483 , 15-131.png )

“That’s probably a good idea. Let’s get out of here.” Gabe says. “You coming with us, sir?” He asks Sifr.

The older mouse considers this and shakes his head, “I better get back to Ometra before they re-organize my shelf of forbidden tomes. At least I have a lot of new stories to keep them entertained with.”

“Uh, just one thing…” Gabe says, pausing before opening the gate. “Is… there really no other way? Are we doing the right thing?”

Sifr sighs and nods. “You’re right to ask that. So far as we know, this is our best solution. As you can tell-“ he waves a hand at the devastation, “Its far from perfect.”

“Muir was a creature forged by greed and violence and, had he not been stopped, he would have gone on to claim more lives and spread more grief.” The Guardian’s normal dramatic flair is gone; his words are clipped and serious. “The best solution we have right now, is to prevent monsters like him from ever forming in the first place. To do that, we need to create a world where people don’t have to live in fear or need. That way, when they die, we can help them find their way safely to the other side.”

“I’ve told you once before, when I first brought you here: what you do is of vital importance. If you want to stop this blight from spreading, continue helping everyone you see. Spread understanding and compassion. Take care that others don’t end up like Muir.”

The Sender’s brow knits with concern, but he claps his scorched hands together and opens a gate for Sifr.

Kol exchanges a hug with his elder and tells him, “Thanks for all your help, uncle.”

“It was an honor to join you once more. You three truly have the making of great Guardians.”
No. 1071126 ID: 706b74
File 169327614525.png - (196.57KB , 700x500 , 15-132.png )

Another gate opens a few moments later in a field outside a cottage.

“It’s late, so Del’s probably gone home by now. Hopefully- “ Gabe states, only to be interrupted as the door opens.

“Gabe! Was that you? What’s up?” Del calls as a greeting but pulls up short when she sees his burns. “What happened?”

“Well, I- um…” The Sender stammers as various emotions battle for control of his tongue. He looks up at his enormous girlfriend and feels tears prickle his eyes.
No. 1071127 ID: bf18db

Casey might need to be an advocate here. Just say he's been through a lot, Kol's coming too soon, and you need to make sure you're okay physically. Burns and lacerations and emotional damage.
No. 1071130 ID: 3a6dec

Be gentle with him tonight. He's had a long day. And iirc, healing mana draws forth the mana of whoever it's healing as well as infusing the healer's mana, yeah? Gabe's pretty drained all around, healing magic might not be as effective.
No. 1071135 ID: 273c18

Casey, step in and say you just had a hard Sending, Gabe was very brave and used Gate: Magma to protect you.
No. 1071137 ID: dc4bad

very tough sending

later, when things aren't so fresh and raw let her know he is a big damn hero, but for now he's tender inside & out, and can do with some patching up
No. 1071139 ID: e5709d

Wait I'm confused
If souls rot with spite, wouldn't it be easier to just stuff them in an extra-strength crystal and wait until you can find a solution or their minds go completely feral, unable to outsmart their jailors and weakened enough to be stuck there?
Something doesn't add up. It's not like a starving lich grows stronger over time...
Gabe: Wonder if your childhood friend is so warped by entitlement that they're actively trying to become a lich right now.
No. 1071186 ID: 7b65e9


That'd be too unethical to our trio here, using those kind of methods would make them no better (or even worse) that some liches.
Also I don't think Gabe needs this train of thought right now.
No. 1071192 ID: fa3034

A hug would be nice right now, if it's not too much to ask.
No. 1071193 ID: 7c2308

Gabe definitely needs some gentle TLC.
No. 1071195 ID: b1805a


He was a hero, even if it doesn't feel that way that, right now.

Come on. Let's get inside, have some tea, and talk while everyone gets seen to.
No. 1071273 ID: 5951ec

We can go slower on the details, for Gabe to gather himself emotionally, but the most important bit right now is he was about 5ft away from magma for about 3-5 seconds, and we want to make sure he's ok
No. 1071340 ID: 706b74
File 169344875266.png - (186.97KB , 700x500 , 15-133.png )

“We had a rough sending.” Casey explains, “We’re all okay, thanks to Gabe, but he got burned as a result.”

Sensing that the true injury is much deeper than burned skin, the healer scoops Gabe up without a word and cradles him in one hand.

Delilah turns to Kol and Casey and tells them, “Leave him with me for tonight. I’ll take care of things.” Its not the usual flirty threat of a sexual juggernaut, but the voice of a healer, a lover, and a friend.

“You sure?” Kol asks.

“He’ll be alright.” She says, partially to Kol and partially to Gabe. “It’ll be okay.”

“Okay.” Casey reaches up to give the Sender a kiss on a less burned cheek before departing, “Take care, Gabe. Love you.”

“See you at home, bud.” Kol presses his forehead against Gabe’s and rubs his ears affectionately. “You were incredible.”

Gabe nods, feeling rather brittle but taking their words to heart. He opens a gate for them and says “Love you, guys” in a voice drowned out by the clap of thunder.
No. 1071342 ID: ae0c62

Nixxyyy we're hoooone
No. 1071384 ID: b23ea2

perhaps, tomorrow, a trip to the bakery, and a visit to other friends made in your journeys, nothing better to heal a heart
No. 1071397 ID: 706b74
File 169353512487.png - (248.89KB , 453x700 , 15-134.png )

Inside the cabin, Del pours healing magic into her patient. Cradling him against her bare body, she feels his heart thumping anxiously as his breath hitches.

“How’s that? Feeling better?” She asks.

The mouse nods. Where his cheek rests on her arm, he leaves a streak of wetness.

“Do you wanna talk about what happened?”
No. 1071398 ID: bf18db

Give him a bitta time to just settle in with you first and let it come when it comes, it's probably gonna take him a sec to start talkin. Unless he just starts gushing like a broken faucet about what happened, hard to tell with him sometimes.
No. 1071399 ID: 7c2308

I don't think Gabe enjoyed being an angry badass. In fact, I think it really scared him, unleashing that kind of destruction.
No. 1071400 ID: db478f

Give that boy some kisses. Healer's orders.
No. 1071401 ID: 82f3cb

Gabe's a real caring guy. I don't think it's the anger that got to him, Muir was going to kill all four of them if he didn't. I think it's more that Muir didn't want to be sent yet. I don't think Gabe has ever sent someone against their will, and it's gotta be tough to pair it with such raw emotion.
No. 1071402 ID: e5709d

The idea that (even upon an unrepentant mass-slaver) slowly torturing a soul to death and then cumming their toxic essence across the land isn't just tolerated but favored by the spiritual authority isn't something that can be reconciled easily.

So I recommend milk from the tap. A @#$%ing liter, at least.
No. 1071445 ID: 0ec7ef

Kol: Consider that there *might* be a better way. After all, there was something of Muir that was still of worth - you saw it with that little glimmer. Posit that maybe one need only to nourish that spark, give it some proper kindling to latch onto, to burn bright and consume the Miasma that threatened to smother and extinguish it.

Just a thought, anyways.
No. 1071448 ID: 19ea25

Spite being released was something the founders even shut the Mana Wells for. Not exactly a good idea to keep releasing it by doing this.
No. 1071686 ID: 706b74
File 169388512149.png - (226.70KB , 700x472 , 15-135.png )

Gabe is quiet, not yet ready to answer.

She lets him stew for a while as she continues her healing.

“You know you can tell me whatever. I’m here to help.”

Gabe opens his mouth to speak… but closes it. A few minutes later he manages, “I- I did something, I guess I- I never thought…”

Del makes an inquisitive noise, prompting him to continue.

The mouse speaks as he pieces his thoughts together. “I had this idea a long time ago for… a way to use gate magic. A-a kind of secret weapon, I guess. I thought it was so cool at the time.”

He pauses mid thought.

“So you used it?” Del asks, trying to keep him talking.

“Yeh…” Gabe says. “There was this vampire… you remember Muir? From the mountain? We tried to help him. But when we went to send him… he attacked us.” The mouse turns his head to look back over his shoulder at her. “He was gonna kill us. He was yelling, and he did all this geomancy and summoned a rock monster to attack us and…”

He takes a deep breath. “I got so mad. I thought about it attacking Kol and Casey and I got madder than I think I’ve ever been in my life. I just… stopped thinking and…”

Del nods. “And you did the thing. Is that how you got burned?”

“Mmm-hmm.” Gabe nods, matting her fur with more tears. “I did the thing. I stopped the rock monster and we sent Muir. He was so scared as it happened. I’ve never banished anyone. It felt awful. Like a chunk of my soul being ripped out. “

Delilah squeezes him a bit. “You okay?”
No. 1071687 ID: 1a35ec

It was strange. There was part of him - a large part - that couldn't go through the gate. It just stopped, pooling up on the portal. And it was Gabe's portal. How connected to a portal are you while you keep it open? What effect does it have for something like that to be pushing, pulling, clinging and clawing at a portal that you're holding? I'm not surprised that Gabe got the worst of it. Could some of that stuff have grabbed onto him, somehow?
No. 1071699 ID: fa3034

Honestly? Not yet. Del takes good care of you and you feel safe with her. The shock of it probably linger more than the actual burns. She's on the right track though and you appreciate it.
No. 1071707 ID: dc4bad

Poor Gabe, that empathy is so admirable but has to hurt.

Muir's brand of solitude and paranoia being at odds with Gabe's own nature probably contributed to how much it sucked, but even just the banishing itself; seeing Muir terrified and begging for help, Gabe being responsible for that. Yeah that probably gonna stay with him.

Keep doing what you're doing Del, even if he can't or won't talk about it yet, just letting him know he's safe and loved is gonna be a world of help.
No. 1071776 ID: 706b74
File 169396983208.png - (208.69KB , 700x500 , 15-136.png )

“I dunno… maybe?” Gabe sighs, “Probably not. At least not yet.”

He shifts slightly: rolling his thoughts around in his head. “One moment, I was so angry that I would have killed Muir, if I could. Then the next, I’m about to throw up, watching him beg while my spirit gate rips him apart. How do I even deal with that?”

Delilah considers her words before answering in a husky voice, “I don’t know about how spirit guides work exactly, but with healers our duty is to help everyone we can. And while magic can ease the pain and help people recover; when we need to do surgery... we have to damage tissue in order to get to the problem." She pauses and asks, “Do you think you helped him?”

Gabe chews on the inside of his cheek for a moment and responds, “I don't know. Sure didn’t sound like it, from the way he acted. All that was left of him that went through the portal was a little light: like a candle flame or something. Everything else turned into spite...”

The healer makes a little noncommittal sound and they linger in the mutual silence for a bit. Outside, small grassland insects chirp noisily to one another. Underneath the chorus is the distant muted roar of the waves against the beach.
No. 1071777 ID: 706b74
File 169396983823.png - (264.21KB , 500x700 , 15-137.png )

“Your partners are really proud of you.” Del observes. “They’re worried, but proud. It sounds like you really stepped up for them.”

He nods a little bit and she feels a slight tug on his cheek that might be a smile.

She feels his dick, rigid from the side effects of healing magic, poking into her thigh. “Did you wanna fuck?” She asks, mostly out of courtesy.

“Mmm, not really.” Gabe says, probably for the first time in his life. “Can you, like, just hold me for a bit?”

Del says, “Sure thing.” And she does.

"I love you Delilah..."

"I love you too, Gabe."

In her arms he’s a light and fragile thing and after a while she feels him go to sleep. She sighs contentedly, satisfied from healing his body and soul. She snuggles up around him, warmer than any blanket, and feels his little heart flutter in his chest.
No. 1071784 ID: db478f

You really are the best, Del.
No. 1071785 ID: 787444

OUGH I love it when the hot muscle lady is a receptive listener that knows the boundaries of traumatic events
No. 1071787 ID: 7c2308

Now Kol and Casey need their turns for some emotional snuggling with Gabe
No. 1071824 ID: 8f9bc4

If it's any consolation, Muir wanted to remain in this world so much, that all but one tiny grain of him was willing to pass on. And that's exactly what happened. In a way, he's still your problem, in the form of a butt ton of spite, but hey you dumped it somewhere that no one lives anymore because the land is full of even more butt tons of spite for some reason. So you can probably just ignore it!
No. 1071941 ID: 706b74
File 169414201342.png - (263.48KB , 700x500 , 15-138.png )

Back at home, Kol and Casey are already in bed and fucking like two people who just looked death in the eye. All the adrenaline in their bodies screams one thing: wordless, panting, animal sex. 

Kol looks down at where they’re joined. He’s balls deep inside Casey: grinding and slapping against her hips. She’s so warm and alive around him; her passion arcing off of her like lightning and raising his fur in little tingly ridges.

Casey gasps. She reaches between her legs, her fingers tracing Kol’s shaft as it pumps in and out. She feels his pulse racing inside her as he fucks her senseless. He feels as tireless and powerful as Rufus’s mechanical body when he plowed her earlier. 
Panting like a racehorse, Kol huffs into her ear, “F-ates, I lo-ove you…” 

Casey clutches him tight and nods, “I love you so much…” 

Kol responds by lifting her legs up and curling her hips skyward so that he can jackhammer her into the mattress. 

No. 1071945 ID: db478f

That's it you two, let it aaaalll out.
No. 1071948 ID: 1a35ec

After bringing more death to the world - of only just a little - I wonder how much you've considered adding life back to it. I know Casey's already lined up to help Miki and Raithe, but I'm sure you've thought of your own futures too, right? Of course you wouldn't want to really do anything so consequential when you're dealing with emotions like this, but maybe you'd like to just... you know, think about it. Use your imaginations?
No. 1071961 ID: e5709d

Adoption is cleaner. Rather than bring new life, save an innocent who has been marked for death.
No. 1071972 ID: e3600d

Well yeah, but there's a certain bond that can be found with mothers and tox wants to draw casey pregnant sharing that bond with someone you really care about and trust is what makes it more special.
No. 1071975 ID: 2a82d3

Cleansing Spite by creating more Joy? Not sure that's how it works, but the thought of it IS pleasant, to put it lightly. Heck, the entire town might be reacting to this "imbalance". We could have a horny epidemic on our hands.

>Casey's already lined up to help Miki and Raithe
They would be here if they wanted (or needed) to be, but I'm not sure about having this intimate moment spiraling into an orgy. It's either that, or having both couples magically synchronize their sex somehow.
No. 1072049 ID: dd34fe


You know... maybe this *would* be the moment to fulfil their promise to Miki and Raithe. It would indeed be a nice death/life juxtaposition. And since I don't think Casey's reproductive system would be compatible with either Miki or Raithe's sperm, perhaps Kol could plant his seed inside her now.

Of course, for that to happen, not only would Casey have to be willing to go through a surrogate pregnancy for a number of months, but Kol would have to be aware that the child he puts in her will not be considered his but will be given to his friends when born. Are they both ready for that? And how would the kid feel about the matter growing up? It's a delicate issue, and they should be certain of what they're in for before they go ahead...
No. 1072153 ID: 706b74