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File 126705819655.jpg - (101.24KB , 500x344 , ThePass.jpg )
138372 No. 138372 ID: 6faa8c

((First two threads found in ARCHIVE
third thread on its way there
Discussion and answers in #rubyquest on irc
Also, the OP image for thread 1 is a useful reference, so please, keep it in a tab or window or what have you while reading. Thank you!))
---------------------------------

The danger of going through a mountain pass is not very apparent. With a compass, it's hard to get lost, even. Only a dwarf could really tell you, make you aware, that on either side of you stant millions of tons of rock that are likely to fall in your general direction at any moment. All it takes is one mistake. There are old pathfinders, and there are bold pathfinders, but there are no old, bold pathfinders, he tells me. The only more dangerous job is clearing out gas low in the mines, where the walls and floor aren't even smoothed and the ceiling could easily collapse and you could be engulfed in flames or die of suffocation or worse.

Needless to say, dwarves are very grim and pious people.

According to him, we're making good time, easily halfway through the mountains. He tells me it's almost over, and that the worst (an accident that claimed five orcs) is over with. There's been no sign of Ysl, but we are finding signs of passage here and there.

It has been a week and a half since we last spoke.
Expand all images
>>
No. 138379 ID: 632862

I bet you and Jai have been spending more time together, hmm?

Has Asala found out about your choice yet?

Done any experimenting with runes on your own?
>>
No. 138380 ID: a64482

inb4 Achilles has assimilated the entire rest of the continent
>>
No. 138490 ID: 6faa8c

>>138380
I doubt it. From what Rance has told me, only organisms that were once alive can be converted into nuetral biomass. Hence, soil and stone cannot be converted. It's why the floating castle has, well, castle bits.

>>138379
We've been talking more. But we've decided to hold off anything more until we return home, so we don't distract ourselves. Asala has been getting more... how to put it, aggressive? Jai's been trying to set her up with Rance, to no avail.

Speaking of him, I've been training with him whenever I can, and I'm happy to say that even without runes, I'm moderately competent!

Harumda doesn't need to sleep, so he's been watching gaurd every night. He reports occasional movements at the edge of his vision, but nothing further.
>>
No. 138519 ID: 632862

>>138490
See now that's why I suggested just letting Rance flirt with her. You're going to have to actively persuade her to stop, now. How aggressive has she been, exactly?

On another note... I guess something is following you. Achilles wouldn't be that subtle, that's for sure. He'd have attacked by now. Unless... he's waiting until the worst possible moment to attack. Like, halfway into a mountain pass. If the guide dies we're boned no matter which direction we go!

The fact that we were absent that long only to return now most likely means that something is going to happen soon. I'm quite convinced by now that we are sensitive to the hand of fate.
>>
No. 138578 ID: 6faa8c
File 126712139512.png - (20.19KB , 640x480 , BossintroTyka.png )
138578

>>138519
I see. Our guide has told us that should he regretfully become unable to guide us, there are small markings along the way from here on that will guide the way. I'm glad for that.

Something is approaching from the sky.

Rance swears heavily.

"I thought the warnings would be enough." says the creature, in a young voice. "Clearly you are too stubborn to steer away."
>>
No. 138580 ID: a64482

>>138578
Says? How is it talking? Does it even have a mouth?

Courage 1 blessing 2 on blade, courage 2 augment 1 blessing 1 on armor, then bless everyone else's blade, if you can.

If things start going crazy be prepares to inscribe boots or shoes. I want to determine how much is required/advised before we commit.
>>
No. 138594 ID: 6faa8c

>>138580
It's hidden by the large black sheet it wears.

I quickly bless my equipment.

"Do you really think that will help you, boy?" she asks, as rocks split from the cliffs beside us, floating to her side. "I like you. I'll give you a chance to see the master."

More rocks split from the sides of the valley, huge boulders larger than the little girl lifting them with, appaerently, her mind.
>>
No. 138725 ID: 6faa8c
File 126714790155.png - (72.73KB , 254x197 , Thardus_Artwork.png )
138725

>>138594
The rocks land below her in a massive pile, until finally they stack up to about 20 feet, and block the whole of the pass.

The creature floats away, laughing.

And then the pile rises, blue bands of power wrapping various bits.
>>
No. 138749 ID: 701a19
File 126715107939.jpg - (16.02KB , 358x324 , Elbereth_three_scripts.jpg )
138749

Perhaps we're going about this whole romance thing the wrong way. Maybe we would be better off getting them to share.
Alternatively, we could tell them that a willingness to share is desirable while jealousy is not.

I'm pretty sure we can work things out so that everybody is happy. We've accomplished much more difficult tasks, after all.

I wonder if we can bestow a rune on you...
Consider experimenting with inscribing "Elbereth". It's a powerword in some worlds, so I'll provide you with alternate scripts in case one works.

Oh, right, monster. The stones are just a diversion - a deadly one, but a diversion nonetheless.
It's a psychic, so its monster is likely to collapse if it loses concentration. Have your bruisers engage the rocks as defensively as they can while we work out a way to take the caster down.
What do you have for ranged ammo? You could bless/wound the bullets, arrows, bolts, and weapons, then bless the shooters' shoes, since then they would get extremely damaging shots in with extreme accuracy. Bonus points if you can chuck a 5 wounds boulder at it.
Alternatively:
Chuck us at the caster so we can try and destroy its mind.
Undeath or Bless the mountain as large as you can.
Attempt to disbelieve, in case this is actually a mind trick.
>>
No. 138759 ID: 6faa8c

>Attempt to disbelieve.

Nope. Not working. Illusions are usually easy to spot, as they look... differently focused compared to the rest of the world.

As for the master of the new creature, she is nowhere to be seen. I am, however, noting that only some of the stones are held by bands of power, while others glow softly and still others have no radiating effect. It's not moving, yet. Merely taking up the whole area.

As for the word of power you mentioned...
The last column on the image you've projected into my mind seems like a Rune Formula. I'll describe them after the fight.

I lean down and inscribe a nearby rock with wounds.
What.

It's seeping blood.


Rance sighs.
"I've heard of that one." he says. "The girl. She was initially Achille's opposite. Had churches and whatnot. Achilles killed her, and reanimated the remains. Now she serves him as a gatekeeper and sifter of the chaff. This is likely a challenge. She said she'd give us a chance. I say we take it."
The girls nod in agreement, but the dwarf steps back.
"I know where we keep some high explosives back home..." he says, looking up at the monster. Harumda laughs.
"Another challenge? This world is generous."
>>
No. 138764 ID: 701a19

>>138759
Ok, we learned something with our mid-combat examination. Now we can torture rocks. Maybe we'll get lucky and learn how to to murder them later.

Bless and wound your ammo, then bless people's shoes. Tell them to attack the bands. Hopefully the Wound will snap the bands, or at least cause the energy to bleed out of it. Don't tell them WHICH bands, though, since then it can't protect them all.

Undo the wounded rock, then undeath or bless the mountain as big as you can. Only one, though, since we don't want massively blessed undead geography.
Yet.
>>
No. 138767 ID: 34470e

>>138764
Are you sure you know what you're doing? If so, I'll just sit back and watch. Undeath on a mountain seems like an exceedingly bad idea to me.
>>
No. 138770 ID: 6faa8c

>>138764
I bless the rock, and it grows spikes of stone. Jai has since found a way to fashion a quick-loading mechanism onto her crossbow, ans I bless everyone's long range weaponry.

I tell them to aim for the bands of power and begin fire on my signal. Harumda's sword is given wounds 3, and I warn him of the various dangers inherent.

I throw the fist-sized rock as way of a signal and it rockets from my hand with a crack, smashing against one of the banded stones. Everyone begins to fire, and the creature plucks a normal stone from its body, and hurls the boulder at us. We scatter, a few of the banded stones chipped, one with a long crack down its center. The cracked one moves to the center of the creature.

Harumda cleaves the stone in half with a cry, and the halves land on either side of Asala. She stands, blinking and shocked, then follows him to attack the creature itself.
>>
No. 138774 ID: 701a19

>>138767
So far runes have gone by intent with deference to our benefit. We know what blessing a rock does, so scaling it up to a mountain is a fairly safe. I'm expecting it will give us a cavern we can move into and get some fighting room, because at the moment we can't flank it, avoid it, or take cover from it.

As far as undeath goes, that's less predictable. I'm kinda hoping the mountain will squish or eat the monster or something, but be ready to erase the rune fast if things go wrong.

Don't sit back and watch though. It's pretty obvious that I'm a chaotic voice, and he needs balanced advice.
>>
No. 138776 ID: 632862

Runes don't...

Wait, CAN you use more than one rune of the same type? At any rate, Undeath is kindof... not good for experimenting in most cases. Let's not create any blightlands.

Try tossing a rock at one of the glowing parts of the creature.
>>
No. 138791 ID: 6faa8c

>>138776
I bless another stone, and chuck it at the glowing blue stone on its shoulder. The rock chips, but...

!!!

The chips float, and so does the rock I hurled, though niether glow.

I enchant a small rock with undeath. It rolls out of my hand and bumps against me, then rolls back, and rams me again.

Futilely.

The creature is occupied with Harumda and when did Asala get large enough to wrestle the creature.
>>
No. 138792 ID: 701a19

>>138776
Undeath doesn't work that way, and you can stop the effects by erasing it.

We couldn't really create a blightland even if we wanted to.

OH! I forgot to say!
I wasn't suggesting that the monster is an illusion, I was suggesting that its presence was being planted directly into your minds.
One is affecting the world to trick people, while the other is affecting peoples minds to trick them. The insidious thing about mind tricks is that they can prevent you from realizing you're being tricked.
If you try to disbelieve hard enough, though, then you can generally overcome that kind of tampering.
>>
No. 138793 ID: 701a19

>>138791
So it takes on any mass you add to it?
I wonder what would happen if you kept adding more and more to it.

Anyway, try putting the largest wounds you can on Jai's arrows and keep her focused on the bands. Then bless the mountain, then see if you can find any other potential weak points.
>>
No. 138794 ID: 6faa8c

>>138793
>Bless the mountain

I hear rumbling deep inside, but nothing else happens.

"Jai, the bands! Same rock!"

Asala tears one of the bands free, and several other normal stones drop to earth, one on her large foot. She roars in pain and smashes one of the blue stones with the previously banded one, causing it to break in half, revealing a glass orb.

The glass orb flies away.
>>
No. 138797 ID: 632862

>>138791
Okay, Augment+Blessing+Courage a rock and throw THAT at a glowing rock.
>>
No. 138798 ID: 632862

Or wait... no, aim at a banded one instead.
>>
No. 138806 ID: 701a19

Asala's movement is impaired and she's in CQC range. Getting her back just shifted to priority 1. She may resist out of pride, but she can't fight effectively right now.

Bless 2 your shoes and gloves, then evac her to the fire line.
>>
No. 138809 ID: 6faa8c

>>138806
She's too large at the moment. She catches a punch from the monster, pulling another banded peice from it, more normal boulders falling to earth.

I Bless and Courage a rock, and it zips from my hand before I can even throw it, slamming into the center of the creature so hard it stumbles back a step.
>>
No. 138811 ID: 701a19

>>138809
Is there a force of will behind runes? If it was just a force then it would have to be directed, but if a runed rock can spot an enemy and act on its own volition...

Also, find a goddamn boulder and courage/bless it with the biggest runes you can. If they can attack without needing to be thrown, then go for something you couldn't throw anyway.
>>
No. 138813 ID: 6faa8c

>>138811
...Yes!

I bless the rock with a size five, and nearly have to jump out of the way when it produces spikes as thick as my arm. Reaching through carefully, I inscribe a size five blessing.

It shakes, and I leap out of the spikes in time to only receive a gash on my leg.

The creature is not nearly as lucky. Asala sees it coming and dives out of the way, as it plows through, four more glass orbs flying away. The creature moves no more.


The small rock is still prodding my leg.
>>
No. 138814 ID: 632862

>>138813
Erase the rune on the small rebellious rock.
>>
No. 138816 ID: 701a19

>>138814
Or give it a hug. It's not exactly a threat.

Cleanup time. Destroy all the bands, orbs, and glowing rocks that you don't want to study.
>>
No. 138817 ID: 6faa8c

>>138816
The glowing rocks are gone, as are the banded ones.

Huh.

"Looks like we're clear to..." I begin, and then I notice, among the wreckage, a small, bloodied body.
>>
No. 138818 ID: 632862

>>138817
Oh fuck tell me that's not Ysl. You'd better go check her vitals.
>>
No. 138821 ID: 701a19

>>138817
Rush over and inscribe blessed wounds on its armor as large as you can, THEN get some proper healing on it.
>>
No. 138822 ID: 6faa8c

>>138818
It's Ysl. As soon as I touch her, she awak-
Erk! Her hands... My neck... Her eyes are blazing red...
>>
No. 138824 ID: 701a19

She's too strong, you'd never be able to break her grip. Instead Bless 4 on your shoes, then inscribe bless directly on her.
>>
No. 138826 ID: 632862

Well get them off your neck. You've got Blessing on your gauntlets. You should be strong enough.

If not... well, you can either use Cold Death, or try to give her a Courage charm if you think she's really Ysl and being mind controlled.
>>
No. 138827 ID: 701a19

Didn't somebody say something about it being strong vs demons?

Besides, even if it's NOT Ysl we would want to capture it alive.
>>
No. 138828 ID: 632862

>>138827
Achilles is not a demon.
>>
No. 138829 ID: 6faa8c

>>138824
I break from her grip, with my greater speed, and her eyes dim. She shakes her head.
"I'm so sorry. I don't know what came over me." she says quitely.
>>
No. 138830 ID: 701a19

If that's Ysl, then she's being controlled and can't be trusted.

Create a tub, fill it with water, bless it, and then immerse her in it.
>>
No. 138833 ID: 632862

>>138829
Inspect her injuries. We can scold her for running off ahead of us later.

...ask Harumda if her eyes were glowing like that when he fought her.
>>
No. 138834 ID: 34470e

>>138829
Tell her it's okay.
>>
No. 138836 ID: 6faa8c

>>138830
She giggles. "No, that's not needed. Goblins can enter a state of fury and rage, and that's what happened to me. Ever since I saw..." she pauses and looks at her feet, then her eyes turn red and she punches the earth. The Dwarf hits the deck as the mountain shakes, but nothing happens.

Her eyes return to normal, and she tries to pull her hand out without success.

She begins to cry.
>>
No. 138837 ID: 34470e

>>138836
Antares hug Ysl.
>>
No. 138841 ID: 6faa8c
File 126715921463.jpg - (138.51KB , 705x529 , bsod.jpg )
138841

>>138837
I hu-...
Er.

I hug...

Harumda steps up and places a hand on my shoulder.
"What are you doing, man?"
Wait. No. This isn't right. No. NO. NOO!

Antares is wearing a ring inscribed with Undeath.

The body has not moved.

No. Nononono! I tried... I tried so hard! I told myself, I told myself, I wouldn't let it... it, it, it..... happen... like this....

!@#%^^%$#^#$^%$#^
>>
No. 138844 ID: 9e9b47

>>138841

You tried so hard, and got so far. And in the end, it didn't even matter.
>>
No. 138845 ID: 632862

Who are we talking to now?
>>
No. 138848 ID: cfad4e

But in the end it doesn't even m-
>>138844
Damn it!!
>>
No. 138849 ID: 701a19

Antares: Level 5 wounds on the armor, then BLESS on the armor.
She is not dead until she is beyond the point of being restored. She has not reached that point yet.

Everybody else: Medical attention, STAT!
>>
No. 138852 ID: 701a19

Wait, no. Bless your ring, then smack her with it.

One of your buddies knows how to inscribe HEAL. Have them do that on the armor as large as they can manage.

I'm going to talk you through life-restoring procedures, alright?
>>
No. 138853 ID: 632862

>>138849
She is dead. Her spirit has left her body.

Accept it, unless you want to create some kind of undead abomination which swiftly kills Antares.
>>
No. 138854 ID: 6faa8c

>>138845
I run forward and pick up the body.
"No. No... Come on, Ysl... Get up..."
I inscribe healing on her armor.
Nothing.
2.
Nothing.
3.
Nothing.
4.
Nothing.
5.
...
No..
No...
(((Save Ysl?)))
>>
No. 138855 ID: 701a19

>>138853
Your understanding of how death works is flawed, and I am not suggesting the use of UNDEATH. If this works, she will be alive again.
>>
No. 138856 ID: 632862

>>138854
STOP. DO NOT CONTINUE.

Her spirit has left her body. If you do anything now it will cost TOO MUCH.
>>
No. 138857 ID: 701a19

[Explains CPR]
>>
No. 138859 ID: 34470e

>>138854
Yes.
>>
No. 138861 ID: 632862

>>138857
Asala actually knows CPR already. Hattori taught her some good medical techniques.
>>
No. 138864 ID: 701a19

Asala, we will leave the choice up to you. You CAN save her, but it will cost you.
If you wish to save her then we will try to find a way to repay you for it.
>>
No. 138865 ID: 701a19

...although we ARE in favor of it.
>>
No. 138866 ID: 6faa8c

>>138863
Ysl is my closest friend.

She told me once, of a great goblin hero. The villains stole his love from him, and he tried to climb the tower she was held in. His will was so great, however, that even though he fell to his death nine times, and was shot to death with arrows once, he went on, despite the broken bones and wounds, and killed the villain.

I won't allow Achilles to take one of us. I won't let him destroy Antares like this. I don't care if we vie for his attention. I would do this for Jai just as readily.

I'm sorry, father. I know I said I wouldn't do this again.

LVL 10 rune etch: Heal

There's a flash of light, And Ysl coughs. I can hear her breathing. Her body warms in my hands. I can feel her pulse resume.

But I cannot see anything. I hug Ysl close, tears welling in my sightless eyes.
>>
No. 138868 ID: a64482

I'm against doing it. Surely you know what Hattori would say about this, and he should know better then anyone. Tampering with death is Wrong, and it always incurs grave consequences. I implore you Asala, don't go down this path.
>>
No. 138870 ID: 632862

>>138866
Awww hell.

Wait, you've done this before? On who? Did you go blind then as well?
>>
No. 138871 ID: 817cd3

>>138870
You lose one sense each time... it's random.
>>
No. 138872 ID: 701a19

Asala, we will strive to make your life better by how much this has cost you.

If you are willing to share him with Jai (and possibly YUsl and V. We don't know yet), then we can promise Antares to you. If not then things will be trickier, but we will do our best. Also, it's worth noting that nobody is sure to survive, so sharing Antares would mean that all of you would know love, and die in love, and no survivors would be left alone.
>>
No. 138876 ID: 6faa8c

>>138870
My father.

I... I was very young then. I barely remember it. But since then, I haven't been able to taste any foods. Well, I could after he died, but...

It felt right. Antares needs us. He needs all of us. Maybe I won't be as useful without sight, but... I can try. I've already resigned to the fact that he wants Jai, only keeping up out of... some sort of silly hope.

I feet a large hand clasp my shoulder. It is rough, but... careful. I lean back against hard, but stable legs, and release Ysl, who wanders away.
>>
No. 138878 ID: 701a19

>>138876
I do not lie, Asala. He is very much interested in you, but you have shied away from him.

If you are willing to share, then we will take care of the arrangements and insure that nobody will be hurt. Including Jai. We do this more than anything else, there is no risk of heartbreak here.
>>
No. 138882 ID: 632862

>>138876
Hrm, who is it? Can't be Antares, he's still frozen up. Rance or...

Harumda: Is that you? We're directly assisting Asala now so we can't see anything.
>>
No. 138887 ID: a64482

Asala, we may have found a way to cheat this, at least temporarily. I shall speak to Antares about it. I have an idea.

On another note, would being able to see ghosts disturb you greatly?
>>
No. 138896 ID: 6faa8c

I... I'm uncertain. Sharing? But... But... I...
My face feels warm.

As for ghosts and the like? I don't mind all that much. What is your idea?
>>
No. 138897 ID: a64482

>>138896
Ask Antares to inscribe a charm or ring with undeath one and give it to you.
>>
No. 138899 ID: 6faa8c

>>138897
He's not talking. He's not really doing much of anything. Even when I touch him, he is shaking. Ysl is holding him, trying to get him moving, but... He won't. He sits, staring at the place where Ysl laid, according to her.
>>
No. 138901 ID: 701a19

>>138896
Asala, you have shown just how much you are willing to sacrifice for others who desire Antares' love. For that reason we know that you would thrive alongside other partners, and you would have the comfort of knowing that he would be cared for even if the worst were to happen. We will not forcing anything on anybody, simply open the possibility to them and allow them to choose.

You aren't committing to anything now, just telling us if you intend to seriously contemplate the idea.

Meanwhile, hand us off to Antares. We shall try to rouse him.
>>
No. 138902 ID: a64482

>>138899
Yes well, once he's fixed, obviously.

Uhm...

Legion, I suggest we attempt to get back in Antares' head. He may require assistance
>>
No. 138904 ID: 6faa8c

>>138901
I'll... er...
I'll think about it.

I'll try to hand you off to Antares.

$%%$@#
@#$^#%$%$$#
@#$%#$$#%#$
$#@@$#%
#$@%$#@%$#%$

He's not moving... Did I hurt him? Did I do something to him?!
>>
No. 138905 ID: 701a19

>>138904
Hey, Ysl, it looks like he's suffering a breakdown. We tried to enter his mind, but it seems to just not be there at the moment.

Couldja do us a favor and give him a nice big hug and a passionate kiss? That'll probably snap him out of it.
>>
No. 138906 ID: a64482

>>138904
Oh lord. Ysl? Is that you?

Antares appears to be... Temporarily out of service.
>>
No. 138907 ID: 34470e

>>138905
:D
>>
No. 138910 ID: 6faa8c

>>138905
I hug him, but before I can kiss him, he stands.

"We need to get moving." he says simply, and he begins to walk quietly.

Jai and I share a look, and the rest of us quickly move to catch up, especially the dwarf.
>>
No. 138912 ID: 701a19

Oh, fuck. I know what's going on.
Quick, toss us back in his head!
HE IS NOT FINE! QUICK!
>>
No. 138913 ID: 632862

>>138910
Take his ring off. He thinks he's seeing a ghost.
>>
No. 138914 ID: 6faa8c

>>138913
I reach down a pull off the ring, standing before him and looking him in the eyes.
He blinks.
"Y-you're alive?"
>>
No. 138915 ID: 632862

>>138914
"Yes... but Asala lost her sight in exchange."
>>
No. 138917 ID: 701a19

"Antares, take us back. We have much to discuss."
>>
No. 138918 ID: 6faa8c

>>138915
"I'm sorry. I... I screwed up. I should have known better..."
I hug him tightly.
"Antares, you could not have known." I say softly.
"E-even so. I promised..."
"No, you didn't."
"What?"
"You promised Achilles would die. You did not promise us our lives."
"Oh..."

His eyes still look so hollow...
>>
No. 138922 ID: 701a19

>>138918
"That doesn't matter. Dying fighting him is a good death, and if we can destroy him then those deaths become legendary.

Just do me one favor for now, ok? Would you please inscribe a nice big courage on your armor?"
>>
No. 138923 ID: 6faa8c

>>138921
"But even so... I... I don't want to fail you. You all trust me so much. I... I let you run, I let you get caught... this is all my fault."

Okay, now it is getting slightly irritating.
>>
No. 138924 ID: 632862

>>138918
Tell him a Courage charm might help him function.

Ysl, you've gotten to know Rance a little better. Do you still think he's gross?
>>
No. 138925 ID: 34470e

>>138923
Actually, let him know it's Legion's fault. We didn't advise him to keep a closer eye on you.
>>
No. 138926 ID: 701a19

Ok, then make him inscribe Courage on his charm.

We really need to make him experiment more...
>>
No. 138928 ID: 6faa8c

>>138924
Rance is.... interesting. Attractive, even. He takes in women exiled by tribes for silly crimes they never did, and he helps them learn things that those tribes would never teach them.

He's also very strong~

I don't think putting on a magic charm is going to help Antares now.
>>
No. 138930 ID: 632862

>>138928
Give the Undeath ring to Asala, she might be able to make use of it.
>>
No. 138931 ID: 701a19

Yea, I don't think we can do nearly as much good from outside his head.
This... could be a problem...
>>
No. 138938 ID: a64482

"You are not responsible for our lives, we fight of our own volition, if you aren't willing to rick our lives, then our goal can never be achieved."
>>
No. 138940 ID: 6faa8c

>>138938
He looks up at me, then sighs. "Even so..."
Jai walks up, and smacks him across the face.
"You fucking idiot!" she roars. "I fell in love with a man, not a simpering boy! Get your act together so we can save your mother and everyone on this continent!"

Antares looks up at her quietly.
And then he kisses her lips.

Oh... I... I see...
>>
No. 138941 ID: 632862

>>138940
Um. Yeah, Antares chose Jai. Some of us won't give up and want to get all the girls together with him but I'm of the personal opinion that we should just let it be.
>>
No. 138942 ID: 701a19

>>138940
Ysl, we really do enjoy being in your head, but Antares needs us right now; we can't see his thoughts from here, and talking through you is very slow.
>>
No. 138944 ID: 6faa8c

>>138941
Well... I understand that humans prefer to take a single woman. Goblins believe that physical relationships have little to do with actual love, and are mere acts of pleasure. A kiss is something of... an act of great closeness. More so than humans believe it to be.

>>138942
Very well.

#^%^@$#%^$%^$
I... uh.

Sorry?
>>
No. 138950 ID: a64482

No biggie. Happens to alot of heroes. Not your dad, but...

Kill Achilles and we'll let it slide.

Make an undeath something for Asala, no buts, we have an idea. Level one should be sufficient.
>>
No. 138951 ID: 632862

>>138944
It's alright. It was a big shock. Asala is blind now though. That's the price of resurrection; you lose one sense while that person remains alive. Could you give her an Undeath ring? It might help. You may also want to consider handing her Freedom and seeing if it does something useful.
>>
No. 138952 ID: 701a19

>>138944
Ok, we seem to be a bit lost. Can you tell us how to get to Antares' ascending dorsal longitudinal fasciculus??
>>
No. 138953 ID: 701a19

If that IS you, Antares, then I think you should know that our services are not without cost.

Are you steadfastly opposed to having multiple partners? Or would you be open to the idea?
>>
No. 138957 ID: 6faa8c

>>138953
Weeeell.... they are without cost.

Rather, Legion is a demon that is known for only being summonable by those destined for great things. Legion's payment is watching the great events of history and influencing them as it pleases.

...!?!?

My head! AAAAAAGH! Oh god, it hurts!
I fall to my knees, grasping my skull. AAAGH! What... What's happening to me!!?
>>
No. 138961 ID: 701a19

>>138957
Before the mindfuck:
Oh, no, that's not what I mean.
You see, the cost IS that we get to manipulate things as we see fit, and our cooperation depends on your cooperation.
We can talk more later, for now-

Antares, what's wrong? Shit.

Don't resist, Antares! Just fall to the ground and let it happen. Ride it out. It'll be ok.
>>
No. 138963 ID: 6faa8c

>>138961
Oh... kay...

Whiteness again.

The soft hands of the young woman touch my face, bringin our eyes to look at one another. They are filled with sadness and understanding, yet the pain persists.
>>
No. 138964 ID: 701a19

Don't worry, Antares, just ask her what's happening.
>>
No. 138965 ID: 632862

>>138963
We found out her name: Caldia.

As her what's going on. Why does it hurt?
>>
No. 138972 ID: 6faa8c

>>138965
"Caldia... why does it hurt?"
"Hush. The pain will subside. You had to learn the worst, didn't you?" she murmurs, sighing.
>>
No. 138974 ID: 701a19

'Learn the worst?'

FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF...
Did you learn Truth?
>>
No. 138977 ID: 632862

>>138972
The worst what? Rune?

Antares, what rune did you learn?

Oh hey, ask her if it's possible to Swear yourself to her.
>>
No. 138979 ID: 6faa8c

>>138974
N-no...

"The worst of the Greater Runes, Legion." she says gently, laying me down in her lap. "To Know a Rune, you must understand how it links with everything, and interacts with the world at large. The human mind often cannot grasp Greater runes, but the worst one for it to attempt is Death."
>>
No. 138980 ID: 701a19

Crap. This one isn't going to be all that useful. All experiments are going to be horribly dangerous, and the ones with the best potential payoffs require potentially lethal experimentation.
>>
No. 138981 ID: 6faa8c

>>138977
She smiles.
"Not now. I'm a little young to offer that just yet. But I can help you, soothe you through this pain."
>>
No. 138982 ID: 701a19

Caldia, can you hear us?
>>
No. 138983 ID: a64482

So, the thing where that Dwarven goddess claimed Antares, is that going to prevent him from swearing to you if that becomes viable?

Did it hurt you in any way?
>>
No. 138985 ID: 6faa8c

>>138983
"Nope! Humans are great like that."

I cry out in pain once more. It feels like my head's going to split in half!
>>
No. 138987 ID: a64482

Is it going to be like this every time he uses death? Or...?
>>
No. 138988 ID: 701a19

Geeze, I feel kinda bad for him.

Caldia, what's within your power? Can you grant boons or runes? Can you manipulate willing souls? Can you provide us with useful information?

Actually, is there a rune that WE could grant him?
>>
No. 138989 ID: 6faa8c

>>138988
"My power at this point is granting the use of Runic Berserk, which he's used several times already. However, I am not that strong, so the proocess is unrefined. I cannot directly grant Runes, for they are intrinsic within the person."

I scream again, the pain, though, is slightly lesser.
>>
No. 138990 ID: 701a19

>>138989
Is there is a way by which we can help him gain another rune, besides those which we already know?
>>
No. 138991 ID: 6faa8c

>>138990
"No. It just..." she waves her hand vaguely. "Happens."

The pain subsides entirely. I'm left with a single relevation.

Everything dies.
>>
No. 138992 ID: 701a19

>>138991
Huh. All that pain just to tell you a basic truth?
That kinda sucks, and my kinda I mean WHAT THE FUCK WAS THE POINT OF THAT, UNIVERSE?

Feel better?
>>
No. 138993 ID: 632862

>>138991
Yes, that is true. Even the universe itself. I think there's a bit more to it than that, though, if it's so hard for humans to understand. Well, congratulations anyway! I hope this rune turns out to be useful in multiple situations, like the others have been so far.
>>
No. 138994 ID: 6faa8c

>>138992
No, no, you don't get it.

Everything. Love, happiness, gods, the world, everything, EVERYTHING, will pass, sooner or later.
>>
No. 138995 ID: 632862

>>138994
Oh, I see. The problem is, imagining what that will be like. Complete emptiness is very, very hard to get a handle on.
>>
No. 138996 ID: 6faa8c

>>138993
LEARNED:

Death

Greater Rune

Special attributes
Greater: Cannot be dispelled by Least or Lesser runes. Cannot be erased unless the user spends a full minute doing so.

Item: Ring
Size restriction: 1 only.
*Allows the wearer to 'see death', knowing when creatures are about to die or are in imminent danger.
*Allows the wearer to affect entropy, negatively. This causes firearms to jam or dud, and ruins complicated mechanical objects.
*Allows the wearer to use a touch attack that reduces living or formerly living matter to dust. This is useable once an hour, and expends the rune.

Item: Bottle
Anything stored inside that is organic is reduced to dust, the time required determined by rune size.
>>
No. 138997 ID: 701a19

>>138994
Yes, I know, I have existed longer than you can possibly imagine, and so I have a bit of insight into this.
The meaning of life is enjoying it while you have it, and leaving the world a better place than when you entered it. That is the purpose of your existence. Knowing that the end is certain simply underscores how important it all is.
>>
No. 138999 ID: 632862

>>138997
I disagree. Death has nothing to do with the meaning of life. Death is simply the ultimate outcome. Life is the journey, and it has a purpose of its own. Death is simply the destination. The end of the road.
>>
No. 139000 ID: a64482

>>138999
But life and death are two sides of the same coin.
>>
No. 139001 ID: 632862

>>139000
In the grand scheme of things, yes. But for individuals, the purpose of the journey of life is quite detached from death itself. Time, however, has much more of an influence.
>>
No. 139003 ID: 6faa8c

>>139000
It's really more like you're sonstantly flipping the coin and once you get tails you can't anymore.

Anyway.

Is there anything more I should ask her, or should I wake up?
>>
No. 139004 ID: 701a19

>>139003
Find out if there's a way to contact her that doesn't involve horrible pain and suffering, or if she can contact you without the same.
>>
No. 139005 ID: 6faa8c

>>139004
"Dreams." she says simply. "When you sleep, I will see you."
>>
No. 139006 ID: 701a19

>>139005
Ah, ok, that works.

Alright, since there's a way to ask questions later you can wake up now. I'm pretty sure that people are in a panic back at the old meatshell.
>>
No. 139010 ID: 632862

>>139005
Questions, questions... Where did runes come from? Can you tell us what all the rune combinations we can use do? What about runewords? What do those do?
>>
No. 139012 ID: 701a19

>>139010

Actually, yea, these questions matter.
Specifically, I'm wondering what these runes would do, if anything:
>>138749
>>
No. 139013 ID: 6faa8c

>>138749
Gibberish. They happen to look close to my runes.

>Can you tell us what all the rune combinations we can use do?
"No. Those are for you to find out, dear believer and helper. OH! Before you go, someone else wants to speak with you."
>>
No. 139014 ID: 701a19

Very well, then. We have ample time for those who wish to speak.
>>
No. 139015 ID: 6faa8c

>>139014
"How diplomatic of you."

??

A Seeran?

The man smiles, then taps the polearm he's weilding, which snaps into a scythe.
"We need to have a little... Chat."
>>
No. 139016 ID: 632862

>>139015
Oh hey. We heard you died. I guess that didn't really... do much did it?
>>
No. 139017 ID: 34470e

>>139015
It's nice to see you again.
>>
No. 139018 ID: 6faa8c

>>139016
>>139017
"I decided to enact that farce with Hattori to save my sister the crushing knowledge that I'd decieved her all along. We'll meet again. I meet everyone eventually..."
He sighs.
"Unless they are helped by Legion or know someone who is, it seems."
>>
No. 139019 ID: 34470e

>>139018
What do you mean?
>>
No. 139020 ID: 632862

>>139018
Er... I'm not sure what you mean. Are you saying we help people live longer than they 'should'?

What's up with Sal'an by the way? We totally fucked up there, didn't we?

At any rate, what did you want to talk about?
>>
No. 139021 ID: 6faa8c

>>139020
"Sal'an lived because of sheer willpower. He wanted to live. A lot. So... he did." he shrugs. "As for Ysl.." he reaches into a pocket.
"Look, there's a reason I run on a schedule. It's so I can get to everyone. If I'm running off schedule, I might miss people. Every little curve in that results in a few more poeple I can't guide. You might not understand this, but you've caused ghosts to come into being, Legion. This talk was scheduled, but Ysl's survival..." He pulls out an hourglass, showing all the sand in the bottom bulb. "Too many ghosts, and things might fall seam out a bit."
>>
No. 139024 ID: 632862

>>139021
So... what should we do? Is it enough of a problem that we should think about ... not having Ysl be alive when the time would come for her to normally be set to rest, so you can keep to your schedule? Or are you just saying that we shouldn't do this kind of thing again?
>>
No. 139026 ID: 701a19

>>139021
We can assure you that we won't be doing much of that in the future. The price is very heavy, and we need to save it for when it's important.

Ysl's survival was necessary for several reasons, and you know as well as I that fate is a nebulous thing. For all we know now, she may get be on time for your meeting.

Alternatively, you could look into empowering an assistant to help those ghosts out. Might be fun.
>>
No. 139031 ID: 6faa8c

>>139026
"She's already missed her meeting. I've rescheduled." he says simply. "Fate is indeed an odd thing, but listen... I'm more likely to feel sympathetic when you ask first. I'm not Mr. Fire and Brimstone, but I do these things for a reason."
He shakes his head.
"One last thing. Achilles is fucking up my nodes with these weird psuedo-living things." he snaps his fingers and an image of a Crying Knight appears beside him. "Take care of them and I might help you out actively."
>>
No. 139032 ID: 701a19

>>139031
We really WOULD like to forewarn you, but contacting you would take time we don't have.

Could you look for people around us and push back their meetings until after their time? Or would it be unsuitable for them to be a ghost until rescheduling can take place?
>>
No. 139033 ID: 632862

>>139031
Gladly! We won't pass up the opportunity.
>>
No. 139034 ID: 6faa8c

>>139032
Ghosts warp reality by simply existing, unless their will is strong. The effect is exponential over time. Some areas are corrupted by this, such as the swamps you're about to enter. I can't risk any more of that."

>>139033
"Thank you."
>>
No. 139037 ID: 701a19

>>139034
Unfortunate. Although one ghost for a short period of time is better than many ghosts resulting from a missed meeting, and I think most of our crew is pretty strong willed.
Although we can tell you that we can't resurrect Asala, we probably won't resurrect Rance or his followers, or the dwarfs... Or basically any of the other people whose names we haven't bothered to learn.
That leaves, what, Antares, Jai, and Ysl? Anybody else, guys?
>>
No. 139039 ID: a64482

>>139037
Just leave Vorana out in the cold, whydon't?

She's not a named character at all.

She's just a bug.

Jax, I'll try to stop them from doing it again. It'd help if we had a way to ask you though. And if Antares gets tagged, we're going to do all we can. Union rules, you understand.
>>
No. 139187 ID: 6faa8c

>>139039
"As for contact, I'll see what I can do. Next time you kill a Weeper, ring this." he hands me a silver, inscribed bell, the tiny round silver ball inside wrapped in a small cloth, tied at the top of the bell. "I'll repay you as best I can. One more thing, though it's really quite cliche: Your greatest gains will be in the darkest hours."

I wake up.

I'm in a large grass hut. I smell death. Lots of decomposition, lots of bodies, though not nearby. It's raining.

No one is in sight.
>>
No. 139194 ID: 632862

>>139187
Odd, we shouldn't be out of the mountain pass yet. I hope you haven't been unconscious for a week!

Maybe the smell of the swamp is just that bad?

Poke your head out of the hut and see if you can spot someone, or another tent.
>>
No. 139204 ID: 6faa8c
File 126722844881.jpg - (358.85KB , 1024x1304 , Hassan.jpg )
139204

>>139194
I'm in the swamp. The smell is incredible. I look to my left and see a young man who is very out of place. He's tapping his foot to an unhearable beat, his fingers on the brim of his cap, just to the left of the entrance. He's quietly humming to himself.
>>
No. 139225 ID: 632862

>>139204
Well, I can assume he's friendly since he didn't kill you in your sleep.

Hey, can you think of a reason not to always wear a Death ring? Put on an Undeath ring for now, since we heard this place is haunted.
>>
No. 139226 ID: 632862

May as well say hello, as well. Ask who he is.
>>
No. 139240 ID: 6faa8c

>>139225
I put on Undeath.

...The man doesn't change, but the air behind him is thick with white ghosts, innumerable. They seemed chained, attatched to him, somehow, and howl in silent agony.

He notices me.
"You are one lucky bastard, you know that?" he asks, without looking up. "Most folks I find alone out there, well, let's just say they don't make for good decorations. The name's Hassan. Pleased to make your lively acquaintance."
>>
No. 139244 ID: 632862

>>139240
Alone? That... is not good.

Introduce yourself. Ask him exactly where he found you, and what's up with all the ghosts.
>>
No. 139414 ID: 632862

On second thought perhaps we shouldn't reveal that we can see the ghosts just yet.
>>
No. 139506 ID: 6faa8c

>>139244
"My name is Antares Delarosa. Where'd you find me?"

"You were just inside the swamp. The mountain pass was perhaps an hour away. I'm not sure what happened to your friends, but I'm certain they are alive. I'd bet on that. Oh, one more thing? Achilles has got a hit out on you. What few swamp gobbins in the area might be glad to take you to him for a few months of real food."
>>
No. 139508 ID: a64482

Thank him for saving your life, ask him why he's sure they're alive, and complement his awesome fashion sense. Not necessarily in that order.
>>
No. 139512 ID: 632862

>>139506
"You're sure they're alive? That wouldn't have something to do with all those ghosts behind you would it?"
>>
No. 139515 ID: 6faa8c

>>139508
"How are you so sure?"
"They got through the pass." he says simply, flicking his knife open and closed. "That fact alone is a testament. The real mystery is where they are. It's easy to get lost here. The trees and terrain all look rather samey until you reach the Gardens."

"That's a really nice outfit."

"Many thanks, my good man." he says with a smile. I still haven't seen his eyes.
>>
No. 139516 ID: a64482

The gardens?

Also ask him about those ghosts. But do it politely, something like "... by the way, are you aware that you're being followed by ghosts?"
>>
No. 139517 ID: 632862

>>139515
Well, I guess you can ask for his help in reaching the Gardens.
>>
No. 139518 ID: 6faa8c

>>139516
"What... what's with the ghosts?"

"Oh, it's so rare for someone to see my friends." he says, holding up his arm. The ghosts slde around it, caressing it gently and holding onto it like paper streamers.

"The Gardens are the lands near Achille's home. They are much more beautiful than this..." he waves the knife. "Area."
>>
No. 139521 ID: a64482

Ask him why he saved you. I have a bad feeling about this.
>>
No. 139640 ID: 6faa8c

>>139521
"Because I'm a nice guy?" he says, "Not everyone north of the mountains is out to get you. Just most."
He holds up a silver bell, identical to the one Death gave me. "After all, we're practically coworkers!"
>>
No. 139706 ID: 632862

>>139640
"True enough. Shall we get going?"
>>
No. 139707 ID: 34470e

>>139640
Check to see if you still have yours. Just in case.
>>
No. 139711 ID: 6faa8c

>>139707
I do.

He puts his away with a smile. "I must warn you, first. There are two threats in these lands you must always be aware of. Getting lost and finding the Garden prematurely."
I raise an eyebrow.
"That is to say, without your friends. With that in mind..."
"Yes, let's get going."
He tosses me a bundle. A normal short sword, my armor and ring, and charm, and the three bottles.
"Get geared up. While the two things I mentioned are the worst, this place is full of critters that even Achilles feels it to be wiser to leave alone."
>>
No. 139718 ID: 632862

>>139711
Get your stuff on, and ask what kind of critters he's talking about. Anything that Achilles would have trouble with sounds like bad news.

I wonder what a Death rune on the charm would do? May as well put a Death rune on your other ring. Put some small Bless runes on your armor and weapon, for the added protection from undead.
>>
No. 139719 ID: 6faa8c

>>139718
I bless my armor and weapon, and put Death on my ring. I feel a small chill.

I only have one ring, so I erase Undeath beforehand.

I have a little time for minor experimentation.
>>
No. 139740 ID: 632862

>>139719
Blessing on the charm? Death on the charm? Death on a rock.

Ohh, try Undeath on the sword.
>>
No. 139780 ID: 6faa8c

>>139740
I inscribe Augmentation on the sword, then Undeath.

A chill emenates from the blade, mist seeping from it as frost forms upon it.

I inscribe Augmentation and Death on my charm.

I feel protected.
>>
No. 139819 ID: 632862

>>139780
Neat, a frost blade. I guess it makes sense since there's no rune corresponding to cold.

I'm going to guess that the death charm will guard against instant death attacks. Or maybe even mortal blows! Or maybe it's just a stronger protection from ghosts than Blessing is (which would be very useful here)

Try putting some water in a bottle and inscribing (Augment and)Courage on it. Or even Wounds... though that would likely fill it with blood.
>>
No. 139826 ID: 6faa8c

>>139819
Augment is not needed with bottles and jars. Containers can be enchanted with anything.

Wounds + water turns the water into blood, as you suspected. I wonder how that could be even remotely useful.

Courage + water removes all the gunk from the water (remember, we are in a swamp) and makes it glow brightly.
>>
No. 139830 ID: 632862

>>139826
Taste a drop of the glowing water.
>>
No. 139833 ID: 6faa8c

>>139830
I feel energy course through my veins, causing them to glow ever so slightly. I feel stronger, but the feeling is very fleeting.

Anything else?
>>
No. 139839 ID: 632862

>>139833
Erase the Undeath rune on the sword and put Death on instead.

How about... Augment+Death on your armor?
>>
No. 139847 ID: 6faa8c

>>139839
The moment the rune is inscribed, I feel a weight pushing on my eyes. Lines spiderweb on all objects save the earth itself, like the world is covered with cracks and fissures.

I look in the water. My eyes glow blue.
>>
No. 139860 ID: 632862

>>139847
Examine the lines more closely.
>>
No. 139864 ID: 701a19

Drink the entire bottle. We need to know what that will do.
>>
No. 139866 ID: 6faa8c

>>139860
It seems they cover everything, like deep cracks.

Oh, hey, the glow illuminates the darkness of the house. Nice.
>>
No. 139867 ID: 34470e

>>139864
NO. I'll allow up to a small sip.
>>
No. 139868 ID: 632862

>>139864
Let's not overdose Antares on power drink, now. I suppose drinking a swallow of it might be a good experiment though, to see if the effect increases or just the duration.
>>
No. 139876 ID: 6faa8c

>>139868
A single swallow? Sure, why not.

!!!

Ohmygodmyveinsareglowing. EverythingisshakingandIfeelsofast.
MyheartisbeatingsofastIcan'tcountthebeatsanymore.
ohgodmaybethiswaskindaabadidea.
>>
No. 139879 ID: 632862

>>139876
Okay well, it's a good thing you didn't do this when you were still recovering! Look around the hut to see what's in it, while waiting to see how long this lasts.
>>
No. 139885 ID: 6faa8c

>>139879
Itlastsaboutthirty-seconds-oh-man-I-feel-it wearing off now.
Oh god, I'd rather not do that again. Whoooo.
>>
No. 139925 ID: 34470e

>>139885
Did it hurt you at all?
>>
No. 139930 ID: 6faa8c

>>139925
No, it's just strange.
As I sit down in a chair, my sword touches one of the lines.
There's a flash, and the chair falls apart entirely, sending me to the floor.

Wha-wha-whaaaat?!
>>
No. 139933 ID: 701a19

>>139930
Obviously, you just killed the chair. You severed it's connection to... something... and ended its existence.
>>
No. 139934 ID: 632862

I think it's more like he triggered its destruction by touching a line. The chair exists, it is simply destroyed.
>>
No. 139938 ID: f52552

My god.
You're Shiki Tohno.
>>
No. 139939 ID: 6faa8c

>>139933
>>139934
So... I killed the chair, by touching one of the lines. The lines have vanished, but... I wonder if it works on something that moves.
>>
No. 139941 ID: 34470e

>>139939
Take your sword and find a small rock. Put undeath 1 on that small rock. Then touch your sword to one of the lines on the rock.
>>
No. 139944 ID: 632862

I guess technically it would be moving, but uh... it's not alive either. We'll be trying it out in combat soon, I bet.

Try etching Death on a small rock?
>>
No. 139945 ID: 6faa8c

>>139944
It turns to sand.

Huh.

Anything else?
>>
No. 139946 ID: 701a19

>>139945
Inscribe death on the chair's seat.
>>
No. 139955 ID: 6faa8c

>>139946
Sawdust.

Hurm...

I think I'd better get going.
>>
No. 139968 ID: 632862

>>139955
Yeah, I suppose so.
>>
No. 140134 ID: 6faa8c

>>139968
I walk outside, look at Hassan, and nod. "Feel free to ask about the area." he says as we set out. "I've been living here as long as I can remember."

I notice his shoes have small runes on them, and rather than walking through the muck, he walks upon it.
>>
No. 140143 ID: a64482

How did this place form? Why are there such horrible creatures here? why would you live in such a place?
>>
No. 140150 ID: 6faa8c

"When Achilles creates something, if the original owner of the body was intelligent, the soul clings to the newly revived flesh. It can't attach, however, so it is trapped in this world. According to my sources, when he rose to power, over a million humans were converted into his own soldiers... and those souls corrupt the land around them. And as the land changes, so too does its inhabitants. Elves slowly lost thier majesty and became short and hunched, goblins lost thier scales and instead gained fins and long jaws full of teeth, What humans were left lost much of their intellect and beauty..." he sighs. "It's a sad thing. And even if Achilles were to die, the souls would still be lost, until they are escorted properly. But finding each and every last one of them is such a chore... hence my birth, and purpose, and friends. Someday, this land will be beautiful again. But it won't be in our lifetimes even if Achilles died this very moment."
>>
No. 140246 ID: 632862

>>140150
"Your birth?"
>>
No. 140249 ID: 632862

>>140150
Oh, ask what runes he's using.
>>
No. 140271 ID: 6faa8c

"Your birth?"
"Ah. Ahhaha. I suppose it might seem odd for someone like you who knows nothing of my kind."

He removes his hat, revealing lichen-green hair, bright green eyes, and long pointed ears.
"We are born of the land, literally. The land needed me, so it made me. We're very rare these days because the land is so lacking in hope, it doesn't even try." he sighs.

>>140249
"What runes are those?" I ask, pointing at his shoes. He chuckles.
"Nothing incredible. Just something I picked up after spending so much time here. It's Water, inscribed on my shoes. Lets me walk on it. Handy in a place like this."
>>
No. 140325 ID: 632862

>>140271
Ask him what it does on other items. Has he experimented much?
>>
No. 140340 ID: 701a19

Ask him what runes he knows. If there's any overlap, then exchange tips and tricks.
Also, offer him some courage water.
>>
No. 140342 ID: a64482

I wonder why the land is so lacking in hope.
>>
No. 140343 ID: 6faa8c

rolled 1 = 1

>>140340
>>140325
"Water and Secrets." he says, smiling. "And no thanks."
>>
No. 140344 ID: 632862

>>140343
Something is about to happen. Put Death on your sword again, since it wore off.
>>
No. 140345 ID: 6faa8c
File 126741403861.jpg - (337.88KB , 1037x1403 , 1260760374908.jpg )
140345

The water before us roils, even though it is only ankle deep.

"Prepare yourself!" Hassan cries, taking a defensive stance as his dagger appears in his hand, held to stab. "The swamp sees you!"

The water and earth below erupts as a huge creature roars out of it, warbling a low cry of anger.
>>
No. 140347 ID: a64482

Does it have any of the special lines from before?
>>
No. 140348 ID: 632862

>>140345
AAAAA holy crap

Drink some Courage water, etch Death on your sword again, and cut a line!
>>
No. 140350 ID: 6faa8c

>>140347
No, those are gone now.

I step away and attmpt to drink the water, but the creature knocks it from my hands, and a sharp blow to my belly sends me flying. Hassan is standing back, watching it intently, his fingers making odd gestures.
>>
No. 140351 ID: 701a19

Bless 3 your shoes, etch death and augment on your sword, then take a swig of courage water and hit every line it has.
>>
No. 140352 ID: a64482

>>140350
Wonderful, well slash at it with the sword, but make sure to take a path so it's easy to evade counter attacks. I want to see what happens if you hit it with death, but it's not worth you getting injured.
>>
No. 140353 ID: 632862

>>140350
You were sent flying? Well, you should have some time free from harassment. It seems to be very fast, which means you need to be fast too. Either bless your shoes or prepare another bottle of Courage water. Then etch Death on your sword so you have a way to fight it. What is there nearby? Any big rocks? You could try that Blessing+Courage trick again, though the size need not be so large this time.
>>
No. 140356 ID: 6faa8c

>>140351
The water has diluted into the swamp, the engraving spent. Damnit! Hassan finishes his gestures and points, steam appreaing on the beast as it howls in pain, burns and blisters appearing on its skin in a small area.

"Stay back!" he calls. "This creature is not something you face directly."

I defend myself, slashing away at the hands that chase me, dealing minor cuts.

CHANCE: The creature's back flows seamlessly into the earth. Should I try to run atop it?

Acrobatics, DC 15. Can be boosted by effects that enhance agility. You cirrently have a +2 (racial).
>>
No. 140360 ID: 632862

>>140356
Hassan knows better than us what this thing is. He says not to face it directly, and we shall heed his advice!
>>
No. 140369 ID: 701a19

rolled 11 = 11

Of course.
>>
No. 140371 ID: 6faa8c

>>140369
I inscribe 3 on my boots, (a +6 bonus).

19! (masterful success!)

I run towards its back, dodging blow after blow, barely hearing Hassan let out a cry of surprise as I scale the back of the beast, climbing ewasily on heavy scales and sewn in blades and armors.

I now stand atop the beast, holding onto a horn as it whips and whirls around, roaring.
>>
No. 140374 ID: 701a19

Stab it in the eye, obviously.
>>
No. 140375 ID: 632862

>>140371
Ask Hassan what you should be stabbing! Then stab it there!
>>
No. 140378 ID: 6faa8c

rolled 2 = 2

>>140375
"What the hell should I be stabbing up here, Hassan?!"

"You..." he sighs and palms his face. "Look for where the seams meet! There! Stab it there!"

I read back the sword...
>>
No. 140379 ID: 6faa8c

>>140378
...And bring it down on flesh as the horns detach, holding on helplessly as it writhes around, the punches barely missing.
>>
No. 140381 ID: 632862

>>140379
Surely there must be something else you can get ahold of. Try again! Or... perhaps you can Bless your gauntlet and PUNCH the stitches?
>>
No. 140384 ID: 632862

Well if you've got no other options, there's always Death Touch.
>>
No. 140386 ID: 701a19

Inscribe death on the monster.
>>
No. 140389 ID: 6faa8c

>>140386
"You know!" I scream, as the creature whips me around, "I've had just about enough of this bullshit!"

I slap the creature, the rune inscribing on the flesh rapidly.

"Writhe in hell, whatever you are!"

It screams one last time, and turns to dust, letting me fall on my feet.
I flip off the remains, as the dust to the wind.
>>
No. 140390 ID: 34470e

>>140389
Um, wow. You really hated that creature, didn't you?
>>
No. 140391 ID: 632862

>>140389
Well that worked pretty well. Check on Hassan.

Are any of the thing's pieces not dusted? I thought I saw some weapons on it.
>>
No. 140394 ID: 6faa8c

All of it turned to dust.

!!!

What!?

My hand?!

There's the rune for Augmentation on my HAND!
>>
No. 140395 ID: 701a19

>>140394
Level up?
>>
No. 140396 ID: 632862

>>140394
I guess Augmentation had to come from somewhere when you inscribed Death on the monster.

Is it safe to leave that on you? Maybe while it's active you won't need to inscribe it on items to get the effect you want. Try inscribing something that would normally require it. Say... Death on your sword.
>>
No. 140402 ID: 6faa8c

>>140396
It inscribes and takes effect right away. Strange.

I erase it.

Well, this certainly frees up rune space!
But it bugs me... This shouldn't be happening. Well, either way, moving on.
>>
No. 140405 ID: 632862

>>140402
Shouldn't be happening... Oh. Reality is twisted here, Antares. It isn't conforming to the normal rules. Also, did it take you a full minute to erase that Death rune?
>>
No. 140406 ID: 34470e

>>140405
Twisted reality? Like The Weirds only less deathtrap and more general weirdness?
>>
No. 140410 ID: 6faa8c

rolled 84 = 84

>>140406
The Weirds have been studied extensively by all magical institutions. It's actually where all magic springs from, leaking into our world slowly. Some even say that the entrance is too small for some, more concentrated form of magic to spill in, like a hole in a colander.

A minor version of the Weird? That may be possible...

We continue walking.
>>
No. 140413 ID: 632862

>>140410
Ask Hassan what that thing was. It didn't sound like any of the creatures he described so far.
>>
No. 140414 ID: 632862

Plus, make some more Courage water.
>>
No. 140418 ID: 6faa8c

>>140413
"What was that?"
"No name for those. Aberrations? Freaks? Monsters?" he shrugs. "Don't matter now. It's dead."

>>140414
I quietly bottle more Courage.
>>
No. 140420 ID: 632862

>>140418
Ask what the circumstances were surrounding his being employed by Death. Explain your job.
>>
No. 140434 ID: 6faa8c

>>140420
"Me?" he thinks for a moment. "I collect ghosts. Keep them all in one place. Near me. He hired me when he found out what I was doing, and told me to keep going. You?"

"I... I'm to kill the Crying legion."
"Stories tell he's added another." he says quietly. "Hope for your sake it's not one of your friends."

I trip on something and fall in the water.
>>
No. 140435 ID: 34470e

>>140434
Look at the thing you tripped on.
>>
No. 140436 ID: 632862

>>140434
What'd you trip on?
>>
No. 140438 ID: 6faa8c

>>140435
A three-fingered mechinical hand.

...

Wait.
Huh?!
>>
No. 140439 ID: 632862

>>140438
Does it belong to Sal'an? Look around for other pieces.
>>
No. 140440 ID: 632862

Be sure to grab the hand. The rest of him could even be stuck underneath! He's gonna be so pissed...
>>
No. 140443 ID: 6faa8c

>>140440
"Hassan, can I get some help?"
"Why?"
"I think I found one of my friends."

There's a lot of pulling and digging and yanking and swearing, but after an hour, we manage to get a muddy, stinking Sal'an out of the marsh and onto the nearest dry ground.

Problem is, he isn't responding. His eyes have dimmed.

"He's not dead, his soul would be around here..." Hassan states simply.
>>
No. 140444 ID: 632862

>>140443
There was a hatch he opened before, to empty the water out. Try finding it and draining him.
>>
No. 140446 ID: a64482

>>140444
This, also is his "life" rune dirty? try cleaning it if the hatch thing doesn't work.
>>
No. 140449 ID: 6faa8c

>>140444
I do so, and his cavity drains quickly. A small sealed tube plonks onto the ground, and I shut the hatch.

I pick up the tube, and read:

If found inoperable: Please open hatch to empty liquids, then clean Rune on forehead.

Thank you,
Sal'an


Using my forearm, I clean off the rune, an-

Ow.

His fist simply shot out, into my belly, propelling me across the water ten feet.

"WHERE THE FUCK IS THE LITTLE BITCH I'M GOING TO FUCKING MURDER HER I SWEAR TO THE GODDESS OF FIRE AND LAVA THE NEXT TIME I SEE HER I'M GOING TO TEAR THAT SMUG SMILE OFF OF HER FACE"
>>
No. 140451 ID: 34470e

>>140449
Tell him to calm down. Then ask him what the person who attacked you looks like.
>>
No. 140452 ID: 632862

>>140449
I presume he's referring to Tyka?

Just lie there and hold up the tube. "Tyka right? Well here, take this back. I'm just gonna stay right here for a minute."
>>
No. 140453 ID: a64482

Antares, health check.

Also, is he talking about ysl?
>>
No. 140652 ID: 6faa8c

"Are you talking about Tyka?"
"YES! Bitch dropped in on us and scattered us like fallen leaves, throwing us apart like we weighed nothin'!"

Hassan sighs.
"Troublesome..."
>>
No. 140655 ID: 34470e

>>140652
Ask him if he saw where Tyka threw Ysl.
>>
No. 140664 ID: 6faa8c

>>140655
"Nawww, she threw me first. I saw Ysl try to take a whack at her, but... No go there, they were out of sight before I saw what happened next." he slaps his knees, the sound ringing out like a gong, and rises.
"The good news is that Rance and his boys and girls are probaby untouched. They hung back for a full day while the rest of us went on."
>>
No. 140689 ID: 34470e

>>140664
Ask him if he might know where they are now.
>>
No. 140715 ID: 6faa8c

>>140689
"Not a damn clue."
"I could take you to the mountain pass. Perhaps they have set up camp there? Or we could continue searching for your other friends." Hassan states.
>>
No. 140718 ID: 632862

>>140715
We know the location of one person for certain, now. We should go back, tell Rance the situation so that he and his troops don't proceed into the swamp without us, and then we can search for the others.
>>
No. 140830 ID: 6faa8c

rolled 83 = 83

>>140718
We aren't sure, but it's better than wandering around.

"Let's head back to the pass."
"Very well." Hassan states.

We set out.
>>
No. 140843 ID: 6faa8c
File 126750153854.jpg - (70.25KB , 1600x1200 , 1251395958290.jpg )
140843

>>140830
We walk for a while.
Hassan stops me.
"Shit. I forgot. We should have set up camp a while ago."
"Why?"
"Look around you!"
>>
No. 140845 ID: 632862

>>140843
Um... what are they? What do we do?
>>
No. 140848 ID: 34470e

>>140843
What is happening? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Ask him!
>>
No. 140849 ID: 6faa8c

>>140845
I've heard of this.

When something dies in the weird, they become an elemental unless they are Sworn. So here....

Oh no... Ghiests.

Ghiests are powerful undead, ghosts that have mastered spellcasting over their time as a wandering soul. They aren't something you want to encounter, ever.
>>
No. 140861 ID: 632862

They aren't coming any closer, though?

They only come out at night. They fear the light.

Make more Courage water, and give the bottles to Sal'an and Hassan, for light.
>>
No. 140871 ID: 6faa8c

>>140861
"Hassan, Sal'an, to me!"
They huddle close, and I hand out bottles of courage. I use a size 5 so it glows as much as possible.

But before I can say another word, Sal'an drinks the whole thing.

His eyes glow yellow.

Oh dear.
>>
No. 140872 ID: 34470e

>>140871
Um... Hit the deck?
>>
No. 140879 ID: 6faa8c

>>140872
Good advice.

I hear a very brief and fast "FKU!"and a yellow blur slams into the nearest Ghiest. I quickly refill the bottle, as he punches one in the face, groin, and face, then kicks it away, moving onto the next one.

I hold out the bottle, and he snatches it, drinks, and goes back in.

Hassan chuckles.
>>
No. 140881 ID: 632862

>>140879
Next bottle, don't hold it out for him. Hold up a hand to make him stop so you can tell him he's supposed to be using it for light.
>>
No. 140885 ID: 6faa8c

>>140881
He suplexes one of them, then one of them holds up a hand. I fling one of the bottles in between Sal'an.

There's a loud explosion, and a flash of light so bright, it illuminates the forest around us, rendering it into bright light and black shadow, the creatures holding up thier hands and stumbling away.

Sal'an lands between us, panting.
"My god, that stuff is incredible."
>>
No. 140888 ID: 34470e

>>140885
...Tell him it was supposed to be used for light.
>>
No. 140889 ID: db20e0

...Hooboy, you've invented magic POWERTHIRST.
>>
No. 140894 ID: 6faa8c

>>140888
"It was meant for light."
"Fuck that. These things need to be taught a fucking lesson. Give me another fucking go, let me rip them apart. Then they won't trouble us anymore."
>>
No. 140895 ID: 632862

>>140894
"One of them almost got off a spell at you before I threw that bottle... I don't think it would be wise to try again."
>>
No. 140899 ID: 6faa8c

>>140895
He shrugs.
"Good thing you did, then." he says simply. "But you're seriously going to stand here until the sun rises?"
>>
No. 140907 ID: 632862

>>140899
Well, we may be able to keep moving using the courage bottles as light.

Ask Hassan how likely it is for the others trapped in the swamp to survive the night.
>>
No. 140921 ID: 6faa8c

>>140907
He shrugs.
"We will find what we find. Fury and haste won't help."

So what should we do? Try to make camp? Attempt to proceed in the night?
>>
No. 140930 ID: 632862

>>140921
Make camp. There are probably other beasts lurking around here and the night will make them harder to see.

Plus they'll be able to see US from farther away, with the bottles lighting up the place.
>>
No. 140989 ID: 6faa8c
File 126751155040.jpg - (9.30KB , 512x384 , Letustalk.jpg )
140989

>>140930
We set up camp quickly and easily, Hassan humming to himself as he seems to conjure the materials for tents and a fire from thin air. Sal'an takes the watch, and we sleep.


"Oh, hello. I've been waiting to have a word with you."
>>
No. 140990 ID: 632862

>>140989
And who might you be?
>>
No. 140994 ID: 6faa8c

>>140990
"... Call me Sellika" it says, rising. "I'm here to speak with you about the one you seek to destroy. Shed a little... light on him, and his psyche."
>>
No. 140996 ID: 632862

>>140994
His psyche? Does he even have one left?
>>
No. 141001 ID: 6faa8c

>>140996
"Oh, yes. Twisted and broken though it is, it exists. Otherwise, I wouldn't be able to speak with you."
>>
No. 141003 ID: 632862

>>141001
You're part of his mind? If you can give us his true name, we can leave this and have Hattori use his book to neutralize him from perfect safety.
>>
No. 141009 ID: 6faa8c

>>141003
"I would not suggest attempting that. His mind is adapted to control thirty million minds at the same time. Is it so for this Hattori individual?"
>>
No. 141018 ID: 632862

>>141009
No, he's mentally pretty normal.

Damn. We'd never be able to get him that way. Okay, so what did you want to tell us?
>>
No. 141028 ID: 6faa8c

>>141018
"Tell? Oh, no. I'm going to show you. You see, my host is... reasonable, still. He pines for something he cannot obtain, seeks something he will never find, and seeks revenge on a man who doesn't even exist right now. Thus, it behooves us to have him either a) Go to a place where his goals are possible, or b) stop seeking these things. It is in the persuit of such impossibilities that his mind twists and turns upon itself. We are an entity born to help, and even though our host is a murdering, vile, destructive, sadistic asshole, he's our murdering, vile, destructive, sadistic asshole."

"So. May we show you what we know?"
>>
No. 141032 ID: 632862

>>141028
Host?

What are you?
>>
No. 141037 ID: 632862

Also, yeah sure show us.
>>
No. 141039 ID: 6faa8c

>>141032
"I am an entity not far removed from you." it states simply. "A mind of minds. Now please. I need permission."
>>
No. 141040 ID: 34470e

>>141039
One last question: is this going to be something we'll regret?
>>
No. 141041 ID: 6faa8c

>>141037
Oh, well alright then. Now, you may feel a slight... shocking sensation."

A chair appears, and I sit down. The thing takes my hand...

And it is gone, and I am holding a glass orb.

[there we go!]
[yes! connection achieved! finally.]
{Hush, hush! We're going to start now.}
>>
No. 141046 ID: 632862

>>141041
An orb? An orb full of voices...

I wonder if we can gain any power from this thing. It would be nice to get more visual input, or be able to more directly influence things around us...
>>
No. 141082 ID: 6faa8c

>>141046
[INB4LOLNOPE]
[doubt it.]
[No way.]
{Hush, all of you.}
{Let me explain. Achilles used to live far away from here, in the distant future. In his time, mankind had invented spaceflight, and terraforming. The universe was thier oyster, their treasure chest. Achilles' people lived on a red planet near then-Earth, deep within its bowels, and they lived by converting fossils into edible creatures that they bred and ate. They were peaceful, long lived, a gentle people. Achilles had a family to call his own. A wife. A son. A daughter.}

As the orb speaks, I see it. I see the feilds of green lit by bioluminescence, a community of living beings in perfect harmony. And Achilles, holding a baby in his arms, although his face only has one eye. A woman, though I only know this from what the orb says. stands beside him. Everyone is happy.

{But such times never last, you know as well as I, Legion.}
[oh man this is the good part!]
>>
No. 141096 ID: 34470e

>>141082
Good part? I don't like the sound of that.
>>
No. 141105 ID: 6faa8c

>>141096
[of course not]
[spoilsport]
[QUIET!]
{Ahem.At any rate, the humans found the prospect of colonizing mars to be interesting. They had done it with the moon, and they now wanted another planet. In the mad race for new land and resources, they failed to sufficiently test for life.}

There is a white flash of light, and the world changes. The caverns collapse, and Achilles and his family run. His wife is trapped beneath a boulder, and they share final words, tearful and bittersweet as others and thier strong pack animals rush by.
His son is lost in a deep pit, knocked cruelly and carelessly from his hands by a fellow citizen.
He reaches the surface, and sees his people die from the light, screaming as they hold their hands over bleeding eyes. But Achilles visited the surface often, and the sun does not kill him. It only shows him what he thinks are his new enemy. He sees one, walking by. He sees it pull off his helmet.

And he sees the essential wrongness. His face changes, forever, his mind torn and twisted.

This is a man who has lost everything. A creature who wants nothing but destruction.

We beg you.

Save him from himself.
>>
No. 141106 ID: 632862

>>141105
We don't exactly have any brainwashing ability here. Just how are we supposed to fix his mind?
>>
No. 141120 ID: 6faa8c

>>141106
{We will do our part. We will get him to listen to reason, as far as we can... The rest is up to you.}
[Talk to him!]
[Please!]
[Yeah, don't kill him or anything.]
{And... incase everything fails, the original eye is the left one.}
[That's really important!]
[Yeah, yeah!]
>>
No. 141131 ID: 632862

>>141120
Wait. Which left? His left or our left?
>>
No. 141134 ID: 6faa8c

>>141131
{His, for fuck's sake!}
[the hard part will be convincing your friends.]
[They all want him dead, don't they? D:]
[Yeah, I'm pretty sure they do. We did enslave the old man...]
[That was your idea, dumbass!]

They continue to argue.

{It is your decision, in the end. We will know what you have decided, soon enough.}
>>
No. 141136 ID: 701a19

Bah, just tell them he was possessed by a vengeful spirit. It's true enough, and if his behavior changes enough they'll believe it.

Naturally, by that I mean him releasing all his servants and starting to undo the damage he's caused.
>>
No. 141137 ID: 34470e

>>141134
I have a question for the... um... arguing voices. When and where did Achilles find you?
>>
No. 141139 ID: 632862

>>141134
In the long term, we need Achilles around. If we kill him, all his Crying Legion die at once and Death will surely miss escorting those souls. The same can be said for his other troops, probably. He might even be able to help restore the ecology of this continent. He's stripped it of so much organic matter that if he's not around to bring it back to working order we'll lose a lot of global environmental stability.

So yeah, we have to save him. I've got a plan for convincing the others. We'll tell them that destroying his right eye (the one on our left) will destroy his mind. Mention there is a possibility that a new personality will emerge that could be more reasonable.

Or we could try to tell them the truth...
>>
No. 141157 ID: 6faa8c

>>141137
{Tyka put us in there with him. She thought we might be able to save his psyche.}
[PFFFTHAHAHAHAHAH]
>>
No. 141197 ID: 34470e

>>141157
I can see how that worked out.
>>
No. 141198 ID: 632862

>>141157
If you guys can't do it... then we're probably just gonna wind up destroying his bad eye.

Why won't he just destroy his bad eye himself?
>>
No. 141240 ID: 6faa8c

>>141198
{Because his hatred is too great. He still loves... in a strange, twisted way... his own creatures. But he hates humans too much to ever consider it. It is an endless spiral of hate.}
[He kill humans, humans try to kill him, he kills more humans, etc.]
>>
No. 141355 ID: e31d52

>>141197
{Oh, no, we've actually made a great deal of progress!}
[Well, yeah. He could have killed all of you the second you landed. If it weren't for us, he'd probably have taken the whole continent by now!]
>>
No. 141365 ID: 632862

>>141355
Did he really kill everyone in Ysl's goblin village? It's impossible to confirm deaths when Achilles is involved.

I've got a few more questions about his memories. He's a very skilled user of telekinesis right? Why didn't he lift that boulder off his wife? Or catch his son in midair?

Why did he visit the surface so often?
>>
No. 141390 ID: e31d52

>>141365
{We aren't sure on that. Our theory was that the mass panic caused the psionics to go kaput, like a surge of EMP with electronics. As for why he visited the surface, he only told us that the air was refreshing to him topside.}

[As for the death in the goblin village, we know he has three goblins in his holding area. He's trying a new way to make Crying knights. He thinks the current ones are too fragile...]
>>
No. 141393 ID: 632862

>>141390
Ooooh, can you tell us the layout of his base? Or how to get the damn thing on the ground? Or just how to safely get ON it would be good. What about information on his troop placement, number, and type?

...so, it sounds like his fellow citizens had no evacuation plan. They rushed ahead in a panic without stopping to help those in trouble. Those strong pack animals could have moved the boulder. His son might still be alive if the evacuation had been more orderly. He's blaming the humans for the destruction, but the loss of life is more on the shoulders of his own people!
>>
No. 141396 ID: e31d52

>>141393
{That's the thrust of it. Good on you for figuring it out. As for a layout, weaknesses... sorry. Our metaphysical hand are tied on that one.}
[Unless you puncture the gas sacs on its lower back, of course.]
{de563d!}
[sorry]
>>
No. 141405 ID: 632862

>>141396
Uh oh. I hope you're not gonna get in trouble for that.

Do you guys know where are buddies are in this swamp? Tyka tossed them around so you might have some information about that.

...wait a second, you said Achilles had a son, AND a daughter... but in that memory, his daughter was never mentioned. What's up with that?
>>
No. 141410 ID: 701a19

>>141396
Since when has being forbidden to share information kept us from sharing information in the past?
>>
No. 141429 ID: e31d52

>>141405
{The daughter was never seen again. We have no idea either. If you find another Operator, then, well...}
[seduce her!]
{CAN IT!}
[sorry]

>>141410
{We're bound to help the one we are hosted by. Sorry. It looks like we're running out of time...}
>>
No. 141437 ID: 34470e

>>141429
Will we be able to contact you again? If so, when?
>>
No. 141446 ID: 701a19

>>141429
Pfft, we all know that 'help' is a very loose term, and you've already established that it's in his best interests to be talked down.
Therefore any information you provide towards that goal is helping while withholding any useful information is harming.
As far as being bound goes, there's a lot of leeway there too.
>>
No. 141448 ID: e31d52

>>141437
{We aren't certain. We know it will be in your dreams. Goodbye...}

And he's gone.

I can contact one other individual while I'm here. Who should I reach out to?
>>
No. 141900 ID: c0f3bf

Why don't you try your dad? He might be able to tell you more about what's going on.
>>
No. 141901 ID: 632862

>>141900
Yeah let's try Hattori.
>>
No. 141904 ID: e31d52
File 126769845623.jpg - (105.57KB , 500x625 , Delarosa.jpg )
141904

>>141901
>>141900
I reach out over the ocean, and soon enough, a door opens, and...

?

I suppose we look how we want to, here.

"You wanted to talk, my son?"
>>
No. 141905 ID: c0f3bf

Ask if your mom's really sick, for starters.
>>
No. 141907 ID: e31d52

>>141905
He sighs.

"Yes. It's aggravating me that I haven't been able to isolate the issue as of yet. Why have you not returned yet?"
>>
No. 141912 ID: 632862

>>141907
Wait. He didn't know about Achilles?

At any rate, you should tell him we have the panacea, but there's the tiny problem of the genocidal maniac with an army composed of the organic matter of half the continent.

Also, we don't have a boat.
>>
No. 141913 ID: 34470e

>>141907
Tell him you're trying to save the world. Or at least a person who wants to destroy the world.
>>
No. 141915 ID: e31d52

>>141912
>>141913
I tell him of Achilles and the hardships he presents.
He sits down and palms his face.
"For the love of the Raven." he mutters. "It seems my line is one cursed with terminal heroism."
>>
No. 141916 ID: 34470e

>>141915
Tell him Sal'an is alive and Erhgal is dead. Also the other people.
>>
No. 141917 ID: 632862

>>141915
Hey, tell him about the faith problems here, and Caldia. And Jax. And Jai.
>>
No. 141918 ID: e31d52

>>141916
"Erhgal passed away? That explains the massive explosion some time ago." he says. "Sal'an is alive and well?" he pauses to scratch his chin. "Hurm. Could you bring him back?"

The moment I mention Jai, it's like watching a cat encounter its rival. His hair vibrates and stands on end. "You'll do well to avoid such a harlot." he says simply, turning away from me, dusting his hat.
>>
No. 141921 ID: 632862

>>141918
Yeah, it's a little late for that.
>>
No. 141922 ID: 34470e

>>141918
Ask how Anansi, Raven, Gerald, Arryn, Trik, etc. are doing.
>>
No. 141927 ID: e31d52

>>141922
"Oh, they're fine. Gerald found a nice..." he pauses. "Lady-plant?" he shakes his head. "Arryn finally found a man as intense as she is. The wedding is... soonish. I was actually shooting to set you up with Asala, Erhgal said he liked your style. Trik's got a mine of her own these days. Anansi and Raven have declared a fused faith. It's been a busy week and a half."
>>
No. 141930 ID: 34470e

>>141927
Tell him what undeath 1 on a small rock does.
>>
No. 141933 ID: e31d52

>>141930
He chuckles.
"I'm glad that you're doing something for the world. Proud even. Your mother will be happy." he puts his hat back on. "But she wants you to hurry back."
He sighs, in thought.
"I was, I admit, a little harsh about you deciding to go into rune magic. I was just... Worried about my boy, you understand?"
>>
No. 141936 ID: 34470e

>>141933
Smile and tell him you'll try and be back as soon as possible and in 1 piece.
>>
No. 141937 ID: 632862

>>141933
Tell him you wouldn't be alive without it.
>>
No. 141938 ID: e31d52

>>141936
"That's my boy. Go kick some ass." he says with a smile as he vanishes.

Looks like it's time to wake up.
>>
No. 141941 ID: 34470e

>>141938
==>
>>
No. 141967 ID: 632862

Okay then. Wake ye up.
>>
No. 142046 ID: e31d52

>>141967
My eyes open to bright light, and I sit up and look around.
Hassan and Sal'an are here. They are cooking a large lizard-like creature.
>>
No. 142060 ID: 632862

>>142046
Animals here are actually safe to eat? Who would've thought?

Say, I wonder what would happen if you Blessed some food?
>>
No. 142082 ID: e31d52

>>142060
Apparently they are.

I Bless the food, and instantly, the scent changes for the better.
>>
No. 142085 ID: 34470e

>>142082
Uuh... Try taking a bit off and tasting it.
>>
No. 142089 ID: 632862

May as well try Courage too.
>>
No. 142365 ID: e31d52

>>142089
I decide not to. I'm fine with the meal as-is.
"We'll be setting out early." Hassan states. "My friends grow agitated, and that is never a good sign."
>>
No. 142376 ID: 632862

>>142365
Right. Let's go. Continue to Rance?
>>
No. 142384 ID: 632862

>>142365
Oh, I forgot to check. Do you still have Death on your ring?
>>
No. 142386 ID: e31d52

>>142384
Yes.
We set out. I let Hassan inscribe my boots with water.
>>
No. 142716 ID: 632862

>>142386
Ask Sal'an if he wants to kill Achilles more than just stop him. We should probably figure out how receptive he would be to our plan.
>>
No. 142822 ID: e31d52

>>142716
"Put it this way..." Sal'an says. "When a Dwarf commits his first crime, he sent to burn the gas in the newer tunnels and caverns we've found. When they commit the second, they must work in most dangerous parts of the fortress, away from others and in constant threat of death. On strike three, they 'ave to gaurd the front, and on strike four, they're assigned a Hammerer to watch them very damn close. Strike five? They die. No matter the crime, that's the punishment. 'Cor, some crimes warrant scalin' it a bit fastah and some mean you can climb back down..."
he shakes his head.
"Either way... jus' look around you. Do yeh really want to salvage a beast who raped the land itself?"
>>
No. 142825 ID: 632862

>>142822
"He may be the only one who can restore it."
>>
No. 142827 ID: e31d52

>>142825
"Then get 'im to do et and kill'em dead. He's also the only one ah know of who is capable of doin' it in the first place."
>>
No. 142838 ID: 632862

>>142827
Once he's sane, and fixes the damage he caused... then the gods will decide his fate.
>>
No. 142840 ID: e31d52

>>142838
"You bet yer arse they will. How do yeh think they feel? 'alf dead, not even allowed to truly pass on, but instead wand'rin these wastes without any divine power to call their own. M'Lady tole me how yeh saved 'er." he says, and I notice that one shoulder has the volcanic symbol engraved on his shoulder. "Like bein' inna dream, she said. Watchin' all her sons die, one by one. Tern apaht. And all she could do was watch."

He spits to one side, or at least makes the movement.

"You want to save this guy? Kill him quickly. It's the only grace he desahves."
>>
No. 142866 ID: 632862

>>142840
Killing him before he fixes things would be unwise. Explain the ghost-reality stuff, and the Crying Knights needing Death's attention when they die. If they all die at once because Achilles got killed, big problems happen.
>>
No. 142870 ID: e31d52

>>142866
"Be that as it may." he says, "It's his fecking fault. He needs punishment."
>>
No. 143537 ID: e31d52

>>142870
I sigh.
It's unlikely Sal'an will allow me to 'save' Achilles. Hassan smiles.
"I told you I'm good at finding things." he says.
I can see a wooden wall, and the banners above the wall are the Sword-and-Chalice symbol of the Woman-takers.
>>
No. 143538 ID: 632862

Seems like Rance decided to fortify himself. Find the entrance so we can tell him what's going on.
>>
No. 143539 ID: c0f3bf

Tell Sal'an that he may deserve it, but he's also the only person that can adequately fix the mess he's caused.
>>
No. 143541 ID: 701a19

>>143539
Actually, tell him that we're going to make him clean up his mess BEFORE we kill him, since otherwise even if he died this very second the entire continent would still follow him to the grave.
>>
No. 143542 ID: 632862

>>143539
We've already made that point I think.
>>
No. 143550 ID: e31d52

>>143539
I've already said that!

>>143538
I walk along the outside of the wall until a guard spots me. His eyes widen, and he pulls out a horn, blasting it.
He gestures for me to approach.

"Mastah Rance tole me you'd be comin'." he said.
I see Rance and a young woman emerge from a hut nearby, both wearing bathrobes.

"Damnit Zulan, I was a little busy... Oh. OH! Oh my god, Antares, you're alive!"
>>
No. 143551 ID: c0f3bf

If he's so surprised you're alive, why did he tell the guard to expect you?

Well whatever, ask who the girl is.
>>
No. 143553 ID: e31d52

>>143551
"Oh, this is Sarah."
Sarah waves weakly.
"She's the one who drills the soldier-ladies." he says with a smile. "She came up with the idea, and I thought, why the hell not. They need something more to do."
He sighs in relief.
"I'm sorry. We still haven't found anyone but the dwarf, who elected to go home."
>>
No. 143560 ID: c0f3bf

...Bathrobes? Did they take a sauna or something?
>>
No. 143566 ID: 632862

>>143560
Not exactly.

Introduce Hassan, and ask Rance to either stay put or come with us so we can find the others.
>>
No. 143567 ID: e31d52

>>143566
"Rance, this is Hassan."
Hassan doffs his cap and the girl gasps, her hands going to her mouth.
He bows, then rises and puts the hat back on.
Rance chuckles. "This is the last place I'd expect to spawn an Elf." he says.
"The land had needs." he says vaguely.
"Rance... are you going to help me find the others?"
"I'm sorry. I need to oversee preparations and further fortifying this place. A little birdie told me that Zaz is on the move."
>>
No. 143568 ID: 632862

>>143567
Tell him he should seriously consider constructing the fort out of rock instead of wood. Achilles can just use the walls as fuel to create soldiers.

At any rate, if he's not coming with us we'd better get moving again.
>>
No. 143570 ID: e31d52

>>143568
We're working on it. Katie says she knows there's good stone right below us, but she needs time. And Susan finally got the forges going, so we're working on repairing our spears. I can spare about ten orcs, though, if you want them."
>>
No. 143764 ID: 632862

>>143570
I wonder. Maybe it's not a good idea to have a large group while we travel through the swamp? A few more men might help though. Perhaps five?

Ask Hassan if it's advisable.
>>
No. 143769 ID: e31d52

>>143764
"Oh, numbers doesn't make much a difference. An army could trudge through and Achilles would be no more aware of it than if a single man did. He'd know, though." Hassan states simply.
>>
No. 143935 ID: 632862

>>143769
I was more worried about the monsters, or the speed of travel. If that's not an issue either... I guess there's always the risk that Rance's fortification will be attacked, and taking the orcs will weaken him at such a critical moment.

On the other hand, having a larger group means more eyes to spot trouble and lost companions. Plus the denizens of the swamp will be easier to handle... But no, let's not take all 10. If that stitch-beast is a good indication of what to expect from the swamp, numbers won't help very much except to keep them busy so you can get in and deliver a lethal blow. More numbers might encourage the orcs to be reckless and we'll lose some. Plus, it will make camping more difficult.

Let's take three. Three is a good number.
>>
No. 144002 ID: e31d52

>Let's take three

Three it is.
"Remember, you need anything, you come on back." he smiles and turns with the woman.
"Where were we..." he murmures as he enters his hut, and the woman giggles. Three orcs walk up, all of them armed with huge curved blades. They introduce themselves as the Skann brothers. They're all named the same, they say.
"Mama orc not much imagination after birth triplies." he replies when I ask the obvious.
>>
No. 145535 ID: 632862

>>144002
"You are strong, that is what matters."

We need to get moving back into the swamp. We can't rush, but we should also not dawdle.
>>
No. 145540 ID: e31d52

rolled 4 = 4

>>145535
"You are strong. Here, it feels like that's all that matters."
They nod and follow, Hassan humming to himself.
>>
No. 145548 ID: e31d52
File 126829804389.jpg - (192.85KB , 500x732 , 1252290928281.jpg )
145548

>>145540
There's a creature here, muttering to himself while he gathers wood, snapping branches from nearby trees by climbing up and literally biting off whole limbs with loud crunches.
>>
No. 145550 ID: c0f3bf

Complement him on his MASSIVE TEETH. Ask what he needs all the wood for.
>>
No. 145551 ID: 632862

>>145548
No name visible... I wonder if it's friendly? It seems to be able to talk.

Try talking to it. Or quietly ask Hassan what it is. However, beforehand you should rune up in case it attacks. Your choice. Seems like fighting it would be relatively straightforward anyway.
>>
No. 145553 ID: e31d52

>>145550
As we approach, he turns to face us.
"Oi, yer new roun' 'ere?" he asks. "'Ey Hassan." he waves limply.
"Yes." I reply. "Nice, er, teeth."
He laughs.
"Cor', don't e'er get ter use 'em like dey was intenned, yeh kna? Damn good on meh dat I can ingest fecking anyting, but dis place 'as so much weird shit I'm not even sure what I ken and can't et."
"It's all safe, Hagger."
"Oh, ah knaa. It's jus'... Look, would yeh eat somethin' like dis?" he asks, and holds up what appears to be a worm made of human thumbs. "Didna think so."
>>
No. 145557 ID: c0f3bf

Bless it, see if you can make it taste less... blergh.
>>
No. 145560 ID: cf68aa

uhm... Can you numb your tounge? Or at least cover your nose so you can't taste.
>>
No. 145563 ID: e31d52

>>145557
"I could make it taste better?"
"Feck dat." Haggar says, throwing it over his shoulder. "It's da.... princeepal of der mattah. I ain' eatin' somethin' that looks like a failed esperiment." he sighs. "You aftah dat Achilles arsehole, because Hassan 'ere thinks it's best ter let someone else do dat shit an' while I would take care of 'is sorry arse I ain' about to do it alone. Wouldna mind seein' what he tastes like, yanno?"
>>
No. 145566 ID: 632862

>>145563
"Considering he can heal himself from almost any injury, I think that can be arranged."
>>
No. 145570 ID: e31d52

>>145566
"Knaa, I need da whole kit an' kaboodle, or else dere's no point."
"Huh?"
"Me race, we are kinda weak." he says. "We look like, eh, salmon, with arms an' legs, normally. But iff'n we consome the whole ah somethin'... we take a little of et in ourselves. A bear or two, a coupla sharks, some 'umies who tink they can kill whatevah don't look like em... An' here I am."
>>
No. 145573 ID: 632862

>>145570
I wonder if... we could separate Achilles' unnatural eye from his real one, and have Haggar eat that. It would technically be an entire whateverheis.
>>
No. 145575 ID: c0f3bf

That makes sense...

Hey Antares, why don't you try giving him some glowey courage water?
>>
No. 145577 ID: 34470e

>>145575
If you do, tell him to take an extremely tiny bit. Emphasis on extremely tiny.
>>
No. 145578 ID: e31d52

>>145575
"No fanks. I don' truck wit' magic crap. All me, is what get mah kills." he gnaws on a branch.
"Yeah, I'm after Achilles." I say, awnsering his previous question. "But I'm also looking for my friends."
"Wait, don't tell me. Three young ladies of various folks?" he asks. "An' one 'uge muthafucka with an anger problem?"
>>
No. 145580 ID: c0f3bf

"Pretty much."
>>
No. 145581 ID: 632862

>>145578
Oh good, ask where they are.
>>
No. 145585 ID: e31d52

>>145581
"That's them. Where are they?"
"Back at meh cabin." he replies. "Come along."

Hassan smiles. "You can trust this one. He is a friend of mine."

We follow Haggar through the swamp, as he stops every now and again for more branches.

"Why aren't you getting more... tree-y?" I ask, curious.
"Gotta eat der whole thing, 'member?"
"Ah, right."

Eventually we come upon the cabin, which is really a large building with multiple ofshoots.
"I tole' em ter stay put, since dey weren't in der best of shape. Der big guys been roaring to get at it, but I managed to get tham all calmed down."
>>
No. 145588 ID: c0f3bf

Bad shape... how? Go see them.
>>
No. 145591 ID: e31d52

>>145588
"Bad how?"
"Broken bones, an shit." he replies. "Looks like Queen Bitch of der swamp tossed 'em about. The big guy broke a damn tree in 'alf. Let me see... dere was one with a big fuzzy arm over on the left room, a blonde wit' a nice arse in the middle one, and a fecking lizard in the right one. Big guy gets 'is own cabin."
>>
No. 145595 ID: 34470e

>>145591
Goblin.
>>
No. 145603 ID: 701a19

>>145591
Blonde.
>>
No. 145604 ID: 632862

>>145591
Let's talk to ol' fuzzyarm.
>>
No. 145605 ID: c0f3bf

See how Harumda's holding up.
>>
No. 145606 ID: e31d52

>>145605
>>145604
>>145603
>>145595
Really, guys?

Next post is tiebreaker.
>>
No. 145607 ID: 701a19

>>145606
Blonde.
>>
No. 145608 ID: c0f3bf

Harumda.
>>
No. 145610 ID: e31d52

>>145607
Very well, Asala it is. I walk into the room, which is mostly dark. Asala lies in the meddle of the room on a pile of furs, her hegs bound in heavy bangades stained with some sort of medicine. She's fast asleep. Should I wake her?

Wait...

?!

Her eye... there's a dark patch on her left eye. Like... black paint, almost, but it looks like a tattoo.
>>
No. 145615 ID: 632862

>>145610
Inspect it closer, but do not touch it. Get some Courage water for light, perhaps. Maybe it's what's causing her blindness.
>>
No. 145620 ID: e31d52
File 126830265962.png - (8.38KB , 640x480 , TheMark.png )
145620

>>145615
I get some light and look closer.

This does not look healthy. At all. But it's not the cause of the blindness, I'm certain of that.
>>
No. 145626 ID: 632862

>>145620
The Mark? We got a name to show up for this thing. I don't like that. Not at all. I'd suggest touching it but who wants to wake up to someone poking your eye?

Maybe you should ask Hassan about it, while letting her sleep.
>>
No. 145632 ID: e31d52

>>145626
I leave the room, and approach Hassan.
"Hey... one of my friends has a strange mark on their left eye..."
Hassan's face pales.
"We need to leave."
>>
No. 145633 ID: 632862

>>145632
What? Okay, but he should tell you what's going on while we get everyone moving!
>>
No. 145634 ID: e31d52

>>145633
"What's going on?!" I ask, as Haggar walks into Ysl's and Jai's room, emerging with both under arm. He's muttering about Achilles. No... no...

"I'm sorry, Antares. I'm so sorry. There's no time to explain."
>>
No. 145644 ID: 34470e

>>145634
Ask him if he can explain while we're leaving.
>>
No. 145646 ID: e31d52

>>145644
"Please, explain."
"A Mark that advanced has already convinced her. We've lost her, Antares. Now it's going to fulfill the bargain it made with her. It's going to..."

The cabin explodes.

"...Make her unstoppable."
>>
No. 145647 ID: 701a19

>>145646
"Convinced her of WHAT?"
>>
No. 145648 ID: 632862

>>145646
Well, she should still be blind, right? Unless there's one of Achilles' signature red eyes involved, in which case... This shouldn't really be much harder than-

Oh wait a second, she's turned huge hasn't she. Perhaps the Death rune on a weapon will be precise enough to destroy the parasite.
>>
No. 145649 ID: e31d52
File 12683060667.jpg - (56.31KB , 800x600 , AsalaDarkened.jpg )
145649

>>145647
"That Achilles can grant her wish!" he calls, running. I only pause long enough to look over my shoulder. Oh god. Oh god, this isn't happening!
>>
No. 145651 ID: 701a19

>>145649
"ASALA! DON'T DO THIS! I LOVE YOU!"
>>
No. 145652 ID: e31d52

>>145651
She pauses, only briefly. The others, except Harumda, keep running. She remains silent, sword at the ready, eyes boring into me blankly.

I know she's somewhere in there. This isn't like the Crying Knights, she has her own mind still... The problem is getting her to listen.

"Do you mean that?" she asks. "I would not care for a fiction of love, made to save your own hide."
>>
No. 145656 ID: 701a19

>>145652
Slowly spread your arms out wide, slowly walk up to her, slowly put your arms around her, and say "This is the last thing your father would have wanted for you do do."
>>
No. 145657 ID: 632862

>>145656
Well, talking about her father might be a good idea but maybe we should do it without opening us up for an easy death.

Where IS Freedom anyway?
>>
No. 145658 ID: 701a19

>>145657
Opening yourself up to an easy death is a show of trust, and I think that's half of what she needs right now - somebody's unconditional trust.
>>
No. 145660 ID: e31d52

>>145656
I stand still, watching her walk towards me. "Asala, you're the greatest friend I could ever ask for. You gave up something so important, just to save my friend. I know.... I know how you feel, but... I've made my decision already."
She charges.
"This is the last thing your father would have wanted for you do do."
The boot comes harsh to my belly, knocking me into the water, her sword at my neck.

"Why?" she asks. Then I realize the sound isn't from her lips, it's from the sword. "Why won't you kill him!? Why!"

"I would die before I follow you." she throws the blade into the air, and it screams as she draws a sword from her hip. Freedom.

She screams as she slashes the blade in half vertically, and the armor and sword form into a black ball that sprouts wings and an eye. She catches it, and with a growl and a pop, red blood flows out of her hand, and she drops it into the water.
"I'm sorry." she says softly, holding out a hand. "I... I don't... I should... I..."

And now she's realised that there wasn't anything under the armor.
>>
No. 145662 ID: 701a19

>>145660
Hug her, and say "I do love you, Asala, but it wouldn't be fair to anybody if I left Jai."
>>
No. 145664 ID: 632862

How about removing some of your clothes so that she can be decent?

Don't tell her any lies. Maybe we can talk to Jai about helping her feel better about not having you exclusively?
>>
No. 145666 ID: 632862

Harumda: Or maybe you need to talk to her, hmm?
>>
No. 145716 ID: e31d52

Hassan steps over even as I begin unfastening my armor, removing his jacket and placing it on her shoulders. She lets out a little cry and falls into my arms, weeping.

Hassan's eyes bore into me like drills, but he says nothing, turning towards the direction of Rance's camp.

>>145662
I'll save that for later, when she isn't crying over having nearly killed one of her closest friends.
>>
No. 145776 ID: e31d52
File 12683506469.jpg - (87.97KB , 581x800 , YslNew.jpg )
145776

>>145716
We make our way back to Rance's camp without issue, and Rance takes swift action to build additional tents for the girls. Harumda bluntly states he doesn't need one.
I watch over Jai as she awakens, her face halfway covered in black fur and one eye a bright gold. Her furred arm is notably thicker, and ends in long, wicked claws.
"Djamn shwamp." she mutters, her mouth apparently affected as well. "I shkan't end shthe stranshformashun." she sighs heavily. "What happened to Ashara?" she asks, sitting up, stretching. Ysl stirs, mumbling to herself, then bolts out of the bedroll, yelping.
Uh.

Well.

That's certainly, er, new.
>>
No. 145790 ID: 34470e

>>145776
I think this swamp is doing something to change you people.
>>
No. 145794 ID: e31d52

>>145790
The rune on my hand. Ysl's new form. Jai's arm and face...
Yes, the swamp is definitely having an effect on us. There's no doubt in my mind anymore.
Ysl looks at her claws and body quietly, then slips into her toga, deep in thought. "It seems my father lied." she says softly.
>>
No. 145795 ID: 701a19

>>145794
About what? Her parentage?
>>
No. 145796 ID: e31d52

>>145795
"Y-yes. My father said I was born of one of the heroic humans. But it appears I have a more..." she sighs. "Interesting mother." Her wings twitch as she looks down at herself. "I was the last goblin left... and now I don't even look like one anymore..." she says, her wings drooping to her sides limply.
>>
No. 145797 ID: 701a19

>>145796
Hug her.
"Your mother may have just taken human form. Still, you're you no matter what you look like."
>>
No. 145800 ID: e31d52

>>145797
"You're you no matter what you look like, Ysl." I say gently, embracing her. Jai raises an eyebrow, but then looks deep in thought, a mischevious look crossing her face as Ysl holds me tightly.
>>
No. 145802 ID: 701a19

>>145800
Now go hug Jai, and take her off someplace to talk. :3
>>
No. 145819 ID: e31d52

>>145802
I smiles and give Jai a hug.
"Can we talk alone?" I ask her.
"As if I don't know what you and Legion want." she replies, having finally gotten used to the new mouth. "I've talked with Ysl about it, but Asala... will need some convincing." she says. "And in all honesty, I think we have more important things to focus on, yes?"
>>
No. 145872 ID: 701a19

>>145819
"Ah, ok. If you like the idea we can start courting her, but you're right about having more pressing matters to discuss."
>>
No. 145958 ID: e31d52
File 126837699664.jpg - (280.89KB , 774x1000 , TheOnlyCleanOutfit.jpg )
145958

>>145872
She rolls her eyes.
"Later. For now-oh Asala who tricked you into that thing?!"
"They said it was the last clean outfit they had..."
"Then take a dirty one, for the love of Xom!"
"I dunno, I kinda like it." I say, and recieve a smack on the back of the head.
>>
No. 145994 ID: 632862

>>145958
Huh. Jai is a worshipper of Xom? That's somewhat worrying, considering the kind of trickery he represents. Seems like you could ask her about it. I'm interested in finding out what kind of person he is.
>>
No. 145998 ID: e31d52

>>145994
"You worship Xom?"
She holds up the hand, then shrugs, standing up. "Come on, Asala, let me find you something decent..." she grumbles, leaving me and Ysl alone.
>>
No. 145999 ID: 701a19

>>145998
"So... Jai spoke to you about... Us?"
>>
No. 146005 ID: e31d52

>>145999
"She did." Ysl says vaguely, looking around the camp."And... well, I'm interested. I cannot say I've fallen for you yet, but... From what Jai tells me, your family has a... certain way about things. I, ah... Before I was thrown away, I managed to take this from the small enemy."

She holds up a light blue shard on a long chain. "It says it wants to talk to you."
>>
No. 146008 ID: 701a19

>>146005
Take the shard, give her a hug, and thank her.
>>
No. 146011 ID: 632862

>>146005
Wait. Is that a shard of Sellika? You'd best be taking that. Tell her that this is important and she did something awesome by taking it.
>>
No. 146013 ID: e31d52

>>146008
"Thank you so much, Ysl." I smile and hold her close, and she returns the feeling, resting her head on my shoulder. Her body is very warm, I note, hot to the touch.
I pull away, and look at the shard. It's definitely a peice of Achilles's orb.
>>
No. 146021 ID: 34470e

>>146013
Um, hello? Anybody in the shard?
>>
No. 146022 ID: e31d52

>>146021
I touch the orb.

[uh]
[oh no]
[shit shit shit]
[put us down]
[oh god this is bad]
>>
No. 146025 ID: 34470e

>>146022
Well, things just got a whole lot more interesting. Wait, if this is only a shard, doesn't that mean Achilles has the rest? Can we look through to the outer part of the orb?
>>
No. 146026 ID: c0f3bf

Tell us why.
>>
No. 146027 ID: 632862

>>146022
Hmmm.. oh

Put down the orb shard! Then inscribe Courage on a charm to guard against any mind attacks... and take the shard again so we can be sure Achilles won't fuck with us through it.
>>
No. 146028 ID: 34470e

Wait, this can also mean that Achilles can look through to this shard and know exactly where we are!
>>
No. 146031 ID: e31d52
File 126838295340.jpg - (153.83KB , 636x500 , AchillesVirulent.jpg )
146031

>>146028
>>146026
>>146025
[That's right! He can als-]
{Hello.}
[aw fuck]
[your problem.]
>>
No. 146034 ID: 632862

>>146031
Relax, we're protected by that charm we just inscribed.

Say hello to Mr. Meanface. 'Achilles Virulent' is the name we get.
>>
No. 146035 ID: 34470e

>>146031
We didn't ask this last time, and sorry if it's rude, but what are you?
>>
No. 146036 ID: e31d52

>>146034
>>146035
{I'm the man in charge.} he replies simply. {You could even say... The God of this land.}
>>
No. 146037 ID: c0f3bf

Achilles, what's the point?
>>
No. 146038 ID: e31d52

>>146037
{DON'T CALL ME THAT.}

The blast of psychic power shorts out my rune, my head erupting in massive pain before I manage to re-inscribe. I feel something wet in my ears and on my upper lip.
{Don't ever refer to me as that sniveling coward again!}
>>
No. 146039 ID: 34470e

>>146038
Sorry. What do you want to be called?
>>
No. 146040 ID: 632862

>>146038
How about we call you just Virulent then?

So, what's the point of all this? What do you hope to accomplish?
>>
No. 146041 ID: c0f3bf

You didn't answer the question. What's the point?
>>
No. 146044 ID: e31d52

>>146041
{What's the point of anything, pinky? Why do you fuck women, why do you fight me, why do you do this or that or that other thing? I'll tell you why.}

A smile breaks across his face, lined with white fangs.
{It feels good.}
>>
No. 146051 ID: 34470e

>>146044
"It feels good"? That's your reason? You think we're fighting you just to gain pleasure? There are millions of innocent people here on this planet. If we let you kill them all, do you think we'll feel good about that? Do you think we're helping Antares just because it satisfies us? We do what we do to save the lives of others. We do what we do because we have to! We do it because we need to! If we wanted to feel good, then we would be doing something else!
>>
No. 146053 ID: e31d52

>>146051
{Kaaaaaaaaaaaa! You do good, because it makes you feel good, same as the boy and same as his friends. I kill because I enjoy it. Nothing more to it.}
His mouth opens slightly, a black tongue touching the teeth slowly.
{I kill because it makes me happy. I won't stop until there is nothing left. I'll take it all, absorb it all, make it all myself. And when there's nothing left, I'll absorb myself, and then... Well, we'll have to seeeeeheheheh.}
The tongue retracts and the jaw snaps shut.
{I'll show you how it feels.}
A pressure... A pressure on my chest and in my mind.
{Hm? A seal? A rune? Hahaaaahahaha. Let's test it...}
>>
No. 146055 ID: 632862

>>146053
Let's not test it. Drop the shard.
>>
No. 146056 ID: c0f3bf

Death the shard.
>>
No. 146057 ID: 34470e

>>146056
No, just drop it.
>>
No. 146060 ID: e31d52

>>146057
I let the shard fall from my hands to the ground, and as soon as it touches the ground, a crater appears, a foot wide and deep.

My god...This thing is dangerous. I pull out a jar and place the shard inside with care, panting.
>>
No. 146063 ID: 632862

>>146060
I'm considering etching on the bottle to destroy the shard, but if you do that, it might also affect the main orb. That would be bad, I think.

Hey Antares. I think we can argue to the others that putting out Achilles' bad eye would be punishing the one responsible for everything that's happened. It seems that Virulent is controlling Achilles fully. That dominant voice you heard when Sellika was speaking with us? I think that was the sane version of Achilles. He's being totally suppressed.
>>
No. 146064 ID: e31d52

>>146063
Oh god.

I didn't notice before.

Sellika.
Akilles.
Achilles.

Damnit! He's crying for help...How int he world can I convince my friends? Ysl saw me touch the orb, they know he has the full one...
>>
No. 146066 ID: c0f3bf

Be honest. They trust you, and you know you're right. You might want to refrain from telling... ALL of the though, at least for now.
>>
No. 146068 ID: 632862

>>146064
Well, we already basically told Sal'an about it, he can back us up that it's not just the orb shard controlling you. Plus, the Courage charm would break mind control, not just prevent it, right?
>>
No. 146070 ID: e31d52

>>146068
Well, yes...Still. How am I supposed to tell someone who's lost a father, and someone who has lost nearly their whole race, that the monster we've been chasing this whole time is a victim?
>>
No. 146083 ID: 632862

>>146070
He's not a victim. He's a monster. The thing is, there's someone behind the monster, inside it. An innocent, in the same body but trapped.

We seek justice, and we shall GET it. The Achilles we know is two people. We spare one, and kill the other.
>>
No. 146085 ID: e31d52

>>146083
Very well. We'll keep fighting like we have been. Our foe is unchanged. If that encounter was any sign of the future events... We cannot allow Virulent to live.

Ysl slips closer to me, resting her head on my shoulder.
"I was very worried." she murmurs. "That... I'd lost a chance. That me, Jai, Asala, Rance, Sal'an, and Harumda... were the only ones left. I know... it sounds silly, doesn't it?"
>>
No. 146086 ID: c0f3bf

But she DIDN'T. That's the important part. Hug herrrr
>>
No. 146088 ID: 34470e

>>146086
Hugs are always good.
>>
No. 146090 ID: e31d52

>>146088
I smile and hug her tightly again, enjoying the soft warmth of her body. She kisses my neck gently, and I can feel her blushing even though our faces are an inch apart.
>>
No. 146091 ID: 632862

Hey, I just realized Ysl doesn't know about the 3 goblin prisoners that Virulent has, and is trying to convert. We should tell Ysl that she's not the last of her kind after all.
>>
No. 146092 ID: e31d52

>>146091
"You aren't the last of your kind." I murmur, and her grip tightens.
"Are you... certain?"
"Yes. A..." my eyes flit to the jarred necklace. "Reliable source told me."
She kisses my neck again, biting gently.
"I'm... I'm happy to hear that." she murmurs, her wings flapping quietly, cooling me. Her leg reaches back and closes the flap, the room darkening except her eyes, which glow with an inner fire.
>>
No. 146095 ID: 632862

>>146092
Hmmmmm.

"So... what sorts of things did you and Jai discuss?"

I'd like to confirm that Jai gave her permission to do stuff with you.
>>
No. 146096 ID: e31d52

>>146095
Ysl giggles.
"I think I know what I like about you." she murmurs. "So innocent and yet so strong~" she kisses lower on my neck, "So naive and yet so... determined." Why don't we finish what we started on the beach?" she asks, slipping off her sandals with a couple of plops.
>>
No. 146097 ID: 34470e

>>146096
I approve.
>>
No. 146098 ID: 632862

>>146096
YES.

...wait you're going to make us leave aren't you?

...can you try to send us to Vorana if you do?
>>
No. 146099 ID: e31d52

>>146097
I, ah, I suppose you would...
"You're so skittish, it's adorable." she murmurs, unfastening my armor and setting it aside piece by piece, her eyes growing brighter and brighter. She gently kisses my collarbone, the feeling sending chills down my spine.

"But I want to hear it from your lips, not your body." she whispers, leaning over me and close.
>>
No. 146108 ID: 632862

>>146099
Kiss her. That is what she wants. Then tell her you want to share yourself with her.
>>
No. 146109 ID: 632862

Or maybe, reverse that order of action.
>>
No. 146152 ID: 632862

She might also like to hear how you feel about her.

(god I hope I'm not fucking everything up)
>>
No. 146154 ID: e31d52

>>146109
"Ysl... I want you." I murmur gently, and her eyes flash. Her smile widens even as I kiss her lips, her body pressing tightly against mine, the heat pressing through our thin clothes.
>>
No. 146158 ID: 632862

>>146154
You're wearing clothes? That's unacceptable!

I wonder, are those wings sensitive?
>>
No. 146168 ID: e31d52

>>146158
My hands slide up her back to touch her wings gently, which twitch under my fingers, her eyes flashing slightly. Ysl's tongue pushes into my mouth, her hands sliding under my shirt.
>>
No. 146194 ID: c0f3bf

Awwwww~

Want us to leave you two alone?
>>
No. 146198 ID: 632862

>>146168
Reciprocate.
>>
No. 146213 ID: e31d52

>>146198
>Reciprocate
I kiss her back, and her throat rumbles in appreciation. My hands slide under the white fabric of her toga, slowly up her long legs and over her belly.

I think that's enough reward for your help for now.

%^$$^&^#^%&
Oh hi! Momma tole me about you guys!
>>
No. 146216 ID: 0c0635

DAMMIT! You told Asala that you made a choice and that you could hurt Jai and then 10 minutes later your all over the gobbo dragon!?!? Get your shit together *mental smack*.
>>
No. 146218 ID: c0f3bf

Hello? Who's this?
>>
No. 146219 ID: 632862

>>146213
Wha

H.. Hi. Where are you right now, Anataire?
>>
No. 146221 ID: 0c0635

[one minute too late...*sigh*]
Hi, been wanting to meet you...uh.. what is your name anyway?
>>
No. 146223 ID: e31d52

>>146218
Momma calls me Anataire. I'm a princess! But I do stuff too. I can fly really really really really really fast!
>>
No. 146228 ID: 34470e

>>146223
Hi there, Anataire. Where are you right now?
>>
No. 146233 ID: e31d52

>>146228
I'm outside Antares's tent.

They're making funny sounds...
>>
No. 146236 ID: 34470e

>>146233
Um, er, the people in there are... um... doing something very important.
>>
No. 146237 ID: c0f3bf

Hey, do you know Harumda?
>>
No. 146244 ID: e31d52

>>146237
The big man! He talks funny. Laughs loudly. Fun to play with!
>>
No. 146245 ID: c0f3bf

Wanna go see him now? Or is there something else you wanted to do?
>>
No. 146246 ID: 632862

>>146244
Oh, maybe we can go see what he's doing. Say, where's your mom? We haven't found her yet.
>>
No. 146250 ID: e31d52

>>146246
Mom is busy making more friends.

>>146245
Rance said I could play for a while. But everyone is so busy...
>>
No. 146262 ID: 632862

>>146250
Well, at least we know she's okay. I guess we'll talk to her later.

Show us how high you can fly!
>>
No. 146408 ID: c0f3bf

More friends? Like sisters and brothers?

Also don't fly high, instead go see what everyone's doing. Everyone that isn't Antares.
>>
No. 146603 ID: e31d52

>>146408
Asala is with Jai. They are trying on more clothing things. The fishy man is laughing with some girls of the green guys. The nice man is talking to Rance. The big guy is relaxing.
>>
No. 146608 ID: c0f3bf

Go talk to the big guy, that should be fun. He can't be asleep, so maybe he'd like someone to talk to.
>>
No. 146645 ID: e31d52

>Talk to big guy

I fly down and land on his shoulder. The big guy looks over at me. He's always smiling. I think it looks silly.

"You should go home." he says, waving his hand over the ground slowly. "Things are gonna get real dangerous here."
>>
No. 146646 ID: c0f3bf

Home? Ask him why.
>>
No. 146656 ID: e31d52
File 126847313769.jpg - (11.53KB , 289x444 , Harumdasblade.jpg )
146656

>>146646
"Why?" I ask, landing on the ground near where he's been waving his hand for the past long time.
"That big thing you spotted heading this way? It's gonna try to hurt us."
"Why?"
"Because he's mean." the big man says.
"What will you do?"
"We'll try to hurt him back."
"So does that mean you're mean?"
The big man stares at me for a few seconds, then cocks his head to one side.
"Naw. We're not mean."
"So you're nice?"
He pauses again.
"Naw..." he reaches in and pulls out a heavy thing. "We're just less mean than they are, is all." he says, looking at his feet. "Now get. before you get hurt."
>>
No. 146676 ID: c0f3bf

Ergh... Okay, you'd better listen to him.
>>
No. 146740 ID: e31d52
File 126851148692.jpg - (69.44KB , 417x525 , Dretchling.jpg )
146740

>>146676
Okay.

I tell Rance I am going home, and he nods and says it is a good thing.

I fly over the wall and see weird people. A lot of weird people.
>>
No. 146745 ID: c0f3bf

Fly home, don't stop for anything. Can you send us back to Antares?
>>
No. 146746 ID: e31d52

>>146745
Mkay!

#%$%#$%$^#$%%#

.... I. Uh.

Wow.

That was incredible. Ysl lays atop me, sleeping soundly, her warmth keeping us out of blankets. I gently pet her new hair, smiling.
>>
No. 146747 ID: c0f3bf

That's pretty adorable. And a little sexy.

Don't want to ruin the mood, but there's an army of dretchlings closing in on your position.
>>
No. 146749 ID: e31d52
File 126851313495.jpg - (1.80MB , 1500x2065 , AsalaAndNewFreedom.jpg )
146749

>>146747
What.

Oh, for fuck's sake, I don't get any peace, do I?

"Ysl?"
"Mmrm?"
"There's an army closing in."
"Mmm." she gets up and stretches, making me smile, and gets dressed. She helps me get my armor on as she picks up what appear to be a pair of steel boxing gloves, without thumbs.
"That are those?"
"Rance said he found them in a cave near here. Haven't tried them yet, but they look interesting." she says, locking them on her hands. We exit the tent, as Harumda walks by, his mouth open and his black tongue lolling out. I've never seen him so happy. Haggar it picking up a set of long metal plates that fasten on his wrist and extend past his elbows. I don't see ahny other armor on him. Girls of every race I've ever seen are suiting up in armor, rallying behind the woman I saw with Rance earlier as he barks orders in what I assumes is Orc. Asala walks in front of me, clad in new armor.

"Antares. It seems Achilles has sent a forward force, ahead of his flying fortress."
>>
No. 147623 ID: c0f3bf

They're dretchlings, Anataire saw them. Ask Asala if she knows anything about them.
>>
No. 147650 ID: e31d52

>>147623
Asala thinks for a moment.
"Humans mutated heavily by magical randomness." she says. "Is one definition. Or humanoid creatures made from mutated creatures in such an area. My father had a lot of books documenting such things."
>>
No. 147653 ID: c0f3bf

As if a kind of antimagic force could 'snap them out of it' per say. If not, ask her if she can remember any particular weaknesses.
>>
No. 147658 ID: e31d52

>>147653
"They are mostly mindless. They are animals in humanoid form... Only driven by those of their kind that hold a modicum of intellect." she says, drawing Freedom, which now glows with a pale yellow light. "If I may make a suggestion... Me and the demon will disrupt their ranks, while Jai and yourself will take those who draw too close. Does that sound reasonable?"
>>
No. 147673 ID: c0f3bf

So what she's saying is kill the commanders, the rest might flee? Confirm this.

Antares, do you think you could inscribe death on her sword without any repercussions? As great as blessing is, if she's hanging with Harumda, it might not be the best idea. Courage on her armor should be fine though, no?
>>
No. 147679 ID: e31d52

>>147673
Death only grants the eyes of death. She'd be unable to use them, as she is blind.

"Yes. Kill the commander, and they will grow disorganized. Some may assault here, but... it will be not as a united force but a swarm of idiots."
>>
No. 147701 ID: c0f3bf

...Okay I have an idea. Do you think you could get an enormous amount of courage water together, inscribe speed 5 on your shoes and death on your sword, rush over and kill the leader, then rush back and pass out while Harumda drops the the courage water down to scare the rest of them away?
>>
No. 147770 ID: 632862

>>147701
Hrm, it's probably better to just use Courage water for time dialation. It has no chance of causing Antares to pass out. Speed 3 on Boots would support the endeavor...

Unless Tyka is the commander. Then she'd just be able to stop Antares in his tracks.

Hey, how about we try some rune experimentation? We've barely tried anything with Wounds... I want to see what it does on a charm, ring, gloves, and boots. After that, try Death on armor, gloves, and boots.
>>
No. 147774 ID: 632862

Oh, and tell Asala she looks good in that outfit. Ask her why Freedom is different.
>>
No. 147839 ID: e31d52

>>147774
"You look good, Asala. Very... Regal."
"Thank you. I suppose Jai is trustworthy after all... What was the other outfit?"
"Ah... you wouldn't have liked it."
"Oh."
"Why is Freedom different?"
"It's different?"
"Yeah... the design changed, and now it glows."
She pauses.
"I suppose it's because I believe in it."

>charm,
Again, I feel... protected. I can't really say how.

>ring
!?!
I can see through my skin! The musculature of my hands is clearly visible. The same with Asala's face... I'm erasing this.

>gloves
My hands feel very clean.

>boots.
My feet feel... protected. I could walk for a week on end like this, I bet.

>Death on
>armor
I feel feircely protected, and everything is a few shades darker.

>gloves
My hands become skeletal, although my skin glows and is transparent. The air around them instantly feels incredibly stagnant in a way I cannot describe.

>boots
I feel unstoppable!

>>147701
I doubt this would work. The air wouldn't have time to get out of the way at that level of sliced time.
>>
No. 147863 ID: 632862

>>147839
Sounds like Death on gloves allows you to kill anything you touch. Keep your hands away from your friends while that's active. Try it out on grass or something.

I'm going to guess that the Wounds charm protects you from disease and infection. It might also cause wounds to stop bleeding faster.

The Death armor... ugh. I don't know. Try pricking your finger. Maybe it reduces the risk of all injury so you have no chance of dying.

How about we try Courage on your boots, gloves, ring, and pendant?

Heck, try putting Death on your pendant to see if it has the same effect as on the ring.
>>
No. 147865 ID: e31d52

>>147863
>Try it out on grass or something.
I reach down and touch a single blade of grass. It grows, instantly, reaching ten times its height before quickly turning brown, then black, then to dust.

>Pendant
I feel like there's a cloak on my body, yet I see none. I feel much lighter.
>>
No. 147871 ID: 1ac39d

>>147865
oh wow, death glove causes things to die by accelerating it's life.
>>
No. 147887 ID: 1ac39d

now let's try to break magic with death on one glove and the other with healing, then grab something with both.
>>
No. 147894 ID: 632862

>>147865
Looks like Death on gloves is very, very dangerous. You could easily kill one of your friends by accident. Up to you if you want to risk it.

As for the pendant... Try jumping? Maybe it keeps you from dying from a fall. Try other runes on the pendant. If they have similar themes then we'd be better able to tell what each one does.
>>
No. 147899 ID: e31d52

>>147894
I jump.

I, uh... I don't come down.
I'm two feet in the air.
>>
No. 147901 ID: 632862

>>147899
Can you move around at all? Walking, or just willing yourself to move?
>>
No. 147906 ID: e31d52

>>147901
I can will myself around, moving at about walking speed. I see over the wall. The creatures are waiting just within sight.
>>
No. 147963 ID: c0f3bf

How courteous of them. Okay, Asala's idea is good if you can't get the commander, but can you see it?
>>
No. 148150 ID: e31d52

>>147963
No, I cannot.

I float back down.

So, should I go with Asala's plan... or go with one of my own devising?
>>
No. 148246 ID: c0f3bf

Go with Asala's plan, she knows more about fighting these guys than you do. Can you inscribe courage on her sword and armor, and death on her boots? Leave out blessing in case Harumda wants to chuck her at them or something.
>>
No. 148257 ID: e31d52
File 126872356645.jpg - (336.62KB , 1920x1080 , Dretchling Lord.jpg )
148257

>>148246
"Alright. I'm going to put Courage on your sword."
"Please... don't."
"What?"
"Harumda needs not such enchantments. Neither, then, do I."

...

Fine.

"Alright. If you're certain."
"Thank you for your trust."

Jai and I watch from the wall as the other two approach the head force. Ysl drops down as well.

Wait...
I see him. He's coming to the front. There's no mistaking the leader.
"Halsht! We sheek the one who sheeks the Corruptor! We will not harm yoush!"
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No. 148260 ID: c0f3bf

Interesting...

Got a water bottle handy? If so, put courage on it. You still have a death inscribed ring on, yes?

Tell him it's you, not like you can lose much just by saying that at this point.
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No. 148265 ID: e31d52

>>148260
"I am the one who seeks the Corruptor, Achilles!" I call, stepping down from the wall with grace I wasn't expecting. The goatheaded man draws close, sheathing his blade.

"My name ish Shoo." he says. "My peoplesh were changed after we came to thish land. We shushpect that it is the fault of he who ridesh the demon."
He points at the large floating castle, barely visible in the distance.
"Shoo know thingsh. Shoo can put three peoplesh up there. Only three. Shoo ish happy to offer to shend you up. You take Shoo's help, yesh?"
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No. 148269 ID: c0f3bf

Oh hell yes.

Ask him if he could help get 3 people DOWN too
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No. 148276 ID: e31d52
File 126872531467.jpg - (378.26KB , 1600x1067 , Shoo\'smaschine.jpg )
148276

>>148269
"Oh, no. Shoo get up. You get down." he whistles, and some dretchlings drag out...

What the hell?!
He wheels out two more.
"You get on cliff, take off, flap flap flap. You be there in no time! Shoo even ushe it himshelf!"
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No. 148277 ID: c0f3bf

Huh.

You know, you can levitate now, getting down won't be much of a problem. Maybe it'll let you bring more than three people too?
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No. 148307 ID: c0f3bf

Well whatever. Antares, are you ready to go there now?
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No. 148330 ID: 632862

>>148276
Before we go, we'd better get everyone together and explain the true nature of Achilles and Virulent. Then we will decide who comes with us.
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No. 148384 ID: e31d52

>>148330

I gather my people and carefully explain the truth of what is happening.
"We're still chasing after the same thing. We just need to be more careful." I finish. Ysl looks especially thoughtful. Then she steps forward.
"I must go with you." she states simply. "This Virulent has taken the lives of many races. Achilles lost his whole civilization like I. I must help."
Asala steps forth as well.
"I must come as well. Virulent must answer for my father's death." she states.

Who should I bring?

>>148277
I doubt it. The machines only allow for a single person.

>>148307
I am ready.
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No. 148411 ID: 632862

>>148384
Ysl should come. Asala seems confident in her ability to fight... you should ask why that is before we bring her.
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No. 148418 ID: e31d52

>>148411
"Asala, why are you so confident in your ability?"
She smiles. "I am not." she says softly. "I am, in fact very frightened. However, my father once told me... A hero dies only once, but a coward dies a thousand times." she inhales deeply.
"Even if I fail, I will have managed something. Please. Do not take this opportunity from me."
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No. 148430 ID: 632862

>>148418
...alright.
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No. 148438 ID: e31d52

>>148430
Very well.
"Harumda, help her into one of the machines. Ysl and I will also use one.
Harumda is quick to oblige, and I notice the large creature is especially careful with Asala's comparatively small form.

"What about launching?" I ask.
"Way ahead of ya." Harumda states, picking up mine.
"Wait, wha-"

oh god he's throwing it
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No. 148440 ID: c0f3bf

OHH CRAP

Hey before you go, you need to bring some water bottles.
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No. 148448 ID: e31d52

>>148440
Alreadygotthem! OHGODTHISISINSANE!
I gather my thoughs, and notice the runes all over the craft. Small runes of Air dance around it, and a light giggle that sounds familiar enters my mind.

We land not nearly as easily as we took off, crashing on the cobbles of the courtyard.

We have landed.
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No. 148658 ID: 701a19

>>148448
It looks like your goddess decided to give you a vote of confidence.
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