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156884 No. 156884 ID: d1210a

[DAY 58]

The day dawns with a broiling see of tempestuous clouds writhing about, rain never quite falling while always threatened. A crack of thunder can be heard in the distance, a dim flash of light through the humid haze of the early day, some distance off. Our whole camp awakens, but only I was about, still pacing to charge the Amaranthine Annihilator, and only I was looking to see it. Through the yellow haze of the predawn hours, just moments before the sun rose, a flash of lightning was visible to the east, far away.... far enough away that it must be in the Azelhaedran State. At first, I think nothing of it, but as the wind picks up and Jojo clutches his pelts about himself as he floats upright, murmuring about a storm, when the lightning flashes again, and thunder lashes across the landscape moments after, the camp now fully alert after the rolling rumbles.

Askeladd looks at the trail before us, and appraises the direction I face, still resolutely staring at a place where lightning has struck twice.... when a third, then rapidly again, a fourth bolt of lightning strike, all in the same place. A violent duet of rumbling thunder passes by as Askeladd comes forward to face me.

"Alright, about two hundred feet farther, up at that pile of stones there, is the official border between Duras and The Azelhaedran State... but this part of the state is still a lawless shambles, so... be aware it will take some time if you want to find a legitimate town to trade in.... Although with the amount of arms you bear, I imagine a skillful diplomat could arrange meetings with Bandit Kings or Mercenary Lord in command of some of the stolen research outposts. But in either case, as you are still heading that direction, we'll just wait here. I'd rather not go to the Azelhaedran territory myself. If memory serves, two days down this rode is a village, and I believe thereafter another village, before a river, where a research outpost claimed by some insurgents, as I was told, can be found. To the north and south both you should find more villages and occasional research outposts, but you would have to follow this rode for four days to reach Corthkota, which is the nearest State loyal city, military outpost and research center. But that does take you past the aforementioned insurgent occupied research outpost... which happens to be in the direction you face. The lightning... it all struck the same place, didn't it? And you're staring at it? Well I hate to break it to you, but that is straight to the insurgents... so I'll say my goodbyes hear. I have no wish to meddle with inexpertly wielded super-weapons, no thank you."

I almost stop to speak with him, but I see a resolution to have concluded conversing imbued in him, and realize that if I do not wish to undo all the false image portrayal, I must let the issue lie. I continue on, and the next time I glance back, the humid morning, now starting to fog as the sun rises, has shrouded Askeladd and the Reavers, and strain as I might, I cannot see them anymore by the time I step onto Azelhaedran State soil.

I am on the road that leads to a village in two days, potentially more villages before a research outpost and finally this Corthkota some four days distant. Before us, even with the sun shimmering in the moist air, visibility is fine, and little fog is present... but the lightning strikes for a fifth time, thunder rolling past once more.


What should I do?
Expand all images
>>
No. 156894 ID: e31d52

To the Lightning!

Really, you have nothing to worry about with electricity, since you've got no heart to stop. I wonder if electromagnetism can work backwards?
>>
No. 156900 ID: 1ac39d

>>156894
yes. that's how generators work. a magnet spins inside of a giant wire coil.
while an electric motor is energy flow causing a magnet to spin.

anyway, let's check the village along the way first before we worry about what is past it.
>>
No. 156904 ID: a6ca77

>>156884

We should definitely try and use derkin to try and infiltrate a nearby town and ask some general and discreet questions about the conflict here.

Things like. Who's winning? What are the insurgent's grievances? How many sides are there? Derkin can claim he's a traveler or something that wandered into this area...
>>
No. 156905 ID: d1210a

>>156894
>>156900
I march onwards, towards the lightning. After all, I have no heart that need risk being stopped, no reason to fear a bolt of lightning as far as I can see. I lead Oggroth, clad in heavy plate with his ball and chain attached to a runed hammer to create his own personal weapon which he proves devastating with, riding atop his new war beast, and Ugrokk, the surprisingly stealthy Premen with a penchant for axes, both of them commanding ten Premen apiece, all armed and armored with equipment custom made for them by the renowned smith Del Rogo, in exchange for a wealth in rubies. Jojo, a Premen mage with strange powers, follows along with our group, supported by an unseen magic, fully mobile despite his emaciated and from appearances cripple body. Arkus, the mage in training I captured when I first woke to sapience, sits atop the disk of bronze i carry, perusing the sketching of several runes we have found during our time the the lands of Duras. Derkin, a recently freed bandit and our newest member, leads the two carts we now own, with the bag of 140 Duran marks, the worth of some forty seven, forty eight heads of prime steer, as well as a goodly supply of canvas, used to cover all the supplies that we pillaged from our war on the Duran bandits.

The day wears on as our group of twenty six continues to trek forward, the lighting flashing some dozen more times before ten minutes pass, before it finally stops. Most interesting. The rest of the day proves uneventful, but rain starts to threaten more heavily in the darkening clouds, and as night falls droplets begin to fall. I decide to maintain our march, and none argue as we continue to seek a place for shelter. We march on, late into the night, all grabbing what food we need as we march.

[DAY 59]

The rains continue unabatingly, but through the Premen's impressive stamina and my decision to simply transport the humans on my hand, we manage to reach a town by mid-day, the rain still unceasing, but the temperature has slowly climbed since the early morning, and the chill is not nearly as biting as it was earlier, and none complain. When we arrive in the town, I find some several dozen villagers huddled up defensively about an old man, awaiting out arrival. The old man calls out to me, in turns sounding fearful and angry.

"What do you want?!"


How should I respond? And what should I say?
>>
No. 156908 ID: 1ac39d

a place for your men to rest. and ask if the bandits that plague them come from the direction you are going.
>>
No. 156926 ID: e2020c

Respond in kind, but have a convincing tone of voice. Ask if they've seen the bandits and in which direction.
>>
No. 156938 ID: a6ca77

>>156908
>>156926

I'm against saying we're anti-bandit immediately. We're pretty close to bandit territory, so there is a chance this guy is one of their informants or something...

Hmm...even though I'm against immediately giving away our position...I can't really think of any better way of getting information/trust though...
>>
No. 157021 ID: 9462ad

>>156938
Placing my vote with the cessation of the bandit hunting for now. We have to get more info before we reveal ourselves as hostile.

Well, I guess its time to spread word of ourselves again, and it has occurred to me that we are likely to be hunted by people who want to know how we control the golem from afar... oh well comes with the territory.

"Greetings, I am Mage Modre. I seek refuge from the elements for my men"
>>
No. 157206 ID: d1210a

>>156908
>>156938
>>157021
I trudge forward, slipping into my role of mage Mordre as I address the villagers while the rain starts to finally worsen, slowly becoming a deluge.

"Greetings, citizens of The Azelhaedran State! This golem you see before you is controlled by I, the mage Mordre, And I seek refuge from the elements for my apprentice and other followers. They have been awake and marching for quite some time, And they need some rest. I'll admit I could also use some more current news, Should you be willing to speak with me."

At first the villagers recoil as my words ring out, having been looking at Arkus previously, but as I make claim to being a mage commanding the golem, much the same as they had assumed was the case, they seem to settle down. Putting together my polite address and the relatively uniform appearance of my troops, despite their scale, the villagers seem to relax, releasing fears of being attacked or pillaged. But the village elder, as I presume the one they gather about must be, seems to remain skeptical

"For what reason would a mage with such resources come here?
I must know this before our village could welcome you,
We cannot afford to make enemies."

I consider the old man, and estimate there is a realistic possibility that they might feed information to local forces, be they insurgent, rogue, or state, and so decide to sum my cover, both to establish some credence, and to give a relatively neutral presented reason.

"I am here for several reasons, actually. I am here to gain field data on their performance, That is, the Alchemical warriors you see with me. I am also here to show some State magic to this one, My apprentice, Arkus. Of course, I have no intention of seeing civilians come to harm, So if you do not mind, I would very much like to get my fellows inside."

My persistent courtesy seems to be weighing heavily in my favor, as the established high esteem for mages I was told would be found here now surfaces, as villagers intent on ingratiating themselves to a mage now hound their elder, who finally relents.

"...Of course, my apologies, this is no time to bandy words. Please, bring your men this way, we have an old barn that should suffice to house all of them. My name is Velneth, and I am sorry if I have offended, but times have been harsh."

As Velneth finishes tottering over to the barn, and making sure the roof is holding soundly while my followers get under it's cover, he steps inside with us, the whole village now starting to gather about the barn. As the two carts, are brought in, I am thankful for the chill inside and the fact we placed a cloth over Verther's corpse, as that could have made this introduction go poorly. After we manage to get everything stowed away, I turn to find the elder and some half the village crowded into the barn, the elder looking irritated, the villagers filled with wonder.

"..Now, while I would prefer to ask you this in private, as you can see it has been some time since a mage has passed through our little town. So, if I may, sir mage, could you be more specific about why you are here? I mean, to do 'field tests' of your warriors, ah, you would need to fight someone, yes? Who are you planning to gain this 'field test' data from, as it were? I hate to be so intrusive, but there are certain sorts we can't afford to shelter, I am afraid to say."


How should I respond?
>>
No. 157213 ID: 445c48

Depends. You've found that just walking around will have plenty of test subjects just throw themselves at you.
>>
No. 157224 ID: 2aaaf1

>>157206
"Lets be honest, this state is full of greedy fools hellbent upon seeking power through means they will never understand, causing massive collateral damage to villages such as your own. The governing powers will not intervene because they only give a damn about their own affairs. Tell me, would you beg and cry out for me to stop if the people of this village were suddenly freed of bandits and mercenaries ransacking their homes? Is that not a more favorable lifestyle than huddling in a terrified mass everytime a group of strangers comes within a hundred feet of your village?"
>>
No. 157227 ID: 582d28

>>157213
Lol

>>157224
second
>>
No. 157275 ID: 445c48

>>157213
Allow me to clarify. Say something along the lines of "Oh, whoever. Honestly, just walking around with my men tends to attract plenty of willing... Research Assistants."
>>
No. 157520 ID: d1210a

>>157224
>>157227
>>157275
>>157224
"Oh, anyone, really, could serve to make field data. Tromping this golem about tends to attract plenty of that sort of attention, Without my need to seek out foes. I imagine someone will aggress our group, at which point I shall find my 'data'. But let me table these talks about my personal research, I am not very familiar with the state of... the State, So perhaps you could tell me more current news? As far as I know, rogue elements have claimed much of the state, Using the weapons they find in the stolen research outposts to run rampant, leaving many villages much like your own in lack of proper protection. The State is still a long ways away from offering relief to the more distant citizens, Is this not so? And I have heard tell of insurgents of some sort as well. Honestly, the situation here sounds hectic enough without me bumbling about, Unwittingly making things worse while I travel due to lack of knowledge. Perhaps you all could assist with that?"

Whatever the town elder may have been about to say, he is drowned out by a deluge of voices, the crowd about us now pithcing in their own bits of knowledge. It proves a chore to even pull specific bits of data from the flood of words. As people start to repeat data points paraphrased to their own mannerisms enough, I elect to afford some measure of reliability to the claim, and after a surprisingly short time of sifting through all they say, I find several points pop up several times:

-This village is called Trekel.
-Trekel has been mostly safe from harm, too far from any outpost to be targeted.
-Trekel views The Azelhaedran State positively.
-To the south a Mercenary group has gained claim to some three or four research facilities.
-To the north, a group of bandits has gained command of at least one facility
-Neither group has bothered Trekel, the Bandits are busy fighting someone north of them, the mercenaries busy building new fortifications with nearby villagers to provide labor.
-The Insurgents are/were citizens upset at the condition of the State.
-The Insurgents have claimed three research outposts in total, the nearest directly down the road that cuts through the village.
-Trekel has mixed sentiments towards the insurgents, as they have fought the bandits and those who hold research outposts, but they also forcibly conscript citizens, and seize goods from villagers.
-There are some five other villages nearby, but travel is rare considering the lawless state of the land, so their status is unknown.

It takes the Trekel elder some time, but finally he manages to quiet the villagers, once more addressing me.

"Well, if you manage to get rid of bandits and in general restore order to the State, I imagine only other vagabonds would find this disagreeable. I do request that you not engage any military force that identifies itself as part of the state.... not that one has been seen in these parts for some time. ...So, do you plan to stay long in Trekel, or do you plan to move on after the rains stop? You do have some rather.... large... followers, and if you stay for any prolonged period, food may become an issue. Several of our fields have been appropriated by some opportunistic raiders, and food has grown somewhat scarce, so we have little to offer, I am afraid."

It would seem I am no longer being questioned with such scrutiny, even the village elder now accepting my presence, at least for the moment. I have gained a great deal of information, and now I wonder, what shall I do with all the new-found data?


What should I say or do?
>>
No. 157592 ID: 2aaaf1

>>157520
Alrighty, it seems to me that we've got our work cut out for us. We should definitely go rub out those bandits in the north first, having our own base of operations will REALLY help us here. Methinks we should also make friends with the mercenary group in the south. The insurgents, as much as I would like to sympathize with them, must either be done away with or brought to justice in the towns they've plundered. It's one thing to fight for something you believe in; their cause IS a valid one given that the state is almost in shambles, but extorting the already slighted villagers? Hell, thats worse than not fighting at all. If we do manage to take out the bandits + the insurgents, thats four outposts under our control. The only thing that worries me is that we won't have enough forces to split between four outposts, but if they are small enough, I think a bit of Magnetomacy might solve our problem.


But that's just thinking ahead, what we need to right now is prove that we're not just going to mooch off of these people. Ask what we can do to make ourselves useful. In fact, tell the premen to go hunting and set up some traps around the perimeter of the village. We could cut down some trees as well, and fortify the crap out of this place.
>>
No. 157603 ID: 4b28de

I am also in favor of walking North and bashing the bandits against whoever they're fighting, if bandit hunting here would prove ineffectual. Ask the Elder which would be more effective, if possible. If the northern bandits are fighting the state, question the state about it's problems. If insurgents, question the insurgents about the problems they want to express, if nameless horrors the bandits unleashed from their research outpost, help bandits kill/tame the beasts and then kill the bandits until they get the message of cut that out and stop unleashing things from the great wheel, or the glass tubes, or the sphere or where ever said nameless horror crawled out from.

Also, ask where the other villages are so we can check in on them later, if we need to. If possible have Derkin and/or Arkus start a map of where we have been so we know the lay of our future empire.

Also, are Jojo and Arkus still trying to talk their magic language? Suggest that Arkus continue on that, and offer some of our own suggestions to the pile. Of course, this is a 'while we can' suggestion, not to be enacted right now, but whenever Arkus, Jojo, or ourselves has a chance to talk.
>>
No. 157608 ID: 4b28de

Question-note: Do we still have our bushbeard? Because we should totally still have our bushbeard and we should put it on and stroke it when we think.

Actually, we should try and adopt some mannerisms the next time we talk. Start stroking out 'beard' as we think. Something so we build up the eccentric character of a wise, of slightly foolish, mage who is the only one who can control a Soulgrave from a great distance. Other suggestion: Tea Breaks!
>>
No. 157626 ID: 427807

lets stay away from insurgents for now, we should get a better understanding of the situation before we get involved.

Lets find the nearest bandit-owned research facility and establish a base there, so arkus can continue his studies
>>
No. 157655 ID: a6ca77

>>157626

I agree with this. Let's kill the bandits first b/c they are on nobody's side. So by killing them we gain favor with everyone.

I also agree with avoiding the government vs insurgent struggle for now. We don't know which side has a more "legitimate" reasons. And even if one side has an extreme moral high ground, we may not want to ally with them b/c they are losing horribly.
>>
No. 157733 ID: c8dcba

I like the idea of the map and support the idea of taking out the bandits if possible. If possible we should scout them first though. I also think we do need to help with the magic language a bit more now that we know magic ourself.
>>
No. 157742 ID: d1210a

>>157592
>>157603
>>157626
I decide that while the insurgents and the state both seem a bit too shallowly understood to interact with just yet, the bandits to the north sound like straightforward target. However, I feel that I should start working towards the creation of a better opinion of my group, by performing some sort of service for the town of Trekel while I stay here. I consider how the rain means nothing to me, and that I have shown myself capable of using my blade launcher to fell trees, coupled with the forests I have seen about the landscape. While certainly not as tall as the red trees of the Duran forest, these trees bear thick, massive trunks, all their branches and fruit growing from the very summit of the obelisk-like trunk that comprises the majority of the tree's bulk. I estimate such trees could very easily converted into thick enough logs to erect a sturdy wall about the village, and considering that I need not stop for rest or sleep, and could carry whole trees myself.

I turn to Arkus and Jojo both after taking a bite out of the bronze disk and setting it down, and explain my desire to see them resume working on the magic based language, and learning more of each of their languages. Jojo informs me that he only briefly heard of the language from the Drazken shamans, but that he shall endeavor to learn. Arkus agrees readily enough, admitting that by now he has read the few book we salvaged enough times to have memorized them, or near enough. I turn to the elder and townspeople of Trekel, and make an offer in a move to gain support.

"Well, I happen to need to run some mobility tests, To make sure I am attuning myself properly to the Soul Grave, of course. For this test, I imagine I shall be generating a large amount of lumber, And a need to drive it into the ground, testing strength capacities and such. Tell me: Could the village of Trekel do with a wall?"

I see smiles brighten faces at my proclamation, but the elder immediately calls out several names, and some two dozen residents step forth, looking a bit confused. The elder simply addresses them, while speaking to me betwixt his commands to the villagers, intent on seeing industrious use of time.

"Go grab your tools for gathering, and the largest sacks, follow this kind mage and check the canopies of the trees he fells, look for fruits, eggs, birds, anything worth salvaging. I want the rest of you to be ready at the warehouse with as many bags, baskets and barrels as we have, as much wood as a golem this size could fell should have a wealth of bounty in their branches. ..Ah, my apologies if I offended, but we must be diligent when resources appear, with our fields still controlled by bandits. If it is no obstruction to your... 'tests,' may we villagers follow along?"

"If the weather does not offend you, As you must endure it in person, Then by all means, follow me on my evaluations."

I briefly command my followers to stay and rest, and that should the rains stop before I finish my task, that they should start hunting and planning traps and earthworks that could be used to the benefit of Trekel. I march out into the rain with the majority of Trekel's population still running about to get ready, and march out into a patch of forest nearby, sending my blades whirling out with a firm grip on their paths through Magnetomancy. Trees fall in droves, and I simply grasp a trunk in my hand before it falls with the rest, lopping off the sprout of canopy on the top and cutting a point into one end with the Sable Executioner, before I start appraising the village's perimeter. In the time it took me to do this, little has happened in the village, eyes staring in wonder, before the elder starts yelling and action resumes. I plant the first part of the wall about the village of Trekel as the villagers start to swarm about, and resume my toil.

Night has fallen by the time the villagers stop following my progress, simply because they have packed all their containers full of edibles from the trees, and they won't have things packed away so the containers may be reused till sometime tomorrow, but the elder promises me there will be little sleep in the village, and none will complain. I continue to work, setting tree trunk after tree trunk as a slowly growing wall about the village proper, laboring unceasingly through the night.

[DAY 60] ONE MONTH HAS PASSED, -1 SOUL AS FUEL (total: 471)

Some time before dawn, when I have some third of the wall up, working with the same intensity I had the moment I started, I consider that all this effort is likely providing a wonderful charge to my Amaranthine Annihilator. Several hours later, as the wall approaches halfway done, with the sun climbing, the rain finally stops. The Premen exit the shed some time thereafter, still in their gear, though their weapons discreetly left within the barn, make their way out to the wall I have started, and begin making an earthwork ramp, an artificial hill to complement the new barricade and provide better protection. They have made considerable progress by the time the Trekel villagers finally start to emerge, but they set to their work with a much greater will, flooding into the mass of discarded tree tops to harvest more fruit and anything else of worth they can find. For some several hours after that everyone labors toward their own pursuits, all aware the others worked towards a similar goal, if along a different path, and I surmise that the fleshlings feel at least some form of empathy over this act. A useless sentiment, but one I should be aware of if I am to be a competent leader.

While the fleshlings, Premen and human alike all take a break to have a meal, one of the Premen brought over my bronze disk, and after I grabbed a few bites I set back to my work. The day is once more returned to communal work after the meal, and until night falls I labor alongside many, but the villagers retire with the sun, having salvaged all they could while the light remained. The Premen work alongside me much later into the night, slowly catching up to me with their earthwork modifications. They finally retire deep in the night, after having run out of room, at last having reached me. Oggroth and Ugrokk both nod at one another before they return to the barn with the rest of the Premen, and I once more labor alone.

[DAY 61]

As dawn finally arrives I drive the last stake into the ground, finishing a wall surrounding the village save for the road that passes through, with several trunks set aside at each entrance. I enter the barn after circling the village once to assess the overall wall, and ask the Premen to finish the earthworks, as the wall is up. They set to work without complaint, and I see the elder exiting his house, already asking a question.

"..So, what kind of defensive implement do you have planned for the road? I'll admit we don't have all that much rope, should that matter for whatever setup you think is best. No one has a horse either, and... well, we haven't had a trader or much of any visitors in a while, so I don't know how open the road really needs to be. What do you think, honorable mage Mordre?"


What type of defense should I suggest for a road some ten feet wide, with sheer tree trunks and relatively little rope to work with? And after I complete the final defenses, should we do anything more here before we travel north to seek a bandit controlled research outpost? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 157749 ID: 4b28de

No idea about more defences, but ask the elder if there are any local bandit camps we can break up as we travel north. nd just where these five other villages are - map making, remember?
>>
No. 157763 ID: c8dcba

Definitely need to get to map making when we get a chance. What are the limbs and leaves like from the trees? Sometimes those can be formed to make crude ropes if of the proper material. Otherwise I think a series of logs stuck in the road like the walls or earthen barriers designed more as road blocks to keep people from rushing in at a straight line would work if there's no rope or chains available.
>>
No. 157766 ID: 903f16

We could always build a gatehouses at both entrances. Have the things fitted with a couple of arrow slits, a murder hole or two, and a portcullis at the front with heavy doors at the actual entrances of the town. While we're working on that have the townspeople draw us a map, perhaps making known safe routes and areas of interest. The town and our crew should be fit for battle after all that and we could get a move onto more bandit slaying.
>>
No. 157780 ID: bbdfae

>>157766
That would require a bit more time and effort than we're likely able to provide with nothing more than tree trunks and a small amount of rope. Also, as far as I know we're not even an amateur carpenter- at best, we could run a few more "weapons tests" to slash the logs into generally desired shapes.

Anyway, any defenses are only as good as the people manning them, and making the town too bastion-like would only make them a tempting location for someone else to capture and fortify.
>>
No. 157783 ID: 1ac39d

i would say a nice gate would do. use magnetomancy to make some nails to hold the trunks together.
>>
No. 157784 ID: 2aaaf1
File 127018653462.jpg - (47.42KB , 610x1167 , initial layout.jpg )
157784

>>157742
If it would be possible, construct a medium sized tower in the middle of the village. Dig out the bottom first to make a floor of the tower underground, make this big enough to fit most of the residents plus their important crops/resources. The surface level segment of the tower will be the entry point, this level will have it's own walls for protection, adorn the ground inside the walls with any traps the premen can manange. The final floor, should be littered with tiny "windows" so that any villagers trained with bows can take pot-shots at any incoming raiders. The general idea of the tower is to give Trekel a place to fall back to in case of pillagers, because even with a wall, defending from two sides while everyone panics is NOT a winning combination. The tower gives these people a place that they can defend from without having to engage bloodthirsty gangs of bandits.
Stop me if I'm being too ambitious.
>>
No. 157787 ID: 1ac39d

>>157784
if you want to hang here for a month then sure we can do this. but we are not going to stand around that long, our premen want fights and while they understand a good defense these are warriors not builders.
>>
No. 157795 ID: 2c654c

I would suggest some elaborate DF class defensive system but we are on a schedule.
Voting for wooden gate held together with Magnet crafted nails. Fortified with holes to shoot arrows through.
You can make the holes with the Sable Executioner and the villagers can smooth and cover it. Fortifying the walls around it in like manner would be good too.
I just thought, If you can take the drill from the AGC out, you can use it to make holes for the fortifications.
>>
No. 157796 ID: 2aaaf1

>>157787
I just want to make these people self-sufficient, I don't wanna come back here and find their heads on pikes and the village burning.

Hey wait a minute-
>rope
>wood
>random sharp objects
Can't we just make these guys some cheapass flails and tell Oggroth to Mulan the crap out of Trekel?
>>
No. 157805 ID: d1210a

>>157763
>>157766
>>157780
I ask the elder to construct a map of every known trail in the area, and where the nearby villages and research outposts are, as far as they know. He accepts my request with a bow, returning to his house immediately thereafter.

I work to drive several tree trunks into the ground as a screen forcing any attempting to pass to slow and make their way warily about, lest they crash. I then add a lip to the inside of the wall about each entrance, and cut out some arrow slits for the villagers, having noted at least some bore bows when foraging amongst the tree tops. Sadly, the wood's sturdiness, so useful as a wall, makes it's branches nonviable for using as any form of rope, so I abandon the treetops as I appraise the towns new defenses, the Premen finish expanding the earthworks the whole way about the village. While certainly not impregnable, this village now has a far more solid line of defense about their homes.... and I hope to find the elder awaiting me with a map. And besides, with the weight these branches represent, I doubt I could manufacture any form of hinge that could bear them, nor make a method for the villagers to manage such a heavy gate without excessive amounts of rope. So I feel pleased when I see the dense screen prevent issue when a Premen tries to pass it swiftly, his should catching and wrenching him to a standstill before he finally makes hi way through. Some simple pikes and spears could make trying to pass such a barrier a deathtrap, and with the arrow slits along the inner walls... well, I imagine the villagers can at least make use of this.

I reenter the town with the Premen, to find a feast to have been laid out while we completed our labor on giving the village a general fortification, and at the sight of how much Oggroth slavers as he unhinges his helmet to drool at the food, I cannot help but send the Premen on with orders to eat as if at a formal gathering, to prevent any clash of culture (I hope), after the elder assures me that with the food they gained while I built the walls, they could feed us a dozen times over to bursting and still have plenty for themselves. They seem to have nearly filled their warehouse with honey, fruits, some fungus, eggs, birds and a few snakes, their rations bountiful, and while they will do what they can to render some able to be stored for a long time, much of this will waste if not eaten. So I can reward the Premen without damaging my image as a considerate mage, excellent.

The elder shows me a roughly sketched map, with Trekel in the center.

-to the north, the woods stay intermittent, with some three villages interspersed throughout, before a general area is circled as having the bandit controlled research outpost they heard about somewhere within.
-farther north, a question mark has been drawn after some few more villages.
-to the east, the main road continues past another village before the research outpost marked as being along a river, labeled as belonging to the insurgents.
-farther east, some area is shown as belonging to the state, an outpost called Corthkota and several villages encircled and noted as safe. An arrow points farther east and simply says State.
-to the south, two villages are nearby, before some goodly distance below several more villages are drawn, clustered about several research outposts, all marked as under the control of the mercenaries mentioned earlier.

Interesting.... I hear the elder draw breath, and attend to his speech.

"This is as best we can tell accurate, though the more distant places might have out of date names, some news is old... anyway, I wanted to once more apologize for viewing you with such suspicion when you arrived, but with the food and defenses you provided us with, we can easily fend off at least roaming bandits, if not those armed from an outpost. Heh, but then, fighting someone warmed with magic weaponry like that would be a fools game for us. ...I have to ask though, even though you have helped us so much.... will you help us yet again? Our farm fields, to the south and north both, have been taken over by some vagabonds, and we cannot use our own fields. The food we gained now will only last so long, and without our fields, we could only prosper for so long...."


What should I say or do?
>>
No. 157809 ID: 445c48

Sure, why the hell not, you probably have to anyways, to "acquire test data" and keep your cover. Inquire about the vagabonds. How many? Any known group affiliations? Are they scruffy looking nerf herders or gruff-looking professionals?
>>
No. 157810 ID: 2c654c

Gain allies + satisfy Premen war-lust? I say that equals win, though I am still wary from the 'warm welcome' the Yeti gave us.
>>
No. 157828 ID: 2aaaf1

>>157805
Clearing out the farms shouldn't be too much of a problem, it's protecting them from further assaults that disturbs me. Without further tools and knowlege, the most we could do for these people is make more wooden walls. Perhaps when we get to raiding that bandit controlled outpost, we'll find something to boost defensive capabilities.
>>
No. 157852 ID: d28415

getting the peoples fields back sounds like a good start, means we can get food from them at a later point. so head north first?
>>
No. 157900 ID: a6ca77

>>157809

Do this. Scout + Information gather...then we'll hit them like the goddamn 20 ton box of metal we are...
>>
No. 157927 ID: 2aaaf1

When we do ANYTHING regarding the bandits in their farm lands, do it at night. They will most likely torch the place the moment they see us, because fighting a giggantic metal man isn't worth the free meal ticket they have now.
>>
No. 157941 ID: 4b28de

>>157809
Note to everyone: Vagabonds =/= bandits. Let us find out about these people. Vagabonds could be a useful information network. If they are bandits, wipe them out.

Yes, yes, very social and not the warrior-like, but we're going to build an empire. We need to be a scalpel and not the battle ax. Sad, yes, but a truth we need to understand here.
>>
No. 158046 ID: d1210a
File 127024287059.jpg - (52.61KB , 700x454 , Northern Field House.jpg )
158046

>>157809
>>157810
>>157828
>>157852
>>157900
>>157927
>>157941
I consider the northern field to be a likely target: If I claim the bandit-occupied research outpost to the north, then there should be little risk of new tenets to the field from that direction after I purge the bandits, and as the villagers have a much more defensible home now, they could at least fend off minor threats to the field, or so I hope. Besides, I imagine the Trekel elder labeled the occupants as vagabonds for a reason, perhaps they have a reason for their displacement I might find relevant. Finally, the northern field is along the way to the bandit-owned research outpost, or so the map implies. Not needing to deviate from my path aids my decision making process.

"Well, I do have tests to perform, true enough, But the northern field seems to be marked as along the way, To those venturing towards the bandit-occupied facility. Since it is right along the way, I see no reason to not stop in, And assess the situation. But I do need to be off, so once I have freed up your northern field, Keeping it safe, and the possible reclamation of the southern field, Will have to fall on your shoulders for now. I have to establish a legitimate base of operations here as soon as possible, Before I can start worrying about restoring order in it's totality. Between the food you gained, your new defenses and the northern fields, I imagine you shall fare a great deal better after my departure."

I glance about the area, noting that the feasting seems to be winding down, and give the Premen orders to clean themselves up and claim their gear, we shall be marching soon. As they make their way to the barn, I motion to the elder to show me the way to the northern fields, hoping to prevent him from trying once more to gain my assistance with the southern fields as well. His insistent requests that continue even as I provide significant aid has proven to be somewhat irritating, and I would rather simply move on for now, lest I break my cover. After mumbling to himself for a moment the elder starts tottering along, refusing the aid of a villager offering a cane, and slowly marches out of the village, heading to the north. I periodically take a step or two forward, keeping abreast of my aged guide, and after some time the Premen, Arkus and Derkin are all arrayed behind my, Oggroth having hung the bronze disk about his mount's neck as makeshift armor, while Derkin and Arkus both carry the many documents and journals Arkus carries. After a period where the entirety of our group slowly plods along behind the Trekel elder, he points out a set of plain fields, with a large building with a barn and silo beside it roughly in the middle.

"The vagrants holed up in there, and shoot arrows at us if we get too close. They haven't come out to attack us beyond that, but they haven't answered us when we tried addressing them beyond shooting at us. After Beloy got an arrow in the shoulder, we stopped trying to talk to them. Please, sir mage, anything you can do we appreciate."

I peer at the buildings more closely, and note that I can see planks nailed into most windows, leaving only a few slits through which arrows could fly, but otherwise, I see no movement about the buildings whatsoever. As the town elder starts to make his way back to town, I consider our options as my group and I stand several hundred feet away from the buildings in the center of Trelek's northern fields.


What should I do?
>>
No. 158062 ID: 445c48

1) Fire Cannon into wall
2) Charge through new door
3) Feast on delicious souls nomnomnom
>>
No. 158086 ID: 23bee4

>>158062
Hush.

>>158046
Walk forward and bellow out from them to come out and talk. Ask them their grievances and what caused them to become to defend this house so fervently. Tell them that if they do not stop shooting arrows at you will break apart this house and rend them limb from limb and stem to stern and devour their souls - that is if the Elder is out of listening range at this point, of course. As we walk forward, and they haven't stopped shooting or answered, we ram our hand through the wall and pull out one of the vagabonds, still engaging them in polite conversation. This is of course staying true to the fact that they are just going to shower us with arrows - which we much magnetically direct toward ourselves and our least important parts.
If this is not the case and they start with stuff that can damage us, we just charge the wall and disable everyone - slice tendons, bash them just hard enough, etc, etc.
>>
No. 158088 ID: a6ca77

>>158062

I disagree with this. We should try and kill them without destroying the buildings...I'm not exactly sure about how best to go about it, but considering the level of threat they supply...I don't think it will be difficult...
>>
No. 158090 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158062
"Knock-knock."
>>
No. 158092 ID: 445c48

>>158088
Yes, you're right, I guess we should talk a little. Stand a good deal away from the house and shout "Oi, what's all this then". If they don't answer, shout "Come on now, I haven't got all day." If they still don't answer, see >>158062

>>158088
I'm not advising collapsing the building, just putting in a new door. We could just board over it.

And actually now that I read the description of the building more closely, I doubt we will even have to fire the cannon. Just walk through the wall.

Or maybe we could send out ghosts.
>>
No. 158098 ID: 45be60

Dude, guys, what is hard about this? Walk up to the building. What are they gonna do, shoot arrows at you? You are a giant scary golem, they are not going to ignore your requests to parley over the alternative of just dying like punks.
>>
No. 158103 ID: d1210a
File 127024881256.jpg - (59.60KB , 700x523 , Northern Field House Approached.jpg )
158103

>>158086
I advance on the house, leaving my compatriots to stay out of range as I approach the house. As I trundle forward, an arrow sails out, and strikes my shoulder. It deflects off without causing any harm, but I note it has no arrow head, just a sharpened tip to the wooden shaft. Without any metal in the arrows, I cannot alter their paths, not that such pittances as this could harm me. I turn to look back, noting the elder is still walking, long out of hearing range, well on his way back to the village. I turn back to the mass of buildings as I near them, and address the occupants as a second arrow impacts my form with similarly negligible results.

"I would know your grievances, occupants of these houses, As the villagers of Trekel wish to regain their fields, And once more grow crops on the lands you have let become fallow. Perhaps I can convince you to leave peacefully?"

The arrows continue to come intermittently, and no voices respond. Indeed, I still have not been able to see any occupants, though the arrow slits are narrow enough that the interior is all but obscured in shadow. I continue to march forward, and as I draw nearer to the house call out once more as arrows continue to rain down on me to no effect.

>>158088
>>158092
"Now what kind of welcome is this for a mage? I know the golem I'm controlling is a bit imposing, But it must be obvious I am here to talk, not fight, And besides, I don't expect your arrows will do you any good. Now, I ask again, tell me why you have claimed this home, And refuse entry to the owners?"

Again, there is no response, and again, there is no change in the rate of arrows fired at my form, sneaking out of the cracks between the boarded windows whenever I look away. One more time I try addressing the house as I draw within some several dozen feet of it, letting irritation bleed into my voice.

"Now I have tried being polite, but this is not your home: Either parlay with me, or be ready to be forcibly ejected."

I make my way down the stone steps built into the ground about the boarded building, and as I draw near, taking the lack or response as a reason to simply break my way in and slaughter the inhabitants, I hear a voice, soft, broken, and raw..... and filled with fear.

"...R-rrr...R-ruun.... Run awaay..."

I pause, my fist still poised, ready to smash a hole in the wall, as I assess the voice. It continues to mumble in incoherent fear, over and over saying 'Run away,' the words broken and disjointed, before the voice simply fades away. I turn to my right as I hear a rock fall, noting that a stone dislodged from one of the retaining walls.... and that there seems to be a door around the corner, from the sound of squeaking hinges. The rain of arrows continues in the same sporadic rate evidenced since I got close enough to the house.


What should I do?
>>
No. 158115 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158103
"Fool, come speak with me. If you run, you die. I can pursue you for days if need be. I wish to see an end to this idiocy, as do the inhabitants of the village Trekel. NOW, WE WILL HAVE WORDS, OR WE WILL HAVE BLOODSHED. THE CHOICE IS YOURS."
>>
No. 158121 ID: 2c654c

Kids?
>>
No. 158129 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158121
What? How would that even be possible? We're being pelted by arrows right now. You're telling me a whole group of orphans aquired and learned how to use a bunch of bows, and then holed up here? Well in any case, lets go check that door and see just what we're dealing with.
>>
No. 158131 ID: 2c654c

>>158129
What your saying its not possible? Of course it is. That for one would explain why they don't answer. If people figure out that they are kids then they are in trouble.

But yea that was just an out-of-the-blue guess.
>>
No. 158132 ID: a6ca77

>>158103

We should be very cautious at this stage. Either that person was afraid of us or it is afraid of something else and was trying to warn us or something. Prudence dictates we be cautious in case the second scenario is true...
>>
No. 158137 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158131
Not saying it ISN'T possible, just unlikely. A bunch of kids running around shooting things with arrows in a place like this? I'm really suprised they've not been blown to smithereens, what with the bandits and such waving about powerful experimental magical weapons.
>>
No. 158146 ID: d1210a
File 12702518073.jpg - (81.05KB , 700x525 , Northern Field House Basement Door.jpg )
158146

>>158121
>>158129
>>158132
I consider the possibility of the voice having belonged to a child, and but am unable to be sure with the words no longer audible. I decide that children are relatively unlikely.... but the strange response I am being met with intrigues me. For now, I decide to round the corner the rock dropped from, and appraise the door I believe I hear, hinges groaning harshly in the still day.

As I come about to the side of the house, I spy a door, set low, likely to a basement, closed but devoid of fortification. As I approach, I witness the door thump, the hinges crying out, but no damage is done, and the door remains shut. I observe the door shifting again and again, each time rattling as if something is trying to open it from the insider, yet despite the lack of visible locks, it is strange that whatever is testing the door does not, or cannot open it. As I come to a halt before the door, I make note of the cloud coverage having shifted, practically draining the light out of the landscape about me, the world tinged gray and lifeless. I address the inhabitants, still shooting arrows at me without any hesitation, their assault equally useless and unrelenting, hoping that someone will finally take the time to answer, and this can be resolved with some greater gain than simple souls of stubborn squatters.

"I believe I have been quite tolerant up till now, But my patience and time both wear thin at your response. Now someone, speak with me, or I shall tear this house down about you!"

The arrows continue, and the silence I am met with initially leads me to believe this attempt at communication to be fruitless. But soon enough I hear a quavering voice issuing forth from the door before me, which positively seems to vibrate in it's hinges while the voice slips by.

"Can you let me out? I'm not allowed to leave unless someone opens the door,
And everyone already left.... it's cold and dark down here, and I don't like it."

Oh? A response, finally? But the voice, while clearly that of a child, does not at all match the one I heard earlier, not even remotely. I consider the door before me in the colorless world, watching it jiggle and rattle as if in anticipation of my response.


What should I say or do?
>>
No. 158148 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158146
"What do you mean, -everyone left-? I'm still getting shot at out here." Whatever, open the door.
>>
No. 158154 ID: 58ec1e

>>158146

we might want to force the barn door open, a near silent contionious arrow attack seems pretty odd after seing how it only annoys us. mabey its some sort of motion detecting magic?
>>
No. 158162 ID: 427807

open the door, of course
>>
No. 158165 ID: 45be60

Am I really the only one getting the ghost story vibe here? Don't go doing just whatever any spooky voice tells you to.
>>
No. 158167 ID: 58ec1e

>>158165
thats why i said open the barn door not the celler with the crepy voice
>>
No. 158168 ID: 2c654c

>>158165
Votan
>>
No. 158169 ID: 2c654c

Actually, im getting a reverse Vampire thing here. Needing permission to get out rather than in, funny.
>>
No. 158174 ID: 5f8268

>>158165
Agreed. This is most likely some sort of supernatural creature.
Try to use magnetomancy to sense metals inside. As was mentioned before, bodies contain trace amount of iron inside, so you probably can detect them.
Afterwards, interrogate elder. I think there are couple things he failed to mention.
>>
No. 158175 ID: a6ca77

>>158167
>>158168

Agreed. Let's bust a hole in the wall (non structurally damaging) and make our entrance from there. If it's a trap, we'll at least hold some kind of advantage. If it isn't, then no problem...the kid will be scared for a minute...but thats it...
>>
No. 158188 ID: 445c48

>>158169
I'm kind of thinking the same thing. Can the spirits from your fist phase through walls and such? If so, summon some up and send them in. I wonder if they can report back to you with what they see, or only cut things.

Actually, fuck it, bust open the wall and eat souls.
>>
No. 158190 ID: 58ec1e

i think we are starting to overthink this a bit, lets have a look at the archers and then open up the cellar. rebember were a 10-20 ton soul eating death machine, even if theres some sort of hidious monster in there we can probaly killit with one hand tied behind our back
>>
No. 158208 ID: d1210a
File 127025713828.jpg - (47.79KB , 700x525 , Northern Field Fortified Barn.jpg )
158208

>>158148
>>158162
I begin to reach for the door, the faded colors of the world dwindling even further into a simple gray-scale as my hand approaches the handle, sound fading into a simple drone...

>>158154
>>158165
>>158168
But I hesitate..... the door, no matter how I look at it, is not locked, the most feeble of fleshlings could manage this door so long as they can manage a latch.... so why does the child not open it themselves? And why would they say no one is present when I am still being bombarded with arrows? Something is not right.

>>158174
recalling what Ugrokk saw the presumed Magnetomancer in the woods of Duras do, I cast out my senses, seeking the iron in blood, seeking the inhabitants of the house. ....While I can discern the metals born on body and in blood by my companions still on the edge of the field, I cannot sense any.... wait... down, down below, some several dozen feet beneath the level on which I stand, I can feel the grainy texture of iron in blood, a massive reserve of it situated beneath my feet, but other than that, not a whisper of metal in this house, not even a single tool. Stranger and stranger still.

I activate the Spectral Gorging Anima, and place my hand near the stone walls about the door, and phase the ghostly skull full of teeth and hunger through the stone, before withdrawing my hand, and appraising the skull some time thereafter. It seems clear there was no flesh to be seen, as the skull still seems sluggish, inactive, but otherwise I can tell nothing about what may be within.

As yet another arrow bounces off my head, I decide that before I concern myself with the contents of the basement, that I should deal with the annoying arrows coming down upon my head. I return to the main structure's entrance, making note that color once more seems to return to the landscape, the entry still blocked off with pieces of wood and other obstructions, and prepare to smash down the door, after waiting long enough to be certain the pleading voice does not follow me away from the cellar. After satisfying myself in this respect, I couch my fist, and shatter the door with a swipe of my hand.

I stoop down and peer within the house, to be greeted with a strange scene. A bow floats above the ground, and as I stare orients on me, a simple arrow simply fading into view on the string, before it snaps off, yet another arrow striking my form to no effect. After firing upon me, the bow floats across the floor, occupying a place before a different window nailed mostly shut, and waits as another arrow fades into view. I duck out before the second arrow finds it's mark, but not before making note that before each boarded up window, I saw a charred outline of a body emblazoned on the ground. There may be more to see within the barn, but I would have to make a significantly larger hole to enter, considering my stature. As I ponder what all this could mean, I hear the door to the cellar rattle again, a plaintive cry reaching out to me. Out of curiosity, I once more seek out the iron that could be found in the blood of any human.... and find none near the cellar door, even as it continues to rattle.


What should I do?
>>
No. 158210 ID: 427807

just soulfire! we want whatever is in there to leave. soulfire will kill any humans caught, and will burn the shit out of anything potent enough to attempt to take us on
>>
No. 158218 ID: 1ac39d

no, reverse that. perhaps it is incorporeal spirits, held together by the energy in the place.
>>
No. 158222 ID: 58ec1e

>>158190
as i said, whatever it is we can probaly take it out. open up the barn a bit more and get a proper look inside. see if we can deactivate the magic bow. then see whats in the cellar
>>
No. 158229 ID: e7740e

>>158222
Spirits and ghosts arn't the same ans soldiers. While we're powerful in the physical realm, it's possible we are vulnerable in the spiritual realm. Our great number of souls is likely a help, and IG's power to create soul soldiers might be of use here, but at the very least, we have less knowledge of fighting incorpreal enemies. We should be cautious.
>>
No. 158230 ID: a6ca77

>>158222
I agree with this. In the beginning, I wanted to keep the barn intact so that the villagers would be happy, but our safety comes first...we need to break this barn open...Let us shape the playing field and gain the advantage...rather than playing on someone elses home ground...
>>
No. 158235 ID: 3de05a

There is a spirit doing all of this. Suck it in.

Leave the barn intact.
>>
No. 158236 ID: e7740e

>>158235
This idea has merit. Let's see if consuming whatever ghost is haunting this place is possible.
>>
No. 158270 ID: e7740e

Wait a tic. Is the iron in the blood in the 'Massive reserve' you sense moving? Because generally... If blood isn't moving around, that means it isn't in a living body with a working heart, so that means whatever owns it is dead. Or worse.
>>
No. 158313 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158208
Pull that iron up from the earth, see what follows.
>>
No. 158318 ID: 4b28de

...Fuck. Lets walk back and talk to our mages. We're kinda out of our depth with winning with spirits.

As for suggestions, I'm kinda in favor of talking. Asking what wants out, who bound it, and what happened. However, before soul sucking the thing out, I want to suggest talking to our mages - they might have some suggestions like, I don't know, a malevolent spirit bound to a soulgrave makes it go stupid-crazy.

As a note to everyone: massive reserve. Massive from a think that is giant in and of itself. Of Iron in blood, of which there is only a trace amount of anyway. That's a lot of blood.
>>
No. 158353 ID: 5f8268

>>158208
The whole setup looks rather strange.
Why villagers didn't even try to take the barn by themselves? Yes, they are peasants not warriors but even peasants will fight when pushed far enough, any likely starvation certainly will be such a push. Even crude tower shield made of branches/planks will stop these wooden arrow cold, unless they are enchanted (and if they ARE magical, why elder didn't warned us?)
There are something strange going on with a barn itself, where did that reservoir of the blood came from? Again, why elder didn't said anything about whatever inhabit it? He *had* to knew *something*.
>>
No. 158361 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158353
The villagers couldn't even get close, they stopped once one of their guys got shot. There is something fishy going on here, but I doubt it's the villagers who did it. At any rate, we need to stop dicking around outside and smash our way into that cellar.
>>
No. 158368 ID: 1ac39d

they also weren't near starvation, they still had some food stored so they would likely last at least another week. after that they may have tried to rush the place, but not while food was still easy to get.
>>
No. 158371 ID: d1210a
File 127026796424.jpg - (221.02KB , 1000x754 , Northern Field Celler Entity.jpg )
158371

>>158222
>>158229
>>158230
I appraise the barn once more, ignoring the arrows that periodically fly my way, as I look for a place to seek entry through. At this proximity, I can see the minor shuffle of movement of the bow within floating near to a boarded window beside me, and I act decisively, smashing my hand through the wall to grasp at the floating bow. I wrap my fingers about the aged and worn wood before it can slip away, and find the bow vibrating in my grasp, constantly seeking some method of release. It's frantic struggling eventually ignites the wood through sheer dint of friction against my implacable grip, whispery wails exuding from the wood as it shrivels and chars. Ash stains my hand heavily by the time I finally feel the wood struggle no longer in my grasp, and a black powder flows away from my hand as I tentatively open it, dispersing in the air under the command of the idle winds flitting about. I stand motionless for a time, awaiting further action from the house I have now broken two holes into, through window and door both, waiting for some form of response.

....After enough time has passed some half dozen arrows would have struck me had I not dealt with the bow with no further action from the house, I deduce that whatever magic or spirits may have animated the bow dispersed when it was destroyed. The sudden rattling and groaning of the cellar door once more draws my attention, and as my mind turns to it, a bit of color fades out of the land. I peer into the house before me through both openings again, looking for anything noteworthy that I may have missed, and see nothing that piques my interest.

I step back from the building, and glance at the grain silo, which has presented no form of issue the whole of my time in this field, before dismissing it, noting that it's door stands somewhat ajar, revealing it's barren interior.

>>158270
I reach out once more with Magnetomancy, seeking further data on the mass of grainy iron like that in blood I felt below, checking for movement.... to find the massive reservoir not flowing, but.... throbbing as if in time with some massive heart, simply expanding and contracting with a rhythmic beat.

>>158235
>>158236
Thus far, I feel confident that no mass of spirits can be found in the main building of the silo, leaving only the cellar where noises still emanate as a possible source for what I now feel confident is some form of haunting, the displaced spirits of the dead responsible for what has been witnessed. I sidle up to the door, noting that the vibrant colors of the area once more fall under a pall of gray as I near the door, and simply breath in, attempting to gather up any soul that could be present here. The door rumbles as if in protestation as the voice within pleads with me.

"Stop it it hurts, don't do that. Please, open the door, let me out."

The voice still sounds scared, pitiful.... and abruptly, the voice shifts into surprise.

"..Oh?"

The door bleeds through, it's wood staining black as the knots and swirls in the wood twist and turn. A face pulls into focus, a stark collection of outlines in the colorless realm I see.

"Please, let me out, I don't want to be down here anymore, I am so hungry...."

Again, the voice of a child pull through the wood, echoing from lungs that do not exist. Does this entity know no other method of deception than to sound like a child? But still.... what is it?

>>158318
I wonder what I could learn from Jojo and Arkus on this subject, as I find myself somewhat out of my depth, hauntings and... whatever this may be are not something I have memories pertaining to, sadly enough. I decide to walk away from the door, even as it continues to rattle, the occupant calling out with it's newly formed face mewling at me from the door. I turn the corner, and as I march up the stairs along the side of the house towards the fields, I slowly hear the door cease it's groaning, the voice fading away as I leave the area. I am still unassailed by arrows even as I return, and draw Arkus and Jojo forward to converse, with myself playing the interpreter if need be between them, to see what they can offer me on this find. I explain all that I have observed, noting the fade of color in particular that occurred every time I neared the door, and I see both Jojo and Arkus pale, with Jojo speaking first, Arkus still stunned.

"...If the colors of life fled the land, and it cannot leave on it's own, little else this could be but World Nightmare. Bad thoughts, things of planet, seeking entry to surface, to destroy, to rend asunder. Door must NOT be opened, World Nightmares like avalanche, cannot be fought, might too great. All die if door open. ....But wood door? What to do about when wood rots......"

Arkus finally speaks, his voice abruptly cracking with as much fear as I heard when I first disobeyed his attempts to control me when I first awoke.

"...Hah...haha... that, uh, well.... that sounds exactly like you are describing a Core Being, which, uh, is really bad. Because, if that IS a Core Being, then one of the.... things.... that live way, way down, beneath mountains and miles of stone, closer to the planet's core? Uh, well, some of them have destroyed entire cities when released. And, once one has gotten this close to the surface, it.... ah, it will just wait until the door that blocks it wears away. They do not grow impatient, or leave.... at least, not that I have ever heard. And once they get loose, they.... they rampage about for a week or so, before they... run out of steam, I guess. Usually someone cuts them down once they start getting too weak, but the weird thing is, the ones that die on their own fade away, and the ones that get killed leave nearly static remains, practically untouched by time I am babbling again I am sorry but I would really like to get away from where a Core Being may be.... ah, if, that is, we are actually dealing with a Core Being. It could.... be something else, maybe...."

Interesting....
I see the Premen looking over in interest, Derkin keeping himself out of earshot as he tends to the carts and oxen, clearly trying to stay uninvolved with whatever necessitated all three magic users to converse.


What should I do?
>>
No. 158383 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158371
Could we consult Lenryt about this? Seems to me that this is another "caged one" and Lenryt made short work of that other one.
>>
No. 158384 ID: 58ec1e

>>158383
this sounds like a good idea
>>
No. 158387 ID: 1ac39d

what if it is both? a young core being.

well not that we know what it is we can ask it different questions. such as what it eats, and if we could get food for it. or ask what it will do if it get's out.
>>
No. 158389 ID: d1210a

>>158383
>>158384
[How would you contact Lenryt? You do not know where she is, nor did she leave a means of contact. She said SHE might contact YOU, if the need arises.]
>>
No. 158393 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158389
Well then, ask Arkus what would happen if we ate it whole. It was clearly affected by us merely breathing in, and besides, I'm anxious to see what powers we get from the soul of a core being.
>>
No. 158394 ID: 25302b

Attempting to ingest souls was painful for it? maybe this could be a weapon, or maybe we were pulling it forcefully through the door, and if we keep it up it will escape anyway. Really need further consultation on this.

Build a better door in the meantime. The bow was clearly there to keep people away, and now we have left a powerful engine of destruction defended from the local countryside only by a person's ability to decide when not to open a door. I recomend piling rocks in front of the door while we decide what to do. If rocks are scarce, hey, there is a silo handy.
>>
No. 158395 ID: 3de05a

>>158371
I would like to point out that the bow being there makes no sense if the Core Being wanted to escape. It wants people to open the door, and the bow prevented that.

We just took out the prison warden. This is bad. We need to make sure nobody opens that door, EVER. Unless it's actually a weak Core Being? Ask how we could gauge its strength.

Also, check out the silo. Maybe the person responsible for the bow is in there.
>>
No. 158398 ID: 2aaaf1

Guys, I just realized something. The villagers lost control of their fields in the north AND south. I think we may be dealing with more than one eldritch abomination here.
>>
No. 158401 ID: e7740e

Guys, we also need to get word back to the town that the door needs to not be openned. Maybe send Derkin back, since he's not doing anything right now. We can try building some sort of wall or cover for the door with what we have at hand, and try telling Lenryt or somebody else about this first chance we get so they can take more permanent measures.
>>
No. 158403 ID: e7740e

>>158398
...Ohhhh, crap. Ok, as much as I hate abandoning our current mission towards gaining power, keeping massively powerful destructive entities trapped is more important. We should check the southern field as well just to be safe, and make sure that the villagers don't mess things up and dig up something best left alone.
>>
No. 158412 ID: 445c48

First off, Ask about the "static remains". Then ask if barricading the door or burying it will have any effect. It can't be too... strong? Maneuverable? I mean, maybe just burying it in dirt of logs or something could keep in in place for something more permanent. Could it slip through like spaces between the logs? Also, get Derkin to go back and tell the villagers not to open the goddamn door and to make a sign that says "Don't fucking open this door". Also have him ask about the layout of the building, is there any way to get to the cellar from the inside of the building.

Then go up to the door and start talking to it. Question it about its nature and what it will do if you open the door.

I'm thinking we wall it off for now and eventually make a concrete sarcophagus.
>>
No. 158433 ID: 5f8268

>>158371
Oh, well, so much for my paranoia. :)
I was so certain that it was some sort of trap or result of runaway magic by villagers (remebering yetis).

Lets see... The mass your magnetomancy detected are presumably body of "Core Being"/"World Nightmare" ("Core Nightmare"?)
Check barn carefuly, see if there are some runes that may be rosponsible for containment of creature - most likely people who taken it either did it to restrain CN (unlikely, otherwise they would have warned villagers) or detected it afterwards and managed to cobble warning (and possibly containing) magic.

DON'T try to suck again. Before, it wasn't able to get past door, now it can manipulate it.

Ask Arkus and Jojo everything they know about such entities.
>>
No. 158436 ID: 427807

resorting to my previous post. soulfire the fuck out of that shit
>>
No. 158452 ID: 445c48

>>158436
This seems like an incredibly bad idea!
>>
No. 158456 ID: e7740e

>>158436
...

>>158452
Agreed.
>>
No. 158471 ID: d1210a
File 127027728616.jpg - (165.09KB , 600x487 , Crawling Monster.jpg )
158471

>>158394
>>158395
>>158401
>>158412
I ask Arkus and Jojo both, about what could be done to seal this creature, and prevent it from being released by idle curiosity. I mention simple earthworks, with a stone or wood barrier about the door to keep it safe. Both agree that the door must be buried, as at the very least, it marks the location of the threat, a sufficient amount of burying makes it unfeasible someone not actively seeking it will ever reach the door, and it allows some measure of safety while the threat is still present. Perhaps a solution can be found afterward, but they agree a stopgap measure is crucial. I call out to Derkin, and tell him to travel back to Trelek, and tell them something dangerous was found on the farmland, and that an earthen bunker is being erected about it. For now, they should NOT try to dig in or directly interact with the bunker, for any reason.

I order the Premen to gather stones while I set to disassembling the building above, salvaging timber as I can, seeking only well-aged, un-rotted lumber. As I bob in and out of proximity to the cellar door, I see color flashing as it writhes in and out of my vision, but I pay it no mind, and shortly I have a healthy selection of suitable planks of wood, and the Premen have returned with a wealth of stones. We set to creating a solid, well braced and snug barrier about the door, ignoring the face and the pleading it offers us. After we seal the edges up as best we can, we keep the crude walls braced as we slowly mound up more and more dirt, burying the door under meters of earth before we stop. Several tons of earth now bury the door, and they seem to ablate whatever force it contains enough that even standing above it the full spectrum is visible. Still, it took us until midway into the night to finish, and now that we have rendered the issue somewhat contained, we retire to a temporary camp...

>>158398
>>158403
...Until I realize the village has some TWO fields, BOTH with issues of vagrants having claimed tenancy. In case the two were claimed by similar groups, I decide I need to check the other field post haste, this is not a potential threat I want to leave lying around without at least identifying it. I turn to my men, and order them to march: Another possible extreme threat could be on the south field, and we aim to check it immediately, due to how dangerous it potentially could be. And when I tell them, that Jojo fears we may have found a World Nightmare, they offer no complaints to continuing the march.

It is some time just shy of midnight, the sky obscured with a pall of clouds, yet the Premen offer no complaint, the ambient light I produce from my eyes and mouth seem to provide plenty for them to navigate by. We have finally reached the south Field, some few hours after having finished entombing the northern farm's cellar, and I once more halt my troops some distance away from the structures, as this time I see some lights dimly glowing in some windows.... and I can hear screams. I march forward, intent on finding out what is going on, when a massive shape simply bursts through the roof, leaping free to land upon the earth again some fair distance away.... and I recognize it. The creature that stalked me upon the Premen mountains a month ago, covered in blood and viscera, turns to regard me for a critical second, before it bounds off into the woods at impressive speeds.

In the creature's absence, I neither see nor hear further movement from within the house, but some light still spills forth. I am halfway across the fields to the buildings, with my followers still on the outside edge of the field.


What should I say or do?
>>
No. 158473 ID: 1ac39d

SON OF A BITCH! has it been following us the whole time?!
>>
No. 158476 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158471
Check if anything is still alive in there, quickly. DO NOT SEND OUR MEN TO PURSUE THIS THING, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT IT CAN DO. IF WE MUST CHASE IT, THEN WE DO IT IN A GROUP.
>>
No. 158477 ID: 427807

>>158476
agreed, we must capture this thing, and in some way attempt to communicate with it. For now, i propose shooting blades at it, aiming to disable, not kill the beast. Then run up close to it and headlock it!
>>
No. 158478 ID: 2aaaf1

>>158477
IDEA: Tell Oggroth to hogtie this sucker with his new UBER CHAIN.
>>
No. 158496 ID: 445c48

[herpderp wasn't reading carefully, thought it was still there]

Well, I doubt you can catch up with the creature who appears to have a huge crush on you, so go check out the house.
>>
No. 158504 ID: 3de05a

Also, the impressive speeds implies that it cannot be chased. We have to get it to come to us. So, let's check on the house if we can't chase it.
>>
No. 158560 ID: bc47bd

>>158471
I doubt that it's a threat now that it has fled, but if it is still visible, try to hamstring it using the mortars' blades.

Using magnetomancy, check for people inside the building, then send Ugrokk's Premen in. Have Oggroth's set up a perimeter around the building for anything that comes out, and another around that to watch for the beast.
>>
No. 158650 ID: 5f8268

>>158471
>>158473
As far as I understand explnation, this creature is a human body that lost it's soul and was mutated by Curse. So, it probably chase us because we have lots of souls inside.

Epileptic Tree : One of our souls are in fact this creature's soul, attracted by magic of Soul Grave. Try to remember how much souls you had before you was deactivate, how much souls were consumed and gained and then compare to what you actually have. If there are extras...
>>
No. 158712 ID: 4b28de

>>157603
>> If the northern bandits are fighting...nameless horrors the bandits unleashed from their research outpost, help bandits kill/tame the beasts and then kill the bandits until they get the message of cut that out and stop unleashing things from the great wheel, or the glass tubes, or the sphere or where ever said nameless horror crawled out from.

You know what, I need to stop posting ideas. Anyway, walk around the house - heck, lets even soulsuck if the dead are fresh and look human. Check the celler door while some of Ugrokk men check out inside the hut, along with Jojo and Arkus.

Ask Arkus what would happen if we did eat the soul of a hostile spirit.
>>
No. 158713 ID: 290314

>>158650
Agreed.


I am getting a very bad vibe from all of this....
This feels like a repeat of the Yeti syndrome, people trying to trick us into dealing with their problems...

TELL THE MAGES ABOUT THE PULSING ORGAN you felt underground. (Effing Zerg creep) We are missing many peoces to this puzzle, we must figure it out.
>>
No. 158899 ID: 6164e0

>>158712
[As a reminder, the fragment of Thomro's soul consumed early on was hostile, and had to be disrupted to such an extent it could be consumed. So sufficiently powerful hostile souls can resist being eaten, and this resistance can be overcome.]

>>158473
I cannot be sure, but the fact the creature was already present at the southern field when I arrived seems to suggest it has indeed been tracking me.

>>158476
>>158496
>>158504
>>158560
I assess the creature’s speed to be too great to make catching it a feasible option, and turn my attention back to the building it wrenched a hole through before fleeing. I call my companions over, and order Oggroth and his men to stand guard about the house, while Uggrok and his men accompany me into the buildings. Arkus stays with the remaining cart bearing Verther’s corpse and much of the Premen’s less savory supplies, Derkin visible in the distance bringing the cart he took to Trekel back with him as he approaches Arkus, keeping wide of the field and houses on it.

My escorts and I enter the house cautiously, weapons at the ready, after a sweep of Magnetomancy tells me that while I can feel metal in several locations, anything resembling a weapon now lies on the ground, where most of the grainy iron found in blood also feels like it resides. As I poke my head inside, I confirm that all that is to be found in the wake of that creature is death, disemboweled bodies everywhere, weapons still clutched in some outstretched hands. I note that while under the stains and gore now covering them, the dead wear largely similar clothes, and several documents seem to be scattered about the floor, though blood has ruined most of them. I see one piece of parchment still upon a bare table, unmarred by blood, and appraise it as the Premen sweep the rest of the buildings about. Each chunk of text seems to be a personal note, transcribed at different times.

We were able to make off with some of master Weinsho’s papers, the ones he does not let any who follow him see, not even the apprentices he gives authority to. Still don’t know what they all are about, but Jot went to the houses to the north of here, should hear back soon about whether her hypothesis about what these spells and rituals are for pans out.

…Getting a bit worried. Haven’t heard from Jot and the others in a week. Dielva went to check on them, said someone shot arrows at him and no one spoke at the house. So bandits managed to oust them, I imagine. Hopefully we can salvage something from this debacle.

After writing off Jot’s crew and the papers they had as a lost cause, I have been having trouble convincing the others to perform the ritual we have yet been able to decode. Dielva keeps filling everyone elses head with nonsense, saying Jot and the others release some ‘terrible evil.’ So some arrows flying out of an old house are a ‘terrible evil’ now? Still, it will take me some time to shore up their courage.

Finally able to convince the others to go ahead with the spell, after I told them we could gain power through it’s function. Hopefully, my claim will not turn out to be a falsehood. We begin the ceremony at midnight.


No more words are to be found on the piece of paper, and as I peer about, I see Ugrokk and two of the Premen with him return to this main room, telling me no survivors could be found. I glance about the many papers still in this room, and wonder what they could have been about, prior to the destruction of the knowledge they contain.

>>158713
I spy Jojo peering about, hovering above the ground as he wanders about, and tell him about the pulsing mass of what felt to be blood beneath the other house, and ask if such knowledge means anything to him.

“…Not sure. Could be blood of those that called the World Nightmare, drained and used as food by the creature. Could be part of creature. Difficult to say without seeing it. World Nightmares are old, and rare dangers, Premen lore is not as detailed on them as it could be.”


What should I do?
>>
No. 158914 ID: 427807

ask jojo if he knows any ways to remove or kill these world nightmare things. a little info never hurt, right?
>>
No. 158924 ID: 290314

Okay, tis as I expected. They summoned it. The two groups of bandits were working together, the first group did much the same this group did and tried something that they didn't know about and got themselves disemboweled, etc, etc.

There are only a few pieces left (hopefully)

- Who did the bow spell? If someone set it up as something to keep people from opening the door, then it happened after the creature came, so who did it?

-Whats up with the crimson outlines on the floor? If those belong to the bandits that says that that's where the creature got em, and if so, how did it end up sealed in the cellar?

I have tons of theories but they are to spotty... I guess there I more peices than I thought.
>>
No. 158928 ID: 445c48

Looks like the mercs might be up to something. I guess this means we need to get down there and tell them to stop fucking around.
>>
No. 158936 ID: e7740e

As a mental note, we should try to figure out a spell that can allow us to recover documents ruined by blood. This isn't the first time we've encountered this problem, and it won't be the last.

Anyway, it appears an apprentice or some thieves or such got their hands on the 'forbidden' notes of a mage, and, not unexpectedly, massively screwed up using them. We might want to talk around about 'Master Weinsho' see if Arkus or Derkin or even the villagers know anything about him, he sounds like a mage of some skill. In any case, though, it appears these guys were killed just in time, before they could summon or cause something dangerous to themselves and everyone within a few (Hundred?) miles.
>>
No. 158944 ID: 4b28de

Are their any souls? Because if so, lets take a snack. Some of them might know magic, and maybe we can use their last memories to peirce togeather what happened.
>>
No. 158947 ID: 4b28de

>>158936
Acutally, this is a good idea: Ask if Jojo or Arkus knows any simple cleaning spells.
>>
No. 158975 ID: a6ca77

>>158936

I agree that we should ask around about this weisho guy...If he was smart enough to know that this ritual was dangerous (and forbid his apprentices from learning it)...he may know how to stop it...
>>
No. 158984 ID: 6834bc

>>158899
Now this might not help at all, but what if we used magnetomancy to latch onto the iron in the blood covering the ruined documents... and pulled at it? Would it simply tear the documents that have dried blood on them, would it pull the blood out and off, would it just pull the iron out and mess with the blood's composition?

Best-case scenario, we somehow magically fix them. Worst-case scenario, we rip them to pieces.

Either way we'll be testing more of our magnetomancy boundaries, and we might just get a little bit of metal to munch on in the process.
>>
No. 159098 ID: 6164e0

>>158914
I confer with Jojo further, querying him on any methods of removing, banishing or otherwise dealing with these ‘World Nightmares’ that sounds roughly like an analog of the Core Being description Arkus gave me. Sadly, he offers me no more than Arkus did, non-permanent containment and eventually killing the creature when it grows weak enough from walking the surface. Neither option seems particularly palatable.

>>158924
>>158936
>>158944
>>158947
>>158975
I venture about the buildings myself as the Premen continue to thoroughly check it, gathering up every soul I can find. A few times, as I feast on a soul I gain some glimmer of knowledge on how to access Leylines, so at least some of the dead were familiar with World magic…. A pity none could ever hope to have unbroken skins. Still, I imagine that should I find a Leyline (and hopefully more knowledge on how to interact with them), that I may find interesting options available to me.

[Mordre has gained knowledge of Leyline tapping for World magic]

I finish touring the grounds, and find nothing out of the ordinary, nothing that does not further confirm my suspicions that these were some thieves or rogue apprentices that meddled with magic far beyond their ken. I do find it somewhat strange that only loose pieces of paper are to be found, not a single book or tome to be found amongst the deceased party. Since it seems rather clear that they had not performed their ritual yet, as midnight is still a short ways off, I motion over Arkus and Derkin, and as they approach I address the two.

“It would seem that fortune was on our side, As these individuals intended another ill attempt at magic. Well, the south field is cleared, which I imagine will please the villagers, But I am more concerned about the name attached to these documents: It seems the ritual in question, the one put in action on the north field and halted here, Was from the private notes and journals of a mage by the name of Weinsho. Does this name sound familiar to either of you?”

Arkus responds first, as if by rote.

“There is an author of several books on magical theory by the name of Weinsho, so if you are talking about the mage Albert Weinsho, then yes, I am at least familiar with his existence. I haven’t been able to actually read any of his books, as the Mortal Coil keeps prices pretty high and copies hard to find, but as far as I can tell he is pretty well-versed in most forms of magic, and has a bunch of books spanning a wide range of magical subsets. That is about all I can say, until I have actually read any of his books. But that is the only Weinsho I have ever heard of.”

Derkin glances sidelong at Arkus before he cobbles together his own commentary.

“Well, I’ve known a few people to offer some rather large sums for books by Albert Weinsho, some research specialist mage, and if you say the name weinsho is mentioned for this, I’d have to lay money that we are thinking of the same guy. So now the question is, what are some busybody thieves, apprentices, whatever they were all the way out here with some of his writings? This is deep in the lawless territory for the State, and last I heard that guy Albert is way far away, out in Castiliathen. And he never releases anything but books in his name, so if there are loose documents I have to bet these came from him….. so why are they out here?”

As Derkin mulls over this line of thought, I ask Arkus and Jojo both if they know some method of removing blood from parchment, or otherwise restoring the text upon the paper. Sadly, neither have anything to offer me, noting that blood in particular is known for having extra metaphysical weight when trying to magically interact with it, and the same applies when trying to remove bloodstains, as they tell me.

[b[DAY 62][/b]

As midnight finally arrives and passes, I ponder what to do. It would seem the south field is safe, as nothing seems to be irregular with it to the perceptions of all our party, so I imagine the villagers can use it again. And while the potential Core Being at the northern field is certainly not dealt with, there is little more that we can do right now, and so long as the earthworks are not undone the door should be well warded from anyone opening it. I also note that my troops look quite fatigued.


What should I do?
>>
No. 159111 ID: 58ec1e

>>159098

let our men redt and fully explain the danger to the villagers.
>>
No. 159129 ID: 290314

>>159098
The heck man, we can't ask magic questions around Derkin!! Would it not be strange for a master mage (especially one that can control a golem from long range) to be asking his apprentice for spell advice?!?!

The info about the mage can be passed off as Arkus traveling more than you do but questions about spells have got to be private.
>>
No. 159140 ID: a6ca77

>>159098

Quick Question. How many souls are we at now that we've eaten these bandits?

I think that we need to let the villagers know about the evil thing and bail. We can't really do anything here right now...so let's go take over that bandit research outpost and hopefully we'll get a weapon or something that can help...
>>
No. 159202 ID: 4b28de

>>159140
/These are the bastards that unleased it.

Anyway, I would like to try >>158984 before we move on - it could work with the metal in the blood, or at least move it around and, depending on the kind of ink used, there is a high chance that the ink might have enough trace metals in it to be able to tell what was written under the blood - some inks are iron based, after all.

Anyway, tell the village we cleared out the southern field, but tell them that if anything goes 'weird', to book it away from that field and try and contact us. March onto the Bandit Research Post.

Listen to >>159129 and
STOP BREAKING CHARACTER!
geeeze! Phrase questions like we're quizzing them, if we have to ask. Not like we don't know it, like it's a god damn pop quiz.
>>
No. 159213 ID: a6ca77

>>159202

I really don't think it's that much of a problem. Yes we're a mage...but that doesn't mean we're supposed to be all knowing. I kinda envisioned "mage" modre as quite skilled in magnetomancy and is learning about golemcraft (which is why he is doing all these tests) and has only basic knowledge on all other magic.

Unless we're supposed to be pretending to be an all powerful master mage, it is fine to have "gaps" in our apparent knowledge...
>>
No. 159221 ID: 290314

>>159213
Yes but not so much that we have to be asking our APPRENTICE about magic-world stuff
>>
No. 159224 ID: eed774

I totally agree with Falcon, if anything someone should've spotted it by now. Mordre needs to keep info to itself and only ask for info in private one-on-one convos.
>>
No. 159231 ID: 4b28de

>>159221
>>159224

I am gonna put my 'Pop Quiz' idea forward again. It makes sense and fits in with the hammy genius.
Someone remember this next time we talk in character! HAMMY GENIUS.
>>
No. 159242 ID: 290314

>>159231
I like this idea, especially if we don't tell Arkus first. It would be hilarious to see him in an actual pop quiz scenario, and it would make the act better.

In fact I vote we do it now, so Derkin doesn't get the idea fixed in his head.
"Arkus, quickly! What are the basic principles of Magnetomancy! 5 seconds!"
>>
No. 159244 ID: 290314

>>159242
Then act mildly displeased if he doesn't get it right. If he does, complain about his speed of recollections. If he gets everything right, commend him on his memory but tell him not to get lax.
>>
No. 159278 ID: 6164e0

>>159140
I cast my memories and senses both to seeking the answer: how many souls did I gain in feasting on the freshly dead here? And the only answer I come to, no matter how I approach it, is simply that I gained not a single soul. Clearly this is impossible, as I recall feasting on separate souls, but I still have the four hundred and seventy one souls worth of fuel, I do not understand… ah. Perhaps, if all the souls I fed on were oriented about magic, that the souls of mages are treated in some similar manner to the souls of heroes, removed from my fuel and somehow grafted to me. A thought to consider.

>>159213
>>159221
>>159224
>>159231
I elect to cover for my questioning Arkus and Jojo on magic (Arkus in particular as he and Derkin speak the same language), by putting a question to Arkus in the form of a quiz. Hopefully, such will make the posing of my prior question look like a test. Even though Derkin seems to have been occupied in his thoughts, I do not wish to leave him hints as to my true nature.

“So you know no method of removing blood from paper? I was sure I taught you such, but perhaps I am mis-recalling it…. ..Well, in the case of no clear answer whether I taught you such or not… QUICKLY, what are the basic principles of Magnetomancy! TEN SECONDS!”

Arkus stare at me, his jaw agape for a moment, before he starts spluttering, throwing out words as swiftly as he can.

“Uh attraction and repulsion are the two primary methods of commanding metal, requires a point to base such reactions off of, ownership and proximity factor into the ease of manipulating any metal, as does it’s mass, ah..”

”-YES well… that was significantly more than ten seconds, But at least you have been paying attention during SOME lessons.”

Arkus looks at me strangely for a time before he seems to grasp I am trying to maintain my cover in front of Derkin, and says no more.

>>159111
>>159202
I make my way back into the buildings as I give my followers the order to rest and make camp. Thankful to be far away from the dangers of the north field, none complain at the proximity of corpses. Once I stick my head back into the main structure, appraising the documents soiled with blood littering the floor, I decide to try my hand at Magnetomancy. I direct my focus to the grainy Iron in the blood, and seeking out the metal that could be in the ink on the pages, and find…..

…The ink has no metal to be detected in it’s composition, but the blood… as I reach out and tug at the iron saturating the bloody stains on the paper, I feel some form of… weight, clinging to the iron as I wrench it free. The process shreds the paper, and I feel my will draining rapidly from focusing so finely to sift free iron from even a few splashes of blood, but I can sense something, if only-

My Will slips and crumbles, the cloud of gray iron starting to form before me now dissipating in the air. Manipulating blood seems to be a daunting task, from the perspective of the Magnetomancer. An interesting finding to note.

I decide to wait for morning, allowing my troops to rest before the sun rises and we once more begin to move. I bring our group back to Trekel, telling the village elder of the states of both fields, and my recommendations to stay clear of the northern field until the situation is dealt with. While several villagers look frightened, the elder simply nods, and thanks me for returning the southern field to the village, and for at least checking on the northern field. I spend little time further in the village, before I move on, marching north, seeking the bandit controlled outpost I have heard is to be found. The day slowly wears on, and as we make camp I speculatively munch on the bronze disk that now serves as makeshift armor for Oggroth’s mount.

[DAY 63]

We start marching early again, thankful that our small troop size means camp can be made and taken down swiftly, and sometime before mid-day, stumble upon a vast open field, no trees to be seen…… and some three clusters of structures visible on the horizon, one to each side, and the third and final straight ahead, all too distant for specifics to be discerned about these collections of buildings.


What should I do? Toward which group of structures should I venture, or send scouts? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 159335 ID: 3de05a

Try using Magnetomancy to remove the blood from the paper. After all, it contains iron.
>>
No. 159450 ID: a6ca77

>>159278

Voting that we scout them all out...Tell the premen to just observe and report...Don't touch anything, b/c we don't want them to accidentally open pandora's box like with the other barn...
>>
No. 159458 ID: 1ac39d

take the left one for now, but be wary of anything. keep your senses constantly looking for metal that is not part of your group.
>>
No. 159471 ID: 4b28de

>>159278
Question: Are these where the Research Outpost should be? Because it seems almost too quiet. Other then that, yes, scouts, but send them to the building that is closest to us first and just observe.
>>
No. 159512 ID: 6164e0

>>159471
The sets of buildings are all distant enough that people could be teeming about them and I would not be able to tell. The only reason I can see them now is because this massive plain we have stumbled upon has almost no contours and nothing taller than some shrubs, the buildings stand out like giants.

>>159450
>>159458
I order the Premen to split into two bands and do some general scouting towards the buildings straight before us, and to the right, while Arkus, Derkin and I investigate the left set of buildings. Our goal for now is just determining which, if any of these collections of structures is the bandit controlled research outpost, and determining rough population estimates. Based off this, I will then make a more informed decision on where we are to travel.

We separate, Oggroth (I see Jojo tagging along with him) and Ugrokk both commanding combined forces of Premen heavy scouts and heavy warriors as they head off to their destination, Arkus and Derkin both commanding a cart apiece. As we travel, I hear Derkin ask Arkus about the quiz questioning he received. I find myself pleased to hear Arkus respond with commiseration that I am an eccentric teacher, but that considering his own background, he can’t complain. The story roughly enough matches the truth that he should not have much issue recalling it, and the answer seems to be agreeable to Derkin, who laughs as he gives Arkus his condolences. Perhaps an hour later, conversation has died away, as we start to near out scouting target and start trying to glean information from it.

…Hm. On the subject of the left collection of buildings, we find:

-Most of the buildings are two stories or less in height, with some thirteen total buildings.
-A building in the middle of the town is significantly larger, and has three stories.
-Villagers are actively tilling nearby fields. Unknown number of total villagers.
-There are armed guards wearing irregular armor standing watch, some twenty three visible.
-The villagers and guards have both not yet spotted us.

I motion to Arkus and Derkin to withdraw, and after another hour of marching I am meeting with my troops near where we split company to investigate all three sets of buildings. They deliver reports to me on what they found.

The right collection of buildings:
-Are relatively well-fortified, the walls thick and buildings only bearing minimal entry-points.
-The village is atop an artificial hill
-There is a fort in the middle of the town, with guards standing watch.
-Scouts could learn no more without being spotted.

The middle collection of buildings:
-Are burned out wrecks, largely demolished.
-Have some people inhabiting the ruins.

…It sounds like we may not have reached the bandit-controlled outpost yet. I did note that the forests the Trekel elder drew on the map betwixt the outpost and their village seem to have not yet been reached, as we are only now seeing some other villages.


To which collection of buildings should I lead my group, the left, middle, or right collection?
>>
No. 159520 ID: bd5cda

>>159512
Left. Have scouts move in till they can identify if the heavily armed guards are guarding the villages or are slave drivers and what the relationship between the Villagers and the Guards are.

If hostile slavers, Scouts get to stealth kill. If anything else, lets go and introduce ourselves.
>>
No. 159544 ID: 903f16

Let's go towards the middle collection of buildings. The right and left sections of this village seem to pose a greater risk of detection. The other two sides risk being spotted by either the guards or villagers whereas we only need to avoid the inhabitants of the destroyed buildings.
>>
No. 159598 ID: 290314

>>159512
Well, this tells us one thing. Derkin lives up to his bandit roots and eavesdrops on us. We will have to begin holding private council.
>>
No. 159606 ID: a6ca77

>>159512
Voting we approach a person from the middle destroyed village and try and get some info on what's going on here...
>>
No. 159649 ID: 015cc9

I agree with 159606. We also might find papers or items left over in the middle destroyed buildings.
>>
No. 159758 ID: d1210a

>>159544
>>159598
>>159606
>>159649
I elect to travel to the middle collection of buildings first, as likely refugees hiding in the burned out husks of buildings should not be over-concerned about the appearance of a Soul Grave and those that follow me if I do not attack them. Of course, this is purely conjecture, but the theory is sound.

I lead our reunited group forward, trekking across the open plains at a steady speed. Derkin spends some more time talking with Arkus, telling improbable stories that seem to all focus about himself, laughing all the while. Finally Arkus responds with a tale of slitting a yeti's throat with a shard of rock, and beating another Yetis skull in with a larger piece or rock in the process of escaping their clutches. In his flight, he drinks yeti blood and tries to perform some of their magic, to keep the biting cold of the mountains from claiming his life after he escapes. Alas, the spell misfires, and he becomes one with the mountain. When Derkin presses Arkus on how he survived, he simply responds 'Well, my Master Mordre showed up, and he has a tendency to fix problems rather forcibly. So here I am.' Derkin takes a moment before roaring with laughter, the Premen warrior talking amongst themselves as they march as well.

The sun is well past it's zenith when we draw close to the burned out town. At this distance, we are finally spotted, but while many run to huddle inside the few bits of structures still standing, many more simply stay where they are, as if quietly demanding that they need run no longer. But as my group continues to advance at a steady gait, weapons still lax, curiosity starts to get the better of the more cautious ones, and they poke out their heads to investigate, a scattered see of confused faces directed at us.

I call a halt once we are within the ruined village, and sweep my gaze about. As my ruby eyes track across the area, people flee from my gaze, cowering in fear and anticipation. I wonder at how responsive these people will be.


What should I do? If I mean to question the inhabitants, what actions and words should I use to elicit a response?
>>
No. 159810 ID: 344ef9

>>159758
"Greetings from Mage Mordre. Don't mind the golem. It seems you fellows have run into a spot of trouble. Why not tell this inquisitive old man about how you got in such a situation?"
>>
No. 159989 ID: 95c3d1

>>159810
Yeah, I can't think of anything other then this. Question: How close are the other two collections of buildings to this burnt out husk?
>>
No. 160004 ID: 427807

>>159810
do this, and hopefully try not to scare the shit out of these weaklings.
>>
No. 160015 ID: d1210a

>>159989
The other sets of buildings are some five to seven miles away, it is difficult to be precise with so few notable landmarks.

>>159810
>>160004
"Greetings from mage Mordre. Don't mind the golem. It seems you fellows have, well, Run into a spot of trouble. Why not tell this inquisitive old man here, All about how you got in such a situation?"

I appeal to the residents of the burned out husks through the visage of a kindly mage, trying to build on my persona while encouraging the residents to talk. For a moment no one speaks and I wonder if more extreme measures might be called for against these meat-bags, but finally I hear someone speak up.

"...Well, uhm, yer mageship, we're refugees. From Gretath, Breskin, Curonga, all over. This was Hashwood village, but since they stood up to some bandits, the place got razed, burned down. But ever since, no one ever comes here, so we just.... make do. ....Are... are you here to bring back the peace, sir, mage, eh, sir-mage Mordre?"

At this query, I see dozens more faces appear, abruptly paying very close attention to what I say. It would seem a sizable population exists here, perhaps some four or five score individuals. And all had their attention drawn by the simple mention of possible order, of the return to less troubled times. While I find their pathetic inability to resist the forces at work around them laughable, I make allowances for them being nothing more than lumps of flesh on some pieces of calcium. Besides, I imagine they could be useful for establishing supply production here in the Azelhaedran State, should I get them under my sway. Of course, I would still need to find some place for them to labor, and some form of jobs to perform. But in the interim, now that I have their attention, I imagine I can ask any questions I want, and if someone knows, they will be liable to answer.


What kind of questions should I ask, and what response should I give about my purpose? How should I choose to direct my persona here in the state, purely here for research, here to help the people, uncaring, or something else? Or should I leave the burned down village and do something else?
>>
No. 160019 ID: 2aaaf1

>>160015
"If it isn't one thing- I mean YES. I will help you. I'm just flustered be the extent of the damages caused by ALL these bandits. Everywhere I go: "BANDITS HAVE BURNED AND RAZED ANOTHER TOWN! BANDITS ARE TOYING WITH FORCES BEYOND THEIR FEEBLE COMPREHENSION! BANDITS STOLE OUR FARM! BANDITS KICKED MY DOG!" I've had enough of these games-"I'm getting too old for this" doesn't even BEGIN to describe how irritating this business is. Can you tell me which way your aggressors have gone? I will try my damned hardest to aid you."
>>
No. 160039 ID: b14128

>>160019
This. Because it's funny. ...And, well, it is actually the truth, to be perfectly honest. Really, how many damn bandits are we going to have the kick the crap out of before they all start to figure out the life of an outlaw is the (Rather short) life of an idiot?

Anyway, that might be a -little- too caring for us. I think it might be better to suggest that the reson we came here in the first place is for the research, but that we're willing to at least try and help out with any problems we run across. We're not a roaming knight-errant, seeking wrongs to right, we have our own self-serving goals and plans, but that we're not so callous and uncaring as to ignore the plights of the oppressed.
>>
No. 160040 ID: 716eb0

>>160019
...second.
>>
No. 160052 ID: d1210a

>>160019
>>160039
>>160040
"Eh, If it isn't one thing- I mean YES. I will help you. I'm just flustered be the extent of the damages caused by ALL these bandits. Everywhere I go: 'BANDITS HAVE BURNED AND RAZED ANOTHER TOWN! BANDITS ARE TOYING WITH FORCES BEYOND THEIR FEEBLE COMPREHENSION! BANDITS STOLE OUR FARM! BANDITS KICKED MY DOG AND DEFECATED IN THE WELL!' I've had enough of these games- "I'm getting too old for this" doesn't even BEGIN to describe how irritating this business is. Can you tell me which way your aggressors have gone, or where they are? I have several goals in the State, and helping the populace is admittedly one of them. Now be quick about it, I have data to collect!"

My insistent, irritated yet clearly benign persona seems to be exactly what is needed. The refugees seem to find it second nature to trust a wandering mage, and I am bombarded with a tumult of voices. But all bear largely the same message: The north, that is where they came from, where their homes are, where their aggressors still lay. This whole community seems to be composed of villagers that fled the bandits controlling the State research outpost to the North of here. Some few mention having tried to flee to Droba, the village to the east of here, the rightmost village as we approached from the south, but that in addition to the formidable fortifications the town seems to have gained, someone who calls himself 'Sir Keddic Harksburton the 4th" now heads up their militia, and has since stopped anyone from entering. Something about 'the riff-raff needing to use their own boot-straps, rather than mewling at someone else for help.' Several comment on this Keddic individual, noting his large size and golden beard to be most distinctive, and that no one happens to know where he came from. They also note that after he arrived and started fortifying the Droba, the village started to go by the moniker 'The Republic of Trepany.' Most express confusion as to what could be going on with the village formerly known as Droba.

Mention is made of the other nearby village, Glenston. Some refugees have ventured over, but none have come back, all being seen working on the fields under the watch of the soldiers present. Since no one has ever come back from going to investigate, no one knows just who the soldiers are. The refugees also note that another day or two of traveling north would bring us through a patch of forest, and to the bandit-controlled outpost they fled from.


What should I do? Should I ask any more questions, or tell the refugees anything? Or should I go to any of the locations the refugees have given me data on? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 160058 ID: a6ca77

>>160052
Ask them about the size/composition/leader of the bandit forces that chased them out...
>>
No. 160095 ID: 0815c4

Also might send out some scouts secretly while you wait on them. I would assume the village to the West is true military outpost, so for now our questions should stick to the East and how many are in it as well as the number of bandits that attacked them from the North.
>>
No. 160151 ID: 716eb0

You could advise them that there is another town a fair distance south, which currently has its own budding fortifications and a temporary surplus of food they might be willing to share if you agreed to help them defend the place and get the village back on its feet. Would be a damn sight better than living in this burned wreckage in any event. Meanwhile, WE are going to check out the village to the west, see if we need to be freeing any repressed workers.
>>
No. 160235 ID: 275a5d

I wanna know more about Glenston.
>>
No. 160270 ID: d1210a

>>160058
The estimates the refugees give me on the size of the bandit force that occupies a research outpost and drove most of them from their homes ranges between less than a hundred and some six hundred. I do not imagine I shall find accurate scouting intel amongst peasants.

>>160151
>>160235
I decide that as interesting as this newly renamed 'Principality of Trepany' certainly sounds intriguing, Glenston, the village to the west, sounds more in need of immediate attention. The fact no refugee has returned from going to investigate Glenston leads me to believe the place could be a forced labor camp, and if such is the case it could be a perfect place to freely gain more souls whilst not overly upsetting the residents whose opinions I actually concern myself with. As I depart, I take a moment to lay a last bit of commentary before the refugees.

"While I will not say life is completely without worry, The town of Trekel to the south has food and relative safety, As well as a need for hands to help restore fallow fields. If one were to say the mage Mordre sent them, then the village would likely welcome them with open arms. But be warned it will be work, to live in Trekel, So take this option only if you are willing."

While I march out to Glenstone, I observe some half of the refugee population simply getting up and marching south without any hesitation, grabbing what few possessions they still have and acting solely on the word of what (they presumed) is a respectable mage. That, and the promise of some measure of safety seems to draw the attention of many. By the time the burned out village is fading behind me, some two thirds have already packed their remaining belongings away and begun the march south to Trekel.

Dusk is beginning to fall as we approach the western town of Glenston. With the poor lighting it takes some time for our group to be spotted, but it finally happens, and after some frantic orders are given, a resounding boom echoes about, and I feel a magnetic field approaching at tremendous speeds. But thanks both to the experience I gained fighting Verther and the power I gained feasting on his soul, I find stopping the cannonball easy, bringing it to a floating halt before my left hand. I flick the cannonball away, activating Accelerator as I do, while taking hold of the munition's magnetic field to fling it with every bit of force I can.

The cannonball slams into the cannon from which it originated with such force the barrel splits and the woods assembly it was set upon shatters, several soldiers nearby crying out as shards of wood bombard their forms.

And just like that, what little fight the soldiers may have had in them flees their souls, and before I ever get into Glenston, the soldiers guarding it flee my approach, scattering into the woods. The villagers likewise scatter, but they look confused by, barring the returned cannonball, our lack of hostilities as we approach. Shortly we are in the village proper of Glenstone, and after once more introducing myself as the mage Mordre and asking who those soldiers were, and why they attacked me, I am reluctantly given some response.

"Well, those were some of Lord Barcho's army, least that's what they call themselves. The bandits to the north? Leader calls himself Lord Barcho. They make us grow food for them, or we end up like the village over yonder, burned to the ground. ....So, what is a mage, one with a Soul Grave no less doing out here? Begging your pardon, but there isn't all that much to be found for.... 'intellectual types' out here."


What further questions should I ask? What should I say? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 160283 ID: 2aaaf1

>>160270
"That's what you think, my good man. What these bandits have gotten their grubby hands on; the magical research facilities, they are more valuable and dangerous than those power hungry fools will ever realize. I'm going to stop these bandits before they kill everyone with their lack of common sense. Then I'm going to put these facilities to good use, because I can help people, I'm not a mage for nothing you know. This world needs magic to survive, when some half-wit tries to abuse the power of magic, the world suffers for it. You'd think people would understand this by now, but no. All I see are overgrown children running about with their deathtrap toys, playing a country-wide game of cowboys and indians. I'll tell you what- Being a mage is the worst job you could ever have sonny. But when the world is plagued and overrun by these insolent babies, it takes an "Intellectual type" like me to bend them over my knee and give them the cane that they deserve. Now, I scratch your back, you scratch mine, got it? That town that the bandits burned back over yonder, I helped a good lot of them relocate to the village Trekel. You ain't gotta make food or take flak from that son of an ass Barcho anymore. Instead, I want you to help yourselves, and help those remaining refugees get back on their feet. Then, make contact with Trekel and see if you can't make some kind of trading route work. Those people aren't doing too well with their farms because of the same bandits that were working you folks like dogs, and they would sure appreciate the help. And lastly, DON'T go fooling around with magic like these self-important bandits. I don't care if you wanna learn magic, find a mage to teach you- Not me though, I'm on a schedule, and I'm busy helping the victims of these debacle as best I can. But DO NOT try to half-ass magic cause it looks neat or you're lookin for a easy way ta earn yerself some coin. What you find when you don't do magic proper, it AIN'T gonna be pretty."
>>
No. 160302 ID: e4835a

yea.... wall of text, cant bother.
What he said.
>>
No. 160307 ID: 23bee4

>>160283
Ham this up a bit more, be exasperated and old man tired. Grumble about kids today and their inability to not screw around with creatures that claw at the nightmare void between life and dead, the universe and the world.

Ask the villagers what else we can do other then freeing them from the tyrannical yoke of oppression because if nothing important requires our attention right now, we are going to go bash Lord Bark's front teeth in, that magic dabbling pompous git.
Pause and say that anything kinda out of the ordinary should be considered important, as the last time something minor was brought up, it turned out it was some damn fool kids calling forth a world nightmare and we're still kinda cheesed off about that.

Ask how many bandits Lord Barcho has - try and correlate with the previous village. And ask how far away Lord Barcho's forces/research facility is from here. It might be a good idea to scout first before we actually leave, because asking the Principality of Trepany for some men might be a good idea. Or at least a not completely pointless idea, anyway.
>>
No. 160341 ID: d1210a

>>160283
>>160302
"That's what you think, my good man. What these bandits have gotten their grubby hands on; Those State magic research facilities, they are more valuable and dangerous than those power hungry fools will ever realize. I'm going to stop these bandits before they kill everyone with their lack of common sense. Then I'm going to put these facilities to good use, To both facilitate my own research and restore some order: I'm not a mage for nothing, and it grieves me to see magic misused so. This world needs magic to survive, for anything to keep living, And when some half-wit tries to abuse the power of magic, The world suffers for it. ...You'd think people would understand this by now, but no. Apparently the ramifications of The Curse lain upon Mosmordre, All of that has taught people nothing. All I have seen are overgrown children running about, Playing with tools and powers they do not fully comprehend. ...Really, the gross incompetence I have seen is most deplorable. Is it really that hard to exercise some degree of caution and restraint? ...Well, moving past that, I need any data you may have on this 'Barcho.' The guards he had stationed here, do you know where they shall flee? Further, any troop estimates you can offer about Barcho would be useful. Ah, and the southern village of Trekel is doing well, They have freshly erected fortifications, a reasonable food supply, And they have reclaimed their fields for farming. Perhaps some communication and trade could be established between you? Well now, speak up if you have answers, the day is fading, and I have much to do."

The torrent of information I have now dispensed to the inhabitants of Glenston halts their speech for a time as they mull over what I have said, before answers start to filter back to me.

"Uh, not really sure where the guards would flee..."
"Don't be stupid, they had to flee back to the outpost!"
"Makes sense, not much else between here and there besides forest."
"Well, they're bandits, right? Wouldn't the forest-"
"Just because they are bandits does not mean they always shack up ion the woods."
"Yeah, but it's not like they'd need to stay there for long.."
"Either way, they have to ultimately head north, right?"
"Yeah.... or come back here the moment the mage leaves...."
"Maybe with more arms, too! That Lord Barcho has a mess of men serving him!"
"Ah, he can't have more than some three hundred men tops."
"No way! He has damn near a thousand!"
"I thought they had five hundred....."

As I come to realize the Glenston peasants may not be able to offer me any more precise information than this, I hold up my hand to silence their babble and address them once more.

>>160307
"Now, barring the stereotypical tyrannical yoke of oppression, Is there anything else I can do while here to restore order for this village? I plan to aggress this 'Lord Barcho' myself in the near future, And I would know if there is anything else to be dealt with. ...Oh yes, that includes anything minor but still strange you may have noticed. So, anything come to mind?"

Again, the villagers pause, many scrunching up their faces in concentration as they reflect on this, before one finally speaks first, her voice hesitant.

"...Well, we used to trade with Droba, before they became the Principality of.... Trepanation?
"Trepany. Yeah, if we could get some trade going with them again..."
"Pfft, that, plus Trekel to the south, and we would have no worries over food."
"If Lord Barcho falls, I think that is the most important thing, not many people around here not directly under his control.
"Yeah, we dealt with the odd bandit group before all this just fine, it's just when the groups get that big and well armed...."
".....Hey, uh-"
"Shut up Joshich."
"But some of the bandits dropped their weapons when they ran...."
"..Wow, Joshich ain't kidding. ....Five.... seven.... hey, how many over there?"
"We got six over here!"
"Another three over here!"
"..Okay then. All said and done, that's.... eighteen weapons, yeah?"
"Looks like it."
"Well, that's a start."

I leave the Glenston residents to their banter and the organization of their own militia while I march our forces east, heading towards the Principality of Trepany. I considered sending another batch of scouts out first, but considering the language barrier, I decide to simply use traditional scouts about our party as we travel, and simply speak with whatever residents I can find when I arrive.

By the time we pass by the burned ruins betwixt the two towns, the shroud of night has fallen completely, stars twinkling in the sky above. I note that only a scant few refugees still linger, mostly those too old or infirm to travel, bereft of family to aid them in their journey. I continue marching by, onwards towards my destination.

Deep in the night, near to the border that straddles late night and early morning, I bring our march to a halt some several hundred feet distant from the Principality Of Trepany, outside of the ring of light their torches create. Now I consider how I should approach them:


Should I simply step forth now and begin a dialogue immediately in the interest of saving time? Or should I wait until the morning comes, to let the meatbags within have time to awaken? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 160345 ID: 427807

lets just march up to the village and introduced ourselves, i guess. its not like it hasn't worked in the past
>>
No. 160386 ID: a6ca77

>>160341

Voting we wait for them to wake up. Use the time to rest your troops...
>>
No. 160399 ID: 23bee4

>>160345
Hush.

>>160341
Let us wait until morning. Break camp - Premen train in friendly combat, Arkus and Jojo continue language construction. Our tasks will be to feel the magnetic layout of the town - how many people live within it, how many would be fully equipted with weapons, and if there are any surprises inside, i.e. a SoulGrave, a powerful wizard if we can sense that with the powers we have now, or how many hero souls that might be inside. We will then alternate between training Jojo in Magnetomacy and asking Derkin if he knows this Lord Barcho and what things Derkin could teach us, after all one must be a life long learning, eh what?

Anyway, when the sun comes up and guards start circulating, get viable - keep half the Premen scouts as hidden as they possibly can - and then introduce ourselves.

"Greetings, Well Walled Republic of Trepany! It is I, The Mage Mordre! If you are not bandits and you are well armed, well thinking, and wish do well in the eyes of your fellow men, I will speak with you Keddic Harksburton!
I am here to find your magical ills, for fear they are the spawn of some great evil unleashed by half-thinking, bloody stupid, totally idiotic man-child - ahem! - bandits!
And if you do wish to help your fellow men, then I am also here to request your assistance in demolishing the bandit hoards who are completely in capable of thinking for themselves and not releasing world nightmares onto unsuspecting farm land just because they think it could be a good idea, the ignorant children! Just to think a few years ago, I would pull my sleeves up and fireball the whole lot of them - Ahem!
Anyway, I am here to request your assistance and offer my assistance, if your Keddic Harksburton would see fit to offer it!
And yes, the think that is speaking is a SoulGrave! You should be suitably impressed because I don't know another mage fully capable of such an impressive feat as I, The Mage Mordre, and capable of doing with such ridiculous ease!
Now, really, please go ask your master if we can speak with him, we've been out here for the whole ruddy night and me and my experiments could murder a cuppa!
Damn, if I don't need some tea myself! Joanna! My morning meal!"
>>
No. 160405 ID: e31d52

>>160399
Excellent.
*gendo pose*
Development of Mordre the Mage is wonderful.
>>
No. 160576 ID: 716eb0

>>160341
Wouldn't it maybe make sense to get the old and infirm who cannot travel connected with Glenston before they all starve to death?
>>
No. 160601 ID: d1210a
File 127060721842.jpg - (223.38KB , 1000x1390 , Another Traveller.jpg )
160601

[Pretend I said 'Republic Of Trepany' rather than 'Principality Of Trepany' last post.]

>>160386
>>160399
>>160405
>>160576
I decide to wait until morning, paying some measure of respect to this village, in the hopes it will make negotiations thereafter easier. I order my troops to set up a highly visible camp, so that any guards will see us easily, and to fit in some more sparring before sleep. I also order them to move under the cover of one of the few small collections of trees on these planes, as the stars are vanishing rather swiftly under a cover of clouds. I recall that I have not had my troops spar for some time, since prior to reaching Duras. I am curious to see how they have improved since. While our forces are setting up to spar, I consider the old, the infirm I saw still residing in the burned out town, and consider what use they could have.

On the one hand, the elders among any community of organics seem to serve as resevoirs for communal knowledge and lore very frequently, so there is a possibility these particular refugees may possess some number with highly useful information. Further, taking the time to insure their survival could further solidify my image as a kindly mage. Clearly, there are reasons to aid them.

In counterpoint to the reasons to help them, are several issues. As they are by and large incapable of work, they would be a drain on resources, and considering resources were one of my biggest concerns when coming here, anything that could damage that is suspect in my view. Further, attempting to help the remaining refugees could actually negatively impact my image. What if the villagers start to resent the extra refugees and through them the 'mage' that sent them? I certainly see no point in putting in effort to preserve decaying lumps of flesh already partway dead if they cannot be of more use than inconvenience to me.

I snap out of my deliberation on this subject, while I appraise the fights. I note that, in absence of their armor, most of the Premen have gained several pounds of muscle, their bodies now more heavily adorned with ropey muscle, and almost all bearing several new scars, offering no complaint after Jojo's ministrations. The fighting is hectic, and it quickly divides into a conflict between Oggroth and Ugrokk's followers, Jojo grumbling about 'over-zealous youngsters' as he sees to his tent, erecting it with the same unseen force that keeps him aloft and places irregular tracks in the ground as he walks. I take a moment to ask Jojo and Arkus both to spend their time this evening working on the magic language once more, and find them swiftly deep in halting conversation. I call Derkin to my side as I continue to pay some attention to the sparring, noting that currently Oggroth's followers are starting to take the lead, much to Ugrokk's followers' woe.

"As you may have inferred from prior comments, I do not normally pay much attention to public affairs, Having spent most of my recent years working on, well, The spells that let me control this golem. Should I have heard of this 'Lord Barcho'? Perhaps you have heard of him through your own connections?"

Derkin scratches his chin thoughtfully as he considers his impending response, as I cast out my sense of magnetomancy, feeling what I can about the village. Around the time Derkin starts to respond, rain starts to fall, and the possibly reformed bandit beside me grumbles as he pulls up his collar, sheltering himself as he can.

"Ah, well, I've known several Barcho's actually. ....I think seven in all? Not really sure if this is one of the Barcho's I know, but I can run through the ones I know. There's Barcho 'Ironjaw' out in the Golden League, Barcho The Breaker, bodyguard for one of the disciples of Domintus, last I heard, and...."

I stop tracking what Derkin is saying as I notice something strange: While I can perceive the iron in the blood of many moving bodies, most of which bear arms likewise visible to my senses, there is one form that is neither within the Republic Of Trepany or in my own group. I turn about, seeking it's source, and spy a man walking through the woods, an animal of stark coloring beside him, bearing but a single piece of metal, as far as I can tell. The moment my gaze falls on this individual I note he is already staring at me. His beast starts to growl, but he quiets it with a gentle hand, before offering me a polite bow.

"Honored traveler, this one is seeking a location:
Is this place the one called Droba?
Or perhaps the Republic Of Trepany?"

Before I can say anything, Derkin switches gears, shifting from his continued explanation of the Barchos he has met to answering the wanderer's question.

"Yeah, this is the place."

The traveler bows again, a simple smile on his face. Without another word, he clips a collar about his beast, and makes his way towards the village proper. As he nears the walls, the nearby torches dim and falter, and in the murky shadow I see the traveler leap some thirty feet to simply vault beyond the earthworks and other fortifications about the town.

I feel some of the grainy Iron moving about within the town near this newcomer, the song of the sword he carries distinguishing it from all the other metal to be detected. I feel some sort of.... weight... building in the weapon the newcomer bears.


What should I do?
>>
No. 160625 ID: a6ca77

>>160601

I'd say follow him at a discreet distance and see what's up...
>>
No. 160629 ID: abead8

>>160601
RIP THE BLOOD FROM HIS PUNY MORTAL SACK OF FLESH
>>
No. 160644 ID: 45be60

>>160625
...can't. He jumped over the wall there.

I say walk closer, to get magnetomancy range easier and make part two simpler, and wait till the fight which is sure to erupt has a pause in it. Then tug his weapon closer. In a perfect world, he will be the sort who would follow it, or hold on to it tightly enough to be dragged with it, over the wall if necessary, back to where you can speak with him.

Look at him quizzically. "Excuse me, I cannot help but notice the drama of what you are doing there, and I am curious as to your reasons. I wish to know if I should be stopping you or aiding you."
>>
No. 160652 ID: 95c3d1

>>160625
>>160629
Unsure we can do that, as he just vaulted into the town.

As for suggestions, lets slowly make our way to the walls, while we track the old man with our Magnetomacy. Bring our reformed bandit with us, telling him to continue talking and ask just who the heck was the old man with the leaping stick.

If deemed necessary, alert guards.

Save >>160399 speech for later use, possibly morning greeting if nothing dangerous happens at night.
>>
No. 160722 ID: 83d747

Well, this is indeed interesting. He has a magic weapon, the 'weight' you feel is likely the gathering of energy or maybe something even more potent.

Seeing as we cannot follow without getting ourselves into this I suggest we do one of two things(or perhaps both if we can manage)

1) Second sight - Spread your energy about the village/city/whatever and view the battle and everything else via the positioning of metal and a bit of common sense. If you cant handle all the input due to your lack of a naturally omnipresent-style thought patterns then focus your mind on the area around him, hopefully encompassing a few buildings so we can see if he has any long range energy attacks.

2) Eagle's Eye - Anchor yourself to something big and hard to move using magnetomancy(I am at a lack of things to suggest as the Earth itself didn't seem to be useful) and simply float upwards until you can view it from a higher vantage. This option will likely be more difficult to pursue but it would allow you to view the conflict with your own eyes.
>>
No. 161006 ID: 427807

Let's talk to this dude, he seems pretty badass. Ask him why he is interested in those two villages, and if he would consider working with us to eradicate bandits.

>>160644
how are you so certain he intends to attack us? Besides his mount growling (probably at the 15', 2500 lb hunk of magic metal in front of it), and the torches dimming as he approached, I see no other cause for alarm at his entrance.
>>
No. 161031 ID: 445c48

>I see no other cause for alarm at his entrance.

Maybe the fact he jumped 30 feet over the goddamn wall with his magic fucking sword and giant beast.

But really, I don't think he'll be any trouble to us, but to the Republic, and probably our image.
>>
No. 161058 ID: d1210a

>>160625
>>160629
>>160644
I attempt to follow this strange individual's trail, trundling up the artificial hillside leading to the town while Derkin runs alongside me, clearly also intrigued. I can here some confusion in the camp behind us, but Oggroth and Ugrokk both quiet the questions, content to continue their sparring until specifically called on, as I have left unannounced before.

The sense of building density I detect through magnetomancy rises to a resounding crescendo, the piece of metal now shining as brilliantly to my senses as several tons of iron, it's magnetic field swelling to radical immensity as it's potency grows. The stranger's blood vibrates in time with the metal of his keen blade, and I feel a flood of activity, as the stranger leaps the remaining distance betwixt them. With my attention already so closely focused on this exchange, and with the now immense magnetic field of the stranger's weapon, I make a snap judgment, now looking to wrest control of the traveler's sword from him through magnetomancy. For a brief instant the weapon resists, it's bond to it's bearer giving me some difficulty, before I halt the previously terminally accelerating blade before it comes in contact with the citizen of Trepany. As both parties react to how events have played out thanks to my intervention, I finally reach the gates of Trepany. Derkin has managed to keep pace with my full speed without suffering for it, and shouts at the guardhouses above the gate.

"Hey, someone jumped over your wall where those torches dimmed!"

As I hear cries being raised even before Derkin finishes speaking, I feel the traveler and likely assassin leap into motion, flying into close contact with the guard near him.... I believe they are fighting unarmed? In short order, the guard's blood is slowing and cooling as the traveler does.... something and reaches for his sword again. It is at this moment Derkin finishes warning the guards. Even as I try to forcibly attract the sword to me, away from the traveler, he manages to grasp his blade and I lose command of it's field, some form of warding now about it. I regret I could not prevent him regaining his weapon, but now that I have observed how fast he can leap twice while paying attention to the iron in his blood, I feel I have a better sense of how swiftly he can move.

I have not yet spoken in presence of the now mobilizing militia, and with the number of eyes now directing towards my own form, I wonder if I should even bother speaking, as explaining now why a golem speaks could wast valuable time. On the other hand, only Derkin is yet beside me, the rest of my forces still at camp some several hundred feet away, and he hardly looks a presentable character with his salvaged arms and armor. But the longer it takes to get this gate open, the less chance I can track down the traveler before he escapes or does whatever he came here to do, and I'd rather assuage my curiosity before the chance eludes me.


What should I do?
>>
No. 161064 ID: 7524b0

>>161058
Can't we just jump over the wall too?
>>
No. 161065 ID: d1210a

>>161064
[Mordre weighs in excess of ten tons, and as of yet has detected no sufficiently stabilized mass with a controllable magnetic field to aid in movement. Mordre is currently unable of leaping over the wall given these limitations.]
>>
No. 161073 ID: 445c48

Whisper to Derkin that he should bugger off and get back to camp.
>>
No. 161080 ID: 7524b0

Maybe you can unlock the gates via magnetomancy, while going
"Hey, let my golem in, I mean to assist and satisfy my curiosity as to what the intruder's nature is!"

If they refuse, then ask if they'll let Derkin in. Tell him to observe from a distance and see what the intruder is doing. Then perhaps you could lift him over the wall via magnetomancy.
>>
No. 161095 ID: 427807

we should explain, quickly, to the militia we mean to help them. Then yell out to the town to open their gates so we can run in and find this dude. Alternatively, we could send derkin in to follow the dude while we circle around the city, trying to see if the dude jumps over the wall again.
>>
No. 161096 ID: cc23b5

Mordre has wonderful scouts with invisible armor for this shit, so why is he going in all 10 tons of armor clanging around? Send scouts to follow the intruder and don't alert the village you're there unless you have to. It's a safe bet they're baddies, so why mess with them until you know numbers and equipment?
>>
No. 161097 ID: 7524b0

>>161096
Only Ugrokk has the stealth field.
>>
No. 161130 ID: d1210a

>>161073
>>161080
>>161095
I command Derkin to retreat to our camp, in the hopes I can use my magely persona and my command of Magnetomancy to clear this situation with some relative speed. Beside, I can modulate my voice rather ably, I plan to start my voice similar to Derkin's and slowly fade it to my normal tonalities. I reach out to the gate before me, and sure enough I can feel heavy nails and large hinges built into it's form.... as well as two metal densities on the opposing side of the gate I must presume are to hold a bar across the door. Thankfully, even this has been capped in metal, so as I begin hailing the guards in a voice blending my own and Derkin's enough I should have no issue claiming ownership of the initial warning, I start pulling metal about to render the gate open before me.

"I say, do let my golem here in, I simply must satisfy my curiosity about that fellow: Whoever it was that simply jumped over your wall. Oh, my apologies, introductions are in order: I am the Mage Mordre, commanding this Soul Grave before you. Well, I believe I may be able to track the intruder, so if you wish to follow..."

I choose to rely upon the image mages have here in the State, hoping to simply brush through the gate that finishes opening as my speech trails off and I begin marching into Trepany, many confused faces looking at me, weapons held at the ready but not being employed. I orient myself on the blood and weapon of the traveler, and march through the town, finding myself making headway towards the large, fortified structure in the middle of town. Some of the guards are already following me at an appreciable distance, and I see others still running about from the initial call of intruder, but thus far there does not seem to be a concerted effort to hunt down this intruder, who stays to the back alleys.... at the cost of speed. As he ducks out of one back passageway, I abruptly loom up before him some dozen or so guards nearby now starting to spot the traveler, momentarily distracted by my presence. For the bare moment, I have the drop on him.


What should I do? Should I try asking him anything, or should I simply leap straight into some sort of action? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 161154 ID: 427807

ask him what hes doing here, and if he needs any help. find out if he is working for or against the bandits, and if he'd consider working for us
>>
No. 161199 ID: 58ec1e

>>161154

grab him, otherwise he will do that super jump like before and escape. try to seperate him from his weapon with Magnetomancy.
>>
No. 161220 ID: 1f4a75

Why the heck are we chasing him anyway?
Kill him?
Observe him?
Stop him?
Talk to him?
What?

If its talking to him I really think we chose a bad time as he may not be open to discussion after he realizes that we led the guards here.
>>
No. 161223 ID: 97fa59

Grab him. Break an arm and magic away his weapon, if possible. Say: "We are helping these people. It is hard enough as is without killing them. Tell me why and if I like the answer, I won't kill you."
>>
No. 161231 ID: a6ca77

>>161220

I agree. This situation is getting less clear by the minute. Who is this guy? Is he a guy we should ally with? What about these fort dudes? All we know about them is that they decided to build a fort and call it a principality. Are the fort guys good/bad/neutral?

Frankly, I think we've screwed up the situation completely. Before we could have had two potential allies...or at least one potential ally. But by inserting ourselves between both sides, we have probably angered both...Not sure how we can resolve things to our favor unless we just immediately choose a side...
>>
No. 161246 ID: 1f4a75

Fine. Since we came to observe in the first place, I suggest we leave him be. Just stare him down, see what he does. Try to see if he has any runes on his weapon or himself and burn them into your memory.

If you get the chance you can ask him why he's here. If he asks why you want to know or something to that effect simply say that you have a vested interest in what happens around here.
>>
No. 161252 ID: d1210a

>>161199
>>161223
>>161220
Something about this traveler, and more specifically the sword he bears, piques my interest, and in the moment of inaction as the traveler adjusts to having run into me, I reach out my left hand to grab him. I do not wish this one to simply leap away again and avoid my inspection. My hand draws ever closer to his form, and for a brief moment I think it will be that simple, even as I hear the pounding of more feet as the guards that followed me hail more of their brethren.

With a thin flash of light, I feel the sense of weight gathering in the traveler's sword abruptly plummet, as it slices through my index finger, the steel digit falling to the ground as it is severed from my body. Even as my fist closes, he leaps through the newly created opening in my grasp, once more traversing a surprising amount of space with a single leap, alighting on the roof of a nearby building, only taking a moment further to glance at me before his gaze sweeps to the encroaching guards.

>>161246
Thankfully, I payed close attention to the traveler, and note something quite odd: Unless some runes are hidden on the hilt, beneath his hands, his sword is completely unadorned, as are his clothes and body. So then, what is the trick his sword can perform, if not runically based? I find my curiosity well-invested. It is at this time I finally hear some of the town guards start achieving some measure of order.

"Hey, Jorge's dead!"
"What?!"
"Someone broke his neck!"
"We watched the mage's golem the whole time since it entered, couldn't of done it!"
"So that intruder got upgraded to killer then..."
"Quit yammering and catch him!"
"Yes sir!"
"And someone go get Sir Harksburton!"
"On it!"

Well, at least the town seems to be slowly siding with me for my actions. Troops pound past me, my presence clearly no longer as questionable as the traveler turned murderer, streaming into the building the traveler now perches atop. I pick up my fallen finger, considering the cut, the edges surprisingly smooth, but an odd spiral pattern now etched into the injuries surface on both sides draws my attention even as I assure myself that the building before me is far too diminutive for my personage, and that I cannot follow after the guards. I step back to get a clearer view of the traveler, and finally see some of the Trepanese troops have made it to the roof, now approaching the wanderer. Once more I can feel some form of weight, density, or perhaps intensity gathering in his sword as it's magnetic field swells once more, still protected from my grasp. ....Interesting, he has been avoiding static conflict thus far, why would the traveler/killer stand and fight now?


What should I do?
>>
No. 161254 ID: 58ec1e

he appears to be some sort of assassian. the combat skills, magic weapon and superjump and trying to sneak in seem to support.

i would say some bandits dislike the new Principality and sent this assassin to kill their leader. so far we have alerted the guards and led them to this killer, i would bet he is feeling very unhappy with us.

the best course of action for us would be to capture him so we can get a good impression with sir keddik and probally get some info out of the assassin.

i think sir keddic had a similar idea to our own, that being to takeover some of the bandit overrun area and start his own country. this is likely the bandits would send an assassin.
>>
No. 161255 ID: 1f4a75

>>161253
That was before he attacked, I was trying to avoid the appearance that we were on any side of the conflict so that we could claim to be on either or none later.
Now it appears that we have been drafted to the side of the people. I agree that he is likely an assassin, one that very likely comes at a high price.

I wonder if he's a magnetomancer or if there is another party involved...intriguing.
It seems that the price we would pay to capture such a man would be a high one.

While you pursue your quarry, try to reattach your finger using magnetomancy, if it resists your power...
>>
No. 161256 ID: e2020c

>>161252

It is interesting that this traveler has brought such a sword into his possession. He seems to wield it with some philosophy of his. Maybe he is not that chaotic at all! If his warrior code could be revealed, what an investment he would be as an ally! I don't know yet, if we should help him escape, that would be against our own standing and risk the ground under our choises, and risk the earth in our decision and the serenity of our presence, at least for a while so that we might become into bad waters both with the stranger and the townfolk. Our duty is to stand on the side of the people, if this wanderer is some sort of criminal, but to aid our own ultimate agenda, we should find possible middle ground between this wanderer's agenda and the will of the people. I suggest that if the wanderer doesn't slaughter all the guards and escape, but instead surrenders to the will of the people, we should convince him that there's an atonement. If that atonement isn't possible, I think the best option would be to help the stranger escape with as little noise from our behalf as possible.

But the least we want this person as our opponent later times. If he seems at all disaligned with our intentions we should crush him now that we have a chance. But then if we attack him, he might be able cause severe harm and prevent us from achieving the full power. Then again, he might also show be the key ally in future times.

Something says to me that the wanderer might eventually stubbornly oppose our cause. What is the metaphysical meaning of index finger again? Could the wanderer have cut more fingers than just one or did he by some divine whim specifically just cut the index finger? He might have hacked the thumb, that would have meaned a potential ally.

Nah... Leadership and power. Lack of it, defacing of it. Loosing the grip of power. There is no retreat. We must crush this man.

Help the guard.
>>
No. 161296 ID: 427807

>>161256
we are a criminal, what are you talking about justice for!?

this guy is definitely an assassin, lets just follow him and see where he goes/who he kills. Lets try not to get involved in the situation more then we already are. A little more information is needed about this guy before we act.
>>
No. 161337 ID: 58ec1e

lets see how the guards fair, after they enevitably fail throw a hand full of dirt at him with the throwing magic active(cant remember name)
like with the bandit king we want to capture him for his magic. if only to find out just how much those bandits have
>>
No. 161339 ID: 58ec1e

>>161296
were not a member of any nation or country. therefore we cannot break their laws as we are nither bound or protected by them.

also, why should we wait and watch a bandit assassin kill a possible allie? if we capture or kill him we can learn of more of his magic than by just watching him.
>>
No. 161346 ID: 445c48

If you think he can hear you, shout something about how you just wanted to ask him about his sword and then go sit down somewhere.
>>
No. 161351 ID: d1210a
File 127075963365.jpg - (244.96KB , 900x1165 , Keddic Harksburton Headhunting.jpg )
161351

[DAY 64]

>>161254
>>161255
>>161256
As the day transitions from late night to early morning, I decide that there is no other rational explanation for this traveler's behavior than that they are an assassin. Coupled with the bandit presence that hangs so heavily over this area, and the radical change in this town apparently having taken place since this Sir Keddic Harksburton the 4th arrived. Combining this data, it seems logical to assume the assassin is here for Keddic's head. And if Sir Harksburton has been laboring to restore order to this land as I surmise, then I could likely use him. I decide that I shall continue assisting the guards. While doing so, I replace my severed finger and hold it in place with Magnetomancy as I begin repairing the breach. Thankfully the spirals on both sides of the injury match up, and all I have to do is reseal the surfaces and my hand is whole.

I feel the weight building in the assassin's sword reach it's peak again, and recollecting what had happened before, I act assertively, taking hold of every bit of magnetic field I can sense about the guards, and yanking them back, out of the swords path before it is swung, tugging them with arms and armor both. The sword slashes through empty air, meeting none of the opposition it's owner was anticipating, the guards spared. Yet the path the blade flashed through now is adorned with a plethora of twisters and cyclones, all growing taller and spinning more violently as the contract, kicking up a large amount of thatching from the roof's surface. In this moment of confusion, when combat is disengaged for the moment, I see the assassin once more perform one of his astounding leaps, sailing through the air to another roof top, something about his travel through the air odd, though I still could not say how. I can hear mutters and shouts from the roof above, and know the guards present their to have suffered no ill effect from my rough handling. I address the guards still on ground level about me, trying to dispel the confusion that still slows them as I track the killer, still working his way towards the large building in the center of town.

"I surmise this intruder is an assassin, Here on contract, possibly by the bandits about. Tell me, is there anyone of note in this village? Someone that a contracted killer could be sent after?"

I ask my questions as I continue trundling after the assassin, once more darting about on foot, while the guards still swarm about. My questions attract more attention to me, and I find myself becoming something of a focal point for the guards, as they follow me following the assassin.

"Uh, well, I'm not sure if-"
"We got the three council members of the Republic, Drenath, Lierio, Yu-"
"They were just regular villagers before, really."
"The council members are in the large building at the center of town."
"But they've been council members for what, six months?"
"Haven't really done much yet, just finished last bits of fortification."
"For now. Just you wait, Yurkaht will say we need even MORE defenses-"
"Quite yer belly-achin'!"
"Yes sir!"

Once more, the assassin takes a tremendous leap, and I lumber forward in a bid to catch up, but I see the assassin slash his sword at the large doors before him as he nimbly lands on the ground with a roll that ends with him running, weight building in his sword once more. I see a large shape rising to stop him within the fort, and I cannot grasp hold of the equipment about his body, as with his weapon still on his back, I could hardly think him read to face such as this. As the sword's density, it's gathering of potency peaks and it flashes forth, I regret I can do nothing for-

The sword comes into contact with the large figure's side, and I feel some blood with unusually large amounts of iron shift from the impact in the large figure's body, but the blade is halted, and the blood seethes about the wound, and I here a confident, deep-bellied laugh ring out.

"AH HAH, and that is all? I'd hoped for some spirit from you for gallivanting about Trepany like some scoundrel, but this? An attack lacking heart, lacking the weight of your soul will never fell a scion of the esteemed Harksburton lineage!"

An arm rises and strangely the sword on the figure's back is not drawn, the arm is simply tensed while the assassin struggles to pull his blade away, only to find the blood binding it in place, holding it firm in it's implacable grip.

"NOW, THIS IS HOW YOU PUT YOUR LIFE BEHIND AN ATTACK!"

I feel something vaguely similar to the weight and potency I felt in the assassin's sword burst into existence, gathering about the large figure that the assassin assaulted, the energies circulating about the form for a bare instant before surging into the arm as it whips about, the power condensing in the clenched fist hurtling onward. The assassin releases his blade and leaps back as he raises his arms, attempting to ablate as much of the impact as possible.

The fist tears through the assassin's flesh and bone like paper, blasting a gory trail straight through the assassin's upper torso. His head detaches as the fist passes underneath it, tumbling through the air before slapping onto the ground with a soft finality. The large figure takes a moment to rummage about some pockets on his form, and start to pack an old wood pipe with some dried material. The figure gathers a glimmer of the weight about itself it did a moment past, letting this power gather deep in it's belly as it breathes in. The power shifts and writhes as the figure exhales, and a tiny plume of fire puffs from it's mouth, falling upon the bowl and it's contents.

The figure leans down to grasp the assassin's head beside it's foot as it walks forth, busily puffing away at it's pipe. As the figure walks into the light, I see a shock of golden hair and a well-groomed beard atop an eight foot tall, heavily muscled man, some blood staining his side.... and I note the sword still gripped in his blood. Interesting.

The man addresses the guards in general gathered about me.

"All right, what's all this then? Can you blighters not manage to catch one measly intruder? Ah, and here I was hoping for a good bit of sport.... On that note, what is a Soul Grave doing here? Come now, do speak up, there's a good fellow!"
"Ah, Sir Harksburton, this is.... ah, well...."
"'E said that he's a 'Mage Mordre.' Shouted a warning to the guard about the intruder..."
"And opened our gates!"
"To follow the assassin, obviously."
"Good thing, Chalrick woulda been toast on his own roof back there!"
"Yeah, he can do magic-"
"Well obviously, he said he's a mage didn't he?"
"But why is it just a golem then? Where is he?"

Keddic seems to have heard enough, and silences the rabble with a tremendous clearing of his throat.

"AHEM, allow me to introduce myself. I am Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth, heir to the Harksburton estates, and it would seem you came to my aid. I could hardly sleep with the ruckus being made, so I had no issue awaking, ah-hah, yes......."

...Keddic seems to be waiting for me to introduce myself, as any proper gentleman would.


What should I say?
>>
No. 161358 ID: e31d52

>>161351

introduce yourself as per usual. Mention your plans in passing.

Finish with a semi-serious offer to shake his hand.
>>
No. 161360 ID: 1f4a75

>>161358
This and magnet draw the assassins sword to yourself.

If there are truly no runes on it then I think that he and Keddic are elemental magic users... of a sort. The assassin wind and Keddic fire. In any case this is just a guess.
>>
No. 161361 ID: 6834bc

>>161360
Isn't the assassin's sword still stuck with blood to Keddick's torso? Ripping it out with Magnetomancy might not be... well, it probably wouldn't be very smart, I think.

...Anyway, there's got to be something we can say or do to get the assassin's soul without scaring everyone else around here. I bet it has all sorts of useful and delicious information.
>>
No. 161362 ID: 1f4a75

>>161361
Oh right, it's in his side. My bad.
>>
No. 161365 ID: 445c48

Well, I'm not exactly an eloquent speaker, so listen to someone else.

But make sure to hold out your siege fist as though to shake hands.
>>
No. 161366 ID: 7524b0

Yes, I agree we should ask for permission to claim the assassin's soul.
>>
No. 161402 ID: a6ca77

>>161358
>>161361

Voting these.
>>
No. 161414 ID: 7524b0

>>161351
"Well met, Sir Harksburton. I offered only a brief explanation to the guards in my haste, so let me clear things up now! I'm controlling this Soul Grave via a form of long-distance magical control. I won't go into much more detail than that though! I've yet to publish my results, after all, and I'd still like to try a few modifications to my setup here. The instruments take up almost all the space in my room! It's just too inefficient to publish now. Why, some upstart novice would surely improve the efficiency within weeks, as it stands now. Perhaps, if I tweaked this or... no, maybe... AH, but I digress.

I can't help but have noticed that the assassin had some magical affinity. With your permission, might I add his soul to the golem to augment its abilities?"
>>
No. 161419 ID: 275a5d

Didn't the guy have an animal with him? Where is it?
>>
No. 161434 ID: 427807

grab that sword the assassin dropped.
>>
No. 161484 ID: 716eb0

>>161419
I was wondering this some time ago as well. He put a collar on it then.. what, left it standing there while he jumped the wall?
>>
No. 161486 ID: 445c48

>>161361
After introducing yourself, ask permission to see the sword and the assassin's corpse, to sate your scientific magical curiosity.
>>
No. 161503 ID: d1210a

>>161358
>>161360
>>161361
>>161365
>>161366
>>161402
>>161414
>>161434
>>161486
I extend my open left hand to Keddic as I begin speaking, and find him vigorously shaking it almost reflexively..... though I note a sense of passive weight in his hand: I doubt he simply leaves himself undefended.

"Well met, Sir Harksburton, I am the Mage Mordre. I offered only a brief explanation to the guards in my haste, So let me clear things up now! I'm controlling this Soul Grave, you see, Via a form of long-distance magical control. I won't go into much more detail than that though! I've yet to publish my results, after all, and I can still improve it further, So I labor onwards, until this is a bit more manageable system. The instruments take up almost all the space in my chambers! And sometimes the harmonization of the sensory input can be off.... ..Hm, perhaps, if I tweaked the... no, maybe with... AH, but I digress. Now, I can't help but have noticed that the assassin had some magical affinity. With your permission, might I add his soul to the golem to augment its abilities? It is a bit hard to conduct experiments without fully suitable magical capacities, In terms of what the golem itself can do. Oh, and if I could inspect the sword, I would appreciate that as well. So, would you mind, Sir Harksburton?"

Another belly laugh greets my response as Keddic speaks with far more informality in his voice.

"Ah, finally another student of the arts.... well, I approach it from the Combat Magic side, though I have learned a trick or two in the Arcane field. But still, a means of controlling a golem? Most astounding, it seems quite responsive, and the safety this offers... ah, forgive an enthusiast's ramblings, I imagine you know how important your research could be. Ah, would be most invigorating to go back to my post, and see how war changes after you submit your findings, eh? Ah, but I digress, please, feel free to help yourself to that scoundrel's soul, I would not begrudge a resource that does me no good. And here, you may inspect the sword, but know I fully intend to keep it as a trophy, it looks to be from the Land of Dragons to the south, unless I mistake it, should be a wonderful piece to reminisce about later in life!"

And with that he releases my hand and steps aside, plucking the sword from his blood's grasp to toss into my now empty hand, and I intrude far enough to reach the soul still lingering about it's body. I can see it gathering itself together ever so slowly, perhaps it would eventually become whole and potentially dangerous or resist my attempts to consume it. I choose to leave inspecting the blade for later, to assure it will not have that time. I inhale the pieces of the soul, ensnaring them as my own.

+1 HERO SOUL (HUMAN): LUO OF THE WINDING PATH


CHOOSE SOUL'S EFFECT:

--Soul travels to right shoulder, for an augmentation of the blade launcher and munitions
--Soul travels to right claw, for some augmentation of the Sable Executioner
--Soul travels to torso, for some augmentation of Dulu's copied runes and their bindings
[YOU CAN ONLY CHOOSE ONE]
>>
No. 161517 ID: 7524b0

>>161503
Torso!
>>
No. 161524 ID: e31d52

>>161503
Wait, what sort of Heros we got? It might be best to spread them as much as possible.
>>
No. 161527 ID: d1210a

>>161524
[Fang-Taker and the fragment of Thomro the Strong's soul are in the left hand, as a Soul Nexus. Ozmand The Hammer's soul is in the left shoulder, in the anti-golem cannon. Merrack the Swift's soul is diffused through the body for general enhanced alacrity and rate of movement.]
>>
No. 161530 ID: e31d52

>>161527
Then Sable Executioner.
>>
No. 161547 ID: a6ca77

>>161503
Which runes are we talking about w/ the torso?
>>
No. 161552 ID: d1210a

>>161547
[The only runes actually on the torso, those Arkus copied onto your form from your recollection of the runes on Dulu's eight-sided staff, the form his weapon took when annulled of magic. Thus far the only use you have been able to elicit is one rune with an activated shield about your own magnetic field, though whether this is due to a mismatch of the other runes to your body or due to a lack of appropriate triggers is unknown, the runes are beyond the ken of those you have asked.]
>>
No. 161560 ID: 7524b0

So basically guys if we enhance the blades or the executioner, we know that we'll get some extra offensive 'spiral' effect. Remember the tornadoes and spiral cut pattern?

However, he also had the ability to cut off his weapon from our magnetic pull. If we enhance the torso runes, we'd get a better magnetism-related ability.
>>
No. 161576 ID: 7d3697

I totally agree with the idea to add them to our torso and maybe gain more control over the runes that we do not know much.
>>
No. 161580 ID: e4c1a9

I also vote Torso.
>>
No. 161610 ID: 45be60

Adding it to our hand would improve our burgeoning soul nexus though, probably improving our ability to multicast spells in addition to cool weapon special effects.
>>
No. 161620 ID: 275a5d

Sable Executioner.
>>
No. 161627 ID: 7524b0

>>161610
We can't put it into that hand.
>>
No. 161634 ID: 427807

my vote: blade launchers. seriously, if we get those suped up enough, nothing could stop them!
I'm thinking siege blades...
>>
No. 161638 ID: 903f16

>>161503
Voting for the Sable Executioner. That guy's little trick managed to slice off one of our digits and if we plan on taking on other golems then it'd be a helpful trick to pull out of our hats. I mean we're not made of the strongest metal possible, but it's still an impressive feat all the same.
>>
No. 161641 ID: 445c48

Right shoulder. Probably get some spiral stuff on our blades. Less of a chance to lose the shoulder than the hand, too. Well, maybe, different materials and all. It's very reusable, especially since we can magic the blades back. In addition, I think we can change the mortar on the shoulder without damaging the soul, though it'll take longer.
>>
No. 161643 ID: 445c48

>>161638
Well, maybe we will be able to do that with our blades, at a distance!

probably not
>>
No. 161654 ID: 445c48
File 127078566659.jpg - (6.31KB , 160x176 , Cdno021.jpg )
161654

Also, all this talk of spirals and such makes me wonder if putting it in our chest will let us do a Top Spin.


Also if we ever get a drill arm this soul would be awesome
>>
No. 161658 ID: 2aaaf1

>>161503
Sable Executioner. We've spent so much time upgrading all our new stuff that we've completely neglected our original weapon. Sable Executioner is the very symbol of our home, give it some love.
>>
No. 161659 ID: 97fa59

First! Let us try and read this soul's last few thoughts, discover just what it was trying to do when it failed here.

Next! Sable Executioner - Everything else is more temporary, while the Sable is just going to be improved upon and, honestly, we need to up our cutting arm. We have two souls in one hand, and none in the other. That's just not kosher!

Third! We need to walk and talk with Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth, heir to the Harksburton estates. Profess a interest in the combat side of magic!
'As a researcher, I can say that the joys of combat magic have always been lost to me, however with this spell, hehehe, I can really enjoy the power you experience! Combat is so invigeroating, isn't it? You took his head clean off! pow! Zing! One hit! My good Aunt Mary, you must show me how you did that.'
Tell him we have a small band of warriors assisting us on our tests and if they would be welcome in town. Ask if we can help - we did rouse him from his sleep, after all, and a gentleman should help a gentleman!
>>
No. 161662 ID: 97fa59

>>161654
>>161654
Also: Our's is the claw that will drill the heavens.
>>
No. 161706 ID: 445c48

>>161658
Just wanted to say:

Claw arm is the first thing we upgraded.
>>
No. 161731 ID: d1210a

>>161530
>>161620
>>161638
>>161658
>>161662
The soul comes to rest inside Sable Executioner.... no, not just the claw, but the arm as well, it anchors itself widely.... strange that I can sense it so much more clearly now then the last time I gained a heroic soul. I try to grasp some thoughts from the soul as it settles in, and find some vague thoughts of a place called the Land of Dragons from far to the south, and some sort of contract on Keddic's life this one accepted. Beyond that, I can glean nothing at the moment. The soul of Luo of the Winding Path brings to my claw.... a sense of being hinged, like a new method of flexing. The connection between my claw and the rest of my arm, made of the same black steel as the blades of Sable Executioner, now has a decided spiral pattern to it, that runs the whole way up to the claws. I can feel the soul striving to apply it further up the arm, but it cannot seem to breach the border between Black Steel and the poor man's equivalent to steel, a mass of iron with a very low carbon concentration.

I attempt to manipulate this newfound degree of.... sensation in Sable Executioner, and find the spiraled connection between arm and claw unwinding, three Black Steel ribbons sprouting from my arm, each adorned with a blade of Sable Executioner. I find the entire length of metal ribbon to be finely saw toothed and lightly scalpelized the same as the Sable Executioner, and realize the blades have grown some several feet. While my original reach with my blades has grown by some seven, possibly eight feet, pushing the total reach I have with my right arm (with Sable Executioner 'unfurled') somewhere in excess of twenty feet. And with each length of blade malleable, flexible, I could likely engage more simultaneous targets. I wonder if I found enough Black Steel that I could convert my entire right arm into it, if the soul's..... roots, I suppose, would allow this effect it's had to spread even further..... a thought to consider. I see Keddic glancing appreciatively at Sable Executioner's new form, and.. re-furl, I suppose, the blades into its passive, compact state, the three blades once more parallel upon the end of my arm. Though as I tense the tips of the Sable Executioner, I see them bend this way and that, and know I could likely fold them into some limited measure of other arrangements.... though with each ribbon-blade of Sable Executioner coming out of my arm at points of an equiangular triangle, I am confined in my choices.

I turn my attention to the sword of the assassin from the south, from the Land of Dragons, both appraising it's form and it's magnetic fields now that I bear the soul of it's master and it is no longer warded from me. I see no runes on the blade, no matter where I look, and the hilt is similarly bare of visible enchantment. But I can still feel a great deal more.... not quite weight, or potency, but whatever the blade built up when the assassin prepared to strike, some of it still remains passively in the blade. And this irregularity draws my interest, as there is absolutely no evidence of decay in it's perceived 'weight' to my senses. But beyond that I can tell nothing more. I turn back to Keddic, returning his trophy, as he now calls the sword, as I attempt to move beyond this recent gain, and capitalize on my positive entrance into Trepany.

"Ah, most excellent, and thank you for letting me appraise your trophy, 'Twas most kind of you to let a stranger so handle it, especially in this form:"

"Ah, think nothing of it mage Mordre, I would always indulge a healthy bit of curiosity, it keeps the blood pumping, I'll tell you that! And might I say, those.... tentacle-inclined moving ribbon blades of yours look quite astounding, and most impressive. I imagine they are quite a gruesome weapon of war, capable of some real destruction. I'll tell you, it was a sad day when the Mosmordren Empire fell, the best foes anyone could hope for dried up, and the Soul Graves got snatched up and most of them horded away. What point is there to a functioning weapon of war, of that caliber, mind you, that isn't being used? I can understand a sword, suits of armor, but a weapon as potent as any of the Soul Graves are deserve to be used, and replicated! Why, imagine the incredible battlefield it would be, with deathly metal golems all about, bringing war to such a height that I could continue to hone the Harksburton way of fighting. Has been passed down the family since it's founding, every generation encouraged to improve it, for the betterment of the family, and it has become quite a respectable art, if I may boast about my own family, ah-hah! Well my dear fellow, I do believe I note there being some several other individuals lurking about outside the Republic of Trepany, could they perhaps be friends of yours?"

"Ah, you likely refer to the twenty five I have with me, A collection of northerners I have in my service, my apprentice, Two Alchemical Warriors I test, an assistant, oh, and one more: One of the northern barbarians, but well-versed in a strange magic, I have been finding his council from a differing approach insightful. Now, do you suppose there is room for my group in this town, At least for the night? I warn you many of them are large."

"Some Alchemical warriors, and a tribal perspective on magic, fascinating! And good to see you brought your apprentice along, can't learn all that well stuck in some lab or tower all day can they? Yes, of course there is room, beyond fortifications, the Republic of Trepany here has had a great deal of success building several tunnels and catacombs beneath the town, and have set a wonderful collection of mushrooms, potatoes, garlic and kweah-seah, an edible moss that glows in the dark I found in an earlier venture down south, quite extraordinary really. Anyway, the tunnels are all braced, and the Republic has enough food that beyond being self sufficient, proper hospitality can be offered to visitors, as any place a gentleman calls home should! Now!"

He addresses the guards still milling about, who hinge upon his words.

"Now be good sports and clear up some space for mage Mordre's, eh?"
"Ah, yeah, right on that!"
"Yes sir, ah, sir Harksburton!"
"On it!"

Keddic yawns, and motions at the house he resided in.

"Well, it is quite late, and if you don't mind, I'd rather continue introductions in the morning. I'd rather get some sleep, you understand."

As Keddic excuses himself, I meet with my troops as they enter Trepany, and find Arkus giving me a strange report of the beast the assassin was accompanied by having left some time before the shouting stopped, and the republic started to quiet down. The beast simple loped off to the south, disappearing into the distance. My group is gratefully led into a large warehouse, with a trapdoor at the end, likely to the tunnels Keddic mentioned, where my followers gratefully start to rest. I currently stand within the shed with them.


What should I do? Should I wait until dawn, or wait for Keddic to call on me, or should I wait for some other event? Or should I go do something else?
>>
No. 161854 ID: 427807

ask derkin or arkus if they know anything about the blade luo had, perhaps?
Lets wait til morning, then see what this Keddic can offer us in terms of help for fighting the bandit king.
>>
No. 161855 ID: e4c1a9

Who came out on top in the sparring? It's interesting to see how everyone is developing. I suggest we let them all rest until dawn(or a few hours after that) unless they want to do otherwise.
>>
No. 161914 ID: d1210a

>>161854
>>161855
I reflect on the sparring I saw earlier, noting that while Oggroth's followers started strong, taunts and heated matches made their movements sloppy, so they lost headway in later fights. Ugrokk's followers were able to be patient, but had difficulty dealing with the brutal, unflinching charges Oggroth's followers are sometimes wont to do. I suppose if I could suggest some manner to solve these problems, they could evidence improvement. I consider possible means of honing the skill of my followers outside of actual combat as the sun slowly rises, and Trepany awakens properly at last. I see bustle, activity and industry about the village, easily several hundred people visible about the walled enclosure of houses. I see several opening doors in the ground and marching down ladders, I assume to work on the crops in the catacombs. I recognize Keddic in charge of several dozen guards, leading them in some drills and practice, badgering them with good nature as he puffs upon his pipe. He sees me exiting the storehouse and hails me over, ordering the trainees to 'muck about on their own for a bit, see if they can't knock some sense into one another's skulls' before he addresses me.

"And good morning to you old bean, I see your late night venture did not lead to oversleeping, ah-hah, yes. Well now, since we took care of our introductions earlier today, as it were, let us get straight to the point: What has brought you to the Republic of Trepany?"

"Well, I happen to have aims on this 'Lord Barcho' character. I intend to reclaim the State research outpost he has lain claim to, And use it as a proper base for all my endeavors here. Be it gathering research data, or restoring some civility to the land, I imagine both will be easier with such resources. And on that note, I wonder if perhaps Trepany would be willing to aid me, and if a certain esteemed member of the Harksburton line might join me?"

"Ah-hah! Yes, quite interesting! Well, it would seem our purposes align rather well indeed on some critical issues, namely, on Lord Barcho. As far as I have been able to tell, the upstart ruffian controls a fair bit of the criminal activity about this area, and he has made his base a rather convenient gathering place for any would-be group of opportunists. As it is, we have to deal with at least one bandit raid a week, though the lads have fared quite well in our recent bouts, now isn't that right!"

A loud cheer goes up from the trainees before Keddic shushes them, and continues speaking to me.

"Now, the only issue here that I see, is the specifics about actually attacking that scoundrel Barcho. While he doesn't have an unlimited supply of them, I have noted some of his troops bearing tiny trinkets that could become weapons of considerable size at a touch, and some form of man-size artillery, A hand-cannon, as it were. Blasted things are a mess to deal with. And because he keeps patrols armed with such special arms as those near the outpost he claimed, I have not yet had the time to lead an expedition for some solid reconnaissance on his position.

I could hardly call the Trepanese militia here up to snuff by my standards, I'd rather not see them go into battle without a firmer grasp of what they shall face. They've just had to deal with some scuffles with small groups of bandits, a well-armed, larger force like that could really give them some trouble. 'Twould be a shame to see all this effort teaching them how to fight properly go to waste. So as much as I would like to simply hare off and march against the bandits with you, I shall stay here in Trepany, and try to expedite their preparations.

But if you DO find out some worthwhile details about this Barcho's forces, well, I would be simply pleased to wage a jolly enjoyable war against the bandits alongside you, and I imagine that the Trepanese militia would be happy to have some help gaining safety in their surroundings."

A rejection, but not a complete one: I simply need a better position from which to request aid, from an intelligence standpoint concerning Lord Barcho. That should be a straightforward solution, or so I hope. Keddic glances past my form at the Premen in the warehouse speculatively, before addressing me once more.

"You know, an idea has occurred to me. Considering how large your tribals and those two Alchemics of yours are, I was wondering if I could borrow them for a while, to expedite my training of the militia here? Would make wonderful practice partners to teach how to use teamwork against larger, stronger foes, a rather useful trick for armed forces to know, if I do say so myself. I would be grateful for the assistance if you can spare them."


What should I say or do?
>>
No. 161934 ID: e4c1a9

A splendid idea, I was just wondering how we could get to stay here longer.

I would like for all the Premen to learn English (or whatever the common language is) and for the mages to finish up that special language.

If our scouts learn common then they could get better info from scouting and for Oggroth and his guys it would be good mental training, you know master of the pen and sword, yadda, yadda, yadda.
>>
No. 161937 ID: e4c1a9

>>161934
Oh yea I was thinking on a time scale of around two weeks here. Not too long not too short.
>>
No. 161956 ID: 427807

>>161937
you know, learning a completely new language is a very, very time consuming process. At the very least we would be looking at a 6 month plan here. Although, who says they have to remain stationary to learn the language? Arkus and Derkin could attempt to teach them, and we could help with some of the translations when necessary...interesting.

In the meantime, lets send Ugrokk and two premen on a spy mission to find barcho's camp, and find a more detailed number of men barcho commands
>>
No. 161966 ID: a6ca77

>>161937

Don't forget we have a time limit on how long Verther's mage skin will stay usable...we only have approximately a month IIRC...if we add in travel times and such...we only can wait around here like 2.5 weeks max I think...
>>
No. 161967 ID: e4c1a9

>>161956
>>161966
Which is why I said two weeks. Get them started on the new language without waiting too long. I don't expect them to learn the language so quickly, especially if it is English which is apparently one of the most difficult languages to learn in the world.
>>
No. 161974 ID: 716eb0

Two weeks is probably a bit long. There is other stuff we may want to accomplish before we absolutely must head back. Learning the language can and should be a gradual process in any case, we needn't worry too much about getting it all done now. I wouldn't want to stay here longer than a week. In that time, the premen can learn some basics of the language as part of helping train the guards. Start with simple commands like "begin" and "stop" and "ohgodohgodpleasestopIsurrender" They would certainly benefit from further training against opponents the size they are likely to face on a daily basis. Most of their experience is against Yeti and eachother.

See if you can arrange a place to store the mage skin in the catecombs while you are here. They seem more suited to long term storage than any place we have yet encountered.
>>
No. 161975 ID: 7524b0

Ugrokk has that stealth field he can use... this will allow us to gather intel easily.

Perhaps we can follow him at a distance to lend aid with magnetomancy, in case he is discovered?
>>
No. 161977 ID: a6ca77

>>161967

I don't agree with this. I'm not sure exactly what you mean, but I think your plan is either to...

1) Spend all of two weeks teaching them (days,nights, etc)

I disagree with this b/c we only 3 weeks maximum to have our forces here before we need to send someone back with the skin...We need every warrior fighting.

2) Teach them in the evenings/spare time during the two weeks.

If this is what you meant, I just don't see how it would be worthwhile. In two weeks the best mastery you could hope for would be the ABC's and some simple words. We might as well use that time to scout, train, or launch attacks....
>>
No. 161980 ID: bbdfae

Moving quickly on this is important... we must acquire four additional mage skins in the next three weeks. While sitting around and training is great and all, it doesn't do anything to forward that goal, and so must be abandoned. A day or two can be spent on it at most.
>>
No. 162007 ID: e4c1a9

I was thinking more about future benefits where the language thing was concerned but I agree that the mage thing takes priority. Really wouldn't want all that Verther stuff to go to waste.
I was assuming that Kyorto would have her own methods of preservation that far surpassed what she taught Arkus but I could be wrong and that would be most unfortunate. But if there is no super preservation spell then the acquiring five skins before one rots is nigh impossible unless we found some gathering of mages that were not too strong (but not too weak) and close enough to get back in time.
>>
No. 162024 ID: 58ec1e

>>161914

we should probaly mention that creature we encountered. deffinately the sort of thing you would want a warning about.
>>
No. 162037 ID: d1210a

rolled 2 = 2

>>161934
>>161956
>>161966
>>161974
"I accept your offer, Sir Harksburton. But I have a request of my own, if I may: I wish your men to attempt to communicate with my followers, I have been finding the language barrier they possess most irksome, And I would appreciate it if in your bouts that could be worked on. I am not expecting miracles here, I hope you understand. hah! But things like 'begin,' 'stop,' 'ohgoddontkillme,' you know: The important things for an armed force to know, right?

"HAH, a good sense of humor that! Of course, I wouldn't dream of not being amenable when asking a favor! Now, if you could be so kind as to ask your tribals to come out? They won't need their weapons for now, or their armor, as I expect they have quite thick hides of their own, eh?"

I take a moment to comply with Keddic's request, while sending Ugrokk and two of the scout Premen to seek out some data on Lord Barcho's forces so that I might sway Keddic and Trepany to my side. I turn back to Sir Harksburton as concern for the long term viability of Verther's skin rises in my thoughts.

"Say, would you mind if we store our supplies underground? I imagine it is a might cooler down there, yes? Oh, and I do eventually have an appointment to the West, So I do hope to see a resolution to the 'Lord Barcho' issue soon, And as such I hope I will be able to count on your support."

"Ah, please, feel free to move your things into the tunnels, we have several that aren't being used for crops yet, plenty dark and cold. And as to the time constraints, I understand completely, sometimes things happen. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to see to organizing this bit of joint training, now don't I?"

We part ways and set to our individual tasks, and shortly the Premen are engaging groups of militia in sparring matches, and the sounds of their collective exertions assail the area as I order Arkus and Jojo to continue work on their magic language and learning more of each others' language. Finally, I aid Derkin in transporting our supplies (Verther's body included, carefully wrapped in cloth) into one of the tunnels where no plants yet grow. Once I finish, I spend the rest of my time this day working as a translator between Arkus and Jojo, trying to use my knowledge to expedite their communal learning. By the time Keddic sends the Premen warriors back, night has fallen, and all look completely exhausted. They explain that apparently, all the inhabitants of this town eventually got to give a try at engaging each of them as groups, and that after all that, they are quite exhausted. Oggroth in particular mutters about wanting to have a chance to fight Keddic directly, and pouts about not having had the chance after all that to do so yet. I go over what the Premen learned of the common tongue with Jojo and Arkus assisting me for a brief period, refusing to let them rest until I am sure they understand some bare bones basics, at least enough to recognize someone asking to surrender, and a few other important concepts. After I satisfy myself that the warriors simply are too tired to learn anymore, I return to Arkus and Jojo, to find them similarly drained. A quick check outside the warehouse shows the night much later now than I thought, and I leave my followers to their devices as I decide to stroll about Trepany, and familiarize myself with it's layout.

[DAY 65]

I continue marching about the town well into the night and into the next morning, and.....
>>
No. 162042 ID: d1210a

>>162037
As the sun rises, I still have not heard anything from my scouts, though as the outpost I seek is some distance away and it's exact location not known, I find myself unconcerned as of yet. The town fills with activity again, and shortly a runner is addressing me, asking if my warriors are available for more sparring practice, as asked by Sir Harksburton.


What should my decision be? And beyond that, what should I do with this day?
>>
No. 162059 ID: 7524b0

>>162042
Let's go out to a wooded area and try messing with Immortal Genocide a bit. It wants to feed, how about we actually feed it a physical object instead of having it leech life? Or punch a tree with it.
>>
No. 162060 ID: 7524b0

>>162042
Oh and yeah, let them spar some more.
>>
No. 162236 ID: bf4d72

To the Runner:
"Oggroth, my Mountain of Strength, wishes to duel with Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth. He has been instant and will have no other way, I'm afraid! With his ponderous strength he feels up to the task, ha-ha! I would sorely wish to watch such a duel, I must admit - I have to say that the joys of combat have always been lost to me, however with this spell, hehehe, I can really enjoy the experience! Combat is so invigorating, isn't it? Mhhm. Yes, yes, that would be interesting, and it would give me some interesting data to run. Tell me, would You like to duel?" "No? Hah! I wouldn't tell Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth about that weakness, lad! Strength your back bone, stand tall! You're a stapling lad, put some effort into it! But then tell Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth that if he bests my strength, then I would like to show him what this body can do! Maybe even some magic tricks I can use, what say you lad? How do you think would win, eh?"
"Well then! If that's all, boy, what may be done about this Well Walled city that I! The Mage Mordre! May do? Is there another assassin lurking about, for that was great fun!"
"Yes, I am sorry for your loss...that reminds me, have you noticed any odd goings on or unusual events? Bandits have a habit of unleashing the unknowable horrors of the world onto villages in this part of the world, and I would rather like to deal with such problems as they arise."

If there are no problems for us to deal with, I'm gonna suggest walking outside the village for now and testing our weapons on local trees and shrubbery. Tell the runner where we've gone, if we're needed.

As for a break down on our testing:
Two hours reacquainting ourselves with the Sable Executioner, finding the extent out this new hero soul. Try everything we saw the Assassin do, and focus on the blade.
An hour and a half with the Immortal Genocide, practicing with the sucking and the punching and wielding it for longer and longer, just trying to get a feel for it.
An hour using and focusing on our runes, trying to make the process instantaneous and trying to use our magic while it's deactivated.
And a half-an-hour on just pure combat - while yes, we are a weapon of pure war and capable of destroying any army almost single handedly, we should not forget the use of practice to become better.
Half an hour on magic - we may need to do this last, after going to get Arkus and Jojo and training with them.
If we can damage ourselves with our Magnetomacy or something not permanent, fifteen minutes training under heavy damage.
>>
No. 162305 ID: bc47bd

>>162236
Seconding the second half of this because the first is just terrible. Ugh.
>>
No. 162308 ID: bf4d72

>>162305
Oh, fine. In less ham-filled terms:
Oggroth wants to fight Sir Keddic.
We want to fight Sir Keddic.
Can we do something around town while we wait.
Have you lot gotten eldritch abominations too? Because those bastards are everywhere.
>>
No. 162309 ID: d1210a

rolled 8 = 8

>>162059
>>162060
>>162236
>>162305
"Certainly, he is welcome to their use once again: But I must note that Oggroth, that large one over there, Well, he is simply adamant about wanting to have a go, At none other than Sir Harksburton himself! Perhaps you could ask him if he would accept? I can understand if he would refuse, he seems quite busy, But Oggroth there is a rather vocal Alchemic, And I must admit he is prone to sulking."

The runner who at first looked at Oggroth with trepidation, likely due to his sheer size, my comments seem to have settled whatever wariness the runner might have had, and with a sharp salute he motions for the Premen to follow him. I make my own departure at this point, asking Jojo and Arkus to continue their collective language endeavors, and march off into the woods, looking to test several things. After marching far enough that I have reached some of the northern woods betwixt the Republic of Trepany and Lord Barcho's base, I appraise the newly altered Sable Executioner. I unfurl the three saw-toothed ribbons of metal, reminding me vaguely of some tentacle-adorned Life golem that I was used against during the war, and I set to testing their abilities. I first try to reach out to the Black Steel's magnetic field, but my Will based Magnetomancy cannot pierce the magic disrupting effect the Black Steel bears. I set to testing my new right arm.

In relatively short order, I have a fairly solid grasp of what this new arm is capable of, after having used it quite liberally, shredding several trees and shattered several stones in the process of gaining this familiarity. The blade-ribbons can roll up easily enough, and are incredibly flexible, but I note that bending them side to side and attempting to twist the blades are significantly more challenging endeavors. Still, the end result is that I now have three independently targeted, magic dispelling, saw-toothed blades, each with greater reach and maneuverability than their prior form, though I note that while unfurled, I cannot put as much weight behind a blow from any individual length of blade.

After satisfying my curiosity to the workings of Sable Executioner, I start testing Immortal Genocide again, finding drawing energy in in small amounts outside of battle far easier now that I have tried it several times, and begin methodically testing the weapon in search of it's primary function. I try punching anything I can find after storing a small charge in my fist, and while I assure myself that no tree or stone can stand before my might, I do not discover the ability I seek. I consider using some live test subjects, but the few types of game I have seen thus far are all smaller than my hand, and will be pulped simply by a regular blow from me. I do come out of this with a rather firm sense that the primary function of Immortal Genocide does involve at least two triggers, one of which is storing power in the Immortal Genocide without releasing it as a dispel, as I could feel some sort of readiness in my hand with power held within, each time I raised my fist. Perhaps there is an issue in what I am using as targets....

I spend some time thereafter trying to get more used to applying Magnetomancy to myself, as a means of improving combat performance. I rather swiftly realize that if I devote one of my two sources of magic to manipulating my own magnetic fields, I can move with significantly increased speed. Further, if I devote both of my sources of magic, self and Soul Nexus each, to controlling my own magnetic fields, I can move with greatly increased alacrity, and in general make my body handle far more responsively than it's bulk and weight would normally imply. This would mean I could not use the Soul Nexus in my left hand while so empowered, but my shoulder implements, Sable Executioner and Immortal Genocide would all still be readily available, as would the Amaranthine Annihilator and Soulfire.

By the time I have concluded my string of tests, night has fallen, and I return to Trepany, wiser for the venture. Upon my return a surprisingly cheerful Oggroth tells me that he could not best the 'Sun-Maned One' through a heavily bruised face, holding his side as he reclines against a wall, Jojo speculatively hovering about Oggroth's massive frame as he works some sort of energy he gathers into Oggroth, tending to his injuries. According to the other Premen, the fight lasted some six hours, with Oggroth finally unable to rise anymore. As I assess the status of my followers, I wonder, what have my scouts learned....
>>
No. 162310 ID: d1210a

rolled 9 = 9

>>162309
...And still I have heard nothing. I wonder how long it must take to make their way through foreign terrain and locate a structure never seen before by their eyes.

As the evening wears on I finally bid Arkus and Jojo goodnight as I conclude our language lessons with my assistance: They seem to be making steady progress at learning one another's tongues.

[DAY 66]

When a runner shows up once more bearing a request from Keddic to borrow the Premen, several groan in exhaustion, though Oggroth, still somewhat abused looking, seems eager for the opportunity.


What should I say or do? And what should I do with my day?
>>
No. 162316 ID: bf4d72

"Ha! Well, the Mountain put up such a fight. Some data on a proper fight would be useful, don't you think boy?" Pick the lad up, and walk towards where we think Sir Harksburton would be. A firm command to get the Premen to follow - guilt them.

"Warriors, do you think that you should cease while your leaders still bravely fight? Rise up and fight!"

Lets go kick ass and train our warriors and ourselves!
>>
No. 162326 ID: e4c1a9

Dang it, is everyone out to get us or something. I'm yet to find people other than the Premen that I do not think has ulterior motives.

Tempted to say no, but I think we should say yes. I wish to see the tactics of these men first hand.
>>
No. 162332 ID: bf4d72

>>162326
Why are we thinking they're out to get us?
>>
No. 162340 ID: bbdfae

>>162310
We have spent enough time here. The failure of our scouts to return is concerning at best; if Ugrokk and the others have not returned by day's end it might be time for reconnaissance in force. By which I mean marching after them and killing anything that threatens us. Make our plans for the day with that in mind, as we'll need our Premen in a fit state to press themselves physically on the morrow.
>>
No. 162347 ID: 7524b0

Allow Kerrick to borrow only those who are up to the challenge. I suspect about half of our troops would still be in fighting form? I'm not sure about Oggroth.

Also, let's try to use the Immortal Genocide's stored charge... targeting OURSELVES.

As for how we should respond, let it be with barely audible snores and mumbles about "Leana" (who is Mordre's chef in my mind) and maple syrup. Upon awakening, there should be an audible thump and a groan, then a groggy and grumpy Mage answering the Runner.
>>
No. 162354 ID: bf4d72

>>162347
Yes. Well, not the Immortal Genocide, at least not in the city and not if we go training.

Anyway, yes, Premen that haven't died on us, Oggroth, and ourselves should go get some training. Wake with mumbles and a love of pancakes. If we have been walking, continue to do so. Act confused as to why people said the SoulGrave as been walking without us.
>>
No. 162358 ID: bf4d72

>>162354
Not -until- we go training, sorry.
>>
No. 162360 ID: 7524b0

Oh wait I think I might need to write a little more than that.

"zzzz... yes, more syrup thank you Leana..."
(Runner speaks up)
"*THUMP* AGH! YES. WHAT."
(runner repeating the request)
"What, MORE sparring? Ugh, yes fine let's see... Hm, not all of them seem to be up for more, so how about half? Yes, Oggroth seems up for more abuse too, how about *yawn* that. (mumble 'I feel like pancakes for breakfast today for some reason')"
>>
No. 162365 ID: bf4d72

>>162360
Mind if I try to ham it up a bit?

We'll wait for the runner to talk a while as he tries to 'wake' us. After the first or second attempt:
"zzzz... yes, more syrup...*snore-snort*zzz...Leana..."
(Runner speaks up)
"*THUMP!* *Loud crashing, as if several books are thrown everywhere.* *Cat hissing, angry and loud. Our body start to spasm in such a way to twist and turn, without hurting anyone nearby. Loud curses and swears* AGH! YES. WHAT? BLOODY CAT! GAH, WHERE AM I?! GAH! Wah...yes, blast it where are my glasses! Yes, you...bloody hell boy where am...YES! Right! Trepany! Er...what was it you said?"
(runner repeating the request)
"What, MORE sparring? Ugh, yes fine let's see... Hm, not all of them seem to be up for more, so how about half?" Turn to Premen. "How does that sound boys? Yes, Oggroth seems up for more abuse too, how about *yawn* that. *mumble 'I feel like pancakes today'* *Loud popping sounds of an old man stretching* Ooh, there's me back. Not as young as I was...mah. *Lip smack* *Another loud pop as if stretching* Damn it, where did Weinsho go? Here puss puss puss...Blasted cat. Shows me what good it is staying up all hours..."
>>
No. 162367 ID: 7524b0

>>162365
Very nice.
>>
No. 162368 ID: bf4d72

>>162367
Thank you. I am suggesting we watch the sparring this time, but I don't know how we add that hammily.
>>
No. 162390 ID: a6ca77

>>162310

I think the reason some of us are wary of this guy is cause we know very little about him besides his name and that he wants to kill barco...

I vote to allow the sparring but while that's happening we have a talk with Harksburton...

I mean, cmon, the dude has the name of Harksburton the 4th...gotta be some interesting story there...Who is he? Where did he hail from? Why did he come here creating Trepany? What are his goals?

I'm not looking for an interrogation or anything, mind you...Just kinda curious...
>>
No. 162455 ID: 45be60

Our men should get SOME rest, half of them for training might work. You never know when they will be called on to fight on short notice though.
>>
No. 162460 ID: e4c1a9

So we send some Pmen to spar while we watch and talk to whatever his name is and send some Pmen to find out what happened to the scouts after about half a days rest?
>>
No. 162464 ID: bf4d72

>>162460
No, we let some of the Premen rest, we go off to watch, talk, and train with the Premen, as well as talk, watch and train with Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth and then, if we have heard nothing, we take a handful of scouts and Derkin and go looking ourselves.
>>
No. 162564 ID: d1210a

rolled 8 = 8

>>162316
>>162326
>>162340
>>162347
>>162360
>>162365
>>162455
"zzzzz.....zzzzgk....zzzz.....yes....... More syrup.... zzzz.... Leana, be a dear...."

"Ah.... sir?"

"...*THUMP* *topple* *Hissing cat sounds*..

I jerk an arm upright at an awkward angle and twitch my body about as I continue my charade. I fade in the Mage Mordre's voice as if he regains his position before a transmitter while speaking to someone else amidst the sounds of a turbulent lab.

"-ND YOU KEEP THAT CAT OUT OF.... right, the golem. ...Uh, lets see, fell asleep in the lab, golem in Trepany.... ok..... ...You there, would you mind repeating the question?"

".......A... ..uh, well, ah-hah, Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth asks to borrow your troops again, for training. He thinks they have been a big help in getting the Trepanese militia trained, and that-"

"RIGHT, THE SPARRING.... what, more of it? Ugh, fine, let me see...... *yawn*..... Well, Several of my followers seem rather fatigued, So for now why not only take some half of them, And Oggroth as well, as he rather clearly wants more. Tell you what, I'll come along, I have some questions for Keddic anyway."

The Runner salutes crisply before I point out the fresher looking Premen to participate in training, and marches out along with them as I consider what to say to Keddic. I note the runner sparing sidelong glances back at me, and I see him mouth the word 'syrup' with a mirthful chuckle. It would seem my ruse went over smashingly.

[+6 HAM points TOTAL HAM points: 18 NEXT REWARD: 25]

As the Premen make their way into a large group of training militia that Keddic heads up, I see the burly gentleman arranging the fighters into groups, some three or four militia per each Premen, with Oggroth facing Keddic with an eager look on his face. As the fights begin, I note that the Premen demonstrate a marked improvement in their spatial awareness in combat, and do a better job keeping track of multiple foes. This intensive training they undergo as they repeat this training with what seems to be the whole of the Republic's population seems to have significant benefit. I find myself surprised by Oggroth and Keddic's fight, as Oggroth seems to be faring very poorly, unable to stop the smaller and faster Keddic from slipping past his guard for devastating blows, yet no matter how many times he may drop, Oggroth climbs to his feet with seemingly inexhaustible determination. And while he does not manage to ever lay hands on his foe during the time I observe him, it is not for lack of effort: Keddic simply seems to have a knack for not being entrapped. When a rest period begins I address Keddic, hoping to learn more about him.

"If you don't mind me asking, why this? Why the Republic of Trepany? It seems there would be other ways to effect change, To use the power you have."

"True enough, I could just go haring off on my own and give that Lord Barcho a tremendous thumping for his troubles. But what about when a sense of wanderlust takes me? Or if I must leave before restoring order? What should happen to the people then? That is why I find it worthwhile to teach them what they must know to fend for themselves. Although I will admit, teaching farmers how to be soldiers can be a mite hard, many just don't want to kill, be it personal inclination or societal impetus. The hardest part about training a militia, I find, is making sure they can actually apply what they learn when the time comes, and other than a few butchers and hunters, none here have much experience with killing. But I can tell your followers have seen a scrap or two, and a bit of their approach to violence is starting to rub off on the militia, which I think is a wonderful bit of news. Might make the blasted buggers a bit more capable, eh?

As to why it's Trepany, that is simple enough, when I asked they said the town's founder was named Trepany, and so there it is, a simple homage to what started this settlement. I have to say though, the place seems to be pulling together very well, though the amount of questions I have to answer for the citizens can be a bit exhausting. Still, anyone of fine breeding would put up with it, eh? Ah, I must admit, I miss the simplicity of my military days, especially before I became an officer. Honestly, how they expect..."

Keddic continues on with a string of war-based anecdotes and stories as I wonder at the location and state of my scouts. I appraise the horizon one more time as everyone begins to move back in place for the second half of sparring for today, to find.......
>>
No. 162568 ID: d1210a

rolled 6 = 6

>>162564
[2+8+9+8=27 (>20), (>25), 4 rolls]

..Two distant shapes visible on the horizon, though with the distances involved, I can discern no further details at this juncture. No one else seems to have noticed them yet.


What should I say or do?
>>
No. 162580 ID: 1ac39d

>>162568
i can't tell if that is REALLY bad or okay rolls for this situation.
>>
No. 162581 ID: e31d52

>>162568
Uhm...

Well, if he rolled 4d20 and got 27? eeeehehheheh...
>>
No. 162635 ID: 7524b0

>>162568
Notify someone that you're going to go meet what appear to be your scouts. Go out and meet them before they reach the gate... just in case they aren't your dudes.
>>
No. 162777 ID: 427807

Lets wait for (presumably) our scouts to return, and in the meantime ask keddic if he knows of any nearby soldiers or arms or something that will help us when battle time with barcho comes
>>
No. 162934 ID: bf4d72

If we have a zoom feature, lets zoom in in the figures - if we don't have a zoom feature, why the hell don't we have one? Also, there are only two figures coming back - that means something happened to one of them as we sent three out.

Tell this to Sir Keddic Harksburton The Fourth. Then say something like this >>162777 with a bit of carefulness in it. Ask about how the sparring as been going, and how he finds ruling this small town However, sadly inform him that the answers will have to wait, as our scouts might be back and injured if not worse. Pardon ourselves and let him think on our questions.
>>
No. 162948 ID: 427807

>>162934
lets get answers out of him now, while waiting for the scouts to return. if they arrive in the middle of questioning, then we deal with them
>>
No. 162950 ID: bf4d72

>>162948
There's only two of them, rather then three. This bodes ill. It could either be an attack that we're ignoring, some problem that we should deal with personally, or another problem - like say Ugrokk being captured.
>>
No. 162996 ID: d1210a

[Mordre's vision is of superior capability to normal sight, and what he currently sees is what would be visible with a high-quality telescope focused to the appropriate point. Though improvements to his sight beyond that could be made.]

>>162635
>>162777
>>162934
"Sir Harksburton, might I have a moment of your time? I'd like to hear what you think about my barbarian warriors, And the Alchemic Oggroth in particular, as I hear you fought him. So, what is your take on them and their combat capabilities?"

"Well, they're a right sloppy bunch. I mean, don't get me wrong, they got strength, stamina and hardiness enough to make an ex-military like me very curious where you found them, but they have no real cohesive fighting methods, they just attack on impulse. That Oggroth, he probably has more outright strength than some twenty men, and he's taken blows that could fell a normal person without flinching, but he telegraphs everything he does, it's laughable. And I will admit, that they do have some good reflexes as well as some sense of how to be evasive or ablate attacks. But really, they are a largely ungainly bunch of louts, ah-hah! They could really benefit from a dedicated martial instruction and a bit of military discipline, give them that and some more experience, you'll have a right deadly bunch. ....Though I suppose that might have to wait until anyone can understand the bastards, eh?"

"The very reason I got them the armor first, HAH! Well, another though occurred to me recently, One that is relevant to our conflict against Barchos."

"Oh?"

"Yes, specifically, about the existence of other parties, Those that would seek to restore order like we would. I wonder if you know of any such groups operating in the State."

"Well frankly, I haven't heard all that much on that subject. We are a bit isolated here, on the tail end of the state, but I did here that north of here, near the border, some mage seized some three or so outposts, and set up shop, with apprentices and guards, the whole thing. I've heard.... mixed reviews of this individual, but other than that.... you seem a bit distracted. What is it?"

"...I think I see my scouts returning.... And they seem short a member."

"Ah. Well, do what you must old bean, I have the training to attend to. Which reminds me, BREAK'S OVER, BACK ON YOUR FEET YOU MISCREANTS, BACK TO SPARRING!"

I accept the excellent excuse from conversation richer in knowledge, and move out to meet my presumed returning scouts, forebodingly short a member. I find the gates opening without my need to take command of them as I exit the town, the Trepanese citizens now much more familiar with my sight. It takes relatively little time to get close enough to confirm that the individuals are indeed two Premen scouts.... and that neither is Ugrokk. I activate both sources of magic and apply Magnetomancy to myself, gaining a more fluid control of my form and traveling much more swiftly, easily faster than a sprinting human. I shortly reach the two scouts, to find them exhausted, and appearing incredibly fatigued, as if without the sleep fleshlings need for several days. One drops to the ground panting, while the other takes a moment to steady his breathing before telling me of their situation.

"Traveled north, had trouble navigating woods, eventually found paths through, both past villages, and those that skirt them. Found place, should be.... 'Lohrd ..Barrcho's'? Patrols out, two spotted us, Ugrokk stayed to distract trackers so others could flee. Ugrokk wounded, ordered fleeing scouts to return to Mordre. ......What ...what shall metal warrior Mordre do?"


How do I respond to this, and what do I do?
>>
No. 163001 ID: abead8

I say we ask Sir Harksburton to train our troops while we head out to see if we can help Ugrokk.
>>
No. 163002 ID: bf4d72

"Where. Get back to town, tell us were, have everyone follow. We're going to get him back."
>>
No. 163017 ID: bbdfae

>>162996
Move out! Gather our forces, get some supplies if they can be spared, and head for Ugrokk's last known location immediately. Carry the fatigued scouts if possible, since they're probably not up to continuing their forced march. Travel will take some time, so there will be a chance to rest at day's end.

Get more details on what they found- what were the numbers, organization, and armament of their opponents? How close were they able to get? What was the status of the villages, and of Barcho's holdings such as were seen?
>>
No. 163021 ID: 6bcc72

Have the scouts report to the town. We need them rested so they can lead us to the appropriate point, much better than stumbling around by ourselves.
If any of Ugrokk's men are sparring, have them rest, I think we will need men of their stealthy inclination for the extraction of Ugrokk.
I want to leave immediately but a day's rest will do them good.

See if Harksburton can have the others trained while we are gone. I'm not expecting any miracles but I simply want him to teach em simple technique via example. He can have Arkus-Jojo combo to attempt to translate if necessary.
He doesn't have to do it personally, I just want it done.

And one more thing. You will not stop moving tonight, the 'AA cannons' must have as much charge as possible just in case.
>>
No. 163022 ID: 6bcc72

>>163021
(Left this out)Remember, action without preparation is asking for failure.
>>
No. 163026 ID: 1ac39d

>>163021
and if in the middle of the night anyone trys to talk to you ignore them for a bit, if they get loud make it sound like you just woke up and set the golem on 'auto-pilot'
>>
No. 163129 ID: d1210a

>>163002
>>163017
>>163021
I scoop up the two weary scouts and begin dashing back to the Republic of Trepany, the gates barely swinging open in time for me to slip by. I bring the two scouts to the warehouse while several Trepanese citizens mill about in interest and concern at my passage. I order the two scouts to rest for the moment, and ask Jojo to do what he can to revitalize them, so that they may lead us to the outpost. I exit the tent and order the Premen to suit up and make ready to travel, and address Keddic as confusion spreads through the practicing militia as their sparring partners depart.

"Sorry about this chap, but it looks like I have an issue to handle. One of my Alchemics ran afoul of Barcho's men, so I need must head out. ...I don't suppose you would be interested in coming along?"

"I still need to see to the training of the militia if they are ever to be ready to eject Barcho from this land. I imagine this trip would take several days, there and back, and I can't leave their training alone, my good man, it would simply be improper!"

"Beggin yer pardons, Sirs, but..."
We both turn to look at Derkin, who addresses us with his full complement of weapons.
"I happen to have trained individuals in the fine art of sticking pointy things in people until they die, and avoiding getting such things stuck in oneself. I also fancy myself a decent arm at throwing weapons and their use.... maybe I could take over their training for a while?"

"Hoh-hoh, could work, could work.... Yes, and they could certainly benefit from a different training approach, new material.... yes, I would find that acceptable, if you are alright with leaving your man here to keep leading the militia in their training.... Ah, I would also like that apprentice of yours, what was his name... Arkus, that was it! Anyway, we have a few with magical inclinations themselves, and he could give them a push in the right direction. Do that, and I would be happy to step away from my work seeing to the improvement of the Republic of Trepany and assist you in raining down a most overwhelming fury upon that ruffian Barcho!"


What should I do, should I accept Keddic's offer and leave both Arkus and Derkin here to bring Keddic with me, or should I reject his offer?
[After decision is made travel north will begin]
>>
No. 163137 ID: 7524b0

>>163129
Accept!
>>
No. 163150 ID: 903f16

>>163129
Let's accept the offer. Arkus and Derkin don't seem suited to this mission anyway and it's better they stay safe here and contribute to the training of the militia.
>>
No. 163155 ID: 6bcc72

Heck, wasn't going to bring em along anyway (well maybe Derkin, but feh). Accept.
>>
No. 163181 ID: d1210a

rolled 10, 7 = 17

>>163137
>>163150
>>163155
"Done. Derkin, go fetch Arkus, You two shall be staying in Trepany."

"On it."

"Well Sir Harksburton, what do you need to travel?"

"Feh, I have my pipe and my fists, what more do I need?"

Within a short time we exit the town, the returned scouts once more energetic, though Jojo looks somewhat fatigued from having worked on them, and now rides behind Oggroth on his mount. The two scouts lead us north, in search of Ugrokk. The day fades to night after we have entered the woods north of Trepany, and eventually we set up a camp, Keddic spending some time regaling the Premen with stories of outlandish adventures. At first they seem confused by his babble in a tongue they have only a rudimentary grasp of, but soon are enthused simply by his antics in the storytelling process. The night ends in high spirits.

[DAY 67]

We begin march early after I snag a bite from the bronze plate Oggroth still has hanging from his mount as makeshift armor, and the Scouts make note that we are making good time, and should reach the battle sight later in the day.

Along our treks, we find.....
>>
No. 163189 ID: d1210a
File 127104615293.jpg - (658.35KB , 1200x713 , Random Encounter 07.jpg )
163189

rolled 10 = 10

>>163181
[7]

We stumble upon a strange sight, light playing strangely about the disconcertingly anthropomorphic tree before us. I can feel..... something..... coming from the tree, but I do not know what. As the wind whispers by, I have trouble telling just what causes the tree to sway so, it's branches, so like arms, swaying almost protectively about the small plant before it.


What should I do? Should I attempt investigation of some sort, or continue onwards?
>>
No. 163199 ID: 6bcc72

Choice a)Talk to it.
Choice b)Kill if with (Soul)fire.
>>
No. 163201 ID: 7524b0

>>163189
Investigate. Try talking to it first.
>>
No. 163205 ID: bf4d72

Greet it, but quickly. We are looking for Ugrokk who might be severally injured and this is just a distraction - as much as I want to talk to it, we can't waste too much time here...unless this is Ugrokk and we have the unusual ability for people to be trapped by world spirits when in distress.
>>
No. 163207 ID: 427807

>>163189
>>163199
lets go with trying to talk to it, and hold off on the big shit until after we find out what, if anything, this is
>>
No. 163322 ID: d1210a

rolled 19 = 19

>>163199
>>163201
>>163205
>>163207
Even with my concern for Ugrokk, my curiosity is piqued enough I decide to take a moment to investigate this finding. A glance to my side shows Keddic similarly enthralled, happily puffing away on his pipe, which he has reminded me on four occasions throughout our trip is named Old Bessie after a favored horse. I hail the apparition before us, this tree that seems to reach out and attend to a tiny plant before it, in the hope of finding sapience.

"Hello? Can you understand me?"

Something like a face on the tree turns my way, and it impression of a mouth moves. But no sound escapes, only a sighing wind that echoes down to us from the branches above, and the crude mockery of lips are too imprecise for any attempt to lipread. I appraise Jojo and Keddic each, who both seem similarly bemused. I decide to step closer, to inspect the plant it tends more closely. I note that it seems like an entwined spiral of upwardly thrust roots, a natural fractal terminating as the roots taper to nothingness.... yet there seems to be some sort of haze about the tip, that starts just as I lose sight of the ends of the roots. The roots shiver slightly as I gain proximity, before the arm-like protrusions from the attending tree encircle protectively about the growth, and I get the sense the nearby tree is trying to shelter it's ward. I still can make nothing of the sighing sounds coming from the tree branches, which I must assume is some attempt at communication.

"..Well, certainly an interesting find, but I don't know tree-speak, so... what say we continue on and worry about this later, yes?"

"..Yes, yes, you are right. Let us be off!"

I am finding it easier and easier to slip into my persona of mage Mordre, as I spend more time in the persona. I continue to periodically speak with Keddic and Jojo both on what we each thought of the strange encounter, but ultimately we end with nothing put pure conjecture, the event alien to all of us. We spend some time discussing this as we march along, and the sun starts to set as the woods start to thin again, and the Scouts note we are getting very close. Several of the Premen start to sniff the air, and note they smell blood, and the aftermath of battle. We continue onward to find...
>>
No. 163326 ID: d1210a

>>163181
>>163189
[10, 10: No Bonus]
>>163322
[19: >15, >18]

....A relatively small clearing amongst the now sparse trees, with at least two dozen corpses on the ground. Several of the carcasses have been ripped open and their innards feasted on, and I see a familiar tall shape, finding Ugrokk leaned up against a tree, slowly lowering the axe he was hefting once he sees us.

I see a deep wound in his side, where the metal of his armor was bent inward with such force it ruptured, and the leather beneath has been similarly pierced. Ugrokk's breathing sounds heavy as we approach, and he does not offer a report on his own, as he usually would.


What should I do?
>>
No. 163330 ID: e31d52

>>163326
Holy shit.

We need to get him some healing FAST. It looks like something large hit him in the side. Whatever it was, it was heavy enough to bend the metal and peirce his side.

Ask our smoking pal whether he knows of any local fauna that could pull this crap, and get to helping out best scout!
>>
No. 163338 ID: 7524b0

>>163326
I wonder if you can use Magnetomancy to move the metal away from the wound?

aaand only now do I realize we should have brought Jojo. At any rate, ask if anyone knows some first aid so we can stabilize him. Then we should bring him back to town. Possibly stopping by the tree if Ugrokk is feeling up to it.
>>
No. 163341 ID: 58ec1e

>>163338

we did bring jojo thankfully lets see how much metal is in the wound before we try to mess with it. also watchout for whoever did this, considering the wound its probaly somesort of magical supersolder
>>
No. 163349 ID: 2aaaf1

>>163330
>>163338
>>163341
HOLD YOUR HORSES PEOPLE. I'm not entirely sure /this/ is Ugrokk. Ask him a question first, we are damn close to enemy territory, and I'm pretty sure Ugrokk would approach us differently regardless of his wounds.
"How many warriors did you defeat to impress my Amaranthine eyes?" If the answer is anything but "four", be wary.
I may just be paranoid, but this seems like the perfect set up for Lord Barcho's forces to ambush us.
>>
No. 163350 ID: 427807

get jojo on the scene, and ask ugrokk what happened. vengeance must be paid against those who tried to hurt mighty ugrokk!
>>
No. 163352 ID: 445c48

Shit.

We just bought that armor, too.
>>
No. 163355 ID: 40d287

>>163349
This! Also, use Premen language just to be sure. However, approach anyway - we can take on any twisted shape shifter with our army. Also, look over the dead bodies - soul suck and try and use those new souls to gain some insight in what happened here. Check for any interesting weapons, armors, souls and dead bodies. Express happy amazement at Ugrokk at the utter badassery!
>>
No. 163356 ID: 40d287

>>163352
Which is a good fucking thing - look at what it did to that armor.
>>
No. 163372 ID: 7524b0

It has occurred to me that Ugrokk not saying anything may mean that enemies are nearby. Perhaps he does not want to alert them to his presence; we should remain silent as well.
>>
No. 163374 ID: 40d287

Eh, we can take 'em.
>>
No. 163403 ID: d1210a

>>163330
>>163338
>>163341
>>163349
>>163350
>>163355
I approach Ugrokk while hailing him in the Premen tongue, already casting my senses into the metal he wears in the hopes I can pull it free from the wound. I also add in a quick question to insure to myself that this truly is Ugrokk, I have dealt with enough instances of deceptive creatures to feel at least somewhat paranoid.

"Ugrokk, can you hear me? When we first met, how many fighters did you fell?"

"...F..four..."

It is Ugrokk then. I order Jojo to attend to him, only to find the withered form already drifting over, muttering about blood-loss and infection. The strange Premen mage asks me to do something about Ugrokk's armor, and I carefully pull back the warped metal about the wound, before Jojo begins his treatment. Oggroth tries not to look concerned, while the Premen that follow Ugrokk do not bother to disguise their unease at their leader's state. Keddic begins wandering about the battleground, inspecting the corpses and their weapons, while I move to attend to a more pressing concern: Collecting souls. Sadly, it would seem days have passed since the death of these fools, and out of more than two dozen lives lost, I find only scraps and fragments, none willful enough to persist for so long without degradation.

[+4 Souls (Human) Soul Total: 475]

Keddic makes his way to my side, several miniaturized cannons, complete with grips and trigger mechanisms tucked beneath his arm.

"Well, would you look at that, they had some rather interesting toys with them, didn't they? Oh-hoh, even a few of these would make a big difference in terms of what Trepany can do.... some thirty odd miniaturized cannons are to be had. The question is, how do we transport them? And how do they work? I see no fuse or.... ah yes, how is your Alchemic doing?"

I prompt Jojo to inform me of Ugrokk's condition, as the Premen in question seems relatively unresponsive.

"Ugrokk has lost much blood, infection risk high. no smell of waste, bowels not ruptured, but at least five days until back on feet, lost blood dangerous, take time to replenish. And if infection has set in, little can be done but hope. Will need to watch Ugrokk closely for now."

I turn to Keddic, still awaiting information on the status of Ugrokk, and inform him of the situation.

"Well, at least he's alive, and has a decent chance of living to fight another day. So, what now then?"

This leaves me with a dilemma. I have a relatively limited time frame before Verther's skin starts to degrade past the point of usefulness, and losing five days is significant. Nonetheless, Ugrokk is a valued asset, and his current condition demands a response from me, to show my wrath to Lord Barcho.


What should I do or plan?
>>
No. 163416 ID: e31d52

>>163403
We need a new scout. We aren't going to kill off our hero for a few days of speed - that's damn foolish. If need be, there are a lot of skins in the world, and we can let the skin we have go if it means being more firmly established. So ask our good friend if he has any exceptional scouts he can spare, so that we may plow forward on our plans while Ug heals.

Oh, and make sure to tell him he's been a damn fine soldier and you await his return with bated breath.
>>
No. 163426 ID: 58ec1e

>>163403

see if you can leave Ugrokk, jojo and a few of the others with kerric. Ugrokk and jojo to heal and the others to guard or help.

then head back to dropoff the mage skin and pick up some more premen. as formidable and lucky as our band is, theres only so much that can be done with twenty.

that village we helped fortify would make a good stageing point for our army.

also we should headback to check on things, just to make sure our tribe hasnt been haveing any trouble with that mage chief.

while were there we should find out more about that core beast/thing from our ghost mage and the premen shamen
>>
No. 163434 ID: 7524b0

>>163403
We can leave Ugrokk in the care of Trepany if we must leave early.

We can transport the hand-cannons via magnetomancy. That's quite simple. Speaking of salvage, can we eat any of their armor for extra Steel?

We need to find out what Ugrokk and his scouts learned about how this guy's base and troops are set up, and how many troops he has. I wager that we could stand up to his handcannon-using troops rather well with Magnetomancy on our side, so perhaps a solo ambush mission would work well if we can target a small enough camp.
>>
No. 163436 ID: 427807

We need to figure out how to get a good bit of salt from the people of Trepany, to make some sort of preservation receptacle for verther's body.
We need to continue our conversation with Keddic regarding help around the area, and recruit as many people who are willing to fight as we can. First, though, we should head back to Trepany to let Ugrokk rest. Then we should talk to Keddic, then assess our troops and decide who is going with us.
Oh yeah, don't forget to tell Ugrokk what a badass he is.
>>
No. 163437 ID: 40d287

How many days away is Mosmordre proper, anyway? If we really can't make it back maybe we could just brine and salt the skin. If worst comes to worst it might be easy to just run the distance there and back as quick as we can.

However, with the current events I'm gonna agree with >>163416 - Ugrokk is a fine warrior, our first scout, and a bro. We are gonna make sure he pulls through. Carefully help everyone back to the Republic of Trepany. If we can remember the location of that tree, I would take Arkus and Jojo out to look at it when we get a chance, or just look at it and try to speak to it as best we can.
Lets plan and scout with Sir Keddic and his men while Ugrokk heals up. That reminds me! Did Sir Keddic know anything about that tree? It seems like somethign he should know if it was so close to his lands.
>>
No. 163443 ID: 8c9d74

Hooray for guns. No sure if we have the liberty of telling him how to use it, out of character knowledge and all.
>>
No. 163448 ID: 8c9d74

>>163416
second
>>
No. 163457 ID: 716eb0

Well, TRANSPORTING the hand cannons is easy in any event. Get some metal from scattered armor and such, make a bowl shaped disk, pile them in and carry them back yourself. Apply magnetomancy as necessary.

Further examination into their function will be needed.
>>
No. 163480 ID: 445c48

Transportation ideas have already been stated, but ask for one for research purposes.

If you're extremely lucky, you or someone you eventually run into will be able to craft these. If not, hey you got a powerful weapon for a broski.
>>
No. 163547 ID: e31d52

Or we could fuse the cannons onto our own body and empower them with soulfire.
>>
No. 163565 ID: d1210a

>>163416
>>163434
>>163436
>>163448
>>163480
"Two thoughts occur to me, Sir Harksburton: First, that I am now in need of a temporary lead scout, Secondly, that I would like to see one of those cannons."

"These? Certainly, look away. And a spot of trouble for your lad there eh? Well, I'm sorry to say that I didn't bring any veterans with me to Trepany, and I really haven't had time to train them much in the fine and respectable art of scouting. So I can't help you with your first dilemma, at least not now. But please, look over the cannons as you will. I find it interesting they have worked stocks added to them like a normal musket, but a free-standing handle and trigger, but perhaps a more magically inclined inspection could learn more, eh?"

The ever long-winded Keddic hands me one of the salvaged cannons, and I carefully inspect it on my left hand's palm. I now note runes inscribed along the portable artilleries length, and note Empowerment and Fusion both present, along with several other runes. When I begin probing the gun with my Magnetomancy, seeking more knowledge on it's workings, I find a shaped shell, a snub-nosed, less-spiraled miniature of the Anti-Golem cannon round I carry in my left shoulder.

But even more interestingly, I feel a glimmer of magic woven into the weapon that feels vaguely familiar to the enchantments in my own shoulder artillery. I note a pronounced opening on the underside of the gun enveloped by a layer of tightly scripted runework, where the metal is dull yet untarnished. I sense some sort of.... fluidity to the metal within. A more thorough analysis confirms it, the metal inside the enclosure is pliable...though I wonder what it could be for...

I have our troops salvage every cannon present, and shortly some thirty four of these enchanted miniaturized cannons are being packed away as Jojo continue to work on Ugrokk, before finally declaring him well enough to be put on Oggroth's mount and moved. Several of the Premen, having taken after Derkin, have rooted through the dead bandit's belongs, and while some only come away with the odd short sword or two, one comes to me carrying a sealed cylinder, which when opened yields a rolled parchment. Keddic sees this exchange, and comes over to snatch it from the warrior's hand, and appraise it's contents. He shortly begins laughing.

"Well, this is rich! I have the patrol outline for 'Lord Barcho's Army', as well as their numbers, all thanks to this little piece of paper! Hm, four hundred men and one hundred of these special cannons, minus what was lost here..... ah, and two Lieutenants, it seems.... Oh.... Ah, you asked if we could attack Lord Barcho, and I turned you down before, yes?"

I see a truly vicious grin spread beneath his bristling beard as he continues.

"Well when we get back to town, I'd say we hash out a plan, and talk to the people of Trepany, and see just how many volunteers we can get, now that we know the scoundrels are vulnerable!"

I find no reason to object to his offer, and lead the march back to the Republic Of Trepany, to gain Ugrokk proper rest and care, and to prepare for our attack on Lord Barcho to the north, and the claiming of an Azelhaedran State military-magic research outpost. The journey is sadly beset with rain that persists into the night during our march south, but thankfully there is little wind and rain is not too torrential. We make camp after getting deeper in the forest and finding some trees to make shelters under, and Jojo continues to work on Ugrokk until he simply passes out from sheer exhaustion with Ugrokk still slumbering himself.

[DAY 68]

The rain terminates shortly before dawn, and march begins shortly after it. Jojo seems somewhat concerned about the rain effecting Ugrokk, as he has not yet been able to fully close the wound, but does not seem overly worried. Ugrokk awakens to mumble some words about metal clubs that spat lumps of iron with thunder and a roar, before subsiding back into oblivion. It would seem likely he was shot by one of the cannons then, but the fact it punched through his armor so, even after getting some made by Del Rogo, makes me believe these are potent weapons indeed. We march late into the night and are rewarded with a late arrival at Trepany.


What should I do? Should I get my men safely housed and Ugrokk seen to? Or should I talk about the situation with Keddic? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 163568 ID: e31d52

These cannons are awesome.

We should eat them and make them a part of out body. Imagine our manipulator hand, hinged at the wrist to fold back and reveal ten of these set up in a battery, then raining death with a MAGICAL GATLING GUN POWERED BY THE DEAD.

Further, we should ask what sort of tactics our smoking freind prefers, and definitely get our forces and his to working together.

We should also ask Arkus for his thoughts on these guns, and see what his thoughts are. If our former theif pal is also available, we should ask him, too.
>>
No. 163576 ID: 7524b0

>>163565
With a weapon like that, it would make sense to put in a backup capability for close range combat. I believe the fluid metal is designed for that purpose. Perhaps, it thrusts out in a blade or spear shape when the runes are triggered?

Speak with Arkus about the strange tree guardian thing, and the new runes. Privately, of course.
>>
No. 163599 ID: 45be60

...eat some fluid metal. That is all.
>>
No. 163626 ID: 8c9d74

The first thing that comes to mind is that the runes turn the fluid metal into new bullets every time it fires. That is also why it feels familiar I would suppose, as it creates new rounds after firing as you do instead of carrying pre-prepared rounds.

It would be interesting if we could incorporate the runes on it into your own form in similar ways, but we need to identify the true meaning as to the runes on the bottom.
Speak to Arkus about it as well as the random encounter.
>>
No. 163636 ID: 2aaaf1

>>163565
>>163568
>>163576
>>163599
As cool as it would be to get extra guns on us, I think we're good on our offensive capabilities for the moment. However, I do want us to consume at least one of these guns. Can we direct the fluid metal towards all of our joints? Being more flexible in combat would sure help alot when dealing with fighters like Dulu.
>>
No. 163644 ID: e31d52

>>163636
>I think we're good on our offensive capabilities for the moment.

>implying there is ever enough dakka
>>
No. 163645 ID: a6ca77

>>163636
>>163599

Hmm...I was under the impression that the metal itself is not fluid....It's the runes around it that make it fluid...

If that's the case, eating the metal itself won't do much.

Instead, we should ask arkus to transfer the new runes on the gun into the experimental section on our chest.

Actually, on that note, do we still have that magnetic field eliminating rune on that experimental rune section? If we do, are we allowed to put more runes on there...0r is it a one rune space kinda deal?
>>
No. 163694 ID: 2aaaf1

>>163644
We have thirty four cannons in our possession now. Eating one is fine, but I'm not going to waste them by having Mordre eat them all now before finding out how they work, getting the other hundred from Barcho, and outfitting the fleshlings who would better benefit from these cannons.
>>
No. 163711 ID: 23bee4

Alright, everyone who wants to eat metal - lets devour armor and swords for now. We need to take all these guns cannons back to the Republic and have them worked on - we don't need to eat all of them, and having them poured over first will hopefully be able to copy runes first without the thing going into chaos-fist mode like the last time we ate a bunch of runes.
>>
No. 163727 ID: d1210a

>>163568
>>163576
>>163626
>>163636
>>163645
I catch Arkus' attention as he emerges with the rest of Trepany at our return, and call Jojo away from Ugrokk for a moment, to confer with them while Keddic gathers up the populace for a general address. I show them both the cannon I still retain possession of, as well as my suppositions about it's function, before asking them what they know. Jojo responds first, telling me that as of yet he still does not fully understand how such implements as cannons even work, the same as the rest of the Premen. I send him back to tending Ugrokk, considering his time more valuable there, while I await my 'apprentice's' response. Arkus takes a moment to jog off to the warehouse and returns shortly with one of the tomes from the Mosmordren ruins, reading while he responds.

"...Yeah.... yeah, that sounds like it is based around the principles seen in Soul Grave mortars.... weird that they have that, since the Azelhaedran State have never possessed a Soul Grave themselves, but there it is. And looking at the runes around the indentation on the underside of the barrel, coupled with it's similarities to the implements you have, I have to feel pretty confident it is some form of pseudo-mouth, and that metal is fed in to replenish expended ammunition. I ah... I couldn't really tell you more without having a chance to do some field tests with it, I can only get so far with simple observation."

I give Arkus permission to use the weapon as he sees fit in his quest to understand it's workings better, and make my way to central building in Trepany, where Keddic has been gathering the citizens. He has already made it partway through informing the Trepanese citizens of the situation, and is just now concluding his speech.

"-O, we now know that scoundrel Barcho's strengths and weaknesses, and with the Mage Mordre to aid us, I foresee a resounding victory on the horizon for Trepany!"

A cheer starts to run through the crowd, but more than a few are stifled by yawns, fatigue prolific in the audience due to the late hour. Derkin manages to simply appear beside me, and offers that the militia took to his lessons well enough, and that at least some of them aren't completely useless at knife throwing now. Keddic dismisses the gathered citizens with orders to rest well for tomorrow, and makes his way over to me, having picked up on my desire to meet with him. I begin speaking as he approaches, easily slipping into my persona.

"I have my apprentice running tests on the cannons,
He should have more in-depth findings for us soon.
Now, I recall you mentioning experience in military pursuits,
And I must admit being involved directly in combat is... new to me.
Perhaps you could offer your take on how we should handle the coming conflict?"[/code]
"Excellent, I'd rather have more conclusive knowledge on these implements before I start handing them out to the citizenry. As to how to deal with that upstart Barcho.... well, the two patrols, as near as I can figure, where both supposed to be watching the southern perimeter about the outpost, a bit north of where we actually found their bodies and your Alchemic--I hope he's doing all right, by the by, must be made of stern stuff if he outdid so many--So I would imagine they have to be worried about further aggression from the south. It is for this reason I suggest attacking from the North, even though it would mean going a bit further out of our way. I'd offer a more in-depth plan, but as is, the data salvaged, handy as it may be, is out of date, and not as specific as I would like. Still, you make do with what you have, isn't that right?"

"Indeed. Hm, attack from the North, you say?"

"That is my opinion on the matter, yes. Actually, I am curious, what is your take on this? Might be something I missed that we should account for... Ah, and how did the training go.... Derkin, was it?"

"Yeah, it's Derkin. Training went fine enough, worked a bit on footwork and keeping yer hands nimble, did a bit of knife throwing practice, that sort of thing, to add a bit o' variety to what they know. Not sure how much they learned in such a short time though..."

"Well, even a small step forward means you have advanced, isn't that right?"

"...I suppose."


What should I do? Should I keep discussing tactics with Keddic (And if so, what suggestions should I make)? Or should I retire for the night, so that Arkus may collect findings on the cannons, and our forces can rest? Or should I do something else?
>>
No. 163728 ID: 7524b0

Whatever way we attack, Mordre should be present whenever cannons are involved. Those weapons are far too deadly to flesh-based troops.
>>
No. 163729 ID: 427807

ask keddic about help from neighboring villages
>>
No. 163732 ID: e31d52

Oh, and when or if we 'retire' we should simply keep moving.

We never did find out if AA has an upper limit to its charge. :3
>>
No. 163737 ID: 23bee4

Well, if we could look at the scroll...It would be easier.

However, lets ask just who Lord Dunce is fighting and expecting to be attacked from - it would be a good idea to talk to them.
>>
No. 163738 ID: 2aaaf1

>>163727
>>163728
>>163729
"Sir Keddic, it would be within our best intrests to seek alliances with out neighbors. The villages of Trekel and Glenston are very willing to trade under the premise of Lord Barcho's fall. The problem is not that the people are not willing to defend what is theirs, it is that they are out numbered by bandits with vastly superior weapons. And that fact troubles me deeply, Keddic. All these research facilities were state-owned, how in gods name did bandits get ahold of them? Before taking the research facilities, these bandits were no better armed than any other outlaw, it makes no sense that they'd stand any chance of taking them by force. The armor my alchemical wore was crafted by none other than the blacksmith Del Roga, if these cannons did THAT to armor of his quality, I've no doubt in my mind they could be used to repel any number of bandits that attempted to seize control. Something is not right here, the state would not allow their most important and most dangerous magical secrets to fall into the hands of these fools willingly. Even if it were the worst case scenario and the entire governmental system was corrupt, they certainly wouldn't let bandits run rampant with such precious assets. All of the bandits have their own agenda, they are only united by greed. I accept that Lord Barcho was the mastermind of the destruction so far, but the Azelhaedran State is a big place, and there are dozens of these research sites, it is simply impossible that an lesser force of bandits each looking out for their own hides could capture and keep small clusters of these facilities. Not without resistance, and damn sure not without a swift and devastating response from the military. There is a third party at work here, who it is, I cannot say. The more I think about it, the less of a threat Barcho becomes. I do not underestimate the man, I've seen what happens when a man with ambition takes the lead of a bunch of miscreants such as the ones he commands now. I'm not worried about what these bandits will do, we can crush them easily. I'm worried about what they've done already."
>>
No. 163745 ID: 716eb0

These cannons may actually be miniaturized golems in their own right, and no simple armor is going to stop them. Any direct confrontation is going to be a slaughter. But we have their weapons, and we have seen how they dress. If they can appear to be one of the bandit patrols, the militia here could get much closer before the fighting starts, and possibly even get the element of surprise.

Perhaps we can stage a feint with the premen/Mordre forces, drawing them out to counter attack. Then the militia could come sweeping in from the flank, pretending to be bandit reinforcements. They will recieve little scrutiny, since everyone's attention will be on us, letting them get quite close before opening up on the bandits.
>>
No. 163829 ID: 5ae0bb

This situation... seems...off. Need to think more.

>>163732
In regards to the upper limit on the AA cannons, could we not feed it energy from the Nexus?
>>
No. 163977 ID: d1210a

>>163729
"Any chance of help from neighboring villages? Possibly Glenston or Trekel, both have numbers now..."

"Ah yes, I heard about Glenston getting free, but you say Trekel... ah yes, somewhere to the south if I recall. Well, either way, I don't think it would be much use, we are still not done outfitting the entirety of the militia, and I doubt either village has much in the way of proper gear. Lacking that, a fight against such stern stuff as these cannons... well, it would be a bloody slaughter. Rather not do that, even if it would mean less casualties for our own troops, few enough peasants survive around here as it is. And if they die, who is going to restore the lands to proper, bountiful production of food?"

>>163728
>>163732
>>163738
>>163745
>>163829
"True enough... and on that front, I have a suggestion: If we can, we should try to insure this golem is present, Wherever Barcho's cannoneers are concentrated the most. This metal form could likely shelter those behind the golem, When we are collectively faced with enemy artillery fire."

"Hm... could certainly be effective.... alright, if you don't mind, once we identify a mass of those rogues and their blasted hand cannons, I'd appreciate using your Soul Grave here as a vanguard and moving shield both, since you offered. Anything else?"

"Yes, actually. I noted a lack of formal attire, For those that follow Barcho, and I look to exploit that: Now that we have some of his cannons, I imagine the following: Garbing some of the militia in bandit-inclined accoutrements, And arming them with the cannons we pilfered. Such a force could be useful in a number of ways."

"Indeed it could. Hm, thirty three cannons, so thirty three militiamen... yes, it wouldn't be hard at all to give them at least somewhat passable disguises ready...."

"Ah, I'd like to nominate myself for leading the force posing as bandits. I've ah.. got experience dealing with criminal individuals, and a, familiarity with their mannerisms. That, and got at least some bit o' respect with them, on account of the training I gave them, all that."

"....And that would leave me free to lead the main militia force during this sortie... All right Derkin, the command is yours. Now, about your apprentice-"

"Before you continue, know this: My apprentice is strongly aversive to fighting, And prefers research and study over combat."

"...Is that so. You would not mind if I spoke to him prior to our venture on the subject, would you?"

"I see no reason to object. I would however like to voice another idea: My warriors could function on their own, Placing a third allied force on the field."

"That is quite useful to hear, and three forces, one potentially able to pass as the enemy, useful does not even begin to describe it! ....Well then, was there anything else that occurred to you?"

"Well actually, yes. As far as I can tell, these cannons, They are based off the magics and structure of Soul Graves, In particular the armaments placed in their shoulders. I still do not know the specifics of their function, But I feel confident in my hypothesis."


"....Interesting. Well, I have logistics to attend to, determining how many militia are ultimately coming, who is selected for the false bandit party.... Oh yes, Derkin, come with me, you'll need to be present for some of this... Ah, see you in the morning, Mordre, and try to make sure you and your troops are well rested."

Without further comment Keddic departs with Derkin in tow, and after I make sure my personal forces are resting soundly, I exit the Republic of Trepany and begin walking it's walls, marching an endless patrol throughout the night as I continue to build charge for the Amaranthine Annihilator, anticipating the coming conflict.

[DAY 69]

As dawn passes by I re-enter Trepany, to find a runner waiting for me, calling me to a gathering already formed at the center of the Republic. Keddic nods to me as I approach, and I count some two hundred militia, armed and armored, attentively listening to his speech, in addition to the thirty-three that follow Derkin, now all garbed as bandits (for Derkin this was not difficult to accomplish) and all bear hand-cannons, Derkin armed with the very one I asked Arkus to inspect. Speaking of which, I now see my 'apprentice' amongst the Militiamen attending to Keddic's words.

"Right, there you are Mordre old bean, wonderful timing! I just finish explaining our situation to all the Trepanese forces, and wouldn't you know that your apprentice found it in him to volunteer his aid in this venture, what a lad! Well, most of our battle plan is based around your suggestions, but here it is:"

-Allied forces number three total:
--MAIN (Keddic, Mordre, Arkus, 200 Militiamen)
--DISGUISED (Derkin, 33 Disguised Militiamen) [CANNONS]
--PREMEN (Oggroth, Jojo, 10 Premen H. Warriors, 10 Premen H. Scouts)

-All forces march north
-PREMEN forces continue straight north, attempting to attract attention, orders to harass and evade
-MAIN and DISGUISED forces circle about to northern side of enemy outpost.
-MAIN force attacks
-After MAIN force is engaged with Barcho's forces, DISGUISED force moves in.
-DISGUISED force will try to either infiltrate the outpost during the confusion, or assist our assault, whichever action is deemed most viable on the field.
-After southern bandit forces become aware of other pursuits, PREMEN forces are to switch to defensive fighting in an effort to ground southern forces.
-MAIN and DISGUISED forces are to breach the outpost's walls before southern forces are unable to be further delayed.


Any questions/suggested changes to the battle plan, or should we begin our march?
>>
No. 163979 ID: e31d52

We march.

Make certain that our cannons are prepped, eat a little extra metal so that you can optimize certain body parts like the joints and torso, and be prepared at all times to use magnetomancy.

In fact, a low-key version of the life radar fuction would be fantastic, especially if it's spread out wide.
>>
No. 163980 ID: 427807

seems like were relying a good deal on the premen, lets hope they can handle themselves, i dont want to see them being blown to pieces by these hand cannons.
other then that the plan seems peachy.
>>
No. 163982 ID: 5ae0bb

...So I'm guessing that we can't force energy into our eyes from the Nexus?
>>
No. 164018 ID: 7524b0

Sounds about right.
>>
No. 164215 ID: 8af6b8

I would like to ask Arkus just what was said to get him to join - and talk to Sir Keddic if he's really needed or if our apperentice can jounry with us instead.
>>
No. 164233 ID: 427807

>>164215
did you not read the plan? arkus IS going with us! duh!
>>
No. 164238 ID: 12b099

Oops. Well, lets ask why he's wanting to walk with us to war this time.
>>
No. 164440 ID: d1210a

>>163979
>>163980
>>164018
>>164238
I see no reason to change the plan offered, though I feel somewhat concerned about how much pressure may come to rest upon the Premen in this engagement. We must be swift if I am to be confident in their survival, or so goes my estimate. Nearly the entire remaining populace, mostly the old and the young, turn out to cheer on the leaving Trepanese Militia on it's first joint operation, my Premen's size making my smaller force loom as we march beside the militiamen. We exit the town and head north, and for a time all is high spirits and bravado, but as the monotony of the march to battle sets in words cease as feet continue to move. I address Arkus in curiousity, wondering how he was convinced to come.

"Actually, Keddic doesn't want me to fight. Once he found out about the fire I can make with the ruby staff and axe-by the way, Del Rogo's axe is ridiculously useful-, he said that the grass and shrubs that grow around here make thick smoke, and that I was to help him provide cover for the militia to approach, torching ground for covering smoke, all that.

The day wears on with Keddic periodically doing into marching songs, before we finally call camp as the sun finishes setting, and Keddic sets to badgering his forces into setting a 'proper' camp, while I leave my own followers to take care of themselves, and move to begin marching, to further build the Amaranthine Annihilator's charge. I continue my march about the camp long after only sentries are left awake.

[DAY 70]

The camp rises early, and after a meal and pulling down the camp, we march onward, further north. It is sometime after midday when Keddic calls a halt, and sends out some scouts, while I have the Premen do the same. Between our collective forces, more than a dozen individuals fan out in search of more current intel. It is late afternoon before they return, and we begin moving shortly thereafter, with the Premen already familiar with the plan through my earlier explanations. As Keddic leads the rest of us off to the north-west to circle about, I dimly hear combat joined..... and screams go out. None sound to have come from a Premen throat.

We continue through the trees, sometimes catching bare glances at a large structure, and I see the glint of light that suggests a river or stream is near the structure. Finally, as the sounds of the Premen's roaming battle with the bandits begins to fade, the sound of cannon-fire thus far lackluster considering their numbers, Keddic motions for us to form up, and informs us the castle is some twelve hundred feet beyond the tree-line, and that we are to prepare to charge. He sees that the roaming patrols have indeed been pulled away as we hoped, and that no one stands between us and the research outpost, save whatever defenders may be insider. Derkin and his disguised force work their way back to the south, in preparation for entering the battle. I see some two hundred sets of bows and arrows being tested, and assorted melee implements being tested. I tap my Magnetomancy, and start to become aware of the magnetic fields around me, most noticeable in many of the metals about. The idle chatter dies away. Keddic raises his arm with his sword stretched to the sky as if in supplication, about to order the charge.
We are ready.


What should I keep in mind as being of tantamount importance in the initial charge to approach the castle?
>>
No. 164447 ID: 7524b0

>>164440
Deflecting projectiles. Oh, and don't forget about that lightning we saw before.
>>
No. 164508 ID: bbdfae

>>164440
Your magnetomancy. Both deflecting projectiles and keeping close track of enemy movements by sensing their metal are invaluable during the opening stages of the battle.
>>
No. 164664 ID: e04ae7

Basically if you see hand cannons, jam them and take them away. Same for real cannons... and if you feel badass enough to give lightning an easier path away.....
>>
No. 164666 ID: d1210a

>>164447
>>164508
I direct my attention towards detecting and deflecting projectiles as they come, at the forefront of our charge as a moving shield for the militia behind me. As we emerge onto the relatively flat and bare land about the outpost, I finally get a good look at that which we assault.

A squat but surprisingly wide tower of some seven or eight floors juts forth from the earth, surrounded by a five sided wall with a smaller tower at each corner and a lone, massive gate visible, with some hint of other buildings housed within the outpost's walls. Further, outside the outpost there are a a scant few permanent structures, likely stables from the look, with a plethora of crudely constructed shacks erected-and about some of those buildings, I see some people playing dice, their weapons lax on the ground, and have a hope of avoiding detection during our charge. Sadly, at least some of Lord Barcho's followers have competency, and with six, seven hundred feet to go in our charge, one of the sentries on the outpost's walls finally turns from the southern battle's scene, and after getting over his shock at seeing an army abruptly appear, he lets out a piercing cry, and the shantytowns seem to boil with chaotic urgency, bandits eagerly rushing out of their makeshift housing.....and just as quickly coming to a halt as they see a Soul Grave at the front of the opposed army.

While the bandits outside the walls are given pause, those on the walls shout back orders and run about, giving us enough time to cover perhaps another seventy feet, before a short line of cannons are directed at our forces. I stop paying attention to the data from my sides and back, and push my magnetically inclined senses forward, reaching across the span to the cannons, gaining a sense of their position and orientation. I raise my left hand and ready the Soul Nexus within to provide me with the powers of Accelerator when the bombardment begins, and Arkus begins gathering magic into staff and axe both at Keddic's command. A shout bearing finality cracks forth from the outpost, and with it I sense some fifteen miniaturized cannon rounds hurtling towards assorted points in our line.

I create a strong field of attraction between my raised hand and the incoming enemy fire, and warp their trajectory further to bring the full bombardment into my grasp. As miniaturized cannon rounds hurtle into my hand, I trigger Accelerator as soon as contact is established, and as the shells rebound with their abruptly redirected kinetic force, I guide their path.... straight into the bandit shantytown, screams and blood flying as they come under unexpected fire. I see confusion spreading through the bandits, and take a moment to inspect my hand as we charge. While I can still flex my extremities, I note a distinct amount of warping done to my hand, and several points where the metal was partly bored through by the shots before I could redirect them. This is not a sustainable tactic, to direct the fire so forcefully, but if I don't, the wealth of targets behind me would make most methods based around repelling the shots similarly difficult.

Keddic notes the injuries to my hand, and orders Arkus to begin. With some muttered Words to focus the power he holds, Arkus blasts forth three sheets of short-lived fire, igniting large swathes of grass that quickly smolders and starts bellowing out thick clouds of smoke. I lose visual perception of our foes, but I can sense the cannons being held back in absence of discernible targets. I hear a defiant roar go out from the location of the shantytown, and more pounding feet can now be heard.

The screen of smoke before us is rapidly approaching, and I surmise we will likely be faced with further bombardment, as I feel others bearing the weapons have ascended the outpost's walls, and the possibility we must deal with the bandit forces outside the castle as well seems considerable. We are approximately five hundred feet from our destination. As of yet, no sign the patrols drawn to the south are yet returning. Further, no sign yet of Derkin and the disguised militia-members.


What should I do? How do I plan to deal with any further artillery fire, and what do I keep as high priorities after passing through the obscuring smoke?
>>
No. 164670 ID: abead8

>>164666
If we cant take their artillery fire, we take their artillery. Pull their weapons with our magnetomancy.
>>
No. 164671 ID: a6ca77

>>164666

Use your magnetomancy to focus on deflection of projectiles instead of repelling them. With the smoke screen the bandits will have no clue that they are missing their targets and will waste time while we close the range...
>>
No. 164673 ID: 2aaaf1

>>164666
When the next volley of cannon fire is launched, extend your magnetic field out, and see if you can't make the fired rounds attract each other. In theory, this should stop most of their momentum by hitting one another, but we may have to use further magnetomancy to aid the process. Fire one of our blades out into the smoke, use magnetomancy to guide it as far as you can to either the left or right side of the castle wall, rake it across at a low angle, this will hopefully disable a good number of the cannoneers on the wall. Fire the anti-golem shell at their main gate, aim it downwards a bit. If the gate is weak enough, I don't want the shell busting through and flying into the tower and smashing the crap out of it. I want the outpost preserved, and Barcho to be taken alive.
>>
No. 164677 ID: 23bee4

Suggestion: pull and twist the weapons out of the grip of the bandits and attempt to cause some giggling, cackling chaos inside the bandit camp what with pots and pans flying around and cracking everyone in the back of the head. If we can use our power to sense just how the Premen are doing, that would be awesome too.
>>
No. 164705 ID: 716eb0

We are probably still too far out to directly yank the hand cannons away from the bandits. I wonder if messing with the magnetic field between the weapons and their ammunition as it leaves the barrel would mess with the recoil enough to throw off their aim. I bet they would have a hard time figuring out what was going on anyway.
Failing that though, firing a metal round through the center of an oncoming volley of metal worked once before at providing magnetic leverage. And hey, you get to fire a round at the attackers too.



And in the long term, Mordre needs to learn about orbital trajectories as they pertain to redirecting ballistic weaponry. This catching bullets thing was silly.
>>
No. 164885 ID: 427807

Using blades from this distance is unfeasible.
Instead of magnetomancy, lets try something new.
Lets focus our awareness on any bullets coming towards us, and use the three tentacled black steel blades we have to deflect the shots. If needed, we could speed up our movements with magnetomancy.
We should charge through the smoke in front of the militia and Keddic, acting as a barrier, and hopefully a target of bullets, so as to reduce the number of dead militiamen.
>>
No. 165218 ID: d1210a

>>164670
>>164673
>>164705
>>164885
If the issue lies with actually having to deal with the bombardment directly, then I shall endeavor to cripple their ability to effectively fire upon us. I reach out to the dimly sensed cannons as I charge through the smoke, the Trepanese militia hot on my trail. I feel the hand cannons being leveled at me more than see them, and choose my moment to strike. As fingers tighten about triggers, I do what I can to skew the predicted trajectory of the bombardment with Magnetomancy. It isn't much, perhaps a centimeter of discrepancy for any given gun... but that's all it needs to be off by. In addition to altering their projected path, I take hold of what bits of the weapons' magnetic fields I can, and try to disrupt their harmonious function, producing greater recoil as the cannons function sub-optimally, the shells moving slightly slower than normal. Even so, they are still very much so lethal, and my efforts have done little to change this.

It is good that I am not done.

I unfurl the Sable Executioner, spreading it's bladed ribbons wide, as I direct my Magnetomancy towards the incoming projectiles. With their rapidly increasing proximity, I find it simple to create fields of attraction between the shells, and shortly all of them are colliding with each other projectile to form into a misshapen mass of cannon-fire. With this final impairment to the bombardment compounded by my earlier efforts, I am rewarded by the single mass of shells being slowed enough I can easily ensnare them within the tentacles of my right arm, and no harm comes to our forces from the first or second bombardment. I see uncertainty and fear blooming on several faces amongst Lord Barcho's forces, but one with a stiffer spine than the rest starts beating those about him into a semblance of order while bawling out orders. Shortly, the cannons have been re-slung in leather holsters, with a forest of bows and packed quivers becoming visible atop the wall as the artillery's replacement.

Even worse, now that we have cleared the smoke, I am able to verify that the bandits inhabiting the shantytown outside the outpost have indeed regained some measure of confidence, and more than a hundred bandits now sprint towards our forces, screaming promises of hate and pain coming from a force now less than two hundred feet from us. I see scores pulling small daggers and other baubles into tight grips, and with a flash of light all now carry devastating weapons, assorted poleaxes and viciously spiked flails now gripped in place of minuscule trinkets, heavy weapons capable of punching through the militia's armor with relative ease now visible throughout the approaching force. I can feel Arkus gathering up energy for another cycle of smoke-belching fire, but I doubt he will be ready for several more long seconds.

We are slightly over four hundred feet from the outpost gates, with the bandit forces charging us directly in between us and the gates.


What should I do? What should I prioritize as being most critical to be wary of right now?
>>
No. 165225 ID: e31d52

>>165218
We have that throwing thing, right? Use it to make the ball'o'cannonball your own weapon and hurl it at them.

Secondly, shoot your blade and arc it with magnetomancy into them, while you barrel into their forces with some RIP AND TEAR.
>>
No. 165241 ID: 427807

Where the fuck is Derkin!?

First, lets blade the coming bandit group. Then use the Anti-Golem launcher against the wall, where the cannon dudes are, but just a little below them. Then soulfire the remaining bandits on the ground, then reach out and cut up any surviving with the new tentacled sable executioner.
>>
No. 165270 ID: e04ae7

Accelerate the metal ball into the gate, possibly taking out any bandits in a straight line, fire the blades out into the fray at tightly packed locals and finally use the Sable Executioner like a blender/fan and charge straight into/through the enemy.
>>
No. 165302 ID: a6ca77

>>165270
>>165241

I vote for a combination of these ideas. I like the use of the anti golem round to make an entrance into the base, but I think we should try using the metal ball like the other guy said, first. Other than that, I think all the other ideas in these posts are good as long as we remember to not get into a drawn out conflict with the bandits on the ground. Our main goal should be to violently punch through to the fortress without taking too many casualties.
>>
No. 165319 ID: 7524b0

>>165218
MAGNETOMANCY their bigass weapons! We can't let those things come to bear against our troops!
>>
No. 165321 ID: 7524b0

Oh, also, just because they're using bows doesn't mean the ARROWS have no metal in them. We can use magnetomancy on the arrows as well to keep them from hitting our forces.
>>
No. 165323 ID: 1ac39d

have all troops link up so all metal they have is touch eachother and you, giving you a lot more metal on your side and set up a magnetic denial field, any metal not touching you is reflected.
>>
No. 165380 ID: 716eb0

>>165218

What is that I hear? No source of concealing smoke for several more seconds? Have you forgotten the abilities you were born with? which all soul graves posess? which use the very power that fuels you to set the world alight? Smolder some grass!
>>
No. 165382 ID: a4ff20

>>165380
The heck? Your going to use power fueled by the souls of the dammed to set grass on fire?!?! If you really want it you can tell Arkus again.
>>
No. 165412 ID: bbdfae

Don't we have mortars designed specifically for use against mass infantry in situations just like this one? Use those on the onrushing troops and save the magnetomancy for deflecting incoming ranged fire.
>>
No. 165447 ID: 716eb0

>>165382
Yes, that is exactly what I am suggesting. It wouldn't be the first time, and souls are about to be abundant again.
>>
No. 165454 ID: a6ca77

>>165380
>>165447

I'm not sure this is the best idea. While this will give us a smokescreen, we would have to be extremely careful that the fire does not interfere with the operations of our own militia. It's hard to charge forward while coughing your lungs out due to smoke...
>>
No. 165524 ID: d1210a

>>165225
>>165241
>>165270
>>165302
I transfer the clump of munitions to my left hand, and throw them at the outpost's gate, lending their flight swiftness through both Accelerator and Magnetomancy, while I fire my Blade launcher at the bandit forces still blocking out path to the gate in question. The shells spread as they hurtle onwards, and their collective impact rends the gate apart so badly it nearly ceases to exist. With the gate breached, I turn all of my focus to my blades, plotting swerving arcs and twisting paths for the blades, that let them stay within a reasonable distance of myself. At first, this proves devestating, the repetitious scything attacks by my whirling projectiles cutting gory chunks out of the bandit numbers, but on the fourth pass, someone manages to interpose their over-sized weapon betwixt himself and an encroaching blade and upon contact, my blade was repelled. Momentary shock left me inattentive enough my control lapses and the rebounding blade is buried in the earth, and my following fifth pass is disjointed, and another blade is knocked to the ground by these hardy armaments. I recall the remaining four blades still airborne, resetting them within my shoulder, as the two forces on the field grow ever closer, militia and bandit alike howling for blood.

>>165319
With the distance between our two forces so minor, I feel confident as I reach out to the magnetic fields about the over-sized weapons the bandits carry, and start repelling them forcefully, sometimes ripping them out of their bearer's hands, sometimes dragging them along, bowling over those in the way. This maneuver leaves the bandit front line in a ragged state, which Keddic seems keen on taking advantage of, as he roars a challenge while our two forces collide.

I start whipping the Sable Executioner about, it's fine teeth and subtle edge complimented by it's new-found flexibility and reach, allowing me to saw and slice a path straight through the bandits. I halt my advance shortly thereafter, partly to give the militia time to capitalize on their foe's beleaguered state and catch up, and partly because I see a rising cloud of arrows fly forth from the outpost's walls.

>>165323
"Keddic! Get the militia together tight, make sure metal touches!"

I make no further speech as I am already backpedaling to get myself in range, reaching out to the rapidly condensing mass of magnetic fields that represents the armor and gear of all the militia, and attuning it to my own form's field. As the two powers mesh, I feel the power it contains bloom, and it is easy to create an all-excluding field of general repulsion, an area denial system based around magnetism that shunts the incoming mass of arrows away from our troops.... and with the bandits already engaged with us, the end result is brutal. Arrows fired by their own comrades, redirected by a potent field of magnetism applied to their metal heads, brings their wrath down upon the bandits, piling on top of our brutal charge and the damage caused by my blade launcher, and our forces blow straight through them, cutting down any that stand in our way as we move towards the now open gates, Keddic and I both keeping a wary eye on the forces now behind us, but after the horrendous beating we gave them, they seem disinclined to pursue too viciously, their will broken.

Another batch of arrows is loosed as we near the gates, and I note that once we started moving again I lost control of the gestalt magnetic field of all our gear, and that I would need our forces to halt and restore contact to wield it's power. Some two hundred fifty feet before us, I spy several troops moving into position, some setting up with shields and spears.... and others un-slinging cannons from their backs, making an angry, bristling wall to ward us away from the interior of the castle.


What should I do?
>>
No. 165551 ID: 45be60

Hmm, if they are all bunched up like that, its actually sort of hard to decide, would whirling death blades or a wall of soulfire be more disheartening if applied to the center of their formation.
>>
No. 165556 ID: 7524b0

>>165524
An angry, bristling wall? They wouldn't happen to be touching their shields together would they...?

Attract the arrows to them. Also, can you pull out the handcannons from the holsters of the archers?
>>
No. 165633 ID: 7524b0

Some more shit I thought of:

You could deflect the arrows via your own body's magnetic field.

You could use the blade launcher discs to shield the militia from the arrows. Both physically and via their magnetic fields.

You should probably kill the archers. After their volley is done, you could use the blades for that, or grab some equipment off of fallen foes and launch it at them.
>>
No. 165657 ID: 71d1b4

>>165556
A splendid Idea.

Now I truly see why soul graves were so devastating, especially with a mage around to do the crap wee were doing.
>>
No. 165703 ID: 427807

Anti-golem cannon time! lets aim it at the dude who are aiming at blocking us, lets turn them into a pile of splat!
Then lets blade launcher the dudes on the walls.
badabing, badaboom!
>>
No. 165739 ID: cdee93

>>165703

Hmm...I don't think that using the cannon is a good idea right now. Those few guys in the doorway have no chance of stopping modre from coming in...so why waste a non renewable resource like the golem shot on them?
>>
No. 165756 ID: d1210a

>>165551
>>165556
>>165657
Before we get too much farther away from where we engaged and bypassed the bandit force now behind us, I take command of the two deflected blades embedded in the earth, and pull them free into the air, spinning as I rid them of their detritus before they are reclaimed. I note heavy warping where each one was bashed against something far more sturdy than it, and simply slip them part-way back into their slots, to worry about when I get the chance. I fire the functioning four blades in broad, sweeping arcs, curving their path to bring them into alignment with the rows of archers and cannoneers atop the walls. While I send this attack forth, I direct my additional source of magic, the Soul Nexus in my left hand, questing forth, feeling the condensed mass of metal before us occupying the blown-open gates. I feel shield touching mail, cannons against gauntlets, and I try to snare as many magnetic fields as I can, and simply attract them to one another, as strongly as I can.

Panic and confusion erupt nearly instantaneously amongst the broken gate guardians, as their bodies and armaments both entangle in a horrible mess, where cannoneers dare not fire, lest they hit an ally. Their pilfered metal armor, likely supplemented by the very outpost I aim to take, is now their bane, as with increased proximity I find it easy to manipulate, with it so tightly packed together. Above, I see the blades I fired cutting into the defenders above from both flanks, carving gory trails towards the middle. I spaced them as a parallel set of zig-zagging blades, and they year through the forces above with abandon.

As the blades come closer to crossing paths, I see the bandit who had been shouting orders pulling cannons from the hands of bandits on either side of himself as he leaps into the air, his body whirling about. I here two resounding booms intertwined as the blades meet his spinning form, and pass him by. Two blades are flung free, shells from the hand cannons lodged in each blade's teeth, and as I draw them back I classify them as significantly more warped than the previous two reclaimed blades. Thankfully, the final pair of blades seems to be functioning perfectly well as I slot them back into my shoulder. We have advanced to the final one hundred feet between us and the gate, when I spare a glance backwards.

The bandit forces from the shantytown seem to have regrouped and are pursuing us, more than one hundred feet behind us. Their numbers are reduced from our earlier assault, perhaps ninety still standing, but every shifting weapon seems to be in their hands, despite their reduced number. I suppose they salvaged the others from their fallen, but this also means I will have issues if I try to use my blade launcher on them. A glance forward shows the troops guarding the gate struggling to free themselves from their magnetized entanglement.... and making some progress. As they manage to remove contact between individual pieces, they lessen the strength of the attraction, and begin extricating themselves. As of yet, they still have not gotten the cannons retrained on us.


What should I do? And should I ask Arkus or Keddic (and through him, the militia) to do anything in particular?
>>
No. 165759 ID: 71d1b4

If you can reach the mass of bullets you shot into the gate eairler, I would suggest that you send them flying towards the Gate guards, spend some extra time on it to ensure at least some damage, then turn around and Soulfire.
Now we can use this great flame as a barricade and the smoke as a cover against the pursuing bandits.
After the smoke comes up, reach out and capture the fields of the approaching bandits' gear and bind them to each other and the ground. The ground effect should be like increased weight on them, making them waste energy on maintaining the charge.

Arkus and gang should still be going while you do this.
>>
No. 165824 ID: d1210a

>>165759
I reach past the soldiers massed together before us, to the hand cannon rounds still scattered about the insider of the wall, but find them too distant to move with enough force to make them dangerous, let alone lethal. But now that I am no longer splitting my magical attention, I apply both of my sources of magic to the fields of attraction, and what little order the guardians had yet restored is lost as they clump together ever-tighter. As I pour every bit of Will I have into this task again and again, I turn about while slowing down, breathing out the supernatural flames within my furnace not to claim lives.... but to deter our followers.

SOULFIRE

[-3 Souls. Souls Remaining: 472 Minimum: 12]

I inflame a narrow, long band of ground, and the hungry emerald conflagration quickly spreads, the smoke it kicks out now obscuring our defenders from our sight.... and with the lethality of the flames involved, delayed enough by having to circumnavigate it that they are no longer much of a concern. Turning about again as I race to catch up to the militiamen from my pause, I note that Arkus has gathered a considerable amount of power into both the ruby staff and the axe Del Rogo smithed, but he has made no move to use it yet. As we close the remaining fifty feet to the gates, I glance upwards towards the wall's top.... and find the lone survivor who damaged two of my blades to have vanished, along with every hand cannon atop the walls, though I can feel the dismembered corpses still bear all their other accoutrements forged of metal.

The mass of defenders, still help captive by my Magnetomancy, are easy pickings for the militia, dozens of blades plunged through exposed gaps in armor as the helpless defenders are slain. With their owners dead, I feel the metal I ensnared become more responsive to my whims, and hurl the corpses from our path... while claiming the twelve cannons that had been amongst their number, and attracting them to my grasp. I am determined to not let more of these valuable weapons slip from my grasp. I peer about intently as we enter the outpost's inner area, and find several squat stone buildings visible, with several people visible milling about, though none seem inclined to challenge you. Keddic orders the militia to begin sweeping the buildings in groups, while he appraises the tower and it's rune inscribed stone gates. As several bandits begin to pour from each of the five towers at the wall's joints, the bearded man, once more puffing away on his pipe absentmindedly orders the reserve force with him not engaged in sweeping the buildings to meet the new force, and considering the numbers advantage the militia have, I can grasp why he seems so unconcerned with their conflict. He does take a moment to take the cannons from my grasp and dole them out to some of the warriors near him while strapping three about his body, all while focused on the door before us. I spare a glance behind us to see the other bandit force has not managed to crest the Soulfire I employed, and realize Keddic has begun speaking to me.

"..Well, what do you think about this Mordre? I recognize some three forms of defensive runes on this blasted door, and the tower itself seems similarly insulated. I don't know how-"

Keddic stops talking as a lone bandit charges him, full of terror-fueled desperation. The blade draws no more than a single drop of blood which then grips the blade with supernatural force, as a lazy smile spreads across Keddic's face.

"Well, well. At least you have spunk, lad, I'll grant you that. Now.."

With an almost regretful gathering of power, Keddic smashes the bandit's body to paste, letting the blade drop to the ground as he returns to our conversation.... or tries to, before his eyes dart upward a scant moment before his body is flung aside, crashing against a nearby building.... a cannon round now embedded in the building, having deflected off Keddic's shoulder.... only after chewing a deep gouge into his flesh. Despite his battering, I see a smile that dwarfs the prior, something primal, almost psychopathic about his face.

"Hold that thought old bean, I seem to have found some real sport!"

I turn about to see Keddic racing towards a rooftop figure, hand-cannons slung all about his form, and as my senses reach him I note that I cannot feel any of the metal he carries, their existence obscured from my perceptions save sight. Another glance shows me at least one cannon present in each guard-tower's protective confines, and irregular booming shots now echo from all about, not just Keddic's growing fight with the gunman. The Militia seem to be fighting acceptably so far, but they are starting to suffer casualties, and as a relatively green force this could be a critical time for them.... or perhaps Keddic's training will see them through. Beyond that, the militia engaged in sweeping the houses seem to be performing admirably so far, mowing down the scattered resistance they face with limited losses. The main structure, the seven story, wide tower before me defies my ability to sense within it's confines, and the runes worked into both the gate and the tower at large are varied, thought I recognize the empower rune Arkus showed me in several places. I wonder about the state of the Premen that follow me.... as well as where Derkin has gone. As a final worry to deal with, I see movement through the broken gates about this outpost, and imagine the bandits outside have now begun to bypass the obstruction, making their way forward to re-engage.


I have many issues to deal with right now, what should I focus on, and how should I approach the issue?
WHAT DO?
>>
No. 165827 ID: e31d52

leave keddic to his fight and help out the worst off men.
>>
No. 165836 ID: 58ec1e

>>165824

have Arkus check the door, support the milita.
>>
No. 165918 ID: 427807

AA and anti golem cannon!!!
>>
No. 165919 ID: 2aaaf1

>>165824
>/MAGIC/ Defensive runes
Immortal Genocide PAUNCH
>>
No. 165963 ID: 445c48

Make some ghost soldiers with nearby souls.
>>
No. 165998 ID: 7524b0

Hey. Why don't we check on the Premen? They could probably use a hand right about now.
>>
No. 166117 ID: ae7fbe

[Well hers the new problem, in order to keep up the ruse, we are going to have to know as much about magic or more than our current companions]

Confer with Arkus about the runes on the door and see if he can't do anything about it. If not,[The IG consumes energy but does it interfere with runes?We will see.]time to impress everyone around. Place chaos hand on door and activate the IG, deactivate and then use a pristine soul to help you chaos/disintegrate/force yourself through the weakened door.
>>
No. 166131 ID: cdee93

>>165963

Voting this if we have the time.
>>
No. 166132 ID: bbdfae

>>166117
This situation hardly warrants the use of a pristine soul. We're not in significant danger as far as I can tell, and those loyal to us are not in dire straits. We have only a few of them and should save them for desperate moments.
>>
No. 166143 ID: 427807

>>166132
hes never said anything about using a pristine soul...
>>165963
lets do this to help out the militia, and then do this >>165998

>>166117
we cant abandon our troops in the middle of battle. as much as i hate it also, we must hope the premen can do their job by themselves.
>>
No. 166147 ID: 12b099

>>166143
I would think it's a good idea for us to try and use our magnetomancy to get a feel for how the Premen are doing. Other then that, yeah, lets 'quiz' Arkus on the runes of the door, and have him copy them down for later use...and if Arkus doesn't know what to do with the runes, Immortal Genocide or break through the door frame rather then the door.
>>
No. 166150 ID: 58ec1e

tell arkus to have a look at the door while we help the milita. when they look like they have everything under control head back to the door/gate and see if he learned anything useful
>>
No. 166154 ID: 445c48

>>166143
He did say to use a pristine soul.
>activate the IG, deactivate and then use a pristine soul to help you chaos/disintegrate/force yourself through the weakened door.

>then use a pristine soul

Bad idea, I'm going to say. Admittedly, it might result in a more stable/upgraded IG, like the pristine soul to our eyes did. But we should save them for Holy Shit Bad moments.
>>
No. 166183 ID: ae7fbe

In lieu of the soul-powered IG, we can use normal IG then super Ozmand Anti-everything cannon
>>
No. 166190 ID: 427807

>>166154
woops, don't i feel like a cat out of a barrel, now huh!

>>166183
lets try the IG thing, but im afraid that if we use anti-golem cannon on the door, the entire tower may break somehow. We want to use this site as a research post, lets try to minimize damage to it
>>
No. 166200 ID: ae7fbe

Just for kicks "OPEN SESAME!!!"
>>
No. 166707 ID: d1210a

>>165963
>>166131
I see souls by the dozens around this outpost's interior, and I trigger Immortal Genocide to pluck free those nearby souls for personal use. crackling, writhing strands of light connect the nearby souls to my hand, before all are reeled in, my gluttonous fist feasting without reservation. I feel a need for some nine souls from my own reserves, to supplement the nine masses of soul amalgamations that have formed, and give the price freely.

[-9 Souls. Souls Remaining: 463 Minimum 12]

Nine spectral forms of luminous, oozing fire, vaguely humanoid in their shaping, leap free from my hand, and move to my will. They here my concern for the total battlefield, and begin spreading throughout the militia, seeking knots of bandits.

>>165827
>>165836
Thoughts of how to stay within the confines of my cover while questioning Arkus, or perhaps assaulting this door with my full armaments flit across my mind, but ultimately my first thought it to preserving the lives of as many of the militia as possible. Trepany is likely to become a trading partner in the future, and it would not do to have their labor force unduly reduced. I charge towards the nearest guard tower, snaking out a tendril of Sable Executioner to neatly decapitate a cannoneer perched above while simply crushing another bandit to paste with my fist. With my aid the militia around me quickly start building momentum, and claim the tower and soon begin spreading along the walls as well as upon the ground. I see only a scant few cannoneers to any given tower, but all their eyes are being drawn to this, and the distraction costs their defenders, who suffer without their cover-fire. The soul soldiers I crafted seem to be spreading decisive militia victory wherever they go, carving through the bandit resistance. The remaining four towers lose precious ground as they react to the loss. I continue to fight alongside the militia on the ground for a short time longer before I glance about the battlefield.

Keddic seems to be enjoying his battle with the gunman, which seems to now be leading them from rooftop to rooftop, Keddic furiously pursuing a surprisingly evasive target that continues to connect shot after shot. Despite the bombardment, Keddic continues to close the distance, knocking aside what shots he can with his sword, the rest all but nullified by his ability, whatever it is he does with his blood. Some defensive combat magic I presume, Blood magic based.... but not, it feels different, though I could not say how. I snap out of my consideration as I note the gunman is now down to some half as many hand cannons as I noted before.... and that Keddic has suffered several injuries during this time.

The militia seem to be performing spectacularly, and with the soul soldiers spearheading their attacks, they maintain their crushing momentum in my absence. They wash over the bandits nearby, and I would not be surprised if soon everything bar the main tower itself became ours shortly.

The tower remains irritatingly impregnable to me, and I even see Arkus venting all the stored magic in staff and axe both in controlled, concentrated bolts, first to heat and then to freeze the stone of the door. In any normal situation, this would lead to shattered rock and an avenue to enter the tower by. But the runed doors stand implacably firm, registering no response to Arkus' attack. He turns back to watch the fight with one eye as he tries to pull free a book to reference, staff now in the crook of his elbow.

The most pressing news comes when I turn back to the broken gates in the wall, to see bandits armed with cannons pouring in.... with the Premen as hostages. I see Oggroth, still on his mount, his hands bound in the chains of his own weapon, with some five guns pointed as form, leading in the rest of the Premen, thankfully all accounted for. The group of bandits continues to grow as more pour into the inner area we occupy, and I now recognize many of the warriors from the bandit group I slowed with soulfire, now following new leadership. Hand cannons are readied and aimed at Premen heads as one of the bandits calls forth a simple edict:

"SURRENDER, IN THE NAME OF LORD BARCHO, IF YOU WISH YOUR MEN SPARED!"

I hear a rustle of movement from the central tower now behind me, like cloth being pulled and shifted. The first signs of life from the tower thus far.

But more pressingly, I recognize the voice commanding me to surrender.... as Derkin's. And I spot several of the disguised militia scattered throughout the bandit forces, who all present stony faces.

Derkin winks.


What should I do?
>>
No. 166742 ID: 7524b0

>>166707
Go along with it. Request that negotiations be started.

Meanwhile, attempt to get those hand cannons away from Keddick's opponent via magnetomancy. Assist him from a distance. Perhaps, you can slow him down a bit, enough for Keddick to catch and dispatch him.
>>
No. 166919 ID: 427807

we need to figure out a way to quickly free the premen while disarming or momentarily stunning the guards, excluding derkin and his group. something with magentomancy should do the trick.
once the premen are free, we need to motion to them and the guards to get the fuck out, while we AA barcho...IN THE FACE!
>>
No. 167082 ID: d1210a

>>166742
>>166919
Keeping the Premen safe is of paramount concern to me right now, and considering that many of the guns trained on them belong to neither Derkin or the disguised militiamen with him, I decide that I shall go along with this change in events. Further, Derkin's behavior leaves me inclined to believe him still in my service, so I do not second-guess myself as I command the militiamen to stand down, in absence of Sir Harksburton to command. He is still darting about the area as he engages the gunman, finally in melee range. I reach out in an attempt to take command of the gunman's metal accoutrements, but find myself still repulsed, the metal simply not there as far as my Magnetomancy is concerned. I can feel the tremendous sense of weight gathered about his sword as he prepares to kill- no, the degree of harm Keddic intends to bestow upon his foe far exceeds what 'kill' can properly define. Keddic's sword will not kill this foe, it will end their very existence, smite them from the face of the planet.

The gunman recognizes the threat hurtling towards him, and brandishes both the hand cannons he carries in a hurried attempt to intercept the blow before impact. Twin resounding cracks of thunder report the firing of the hand cannons, and two shells rocket forth to meet Keddic's incoming blade, the recoil hard enough the gunman is already hurtling away. The aged blade filled with potency chasing after the gunman simply.... disintegrates the shells that attempt to impede it's progress, heedlessly continuing forward in it's brutal arc. The blade soars towards the gunman- and is met by a a metal curtain, the braces of cannons the gunman still carried now held as makeshift shields. And as the cannons are cleaved in twain by Keddic's wrathful blow, a power that feels hauntingly, achingly similar to my own is terminally disrupted, jets of escaping magic now propelling the gunman the rest of the way out of Keddic's reach. The gunman was able to escape his own impending doom, a point that seems to give Keddic significant irritation. Derkin clears his throat and once more calls out, his voice carrying far more easily as the sounds of combat have largely died down save for Keddic and the gunman's duel.

"A-HEM! CEASE HOSTILITIES IMMEDIATELY IF YOU WISH YOUR HOSTAGES UNHARMED!"

Finally Keddic is distracted from his conflict, and takes a long four seconds to do a triple take at the changes wrought on the battlefield whilst he was engaged. He seems to come to a similar conclusion to me nevertheless, and shortly replaces his sword and raises his hands as he walks over to the huddle mass of militia about me.

"Hope you know your man well, Mordre."

Derkin puffs out his chest as he marches forward, and bawls out another raucously loud proclamation.

"HAAAAAAL-RIGHT, ATTACKERS SURRENDERED. Oy, you, you and you, go make sure Lord Barcho knows about thi-"

"There is no need, I attend to the situation at hand the same as you."

All turn as a voice issues forth from the squat tower behind us, and a bearded man with a thin beak of a nose dressed in ill-fitting finery pulls aside a curtain to peer out from a higher level of the tower. ...Strange, I did not recall seeing any windows or openings of any sort in the structure earlier. The man who I must assume is Lord Barcho continues speaking while the gunman dusts himself off and makes his way about, collecting discarded cannons.

"Well done, well done. I was starting to become somewhat concerned, but it seems you have the situation well in hand."

"Yesser, I figured they'd value their comrade's lives, seems I was right."

"Indeed.... And a Soul Grave amongst them, quite the find."

"Thankye kindly melord. So what do you want done about them?"

"First, find out who controls that golem, I-"

Keddic's rumbling, deep-bellied laugh cuts through Lord Barcho's speech, and into the silence he offers scornful words.

"You daft ruffians, you won't find Mordre no matter how hard you look! HAH, you've managed to get a mage able to remote control golems aggravated with your roguish ways!"

Lord Barcho, who had been turning away from the window and letting the curtain fall, sticks his head out once more, his curiosity clearly peaked. I see Derkin looking at me, clearly unwilling to speak right now. He has, however, managed to sidle back to Oggroth's side, and discreetly pantomimes someone breaking free of restraints as he inclines his head towards the Premen, and finishes with a vicious little smile. The discarded weapons of the militia have been piled high nearby, to the right of the bandit force Derkin, the disguised militia and the Premen are in.


What should I do or say?
>>
No. 167108 ID: 427807

"CCCHCHCHHCHCHCHCHAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGE!"
then fire AA. into Barcho's face. oh yes.
>>
No. 167111 ID: bbdfae

>>167108
That may or may not actually dispose of Barcho. We need to somehow lure him out of his tower and thereby render him vulnerable before tipping our hand regarding Derkin.

Our best chance at doing this is probably to say something which implies that he needs to inspect the runes on the golem to understand how it works or to track us down. With any luck, as a mage he'll be tempted enough by the possibility of gaining such knowledge for himself that he will lose some of his caution.
>>
No. 167112 ID: a6ca77

>>167108

Hold your horses for a minute...I agree that AA to the face would be extremely effective, but it looks like this guy is a mage also...perhaps we should explore the possibility of getting another mage skin....

If it's too difficult of course we should just kill him and be done with it...While we want the skins, we also don't want to risk everything for them...
>>
No. 167162 ID: 445c48

First off, if you're next to Keddic, nudge him, and say "Subtle". Second off, do what other people say.
>>
No. 167173 ID: 12b099

Or...we could reach up, grab the head, and pull him bodily out...
>>
No. 167182 ID: 7524b0

"Yes, my associate is correct. You shall not find me. Perhaps we can negotiate for the release of my hostages? I could let you examine the runes and magics surrounding this golem."
>>
No. 167209 ID: 2aaaf1

>>167082
"So, you are the man I've heard so much about. A word then, Lord Barcho, there is a matter I would have us speak upon."

Incoming ham after the next update, just a fair warning.
>>
No. 167215 ID: 45be60

I am not sure if this is a *good* idea, but it is an idea nonetheless.
"Indeed, I can control many things. Watch now as I control even your own men! Ahahaha! See them turn on eachother! Ohohoh!"

And hey, those runes protecting the door? Don't we have an anti-magic powerfist to try out on it? Dispelpunch!
>>
No. 167352 ID: d1210a

>>167111
>>167112
>>167162
>>167182
>>167209
Before I address Barcho, I nudge Keddic at my side as lightly as I can, and murmur a short message to him, hoping he will grasp my meaning.

"Subtle"

I then elevate my voice to more audible levels, and address the curious gaze of Lord Barcho, wishing he was not at such an elevated window I cannot simply grab him. I grasp about in the hopes of finding something to say to draw him out of the tower and it's warded walls.

"My associate here is correct, I do control this golem remotely. ...Hmm, so you are the the one I've heard so much about, interesting. You strike me as the arcanely inclined, perhaps I can offer you.... Compensation to return my men to me, hmm?"

"After you have slain so many, and brought chaos unto my home?
...Well, it depends on what you can offer. So tell me, fellow mage;
Why should I return your troops to you? What do you have to offer?"

"My years of study have given me control of many things, This Soul Grave here, and the method to remotely control golems, Those are just one piece of knowledge I have to offer. Methods of dispelling magic, creating a gaze of death, all are possible, If we can come to an agreement about the return of my troops."

Lord Barcho considers my words for a moment before decisively nodding his head, and finally letting the curtain fall. As it drops into place, I watch it reshape itself into more of the smooth-featured stone of the tower walls. An interesting bit of magic, that. Some time later, the runed stone doors slowly swing ajar as a group of nine march out of the tower, Lord Barcho surrounded by better equipped and in general more alert looking bandits than those we have yet encountered, two cannons strapped to each one's back, with a long brace of oddly shaped knives running down each arm. Their armor gleams dully.... and is not sheltered from my Magnetomancy, interestingly enough. Barcho keeps a reasonable distance away, some hundred feet or so, with a small wall of his elite guards betwixt us as he speaks further.

"Tell me more about control, and what you know of it, and I might let your men live."

Lord Barcho himself feels... vague, indistinct. I can barely sense the iron in his blood, and I sense no metal baubles about his person, but he carries a slender, rune-etched staff with a head-sized pearl gleaming atop it, and his presumed guards seem inclined to give him space. ...And yet, I cannot help but think of Arkus as I appraise this Lord Barcho, self professed mage....

>>167215
And make a snap decision.
I hope Derkin and the others can pick up on it swiftly enough.

"Indeed, I can control many things, 'Lord Barcho'. Watch now as I control even your own men, Ah-HAH-HAH!"

Derkin at least seems to grasp my intent instantly, and swings both of his hand cannons (where did he get another one?) about to now face bandits with cannons still trained on the Premen. Before he can even pull either trigger, several of the disguised militia realize what is going on, and likewise begin targeting the bandits about the Premen. As Derkin pulls the trigger of one of his guns, I see Oggroth roaring in glee as more shots echo out, and he simply slips his hands free of the entwining chains and hefts his weapon, the other Premen similarly escaping their 'captivity' with alacrity the bandits were clearly not ready for. And with the rain of gunfire from within their own ranks scything through the majority of those holding hand cannons of their own and/or the morphic weapons, the bandits are having difficulty reacting, chaos sown in their ranks in the space of two sentences and their immediate repercussions. I continue speaking, playing up the ruse I have begun.

"Yes, see them dance to my whims, And turn on one another, Oh-HOH-HOH-HOH!"

[+2 HAM Points TOTAL HAM points: 20 NEXT REWARD: 25]

I see Keddic wearing a wide smirk on his face as he charges forth, chasing down the gunman he fought earlier despite the dozens of gouges scooped from his flesh, the blood not falling thanks to his particular form of combat magic, and ludicrous amounts of weight begin gathering in his body and weapon alike as he chases his prey. The two dart by the pile of confiscated militia weapons while havoc breaks out amongst the bandit force, and I decide to further exacerbate the situation. I reach out to the metal in their gear, and attract them to my body, letting them fall to the ground after their brief and jumbled flight right in the middle of the militia in the limited space about my body. A flurry of activity now breaks out amongst their numbers as they rush to re-equip themselves. I turn back to face Lord Barcho, still behind his wall of guards, still gaping at the chaos I have wrought. I have, from his perspective, stolen the loyalty of dozens of his troops with but a word, freed the Premen hostages, started a slaughter amongst his troops, and initiated the re-arming of the militia forces....

All in roughly five seconds.


What should I do? Are there any particular orders I want to issue to my allies?
>>
No. 167358 ID: 7524b0

>>167352
If Lord Barcho is surrounded on all sides by his guards, and they're vulnerable to Magnetomancy, then attract them all to eachother and CRUSH Barcho in the middle! That should keep his skin relatively intact, yes? If I misunderstood and they're all right in front of him... Clump them all together to one side of Barcho then launch your Anti-Golem Cannon at them to kill them all at once.

Do either of those while advancing towards them. If Lord Barcho is trapped, use your Darksteel Tentaclaws to carve him out of his iron prison and break his neck. If he's free, use our newfound SUPERSPEED ability to rush in to grab him. Use the Tentaclaws and Animus at the same time to deal with the elites.

Make sure that they can't shoot your troops, if possible.
>>
No. 167367 ID: 2aaaf1

>>167352
Now would be an excellent time to cut off lord barcho's retreat. Get between him and the entrance to the tower. Furthermore, relieve him of his guards, toss them over the walls or something. Then, get up right in his wrinkly old face, cause we're gonna explain his new situation REAL nice.

"Barcho, what I'm about to tell you should come across as no surprise. You, sir, are an IDIOT. You've terrorized the innocent, and plundered powerful magics that you can't even control. You claim to be a MAGE? You don't know magic, old man. You couldn't tell pyromancy from magnetomancy or MYFOOTUPYOURASSomancy. You are all so ignorant and foolhardy, it is truly a wonder you even got this far. Your colleagues have haphazardly summoned a CORE BEING, and YOU have somehow managed to do something even worse: you pissed me off. Now, here's how things are going to proceed; you have three choices, ready? First choice, I kill you right now and I paint this entire outpost red, afterwards I will make a necklace out of your butchered body and a stylish dyed rope noose. Second choice, you make yourself useful and do something good for once in your rotten life, help me undo the damage you've done to the people of this land and I won't kill you- but I will see you driven before those you wronged, and I will see you atone properly, even if it breaks my schedule. Or, you can do something REALLY stupid right now. Go ahead, take the life of one of my soldiers, I DARE you. Do you know what happens then? Option number three, I will put you and your men in shackles, and parade you through the villages you've decided to harass. Then, I will bring you before the prison of the core being, I will open it's cage and watch as it eats you alive, I will rip you from it's jaws and heal your wounds, I will sit atop the beast's back and use you like a carrot on a stick. Through your suffering, I will rid this state of every wiseass who thinks he can control what is not his. Your greed will be your undoing, Barcho. You have a choice to make, people are hurting and dying as we speak, do you desire to be one of them?"
>>
No. 167385 ID: 445c48

More ghosts!
>>
No. 167394 ID: 427807

>>167367
no.

>>167385
yes!!
and AA barcho in the face now!!
>>
No. 167408 ID: a6ca77

>>167385
Agreed. Useful buggers. Plus it's not like we won't have a large harvest of souls after this.
>>
No. 167412 ID: 5e0e33

Just to make sure no funny stuff happens. Cause the elite-bandits to repel each other and throw them away from you both.
Then activate the IG to stop Barch from using magic. He is a mage after all.
"Now Barcho, I have shown you all that which I have offered, well almost all," *Ruby eyes Glow*, "and as it seems I have freed my own men, maybe we can discuss other...compensation".
>>
No. 167415 ID: bbdfae

>>167352
Whatever we move to do, do it swiftly- use both our magic sources to boost speed so that we can take advantage of Barcho's confusion. We can probably move fast enough to capture him before he can even react.
>>
No. 167432 ID: 12b099

>>167358
- Or at least the 'Magnetomacy the Guards' bit to trap Barcho.
>>167412
>>167367
These, roughly in that order.

I would love to try and find a way to get the soul of the gunman that Sir Keddic Harksburton the 4th is chasing around, but I don't know if that's feasible - if we can't, we should at least play Yakety Sax for Sir Keddic.

If we have any Spirit Warriors left over, I don't think we need any more. If not, make more. Also, defend our warriors, while we make the self-made Lord-Mage piss himself.
>>
No. 167666 ID: d1210a

>>167385
>>167394
>>167408
I once more tap the tertiary powers of Immortal Genocide, writhing ropes of light latching onto freshly released spirits about the field and haul them in. The breakdown and reconstruction of the souls into proper amalgamations takes little time, and now that I know what I am looking for, I make note of it's need for some five souls faster than I did last time, gaining a rough sense of timing for this ability as five more spectral warriors leap from my hand, and begin coordinating with the nine others already on the field, bringing terror and death to the bandits wherever they go.

[-5 Souls. Souls Remaining: 458 Minimum 12]

>>167358
>>167367
>>167412
>>167415
Creating this fresh batch of short-lived spectral warriors bound to my will takes little time, but I nonetheless use the time wisely, a vicious attack plan forming in my thoughts. I reach out to the metal in their arms and armor, noting the rows of throwing knives they feel much the same as the expanding weapons some of the bandits are equipped with, and attract them towards each other, trying to steel away their stability. I see several midway to drawing darts from their braces, and one is already rapidly expanding into a heavy full metal javelin, but they are swept up in my manipulation of magnetism and clumped together much the same as the gate defenders were earlier. With their magnetic fields now blending together due to contact, I take hold of the now larger field and repulse them forcibly to the side, clearing my path to Lord Barcho. I let my hold on the guard's armor vanish as I turn my attention inward, taking control of my own magnetic fields while placing my hand to the ground as a brace for the Anti-Golem cannon. As the tremendous booming report of my cannon issues forth, the shell slams straight into the still-tangled mass of Barcho's guards. While several are either killed outright our terminally wounded by the attack, some could still be a threat. When Ozmand's spirit brings it's ghostly wrath down in the wake of the cannon fire, however, no survivors are to be found, blood and gore flowing freely from their now crushed forms.

I dig my hand into the earth to gain better traction, and take off at a dash, infusing my command of Magnetomancy into myself. The world blurs as I accelerate radically, racing towards the fleeing mage. Belying my bulk, I roar past the escaping fleshling and spin about, coming to a halt directly before the still open gates of the central tower, blocking Barcho's only hope of escape. The face that previously held arrogance and smug contempt now holds only confusion and a sense of lost, wandering terror. I lean in close as he skids to a halt and falls to his knees as fear claims his footing. I wrap my left fist about Barcho's form as the last of his men surrender, and a discontent Keddic makes his way through the spreading calm, disappointment clear on his face.

"Now Barcho, I have shown you all that which I offered... Well almost all,"
I let a small burst of scarlet Soulfire exude from my ruby eyes before I continue,
"And as it seems I have freed my own men as well. Maybe we can re-enter discussion, from a new vantage point, hmm? As my theory goes, I believe you to be a fraud, no true mage at all, And I would here what such a person could offer to spare their own life, Considering the mess you have made of the countryside. So tell me, 'Lord Barcho,' what is your life worth?".


After the stereotypical blubbering of a fleshling forced to face the issue of their own fragility and mortality, Barcho does indeed admit he is no true mage: Indeed, his descriptions would put him as less competent than Arkus, hardly worthy to lead so much. And that is when he makes his offer, his last ditch effort to find something to keep himself alive in this day that has become a nightmare for him. It seems that He has managed to decipher enough leftover notes and pieces of theorems that he can replicate the morphing weapons design principles that were developed here, and he offers this knowledge, which took him more than two years of exhaustive testing.


What do I say to Barcho's attempt to buy his life? What should I say or do?
>>
No. 167706 ID: e31d52

>>167666
Hmmph!

Kill him, eat his soul, and tell Arkus how these things work. We don't have time for this shit.
>>
No. 167717 ID: 7524b0

Hrm. Could be useful...

I haven't decided yet.
>>
No. 167819 ID: bbdfae

>>167666
Well, if he's not a mage, his skin is worthless to us anyway. That means the only resource to be gained from him is knowledge. Let's take it- if we can be confident of learning it from absorbing his soul, that would be effective; if not then leave him alive at least long enough to transfer the information of value.
>>
No. 167822 ID: a6ca77

>>167666
Let's not kill him quite yet...He has info on the current situation in this area. Other forces, etc. Let's find out what he knows at least...
>>
No. 167824 ID: 1ac39d

let him know right now that you will be watching him the whole time. if his information is accurate then he will have stayed our hand.
>>
No. 167828 ID: 2aaaf1

>>167666
"Luckily, you are worth more alive than dead. Your meager soul will not better my golem. Guide my men to your research- AH, no. You, are staying here my friend. I am not so daft as to allow you the safety of the runes that adorn this tower, you will verbally tell us where you have hidden the morphing research. I will have none of your nonsense, Barcho. As long as you are useful, you will live. After this research is complete, I'm leaving you at the mercy of Trekel, Glenston, and Trepany. You can beg them for your life all you want. Now then, we've work to do everyone, CHOP CHOP."
>>
No. 167846 ID: 7524b0

Well, if he's not truly a mage then don't kill him. Let's get his info.
>>
No. 167859 ID: 7524b0

Oh, and where did Keddic's prey go to? If he's not too far away we might still be able to nail him with AA.
>>
No. 167917 ID: 12b099

>>167859

We are not a kill thief. We would like the soul, so lets just look around the battlefeild and join in the running if everything looks under control.

And lets ask this false-mage about the core beings please?
>>
No. 167927 ID: 66bad5

Ask him where it is located and have Arkus fetch it. After conformation gather them all up to face Trepaneese justice.
>>
No. 167960 ID: 427807

>>167819
He's a mage, but a really weak mage. (less adept then arkus)
I think we should keep him alive, mainly to train as a better mage so we can harvest his skin for Kyorto. Think about it, collecting 5 make skins will takek a good bit of time longer, and rather then having to deal with another decaying body (in addition to Verther's), we should keep the skin alive, train it so kyorto can use it later on, and keep it from being destroyed by decay.
However, if it seems either like Barcho is too much of an idiot to learn, or too compelled to try and run away, we should just kill him.
>>
No. 168011 ID: 445c48

Eat his soul, and some souls that aren't your ghosts that are around you.
>>
No. 168037 ID: a6ca77

It seems like there is a lot of different opinions on whether to kill him or not...

Anyway, while we decide whether barcho lives/dies, make sure you mop up the rest of the bandit force and suck up as many souls that you can get before they all disappear. In particular, try and get the soul of the guy that was fighting kedric earlier.
>>
No. 168043 ID: d1210a

>>167819
>>167822
>>167824
>>167828
>>167846
>>167927
"You will tell my apprentice where everything is, Should you need something from within the tower, To explain the theories you have grasped, Then he will be sent to fetch it, not you. So... explain to me what you have learned."

While no formal issue of surrender was given by anyone on their side, the bandit forces, faced with giant warriors, magical treachery, the beatings we have given them and the capture of their leader finally breaks their spirit, and their bodies follow suit. The surviving bandits are now either throwing their arms to the ground in their own surrender, or attempting to flee. I see the gunman taking command of the swiftest to flee, and leading them in their retreat even as the militia barricades the broken gates, trapping the slower bandits within. With their escape now impossible, the last resisting bandits begin throwing down their weapons and surrendering as well, unwilling to continue. Keddic casts a surly, reproachful eye at the distant fleeing figure of the gunman and other bandits, before taking command of the militia, and leading them in accepting the bandit's surrender. I watch the soul soldiers I created dissipate, the magics holding them together unraveling in the absence of battle, before turning my attention back to my captive.

Barcho spends this time rather frantically rattling off descriptions to Arkus, who shortly departs to gather the requested goods. A multitude of nervous expressions traverse the bandit's face, and I detect him trying to squirm in my grip several times before Arkus returns, an armload of papers and scrolls under his arm, the militia still working to handle their first prisoners of war in a 'proper' manner, their conventional concerns resurfacing as the battle fever fades. I set Barcho down inside a ring of militia, armed and ready to fillet him should he flee, his papers within reach. After taking some time to nervously fidget and mutter to himself, Barcho explains what he has learned about the morphic weapon research that went on at this research outpost, prior to it's capture.

>>168011
While the former leader of these bandits speaks, I pace about the battlefield, claiming souls as the militia is busy securing captives and Barcho makes his bid to preserve his own life.

-Morphic weapon research was one of the two research pursuits of this facility, the other being magical applications in artillery.
-Weapons are treated with a form of liquid metal infused with World and Will magic to bestow a secondary form.
-The treatment process requires the use of Word magic, and Barcho has deciphered the original Words and their intended tonality, with carefully transcribed instructions on proper pronunciation.
-Weapons can either be given a second form that is simply a larger version of their normal shape, or given a completely different shape, and the changes in the Words used during treatment have been worked out for several weapons, all manners of spears and poleaxes, as well as a selection of assorted heavy, two handed weapons.
-A weapon's secondary form cannot have a total mass more than one hundred times as great as the normal state of the weapon, and only all metal weapons can be used.
-To treat a weapon, the amount of liquid metal used for treatment must have at least as much mass as the weapon being treated.
-The Research outpost has an enormous runed crucible within it, filled with already prepared liquid metal infused with magic for treatment. It currently holds approximately fifteen hundred gallons of prepared material.
-Thus far, Barcho has not been able to determine how the magically infused liquid metal is created.

Barcho continues his ramblings after admitting to not knowing much about the 'morphic fluids' as he terms them, beyond how to use them, and also makes note of what he has learned about the other field of research here, the fusion of magic and artillery.

-The 'Hand-Cannon' design was a large focus for the artillery research division, as some 108 functional hand-cannons were found within the facility. Some sixty others in assorted states of construction were also found, none currently operable.
-The cannons can grow their own ammo, at the rate of one per minute, given sufficient resources.
-To craft new ammo, any available metal is to be pressed against the indent observed on all hand-cannons, where the metal will adhere and be absorbed.
-The type of metal used as supplies has no impact on the composition of the shells, they always match the cannon itself.
-Any breach to a hand-cannon's structural integrity will destroy it's functionality, with the weapons being made durable to compensate for this.

>>167960
As Barcho runs out of things to say while pleading for his life, I consider a rather novel approach to my long term goal of gaining skins for Kyorto: If I were to take him with me and train him, I could give him the years of experience with World magic needed under my tutelage, possibly even find a way to expedite the rate at which his body becomes saturated with World magic, and only end his life once his death will grant me the final of five mage skins. Considering the difficulty I could face with getting five skins ready at the same time, given the relative rarity of mages, this option to mold Barcho into what I need shows promise. It is at this time I finish perusing the battlefield, the last bit of ambient souls now within my iron belly.

[+82 Souls (Human) Soul Total: 540]

But ultimately, I find I must make a decision, as all eyes have now turned to me, Barcho's attempts to preserve his life now of interest to the militia and their new prisoners alike, though I see such a plethora of expressions adorning faces I could not begin to guess at how either group feels about this.


What should I do, should I let Barcho live, or claim his life? And now that the battle seems to be over, what should we do?
>>
No. 168057 ID: 12b099

How many casualties do we have? What does Sir Keddic think? If Keddic needs to go back to The Republic of Trepany. The Core Being, we need to find out about that.

As a side note, I am rather worried about actually teaching such a simpering fool any real magic - he could rebel the fool. However, I do want to see this liquid metal - this might be good for us. Talk to Sir Keddic about what he want to do with these guns - I would like to eat maybe five of them.
>>
No. 168118 ID: e6debe

Indeed, I too feel it would be a mistake to teach him anything. Kyorto did say that the mage had to have used this magic for a good period of time and Barcho's attitude thus far strikes me as one belonging to a weakling that got drunk on power, a trait that never disappears.
It is best to end this and take his soul. My guess is that his willingness to share a moment ago will allow us to gain any information that he decided to keep from us. See if Keddic has any plans for him. If he does we can modify as necessary.
Also if we consume him and some guns we might find ways to improve the strength if our own armaments.

One more thing, 100xMODRE!!!!(Allow super sizing using the magic!!! Then we can take on that super huge Golem!!!!!!!!!Won't work on the eyes though...)
>>
No. 168125 ID: 7524b0

I know what this is.

This is the same magic that allows Soul Graves to repair and maintain themselves by eating metal.
>>
No. 168130 ID: 445c48

Eat the fucker. Can't risk empowering a guy like that, he'll probably back stab you [And by you I mean Arkus, our real magebro]
>>
No. 168131 ID: 445c48

Also, it's a bloody shame that we couldn't nail the fleeing gunman with AA and eat his soul, he seems like he'd be a boost.
>>
No. 168141 ID: d1210a

>>168118
[Not enough fluid for Mordre's body, too bad]
[Replacement OH YEAH use: Make dozens of full metal javelins, give treatment, store in primary mode on Mordre's body, eject, trigger their secondary mode, and fire them the same way Verther fired javelins earlier. With source a full-sized javelin, expanded version will be dozens of feet long, and have significant mass.]

[So yeah, no SUPERSIZED MORDRE, but how about MEDIEVAL MISSILES?]

[Feel free to come up with other ideas, as there are many applications for this limited resource.]


>>168057
None of the Premen seem to have died, their wariness of the cannons that brought down Ugrokk having served them well, and barring the cannons, they faced relatively little in terms of a threat. The militia suffered minimal casualties, having immensely benefited from my actions throughout the conflict. Only some thirty of their number are down, eleven of which are already dead, the others bearing varying wounds that keep them from mobility. I see grief on many faces, but Keddic is already there, forcibly drawing the mourners attention away from the loss by expounding on the immensity of their success. When he notes that Trepany can now claim to have won a war in a single skirmish their first time on the field, many faces smile and several let out laughs, the sorrow dissipating, at least for the moment. After he takes some time to get the Trepanese militia once more organized and handling their newly-obtained prisoners, I take a moment to speak with him while Barcho fearfully awaits my judgment.

"So tell me, what do you plan now? Perchance a venture back to Trepany? I'll admit to concern over my other Alchemic, Even if my healer stabilized him, And there is the matter of the Core Being..."

"I imagine so, yes, smashing success as this event was, the Republic cannot be denied so much of it's population without due cause. And beyond that, these ruffians we captured need to be put to work, restoring the husk of a village west of Trepany ...Tell you what, I'll send a messenger back with word on your fellow the moment we get back, and while you wait for word, perhaps you can get an inventory of this place's supplies, all that. Ah, which reminds me, I'll leave a detail of some three score militia here, to help you clear the fields of corpses, claim what is salvageable from their personages, all that. So, how does that sound to you?"

>>168057
>>168118
>>168130
"A moment, If you do not mind."

I reach out to Barcho, still close at hand, and wrap my hand lightly about his form. He has a moment to look confused before I snap his spine, and feast on his emerging soul. I comment to Keddic beside me in an effort to maintain my cover. I feel no flood of knowledge from the soul, only an infinitesimally small increase to my magical strength accompanies the meal, and a dim sense the fool knew nothing of his own supply logistics, just that others would bring him what he needed. I begin babbling in my attempt to appear the engrossed professor.

>>168125
"..Yes, as I thought, he did plan to deceive us, Blighter was only thinking of how to escape, useless.... Still, he was telling the truth about his findings, Oh, and interestingly enough, both the hand-cannons, And the morphic weapons seem based on none other than: The principles governing Soul Grave function! This is a rather happy coincidence if I do say so, And the chance to study both of these shall be rewarding! Why, if I took some time to look over this-"

"*A-hem*, Mordre, if you do not mind, there is much to be done, so, do you plan to stay here, and let me send word back while you work on an inventory, or do you want to come back and check on your man yourself? I'd rather know now so I can plan this properly, old chap."


What should I say? And if I plan to stay here, what should be worked on?
>>
No. 168193 ID: abead8

>>168141
Would we be able to somehow use it to augment our anti-golem cannon? Fire a round 100x larger than normal.
>>
No. 168194 ID: 2aaaf1

>>168141
If we can't have him grow, can we make him shrink? Smaller, faster, harder to hit Mordre would be awesome. Also, whatever we do plan on using the liquid metal for, designate a large amount that is to be left alone. We don't know how to make more of this stuff yet, so we need to preserve as much of it as we can, using only the smallest possible amount for our research.
>>
No. 168198 ID: 3add87

Hrrrrm...wonder if it'd be possible to compact the anti-golem rounds so several could be stacked into the cannon at a time and fired sequentially like one of the Metal Storm guns...
>>
No. 168203 ID: e6debe

>>168141
Aww...no super Mordre but Medieval scuds more than suffice, and I'm sure Oggroth wouldn't mind a super sized wrecking ball, that is as long as weight isn't affected, he's strong but probably not that strong.

"Oh..ah yes, yes go on then. Make sure that messenger arrives promptly"

Have a walk inside the tower.
>>
No. 168225 ID: a6ca77

I think the javelin idea is cool. It certainly gives us better options at range...but I want a small addition to it. Can we make it so that after the javelin hits a target, it suddenly grows barbs (on the javelin) inside their body?
>>
No. 168299 ID: ef30ff

mini cannons mounted on our forearms? maybe 4-5 smaller ones on one, (med range) and 1 larger cannon on other like sniper rifle (long range).
>>
No. 168521 ID: 427807

i cant believe you guys voted to kill barcho... idiots...

anyways, lets stay at this research post for the time being; research new armaments, have arkus study all the fucking books he can find, and start rebuilding that front gate. First thought, send the militia grunts to deal with the dead and all that.
>>
No. 168542 ID: 445c48

I doubt we can use any of these suggestions that are about altering our form, at least not without finding blueprints/training up Arkus a lot more.
>>
No. 168771 ID: d1210a

>>168203
>>168521
"Oh..ah, yes, yes go on then. I'll take stock here, make assessments, And while I do that, that messenger you'll send, You'll make sure they get here promptly, yes?"[

"Don't worry so much old bean, I'm sure your fellow is fine. Well then, I'll say my goodbyes now, once I get the militia moving, I won't want to stop them just to bid farewell. The battle was well fought, and your assistance brought victory to Trepany. I imagine you'll be setting up shop here, since we managed to take it with so little fuss, eh?"

"It is a start, and I hope to do much from here. Well then, I imagine I'll see you again at some point, But until then, fare well, Sir Harksburton."

"You as well, Mage Mordre."

As Keddic gets the militia and their hostages organized, Oggroth, Jojo and the other Premen approach me, and make mention they are concerned for Ugrokk, Jojo in particular saying he needs to resume Ugrokk's treatment immediately, if he is to assure that the warrior recovers properly. Oggroth says nothing, but backs up Jojo's request with an almost childish amount of trepidation, clearly fearful I will reject the request. Considering how vital the Premen were in the recent struggle, I elect to accept their request for leave, or at least, that is the term that comes to mind for what they request.... though I imagine this is due to my militaristic past and purpose both influencing my thoughts...

I grant them their leave, confident the sixty militia Keddic will be leaving with me can handle the work I'll need done. As I do, I order Derkin to walk the grounds, and find out what the buildings within and without these walls may hold, and what supplies are present. I send Arkus into the central tower, to perform an inventory, and appraise any documents or writings he finds, a task which he sets to with clear glee, eager to delve into the knowledge held within the thick stone structure. I wave to the departing party Keddic heads, the Premen tagging along. I turn to the sixty Militia obediently awaiting my orders, and command them to clear the field of corpses, and reclaim any and all salvageable goods carried by the deceased. It is a grisly task I set before them, and I see several recoil at the thought, but be it out of respect, fear, or whatever thoughts drive fleshling minds, they obey, and with a salute set to their task. As they depart, I take one more look about the area, but no matter where I look my curiosity drags my gaze and attention both back to the tower before me. I note the size of the stone gates as sufficient to allow me easy entrance, and pace forward, entering a massive, single hall.

In this hall, I find a heavy, stable looking staircase off to my right, and several bookcases, desks and benches to my right covered in piles of scattered paper, schematics and notes scrawled everywhere. But the focus of the room is the massive crucible with fiery ocher runes burning on it's ebony surface, my magnetomancy unable to even fathom the complex interwoven net of enchantments embedded in it's material. But I do sense it's contents, a dull, silvery mass of what looks to be steel that flows like water, but to my Magnetomancy-inclined senses, it feels like a well of possibility, a multitude of possible futures lending it a supernatural weight all it's own. I here footsteps going up the staircase, and assume Arkus has already moved on to the next floor.



What should I do? I could aid in clearing the fields of corpses, or I could see what can be done to repair the main gate, or I could investigate this tower further.... or should I do something else?

[Alternatively, I could do a time-skip, with everyone working on their tasks, until either the messenger from Trepany (presumably with the Premen in tow) show up, or until another even of your choosing]
>>
No. 168774 ID: e6debe

While Arkus does his stuff, you can help to clear the field of bodies and burn them. Then you can go back and study the books and enchantments yourself.

Votan for time skip until the messenger arrives.
>>
No. 168784 ID: 12b099

I really think we should go back before hand, because Ugrokk was awesome, and we should take care of our men.
>>
No. 168833 ID: 45be60

Fix the gate. Some of the bandits got away, and while it would be silly for them to come back, it would ALSO be silly to have the place fall because we didnt take the time to pick the door up again.
>>
No. 168835 ID: 427807

Did we ever soulsuck? if not, run outside and do so.
We should rebuild the front gate while we're outside, also.
>>
No. 168905 ID: f01e19

>>168835
We did soulsuck. Man, I cannot wait until we decide to use our AA. With all the movement we've been doing...the amount of charge in it should be epic...

On that note, is AA a one shot kinda deal...or can we shoot off half our charge, for example, and save the rest?
>>
No. 169153 ID: d1210a

>>168905
[Discharges all stored energy any time it is triggered at the moment, thought it is possible it may be able to modify it so that this is no longer the case]

>>168774
>>168833
>>168835
I make my way back out of the tower, leaving it's appraisal to Arkus, while I inspect the shattered remains of the gate. I find it completely un-salvageable, but I make note of the size and shape of the lumber involved, and set out to cut new pieces from the forest--which reminds me to apply Magnetomancy to my munitions, restoring the warped blades as I walk. I see the Trepanese militia already working diligently at clearing the field of the fallen, and call out to them as I pass, instructing them to pile the bodies, once deprived of salvageable goods, together some distance from the outpost, and they would not need to bury the corpses, instead I will incinerate them. While some seem a bit leery at the prospect of carrying the dead so far, the rest quickly silence their protests, adamantly assuring them this will be less effort. I leave them to their bickering, as those in favor of following my command seem to be the clear majority, though were they not Keddic's troops, I may have acted differently.

I take some time to carefully select healthy looking trees, and patiently align each pass with the blade launcher, until I am left with some surprisingly well-cut pieces of timber some few hours later. On my return, I observe Derkin nodding to me as he starts appraising the shacks clustered about the outside of the wall, and the militia have cleared a sizable portion of the area. After freeing the metal fastenings and joints from the prior gate, I use Magnetomancy to carefully punch the objects into the timber I hold fast exactly where they were before, and I find myself in possession of a completely repaired gate that differs from the old only in looking... fresher, the wood undried and recently cut. I place the wrecked pieces of the old gate upon a nearby pile of lumber, likely firewood from their shaping. Looking about, I realize there is a chimney coming from every house and guard tower in the outpost.... but none adorns the central tower, oddly enough.

The gate repaired without much issue, I move to help the militia in clearing the field, and with my aid they finish some time before nightfall, all the reclaimed goods safely within the walls, a pile of largely naked corpses present some distance away. I order the militia to divide themselves between Arkus and Derkin, and assist both in their tasks. Happy to be away from the smell of death, the militia readily comply, and are already en route when I turn back to the pile of dead. ....When I look at the fleshlings like this, the spark of life gone, I cannot help but see them as imperfect containers, lesser versions of my own form. Despite this complete confidence that they are inferior, I cannot help but feel them some sort of distant cousin, the same as I would think of a golem of stone or wood. I suppose to me, all fauna seem like golems forged of flesh.

...I end my pointless rumination as I reach for the fires bound within my core.

SOULFIRE

[-3 Souls. Souls Remaining: 537 Minimum: 12]

The corpses are enveloped in a sea of green conflagration, flames washing over their exposed forms with an almost palpable urgency. I turn to walk away, those that I trampled along my path burning behind me, thoughts of what to do next racing through my mind. As the outpost largely shuts down, only a few houses emanate light as Arkus, Derkin and the militiamen bunker down. I check in to see Arkus struggling to read in the dim firelight, before Derkin hands him a pair of candles, which the mage gratefully accepts. The rest of them are largely finding places to slump to the ground in exhaustion, and I leave them to their recuperation for the morrow. I spend the night pacing about the outpost, building charge for the Amaranthine Annihilator, awaiting the morning.

[DAY 71]

I return to the outpost as the sun rises, to find Derkin playing the foreman, dispensing orders to a stream of Militiamen as he walks, commenting that he shall have a complete inventory shortly. I enter the central tower, and am greeted with a much more muted type of bustle: militiamen nose-deep in books, perusing documents, all under Arkus' somewhat frantic supervision. He almost jumps as he sees me, and hurriedly starts speaking.

"Ah, yes, I'm going to need a great bit of time to document the full extent of the writings available here, but I can at least tell you what each floor is focused around, according to the construction logs, what's inside it, all that. Anyway, this is what I know so far:"

--The first floor is the Mutable Metals Division, where all the morphic fluid is stored, and all schematics/designs pertaining to it's use are stored.
--The second floor is the Arcane Artillery Division, where the hand-cannons were constructed,and several other combinations of magic and artillery were demoed, though only the hand-cannons reached production.
--The third floor is the Mutable Metals Division's subdivision, the Regenerating Reagents Subdivision. Thus far, no actual completed designs have been identified, only disproven or untested designs and theories.
--The fourth floor is the Recovered Runes Division, with most of it's research apparently geared towards developing the runes used on the hand-cannons.
--The fifth floor is a library and work-lab combined, divided into two sections: the Wordy Wiseman Division, focused around reinventing Word magic to retain usefulness at higher levels of magical skill, and the World Wizardry Division, which seems to be based around World magic and it's uses.
--The sixth floor is inaccessible, a glowing keyhole sparkling every time the door is tested.

I accept his initial findings and send him on his way to gaining a more complete sense of what texts are available here while I go back outside. I assist Derkin and the 40-odd militia members with him, and some time past noon Derkin comments he estimates our survey complete, and tells me what goods are stored in this outpost:

--Enough food to feed five thousand men for one day or one person for five thousand days of good eating.... two thirds of which will go bad in some three weeks, incapable of being stored for particularly long.
-Patches of land within the walls clearly used to grow food, but currently fallow, unattended to by the prior occupants.
--A functioning well that seems unlikely to dry anytime soon.
--collectively, a total of 1,700 marks from assorted nations (not including previously gained 140 Duran marks), much of it comprised of small coinage that add up to a mark's worth. Stockpiles were found inside several of the stone structures, likely the gains of months of robbery and pillaging.
--10 stone houses within the walls, each with two floors, two fireplaces, and room to fit at least fifty people comfortably.
--78 shacks and huts outside the walls, with a variable amounts of space. Estimated total space: enough for some five hundred people.
--162 hand-cannons (60 in incomplete states, 102 usable)
--90 salvageable suits of armor, metal
--35 salvageable sets of armor, leather
--Morphic Weapons:
---80 spike-javelins
---30 dagger-poleaxes (15 bardiche, 15 Halberd)
---15 hatchet-great axes
---5 hammer-war mauls
--12 wagons, no horses
--8 carts
--29 rolls of cloth, hemp canvas
--23 rolls of cloth, cotton

I listen to his report silently, but just as he finishes, three flares of blinding light surge forth from the southeast, but they fade before I can turn to see their source. I am left wanting for only a short while, as two new bolts of lightning flash down from the sky in the distance, starkly defined jagged lines that vanish the moment they appear. Considering the direction, I must assume this to be the work of the rebel-controlled outpost east of Trekel, though I know not who they might be fighting. The rest of the day is disrupted with intermittent flashes, the mark of a prolonged exchange, though with us this distant it has little immediate impact other than distraction. The rest of the day passes without much incident as goods are relocated to all be within the walls and neatly packed away.

[DAY 72]

Derkin and those assisting him, now free from their task, aid me in weeding and tilling the patches of land where food once grew, my Sable Executioner now serving as a makeshift plow during our efforts. Of the five fields, only two are cleared by the end of the day, with Arkus and the militia under him still diligently working their way through the writings within the central tower. I find none of the militia with me grumbling about having to work on the fields while the others read, most confessing to having ignorance on the matter of literacy, leaving this task their only option, one they do not begrudge. The day ends with Arkus telling me that he has learned that the fifth floor also contains books on the location of local leylines, within the World Wizardry section. Twilight comes with the lightning still falling.

[DAY 73]

Some time in the early pre-dawn morning, the lightning ceases, and no further sounds are heard. Once more I join the majority of the Trepanese militia in laboring on the fields, the work I did overnight as they slumbered sufficient we finish clearing the last of the five mini-fields within the walls. With a full population it would be impossible for this to suffice, but it will certainly help if I need not worry about fleshlings serving me here starving. Derkin managed to make his way to the central tower, explaining that as he is literate, his talents would be put to better use there, but did get a few of the literate farmers to come with him, and pick out some seeds from the total food stockpiles, and they return with a moderately sized pile, and just before the sun sets, the five mini-fields have all been finished being weeded, tilled, and seeded. As the day ends without much other incident, I spend the night giving the seeds their first watering, before then wandering about the grounds, pleased with the much more structured form the outpost exudes, much more in line with what I recall of Mosmordren military discipline.... though my memories are vague and imprecise, glimmers through a fogged mind of my time before sapience, so I wonder how accurate they are. I spend the rest of the night pondering the totality of my memories from pre-sapience, questioning their validity as the night wears on and I continue pacing.

[DAY 74]

As the day dawns I ask the militia to work on restoring the lodgings within the ten two-storied buildings they have been inhabiting, a task they set to with a much greater sense of purpose than than tilling the fields, eager to make their future nights of rest more comfortable. I am quick to note that new, larger beds should be made, and as they have already seen the Premen, they find no objection with my additional requirement. I take requests for cuts of wood for repairs or new furniture, and periodically leave to cut down another tree or two with my six blades. I find that successive passes allow me to cut fairly exact measurements, and the militia do not complain about what I provide them, so I must assume them sufficient to their needs. Several swathes of hemp canvas and cotton both are cut, shapes being snipped out and brought into the houses over and over. Once further requests for wood stop coming some time later, I peer through several of the windows, noting the thick glass with heavy metal bars composing the windows to be of solid make, and see dozens of stark, simple beds within each building being placed in line, some still being repaired, the dark old wood contrasting sharply with the new. A few larger beds are wholly made of new wood as well, and as I go about the buildings, I find the conditions similar in each, easily more than a hundred total repaired or newly made beds visible on the top floors alone. When I lean down to check, I find the first floors, bear the over-sized beds made for the Premen, and I count a full twenty three split between two of the ten houses, the rest still bearing beds still awaiting repair. The day ends with the militia exhausted but happy, eating well every day as they work through the more perishable foods with abandon, the prospect of a better night's sleep bringing them comfort. I find their nightly farewells as they go to sleep a good deal warmer than before, even if still full of the awe and respect I am growing accustomed to in the state when mages are concerned.

[DAY 75]

I begin to grow tired of eating the scraps of arms and armor deemed un-salvageable, Oggroth still gone with the bronze disk I usually eat from, and this thought continues to hound me till the sun rises. Arkus greets me as I re-enter the town, pleased the gate I crafted still works ably, telling me that he is getting close to completing his complete compendium of all the writings within the building, at least in terms of what each document or book's primary focus is, but that he will need another few days. He says this is a good thing, because it means there is a great deal of material to catalog, and he looks forward to finding time to read several tomes he's spotted. In particular, one on using World magic as a method to invert other magics intrigues him greatly, at which point he apologizes for rambling and dashes into the tower, it's door's still open to benefit from what the militia comment is a warm day. Once more work resumes on restoring the housing conditions to full strength, and I pass several hours cutting new sections of wood to finish repairing the beds on the first floors of the houses. The work is finished early, with some hours of light left, so I pull Derkin out of the central tower to lead some light sparring practice as a means of giving the militia a change of pace. Derkin has them work on their unarmed fighting, and runs rounds of drills that only seem to further invigorate the militia members. We are forced to light several torches to continue the sparring late into the night as several rivalries take the chance to surface, old grudges paid due, and slowly the sparring becomes an incredibly rowdy and violent party as it spills into the evening meal, yet another feast, and I realize the men are finally celebrating for having survived their first real fight some few days ago.

[DAY 76]

The day has only just dawned when I note familiar shapes to the south, and see the familiar shapes of the Premen returning, Jojo no longer the smallest of the group as someone I assume to be a Trepanese messenger runs along with them as they move to join me before I reach the gates. Upon their arrival, I see Ugrokk grinning at me from upon Oggroth's mount, much of his color back. A Premen beside the messenger nudges the man forward, urging him to speak first.

"..Ah, yes, Sir Keddic Harksburton sends his well wishes, that as you see your warrior is fine....
..Oh, he mentioned that we have got in contact with Glenston, and told them about Lord Barcho's end. End result, we are doing a healthy trade-
AH, way more important, the captive bandits? We put them to work rebuilding the burned out town between us, and after that we plan to have them work on restoring more fields. Soon we'll have crazy amounts of food. Let's see, what else, oh yeah, the first scout to Trekel from a while back returned just before I left, said the earthworks there were fine, and that Trekel is willing to trade, they mentioned having a bit of trouble with some refugees, Some real burly guy came by asking about the mage Mordre, Keddic said if you need them you can hold on to the militia members you have for a bit longer if necessary, and that if you want some permanent residents, several returning militia members expressed an interest in living at this outpost after seeing it.... what else... some kids claim to have seen some weird creature in the woods.... right, that one isn't news.... RIGHT, final thing:
We, the citizens of Trepany that is, decided that as the main reason this battle was a success, we want you to come up with a name for the town we're rebuilding.... that is, if you're willing?"

It is at this point I realize I still have not named the outpost I have claimed and spent the last several days laboring on.


What name should the town being rebuilt be given?
What name should my research outpost be given?
Lastly, now that the Premen are back, what should I do, and what should I have my followers do?
>>
No. 169171 ID: 445c48

Naming everything after yourself is cool and all, but gets old after the third Alexandria. I'm not creative enough to come up with a name, but I'm just throwing that out there. Ask the messenger if the kids offered any more of a specific description, just so we know if it's that one fucker that's been following us, or if it's some other fucker.
>>
No. 169174 ID: 7524b0

>>169153
Hey, you know that tree spirit thing we found? I wanna investigate it again. Then the weird creature in the woods, and finally let's go investigate the lightning.

Oh, also... we need to get that mage skin back to Mosmordre.

I don't have any ideas for names just yet. Maybe later.
>>
No. 169176 ID: 445c48

Also ask Ugrokk how he's doing. Also send some cash to both the new rebuilt city and Harksburton. Accept the offer of Residents. Maybe make an outer earthwall later to protect fields or goddamn I don't even know.

Yeah, we probably should send the skin to Kyorto so that it can be preserved.
>>
No. 169319 ID: 2aaaf1

>>169153
--The sixth floor is inaccessible, a glowing keyhole sparkling every time the door is tested.
Barcho's staff, what did we do with it?

Name for town being rebuilt: Hashbranch
Name for outpost: Mutually Organized Science and Magic Outpost Research and Development for Revitilization of future allied Empires- But seriously: We should let the people that are going to be living here rename it, we're simply using it as a base of operations, but our home lies elsewhere.
>>
No. 169349 ID: b08d07

I want to name this outpost Kyorto, in honour of one of the most badass mages we know.
As for the town, no idea. Something speaking to how they have arisen from the ashes of their fallen city, Phoenix?

We should have a huge feast with the Premen in it so tahrt they can both celebrate victory and Ugrokk's recovery(don't want to play favorites though so don't mention that part) and then send back some of your better Premen (2 from U-Team, 2 from O-Team) back with Verther's skin while we go and investigate that tree if we can find it again.
After that find a place in the forest alone and start bellowing out the dirge, if that thing likes our singing so much, let it come. We will get answers.
>>
No. 169483 ID: 448554

Now that we have our followers...we should have them scout around this outpost. If we're going to be using this area as a base to conquer more land...I want to know what direction our enemies lie.

I think having people settle here and work the fields for mostly their own profit is a good idea...It's not like the premen are well suited for that type of work.

Get the messenger to send a message to Trekel and have some of the refugees come to the outpost to live and work. That should ease the burden of having too many refugees.

Also, can we get like a countdown timer after each day passes to let us know approximately how long we have left until the mage skin deteriorates? It's looking unlikely that we will be able to get all 5 skins within this month...So hopefully when we have some premen/time to spare....we'll send back the skins we do have and hope kyorto has some idea of how to preserve them...

Also, dude, our bud arkus is going to be a kickass, full on, mage soon...considering all this knowledge he's been reading lately. All, I can say to that is...Awesome!
>>
No. 169486 ID: 58ec1e

have a look at the strange tree, then see if you can find the creatureand warn keddik about it. then go to Trekel and see if you can recruit some of the refuges, we will get more if we go ourselvs than if we send a messager. after all this a quick trip back to the mountain to pick up a few more premen and check how things are going would be a good idea
>>
No. 169487 ID: ab04d4

Name it something in honor of Ugrokk.
>>
No. 169539 ID: 12b099

>>169153
>>Big Burly refugees is asking about Mordre and making trouble.
>>DUUUUUULUUUUUU!
Yeah, we're gonna deal with this off the bat. Lets go down to Trekel looking for a soul to steal.

And a few other suggestions before we leave:
- Send the four fastest Premen (2 from U-Team, 2 from O-Team) back with Verther's skin to give to Kyorto. Continue on to Mordreden once Kyorto has her skin and check up on the Village. Just a brief over view of what's happened and if Lorgk, Delro, or Mingsk needs any help. If no assistance is needed, get one builders and one mage and come back - mostly to expand the knowledge base of the Premen so they can fortify Mordreden and increase the cultural memory of the place. I would also suggest skinning and curing Lord Barcho's skin, just in case it would count, unless we already burnt it.
- Have Arkus look into the nature of this creature. Have someone attempt to use Lord Barcho's staff and other personal effects on the fifth floor door, and study that if we can get in. Have Arkus study that tree spirit and the nature of such things - if their is a language we can use to speak with it.

I can't think of anything else, but we need to get down to Trekel ASAP.
>>
No. 169616 ID: 2aaaf1

Hey, remember the first two heroic souls we consumed(Thomro and Merrack)? They were preserved in crystals, can we start doing that? Although eating all the heroic souls we come across will make us very powerful, we might wanna start trapping the ones we don't necessarily need right now, so we can start empowering our allied soul graves.
>>
No. 169677 ID: d1210a
File 127215266987.jpg - (925.61KB , 1400x910 , Wood Creature and Outcropping.jpg )
169677

>>169171
>>169174
>>169176
>>169319
>>169349
>>169483
>>169486
>>169487
>>169539
"...Yes, I would be happy to offer a name: Would 'Hashbranch' suffice for the future town?"

"Right, Hashbranch, got it."

I begin walking towards the gates once more, and the rest of the group follows, the messenger included.

"Oh yes, and welcome to Kyogrock Arcanoworks, ...Granted, we are outside it's walls now, But I'd still consider this part of the arcanoworks. Anyway, I heard you mention children spotting a 'creature,' Elaborate on this, what specifically did the children see?"

"..Ah, let's see, they kept going on about it being some great, hulking brute of a beast, and that it had 'funny parts' all over, whatever that means.... oh, and that something was falling from it's body, the kids say like it was undressing, but I imagine that if this thing is real, it might be shedding... speaking of which, do you know something about this? Should we be concerned?"

"Well, what you described sounds like a creature, One I have run into before on several occasions. It's nature still eludes me, and it's behavior is erratic... Still, the creature can be a very real threat, make no mistake, So do let Keddic and the rest of Trepany know to be wary?"

"I'll bring the message back. Is there anything else?"

"Yes, I'd like to retain the militia here as offered, As well as put in a request for permanent residents. Also, I'd like to have some of those refugees brought here as well, Any willing to settle here at Kyogrock Arcanoworks."

We reach the already open gates, and I spy Derkin before he enters the central tower, and beckon to him. As he nears, I tell him to bring forth some 100 marks worth of coinage claimed during the claiming of this place, a task which he completes before the Premen have stopped gawking at the change the arcanoworks have seen since they last were here.

"And before I forget, here is a contribution, To the expeditious construction of Hashbranch."

I hand the bag Derkin covertly slips me to the messenger, who I must assume believes I drew the pouch out of thin air, a look of pure amazement on his face.

[-100 marks, total remaining 1,740]

"I... yes, I'll bring this and the message it comes under to Trepany. Okay, warning about creature, Hashbranch, holding onto militia, need residents, refugee residents, funds for Hashbranch.... is there anything else?"

"Yes, a matter of curiosity: That burly man asking after me, The one you mentioned earlier: Was his head only adorned with hair on it's top, tied in a tail? And beyond being burly, Would you say significantly larger than normal?"

"...Yeah, actually, that sounds about right. Do you know him?"

"I have met him before. His name is Dulu, And I would not advise getting involved, He is a dangerous one in his own right, But beyond that, I have little to offer, Save advice to stay clear of him."

"....Okay. So, is that everything?"

"I believe so."

"Right then. I'd love to stay if I could, but since some of your comments concern the safety of the other villagers.... yeah, well, I'm heading back straightaway, so I'll make my farewells now, mage Mordre. I hope you settle in well to.... Kyogrock Arcanoworks, and that things go smoothly."

Without further comment, the messenger departs, jogging off to the south. I consider the many things I have learned, but first I must assure myself the smile adorning Ugrokk's face is not simply a facade. But when I ask after his health, Jojo is adamant that while he is somewhat mobile now, he'll need at least another two days to recover fully, and that battle would be a death sentence right now, much of the healing still incomplete. Ugrokk feels content to object to Jojo's assessment.

"Missed one fight already, do not want to miss more!"

"Death will claim Ugrokk, even against a lesser foe, until healed. Is that what is desired?"

"....."

"Then be quiet."

At this point the whole of the militia has turned out to observe the newcomers, and I order those not helping Arkus work through texts to do some more sparring, this time against the returned Premen. The matches start off somewhat slowly, as the militia do not seem to like the numbers ratio they are faced with, but after Derkin badgers them enough, they take courage from their greater numbers, and attack. The Premen handle themselves ably, and by mealtime no one has managed to get injured, and the militia seem far less apprehensive. When Arkus and the rest of the militia file out of the tower to grab a meal, they are quickly pressed into staying. The garbled words of the common tongue the Premen have yet learned, coupled with their clear efforts to avoid causing injury in practice mean that by the time it ends, the tension I observed earlier is gone. The meal, once again a feast, is given vitality by the zeal the Premen attack their food with, Oggroth in particular inspiring awe by eating whole chickens without complaint. I encourage the meal to degenerate into general festivities, and the cheer I saw earlier is magnified a hundredfold as people celebrate victory, being alive, their friend's recovery, all of their personal victories lead to a night where not a one goes to sleep without a feeling of contentment.

...And after Oggroth is asleep, I happily feast on part of the bronze disk still hanging from his mount.

[DAY 77]

The morning begins with work resuming in the aftermath of last night's celebration. Before most have waken, I ask Arkus if he has yet seen any mention of a being like the tree found earlier, or some means to communicate with it, to which he responds he may have seen a book relevant to my line of inquiry. Before he enters the tower, I ask if he has yet used any of Barcho's belongings, the staff in particular, in an attempt to open the locked door. The Unicode stare he fixes me with is all the answer I need.

>>169616
"Well, what about that crystal that encapsulated souls in the ruins? Their forms seemed well preserved despite the passage of years, Perhaps the same could be done to a mage's skin? There must be some way to replicate the act, To prevent the destruction of-"

I stop speaking as Arkus cradles his head in his hands, a look of shock racing over his features, before he runs off. A short while later he returns somewhat winded, clutching two books.... as well as a limp, wrapped object. He unwraps the parcel to reveal Verther's skin, now a deflated sack, the rest of his corpse already having rotted away, but I see decay starting to reach towards the skin itself, and know it will not last that much longer. He then plants his ruby staff in the ground, carefully positioning it so that the stone is directly between my form and Verther's skin. Next, he starts charging World magic into both the staff and axe alike, building up a substantial reservoir of power. He nods after a time, and starts backing away, the axe extended towards the staff, still firmly rooted, and I feel the power he placed in both sharing some form of connection. Once he has moved a reasonable distance away, he finally speaks.

"Use Soulfire, and aim it at the ruby!"

Unwilling to leave this grisly trophy in the open for too long and finding the conviction in Arkus' voice worthy of my trust, I exhale a gout of fire at the ruby.

SOULFIRE

[-3 Souls. Souls Remaining: 534 Minimum: 12]

...And as the fire hits the gem, it changes.

Chaotically writhing and meandering flames become orderly strands of crystal, frost chilling the air about them. The crystal strands envelope Verther's skin, and instead of finding a smoking pit of fire the end result of using Soulfire, I find Verther's skin now encapsulated in the very same crystal that held Thomro and Merrack, some months ago at the ruins.

"HAH, I KNEW IT, I KNEW IT! That's how those bodies were put in crystal, someone just used World magic in a repository as a focus to invert Soulfire's chaos and destruction based powers into orderly preservation. ...Ah, and this is the book that makes mention of anthropomorphic features of the environment, sounds like something related to leylines. I can't really say more without seeing the entity myself, the one you ran into while I was at Trepany.... speaking of which, a couple of them weren't half bad at picking up magic, when I was tutoring. But anyway, I'd be willing to bet that skin is going to be safely preserved for as long as it is in that crystal."

I thank Arkus for his support, and praise his insightful thoughts on the matter, before I find the four fittest Premen, two from each group, Oggroth and Ugrokk's both, and give them new orders: They are to bring this crystal-encased skin to Kyorto, and thereafter return to Mordreden to appraise them of our situation, make sure the village is secure, and to bring back a shaman and maker each, to start bringing more knowledge to the Drazken Clan. They accept their task without complaint, placing a significant amount of supplies on one of the carts, and after taking some time to secure the crystal safely within the cart's bed, they set off, the two warriors pulling the cart while the scouts walk alongside them, and before the rest of the camp is awake they are gone.

As the rest of those inhabiting Kyogrock Arcanoworks awaken, I order the remaining Premen (sans Ugrokk and Jojo) to pair up with militia members, and start scouting the area, being thorough about it. As groups mount up, I check on Arkus, Derkin and the twenty odd militia with them, still working through the texts in the tower, and find them completely sure they can fend for themselves, motioning at the veritable mountain of hand-cannons at their disposal, before deciding that I shall take only Arkus to investigate the strange tree, as with only him accompanying me, I can travel without pause, cradling him in my grasp so that the frailties of his flesh do not slow us. When I tell him of our goal, to investigate the strange tree and root phenomenon encountered earlier, I find him ready far faster than I would have expected, and shortly we head out, before the day has yet had a chance to truly begin. I caution those staying at Kyogrock to keep a mindful eye on the fields, as several of the seeds should be sprouting soon. The rest of the day passes without incident, and as I march late into the night without pause, I finally come upon the tree..... to find the situation changed. The spiral of upthrust roots still exists, but the nearby tree now looks withered, the face and hands I once saw now naught but branches and knots. But despite the shadowed murkiness of the deep night, a soft multitude of lights shine forth from some outcropping on the base of the withered tree, many of them moving.

...I also see some sort of creature formed of bark and roots examining the glowing outcropping, it's movements as slow and muted as the tree that cared for the roots earlier. I look to Arkus who I roused soon after nearing this location, who blearily tells me he won't be able to read the book relevant to this until he gets some better light.

The creature of bark and root takes a speculative step towards the glowing outcropping, and one of the lights flies forth, buzzing about before the creature as if in challenge. In response, tendrils of light start snaking out from the creature, which the shining light hastily retreats from.


What should I do?
>>
No. 169681 ID: 12b099

>>169677
>DULU!
Called it.
>>The Unicode stare
I...wow...that is some funny shit, man. Wow.

Well, in regard to tree-thing, greet it - cycle through the languages we know, too, maybe it doesn't speak the language we're speaking. Have Arkus study the thing and do the whole magic bit, too.
>>
No. 169705 ID: 445c48
File 127215925251.png - (16.59KB , 551x421 , FaceFutaba_vectorized1.png )
169705

>unicode stare
>>
No. 169713 ID: 7524b0

>>169677
Try to gently move the new creature away from the outcropping. See if we can find out what's going on here.
>>
No. 169766 ID: b08d07

Oh no! The great deku tree is dead and now the fairies are in danger!!

Seriously now, look at Arkus with your 'glowing' ruby eyes and say "Read now". If the eyes arnet enough remind him that he can make things glow. Grab a stick and light it up.

Yeesh Arkus, those days copped up have dulled your adaptability.
>>
No. 169773 ID: 12b099

>>169766
Hey, the guy just woke up as we Marched Into The Night. But yeah, lets pop some light up for him to study while we try and communicate.
>>
No. 169793 ID: 427807

>>169766
do this.

my only guess is that this creature is somehow bonded to magic
>>
No. 169802 ID: e31d52

Observe, and offer some light for the mageling.

Also yay for traveling alone with him again. Bonding time!
>>
No. 169806 ID: b08d07

>>169766
Just to be clear I didn't mean Soulfire, I meant that Arkus should use his 'make things glow' spell on a stick and use it as a flashlight.
>>
No. 169945 ID: d1210a

>>169681
>>169713
>>169766
>>169773
>>169793
>>169802
"And you lack the capacity to create light? Shake the lethargy from your thoughts, and attend."

"Right, right..."

A soft red glow emits from the books pages, and Arkus sets to reading without further comment, speaking intermittently as he flips through the pages. As his response is slow, I take a moment to lightly push the creature of bark away from the outcropping, but it resolutely continues to move towards it's destination at a slothful pace. The lone light that dashed forth to meat the creature buzzes about my hand for a moment before retreating to the outcropping. I keep a wary eye on the two parties as Arkus speaks.

"...Alright, so these dancing lights, the little mound they occupy, and the fact their on the roots of a dead tree makes them... here it is, they're World Motes. Ah, that is, any flora sufficiently infused with World magic that dies while still rooted will become a.... bridge, I suppose, for the leylines. ...Basically, the tiny, harmless cousins of Core Beings, far as I can tell. ...Yeah, not noted as being harmful unless you have a whole crap-ton of them, and not really capable of much thought in small numbers... Oh, I guess some sort of shared intellect thing, then... yeah, only comment is that if they DO get numbers, they can be capricious, if not outright malicious. Forest spirits, in essence, if given enough time and population density. Ah, unless they do reach such a density, communication has never been successful.

...No clue about that bark creature there, and with the tree in question dead, I don't have enough data to accurately identify what it was. ...Weird, I think the bark... thing wants to eat the World Motes. You would think something like that would be mentioned......"

Twice more the creature tries to approach the outcropping and I stop it during Arkus' monologue, but now I ponder what I should do about them.... and the spiraled upwardly thrust root, still brimming with life and growing, within these woods. Something is happening here, and this close to where I hope to draw supplies from, I do not want a potential problem.... but I still don't even know if this is a problem. Vexing.

The ungainly creature of bark and roots resolutely begins waddling forward a fourth time, set upon reaching the outcropping, and I find myself agreeing with Arkus' assessment of it being hungry.


What should I do?
>>
No. 169947 ID: 445c48

SOULFIRE.
Wait no this is probably a bad idea.

I dunno, soulsuck, see if you can eat the motes.
>>
No. 169952 ID: 275a5d

>>169945
Are we certain it wishes to devour the motes? Perhaps it's after the sapling the dead tree was guarding.

Or the dead tree itself? I don't think we should let it near the area.
>>
No. 169958 ID: abead8

He can't eat the tree if HES ALREADY BEEN EATEN
chow down bro
>>
No. 169960 ID: e31d52

Honestly? I don't think we should interfere. This looks like a natural occurance, it's like saving a butterfly from a spider because the butterfly is more visually appealing.

However, see if you can use your grasp of souls to eat the motes yourself.
>>
No. 170042 ID: 7524b0

Let the bark creature eat the motes.
>>
No. 170054 ID: b08d07

Prime time to gain some more world knowledge buddy.
OM NOM NOM

If you do want to try something wild, calling on what's-her-face Lynrt?
>>
No. 170067 ID: 427807

There has got to be more to this then what is shown at face value. The world motes must be here for some reason, and the wood creature seems intent on exploiting whatever resource the motes have to offer...
I think we should use a pristine soul and attempt to communicate with the creature.
>>
No. 170222 ID: 2aaaf1

>>169945
HOLD ON A MINUTE. This thing "EATS" the world motes? Let it eat it's fill, then take the creature with us. I believe this is the answer we've been looking for. Also, see if you can't salvage some seeds from the dead tree.
>>
No. 170512 ID: 4404d1

Yeah, just let it go after the motes and see what happens after.
>>
No. 170513 ID: 445c48

>>170067
Don't think we should.

We should NOM, and failing that, soulfire. Let's be done with this, it spooks me.
>>
No. 170514 ID: 275a5d

Whats the point of destroying them? It's a waste of our resources.
>>
No. 170519 ID: d1210a

>>169960
>>170042
>>170054
>>170222
>>170512
I elect to allow the creature crafted of bark and roots to ponderously creep toward the glowing outcropping unimpeded, and once more it reaches out with questing feelers softly glowing in the dead of night, as World Motes begin to pour out of the outcropping. Whether their response is defensive or based on curiosity, I do not know, but as motes draw close enough, the writhing tendrils latch on to them, pulling them into the creature's maw. As the creature feasts, more tendrils sprout from it's form, capturing and consuming ever more of the World Motes. I note that as it feasts, it's form visibly begins to swell and grow. Finally the outcropping is bereft of light or movement, and a notably larger creature finally turns to regard the spiral of roots, then stare at me. It plods down the side of the dead tree's base, trekking across the cold earth to draw closer to the spiral of roots. It turns to look at me once more, before setting into the root with it's wooden beak, worrying at it without any observable impact, the glowing tendrils it releases unable to gain purchase on the spiraled tangle. It stops again to stare at me pointedly, before once more ineffectually assaulting the roots.

While the creature is thus occupied, I raise my hand, placing Arkus within the tree's canopy, and order him to search the treetop for seeds, whilst I search the ground for the same. I keep an eye on the bark and root creature as I do, but it continues to attack the root with periodic pauses to stare at me, and this trend continues as Arkus and I forage for seeds. Ultimately, we harvest some two dozen seeds, before I am left with only the creature to occupy my attention. Thoughts of taking it with me, possibly finding use in it's nature, flit across my mind, but I am by no means certain. In any event, it seems I have harvested what I can here, as I pluck Arkus from the treetops, and consider my options.


What should I do? Should I attempt to take the creature? Or should I kill it? Or perhaps something else?
Beyond that, should I do anything more here, or should I start traveling on to either Trepany, Kyogrock Arcanoworks, or some other destination?
>>
No. 170523 ID: 275a5d

>>170519
I do not think we should let it destroy the root. Not yet, at least.

It seems as though it may have some intelligence. Try talking to it
>>
No. 170528 ID: 12b099

If there are any Motes left, could we try to eat one? Just -one-.
>>
No. 170531 ID: 445c48

I think we should burn it. This thing is giving me the creeps.
>>
No. 170547 ID: cf5e63

>>170519
we should ask Kyorto
>>
No. 170557 ID: b08d07

"Well wadaya want ya little freak of nature? Im not giving you my soul number"
>>
No. 170567 ID: 7524b0

>>170519
Bust open the spiral of roots so that the creature may feast upon its chewy center.
>>
No. 170682 ID: 427807

>>170523
talking to it sounds like a good idea, perhaps maybe even boosted by a pristine soul? who knows what insights we could gain into this creature...

If talking doesn't yield any good results, we should have arkus encase it in a crystal prison, like we did with verther's body. That way, we could keep it in an enclosed area for the time being, bring it back to the arcanoworks, and release him and study him.
>>
No. 170740 ID: 2aaaf1

>>170519
Perfect, exactly the result I wanted. Find a way to feed it further, and a way to transport it safely. It's problem solving time.
I've a theory I want to test with this creature, if it works we can work on eliminating one of our most pressing issues at the moment. So here is how I work things out in my head: plant creature > world motes, world motes = really tiny relatives of core beings, HUGE plant creature with help from some ten or fifteen of the seeds we have > core being??? Stop me if I've gone off on a wild tangent.
>>
No. 170758 ID: 275a5d

>>170682
Pristine souls are for when our lives are on the line, not idle banter.
>>
No. 170791 ID: d1210a

>>170557
>>170567
>>170682
>>170740
None are present that I need to keep up my facade about: I act on impulse, pursuing a line of reasoning.

"Well what do you desire from me, Abomination of nature? What do you desire? Or is it so simple as breaking open that root?"

At my final words, the creature turns about to stare at me with more alacrity than it had previously displayed at any prior point, it's whole focus on me. This would seem to support my hypothesis. Before I do anything concerning the creature, I spy a lone World Mote floating freely about the outcropping that once swarmed with their glow, and consume it in the interest of scientific experimentation.

...I could not say if that blip of energy even registered within my core, and in truth I wonder if the whole of the lights once populating the outcropping could have gifted me with anything either, the power involved in these entities seems.... indistinctive.

I lean down to the creature in it's struggle with the unyielding root, Arkus backing off to a respectable distance, and pinch the top of the skyward striving roots, pulping through their tough exterior with ease. As I withdraw my hand, I see a puzzlingly lurid, glowing swirl of colors ooze out of the damaged roots, a feast the bark and root creature willfully sets to, greedily slurping it down. It's body further swells as it climbs up the roots, questing towards the damaged tip. Glowing tendrils sprout from it's body, embedding themselves in the pulped innards of the broken roots, and the creature begins to.... merge with the tangle of vegetation it has climbed. The roots writhe, pulling themselves free from the earth... and with them comes some sort of mass, possibly some sort of giant seed from which the roots sprang, is pulled free, fusing with the creature. The fusion is a chaotic swirl of oscillating roots and flaking bark, but soon enough the creature, once the size of Arkus' head, is notably larger, now comparable to his torso in size.

The creature looks at me again, this time turning it's whole body to face me. I stare at it without response for a moment, and find it's interest in me to be more than passing, it's focus still locked on me. With thoughts of finding a use for the creature running through my mind, I reach out my hand once more, to scoop up the creature in my grasp, but it dodges aside with more surety than it displayed in it's earlier form, but otherwise does not respond. I note Arkus drawing closer, his curiosity overriding his obsession with preserving personal safety in the face of the unknown. I decide to speak to the creature again, as it seemed to respond previously.

"Come with me, I have need of you."

The creature shakes it's head, but continues to stare. Arkus finally offers his own opinion, one I hope to draw some useful information from.

"Yeah, definitely no clue what that is, thing isn't even mentioned in this tome's index."

How enlightening.


What should I do?
>>
No. 170798 ID: b08d07

Well bull, do we have another abomination of nature in love with us? Man, we have to find out whats causing that. Other than an obviously sentient golem.
I'm going to guess this thing is comparable to the one we found in the Mosmordrean forests, just not as strong.

Plant one of the seeds you got in the exact same spot as the other one was, need to check on stuff and I don't think these things are useful outside of the leyline area anyway.

"What is your desire small one?"
>>
No. 170801 ID: 275a5d

>>170791
It seems like it can understand you. This is a good sign. If only it could communicate with us.

"Most curious. It's reactions earlier seem to indicate not only sentience, but comprehension of what we're saying..."

Take a step forward and hold out your hand. Make no other movement, neither to grab or withdraw, and see if it reacts.
>>
No. 170809 ID: 7524b0

>>170791
"What do you want now? Is it that you wish to feast upon the soul energy inside me? Or does it have to do with this power in my hand?" (gesture to Immortal Genocide)
>>
No. 170952 ID: 2aaaf1

>>170791
Is the withered tree-creature truely dead? Ask the small tree-creature if this is its mother, that may be the reason it does not want to leave.
>>
No. 171080 ID: d1210a

>>170798
I gouge out a hole in the earth with one of my fingers, and drop one of the salvaged seeds into the hole before covering it back up, planting it where the spiral roots once grew. The bark and wood creature considers my actions soberly, before stretching it's jaws wide in a facsimile of a yawn, and cocking it's head inquisitively at me form. Based on it earlier responses, I must assume it to understand speech to some degree, and address it once more.

"What is your desire small one?"

The creature cranes it's neck about, as if chasing down an errant thought zooming about it's head, before I hear.... the gurgle of a stomach, muted and distorted, emanating from the creature. It peers at me expectantly while it's stomach growls, and I assume it is trying to communicate something to me.

>>170801
>>170809
I extend my left hand, but make no move to touch the creature. It regards my hand cautiously as I begin speaking again.

"It's reactions earlier seem to indicate not only sentience, But also comprehension of what we're saying... Do you have an aversion to this hand of mine?"

The creature nods it's head, but does not retreat from my hand, at least so long as it remains stationary. It hesitantly pokes it's head closer to my hand, tendrils of light extending from it's form to alight upon my fist, but the moment a tendril makes contact with the runes of Immortal Genocide, a brilliant spark jumps to the creature's form, and it convulses violently for a moment before it can withdraw. The creature does not seem harmed, but it does seem that it experienced something unpleasant in that exchange. Arkus makes little comment, having busied himself with taking exhaustive notes on the creature we encountered as I interact with it.

>>170952
Another question occurs to me, and I put it to the perceptive creature before me.

"Is this entity here, the one you prowled on your progenitor?"

The creature coughs while shaking it's head, content to scratch at the dying tree with it's extremities, seeming focus on cosmetic damages as part of it's answer. I move on to the final question that has occurred to me as of yet.

"And this being here, it is bereft of life now, yes?"

The creature sits on it's haunches as it nods, several of the tendrils creeping forth from it's form and running over it's own body, picking free detritus. The creature considers my still extended hand another time, and while it does not approach my hand any further, it does not retreat either.


What should I do?
>>
No. 171107 ID: 2aaaf1

>>171080
Your origin is mostly of a magical nature, yes? That would explain your reaction to my hand, for it contains the power to destroy magic. Is this power the only reason you refuse to join me? I wish you no harm, I seek only understanding.
>>
No. 171108 ID: 427807

fuck it, ask if it can eat the world spirit thing we encountered at one of the earlier villages
>>
No. 171144 ID: b08d07

"So you are hungry yes? If you come with me I have much more that you can eat, for a cost of course"
>>
No. 171186 ID: 7524b0

>>171080
Perhaps you can release some form of energy for it to feast on. Does the Immortal Genocide allow for you to do this?
>>
No. 171218 ID: d1210a

>>171186
I know of no such method of exuding power from my fist, although I suppose if I was extensive enough in experimentation I might find a method to do so.

..The general concept of displacing power from within my form to the outside world is not in and of itself novel, I do it frequently with Soulfire, Magnetomancy, and the Amaranthine Annihilator, each in it's own way. But the key difference is all of these approaches convert the energy I release into a form that is not safely handled, rendering them weapons, whereas I am now considering the possibility of safely taking a piece of my power, and effectively turning it into a standalone source of power. While I have no idea how this could be done, I do not doubt it's possibility, I just need to find a method of doing so, and a type or collection of energies that can be released.

The creature continues to look at me, and I realize that my theories are largely irrelevant right now, as I still have no way to give the creature some of my power in a non-terminal manner.

A pity.

>>171107
"Your origins are predominately magical, yes?"

The creature nods reproachfully, seeming offended I needed to ask, but I continue on my train of thought unimpeded.

"Perhaps your aversion is to the enchantments in my hand? Amongst them is the ability to dispel, to destroy magic."

The creature takes a cautionary step back from my hand, holding it's weight low in preparation for movement.

"Do not be alarmed, I do not intend you harm, In fact, I find you quite intriguing."

The creature relaxes, amiably sitting on it's haunches again, regarding me with it's profile, the way it moves it's head reminding me more and more of the few birds I have seen, appraising objects with a single curious orb.

>>171108
Considering the possible connections between the World Motes and Core Beings, and what this creature could mean for both types of entities, I ask a markedly different question.

"There are entities referred to by many names, Core Beings, World Nightmares, the titles vary, But they seem to describe the same thing, An errant fragment of the power of the Leylines, Possibly the world of Zakrath itself. Do you know of what type of creature I speak?"

The creature whimpers, drawing it's bark and root from tighter about itself, but it nods to my query nonetheless.

"Would you be capable of eating such a thing? They strike me as similar to World Motes, That which you feasted on earlier."

The creature seems torn between a plethora of desired responses. It uncoils itself, spreading itself as wide as it can, and cocks it's head questioningly at me. Then it relaxes into it's normal posture, taking up less space, and mournfully shakes it's head. The creature also finds time to return to the prior location of the root spiral it merged with, and nods it's head, making a content purring noise. It manages to do all this nearly at the same time, and I am forced to wonder, what kind of message was it trying to convey?

>>171144
I find this creature intriguing, and still have several unanswered questions concerning it. I have already decided it would be preferable to take the creature with me, and I believe I now know what it needs to hear to follow me.

"You hunger still, yes?"

The creature nods smartly, it's entire attention now poised on my every word. My hypothesis seems to be holding up.

"I can provide more food for you, If you shall follow me. What say you?"


With it's stomach growling even still, I am unsurprised to find the previously resistant creature happily squeaking as it nods.


What should I do? Should I continue questioning the creature? Or should I start moving to a new location, and if so, where?
>>
No. 171223 ID: 7524b0

>>171218
When we questioned it about if it could eat a Core Being, it puffed itself up questioningly (is it big?) then indicated (no), gestured to the root and indicated it liked it (this is food).

So basically it's saying that if the core being is HUGE then it can't eat it. The World Motes are small and weak and thus serve as food.

Let's ask Arkus of ways in which we might charge up some kind of item with magical energy to serve as an extra food source.
>>
No. 171231 ID: 1ac39d

>>171223
ah, but the core being we are referring too is trapped. it may be able to slowly drain it through the door instead of having to fight it.
>>
No. 171239 ID: b08d07

My guess is that it needs to get bigger before it can take on the Core Being. It needs more food (i.e. world magic in some form) to get big enough to contain such a thing.

"Arkus are there any indicators that could help me find more world motes? This creature needs food and though you could likely do so, I do not wish for it to get used to taking it's food from humans. Maybe soon it will be able to speak.
A thought occurs to me, do you still have the stone I acquired in the forests of Mosmordre? It seems to have come from a creature quite like this one. It's study would likely prove enlightening in this situation"
>>
No. 171522 ID: 427807

>>171239
i agree. show the creature the stone, see if it recognizes it, and if it might be useful towards something.
>>
No. 171558 ID: d1210a

>>171239
>>171522
I recall the irregular stone I found in the Mosmordren ruins, left behind by some strange animal I suspect was not what it appeared. It seems feasible the creature, and the stone it left behind, are in some way related with the events I have thus far witnessed here, and I wonder if I could learn more from the creature. I ask Arkus to hand me the stone, and as it tumbles into my hand, I hear the gurgling and rumbling of the creature's hunger redouble, it's biege orbs captivated by the stone I now cradle. I experimentally move my hand about, and the creature's gaze stays resolutely locked upon my hand.

"Arkus, is there any mention of how to find more World Motes? Possibly signs for noting their presence in an area, Or some method of encouraging their presence? This creature needs sustenence in the form of World Magic, And I aim to see it grow considerably."

"Ah.... well, no mention yet on how to make them more prevalent, but I still haven't read all the material on World Motes. As for tracking them down.... well, it says they are in general more prevalent the closer you get to leylines, ESPECIALLY around Leyline Geysers, though good luck finding one that ISN'T locked down by some magely group or a national government. ....Hm, once we get back, I could work out the nearby areas with good chances of World Mote presence by referencing that book on local leylines I saw....."

[NOTE: Leyline Geysers are where intersecting leylines create a vent reaching to the surface, with copious amounts of undirected World Magic will spew forth unceasingly. Highly valued by mages as being able to power numerous sustained spells that would otherwise be impossible. For further information, direct queries to the discussion thread.]

As Arkus trails off, already lost in contemplation of how to gain the data I desire, I glance back to the wood and bark creature, now whining as it's belly growls, it's wide eyes pleading with me as it stares at the rock in my hand. I pull my hand back, and the creature pursues, doggedly staying close to the pebble that captivates it so. I even try taking a few steps back, and the creature continues to pursue me, displaying a dogged fixation on the stone that far exceeds that which it attributed to either the World Motes of the root spiral. I note Arkus carefully binding the notes he took on this venture before stowing them away, books appearing in his hands as if to replace the notes he no longer bears, as he continues to mumble to himself, reading in the soft red glow of the illuminated books.

>>171231
While it seems reasonable to me to interpret the creature's earlier antics as meaning it considers itself too small to tackle a Core Being, a viewpoint I find myself agreeing with. But even beyond the possibility of caring for and feeding the creature till such time it could handle a Core Being directly, I consider other possibilities. When I tried to feast directly on the soul of the Core Being near Trekel, it had some form of reaction, and I wonder if this creature could feed on the trapped Core Being without it being freed. If such a thing were discovered to be possible, whoever pioneered it could gain fame and power both for their discovery, and I admit both appeal to me.

[DAY 77]

I note Arkus having to pause for more and more yawns as he reads, and imagine the little sleep he was able to afford himself is likely insufficient to restore him to peak capacities. The wood and bark creature, however, has thus far shown no signs that fatigue is even something it has to deal with, partly explaining my growing affinity with the creature. ...And I must admit, it's clumsy, ugly frame seems to endearing for some perplexing reason... strange indeed. It continues to whine while it's belly rumbles, eying my hand and the stone it holds with a paradoxical conglomeration of patience and urgency.


What should I do?
>>
No. 171560 ID: 7524b0

>>171558
Give it the stone of course.
>>
No. 171571 ID: 2aaaf1

>>171558
That stone let Arkus see the world spirit inside of us, so maybe it could help him detect other world spirits, or a congregation of world magics. Experiment with it before giving it to the creature.
>>
No. 171587 ID: 58ec1e

Do Not Give It The Stone.
whatever it is it helped us and our men before, and that makes it a friend.
>>
No. 171591 ID: 716eb0

>>171587
The stone really hasn't shown any signs of life since then though. And it seemed like a small part of a greater being, more like a shell or a lens to look through for a time, not the whole thing. I suspect it left a tastey smelling magical imprint on the thing.

If this sort of thing keeps up, the story about Mordre being a wise and powerful mage performing ongoing research is going to be less and less of a lie. That seems like a fine goal to me, and you can't make an omlette without yadda yadda...
>>
No. 171592 ID: 427807

>>171587
when did it help us before? As far is i know, we received the stone from the squot, arkus touched it and felt the world spitiy, then we put it away until just this instant.
I want to say we should attempt to test out the stone before giving it to the creature, but i don't think any palpable results will occur from this. Therefore, lets give the creature the stone; i mean, he has to be going after it for some reason, right? lets figure out that reason
>>
No. 171593 ID: 6050bc

"I know that you are coherent and that is enough for you to make a decision. I will give you that which you seek in exchange for your undying loyalty and swear upon that which moves you that you will never move against me and my own."
Being a being of magic, I expect that its word is enough for a binding contract. The effect of words are much more profound in the magical realm. Hopefully it's not one of those that lie prodigiously.
>>
No. 171594 ID: e31d52

Just a moment, let me cut in with a realization:

The creature we found in the mountains? It's connected to us somehow. Or more accurately, our past, before we were shut down. It's hard to perfectly place where I get the feeling, but I have two ideas, possibly they are related.

Idea one: The creature is infested with Mordre's old souls.

We all know that before Mordre was shut down, he had souls he does not have now. What we don't know is where these went, or what happened to them. Certainly, souls normally dissipate in time, but if you were to strike an especially lethal blow, and force them all, or most out at once, they might be able to wander quite far, I suppose, and perhaps they found a new vessel in this odd creature.

Furthermore, Mosmordre was known for using a lot of golems in the war, so I'm assuming life golems are no exceptions. Since I haven;t heard otherwise, I'm assuming they don't need food, it probably followed the last orders it had before its master passed away: Gaurding the capital. It wasn't there to stop Arkus, but it likely felt Mordre waking up. If idea one is true, then perhaps the sense of connection lead it to tail us into the mountains, where we met it.

Bloody fantastic. We have a soulmate, literally. and it's a giant fucking monster that may or may not want to murder us.
>>
No. 171596 ID: d1210a

>>171560
>>171571
>>171591
>>171592
>>171593
"I know you to be cognizant of what I say, Just as I know you desire this stone I hold. So I make this offer: Follow me, heed my words, And offer no harm to myself or my other charges, ......And this stone is yours. Do you accept?"

The creature blinks each eye individually as it cranes it's head about, pacing in small circles as it deliberates. But the rumbling of it's stomach intensifies, and ultimately will not be denied: The creature turns back to me, and nods, looking at my hand expectantly. From it's decision, I estimate my earlier deduction, that the stone was related to World magic and it's source, the leylines, to be accurate, and find myself desirous of further tests on the stone.... only to recall Arkus having fruitlessly tried experimentation with the stone at many of our periodic campsites, all yielding no clues as to it's purpose or effect, beyond giving Arkus the ability to perceive the caged one while it was in me. Considering our location, the chances of finding out further data with field testing seems negligible, so I elect to simply give the stone over now, letting it tumble from my hand to the waiting root creature.

The root and bark construct eagerly reaches forth, snatching the stone out of the air with the freshly sprouting tendrils of light from about it's form, and eagerly feasts on it's prize. As the stone passes down it's gullet, I see it harshly glow, it's light erratic and stark, straight through the creature's chest as it moves toward the center of it's mass. But the light softens, and slowly fades, all the while the creature running a multitude of tendrils over it's own form, it's body becoming thicker, hardier. As the metamorphosis ends, the creature looks at me with sober eyes, a sense of relaxed acceptance emanating from it's form.

[GAINED FOLLOWER: ?????? CREATURE]

>>171594
>creature was part of Mosmordren forces pre-Curse
>the patchwork creature is Mordre's soulmate
....My thoughts return to the patchwork creature I encountered not too long ago, and I find myself puzzling over it's obsession with me, as it seems clear it stalks me. Further, it's appearance makes it look to have suffered from the Curse, which would place it in Mosmordren land during it's fall.... possibly because it was once part of Mosmordre's military might, the same as I... yes, that seems plausible, the Mosmordren Empire had no qualms with the use of golems of any sort, the creature could easily be a life golem or some such. But still, that doesn't seem sufficient explanation, if-

!!!MOMENT OF INSPIRATION!!!
[+1 PRISTINE SOUL TOTAL: 2]

...Hm. The Curse disrupted souls and their connection to the bodies they were bound to, with both myself and this creature being present to suffer from it. I came out of it with souls still in my possession.... as my only possessions. If the creature pursues me, it must be about souls, making me wonder if the creature now bears some of my old souls or vice versa. Still, I feel confident that I have identified it's origins, and considering it's bond with me is of this format, I expect it will continue to hound me, until such time only one of us remains, or I find some manner to enslave it.


What should I do?
>>
No. 171615 ID: 716eb0

Pet Creature Read Note
>>
No. 171641 ID: 7524b0

>>171596
This creature seems to be a life golem of sorts, but uses World Magic for energy instead of Soul Magic.
>>
No. 171664 ID: 2aaaf1

>>171596
We've determined the creature's origins, let me take a crack at guessing what, or more importantly WHO the creature is.
I think I've gathered enough information over the course of the quest to make an educated guess about our stalker's identity:
1. Mordre cannot sense a soul within the creature. It was even implied(either in an earlier point in the quest or in the discussion thread, I'm too tired to look right now) that the creature may be seeking it's soul.
2.The missing soul of the creature resides in our well. This point is reinforced by our first meeting. It sought us out because it heard our dirge, this is extremely related to the creature because of the nature of our dirge. When we speak, we use the knowledge gained from the souls in Mordre, we talk in the tongues of the dead. The creature came to us, because it recognized the voice it once possessed.
3.The creature is Mordre's soulmate. This leads me to belive that the creature wasn't just some random life golem, it had to be someone who knew us personally.

I believe I know how it all went down. The creature is a twisted mutation of the high mage that sponsored our creation. We were finished just before the curse destroyed everything, nobody knew what hit them until it was too late. The process we intend to use to free Kyorto is most likely the same one that was used to make us. Our creator must have been consumed by the curse, his soul nearly obliterated from having the magic torn from his body. A shard of the mage's soul is injected into us, not nearly enough to give us the powers of a heroic soul, but enough to give us sentience. This explains why Arkus couldn't control us, if anyone remembers, he said: "I...I... I bind you to me, Soul Grave Golem, o' engine of war and death, to serve my will in the absence of masters." Our master is not absent at all. We were created to serve our master, and the magics that bind us to our master's service still work, only instead of a mindless peon, we are allowed free reign over our actions because we ARE our own master, literally.

Feel free to poke holes in my hypothesis, I'm not entirely sure I'm right, but it kinda makes sense to me.
>>
No. 171667 ID: 427807

awesome, the creature will follow us now!
lets head back to the arcanoworks and get arkus to some more book learnin' while we plan out next move back at our new, local headquarters.

Also, >>171594
props for putting shit together! seriously, i didn't expect this
>>
No. 171686 ID: 45be60

>>171664
Well, hole number one is that we have memories of being in battle before gaining sentience. These are not hints of recollection and understanding gained from soul knowledge, but actual memories viewed through a fog. Mordre seems to be able to tell the difference.

Also I am uncomfortable with people throwing the word "soulmate" around on this one.

And the twisting and random mutation of every living thing in the country seems like a good enough explanation for our sentience. It only makes me wonder how the other Soul Graves were subtly mutated.
>>
No. 171717 ID: e31d52

Speaking of mosmordre, mayhaps it's time we visit it again? Things seem stable here, we might be able to go it alone.Just run all night and day, get the skin to kyorto, (make sure to mention the mageling's growth) and... let's have another 'chat' with the Small Tomb.
>>
No. 171758 ID: 6050bc

>>171717
We already sent the skin back with some Premen.
Props for the Pristine Soul get.

Back to the Arkanoworks.
>>
No. 171822 ID: d1210a

>>171641
Hm, the creature's preference for World magic, and the way it augments itself as it feeds, reminds me... of myself, actually, and how I feast on souls.

>>171664
...Hmm, if the possibility the creature is seeking a soul trapped within my well exists, then I now must concern myself with the notion, not just of finding out what this creature is, but WHO it was. I start to postulate on the identity of this creature, only to realize I have a dearth of knowledge, concerning the inhabitants of the ruins I was found in.... and I imagine Kyorto may be able to assist me with that. A thought to consider for the future, as the more insight I gain into the creature that stalks me, the more options I feel shall open up before me.

>>171667
>>171758
I conclude that my business here is finished for the nonce, and reclaim Arkus within my grasp... and consider my new companion.

"If you cannot keep up with me, I shall have to carry you for