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253200 No. 253200 ID: 4f6e37

"Don't shoot it," says Eulinda. "It's just flying around."
"Bonus points if you shoot it in the head," says Random. "Bonus points for a headshot."
"Everyone be quiet," says Wendat. "You're messing up my aim."
Expand all images
No. 253201 ID: 31e5bb

hmmm, do nothing.
No. 253206 ID: 4f6e37
File 12890776495.png - (393.52KB , 800x600 , 54.png )

No. 253207 ID: 4f6e37
File 128907765271.png - (153.44KB , 800x600 , 55.png )

This is Wendat, the crossbow-wielding Arker.
No. 253208 ID: 4f6e37
File 128907765689.png - (202.36KB , 800x600 , 56.png )

This is Random, loudmouth Thaumaturge.
No. 253209 ID: 4f6e37
File 128907765863.png - (185.53KB , 800x600 , 57.png )

This is Eulinda, the Arcanist Stalwart.
No. 253210 ID: 4f6e37
File 128907766157.png - (185.30KB , 800x600 , 58.png )

This is Diometricus, the youngish, moderately nerdy Illusionist.
No. 253211 ID: 4f6e37
File 128907766389.png - (153.93KB , 800x600 , 59.png )

This is Epraim, the big, quiet Elementalist.

Whose head are we in?
No. 253212 ID: 56dc25

Epraim. /quest/ doesn't have enough protagonists whose response to all situations is to say "..." and look vaguely intimidating.
No. 253216 ID: 5eea01

No. 253225 ID: 31e5bb

Dio, cause he is the protagonist.
No. 253227 ID: 5f0943

No. 253238 ID: e44934

Random, always wanted to know whats in that guy's head.
No. 253242 ID: dc383e

Dio, because Illusion magic is the best damn magic
No. 253248 ID: a009b2

No. 253251 ID: 70d9eb

Random is the most important character on the show, pick him.
No. 253258 ID: c99f30

Epraim of course. Why talk when you have enough conversations going on inside your skull?
No. 253263 ID: c8e501

Are you kidding me? Epraim might be cool and all, but Dio is fucking Dio.
No. 253268 ID: 1854db

Nobody wants to vote for Wendat?

Eh... well, I'm up for seeing what an Elementalist is like. Epraim.
No. 253282 ID: c8e501

The thing is although it would be interesting to see the mechanics of an elementalist, Dio really is the protagonist, and Dream magic is cool. I would have gone with Random but it looks like no one's voting for him.
No. 253293 ID: ba89cc

Or if he loses which he will Dio.
No. 253296 ID: 880ed2

No. 253316 ID: ba89cc

No. 253319 ID: c71597

Epraim seems like quite a bro.
No. 253343 ID: 24a9bd

Ephraim. I love Dio and he IS the main character, so let's see things from a different perspective for a while
No. 253359 ID: 4f6e37
File 128908838899.png - (382.62KB , 800x600 , 60.png )

Cold out here, on the Barbed Plains. Strange, seeing as it's most right on the brink between the divine and the infernal. You'd think hell'd be hotter. But it's cold, and a cold wind winds its way across the land's spines, like breath scraping its way cross your ribs. Epraim don't like it.
No. 253360 ID: 4f6e37
File 128908839257.png - (254.26KB , 800x600 , 61.png )

"The fuck's Orpheo," says Sterro. "He said he'd meet us here, didn't he? Was I imagining that? I wasn't."
"He'll be further up," says Eregiorium. "He's probably invisible. He likes being invisible."
"Spooky bastard," says Sterro. "If he jumps out at us I will not be responsible for my actions, I tell you that right now."

Epraim is walking with his brothers along the trail, winding through the land's bones and part listening to Random's babbling. He gauges the elements he's got to work with as they go. Lots of earth round here. Earth's always a good one. This earth don't feel right at all but he reckons he can shape it just fine. Air's dry, fire's good to get at. Probably even better as they go further down, what with their destination. Ain't no water at all around besides the pittance in the atmosphere. Wind there's a lot of, but Epraim don't like wind, if he's going to be honest.

You're new, and even though Epraim don't like sharing a lot about himself, it wouldn't be neighborly of him not to at least get you on your feet. He don't got much else to do, besides wait for Diraiphe and listen to Sterro talk. Anything you need elucidated?
No. 253362 ID: c71597

Not sure really. You just seem like an intersting person. If nothing else for the fact that you seem so very non interesting. Just stands there, being silent and big. Guess it would be fun to see if there's anything else beneath the surface. That and it would always be fun to hear what you think about the others.
No. 253363 ID: 1854db

How do you see out of that mask? What do you think of the Ark, anyway? Seems like quite a suspicious bunch.
No. 253364 ID: 31e5bb

exactly how much and how fast can you make the elements go?
No. 253365 ID: 56dc25

Why are you so awesome, Epraim?

Also, are you referring to everyone by their last names, or what? Also, 'brothers'? In a metaphorical sense, I take it?
No. 253376 ID: 4f6e37
File 128909127374.png - (257.34KB , 800x600 , 62.png )

Yeah. Metaphorical. He don't know why he refers to folks by their last names. Likes the sound of some of them, mayhap.

Epraim can make a lot of elements go fast. He's got himself a tidy repertoire of spells, if that's what you meant. Specializes in Earth, which is a combination of area of effect tremor type things and punishing physical attacks. Likes to shake folks up, knock them off their feet, toss the floor at them. Formations. He's good at tackling formations.

He sees out of the mask with his eye.

He trusts the Ark about as far as he can throw them. Wait, scratch that, he can throw them pretty good. He don't trust the Ark much. no one does. But Wendat he knows. Wendat's a good man. Idealistic, but good. Probably.
Sterro is a hell of a fighter, and a friend, but he treats most everything like a game. Epraim don't know about that. The boy gets a bit too much of a lift out of hurting people, plain and simple, but then he's a duke of Hell. Makes a bit of sense.
Eulinda is a kind person. Too damn kind for what she can do to you given the chance and the motivation. A bit shy, but she has her convictions. Gives you an earful if you don't do what's right. She'll be good to have on the mission, for her soul as much as her combat prowess.
Diometricus Epraim don't know from much but reputation and conversations with Orpheo. Did a lot on his pilgrimage, apparently. Seems a good person, if a little wet behind the ears.

Speaking of Orpheo, the man still ain't showing up. And now the earth's talking to Epraim, tells him, "There's a crowd hereabouts."
"Crowd of what?" Epraim says. Or don't say, rather, but sometimes he feel like he talks to the earth and it listens.
"Trouble, pilgrim," earth says. "Couple miles distant. There's a malignity infects these hills."
No. 253385 ID: c71597

Well then, better inform your companions about them. Make it as short as you can.
No. 253387 ID: 31e5bb

"trouble, distant, be wary"
No. 253391 ID: 56dc25

Well, that sounds ominous. Like something that needs to be communicated to the others.

Tap their shoulders and indicate that they should stop walking, then commune silently with the earth for a moment, asking it more about this trouble. Presumably by the time you're done they will have asked you what's up, at which point you can respond with a suitably brief summary of what you've learned. I recommend staring in the appropriate direction and merely saying "Trouble." In a suitably reserved and awesome voice, like you doubtless always do.
No. 253394 ID: e44934

And by warn, we mean to look to trouble's direction ominously while you question the Earth more about the trouble.

Remember the serious gaze. I know they wont be able to really see it, but it still should work.
No. 253413 ID: 4f6e37
File 128909498636.png - (81.71KB , 800x600 , 63.png )

I put my hand on Random's shoulder, stopping him. "What-" he says.
"Shhhh," I say. "Wait."
"What's going on, Epraim?" says Eulinda.
"Guys, I think Epraim is coming on to me," says Random.
"Shut your damn fool mouth," I say. That shuts everyone up. I listen. Earth says about two score things coming this way, dragging and leaping all over themselves.
"Trouble," I say, looking out at the horizon.
No. 253414 ID: 4f6e37
File 128909499291.png - (356.16KB , 800x600 , 64.png )

"What kind of trouble?" Orpheo says, stepping out of the cutting wind, reaching into his cloak for his blade. Sudden entrance. Most of us jump.
"fuck," says Random, hopping a couple feet up in the air. "I knew you were going to do that. I told you he was going to do that," he says to us.
"Mile or two," I say. "Crowd of things, gait like monkeys."
"Balls," says Dio. "I guess that's our welcoming party."

"Most likely foliots," says Orpheo, rustling up a picture of them. "There are a few warbands in the area. Revealing ourselves to the more unsavory elements of the gradient will let them know we are here, but perhaps if we engage we can send a proper message that we are not to be trifled with. Epraim, you already know this area better than anyone else. What now?"

Two score of pitiful things like that we can handle no problem, given good terrain. "Hillock nearby, pilgrim," says earth. "High ground for holding. Or there's a canyon you can reach, if you hustle. Narrow enough to channel their numbers. Or you could hide. There are places I can show you."
No. 253420 ID: c71597

The Hillock sounds pretty nice. Should give you alot of material to work with. Just remember to leave one or two alive so that they can spread the tale.
No. 253431 ID: c99f30

Try the Canyon, we can hide or hold them there.
No. 253438 ID: 56dc25

>Earth's always a good one.
>Epraim don't like wind, if he's going to be honest.

>Hillock or canyon

The choice here is obvious. Canyon means that there's even more earth to work with, completely surrounding the enemy in addition to forming a chokepoint. If we can't get our favorite element to utterly whomp a couple dozen wretched monkey-things when completely surrounded by it, we don't deserve to be called a combat elementalist.
No. 253447 ID: a09a03

Sending a message seems the best plan for now. The whole reason you're here is to show these dudes who's boss.

Go for the hillock.
No. 253718 ID: 754124

The hillock is closer. We can get there with time to spare, maybe. If so, we can pull up some embankments and shape the battlefield to our liking. Getting proper walls up is probably beyond what we could do in the time, but we could at least make it tougher for them to come at us from all different directions.
No. 253719 ID: 27fe93

dio: mention that monkey things were what you fought on the arcane plane, so you don't think under-estimating them is a good idea.
No. 253723 ID: 4ad9b2

Yeah take the high ground. Being in a canyon is no good if the monkeys manage to get up above you somehow.
No. 255742 ID: 4f6e37
File 128961609283.png - (81.45KB , 800x600 , 65.png )

Epraim leads them to the hillock. About ten feet up. Not bad ground. Not bad at all. Epraim kneels down and listens to earth's murmurings. The East, that's where they'll come. More from the North. That's good. There's a steep patch East. They'll see the mages, flank, maybe, but that's the brunt coming from the East with a scratching sound like bugs.
"Three minutes," says Epraim. He shakes his head. "Two."
"Does anyone else think Epraim's, like, part earthworm or something?" says Random.
"I will observe this battle and step in if necessary," says Orpheo. "Random, focus on Area of Effect. Wendat is our sharpshooter. Eulinda specializes in close range combat and Diometricus can support. It would be prudent to choose a commander. I suggest Epraim."
"Sounds like a plan," says Dio.
"Sure," says Eulinda.
"Right," says Wendat.
"Whatever," says Random.

One minute, now. That's time to raise the hillock up a few more feet. Steepen it. Or bring walls up from the ground, choke off the coming flood. Or meditate, gain extra elemental power in one element. Earth, fire, water, wind. Not wind. No need. The wind's a razor up here, cutting to the quick. Your choice.
No. 255757 ID: a09a03

Steepen the hill. Gives you better lines of sight. Hopefully they don't have a lot of ranged weapons.
No. 255768 ID: 54dd9a

yeah raise/steepen hill, BUT have dio illusion up some walls, the enemy will go around them until they realize they are fake. try to capture one alive for interrogation.
No. 255817 ID: 56dc25

Instead of raising the hillock, why not simply lower its sides to steepen them? It would require moving less earth, so the overall effect would probably be more impressive. Regardless of the method, try to make the difference between the hill and ground as significant as possible. Leave one obvious relatively easy path up, so that they will have a target to attack instead of assaulting uniformly along the hill- that will make them inclined to bunch up, make them more vulnerable to area attacks and more easily warded off by a single close range specialist.

Weakness in this plan: If whatever's coming has flight/serious jumping abilities, it's pointless. Difficult to make that call before seeing them, though.
No. 255844 ID: 263430

Create some real cover, behind the illusory wall. No sense taking chances.
No. 255852 ID: 623906

Raise the hillock a bit and turn its edges and surroundings sandy so if they try to climb they'll have no grip and they'll be easy to shake off.

A minimum of real walls together with more illusionary walls would probably work. Especially if you can make the ground just behind the fake walls sharp and spiky so they cut their feet if they step through the illusion.

When the battle starts just keep using earth to mess up the battlefield, maybe some wind to push the enemy back or deflect projectiles. Focus on commanding the others though, don't get tunnel vision. You need to constantly assess the overall threat and direct the others.

Ask Dio if he can make some kind of lure to group up the enemy so Random can get a good first blow in.
No. 256065 ID: 4ea973

or make the walls a just couple feet high and illusion them VERY high.
No. 256137 ID: 8555c2

In the East, chest high spikes scattered everywhere. Illusion cloak half of them. Create another batch of spikes made of illusions.

Your job is to stall the fuck out of the East push. Rock trips, wind push, blowing sand into eyes. Let the North through. Your allies will deal with them while East is delayed. After North is dealt with stop stalling and start attacking.
No. 329373 ID: 523c4c
File 131131594335.png - (205.30KB , 800x600 , 66.png )

Epraim sets foot against the dust and the dirt and feels with each tread the swirling ready dust-power rising from beneath. He sets himself with it, pushes the great low rock-magic from below up into himself and he pushes himself down into the dirt. He brings it up, feeling the crack and pop of rock grinding on rock and the good smell of wet dirt from the dark places.

Well, now. That's a bulwark, right enough.
No. 329374 ID: 523c4c
File 131131594515.png - (46.33KB , 800x600 , 67.png )

Wet-eared brother Diometricus brings walls from the ground for the lower end of the east push, and wispy half-earth up over some of Epraim's spikes. It's light and insubstantial, but it looks real enough. It'll fool hell-beasts, blind as they are.

Orpheo is speaking. "Excellent, Diometricus, Epraim." Comfortable lecturing, is Oprheo. Didactic, Epraim thinks. Good fella besides. "We can expect the main push to dilute itself nicely against the defenses. Remember: our greatest weapon is not our magic but the lucidity required to use our magic."

"Yeah. Well. A good fireball never goes to waste either," mutters Wendat to Epraim, walking up beside him and looking out East. "Speaking of..."
No. 329376 ID: 523c4c
File 131131599573.png - (150.28KB , 800x600 , 68.png )

"How many?" Orpheo asks him, and even though Epraim knows the answer, knew it for some time, he will let Wendat say it. No need to be haughty, in Epraim's estimation.
"Three groups, varying distance." Wendat's voice has the soulless edge of a professional soldier: "Twelve one klick. Fourteen one point five klicks. Third group... too far to judge, I think."

"If anyone has any long-range spells to sling, I suggest we start slinging them," offers Random, and now he's gathering hellfire around his wrists.

Epraim can pull earth up beneath them, slow them down for the others, or he can fling rocks out like a catapult with a trenchcoat.
No. 329380 ID: 1854db

Start flinging rocks for now. My understanding is that a catapult is not terribly accurate so you'll want to do that while there's a big group to aim at. Slow them down once there's some damage done to bunch them up some more, then resume bombardment. Optimal damage application.
No. 329419 ID: 6e44d2

Oh wow, I'm really excited to see this quest again!

Do that and have Dio conjure up images of more boulders flying through the air that land as near-misses. It'll help demoralize the enemy.
No. 329424 ID: 15b51b

Grab them with the earth. Maybe it'll help them realize they've lost without having to kill them all.
No. 329469 ID: 00d3d5

Can you open up holes in the earth, then slam them shut? The ground eating some of them would scare them more than flying boulders, and they'll stumble avoiding them.
No. 329527 ID: 650284
File 131135932128.png - (54.29KB , 800x600 , 69.png )

Epraim claps boot against ground, lets the wave of force carry his will into the Earth. She obliges the pilgrim, and carries up, and out. He's still got it. Ain't that a sure sight.
No. 329528 ID: 650284
File 131135934096.png - (376.96KB , 800x600 , 70.png )

The magi around him take his cue to start casting. Sterro whoops and spins, coming back round with a ball of hellflame he hurls out at the coming varmints. Wendat primes his crossbow and fires a bolt he catches in midair, bursts into kinetic energy with a loud clack, and bounces lethally across the foliot ranks. Dio can't do much but Ape Epraim, tossing fade-boulders that look twice as impressive for none of the effect. Eulinda ain't exactly the ranged type, so she sits back. Orpheo watches.

The foliot are a rabble now, watered down dregs still flowin across the dust toward the hillock. But more are coming in, sure as the scars rent in the ground from the weaponized will Epraim's been slinging.

Do they focus fire the first group to the ground, take a whole wave out before it gets in spitting distance, or move on to the second and soften them up as well? They only got time for one or the other.
No. 329531 ID: e3f578

Soften second group, later cut through 'em like sweet butter and get all euphoric from how easy you can cut into 'em. MMmmmmmmm Just like Granny's home battle-cookin'
No. 329541 ID: 90abeb

make sure neither group engages you at full force- soften them up before they reach you.
No. 329546 ID: db6efb

Some of your number are wasting their talents at this distance, may as well let them deal with a closer group and thin out the second batch.
No. 329552 ID: cd63e9

you might want to could focus on slowing the second grope down so it won't arrive until the first wave is delt with.
No. 329572 ID: 15b51b

Move your focus to the second bunch. Let your close-in guys deal with the remainder of the first group.
No. 329582 ID: 35e1a0

make ripples in the ground in front of the second group to stall them long enough for your close rangers to finish them
No. 329909 ID: 523c4c
File 131139789650.png - (57.17KB , 800x600 , 71.png )

Epraim shifts his focus to slowing the group in front. The long range folks switch to the second group, and Epraim feels the side of his helmet heat up as Brother Sterro cloaks himself in abyssal energy and hurls a pyre's worth of hellfire out across the horizon, cackling like a madman.

But the remnant of the first group are getting close now, very close. "Danger," say the hopping motes of dirt at Epraim's feet. "You can't stop them all without stains upon your cloaks, pilgrim."

"They're too close. It's getting hard to control the midflight. Right, bleeders." Wendat slides down the slope to level his shot at the nearest group of foliots, and bursts em neatly in a snapping violet curve that keeps in your eye when you blink. "Multikill.
"Range qualifies at CQC," he calls up the slope as he scrambles back. Epraim feels the rough scrabble of his fingertips against the hillock. Dangerous to us is Wendat the Arker, thinks Epraim. Friendly and very dangerous.
No. 329911 ID: 523c4c
File 131139793667.png - (281.21KB , 800x600 , 72.png )

"Enough artillery," says Sterro, starting down the hillock, and Epraim can hear the crack of killing joy running through his voice. A duke of Hell, in home waters. "I want to kill them faster."

"Hold," Epraim says, and although he don't make any other move, Random's leashed.

"He might be right, Epraim," Eulinda edges a little closer, makes sure not to singe her self on Pyro-Sterro. "The first and second waves are depleted fairly badly, and if we keep focusing to soften up wave three it could put us at risk for counterattack."
"And I want to explode them," Sterro's voice is as full of the inferno as the air around him.
"That too," says Eulinda.

If Epraim keeps shelling the far-offs, or doesn't have everyone commit to close combat, the stragglers could indeed cause damage. But if they all engage now and take too long, wave three will hit them too hard. It bears some thought.
No. 329916 ID: 1854db

Unleash them while slowing wave three, then.

Also... these guys are dumb, right? Why don't you raise up a maze or something?
No. 329935 ID: 35e1a0

too complicated and would need a LOT of time to move that much dirt to a high enough lvl that they can't just climb over.
anyway, try to shift the wave action into a full wave with a tube effect. if that can't work then pop up a line of spikes in front of where wave three would be coming from and engage all the ones left here.
No. 329941 ID: 02de21

The amount of effort involved in raising up a maze is not favorable when compared to the expected effect on the enemy.

Epraim and Wendat seem the most effective at range. They can focus on the far-off enemies while the others slaughter those who come close. Between Sterro's fire, Dio's confusing the hell out of them, and Eulinda doing whatever kind of killing she does, they should be quite well equipped to handle the incoming forces at close range with minimal if any danger.
No. 329967 ID: 523c4c
File 131140376106.png - (339.45KB , 800x600 , 73.png )

Enough to win. But not enough to crush, and if they don't crush the fellas on the hillock someone could be hurt. This ain't the first time Epraim's been in charge and ain't no one gets hurt.

Epraim raises great funneling stone walls in the distance, try to funnel the remaining waves into one group. Well, least he could do.
No. 329968 ID: 523c4c
File 131140377634.png - (365.30KB , 800x600 , 74.png )

Then he nods toward his brothers and Orpheo who flows into verbal action. "Close combat has begun, and if I may remind my greener recruits this is the time for efficiency and not for experimentation. Battle groups of two."
"There's five of us," protests Dio.
"Sterro, I think, works better alone," says Orpheo, sneaking a look toward the snarling thaumaturge. "Epraim takes center."
Epraim nods acknowledgement, turns and slides down the hillock toward the approaching gnashing fight.
"To kill." The foliot in front with the toothpick speaks with a voice like a book being burned. "To puncture destroy debase and twist in the wound."

"Who's coming down there with you?" Orpheo calls out above him.
No. 329979 ID: 1854db

Take Dio.
No. 329991 ID: 02de21

Eulinda. Her abilities should compliment ours quite well, and Wendat and Dio are another pair quite capable of both keeping each other safe and eliminating foes effectively. Should work out for everyone.
No. 330041 ID: 65c63c

No. 330300 ID: 523c4c
File 131147060245.png - (340.14KB , 800x600 , 75.png )

"Eulinda," he calls back up, and with a clatter of armor the Stalwart comes sliding down the hill to join him.

Epraim says jump, and earth don't bother asking how high. A foliot is took some ways up.
No. 330302 ID: 523c4c
File 131147061684.png - (376.88KB , 800x600 , 76.png )

The boulder takes most of the foliot flying out with it. There's plenty more coming.

Eulinda halts with a mighty stomp of mailed boot. She pushes her other foot far out to the side and plants that, too. Epraim feels the corona of power in his gut. Not many seen a Stalwart at war, and even fewer get the chance to remember.

Does Epraim have her go wild, or keep her back as a defense? As far as what you're fixing for him to cast is concerned, as long as you can do it with rocks and a sleeveful of elemental power, Epraim can more or less make it happen. He ain't a student no more. Epraim is a warmage.
No. 330303 ID: 00d3d5

Hollow the ground out beneath your enemies and cover the new sinkhole's floor with spikes. Then crumble the ground so they fall onto the spikes and die.
No. 330308 ID: 966224

this is our first fight. I want to know what Eulinda's abilities are like. make her do things.
No. 330314 ID: 1854db

There's a guy hiding behind the wall. Make spikes shoot through his back. In fact, make spikes everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Little ones on the ground, to make it painful for your enemy to approach.
No. 330329 ID: 15b51b

Staying on the defense will give the baddies more time to mass. Have her go on the attack.
No. 330355 ID: 523c4c
File 131147483085.png - (391.80KB , 800x600 , 77.png )

Epraim digs his heels into the dirt and lets it crack and snap like broke glass. Spikes jut out of just about every surface, spearing a couple of foliot too damn fool to get out of the way.

He shatters hisself a pit in the Earth, estimating it to catch a one or two more, but he needn't have bothered. Behind him, Eulinda slams her gauntlets into her thighs, making a huge crash sound and adding a shout to it. "Aiueee, Kawa!" She whacks her forearms together. "Yuwa!" She stomps against the ground and the blinding shockwave of force that emerges from point of impact just about pops Epraim's ears.
No. 330356 ID: 523c4c
File 131147484239.png - (427.96KB , 800x600 , 78.png )

Eulinda has started the wardance of the Stalwarts. She told Epraim what it meant, once, when he got curious, which ain't a common turn of events. It's in ancient furlaian, apparently.

"Ika nakemona Doya! <I am named for the wrath of Doya>!" she howls as she claps her hand against her arm, and anyone who don't know her very well'd be surprised by how big a sound quiet Eulinda can make. "Doya nakemo aaaugna!" Doya's wrath is unquenchable. She pounds one gauntlet into her chest. "Pura!" Reach. "Nuga!" Thwart. She's more than the dumpy shy girl she reckons she is, when she's like this, thinks Epraim.

By this point, the foliots are scattered more sure than leaves in a tornado. Epraim could make this deathtrap of his even deadlier in the time it takes them to pick themselves up, or he could start pushing back hisself with some well-aimed spells.
No. 330362 ID: 6e44d2

Raise a swarm of sharp rocks into the air and rain them down onto the enemy. Use a little wind to help it along, too. Might as well.
No. 330364 ID: eba49f

Whichever you do, make sure to seal any of your pit traps that Eulinda is heading towards. Wouldn't want to ruin a nice rampage.
No. 330367 ID: 1854db

You've got a great defensive line now. Go full offense.
No. 330391 ID: cd63e9

seconding both of these.
No. 330473 ID: 15b51b

Blast them off their feet with wind. Buffet them so it becomes impossible to navigate your traps and hazards without being speared.
No. 330675 ID: 523c4c
File 131154454281.png - (264.61KB , 800x600 , 79.png )

Wind's a nasty, waspish broad. Epraim never did much like asking any favors of her. Well. He never did like killing neither, and he's been doing plenty of that.

The splinters of stone propelled by howling gales finally give the Foliot something to show some prudence about. Not to mention the waves of force comin' out of Eulinda every time she moves. The Foliot eventually stop trying to climb the damn hill in the first place, and pull themselves away from their meal, washin away like dregs out a coffee cup.
No. 330676 ID: 523c4c
File 131154455175.png - (171.47KB , 800x600 , 80.png )

But how did Sterro and his folk do on the north wave? Epraim hears his question answered by a gurgling scream from behind him. They've stuck Eregiorium. "To empty," the stabber says, twisting his spear. "To ruin."
No. 330677 ID: 523c4c
File 131154455975.png - (241.10KB , 800x600 , 81.png )

Epraim's just starting to feel the unfamiliar pinpricks of panic in his gut, his voice starts to push through his closed-off throat, when he remembers who he's lookin at.

And Eregiorium slides one of those daggers his sweetie gave him out the ribcage of the Foliot.
Fake death's a certain trademark of his, but someone better tell him it scares the Sam Hell outta his brothers.

"It's okay. I'm okay," says Eregiorium, the skittish thrill of combat layered over his voice. "The north push got away from us, though. You done over there?"

They can try and move away, though that'd lose them the hillock, or they can fight it out hand-to-hand. Epraim reckons that if he and Eulinda join in they have a good chance of blowing the foliot all to pieces.
No. 330685 ID: 02de21

>Fake death's a certain trademark of his, but someone better tell him it scares the Sam Hell outta his brothers.
Can't the earth tell you where he's really standing, even if he's invisible? I don't think his fakes actually weigh anything, so the earth should know. It'd take a better illusionist than him to fool it, and it would let you keep track of what's really going on if you ask it to help you keep an eye on him.

In any case, press the attack. There's no sense abandoning a defensive position when you've got more than enough firepower to hold it, even if it'll take a little more effort than before.
No. 330690 ID: 1854db

Blow them to hell.
No. 330694 ID: eba49f

Greater Glamors might have a bit of solidity, as reacting realistically to death hopefully includes resisting the weapon like a real body some rather then letting it pass through effortlessly. (I would ask about that part in a QuestDis thread, but as far as I know there isn't one.)
No. 330698 ID: 24b747

You're warmed up. Check that everyone is ok and start pushing back. You need to make sure the Foliots don't come back for round 2.

With Wind being so strong around here maybe you can efficiently disable foes by choking them with dust?
No. 330720 ID: fbd140

No. 330909 ID: 523c4c
File 131155988229.png - (284.74KB , 800x600 , 82.png )

No, the first fella's right. Epraim should have known who was who. He was surprised and let surprise get in the way. That's why he don't like surprises.

"Reckon this is it," he says, and he lifts the old dead skin off the Earth's great back and sends it billowing across the hillock. He loves that smell. "Finish them off, brothers."

In the choking dust and the chaos of the fight, Epraim reckons most everyone has their own unique perspective on the melee. For his part, he raises the exposed spine of the hillock up and lets it get to the point.
No. 330910 ID: 523c4c
File 131155988915.png - (446.40KB , 800x600 , 83.png )

Dio can't believe how easy it is. He's used to fighting mages who know all his tricks, and how to fight back against them. These foliots don't know shit, and they're dying in droves. The first couple kills were a bit of a shock, but he just keeps going. He has never seen anything die so quickly and so easily. They're so damn slow, and so damn stupid. He isn't sure if any of his daggers haven't connected. The real ones, anyway.
He doesn't feel much but awe.
No. 330911 ID: 523c4c
File 131155990388.png - (396.44KB , 800x600 , 84.png )

Eulinda is one with all who have danced with the spirit of Doya. She is back in the flanks of her brothers and sisters, feeling the ground ache with each stomp of fifty feet. Something higher than cognitive thought moves her. The explosions are an afterthought. The wardance is all.
The parts of her brain not devoted to the dance (and they are few) are passively cruising, like she's taking a long drive she's been down many times before. She wonders how Dio is doing, bless his little heart. Something about his small stature and naivete triggers something motherly in him.
More motherly than usual, anyway.
No. 330912 ID: 523c4c
File 131155991042.png - (248.08KB , 800x600 , 85.png )

Drop to one knee, slide foot out. Reload. Brace. Aim, one, two. Fire. Target one shot in midsection, instant KIA. Adjust trajectory. Target two shot in head, instant KIA. Kill Count: 11. Damn good start.
Wendat knows what people think of the Fraternity. He wants to show them what the Ark can and should be. He wants them to be able to trust him. Reload. Scan for more targets.
No. 330913 ID: 523c4c
File 131155992010.png - (35.35KB , 800x600 , 86.png )

But fuck those guys because let's be honest, they're playing second fiddle to Random Sterro, fireball spewing motherfucker. He is the eye of the firestorm. He is a duke of Hell returned and long sojourn'd and these greasy fucks are going to be burned. He sees only killing and smells only the burning flesh of the loathsome, pitiful sprouts that chose to stand in the way of the inevitable burning death of the fire.
Soon the battle will be over and Random will descend from the blazing pillar of murder he is perched upon, and he will readjust and be well and normal. For now, every vein and artery in his body sings. He needs this.

No. 330916 ID: 523c4c
File 131156013111.png - (217.01KB , 800x600 , 87.png )

The dust dissipates.

Epraim, Dio, Wendat, Eulinda, and Random stand on a mass grave. Earth's heavy with bodies and sodden with blood.

Orpheo steps out of the dusky air. "That," he says, "was expertly done."

Epraim looks over at his comrades. He sees Dio, looking down the hill, shaking a little. He speaks: "How you feeling, brother?"

Dio looks up at the hulking elementalist. How does he feel about this?
No. 330919 ID: 02de21

A little dazed, probably. Dio's fought before, but those were smaller engagements, only a handful of opponents at most. That kind of chaotic melee must have been quite the new experience, everything moving so quickly and only giving the opportunity to really appreciate what happened now that it's over.

And looking back on it now, Dio must feel pretty damn awesome. Each of the mages was like a tiny little god of war in their own way, and he was one of them.
No. 330920 ID: 00d3d5

"Not good. We have to do this, but that doesn't mean we have to enjoy it."
No. 330930 ID: e6ceaf

Probably won't really know fully until later.
No. 330933 ID: 1854db

On an adrenaline high, it's hard to say exactly.

Though with that much action all at once, Dio's first big engagement, he's probably feeling really queasy. These things were near-mindless things out for blood. There shouldn't be any guilt in killing them.

Seeing this much DEATH though, all the blood and innards everywhere... yep, Dio's gonna have to puke I think.
No. 330939 ID: 07416a

No. 330944 ID: cd63e9

dio's not all that comfortable with killing yet, combined with the adrenalin crash he's probably not feeling so hot right now.
No. 330947 ID: 35e1a0

yeah he doesn't LIKE it but it was kill or be killed. if he HAS to he can do it again. but right now yeah, he isn't feeling too good.
No. 330951 ID: b48e91

He feels that killing these creatures was distressingly easy. He was ready to kill, but he thought it would take more. That it would MEAN more. He scarcely looked at them and they were dead. Taking a life should be harder than that. NOT taking life has certainly been harder than that. The difficulty of an act should match the weight of the act, shouldn't it?

So simple a thing to end another living being. There has to be more to it. There just HAS to. He wants to do something to show respect to those that died here. Those that he killed.
No. 330975 ID: eba49f

I think I agree with this one.
No. 330996 ID: 523c4c
File 131156450368.png - (219.18KB , 800x600 , 88.png )

"I don't know," Dio looks at the dead stuff lying all around him. Something's not right here, but he can;t put his finger on it. "It's okay we did it, but it shouldn't be this easy. It shouldn't be as easy as, as, not killing them."
"Hard not to kill anything so pig-fuckin' ugly, says Sterro. A pebble hits him in the back of the head. "What?" Another one. "Shit. What? Epraim, stoppit."
"The single most difficult fact to accept as a oculoid warmage," Orpheo, ever the didact, is saying, "is the fact that you are, against non-mages, effectively a weapon of mass destruction. The wastes that take up a third of the planet were caused by magic. One small group of Cyclopean mages is easily equal to an army of unpowered men. And if it doesn't destroy others, it will destroy you. Our ancestors were too overconfident, even unto tyranny. Their hubris, more than anything, caused their downfall."
"Well-" says Wendat the Arker.
"Arguably," Orpheo corrects himself. "Regardless. You aren't a weapon, Diometricus, but you are capable of killing a great deal of people very quickly in unpleasant ways. I wish I could take every student on a mission, at least once. It's important..."
"Yeah," interrupts Dio. "I think I'll be okay eventually but right now I think... oh, shitting spirits on a stick." He sprints down the hillock toward the ditch at the bottom, yanking off his helmet as he runs.
"Doing okay down there, hombre?" Random calls down to him.
"Hgorf," Dio responds.
Motherly Eulinda starts clanking down the hillock toward the illusionist. "I'll go help him clean up, poor hon."
No. 330997 ID: 523c4c
File 131156450874.png - (101.13KB , 800x600 , 89.png )

They travel for the rest of the day, with Random guiding them. Apparently they're headed to the home of a demon he knows. Nobody else quite knows how they feel about that.

Around 11 pm they start bedding down to rest. They don't bother hiding the fire. Why should they, when they're the most dangerous ones out here?

They all gather round the fire for a while before they crawl off to bed. Random is telling ghost stories, telling anyone who tries to say anything shut the fuck up, we're getting to the part with the rusty hook. Dio flips his phone open and is pleasantly surprised when he has one or two bars.
Who, if anyone, does he text back home?
No. 331002 ID: 02de21

No one.

It's nice that he has the option to text people if he wants, but... tonight is a night for his own thoughts.
No. 331003 ID: 1854db

His sweetie, duh.
No. 331006 ID: 00d3d5

Dahlia. Tell her how you feel about what happened.
Jai. Ask her how she copes with this. (Do NOT ask the same question to Dahlia!)

Also, ask Orpheo if anybody is working to undo the wastes.
No. 331012 ID: 35e1a0

make it short and too the point "killed a ton of beasties, puked."
No. 331049 ID: 15b51b

Tell Jai how weird and conflicted you feel. This is a Jai question and not a Dahlia one.
No. 331084 ID: 523c4c
File 131157664353.png - (261.30KB , 800x600 , 91.png )

Dahlia edges an arm out, trying not to knock over the rocks on her back and snags her phone.
>Hi honey :D
>Halu dio. Talk, no txt. cant be moving around too much.
Brrrzt part two.
"Moshi moshi," says Dahlia.
"Where are you?" asks Dio.
"Dad's sauna thing. Lyin' on a table with no clothes on and a bunch of rocks on my back," says Dahlia.
"Why the rocks?
"Dahlia? Why the rocks?"
"I heard you, Dio. Still not a hundred percent on that myself. I am prepping for the arena match today."
"By being in a sauna."
"Illusionists gots to focus the mind just as much as hone the body, thank you very much."
"And of course running a marathon or something wouldn't focus the mind enough."
"Har har," says Dahlia. "For your information, Eregiorium, I am the team's only Dream Mage and we're undefeated so far, so stick that in your pipe then stick your pipe up your butt. Enough about boring school things. Tell me about the divine plane! Kill any demons yet?"
"A few," says Dio. "Wellll, a lot."
"That's my man," says Dahlia. "Givin' team tiny dream mage a good name out there."
"Yah ya betcha," says Dio, choosing not to mention the other shit on his mind to Dahlia. "So I've got to go, Random is shooting daggers at me from across the campfire and I think he's going to get violent soon. He's telling the story about the hooks."
"The guy with the hook?"
"No, it's not on a guy, it's everywhere. Just all over hooks."
"Spooky," says Dahlia. "Hey, though. I love you. Call me again when you get the chance, I'll let you know how the fight went.
"Love you too, hon," says Dio. "Bye."
No. 331085 ID: 523c4c
File 131157664936.png - (327.75KB , 800x600 , 90.png )

Jai looks around from beating the fuck out of a punching bag. Pyramus has left the room, so she's been adding a little magical kick to each jab. He fucking hates when she does that. It'll brrreak the cheen, he says, in that stupid sexy Waani accent of his.
Caller ID: 'Tis great warrior Dio, with news from the front where he's pussying out of fighting in the arena matches. Whatever, his girlfriend's a better mage than he is. Don't tell him she said that.

>Hey thar Jai can I talk to u about something real quick
Sure, dio. It's just the day of a bout and you interrupted my training. nbd
>ok. so we fought a bunch of foliots today on this big giant hill.
That was sarcasm, dio. But ok, now I'm interested.
>sry. anyway, we were fighting for like 5 mins and i killed around 8 or 9 of the things just like that. it was like boom, massacre
Are you interrupting just to brag? Izzat what's going on?
>no. the opposite, actually. idk
They were just foliots. You aren't feeling bad about killing them or anything, are you? They're awful.
>No, it's not that. it's just that it shouldn't have been as easy as it was.
Ooh, I c what's going on here. You just found out just how powerful mages are against non mages.
>Sort of, yah.
Ok listen dio: this is what my first leader told me when I was out there. Killing isn't the most important part of your job. All of us can kill, even non warmages. you know how easy it was. I mean, warmages are a lot better at it but even a bookworm can kill a village or 2.
What separates a warmage from a non warmage isn't the magic. It's the force of will to USE the magic. It's all about knowing the difference between being a soldier and a tyrant or a battle and a massacre. Some people just can't do it. I think the reason you got picked by orpheo in the first place was because you can.
>It wasn't because of actual ability, then. gr8.
Shut up, that was part of it. But most of it is that youre a really good kid with a heart in the right place. Thats whats gonna make you a great warmage, more than any sword you can conjure or spell you can sling.
>That is some zen shit.
Mhm. Look I knew this was going to happen. It happens to pretty much everyone. The first time I killed a bunch of people it was 12 warrior Qal. I cried for like an hour. Eventually youll figure out what a Good Fight is. And I dont mean a challenging one, I mean one that's right. Has Orpheo given the youre-not-a-weapon talk?
Good. The difference between you and a loaded xbow is that xbows can't think or empathize, and thats p much all the difference youll need.
Feel better, D?
No. 331086 ID: 35e1a0

yeah, that does make it better.

now go inside your head and literally beat the crap out of that inner demon now before it grows up.
No. 331092 ID: 523c4c
File 131157930203.png - (106.32KB , 800x600 , 92.png )

>yeah, i think it does make me feel a bit better. i should sleep, it's midnight here.
Good. Now go sleep and kick ass in the morning, D.
>night jai.
Night Dio.

Dio closes his phone as Random finishes his story. "The scariest part is that the man was you, or a lady if you're Eulinda, and you forgot that this happened."
"Chilling," says Epraim.
"See that I have given speech to the dumb with the edification of my tale," says Random. "And now your messiah sleeps." He clambors into his tent, calls loudly, "Don't come in; I plan to masturbate," and closes the flap.
Dio turns in himself. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit less rough.
No. 331097 ID: 35e1a0

let's hang with wendat.
No. 331099 ID: 15b51b

Now that we've established Dio isn't a living weapon or a crazed psycho murder kill guy, let's hang out with Random instead!
No. 331105 ID: cd63e9

random.we have to find out whats up with the whole duke of hell thing.
No. 331109 ID: 6e44d2

Random. He's kind of a psychopath. I kind of like that.
No. 331111 ID: 07416a

Dio. I prefer to stick to the main character. Plus, I really like him.
No. 331113 ID: 1854db


Though I suspect we will be bad at portraying his personality.
No. 331161 ID: f0c3a0

Yeah, I agree this is something more appropriate to talk to Jai about, rather than Dahlia.
No. 331162 ID: 7a2bfb


but only after he's done playing with himself.
No. 331165 ID: d71efb


but only while he's playing with himself.
No. 331242 ID: 523c4c
File 131163307639.png - (6.74KB , 800x600 , 93.png )

Duke Random Adro leads his chosen flock across the razor plains of Hell.

Read that again. Doesn't that sound fucking metal?
Random is having the time of his life. You'd be surprised how much stress you relieve, massacring armies of demons. He'd take it over a fishing trip any time. And don't tell anyone else, but he actually tolerates his traveling companions this time. Epraim doesn't talk too much, thank god for that, Wendat is okay as long as you don't get him started on racial purity or something, and Dio is so incompetent it's easy to look good around him. Plus, he brought lots and lots of canned pineapple with him. Orpheo and Eulina, well, they're a bit preachy, but they're relying on him for their survival now, so they can shut the fuck up.

Yes sir, they are rolling Random style now. They've been moving for about an hour now, getting into a steady pace of things. Dio has taken it upon himself to ask if they are there yet every five mintutes because he's the worst person in the world. Wendat is discussing the relative quality of War of The Colossi One vs. its sequel. Random is trying to decide on a route. The demon they're supposed to kill is still a level down. They could take a shortcut down there, but it would be hard going with no stops. Alternatively, they could go through the kingdom of a Knowledge Demon Duke Random knows, but that would take longer and Xephyrious is an asshole.
No. 331244 ID: 1854db

Let's go through the asshole's kingdom. Should be fun!
No. 331245 ID: 02de21

Well, if you're enjoying massacring hordes of demons, then there's really not a lot of incentive to kill less demons, right? And it's been amply demonstrated that the group we've got here are pretty much unstoppable. So choose whichever route will bring you guys directly through the largest concentrations of things which you'll subsequently have an excuse to slaughter like the badasses you are.
No. 331277 ID: 523c4c
File 131163834630.png - (8.27KB , 800x600 , 94.png )

Random speaks up: "Attention, passengers of Air Random. The temperature is holding at a balmy Hot as Balls°, and there ain't a cloud in the sky, just an assload of invisible treebranches with a bunch of spirits sitting on them. This is your captain speaking. I totally just decided where we're going."
"It took you this long?" asks Wendat.
"That it did," says Random.
"Are we there yet?" asks Dio.
"Lick a chode," says Random. "We'll be going through the kingdom of an old buddy of mine by the name of Xephyrious. He might try and kill us, it's a demon thing."
"Xephyrious the Knowledge Demon?" asks Orpheo.
"Yeah," says Random, genuinely surprised. "You know the guy?"
"I have been in contact with him now and again regarding access to his extensive library," says Orpheo. "It pays to have friends in low places, at times."
"I wouldn't call him much of a friend," says Random. "Dudes a fuck-ugly skeleton-lookin' douche with asperger's and a penchant for temper tantrums.
"He is a singular man at times," says Orpheo.
"To put it lightly," says Random. "Anyway, he'll put on a pretty huge act, but he's terrified of me, and not just because I don't take showers, Dio, before you say anything."
"Do you?" asks Eulinda.
"Moving on," says Random. "Since I'm a duke I have the right to demand shelter from him, so we'll probably be spending the night there, with Orpheo's go-ahead." Orpheo nods. "The problem is that if any of us use magic when we're in his court, that's a big no-no with the Adversary. We don't want that to happen. Well, you might not mind but if He catches wind of anything I'll be the one with my balls slow-boiling. And I like my balls, as small and ill-used as-"
"Group of folks approaching," interrupts Epraim. "Should be seein' em soon."
"What? Bullshit," says Random. "How do you figure?"
No. 331278 ID: 523c4c
File 131163835254.png - (4.63KB , 800x600 , 95.png )

A couple more steps and they see the dark flecks of bodies in motion on the horizon.
"Oh," says Random. "Okay." He'd be impressed if he wasn't a terrible person.

"Seraphim," says Wendat, staring out toward them with that magic mask of his. "Looks like a war chariot. Two-no, three marks. Do we shoot them?"
"Seraphim are allied with magi," protests Eulinda.
"Not necessarily," says Wendat. "And color me a little suspicious of a solitary seraphim chariot out in the middle of Hell with no one else around."
No. 331280 ID: 0a7b71

say you wanna hear them out. they'll be so surprised, nobody will object.
No. 331282 ID: eba49f

If they look suspicious then we should talk to them but have Dio image-displace us so we get the first shot if they try something.
No. 331283 ID: 1854db

Safety first. Have Dio make some illusions so we're sure they can't land a surprise attack.

Let's not just go shooting some dudes because they're suspicious. We should talk to them first.
No. 331286 ID: cd63e9

what he said
No. 331287 ID: 35e1a0

yes, everyone looks 10 feet to the left of where they really are. also, if he can handle it, then make everyone look bigger. a position of strength makes things easier.
No. 331293 ID: 02de21

>"The problem is that if any of us use magic when we're in his court, that's a big no-no with the Adversary.
That's a hell of a problem! Without using magic, aren't the lot of you basically helpless? What's to stop Xephyrious from just offing the lot of you, if you're not able to use magic to defend yourselves? My understanding was that the whole reason that the mages are able to command such a good position in interplanar politics is because they're so ridiculously powerful no one will dare fuck with you. Take away the power, and what have you got on your side? Just the fact that your friends back home wouldn't like it if you died?
No. 331297 ID: eba49f

That is a good point. Your magic seems more reliable then some demon who you already said kind of sucks. Staying in his court doesn't sound worth it.
No. 331312 ID: 523c4c
File 131164250153.png - (7.37KB , 800x600 , 96.png )

It's cool. Random is fucked hard if he tries using any sort of magic in Xephyrious' court, but if Xephyrious lays his finger on a peaceful guest in his home he is fucked even harder. Plus, as Random mentioned, the ole goat's terrified of him. All mages scare demons, but Thaumaturges do in particular. Especially those with a foothold in Abyssal politics (even if Random never uses it).

"No shooting," Random says. "Let's just talk. Hey yo Dio, you know how you're always pranking me by displacing yourself?"
"Not always," says Dio.
"Not getting into this now. Could you do that to me, just in case? Make it Greater, too, just in case they want a handshake."

They do.
Random uses his official title in greeting, as is only proper. The leader introduces itself as Pilosodontus. "We hunt a lesser Chaos Demon under the command of Getlx, servant of the Prince of Masks."
"What a coincidence," says Random. "We're hunting his bosss."
"You would pursue Getlx directly?" asks Pilosodontus. "Hm. The magi of the Arcanopolis are bolder than I had thought."
"And a lot stronger, too, evidently," says Random. "Who's this lesser guy?"
"Shanker Jeb, né Styrix of the Cleaver. One of Getlx's favored generals. He has fled to this area, alone."
"A duke's general in another's fiefdom without their knowledge," Random says, "may be exactly the thing we need to convince Xephyrious to chip in and help us."
"I would not nest in Xephyrious's aerie, Mage," Pilosodontus warns. "He is in a foul mood today."
"Why's that?"
"Because we're intruding on his territory, and as we are on official business he cannot do anything about it," says Pilosodontus. "He always was a turn cowardly. But I would fear pressing his patience too much more. Perhaps he will listen to a duke of Hell... if he does, could you petition on our behalf to be let into his court? We are dangerously low on food, and may have to turn back otherwise."

It's never a good idea to piss off an already pissed-off demon, but Random is a duke of Hell with a bit of history with ole Xephyrious. He's willing to bet he can get his guys a place to stay, but he hesitates before agreeing to ask for the Seraphim. Even with the code of hospitality in place, that might be too much for the duke.
No. 331317 ID: 1854db

Yeah... uh... that's probably not possible. Hey, didn't he just say that we shouldn't go into his court, before asking for them to be let in? It's almost like these guys *want* to piss him off.

Perhaps there would be a way to get these guys to their target faster, instead.
No. 331318 ID: 02de21

You can probably somehow spin this for Xephyrious as an opportunity for him to gain in power. Xephyrious gets to demonstrate that he can kill others' generals who intrude on his territory and gets a small favor owed to him by the Seraphim; you get owed by the Seraphim for convincing Xephyrious to help them and by Xephyrious for arranging for him to come out of this looking good; and the Seraphim get to hunt down the guy they want to hunt down. Everyone wins.

Of course, that assumes that you're clever, manipulative, and have a solid sense of diplomacy. Are you?
No. 331336 ID: 523c4c
File 131164504373.png - (23.65KB , 800x600 , 97.png )

Random is a slimy, self-hating shell of a man. Of course he's good at politics. That sounds like a solid plan.

The seraphim go with them toward the hall of Xephyrious' court. Random has them stop well away from it, and the magi move up on their own. Just in case.

"Why were you so not-asshole to those Seraphim?" asks Dio.
"Why should I be?" asks Random. "I didn't know them. I'm only an asshole to my friends."
"Does that mean I'm your friend?" asks Dio.
"I don't know, does it?" says Random.
"Doesn't it?" asks Dio.
"Now you're implying I'm an asshole, which means I don't want to be your friend," says Random. "It's an infinite feedback loop of douchery."
"Does that mean you're going to be not an asshole to me?"
"Don't count on it, shortstack."

They climb through a rocky pass until the keep of Xephyrious is in sight. "Big place," says Dio.
"You know what they say about guys with big towers," says Random.
"I don't know if I want to spend the night there," says Dio.
"Don't fret, roomie. Xeph is even more of a fucking pushover than you are."

Apparently, someone inside saw them up in the rocks. The great stone double doors issue a horned figure, who stands looking up at the magi.
No. 331338 ID: 02de21

Random's got this. He knows the plan and understands how demons think. Execute the plan. Probably starts with introductions and arranging for a quick meet with Xephyrious to start working on him, but that's just a guess.
No. 331364 ID: cd63e9

don't lean on him more than necessary though. he sounds close to the point were he will snap.
No. 331389 ID: 523c4c
File 131164955643.png - (6.37KB , 800x600 , 98.png )

Random heads down on his own toward the horned guardian. It turns out to be a She-Demon. You can tell by the cloven feet and horns that she used to be a War Demon, and a strong one too, but she has no armor or weapons and appears to be clad in a simple, ugly burlap dress. "Hail, War Duke of the Abyssal Irminsule," she says, in a flat voice.
"Hail and well met, daughter of the chained flail," says Random, bowing low.
"I no longer go by that title," says the She-Demon, bitterly.
"I would know by what title to address you, then," says Random.
"Spithia," says the She-Demon. "Or Spit, if so it pleases you. I'm to take you to duke Xephyrious, I presume."
"Such is my will," says Random. "Pray tell him Sterro the Orange-eyed seeks a council."
"Tell him yourself," says Spit. "I've opened the thrice-damned door, but that sack of bones will not make a servile herald of me. Not yet."
No. 331390 ID: 523c4c
File 131164957206.png - (9.95KB , 800x600 , 99.png )

Random gives his group the ok and they proceed into the castellated halls of Keep Xephyrion. Spit sullenly stalks through the dark, echoing hallways, watched on all sides by mailed, polearm wielding demons, and the mages stay in step with her.

They emerge, eventually into Xephyrious' great hall, which he has laid bare in anticipation of receiving them. "Hail, Duke Random Adro Sterro," he calls, and his desiccated voice is carried through the entire chamber.
"Hail, Host-Duke Xephyrious," Random says. Orchestrated. Ceremonial. "I am desirous to lodge in your keep, if you will have my self and my retinue."

"I regret that we are short on rooms at the moment, Duke Sterro," says Xephyrious, a touch of petulant sneer in his voice. "Perhaps you shall find room and board with the interlopers you escort through my lands."
No. 331398 ID: 1854db

He's well informed. Not surprising for a demon of Knowledge, eh? You could go ahead and say so.

But no, we are not escorting them. We just have a common destination. Would you believe they want to stay here? Funny thing, that. Seraphim, staying at a Duke's court. They say if they don't they won't be able to catch their quarry. Doesn't he know about that underling of the Demon we were sent to kill?
No. 331402 ID: 35e1a0

you only escort them for you hunt the same quarry, the general of another demon. if he perhaps assisted with the hunt, well then the seraph would owe you a favor, and you would set an example that hiding in your lands unannounced is bad for your health.
No. 331405 ID: 02de21

"Interlopers? How curious that you should call them that. As I understood the matter, you were so vexed by the presence of Styrix of the Cleaver in your lands, violating your territory, that you chose to call in a favor few would have suspected that you possessed and see that the Seraphim dispatch a team of their own to hunt him. I was rather impressed by the boldness of such a move, and the connections it displayed on your part, really.

"But interlopers? Surely I had not heard incorrectly."
No. 331428 ID: 523c4c
File 131165218074.png - (5.66KB , 800x600 , 100.png )

"Interlopers?" says Random. "My dear Xephyrious, how curious of you to say so. I had been convinced they were hirelings of yours."
"And what would I hire stringy Seraphim dregs for, good Sterro?"
"Why, to deal with the Chaos Demon general you allowed into your lands."

"A CHAOS- A chaos General, you say," says Xephyrious, gritting his teeth. Evidently the knowledge demon doesn't know everything. "Er, yes. As you say. But no, dear duke, I have sent men of my own to deal with this insurgence, not perfumed half-men like the seraphim." Random hears the hurried clatter of several guards out of the chamber at the tail end of Xeph's statement.

"Then it appears our, their, and your efforts are all one," says Random. "I am sure you could find it in your bountiful heart to quarter your coconspirators. All of them, including the heavenly ones."
Xeph's grip tightens on his seat. "You ask a great deal of me, Sterro."
"And I deeply respect the exercising of it as dictated by your station, Duke," says Random, bowing low.

"I grant your request," says Xeph, formally. "Okay, Sterro. Ceremony over. Drop the station bullshit. What derangement has driven your carcass into my halls?"
"We're whacking Getlx," says Random. "Don't start anything, Xeph, or I might consider killing two carrion crows with one fireball on the return trip."
"You've got more balls than brains, boy," Xeph snarls and leans forward. "I've broken worse than you. Spit was a proud warlady once. Hah. Look at her now, skulking around my table like a bitch seeking crusts." The she-demon's fists are clenched. "All right, Dukeling. I'll keep you in my house on one condition."

"There are to be no conditions," Random snaps. "The laws of the Abyssal hierarchy clearly state-"
"Oh, the laws," hisses Xeph. "Fine. Quiver behind them like a frightened wormlet all you wish. Consider this my price for aiding you against Getlx, then. If you don't wish to undertake it, I will gladly give you lodging regardless. In the stables. In the manure heap."
"What," grimaces Random, because he knows Xeph can do that, technically, "do you need, Xeph?"
"Kill this general," says Xeph. "Kill him and bring me back proof, and I'll aid you against this Getlx you're hunting. You will take Spit with you; she's an able tracker and a pair of eyes I can use."
No. 331431 ID: 35e1a0

deal. maybe a little interrogation first, but yes killing him is a good idea.
No. 331434 ID: 1854db

BLUH, a side trip. State that if we were to go kill the general, he wouldn't need to house the Seraphim at all.

I had thought of this option before as a potential way to get into the court, too. A bit inconvenient though, and isn't this mission time sensitive?

We don't even really need the help against Getlx.
No. 331439 ID: 02de21

Argh. We can kill Getlx just fine without Xephyrious' help, and the Seraphim can kill the General just fine without ours. This demanded side mission is just to assuage his vanity and waste our time.

What's more, we can't take any significant measure of help against Getlx, because the whole point of this is to demonstrate the strength of the Arcanopolis' displeasure, and that means not calling in any other allies to directly back us up. It would weaken the message that we're sending.

I suppose we could demand something other than help against Getlx in exchange for killing the guy. Surely Random has plenty of things an abyssal ruler could give him.
No. 331441 ID: 35e1a0

ah, it isn't actually help in the killing. it's help with the FINDING. i am sure he could make himself scare if he knew people were after him.
No. 331443 ID: 523c4c
File 131165391056.png - (33.71KB , 800x600 , 101.png )

"Your help does not mean as much as you seem to think, Xeph."
"If that is your reckoning, the door is open for your departure, Sterro."
"No, no. We'll do it. But I demand something besides merely just your help."
"Fine," hisses Xeph. "Fine. Name it."

Random thinks. What can he take from a demon duke with his own fortress and standing army? That won't make him so pissed off he'll rip Random to pieces, or even worse, force Random to kill him and bring the Adversary's wrath upon him?
No. 331445 ID: 44766a

Get Spit as your underling?
No. 331451 ID: 02de21

Orpheo apparently thinks that access to Xephyrious' library is worth maintaining a friendship with the guy, so it must be fairly impressive- and all of you are mages. You might have a practical bent, but there's not a mage alive who can't get something useful out of some time in a quality library.

Now, I'm not sure exactly how much Xephyrious would value library time... but considering that it doesn't actually cost him anything to allow you access, I bet you could demand, say, a week of yourself and companions having access to it after you kill the general and Getlx. Or three days, or one day, if I'm underestimating the worth of this. And then you can use that time to learn something which will enable you to go on being more awesome in the future. Maybe copy some nifty rare spells or learn some obscure demons true names or something.
No. 331454 ID: 1854db

Better access to the library *would* be pretty nice. Orpheo would be pleased, for certain.
No. 331461 ID: 1854db

No wait Random would never want to fuck about in a library what am I thinking

Personal troops under Random's direct command would be awesome. Maybe Spit, depending on if Random liked her at all before she was brought low, and if boneface here would be willing to give her up at all.
No. 331466 ID: 523c4c
File 131165595723.png - (7.06KB , 800x600 , 102.png )

"Library access," says Random. "Full library access. For a week."
"Two days," snarls Xeph. "Except for you, Orpheo, as per our original arrangement. You may spend as long as you wish."
"About that arrangement," says Orpheo. "I must discuss something with you, after everyone else leaves."
"I want Spit as an underling, too," says Random.
"No. One favor is enough and she has a knack for dish washing. Out. All of you," says Xeph. "Spit, get out of my sight and take them with you."
Spit takes them out of the great hall and in a minute or two Orpheo joins them. "Took yourself little time, then," says Spit, scratching herself through the itchy material of her rags.
"Yes," says Orpheo. "Thank you for volunteering to help us, Spithia. Lead on."
"Nothing voluntary about it," mutters spit as they walk through the hallways of Keep Xephyrion. "But you're welcome," she calls back, seemingly as an afterthought. "Do you want to go to your angel folk before we find this general?"

"They could help," says Dio.
"They could, but I bet at least half of them would be killed," says Random. "A demon general is no small fry. Not to rule the option out, or anything..."
No. 331476 ID: 1854db

They were tasked to kill the general. Wouldn't it be an insult to tell them to get lost?
No. 331477 ID: 02de21

For all that he's wild and crazy, Random did not become a badass without studying how to become a badass. There's no way that he doesn't value books, if only for the fact that they teach him how to kill things better.

And it's not like he can keep an army, long-term. Or even demonic minions, really. What's he going to do with one? Bring them home? Is that even allowed?

Well, tell them the arrangement and ask 'em if they want to come. If they want to risk dying horribly that's their own choice, right?
No. 331483 ID: 00d3d5

This sounds good.
Mostly because, naturally, we'll be recruiting Spithia on a far more permanent basis than dear old Xephy thinks. That'll piss him off, and he can't do a damn thing about it.
No. 331531 ID: 523c4c
File 131165852901.png - (52.46KB , 800x600 , 103.png )

They trek back to the Seraphim, who readily volunteer to come with them, lashing their possessions to their war chariot.

For three hours they track, with Spit leading up front. She converses in low tones with Orpheo about Xeph, and about politics in Hell generally, a topic which bores Random to tears. Orpheo consistently refers to her as Spithia.

When they start seeing the bodies, they know they're on the right track. "Likely the guards Xeph sent," says Orpheo. "It appears Shanker found them before they found him."

They follow the bodies, to their source.

"ѕнαηкєя נєв. ѕнαηкєя נєв. ιη α ¢αвιη ση тнє ℓαкє ωнєяє тнє мα∂ηєѕѕ ωαтєя єввѕ."
No. 331532 ID: 523c4c
File 131165858382.png - (334.55KB , 800x600 , 104.png )

"ѕqυιѕнєяѕ вℓσσ∂ ρα¢кєтѕ ѕηα¢кѕ" Shanker Jeb calls up to the mages with a voice like popping organs. "¢σмє αη∂ ∂αη¢є ωιтн ѕнαηкєя נєв'ѕ ѕℓι¢єя тιℓℓ тнє ƒℓєѕн ѕℓσυgнѕ σƒƒ уσυя вσηєѕ."

Shanker Jeb is a little hard to miss. "Welp, there's the target," says Wendat. He gets down on one knee and braces himself. "I could pop his skull like a ripe watermelon from here, I'd wager."
"He won't go down as easy as that, I think," says Orpheo.

"¢яєєριηg вυg ρєσρℓє ωιтн вℓσσ∂ ℓιкє gяєєη ѕтι¢к ѕуяυρ αη∂ тнє ¢яυѕнιηg ƒℓσω σƒ ℓιƒє ¢яυѕн тняσυgн уσυя νєιηѕ ѕнαηкєя נєвѕ gσηηα ρυη¢н ѕσмє нσℓєѕ ιη уσυя ѕαтєℓℓιтє вαℓℓσση ѕкιη αη∂ ℓєт тнє ρяєѕѕυяє αη∂ тнє gυтѕ συт ¢σмє ∂αη¢є ωιтн ѕнαηкєя נєв" Shanker Jeb calls.

"Sustained fire would cut him down to size, then," says Wendat. "We shellack him from up here, he won't even have time to pull his thumb out his arse.
"Wait, Wendat," commands Random.

"ѕєη∂ α ℓαмв тσ ѕнαηкєя נєв ѕєη∂ α ѕα¢яιƒι¢є σƒ ƒℓєѕн" Shanker Jeb starts dancing around the dead bodies on the battlefield, slimy tendrils pulling him along the ground. "ѕнαηкєя נєв ∂ємαη∂ѕ мαησ α gσ∂∂σ σηє ση σηє ωιтн вℓσσ∂ ƒυℓℓ σƒ вℓσσ∂"

"What's it doing?" asks Dio.
"It's calling for us to send down a general of our own for one-on-one combat," says Random. "Again, it's a demon thing."
"Okay, so we don't do it and we kill him from up here," says Dio.
"Maybe," says Random. "Maybe..." It is actually full within Shanker Jeb's rights do demand a battle like this. But will anyone care if they ignore it besides maybe Spit? All of them working together would kill Jeb in a heartbeat - but aristocrat demons do value honor - and imagine the honor of killing one as fierce as Jeb looks - Random could do it, too, he thinks, his powers are all so much stronger here, more amplified, more potent. Him against Jeb... he could do it. Could he? He's a Duke of Hell. He could. He feels hellfire start to sing in his blood.
"Random? What are you staring at?" says Dio. "Let's grease him already."
No. 331541 ID: 1854db

He's requesting a general. Are you a General, Random? Do we even have a General? If you're gonna follow the rules you'd better follow them right.

If we don't have anyone that truly qualifies for the duel then we should just ice him. Be sure to count the Seraphim in your fact checking of course.
No. 331552 ID: 02de21

Start laughing. "No. I'm a Duke of Hell, you know. That comes with power, and honor, and occasionally the demand that you roll up your sleeves and prove that you can burn some punk to cinders personally. I kill this one alone."

Then make those hellfires sing, Random!
No. 331560 ID: 523c4c
File 131165939945.png - (8.48KB , 800x600 , 105.png )

Oh, yes. Random could do it. He's more than a general, he's a Duke. Shanker Jeb should be so honored. He could. He could do it. He could burn that smug demon into fucking ashes. He is Random Motherfucking Sterro.

"Random. Come in Random. Let's kill the demon, Random." Dio is hard to make out through the buzz in Random's ears and the crackling of the fire in his heart.

No. 331561 ID: 35e1a0

just remember you have more then just fire. use lots of fire and when he tries to punch you, put of a super powerful shield and let him shatter his own arm. then laugh at him for underestimating you.
No. 331563 ID: 1854db

Random? Are you sure he is not using some kind of Chaos magic against you to make you stop thinking rationally?
No. 331574 ID: a76809

This is Random.

It's what he does.
No. 331579 ID: 00d3d5

Tell them he's challenged you to single combat as is his right, and you are going to turn him into a greasy smear.
No. 331582 ID: 08ee42

Ask Orpheo, he knows about this stuff. You could pull some advantage out of this.
No. 331583 ID: 1854db

But... how quickly he got pumped suggests some kind of artificial berserker rage. You're supposed to have a clear head during a fight, and able to hear what's going around you. Random could barely hear Dio- don't you think it would be dangerous to fight like that?

Very suspicious. At the very least, Random, say what you're going to do before you do it.
No. 331598 ID: 02de21

Pretty sure it happens whenever Random goes into combat. See >>330913 for how Random was thinking during the last battle. Why, exactly, I'm not sure. Too much hellfire flowing through his veins, I guess.
No. 331599 ID: 2a5c9f

Well, you heard him, Random. Go kill dat demon!
No. 331605 ID: 1854db

Okay. Then I think Random should do it. He should watch out though, overconfidence could be his downfall.

We have no idea what this guy is capable of.
No. 331643 ID: cd63e9

don't let emotions make a choice like this for you. would you gain anything politically if you killed him in single combat? if the answer is no blow him away from where you are. keep in mind he might not be a mage but he has probably been killing thins since before you were born. engaging him in one on one would be very risky.
No. 331683 ID: 14f2d1

Yeah you're pumped up, but Random Sterro also doesn't hold back. Go in full force with all the backup available.

You've basically got all the guns and this guy is trying to bullshit you by going "hey knives only plz" or "no rush 15 minutes plz" when he knows he can't win otherwise. You wouldn't take that crap in a ladder match online and you shouldn't take it in real life.
No. 331714 ID: c39ebe

you'll manage on your own. there's more risk, sure, but also more reward. go on, Random Motherfucking Sterro. kill him dead.
No. 331722 ID: a337cd

What an interesting idea. Surely that would violate the code of conduct for issuing such challenges? Why, if Sterro so much as suspected he was being manipulated by such magic, he would be completely justified in wasting Jeb without a duel.
No. 331923 ID: 523c4c
File 131172929087.png - (46.98KB , 800x600 , 106.png )


[b]Fuck off. The general belongs to Random alone.

"I hear your summons, Shanker Jeb," he calls, sprinting to the cliff edge and launching himself off. "I will bubble your skin off your bones and leave you a grease stain on the ground."

"Random, what the fuck," says Dio.

"Stay there. I'll be back," Random calls up. "Don't interfere. any of you."
No. 331924 ID: 523c4c
File 131172930483.png - (202.74KB , 800x600 , 107.png )

Random coasts on Hellfire to the ground beneath, and rolls, coming up facing Shanker Jeb. "Come at me, bro," he says, through gritted teeth.
"ѕнαηкєя נєв ѕєєѕ уσυ нє нєαяѕ тнє вℓσσ∂ ѕтσям тняσυgн уσυя νєιηѕ нιѕ яαzσя ωιℓℓ ∂αη¢є ωιтн уσυ" The general starts forward, trembling and contorting as it pulls itself across the ground with surprising speed.

The principles of Random's magic and his spellbook are located at http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/329324.html#350521
No. 331935 ID: 02de21

Overall proposed battle plan:
Use Aegis to soak the first attack, and Flyte to avoid the next. Aegis again when Jeb overcomes.

At that point we'll be very positively charged, hopefully up at Tier III. Use Pyre->Veil and then Saber in what will hopefully be an unstoppably devastating attack combo.
No. 331941 ID: 1854db

If we have time for a spell before he reaches us, hit him with a Sacrifice.

If not, Aegis the strike.
No. 331943 ID: 35e1a0

start off with a a few shafts, then guard with against his attack with an aegis. this should give you a pretty good positive charge. so get a aggressive and use saber.
No. 331946 ID: cd63e9

if that lets random cast saber at (effectively) tire III safely we should do this. if he survives we can either finish him with shaft if we think that'll be enough or block his counter with aegis.
No. 331950 ID: 07416a

Shaft him a few times then block something with Aegis. Counter attack with a full Saber.
No. 331961 ID: 523c4c
File 131173168249.png - (204.31KB , 800x600 , 108.png )

Random starts casting Shaft, but Shanker Jeb is so lightning fast that Random switches to Aegis instead to keep from being filleted. Shanker Jeb's attack is fully absorbed, and the general is pushed back for a moment, while he recovers to attack again. He wouldn't call the demon open, but Random has a chance to act before he's struck at again. He feels the euphoric rush of Positive Energy course into his body. He has enough now to convert into one tier II abyssal spell, if he so chooses. Alternatively he can keep casting Divine spells.
No. 331962 ID: 02de21

Keep on the Divine side. Flyte if you can spare the time, Aegis again if Jeb keeps pressing the attack and you need the defense.

When we switch to the Abyssal end of things, it'll be with Tier III attacks meant to burn this punk to ash.
No. 331963 ID: 07416a

Flyte retreat until you can demonic missile him tier 3.
No. 331979 ID: 523c4c
File 131173267731.png - (217.96KB , 800x600 , 109.png )

Before Shanker Jeb can bring his cleaver back round, Random has pushed off the ground and is hovering above his head. "I said come at me," he cackles. "Get that needle of yours out your ass."

"яєтυяη ℓιттℓє вυg αη∂ тαѕтє ѕнαηкєя נєвѕ ѕιℓνєя ѕкιη σя нє ωιℓℓ ριη уσυ тσ тнє ƒℓσσя ωιтн нιѕ ρυѕнιηg ριη αη∂ ѕιρнση уσυя ιηηαя∂ѕ συт уσυя ησѕтяιℓѕ"

No. 331983 ID: 07416a

Be conservative. Just fly around a moment and needle him with Shaft. Be ready to Aegis if he reveals his magic.
No. 331985 ID: 1854db

Fly back down closer to the ground and block another attack with Aegis.
No. 331987 ID: 02de21

Pin us to the floor? Perhaps he's got some kind of ranged attack... Shaft, but be ready to switch to Aegis again if he tries something nasty.

Hopefully then we'll be up at Tier III and ready to break out the big guns.
No. 332002 ID: 523c4c
File 131173438879.png - (208.95KB , 800x600 , 110.png )

Random lets fly with a Shaft, but it looks like Jeb's got other ideas. One of its dark tendrils springs up from its body and lances, twitching and twisting, into the air toward his chest. He yelps and darts out of the way, but his shaft flies awry.

The charge is crackling its way up and down his body. His teeth tingle in his head.

No. 332004 ID: 35e1a0

swoop in block once again with an aegis then counter with a veil/saber combo!
No. 332008 ID: 02de21

Fly up and back, farther out of range of his tendril- and cast Pyre. With the range increase at Tier III it should still be possible to hit him, and once you Veil up you'll have another immediate Tier III attack ready.
No. 332012 ID: 07416a

Use Vengeance and allow it to hit your shield. Charge him with a Sacrifice then Saber him in the face. Use Pyre if you must.
No. 332016 ID: 1854db

Smack him with a Pyre while making sure to get down close enough to the ground so you don't break your legs.
No. 332017 ID: 07416a

Use Vengeance and allow it to hit your shield. Charge him with a Sacrifice then Saber him in the face. Use veil and saber until we're divinely-charged.
No. 332018 ID: 00d3d5

Veil then Sacrifice for Tier IV damage which DOESN'T EVEN EXIST.

Then Aegis to prepare for his next attack.
No. 332020 ID: 02de21

We can use Pyre->Veil followed by an Aegis to get us back to Tier III, then use a Saber at Tier III+I as our killshot since it's our deadliest attack. I don't trust Sacrifice as an effective finisher.
No. 332058 ID: 523c4c
File 131173699738.png - (215.71KB , 800x600 , 111.png )

Random cuts a swathe of flame in the air that catches the next tendril offguard, sends it flying backward, and sets it aflame. "вυg вυg вυg вυg вυg" Shanker Jeb hisses, lashing it back and forth to try to extinguish the fire.

Random's divine wings wink out and he feels the rush of freefall...

No. 332065 ID: 523c4c
File 131173717326.png - (228.76KB , 800x600 , 112.png )

then the feel of the flames bursting from him as he sends himself screaming through the air like a javelin directly into Shanker Jeb's chest, landing both-feet first and pirouetting off, leaving a trail of hellfire in his wake. "вυg вυg вυg вυg вυg кιℓℓ уσυ вυg ѕнαηкєя נєв ωιℓℓ яιρ уσυя αямѕ αη∂ ℓєgѕ 域 αη∂ ℓєт тнє ℓєƒтσνєя ∂яαιη" Shanker Jeb howls, staggering backward and clearly wounded.
No. 332068 ID: 1854db

He might still swipe at you at this range. Back off and hit him with a Saber if he doesn't immediately counterattack. Veil up for it if you can.
No. 332070 ID: cd63e9

damn dropped us below tie three. hit him one more time with shaft to keep him off balance and then finish him with sabre.
No. 332072 ID: 1854db

Oh, and use Aegis if he *does* counterattack.
No. 332076 ID: 02de21

Use Shaft to pump us back up to Tier III, or Aegis if he recovers and strikes at us.

Then Veil and Sabre. Tier III+I high-damage goodness will bring us this victory in style.
No. 332082 ID: 07416a

Pyre and Saber him. Be ready with Vengeance if that sword comes after you.
No. 332090 ID: 00d3d5

No. 332093 ID: 523c4c
File 131173865879.png - (201.29KB , 800x600 , 113.png )

Random starts an Aegis, but Shanker Jeb recovers significantly quicker than he thought, putting one shoulder down and rushing him as soon as he lands. He just has time to pull up a veil and a saber before Jeb gets within striking distance.

He raises the blade to parry, but Jeb knocks it aside as if it were a twig and takes a monster swing at Random. "уєѕ уєѕ уєѕ ¢σмє вυg єη∂ уσυя נσυяηєу αт тнє мσυтн σƒ тнє яινєя σƒ вℓσσ∂у мιη∂є∂ мα∂ηєѕѕ ѕнαηкєя נєв нαѕ уσυ ησω ℓєт нιм ƒσℓ∂ уσυ ιη нιѕ ѕтєєℓ αямѕ"

Random leaps out of the way just in time, but the edge of the cleaver slices through his sash and leaves a shallow cut in his midsection. One more inch and his entrails would have been steaming on the ground.
It might be inadvisable to take Shanker Jeb on in direct melee.

No. 332095 ID: 35e1a0

sacrifice and bounce off of him into the air and fly again. then launch a bunch of shafts down on him.
No. 332097 ID: 07416a

Veil, pyre, then drop both and flyte away. Take your time and needle him with shafts.
No. 332100 ID: 02de21

Argh. With no Aegis first we couldn't get a III+I Sabre, so of course we can't go toe-to-toe with a melee specialist.

We need distance. Vengeance next time he strikes at us, then Flyte to get at range where we can pound him.
No. 332101 ID: 1854db

Shit. Alright, exit stage right with a Sacrifice then Lay down a Pyre since we've still got Veil up. After that we'll want to drop it and start using Divine some more.
No. 332108 ID: a611d6

My vote is for getting away using sacrifice. We should stay far away from him as possible, defensive spells or no. I think it will be easier to simply avoid his long range attacks than it will be to defend against his melee onslaught
No. 332128 ID: 523c4c
File 131174120734.png - (198.45KB , 800x600 , 114.png )

Random can't pause to think, because then he'll remember he's charging a Demon General. He grinds one foot into the dirt behind him to stop his stumble, then blasts himself forward into Jeb, who brings its blade up to parry.

Random plants a foot on it and springs off it into the air.

No. 332130 ID: 523c4c
File 131174124026.png - (191.79KB , 800x600 , 115.png )

He catches himself with Flyte, and pulls up hard away from Jeb's seeking blade. "ησ ησ ησ" howls Jeb as it slices the air with its cleaver. Random takes the opportunity to pull a Shaft of divine energy from a hundred layers up Irminsul and send it flying down toward the general, who attempts to parry. But it is feeling its wounds, and it's getting slower, and more labored, and the spell blazes through its guard into its shoulder. "ησ ησ ησ ησ ησ ησ" says Jeb.
No. 332131 ID: cd63e9

use Flyte for distance, then cast veil. openings are going to be few and fare between, we should need to be able to take full advantage of them.
No. 332134 ID: cd63e9

well that's what i get for not refreshing before i post. we should still set up veil though.
No. 332136 ID: 1854db

Pelt him with another Shaft. Keep moving.
No. 332137 ID: 02de21

Pound with Shaft spells until we've got a Tier III or he attacks us.
No. 332138 ID: 1854db

No Veil yet. We can't use Veil without turning off Flyte.
No. 332139 ID: a611d6

Flyte as far away from him as you possibly can, as quick as you can. If he isn't able to close the gap quickly, use shaft. If he can charge you, Flyte again.

Hopefully this will bring us far enough so that we can use III + I Abyssal magic on him
No. 332140 ID: 07416a

How quickly can he turn? Try to pin his legtenaclesthings to the ground and get behind him.
No. 332144 ID: 35e1a0

go leftwards and another shaft. then land veil and shoot a sacrifice. have it swerve and dodge his blade so it his his face.
No. 332166 ID: 523c4c
File 131174272791.png - (214.86KB , 800x600 , 116.png )

Random feels a vicious joy in seeing his enemy grow slower. He flits around the air and looses another shaft, as Shanker Jeb swings a tentacle at where he was a second ago. He's toying with it now.

This one is aimed for one of Jeb's ground tendrils, to see if he can pin it to the ground. It doesn't get all the way through, but now Jeb is hobbling. Random feels the positive energy welling up in his stomach and throat once again.

No. 332168 ID: 1854db

Drop down, Veil up again, and hit him with a Sacrifice that doesn't propel you to him. Boom.
No. 332171 ID: 35e1a0

have it aim at his stomach and swerve at the last second to hit him in the face.
No. 332174 ID: 02de21

Another Shaft, then prepare to land from casting Pyro III->Veil and then another Pyro III. That much fire should finish off almost anything.
No. 332175 ID: 07416a

Fly towards him and aegis the tendril to slam it away. We're not quite ready yet.
No. 332177 ID: a611d6

Hit the ground some distance away from Jeb, and use Aegis. That should allow us enough time to block an attack, and pretty much give us Abyssal power to ruin his ass.
No. 332190 ID: 523c4c
File 131174402131.png - (221.44KB , 800x600 , 117.png )

Random tries to ramn the tendril but it snakes out of the way. He ends up facing Jeb as it brings the tendril down toward his head, still chanting "ησ ησ ησ ησ ησ ησ"
Random brings the Aegis up once more and the tendril deflects against it weakly.

The positive energy in his body is triggering tiny spasms and twitches all over him. His hands are trembling with a mixture of exertion and gleeful anticipation.

No. 332191 ID: 07416a

Veil, sacrifice, Saber. Try to saber AS you slam into him.
No. 332192 ID: 02de21

Pyre->Veil, Pyre. Burn him to cinders and don't ever come within melee range; we've learned that lesson.
No. 332193 ID: 1854db

Oh gods stop using Divine, Random, you're gonna burst! Veil+Sacrifice, but don't let it propel you.
No. 332195 ID: a611d6

Pyre, Veil then Sabre! If that doesnt turn him into dust then nothing will.
No. 332196 ID: 00d3d5

No. 332220 ID: 523c4c
File 131174639364.png - (31.65KB , 800x600 , 118.png )

Random drops to the ground, a veil of flame starting to lick warmly against his feet and hands. He siphons positive energy to negative, faster and faster and faster again, and it is different this time, and there is something else behind him, the will of his power-laden kingdom, the ground beneath his feet, the feeling of a Thaumaturge on his own plane. He doesn't know what's about to happen, but that's not going to stop him. It's different this time. It's new. It's different.

He starts to laugh.

No. 332221 ID: 523c4c
File 131174639817.png - (52.10KB , 800x600 , 119.png )

He stands up, the flames coursing and twisting and growing around him, laughing harder, so hard his back and head wrench back and he is nearly screaming as the infernal energy slams through his wiry body, he's never felt like this before, not on the Material Plane ever, pumping itself more and more into the stoking flames. Yes Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yeeeeeeeeeeeee
No. 332222 ID: 523c4c
File 131174640024.png - (101.07KB , 800x600 , 120.png )

No. 332224 ID: 523c4c
File 131174641822.png - (126.96KB , 800x600 , 121.png )

Shanker Lee, Styrix of the Cleaver, bursts apart.
No. 332228 ID: 1854db

Dust yourself off, Random. You are the winner.

Lift yourself back with Flyt. I don't think you wanna use any Abyssal spells for a bit.
No. 332231 ID: 35e1a0

just cruse back over and rub in their faces on how boss you are.
No. 332232 ID: 00d3d5

Now, go tell Spithia she's your minion now since that's the help you're accepting from Xephy. If he doesn't like it then he should have specified what help he would give you.
Have the Seraphim deliver this guy's head for you. Since you did their job we can call that about even.
No. 332236 ID: 523c4c
File 131174755341.png - (45.26KB , 800x600 , 122.png )

Yes. Let them revel in his glory. Random is a fucking god. He's a Duke of. Of... Hm.
"Random, holy fuck," calls Dio.
Dio pauses for a moment, looking for the right words. "Holy fuck," calls Dio.
No. 332237 ID: 523c4c
File 131174756690.png - (49.75KB , 800x600 , 123.png )

"Yeah, it's cool," Random says. "I'm okay. Thinking I'm going to take a nap, though. This is a good time for a nap."
No. 332238 ID: 523c4c
File 131174757043.png - (44.15KB , 800x600 , 124.png )

No. 332239 ID: 523c4c
File 131174757452.png - (44.94KB , 800x600 , 125.png )

"Okay, who's going to go get him?"
No. 332240 ID: 35e1a0

can glamours carry him? summon up a swarm of tiny ant-size dios.
No. 332244 ID: 07416a

Make Wendat do it. He's least suited.
No. 332248 ID: 1854db

Whoever has powered flight should do it.
No. 332271 ID: 6e44d2

lol. This.
No. 332311 ID: cd63e9

this, but if no one has flight we should send Epraim. he can probably make it down with the least difficulty. and I don't think caring random will slow him down much.
No. 332314 ID: 2eac65

>Shanker Lee

Have Dio summon a parachute and float down to him. Then he can send a grappling hook back up.

Epraim can soften the earth and make stairs to help them get back. Or he can use the wind to fly, but that's not likely.
No. 332315 ID: e3a949

everybody is. how else are you going to lift his ten-ton balls off the ground?
No. 332348 ID: 24b747

Epraim, Wendat and Eulinda are probably the best. Especially if Epraim reforms the slope to make it easier.

Can Dio use Mind Parasite to check on Random's condition/give him a mental high-five?
No. 332357 ID: 6a9fdc

I wonder how much better Dio can use Checkmate Da now than he could at the beginning of chapter 1.
No. 332695 ID: 523c4c
File 131182608813.png - (264.43KB , 800x600 , 126.png )

The magi return to Xephyrious' castle, their erstwhile leader slung across their back.
No. 332696 ID: 523c4c
File 131182609672.png - (191.25KB , 800x600 , 127.png )

Pilosodontus reveals the remains of Shanker Jeb (a smashed, burnt, mask) to Xephyrious, who is forced to do something knowledge demons are loath to do. He is forced to honor a deal.

"But we don't have enough rooms for all of you, so someone is going to have to sleep in the stables. Or in Spit's quarters. I couldn't tell you which is worse."
No. 332697 ID: 523c4c
File 131182611912.png - (89.28KB , 800x600 , 128.png )

Orpheo volunteers to share Spithia's room. "There's probably a cot around somewhere," she mutters, and lopes off to find it.
"Don't let her, like, knife you or anything," says Dio.
"I am sure I will be fine, Diometricus. You need sleep."
"Okay, but she's a maladjusted demon and that's two strikes against her already. I'm just saying."
"Spithia possesses that out-of-fashion notion we know as honor," says Orpheo. "If she wanted to kill me, she would have said so."
"Okay. Feeling a little better about this. 'Night, Orpheo."
"Good night, Diometricus."
No. 332698 ID: 523c4c
File 131182614984.png - (268.13KB , 800x600 , 129.png )

Spithia returns with a guttering black candle. In the glow Orpheo sees a distressingly small room furnished solely by a bed of hay with an off-white sheet tied onto it. "Behold," says Spithia. "the quarters of a demon general."
"Did you locate the cot?" asks Orpheo.
"No," Spithia says, bitterly. "Xephyrious says' he's using it for something. He told me that's why they invented the ground. And that I'm to give you my bed."
"Unnecessary," says Orpheo. "As I am the guest, I shall take ground. I don't strictly require sleep in the first place."
Spithia cocks her head. "Why are you so nice to me?"
"What do you mean?"
"Rut your what do you mean," she snarls. "You're the first living thing to call me by my full name in half a century, did you know that? Why do you do that?"
No. 332704 ID: 35e1a0

because where i come from we have this thing known as kindness. doing something just to be nice. demons, while honorable, would never go out of their way to help someone without thinking they can gain something from it, no offense.
No. 332711 ID: 02de21

"Giving you respect costs me nothing, and you have done nothing to me that I should not."
No. 332721 ID: 1854db

Because to me, you have not lost your honor.
No. 332724 ID: d3dfb8


Someone had to say it
No. 332732 ID: 4f4447

Decent concept, but this is Orpheo! let's jazz it up with some iambic pentameter and general poetic-ness.

To give you honor, the cost to me free.
For honor lost is an unknown to me.
You have shown as General dignity,
More than required;
When welcomed into a damned city.
So let us retire
Choose of your comfort, in bed desired.
In a sanctum of knowledge, all end tired.
No. 332736 ID: 523c4c
File 131182872936.png - (47.69KB , 800x600 , 130.png )

"It costs me nothing to give you respect, Spithia," says Orpheo. "Not when you have done nothing, in my eye, to lose it."

Spithia smirks as she flops onto the faux-bed. "Few would say such things to a former warrior clad in a potato sack and forced to scrub floors."
"Then perhaps I am one of them," says Orpheo, lying on the stony ground and attempting to be comfortable. "Good evening, Spithia."
"Good night, spellslinger," says Spithia.
No. 332737 ID: 523c4c
File 131182874116.png - (50.51KB , 800x600 , 131.png )

Orpheo waits until her breathing levels and he knows she is asleep to open his eye and cease meditation.

Now that Xyph's assigned eyes are dreaming, a resourceful mage with the power of invisibility has the full keep to himself. The dreaming time of night is an open book for his study. Speaking of books. The library, perhaps? The barracks? Shall he depart his body and visit the dreams of any creature in the keep? The dreams of the sleeping Demon Duke himself? Orpheo's thoughts flit to how easy it would be, slipping a dagger into Xyph's neck while he sleeps. He shakes the image from his mind. There is a time, and there is a place, for all things. Perhaps simply the library.
No. 332741 ID: 02de21

Don't you have full free access to the library in any case, thanks to your prior deal with the demon?

Perhaps to the dreams of the young mages you are escorting, to see how they're truly holding up.
No. 332746 ID: a611d6

Yes, just pop by their dreams to see if they're okay. But knock first, you already know these are all crazy teenagers.
No. 332748 ID: cd63e9

or just get some sleep. you have a deal with the daemon giving you access to the library and there's nothing worth risking the headache getting caught snooping around wold cause.
No. 332757 ID: 07416a

Bad idea. Risk of political backlash is too much. You have access to the library already anyways.
No. 332764 ID: 1854db

I think that would be rather rude.

Going into the library at this point would be completely within the terms of the deal we have with the Duke.

Nosing around in the Duke's dreams would be interesting indeed... It might even grant us some useful information on the current political environment down here.

Maybe visiting a Seraphim's dreams could give us some interesting information as well.
No. 332772 ID: 523c4c
File 131183074997.png - (197.10KB , 800x600 , 132.png )

Orpheo pointedly avoids Diometricus' dreams. As a dream mage, Dio knows when he has uninvited guests. Orpheo is also, very privately, concerned about one evening bursting in upon a sweet dream Dio is having of his lover on the material plane. That would be unfortunate.

Eulinda is having a recurring nightmare. She is running through a dark place, from something she cannot see. She doesn't know what it is, or whether it wishes her well or ill; she knows only that if she turns to look, it will catch her.

Random dreams he is a lightning bolt in a thundering sky. He does not dream of destroying, but of illumination. It's good to see he is sleeping normally after the fight with Styrix.

Epraim dreams he meets a bird who can talk. Hello, says the bird. Howdy, says Epraim. They converse about what life is like, from a bird's perspective.

Wendat dreams of ruby lips that open into staring red eyes.
No. 332773 ID: 523c4c
File 131183076426.png - (67.64KB , 800x600 , 133.png )

Out of curiosity, Orpheo pokes into the dreams of daemons.

Xeph is not yet asleep, it seems.

Spithia dreams she is four years old. She stands before a drawing on the wall of the place she was born. On the wall is a simple drawing of a demon, mounted on some sort of beast, with a spear in its hand. Spithia's child hand reaches up to the drawing and presses against it. It burns her palm. She does not remove it.
No. 332777 ID: 1854db

I feel as though that is rather significant. Let's check out a Seraphim's dream, then go to the library.
No. 332778 ID: 02de21

>As a dream mage, Dio knows when he has uninvited guests.
Is it possible to mentally knock on Dio's dreams and get invited in? This could be a prime opportunity for a useful lesson in wandering through the dreams of others. And if he's having erotic dreams, well, I'm sure he'd be able to fix things up with a bit of warning and wouldn't hold it against his mentor.
No. 332790 ID: 6e44d2

What are your intentions, Orpheo? What do you mean to do with your time tonight?
No. 332800 ID: 07416a

...I want to continue watching.
No. 332828 ID: 523c4c
File 131183421051.png - (4.88KB , 800x600 , 134.png )

Orpheo's not going to go in there. He has his reasons. If he were to be pressed on the matter he might force himself to relate a time he entered unsolicited and did, in fact, inadvertently become an observer to a dream he possibly shouldn't have, only just escaping in time to avoid discovery.

He's just going to stay out of there.

He flits through the heads of the Seraphim. They share one dream, given to them as a gift for their service to the higher powers. They dream of the face of the deity. Orpheo turns away. This is not a dream for his kind, especially not Orpheo Diraiphe.
No. 332894 ID: 35e1a0

what would happen if you put Random the lightning bolt inside Eulinda's darkness?
No. 332895 ID: 523c4c
File 131183821455.png - (81.44KB , 800x600 , 135.png )

And at last, like a warrior returning home, he makes his way to the cavernous library.

The library of a knowledge demon is a wonder unparalleled among the planes. Books of incredible power reside here. Unique books. Books you could never find anywhere else.

Orpheo reads deep into the night. So many tomes pass through his hands the night becomes an amber, candle-lit blur. Faster than he had imagined, the sun rises.

Which mage will we control today?
No. 332899 ID: b48e91

how about the big lady
No. 332900 ID: 07416a

No. 332902 ID: 1854db

No. 332904 ID: a611d6

The Arker
No. 332907 ID: 00d3d5

No. 332912 ID: cd63e9

Wendat an inside view of the less crazy parts of the arkers would be interesting.
No. 332944 ID: 6e44d2

No. 333031 ID: 523c4c
File 131188965304.png - (9.95KB , 800x600 , 146.png )

When Wendat Huron was eleven years old, he returned to his home and found that his family had been murdered.
Their home in the Elde embassy of Eska, Furlaia had been invaded (The police later told him the door had been unlocked, and the killers simply walked inside).
He found his father lying on the kitchen table. His blood was pooling on the plastic surface, and running in rivulets down to the floor. His stomach had been cut open, and there was an unpleasant smell.
He found his mother's body in the backyard. She had been stabbed five times. She still held her gardening trowel tightly in her hands, and it laid across her chest as if she had tried to defend herself with it.
His two brothers he found upstairs in their beds, their throats slit so deeply their heads were nearly removed from their bodies.

He walked back downstairs, and called the police.
No. 333032 ID: 523c4c
File 131188966518.png - (4.66KB , 800x600 , 147.png )

He stood at the door of his house until they arrived and took him away. They told him that a war had started between the Eldefolk and Furlaia, and his parents were sad collateral damage. The matter was not looked into further. Wendat does not know, to this day, who killed his mother, father, or brothers. He does not blame anyone. There is no one to blame.

The police took him to his aunt, who folded him in her arms (they smelled vaguely of basil at all times) and shook with her own weeping. Wendat had never seen her weep. She laughed all the time.

She told him he was a special child, and his parents would have told him and sent him to a special school when he turned thirteen. But she couldn't take care of him, not with four children of her own, and he was going ahead of schedule.
No. 333033 ID: 523c4c
File 131188968107.png - (3.83KB , 800x600 , 148.png )

The skiff that took him to the docks (where he would board a ship that sailed for a full week to reach its destination), was, in his memory, the largest skiff he had ever seen, but it was also his first, and he was smaller, then.

His father once told him, before he died, that "All we do on our own on this world is breathe, eat, and sleep. For us to really live, we need a mission."
No. 333034 ID: 523c4c
File 131188969219.png - (9.04KB , 800x600 , 149.png )

He remembers those words as he walks with Epraim, in front of the rest, and his stride becomes more purposeful and lock step. He is on a Mission, now, and he feels alive.

"It ain't just a question of ratios, though," Epraim is saying. "What you need to remember ain't the win-loss, it's that this game's at home. Trust me on this, brother, I know it. Terrain's important."

"Yeah, well," he replies. "Skill is important, too. Trust ME on that, brother." Epraim inclines his head. Wendat has known him long enough to read this as a sign of amusement. He asked Orpheo if he could scout ahead with Epraim, so as to detect any emergent factors along the way before they became an issue. He has excellent eyesight. Orpheo agreed.

"Rumbleheads goin' all the way this season, Brother," says Epraim. Wendat is one of the few people he speaks to in full sentences. "Watch 'em with that blood eye of yours."
"If they're going, they've already been, what with the time difference," says Wendat. "Can you believe that? If we were at home we'd know-"
"Hold, brother," Epraim interrupts. "Movement ahead."
No. 333037 ID: 1854db

What does your arker eye see?
No. 333055 ID: 523c4c
File 131189253235.png - (20.16KB , 800x600 , 150.png )

"I will never understand how you bloody see every bloody thing before I bloody see it," says Wendat, hustling forward to a hilltop and hitting the dirt. He raises his crossbow and peers down it.
No. 333056 ID: 523c4c
File 131189253726.png - (6.43KB , 800x600 , 151.png )

"Mile distant," he says. "Looks like the gate to the next layer down on the irminsul. Our destination."
"Good news?" says Epraim.
"Not quite," says Wendat. "There's... 8 visible targets at some sort of... checkpoint thing in front of the gates. Tents, and such. He lowers his brow. "Haven't seen that at any other gate so far."
No. 333059 ID: 1854db

That's odd. We could send an illusion down there just to see if they shoot on sight...
No. 333065 ID: 02de21

Random or Orpheo might know if that's normal, or under what circumstances it would generally happen if it's not. Either of you have a way to pass a message?

Failing talking to someone with expertise, might as well sneak a bit closer and get more intel on what you're potentially up against. Unless you've got some kind of awesome magical telescope.
No. 333078 ID: cd63e9

random knows the most about infernal politics. ask him if he knows the protocol for people setting up check points at the gates.
No. 333112 ID: 523c4c
File 131189612090.png - (8.95KB , 800x600 , 152.png )

Wendat hustles back to the larger group. "Okay, listen up. We have a demon presence up ahead around the gate. Is that usual, Random?"

"As in, like, a fortress?" asks Random.
"No, more like a checkpoint or something."
"Yeah, that ain't kosher," says Random.

"Okay, so we need to get closer somehow, or use an illusion, some way to figure out what's down there," says Wendat. "Orpheo?"

"I could do it," says Dio. Wendat looks at him. "I mean, I could use the experience, right?" he says.
No. 333113 ID: 6e44d2

Don't gloss over Dio like that! Do you know what he did on the Arcane Plane?
No. 333115 ID: 07416a

He could. On the other hand, he never learned greater invisibility...
No. 333119 ID: 8bb8df

as long as he's got Orpheo's approval, why the hell not.
No. 333123 ID: 1854db

Sure, let's see what Dio does with this.
No. 333156 ID: cd63e9

let dio do the recon. he does need the experience, and if he gets in trouble he could probably last long enough for help to arrive.
No. 333250 ID: 523c4c
File 131190401862.png - (6.46KB , 800x600 , 153.png )

Wendat hesitatingly allows Dio to head down instead of Orpheo.
Dio drops to the ground and then seems to fade into it. Wendat can still see him, but it's likely anyone who's not looking for him won't.

"I don't know if I like this," he mutters to Epraim, peering down his crossbow. "How old is this kid, anyway?"
"You hear what he did on the arcane plane?" asks Epraim.
"Yes. Seems to me he's just headstrong and lucky."
"He reminds you of you, Huron," Epraim says.
Wendat's about to reply when he hears a voice in his head. Wendat? He jumps. Wendat, it's Dio. If you can hear me just think yes, I don't know that I have this trick down all the way yet I can hear you, thinks Wendat.

Okay, good. Awesome. Uh, they're demons. Big guys. I knew that, thinks Wendat. Right. Of course. Uh, they have weapons out and loaded. They don't look like Xeph's guys. They're pale. Am I helping any? I might be able to get more info if I impersonate one, but that would require offing one of them.
Where are you? thinks Wendat.
Bottom left tent. Can you see me?
I think.
What next? I can take the demon at it and off him, if you want. I'd make sure they didn't notice. Dio sounds like he's trying hard to be helpful.
No. 333254 ID: 696710

sure, if he thinks he can hide the corpse.
No. 333256 ID: 02de21

Tell him to stay hidden for now and give a more detailed description- physical characteristics on these guys? Markings on them or their weapons? Anything visible in the tents? As he does, say the info he's sending you so that your resident infernal expert, Random, can offer his opinion on it. Having solid intel is worthless if you can't draw useful conclusions from it.
No. 333260 ID: 1854db

Does it look like they're there to keep people from going through the gate, or to attack things coming from the other side?

Also I think we should see what's in the tents.

Relate to Random the general description of the demons. If they belong to the duke we're offing, then we could probably off these guys.
No. 333264 ID: 07416a

We need to learn what we're killing before we start killing.
No. 333307 ID: 523c4c
File 131190865788.png - (9.68KB , 800x600 , 154.png )

Describe them, Dio.
They're big and pale with red eyes. Look like freaky clowns a bit. And they have spiky armor.
Wendat relates this to Random, who shakes his head. "Chaos demons," he says. "No idea who 's hiring them, but my money's on Getlx."
"What do we do?" asks Wendat.
"Your call," says Random.
No. 333309 ID: 07416a

Ask Random if they're strong enough to get worried about. Because eight? You might as well just walk up and talk to them since any one of you could destroy the entire group.
No. 333310 ID: 02de21

Right. Well. Our mission here is to make a splash and demonstrate power, is it not? So it's pretty much all about appearances here, now that we think we've encountered Getlx's troops. We're in show business now.

So Dio guards the portal- if any of them try to go through it, he is to stop/kill them, preferably without the rest realizing. The rest of you get together and stroll down there without a care, and then tell them to get the fuck out of the way, you're going to smack Getlx a good one. And then they either get the fuck out of the way, or you maim them all and proceed through the portal, like bosses.

Confirm with Random that this plan is not utterly suicidal given what we know of chaos demons' level of power before implementing it, please.
No. 333322 ID: 1854db

If we just walk up to them we'd better make sure the actual group is not where they appear to be. Preferably much further away.
No. 333398 ID: 523c4c
File 131191722288.png - (9.31KB , 800x600 , 155.png )

The chaos demons hear footsteps approaching, and turn from their guarded gate.
No. 333399 ID: 523c4c
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"Wotcher," says Wendat, spearheading the magi as they advance on the demons. He sees one of them turn and lope to the portal, and a shimmering prescence in the air follows it. If you blinked, you would have missed the demon vanishing from view just before he entered the gate. Dead, Dio reports.
No. 333400 ID: 523c4c
File 131191723719.png - (11.26KB , 800x600 , 157.png )

"Right," Wendat shoves his crossbow into the face of the closest chaos demon. "Next bloke who moves, won't be enough left of you to sweep up after. What's going on here?"
No. 333401 ID: 523c4c
File 131191724327.png - (4.79KB , 800x600 , 158.png )

"The gate to the next layer is off limits." The chaos demon stares unflinchingly down the crossbow. "There will be no traffic through it until further notice, by order of Adversarial Duke Getlx of the Irminsul. Especially not of mages, and especially not of Random Sterro."
No. 333405 ID: 07416a

That seems like something of a suicidal mission.
No. 333412 ID: 1854db

Sounds like these guys are goners. I think you're in the clear, morally, to wipe them out.

I assume you're displaced, so make with the surprise attacking.
No. 333414 ID: cd63e9

they can't stop you, there lives are being thrown away to act as either a diversion or warning. they have to know this. explain to them they don't have any chance of stoping you, or really of even slowing you down. but if the stand aside you won't kill them. though be aware they might have more forces on the other side of the gate. maybe dio could do some scouting? him and orpheo working together could probably keep the illusionare daemon there while dio slips though the portal.
No. 333415 ID: 35e1a0

"oh so you got the suicide mission? sucks to be you" and murder his face.
No. 333425 ID: 02de21

"Fascinating. By order of the Arcanopolis, we will be proceeding through that gate and teaching Duke Getlx a lesson about where the limits of his authority lie. Immediately. Get out of the way, or we will see whose authority is truly greater here."
No. 333551 ID: edbaf0

tell them you're here to off Getlx and give them a chance to pull back. demon or not, a refreshing lack of stupidity should be awarded. not that I'm not hoping they'll resist.
No. 338386 ID: 523c4c
File 131293736810.png - (4.39KB , 800x600 , 159.png )

"Fascinating stuff," Wendat says across the span of his crossbow. "But by order of the arcanopolis, we will be proceeding through that gate and demonstrating to Adversarial Duke Getlx of the Irminsul that he is not as powerful or scary as he seems to think he is. And by order of the 320 ft/lb torsion engine pointed at your face, the next words out of your mouth will be 'yes, sir', or I will vaporize your head. Think careful now, mate."

The demon stares down the bolt pointed between his eyes. Five seconds pass in silence. The demon says, "You
No. 338387 ID: 523c4c
File 131293737464.png - (11.48KB , 800x600 , 160.png )

"Wrong answer, mate," says Wendat, as he annihilates the demon from the neck up.

Several demons quickly return fire, but thanks to Diometricus, Wendat and his comrades are a good ten feet further away than they think.
No. 338388 ID: 523c4c
File 131293737838.png - (10.52KB , 800x600 , 161.png )

With a flick of his fingers he has practiced thousands of times, Wendat pulls the next bolt out of his holster with Mage Hand. Reload time decreased by .5 seconds. He snaps back the wire of the crossbow with a steady, automatic flourish. He used to have to use a crank, but he focused on upper body power training for two years until it was no longer necessary. Reload time decreased by .7 seconds. Total time taken: .56 seconds. Respectable for the start of the battle.
His friends spring into combat all around him, automatically fanning out to deal with the suddenly very angry demons. Diometriucs is nowhere to be seen. Wendat turns to see a howling demon with a broadsword charging toward him.
No. 338397 ID: 1854db

Nail him with a Power Bolt, 2 points to knock him on his ass. Redirect to the archer with a Power Bolt again, 1 point to delay him shooting you. Then the other guy standing over there with an Incendiary Bolt, 2 points. Also move left a bit, since that other guy will try to get closer to you.
No. 338407 ID: 3fd4fb

2 point Power Bolt to the charging guy
-> 2 point Power Bolt to the archer
-> 1 point Standard Bolt to the third guy
No. 338442 ID: 523c4c
File 131294323554.png - (19.11KB , 800x600 , 162.png )

Wendat allows himself .2 seconds to aim. 2-point powerburst, right upper torso on the big guy (Must be as big as Epraim). First rebound. 1-point powerburst to center mass on archer (He drops his arrow. Sloppy). Second rebound and 2-point pulse to incendiary, cloth tunic center mass on spearman.
Reload (holster. Bolt. Snap back wire. Position, hear the click. Primed). Relocate.
No. 338443 ID: 523c4c
File 131294323960.png - (11.88KB , 800x600 , 163.png )

Wendat relishes the metallic click of the bolt slatting into place, the hefty kick and twang of the release. He lives for this. They all do.

The archer: he is staggering, reaching for the arrow on the ground. The swordsman is nauseous. The spearman runs at Wendat, the fire crackling at his back.
No. 338446 ID: 3fd4fb

Power bolt 2 on the spearman
->Standard 3 on the archer
->Power 1 on the swordsman
No. 338450 ID: 1854db

Fragment Bolt, 3 points against the spearman. Power Bolt 2 points against the swordsman, then back to the spearman with a Standard Bolt 1 point.
No. 338469 ID: 523c4c
File 131294725342.png - (12.82KB , 800x600 , 164.png )

For a while, Wendat doubted himself. Was he a killer? What separated him from, say, Random and his severe bloodlust? He knows the difference between them now, as he grinds a heel into the dirt and drops into a crouch, lining up his next shot. Random fights because he loves the feeling of killing. Wendat fights because he loves the feeling of proficiency. Of constantly rehearsed skill, perfectly executed.

Regain footing. Drop to one knee. Aim .15 seconds. 2-point power bolt on spearman. He loses control of his feet and his charge becomes a stumble. 3-point standard bolt on the archer. Tears hole in stomach. Highly effective. 1-point power bolt on swordsman, who stumbles to his knees and gives up the contents of his stomach. Wendat's bloody well glad he moved away from that.
No. 338472 ID: 3fd4fb

4 point incendiary on the swordsman
->2 point standard on the spearman
->1 point standard on the archer

Hopefully that will leave them all disabled or dead and enable us to continue. We don't need to kill them, after all- in fact, it benefits our purpose if there are a few demons left after we're done, to tell others of how badly the mages of the Arcanopolis kicked their shit in.
No. 338487 ID: cd63e9

-1 point standard on the swordsman
-2 point incendiary on the archer
-4 point fragment on the spearmen.

the archer's weapon is flammable and the fragment should catch both the spear-men and the swordsmen. and at 4 pts it should be fatal.
No. 338494 ID: 1854db

Oh derp, fragment bolt can only be used at the end of a combo...

4 point incendiary at the swordsman, 1 point Power on the archer, 2 point Fragment on the spearman.
No. 338537 ID: 1854db

Also move up towards the archer. We'll hit him with a Power bolt next round to knock him over so we can get past and make some distance.
No. 339202 ID: 523c4c
File 131312761751.png - (30.36KB , 800x600 , 165.png )

Wendat learned this particular style from a man named Kelso Belt, third-in-command of the Ark Fraternity. He remembers the day he met Kelso. It was his second day in the Arcanopolis. Still lost and confused. Three great, lean, shadowy men with red eyes and crossbows and chins held high strode past him and against his better judgement, he followed.
He still remembers what Kelso told him when he gave the lost boy his own crossbow, the same one that kicks in his arms now as it fires again: "You need a mission, boy. Otherwise, you ain't doing nothing but watching the world turn." It was at that moment he knew his course. His mother had always been fond of his ears, but she was dead, after all.

Relocate, fire 1-point standard into spearman. Deflect to 2-point incendiary onto bowman: bow combusts. Deflect to 4-point fragmentation. Two confirmed kills. Bloody excellent.
Wendat trots toward the bowman, who folds over suddenly with a thin, cruel dagger sticking out of its back. Wendat has found Diometricus.
"The portal," he calls. "We gotta hit the portal."
"What's through the portal?" Wendat calls, reloading. Twing. Click. Slide. Click.
"It's a," says Dio, clearly out of breath and summoning more daggers. "There's a," he gesticulates. "Shit's fucked. Epraim and me can handle out here. Someone's gotta hit the portal."
No. 339208 ID: 3fd4fb

Well, Dio has been reliable thus far, so while that was disappointingly incoherent let's take him at his word. The portal it is.

Don't go through alone if possible, though. Get at least one other person with you- not Dio or Epraim since apparently Dio wants them on defense, but anyone else will do. Walking blind into hostile territory with no one watching your back is foolish arrogance.
No. 339212 ID: cd63e9

Random would be a good choice to take with us. between him raising hell and you sniping strong points we could probably keep them scatted.
No. 339216 ID: 6e44d2

Bring Eulinda, too. She'll be useful if anyone bum-rushes you once you get to the other side.
No. 339228 ID: 523c4c
File 131313576131.png - (174.18KB , 800x600 , 166.png )

Wendat pulls Random and Eulinda from the rest of the demons and rushes the portal with them. Random loudly complains he doesn't remember anyone electing WENDAT as leader.

Wendat dislikes Dio, and he doesn't know exactly why. His mind is an ordered place, which means his irrational distaste angers him, and that just makes him dislike Dio more. He should have been glad to see the illusionist helping him. Instead he thought, that was my kill.
No. 339229 ID: 523c4c
File 131313576566.png - (49.76KB , 800x600 , 167.png )

Wendat's got a headache now, thinking about the archer he could have killed. Ignore it. It's nothing. He pushes through to the other side first, and comes face to face, face, and several more faces with an entire host of demons on the opposite end.
They stand upon a high spit of rock, with a heavy iron gate at the end. Similar gates stand upon the other rocks, and far off looms Getlx's keep.
"Somebody's gonna have to distract those demons while somebody starts portalhopping," says Random. "Your call, Boss Man, but I work best alone, capiche?"
No. 339231 ID: a7a4e0

I bet he'd love to do nothing but kill demons again and again mindlessly. sure, let him at 'em, it's the Random kind of job.
No. 339234 ID: cd63e9

a good stratagy would be to let random rampage while you go portal hoping, but keep an eye on him and provide fire support if it looks like he needs it. bring Eulinda along with you and make sure she goes though the portals first, she's more durable than you, and if they are crowding a portal she can give you room to work.

also I think the reason you dislike dio might have to do with him having a few nasty run ins with the fringe elements of the ark. could be some subconscious thing your picking up on.
No. 339235 ID: 1854db

Yes, it's probably because Dio has the most reason to be suspicious of you.

Random would be the best at attracting attention, I think. Plus, he can fly.
No. 339255 ID: 6e44d2

Perhaps you're finding yourself disliking Dio because some demonic force is trying to turn you against each other. Do you remember feeling that way towards him when you first met him?

It could also be something deeply rooted and psychological that we won't be able to figure out any time soon.
No. 339276 ID: 3fd4fb

Random can fight the army. Wendat and Eulinda go for the keep.

I have to wonder, what is over here that made Dio think that we had to send people through immediately? There were only a double handful of demons on the near side of the first portal; cleaning them up would have been a matter of what, fifteen seconds more at most? I don't see any pressing and immediate threats here that couldn't wait fifteen seconds for the whole group to move together.

And now we're separating, like careless fools. Five mages together are practically unstoppable; one mage alone is merely very formidable. Argh.
No. 339474 ID: 523c4c
File 131320968052.png - (20.44KB , 800x600 , 168.png )

"Eulinda, with me," says Wendat. "Random, do what you do."
"With excessive pleasure," hisses Random, as the flames start to flicker up from the ground.

Eulinda shoulderchecks a demon out of the way and the two enchanters burst through the portal on the other side

into a kitchen, with one considerably large large demon in residence. "I-" he looks up. "DEAR sweet merciful fuck. You it the I I I'm just the cook."
No. 339484 ID: 3fd4fb

"Point us to Getlx. Now."

We can probably leave 'or you die' unspoken. It'll get across. We've got places to be; presumably Getlx will be trying something or other now that he knows he's under attack, so we likely don't have a ton of time.
No. 339488 ID: 00d3d5

Move out of the way so he can get to the door
"Then leave the area in a calm and orderly way."

Why the fuck would a cook know?
No. 339503 ID: 1854db

Tell him to get on the floor. ...why's that other portal so small? Ask him where it goes.
No. 339511 ID: 28e94e

Tell him to get on the ground and tell us if he knows which way Getlx is. He probably won't know, but it's worth a try.
No. 339516 ID: 6e44d2

Isn't Getlx some kind of chaos demon? I wouldn't trust appearances here. Stay on your guard.
No. 339519 ID: 523c4c
File 131321357975.png - (18.18KB , 800x600 , 170.png )

"On the floor," barks Wendat, vaulting on top of the counter and shoving his crossbow in the chef's face.
"Flooring," says the chef, curling up on the tile floor. "O, but I hate my job."
"Where is Getlx?" asks Wendat. He keeps his voice as level as he can, considering the adrenaline still coursing through his veins.
"Brother, with the way the portals are set up I'm lucky if I know where the bathrooms are," says the chef. "tho that's less of a problem now that I believe I may have soiled myself."
"Why is the portal so small?" demands Wendat, as Eulinda sticks an experimental hand through.
"Because it's in the fireplace," moans the chef. "Don't ask why Getlx put it there. I did, and he said he'd rape me to death. The portals are all over, and Getlx randomizes where they go every random number of minutes and my legs are cramping, sir."
No. 339522 ID: 1854db

Oh great, so we have no telling where we'll go and no telling when the destinations will change again. Also if the others don't hurry the fuck up they may not be able to follow us, exactly. Nothing to be done about it, aside from make sure everyone sticks together and decide right now if you two are enough to kill the guy or if you need a third for the inside job... Decide now, before the portal randomizes and you can't go out to call someone else in.

This is a pretty clever form of defense. Though I wonder if that's on purpose.
No. 339523 ID: 6e44d2

That... Could be very problematic. Time for trial and error, I guess. Is there any way to know where a portal might go?
No. 339536 ID: cd63e9

wow, Talk about bad working conditions, I feel sorry for that guy. welp lets get moving.
No. 339561 ID: 79e9e0

my two cents: don't split up.
No. 339563 ID: e3f578

Ask him if his job payed well enough or if it had decent benefits to justify all this shit. If not, call him out on his poor judgement of career choices because I dunno let's all have a laugh at his expense
No. 340401 ID: 523c4c
File 131344948141.png - (11.93KB , 800x600 , 171.png )

"What's Getlx paying you?" asks Wendat.
"Plenty," says the chef.
"Try for more next time," says Wendat, hopping off the counter and gesturing to the portal. Eulinda goes through first and Wendat follows

and walks onto one of the floating spits of earth surrounding Getlx's fortress. Four demons are here waiting for him, including a colossal one guarding the portal entrance, but no Eulinda. Wendat feels his throat squeeze up and his skin prickling in frustration. This isn't right at all. This is sloppy, and Wendat hates sloppy.

"The Magi are here, if you were not previously aware, O my children," Getlx's fortress vibrates as his amplified voice echoes out around his blasted lands. "You will hunt them down, brutalize them, and rip out their innards, so they dangle wormingly. The one in the red suit you will leave on the edge of life, and bring to me. Do this for me, and I will reward you with the moon! It will happen!"
No. 340410 ID: 3fd4fb

4 point standard bolt through the guy to the south and into the guy behind him
->1 point incendiary bolt into the guy immediately to the east
->3 point power bolt knocking the final guy back into the portal
No. 340412 ID: 1854db

This is fantastic. Also, move left a bit.
No. 340445 ID: 523c4c
File 131345436234.png - (14.17KB , 800x600 , 172.png )

"I see you, red suit man. I am going to snap your spine and drink the marrow from your broken body, and I shall use your fancy hat as a goldfish bowl, and furthermore I will not take proper care of the fish that I place inside it! This is a doubly wicked act to prove I am most wicked! Also I think I will kill all of your friends and make you watch."
Wendat doesn't know why Dio had them all truck into the portal early and get themselves separated, and this combined with the thick taunting of Getlx has him understandably cheesed off. Wendat Huron is the kind of man who values control. Speaking of: Reload, aim .26 seconds, release.
The first arrow flies straight and cruelly true. Two confirmed hits. The incendiary does moderate damage to the spearman, hitting him on the torso and superheating his chestpiece and spear. The power bolt hits the big one, knocking a heavy dent in its armor and knocking the air out of its lungs, but it is too large to fit through the portal behind it and manages to steel itself before it goes through. The swordsman and crossbowman are bleeding, but the crossbowman is still aiming. The spearman is charging.
No. 340448 ID: 3fd4fb

4 point standard bolt through the charging spearman and into the big one
->3 point power bolt into the crossbowman, hopefully both screwing up his shot and knocking him off the edge
->2 point standard bolt into the last guy's back
No. 340449 ID: 383006

Regular bolt through the first two again, but hit the charging spearman with a power bolt and the collosal guy with an incendiary bolt. We want to break the guy's charge.
No. 340453 ID: cd63e9

if you can't use the shoot thought the demon trick to add an extra target try this

2pt normal into the north most target
3pt power into the south most target (the guy by the edge)
3pt incendiary on the demon closest to you.
No. 340454 ID: 383006

Four points for the regular, three for the power and two for the incendiary.
No. 340465 ID: 1854db

Hmm. 2 point Power on the spear guy, 3 point Power on the crossbow guy, and 4 point Fragment on the sword guy. Also move left a bit more.
No. 340482 ID: 523c4c
File 131345897854.png - (13.90KB , 800x600 , 173.png )

Reload. Aim. Fire. Total time .66 seconds. Not good. Wendat reevaluates. He's stressful. Regulate. Breathe deeply: release.
The first power shot sweeps the spearman's legs out from beneath him. Before he falls, however, he flings his spear like a javelin, and it speeds directly toward Wendat's face. The second power shot knocks the crossbowman off the side as easily as a breeze moves a leaf. It falls screaming to its death. The fragmentation bolt annihilates the swordsman. The big one coughs dark ichor onto the ground, but moves with surprising speed toward Wendat, taking long, crushing strides.
No. 340485 ID: 3fd4fb

Drop to a knee while reloading so that the spear misses.

Incendiary 4 on the big one
->Incendiary 2 on the now-disarmed spearman
->Power 4 on the big one.

Hopefully this will leave both of them on the ground and burnt, possibly to death.
No. 340492 ID: 1854db

Update your kills tally.
Incendiary 4 on the spearman, Power 4 on the big guy, and Standard 2 on the spearman.
No. 340520 ID: cd63e9

normal 2 to the in flight spear.
power 4 to the big guy
incendiary 4 to downed spear man.
No. 340774 ID: 523c4c
File 131354769620.png - (14.68KB , 800x600 , 174.png )

Wendat knocks the spear off course with a standard bolt that sends it clattering to the ground next to him. The bolt ricochets off the spear in midair and plows into the heavy demon as a 4 point power bolt. It raises its shield to deflect and loses the shield as a result. It also loses the hand that was holding it. The bolt deflects one more time into the prone spearman, who bursts into flame as he desperately drags himself toward Wendat and his spear. Wendat ignores his pitiful screaming and the popping of his flesh in the fire. He's heard it before.
No. 340776 ID: 3fd4fb

4 point Power Bolt into the big one
->3 point Incendiary Bolt into the burning one to finish him off
->4 point Fragment Bolt into the big one

Hopefully that will finish them and allow us to proceed onward past this annoyance.
No. 340780 ID: b6edd6

I would want to try to contact the others after finishing off these demons, but I guess we can't do that with the spells we have.
No. 340782 ID: 1854db

Might be too close to him to use Fragment.

I say just go with Incendiary on the first one, and Power on the other two. Same numbers.
No. 340833 ID: 523c4c
File 131356569332.png - (17.79KB , 800x600 , 175.png )

"How goes the battle, General Red? Is it the flawless tactical insertion you pictured? Is it all you wanted? I hope I am a good host to you. I have sugar cookies for you in the kitchen. Did you leave already? Then I will have to eat them all myself! They taste of dreams fallen short, and cinnamon!"

Reload. Re-aim. That spearman's screaming is growing annoying. Yet another headache for Wendat Huron.
Wendat fires a 4-point incendiary bolt into the big one, causing him to burst screaming into flames. He keeps coming.
He hits the spearman with a 3-point power bolt to the head, snapping his neck and killing him instantly. Probably for the best.
He bounces the power bolt into a 4-pointer on the swordsman, who is bowled over sideways with a shoulderpad smashed in. But he recovers, and keeps coming. He winds up for a swing, holding his huge blade in both hands.
No. 340840 ID: 1854db

Hit him with another 4-point Power Bolt. Aim for the shoulder, to completely fuck up his swing. Goddamn, what a tough fucker.

Also, dodge.
No. 340841 ID: 00451b

Shoot one of the big guy's leg off with a power bolt, bounce off into the flaming corpse with whatever, then smash his face with a regular shot.
No. 340855 ID: 3fd4fb

Take a couple steps back (but not all the way to the edge!) to buy a bit of additional time to reload. Try to take out at least one of his legs so that charging will cease to be a problem. Hell, I'd go so far as to advise Power Shot against one leg->power shot into the other leg->standard shot through the rest of the body, if you can be that precise.

I am tempted to use a finisher, but that seems such a waste against an opponent we've already done so much damage to.
No. 340867 ID: e8e92e

No this is what it's for. Use a finisher to blow that guy out of the water. No need to take risks.
No. 340879 ID: b6edd6

Finishers aren't as good as spewing 12 point combos IMO. (Also we probably don't want to explode him right next to us.)

If you can do precise enough maneuvering, I say you
hit him in the upper leg with a power(4)
bounce it into a normal(4) through the lower part of his other leg
then bounce it off the ground into another normal(4) through his head.
No. 340880 ID: 07416a

Straight up take his head off.
No. 342154 ID: 523c4c
File 131397077084.png - (18.21KB , 800x600 , 176.png )

Wendat pulls back and pumps a powershot directly into the demon's leg, starting a combo. He broke it at the knee, he hears it snap, and the demon staggers backward, teeters, but now it [i]keeps moving[i], a combination of lurching, charging, and falling, the last few steps up to the mage, and shoulder-checks him hard enough to knock all the air out of his lungs. The bolt flies wide and the combo is lost.

Wendat lands at the edge of the cliff, all momentum lost and vision swimming. The demon is falling toward him, sword out and ready to bisect him even as it bites the dirt.
No. 342157 ID: 3fd4fb

Well, we're not going to be reloading our crossbow from this position. Move fast instead. Roll right a few feet so that it misses us, then scramble to get some distance. There's no way in hell that it can pursue in that condition... I hope.
No. 342163 ID: 1854db

No. 342164 ID: 523c4c
File 131397510450.png - (15.22KB , 800x600 , 177.png )

Wendat rolls to his left and feels the wind of the greatsword and its impact shake the ground. He scrambles to his feet and hustles away from the prone giant. He is not having a good time, anymore. His head is buzzing with frustration. The demon is crawling now on its broken leg, desperately attempting to reach him, howling as the fire starts to engulf it and its skin bubbles. At the moment Wendat feels nothing but contempt. How dare any of these scrap-metal mongers dare to lay a finger on a cyclopean mage?
No. 342166 ID: 3fd4fb

Tch. It's not moving at anything resembling a threatening speed. Take a moment to reload, breathe, and recover focus.

Then shoot it in the head.
No. 342172 ID: 1854db

Get some distance, then nail him with a standard bolt.
No. 342196 ID: 6e44d2

Put that slug out of its misery.
No. 342352 ID: 523c4c
File 131406255905.png - (15.37KB , 800x600 , 178.png )

Wendat slaps a bolt into his crossbow and shoots the thing in the head. He doesn't even bother using any magic.

He is alone now, and it's quiet save for the crackle and pop of the dead demons. It smells like overdone beef.

Wendat doesn't know anymore. Does he go for one of the portals, and risk getting even more lost? Should he stay here and wait for someone, and take himself out of the action?
No. 342353 ID: 28e94e

Go through the nearest portal. Keep moving and you'll have a better chance of running into a friendly.
No. 342354 ID: 3fd4fb

This platform is floating somewhere with a view, right, not just in infinite empty space? Take a moment to look around. When uncertain, gather intel.

Also, does Wendat have any magical skills aside from his crossbow tricks which might be immediately usable?
No. 342364 ID: 6e44d2

Recenter yourself, take in your surroundings, and go through either of the portals. Keep fighting. Even if we have to kill every enemy in this stronghold, we'll get them all eventually.
No. 342368 ID: 1854db

Shouldn't you be able to see Random's battle from here?
No. 342383 ID: 523c4c
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Wendat looks around. He can see some other floating islands, and a thick cloud of black smoke rising from one of them confirms Random's prescence. He steels himself, and rushes through another portal

where an oversized dead demon slams into the wall directly to his left and slides down it in a crumpled heap. Its blood has been frozen into icicles and punches through its skin, and half its body appears to have been set on fire. Another lies under a heavy pillar of stone, crushed into a red paste on the floor. Two more are pinned behind a wall, their limbs still twitching. Everywhere the stone is slick with gore.
Wendat has walked into a killing field. He gapes. Around a dozen demons, four or five of them the big bruisers, lie in the blood-saturated corridor. In the middle stands Epraim, having just killed the last one.

"Howdy," says Epraim.
No. 342384 ID: 44766a

Note to self. NEVER PISS HIM OFF.
No. 342385 ID: 3fd4fb

"It appears I missed the party."
No. 342386 ID: 28e94e

...God damn.
No. 342387 ID: 07416a

Teamwork time!
No. 342393 ID: b6edd6

First of all, do you have a quick way to confirm that he isn't a disguise/illusion?

The next time you enter a portal, try physically holding onto each other in order to avoid being split up.
No. 342397 ID: cd63e9

i doubt the demons have access to illusions, though if you have a fast and safe way to check using it is a good habit to get into. holding onto each other is a good idea, your fighting style works best when you have someone else fighting at your side.
No. 342398 ID: 1854db

"You sure know how to make a guy feel humbled."
No. 342427 ID: 523c4c
File 131407817009.png - (29.23KB , 800x600 , 180.png )

"Am I... late to the party, then?" asks Wendat, when he is sure his voice won't quiver.
"Reckon," says Epraim. "Ambush hallway. Must be a few of them circling round the portals somewhere."
"You, ah, certainly know how to make a man feel humbled, mate."
Suddenly Epraim is directly in front of him. He tries not to jump. "Huron." His voice is infected with an urgency Wendat has never heard before. "Don't tell nobody you saw this mess. Please?"
"Ooookay," says Wendat. "Okay. Shall we, uh," he gestures to the portal. "sally forth? Keeping physical contact to stay together?"

Epraim has re-joined the party. Choose your point-of-view character.
No. 342428 ID: 1854db

Epraim because we are not really that good at being Wendat apparently.
No. 342429 ID: 07416a

Epraim. I still don't like Wendat after being in his head.
No. 342431 ID: 523c4c
File 131408267190.png - (127.97KB , 800x600 , 181.png )

"You coming, mate?" asks Wendat. "Thank the spirits you showed up, by the by, because everything's been going a bit pear-shaped and it's good to see a friendly face around here for a change."

Epraim ain't been truthful to you, or his friends, and he is regretful about it, but he don't want to spread the truth around at all.

The truth is twofold:

One: Getlx is a much, much larger fish to fry than any of the other mages, bar Orpheo, thinks, and the small scale of this outing is just a smokescreen intended to keep the abyss from declaring out-and-out war on the Arcanopolis. Embedded in this group of low-level combat magi is a lethal vector and one of the only mages who can safely tackle Getlx on his own.

Two: Epraim is that mage, and he is, by varying estimations, the sixth most powerful mortal being who has ever walked on Eivr. He plain hates to admit it, and he plain don't like killing, but he is currently reckoned to be the single deadliest living evoker, one-on-one, in the Arcanopolis, and the third deadliest mage overall against groups. He no longer arena battles due to the attention it gives him, but when he did his record was a flawless 34-0. He is a walking personification of the fury of nature. He is the Archmagi's secret weapon, ace, trump card, straight flush, disguised as a student attending the battlemage's college. The other magi may fear they are weapons of mass destruction. Epraim knows it with a certainty that would make some other fellas out there slit their wrists. He knows it, Orpheo knows it, and the Council of Archmagi know it, but no one else knows it, and he'd prefer to keep it that way.

Which is why he needs to find a way to lose Wendat before he finds and personally kills Getlx, and he don't got much time. If any of the other mages find their way to the big fella, they could be in serious danger.
No. 342435 ID: 07416a

Well. Sounds like the best choice is simply being direct here. Pin Wendat to the wall with something that he'll be able to break free of within in a minute or two and leaves his hands free. Man just a stone coffin for the feet or something. Then give Wendat an array of defenses that both trap him in this room, make him almost unassailable, and a free range of fire. Maybe a series of shells with murder holes? Give him a few hours to break out of that. Then go on alone and finish the mission.
No. 342437 ID: 1854db

Whoa. Who are the two above you against groups?

Erm. I'm thinking you could get rid of him by making him stumble right before he goes into the portal. But... thinking about it... you have absolutely no guarantee that he'll go somewhere that doesn't involve Getlx. You and him have the same chance of getting to him by stepping through a portal. Your best bet is to go with him and then make him leave somehow if the portal sends you to Getlx.

Or peek through each one first. If it's Getlx then just shove him away or make him trip via earth manipulation so that you go in without him.
No. 342439 ID: cd63e9

you could suggest that wendat stay on one of the floating islands and support random. tell Wendat his style isn't so good in closed quarters like this, and last you saw random needed someone to watch his back. if he says you need help just point out that an earth speclized elementalist in a stone room does not need much help.
No. 342453 ID: 3fd4fb

Ditching Wendat is pointless unless you somehow prevent him from moving forward and perhaps into Getlx on his own, and I don't see that happening without somehow tipping your hand- it'll be obvious if at some point you prevent him from moving forward towards the stated objective of this mission.

Better to move forward together with him and worry about keeping secrets later. I mean, listen to what he's already said- everything was going pear-shaped for him already. On his own, Wendat is going to be in a lot of trouble regardless.
No. 343198 ID: dfa771

Keep him with you, go through portals first, and if you run into Getlx shove Wendat back through the portal. The random portals should keep Wendat out of the way long enough for you to take Getlx out. You might be able to figure out a way to make the shove look accidental, too.

Also, can you sense any other passages or guards nearby through the earth? I don't see any reason to play Getlx's game with the portals if you can just walk through the walls to get him.
No. 343199 ID: b6edd6

>safely tackle Getlx on his own
Does that mean that Getlx has powers that makes him more dangerous against groups than against individuals? Is he an illusionist or something? If not, I think you guys would generally be safer as a group than not.
No. 343230 ID: a337cd

This. Forget all the oh-so-subtle random shove through a portal business, Wendat likes to have a mission, so give him one. Tell him one of the other students needs help, or that you saw something important that Orpheo needs to know about right away. Wendat's not likely to insist that you need help though, the evidence against that is splattered all over the walls.

So you're really going to tackle Getlx all on your own? That seems a bit risky... if that's the case, though, why not go on the assassination alone, rather than bringing all these students that can get in the way?
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