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File 136004903494.png - (246.94KB , 800x600 , 1.png )
490499 No. 490499 ID: a00bdb

In his dream, Oren visits Grandpa out in the wastes.

"You're in a bit of trouble, ain't you," Grandpa drawls. He's got a bag of peanuts next to him. He idly shells one. "Down in that hole of yourn."

"Yeah," says Oren. "I reckon I'm in deep."

"Why you come asking my help then, boy?" Grandpa chews solemnly. "You never even met me fore I bought the farm."

"Dad always said you were a great man." Oren shuffles closer. He's very small. "A man's man."

Grandpa snorts. "What did your no-good pa ever know about man's mens mans or whichever? Only fella he ever whooped was his boy." He tosses a peanut to Oren. "I spose you might well blame me for that one."

"Grandad, I've been trapped down there a day at least. I got no idea what's happening to Nessie. If I don't die of hunger or something first I can't imagine what Joseph's planning on doing to me. If he ain't just going to leave me down here forever and let nature take its course, anyway."

"Well. Ain't nothing wrong with dying, Oren." Grandpa's voice is scratchy and dustblasted but tender. "I been through it. Everyone has. Or will. Everyone, ever." He leans forward on his rock. "You scared, Oren?"
Expand all images
No. 490500 ID: f2c20c

Yes. Of death, not being able to protect Nessie, and of failure.
No. 490524 ID: 57a559

We don't want to die like a dog abandoned in some ditch.
In the regular line of duty's fine.
In the bed from a heart attack is fine.
A crash is fine.
Even stabbed in the back is fine.

When your just waiting for it in a fucking box? Fucking not fine.
No. 490557 ID: 9ddf68

Well if death comes for to everone at some point then I don't see a reasion to rush toward it. One shouldn't fear death but only a fool inbraces it, that being said is there a way our out.
No. 490776 ID: c00388
File 136013323750.png - (247.17KB , 800x600 , 2.png )

"Yeah." A low, lizard shiver goes down Oren's spine. "I'm scared of failure, and of what's going to happen to Nessie, and I'm real scared of dying down here, Grandpa. I don't want to go waiting in some tiny dark sinkhole. Let some con axe me or a car smash me or a heart attack get me, preferably."
"'Swhat got me." Grandpa chuckles. "Well those ain't quite like being afraid of spiders, Oren. It's worth being scared for yourself and for the folks you love. It just means you got your priorities straight."
"That make me a man?"
"Shoot, Oren, you always was," says Grandpa. "If the only way to achieve masculinity is dropping down a big ol sewer hole I'm buyin a tutu."

"You say something?" asks Grandpa.
"I think it's the Undertaker."
"The Underwho?"

The hazy outline of the Undertaker takes form and detaches itself from the gathering twilight.
Oren, Spirits. You're so hidden away I could barely find you and I'm inside your head. What are we going to do?
"Wake up in a few and try to get out of here, 'smy vote." Grandpa rummages in his bag. "Peanut?"
No, thank you. Shit, Oren, we're in trouble.
"I know."
What can someone with no tangible body do? Is there anyone I can go to for help?
No. 490784 ID: f2c20c

Not a lot of people we know that could hear him. Wait, don't we have a recently-reincarnated thaumaturge friend? We could send the Undertaker to him and disclose our location.
No. 490792 ID: c00388
File 136014192480.png - (111.62KB , 800x600 , 3.png )

"Get to Allen," says Oren. "Allen Arbock. Maybe he'll hear you. He's a mage."
He's a thaumaturge, they don't deal in dreams. We'd need an illusionist or-
"I don't know," snaps Oren. "I can't think of anything else for you to do.

Sorry, Undertaker."
Don't worry about me. Worry about you. I'll be back, Oren.
"Hope I'll still be around."
I WILL be back.

"Strange friends you make there, Oren." Grandpa stands up and stretches his leg out.
"Undertaker's a weird fella, but he's always meant well," says Oren. "I don't know how much help he can be."
"The best person to help you out of this mess is you, Oren." Grandpa helps Oren to his feet. "I wish I'd known you, boy. You've grown up well. Maybe well enough to get out of this."
"I'm still scared."
"Everything has to end, Oren." Grandpa puts his hand on Oren's shoulder. "And one way or the other, it's all going to end tonight.

"Wake up, boy."
No. 490793 ID: c00388
File 136014255014.png - (278.66KB , 800x600 , 4.png )

Oren wakes up from his first sleep in 30 or so hours as a half-mired chunk of wood pushes up against his leg.

It's wet and disgusting and the only door in is barred and locked.
Oren is cold and achingly hungry. His throat is dry. He hasn't dared drink any of the water. It smells like death.

His eyes have vaguely adjusted to the darkness by now. All there is to see is the cylindrical hole he's been dumped in. There is one door and down below the water Oren can feel some kind of current at his feet. The water's draining somewhere.

A rat sits on the ledge next to him, nibbling at something. He's been listening to it scamper around for a long time.
No. 490795 ID: f2c20c

You forgot about Dio, bro.
No. 490796 ID: f2c20c

Excuse me, Dahlia. And Orpheus.
No. 490797 ID: 562bf1

You could try eating the rat.

Or talking to it.

Neither is going to do much good, and I don't think dropping below and trying to swim through the drain will help overmuch.
No. 490857 ID: 4fcf04

I bet the wood of that door isn't in great condition after being out in this dark, humid atmosphere for years.
No. 491053 ID: c00388
File 136022236340.png - (176.64KB , 800x600 , 5.png )

"Morning, rat," says Oren. It chitters and rubs one ear. "Or evening, maybe. I don't know."

The door itself is rotten and softening, especially along the bottom, but the iron bars holding it in place are another story. Oren slogs over to the door anyway and gives it a solid, jarring kick. The rat squeaks and scurries away as Oren slams the door again and again, making an involuntary, guttural grunt as he does so.
It feels good to hit something, at least.

Oren's efforts are rewarded with one stubby iron bar coming loose from the upper area of the doorway. He sees that where it was a chunk of the door has long since splintered away. It's still in the ground somehow, but Oren can't see through the godawful water.
None of the other bars budge.

Oren's stomach loudly protests. He feels woozy.
No. 491055 ID: f2c20c

Grab that bar and wiggle it.
No. 491058 ID: c00388
File 136022424439.png - (197.26KB , 800x600 , 6.png )

Oren grabs the bar and wiggles it. He feels it grinding and scraping against the ground and gives its base a couple solid kicks. "Come on, you piece of shit," he whispers through his cracked lips. "Come on."

He pushes all his weight on the bar, and it finally breaks free of the door.

Oren now possesses an old iron bar about six feet in length.
No. 491059 ID: b6edd6

Get a closer look at whether there might be enough space between the remaining bars to fit through. The wooden door would still be in the way behind them, but that won't be such a big problem with its water damage and our new bludgeon.
No. 491061 ID: 35edd4

More like badass blunt weapon! Begin stabbing the shit out of the door with it, with the goal of clearing out and squeezing through the gap left by the bar.
No. 491066 ID: f2c20c

If the door can't seem to be broken, try poking the ground with it around where the current is. Get a better idea of what's down there without putting your hands in sewage.
No. 491070 ID: c00388
File 136022737144.png - (176.18KB , 800x600 , 7.png )

After a few tries with his new weapon yield nothing but shallow, wet dents in the door's surface, Oren probes around the bottom of the doorway with the tip of the bar. There's about a 3 inch gap between the door and the ground, and the water is steadily flowing out the cracks. Beyond the door Oren can hear it speeding up into a faint roar.

Above that and with a jolt Oren hears voices, and splashing footsteps approaching the door.

The bar may have a good heft to it, but if any of those guys have crossbows and he tries something that ain't going to be enough. If there's anything he wants to do before they show up he'd best do it quick.
No. 491071 ID: f2c20c

You could try jamming the bar under the door and using it like a crowbar. If we get out before they get here, and there's another direction we can run, we could escape.
No. 491074 ID: f2c20c

...we could also try looking for where the rat came in. Maybe one of the walls is weak, and would be easier to knock through than the door.
No. 491333 ID: 551cf1
File 136031152436.png - (295.39KB , 800x600 , 8.png )

Oren desperately jams the bar under the crack in the door and tries using it like a crowbar. His arms submerge in the filthy water and come out leaden with murk.

This gets some results. The door begins to slide upward into the ceiling, although the effort makes Oren's hands burn and chafe against the rusty bar.
He barely has any time to move it, however, before a heavy rumble starts and the door starts to rise on its own. Oren stumbles back and hides the bar half below the surface as the water begins to run quick and threatening below his feet.
Above the rising rush Oren hears someone say, "Hey, Sheriff. We found you a buddy."

A bloody, tattered figure is pushed into the room, stumbling against the current. Ferdinand Blejwas' bloody, swollen face looks up at Oren's.

"Spirits. Oren Fuckin' Loper."
No. 491335 ID: f2c20c


Tell him you thought he might've been behind this. Now that we know he isn't I think it is time to get MORE worried about our survival. I mean, this means that the criminals took over the city, basically?

I can't think of a reason for this to be a trick. There's nothing Blejwas could possibly want from you other than your death.
No. 491344 ID: 72ff8e

Ask your ol' pal Blejwas what the hell he's doing here.
No. 491423 ID: b6edd6

I would say to ask whether his criminal friends finally got tired of him, but this really isn't the time to pick a fight. Instead just say something like >>491335
No. 491957 ID: 551cf1
File 136055786955.png - (310.18KB , 800x600 , 9.png )

"Blejwas?" Oren nearly fumbles his new weapon. "I thought you were behind this."

"Do I look like I was behind this?" Blejwas sloshes forward.

"You boys got some catching up to do, apparently," calls someone from the next room. "We'll be back here and y'all can just go ahead and sort your troubles out 'till there's just one of you." A small chorus of laughter.

Blejwas starts slowly circling around Oren. The current is increasingly treacherous. If Oren stumbles now he'll be pulled off his feet.

As he moves closer, Blejwas whispers over the rushing water: "You got a plan, Loper?"
No. 491959 ID: 32e092

"We can get out of here. If you show me I can trust you not to stab me in the back."
No. 491965 ID: f2c20c

How many are in the next room? How many crossbows? We could use Blejwas as a shield, or just have him rush first. ...no, maybe not. We wouldn't be able to get within range of the crossbow guy fast enough. Worth noting is that if the current is strong here in this wide room, it's stronger in the narrow corridor. ...is that a corridor? Circle around a bit to get a better look at things.

Maybe we should participate in a mock fight off to the side to lure the guy with the crossbow closer (because he wants to see and the doorframe blocks his view), then smack him with the pole to either knock him off his feet or make him drop the crossbow. Once we have the crossbow we can stage a counter-offensive or at least get them to close the door again.

If we can get them to close the door and run off, we can pry it back open and escape while they're gone.

Another option is to refuse to fight Blejwas. They will likely just lock us in in response and we can execute plan prybar.

Hmmm. I'm leaning towards refusing to fight him. In this current, we're sure to stumble and reveal the pole in a mock fight before we can hide it under the water or around the side of the door.
No. 491984 ID: 551cf1
File 136057017533.png - (324.87KB , 800x600 , 10.png )

"We can get out of here," whispers Oren, "as soon as I can trust you not to stab me in the back."
"We can have this conversation later, sheriff," hisses Blejwas. "I need your help to get out of this and you sure as shit need mine."

They continue circling, the current whipping Oren's trenchcoat.

He looks into the hallway beyond. Out there it's nearly waist deep as the water rushes past the guards. Two of them Oren can see, maybe more in the dark past them. He can't see where the hallway leads but the water echoes up to a boom along its length, and the dark seems cavernous.
No. 491988 ID: f2c20c

Yes, let's cooperate.

Not sure which plan to take at the moment, still.
No. 491992 ID: eaf2f5

Lest do this! Hold the bar sideways and Charge Blejwas possibly shouting something about bashing his head in.
Then start pushing him towards the crossbow guard, when you are close enough whisper to Blejwas to fall backwards and swing over him trying to hit the crossbow in the guys hand.
No. 492019 ID: de262c

Better, let's have Blejwas shove us into the guard so we can whip around and smash him over the head with our weapon.
No. 492027 ID: bdb3f8

the guards still haven't seen our weapon. lets not spoil that surprise by even pretending to go after Blewjas with it.

Ask him how many are out there. If the water is treacherous in here, its got to be awful out there. Not gonna take much to knock them over in the corridor. Probably why they have crossbows. We need a crossbow. And something big, preferably body sized, rushing down that corridor under the water knocking their legs out from under them.
No. 492033 ID: 551cf1
File 136061350582.png - (296.24KB , 800x600 , 11.png )

"Arright, Blejwas." Oren shifts his footing carefully. "Follow my lead and when we get to the crossbowman you duck for cover."
"Follow your what?" asks Blejwas, but Oren is already bullrushing him toward the door. His squawk of surprise is genuine. The dark, puissant flow whips them toward the crossbowman.

"So which one you betting on?" he's asking his friend. "I say Loper, he's one tough
No. 492034 ID: 551cf1
File 136061365354.png - (261.78KB , 800x600 , 12.png )


Oren's bar slams into the crossbowman's head. He topples instantly as Blejwas slams into him and both men lose their footing. They start careening down the hallway, as does the crossbow the guy dropped. Down the corridor Oren hears a commotion start up.
No. 492037 ID: b6edd6

Try to get the crossbow if it is nearby, then get the unconscious guy as a meat shield if you can carry his weight.
(It is sure a good thing that crossbows shoot bolts instead of tiny metal lumps known for going straight through corpses, isn't it?)
No. 492038 ID: 7003a8

Arrows penetrate far better than you think.
Also, bullets are designed to lose as much energy as possible inside the target. If a bullet overpenetrates it means you were probably using the wrong bullet for the job.

Drag the body out of sight while the conscious jerk grabs the weapon. See if you can set-up an ambush.
No. 492050 ID: f2c20c

Tell Blejwas to get the crossbow, and try to grab him to pull him back on his feet after he gets it.

There should be another guard nearby so be ready to bash faces.
No. 492068 ID: b5fcb9

Get Blejwas up on his feet first, make sure crossbow guy is down, then deal with his buddy.
No. 492166 ID: 551cf1
File 136065366338.png - (182.09KB , 800x600 , 13.png )

"Crossbow!" Oren yells. "Blejwas! Crossbow!"

Blejwas thrashes toward it but its previous owner has fallen on top of him. He struggles. "I can't-"

"Fucking hell," says Oren as the red shirted guy charges him against the current with a cleaver. He sprints to the crossbow and pulls it up and out of the water.

Red locks eyes with the business end of the crossbow. He has enough time to yelp "Don't-" before the bolt thunks into his gut. He drops the cleaver and stares with an expression of glassy incomprehension at the expanding stain of blood flowering onto his shirt.

Blejwas is blasted further down the hallway by the collapsing thug and the water flow. He shoots right past a bowman who has come running to investigate. Oren can hear his loud, concussive expletives receding down the tunnel.
No. 492167 ID: f2c20c

Keep moving! Follow Blejwas. Also, I'll note that the crossbow has no bolts, they're with the unconscious guy being swept away with Blejwas. Available weapons are the sword or the 6-foot pole, and your fists. Or you could use the crossbow as a bludgeon. Use whatever is the easiest weapon to obtain, and use it to knock down/out the bowman.
No. 492372 ID: 2152f7

You gotta take care of the bowman. Try to knock him on the head with the 6 foot pole, that way you won't have to get as close before you can hit him. He might try to shoot you, so do it quick! And if you can, try to catch his body so you can take his weaponry.

And keep an eye on red while you do so. Even though he dropped his weapon there's no telling how he'll react. Hopefully he'll just fall down and won't cause a problem.
No. 492374 ID: f2c20c

Oh yeah, we might even be able to use the swordsman for cover, or knock down the swordsman to sweep the bowman off his feet. There are a lot of options here.
No. 492412 ID: 6d54c3
File 136073747730.png - (393.22KB , 800x600 , 14.png )

Oren grabs Red in a bearhug and charges forward at the archer, who strains to find a shot past his wounded comrade.

But by the time Oren drops Red it's too late, and he connects with a reverberating thwack directly into Yellow's gut.
He grunts with surprise and pain as the wind is knocked clean out of him.

Behind Oren Red is going "aw shit aw shit aw shit" as he grows increasingly gore-spattered.

Oren can no longer hear Blejwas over the roaring water.
No. 492413 ID: f2c20c

Take his weapon, and ammo. Kick him away, shoot him in the face(or just watch him get carried away by the current), then we'll be in business. Or, wait. Just stab him with an arrow, that will save time.

Don't stop moving forwards. We gotta catch up with our temporary ally and maybe save him from getting swept over a drop or something.
No. 492446 ID: 57a559

Tell Red to stop fucking moving if he wants his insides intact. We'll send a fucking ambulance when we can. If "Blehwas" doesn't get in the way.
No. 493920 ID: a2d9b1
File 136114992165.png - (220.13KB , 800x600 , 15.png )

Oren pulls the arrow out of Yellow's hands and stabs him in the gut with it. Warm blood pulses onto his hand. He feels Yellow's wrist go limp and grabs the bow before it hits the water.

He grabs Yellow's quiver before sprinting onward.
It has three arrows inside.
No. 493921 ID: a2d9b1
File 136114992889.png - (254.11KB , 800x600 , 16.png )

"Blejwas?" Oren splashes desperately down the tunnel. "Blejwas! Hey!"

He comes to the forking end of the tunnel and finds Blejwas pinned beneath Red against a low ledge. He's splashing, but with a feebleness that suggests his lungs are filling with water.

Oren feels the adrenaline of his sudden and violent escape pushing against the back of his eyes.

If he just stands here, and doesn't do anything at all, and doesn't even do anything wrong, not really, Ferdinand Blejwas will drown.
No. 493926 ID: f2c20c

Being able to easily save someone and choosing not to is the same as murder, Oren. This man should go to jail. Heck, all the people you just inflicted various lethal wounds on should go to jail, but you didn't have much choice in the matter with them. Here, you have a choice. He wants to cooperate with you to escape. Plus, he'll owe you for this.

Kick Red off him and pull him out of the water.
No. 493928 ID: 35edd4

He was willing to kill people he didn't like without bothering with due process. Are you?

Your enemies want him dead. Do you want them to win?
No. 493934 ID: 35edd4

Also: Do you want to spend the rest of your life wondering if he really deserved it?
No. 493939 ID: 57a559

I don't care about the fact that the lack of assistance is considered murder in this case, making you sink as low as him (heh pun).
I don't care that saving him is the right fucking thing to do.
I don't care if it would make you fall.

All I care about is fucking over Joseph. Save him. We need to know more anyway and I'm sure he has decent connections in the city to get up to speed. Who knows, he may be grateful. He's a son of a bitch corrupt cop, but even I'm not sure how low the man really is.
No. 493940 ID: b6edd6

Even aside from the issue of whether you would be able to live with offing him in the long run, letting him live has more tactical pros than cons. He has information we need, and I don't think he is crazy enough to attack us when our common enemies are in such a strong position.
No. 493941 ID: 361ea3


I also don't think he's stupid enough to try and attack Oren, after all, Oren just killed / wounded several people in mere moments and Blejwas isn't strong enough to get one off of him and not drown.
No. 494001 ID: 7d8cf7

Save him.
No. 494053 ID: ad199c

You let him die, and you'll be just like him. That is what he does, he takes the easy and violent solution and doesn't worry about the morality or consequences of it.

Save him, but remember that you can NOT trust him. You cannot turn your back on him for even a second.
No. 494407 ID: a2d9b1
File 136126243955.png - (342.80KB , 800x600 , 17.png )

Oren shakes his head violently and pushes the comatose Red off Blejwas.

"Come on, boy. Up you come." He pulls Blejwas roughly up onto the ledge.
As Blejwas hacks and coughs and shakes, gagging black, unspeakable water, Oren sits himself down next to him and puts his head in his hands. He breathes for the first time in what feels like five minutes.

Oren hasn't ever fought so quick and so savege. He has no compunctions about killing those men and no fears that what he did was wrong, but his hands are shaking. He takes a moment to clear his head. Blejwas shivers and convulses next to him, thoroughly unhappy but very much alive.
No. 494410 ID: a2d9b1
File 136126306727.png - (193.65KB , 800x600 , 18.png )

Miles away but not too many, Deputy Nessie Squires flexes her fingers against the jagged hunk of ceramic mug she cracked off the meal these people gave her and tries to psych herself up to kill the guard.

He's not making it particularly hard.

"I said I gotta pee," she says.
"And I said you do it in your cell," says the guard. "Fucking, if you're worried about me looking just go in the corner I can't see."
"What, like a friggin dog?"
"Well you're being a fucking bitch right now, so yes, like a friggin dog." The guard raps against the locked door. "Don't make me come in there."
"You wouldn't dare," she hisses, and he probably wouldn't, is the problem. A few hours ago some big furlesian put his paw on her chest and she bit a thumb sized chunk of his ear off. They haven't entered the room since, only given her crusts and mugs of brackish water through the slot in the door.
No. 494413 ID: f2c20c

So what happened to Vesta?

Threaten to piss right at the door so it leaks out if he doesn't at least escort you to an unused cell or something.
No. 494446 ID: eaf2f5

Start scraping the mug remains against the wall, maybe it will create strange enough sound for the guard to come investigate.
If he asks what the hell are you doing just stay quiet.
No. 495624 ID: a2d9b1
File 136169126717.png - (222.77KB , 800x600 , 19.png )

"I will pee on this door," says Nessie.

No response.

She starts scraping her makeshift shiv against the wall.

"What was that?" says the guard. Nessie quickly pockets the mug chunk as the door clicks unlocked and opens. She backs away as the guard enters.

Vesta darts into the room behind him, with a mean-looking blackjack in her hand. She puts a finger to her lips.

"The fuck is going on in here?" says the guard.
No. 495625 ID: f2c20c

Oh, so that's what happened to Vesta.

Be stubborn and evasive. Say that you didn't hear anything. Getting him to search you is a good distraction, just try not to provoke him into injuring you.
No. 495700 ID: 5da860

Seems like a good plan. Ask what he is asking about.
No. 495815 ID: 14bafe

"Peeing on this door, what do you think?"
No. 495835 ID: a2d9b1
File 136176572437.png - (261.52KB , 800x600 , 20.png )

"I've been peeing on the door, what do you think?" says Nessie.
"What was that sound?" asks the guard.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," says Nessie.
"That's it, bitch," says the guard. "Take off that coat and turn out your pockets. I'm going to ahhhgnhh"

"Hello, Ms. Squires," says Vesta, shaking her arm out. "Let's blow this popsicle stand."
"Vesta!" Nessie steps gingerly back from the comatose guard. "Did you find Oren?"
"Not yet." Vesta wipes her blackjack. "I found you first in the old processing plant."
"That explains why everything smells like fish."
"And I figured springing you out, we could both find him." Vesta catches sight of Nessie's impromptu weapon. "Impressive poker there. Are we going fully lethal? Because I could go grab my crossbow if we are."
"Would you have a problem with that?"
"Not at all. Elvin was pronounced dead five hours ago."
No. 495840 ID: f2c20c

Grab his sword to replace your dinky shard.

I would like to go nonlethal if it's feasible. Our situation isn't bad enough that we'd want to kill every motherfucker on the way out- if Vesta managed to get in without much issue then we should be able to get out, right? No hesitation if a nonlethal takedown isn't doable though.

I wonder where your breastplate is at.
No. 495841 ID: f2c20c

Actually, first. Give condolences for her loss. It shouldn't have gone down that way.
No. 496163 ID: 57319f
File 136185430732.png - (235.61KB , 800x600 , 21.png )

"I'm sorry, Vesta," says Nessie, as she pries the sword from the guard's hand. "It shouldn't have gone down like that."

"Wasn't your fault." Vesta beckons Nessie out the door and around the corner, where her crossbow is propped against a wall. "They could have saved him if he hadn't been left in the dust a couple hours first. I won't pretend he was a good man, but no one should go like that. Now then." She picks up her mean little repeater and racks a bolt. "There's about a half dozen men between us and freedom. Most of them are in the next room. Now I took a vent in, but I'm, uh, small. Not to put you down or anything."
"Hey, don't worry about it."
"You have a very nice figure."
"Oren's a lucky man."
"Put-ups after we get out of the den of psychos, sweetie."
"Right. So we can try the vents again, but those go right past a few populated rooms and if we make too much noise we'll be in a pretty terrible position to fight back. What do you think?"
No. 496166 ID: f2c20c

I say we fight. We're well armed enough to stand a chance so long as we take out the most dangerous ones first, and the more men we take out, the less who will come chasing us after they learn we've escaped.
No. 496180 ID: 273d42

Half a dozen against you two? Not to knock your combat skills, but Vesta won't be any good unless she can really let loose quickly and accurately with that crossbow. And trying to fight off 3 attackers at once in a melee fight is near-impossible. I say we try to go through the vents.
No. 496184 ID: f2c20c

She said most, so 4 probably. Take out one immediately with a crossbow bolt and it's 3 left, and we can probably take out a second one quick since it's a repeater.

The situation can be especially favorable or not, depending on the terrain. Tables and whatnot.
No. 496479 ID: cf5290
File 136194168231.png - (68.78KB , 800x600 , 22.png )

Nessie busts the door open and charges. Without a shield a quick closing of the distance is all she has.

There's about 15 feet between the door and a pool table, around which are 4 stunned guards. One's got a big old tankard of booze in his hand and a sword on his hip. He says, "Wh".
One's sitting at the table with a spear propped up next to him. The two guys in back are not visibly armed, but there's an unloaded crossbow sitting on the pool table.

Vesta has a split second to line up a shot on one before Nessie gets in the way and they start moving; the ones in front will be easier to hit.
No. 496487 ID: 7008f9

Shoot the one with the spear. If the crossbow's unloaded, it will be useless in a fight this close.
No. 496488 ID: f2c20c


Well okay, this is kindof a bad situation. I think Vesta should just unload on the group of 3, firing as fast as possible since even if she misses one guy she'll probably hit someone else.

Nessie should of course get out of her way and dash towards the weapons, maybe slash that brown guy.

I don't think we can do a lot about the crossbow JUST YET, but it's unloaded so whoever picks it up will have to waste time loading it. At that point we might be close enough to flip the table and use it as cover or something.
No. 496497 ID: cf5290
File 136194944383.png - (276.96KB , 800x600 , 23.png )

Vesta shoots the spearman in the chest as he rises. He stumbles backward with a shocked grunt.

She works the lever on her crossbow with the steely precision of a professional and fires several more bolts off at the men on the other side of the table.
One of the men kicks a smaller table over to use as cover while a guy in a stupid looking trenchcoat goes for the crossbow. The swordsman is cowed back a step as a bolt whinges by his face. He looks torn between charging Nessie down and ducking for cover.

Vesta has 3 bolts left in the crossbow.
No. 496511 ID: f2c20c

Nessie, grab the big table and flip it over onto the guy who got shot. That'll make the crossbow on the table quite unreachable for the remaining combatants. Or just kick the underside to effectively kick the guy's arm, depending on how light it looks. Don't take your eye off the guy with the sword, he's a high threat now. If trenchcoat grabs the crossbow, we'll want to deal with that threat soon.

Vesta should probably take careful aim and shoot the only armed thug.
No. 496533 ID: 99ca92

vesta, save your ammo. shoot trenchcoat guy if he becomes crossbow guy, but other than that just shout at them to drop their weapons. Bessie can deal with one swordsman and an unarmed coward.

Bessie, see if you can flip the table, either side - either to give you cover from the crossbow or to make it unreachable. of course don't try it if it'll leave an opening with swordsguy or if it looks too heavy. stay out of vesta's line of fire and try to take out swords guy, otherwise
No. 496752 ID: cf5290
File 136203721098.png - (221.73KB , 800x600 , 24.png )

Nessie flips the table over.
It's heavy but she doesn't care. The corner bites into her arm and she registers the pain of slamming it sideways and doesn't care about that either.
Cards fly everywhere. The spearman screams. He's pinned to the floor.

The man who was going for the crossbow shrinks back as the swordsman jumps from the bang as the wooden table lands heavily on his wounded friend.

"Drop the weapons!" yells Vesta. "Hands up! Drop them!"

The swordsman ignores her.
No. 496754 ID: 5da860

Killing off that swordsman is definitely the top priority now (whether by shooting or swording). After he is done that should be the last of the armed and uninjured guards, though they might still have knives hidden with them or something.
No. 496756 ID: f2c20c

Welp, we can expect reinforcements shortly. Just made a lot of noise.

Hmm. The swordsman seems to be carrying something in his off hand. Be wary of that.

...hmm. Attack trenchcoat guy, and use him as a human shield to fight the swordsman.
No. 496759 ID: 1bc932

kill him, Bessie. kill the swordsman. Vesta, keep an eye on the other two and for reinforcements, Bessie can deal with the one guy.
No. 496817 ID: 96dde8

No. 496883 ID: bdb3f8

I think that might be an ethnic slur about her Guernsey cow coloration
No. 497005 ID: a00bdb
File 136212964875.png - (441.23KB , 800x600 , 25.png )

Nessie has always liked her skin, and now is not the time to worry about it.

She dodges a swat from the scabbard in the swordsman's off hand and cuts his throat open.
No. 497006 ID: a00bdb
File 136213053019.png - (141.67KB , 800x600 , 26.png )

As Vesta takes down the retreating man in the trenchcoat, the guy from behind the table comes up with a compact hand crossbow and shoots Nessie in the back left shoulder.
No. 497007 ID: 35edd4

Nessie, get behind the table, turning it to face him. If you're still able to fight, start shoving it towards him to close distance safely.

Vesta, you've still got two bolts. You know what to do.
No. 497009 ID: f2c20c

Ow, fuck. If you're HARD enough, just turn around and glare at the fucker before getting over there to kick his shit in. I can't imagine that thing is quick to reload, since it's not cranked. Might only have one shot for it anyway.
No. 497516 ID: 0909a0

Undertaker: tell Oren Nessie's been shot and how to get to her.
No. 498231 ID: 975f80
File 136256202119.png - (356.75KB , 800x600 , 27.png )

Vesta slots the man in the forehead, killing him instantly.
No. 498232 ID: 975f80
File 136256212017.png - (95.66KB , 800x600 , 28.png )

His little parting gift, however, has hurt Nessie pretty badly. She feels blood dripping down her arm and into her armpit.

This is the first time she's been shot. It ain't fantastic.
No. 498236 ID: f2c20c

Alright, that's four men down. About a half dozen in here, right? So there's 2 or 3 men in the next room. Unfortunately now we don't have the element of surprise, and Vesta has one bolt left. She should probably see if she can get an ammo refill from whoever owned that crossbow, and you should uh...

You'll want to do something about that wound, as leaving the bolt in and moving around a lot will hurt you a lot worse. We don't have a whole lot of time though so... pull it out. It's a small bolt, right? The wound should close up on its own. You'll want to get a bandage on it after you've handled the last of these fucks though.

Get to the door and ambush the next fucker to come through. Maybe you can use the small table as a shield.
No. 498241 ID: 0909a0

NO! no pulling out bolts!
there's a huge artery near the armpit, if the arrow is pressing on it or even landed near it, when you pull it out you can kill her!

don't even break it off! wrap some cloth tightly around the bolt to keep it stable and to apply pressure to stop the bleeding. i know it'll be hard but try not to let the bolt move too much.
No. 498304 ID: 273d42

Is the bolt a bodkin tip? Check the dead guy's ammo reserves and see if it is. If it's a broadhead or barbed don't pull it out, but if it's just a bodkin get something to staunch the bleeding and plug the wound up when you pull it out. If it's just a straight tip it won't tear anything on the way out, so you should be fine pulling it out.
No. 498319 ID: ff072c

I think, even if it is a bodkin, we ought to leave that bolt in there.
No. 498326 ID: 273d42

If we don't remove it and try to fight, we'll just end up hurting ourselves even more than if we'd removed it. We can't expect Vesta to fight the remaining guards alone. Once we get out of here, we can find medical help, but we need to focus on escape right now.
No. 498327 ID: d6ef5d

You snap the shaft short to prevent or minimize it getting in the way and movement making the injury worse, bind to prevent or limit bleeding, and don't attempt to remove the arrowhead for fear of doing further injury. Classic battlefield medicine- proper extraction of the arrowhead and cleaning and closing of wound happens later. If you live.
No. 498609 ID: e9e30f

If there's time, ask if Vesta has any experience treating wounds like that. There isn't much Nessie can do herself with the bolt at that angle that won't make things worse. If there isn't time, don't let any of the remaining goons see that injury. Keep them on their toes and away from Vesta.
No. 499027 ID: 0909a0

look at the bright side, nessie. you're still standing and the air wasn't knocked out of you. that means it's a tiny crossbow and didn't pack much punch. a normal crossbow would have gone through the bone and fucked your arm up for a few months of recovery.
No. 499042 ID: b1f38a

bessie, try hard to not freak out about there being a peice of wood with a metal tip inside your shoulder. there are more people coming, bessie, you can't afford to get freaked out right now over the fact that had the bolt hit you a little to the right you would have been left dead or paralyzed. or about the fact that the bolt might have clipped a tendon or a cluster of nerves and that you might not get full functionality from your arm ever again and that you can't possably know if it did long lasting harm right now. you can't allow yourself to freak out over the fact that you might never be able to use a shield again. would you be able to stay a deputy without your shield arm? would oren still love you if you can't fight?
No. 499924 ID: 8c2b1a
File 136324245888.png - (262.85KB , 800x600 , 29.png )

"Oh, Spirits." Vesta runs over to Nessie, who leans against the overturned table with her intact shoulder. "Are you all right?"

"Not exactly," says Nessie. "I got shot."
"I can tell," says Vesta.
"Can you, uh, pull it out?"
"No. Very bad idea. I'm gonna break the shaft off and wrap it up to keep the bleeding down but we need to get you to a hospital if we want to get that arrowhead out of you safely."
"Do we have time for that?" asks Nessie as Vesta hurries over to the dead man pinned beneath the poker table.
"You're no good to Oren or anyone else bled out," says Vesta, returning with shredded cloth from the man's shirt. "Hold still."
"Are you good at field medicine?"
"I'm no MD or Elvin might be in the emergency room instead of the morgue." Vesta starts wrapping Nessie's shoulder. "But I can do this for you, at least. How's it feeling?"
"No surprises there. Ignore the blood, by the way. Most of it is the late Mr. Goon's."
"That's something."

The door beyond, Vesta tells her, is a processing room. She didn't see the two remaining guards in there when she was crawling in but if any migrated in there they almost certainly heard that boom and are waiting for them. "If you're not feeling up to fight I can try to take them on myself, but with that shoulder going through the vents now is absolutely out of the question."
No. 499927 ID: f2c20c

You can fight. Your sword arm didn't get injured.

Take stock of our resources here. Any spare bolts?
No. 499929 ID: 57a559

By the time you'll be done fighting is when your a punk rocker at a concert, probably getting carried by the crowd.

Motherfucker, let's roll. Every arrow in our flesh is five stabs in theirs! Or five pairs of cuffs on their hands, we are police after all.
No. 499957 ID: b8cfd0

dammit Bessie stop being so hardboiled! i want to see past that tough outer layer. would it kill you to let your defenses down for one moment? you just got shot for spirits sake!
No. 499970 ID: 57a559

When your hardboiled, you don't have a soft-inner core. It's just hollow. It's where you cut the egg in half and put that gooey spicy whipped cream stuff in.

You take the hard layer off your just going to find spicy cream filling inside Nessie.
No. 499991 ID: 62850e

i'm not sure about that. i'm pretty positive nessie really does love oren and that means there's something in there. seeing how she ticks would be nice, though trolling probably wouldn't work for this particular hardboiled specimen.
No. 500009 ID: 57a559

Oren is who puts the spicy cream inside the deviled egg known as Nessie!
No. 500107 ID: 74941a
File 136333063532.png - (272.43KB , 800x600 , 30.png )

Nessie's love for Oren and Nessie's love for continued survival are the only two things that currently concern her.
That being said, this arrow wound is one of the most painful things she can remember.
She blinks back tears and checks for spare ammo with Vesta.
The hand crossbow has 3 bolts. Nessie takes it, since the kick on the bigger one could just about finish her off.
Vesta has more than enough ammunition for her repeater. She reloads and has 6 shots again.

Nessie sucks in a deep breath of dry, pallid air and kicks the door open. She emerges onto a balcony overlooking a factory floor. Abandoned machinery and the stench of rot and dead meat hang low.
"Well." Vesta looks out the doorway. "Perhaps they didn't hear us. Thank goodness for small miracles."

Nessie notes that those great big vats of disgusting are not flush to the wall. If she were to lie in wait for an ambush, she knows the spot she'd pick.
No. 500108 ID: f2c20c

Then stay behind cover while moving, and clear the room methodically before taking that ambush spot for your own. Tell Vesta to do the same.

How do you get down from the balcony?
No. 500110 ID: 74941a
File 136333724158.png - (234.66KB , 800x600 , 31.png )

Nessie moves cautiously to the end of the balcony. There's a narrow flight of stairs here to move to the floor.

She can also see behind the leftmost vat.

It ain't no ambush, is for sure.
No. 500115 ID: f2c20c

The fuck? Is that a cop? He's been *recently* shot.

Probably nothing you can do for him. Check the other boiler.
No. 500190 ID: 74941a
File 136338070745.png - (230.59KB , 800x600 , 32.png )

Nessie waves Vesta over. "That a cop?"

Vesta peers at the crumpled body. "That's a cop's body armor, but it's not the uniform. Maybe he was plainclothes."
"That armor didn't do him much good."
"Must have been a pretty big crossbow," says Vesta. "Or a really really strong goon."
"Where did Joseph get these people?"
"They're gangsters, I think. The question is how he managed to get them all to cooperate so easily."
"His easy charm and winning smile, maybe. Check the other vat."

Vesta creeps to the opposite vat and aims down her crossbow at the gap between it and the wall.

"There's nothing on this side," she whispers. "Now do we have an ambush to set up here?"
No. 500218 ID: f2c20c

Yes indeed.

Also go check out what's behind that plywood. A trap door, maybe?
No. 500365 ID: 62850e

wait, am i missing something? aren't we trying to escape and the door labeled EXIT is like an empty room away? why even set up an ambush?
No. 500798 ID: 74941a
File 136359903420.png - (281.72KB , 800x600 , 33.png )

Nessie and Vesta take cover behind the vats.

Nessie's shoulder brushes the cold metal of her vat and sends a spasm of molten pain up her spine. She bites her tongue to keep a whimper from escaping.

Spirits. There's a fucking arrow in her arm.

She's starting to turn around the thought in her head that maybe she'll never be able to use her left arm again when the door on the far wall opens and two men emerge.

"Stinks in here."
"Well, maybe if we moved the fucking dead body we'd be doing the circulation a little favor, yeah, tough guy?"
"I don't like touchin bodies."
"Spirits, Duke. Just show me where you put him."
No. 500801 ID: f2c20c

Not yet... let them get closer before the ambush is sprung.
No. 501002 ID: 20ac80
File 136366420915.png - (185.58KB , 800x600 , 34.png )

"Look I can't touch bodies. It's against my religion."
"You haven't been in a prayerhouse in years."
"Fuck, dude, and it had to be Dariel too."
"Who else would it be? Dariel doesn't let people shit on him ever. If anyone was gonna backsass that spook it was gonna be him."
"Yeah, but just, wham like that and then she just turns around and leaves like it was nothing."
"She look at you?"
"Fucked up, right?"
"Anyway, we're waiting till Joseph says what we do with him, but for now we stuck him behind this big stirring thing here."
No. 501003 ID: f2c20c

Alright, well, Nessie isn't anywhere near them so she's not really gonna be too useful as anything other than a distraction.

Nessie, make a noise to distract them so that Vesta can shoot them while they aren't looking.
No. 501009 ID: 67ed86

Nessie's got a crossbow. Shoot the sword guy.
No. 501011 ID: f2c20c

Oh right, I forgot there was an extra.

Personally I say shoot the guy with the crossbow, as the sword guy doesn't have his weapon ready.
No. 501017 ID: 20ac80
File 136367424666.png - (211.24KB , 800x600 , 35.png )

The bolt slams into the crossbowman's hip with a dull thunk.
He freezes, shocked.
No. 501022 ID: b94c6f

some female creepy killer?
No. 501023 ID: b94c6f

nessie, you are a terrible shot.
No. 501026 ID: f2c20c

Vesta, you should start shooting too.
No. 501085 ID: 454447

Charge. Lay waste to them.
No. 501126 ID: 62850e

absolutely not. you'll pop a vain. you're a crossbowlady now, only use your sword if they're getting too close.

vesta, shoot the crossbow guy, he's armed and we don't know if the hip injury will incapacitate him. try to shoot another at sword guy with your repeater, but it's vital that you take down the crossbow. see if you can threaten the swordsguy with the repeater if you miss. tell him you missed on purpose.
No. 501490 ID: 553ad9
File 136384824392.png - (209.63KB , 800x600 , 36.png )

Nessie will not reload the crossbow in time.
She throws it down, pulls out her sword, and barrels down the factory floor toward the two men. She sees Vesta shoot the crossbowman again, right in the chest.

But the swordsman pulls out his greatsword and charges toward Vesta. Nessie isn't going to make it in time to intercept him.
No. 501491 ID: 35edd4

Vesta's got multiple bolts loaded in that fancy repeater of his, doesn't he? He should be smart enough to get off another shot or two and then run and lead him back towards you. If not, call out to him to lead the guy towards you.
No. 501494 ID: f2c20c

Distract him, then. Call him out with a horrible racial slur.

Vesta... should be able to shoot again in short order, though, shouldn't she? She shot like three times at once, before. Aim for the head to make sure he goes down immediately before he can even swing that sword. At this range it should be an easy shot.
No. 501495 ID: 2a8a2a

Vesta reloaded loaded six bolts into her repeater shortly before this fight and has since fired exactly one. If the greatsword thug is feeling lucky I do believe he is quite mistaken.
No. 501499 ID: 553ad9
File 136385091427.png - (30.34KB , 800x600 , 37.png )

"Hey, Muckface!" yells Nessie.
The swordsman slows down for just long enough.

Vesta plants a bolt between his eyes.

"Fuck." She lowers her crossbow. "There goes the last man who could tell us where Oren was."
No. 501500 ID: f2c20c

What're you talking about? There's more people than this in their operation. They have cars, phones, and phone numbers in their phones.

Search them all for clues. Also one of them might still be hanging onto life.
No. 501501 ID: 35edd4

Surely the crossbowman's not completely dead yet.
No. 501503 ID: 553ad9
File 136385416764.png - (274.90KB , 800x600 , 38.png )

"What are you talking about?" says Nessie. "They've got phones, cars, clues and things, right?"
"Yeah," Vesta says. "We can probably track him down." She kneels next to the crossbowman and feels for a pulse. "Someone to interrogate would have been a lot faster. My fault for snapshooting, I guess."

"Maybe one of them is alive in the other room," says Nessie.
"Maybe." Vesta nods. "Okay, I'll see if anyone's conscious-slash-alive up there. See what you can find on the bodies."
"Shouldn't we get some cops in here?" asks Nessie.
"Not unless you want to spend the night in a cell," Vesta calls back as she heads for the stairs. "You and Oren are wanted for multiple homicide."
No. 501504 ID: a70f6e

say what now?
oh right corrupt police.
we need to find oren, he'll know what to do
No. 501505 ID: f2c20c

You can talk to her about the murder accusation after we search these two bodies here. Also, check the third dead guy in here.
No. 501509 ID: 553ad9
File 136385641096.png - (192.36KB , 800x600 , 39.png )

"Oh, spirits." Nessie's eyes widen. "Oh, fuck. We have to find Oren."
"We do," says Vesta as she climbs the stairs. "And unless you have some way to interrogate the dead, we need to find clues to where he is, quick."
"Will we find him in time?"
Vesta looks back. Nessie hasn't ever seen doubt in the pint-sized detective's eyes before.

"Yes," she says. "We will."

Nessie takes a deep, rattling breath as Vesta goes through the door. She needs to find Oren. Oren will know what to do.
The crippled deputy and the five foot three PI against a giant corrupt police force and an army of gangsters in who knows where.
No. Nessie already knows what to do. She has to save him.
She takes another deep breath against the keen edge of fear in her gut.
She looks back at the dying crossbowman, the blood pooling slowly from his two bolt wounds. It's already the worst day of her life, and it is only going to get worse, but she knows what to do.
No. 501510 ID: 553ad9
File 136385648030.png - (278.78KB , 800x600 , 40.png )

Blejwas tugs himself to the edge of the precipice, stares into the black sludge of the sewers, and vomits his guts out.

So he's back up, Oren guesses.
No. 501512 ID: f2c20c

Ask for a run-down of the situation on the surface.
No. 501516 ID: a70f6e

nessie got shot, by the way. vesta patched her up and she'll be fine when she gets medical treatment but they can't go to a hospital because you and nessie are wanted for murder.

ask him what part did he play in all this.
No. 501522 ID: eaf2f5

Ask him did he seriously almost get killed by a dead body just now.
No. 501526 ID: 57a559

Hey Blejwas, why did you take us not joining the dark side of the (police) force so personally? All we did was reveal a murder and leave town, maybe insult you a little bit. Nothing really worth caring about. But he does, apparently.
No. 501682 ID: 98cd65
File 136393948824.png - (218.21KB , 800x600 , 41.png )

"Did you seriously almost get killed by a dead body just now?" asks Oren as Blejwas groans and wipes the scuzz off his mouth.

"That and whatever this is." He looks dismally at the muck rushing past them. "Because it sure as shit ain't water."

"What part did you play in this, Blejwas?" says Oren. "Why does Joseph want you?"
"Why does a criminal hate a cop?" Blejwas sits up and spits a gob of scum out. He gags. "I tried to hunt him down a few times, nearly got him the other day in the wastes."

"Were those thugs you?"
"If I come clean and say yeah, will you really be all that surprised?"
"And the wanted thing is me too."

"The what?" says Oren.
"The what?" says Blejwas.
No. 501685 ID: 98cd65
File 136393962862.png - (339.10KB , 800x600 , 42.png )

"Stop! Spirits! Fuck! Loper! Stop!"
"What the FUCK did you do, Blejwas?" Oren pushes his head closer to the rushing torrent. "What the FUCK did you do to me?"

"The bandits! The ones you killed! I finished them off, I made them look like a caravan, I called you in as the suspects! Loper it was just to keep you off the streets until I could get back! Loper please! We have to work together! LOPER!"

"You bent fucking FUCK!" Oren wrenches Blejwas' head back and pushes it down again. "Call it off! Call them off!"
"I can't!"
"Yes you can! Say it was a mistake! Say it was the wrong guys! Say something!"
"I don't have a radio, I don't have a phone, I can't call in, the only way you're getting out of this is if I GET OUT OF THIS TOO!" A wave of sludge slaps Blejwas in the face. "Fucking Spirits! Loper! THINK!"
No. 501687 ID: 35edd4

He's right. But press him to give you some way to be sure he won't go right back to screwing you over as soon as he gets out.
No. 501688 ID: f2c20c

Ask him how they took him down here. That way should still be open. Also we gotta find Nessie.

Did the dead crossbow guy have any bolts on him? Is the crossbow... like... around anywhere? Much as I would like to use him as a living shield it would probably be best if he had a weapon.

Also make it clear that if you both get out of this, he owes you big time.
No. 501702 ID: 66d5a6

i really hope you recorded what he just said because i can't see a way for you to be able to prove it otherwise and nothing's stopping him from locking you up forever over a murder he committed once he's out.
anything you make him sign now he'll claim (rightfuly) that he was forced to sign. your alibi for being somewhere else are nessie, a supposed accomplice and fucking joseph, which might be willing to testify for you if you get to him first but there's nothing stopping HIM from fucking you over once he's locked away. he hates you so much he might fuck you over even if it fucks himself over just to be in the same cell as you.

a brilliant way to get out of murder, really. unless there's someone that witnessed him do the killing himself, say a cop or a surviving bandit, or you can get some verifiable evidence of either you not being there or him doing it or at the very least some dirt on him to force his hand, you're fucked oren.
if we end up going the joseph route that means we must get alive back to our station so blejwas can't get to him. that means escaping the city with a wanted criminal instead of waiting for the courts to decide if you did the deed.

this is going to be a long day and we didn't even get breakfast
No. 501722 ID: 57a559

"We're ALWAYS thinking, you idiot! You think I'm honestly that fucking dumb enough to kill you? No, I'm showing force because it's the only thing a brute neanderthal (or whatever your race's evolutionary equivalent is, the one that would work as an insult) like you would fucking respect! You're a cop dammit, what in the goddamn hell is with all your childish bullshit?"
No. 501859 ID: ad199c

You know, the second you are out of this situation he's gonna be waiting for that moment he can turn on you, and there's no way he's gonna rescind the order to bring you in. It'd be perfectly right to just hold his head under the water till he stopped thrashin. But then, that'd be his kind of solution and you aren't like him.
No. 502051 ID: 98cd65
File 136409651524.png - (352.62KB , 800x600 , 43.png )

Oren lets out a wordless howl of frustration. He lets Blejwas up and kicks the wall.

He feels something ugly and angry rising up inside him. He takes a deep breath and starts pacing, trying to shake it off.

Blejwas sits up and starts gagging again. "I'd just gotten that fucking taste out of my mouth."
"How do I trust you?" says Oren, pausing in front of him.
"Why would I screw over the one other guy down here who isn't trying to kill me?" says Blejwas.
"What's going to stop you as soon as we reach the surface?"
"I won't."
"What's going to stop you?"
"My word?"
Oren lets out the driest, most humorless laugh his considerably dry and humorless lungs can generate.

"Okay, Loper, listen," says Blejwas. "You and me get out of here, I get you off the hook, immediately, no questions asked. Then you get out of my city and go back to nowhere town. Okay? I don't know what you want me to do to prove it. I don't know what I can do to prove it. Okay?"

There is no sound but the rushing of water and the tapping of the unloaded crossbow against the ledge. So Oren has that.

Its previous owner, dead or not, is nowhere to be seen.
No. 502091 ID: f2c20c

Let's stop wasting time. Backtrack to where Blejwas entered the sewers.

Also, wasn't the crossbowman the one whose body almost killed Blejwas? It shouldn't be far off.
No. 502094 ID: ac4c16

until you get some proof or dirt on Blejwas you're his bitch. nessie as well. he can put both of you in jail if he only wants to. in fact he has to put in effort to get you two clean. i don't think you have much choice here. hope for the best. at the very least if you're cleared he can't lord it over you forever.
No. 502115 ID: 98cd65
File 136411587635.png - (230.50KB , 800x600 , 44.png )

"So do we have a deal, Loper?"
Oren doesn't reply.
"At least for now?"
"Where did you come in here?" says Oren. "That's our way out."

"I don't-"
"You don't know."
"Of course not."
"Well, Loper, they put me in a sack and beat the shit out of me, which don't exactly help with the step-reversing process. Even if I did know where this river of shit took us."
"So what do we do?"
"Way I see it, we either go upstream and try to find an opening to crawl out of or a treatment plant or something, or head downstream and try to find that crossbowman's ammo and where this stuff drains out to."
"So just follow the water one way?"
"Ain't much of a plan."
"You got anything better?"
No. 502119 ID: f2c20c

We could take a nap and see if the Undertaker's managed to contact anyone, and if not, send him to one of the two Illusionists we know, if he's willing to do that.
No. 502125 ID: ac4c16

this is a city sewage system, it might look like a maze but they're usually built to prevent people from getting lost. keep walking and eventually you'll find a map or a ladder up.
unless the city is built badly or the enemies took down the maps and rigged the manhole covers that is
No. 502697 ID: 0eef61
File 136454514076.png - (176.40KB , 800x600 , 45.png )

Oren has no time for naps.
Deputy Squires needs him.
This is the first time this thought has impacted the forefront of his consciousness and he has to fight the sudden swell of panic in his blood. He feels something else in there too, a dark, excited, bloodfed little voice that tells him this:

If they have harmed her, he's going to kill everyone.

The men decide there's nothing else to do but go downstream and look for a map or a ladder upward.
Before they go, they check the little provisions they have.
Oren and Blejwas currently possess:
-A heavy metal bar, improvised and ill-balanced but already used to surprising effect.
-A cutlass, clearly of sub-par make. It's still sharp.
-A bow. Blejwas is hardly proficient with these; Oren's an expert.
-3 arrows. The one Oren used to stab with earlier has a crack along its length now; it's usable, but Oren has misgivings.
-An unloaded crossbow with no bolts.

"We're fucked," says Blejwas.
"Shut up," says Oren. He thinks hard about who is going to carry what, and just how far he's willing to trust Blejwas.
No. 502700 ID: f2c20c

Give him whatever melee weapon he wants, and the unloaded crossbow. He goes first, you follow- this both makes sure he can't stab you in the back, and also allows you to put your archery to use.
No. 504156 ID: 20ac80
File 136523878554.png - (282.55KB , 800x600 , 46a.png )

"Take the sword and the crossbow and get in front of me." Oren nocks an arrow.
"You're giving me an unloaded crossbow."
"If it's dark enough maybe it'll buy us a few seconds. And you can't shoot a man in the back with no bolts."
"You're behind me, Loper."
"I ain't the one with a history of foul play under his belt."
"Yeah, well." Blejwas snorts. "It's easy to stay on the up-and-up when you're out in the boonies. I don't know if you've noticed yet." He raises a boot with a distressing squelch. "But the city's a whole nother kind of animal."
"Don't excuse what you did to me."
"No? That Arbock thing you busted up had hush-up bribes enough to keep a full, shit. Quarter of the Anchorturn force on patrol and armored. After the money stopped coming in we had to go back to singles in some places. A lot easier to jump a cop on his own. A lot of empty desks because of you. Field-stripping a dead blue gets you enough Gilt to feed yourself and your family for four, five months."
"He was a murderer."
"He was done murdering by the time you locked him up," says Blejwas, hotly. "You ever have someone die on you, Loper?"
"Yeah, Blejwas. Anders Mervin. He was just a kid. Don't try and lecture me on this shit."
"You talk to the parents?"
"Of course."
"Try doing that seven or eight times a month, Oren." Blejwas' voice is heavy and deeply fatigued. "Try and do that four or five times a week in the bad times. And those are just the cops' families. Try telling all them parents what happened to their boys and tell me that don't change you."
"It wouldn't."
"You have no way of knowing," snaps Blejwas. "There's four organized gangs in the city. There's six hundred thousand people. There's less than a thousand cops. You overlook some petty bullshit, you let them maybe clear each other out, you do what you have to to make as many people safe as you can with shit-all resources. You don't stick you shiny tin badge right in everyone's faces and fuck everything up without understanding anything. But you did. Don't act like you know what I do, Sheriff. Don't you judge me."
No. 504170 ID: 57a559

And don't you try and kill us. We're in this mess because you couldn't leave us well alone. You want to talk about to a greater good by ignoring some bad? Well you should have ignored Oren Loper, because, well, I already said why. We can't ignore a person who came back to life and said there real body were murdered now, can we? Tell me what's in your city cop techniques for THAT situation? I suppose stuff 'em in a loony bin and hope for the best? Telling a citizen that his own life doesn't matter compared to a few people who swore to fucking protect them is less worse? We took these jobs for a reason. And we did ours. You did yours I suppose, as a leader, but damn if you didn't fuck up hard today.

You judging us for solving that case is what started this. Don't you damn well tell us why we shouldn't judge you.
No. 504172 ID: f2c20c

Sounds like what he needed to do was get more funds from the government, not the criminals. Also, what he was doing wasn't even working if he still had to break the news to that many families. Plus, now look what's happened. Look where his path has led him. Dragged into the sewer by criminals he used to make deals with. Does he think that criminals make deals where he comes out on top? It doesn't work that way, dammit. They spend money to make money, to gain power.

Even if he was in the right making deals with criminals, that still doesn't excuse what he did to you. You were "done" messing up his shit by the time he ambushed you, just like Arbock was "done" murdering. You didn't come here to interfere, yet he put a price on your head.

Also, tell him to keep his voice down, and keep his eyes forwards. We can't afford to be taken by surprise.
No. 504173 ID: f2c20c

Also, I think I see a speck of light up ahead.
No. 504192 ID: ff9c52

excuses excuses. the police are given power by the people to uphold the law - they can never break it or they lose their trust and with it their integrity and right to exist.
when someone who pays the police less is less safe than someone who pays more the police becomes nothing more than a criminal gang running a protection racket.
you put a price on two cops' heads, how can you still call yourself a cop?
No. 504512 ID: 20ac80
File 136539667899.png - (283.02KB , 800x600 , 47.png )

"You can say as much as you want to say, Blejwas. It don't change what you did," says Oren. "I didn't come here to interfere and you put a price-"
"Shut up," says Blejwas.
"Excuse me?"
"Shut the fuck up," he hisses. "Movement ahead. You hear that?"

Oren strains his ears.

Up ahead someone's talking, raising their voice over the low tidal roar.
No. 504513 ID: f2c20c


Slow pace, keep quiet and strain your eyes.
No. 504524 ID: 20ac80
File 136540288118.png - (410.74KB , 800x600 , 48.png )

Oren slows down and strains his eyes to see through the darkness.

That a flashlight?

He hunkers down in the muck and sludge and beckons Blejwas to do the same.

Two men are approaching, with weapons drawn and flashlight in tow. One of them, Oren recognizes.
No. 504526 ID: 2a8a2a

Oh, its tricky axe man. Normally I would advise you go for the flashlight guy to take our their light source while they aren't dark-adjusted, but axe man seems a lot more skilled than their average goon, so I think we are better off using our opening shot to do away with him before he causes us more trouble. Watch out for a light flash from the remaining guy if he gets it together after you shoot though.
No. 504527 ID: f2c20c

That looks like a throwing javelin with a rope attached to it. He seems like the more dangerous opponent at range, so take him out first.

If the axeman's smart, and he is, he'll grab the flashlight next and try to blind you with it so you can't shoot again. So don't bother, just switch to your pole after the first shot and move in with Blejwas to take him out in melee, 2v1.
No. 504528 ID: 2a8a2a

Oh, I didn't quite get what that was. Yeah, when the other guy has a harpoon he should be shot first, tricky axe man or no.
No. 504566 ID: 9747ef

You know, even if you're blinded by a flashlight, you can still shoot in the general direction where the light is coming from and have a fair chance of hitting your target.
No. 504567 ID: 9747ef

Honestly, that axeman is deadly, and he's capable of picking up the harpoon, or maybe finding a way of making it look like he's standing his ground with the flashlight while actually running away and getting reinforcements. I'd kill him first.
No. 504570 ID: 70e7eb

drop the axeman and have Blejwas rush the javelinmanguy before he can throw it.
No. 504943 ID: f2c20c

Uh, you guys realize that the javelin guy is like way over there, we only have 3 arrows, and we can't move very fast in this sewer water?
No. 504945 ID: 6d6209

if he's far he'll miss. javelins that are tied with ropes are slow, inaccurate and easy to dodge. just reload the crossbow after you take out the axeman.
No. 504947 ID: f2c20c

He's not SO far away that the inaccuracy of a weighty thrown weapon would make a difference. Also it's kindof hard to dodge when you're knee deep in sewage!

Lastly, we have a bow, not a crossbow.
No. 504949 ID: ad199c

bows are fast firing and Oren's the man with a bow. This is what he brags about.

Shoot to kill the guy with the spear. Other dudes not so stupid as to toss his axe and be unarmed when there are two of you. Might be able to get him to surrender even.
No. 506025 ID: f4ca53
File 136609713661.png - (210.21KB , 800x600 , 49.png )

It's been a long time since Oren's been able to fire himself a bow. He pulls back the string and strokes the cord with his thumb a moment. This one ain't marksman quality, but it'll do.

He exhales.

The arrow jolts out and forward and clean through Turtleneck's forehead.

It's good to know he still has the knack.
No. 506027 ID: f4ca53
File 136609715864.png - (341.65KB , 800x600 , 50.png )

Oren brings a hand up in front of his eyes at just the right moment. His old friend with the axe yanks the flashlight out of his friend's dying hand and sweeps it into his and Blejwas' faces.

And right then, Oren hears in the back left corner of his brain, [Mr. Loper? Orpheo speaking. I understand from your dreamfolk friend you're in a tight spot.]
No. 506028 ID: f2c20c

Say yes, you're in a spot of trouble. Stuck in the sewers, falsely accused of murder, and a large criminal organization is out for your blood. Ask Orpheo what sort of assistance he can give us. Teleporting both you and Blejwas out of the sewers and to a spot where you can get to Nessie safely would be great.

Also ready your pipe to handle the axeman. Check with Blejwas to see if he's in a condition to fight. If he's blinded we'll want to delay the axeman until he can join in.
No. 506036 ID: 2b73b8

take a step back and away from blejwas, then fire at the center of the light. if he'll get closer you or blejwas will see him clearer because he won't be able to aim the light at both of you.
right now fire the damaged arrow, save the good one for when you know you can hit him.
No. 506037 ID: f2c20c

Oh, dude.

Don't kill the axeman. We need to ask him where Nessie is, if we can't just get teleported there.
No. 506050 ID: 4093ff

i don't feel comfortable keeping this particular guy alive, he's smart and dangerous. keep someone else alive, this one will fuck you up, lie to you and get you killed.
No. 506083 ID: 228d4c

Shoulda' killed the axeman. Ah well. Kill him now, if you can. You're about to get help from a MAGE.
No. 506465 ID: 191e02
File 136627279428.png - (212.25KB , 800x600 , 51.png )

Middle of something, Orpheo. I'm in trouble here. Help.
[What can I do for you, Mr. Loper?]
Oren underestimated Axe here once. It ain't happening again. He blinks the quick flash out of his eyes (Blejwas took the full brunt of the light in the face and is blindly fumbling for his blade) and pulls the pipe out just in time. He yanks back from the charging swing and brings it up to meet the axeman's blade.
No. 506480 ID: f2c20c

Twist the pole and pull at the axe towards you and to the side, while using the same movement to try to slam his head with the rising end of the pole.
No. 506493 ID: eaf2f5

Let go of the pipe and grapple the axeman so he can't swing at you, then try tripping/throwing him into the sludge.
Also yell at Blejwas to stop being so useless.

Tell Orpheo to turn us invisible or confuse our enemy or something!
No. 506826 ID: 0a3546
File 136643949155.png - (95.52KB , 800x600 , 52.png )

"Blejwas! Be useful!" Oren yells at his blinking companion. He yanks hard on the bar, trying to pull the ax away and bring one end into his opponent's face.
But he's too quick, and pulls away into a weird, awkward gait Oren remembers all too well.
"I remember you," he says, softly.
Behind him, Blejwas steadies himself and drops into a combat stance, sword out.

Turn me invisible. Or something.
[Mr. Loper, I'm on the other side of the world at the moment, more or less. I can't do that from here.]
No. 506828 ID: e3aff6

Gesture for Blewjas to get closer. Tricky axeman is facing us right now, so Blewjas should be able to either stab him or force him to turn away from us.
No. 506830 ID: f2c20c

You've got range. Poke at him. Use the pole like a spear. Also tell Blejwas to watch out for pommel strikes.

Ask Orpeho if he can distract the guy you're fighting, in any way. If not, then uh, can he relay a message to Nessie that you're in the frickin' sewers? Also maybe ask Nessie where she is? Also, what else can he do at a distance?
No. 506831 ID: 57a559

Okay, we'd love any kind of help you can give us soon. Any mage agents or alienators nearby if you or they can detect our exact location, moving your voice to this axe guys brain to freak him out, and/or synchronize our efforts with Nessie would all be really great.

In fact, if he could possibly play the brown note with his own voice when inside that axeguy's brain, that would also really be great because he might not be adequately distracted by your voice. Or any cool idea Orpheo can do with just his voice. Air horn, "Hello My Baby", or a rambunctious narration of a local play. Mainly because this guy right here is really hard and is about to either kill us or harm one of us significantly.
No. 506835 ID: 0a3546
File 136644248085.png - (85.28KB , 800x600 , 53.png )

Blejwas moves toward Axe, trying to get at him from behind.

Axe twitches, then with a quicksilver grace steps backward and buries his hatchet in Blejwas' chest. Blejwas gasps and stumbles backward. Maybe his body armor got the worst of that. Oren can't see.
No. 506836 ID: 0a3546
File 136644249508.png - (90.71KB , 800x600 , 54.png )

He is also distracted by Axe whipping round and hurling his ax right at his head.
No. 506837 ID: f2c20c

Endeavor to not have your head be where the axe is going. Or any part of your body, really.
No. 506838 ID: cae393

he is probably counting on you dodging, which probably means that it would be more advantageous to do something else
however, you gotta dodge anyway. DODGE OREN
No. 506839 ID: eaf2f5


Why did that guy throw away his only weapon? Does he have another one hidden or is he planning on running away?
No. 506840 ID: 0a3546
File 136644459698.png - (87.89KB , 800x600 , 55.png )

Oren ducks and the axe handle slams him right in the face.

He may have chipped a tooth. His head is resounding with a loud, ringing hum. His face is a flaming mask of pain. His eyes are watering.

He sees a painful, swimming picture of what looks like Axe trying to wrestle Blejwas' sword out of his grip.
No. 506841 ID: 57a559

grab his axe grab his axe
Help Orpheo! Please! Distract his brain with your majestic voice!
No. 506842 ID: f2c20c

The axe is in sewage now. Don't fish for it, go get him while he's distracted and unarmed. Smack his head with your pole, it's right up there like a melon on a stick.
No. 506845 ID: eaf2f5

It's just Blejwas, rush in there and start swinging your pipe wildly until they stop moving.
No. 506849 ID: 76f500

he's without weapon for as long as he doesn't take blejwas'. you've suffered worse pain, take him on 2v1
No. 507021 ID: 0a3546
File 136653408457.png - (222.94KB , 800x600 , 56.png )

You've been through worse. Up, Sheriff. Do your job.
Oren pushes himself up on the pipe. His head is swimming.
Man's man. Do your job.

He grits his teeth and breaks into a clumsy, desperate shambling run toward Axe, breathing loud and belabored.

While Axe is distracted Oren brings the pipe down with every ounce of strength he has to spare. It makes a reverberant bong noise and Axe's arms immediately slacken around Blejwas' neck.
No. 507022 ID: f2c20c

Okay! Pin him to the wall and maybe rough him up a bit more, make sure he can't fight back or stab you or something, and demand to know where the fuck Nessie is. Also where is the exit.

Oh and I guess you can ask Blejwas if he's okay.
No. 507030 ID: bb8b13

stay on him, he's only dazed! don't kill him though, just disable him.
No. 507168 ID: 0a3546
File 136661553454.png - (130.19KB , 800x600 , 57.png )

Oren brings his knee up to Axe's face and Axe pulls his leg into the water.

Both men claw at one another as Blejwas stumbles to his feet, coughing violently.

Axe is still feeling the effects of Oren's pipe to the head. He makes little gasping moans every time he takes a breath.

They emerge from the water with Oren wrenching Axe's head painfully up. And the moment they do, Blejwas' blade is at his neck.

"Shit," murmurs their new prisoner.
No. 507174 ID: ccb2c1

Well alright! Ask Orpheo to interrogate him for us while we walk.
No. 507178 ID: f2c20c

Tell him that he better start talking now. The way out, where Nessie is, what his buddies are planning, everything. We have ways of making him talk.
No. 507182 ID: e5790d

i wouldn't trust a thing the crafty bastard says unless Orpheo can make sure he's not lying or up to somethig.
No. 507367 ID: 47d311

"You are far too skilled to be working for a two-bit criminal outfit like this."
No. 507453 ID: 51ff34

Make sure Blejwas doesn't kill him like a fuckin' moron.
No. 507515 ID: 25fe40
File 136678598473.png - (65.68KB , 800x600 , 58.png )

"Don't kill him," says Oren, staggering back from the grimfaced axeman.
"Well I wasn't planning on it," says Blejwas, testily. "Unless he does any kind of moving that ain't bringing his hands up very slowly."

Axe brings his hands up very slowly. "Couldn't take me on your own, lawman," he says. "You and me one on one next time I'mma split your head like a watermelon."
"Well, I'm not banking on a next time," says Oren. "But I reckon you're just about right on that score. What's a fighter like you doing working for a two-bit con like Joseph?"
"Paid me good and let me kill big britched lawmen like you." Axe starts to wipe the blood from his nose, then remembers the sword at his face and goes stock still again.
Orpheo, can you interrogate him?
[I can only communicate with you at distance because of your unusually strong bond with Dream, Mr. Loper. I can do nothing for him. Wellll, perhaps that's not true. I shall probably be able to tell whether he is lying or not while you question him.]
That'll do just fine.
"Now the way this is going to work is you start talking and you tell me everything I need to know about your buddy Joseph, what he's planning, and any other pertinent information you think I oughta know, and then maybe we let you go with all your throat," says Oren. "We can start with an easy one. Where's Nessie?"
"The deputy who was in the building. Joseph took her."
"Oh. Bat ears." Axe sniffs, wetly. "She ain't in the sewers. Think them boys at the processing plant near the South docks have her. Wish we coulda switched you two. She weren't bad looking."
"Any of your boys touched her I'm going to chop off their hands," says Oren. "Okay. What's Joseph doing?"
"Takin this city over," says Axe. "The underside, leastways. Word is he's just gonna kill Blejwas as a warning to whoever comes next."
"What about me?"
Axe shrugs. "Don't know. Didn't ask what he's planning for you."
[That's a lie, Mr. Loper.]
"That's a lie, Ugly. What's he gonna do to me?"
"I told you I don't know," says Axe. "He's gonna... I don't know. You're a gift. He's gonna hand you over to someone."
"What someone?"
"A woman."
"What woman?"
"I don't know," snaps Axe. "Tall. Wore black. I didn't see much of her."
[Mr. Loper, there's something wrong here.]
What's that?
[This man fears very little. Your friend's blade at his throat registers as a discomfort. But this woman he mentioned?]
What about her?
[He is deeply terrified of her, Mr. Loper.]
"I were you I'd just gimme back my axe and let me do you quick," says Axe. "Last I saw her and Bird they were coming down here to collect, lawman."
No. 507517 ID: 92a70c

the bitchy oracle? who knows, it's not relevant right now.
how do we get out? what did joseph already do other than putting you two in the sewers? troop numbers in the sewers?
No. 507518 ID: 25fe40
File 136678928227.png - (101.40KB , 800x600 , 59.png )

"How do we get out of the sewers?"
"You go up the way me and Hector came. But that's where everyone else is and where she is. So." He shrugs.
"What has Joseph already done?"
"Bout a third of the gangs in Anchorturn answer to him, thereabouts, one way or another," says Axe. "Couldn't tell you how he got so many on his side so fast. He's canny."
"How many in the sewers between here and there?"
"Dozen people or so," says Axe. "You could get around some of them if you got the side door open a few hundred meters from here but ain't no way you won't run into most of them, and you ain't gonna outrun them if you go the other way. Not if she's with em. You're done, Sheriff. You been done ever since I beat you the other day."
"I'm satisfied," says Blejwas. "Let's end him quick and get to that door."
"You're just gonna kill him?"
"Well I ain't got no cuffs on me," says Blejwas. "And two chewed-the-hell up cops can afford to watch him about as much as they can afford to let him go free."
"Your little ladyfriend there gonna cut me up she best get around to doin it," sneers Axe. "I got nothing more to say to you, lawman."
No. 507519 ID: 92a70c

you can't do it, oren. you can't kill a prisoner. knock him out and leave him, it'll delay him for a few minutes and he'll be too disoriented to fight when he wakes up anyhow.

as for the way out, are you telling me there are only two ways and both have 6 times our numbers? we can't fight that many, we barely beat ONE GUY. we need backup, and maybe a place to hide until it gets here unless he's not telling us about a better escape route. maybe there's one he doesn't know about
No. 507520 ID: f2c20c

I think it's time we told Orpheo about that strange dream we had. Also, ask him what's up with that "strong bond with Dream". Are you a mage or what?

As for this guy, hang on a second. Ask him if he ever saw the lady's eyes. Could be an Arker. Probably is, considering what the last one said to you. Orpheo might be able to send someone to help us directly if there's a mage involved.
No. 507524 ID: 92a70c

wait, something doesn't make sense. there is exactly one way out plus a shortcut that leads to the same place? this section of the sewers is self contained? that can't be right. there must be a long way around, perhaps one with fewer criminals
No. 507536 ID: 32e092

Yes, let's get into drawn out irrelevant conversations when our lives are on the line. That's a great idea!

Good call. There must be other exits/paths, even if they're unmaintained. Head in the opposite direction after knocking axeman out. Maybe make like you're going to try to sneak past them before knocking him out so he has bad info when he wakes up.
No. 507537 ID: 57a559

Break his arms
Those are cuffs enough
No. 507540 ID: 92a70c

I'm sorry for trippleposting but i realized something. when i threw out the bitchy oracle guess i tried to think which females have it in for oren. but there are two, not just her. i just remembered oren's ex.
No. 507541 ID: f2c20c

Drawn out? Irrelevant? Are you even- oh, you mean telling Orpheo about the dream, not identifying the dangerous opponent. Yes, that might get us sidetracked, but we can talk and walk.

Oh, I just realized Axe here forgot to mention one exit we know of. The way Oren got in. We just need someone up top to move the dumpster and throw down a rope.
No. 507815 ID: d33ffa

if the punishment for assaulting an officer is death anyhow i say we should kill him.
No. 507820 ID: 735f4f

We cant leave him in any shape to come after us. So its kill him or end up with a knife in your back. This is a fight for your life situation where doing the "right" thing will just end up with us getting killed.
No. 508126 ID: 8950d8
File 136722637809.png - (131.46KB , 800x600 , 60.png )

"There has to be a way we can avoid them," says Oren. "We could get someone to tug the dumpster from my cell and drop in a rope."
Axe gives a raspy chuckle. "And who would that someone be, lawman? Ain't no way out but downstream, and then they'll catch up to you, or upstream, and that's right into their hands. The next place you can branch is a few hundred meters upstream and that won't throw em off you, if it ain't even too late."
"Speaking of too late," says Blejwas, "We gotta finish this one off quick and go wherever it is we can go. Maybe we can hide somewhere."
"You can try, boy, but she'll find you," says Axe. "She ain't like you and me."
"What does that even mean?" says Blejwas. He looks at Oren. "Let's cut him and be done."
Oren ignores Blejwas. "Did you see her eyes?" he asks quietly. His voice is hollow and tinny in his ears, as if he is speaking from very far away.

"No, sir." Axe swallows. Oren hears the click of his dry throat, wrestling itself. "I did not.

"I saw her eye."
No. 508128 ID: 0732c2

to axe: red or blue?

to orpheo: hear that orpheo? this is mage business. a mage trying to kill cops, that can't be right.
also, can you get someone nearby with some rope? or maybe many someones with weapons?
No. 508129 ID: f2c20c

...and it was red, wasn't it?

Welp. That tears it, we can't run. We'll fight. But... hey, didn't that place we dropped in have a rather solid door? Maybe we can make a stand there. Plus, if we get any help at all, that's the only exit we can get an evac from, really. The door only opens/closes from the outside though, so we'll need to somehow break the mechanism so the door shuts permanently.

Speaking of help, ask Orpheo if he can send anyone to us now that he knows the redeye mages are involved. Get an address from the axe guy of the dumpster entrance.
No. 508310 ID: 400dc8
File 136739994655.png - (142.86KB , 800x600 , 61.png )

"Red?" asks Oren.

"As blood," says Axe.

"Oh, no," breathes Oren. "Oh, shit."
You hear that, Orpheo?
[Yes. Please hold. I can't come myself, but I have contacts in the area. I'm getting in touch with them as we speak.]
Can you do anything else for me?
[I wish you were a gullible man so I could give you some false comfort, Mr. Loper. But you are not, and I cannot. You're alone down there. Don't die.]

"We gotta go, Loper," says Blejwas. "We have to hide."
"Ain't no hiding from what's coming for us," says Oren. "We're gonna have to fight."
"You crazy?" says Blejwas. "There's a dozen of them. No way can we take them on."
"They're not the ones you should be worrying about." Oren pulls out his bar and takes Axe by the collar. "And we can't have you causing trouble. But I ain't going to kill you."
"What're you planning, then?" says Axe.
"Put your hand on the embankment here."
"Aw, fuck. Come on, Sheriff. I won't go after you."
"Come on, now. Don't make me force you."
"Fuck." Axe puts his hand on the concrete embankment near the water and averts his eyes. "Shit fuck fuck."

There's a nasty crunching noise as Oren brings the bar down on the back of Axe's hand. He bites his lip and clenches his other fist but he can't stop from screaming.

Oren does the other hand, for good measure.

It's time to get out of here.
No. 508311 ID: d300d2

You are a hard man, Oren.
No. 508312 ID: eaf2f5

Time to advance, same formation as before Blejwas in front with the sword and we follow with the bow. And maybe its time we switch the iron bar to the axe, won't be as heavy to carry.
No. 508316 ID: ffbe82

seriously, orpheo, we just need some guy with a rope. anybody at all.

oren, we can't fight this. we need to barricade ourselves in the room we came from, the one with the dumpster and delay them enough until orpheo gets a guy with a rope. maybe set some traps somehow? you'll need more ammo, though. where did you say there was more? do we even have enough time? also check the dead guy's body.
No. 508317 ID: ffbe82

we might need the bar to reinforce a door for a barricade. take both.
No. 508578 ID: 6c20b7
File 136757160581.png - (100.89KB , 800x600 , 62.png )

"We gotta move. Now." Oren grabs the ax and dashes for the room he was trapped in. "Blejwas. Come on. We gotta go."

"What? Loper? Slow down. You sound like the fucking deities are chasing you." Blejwas trots after him.

Oren pulls the door closed behind them as they enter the room, bringing the sliding sluice gate to the floor. He rams the metal bar between the others that remain in place. That will buy them time.
Maybe it will be enough.

"Okay, do you mind telling me what that was all about?" asks Blejwas, perching himself on a ledge. "You all right? You're looking pale as death, Oren. I mean, Loper."
No. 508580 ID: 57a559

We're going to have to fight a mage you idiot. What's worse is that we don't even know what kind. God forbid it's an illusion one. We won't even be able to see her coming or she'll use our worse fears against us.

The other mages can spam the elements right at us. These one eyed mages are some of the best in the world, and the red-eyed ones are the most psychotic. Jesus Christ, tell him about the house.
No. 508593 ID: d6772a

we're about to fight a weapon of mass destruction. with pointy sticks.

we can't win this. all we can do is try to delay them enough until help arrives. and right now, i honestly don't see help coming in time.

i'm out of plans.
No. 508633 ID: f2c20c

Tell him about how you found some red-eyed cyclops asshole torturing people to death in order to create homunculi. Nessie killed him, because he tried to kill both of you and you were paralyzed at the time. He happened to be wearing some armor that deflected your arrows.

Then tell him about how it turns out he was just some other red-eyed cyclops dude's apprentice. Who you later ran into, seemingly randomly in a ruin after the car you stole from the bandits OH THANKS A LOT FOR THE BANDITS BLEJWAS ran out of gas. Then you shot him in the eye, after he reached into your head and pulled out every last fear you had and used it against you all at once. That didn't kill him though. Took some help before he went down.

Now, we can presume that the last guy had a girlfriend who wants revenge. Or a mother, perhaps.
No. 508634 ID: 48ab4b
File 136765590742.png - (160.23KB , 800x600 , 63.png )

"Mage," says Oren. "One eyed, psychopath mage who wants to kill us."
"I've fought mages before."
"Not fucking like this one." Oren's head is pounding. He is astonishingly hungry and astonishingly tired. He is going to die. "The one eyed ones are the best in the world. The last one I fought took every last fear I've ever had in my head and threw them at me and the one before that strapped a kid to the wall and cut him up for kicks. They can take an arrow through the face and keep going. We are about to fight a weapon of mass destruction with [i]sharp sticks."

"Oh," says Blejwas. He takes a step back. He tries to say something, swallows, and tries again. "The shit you kick up, sheriff. I don't know. Do we have a plan?"

"I'm about out of plans," says Oren.

"How's shoot the first thing that comes in sound?" asks Blejwas. "Because that's about all I've got."
No. 508635 ID: f2c20c

Yeah, ambushing whoever breaks the door down is a good idea. Keep in mind though that when that door comes down, it's gonna be violent. Don't be in front of it.

We've got two people in here... How high up is that dumpster hole? Could someone get on the other's shoulders to reach it?
No. 508636 ID: f97775

well the first one through would probably be a normal armed criminal. the first twelve, probably. we have two things going for us, they can't all fit in the door at obce and can't fight probably while exactly in it so try to keep their push there, make a bottleneck.

the second is that they couldn't possibly all fit in the room so as long as you can fight three or four people at once you should be ok.... also if none of them have ranged weapons... also if the mage just rushes in with the rest of them because we can't go out after her, and she can maybe turn the roon into fire...

so..orpheo, what's the ETA on that rope?
No. 508640 ID: d6772a

how many arrows do you have? can you set any traps? any way to better barricade that door?

we're not dead yet, oren.
No. 508651 ID: 57a559

I'd rather double back, maybe set up some traps or corners. There's probably better ambush points around here than the corner. It's about surviving long enough for help to arrive anyway, not killing the mage or trying to escape now because killing or escape is pretty much against all odds at this point.

Depending on the mage, fortifying doors might not help at all, but I would suggest doing that if it's possible. Man, maybe there's some escape no one knows about, these sewers are supposed to be spiraling throughout the city, no doubt there are some secrets no one's discovered yet. This is a mage base too, there's totally secrets.
No. 508733 ID: ca4661
File 136770716768.png - (150.38KB , 800x600 , 64.png )

"That's something," says Oren. "Any ideas for a trap or something?"
"Uhm." Blejwas looks around. He nervously taps his hips. He shrugs. "None."

Oren has two arrows left. He has an axe. Blejwas has a sword and a crossbow with no bolts.

Orpheo, what's the ETA on that rope?
[A half hour. Twenty minutes at least.]
That's too late. We can't- it won't- We need it sooner.
[I know, Mr. loper.

I'm sorry.]

The door starts to open. There is a low sloshing rumble as the water escapes the chamber.
Then the bar catches and locks, and with a groaning whine the door stops moving.
No. 508734 ID: ca4661
File 136770718825.png - (281.08KB , 800x600 , 65.png )

There is a loud crashing noise and the door buckles out an inch or so. Dust is shaken from the wall. The bar bends.
Blejwas breathes out hard through his nose. Oren blinks.
He doesn't have enough time. He needs more time.

He nocks an arrow to the bow. His thumb is pressed into it so hard it leaves a groove in his skin.
He feels very brittle, as if he was an inch thick all around and hollow on the inside. A tide of nausea washes over him.

He thinks of Nessie.
He is not going to weep.
He's going to fight.

The door crashes again. The bar bends further.
No. 508743 ID: bdb3f8

Can you stuff the cracks where the water is escaping with cloth, so that the water builds up on this side? More pressure on the door to hold it shut, more current hitting them when it does eventually give way.
No. 508797 ID: f2c20c

Talk to them. Ask that you know the name of your killer. And why she wants you dead. Ask what she's going to do with this city once she has control. Get her to monologue, anything to delay her.

Maybe we can use Undertaker to get in their head, if they're not an illusionist? Having some emotional ammo would help to delay them.
No. 508853 ID: dd01da

Do not give away your position, do not let them know you are that close.
Find a spot, nook, a place in the wall you can take cover in if/when the door comes flying in. You don't want to be blinded by being too close.
Take aim and wait, keep the second arrow ready for a fast reload and fire.
Don't be too hasty to take that shot, take good aim and make it count.

If it's a friend, then you just saved yourself some heartache, if it's the foe you are expecting... well then you better damn well hit him in that eye.
No. 508855 ID: 402ea2

the red eyes are megalomaniacal and hate non-mages. it's obvious they want you because you killed two of them. you might be able to use that, i think the best chance right now is to get her to make a twenty minute monologue.
No. 508856 ID: f2c20c

Wait, I've got it!

Challenge her to The Oldest Game! Those always take forever to end.
No. 508857 ID: 402ea2

i don't suppose we have a monopoly kit on us?
No. 508960 ID: ca4661
File 136783105419.png - (135.48KB , 800x600 , 66.png )

"Who's that out there?" Oren calls. "Lemme know the name of the one coming to kill me."

There is another huge bang and then silence.
A woman's voice, high and cold. "You killed my brother. Would you like to know his name?"
"Someone else asked me that once," says Oren.
"Brennan. He was a student in thaumaturgical transference studies. His master was named Uxhall. A scholar, unused to battle and untested, who wanted revenge."
"I ain't asking about Uxhall." Oren shakes out his shoulder. "I'm asking about you."
"Loper," says Blejwas.
"I am Lira." Oren hears the low splashing of the woman on the other side pacing back and forth. "You butchered a boy and then a librarian. You are a coward."
"Loper?" says Blejwas.
"Quiet," says Oren.
"I am a battlemage, Oren Loper. I am not like them. I have spent three decades of my life mastering one art: killing. If you will not face me willingly I will crack down this door and give you a coward's death."
"Loper!" hisses Blejwas.
"FUCK," howls Oren.
"Weeping will not save you," says Lira.
"Not you!" he says. "Fucking what, Blejwas?"

"If you make it out of this somehow and I don't," says Blejwas, slowly and deliberately, "I want you to find an officer named Helman and tell him I said to enact Contingency Opal, okay?"
"What'll that do?"
"A few things," says Blejwas. "One of which is to take the heat off you. You know. Just in case we make it."
"I will have your answer, Loper," calls Lira.
"Just in case," whispers Blejwas.
No. 508961 ID: 34c028

know this one, orpheo? any dirt you can pull? any intimidation or bluff we can use? can you throw your voice and let her know the rest of the mages know about what's going on and that we're under protection? what can we say that'll make her back off? there will be no fair fight, she will finish us in an instant. at least we know it's just her and not the twelve plus her.
No. 508962 ID: 34c028

if nothing else, stall for time. give her the old 'he was committing atrocities'/'it was self defense'/'i was only doing my job protecting innocents' speech that never works. phrase it long enough and it'll buy you a few minutes. more if she actually argues with you.

if she jumps you, have blejwas attack her to maybe get an opening. it's a long shot but maybe you can down her with the one chance he'll give you when he's being killed. don't count on it though, there will probably not even be an opening at all.
No. 508963 ID: f2c20c

Give Blejwas a long look. It kinda sounds like he's willing to die to make sure you get out. Maybe we can use that. I mean, if he gets out of here he knows his life is basically over. He'd go out like a bang, here. Certainly more glamorous than getting killed by a corpse.

Tell her that "thaumaturgical transference" is a rather tame way to describe torturing someone to death to use their soul to power the creation of near-mindless homunculi. He was a murderer, and we brought him to justice. It wasn't even easy like she implies. He almost killed you AND your deputy.

Uxhall we fought in self defense. That, also, wasn't easy to survive. What gives her the idea that we're responsible for his death, anyway?

Also ask her what her beef is with Blejwas, and the fate of the city.

Lastly, run along with her attitude towards us. Start arguing with her about morality, and the worth of a life. Doesn't she feel the need to take revenge for all of her buddies lying dead in the sewer, killed by your hand?
No. 508971 ID: 57a559

You're calling us a coward for doing our job, as a policeman? Your brother was butchering people in our town, we had to arrest him. He resisted and we fought and he died. His master then attacked us, which is also a felony. What were supposed to do? Let them both kill Oren? Let your boy go ahead with his monstrous experiments? You're all moral cowards who don't understand the laws of these lands. You instead threaten them with instability and chaos and murder.

Lira, you haven't broken the law yet as far as I can see it? So, like, we don't even have to arrest you. You're just pounding the door violently which isn't a crime. Wait, it is, vandalism of city property but that's Blejwas's jurisdiction so... we can ignore that. You've also terrified some criminals shitless. Also not a crime. We don't have to arrest you. For her own good in the standing of these lands, she should cease and desist taking on the felony of attacking an officer. Just advice. I'm sure she has a nice clean criminal record in the material plane. No need to dirty it up with a big fat felony charge.
No. 508978 ID: bdb3f8

"Brennan was suspected of torturing and killing at least two helpless civilians, and resisted arrest too effectively for me to bring in alive. Taking him down was an unfortunate part of our job. I regret that the circumstances made informing his next of kin through normal channels impossible. You have the full condolences of the Office of the Authority."

Formal apologies are better for buying some time than encouraging blind rage, after all.

(In other news, this lady has spent three decades training, her brother was on his alienation. Apparently she is old enough to be his mother.)
No. 508983 ID: 7003a8

Orpheo: We've got an Arker named Lira here for revenge over her brother. Anything we could say to buy us some time? Charges he would have been brought up on back at home if he escaped?
No. 509063 ID: ca4661
File 136791117465.png - (187.96KB , 800x600 , 67.png )

"They were lawbreakers," says Oren. "And your brother, at least, was a murderer as well."
"Murderer!" A high, icy laugh. "Said the two-eyed to the mage! Said the ant to the boot! The serf, with the king's blood on his hands!"
"Now I'm sorry I had to resort to ending them to defend myself, and I'm sorry there was no way to inform their next of kin, and you have the Authority's condolences, and you ain't broken the law but for some municipal property damage, and I suppose I done some of that too-"
"But if you come in here to kill me," Oren bellows over the crumbling screech of the door, "that is an assault against an officer of the Authority and I swear I will end you too if I have to."

The door explodes outward.
No. 509064 ID: ca4661
File 136791120868.png - (104.42KB , 800x600 , 68.png )

Oren's immediate arrow catches the first thug through the door direct in the chest. He stops in his tracks and takes a gurgling step backward.

"NO!" howls Lira.
No. 509066 ID: ca4661
File 136791127227.png - (272.99KB , 800x600 , 69.png )

"NO! He is MINE, SELLSWORD! Call off your vermin!"
"But-" Oren hears Joseph.

And then he sees her red eye.

She strides into the room with the inevitability and darkness of a long, cold twilight.

"He is mine, Bird. You do not know how to make him suffer like I do.

Come, Oren Loper. If you fight with spirit, perhaps I will be forced to kill you early."
No. 509068 ID: 78c6ea

Arrow to the face.
No. 509069 ID: d300d2

You need magical backup right fucking now.

There's only one thing to do and you know what it is. You have a bow, you have an arrow, and she has one eye.

But we know, we know they won't let you just take that shot. We need a momentary distraction. A second of lowered guard.

Either we need to come up with something to say that will take them off guard or we need some magic intervention. We also need Oren to make the perfect shot.

What that really translates into is we need a miracle.
No. 509070 ID: f2c20c

She's going to play with you, make you suffer. Let her. Draw things out. Fight defensively, maybe try to get Joseph riled up. You already know what's up with him. He's afraid of living a life without doing anything worth doing.

Call him out on serving this bitch. Tell him he's got no idea what he's doing. These red-eyed freaks don't care about people like us. They treat us like cattle. What does he think will happen to him once she has no more use for him? Does he think she'll leave any evidence she was here? They can get in trouble with their own law enforcement too.
No. 509073 ID: c1f58e

this isn't going well. orpheo now would be a very good time to speak up. making her think her actions are being observed by whatever mages consider authority might make her stop. it has to be big enough that she'll think they'll have to act, so maybe make her think her actions are conveyed to a big crowd? several high ranking mages? you need to make her believe that continuing her actions will bring down on her some sort of wrath. from the mages or from the arkers themselves. this fight can only be won through information and misinformation, which is your speciality, master illusionist. better get to work.
No. 509075 ID: bf54a8

fuck off right out of here.
No. 509076 ID: 729fd8

oren, save that arrow. you only have one shot left. use it when she's busy with blejwas. aim for an opening. for that to work she has to be fighting with him, so have him fight her defensively. also, try not to hit him instead, unless you think the arrow will pass through him into her.

to orpheo:
i know no one is going to interfere with this fight, that's not what i'm asking you to do. what you can do is make her believe that following through with killing to officers will create enough heat on her and the arkers that the only politically reasonable thing to do is to excommunicate her and let her fend for herself after the fact. threats are good enough, but it has to be big enough that it can't be ignored/hidden.
No. 509077 ID: 1f5548

It would be nice if we knew what kind of mage she was. You know so we can know what gun is being aimed at us.

That second arrow won't do you much good at the moment, she'll be expecting it. You don't have many options so, time to roll in with your axe at the ready, lets hope her anger blinds her enough to let you get an edge.

Don't be afraid to fight dirty, get water, dirt, muck, in her eye, trip and wrestle, any damn thing you can get, take it.
No. 509078 ID: f2c20c

Uh, I don't think Orpheo talking to her like that will turn out well.

The only thing I think we should ask Orpheo is for an update on how much time we have left until his dudes get here. To see how much we need to stall, still.

Also I disagree with Blejwas being cautious. The arker is likely to have tunnel vision right now because she wants to kill Oren so much, and she didn't sound like she knew Blejwas was even in here. If Blejwas can ambush her from the side or something that could give us the opening we need.
No. 509080 ID: ca4661
File 136791618257.png - (70.42KB , 800x600 , 70.png )

"Go around her," whispers Oren, raising his bow.
"What?" asks Blejwas. "Should I-"

Oren never hears what Blejwas thinks he should do, because the cyclops rockets into the air in a spiraling blast of sludgy water. She bends forward and kicks a leg back.
No. 509081 ID: bf54a8

No. 509082 ID: f2c20c


Get up on the ledge, and flatten yourself against the wall if she sends that maelstrom forwards. I think she's mostly showing off, here, but that's still plenty dangerous. You might also want to take a deep breath.
No. 509083 ID: 729fd8

fucking mages. at least elementalists are predictable.
if she only goes after one of you the other will have an opening. if she just floods the room or attacks both of you then you're fucked, so hope that's not the case. but she's doing something with her leg right now, better get ready.
No. 509084 ID: ca4661
File 136791785307.png - (192.90KB , 800x600 , 71.png )

"You're gonna kill me with SHITWATER?" yells Oren.

"No." A fire snaps to life in Lyra's fist. "I am going to kill you with FIRE."

And that's a good line, Oren has to admit.
But as Lira rockets herself forward Oren realizes through the sudden slug of adrenaline that her taking the time to say it saved his life and slowed her down, just a little bit.

And now he has a split second to act.
No. 509087 ID: 35edd4

Take cover underwater. Water + fire = steam in her face! Really nasty steam.
No. 509088 ID: d300d2

Can you make the shot? You already know where it has to go. She's falling through the air, no way to adjust, no way to dodge, but if the arrows not already on the string I don't think you have the time, and when she's on the ground again it's already over. Better make your move.
No. 509089 ID: f2c20c

She wants close combat? Use your axe. On her face.

Or if you still have an arrow notched, shoot her eye.
No. 509090 ID: 729fd8

her hand is on fire, i don't think she'll care.

shoot her in the face oren and ready your axe because the last mage did go down from that.
No. 509091 ID: 522afb

Well uh. Tackle her? The water seems to be making a sort of a whirlwind, if you can avoid her, it'd probably catch you and since you're holding on to her catch her as well. You get disoriented, she gets disoriented, but at least it's something more proactive than just trying to avoid the killer who controls what you stand on.
No. 509094 ID: f2c20c

Oh wait I just realized you can stick your bow in her eye. No need to draw an arrow for that. Probably won't cause much damage but the temporary blindness and surprise might give you enough time to get your axe out for some real head trauma.
No. 509096 ID: 57a559

I'd go for her leg since it looks like the easiest place to hit, she'll probably end up tripping and falling, losing her shitwave in the process.

When she's surrounded by the shit that dug her grave AXE TO THE FACE
No. 509119 ID: 47d311

She has a big giant red eye in the center of her face, like a target asking to be shot at.

Step to your left because elbows bend inwards and not outwards, and punch her in the eye.
No. 509123 ID: 1f5548

Man something tells me her suit is just as tough as whatever the last kid was wearing.

Face only it seems.
Take the shot then dodge to the left and hold your breath.
No. 509137 ID: c1f58e

take the shot and jump in the direction opposite from where blejwas is standing, drop the bow, get your axe and get ready to hold your breath.

blejwas: SHE'S GOING FOR OREN, YOU HAVE AN OPENING! just don't get in front of oren's arrow.
No. 509141 ID: 57a559

You know, I have a second thought... shouldn't there be a lot of methane in here from all the shit? Everyone in here is especially flammable, including her. Does methane and magic fire mix for max flammability? Be careful Oren.

I hope magic flame is resistant against it's user for her sake. Oh, wait, I don't. If you can't kill her in melee, she'll probably burn herself out if you can get her to use a lot of fire attacks.
No. 509148 ID: a3ec46
File 136796756143.png - (57.80KB , 800x600 , 72.png )

Oren lets fly direct at Lira's face and leaps to the left, just out of the way of her flames.
Blejwas dodges the opposite way.

The massive wave pushes Blejwas back from an effective counterattack, and catches Oren and washes him backward, but he thinks little of it.

Until he realizes his leg is very cold, and he can't move it.
Lira has snap-frozen it to the ground.

He doesn't see his arrow, either, in her flesh or out of it.
No. 509150 ID: f2c20c

Hit the ice near the ground with the axe to free your leg.

I'm wondering if she's using illusions along with the elemental stuff. The other two arkers did... Perhaps she can too? If she's using illusions then we need to figure out where she really is, then surprise her with that knowledge when we have a good chance to strike.

Watch her carefully.

Only thaumaturgic hellfire has risk of burnout from overuse, she's just using elemental fire.
No. 509153 ID: 57a559

I meant magical flame igniting all the methane in these sewers, not a thurmatological burnout.

I suggest mashing the A button before she comes back with a lethal insta-kill strike. Because that's probably coming. I have an idea besides just struggling to get your leg free or mashing the ice with your axe. Try using your ass's weight and push the fuck down.
No. 509170 ID: 1f5548

air probably deflected it.
Give that ice a crack with your axe, if it proves too tough then just stand your ground.

If she tries that maneuver again, axe to legs as she passes, like a matador.
No. 509171 ID: a3ec46
File 136798411859.png - (89.58KB , 800x600 , 73.png )

Oren hacks desperately at the ice around his leg. His elbow judders with the exertion as it starts to give. He pushes himself backward and falls flat on his ass in the mercilessly cold water, but he's free.

He scrambles backward as Lira lands lightly on the island of ice she has made. Her arm shoots out and her wrist snaps. A chunk of stone from the far wall as big as a horse crashes free.
"This will not be over soon," she says. "This will not be painless."
No. 509172 ID: 57a559

You're a very petty woman. Be a professional for once in your life. Each second Oren lives is another we could use to kill you. Relax Oren, she'll make it even slower after that insult. Maybe. Probably, I have a good hunch.

Well, if she takes her time with you regardless, she won't notice Blejwas behind you. So, hey, get ready to embrace a bit of pain.
No. 509176 ID: f2c20c

Oren get the fuck out of there, she's gonna flatten your legs or something.

Blejwas, sneak up on her and aim for her head/neck. If she catches wind of you wanting to stick that sword in her, she'll just kill you- she won't play with you like Oren. Make your strike count. Also keep in mind the path of the boulder, don't like, walk right in front of it or anything.
No. 509177 ID: f2c20c

...actually, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is the "sacrifice" the obelisk spoke of.

Let her break your legs, to distract her enough so Blejwas can kill her? I wonder if that is our best chance.
No. 509178 ID: a3ec46
File 136798871938.png - (51.36KB , 800x600 , 74.png )

"Maybe it'd be over quicker if you weren't such a petty bitch," says Oren. "Be professional for once in your life and punch my ticket before I punch yours."
"You would never-" hisses Lira, and then Blejwas puts his foot on the hill of ice.
No. 509179 ID: a3ec46
File 136798872704.png - (32.59KB , 800x600 , 75.png )

Lira whips round and launches the chunk he is standing on a full ten feet up into the air.
He slams into the opposite wall and less lands than crumples.

Her attention is turned for a moment from Oren, who staggers to his feet.
No. 509181 ID: f2c20c

She can sense movement on the ice. If you approach she's going to just toss you like she tossed Blejwas. And then it'll be over.

Throw the axe at her head, now that her back is turned. At this range you should be able to hit her, surely.
No. 509184 ID: 57a559

I think his spine might be broken from your description. Yikes. Whatever you do stay low so she can't launch you like she just did to Mr. B. You gotta get in there and stay the fuck close and dig in.
No. 509188 ID: 6b41b3

she can sense the position of ice and people stepping on it. you still have ice on your leg, don't move it. instead throw the axe at her head while her back is turned. as long as you don't move the ice or on the ice, maybe you'll catch her off guard.
you'll lose your weapon, but it's not like you'd be able to use it against her in melee anyhow.
No. 509199 ID: 400dc8
File 136800427232.png - (126.37KB , 800x600 , 76.png )

Oren tries not to move his leg. He stays on the floor and hefts the axe at her head.

She turns around just in time for it to take a chunk out of her face and spin past her.
No. 509200 ID: 400dc8
File 136800434469.png - (8.57KB , 800x600 , 77.png )

"You made me bleed," she says. And then she breaks into a manic grin, because she sees Oren's only weapon left is a sludge-soaked bow.
And she's right.


Oren's fingers close around something wooden and sharp.
The arrow he fired earlier.
No. 509206 ID: f2c20c

What how

Did it get caught by the water, and floated back over to you?

Okay, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Don't let her know you have it. Sortof slump as if in defeat. Lure her into a false sense of security. I was tempted to lure her closer so we could stab her in the neck with the arrow, but she'd probably kill you while bleeding out. All we need now is for her to let down her guard and look away for just a moment, so that she relies on her ice-sense to tell if you're gonna rush her. But we won't. We'll shoot her in the back of the head.

For that... ask to know, before she kills you, what Joseph is going to do with the city. Or something to get the two engaged in conversation. Anything. Maybe ask if Joseph is going to let a psycho like her rule the city alongside him.
No. 509214 ID: f2c20c

Oooh, we could bring up Nessie. Joseph still has a thing for her, but this bitch might want to kill her too since she was involved in the killing of her brother.
No. 509221 ID: 6b41b3

let's not bring up nessie in front of the homicidal psychopath, in case we fail.

save the arrow for when she gets really close and personal and kill her when she's not expecting that. you can't give her a chance to defend herself, this is your last attack. you can't not kill her with that last attack either, remember it's nothing more than a pointy stick, make the attack count. and you can't let her see the arrow, that'll be the end of you.
No. 509306 ID: 400dc8
File 136805646574.png - (33.72KB , 800x600 , 78.png )

"So this is it?" says Oren.
"This is it." With a combustive puff of displaced air Lira lights another fire in the palm of her hand.
Oren cranes his neck. "What about you, Joseph? What do you get out of this?"

"Well for one, Oren, you put me behind bars, and ain't no one does that to me, and now I get to see you dead," says Joseph, sauntering into the room, "and for two I get to start my own little criminal enterprise here in Anchorturn. Already got half the gang leaders on my side, thanks to Milady here. And all I had to do was give you over to her." He shrugs. "It might haunt me for a while, not bein' able to kill you myself and all, but some quality time with Deputy Squires'll do wonders to get it off my mind. Her and me got a lot of catching up to do."

The black, hateful thing in Oren creeps up his throat. "You're gonna die for that, Joseph," he says, quietly. His knuckles are bone-white around the arrow.

Joseph laughs. "Sheriff, please. You're gonna give me nightmares. Now I just gotta send a little message to the Authority about just who's in charge of this city." He walks with an easy manner toward Blejwas, who has struggled into a sitting position, and pulls his crossbow out. "And Ferdi here's corpse turning up on some street corner'll do wonders for that. Speaking of, why don't I just go ahead and take him out of the picture for you, ma'am?"

"Do what you will." Lira strides down the ice toward Oren, her pointed feet supernaturally silent and stable. Blood flows steady from the cut on her face. She ignores it like it was a bug bite. "If you are a good boy, Oren Loper, I'll keep you alive long enough to hear your friend's final words."
No. 509313 ID: f2c20c

Go "Yeah, okay. Blejwas, ol' buddy ol' pal, tell me what you think of me now."

Wait until she's within range. Then leap up and stab her right in the neck. Or maybe eye, if you want to count on Blejwas stealing that crossbow and using it to finish her off.

Blejwas, be ready to grab Joseph's crossbow when he strikes, and use it to kill him and/or the mage if she's not dead yet and tossing magic everywhere in a panic.
No. 509317 ID: 57a559

If we're bad do we get a spanking?
Nessie will kill you for that. She's the only one that gets to make your butt red and flashed. I mean really, lady, we get it. Hate gets you turned on but we're not available.
No. 509402 ID: e3aff6

Supporting this. Getting Blewjas to say something interesting will hopefully help be distracting without immediately getting him or us killed.
No. 509403 ID: 400dc8
File 136808028025.png - (51.42KB , 800x600 , 79.png )

"Alright, Blejwas," says Oren.
"Alright." Blejwas coughs, then hacks violently. Blood dribbles down his chin. "Aww, fuck. Reckon I'm pretty busted up, Loper." He looks along the bolt Joseph is pointing at him. "Think I'm gonna check out, bolt or not."
"Think so?"
"Yeah." He looks back at Oren. "Shit, Oren. I don't know. It seems real petty from here, what I did to you. But would I have gone straight instead of crooked, given the choice? I ain't sure I would. I don't know how else I woulda run the place."
"Now ain't the time for disagreements, Blejwas."
"I know, I know," Blejwas chuckles. It turns into a sharp grunt of pain. "I wonder what woulda happened, if we'd had each others' decks. If I had the nowhere town and the dust all over and a woman who loved me as much as I loved her and you had the city to contend with. Well." He spits out more blood. "Guess maybe I'll find out on another go-around."
"You done?" asks Joseph.
"Hell, Bird, I didn't prepare any kinda speech for this," says Blejwas. "Uhhh, Oren. I messed up, man. I'm sorry. For the Arbock affair and the desert and the warrant and everything. You know, it's funny." He locks eyes with Oren. "There was this one time, and I don't think you knew this, hah, but this one time I actually hid me a crossbow bolt I found up my sleeve when I met you, just in case I had to slot you later. Course I wouldn't do it, now, looking back. I don't know what I would have changed, but I wouldn't have done that." He coughs again, wetly. He shudders. "Uhf. That didn't feel right. I'm almost done here, Loper. Just, can you forgive me before I go?" His eye twitches. "Please."
No. 509406 ID: 35edd4

He's done some terrible things. But at the end of the day he was still doing the best he could to keep the peace. Forgiveness costs us nothing, and maybe it will give him some peace.
No. 509415 ID: be6c31

He's trying to make amends. But damn if this doesn't feel hard when I think about wifey.

Fine, forgive, it may take longer for true forgiveness to come in, but you can at least give him some peace.
At the very least it wouldn't have been the first time you lied to a man on deaths door.
No. 509417 ID: f2c20c

Wait, is he saying he's the one that put that arrow up your sleeve? ...no, he's saying he has one of his own up HIS sleeve.

Forgive him. When he strikes, be ready to make our own move.
No. 509443 ID: 1d1cfc

i think saying that you forgive him is the signal for the strike.
it's kinda hard to know how it'll go down, but i think the plan is that he'll take care of joseph and you'll take care of the arker. don't forget, she can still sense the ice. if you can't attack her right as blejwas attacks joseph because she's too far away or because you don't think you can take her with one hit you might need to attack when her attention is diverted to blejwas, meaning right after he attacks. that does mean he'll have the attention of a mage so whatever chance he had of surviving or even succeeding will get even lower, so it's better to attack at the same time, but again, only if you believe you can pull it off.
No. 509617 ID: 400dc8
File 136816722457.png - (169.71KB , 800x600 , 80.png )

"Okay, Blejwas," Oren says, softly. He flexes the hand holding the arrow. "I forgive you."

"That's good." Blejwas sits back. "That's very good. Uhh. Remember to tell everyone Contingency Opal. Okay? Opal. You're the most dutiful cop I ever seen, Oren. Maybe that makes you the best. I don't know." His right arm moves, just a little. "I guess I wasn't-" His voice breaks a little. He is shaking. "I guess I wasn't good, by that measure. I don't know, I don't know if I have time to make, ah. Make up for that. I guess I didn't live that good." He clears his throat and sits up a little. He closes his eyes. He breathes something quiet and private to himself. He opens his eyes.

"But you just watch how I die, Sheriff."
No. 509619 ID: 400dc8
File 136816731116.png - (25.97KB , 800x600 , 81.png )

The final crossbow draw of Blejwas' life is a thing of liquid beauty.

He pulls it from behind him with the steady motion and ease of a veteran and fires the bolt dead center mass into the one-eyed mage, hitting her right in the stomach. Her eye widens in shock.

The moment the bolt leaves his crossbow, Joseph pins his head to the wall.
No. 509620 ID: f2c20c

She's not dead yet! Leap up, slice her throat, then draw the bloodied arrow on your bow and nail Joseph before he reloads!
No. 509621 ID: bf54a8

No. 509622 ID: d300d2

arrow jab to the eye, pull it back and out and shoot Joseph with it.

Correction, shoot Joseph in the HEAD with it.
No. 509624 ID: 400dc8
File 136816922575.png - (37.66KB , 800x600 , 82.png )

Oren leaps at the staggered Lira. The arrow whips toward her throat.

Until she catches his wrist in one claw.

"NO," she screams, her face contorted. Flecks of blood shoot from her mouth.
No. 509626 ID: 400dc8
File 136816926329.png - (166.45KB , 800x600 , 83.png )

A corona of gushing water flowers from her feet.
Oren tries to hold on but he's pushed back and slams hard into the wall.

He has to get back to her quick, before Joseph has time to reload. She can't have much left in her with a wound like that. He's got to be fast.

So why can't he move?
No. 509627 ID: 400dc8
File 136816927876.png - (174.64KB , 800x600 , 84.png )


That's why.
No. 509628 ID: f2c20c

Man. Fuck it.

You've still got the bow, surely? Wait for her to look down at her own wound to likely pull out the crossbow bolt, then just shoot Joseph. At least we can keep him away from Nessie.
No. 509629 ID: 400dc8
File 136817065604.png - (9.51KB , 800x600 , 85.png )

"I have waited so long for this," whispers Lira.
She puts her hands on Oren's face.
He feels them slowly heating up.
"Rejoice. I free you of a debt. You pay the penance, now, for the Ark blood on your hands."

"He didn't kill your brother, you evil cunt."
No. 509630 ID: 400dc8
File 136817067023.png - (126.94KB , 800x600 , 86.png )

Nessie stands in the doorway.

"I did."
No. 509632 ID: 57a559

If we're getting really technical here, a Wanni evoker killed his mentor too... soo, you know, you're a reallllllly dumb bitch. He probably would have been more fun to fight too. Seriously, whatsamatter, afriad to take revenge on another mage? Can't take on another king? Just gonna crush an ant? Well, Nessie's a goddess so watch out.

You probably can't talk that much but hey, whatever. Say what you want, that's about as much you can do now? Gonna wanna leave yourself right on that spear so you don't bleed out. And not scared for Nessie's sake right now, though if you could get an uppercut in right now, that would be cool.
No. 509633 ID: 400dc8
File 136817213068.png - (7.64KB , 800x600 , 87.png )

Before Oren can croak out a warning, Joseph fires.

The bolt speeds right toward Nessie's head.
No. 509634 ID: 400dc8
File 136817215243.png - (158.03KB , 800x600 , 88.png )

She holds up a hand, and the bolt stops.

Then Joseph explodes.
No. 509635 ID: 400dc8
File 136817215971.png - (10.74KB , 800x600 , 89.png )

Blue, wispy light dances across Nessie's fingers. The bolt is firmly in her grasp.

"Get your hands off my man," she says.
No. 509636 ID: 400dc8
File 136817216546.png - (105.43KB , 800x600 , 90.png )


>You are now in command of Nessie.
No. 509637 ID: 78c6ea

Arrow to the face!
No. 509638 ID: 35edd4

Explode the mage too, I guess.
No. 509639 ID: ffff9b

Oren you are suffering from blood loss and shock.

Stop being insane this instant young adult man.
No. 509640 ID: bf54a8

fire red hot ball
No. 509644 ID: f2c20c

Ah. Thaumaturgy. Blue and orange.

She will likely be incensed so be ready to block more attacks with Aegis or whatever that defensive spell is. Block, then counter. Try to lure her away from Oren so you can let loose with more destructive magic without introducing friendly fire into the mix. Also of note is that she's injured. You could drag out the fight a little to make it easier to finish her off. On the other hand, Oren is grievously wounded. Maybe we should end the fight fast instead? Let's go for both. Block a bunch at first, to charge up some offensive aspect then let loose.

Don't be afraid to close the distance, either- you've got a sword and armor while she's just wearing unenchanted clothing and has no mundane weapons at all.
No. 509645 ID: 1d1cfc

ok, before we go further, you mind explaining why are you masquerading as nessie and where's the Illusionist that's doing it? also where's nessie while we're at it?
what is this Thaumaturgy? so are you Everett or Random?
No. 509663 ID: e3aff6

>"The Oculus is a unique aspect of the Arcanopolis Magi. It does everything normal eyes would (including 3d vision; magic has a funny way of fixing things), grants improved sight and nightvision, but more importantly it can give the Gift of magic to those who don't normally have it, and for those who do it exponentially increases their strength. It's irreversible, though, so once you're marked as an Arcanopolis Cyclops, you're staying that way."
We don't know where she heard about that, thought. Maybe Ophero?
No. 509724 ID: f2c20c

What I find to be interesting is that Nessie seems to be about as powerful as a warmage right now. I wonder if she's been hiding her abilities? Or is she just really talented at manipulating what power she got from that Oculus?
No. 509790 ID: 400dc8
File 136823866175.png - (21.53KB , 800x600 , 91.png )

Nessie doesn't know about any kind of power level or thaumaturgy.

She knows there's this orange stuff she can make now that kills people and this blue stuff you can make that helps.
If she reaches Oren she can fix him. She's sure of it.
She has to.

The only thing in the way is another one of those one-eyed assholes.
One of those assholes Nessie is going to be now. Are her ears gonna fall off or just shrink into her skull?
She can't think about that right now.

She stalks into the room, feeling the new, juddering power coursing through her blood and buzzing behind her teeth.
"You dare," hisses Lira. "Where did you get that?"

"From your brother, I think, or that other one," says Nessie. "Hey, you know more about these than me. Do you think he'll be able to see this from wherever he went?"
Lira drops the dazed Oren, who remains slumped against the wall, and advances on Nessie. "I am going to kill you quickly," she says, "and then I am going to tear that oculus from your unworthy, muckface skull in front of your sheriff, and then I am going to kill him."

>((For an explanation of Nessandra's powers, go to the Eivrverse Questdis thread))
No. 509799 ID: 57a559

Oh my god just shut the fuck up already Lira
You're compensating for something obviously and it's gotten tired and boring
Nessie just entered the fight and I bet she's already tired of your fucking mouth too.
Girl, get up that feedback spell
No. 509843 ID: f2c20c

Get closer. I want you to hit her with that sword. Keep the "slowing thing" active just in case she tries to hit you with a rock from behind or something.

...alternatively you could just explode her? I mean, it seemed like that was instant and fatal. Unless you're too tired to do that now?
No. 509847 ID: 9ddf68

use a small slowing thing to slow her movements and then hit her with a quick flamethrower thing. She will most likely block it but it will buy you time to get in close with your sword after you fire it up cause I have a feeling she isn't as good at hand to hand fighting as she is with magic, and seeing as how you don't really have a damn clue as what you're doing magic wise I think she outranks you in that department by default.

You should try and take her out quick as I don't think she will let you heal your boy toy while she still draws breath.
No. 509852 ID: 935792

Lira is a battlemage. Nessie has only the seed of an occulous and no training in magic whatsoever. I don't think we can kill this mage. We certainly cannot match her firepower and we are no match for her in a fight. Our only advantages are perhaps her insanity and her being intent on causing pain over just plain killing us.

Seeing as we cannot win directly, Nessie's only real chance is to distract her long enough to get Loper and escape. We need to use bright flashes of flame to obscure her sight and we need to keep her talking. Perhaps there might be some way to use the environment to our advantage? Maybe knock a wall or a body or something onto her, buy us some time to help Loper?
(If we can stall long enough, Orpheo might be able to help us out)
No. 509856 ID: 935792

I thought of some plans that might take her out of the fight for a bit

Plan 1
>use small bursts of flamethrower thing to distract her and obscure her vision. (adding fiery sword may help as well)

>use shield if an attack must be blocked or if Lira begins messing with the water again.

>watch her attacks, use her reckless firepower against her. She might damage the area enough for us to bring it down on her with minimal force. We can use the Slowing thing to keep collapsing debris in the air until we need to drop it on her.

>Save Loper and flee

Plan 2
>Use explodey thing on a wall or the water.
>Immediately slow the area effected down
>taunt the mage, stoke her hate and anger, keep her focused on trying to kill you so she doesn't notice your trap (also fire bursts might help)
>When the mage is in the right position, perhaps preparing something powerful, release the slow either dropping part of a wall on her or sending a plume of sludge up around her.

>Save loper (run?)

The second seems a bit more risky as it takes alot of power to do the explody thing and we might not have the juice to keep fighting If it doesn't work, but since we rely only on our power it might be quicker allowing us to save Loper sooner.
No. 510046 ID: bdb3f8

Lira is a battlemage, that much is true, but Nessie is only untrained in MAGIC, not fighting. She is s skilled combatant specializing in sword and shield combat. She has access to a magic sword and a magic shield. That puts her halfway to being a trained battlemage already. Also her opponent is wounded, and almost certainly underestimating the danger Nessie poses. That won't last. Not dealing with this threat in a permanent way now will only make it harder in the future.
No. 510353 ID: 0eef61
File 136847426248.png - (221.70KB , 800x600 , 92.png )

Nessie doesn't hesitate. She breaks into a run, charging the unarmed mage down.

Lira pulls jagged, dripping shards of ice off the island she formed and sends them screaming toward Nessie, but she's already filling the air around her with, uh, with blue stuff.

With a low, pulsating thrum, the spears of ice slow into a sluggish torpor, and Nessie sidesteps them with ease. She keeps running.

Lira rockets into the air on a spinning column of water, out of reach of Nessie's sword. Twin flames flicker into life in either hand.

Nessie ain't sure she can slow-motion fire.
No. 510354 ID: bf54a8

shoot fire back. block her fire with your fire.
No. 510356 ID: 001618

well you got your own fireball you can throw at her and failing that then just use a feedback spell to force that chicks fireball right back at her
No. 510357 ID: f2c20c

Then block it with the shield-thing. Also counterattack with a flamethrower.
No. 510370 ID: 59c57c

Try it anyway. There has to be something in the fireball that makes it move through the air instead of just burning out.
Or hell, maybe you can slow the air down and it'll mess the fire up.
No. 510379 ID: 57a559

I think feedback would work right? If they're fireballs and not flamethrowing hands.
Otherwise yeah shield it up baby, but I'm worried because that tuckers you out.
No. 510488 ID: e3aff6

I don't suppose you can project your shield spell far enough ahead to be right in front of her, so she is caught in her own explosion?

Normal fire probably, but fireballs already act unlike normal fire.
No. 510895 ID: 0eef61
File 136859445720.png - (215.68KB , 800x600 , 93.png )

Nessie averts her eyes from the flash and throws up some Feedback.

The fire that would have boiled the flesh from her bones slams into the pale field of rippling force and bounces right off. They fizzle before they reach their caster, but her feet, and her pillar of water, are lashed by tongues of flame. She squawks and loses control of the spell. She's about to touch ground again.

Nessie's reserves of blue shieldy stuff feel pretty dry.
No. 510896 ID: f2c20c

Flamethrower! While moving forwards. Get in there.
No. 510897 ID: 9ddf68

while she is off balance throw a fireball at her and see if you can't get up close with your sword and finish this. Bounes points for using a fire sword
No. 510908 ID: 0eef61
File 136860466164.png - (259.64KB , 800x600 , 94.png )

Nessie's grip tightens on her sword. With a thought, liquid flame spurts down the blade and drips from the handle.
As soon as Lira's feet hit the water again she is bearing down on her.
She pushes the mage back with a scything fan of flame. Lira stumbles backward, putting out a hand to control the blaze somehow, but this fire is different. It's hotter, angrier. It feels wicked and alive. As it snaps and snarls toward Lira she relents and throws up a wall of water to defend herself.

Steam billows from where the two magics collide, but Nessie's flames are winning out. Lira leaps backward, hissing almost as loud as the fire. Nessie can't quite see what she's doing through the haze, but her gout of fire is starting to taper off. The blade is still blazing hot.
No. 510910 ID: f2c20c

Cut off the flame to get a better view of things again. Also activate the Slowing Thing again since you don't know where her attack is coming from, but you do know she's not using fire.

Continue to advance. She'll back into a wall soon, and then you can demonstrate your melee prowess.

Nessie, any reason why we can't just explode her?
No. 510930 ID: ca6df3

keep the pressure on, but without getting hit by the desperate attack she must be brewing.
i say dodge to the left and attack with the sword
No. 510932 ID: 001618

I think she might be about to counterattack, I say step of to the side and see if you can't rush her, and since your blue magic is kinda crap right now be ready to throw a fireball at her to at least buy yourself some time to close the gap.
No. 510936 ID: 7003a8

Do the slowing thing to give you more time to see and counter her counter-attack, then slash her with your sword.
No. 510964 ID: 735f4f

If I remember right the more you use one color the stronger the other gets. So throw up your slow and once your vision clears go for her with the sword.
No. 511075 ID: be6c31

Throw up a blue shield and charge her, keep the shield below water too.
No. 511157 ID: 0eef61
File 136868672860.png - (298.55KB , 800x600 , 95.png )

Nessie throws up a slow field and lunges through the steam. It smells horrifying.

Her blade slams down hard on Lira's arm, which is encased in rock. Lira grits her teeth as the flame scalds her skin. She's trying to bring some fire of her own to bear, but the slowing field means her arm is moving like it's pushing its way through wet concrete.
No. 511158 ID: bf54a8

punch her fist with feedback.
No. 511159 ID: 7003a8

Slide your sword down her rock-arm to cut her fire-arm. She can't repel your strike like this.
Alternatively, strike at her legs so she'll be slowed.
No. 511160 ID: f2c20c

Her being slowed means she can't move her rock-arm to block further. Just have your way with her with your sword. Chopping her fire-arm off at the hand sounds good. Then you can bring the sword back up to get her head, or blast her with any kind of fire. At this range she can't really dodge.
No. 511161 ID: 0eef61
File 136868918459.png - (91.60KB , 800x600 , 96.png )


Nessie's blade slides along Lira's arm, kicking up sparks, and slices most of Lira's hand off. Her right arm immediately bursts into flame.
No. 511162 ID: f2c20c

Alright now swing that sword back around to separate her head from the rest of her body!
No. 511163 ID: bf54a8

watch out for the rock arm. and point blank flamethrower.
No. 511167 ID: be6c31

finish him her
No. 511205 ID: 9ddf68

alliteratively if you want to go with a non-lethal take down you could slam the pummel of your sword start into her face and keep beating the bitch until she is out, then whack her a few times just to make sure she is out

If you want this bitch in a body bag however, put our sword through her eye and call it a day

after either choice go save your boyfriend as I'm sure he isn't doing to well right now.
No. 511208 ID: e3aff6

Flamethrower or sword, whichever would reach her head faster. Remember that you are going to want to case some fire sooner or later so you will have the charge to use your heal spell.
No. 511235 ID: 7003a8

Decapitate her, then burn the body.

Heal Oren immediately after that.
No. 511288 ID: 0eef61
File 136877345328.png - (69.12KB , 800x600 , 97.png )

Nessie stabs the flaming sword into Lira's chest, pushing it until it comes out the other side.

"No," she says, and her voice bubbles and cracks. "No."
No. 511289 ID: 0eef61
File 136877346435.png - (255.52KB , 800x600 , 98.png )

"I am sick and tired," says Nessie, taking a step back, "of being afraid for the man I love."

She rolls her shoulder and unleashes a torrent of hellfire.

She doesn't stop until the screaming does.
No. 511290 ID: f2c20c

Now quick, go to Oren! Gotta heal him. Y'know, after you get him off that spike. I mean you probably can't heal him around the spike? Maybe you could heal him WHILE pulling him off the spike?

I dunno. Just SAVE HIM.
No. 511291 ID: be6c31

Heal yo man
No. 511292 ID: 0eef61
File 136877421865.png - (50.10KB , 800x600 , 99.png )

"Oh, no."
Nessie sprints to Oren.
"Oh, spirits. Baby, can you hear me? Oren? Oren!"

"Hi." Oren lifts his head, with great effort. "That was cool."

"Stay with me, Oren. I think I gotta pull you off this. Stay with me."

"You got something on your forehead."

"I know. Ready?"

The sound Oren makes as he comes off the wall breaks Nessie's heart.

"Shhh. Look at me. Stay with me."
She presses her hand against the wound and pumps every drop of magic in her body into it. She feels the flesh reknitting below her palm. Oren's ragged breathing starts to stabilize.

She exhales for the first time in around a minute. She kisses his forehead.

How's this work? Is it putting all his blood back in? Because they gotta go, Vesta and Allen are waiting, and if that man with the arrow through his face is who she thinks he is they gotta go really fast.
No. 511293 ID: f2c20c

Wait. Get him talking first before anything else. I'm not sure if I can get you to realize this, but he has important information you need to know before we leave.

Get the marble from the mage you just killed, too.
No. 511295 ID: 56fa8d

make sure he can talk before you move him. if he's unconscious you'll have to take him to a proper healer.
No. 511301 ID: 7003a8

Nessie: Can you contact Oren's arch-mage buddy? This is clearly grounds for having more mages come in and help you.

Oren: When you get out of this call in a favor to get your own eye-marble. And to have Nessie's recolored.
No. 511302 ID: cf49fc

If he's conscious and fairly lucid, keep him talking. If he loses consciousness he's in severe danger. Keep him clear of that fetid swill he's lounging in, and haul him clear.
No. 511303 ID: 735f4f

Yeah make sure to swipe the oculus from the pile of ash before heading out. Make sure he is in good enough condition to walk and talk while you move.
No. 511304 ID: f2c20c

Psst, Orpheo already has people coming, Nessie just doesn't know.

Also I think we might still have a marble of our own left, aside from this new one? This is the third Arker we've killed.

Lastly, uh, Nessie where did you GET that thing from?
No. 511311 ID: 7003a8

I said MORE mages. This is kinda fucked, after all.

We don't want to use the Arker eye, since Oren's a dream mage and the Arker was an elementalist.
No. 511312 ID: f2c20c

The magic type used by the former wearer of the oculus doesn't matter, pretty sure.
No. 511318 ID: 7003a8

Nessie got magic from hers. Lots of it.
Since mages need to train for years to do the kind of stuff she's doing, I'm pretty sure it's not a coincidence that she instantly gained the exact skills the first and second dead Arkers had when she put in one of their eyes.
No. 511321 ID: f2c20c

There's an explanation for that.

Thaumaturges get a boost from their emotions. She had a LOOOOT of emotions going for this.

Also I don't remember either of the first two Arkers using thaumaturgy in battle.

Lastly, c'mon man. You're running on speculation, I'm running on Word of God.
No. 511332 ID: 9ddf68

hey Nessie, if you do run into any law enforcement on your way out of here try and see if you can't find an officer named Helman and tell him enact Contingency Opal, might just save your ass. oh and uh I think Orpheo was sending help as well if that means anything to you.
No. 511334 ID: 57a559

Yeah I think the first guy we met was an enchanter. The guys that makes stuff with magic that isn't a dream? Or enhance stuff? They get magic from the arcane plane. We never run across those, and his horrific experiments seemed to be applied magic.

And even then, if we want to give Oren a big fat single eye, the second guy is the one we want to give to amplify dream stuff in case that's how it works. Or does Oren not want to have a single eye? I doubt he wants big fat red shit on his face. Sorry Nessie, maybe there's a way to keep your old eyes and this new one small since this marble process is irreversible. No wonder the arks wanted these things so bad, an "ant" getting hold of one and turning into a mage with one of their own eyes is a huge insult.
No. 511337 ID: 35edd4

Be sure to pick up the dead mage's eye before leaving. Wouldn't want the arkers to recover it.
No. 511338 ID: cf49fc

Oh yes. Do not forget the eye.
No. 511348 ID: 7003a8

Yea, which is why I said we should ask for eye-dye.
No. 511479 ID: 0eef61
File 136885974424.png - (135.69KB , 800x600 , 100.png )

Nessie filches around in what's left of Lira to find the oculus. The smell of burnt flesh mixed with whatever godawful sludge this is nearly makes her gag.

She finds it still warm to the touch, and slick with muck. It rolls over in her hand and she can make out a faint, slit-eye flaw below the tarnished red surface.

Her lip trembles. She bites it. What has she done to herself? What is she going to turn into?

She's turned herself into one of them.

She fights the shakes that force their way through her arm. She just needs to hold on a little bit longer for both their sakes.
No. 511480 ID: 0eef61
File 136885977660.png - (81.82KB , 800x600 , 101.png )

"That was a hell of a fight you just put up, Deputy."

Oren stands behind her, wiping the cooling blood from his duster. He coughs. "Uch. I didn't think the smell could hardly get worse down here."
No. 511491 ID: f2c20c

Ask him if he'll still love you if you have only one eye and your ears fall off.
No. 511493 ID: 735f4f

Its going to be ok Nessie. Without that little marble Oren would most likely be a pile of ash right now. Whatever happens later you did what you had to do to save Oren and yourself.
No. 511499 ID: f2c20c

Oh shit wait I forgot

No. 511503 ID: d88482

apply hugs to loved one
No. 511540 ID: 9ddf68

tackle hug that bastard, just make sure you don't actually knock him down as I'm sure the sludge in this place will ruin anything if you were to go swimming in it.
No. 511572 ID: 7003a8

Followed by Oren saying something perceptive and reassuring.
No. 511583 ID: 0eef61
File 136891087898.png - (86.62KB , 800x600 , 102.png )

"No ack baby wait I probably smell terrible and you've got Ow."
"a breastplate. That's okay."
"You're safe."
"I am."
"I saved you."
"You saved my life."
"I liked my eyes." She blinks. "I didn't put much makeup or anything on them but I liked them."
"Me too."
Nessie breaks down. Violent sobs rack her body.

Oren holds her. He's crying too.

She sniffs, loud and wet, and then coughs, and then laughs.
"What?" asks Oren.
"You really do stink something awful, sheriff," says Nessie.
No. 511585 ID: 57a559

You should have smelled Blehjwas, he nearly drowned in this water.

We should probably talk to Orpheo about this. The process might not be reversible, but maybe it can be halted, then you just have a nice forehead adornment we'll just attribute to Furlalian styles or something and your just celebrating your heritage to the local folks back home that might not like red-eyed cyclops.

Or you'll start a new mage trend to be a triclops! A trendsetter Nessie!
No. 511586 ID: 57a559

oh wait before I forget how about your arm!
No. 511587 ID: 8c4b01

You should probably ask him just what the hell happened down here
No. 511589 ID: 7003a8

Oren: Tell her Orpheo is sending help, and Blejwas said to tell the cops "Contingency Opal".
State that you hope whoever arrives can cast a shower on you.

Maybe ask Nessie if it would help if you got a huge eye too. A green one so you can have a christmas thing going on.
No. 511608 ID: 41152c

ahaah right Blew-
Check if there is anyway he can be saved.
No. 511617 ID: f2c20c

He's got a crossbow bolt in his face. I kinda doubt he's going anywhere.

Oren: Ask Orpheo where you should meet his contacts, then update Nessie on your info.
Nessie: Tell Oren about Allen and Vesta, and about the price on your heads (because you think he probably doesn't know)
No. 511654 ID: 0eef61
File 136895282348.png - (140.94KB , 800x600 , 104.png )

The same thing happened to Nessie's arm that happened to Oren's stomach.

A quick checkover tells her nothing like that will help Blejwas now. He don't need any more help, ever.

"Maybe he'll be less of a shit on the other side," she says, standing up from his body.
"He went a ways to fix himself before it all ended." Oren closes Blejwas' eyes. A look of cold satisfaction remains on his frozen face.
"He did more than that." Nessie swallows. "I have to tell you something, Oren."
"I know what you're going to say." Oren has a seat next to the dead cop. "And he told me how to fix it. I think. Contingency Opal."
"Sounds like a shitty spy movie." Nessie sits next to him and puts her head on his shoulder. She kisses his neck.
"It's what's going to save us. Hopefully." Oren puts his arm around her and pulls her a little closer. "That and a shower. And that." He looks up and she follows his gaze.

A lance of light knifes through the gloom as the dumpster is pushed away from the hole Oren fell in here through.
A silhouette appears in its place, and a rope.
No. 511655 ID: f2c20c

Ask who's up there, first. Assuming that checks out... Let's both go up. We can join up with Allen and Vesta in force.
No. 511687 ID: 9ddf68

well unless Nessie has to meet somebody down here to tell them we all lived I say up the rope... do you think Nessie might want to hide her third eye or no?
No. 511699 ID: d97d64

Climb, you fools.
No. 511718 ID: 593f45

The ear thing is voluntary self-mutilation, so she's just going to get a giant red eye. Unless she feels like hacking her ears off.
No. 511743 ID: 935792

No. 511810 ID: 0eef61
File 136911367928.png - (74.77KB , 800x600 , 105.png )

Oren and Nessie climb into the light.

Oren emerges first, blinking heavily despite the late afternoon sky and gulping huge breaths of pristine, surface air. He grabs the proffered hand and hoists himself onto solid, dry ground. Finally.

He is bone tired, parched, brutally hungry, and finally finished.

"Oren Loper?" His cloaked rescuer kneels and scans his face. "I'm Grett. Professor Diraiphe sent me. He said there were arkers. Did you..."

"I didn't." Oren helps pull a bedraggled Nessie out of the depths. "She did."

"She- oh, no." Grett's eyes alight on Nessie's new oculus. "Oh, no. Oh, dear. We had to get out of the city as quickly as possible before, but this complicates a great deal of things even further. You two need to come with me. We're leaving now."
"Leaving what?"
"Anchorturn. Quite probably Elde. I have to get your friend here somewhere no one is going to see her, especially not the Ark."
No. 511811 ID: 420cbc

Oren you must go with her. It's probably the right thing to do to hide her, but YOU MUST GO WITH.

If he refuses and cites something about mages, you still have that other occulus...
No. 511812 ID: 420cbc

Make sure that you leave a message with someone about the clearing of your names thing.
No. 511813 ID: 9ddf68

you got a cell on you right? call some folks up and tell them your going on a little road trip for a while and see if you can't get one of the rich lovers, the detective chick, or the guy who possessed the psychopath (god I wish I could remember names) to tell the cops about that opal thing and it might be best if you do leave with this guy, ask questions as you walk and maybe see to getting Nessie a hat for now. Also try to find out why this is such a big deal (we have ideas but it never hurts to have some facts) and if you don't have a cell just stop at a payphone or something on your way out of the city.
No. 511814 ID: 7003a8

Oren: Tell Nessie to scorch "Contingency Opal" onto the side of the building, then do something to get the cops attention and bug out.
No. 511815 ID: bf54a8

yeah not being seen is a good idea regardless of who is saying it.
No. 511841 ID: cf49fc

Have Undertaker have Orpheo transmit "Contingency Opal".

Also, don't leave Nessie or you'll never see her ever again.
No. 511842 ID: cf49fc

Have Undertaker have Orpheo transmit "Contingency Opal".

Also, don't leave Nessie or you'll never see her ever again.
No. 511843 ID: 72c34e

wait. waitwaitwait. this means you won't be sheriff anymore. what are you without that? there has to be another way. for now we need to communicate the Opal thing directly to the officer Blejwas mentioned. and we need a good chat with our high society friends as well as with orpheo to see what our options are.
perhaps we should leave in order to regroup later in case the arkers will send backup but we shouldn't leave for good just yet.
No. 511844 ID: 7e8516

Oren don't need to be sheriff to be happy. He just has to do right by Nessie and by his code.
No. 511849 ID: f2c20c

I guess we gotta sacrifice our lives as lawbringers if we wanna live.

We need to tell Allen/Vesta we're fine but not coming back, and someone needs to get that message to Officer Helman. Cellphone would probably work for both things, really.

Yet... ask him what's the issue. Don't the arkers already want you dead?
No. 511852 ID: 7003a8

No, see, Arkers are assholes. They're also power-hungry supremacists.

When Oren and Nessie killed the first Arker, what do you think the rest of the Arkers said to themselves? "Gee, this insignificant gnat sure is equal enough to us to be a legitimate threat.", or "Man, how incompetent do you have to be to get killed by an insignificant gnat? No real Arker would die like that."
All the Arkers cared about was getting the Oculus back, and Oren ditched that one quick.

The second Arker was the first one's master. It was a personal vendetta, so second verse same as the first. Since Oren ditched the first Oculus they could reasonably expect him to do the same here - blame Orpheo and call it a day.

This last Arker? Yep, still vengeance and they still don't care about her getting killed.

Now, Nessie using the Oculus? That's rage-inducing. Now she's 'stealing their power' and 'reaching above her station' or whatever.
No. 511854 ID: f2c20c

I already knew all that, man. The characters need an explanation, not me.
No. 511862 ID: 57a559

well Oren you're a dream mage, you could make use the new oculus and use your newfound illusion powers to hide you and Nessie forever.

Ask Allen before you leave to teach Nessie that body swap trick though, we're going to need that to make extra double sure everything will be fine in the end. If you could also get someone else besides the mage to body swap, a non-Thamauturgist, then you'll be safe forever too.

Just find two insane people like Allen did.
No. 511865 ID: ca6df3

i would like to remind people that the sacrifice part of the prophesy has been fulfilled. by blejwas. probably.
or maybe by nessie for using the eye thing?

who knows. but i'm pretty sure it's been fulfilled maybe.
No. 511869 ID: 9ddf68

what was the prophesy again?
No. 511872 ID: f2c20c

"Strength, love, sacrifice"

That's it. Pretty shitty prophesy. Still, wouldn't hurt to at least tell Orpheo or some mage about it. Might be a good idea to find out what exactly Oren is capable of, before possibly putting in the other oculus.
No. 511962 ID: 0eef61
File 136919820659.png - (111.45KB , 800x600 , 106.png )

"What?" says Grett.
"Phone." Oren stands up. A sudden lightheaded, numbing feeling washes through his brain. He is monstrously hungry. "I need a phone. Nessie? Do you have-"
"Yeah." Nessie rifles through her pockets. "Allan gave it to me. Shit. Hold on. Uhhhhhhh here."
Oren grabs it and flips it open. "Mr. Loper, we have to go-" starts Grett, but Oren waves him off.
"Just- hold on, Grett. One minute."

He has spent his entire life keeping the peace. He's not going to run away from his post as a criminal.
Vesta doesn't pick up.
Allan doesn't pick up. Wait. This is his phone. Shake it out, Oren.
"Come on." Oren redials. "Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. They're not picking up."
"Have you tried Mendel? Or Celyne?" asks Nessie.
"I don't- wait. Wait."
On the second go-around, Vesta picks up.
There is a split second of silence on the other end of the line, then Oren says: "Hello? Vesta?"
"Sheriff Loper." Vesta's voice is as neutral as ever. "I believe I am under arrest."
No. 511963 ID: f2c20c

Tell her, not for long. Tell her to ask for officer Helman, because we have a message for him from Blejwas.
No. 511965 ID: 9ddf68

tell her about Contingency Opal and where to find Blejwas body... and the man who killed him if you can pick him out of the burnt mass of flesh that use to be the bastard. If you have to talk to police or something like that say you're looking into a lead or something and have to chase it before it grows cold and that's why you're leaving. oh and maybe tell whoever how Blejwas died so he can at least go out like a hero. I mean even if he doesn't deserve it he did save your ass at the expense of his life, he deserves something at least.
No. 512032 ID: 0eef61
File 136925350289.png - (207.83KB , 800x600 , 107.png )

"Not for long. I need to talk to a, uh, Helman. Officer Helman."
"I can get you out of there."
"Hold on." Oren hears a rustling as Vesta covers the phone.
"Mr. Loper, can you walk and talk?" asks Grett.
"Hold your friggin horses," says Oren. "We can't just leave everyone in the lurch."

"Helman." There's a voice over the phone. "We have your accomplices, Loper. It'd be best if you just turned yourself in now and saved everyone a lot of heartbreak."
"Contingency Opal."
Oren's greeted by about 5 seconds of silence, then Helman says, a lot softer than before, "How did he go?"
"He went well," says Oren. "I think he damn near saved my life."

"I'm going to need to talk to you, Mr. Loper," says Helman. "We'll uncuff your friends."
"You're talkin' to me right now."
"Face-to-face, Mr. Loper. It's how this has to work."
No. 512034 ID: 35edd4

Shit's going down on a bigger scale, and you're putting yourself, and arguably the city, in danger if you stay around any longer. Give him the location of Blejwas's body and get out of there. You've done your job.

They can come meet with you at wherever you're going (where are you going?) if they need more.
No. 512036 ID: 7003a8

"Can't. City's in danger. Cyclops mage cult out for blood. We ain't coming back from this case. Tell 'em I'm I was an officer to the end."

Then hang up and yank out the battery before he can reply.
Get moving.
No. 512043 ID: ca6df3

"that might be a bad idea until the whole mage cult thing blows over"

this isn't over, we're coming back, but after we regroup and get some options. we gotta go now, but make sure you'll have a way to keep in contact with your friends in high places.
No. 512045 ID: 57a559

We can't talk. There's evil cyclops Ark mages after our life now. Do you want to talk to the target of living WMD's? Because that's how Blejwas died, he broke some bones, got lurched back, and then Joseph finished him off with a bolt to the face. The damn things shoot fire, eat brimstone, sparkle healing dust, phase weapons in and out of nothing, and get in your fucking head. One mage is enough to frighten all the criminals in this city, which is how joseph got them all working under them.

NOW do you still want to meet with me? Because I have allies already risking their lives just waiting for me to finish this call and wisk me away.
No. 512060 ID: 0eef61
File 136926385933.png - (31.71KB , 800x600 , 108.png )

"I can't," says Oren. "Everyone's in trouble until I'm out of the city. I've done my job."
He starts pulling away from the phone, but Helman says, "I can't just let you go, Loper."
"Why not?"
"It's a Sheriff's Bounty on you, Loper. It can only be lifted by the sheriff of the town who put it on you."
"Blejwas is dead."
"Which means that although I can let your friends go, because all they was doing is abetting, I need to hold you until we find a replacement, and he needs to review the case."
"So just get a temp, Helman. Blejwas vouched for me. Opal."
"He did, but unless we have his presence and his signature, it don't mean anything, Loper. That's not what Contingency Opal is."
"What is Contingency Opal?"
"It's what happens when Blejwas ain't around anymore and he wants you to walk free. Contingency Opal means you're the new sheriff of Anchorturn, Oren Loper. And not a temp."

Oren remembers to breathe.

"I can't." Oren looks back at Nessie.
"You have to," says Helman. "You leave, you're going to leave a wanted man, and so is whoever you take with you. Either you take the job, take over Anchorturn, and sign yourself pardoned pronto, before word reaches Central, or this doesn't go away."
No. 512066 ID: 9ddf68

so let me see if I got this straight, Blejwas made a plan that was to put a bounty on our head then in the case that he should die the only way to make sure we stayed free men was to take over his job?... Sooooooo did he plan this because he had great confidants in our abilities or did he do this out of spite for us?

Why can nothing ever be simple, anyways ask Grett what kind of danger you and Nessie are in and what are the chances that we will ever return here and if he goes off saying we don't have time then tell him to give you the short version as right now you're being torn apart by two impossible options and would like to at least know SOME of the pros and cons of both before you make a life changing decision, and don't get me wrong there are points in a persons life where a choice is given to them that alters there entire life but is usually so small you never really see how it effected you to much later in your life. You have been given a choice that is so big that even the blind would see how this will change your future so DON'T RUSH INTO MAKING A DECISION WITHOUT ANY FACTS I guess is what i'm trying to say here.
No. 512067 ID: 35edd4

Okay, so (word of god) Oren won't be able to join Nessie at the Arcanopolis unless he's a mage, and Nessie can't safely not be there anymore. That means Oren's only real choice is to use the second Oculus--we won't stand to see them parted over this, and besides, being a mage seems pretty neat.

The only question remaining, then, is how (if at all) we tie up loose ends here. If we're at the arcanopolis, we won't really be subject to arrest, so we can just leave it hanging, and if we come back in a decade as a mage we'll be in a good position to force a resolution in our favor.

Alternatively, we could take the oculus and use it now, then go do the paperwork and immediately resign. It'd delay and put us in some danger, but hopefully we'll have some time before the arkers hear about what happened. Hide it behind a headband or hat to avoid drawing further hostile attention. We don't want to risk losing it, and with it the opportunity to stay with Nessie, by not actually using it ASAP.
No. 512071 ID: 35edd4

Or we could take the risk and keep it somewhere very secure on our person, and use it after sorting out the paperwork. I rate the risk of discovery as lower than the risk of losing Nessie, though.

Grett won't be happy with the delay regardless, but if we use the oculus we'll force his hand (or that of another representative of Orpheo) and they'll have to get us out to the Arcanopolis for the same reason they're getting Nessie out whether they like us or not.
No. 512072 ID: ca6df3

that's... err... hmm...
well, shit. let's see.

so i see a few options. one is to go with grett and live in fear for the rest of your lives. you can't ever come back though, you'll never be a sheriff again. the second is sending nessie off and taking the job. you'll be separated and that sucks, but she'll be safer though still with the whole living in fear for the rest of her life thing. also you'll be fending off assassins for the rest time.

the third is riskier but with more hope. you take the job and nessie will stay with you as bait.
these guys are weapons of mass destruction, yeah, but if they use that power against a city they'll probably get annihilated because that's starting a war. so getting enough power to force them to use too much power in order to kill you might work as long as they don't assassinate you and as long as there would be people to actually respond to an attack.

you could barricade yourself in Anchorturn and wait for the attack to come. when it does send message to the kind and tell him his mages are in cahoots with the enemy (the war is still going on, right?) and are attacking his city. this plan will only work if you and nessie won't die/get assassinated and if they attack head on. and if the king will even believe/will even care.

how long will it take to re-sheriffy you? how long can we expect before backup arrives, for that matter?

i don't know, if we have time before the next attack we should sit down with some people and consider this. if not then surround yourself with mages and consider it anyhow. if we leave we can't come back it seems, and this needs planning if we want it to have a chance to work.
No. 512079 ID: 0eef61
File 136926709995.png - (6.80KB , 800x600 , 109.png )

Oren turns to Grett. "I have to go back. Just for a bit. I have to go."

"No," says Grett. "You can't. We're already in deep shit before you used the oculus. Why in the Spirit's sake did you use the oculus?"
"I had to," says Nessie. "They would have killed him."
"Yes, but-" Grett paces. "Okay. Yes. It was irresponsible, but yet. But now we have to go, and Mr. Loper if you come with us now I can take you half the way so you can say goodbye to your friend here but we can't delay-"
"Wait. Goodbye?" Oren lowers the phone from his ear. "What's goodbye mean?"

"Well, you can't come to the Arcanopolis from the outside if you're not a mage," says Grett, uncertainly. "It's not done. And that's where we're going."
"For how long?" asks Nessie.
"What do you mean, for how long?" says Grett. "You don't just stop being a Cyclops."

"Are you telling me that if I go with you, I'm never going to see Oren again?" says Nessie.
"Well, I mean." Grett swallows. "Not NEVER. You could certainly visit him from time to time. But Mr. Loper's going to be very busy with a city to watch over, so if you'll excuse us, Future Sheriff, we need to leave." He grabs Nessie's arm. "Now."

Lightning fast, Oren pulls Grett's hand off of her. He steps right into Grett's face. "Where she goes, I go."
"That's just not possible, Mr. Loper," says Grett. "Now it seems very clear that you have to go do this sheriffing thing, and I don't want to keep you from that just so that you can have a lengthy goodbye with, uh,"
"My name is Nessandra Squires, and I ain't going with you if it means leaving him." Nessie takes a step back to stand with Oren.
"You stay here, that thing on your forehead marks you for nonmages and Arkers alike," says Grett. "We. Need. To. Go. Now. Oren, you got five seconds to say goodbye, then you need to clear your name and we need to get to the Arcanopolis. She'll be safe there, for a while at least."
No. 512080 ID: 7003a8

"I'll spell it out for you. There's a crazy red-eye cyclops cult with horrible plans, and I ain't fool enough to think I'm coming back from this. I don't want to be remembered as a-FUCK!"

Hang up the phone, then ask Nessie to scorch the area wall a bit. Toss the phone somewhere so they can track down its signal and find the bodies and battlemarks, then bug out.

Ask Orpheo if he can trade the spare arker eye for a normal one. No reason Nessie should have to look at one too.
No. 512087 ID: ca6df3

let's make some things clear. we're not separating oren and nessie and if oren stays as sheriff he will still get attacked. they already killed a sheriff of Anchorturn, no reason to think they won't again.

that doesn't leave many options.
1. you and nessie go into hiding together, only to be found a week later through magic neither of you understand and killed in your sleep.
2. you both stay in Anchorturn, as i suggested in >>512072 but now that i think about it, it won't work because it's relying on the arrival of cavalry that might not come, and if they do come it'll be too late. again. this time you can be ready, have some mages on your side maybe, but i don't really see it work. they have more mages than you have friends, and what happens or doesn't happen to the arkers after you and nessie die is irrelevant. at best, it might force them to only use a limited amount of power on you, that you might be able to defend against, for fear of repercussions. but still, there will always be more of them and they won't give up after the first attack.
3. oren pops the Oculus in and they both go to temporary safety and a life full of fear which will end sooner rather than later with an assassin out of nowhere. or slightly better, become anti-arker assassins and bring the fight to them. you're already targets and you already killed 3 of them without magic so as long as you catch them one by one it might be possible. at the very least it's a better way to spend time than waiting to be murdered.
No. 512089 ID: 57a559

You could just use the other Oculus Oren. Say your sorry, you had no choice. You two are a team that needs to help defend each other.
No. 512091 ID: 735f4f

Oren I know you want to clear your name and keep your old life. But by using that oculus Nessie can't stay here. If you are going to follow her your old life here will be over anyways. So you can stay here and try to fix things or go with the girl you love and start over.

Maybe if you ask nice enough Grett will take her someplace safe for a day and let you fix things but every minute you stay here raises the chance of the arkers finding out what happened. And if they do before you can hide and get that eye recolored you will never be safe.

Also you probably have to use the other eye yourself if you want to go with her. If you can get a hold of your dream friends I would ask there advice.
No. 512092 ID: 9ddf68

I really really don't want to use the other eye as I feel forcing yourself to become something your not will never end well, but now that I think about it is kinda what love is all about I think. Don't now never been in love so I really have no idea what you are truly feeling but maybe you need someone to see this on a non-emotional level.

Blejwas fucked you over good here, he has pinned you between an active bomb and a woodchiper. Nessie being the bomb as her now becoming something else is bound to make a few things explode in the near future and truth be told I don't really think you can protect her, sorry to say but I think she would be better off protecting herself so there is no question she has to leave now. This new job that Blejwas is the woodchiper as it will try and chew you up and tear you apart like it did to him. The problem I'm seeing here is you have always put your job ahead of everything because you truly believe in helping people and I'm finding it hard to see you just walking away and turning your back on them even if this isn't something you don't want to happen in the first place.

sigh, Ask nessie if she would want you to put the Oculus in yourself because I now you would do it for her in a heart beat like she did for you but does she want you to do it, will it make her happy? I, and I really fucking hate myself for saying so but I do think that you two should split up... at least until you both have a handle on things, then when everything isn't falling apart around you try and fix everything. But if you do let her go know that it isn't forever and for the LOVE OF GOD GIVE HER THAT RING AND SAY YOU WILL ALWAYS LOVE HER not matter the distance between you or time apart you will always love her. Hell tell her that even if you do go with her.
No. 512096 ID: 35edd4

Take spare oculus from Nessie. Smack into forehead. Dramatic gestures ho!
No. 512097 ID: 35edd4

The oculus makes the mage. Hell, even if it weren't for all this mess, using it is still the right thing to do so that Nessie doesn't have to be alone in it.

Don't ask for a trade. Don't even let them know you have the other one until you've used it. Otherwise they'll just take it from you and you'll lose Nessie.
No. 512100 ID: f1803f

I go with option C
all the choices.

Call Orpheo and fill him in on the plan while you do it,(as long as he isn't being monitored anyway). Damn just get secure contact with him somehow.

Make sure YOU have the other occulus, tell Nessie that you will see her soon, then go take the sherrif job, sign yourself pardoned and make someone else be a stand in for a while. You aren't giving up this job, no not after what blej did, you have to shoulder that burden and prove yourself the better man.

Then occulize.

You will be away for a while, hopefully no more than a few years, still as head sheriff with Helman or someone else managing for a while. And then once it's safe for you to come back(i.e. when you get sufficently strong that you can hold your own or the dissenters are dead). Then you return, and take up the mantle of leadership.

Wear a mask.
No. 512102 ID: 735f4f

Well if he does use the oculus he will probably be a illusionist so could just make himself look normal if he wanted to come back.

One way or another its a scary choice. Jam a magic rock in your face and become a mage cyclops or stay and run a corrupt town and be hunted by crazies. Cept one of the choices you have to go it alone. And if you do go do it alone then you are forcing Nessie to be alone as well.
No. 512104 ID: f2c20c

We're gonna use that fucking marble. Either now, or after we've cleared our name.

But I don't think we can have both. You gotta sacrifice one or the other. Either your time with Nessie, or your good name and badge.

If you ask me, I'd choose Nessie. Besides, being a mage is pretty cool.
No. 512110 ID: 480661

She tooks this upon herself to save you. You can't abandon her to this journey alone. Use the occulus, go with her. Your lives are going to change but at least you'll have each other.
No. 512111 ID: 35edd4

We can totally have both. If we use the oculus and then hide it under a hat and go do the paperwork, or hold onto it and use it after doing the paperwork, Grett won't have any choice but to help us get out for the same reasons he's getting Nessie out.
No. 512116 ID: 480661

No, no waiting, no having both. You can't really, you can't be the magic sheriff, people wouldn't put up with it. On top of that arkers would just kill him.

This is a choice and by my reckoning a pretty damn easy one. The only reason Oren is alive is because of Nessie five times over now. She's given him the strength to face his greatest fears and overcome powers greater than him. This isn't even a choice. Use the occulus, it's time to become something new.
No. 512124 ID: 0eef61
File 136929141576.png - (388.84KB , 800x600 , 110.png )

Oren kisses Nessie.

She holds him as tight as their first kiss, after their first run-in with the red-eyed spooks who ruined their lives. Her heart hammers as fast against his. He feels the rough fabric of her coat rising and falling beneath his fingers. He wants to melt into her. He doesn't want to stop.

He does.

"I need you to do two things for me," he whispers, "and they're going to be the hardest things I've ever asked you to do."
"What?" whispers Nessie.
"I need you to go with him," says Oren, "and I need you to trust me that this is going to work out in the end."
No. 512125 ID: 0eef61
File 136929143033.png - (30.89KB , 800x600 , 111.png )

"So that's it?"
"That's it," says Helman. "The heat's off."

Oren sits back in his chair. "Y'know, Helman, if you'd have asked me, couple years ago, where I wanted to be most in the world, I think I would have answered right here."


"Oh, yeah. I joined up right outta high school, always told everyone I would. Didn't have much anywhere else to go. No money for college, no jobs that could get me out of the house. And I sure as shit had to get out of the house, tell you what. Dad was a waste in the factories. Stick a handle of whiskey in him and he could outpunch a prize fighter on the circuit." He chuckles. Helman joins in, nervously.

"But no," says Oren. "The big reason, and this was always true, was that I wanted to help out. Guess I sort of saw myself as a, uh, messianic figure, in a way. Didn't know why I thought I knew better'n everyone else what had to happen. Well, now I don't think anyone has a clue." He clicks the pen closed. "One night when dad was getting ready to whoop my sister, I whacked him." Oren hits the table for emphasis. "Bang! Back of the head. Of course, that landed me a black eye instead, and when I was picking myself up from the linoleum, dad took me, and he told me, his face all real close to mine, so I could smell the booze on his breath, 'If you give, and you give and you give, you won't never fill up the world. All the world will ever do to you is Take. That's it. That's the whole secret. And you'll never be happy until you end up taking a little for yourself.'"
"Did that stick by you?" asks Helman.
Oren purses his lips. "Maybe it did, Helman." He looks up at his new deputy. "But I think what stuck by me more was how much I hated the man."
"Yep. Swore never to be like him. Well and look at me now! Sheriff of a great big old city. That's my first act, right? As Sheriff?"
"Well, Helman," Oren clears his throat. "Don't get too mad, but I don't think you're gonna like the second much."
No. 512126 ID: 0eef61
File 136929144208.png - (27.22KB , 800x600 , 112.png )

"Pull your hood up," says Grett. "You have to cover that thing."

"It's the ears," says Nessie, flatly. "They get in the way."
Those are the first words she's said in around ten minutes.

Grett doesn't like this. He feels like the bad guy. He's just trying to help them, is all. These two country folks have no idea what they're swimming into. "Uh, look," he says, haltingly. "I'm sure the sheriff, uh, he's doing this purely out of a wish to see you protected, and-"

"You ever love someone so much it hurt to breathe, Grett?" asks Nessie.

"Well, no, but-"

"Then shut up."

"Sorry," says Grett.

He starts to try and catch up, when he hears, [Stop.]

[Slow down, Grett.]

Grett slows to a standstill. His walking companion looks back.
[Guess again, boy.]
Oh, no.
[Oh, yes. If you want to get all the Oculi outta town your day ain't over just yet, Grett. Tell you what. Cut for the Skimmer Quays.]
No. 512127 ID: 0eef61
File 136929146069.png - (98.49KB , 800x600 , 113.png )

[If it's any consolation, I got us a ride we can take.]
No. 512128 ID: 9ddf68

whelp, this is going to be interesting
No. 512129 ID: 735f4f

Fly majestically off into the sunset/sunrise.
No. 512130 ID: f2c20c

I guess it's time to say goodbye to all our friends.

Also this is a good time to propose to Nessie.
No. 512183 ID: 6a0efe

No. 512218 ID: 0eef61
File 136937391546.png - (11.34KB , 800x600 , 114.png )


As soon as Nessie walks into the quay and catches sight of him she sprints into his arms.
"Hey, deputy," says Oren, holding her close.
"Never ever ever ever scare me like that again," says Nessie.
"Didn't you see me with all my guts hanging out about an hour ago?" asks Oren.
"You know what I mean." Nessie punches him in the arm. "There. That's what you get when you mess with the Ness."
"Ya got me," says Oren. "I guess I'm a mage too now."
"Can you do the thing with the fire?" asks Nessie.
"Naw," says Oren. "I don't think I'm that kind. I'm like Orpheo."
"Well, we can't all be badass." Nessie kisses him on the neck. "Ooh, you showered?"
"Had to get the grime off and the belly full, among other things," says Oren.
"Well I haven't yet." Nessie sniffs her pits. "And you are invited. To get that spot between the shoulderblades for me."
"I don't think I'm smelling anything for a week after them sewers anyway." Oren turns Nessie around. "Remember that?"

"The skiff?" says Nessie.
"Yours now, with compliments." Allan bows. "No, don't try to argue with me, dear, I'm in the body of a psychopath but my mind is crystal clear."

"It's just, um, money," says Celyne. "None of us could have done what you two did but we've got plenty of money."
"Yeah, and I supplied the brewskis," says Mendel Parter. "In the minifridge. You can thank-slash-pay me back for them later."

"It's the least we could um do," says Celyne, sharply. "Isn't it, darling?"
"Yeahhhh!" Mendel adjusts his collar. "So no need to, uh, you can just rip up the receipt."

"You're all very kind," says Grett. "But we really need to go. Mr. Loper, I suppose you're coming with us."
"I suppose I am." Oren rubs Nessie's shoulders. "No bad blood between us, though, Grett, all right? But if an army of thugs and warmages couldn't keep me and Nessie apart I was gonna be damned to let bureaucracy do us in."

"You're a lucky lady, Nessie," says Celyne.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Mendel gives her a look.
"Can it, sugar." Celyne gives him a peck on the cheek. "The only man I'd ever take over you is Oren, and um he's leaving anyway."
"Neat," says Mendel. "Get him out of here, Nessie."

"We're getting, we're getting." Oren fishes around in his pockets. "There's uh, there's one more thing I gotta do before we go, though. Sorry, Grett."
No. 512219 ID: 0eef61
File 136937393258.png - (100.31KB , 800x600 , 115.png )

"Where did I- aha. Here we go."
"What's that behind your back?" asks Nessie.
"I think we both know what it is," says Oren. "But I guess if I'mma do this in public we should probably follow the script, so, uh."
Oren Loper haltingly gets down on one knee. He feels a little like a stupid kid asking his date to the prom, but damn it, something is going to go without a hitch today.
In a matter of speaking.
"I figure if we're running away together anyway, you know. Might as well get it down on paper. Um." Oren coughs. "Nessandra Squires, uh, now I ain't your sheriff any more, and you ain't my deputy, so I can't order you around any more. So I'm just gonna have to ask you instead.

Will you marry me?"

"Oh, shit." Nessie puts her hands over her mouth. "Oh, deities. Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes."
No. 512223 ID: 0eef61
File 136937446655.png - (76.57KB , 800x600 , 116.png )

Oren don't know what comes next traditionally, so he just sweeps her off her feet and hopes that'll do.
"Grett says my ears ain't gonna fall off," says Nessie.
"That's good," says Oren. They kiss.

At the 45-second mark of said kiss, Grett coughs, nervously.
"Congratulations, you two. Ahem. Really well done, Oren and Nessie. We, uh, we really need to go."
No. 512229 ID: f2c20c

Alright, we've kept him waiting long enough.

You told our friends not to mention the red things in your heads to anyone, right?
No. 512242 ID: 9ddf68

ok we should leave, I mean we probably have a long skiff ride so you can be all lovey dovey when you two have nothing better to do, and I have a feeling there is more then just some shit bureaucracy that is making Grett nervous and we have fried this guy's nerves enough for one day I do believe.
No. 512252 ID: 0eef61
File 136937998274.png - (9.80KB , 800x600 , 117.png )

"Now remember: you ain't seen me, you ain't seen Nessie, and you sure as shit ain't seen these things on our heads, right?" says Oren.

"Lips is sealed," says Mendel. "Don't worry about us."

"Once you reach the Arcanopolis, I imagine they'll either keep you somewhere your pursuers can't get at you, or maybe even somewhere off-plane," says Allan. "Have you considered a honeymoon in Plane Arcana?"
"Plane what now?" says Oren."
"They have floating mountains," says Allan.
"On water?"
"You don't say." Oren raises his eyebrows. "Guess I got quite a lot to learn."
"It'll be brilliant, Oren, you'll see." Allan stretches out a hand. "You'll do all sorts of amazing magic tricks and not grow old till you're a hundred. Maybe I'll visit the arcanopolis. D'you think they'd let me in?"
"You're a mage, aren't you?" Oren shakes Allan's hand.
"I'm also a fruity serial killer in a suit. You two are going to be thrice as powerful as I could ever be." Allan grins. "And you already killed three mages with no magic whatsoever. If I was the Ark I'd bloody well let sleeping dogs lie."
No. 512253 ID: 0eef61
File 136938008936.png - (183.23KB , 800x600 , 118.png )

After some heartfelt and tearful (Mendel) hugs and farewells, the skimmer slides siltily out of the quay. Grett sits hesitantly at the controls. "Now, this button turns on the headlight." He turns the pages of the dog-eared manual in his lap. "Okay."

"Hell of a sunset," says Oren. They watch the sun coast down the purple horizon, far ahead. The gloaming light shines off the scarlet marbles set into Oren and Nessie's foreheads. She kisses the back of his neck.

"I missed you, baby girl."
"I missed you, sheriff."
"You don't gotta call me that any more."
"Just you try and stop me," she says. "Well, you boys can enjoy the view, but I got a date with an extremely long, extremely hot shower." She turns around and Oren jumps a little as she squeezes his ass. "And that's two-two," she whispers in his ear. "If you're in the mood for a tiebreaker."

She closes the door to the cockpit behind her.

"And that retracts the sails, so does that make us slow down? Or wait, it would make us aerodynamic-er, so Hmm. Maybe I shouldn't have sampled the minibar before doing this." Grett thumbs to the next page.

"Don't you worry about that," says Oren, a little distracted. "You deserve it. Sorry we were such a bother to you. We're both powerful thankful."
"Oh! It's no problem. No problem at all. Uhm." Grett laughs nervously. "Yeah. Windshield wipers. Oops. Uhhm, I think I can figure this out myself, if you want to, ah," He gestures to the door Nessie left through. "You know. Engaged, and everything."
No. 512260 ID: f2c20c

I wonder where the Undertaker is now. Or if Orpheo still has his eye on you.

You can stand to delay for a moment here to point out the most important controls- I wanna catch her in the shower.
No. 512262 ID: 7e8516

This all makes me a little nervous. How fast are we moving? Would it be possible for anyone to know where we are? I wouldn't let my guard down if I were you until we're safe in the Arcanopolis.
No. 512266 ID: 9ddf68

I say enjoy yourselves but keep a crossbow and sword nearby encase any other little fucker feels like ruining your day.
No. 512267 ID: bf54a8

>keep a mundane weapon
>nessie can shoot fireballs

don't think they need it.
No. 512269 ID: 0eef61
File 136938638927.png - (253.86KB , 800x600 , 119.png )

"How fast we going, Grett?" asks Oren.
"Uh, well that's the speedometer, and it says... around 70 miles an hour? Or so?" Grett whistles. "This thing's quick."
"You think anyone knows where we are?" Oren's listening for the water to start up.
"I think we're safe," says Grett.
"Well, if you think we're safe, I'd put money on it," says Oren. "We got any swords or anything on board?"
"Of course," says Grett. "Although if you still think you need those to protect yourself, you've got a lot to learn."
"Well, it can't hurt to have protection." Oren bows out of the control room. "Don't crash into anything, now."

Nessie is singing "Bazooka" by Polo Roko loudly in the shower. Handy for sneaking up on her.

"And I want a bre-ye-ya-ye-yaaAAaa Spirits, Oren. Do mages not knock?"
"Your siren song carried me unto you, lady of the rocks."
"You heard that, huh?"
"Kind of hard not to. I like your voice."
"That ain't all you came looking for, judging by little Oren down there."
"Guilty as charged."
"We aren't cops any more, remember?"
"No we ain't. I told Helman as much. You shoulda seen him."
"Hopping mad. Still, it was nice to kind of flip off Blejwas out in the afterlife, one last time. Even if he did save my life." Oren sighs. "I'm gonna sort of miss it."
"Being a cop?"
"I'm not even gonna sort of miss it. I liked being a deputy."
"Do you like being a mage?"
"I don't know. It's flashier. I'll get used to it."
"Hey, now, honey, we ain't lost the most important thing we had back in that old precinct. Come here."
Nessie squeaks a little as her feet leave the ground. Then she breaks into a grin. "No we certainly ain't," she says. "Howdy there, sheriff Loper."
"I recall you daring me to try and stop you calling me that."
"Are you?"
"I think I actually kinda like it. Got anything else you want me to try instead?"
Nessie laughs, and the sound sends a shot of dopamine right through Oren's brain. She shifts, and kisses him, and they come together.
No. 512270 ID: 0eef61
File 136938641092.png - (7.96KB , 800x600 , 120.png )

For the next two hours Oren Loper and Nessandra Squires take back what Anchorturn tried to steal.

They stumble out of the shower, take a brief detour in the hallway, accidentally find the pantry, refuse to let that stop them, and finally collapse into bed, laughing and kissing. They have wild, bucking, ear-biting sex and make slow, deep, gasping love. They fuck like giddy teenagers, like wild animals, like the immortal spirits of the Divines. They hold each other so tight Oren can't think of a world outside the rise and dip of Nessie's neck or the smooth valley of her hips. He doesn't want to. Their hearts hammer against their ribs, trying to get to each other. They make damn near enough noise that Grett probably has to stuff his ears with cotton, poor sod that he is. They twist up the sheets and the blankets something awful. Oren remembers the day Nessie saved him, and the night she saved him twice over. He remembers the feeling he got when he thought she was dead, or worse. He lets it flow from him with the rise and fall of her chest against his. He clings to her like a sailor adrift. He never wants to let go.

After it's over they both hold each other, breathing long and exhausted breaths in accidental syncopation. They stare into each other's faces for what seems like an hour, neither willing to shift an inch from the other.
"Damn, boy," says Nessie, finally, softly. "You wore me the heck out."
"I did?" Oren raises his head a quarter inch, then lets it fall back down. "Oh. Well, you fought boldly yourself."
"Can you feel your legs?"
"I can feel yours okay. That's probably more important. This is the start of something big, isn't it?"
"Actually that right there was the end of something big," says Nessie. "Looks like it's already halfway back, though."
"I mean," says Oren. "Us going off, like this. Out into, what?"
"The unknown," says Nessie, stroking his chest."
"The unknown," echoes Oren, thoughtfully.
Nessie shifts up to her elbows. She gazes into Oren's eyes, and she asks him a question he finds vaguely familiar. "You scared, Oren?"
No. 512272 ID: f2c20c

A little. You're heading into a whole new world, now. New job, new eye, new culture. With her by your side you know you'll be just fine, though.

Things will work out in the end.
No. 512277 ID: f2c20c

Or maybe Oren is enough of a man to not be afraid of the unknown. I mean, you'd think he'd be used to it by now, what with his job and all.

I dunno, really. This could lead into great things. It's exciting, but scary? Maybe not.
No. 512278 ID: 7003a8

"I'd say terrified, but I think I used all my fear up earlier. Maybe tomorrow."
No. 512282 ID: 9ddf68

don't know, I'll tell you when we get there. But with you with me I think I can manage just about anything.
No. 512341 ID: 7e8516

Subtle Polo and Rokoa reference there.

"Scared? I don't think that's the right word. Excited. Invigorated. This is a whole new journey, something completely different from what I thought I'd ever come across. I'm kind of savoring the anticipation. Were magi now! We have power beyond what most can ever dream of! Spirits, Nessie, and I'm marrying you? I feel like I just won the lottery."
No. 512402 ID: cf49fc

In every parallel universe Polokoa come to exist!

I recommend not feeling fear.
No. 513047 ID: 0eef61
File 136972336641.png - (9.98KB , 800x600 , 121.png )

"I don't think I am any more." Oren strokes the small of Nessie's back, pensively.
"They say fear of what you don't know about's the strongest kind of fear there is," says Nessie.

"Yeah, well." Oren kisses her again. "They never had Nessie Squires in their corner."
"Nessie Loper." Nessie yawns and props her head up. "Ugh. I'm gonna fall asleep. I wanna stay up with you."
"Now don't you talk like that, Deputy," says Oren. "You love sleeping."
"Yeah. Well." Nessie yawns again and buries her head in Oren's chest. "That was before real life got better than dreams."
"In real life we're runnin' for our lives."
"Yeah. We are." She puts a warm hand on his chest. "But we are."
"I love you, Nessie."
"I love you, Oren."
"Deanna," she mutters, as she's drifting off.
"If the first one's a girl I say Deanna. You get it if it's a boy."
"Shoot, baby, I'm terrible at naming things."
"How bout I handle the dog?"
Nessie giggles, faintly.
"Ranger," says Oren. "Scout. Skip. Allan, if it's one of those little yappy ones. Whatcha think?"



Her eyes are closed. Her breathing is low and even.
No. 513048 ID: 0eef61
File 136972340038.png - (82.69KB , 800x600 , 123.png )

In her dream, Nessandra is standing on a windswept cliff, staring down at everyone she has ever known. On the foreheads of Joseph Bird, and Grease Galvin, and her mother, and her father, and her grandma, and all the cadets at the academy and even the old family dog, an unblinking oculus stares back at her.

Oren stands behind her, watching her. Her fists are balled up tight.

"What are you waiting for, Sheriff?" The undertaker stands next to her. "You gonna introduce yourself?"
No. 513049 ID: cf49fc

Say hi!
No. 513050 ID: 161ed6

Don't forget to be polite
No. 513051 ID: 57a559

Did we actually introduce ourselves? It might be more fun to see how some of this takes place and change it up completely.
No. 513057 ID: 0eef61
File 136972880720.png - (12.43KB , 800x600 , 124.png )

Oren walks toward Nessie. He steps over a low boulder on the ground
and past Ipsen, who's coming along pretty good for having the depth perception of a cuttlefish.
Most of the cadets don't hardly hit the bullseye one time out of five so far, but Cadet Loper's taken to the bow faster than anyone. The Rangemaster's having him go up and down the lines giving out tips, but Oren don't quite like the attention-slash-plain-old-tension that brings with his classmates, so he don't step in much.

Well, sometimes he has to.
Take the new girl, here. This is the second bowstring she's snapped.

"Well," she says. "Fuck." She looks back to see if she should tell someone, and catches sight of Loper right behind her. "Oh!" She sort of tries to hide the bow behind her back. "Didn't see you there, uh, Cadet Loper. How's, um, how's my shooting?"

She gestures nervously to the target. Two arrows lie entangled in the net behind it, with three sunk into the white outer ring.
Not exactly a sterling performance.
No. 513058 ID: bf54a8

the string snapping means something weird is going on. get a new one and watch how she handles it.
No. 513065 ID: d97d64

So everyone has an oculus except us two?
Maybe Nessie doesn't actually want this?
No. 513082 ID: f2c20c

Compliment her arm strength- it'll sure come in handy in melee. But tell her she's gotta calm down, take her time to think things through. She won't break her bow if she keeps her head. And you'll help her to shoot straight.

Yeah, she's deathly afraid of what she's becoming.
No. 513084 ID: 7003a8

"Hey, Cadet Squires. Just relax. Show me."
No. 513092 ID: 86ec15

No. 513099 ID: 9ddf68

could use a little work but nobody is born great at anything, why don't you grab another bow and we'll try this again.
No. 513176 ID: 0eef61
File 136977917655.png - (12.40KB , 800x600 , 125.png )

"Hey listen, Cadet, uh."
"Nessie Squires. Cadet Squires, I mean." She salutes, nervously.

"Okay, Cadet Nessie Squires. I'm your rank, y'know."
"Right." She laughs, nervously. "Sorry."
"You could obviously use a little work but nobody's born great at anything. Actually, I'll bet something's wrong with that there bow. Hold on a tick." Loper jogs back to his own station and retrieves his bow.

"There you go. All right, show me what you're doing. Try it now."

"Oookay." Squires takes the bow and draws it back.
"Shoulders squarer," says Oren. "Don't be afraid to draw that thing back."
"I keep snapping them," protests Nessie.
"That was the bow. Don't worry about it. Straighten up a little more. Okay: now exhale and... release."

The arrow flies a good foot above the target.

"Well," Nessie lowers the bow. "Thanks for believin' in me, anyway."
No. 513178 ID: 19b3c3

Hey, if that was a person, it would have hit dead center in the forehead! And nothing broke, it went the distance, and didn't veer off to the left or right. You just gotta practice to get the height right.
No. 513179 ID: 095c28

"you never were any good with a bow, were you"
No. 513180 ID: f2c20c

Once more. Correct your aim. Gotta learn how the arrows fly.

Or maybe she'd like to try a crossbow instead?
No. 513182 ID: 095c28

raise your arms a little. touch your cheek with your right hand and try to touch the same spot every time you draw. look down the arrow and aim. release lightly.
No. 513188 ID: 735f4f

She is still holding the bow to low. Should be able to aim your eye down the arrow. Once you get the basic form down its just a bit of practice and building up the right muscles.
No. 513191 ID: f2c20c

...maybe you can like, guide her arms to help her shoot?
No. 513195 ID: 9ddf68

no that's alright just adjust your aim based off where the first arrow when. A good trick when start out with a bow is to just aim your first arrow without actually caring weather or not it hits then after you get your barrings on where the arrow will go then adjust and try again. over time you'll get to the point where you'll know where the arrow will fly even without a test shoot but that's later down the road, lets focus on the now for the time being.

(if she misses again maybe you could show her how you do it and let her try again)
No. 513198 ID: 57a559

Your just getting used to a good bow. That's all. Still getting tense with it as you push your old compensations with your bad bows to the back of your mind. Got really blank that shit out. Learn anew. Like, name your bow and get attached to it. Make it an arm. That'll take a bit.

I have a hunch your meant to be a good shot, I mean, look at how well those arrows are embedded into the wall! That's good penetration, that'll take down violent perps real good. Some people have real good aim but can't penetrate for their own life. Your penetrating solid walls, poor organics won't stand a chance if you can get aim down.
No. 513200 ID: d300d2

This is a dream and a chance to flirt, remember.

Oren should show her how to hold the bow by putting his arms around her and showing her proper firing stance by basiclly holding onto her.
No. 513223 ID: 0eef61
File 136978902257.png - (14.54KB , 800x600 , 126.png )

"Well think about it like this," says Oren. "If that had been, say, me over there, that arrow woulda caught me dead between the eyes. Good penetration, too. You ain't snapping any more strings, right? All we gotta do is correct your aim a little. Try again."
"I don't really-"
"Come on. I'll help you." Oren gets behind her and closes her fingers on the bow. "That was a good draw last time. You can get this."

He gently pulls her shoulders back a little, and guides her arms. "One hand on your cheek. Sight down the arrow. Aim juuust a nudge high. Breathe. You breathing?"

"I'm breathing, I'm breathing," laughs Nessie, as Oren steps back.

"Good. Keep that up. Aaand... release."

The arrow slams into the yellow ring and quivers there.
"Dang!" Nessie looks back at a clapping Oren. "That is the closest I've ever been to bullseye."
"See how well you can do when you give yourself a bit to work it out?" asks Oren.
"Well I see how good I do when you set me up," says Nessie. "Can I convince you to just follow me around and do that for me every time?"
"Can I convince you to come back here tomorrow afternoon? There's a group of us do some extracurricular shooting every couple days. We could make a sharpshooter out of you yet."
"That'd be cool," says Nessie. "Okay! I'll, uh, see if I can swing by sometimes."

"But you never got much better, did you?" says Oren.
"Nope," says Nessie. "I recall beating the crud out of you more than a few times in swordsmanship, though, Deadeye."
She looks back at the target. "That shot was basically where my big old unrequited crush on you got started. Couldn't believe my luck when I got to be your deputy, even though I thought it had all cooled down by then. You and whatserface were still together. I kinda just joined archery club hoping you'd touch me like that again."
Oren laughs.
"What?" says Nessie. "We were like 17. Hormones flyin' all over the place. And now here we are."
"Here we are," says Oren.
"Am I just dreaming about you, Oren Loper, or is this some weird new eyeball thing?"
No. 513227 ID: 57a559

If it's an eyeball thing it's probably your eyeball thing. You probably don't have much control over your own supercharged dream powers now, so your dragging other people into it. I hope poor Grett didn't get up in here too.
No. 513230 ID: 9ddf68

I think it's Oren's eyeball thing truth be told, you had more hell fire and blue stuff with yours
No. 513232 ID: 19b3c3

>Is this some weird new eyeball thing?
I guess, unless exchanging rings gives people magic dream sharing powers the rest of the married world has been keeping secret.

As side effects go, it's not too bad.
No. 513233 ID: f2c20c

Tell her you always used to have some weird dream stuff going on, but this is the first time you've been able to visit someone else's so overtly. So, the latter.

Ask her if she's alright. The dream didn't start off so well.
No. 513234 ID: d300d2

Probably a side effect of Oren's new powers, which I imagine he doesn't know how to control properly.

Or maybe you are just having a real vivid dream.
No. 513238 ID: 735f4f

Tell her about your dreams and the Undertaker.
No. 513239 ID: 990c26

You get fire and ice and I get awesome mind powers
No. 513270 ID: 468f68

oren's a dream mage now so I'm gonna have to guess eye thing.
No. 513278 ID: 0eef61
File 136980983861.png - (82.71KB , 800x600 , 127.png )

"I think it's an eyeball thing for me," says Oren. "You shoot fire and crazy blue stuff all over, and I do dream stuff."
"Well some of us have all the luck." Nessie grins.
"Hey, now. I also have mind powers and things. I think. Anyway, I've had lucid dreams for forever, and there's a fella named the undertaker in most of them."
"Hi!" says Nessie. "Um, Mr. Undertaker."
I think it might be time I moved on, you two. It's getting mighty crowded up in here.
"You don't have to," says Nessie.
I think I will. We dreamfolk don't stick around that long in one place. I've been here much longer than by all rights I should. Don't worry, Oren. I'll see you again. Heck, you're a dream mage, now.

Sooo maybe you're a little scary too. No offense.

"See? Dream mage."
"What does that mean?"
"I ain't rightfully sure."
"Well. We're going to have a lot of time to figure it out. All this magic gunk."
"Are you all right? The dream didn't start off so well."
"No. It didn't." Nessie puts a hand on his neck. She grows and fills, from a lanky 17 year old to the woman he loves. "But then you showed up." She moves closer. The scar gently reopens itself on her ear. "And when I've got you I ain't afraid of this anymore." The oculus rises from her forehead. "None of it." She folds herself in his arms. "So you'd better stick around, mister sheriff," she whispers.

He holds her to him. "Always."
No. 513279 ID: 0eef61
File 136980988058.png - (83.02KB , 800x600 , 128.png )

The undertaker, satisfied that the story has run its course, or at least doesn't need him any more, flits lightly from Oren's mind, rising to freedom in the shimmering web of dreams. He smiles, in a shadowy, dreamfolk way.

Below him, the skiff lances through the obfuscous twilight, east, toward the slumbering morning. It carries them, Oren and Nessie, loose in one another's sleeping embraces, the energy of the oculus pulsing and humming and singing through fresh veins.
They are changing.
Tomorrow they start the rest of a long and interesting life, together.

He is vaguely aware, as they hold one another in dream, of her physical body, soft and warm and beautiful on his. She is paradise. She is empyrean.

They course the night. They go somewhere better.

Everything is going to be okay.
No. 513280 ID: 35edd4

good end <3
No. 513281 ID: 9ddf68

I wonder how long it's going to take them to get there oculus colors changed?
No. 513283 ID: 7e8516

I bet Oren and Nessie are going to be regular characters in Eivr now. Coooooooool!
No. 513307 ID: 60fee2

Ten bucks says they eventually become some kind of Mage cops.
No. 513324 ID: 86ec15

no bet
No. 513431 ID: bdb3f8

Agreed. I'd like to keep my ten bucks thank you.
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