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File 147896817401.jpg - (916.29KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches 1 a 0.jpg )
757996 No. 757996 ID: 547539

A thrilling tale of suspense and horror
Expand all images
No. 757997 ID: 547539
File 147896820477.jpg - (711.38KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches 1 prologue 1.jpg )

No. 758002 ID: 547539
File 147896833676.jpg - (724.58KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches 1 prologue 2.jpg )

No. 758003 ID: 547539
File 147896838737.jpg - (704.57KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches 1 prologue 3.jpg )

No. 758004 ID: 547539
File 147896840916.jpg - (964.95KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches 1 prologue 4.jpg )

No. 758005 ID: 547539
File 147896842898.jpg - (514.33KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches 1 prologue 5.jpg )

No. 758006 ID: 547539
File 147896845696.jpg - (326.64KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 1.jpg )

No. 758007 ID: 547539
File 147896849714.jpg - (510.37KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 2.jpg )

No. 758008 ID: ba506f

give it 15 minutes and if it still hasn't shown up say fuck it and walk... uh, how far is your house from here?
No. 758009 ID: ca0e20

I'd say wait another 5 or 10 mins, depending on your patience, then walk.
No. 758011 ID: 547539
File 147897249610.jpg - (112.91KB , 1748x528 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 3.jpg )

No. 758012 ID: ba506f

fuck it, it's been an hour and the damn thing still hasn't shown up so you might as well start walking. It's going to suck but if you've been here this long I don't think it's showing up at all.
No. 758021 ID: ca0e20

Yeah, time to go.
No. 758024 ID: 547539
File 147898531033.jpg - (469.92KB , 1748x2144 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 4.jpg )

No. 758025 ID: 398fe1

Grab the paper, then look behind you. If there's some reason to run you probably shouldn't be caught reading it. If you don't see anything just read the paper.
No. 758143 ID: 547539
File 147902384793.jpg - (358.59KB , 1748x1688 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 5.jpg )

No. 758176 ID: ca0e20

Check what the piece of paper has on it.
No. 758180 ID: 547539
File 147904934161.jpg - (280.27KB , 1748x1304 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 6.jpg )

No. 758182 ID: ca0e20

Weird. Sounds pretty cult-y, what with the other guys with the mask and such.

What's up with your eye, by the way? Are you blindfolded?
No. 758191 ID: 3abd97

I think you should do it. Best case it's magic. Worst case it does nothing.
No. 758220 ID: 547539
File 147907329876.jpg - (476.74KB , 1748x1856 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 7.jpg )

No. 758229 ID: 547539
File 147907468330.jpg - (551.96KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 8.jpg )

No. 758230 ID: 3abd97

Mess with it.

Either proving the null hypothesis or discovering something new both advance the cause of science!
No. 758252 ID: 34c437

Since you already experiment with the ritualistic I guess you are somewhat open to the possibility of magic existing, so you could take in consideration if it's worth doing this ritual instructed by a masked man in the case of this ritual been real. This could be a curse, but I imagine it's more likely an initiation ritual.
I say do it. If it's bullshit it doesn't matter and if it's real it's probable not harmful.
No. 758258 ID: ca0e20

Also, before you do anything else, double check that your front door is locked.
No. 758270 ID: 547539
File 147908011674.jpg - (469.42KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 9.jpg )

No. 758271 ID: 547539
File 147908013355.jpg - (199.83KB , 1748x1006 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 10.jpg )

No. 758275 ID: ca0e20

Someone's behind you!
No. 758280 ID: 547539
File 147908164703.jpg - (60.47KB , 716x456 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 11.jpg )

No. 758310 ID: ca0e20

Alright then, can you check what time it is?

Look around and see if anything is different. The feeling of being still asleep might be a passing feeling. But is it's not, it would be good to confirm it.
No. 758315 ID: 3abd97

There were feet on the headboard behind you, but they're gone now.

Look around your room for anyone or anything out of place, then look down at the paper in your lap. See if that's changed.

If that doesn't yield anything, try peeking out your window.
No. 758322 ID: 547539
File 147908928214.jpg - (314.86KB , 1748x2190 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 12.jpg )

No. 758323 ID: 547539
File 147908929587.jpg - (57.69KB , 1748x450 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 13.jpg )

No. 758326 ID: 3abd97

Well, it's that, or explore the void for the source of the lullaby.
No. 758329 ID: 547539

No. 758558 ID: 547539
File 147915073830.jpg - (316.72KB , 1748x1824 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 14.jpg )

No. 758560 ID: 34c437

I don't understand why you are so afraid os a piece of paper, but if you believe this is a valid concern go look for the source of the music. If you do nothing all you can be is a victim of external forces.
No. 758572 ID: 398fe1

Go see where the music is coming from. That's a possible threat you can examine from safety- you can't "read from a distance".
No. 758576 ID: ca0e20

I was thinking maybe you can bring the paper with you while exploring.

Not a great plan but: If there's danger, then you can read it real fast. Who knows, maybe you can get two monster to fight each other! If not, well, if this is a nightmare, it has to end poorly no matter what you do right?
No. 758577 ID: 547539
File 147915994544.jpg - (392.21KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 15 a.jpg )

No. 758578 ID: 547539
File 147915996914.jpg - (218.26KB , 964x1168 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 16 a.jpg )

No. 758581 ID: 398fe1

Say hello.
No. 758589 ID: 547539
File 147916180658.jpg - (321.02KB , 1748x1965 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 17.jpg )

No. 758590 ID: ca0e20

I'm gonna go with: It means don't read the poem! I'm not sure that's how it works, but now I'm wondering if that guy is his predicament because he read the poem.

Though don't get rid of the paper now, in case I'm wrong.
No. 758592 ID: 3abd97

Where do the strings / roots attached to this person go?
No. 758593 ID: 547539
File 147916431225.jpg - (363.72KB , 1748x1869 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 18.jpg )

No. 758594 ID: 398fe1

It sounds like this paper is associated more with him than you. Give it to him.
No. 758595 ID: 547539
File 147916533912.jpg - (260.87KB , 1228x2104 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 19 a.jpg )

No. 758601 ID: 3abd97

Claim knife.
No. 758603 ID: 547539
File 147917084098.jpg - (236.57KB , 1748x1256 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 20.jpg )

No. 758604 ID: 3abd97

I think the knife claimed you, rather than the other way around.

Stab it down into the table, as hard as you can, then try and pry / pull your hand off the hilt?
No. 758614 ID: 547539
File 147917371529.jpg - (223.04KB , 1748x1232 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 21.jpg )

No. 758617 ID: ca0e20

Guessing the poem can't be read anymore? Seems like the time to do it.
No. 758618 ID: 3abd97

...yeah. If you can read the poem, do so now. Before you end up trapped in wire or roots like the last guy.
No. 758620 ID: 547539
File 147917591564.jpg - (138.21KB , 1556x920 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 22.jpg )

No. 758622 ID: 547539
File 147917604825.jpg - (38.56KB , 1300x264 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 23.jpg )

No. 758623 ID: 547539
File 147917604987.jpg - (38.56KB , 1300x264 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 23.jpg )

No. 758624 ID: 547539
File 147917622861.jpg - (48.40KB , 1748x272 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 24.jpg )

No. 758625 ID: 547539
File 147917630247.jpg - (785.62KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 25.jpg )

No. 758626 ID: 547539
File 147917633162.jpg - (704.02KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 26.jpg )

No. 758627 ID: 547539
File 147917635324.jpg - (646.76KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 27.jpg )

No. 758628 ID: 547539
File 147917637218.jpg - (1.06MB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 28.jpg )

No. 758630 ID: 547539
File 147917699659.jpg - (211.23KB , 1748x1162 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 29.jpg )

No. 758633 ID: 547539
File 147917789229.jpg - (399.60KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 30.jpg )

No. 758634 ID: 547539

good night
No. 758637 ID: 3abd97

Greet the demon politely. Not much else you can do.
No. 758639 ID: 547539
File 147917929799.jpg - (185.85KB , 1404x1096 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 31.jpg )

No. 758642 ID: 3abd97

Um. Okay, so quick- what do I need to know and/or do before I get out? And how do I get out?

I don't want irreparable consequences.
No. 758683 ID: 547539
File 147921106427.jpg - (254.82KB , 1748x1128 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 32.jpg )

No. 758710 ID: ca0e20

Ask them how you're suppose to get out.

Also how are you holding up not feeling parts of your body and being blind in one eye?
No. 758712 ID: 3d2d5f

Being blind in one eye is something that can be worked around, but that will make driving suck.

The big problem is a lack of touch will seriously impact your ability to use your hands. You need feedback not to be a clumsy oaf. Basic tasks will be hard for a while.

Important now: what do I need to know or do before I leave? How do I leave?
No. 758715 ID: 547539
File 147922791462.jpg - (462.86KB , 1748x2392 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 33.jpg )

No. 758717 ID: 547539
File 147922911719.jpg - (446.75KB , 1748x2252 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 34.jpg )

No. 758720 ID: 3d2d5f

Wait I'm confused. Someone used the Ash Tree to try and kill me, but you waited when it asked you two, and they want to give me a present? And now I'm supposed to surrender my mortality to the thing that was trying to kill me in a horrible painful manner?
No. 758733 ID: 594c18

>sacrifice my mortality
Um, so does that mean you die or become immortal??
No. 758734 ID: 547539
File 147923533680.jpg - (433.34KB , 1748x2312 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 35.jpg )

No. 758735 ID: 3d2d5f

>do you accept the gift
...it's not going to fill me with roots or anything like that if I take it, will it?

The Ash Tree itself seems to be the one thing that unambiguously helped you then. Might as well pledge yourself to it.

...and reluctantly accept the gift of the person who got you to do a haphazard summon.
No. 758741 ID: 547539
File 147923726419.jpg - (320.40KB , 1748x1887 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 36.jpg )

No. 758770 ID: 398fe1

I don't trust this guy. If he was on your side he could have warned you at the start of this "dream". Ask him why he didn't do that, and also ask why you can't just cut the line connecting him to the mask.
No. 758773 ID: 3d2d5f

I, uh, don't really want to end anyone's existence.
No. 758778 ID: 547539
File 147924381264.jpg - (140.21KB , 1748x1114 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 37.jpg )

No. 758817 ID: 3abd97

I... have no idea. I've never heard of him before today, and what little I've learned so far is kind of confusing and contradictory.
No. 758825 ID: 398fe1

If I had to guess the Tree is the spirit of the girl in the picture, and is essentially a spirit of vengeance now. And is being used as a way of killing people, either to further the group's goals or to satisfy its lust for revenge.
No. 758918 ID: 547539
File 147926431309.jpg - (554.64KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 38.jpg )

No. 758919 ID: 547539
File 147926432790.jpg - (617.62KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 39.jpg )

No. 758920 ID: 547539
File 147926435180.jpg - (547.88KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 40.jpg )

No. 758924 ID: 3abd97

...I don't want to be cruel.
No. 759050 ID: 547539
File 147931120413.jpg - (480.23KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 41.jpg )

No. 759051 ID: 547539
File 147931123586.jpg - (182.96KB , 1748x1233 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 42.jpg )

No. 759082 ID: ca0e20


Actually, what is this place exactly? And Is there really a way out? Did that other guy say anything accurate?
No. 759101 ID: 398fe1

How can you survive without becoming a monster? Is there another form of power?

Also, it sounds like the tree's branches are the problem. How about a bit of trimming?
No. 759102 ID: 3abd97

Who am I talking to? Are you the trunk, or the branches, or the scavengers? What is it you want?
No. 759107 ID: 547539
File 147933517505.jpg - (501.54KB , 1748x2288 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 43.jpg )

No. 759110 ID: 547539
File 147933520473.jpg - (358.66KB , 1748x1784 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 44.jpg )

No. 759112 ID: 547539
File 147933524368.jpg - (580.57KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 45.jpg )

No. 759127 ID: 3abd97

I... don't know. Being asked to chose my future after just leaning all of this doesn't seem like it would be reliable.

Off hand, I don't think that I would support those trying to change the world by doing horrible things to it, even if they reward their own.
No. 759144 ID: 547539
File 147934344175.jpg - (364.20KB , 1748x2048 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 46.jpg )

No. 759145 ID: 547539
File 147934345525.jpg - (381.76KB , 1748x2132 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 47.jpg )

No. 759158 ID: 3abd97

...I'll stand for freedom, then.

Freedom from people who would take choice away from others, and decide their fates for them. Freedom from people who would shape the world for others. Freedom from scavengers, branches and roots feeding on the body.

I'll be the shears. Cutting away the vines and other connections that would take purchase on our lives.
No. 759160 ID: 547539

No. 759200 ID: 547539
File 147935173443.jpg - (612.55KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 48.jpg )

No. 759201 ID: 547539
File 147935176139.jpg - (720.72KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 49.jpg )

No. 759203 ID: 3abd97

Huh, interesting ability.

...out of curiosity, what's wrong with being whore queen? I mean, I suppose it might be distasteful or embarrassing, but it's not like sex is inherently immoral. And the usual problem with pimping is the exploitation.

Might even tie into sexual freedom. Although holding domain / control / ownership over people kind goes against that.

Sorry, I was expecting consequences like "die horribly and painfully in creative ways" not "run a whore house". Little thrown.
No. 759208 ID: be561b

True while sexual freedom is an option of freedom, we would still be holding others down for if we are a "pimp" then we are no better than a slave master. I say we stand against this evil, it won't be an easy road but we shall persevere, we will survive, we will be righteous, we will be a good person.
No. 759287 ID: 460ba0

they're just the 'successful' ending examples, it's less fun to hear about or listen to that one version of yourself that tripped and hit their head on a rock.
But for real watch where you're stepping.
No. 759294 ID: 547539
File 147938543572.jpg - (617.70KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 50.jpg )

No. 759304 ID: 3d2d5f

>don't call me whore queen
Sure thing, mistress of the shears.

>should have taken the gift
If I start doing cruel things just to serve my own puposes, doesn't that just put me on the road of becoming cult leader myself?

>say anything to leave
Thank you for your help. It's been enlightening, if overwhelming.
No. 759311 ID: 91ee5f

"Whatever you want and I will return you."

...what? You said to say that, so I said it!
No. 759313 ID: 547539
File 147940249687.jpg - (445.65KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 51.jpg )

No. 759314 ID: 547539
File 147940252877.jpg - (456.78KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 52.jpg )

No. 759321 ID: 547539
File 147940325954.jpg - (346.67KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 53.jpg )

No. 759338 ID: 3d2d5f

Well that's underwhelming.

Not sure if trust was really the right way to describe what we did. We were in an alien environment we had no control over and no known way to escape- we had little recourse but to communicate with the creatures there. And we had no known way to defend ourself or otherwise resist aggression.

And not trusting something on the basis that it was an artificial collection of spirits is not valid- since the only data we had on what it was was from another source we couldn't trust.

Hopefully it's just a painful nightmare on the way to exiting or leaving this realm. Things were getting interesting.
No. 759340 ID: 547539
File 147940853171.jpg - (459.89KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 54.jpg )

No. 759349 ID: 547539
File 147941111562.jpg - (533.96KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 55.jpg )

No. 759362 ID: 398fe1

Yeah what is your overall goal anyway?
No. 759369 ID: 547539
File 147941613008.jpg - (269.75KB , 1748x1328 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 56.jpg )

No. 759375 ID: 3583d1

At what cost though? You say you are leading them into a new evolution of human form, but how do you even decide who is worthy of evolution? What happens to those unworthy? Do their voices mean nothing?
No. 759376 ID: 547539
File 147941934923.jpg - (134.98KB , 1748x552 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 57.jpg )

No. 759377 ID: 398fe1

You're freeing people from menial labor... but how will those jobs get done afterwards?
No. 759380 ID: 3583d1

You didn't answer my question, at what cost will you bring about this "evolution?"
No. 759388 ID: 547539
File 147942092786.jpg - (293.54KB , 1748x1406 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 58.jpg )

No. 759393 ID: 3abd97

So you have no stated mission statement except

1 "I'm going to chance things"
2 "against the will of the majority"
3 "and I'm not afraid to hurt people or break things in doing so."

That's not a very good sales pitch. If you want to justify points 2 and 3, you need a really solid cause / change to be championing in 1, which you so far have refused to clarify.
No. 759398 ID: 3583d1

Cryptic. I hate that. Always you cryptic types are giving me the run around. Well, pride goeth before the fall, oh cultist leader, I think yours shall fall sooner than you imagine. I was once told something by a teacher of mine, It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it. I name you, and your followers, cowards.
No. 759406 ID: 547539
File 147942307036.jpg - (538.39KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 59.jpg )

No. 759413 ID: 1c5d74

And that is why you are coward, you fear what is inevitable, you lack the courage to face it, you wish to defy death? Then rise to meet it and die with some pride as a man, only then do you gain true immortality. But fine, you want to know what I've seen for your death? You swim. You swim up a river of blades only crawl your way through a tree of thorns, and feast at the table of hunger with the knives of famine. And yes we may be future versions of Ana, but her bravery is our bravery, her will is our will we have powers that even you cannot imagine. And may the will of the story tell be told, we will see you fall.
No. 759414 ID: 3abd97

>number 2 is resolved with education
Only if you're willing to defer your plans until education works or you have majority support, which I didn't get the impression you were.

>why even bother talking reasonably with a madman
Because there's nothing to be gained by talking unreasonably. We're outside of continuity- trying to intimidate him, frighten him, or otherwise influencing him emotionally yields no long term gain. Trying to understand his perspective and motives by engaging him nets a marginal strategic benefit.

>Did you think you were the only one who
Dude we're so new to this reality we haven't had chances to even make assumptions about the magic system and lore yet. Sorry, we haven't bought in to one narrative long enough for you revealing yourself to be a rival "chosen one" or whatever future-self influenced people are called to be a surprise, yet.

Thanks for the info, though. There are ways to work around precognition / massively parallel processing, or to use it against people, it just takes creativity and a lot more work setting it up.
No. 759418 ID: c81293


>talking unreasonably to a cult leader
No. 759427 ID: 547539
File 147942554714.jpg - (606.32KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 60.jpg )

No. 759439 ID: c81293

Well maybe he just needs a coke and a smile and to shut the fuck up.
No. 759442 ID: 91ee5f

You said it yourself, you're the writer of this story, so it's not our fault that you wrote his character like that! It's your fault that he's someone that gets angry and violent when agitated!
No. 759447 ID: 1c5d74

Ok, I have a question for you because I am expecting bad things to happen, maybe on some level it will be our own fault when bad things go down, but please tell me there won't be "rocks fall, everyone dies"moments because we took a wrong turn or something. Only reason I ask is you yourself have called yourself and asshole and pulled that on us as a joke at the end of the chapter. Or am I getting into spoiler territory?
No. 759454 ID: 3abd97

Meh. Either he was bluffing because this is non-canon, or we succeed in goading him. Psychological influence achieved. I'll call it a win either way.

We chose the path of the shears, anyways. There's no way we weren't seeing violence.
No. 759455 ID: 3abd97

Actually, the interesting question: which thing we said convinced him we were dangerous? That gives us insight into his thought process, and maybe where he thinks his own weakness is.
No. 759466 ID: 547539
File 147942937669.jpg - (464.34KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 61.jpg )

No. 759470 ID: 547539
File 147943053954.jpg - (458.90KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 62.jpg )

No. 759471 ID: 547539
File 147943074735.jpg - (582.63KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 63.jpg )

No. 759472 ID: 1c5d74

Oh boy we've got problems...
No. 759474 ID: 547539
File 147943119225.jpg - (193.20KB , 1092x1160 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 64.jpg )

No. 759477 ID: 3abd97

Well I guess we've got the first branch we'll have to prune. Or at least the first leaf.
No. 759496 ID: 547539
File 147943588370.jpg - (386.96KB , 1593x1968 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 65.jpg )

No. 759521 ID: 3abd97

Bandage your stabbed hand before you bleed out. You won't feel it.

>what do I need to know
How to defend yourself, and how to find your opponents before they find you. Neither of which we know how to do, now.

>what do I do
We kind of have to assume someone will find you. Either the people you just declared your intent to oppose to their power source, or maybe the guy who offered you the gift.

...that means you can't stay here, I think. First step is to leave home. Gotta go off the map, I think.
No. 759556 ID: 1c5d74

Added to this, get a weapon, knife would work well, but as for self defense with it I found this for you (posting this from phone so idk it will work)
No. 759565 ID: 3abd97

I was thinking of supernatural defenses. She can learn how to fight, sure, but we need a counter for whatever tree magic these guys are going to bring to bear or we're in trouble.
No. 759582 ID: 1c5d74

Alright let me see what I can do there, since we are going up against tree people I know of some actual schools of magic, this is druidic magic which specializes in the earth and trees

However, the Norse, my personal preference also have some magic related to destiny and dreams. I figure these would be most useful.
No. 759665 ID: 547539
File 147946071909.jpg - (465.92KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 66.jpg )

No. 759702 ID: 3d2d5f

Isn't this a worldwide thing? Why do we think he's necessarily close to your home?

Hockey stick isn't a bad weapon, and can pass as normal, at least.

Not sure we're ready to confront the cult leader off the bat. Unless alt future advice allows Contessa style bullshit precog fighting, you aren't prepared to be a one woman army yet.
No. 759711 ID: 547539
File 147948095832.jpg - (235.67KB , 1748x1228 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 67.jpg )

No. 759713 ID: 3d2d5f

...someone has already found you, I think.

We need another way out. Options?
No. 759770 ID: 547539
File 147948996572.jpg - (134.37KB , 1748x584 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 68.jpg )

No. 759788 ID: 91ee5f

Since he's not a cult member, he'll either be paranoid good like, "Oh, good! You're the chosen one, I'll help you fight the cult!" or paranoid bad like, "Oh, no! You're one of those cultists, I'll kill you!"
No. 759794 ID: 1c5d74

More friends would be nice, plus paranoid people tend to be armed well. So it couldn't hurt to see if is him still approach with caution and try to be friendly
No. 759870 ID: 3d2d5f

...paranoid people are prepared. With supplies. Places to retreat to. Contingencies.

Maybe you should tell him you're in trouble.
No. 759922 ID: 547539
File 147950832816.jpg - (454.57KB , 1748x1992 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 69.jpg )

No. 759923 ID: 547539
File 147950834838.jpg - (521.08KB , 1748x2160 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 70.jpg )

No. 759929 ID: 5d7976

Can I come with you? I think what's happening is more than we even imagine, beside we might be the only people left in the city besides whatever and whoever else is out there, we should watch each other's back.
No. 759931 ID: 5d7976

Actually never mind, where is Derrick now?
No. 759959 ID: 3abd97

...okay, look, let's not debate the cause.

You really trust the government and emergency services to come through for us? They're going to be disorganized and distracted, and we can't afford to sit here if there's a follow up attack waiting to hit emergency responders.
No. 760084 ID: 547539
File 147956955294.jpg - (521.37KB , 1748x2366 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 71.jpg )

No. 760085 ID: 547539
File 147956956438.jpg - (521.92KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 72.jpg )

No. 760127 ID: e7e3ee

Oh crap! Get away from the doors! Run, go find Dereck!
No. 760132 ID: 547539
File 147958088940.jpg - (605.46KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 73.jpg )

No. 760139 ID: 398fe1

I think that's the same guy from your dream. Can you tell for sure?
No. 760140 ID: 1d744d

Flip him the bird, go find Derrick. Crawl if you have to but do let him see you through the window
No. 760151 ID: 987a1a

Don't* let him see you
No. 760153 ID: 547539
File 147958741184.jpg - (492.98KB , 1748x2360 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 74.jpg )

No. 760156 ID: 987a1a

"Get down!"
No. 760176 ID: 3abd97

God damn, that's a good shot being able to hit a single finger with a fucking quick draw in the dark.

You need to tourniquet that before you bleed out, even if you can't feel it.

Get down! Shooter!
No. 760202 ID: 547539
File 147959926776.jpg - (550.66KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 75.jpg )

No. 760203 ID: 547539
File 147959929078.jpg - (335.24KB , 1640x1522 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 76.jpg )

No. 760214 ID: 987a1a

Uhh... right then... so we didn't lose a finger... sooooo... tea?
No. 760222 ID: 91ee5f

Yeah, he's not giving you a good reason to go outside and since he was rude and shot your finger off (even though it happened in your head it still counts), you're not going to go outside.

Go get some tea.
No. 760225 ID: 987a1a

Aactually we go have tea, let's take some stock of our situation. There is a cultist member who I assume is the one responsible for Clarances death, and has proven efficient enough at illusion that he can make us think things haven't happened. So, is there anyway to signal to him before we go up? Like asking him what his "gift" is?
No. 760233 ID: 3abd97

To be fair, giving him the finger was also rude, so he only responded in kind.

...of course, if he killed Clarance, he started the rude behavior.

For now, gifts accompanied by gunshots are not ones I want to accept.
No. 760236 ID: 547539
File 147960852329.jpg - (186.14KB , 1483x1023 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 77.jpg )

No. 760237 ID: 3abd97

Is... that a paper airplane?

Or maybe that's mean to be your shears. San handles. I meant that title metaphorically, though.
No. 760238 ID: 547539
File 147960924795.jpg - (65.98KB , 1340x430 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 78.jpg )

No. 760239 ID: 3abd97

Um, catch?
No. 760242 ID: 547539
File 147961050782.jpg - (81.44KB , 1300x544 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 79.jpg )

No. 760243 ID: 547539
File 147961123065.jpg - (572.67KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 80.jpg )

No. 760244 ID: 547539
File 147961125254.jpg - (441.38KB , 1652x1904 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 81.jpg )

No. 760245 ID: 547539
File 147961216066.jpg - (254.32KB , 1748x1490 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 82.jpg )

No. 760246 ID: 3abd97

If it got through a gas mask, and it didn't go through the broken window and kill you, that suggests whatever the poison is, it's not your typical airborne containment. If it were, Clarence would be okay and you'd be dead.

He makes a fair point that the masks aren't necessarily the protection. It could be something else they're carrying, or even an antidote they took in advance.

...maybe the gift that guy is offering will help?

Short of that, we might have to capture one of them.
No. 760247 ID: 3abd97

Are this different answers? We don't have the way to get a mask or antidote without grabbing a cultist. Which we can try if the plane is a bust.
No. 760248 ID: 547539

Choose wisely
No. 760249 ID: 547539

The mark can be simply drawn like the one you used before going to sleep
No. 760432 ID: 547539
File 147968618887.jpg - (534.97KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 83.jpg )

No. 760434 ID: 987a1a

Well you guys could always try to lure him into the building and gets some answers out of him. Also if you make a mask like that and gave it to Derrick think that could help
him see the guy? You might be able to see him because you have seen the ash tree itself.
No. 760437 ID: 547539
File 147968839062.jpg - (434.70KB , 1748x1824 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 84.jpg )

No. 760440 ID: 3abd97

Just drawing the mark is a big risk. And the only way to test is potentially getting yourself killed, or using Derrik as a guinea pig. Which seems wrong.

That leaves waiting for a cultist to ambush, or taking the gift. The gift could be a trap, or he could attack you in some way, but I don't see how that's more dangerous than fighting with a cultist anyways.

Let's take the gift.
No. 760449 ID: 91ee5f

You could make a sign of your own that says, "Give me a reason to trust you." and then show it to that guy that's trying to give you a gift.
No. 760499 ID: 547539
File 147974102799.jpg - (271.29KB , 1748x1184 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 85.jpg )

No. 760503 ID: 547539
File 147974433212.jpg - (525.92KB , 1532x2104 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 86.jpg )

No. 760520 ID: 987a1a

Alright I only have 4 simple questions then, give me these answers and I'll trust you enough to take you paper airplane or whatever. 1, did you kill clarance or was that the fog? 2, are you a cultist member or did the ash tree send you? 3, can we have his gun back? 4, is your gift going to protect me and my friend from this fog?
No. 760546 ID: 547539
File 147976457638.jpg - (736.07KB , 1614x2554 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 87.jpg )

No. 760552 ID: b0f04f

Fair enough, I accept. I will take the gift, but we will use it when we feel we are ready to use it. I have one other idea of how to get out of the building so we can avoid the fog.
No. 760554 ID: b0f04f

Even if his from the cultists and therefore the enemy, there is a rule in war "no man threatens the messenger." Kind of a parley rule.
No. 760555 ID: 547539
File 147976647091.jpg - (101.57KB , 1244x600 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 88.jpg )

No. 760556 ID: 3abd97

Do we trust him? No, not at all.

But my next best idea is to use Derek as a guinea pig to test if the altered mask works against his will, which is morally reprehensible. Also he's your only ally, so treating him as a disposable test subject isn't very tactically sound, either.

And the next best idea after that is attempting to take a prisoner, after allowing other cultists to reach this building, which is more dangerous than attempting to parley with this messenger.

So.... that means we take his gift, then we decide what we're doing after that.

Um. Unless this building has access to the sewers, or maintenance tunnels? Whatever they're killing people with isn't actually a gas, and seems restricted to the outdoors. Underground might be a safe way to travel.
No. 760560 ID: 547539
File 147976867709.jpg - (239.12KB , 1748x958 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 89.jpg )

No. 760561 ID: b0f04f

My idea is that we go into the basement, I've heard certain apartment complexes have underground passageways and steam tunnels leading between various buildings, usually for underground maintenance and power lines. This building may have something like that. However if we can take whatever this guy had we can maybe take it but not use it, but it may not work like that. We should send Derrick to check and see if there is a way out like the way I mentioned and give him Clarence's gun.
No. 760563 ID: 3abd97

Then my analysis is unchanged. Taking the gift is no more dangerous than our other options. We may as well.
No. 760566 ID: 91ee5f

Write a sign that says, "I'll take the gift. Do I need to come out there to get it or are you going to send it over like you did with the gun?"
No. 760573 ID: 547539
File 147977370772.jpg - (417.56KB , 1748x2001 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 90.jpg )

No. 760579 ID: 3abd97

Watch to see what he does. Did he disappear, or leave, or is he still watching?

Read note, don't open bag.

Also, what has Derek made of this exchange, since he couldn't see half of it, and can't explain what you're doing / may not even be able to see the things you're holding?
No. 760595 ID: 547539
File 147977943394.jpg - (615.26KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 91.jpg )

No. 760601 ID: 3abd97

Note, this only explains it if the note is telling the truth. One way for the cult to kill you is to convince you to walk into the deadly fog, thinking you're safe.

...and if we really need to justify it, the mark doesn't belong to the acolytes, or the cult. It belongs the the tree itself, and is older than them, and stands for more than it means to them.

The note also doesn't tell us what's in the bag.
No. 760604 ID: 547539
File 147978064680.jpg - (309.56KB , 1676x1580 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 92.jpg )

No. 760611 ID: aeabd2

Okay so how paranoid was Clarence? If he had a military grade gas mask, maybe he had some other stuff we can set a trap with and then escape into the basement, you say it's not exactly a great way to escape but there has to be some way of getting through there like a maintenance tunnel or something.
No. 760623 ID: 3abd97

How much of the 20 minutes did we waste stalling?

Also, what's in the bag? Can't be anything good.
No. 760625 ID: aeabd2

It's whatever will keep us safe from the fog
No. 760752 ID: 547539
File 147984339895.jpg - (17.27KB , 452x184 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 93.jpg )

No. 760754 ID: 547539
File 147984341419.jpg - (153.07KB , 1716x826 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 94.jpg )

No. 760771 ID: 547539
File 147984604265.jpg - (402.34KB , 1748x1881 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 95.jpg )

No. 760778 ID: 3583d1

Set a trap with the smoke bombs, maybe rig a trip wire that will set them off if anyone comes through. it wont stop them but it may buy you some time, and have Derrick help you. You take the taser as it won't kill so it is a weapon can use. Once the trap is set get into the basement and find a way underground. If my hypothesis is right there should be a maintenance tunnel leading to another building.
No. 760794 ID: 3abd97

Well, gear up. You can wear most of that.
No. 760807 ID: 547539
File 147986290121.jpg - (550.62KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 96.jpg )

No. 760811 ID: 547539
File 147986495870.jpg - (371.61KB , 1660x1696 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 97.jpg )

No. 760812 ID: 3abd97

If you want to hurt the cultists, come with me. I plan to bring them down for good, cut them off from the source of their power. Kill their leader. You can do more harm than stay here to take a few of them with you when their patrol reaches this building.
No. 760813 ID: 398fe1

Hey don't forget to wear the cultist mask over your gasmask.
No. 760816 ID: 3abd97

>visual sendings
I would guess that's what the ring does, since he didn't to that earlier.
No. 760952 ID: 547539
File 147993256908.jpg - (483.50KB , 1748x2128 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 98.jpg )

No. 760953 ID: 547539
File 147993258592.jpg - (352.86KB , 1748x1672 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 99.jpg )

No. 760963 ID: 3abd97

>never let it change you
(Quietly) Too late for that.

Thank you Derek. Good luck, and goodbye. They'll pay.
No. 760965 ID: 921def




No. 760971 ID: 547539

No. 760973 ID: 921def

In all seriousness, Derrick, I wish you would come with us. I know I can't understand what you are feeling right now but I do know the feeling of wanting vengeance. But I hope I can at least make you consider coming with us. If you believe that you won't have another happy day or this is your only chance for vengeance then you do what you feel is right. I won't like it but I will understand. But if you think that you could do more, that there is another way, that you can go on no matter how small I chance, please come with us. Good luck Derrick, may Odin bring you wisdom. And if you believe that this is right, then may the Valkyries bring you home to Valhalla and may you be reunited with your family.

Let's get a move on.
No. 760980 ID: 547539
File 147994974237.jpg - (354.12KB , 1600x1979 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 100.jpg )

No. 760981 ID: 547539
File 147994975734.jpg - (456.41KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 101.jpg )

No. 761141 ID: e37049

We should use the dynamite as other plans would require us to use the the ring which has some consequences. If it's from the cult it could be a tracking device, when we put it on it starts to track us and give away our location. Speaking of using it however, do we have anything to light it with?
No. 761169 ID: 3abd97

Set dynamite, wait outside of the basement for it to detonate.

If there's a collapse, Go with plan 4 (roofs). If not, go with plan 3 (sewers).
No. 761195 ID: 547539
File 148002390269.jpg - (457.74KB , 1652x2296 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 102.jpg )

No. 761203 ID: 94464c

We need to move fast, when the dynamite blows they will probably move in, so we need to move quickly
No. 761205 ID: 3abd97

It already blew. The question is if we take the time to clear rubble from the hole that we blew to get through, or if we risk another exit (across the roof, say) and hope the cultists on guard don't see us in the process.
No. 761214 ID: 547539
File 148003198115.jpg - (105.44KB , 1500x440 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 103.jpg )

No. 761227 ID: 94464c

What does it look like upstairs? We were banking on the idea that it would take them longer to get here, and we are unsure if we can clear it away it time now, we may not have that kind of time. So the question is do we want to try slipping out the back with the ring on to protect us from the fog while Derrick fights them off?
No. 761228 ID: 94464c

Actually, if they are surrounding the whole building slipping out may be impossible, we need to dig our asses off, let's get moving!
No. 761307 ID: 547539
File 148008773306.jpg - (264.55KB , 1612x1016 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 104.jpg )

No. 761517 ID: 94464c

So here is the problem we are still facing. I suspect that these cultists are waiting on something a lot bigger to show up and storm the place. And while we still have time, I wouldn't t want to risk going out unless we know we won't be seen by them, I don't want our position being given away. So I need some other opinions here. Part of me says we dig but we may not have enough time. So we either risk going out and being seen and our position given away or we keep digging and risk not escaping in time. At the moment I think it may be best if we try to get the roof, stay low and try and get to the sewer
No. 761584 ID: 547539
File 148017608237.jpg - (564.19KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 105.jpg )

No. 761598 ID: a9939a

So far, so good, stay low and stay alert
No. 761600 ID: a9939a

And stay quiet!
No. 761648 ID: 547539
File 148019437678.jpg - (544.45KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 106.jpg )

No. 761690 ID: 94464c

What does this voice sound like? And how are we doing on time?
No. 761712 ID: 547539
File 148021185805.jpg - (98.75KB , 1413x551 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 107.jpg )

No. 761716 ID: 3abd97

Well, there are one of two outcomes, here.

Either that's a civilian the cult hasn't found yet, or that's a cultist trap. (Or both: an innocent civy being used in a cultist trap).

You either walk away or you intervene. With the potential downsides of leaving her to die versus dragging her into this, and potentially walking into a trap.

We have no way to asses the likelyhood or either right now. So the important question is: what's important to you? Is your mission paramount to the point you'll sacrifice others to fulfill it? Or are the innocents the mission?

(Personally I'd skew towards investigating).
No. 761746 ID: 94464c

I'm skewing towards checking myself but we would need to be quick... Plus if this woman is unaware of the fog we need to tell her.
No. 761747 ID: 94464c

More specifically the mask will protect you from the fog.
No. 761855 ID: 547539
File 148026235629.jpg - (511.94KB , 1748x2288 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 108.jpg )

No. 761869 ID: 94464c

Heave-ho! Best move it carefully off if her leg is broken
No. 761880 ID: 3abd97

>Is that your lesbian sex alter ego
Damnit, maybe we should have stuck with "Whore Queen."

Clearly we can't leave this one for the cult to find. Her power of insults is too powerful.

>what do
Try to move the wardrobe, I guess.

Wait, how did she get stuck? The cult released a poison outside, they didn't cause an earthquake or go around shoving furniture on people.
No. 761962 ID: 547539
File 148029365414.jpg - (535.46KB , 1748x2248 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 109.jpg )

No. 761970 ID: 93c406

And you know what you need, bitch? A kick to the cooter!
(Lawful good doesn't mean lawful nice)

No. 761980 ID: 3abd97

With the kevlar and the masks in the way, I'm not even sure she can get a good chokehold?

Even if she faked that to catch you, the thing really was on her leg. She should be hurt there. Kick her in her injured leg, as hard as you can.

Then all you need to do is stumble / drag her out the door you came in while she's off balance. She's not wearing a mask, she'll be killed p quick.

"You need to respect the rules of engagement. You didn't wait out the clock, and I'm not going to show any mercy to those who try to penalize helping civilians."
No. 761991 ID: b524bb

We don't kill people, but that doesn't mean we can't play a little rough, if she is with the cult (most likely) take her mask that will trap her here until her comrades find her and she will be punished for her failure and for failure to follow her leaders commands. Plus if we take her mask then we could use that instead if the fish mask and maybe do a hide in plain sight deal
No. 762065 ID: 0cf1be
File 148036003531.jpg - (429.81KB , 1748x2112 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 110.jpg )

No. 762066 ID: 0cf1be
File 148036006530.jpg - (321.15KB , 1180x2072 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 111.jpg )

No. 762072 ID: 3583d1

Tase this bitch!
No. 762087 ID: 5d48e9

If you did just pull out your taser, you got to do an awesome one liner

"My turn..." TASE TO THE FACE!
No. 762088 ID: 3abd97

Honestly I can bullshit. Who goes from a chokehold to pulling out a concealed knife faster than they can hit the ground or be kicked? If nothing else, it should have been too late to stop the momentum of the kick.

And yeah, careful with that future sight combat. There are pitfalls to it. You either Golden Pathed yourself (blindly following the future and deadending yourself in the process unintentionally) or you failed to account for an opponent who is also a precog and couldn't predict an action with a future cause.

...why is she aw shitting? Did she suddenly remember how stupid it is to gloat mid fight?
No. 762269 ID: 0cf1be
File 148043425779.jpg - (613.77KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 112.jpg )

No. 762270 ID: 0cf1be
File 148043428714.jpg - (119.78KB , 1628x623 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 113.jpg )

No. 762303 ID: 5d48e9

Ok, so hold up a second, now I remember her! Laura how you doing girl?! Do I remember getting stabbed in the leg by a knife? Yeah, I got an awesome scar from this. The explosive ones had a kind to of double tap thing, where if anyone but her pulls the knife it detonated taking your hand along with wherever it hits. Care to get this knife out and get us some bandages please? We've got more of the real cultists on the way. Want to come along?
No. 762339 ID: 0cf1be
File 148045708890.jpg - (381.96KB , 1580x1888 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 114.jpg )

No. 762345 ID: 3abd97

Note to self: from now on introduce yourself as not-a-cultist.

Also god dang how did your future sight not see you getting stabbed by that. (Unless getting injured by her and bonding over it is the optimal outcome of this encounter?).

Complaining: you couldn't have guessed I wasn't a cultist from the whole not killed you thing.

Also who the heck carried bomb knives. This is not a normal person. She's some kind of crazy vampire hunter.

Also what the heck was she doing if this wasn't specifically a trap for us. Pinning herself as a trap to catch cultists isn't a good idea, since they'd have just killed her.

>what's my job
Currently, helping the cult by stalling. Come on, chop chop. We already broke a leg here. We need to get my leg patched, make you a mask to protect you from the poison, then we need to get the heck out of here.
No. 762366 ID: 5d7976

You are following in your dad's footsteps, Laura Moon, and you are almost a cop and you almost graduated from the police academy, probably would have been awesome had this cult shit not gone down. You were currently in swat training and specialized in bomb squad tactics. Guess you picked a few things up huh? You were also about leave to find your dad because he probably would have been near the front lines when the cult showed up but then you saw me and... well you know the rest.
No. 762382 ID: 0cf1be
File 148046515087.jpg - (496.77KB , 1748x2192 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 115.jpg )

No. 762383 ID: 0cf1be
File 148046517069.jpg - (355.74KB , 1588x1488 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 116.jpg )

No. 762384 ID: 3abd97

Still doesn't explain why she was pinned. That kind of trap only works on someone with a conscience, with the cult seems to lack.

But yeah we need to get patched up and get out of here.
No. 762385 ID: 933076

Yeah let's motor, tell her that the fog won't recognize you if you wear a mask with the cult symbol on it, that's why I'm wearing this one. I recommend you get one too and we need to move fast
No. 762396 ID: 0cf1be
File 148046788230.jpg - (380.20KB , 1598x1857 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 117.jpg )

No. 762418 ID: 3abd97

Right we can compare notes on who knows which bits of the everything later, let's get this kidnapping done and be out of here already.

I assume she has a mask if she knows everything (including how the poison works).
No. 762424 ID: 933076

Alright well get a mask and let's boogie then
No. 762426 ID: 0cf1be
File 148047320109.jpg - (406.69KB , 1636x1534 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 118.jpg )

No. 762442 ID: 933076

As much as one person who was stabbed can but both are in danger can I suppose.
No. 762468 ID: 3abd97

>do you trust me
To work against the cult? Mostly. Not to get me stabbed again? Less so.

It's a moot point, though. The cult does brainwashing, you just said. As long as you're under cover, I'll never be able to tell if you're acting or if you've been compromised, which means I won't be able to afford to trust you. Unless you've got a perfect defense against their brainwashing technique?
No. 762643 ID: 0cf1be
File 148050952949.jpg - (598.05KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 119.jpg )

No. 762653 ID: 3d2d5f

>they can't brainwash me if they think I'm one of them
Yeah, until you get caught. Then poof, brainwashing, and you will be one of them.

Where we going with this?
No. 762689 ID: 933076

That's chaotic neutral for you.

I vaguely remember this, it's was scary for a while, until I realized she is one hell of a liar and a wickedly good poker player. Think of this as her hole card (five card stud if you will), she want you to think that this a means of keeping the trust between the two of you, but honestly a bomb in a persons leg? So much could go wrong with that, and she's smart enough to know it. So she threatens us with a hole card that actually makes her hand worthless. There is no bomb and it's just a way to make sure we can cooperate (albeit under a fake threat of violence).

But that doesn't mean we can't use it to our own advantage, call and raise the stakes. There was many a time that we were almost caught and we threatened them with the "bomb" in us, they did run away quite a bit when they think they are in Armageddon's shadow. Especially if you run at them screaming bloody murder.
No. 762704 ID: 0cf1be
File 148053652112.jpg - (688.84KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 120.jpg )

No. 762724 ID: 5d7976

Okay but I'm still banking on it being just a silly light to help convince us. But fine we need to move, so let's get going already sheesh
No. 762726 ID: 3abd97

So it's a one way trust check. (Which is ridiculously ironic). So long as we trust her not to blow us up (by not removing the bomb) she'll be able to tell. Of course, we have no similar gesture of her trust, and she is free to blow us up at any time. (Or the cult is, if she's caught).

(Also, "I can only trust you if you allow me the capability to kill you, and if you remove my ability to kill you, I'll kill you" is twisted supervillian logic at it's best).

How does she plan to evade the cult leader's precog? She dodged ours (somehow) but there's no guarantee her luck of defense will hold up long term.

I mean sending someone in undercover with the means to blow up her allies just waiting to fall into enemy hands is action movie plot level dumb.

If anything, she should be the one with a bomb in her so we can blow her up if she gets brainwashed.

>one thing to do for me
Yeah what's that.
No. 762751 ID: 0cf1be
File 148055015172.jpg - (579.60KB , 1748x2368 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 121.jpg )

No. 762752 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 762753 ID: 3abd97

Wasn't planning on it. Hi, I'm not a cultist, I promise.

Why are you tied up in there, and what's with the pointy chompers?
No. 762772 ID: 0cf1be
File 148055474526.jpg - (398.69KB , 1676x1888 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 123.jpg )

No. 762841 ID: 3abd97

Um. Show them the note? Hold it up in front of them and unfold it for them to read, without turning it to read yourself.
No. 762901 ID: 0cf1be
File 148058816203.jpg - (657.37KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 124.jpg )

No. 762927 ID: 3583d1

Don't really know, but it sounds like we are headed in the same direction. But you do work for the ash tree right? I've met him, and he's helped me out a bit. If you work with the ash tree and not the cult, then we share a common ally. I''m Ana, and The Ash Tree has Dubbed me the Mistress of Sheers.
No. 762972 ID: 0cf1be
File 148062635598.jpg - (715.43KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 125.jpg )

No. 762973 ID: 0cf1be

No. 762976 ID: 3583d1

You and Laura share a common enemy, let's not betray her. Besides we have a bomb in our leg.

"Is that what the branches told you? Or is that what your leader has told you? Because from my understanding the ash tree itself is pretty indifferent to your cult, and even has some regrets the power you know wield. And really, pascifists? Unleashing a deadly fog with you "friends" doesn't seem like something a pascifist would do. Tell me, Charlotte Dubois, yeah I know your real name, why did you join to begin with?"
No. 762990 ID: 3abd97

>but this is completely insane
That was pretty much my assessment too.

(Ain't it great when your ally is so cuckoo you find yourself agreeing with your opposition)?

>try to save the cultist?
Um. Even if they've been brainwashed or mislead, they just killed most of the population of a city. There's... pretty much no way we can stop them without harming or killing some of them (without an overwhelming superiority we lack), and if you're willing to let the cult hold it's own members hostage to hold you to inaction, you're never going to stop them.

For now, she's effectively an unwitting prisoner, and the best you can do is treat her humanely.

>evil spirits
If evil spirits hang out around the tree, how can one discern their voices from the branches? They could pretend to be one of them as easily as the trunk.
No. 763035 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763036 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763037 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763050 ID: 933076

Ok, no. Pull out the taser, point but don't fire

"Freeze, bitch! Keep your hands where I can see them!"
No. 763158 ID: 0cf1be
File 148069344731.jpg - (610.92KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 129.jpg )

No. 763162 ID: 933076

DONT DO THAT! Look, if you screw up you could kill yourself, me, and your friends that are hanging out on building over, I have bomb in me too so if you go up in flames that means I also go up in flames.
No. 763175 ID: 0cf1be
File 148070701377.jpg - (537.75KB , 1748x1969 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 130.jpg )

No. 763193 ID: 3583d1

Huh... yeah I've seen certain outcomes. And here's the thing about that stitch fellow. I've killed him before, sometimes by explosions, my favorite has been pulling out that knife in his neck and also cutting through his arteries. but in every instance I see, I killed only because he was on his way to kill me. He's probably on his way here now. And as for trust, yeah, I don't trust Laura. I can't say it's easy trusting anyone who would put a bomb in my bandages. But here's the thing, I don't trust murderers either. You think your man a savior but he has damned you all. You think he is a hero, he's no hero. I've seen a hero and that was only half an hour ago, a man, a fried sacrificed himself just so I could get away from your "friends." He lost his family too, from your fog. Look, I'm sorry for what you went through 93, im sorry you lost your family, but what you've decided to do now? To take away everyone else's family? if that's not evil I don't know what is.
And all of this, just because your leader wants me dead. Well he's the one who started, this so now I, The Mistress of Sheers, am ending it. I won't tell you again, get up, find a mask, let's move.
And if you need further incentive, I'm putting my own life at risk too. This taser, if I hit your face, could zap your brain and possibly detonate it. This is my resolve 93, because now, I don't have much to lose. I would put my own life at risk, just to see your leader fall. And if I fail, then at least I'm taking some of you with me.
now MOVE!
No. 763209 ID: 3583d1

No. 763220 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763221 ID: 0cf1be
File 148071869533.jpg - (720.66KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 132.jpg )

No. 763235 ID: 3583d1

Oh, crap! Anna hold your mind still for a second, I need to talk with you!

Alright, now that its just kinda quiet for a second, I have a gift for you. Before I give it, walk with me for a bit. It's just nice to walk while we talk. Remember Dad? He would always read to us from that giant book of Norse myths? I loved those stories? Didn't you?
Well, it's important to know that some those stories, they will be important us on this journey. I have a gift, and the gift is a spell, straight out of those old stories. I can only give this once, and you can only use it once, but it can get you out of this. If you want to use it again you will have to find out how to use it the way I learned it. And, there is a cost. Giving over something like this, it isn't easy, names and what to say are easy enough, but giving over... raw experience and knowledge like this, it's taxing. On my end i'll be weak as kitten, I can't say what will happen to you though.
There is one other thing however. I understand you don't want to take lives, I still don't myself, but I've had to do it before. To ensure that I lived, to ensure that my friends lived, that my... that my son lived...
If you wish, I can give you this spell, I call it Valkyries' Doom.
No. 763311 ID: 0cf1be
File 148078158058.jpg - (196.69KB , 1748x952 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 133.jpg )

No. 763322 ID: 3583d1

Father is well, last I had heard he was still in Iceland working on his archeological sites. And as for my son, no he is not the root of ash, he is a normal health boy. His name is Logan I named him after... His father. You are on the right path to meet him now, I actually didn't come through this event too well, lost a damn finger. But I found Logan trying to escape the city and he even killed a cultist on our way out. Just keep going. But... If there is one thing I would ever want you to do, find him he brought light to me in dark places.

Right then! This spell, the reason I call it Valkyries Doom, is it will affect the cultist's "Seidr" or "threads of fate." This is How me may speak to you know as your Seidr thread is interwoven with ours. As the mistress of Sheers, this spell will allow you cut the Seidr of whoever your target. What this does is essentially marks them for death, just as the Valkyries did! To do this is you will draw upon the runes of fate, point at your target and recite the runes. Try to sing them as well.

The incantation for this spell is as follows:
"Urðr Verðandi Skuld höfuð þetta símtal, vefari örlög, ég fordæma hér með þetta einn að deyja!"

Saying these words draws upon the runes of fate and you will cut their Seidr. When it works your targets will feel sudden very cold and even afraid. This should buy you some time. Once you reach the bottom throw the bomb-knife Laura gave you, use that, it will be an explosion at point blank range to them and will blow off their heads and rupture their hearts, effectively killing them. What this spell does, is essentially chose them to die, not you. Like I said you get one shot with this, you can use it and then you'll need to relearn it if you wish to use it again.

Now grip my forearm, and will give you the knowledge and experience to do this, ready? Set? HERE!
No. 763333 ID: 1d744d

No. 763336 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763337 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763338 ID: 8b035b

Ooof... it did... work... their Seidr are cut... *huff* short.. as for the hand.... I said... there would be a price. Need to get.. a healer... as for them... Any... move they... make... could kill them... maybe their guns... jam and explode.. I don't know. Fate is... a bitch...
As for Derrick... ask him... is he with the cult...? If so... we don't have many... choices ....
No. 763339 ID: 8b035b

Hell... they could even... go... into random... cardiac arrest... but I'd say... they've only got... about 3 minutes left...
No. 763363 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763364 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763365 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763366 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763376 ID: 8b035b

Told... you so... Derrick... may the Valkyries take you home...

"Hey, 93, you really need to look into a different career. Now do you believe me about what I said?"

Is there a fire escape ladder you can swing over too?
No. 763383 ID: 0cf1be
File 148081709228.jpg - (222.65KB , 1652x936 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 139.jpg )

No. 763384 ID: af9684

I'd rather discuss it until we are both not in any danger of falling and breaking something important, can you pull us up?

Is there anything around her you can grab on to help her out?
No. 763387 ID: 0cf1be
File 148081888592.jpg - (331.69KB , 1748x1486 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 140.jpg )

No. 763389 ID: af9684

Currently no, because if you die right now that means I die too.

Swing onto the terrace first before we continue this discussion.

93 I don't want you to die, there is still enough human in you that makes you saveable. You didn't believe them, you want to believe that what you are doing is right. But we both know you would have been collateral damage to them, and that they really are murderers. I'm sorry 93.
No. 763396 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763466 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763467 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763468 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763488 ID: af9684

Oh no... this guy. Don't worry Ana, this guy is a Vǫrðr, a watcher. He sometimes showed up to chastise me when i misused magic, he could actually be funny (he told me a joke one time about a cow and I lost my shit). I wasn't aware of what the cost is on your end, but he knows. I only have a suspicion of the full price you paid
No. 763519 ID: 97712e

No. 763523 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763524 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763525 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763531 ID: 97712e

Woah... I didn't know that... you are the one who whispered the runes and the songs of power to Odin when he hung on the world tree, you are older than the anti-space void of Ginnungagap. Well I apologize if my giving of magic upsets you, but I am trying to save... myself in a way, I cannot help if our Seidr is interwoven. But if you do not wish me to share what I have learned as I have been, I won't.
No. 763551 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763552 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763554 ID: 3583d1

Logan? We need to find him! He could help us!
No. 763558 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763559 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763560 ID: 3abd97

I stand for freedom. I cannot stand for that if I swear my life and service in bondage to you.

I'm sorry.
No. 763563 ID: 3583d1

We accept, lets bring them down!
No. 763566 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763567 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763568 ID: 97712e

I want to accept, however, I but before I do, I need to know something first. I stand for freedom, you don't seem to have any love for the cult of the ash tree, and that is something I can get behind. But at the same time I wish to do what is right. Can you promise that by allying with you I may continue to stand for freedom? If you can truly promise me that I am not consigning myself to bondage, then I declare that your enemies are my enemies.
No. 763570 ID: 3abd97

What happened to my alternate is not what will happen to me. Power earned fairly is not the same as power bought at a cost. She was free to fight her battles with your powers. I will be bound to fight your battles with your power.

If I am lucky, our battles will be the same, our causes would be the same.

But if that were the case, you would offer this power to me freely, and trust that I would use it to fight my battles, and yours at the same time. The very fact you ask for this oaths means there are things you will ask of me that I would not be willing to do otherwise. Tasks and battles I would not choose, if I had the choice.

I cannot accept those terms.
No. 763571 ID: 3583d1

Both of these have a point, if you are giving these power of your own will, then we will accept. But if we were too accept you are phrasing it as though we aren't free to make our own choices. What would the cost of accepting be? You've already stated that losing our hand as payment is the cost if we don't accept. But if there's one thing I've learned, threats don't make for good negotiation. So can we talk about this is a more friendly tone and atmosphere? Maybe share a beer or tea or something?
No. 763572 ID: 0cf1be
File 148090615734.jpg - (418.43KB , 1748x1749 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 149.jpg )

No. 763576 ID: 3abd97

Asking us to honor you and keep you alive in return for a gift is very different than asking us to serve you for power. One is the relationship between a free agent and a patron or ally. The other is the relationship between master and slave.

I can accept one of those paradigms, but not the other. If you would be my ally, I welcome you with open hands. If you would be my master, I'm going to have to give you the finger. (And the rest of my hand).
No. 763580 ID: 3583d1

From your words I see that I have a lot to gain and a lot to lose if I were not to accept. And we share a common enemy, the cult, which again, is good. So I will accept under one condition, and this should make everyone happy.

You say that if the cult of the ash tree fully goes away, then it will be essentially killing you. Here is what I propose, I met a girl, her name was 93, and she is, or rather was a cultist of the ash tree. She's already been given powers by this cult, I mean the girl was able to survive a huge fall. But from my understanding she and many of the other cult acolytes have been lied to. They are under the impression that what they serve is a good cause that doesn't result in the deaths of thousands of people. When the realize the truth however, they no longer wish to serve them, that void will need to be filled. If you would grant any reformed acolyte like 93 your protection and blessing then I will accept and continue to save acolytes for you. Then they can go and truly live in peace as they believe they already do. If you agree to this then I say we accept.
No. 763583 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763584 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763588 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763589 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763590 ID: 3abd97

It's not willing to compromise, and we can't afford to. Leading a cult, even a reformed one, isn't the path we chose.

If thy hand offend thee, cut it off.
No. 763591 ID: 3583d1

Truthfully I don't don't want to lead the cult, but I don't want you to die either, I can hear that your afraid to die, every one is. And I want to help you, but there has to be another way for you to live and for everyone to walk away happy.

And what is happening outside of this fog?
No. 763597 ID: 97712e

My biggest question is just, why do WE specifically have to lead the cult, even a reformed one. It has its downfalls, sure, but we can't take on a whole cult alone. If we want to win we need allies, more importantly we need trust between us. If we did change the cult dynamics, I fail to see why they couldn't just move the fog elsewhere where nobody is hurt by it, where they can live in peace and you can live on. It is a MAGIC fog after all, that is sort of your thing. There's got to be another way, I have a ring that was given to me too, you could take that as a payment as well. Please there has to be some work around where we both benefit, this is just an outcome where no one is happy.
No. 763659 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763660 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763661 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763663 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763665 ID: 3d2d5f

Let's just chill with this spirit dude for a while. He's nice enough to try and help us relax, we can accept that at least.

Hey I have insane charisma, probably. How else would I even be eligible for the Whore Queen ending. ...why is choosing between my hand and a cult and whores even my life now.
No. 763668 ID: 97712e

Huh.... well fuck I was told that if I put on this ring there would be "dire consequences" that guy was full of shit I guess. Most people I've found are these days. Who is your wife anyway?
No. 763670 ID: 97712e

Then again it did have a used condom with it so s cheap ass fake ring and a used fuck tube... Motherfuckers they were calling me whore queen again... Fucking assholes...
No. 763672 ID: 3583d1

That's rough man, I'm really sorry. I lost my last ex the same way, found out he was cheating on my with some floozy down the hall. Kicked him out and they moved out to another building. I kept his Hockey stick though.
No. 763682 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763694 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763696 ID: 3583d1

If this where we have to cut our conversation man, then here's my final thoughts. I think I will accept your proposition, mostly because once you sit down and have a talk with them, share a beer, ironically for being a god, it makes you seem more human. Yeah we all want to keep living. So honestly I consider you a friend. So the reason I accept is I want to find some way where we all can benefit, you can live on, I don't lose a hand, and maybe, just maybe we can figure out a way to press forward together.
No. 763698 ID: 3d2d5f

So this is the part where they get drunk and sleep with each other, right.
No. 763700 ID: 97712e

I am inclined to agree

U wot m8
No. 763718 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763719 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763724 ID: 97712e


Okay extending of the hand thing for the blessing sure...

But dude, have a bit more class than that...
No. 763727 ID: 3583d1

At least buy a girl dinner first... And have some protection
No. 763730 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763731 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763733 ID: 97712e

Okay... I'll admit it, that was funny. I knew you were A joker, but all in all this was actually fun. We should do this again some time, maybe if I find Logan we can all share a few beers again.
No. 763741 ID: 3abd97

I didn't think that would really be a limitation for a tentacle monster in a weird spiritual plane anyways. You only live once. (Well until you die and advise alternate yous).

This guys is chill, and I don't want to kill him, but at the same time, I don't really want to change routes to taking control of the cult or going back on our word to trim the branches (which we'd have to, to keep the cult around, right?). That's kind of a sticking point at the end of the day.

I don't suppose there's a loophole he's not telling us? (Like maybe wearing the ring lets us move the corruption from our hand to it).
No. 763746 ID: 97712e

I have suggested a couple work arounds, such as disbanding the cult or just changing its mission goal to a preservation of occult works rather than just annihilation of people who don't follow and then moving the mist to a place where it does no harm (maybe Antarctica or the middle of Greenland).

Hey actually I just thought of a work around! It's a lot simpler than you imagine too! Absolution's fear is that if the cult goes away all occult works will be gone too and in turnso will he. Why don't we just take a book of his scripture or something to hold onto, as long as we have his words he will be remembered, and even if the fog goes away part of his legacy will still remain in that book! Hell if we get some reformed cultists on our side we could reproduce it too! As long as the books exist someone will believe it, if the words don't ever die, neither will he.
No. 763748 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763749 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763756 ID: 97712e

Yes. I don't want you to die, and no offense but you seem like the kind of guy who would release me from this bond once my work is done. The future guild of the sheers is your ally.
No. 763758 ID: 3abd97

A simple yes or no is all you need, not knowing if any of our speculation maters is sort of relevant to us.

Just double checking, but is your well of magic distinct from the trunk, or from the same source? (If it's the same source, helping him preserve magic and cutting off the leeching from the trunk are mutually exclusive goals).
No. 763761 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763765 ID: 3abd97

Then we can't free the trunk if we side with you. Mission conflict.

Sorry, the hand goes.
No. 763769 ID: 97712e

Damn it all! There has to be some other way around this!
No. 763770 ID: 3abd97

Well, not unless we can graft the branches somewhere else after shearing them off. Or dunk them in rooting chemicals and then plant them as new trees.

Not that we know transplanting them or splitting them off into separate entities is possible. We would be fundamentally changing the metaphysical underpinnings of the setting if we pulled it off.
No. 763771 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763780 ID: 97712e

Maybe I'm missing something but why can't we use the magic given to us to save the tree as well as stop people from using it maliciously as the cult is doing?
No. 763781 ID: 97712e

Go on.... we may have something here...
No. 763784 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763794 ID: 3abd97

I don't understand. Aren't you a branch? You shouldn't be advocating for your own destruction.
No. 763796 ID: 3abd97

Because the magic is of the tree, and a form of parasitism. We can't fix the trunk by simply tapping that which taps it.
No. 763800 ID: 0cf1be
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No. 763804 ID: 3abd97

OH! Excuse me. Got the relationship wrong. You're not a branch... you're the earth, then.

So if we cut off the branches, they stop sucking magic from the trunk, and from you, indirectly.

Does the tree still drain you, branch-less? Is it manageable at that point, or do you wish the entire tree dead?

And if you want to preserve the cult (which depends on the branches for magic) and magic use while cutting the branches... you want us to bring the cult down to earth? (Sorry, couldn't resist).
No. 763805 ID: 0cf1be
File 148098565625.jpg - (80.76KB , 620x728 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 164.jpg )

No. 763810 ID: 3abd97

Well... I guess it Absolution doesn't object to us giving the tree freedom to live without branches, and the world freedom to live without it's choices forced on it by the cult, we can give the cult the option practice magic earned from it's source, and not twice stolen. Or work on one of the other work around.

I mean, sure, mulch the earth with them leaves. We won't be using them once the branches are cut.

On the condition that Absolution had been honest with us and isn't a branch lying to us in order to get us to swear fealty to it I think those are terms we can accept. (I think he's being fair, though. And if he's not, well, an oath sworn on a broken foundation was broken from the start. It's never too late to cut off your hand and forsake it).

See this is why fucking would have been easier than all the dithering and trying to figure out what the elder god thing actually meant. The motivation for the whore queen ending must be just getting fed up with exposition. (Although, arguably, if this works the way we think it does, we just superimposed the cult leader ending and the freedom ending. Can all three be superimposed, I wonder?).
No. 763813 ID: 97712e

All right then Absolution, I agree, as long as we remain buds and you are honest with me I think we can agree to work together
No. 763826 ID: 0cf1be
File 148099155822.jpg - (574.96KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 165.jpg )

No. 763827 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763831 ID: 3abd97

Um. Right, I'm going to need more information. Absolution, what is this thing, where did it come from, why is it a problem.

You, little thing. Who are you, what are you, how did you get stuck to me / why are you stuck to me / who stuck you to me.
No. 763836 ID: 0cf1be
File 148099305589.jpg - (135.50KB , 1748x560 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 166.jpg )

No. 763837 ID: 0cf1be
File 148099331217.jpg - (102.67KB , 1564x616 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 167.jpg )

No. 763842 ID: 97712e

Oh my fucking god it is never easy with you people. Look Casper or whoever, can't you just leave or take physical form or something and accompany me in person rather than be all attached to my soul or whatever? And besides the root and Absolution share a common goal there is no reason why you two shouldn't work together.
No. 763844 ID: 97712e

And I should smash you on general principle for pretending to shoot off my finger, bodily injury isn't fucking funny bro.
No. 763845 ID: 3abd97

To be fair, you didn't tell me I was making a pact.

And you can see why I'd have a complaint with that, I suppose?

Do we have options besides killing it. Can we change or suborn the nature of the pact in some way?
No. 763853 ID: 97712e

Yeah true. It's not really pact if one person is unwilling and unknowing at the time of forming said pact. And receiving a used spooj tube is just adding insult to injury
No. 763884 ID: 3583d1

tell me tiny one...

No. 763886 ID: 0cf1be
File 148102309151.jpg - (771.28KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 168.jpg )

No. 763887 ID: 0cf1be
File 148102311884.jpg - (589.26KB , 1748x2192 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 169.jpg )

No. 763888 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763910 ID: 3583d1

Alright here is where I am calling bullshit on you kid.
1. I don't really care if the Root of Ash and his cult is infuriated with me, I expect he'll be a lot angrier with me as this whole debacle continues on, sorry not sorry
2. And you do realize that you are sadly screwed either way? This whole time I have been planing to end the cult regardless if you were attached to me or not. Imagine for one second what would happen if you still failed to bring about your goal now?
3. I'm willing to bet that the Root put a spell on you too, everything that you see he sees and knows too, hey fellas, rotate on this *extends middle finger*
4. Just how exactly can a spirit die anyway? I've heard of certain spirits like spirits of the earth, and even gods dying, but ghosts always have a place where they go or remain on earth till they finish some business.
5. And this one may be the hardest to accept, but the Root is a liar and I'm sorry to say may have already killed your sisters. He's already shown that he lies to his own subordinates to keep them in check, so why would he bother keeping them alive by this point...it's a very hard truth to accept Casper, im sorry.
6. But here is where I am going to give you and the Root a chance to prove that you actually have some sense of honor. Casper, if you leave voluntarily I am honoring you as a person because if you are telling the truth your boss will know that you had no choice because once a spy is caught there really is death as the only option so what I am giving you is a chance a lot people don't get. The Root then who I am just willing to bet captured you and your sisters publicly as a display of his power now has a chance to actually regain some trust in his followers by a generous show of his mercy, especially the acolytes who don't even know that they have been lied to and this mist is deadly. And if I'm right and old Rootin-Tootin Rooty can see what's happening right now I bet he just heard everything I said. Whatcha say Tooty-Rooty? Have some fucking dignity for once in your life.
No. 763912 ID: 3583d1

Oh and before you try and lie to me again saying he can't see what's happening right now, save it. Come on, it's more strategically important to watch your enemy so if they rebel they don't gain to powerful and they can stay one step ahead of you.
No. 763922 ID: 0cf1be
File 148104718022.jpg - (693.20KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 170.jpg )

No. 763923 ID: 0cf1be
File 148104721732.jpg - (743.10KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 171.jpg )

No. 763924 ID: 0cf1be
File 148104727098.jpg - (295.23KB , 1636x1480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 172.jpg )

No. 763926 ID: 0cf1be

No. 763927 ID: 21023d

Oh hell to the no! If he is leeching magic and power from there ash tree imagine what will happen if we bring him here, he would probably just find a way to leech magic directly from the source. But, if summoning is an option why don't we just summon his sister here? Get her out of harms way, and put her under our protection then Casper can leave my body and be put under protection too.
No. 763931 ID: 00236c

And wait second Casper... YES YOU FUCKING DO KNOW THSTHAT HE IS LISTENING IN! He told you weren't allowed to speak anymore when we were negotiating your "gift"
No. 763936 ID: 0cf1be
File 148105331478.jpg - (615.04KB , 1748x2120 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 173.jpg )

No. 763952 ID: 5de330

Alright, I still have one last trick up my sleeve. Absolution I would like to give Ana a series spell, and since we are already planning on making said pact we should already be square for the moment, in fact I want you to help me please. This is the only other solution that I can think of where we can all move forward. Because if we do this, the Root cannot blame Casper for it, and it's his own damn fault anyway as he is holding his sister hostage.

Casper, I am going to unbind you from me, I'm sure that the Root has put up some kind of fail safe or multiple ones should someone attempt to do this. The first spell I call "Fairy Specs," allowing us to see the bindings of magic keeping Casper tethered to Ana, this way we can determine what spells and magical fail safes are keeping us together and what will happen if we try to forcefully remove them
The second spell I call "Unbind" as what it does is activate a kind of anti-binding between Ana's and Caspers Saidr, so the two will no longer be interwoven together. Now here is where things begin to get tricky, in the unbinding process we may hit any kind of magical fail safe that could have any number of repercussions, from hurting Ana, to hurting Casper, or anywhere in between.
The final spell that I want to give her is the 6th of Odin's charms, "a spell which is cast at me or my allies shall hurt only the sender." This will redirect any fail safe at it original caster, the Root in other words, it probably won't kill him he probably has some kind of ward against magic cast at him but it won't hurt us is what's important.
Absolution, I ask you to please aid us, I invoke the first of Odin's charms, "help, which can lighten a burden an lessen grief."
No. 763965 ID: 8ef727

Even though I am a pagan, there's something that this remind me of. And Casper, Absolution, and even you Root, I have a feeling you are watching us. If you want to know why I say we should do this...

Ezekiel 25:17
"The path of the righteous man is beset upon all sides by the inequities and the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the lord when I lay my vengeance upon you."
No. 763990 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106370168.jpg - (740.25KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 174.jpg )

No. 763991 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106371459.jpg - (312.38KB , 1748x936 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 175.jpg )

No. 763992 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106372543.jpg - (36.47KB , 1716x336 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 176.jpg )

No. 764000 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764011 ID: c81293

Casper. I do have one more idea... but you won't like it.... I don't like it either... But it could work. I need to know one thing. How pure of a spirit are you and your sister? Are you a pure ghost? Or you a spirit of some other being?
No. 764015 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106575683.jpg - (237.95KB , 1604x954 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 178.jpg )

No. 764017 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764020 ID: c81293

Fuuuuck that may throw a monkey wrench in this then. The idea was to take the magic and then resurrect you with it but idk if with that power I could bring back someone who was already dead... Absolution could that work? Idk if it could if not just give us a while to discuss this because I am so lost as to what to do...
No. 764022 ID: 0c9424

Okay so resurrection probably isn't going to work, but that doesn't mean we don't have other options. Here's what I'm thinking, negotiations with the Root will also be impossible. So what about a challenge a single game of pure luck and chance, absolution can pick the game. The stakes? Casper and his sisters freedom, if we win, we get that, if he wins, he gets us. This all hinges on a couple things though, Absolution can you cut off all flow of magic to him when he is here so all he will have are the clothes on his back and chance? And if he does come here could he find his way back to start leeching off you? I got here through invitation by you, so is that the only way he could come back here?
No. 764024 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106732284.jpg - (154.27KB , 1748x912 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 179.jpg )

No. 764027 ID: c81293

I know, the idea was to resurrect him after we made the pact
No. 764029 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106800978.jpg - (216.81KB , 1748x952 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 180.jpg )

No. 764030 ID: 0cf1be
File 148106818060.jpg - (108.05KB , 1748x816 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 181.jpg )

No. 764032 ID: c81293

Or how good of a card player I am. Like I said, i am willing to bet he is already listening via Casper
No. 764061 ID: 0cf1be
File 148107237539.jpg - (598.33KB , 1748x2288 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 182.jpg )

No. 764062 ID: 0cf1be
File 148107240327.jpg - (343.32KB , 1748x1467 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 183.jpg )

No. 764081 ID: 3abd97

"Strip Poker."
No. 764085 ID: 0c9424
File 148107682446.jpg - (24.42KB , 477x356 , IMG_2964.jpg )

.... Proceed....
No. 764192 ID: 0cf1be
File 148111500599.jpg - (567.75KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 184.jpg )

No. 764193 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764194 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764195 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764202 ID: 3d2d5f

Hey if he's really obsessed with you, it distracts him, even just the possibility.

And there's sort of a poetry in high stakes placed in such a lowbrow manner. We're undermining the premise and being irreverent even as we honor an actual tgchan tradion.

And if we found something you have no experience in, that makes this a fair contest, since it negates your otherwise many advantages.
No. 764210 ID: 0cf1be
File 148112862267.jpg - (596.89KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 185.jpg )

No. 764211 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764213 ID: 3d2d5f

So he frees his ghosts. There's no loophole where taking control of that many ghosts would be torture for us, or that you'd immediately replace your ghosts with new ones by killing people, or that releasing ghosts is a fate worse than death for them, is there?

(If any of his ghosts serve him willing, us taking them is enslaving them. Might be a trap swapping us from the freedom route to the whore queen).

The important context is that transfers an advertage without deciding the war. What is he asking for if he wins?
No. 764217 ID: 0cf1be
File 148113163782.jpg - (370.88KB , 1748x1720 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 186.jpg )

No. 764218 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764220 ID: 3d2d5f


See, that doesn't seem proportional to me. She wins, an advantage is transferred. You win... she's either humiliated to no purpose, or the conflict is permanently decided by her shackling herself to you. Depending on how the magic system and marriage interact here.

Absolution? As the more neutral party here, what would the supernatural consequences of such a union be?

(Also, ha, no interest in seeing you naked but he wants you kneeling before him. Suuuuuuure).
No. 764222 ID: 0c9424

Huh... you maybe he just IS trying to put us on the whore queen route already.... I wonder... no... no it can't be.... ohhhh Rooty... Are you a Virgin?
No. 764223 ID: 0cf1be
File 148113520306.jpg - (299.48KB , 1748x1176 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 187.jpg )

No. 764224 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764237 ID: 0c9424

No you don't Absolution will, he's acting as dealer and game picker.
No. 764241 ID: 3d2d5f

Yeah, the house deals and picks games, and we're in Absolution's house.

Marriage versus ghost liberation: strip poker edition, go!

>divorce and take half his shit immediately
Technically, he'd need to accept your proposal, and then we'd need to wait till after the wedding for that to work. And the marriage would have to be consummated. And we'd need a higher authority to adjudicate a divorce and he can afford better lawyers. So... Not a quick and easy solution.
No. 764252 ID: 3583d1

Since we will most likely be playing poker,or variations of (texas hold em', five card stud, etc.) I'll cut you some slack and quickly go through the various types of hands you can get in a poker hand from least to greatest. There are five cards in a hand, and you want to have the best combination of cards you can to win. A cards rank goes up with the highest usually being the ace and the lowest being 2, however aces can be either high or low depending on the game. A cards suit is either Spades, Heart, Clubs, or Diamonds.
1. High card- One high card higher than the others in your hand (an ace in a hand worth nothing)
2. Two pair- Two cards that match the same number or rank (K, K, 7, 2, A)
3. Two pairs- Two sets of pairs (9, 9, 4, 4, 2)
4. Three of a kind- Three cards that match (8, 8, 8, 4, 2)
5. Straight- Five cards in a sequence that don't match the same suit (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)
6. Flush- Any five cards in the same suit but follow no sequence (A, 8, 10, J, 2 all of hearts)
7. Full house- Three of a kind with a pair (4, 4, 4, A, A)
8. Four of a kind- Four cards of the same rank (J, J, J, J, 9)
9. Straight Flush- Five cards in a sequence off all the same suit (4, 5, 6, 7, 8 all of clubs)
10. Royal Straight Flush- An Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and a Ten all in the same suit (A, K, Q, J, 10 of spades)
No. 764254 ID: 3583d1

No. 764269 ID: 0cf1be
File 148114422688.jpg - (608.40KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 188.jpg )

No. 764270 ID: 0cf1be
File 148114427381.jpg - (351.40KB , 1506x1704 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 189.jpg )

No. 764272 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764280 ID: 0c9424

I... I don't get it...
No. 764281 ID: 3583d1

Ok I just looked at the rules, it doesn't look that bad, more like advanced tic-tac-toe. Our main strategy with this is we need to keep him using pieces that have no common attributes about them. If we focus on color, he may be focusing on shape. So we'll really need to focus on where each piece is so we can turn it to our advantage.
No. 764286 ID: 3abd97

...by picking the game I meant variant of poker. How do you even play strip Quarto, there's no betting.
No. 764291 ID: 3abd97

Actually, objection. With a very little research you can find human-unbeatable quarto AI. With our shared alternate selves advice mechanism, it's trivial for both of us to have access to such a perfect play AI at the same time. The winner will therefore just be whoever goes first, assuming we're both using our powers for perfect play (or we'll just have eternal draws, like perfect play tic tac toe).
No. 764295 ID: 5d7976

Oooh... didn't think of that... yeah that could throw a loop in this couldn't it. Well it's absolutions call, different game or still quarto
No. 764296 ID: 5d7976

And if the Root objects too, we are trying to make this as fair as possible, would he rather have an unfair game where we are both playing forever or a game where luck and chance are the deciding factor
No. 764300 ID: 0cf1be
File 148114843405.jpg - (99.62KB , 1428x568 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 190.jpg )

No. 764301 ID: 0cf1be

From the author, yes it is possible to cheat, but this is your quest do you want a robot to choose for you
No. 764302 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764303 ID: 5d7976

We are Ana, but there is such a thing as a pocket smart phone. We are seeing everything though a kind of window into your parallel universe that's kind of why we only appear as shadows at times. Look like I said we can go with Quarto and I guarantee one of us will use the cheat engine on our phone or whatever we have, or we can use a different game
No. 764305 ID: 5d7976

I do have an alternate game but Absolution and the Root need to agree
(Out of character for a second, the author can just say it was also Absolutions idea or whatever)
But what about a riddle competition? Like out of the hobbit?
No. 764308 ID: 0cf1be
File 148114943303.jpg - (106.07KB , 860x648 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 191.jpg )

No. 764309 ID: 5d7976

Like I said go with whatever you want Ana
No. 764317 ID: 0cf1be
File 148115083122.jpg - (577.61KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 192.jpg )

No. 764319 ID: 0cf1be
File 148115086418.jpg - (95.29KB , 596x656 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 193.jpg )

No. 764320 ID: 3abd97

Sure that just means in some futures you have access to computers.

Yes, but by the very premise we've been given, the Root is allowed to cheat the same way we're cheating. And by the rules we've both been using, optimized play via alternate selves is legit. (It's why he killed our neighbors daughter, among a lot else). Therefore we should expect him to cheat, and the option is between cheating or letting him win. (Setting aside the in-game logic for out of game logic, yes it would be more fun to play then to have two computers decide the game. But that requires either the Root choosing to pass on an advantage, or it simply not being available to him).

Victory is guaranteed to occur. No guarantee who it graces, though.
No. 764321 ID: 0cf1be
File 148115092616.jpg - (79.36KB , 620x776 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 194.jpg )

No. 764329 ID: 5d7976


Alright let's not beat around the bush let's get this goin then shall we?
No. 764362 ID: 0cf1be
File 148115521525.jpg - (634.63KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 195.jpg )

No. 764367 ID: 3583d1

Yep, get 4 in a row with some similar attribute (hight, hole, color, stripe) doesn't matter they just all have to match. The question is who will give the first piece?
No. 764376 ID: 0cf1be
File 148115821707.jpg - (544.65KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 196.jpg )

No. 764380 ID: 3abd97

>you don't want this to take forever do you
You're asking the dorks who've gone back and forth arguing over every other little detail so far. Were you under the impression we were in a hurry?
No. 764386 ID: 0cf1be
File 148116149086.jpg - (492.09KB , 1668x2280 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 197.jpg )

No. 764440 ID: ea7bff

Hey, Root, this is Absolutions game and we are playing by his rules. So shut your mouth for a second, and let Absolution decide who plays first and who picks the piece first.
(Also OOC for a second but neat idea on the hard mode)
No. 764458 ID: 0cf1be
File 148119772191.jpg - (503.28KB , 1748x2152 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 198.jpg )

No. 764459 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764480 ID: 3583d1

You want a rhyme?

"There once was a cultist named Rooty
Who wanted my fine luscious booty
He wanted a wife to end his wee strife
For his dick was really no beauty

For it was scared and riddled with sores
And it was small sent women in snores
So we playing this game and to my great shame
He wants me as queen of his whores

But know I will win this old game
And full his life full of pain
Then start it up now, however allow
hard mode to be not the main

We'll should save that for the end
So just give a chance to defend
And kick in his nuts and small tiny butt
So let's play before Rooty can lend

More poisonous word out his flap
And before he tries to entrap
It's just you and me so start up you see
And your face I shall soon give a slap."
No. 764484 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764485 ID: 0cf1be
File 148121822398.jpg - (421.08KB , 1748x2040 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 199.jpg )

No. 764486 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764488 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122079796.jpg - (324.27KB , 1427x2167 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 200.jpg )

No. 764489 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764495 ID: ea7bff

Absolution my good old dear friend
Won't you take us round the gaming bend
We're ready to play so let's not delay
Who will play first to the end?
No. 764498 ID: ea7bff

Oh I do.

Okay so... I give Root piece 5
No. 764502 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122378385.jpg - (394.20KB , 1748x2117 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 201.jpg )

No. 764505 ID: ea7bff

Piece 3 to spot B-G

And where does it come from? That is for me to know and you to get pissy over. And just letting you know if you do win and I have to marry you I intend to make it as miserable and annoying as I possibly can for you. And speaking of aneurysms! Ahem...

There once was a cultist named Rooty
Who people consider so tooty
With boisterous farts, he did play his part
And with his gas, played the flutey

What Rooty liked most was power
He stood on it like on a tall tower
He did it all day in a meaningful way
But his brain had long gone to sour

Which is why I put him in this parable
And he lives an existence quite terrible
And if you marry me then in time you will see
That your life will become quite unbearable.
No. 764508 ID: ea7bff

Oh and I give you piece 7
No. 764509 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122667129.jpg - (284.48KB , 1748x1581 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 202.jpg )

No. 764510 ID: ea7bff

No. 764511 ID: ea7bff

I said piece 7 dude keep up
No. 764513 ID: ea7bff

So would you also say that I've got you... HOOKED on a feeling?
No. 764514 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122722162.jpg - (505.14KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 203.jpg )

No. 764515 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122737329.jpg - (105.76KB , 1096x640 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 204.jpg )

No. 764516 ID: ea7bff

I did know that actually, piece 15 to B-D
And I give you piece 4
No. 764517 ID: 8ef727

Oh yeah...?
No. 764519 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122780168.jpg - (197.35KB , 1316x1472 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 205.jpg )

No. 764520 ID: ea7bff

9 to B-F, I give you piece 2
No. 764522 ID: 0cf1be
File 148122893069.jpg - (274.27KB , 1429x2157 , Untitled-3.jpg )

No. 764525 ID: ea7bff

16 to C-G I give you piece 10
No. 764527 ID: 0cf1be
File 148123088921.jpg - (557.04KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 207.jpg )

No. 764528 ID: 0cf1be
File 148123109852.jpg - (33.32KB , 340x552 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 208.jpg )

No. 764530 ID: ea7bff

6 to A-G and I give you piece 14.

Cute eh? You know speaking of appearances why don't you take off that mask you hide behind. The fog doesn't touch this nether plane so why do you stop hiding and show yourself.
No. 764531 ID: 0cf1be
File 148123246610.jpg - (279.42KB , 1652x1608 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 209.jpg )

No. 764534 ID: 8ef727

12 to B-H and I give you piece 8.

If that's the case then what if I was someone with no taste and thought of you as something like Sloth from the Goonies until you take off that mask.

And by the way...
No. 764543 ID: 0cf1be
File 148123736785.jpg - (412.10KB , 1748x1893 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 210.jpg )

No. 764546 ID: 5d7976

1 to A-E, and that's QUARTO! First blood goes to me!

No. 764547 ID: 5d7976

But in all seriousness though because I am a woman of honor (but gloating is fun), good game.
No. 764550 ID: 3abd97

So, what piece of clothing is he removing?
No. 764552 ID: ea7bff

I don't think this is strip Quarto, I just thought it was best of 3 rounds, but let's lose the mask first if it is
No. 764570 ID: 0cf1be
File 148124112752.jpg - (625.09KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 211.jpg )

No. 764580 ID: 0cf1be
File 148124139950.jpg - (107.19KB , 1081x564 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 212.jpg )

No. 764582 ID: 5d7976

6 to B-E and I give you piece 2
No. 764585 ID: 5d7976

hey woah I didn't do that! It was that other Ana, I don't think this is actually strip Quarto I thought it was just best of 3
No. 764592 ID: 0cf1be
File 148124209497.jpg - (211.13KB , 1708x1032 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 213.jpg )

No. 764598 ID: ea7bff

(Uh, OOC for a second but you put the piece Ana's piece on the wrong circle. I said 6 on B-E you put Ana's piece on
No. 764601 ID: 0cf1be

Story writer, my bad sorry
No. 764604 ID: 0cf1be
File 148124323941.jpg - (127.04KB , 1268x856 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 214.jpg )

No. 764605 ID: ea7bff

(It's cool, I'm assuming it will be fixed when the next image shows up)

16 on B-G, I give you piece 6.

Are you just getting hot and bothered or something f Rooty? The have websites to help fix that you know, no need for the sexual harassment. Here this should help. *whispers to Ana* and maaaaybe distract him for a bit
No. 764608 ID: 0cf1be

From the writer peace 6 has been already used
No. 764611 ID: 0cf1be

it was your first move and do you still want to place 16 on bg
No. 764613 ID: 0cf1be

Don't worry it happens
No. 764615 ID: ea7bff

(Yes 16 on B-G)

Sorry just had a brain fart (full retard) yeah 16 on B-G and then I give piece 10
No. 764622 ID: ea7bff

(Aaaand wrong song goddamn I am all over the place... this is threat of multitasking here is what I mean to link https://youtu.be/ClQcUyhoxTg)
No. 764626 ID: 0cf1be
File 148124596082.jpg - (461.68KB , 1748x1902 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 215.jpg )

No. 764627 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764638 ID: ea7bff

(Hey man, I hate to say this but you put my piece on the wrong spot again, you put it on D-G not B-G)
No. 764639 ID: 0cf1be

From the writer. Sorry I think that I am a bit tired and it is affecting the quest. This will my final post for today see you all tomorrow
No. 764642 ID: ea7bff

(No problem man)
No. 764643 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764646 ID: 0cf1be
File 148124972763.jpg - (118.49KB , 1592x836 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 216.jpg )

No. 764654 ID: ea7bff

Piece 8 to A-E, I'll give you piece 9

(Don't worry about posting this one man, get some rest and Quest us in the morning)
No. 764657 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764703 ID: 3583d1

Oh, I see it now. It took a lot of digging to find you, but I see it now...


I saw it, the first you, a boy. Crippled, and broken in a wheelchair. Muscular Dystrophy, they said. Your body would continuously get weaker and weaker until you died. The doctors said you probably wouldn't live until the age of 20.
At first you were sad, but it quickly gave way to rage. Anger at how others treated you, anger at your teachers for assuming a cripple in a chair was a cripple in the mind as well. Anger at your parents for coddeling someone who never wanted to be coddeled. Anger at society for looking at you like a pariah. Anger at the hand that fate and dealt you.
And anger at yourself, for you had gifts no one could understand. You could see them, you could dream of them, and you could speak to them. All other versions of you. Some happy, some not. But all couldn't escape the prison cell that was your disability, you could never escape muscular dystrophy, you could never escape being a pariah. So you ran.
You ran as far as your wheelchair would carry you. Your parents looked for you but you didn't want their help, you wanted no one's help. You just continued to run, until your wheelchair could take you no further, away from the town who looked down upon you, away from the glares of others who could never understand your pain. And when your chair could go no farther, you crawled. You crawled through the dirt and the mud, you wanted to prove to everyone and yourself that you could make it, even without your legs, you could make it.
And as you crawled, you felt something, a calling. As if you your other selves where all screaming as one for you to find this calling. Somewhere, here in the middle of nowhere, and you found it, a tree. Black and withered but its branches reaching high into the sky. And at its base, near the roots. A fruit. You reached out and touched it. All the voices went silent at once, and you knew what to do. You bite into that forbidden fruit. You gained something, something you'd never felt before.



Your muscles no longer felt weak and on the verge of breaking, but new strength flooded into your once crippled body. You stood on your own legs. And more, you felt a rush of power unknown to you at the time through your whole body. And you knew things, things unknown to man for thousands, millions, of years. But now you knew them. You knew them, and you knew this old Ash Tree was its source. And you saw within it a being of more power than you could imagine, this was your god, your source of power. And you would raise it to heights beyond man kind's imagining.

You would be, The Root of Ash.
No. 764707 ID: ea7bff

That... that's actually pretty good ...
I don't know if it's true or not but it actually does make a lot sense in a weird way.
No. 764710 ID: 0cf1be
File 148128333194.jpg - (264.85KB , 1748x1325 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 217.jpg )

No. 764722 ID: ea7bff

Piece 5 to C-E, and I give you piece 7
No. 764723 ID: ea7bff

Your past clearly still defines you. Perhaps you are ashamed of who you once were, so you are still hiding. You hide behind A mask because maybe, you still feel like that boy in the chair. But none of that matters now, you chose this path and although I know what happened to you, and despite feeling sorry for the boy who never got a chance , I can only feel rage at the monster you've chosen to become.
No. 764736 ID: 0cf1be
File 148130485794.jpg - (240.73KB , 1548x1528 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 218.jpg )

No. 764739 ID: ea7bff

Piece 15 to C-G. I'll give you piece 12.

You know why he is obsessed with us? Because he sees in is us everything he should have been. We share the same give of sight and communication with our other selves, he wants to rejoice for he's found another like him. But we are also infuriating to him because at the same time we never went through anything like he did with muscular dystrophy, we never had the same fate as him.
No. 764740 ID: ea7bff

In other words... this is him...

No. 764744 ID: 0cf1be
File 148130917258.jpg - (480.54KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 219.jpg )

No. 764747 ID: ea7bff

Piece 13 to B-H. I give you piece 11.

And your other selves? Do you see a bunch of men in wheelchairs?
No. 764755 ID: 0cf1be
File 148131194114.jpg - (257.80KB , 1748x1280 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 220.jpg )

No. 764757 ID: ea7bff

Oh yeah, we are at the finale alright. Piece 14 to C-F, and all of them are tall pieces, that's QUARTO! 2 games are mine, and that's all she wrote.

No. 764763 ID: 3583d1

No. 764764 ID: 0cf1be
File 148131355083.jpg - (91.73KB , 1420x557 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 221.jpg )

No. 764767 ID: 3583d1

Thank you. Good game.
No. 764773 ID: ea7bff

Now, let's get down to it, I won best 2 out 3 games, so will you honor your end of our bargain? Casper and his Sister go free as well as any and all captive spirits.
No. 764777 ID: 3d2d5f

Oh just drop the other boot already, we can see it looming.
No. 764781 ID: 0cf1be
File 148131636421.jpg - (168.73KB , 1420x960 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 222.jpg )

No. 764782 ID: 0cf1be
File 148131638290.jpg - (583.03KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 223.jpg )

No. 764783 ID: 0cf1be

No. 764784 ID: 3583d1

Well I don't feel manipulated by anyone, in fact I feel pretty confident in my abilities to guide Ana. So whatever this 3rd party wants, if there is a 3rd party, I suspect may just be acting as a spectator. He set up the game, and now he wants to watch the events unfold. But I could be wrong. Call it fate, luck, karma, whatever it is. But you want to know how I look? I think i'll take one out of your book
"Picture the most beautiful actress you've ever seen and you will have something like me."
No. 764800 ID: 3abd97

She has only one metric of trust. Experience. Trust is earned. So far, we've done our best to earn. In the end though, we can no more force her to follow our advice than you can.

Also we were here before Anna met the trunk, so unless that gift breaks causality, you didn't get it from the trunk.

If you wanna call ghost shenanigans, I got one for you: how come root can spy on your other selves, but you can't spy on his?
No. 764818 ID: 0cf1be
File 148132580159.jpg - (663.31KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 224.jpg )

No. 764819 ID: 3abd97

I'd say there's no way you'd offer that bargain unless you thought the odds of victory were decidedly in your favor. And that one reason we played this game (and you lost) was a set up to make us more receptive to the idea of taking bargains / bets with you and thinking we can win.

Absolution is a poor champion, anyways. He can't fight to the death if the alternative is yielding, surviving, and continuing to feed his multiversal origin. His survival and mission is his purpose, and he'd be forced to put that above any loyalty to me.
No. 764820 ID: 0cf1be
File 148132667606.jpg - (101.83KB , 980x768 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 225.jpg )

No. 764823 ID: 3583d1

I say, scram for now. I don't even have an army yet. If I want to accept you challenge I will notify you. But right now I have an oath to fulfill with Absolution here.
And Casper, should you and your sister ever need sanctuary, seek me and the other future guild of sheers members out.
No. 764824 ID: 0cf1be

accurate repetition of the power differences between Absolution and Root
No. 764832 ID: 3583d1

(which one is the explosion and which one is the running pineapple)
No. 764840 ID: 3abd97

Which is why it pretty much *has* to be a trick or trap.
No. 764844 ID: 3583d1

Wait one cotton picking minute...

If he dies, and the fog disperses... Absolution didn't you say that runs the risk of you dying too? And I'm betting he has some death failsafe in place, kind of like Voldemort with the horcruxes. So the fog would disperse he would wake up alive and well, then you would die, I would lose any magic power in this realm because the branch of Absolution died, he could rise to power again and we'd be back at square one. Yeah, no thanks.
No. 764976 ID: 0cf1be
File 148139480988.jpg - (635.61KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 226.jpg )

No. 764977 ID: 0cf1be
File 148139485480.jpg - (593.71KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 227.jpg )

No. 764978 ID: 0cf1be
File 148139489060.jpg - (481.61KB , 1662x1964 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 228.jpg )

No. 764979 ID: 0cf1be
File 148139492492.jpg - (822.88KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 229.jpg )

No. 764984 ID: c368a1

No. 764985 ID: 1d744d

No. 764986 ID: 1d744d

No. 764987 ID: 9f3729

hey dude you got something stuck in your teeth. Like, right incisor, your right.
Also, probably a good idea to DOOOOOOODGE
No. 764995 ID: c368a1

No. 764997 ID: 3abd97


We made a contract and you owe me something. That has meaning, and I demand I be paid. I have no interest in watching you pursue other interests, conflicts, or stall.

Pay up, now. Or we get to see how flaunting or breaking bound contracts works.

(Force him to pay you before attacking Absolution, which may prevent the attack all together. Or at least give you an army of ghosts and Absolution's own powers to defend you).
No. 765025 ID: c368a1

I like it, show him our commanding presence
No. 765029 ID: 0cf1be
File 148140800415.jpg - (631.70KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 230.jpg )

No. 765030 ID: 0cf1be
File 148140818423.jpg - (1.07MB , 3012x3697 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 231.jpg )

No. 765035 ID: c368a1


Did you not hear me?

I did not accept this challenge, And Absolution did not either. Furthermore by using that knife you have given yourself an unfair advantage. You accuse me of having bad morals, but to even attempt this shows you are the lowest of the low.

If you have even a shred of honor, then be gone, and take your skeleton with you.
No. 765038 ID: 3abd97

You attacked the neutral party and judge in a contracted contest you agreed to before the contest was finished. You had lost the game, but the contract was not complete until you paid out.

For this breach I call you out as an oathbreaker. Your name and standing among the spirit world foresaken. May all spirits turn against you.
No. 765043 ID: c368a1

An oathbreaker and a coward.
No. 765044 ID: c368a1

Oh and just for clarification, it's not me you should worry about. It's his wife. Do you really want all of the earth against you?

GAIA! If you have any love for you husband, then by the glory of your bountiful earth heal him please.
No. 765048 ID: 0cf1be
File 148141195871.jpg - (269.57KB , 1676x832 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 232.jpg )

No. 765049 ID: c368a1

Mother Gaia! For the sake of your husband, PLEASE HELP US!!!
No. 765051 ID: c368a1

No. 765076 ID: 3abd97

What you wanted does not matter. You accepted a contract, and attacked the arbiter and judge before it was resolved. You are an oathbreaker now- and therefore should not be able to bind spirits or have them obey you.

In a world of spirits and contracts, consequences matter. There are rules mortals must follow lest they be consumed.

Absolution, per the terms of the agreed contract, I own the ghost attached to my soul, not root. I own all his ghosts. Make your pact with me now, as we agreed. Give me the power to save or avenge you.
No. 765080 ID: c368a1

Good point actually, we are at risk of losing a hand, this guy stand at losing a lot more.
No. 765083 ID: c368a1

Plus Gaia should appear and help her husband. She may have slept with death, but hey c'mon gods cheat on their spouses all the time but they still love each other (I wouldn't be that surprised if Absolution took a mortal form and a mortal woman to bed every now and then)
No. 765085 ID: 3abd97

(For added context here: Root made a contract / bargain with us when he agreed to play the game for his ghosts. What he seems to be ignoring / didn't expect is we let Absolution choose the game, and the rules. We made him the dealer, responsible for overseeing the game and making sure no one cheated, and therefor part of the contract. A contract that remains unfulfilled until we possess the ghosts due us).
No. 765125 ID: 0cf1be
File 148142599208.jpg - (670.35KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 233.jpg )

No. 765126 ID: 0cf1be
File 148142600425.jpg - (151.32KB , 1520x929 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 234.jpg )

No. 765164 ID: c368a1

But my hand!?
No. 765178 ID: 0cf1be
File 148146309637.jpg - (113.52KB , 1508x512 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 235.jpg )

No. 765185 ID: 3abd97

So why isn't Cheater McCheaterPants losing a hand for using the exact same ability I am, also without a formal pact with you?

I expect some kind of magic bullshit prosthetic after this night, not a cheap hunk of plastic.
No. 765189 ID: 0cf1be
File 148147553735.jpg - (329.39KB , 1573x1414 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 236.jpg )

No. 765192 ID: 3abd97

You mean, ghosts stashed under your robe you should have had no ability to control, because per the contract you agreed to you had just lost control over them.

What's the point of playing magic with contracts and rules if the opposition has the ability to ignore them as they feel like? This isn't being outsmarted or beaten, this is playing Calvinball.

Goodbye, oathbreaker. Before this is over, I will see you suffer by my hand. My new hand.
No. 765249 ID: 0cf1be
File 148150540975.jpg - (662.04KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 237.jpg )

No. 765256 ID: c368a1
File 148150829942.png - (193.93KB , 620x1156 , IMG_2976.png )

Absolution, use this!!! It's a spell from the Norse to banish evil spirits such as this monster!!! Mother Gaia, Hjolden, mother of Thor, please help him! Ana, I know you can't use this magic but recite the words anyway, it may help!!

""Thick blóð, bardagamenn lýjast.
Þjóðin varir aldir erfiðleika,
mikil eyðilegging, menn deyja,
Auður er glatað, nöktu eru shunned.
Hættulegur eyðileggja fólk hræðast,
stormur á stormi, plága af eymd,
þungur iðrun, Hörð stríðsrekstur.
Illur hrærið ásækir heiminn. "

Now, BEGONE!!!

No. 765323 ID: 629885
File 148152939250.jpg - (1.81MB , 3024x4032 , IMG_2977.jpg )

(Hey man, I'm posting this here because there's no dis-thread for R&B yet but I figured you would appreciate this. Did a fanart portrait of Ana. Hope I did a good job, sorry if quality is a little sucky, my scanner is busted)
No. 765337 ID: 0cf1be

It looks awesome and fantastic, ten times better than my shity art style, as for the dis-thread for R&B I will get to that when I finish this chapter. Which is coming sooner than I thought
No. 765344 ID: 0cf1be
File 148155725905.jpg - (758.39KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 238.jpg )

No. 765345 ID: 0cf1be
File 148155730017.jpg - (668.60KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 239.jpg )

No. 765348 ID: 3abd97

What's wrong, man? Does it bother you when something your alternate selves didn't predict occurs?

So... if we can kick Root out of this realm, the branch loses it's connection to this realm and is defeated.

Recurring boss fight, round 1: go. Root verus Ana, while the Branch and Absolution grapple overhead / in the background.
No. 765358 ID: 0cf1be
File 148156674420.jpg - (437.52KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 240.jpg )

No. 765359 ID: 0cf1be
File 148156682547.jpg - (409.42KB , 1748x1744 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 241.jpg )

Also to the Root
No. 765360 ID: 629885
File 148156693194.jpg - (45.36KB , 235x235 , IMG_2978.jpg )

Distance is all you need! I've got one more little trick up out sleeves! Here's a bit of information for you Rooty, everything that is living or dead and anywhere in between, is connected via Seidr, that includes this thing!
First spell, Valkyries doom! We choose the god killer to die!

"Urðr Verðandi Skuld höfuð þetta símtal, vefari örlög, ég fordæma hér með þetta einn að deyja!"

And secondly, we summon for the spear of Odin, Gungnir! The runes of his spear make it certain it will always hit its target when thrown, and when combines with the rune words from Valkyries doom, it will send this thing back to Helheimr!!!

Allt faðir Óðinn óvinir okkar loka inn á frá öllum hliðum veita okkur sveifla einn spjótinu sem mun gata kjálkar Fenrir, jafnvel þótt þú fellur

And just for an added incentive, the easiest spell anyone could perform, and you don't even need to speak Old Norse to do it.
"I dedicate this death, to Odin."
No. 765361 ID: 629885

Oh my gods... all those fist... I can't resist.... you could do the spell to finish him but.... ooohhh can't help it!
No. 765365 ID: 3abd97

Fuck the rules indeed. Calvinball time.

First up. If Gaea is here? If the crust of the world has joined the fight? The real goddamn world just stepped inside with us, so we don't need to step out to claim our pact, or to claim our bullshit army of ghosts.

Cursed hand? Fuck that, I'm invoking my spectral hand, on my shears, at the front of my host of ghosts.
No. 765366 ID: 0cf1be
File 148156954121.jpg - (678.79KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 242.jpg )

No. 765367 ID: 629885

Using a spectral hand is good especially if he is i. Aweird mist form, probably the only way we could harm him. Yeah let's use our own sheers on him, also if he tries to use the knife draw on this:
No. 765376 ID: 0cf1be
File 148157488262.jpg - (593.87KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 243.jpg )

No. 765377 ID: 0cf1be
File 148157491676.jpg - (586.75KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 244.jpg )

No. 765378 ID: 0cf1be
File 148157501235.jpg - (1.24MB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 245.jpg )

No. 765382 ID: 629885

I can do you one better.

Alright fight tactics, first thing we need to to, block his swing with out first shot at well, this way we block his shot and hit him at the same time. If you get into a bind where you are pushing on your each other, redirect it by stepping to the side and tripping him so he'all to sprawling forward. Also because he'll fight us unfairly, don't we also have a sawed off shotgun we could blow out a knee cap with? Also, jam a finger in his eye, we'll level the playing field there. If you are taking to much damage then focus your rage, your anger, GO INTO BERSERKER RAGE!!!

Absolution, you need to focus on keeping this thing at a distance it will probably try to close in and rip you up. Your extra bulk will give you some good defense but it won't last. If it gets too close use those giant fists in a flurry of blows try to keep it staggering so it doesn't get a chance to fight back (ORA ORA ORA ORA ORA). Any magic you use should focus primarily on area of effect to hit as many targets as you can to knock those souls out, lighting storms from the sky, a giant ring of Fire, a freezing blizzard, even a landslide, but slow it down and try and keep it trapped.

Gaia, your job is primarily healer, you will need to keep both Ana and Absolution going, blessing of the earth, cure poisoning, anything that would slow them down or injure them, you need to heal them.
No. 765383 ID: 0cf1be

No. 765386 ID: 629885

No. 765393 ID: 0cf1be

No. 765412 ID: 629885

Also in addition to area of effect spells, summon up some small minions, Draugr (zombies on redbull with s bit of ghost thrown in are good), gremlins, doesn't matter which but as long as they make good cannon fodder to throw at the monster and keep it distracted and focused on the little ankle bitters you can begin focusing on serious area of effect spells
No. 765493 ID: 0cf1be
File 148159969288.jpg - (1.13MB , 1748x2304 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 246.jpg )

No. 765502 ID: 399475

Absolution, grab all four of its arms and crush it's bony hands, you should be significantly stronger, I have a feeling it will try to use them gross chompers, use an eye-beam Into its mouth, for an added bonus throw in one liner
"Taste bad?" Or "what's the matter? Got heart burn?"
That should stagger it and give you some room to gain some distance and use some AoE spells

Ana, stop him talking use a defensive strike to his solar plexus, knock the wind out of him, be sure to block any retaliation attack he might make. Employ finger jab with index and middle finger into eyes to temporarily blind him. Block wild strike from the left, counter with cross to right cheek, then jab forward to crack ribs. Block from the right, and employ shot to the hand to disarm target and break thumb. Duck at attempt for wild haymaker, stab forward into genitals. Heel kick to diaphragm to knock down. Low strike into genitals to make him lurch forward in pain. Block face to fully knock unconscious. In summary, testicles bruised, 4 ribs cracked, thumb broken, minor concussion, eyes damaged, diaphragm hemorraging, unconscious, full physical recovery 10 weeks, full psychological recovery 10 months, ability to aid the god killer neutralized.
No. 765506 ID: 399475

No. 765590 ID: 0cf1be
File 148165971817.jpg - (1.25MB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 247.jpg )

No. 765592 ID: 3d2d5f

Except you haven't heard them all, as we suprised you earlier. Don't mistake the noise for omnipotence, oathbreaker.

I say we summon some ghost copies. He can't block all the attacks if we make more than one at once, and gaea brought the real world to us.
No. 765594 ID: 3583d1

Absolution, MORE POWER!!!

Shadow clone jutsu?
No. 765629 ID: 0cf1be
File 148167188546.jpg - (639.37KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 248.jpg )

let us dance
No. 765631 ID: 3583d1

Well then, lets keep him confused and wondering, but lets also smack this bitch up.
"I'm over here!"
"No i'm here!"
"I'm the real one"
No. 765633 ID: 3abd97

*Sickly sweet*
Because you have such a track record on being right. I mean, you clearly predicted how this was all going to go, which is why you haven't been surprised or caught off guard once tonight. I'm sure you're right this time too.
No. 765672 ID: 0cf1be
File 148168471344.jpg - (711.38KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 249.jpg )

No. 765674 ID: 0cf1be
File 148168478078.jpg - (310.28KB , 1619x1563 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 250.jpg )

No. 765676 ID: 0cf1be

Kill that useless bitch, she will just stab us in the back
No. 765681 ID: 3abd97

We're in the spirit realm, and this isn't your domain. He can withdraw to the real world whenever he wants to save his skin. He's just stalling. The longer he stays here, the longer his monster has a Root to stand on.

Press your advantage.
No. 765693 ID: 0cf1be
File 148168710467.jpg - (149.10KB , 1294x584 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 251.jpg )

No. 765703 ID: 3abd97

I honestly think I don't trust a word you're saying. *whack*

If your soul depends on banishing that thing before you run, *whack* you best start figuring out how to *whack* do that.
No. 765713 ID: 0cf1be
File 148169052746.jpg - (336.30KB , 1748x1358 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 252.jpg )

No. 765736 ID: 0cf1be
File 148169196134.jpg - (117.04KB , 1496x551 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 253.jpg )

No. 765742 ID: 399475

Or *whack* you can just *whack* call it off now *whack* and then *whack* I'll stop
No. 765746 ID: 3abd97

The kind of *whack* person who's *whack* not willing to *whack* bet the entire world *whack* on you not lying *whack* to me again, Oathbreaker! *whack whack*

I seriously doubt that creature *whack*cares about you one way or another. *whack* It obeys it's nature, *whack* and your puppet string bindings. *whack*
No. 765779 ID: 399475

*bro fist*
No. 765798 ID: 3583d1

I'm not dropping it, what happens if I do, you use that knife I know you still have? You're a liar and a cheat. And from i've seen abomination isn't doing to well against Absolution.

Speaking of which, Absolution, SUPPLEX AND BREAK A MOTHERFUCKER!!!

What now Cripple? What now?
No. 765808 ID: 321070
File 148172250360.jpg - (569.71KB , 1748x2157 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 254.jpg )

No. 765810 ID: 3d2d5f

You taught me mere minutes ago that you are not the kind of enemy who will honor terms and agreements if you can betray them to serve your own ends. You know more lore than I do, so I cannot trust you are being honest with me and not seeking an opportunity to snatch a last minute victory.

Decisions have consequences, Root. You showed me you are not a man of honor, so I cannot treat you honorably.

Unless there's a real, binding oath or contact he can take now to stick to the terms of the deal he's offering (one Absolution knows of and believes will hold) with horrific consequences for a breach, we can't trust him.
No. 765819 ID: 321070
File 148173240525.jpg - (643.92KB , 1748x2480 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 255.jpg )

No. 765820 ID: 3d2d5f

>do you believe in love
"I do." The answer he wants, and an ironic echo of the vow he hoped to get from you.

...that doesn't mean you're releasing him though. The fact that he's human, with human motivations, doesn't change the fact he's done unspeakable things, and plans more if he survives.
No. 765821 ID: 321070
File 148173509414.jpg - (151.31KB , 1503x676 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 256.jpg )

No. 765823 ID: 3d2d5f

Technically, it's not the only way, but it is the smart way. We can't trust him not to betray mercy, and we know he's not going to stop unless stopped, and the things he's already done are terrible.

So yes, that's a yes. Shears give life by taking it. Sacrifing a part for the whole.
No. 765826 ID: 3583d1


Calm your rage. Do not let your rage consume you like this. But that doesn't mean you should stop either. Root probably has one more trick up his sleeve. This is a creature to be pitted now that we see what kind of person he is on the inside. He wanted what is human in all of us, but he has let his own power corrupt him to far gone. He has left us with no other alternative.
-"we should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged." A quote fromHeinrich Heine

No. 765828 ID: 321070
File 148173709815.jpg - (151.31KB , 1503x676 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 256.jpg )

No. 765829 ID: 321070
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No. 765833 ID: 3583d1

ohhh... You, bastard... Do I think you are the real root? Yes, he could not resist this and I doubt any of his lackeys could summon that up.
And do I think you have hostages? Yes, maybe not in the 100's... But alright, say I let you go? Then what?
No. 765836 ID: 321070
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No. 765849 ID: 3d2d5f

That would be lovely, but you still haven't given us any reason to trust you or your words.

Say or do something that unequivocally guarantees you will do what you say, or save your breath- you badly need it.

Give us an oath, a contact, a bond, a pact. Something with weight and consequences. We will not release you from this trap- you must bite off your metaphorical weapon hand to free yourself. Bondage or death are your opinions. Choose. That's as much mercy as we can give you.
No. 765852 ID: 3583d1

You have proven yourself an oathbreaker, worm. No, I'm wrong, the worms are above you. But now you have a chance to regain something.

One measly scrap of any honor you lost by breaking our agreement by beginning this farce. Now look where it's gotten you.

Swear to me, on your blood, on your name, that you will honor this agreement. Your miserable excuse for a life saved as well as any hostages you have, and your demon called off and banished away.

Now it's your turn to chose. Will you honor this agreement?
No. 765854 ID: 3583d1

And for the record, we can never be friends.
No. 765857 ID: 321070
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No. 765865 ID: 3583d1

Not on my name, my name is my own. You have sworn on your blood, now swear upon YOUR name, the one that your mother gave you when you came bawling out from the womb. The one you were called when you still rolled in your wheel chair, the name you still think of yourself as when you cannot be "The
Root of Ash."

No. 765868 ID: 3d2d5f

Might want to look to Absolution to confirm this oath actually binds Root in any meaningful metaphysical way.
No. 765870 ID: 3583d1

Good idea. You know what, let us put a Geas on him. A spell that if the promise and agreement as we define it is broken, then he will die.
No. 765879 ID: 321070
File 148175150382.jpg - (328.39KB , 1555x1367 , Root and branches chapter 1 part 260.jpg )

No. 765882 ID: 3583d1

"Even without your chair, you are a broken man."

Drop him.
No. 765911 ID: 321070
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No. 765915 ID: 321070
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