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File 125929738360.png - (54.02KB , 800x600 , 1.png )
81974 No. 81974 ID: f98e0b

This one is about Oren Loper.

In Oren's dream, they're burying him alive. He's in a casket but due to some dream logic, he can see through it.

He's had the dream before, but the undertaker is new. The undertaker is saying: "Deus meus, ex toto corde poenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum". The gravedigger does not speak.
Expand all images
No. 81977 ID: fa4818

flip them the bird since you can see them but they can't see you
No. 81990 ID: f98e0b
File 125929789552.png - (101.71KB , 800x600 , 2.png )

Oren playfully flips off the undertaker as the first clod of black soil lands on the casket with a wet thump. "I'm still alive down here, moron," he says.

The undertaker is annoyed by the interruption and stops. "I know," he says in a rich, full voice like a TV announcer. "But you have to do these dreams proper and this one's classic. Hem. eaque detestor, quia peccando..."
No. 81992 ID: 30a68f

What, seriously? Punch your way out through the lid like a badass.
No. 81993 ID: fa4818

YEAH! show them your testosterone!
No. 82003 ID: e7666f

It has just been confirmed that this is a dream, and I've never been a lover of the classics.
Burst out of coffin like the Kool-Aid Man and ride a giant robot into the sunset.
No. 82012 ID: f98e0b
File 12592992321.png - (182.37KB , 800x600 , 3.png )

Oren's not going to let the fact that he doesn't know what the fuck a kool-aid man is stop him. He goes to town on that douchebag lid. It doesn't seem to do anything. It never does. His hands tingle and feel cold on the casket's surface.

"non solum poenas a Te iuste statutas promeritus sum... By the way," the undertaker breaks off. "Did you know that, statistically, there was only a 1 in 500,000 chance we could ever have this conversation? It's a rare talent, you know, lucid dreaming."

"Yeah. Well. It aint really a conversation if you're burying me alive while we're doin the talking."

The undertaker shrugs. "I'm just doing my job," he says. "Perhaps your subconscious is trying to tell you something, hmmm? Maybe the dirt is symbolic for sin, or for the stress you put yourself through, or wanting to sleep with your mother."

"Don't seem likely. My mother's dead going on eight years, now."

"That would explain the grave motif, then," the undertaker says dismissively. "...sed praesertim quia offendi Te, summum bonum, ac dignum qui super omnia diligaris."

The gravedigger just keeps digging.

"If I know I'm dreaming, why don't I just do whatever I want? Why can't I burst out of my coffin like the Cold-aid man and magic me up a robot and ride away?"

"Dreams have rules just like reality does, as you probably already know. They're just a little fuzzier around the edges."
No. 82016 ID: 30a68f

Alright, alright, don't try and break the lid. This is a dream. You have in your hand a minature chainsaw.
No. 82017 ID: c0f3bf

Maybe Oren was buried with a machine gun this time.
No. 82018 ID: 632862

Start punching. Everywhere but the lid. Try all the walls, including the one you're lying on top of.
No. 82022 ID: 426169

"Do you exist outside this dream?"
No. 82023 ID: 6164e0

There are rules in dreams, yes, this is true.

But what matters is how the rules differ from reality.

Specifically, in that the rules are based on the preceptions and mind of the dreamer.

In essence, YOU are the rules.
So why are you powerless?

This is your realm to define, to control
Something is wrong

Take command, and master your mind!
This dream... something is off

This is your chance to truly know yourself!
This is your chance to die

So calm yourself, focus, and try to control this realm you created. It shouldn't be that hard, especially considering you are a lucid dreamer.
Why does the undertaker speak languages you do not know, know statistics you do not? How could a part of you know something which you are unaware of? Is this truly a dream?

No. 82025 ID: f98e0b
File 125929993039.png - (85.62KB , 800x600 , 4.png )

"I have a chainsaw," Oren announces. "A small one."
"You don't," says the undertaker.
"Fine," says Oren. "I have a...a machine gonne."
"What's that?" says the undertaker.
"Don't know," says Oren.
"Ideo firmiter propono, adiuvante gratia Tua..." says the undertaker.

"Okay, enough with the chanting." says Oren. "Real sepulchural. I get it. Shut up."
There is a silence. Oren says: "Do you exist outside this dream?"

"I do, in fact." says the undertaker. "I have no corporeal form, but I am a sentient dreamthing, sailing on the seas of the unconscious. It's dreadfully dull, really. No dreamer is good company when they're too wrapped up in their own fantasies.

"I like you, Oren Loper. You are an exception. I think I will stick around in your unconscious for a while, if you'll let me."

Oren isn't real against the idea. Every other dream person he's ever tried to talk to has never been able to hold up a good conversation.
No. 82027 ID: 34470e

Accept his offer before your "fully buried".
No. 82028 ID: 30a68f

He lets you out of the coffin, you let him into your head.
No. 82030 ID: 632862

Agree! This could be fun. Ask him if he can influence anything in dreams.
No. 82037 ID: f98e0b
File 125930052848.png - (21.96KB , 800x600 , 5.png )

The gravedigger works studiously away.
"Will you let me out of the coffin?"

"You'll just wake up when you're fully buried. Your mind has a handy way of doing that, Oren Loper. It's why no one ever hits the ground they're falling toward. You've nothing to fear. I won't let you out, but I promise I won't be an unwelcome houseguest."

"Would you be able to fuck around with my dreams at all?"
"Not really. I suppose I could interact with them as much as you could (as you can see, that's not a lot) but nothing beyond that."

Oren doesn't see a problem with letting a dream into his head. He does every night, after all. "Fine. Why not. Just don't touch anything. And no more chanting."
"No more chanting."
"Now let's get this over with so I can wake up."
No. 82040 ID: 30a68f

Smash alarm clock with hammer concealed under bed.
No. 82071 ID: f98e0b
File 125930257457.png - (11.67KB , 800x600 , 6.png )

"I think I know what this dream is about, Mr. Loper."
"What?" asks Oren, but his mouth is suddenly starting to fill with the dirt from the grave. He can feel it seeping in around him.
"Inevitability, Mr. Loper."

And then, silence. Oren starts to panic, as he always does in the dream's end. He can't help it. He starts banging on the lid, on anywhere he can reach.

Bang. Bang. Bang.
No. 82072 ID: f98e0b
File 125930262791.png - (97.99KB , 800x600 , 7.png )

Bang. Bang. Bang.

"Get the door" Squires yells from the next room.
No. 82076 ID: 30a68f

Get up, make sure you are dressed adequately, and get the door.
No. 82077 ID: 632862

Stumble to the door and open it.
No. 82082 ID: f98e0b
File 125930356768.png - (136.05KB , 800x600 , 8.png )

Fuck getting up. Oren feels like if they woke him, a simple "Come in" will suffice.
"Come in," says Oren.

The door slams open and two kids rush in. "SheriffLoperSheriffLoperSheriffLoper," says the one in the lead, Jimmy Bore his name is, Doctor Bore's kid. "We went down to the old big abandoned Kripz house but if that's bad it was Harry's idea-"

"Hey," interrupts the other one, Harry Dollop.

"An' we were looking around at it and we saw Leo Mervin who you said was gone missing and he was- he was dead Sheriff Loper but me and Harry we promise we din't kill him Sheriff Loper and we ran and ran all the way over to you to tell you on account of that's what the rules say we should do." He takes a deep breath.

Oren's ears are ringing. it's too early for this shit.
No. 82083 ID: 632862

Bloody hell, a dead body. You'll need to investigate. Ask them what they noticed aside from the body. Grab your badge and gun.
No. 82085 ID: 30a68f

Seconded, and a stiff cup of coffee.
No. 82086 ID: f98e0b
File 125930464676.png - (139.07KB , 800x600 , 9.png )

Shit. They found one of the Mervin boys. They went missing a while ago, Leo and Anders. Oren never liked those two much, they were troublemakers, but shit. He'll investigate ASAP.

Sure thing. What's a gun?
Ain't much time for coffee. Oren made himself a breakfast before he dozed off and took this nap, anyway.

"You boys didn't see nothing else, did you? Got any idea what it was punched Leo's ticket?"

"Well Sheriff no we dint but Harry has a theery. Tell him, Harry."
"Aaaow, Jimmy. It's just a story, like. It's a fib."
"Harry Dollop, you swore on your own empty grave as it stands you'd tell him what you thought if I went with you and I did so here I am. Now you tell him your theery."

Harry mutters, "His soul got tooked. To make a homunkalus."
A homunculus. A Made Man. An ultra-loyal servant with clay flesh and a stolen soul and five men's strength.
No. 82095 ID: 6164e0

Well, get up and sober up however necessary, jumping squats, cold water to the face, stiff cup of whatever you drink in the morning to wake up, whatever. Just get alert as fast as you can, sheriff, it's time to do your job.

Undertaker? Being of Dreams, are you there? Do you twist and squirm within this one's mind?

No. 82108 ID: 30a68f

>A homunculus. A Made Man. An ultra-loyal servant with clay flesh and a stolen soul and five men's strength.

> five men's strength

Get five more tough guys like yourself. Then you will have six men's strength.
No. 82141 ID: f98e0b
File 125933606217.png - (161.79KB , 800x600 , 10.png )

Ain't no one else here but Squires. There were more of them once, the Town Guard, since this is a frontier and a moderately dangerous place, but there's fighting going on in the south against some other nation or another and they all went, one by one.
Oren suddenly feels very lonely, remembering those boys. He hopes they are safe.

If Oren focuses, he can just barely feel the cold light of the undertaker's eyes in his head, but only just.
He must not have much strength in waking.

Deputy Squires comes in, pulling on a pair of jeans and humming Flaming Sea by Ark-Ten. "Sorry I couldn't get the door, I needed to get decent." She looks down. "Well, more decent. What did the lollipop guild out there want?"

"Dead body," says Oren, walking to the door. "Hank Mervin's kid, Leo." He closes it and looks back. "Up at the plantation. We're gonna suit up and investigate on the double, I think. May have been some dark things going on up there."

"Hell," Squires says, and then, "Poor kid."
"Yeah," Oren says. "Is it a bad sign I feel like I'm too old for this shit and I'm twenty-six?"
"Maybe," says Squires, looking around for a shirt.
No. 82142 ID: 88d217

There's a zombie goast coming in the window, watch out
No. 82144 ID: 0d1fe9

Wait for squires to get a shirt on and then let's go, also is there anything going on between you and her?
No. 82147 ID: 88d217

Ok it's the undertaker and he's coming out of your head. that is kinda fucked up, does Squire see it?
No. 82154 ID: f98e0b
File 125934024019.png - (76.83KB , 800x600 , 11.png )

If she can she doesn't comment. And she would have.

Oren wanders into the barracks to equip himself for going out. There were more beds here, once. Now there's only his and Squire's. They've converted one into a table.

"Have you seen my breastplate?" asks Squires.
"Cooked some eggs on it. It's cooling in the fridge."
"Oh," she says. "Well could I have one?"
"Right there on the table," says Oren. "Sunny side up, right?"
"Tasty," she says. "Thanks."



Oren checks his weaponry.
No. 82155 ID: f98e0b
File 125934053251.png - (176.14KB , 627x600 , 12.png )

Nessie Squires favors the Sword-and-board approach for most things. She's got the shield and the armor. Oren has:

A zweihander (No idea why they sent him this. The thing is huge. Mostly he just exercises with it, taking great swings out back.)

A mace (useful against anyone with any sort of armor on and for incapacitating without killing fairly easily. As a sheriff Oren favors it.)

A short, one-handed blade (deadly and satisfying.)

A bow with normal and bodkin arrows (Oren takes a small measure of personal pride from how good he is with this. Squires always just accidentally snaps the string on her arm when she releases.)
No. 82156 ID: e7666f

Bow and mace.
Shortsword if you can carry it as well.
No. 82159 ID: 0d1fe9

Well we're going to need to fix that aren't we.

Also the mace is a definate and possibly the bow and arrows as well if we can carry it without having to juggle.
No. 82162 ID: f98e0b
File 125934401575.png - (160.76KB , 627x600 , 13.png )

Fix? Oren... he likes the platonic relationship they have going on. Nessie is a competent deputy and a good friend, and she's always getting him to try new things. She pushed him to go for the office of sheriff back when there were more people, she tried to teach him how to play guitar (he's still pretty terrible). They've worked together for about a year now, and even though Oren certainly feels something when she's around him, he's afraid of losing that.

Oh, and he almost forgot. He's...technically already got a girlfriend.

He takes the mace and bow. He can carry both easily enough.
No. 82163 ID: 276781

"Technically" is something Oren will have to elaborate on to the voices in his head.
No. 82165 ID: f98e0b
File 125934476688.png - (81.50KB , 800x600 , 14.png )

Leah is his girlfriend right now, Leah Indala whose pa Herm Indala runs the windmills for the town. But Oren is frankly getting tired of it. She's clingy, she's easily pissed off, and she doesn't like it that his job means so much time and responsibility. She's also suspicious about him and Squires for some reason. Hell, he wouldn't blame her, he sleeps over at work a lot and Squires isn't exactly the neatest of people. She has a habit of leaving her unmentionables around. He remembers once Leah visited and came across her lacy lingerie draped on a desk. That was an interesting day.

Squires stumbles over to the curtain between their "rooms" and closes it to change as Oren checks his arrows.

"You wouldn't happen to have my, whatsitcalled, sports bra over there, would you? The armor chafes without it."

"Nessie Squires, why would I go taking your underwear?"

"I dunno, Oren, you seem to fit the crossdresser's profile to me. Gruff on the outside, barking orders and solving whodunits all day long, then comes home to a pair of panty hose and a slinky red dress."
Oren grins, then remembers the dead boy they're going to go out to investigate and stops.
No. 82167 ID: 35cea2

Well, just finish getting everything in order then head on out I guess.

Also, what ARE you anyways?
No. 82171 ID: 276781

A clingy girlfriend who doesn't understand the importance of your job and doesn't trust you, eh?
That does sound pretty annoying.
Maybe there's something that can be done to fix this relationship - or else it's probably going down like a sinking ship.

Anyway, finish getting ready. Maybe help Squires find her sports bra.
No. 82174 ID: f98e0b
File 125934749022.png - (151.79KB , 800x600 , 15.png )

Oren is thinking the latter at this point.

Oren and Leah and most of the folk in town are Viddera, Vidder singular.

Squires makes Oren go into the front room while she looks around for her bra, then after about a minute clanks out in full gear. The armor doesn't really fit her, um, stature that well but they make do. That's all they've been doing for about a year since the war started. Make do.

"Looking good there, Sheriff."
"You too, Squires."
"As well as could be expected in a tin can. Hey, call me Deppity, come on."
"Fine, deputy."
Squires is from the South, and she gets a kick out of the northern accent and mannerisms, even though Oren notes she's developing a drawl as well from the exposure.

"Where to now, anyway?" she asks.
No. 82175 ID: f98e0b
File 125934764454.png - (29.33KB , 800x600 , 16.png )

"Well, the way I see it, we could head around town for a bit, see if there's anything to this here rumor of a Homunculus, or we could do our job and head over to the plantation, see the body. Piece out what happened there."
No. 82182 ID: 276781

Go do your job, then follow the rumors of a Homunculus.
No. 82203 ID: f98e0b
File 125935512055.png - (213.89KB , 800x600 , 17.png )

They decide to head to the plantation to find Leo and, hopefully, figure out what to do next.

As Oren walks outside, he hears the sound of shuffling behind the Constabulary cart parked outside and a muffled curse. He turns to Squires in the doorway and shushes her. She grins and steps back a ways.


"Gah!" comes a voice from the other side and then a loud thump as its owner smacks his head in his haste to get up. Squires has to bite her hand to keep from laughing. Theo "Grease" Galvin, gifted, fast-talking, twitchy mechanic, looks up from his work. "Oh sheriff hey it's you I was only just finishing up the work on the buggy just like you asked me to honestly."

"Are you sure about that, Grease? What if you were trying to steal the hubcaps. I think I may have to take you in for questioning."

"snrkt" goes Squires behind him.
No. 82211 ID: f98e0b
File 125935687321.png - (200.74KB , 800x600 , 18.png )

"You're lucky we've got bigger fish to fry, eh, Deppity Squires?" says Oren.

"Ah reckon," says Squires, sauntering (she's good at sauntering) over and planting herself next to him.

"You two're always playin' me fer fun," says Greasy. "I should sue ya both fer damages."

"Ain't nothing damaged if you smack your head, Greasy. Good job on the cart, by the by. You can put the bill on the Read-Me pile. Me 'n Squires are going out."

"Romance, eh, Sheriff?" says Greasy, grinning.
"Yep," says Oren. "Nothing like grisly crime scenes to get the blood pumping."

"Grisly? Whaddya mean grisly? What's happened?" asks Greasy.

"No comment. Come on, Deputy."
No. 82216 ID: 6164e0

While continuing with the playful banter, questions:

How long have you known Leah?

Of that time, how long have you been together?

Of that time, how often does the thought of her make you smile?

Look, the fact that your first thought on recalling her was to think about the negatives doesn't bode well.
She blinds you to truth

I mean, there are such things as relatonships that just aren't healthy. This sounds like you may be in one: I am not saying that is actually so, just that you are acting the way someone in a bad relationship would act recalling the other member.
She keeps you as her own, for where else could you go?

Now, I'm not saying this is more important than your duties as a sheriff: Obviously the case you got takes precedence. But if a relationship is consistantly causing more grief than joy and has existed for a while, that may be a sign that it won't work.
She doesn't want you to know you do not need her. Is that an act of love, or an act of selfish possession?

So, ask yourself: Are you happy with her? Because it sounds like the answer might be no.
So why do you stay?

No. 82228 ID: f98e0b
File 125935951010.png - (376.64KB , 800x600 , 19.png )

No. 82229 ID: f98e0b
File 125935969218.png - (250.66KB , 800x600 , 20.png )

"They got one thing for certain. Leo Mervin is dead. Can't get much deader" Squires looks up. "The head wound, too. It's like a sigil or something. That's a sign of black magic, I'm thinking."

"No doubt something wrong is going on in that house," says Oren. "The question is whether we think we can deal with it by our lonesome selves."

"I don't see anyone else around, sheriff." says Squires.
What now?
No. 82234 ID: 6164e0


You are the Sheriff.
Protecter of Order, ward against Chaos

You have a duty to do.
Your purpose draws you here, to the maelstrom of madness within

There is nothing more relevant than that here.
Undertaker, your host may die if he is not focus with sublime clarity on his surroundings. Try what you can to sharpen his wits, improve his focus, or you may cease to be as well

Loosen mace in holster, draw bow, nock arrow (keep it slightly lowered and only partly tense to not strain it, but still allow you to snap of a shot quickly), and circle the building with Squire once, both of you looking for anything that could tell you more about what to expect inside.

After gathering this data (pending finding something that would negate the plan) ask Squires to bust down the door with a full speed charge, using the armored shoulder to bust through, then immediately dash to one side of the door so that you can get a clear shot at anything within with the bow. Don't loose immediately, just at the very first sign that you see something that could be a threat.
No. 82247 ID: 107da3


If nobody owns the house you can just burn it down.
No. 82248 ID: 632862

What does proper police protocol say to do in this situation? Is there any protocol? I guess it is just an abandoned house.
No. 82253 ID: f98e0b
File 125936595951.png - (260.65KB , 800x600 , 21.png )

Problem is that the plantation stands in the center of a bunch of fields if overgrown grain. A blaze that big could easily catch on the wind and Oren doesn't even want to think of what would happen then.

The Authority out on the frontier isn't big on protocol. Oren imagines, though, that it'd involve surrounding the house, which ain't possible with a couple. of people.

Oren relays the idea to Squire, who takes the lead.

They get about halfway toward the back when Squires holds up a hand and stops him. She gestures over the wall.
No. 82259 ID: 632862

Take a look.
No. 82260 ID: f98e0b
File 125936660614.png - (530.48KB , 800x600 , 22.png )

Oren peeks up and over the wall, bringing the bow with him... hell.

That's a homunculus. A shoddily constructed one, doesn't look all that threatening. Oren is willing to bet he can take it out with one well-aimed arrow.

But should he?
No. 82263 ID: 632862

A strike now would alert whoever is inside. I think a stealthy approach to take out the master would be best. Look for an unguarded back door or open window.
No. 82269 ID: 6164e0

Not yet.

Nod to Squires to show you saw it, then indicate with gestures (such as a hed nod and hand in the direction desired) that they should complete the surveilance of the house's perimeter, just in case something else they can see might change how this should be approached.
Undertaker, can you feel it? Can you feel the soul screaming within the husk of that mockery of life? Can you feel it's confusion, it's pain? It wants to die, that soul trapped within. Undertaker, there is someone that needs burial. Give them the release they desire. Take them to the realm of dreams.

No. 82277 ID: f98e0b
File 125937026496.png - (293.68KB , 800x600 , 23.png )

Oren ducks back behind the wall and nods to Squires, who continues the circle of the house.
"we're looking for an entry point into the house," says Oren. "keep your eyes open"

A couple of minutes later, Squires points out a gap in the wall. "perfect entry point. screening grass and everything."

"excellent" says Oren, looking at the deputy.

Huh. Maybe it's because she's good at her job, or maybe it's because of the tight outfit or the fact that she's on her hands and knees, but Oren Loper feels a surge of affection for Nessie. This is new. Is it the undertaker screwing around with his mind? He promised he wouldn't touch. She really rocks the whole armored look. Somehow.
Shut up, Oren. You're here investigating a murder. A kid, really, not going to get any older. And you're sitting drooling over your best friend. Focus.

Oren blinks and clears his mind. He feels comfortably miserable again. What now?
No. 82281 ID: af3e6d

Is that something in the window?
No. 82287 ID: f98e0b
File 125937086870.png - (22.99KB , 800x600 , window.png )

Just some old broken glass. Nothing to worry about.
No. 82288 ID: 276781

Hey, your girlfriend and/or wife should be one of your best friends. It's the way you two can live with each other without going batshit insane.
Now, if they're already your friend beforehand, sometimes it gets a little sticky; but that's not to say it never works out.

...Right, back to your job. Can you see anything in the window, or is it just smashed up real good?
No. 82290 ID: c8028f

Take a quick peek inside.
No. 82308 ID: f98e0b
File 125937213762.png - (20.72KB , 385x384 , 24.png )

Oren flattens his ears as much as they can (the things really have a mind of their own) and peers through the window...
No. 82312 ID: f98e0b
File 125937237473.png - (21.43KB , 800x600 , 25.png )

The light inside is limited to one dull orange emergency light. Its flickering illumination picks out the individual flecks of dust floating in the still air.

It wreaks havoc on his night vision, but he can make out some stairs leading up and a door, maybe to a basement. The room extends beyond his vision. He perks up his ears in case he can hear anything from here. Nothing.
No. 82338 ID: 88d217

Let's check the basement first, that's gonna be the quietest thing most likely. Have we got a light?
No. 82349 ID: 632862

Investigate the basement first. How good is your night vision, anyway?
No. 82355 ID: 276781

Poke your head in so you can see the rest of the room - CAREFULLY. If it's safe, have Squires head in first. Admire dat ass a little and then figure out where to go from there.
No. 82393 ID: f98e0b
File 125937869211.png - (90.21KB , 800x600 , 26.png )

>Admire dat ass
Okay, Oren is not entirely sure you know what kind of guy he is. Not that kind.
No. 82395 ID: f98e0b
File 125937879932.png - (40.12KB , 800x600 , 27.png )

ANyway, Squires is going in first, because it is more tactically sound to have her take the lead.

Their night vision is good enough that the level of darkness in the plantation shouldn't be a problem.

To the basement, then?
No. 82407 ID: c8028f

Check this room out before heading to the basement.
No. 82422 ID: f98e0b
File 125938055176.png - (42.11KB , 800x600 , 28.png )

Looks like there's a door Oren didn't notice before. Hm. And that top hat there reminds him of the undertaker's somehow. He waves absentmindedly to the coatrack, then wonders why.

Squires is standing in the doorway to the basement "were we still going down here?" she whispers.
No. 82423 ID: af3e6d

Yeah, sure. Move as stealthily as her armour will allow.
No. 82425 ID: 276781

This one thinks you're a poor liar, but this one defers to your lies.
May as well check the basement. Someone can lag behind and keep a watch out to make sure nothing comes out of the woodwork to bite you in the ass.
No. 82438 ID: f98e0b
File 125938349485.png - (54.52KB , 800x600 , 29.png )

Oren will take the lead this time, he thinks.

"okay, let's go. try to not make noise as much as you can, deputy."

"stealthy. right. that's me, sheriff."

Oren can't resist cracking a grin as Squires walks with desperate care down the stairs. At the bottom waits a thick wooden door, with no keyhole to look through, unfortunately.

Oren could really go for a snake cam or somesuch right now.
No. 82440 ID: 276781

If she takes a tumble, make sure you're there to catch her like a gentleman.
After all, her falling into your arms is bound to make less noise than her armor clattering all over the floor.
No. 82461 ID: e973f4

So nothing else down here besides that door, then?

Is it locked?
No. 82462 ID: c8028f

Open the door slowly, and just enough to peek in.
No. 82467 ID: f98e0b
File 125938666261.png - (25.61KB , 800x600 , 30.png )

Oren holds his breath and cracks the door open an inch or two.

He stops suddenly. There's a homunculus in the room beyond, stoking the flames of a furnace with shovelfuls of coal.
No. 82469 ID: e7666f

Listen for anything in the rest of the room.
Are homunculi golemy servitors, or do they have some measure of intelligence?
That is to say, would it try to stop you if you walked in, even if it had not explicitly been ordered to?
I realise this asks a lot of someone not versed in the arcane and eldritch.
No. 82478 ID: f98e0b
File 125938757896.png - (28.56KB , 800x600 , 31.png )

Homunculi (homunculuses? homunculusi?) are effectively strong, dumb servants. They'll do whatever their creator wishes, and won't hesitate to do in anyone who threatens them. Oren feels like a damnfool sheriff with a bow and his plucky young ward fit that description.

He strains his ears to listen and hears the ponderous footsteps of another golem. A moment later it comes into view

and suddenly the one with the shovel is turning around. Oren feels his blood run cold.
No. 82482 ID: 718394

Slow look around, then put five bolts rapid into it if no better options present themselves.
No. 82484 ID: 718394

Disregard that; freeze. Motion will give you away quicker than anything else.
If they still notice you, <i>then</i> put arrows in them and begin retreating up the stairs.

Your survival is of higher importance then their demise at this point.
No. 82497 ID: 632862

Don't move. Wait until it isn't looking at you anymore, then get back upstairs. The master is not down here.
No. 82645 ID: f98e0b
File 125944277233.png - (60.54KB , 800x600 , 32.png )

Oren closes the door as quietly and carefully as possible. He freezes outside it for about five seconds, waiting to hear a response. Nothing. He and Squires climb back upstairs.

Oren keeps an arrow trained on the stairs as Squires pads over to the door back in the entrance room and opens it. "nothing. just a pantry or something." she says. Oren glances up the stairs. Looks like they lead to a hallway, but it's too dark to make much else out from here.
No. 82662 ID: e7666f

...We need to start codifying the Standard Competency Kit, and second on the list is going to be a light source.
Check out the pantry in more detail first.
No. 82679 ID: 0ae06a

its a new era of grittiness in tgchan, seems.
No. 82683 ID: dda9dd

Check out those stairs, and watch for creaky boards.

To be fair many of the most successful characters seem to start in boxes so a penlight may be on the list.
No. 82839 ID: f98e0b
File 125945566151.png - (141.35KB , 800x600 , 33.png )

Squires and Oren creep up the stairs, keeping to the sides to avoid creaking.
At the top she stops so suddenly he almost bumps into her. She pulls her sword out of its scabbard and drops into a crouch. In from of them is an old door hanging loose off its hinges.
Oren can hear a low buzzing sound coming from the other side, and, unmistakably, the heavy, reverberating thumps of a homunculus' footsteps.
No. 82954 ID: 35cea2

Is it getting closer? If it is, notch an arrow and take a step back.

If not, peek through the door.
No. 82978 ID: f98e0b
File 125946176247.png - (163.86KB , 800x600 , 34.png )

No closer. Sounds like it's pacing or something

Oren tries to get as good a view as he can.
He sees one homunculus, doing...something. He can't be sure. The buzzing noise is coming from it. The pacing homunculus is out of view.
No. 82984 ID: 276781

Are the two of you really equipped for fighting homunculi, Oren?
It seems like there's an awful lot of them in here, and you two are wielding... a sword, a mace, and a bow.

I dunno, you just seem a little outclassed for some reason.
No. 82985 ID: f98e0b
File 125946327211.png - (175.27KB , 800x600 , 35.png )

He's not. They're not. They are outclassed, outmaneuvered, outgunned. Oren knows this and it sits in his gut, like black earth piling on top of his see-through coffin.

He's not prepared to fight these things, he's not prepared to do his job, he's not prepared to live his life. And even before the other homunculus paces into view (it can't see him, not yet) and even before the first pauses what it was doing to unfurl foot-long claws of steel, he can feel his own hope spiraling and falling down like a bird been impaled on an arrowhead.

He joined to help people. He still wants to help people. He can't. Leah tells him every day his job is pointless. Maybe it is. The pain he saw in the eyes of a dead boy a few minutes ago is still burned into his mind. He couldn't save Leo. He can't do much anything.

Nope. He's not equipped to fight. He never has been, really.

He doesn't see anyone else who can.
No. 82987 ID: af3e6d

Mentally question the Undertaker to see if he can help.
No. 82997 ID: f98e0b
File 125946662922.png - (175.63KB , 800x600 , 36.png )


[Yeah, Mr. Loper. What's up.]

[Me n Squires appear to be in over our heads here. Is there anything you can do to even the odds at all?]
[Sorry, Mr. Loper. If it's in the material world there's nothing I can do. I wish I could tell you different.]
[It's okay, undertaker. It was a long shot asking for your help any way. We can fight our own battles.]
[Mr. Loper. I know when you're lying.]
[Listen, um, Oren, I get the undercurrents of your emotions back here, and despair just hit you like a brick to the face. If there's anything can do for you, that doesn't require a corporeal body or anything, I-]
[Don't worry, undertaker. Thank you.]
[Okay. I... okay.]
No. 83000 ID: 107da3


You dork. The homonculi are spirits of the living, bound into bodies. Have him distract the two construct while you shoot them in the face. I don't think they're intelligent enough to be surprised, but I bet they DO take pause to think about their next course of action.
No. 83002 ID: f98e0b
File 125946726390.png - (109.14KB , 800x600 , 37.png )

Oren's unconscious. The little voices in his head. Hey, fellas.

The homunculi have souls, yeah, but that doesn't equate mental ability. They have no real spark of mind, and certainly no dreams. The soul is stolen, and it's pretty much just a battery. A spooky, eldritch battery.

So you probably realize Oren Loper isn't a happy guy right now. And there's really nothing that I, as an external force, can do. Well, there is, but I really don't dig the whole mind control thing. I promised him I wouldn't fiddle around with his head.
Well, I wouldn't count a conversation as fiddling.
Oren, as I think I may have mentioned, is miserable. I was drawn to his mind in the first place due to all the emotional stress he was putting himself through. The job, the girl, the death, the war, it's sort of starting to wear him down. He needs us. YOU, mostly, to be honest. I'm just, as you so succinctly put it, a dork. In a funny hat.
No. 83009 ID: a1ac99

If we're being honest, answer something for me, if you would. A soul isn't physical, right? Something a corporeal body can't exactly touch without intervention, yeah? And you, as you've said, are non-corporeal too, right?

Think you have enough force behind your dorky, incorporeal non-mass to push the batteries out of these abominations, Mister Undertaker?
No. 83010 ID: 276781

Well, we might be able to help him with the girlfriend issue, but the homunculi crap's kind of tough to deal with. And it's not like we can stop a war or keep anyone from dying, or anything.

We need to find some way to either get Oren some superpowers, or at least make him happy.
No. 83031 ID: f98e0b
File 125946980479.png - (159.31KB , 800x600 , 38.png )

I feel like I'm not explaining this well. The world isn't just material and immaterial. The material is the place where most things actually occur. Laid out on top of it are the realms of spirit and arcane and dream. There's magic for each (That'd be thaumaturgy for spirit, evocation for material, illusion for dream, and enchantment for arcane...but I'm rambling now). I'm a creature of dream. These homunculi are more arcane or spiritual. I'm not really sure which. Anyway, I can't touch them. I really am sorry.

As far as making him happy goes, I think for now he'd just be grateful to have his insides stay inside. Oren's emotional problems run fairly deep. His father drank, his mom's dead, that sort of thing. And he's seen his friends all leave one by one to go fight some war somewhere. Hell, he'd be with them but his duty to his home kept him here. He's seen death, too. He dreams about it. He's an old man at, what, 26. But about the girlfriend thing... it's a good idea, and I'm glad Oren's subconscious is finally pushing for him to make some changes. This Indala really is a bitch, I'm going to be honest. I've been in her head for a bit. She's jealous and petty and generally deceitful. She fucked Jules Ingram, you know, the guy who runs the drug store in town.
Squires likes Oren, though. Really likes him. I stopped in for one of her dreams, and, um. She dreams of him. She's the only reason he hasn't already burnt out. Gets him to have fun, do things he wouldn't. And she's messy, and she's absentminded, and I'm sure any relationship they have would be chaos, but it would be happy chaos, and it just seems right, don't you think?
No. 83044 ID: f98e0b
File 125947127022.png - (235.84KB , 800x600 , 39.png )

I really shouldn't tie you up like this. Not now.

We talked for give or take a half a second. Maybe half a second too long. Now go forth and kill ye some homunculi.

Oh wait, before I go, a pointer about how to do that. Homunculi don't bleed, of course, and piercing won't do much to them. But in the end, they're just clay, and clay breaks easily. Their red eyes can be punctured and that will end them fairly quickly as well. I imagine you could drop one from stealth if you're willing to fight the other. Otherwise, just remember: shattering trauma. Blunt force. Glad you brought the mace?
No. 83046 ID: f98e0b
File 125947141254.png - (177.49KB , 800x600 , 40.png )

Oren clears his head. Whoa. Felt like he was thinking in a tarpit or something for a second. He is brought back into jarring focus when the homunculus in back tests its claws on the tattered remains of the flag hanging down, slicing through it easily.

Well, cloth is cloth. What now?
No. 83050 ID: af3e6d

If you want to continue on here, you're gonna need to take out the homunculi. If you decide to do this, and you don't have to since it's extremely dangerous, try get an arrow in a glowing red eye before they notice you and follow up with a mace. See if you can get Squires to cover the other one, keeping it at a distance.
If you can take both of those, then there's a good chance the others will hear and be on you in an instant. You need to be sure you want to try this.
No. 83074 ID: 8902a3

Pull yourself together. You're going to get the master of this house behind bars. It's probably best to take out the Homonculi one by one before anyone is aware of your presence. Try to get a better look into this room before you strike. If you can't then go along the hall more. You can take this fight with barely an effort, you're going to save any future victims. Easy as smashing a vase.
No. 83082 ID: 632862

Shoot the visible red eye right now. Take that one out in one shot. Then have Squires go pure defense on the other one while you attack it with your mace from behind. Shatter the brittle clay.
No. 83085 ID: f98e0b
File 125947346832.png - (180.82KB , 800x600 , 41.png )

No. 83086 ID: f98e0b
File 125947348337.png - (160.73KB , 800x600 , 42.png )

No. 83106 ID: 632862

Smash its hand while getting away from it!
No. 83115 ID: f98e0b
File 125947621623.png - (281.88KB , 800x600 , 43.png )

Oren just pulls back

Squires smashes.
No. 83162 ID: f98e0b
File 125950984665.png - (282.56KB , 800x600 , 44.png )

"Skeeeeeeeee" howls the homunculus, landing on its feet and baring its claws.

"Skeeeeee, motherfucker." hisses Squires, dropping into a defensive stance. "What now, Sheriff? Sheriff? What now?"
No. 83163 ID: 7f5681

Alarm off! Shoot the other one, now! or smash it, but be quick!

Get ready, if theres too many they might try to swarm! Corridors are good to funnel them.
No. 83164 ID: 35cea2

Tell Squires to just focus on parrying his attacks while you flank around him and fire an arrow into it's back.
No. 83165 ID: 7f5681

Its made of clay, if you´re gonna flank smash with the mace
No. 83166 ID: 88d217

Shooting it's safer.
No. 83167 ID: 7f5681

Yea, but its clay, I doubt shooting would do much unless if he hit in the critical spot on the eye
No. 83173 ID: f98e0b
File 12595148606.png - (275.41KB , 800x600 , 45.png )

The homunculus stares wildly at Squires and at Oren as he moves to flank it with the mace.
It can't get through Squires' shield with its claws and it's running out of space.

In its primitive, clay brain, a single thought takes precedence over all others, including self-preservation.
It will die but it must kill.

"AUGH FUCK KILL IT KILL IT" Squires yells as it launches itself bodily at her, slamming into her shield, partway goring itself on her blade as it does so, and flailing its claws in wide sweeping arcs. A razor talon misses her face by an inch.
No. 83176 ID: af3e6d

No. 83178 ID: 6164e0

Do you see the dedication, the focus that makes these simple constructs so deadly?

You can do the same.

Right now, nothing is more important than protecting your dear friend, your comrade, your partner.

There is no need for extraneous thoughts here. All of your attention, all of your focus must be directed towards your hands, your arms, your back, your chest, all the way through your body, you must be ready to swing that mace with all the might your body can muster.
Undertaker? Do you feel the fear in your host? The deluge of thoughts he faces? They are distractions, and will see him die. Can you removed these distractions, if only for a moment? If Oren could focus absolutely on the task at hand, it is doubtful he would fail.

No. 83185 ID: f98e0b
File 125951936664.png - (183.73KB , 800x600 , 46.png )

"it's-crushing me"
No. 83186 ID: f98e0b
File 125951943887.png - (246.20KB , 800x600 , 47.png )

No. 83187 ID: 88d217

Ok we need to make sure we haven't alerted the rest of them now. Is there any additional commotion?
No. 83203 ID: 276781

Help her up, get ready to get swamped by a few more, maybe. Keep in mind the "they are clay, smash them" technique, and remember to bow aim for red eyes if you see any.

While you're waiting, ask Squires if she's alright.
No. 83209 ID: af3e6d

Help her up, make sure she's okay. Chances are the others will be making a beeline for your position so you need to get moving fast.
No. 83226 ID: f98e0b
File 125952536787.png - (275.06KB , 800x600 , 48.png )

Oren helps Squires to her feet. "Took a fall, there, deputy. Everything all right?"
"Yeah, I think so. Feels like it nicked my ear."
"It sorta did."
"Oh, shit. Really? That's gonna be permanent."
"Don't sweat it. It looks sort of sexy."
"I said it looks fine."
"Right. Damaged ear and everything, you know."

They wait for about a minute, listening for any movement downstairs. Nothing. Strange. It seemed like the fight made a hell of a racket.

"Um. Nessie? You can let go of my hand."
"You can let go of my hand."
No. 83228 ID: 276781

You two can kiss later.

Right now you should be concerned about why none of the other homunculi came to see what the racket was about - unless those two were made specifically for defense, and the rest are too focused on their job to bother with intruders. Is there anything else in this room?
No. 83234 ID: f98e0b
File 125952685520.png - (186.74KB , 800x600 , 49.png )

Who said anything about kissing. Oren didn't. Did Squires? No one said anything about kissing.
>Other homunculi busy
That seems like the most likely option. It's sort of disconcerting, anyway.

As far as other things in the room, Oren can see the object that was making the buzz from earlier. It was blocked out by the homunculus with the claws. Looks like just a big black box with an opening in it. It's still emitting a low thrumming buzz.

Oren can also see a big stone doorway, with a curtain covering it. A cord from the box goes back behind it.
No. 83255 ID: dda9dd

Examine opening, have Squires cover the curtained entrance.
No. 83261 ID: f98e0b
File 125953050926.png - (160.82KB , 800x600 , 50.png )

Squires stands at the doorway while Oren looks closer at the box. The opening is just a groove inside it, about three inches deep. In its center is a pale glowing sigil.
No. 83266 ID: 276781

Might be magically-sealed or something. Does it look like there's any normal way to open the box, or does it seem to be more like a generator of some kind?
No. 83269 ID: f98e0b
File 125953187191.png - (148.68KB , 800x600 , 51.png )

Oren puts his hand on the box. It's warm and shaking a little and buzzing. That and the cord make it seem like this is some sort of machine for, well, something.
Something strangely familiar about it, all told.
No. 83274 ID: 88d217

Hmm, well let's get Squire to open the curtain while we keep our arrow trained on whatever may be behind there. This machine may be some kind of controller for the Haemonculi
No. 83283 ID: f98e0b
File 125953445037.png - (100.70KB , 800x600 , 52.png )

Squires opens the curtain while Oren readies an arrow.
No. 83284 ID: f98e0b
File 125953447221.png - (281.44KB , 800x600 , 53.png )

Oren and Squires have found Anders Mervin.
No. 83286 ID: 88d217

Now seems like a good time to shoot first and ask questions later.
No. 83287 ID: dda9dd

Is he... moving much, looks to be hooked into that machinery, perhaps some kind of curious life support? Or something grimmer?

Also note the sigil his body seems to be following.
No. 83288 ID: 632862


Then shoot an arrow in his leg.
No. 83290 ID: f98e0b
File 125953508849.png - (284.66KB , 800x600 , 54.png )

Oren tries to say something. It comes out as a strangled, horrified yell. He fires.

The arrow snaps against the target's leg like a toothpick.
No. 83291 ID: 88d217

goddamnit aim for the back of his head. You should know to never shoot to maim.
No. 83293 ID: 88d217

Try using a bodkin next time, as well.
No. 83300 ID: 632862

It... didn't move? Aim for the eye this time, even though that looks like a mask.
No. 83337 ID: dda9dd

Careful, you could hit Anders if you miss. Not that we don't know that his isn't already dead, or wish he was.
No. 83362 ID: f98e0b
File 125954363020.png - (316.22KB , 800x600 , 55.png )

Oren fires again, directly for the back of the head. Bodkin.
The thing in the mask sidesteps, and the arrow punches past its cloak without effect.

It counterattacks with a wave of force directed at Oren's face.
No. 83366 ID: 43d730

No. 83369 ID: 632862

Duck while yelling "DUCK!".
No. 83376 ID: f98e0b
File 125954627698.png - (296.45KB , 800x600 , 56.png )

"FUCK!" yells Oren, ducking backward and covering his face with his hand. Instead of blowing his head off, as it was clearly meant to do, the missile instead bowls him backward. He stumbles over the corpses of the homunculi and drops his bow.

The mage flings itself after him, too fast for Squires to react.
No. 83377 ID: dda9dd

Kick him up and over you, with both legs.
No. 83454 ID: 632862

Yell for Squires to cut the cable attached to the box. Try to fend off the mage with your mace.
No. 83701 ID: f98e0b
File 125961475229.png - (217.16KB , 800x600 , 57.png )

"SQUIRES! THE CORD! CUT THE CORD!" pants Oren, as he scrambles to his feet, nearly slipping on the gore beneath him, clutching his mace, white-knuckled-

and here comes the masked thing, huge and flowing with its cape spread like the wings of a hawk descending on desert prey.

But Oren is fighting defensively with the mace now, and instincts honed from a dozen other fights take over. One hand shoots out and catches the mage's fist. The force is tremendous and Oren feels the skin on his palm heat as the magic fights to get loose, but he holds on...
No. 83703 ID: 276781

Apply MACE to enemy FACE liberally.
No. 83705 ID: 2ef908

Pull his hand to you! Either bring him closer or go to him, but dont let go of that hand. And punch him in the gut, knock his breath out!
No. 83745 ID: f98e0b
File 125961726649.png - (120.16KB , 800x600 , 58.png )

As Squires cuts the cord Oren pulls hard, bringing himself to the mage, his mace descending after him like the fist of a vengeful god.
No. 83748 ID: f98e0b
File 125961778088.png - (125.87KB , 800x600 , 59.png )

The mask snaps in two with a heavy crack.
No. 83749 ID: f98e0b
File 12596178001.png - (72.54KB , 800x600 , 60.png )

No. 83797 ID: f98e0b
File 125962012293.png - (246.71KB , 800x600 , 61.png )

Oren can't move. His brain simply refuses to work. He can feel his entire body, the dull pain in his hand is still there, but he cannot move it.
No. 83819 ID: 107da3


Well, time for squires to stab the wizard in the back of the head.
No. 83829 ID: 43d730

Fall over on him.
No. 83833 ID: 35cea2

Mr. Undertaker! Does mind control fall under your jurisdiction of the Dreamworld?

If so, help this guy!
No. 83837 ID: 0290e8

That eye is just begging to be stabbed.
No. 83924 ID: b39322

Don't worry boss, mind control's no match for us! Lemme just... HNNNNNRRRRGH



No. 83927 ID: 632862

Can you speak? Ask him what he's doing.
No. 83934 ID: d1210a

Undertaker, look at the sheriff's plight. You are a guest in his mind. You said you would keep still. But what if that means he dies? If your inaction means Squires feels the pain of this loss? Help him.

Oren, focus, all magic has rules, all magic has limits. You just need to calm down, focus, and think: Think about anything, ANYTHING that you know that could be useful, any anecdotal rumors about magic, and chants, anything.

For if you simply accept your end without struggle, you were never a friend of justice.
No. 83976 ID: f98e0b
File 125963643749.png - (139.00KB , 800x600 , 63.png )

Squires freezes.
"You have caused me no short amount of trouble, killed two of my servants, dared to lay hands on me, and worst of all, perhaps, you have ruined my fuel line. The last soul will, I am afraid, go to waste.
No matter. I have found two likely replacements."

[Undertaker! Goddammit, help! You can help now, can't you? Undertaker?]
No response. The undertaker is gone. Oren wants to cry.
No. 83978 ID: f98e0b
File 125963659410.png - (142.45KB , 800x600 , 64.png )

"Anguish, you know, is a strong emotion. Strong emotions fuel the soul, which in turn fuels my minions. For maximum output, I find a little coaxing is required. Which will make your time on the machine all the more satisfying. Now then..." It moves toward Squires. "I think I will start with you. We'll strap you to the machine and then we'll have a little fun." It (he?) grabs her ass and squeezes, hard.
No. 83979 ID: 35cea2

Oh no he DIDN'T

Fight harder Oren. FIGHT HARDER
No. 83983 ID: f98e0b
File 125963699685.png - (175.32KB , 800x600 , 65.png )

"It's been a while since I've taken a woman, but I'm sure it will all come back to me. Besides, we'll have a while together to get it riiIIIEEEEE"
No. 83987 ID: af3e6d

No. 83990 ID: 88d217

Fuck yeah! Let's investigate the crime scene, shall we?
No. 83991 ID: dda9dd

Did he just explode?
No. 83994 ID: 476456

Keep stabbing.
No. 83998 ID: 632862

Oh nice, the Undertaker can switch bodies. So awesome.

Continue to inflict violence upon the mage!
No. 84207 ID: c23e35

I THINK that Squires released from his mind control...

.. and stabbed him with the shield.

No. 84302 ID: f98e0b
File 125969928614.png - (138.93KB , 800x504 , 66.png )

You don't need to tell Squires twice.
No. 84312 ID: 632862

Okay now...

Could the Undertaker please release Oren? It's time for some Homunculus cleanup.
No. 84314 ID: f98e0b
File 125970023895.png - (120.22KB , 800x504 , 67.png )

"There's your fun, fuckface."
Squires looks up.
"Sheriff? Hello? Wake up, Spooky's dead."

Oren can hear her but can't make any indication that he has. He still can't move, though feeling is coming back to his extremities.
No. 84316 ID: 632862

Wiggle your fingers.
No. 84329 ID: 43d730

Try to wake him up with snapping fingers, then grope him.
No. 84331 ID: 276781

Make some sort of indication you're recovering - or, at least, try to.
No. 84354 ID: f98e0b
File 125970329912.png - (121.54KB , 800x504 , 68.png )

Oren concentrates...there we go! His fingers are under his control! He tries to tell Squires, but he still can't say anything, just wiggle his fingers. Squires doesn't seem to notice. She's too busy looking at his red-tinged eyes, searching for a change.

She snaps her fingers a couple of times at his ear. "Come on, Oren. Up and at 'em. Get the door."

No. 84355 ID: f98e0b
File 125970349829.png - (121.41KB , 800x504 , 69.png )

She belts a couple of bars of Thunderhawk by Mythodical. Oren wiggles his hand like mad. She doesn't see.

"Welp," she says, quickly unbuckling and taking off her bloodcovered breastplate. "This worked in all the fairly takes I've ever heard. Pucker up, sheriff."

No. 84356 ID: f21281

tap your fingers against anything solid in your pockets. If there is nothing solid in your pockets, just try to move the fabric of your pants around.
No. 84357 ID: 632862

Oh nice. Kiss her back.
No. 84358 ID: 276781

Oren: Seriously evaluate your current relationship and how miserable it is.
Squires: That'll probably get a rise out of him.
No. 84385 ID: f7a826

Oren, do not dare to tell her the truth. Will help avoiding an awkward moment.

Or tell her, will avoid her kissing you whenever you are paralyzed.
No. 84390 ID: f98e0b
File 125970569615.png - (118.77KB , 800x504 , 70.png )

What? No! Oren can't kiss Squires, she's his friend! He's fucked up every other intimate relationship he's had. If he loses Squires-But Leah will-

Squires is surprised at first and starts to pull away, mumbling an apology, but when he returns the kiss, she leans in. He can feel one of her legs wrapping around his-
No. 84391 ID: f98e0b
File 125970581310.png - (186.92KB , 800x600 , 71.png )

There's a bubbling laugh that descends into a racking, painful cough behind them.
"what a show," says Anders.
No. 84398 ID: 632862

Rush over and check to see if you can detach him from the machine safely.
No. 84513 ID: af3e6d

Holyshithe'salive. Go see if you can detach him somehow.
No. 84581 ID: f98e0b
File 125971711376.png - (268.31KB , 800x600 , 72.png )

Oren runs his hand across one of the tubes covering Anders. The machine is silent now that its cord and owner are gone. "Shit, Anders Mervin. What- How- Shit."

"that bad, huh?"asks Anders, looking at Oren with empty eyes.
For maximum output, I find a little coaxing is required, thinks Oren, then, Shit.

"How long have you been here? Squires, how long have the Mervin boys been missing?"
"About a week." she says, realizing as she says it what it means. "I- Oren, these things are in way too deep." she indicates the tubes and nails pinning Anders to the sigil. "We can't pull them out right here without killing the guy."

"i wouldn't worry about tha-- t, ma'am." Anders says, his voice cracking and something hissing inside him halfway through. "don't reckon i'll be here much longer."
No. 84583 ID: af3e6d

Hey now, don't say that. I don't suppose there's any way to get a doctor here quickly and safely? If anything, ask him if he knows who that was or what's going on.
No. 84584 ID: 43d730

"Squires, get his family.
And a doctor."
Hold his hand.
No. 84586 ID: 632862

What about the rest of the homunculi? I wonder if they're still active at all now that the mage is dead...?
No. 84591 ID: f98e0b
File 125971861913.png - (187.16KB , 800x600 , 73.png )

"Nessie. Get him a doctor. Quick. Run."

As she sprints out of the room, Oren reaches for the boy's hand, feeling a black wrenching twist in his stomach when he sees there is no hand to hold anymore. "you dint need to do that, sheriff. i'm gonna pass, soon enough."

"Bullshit, Anders. Don't worry, we'll get the doctor. He's fixed worse. Hell, I seen men-"

"that is false, oren loper, and we both know it. ain't nothin you could ever have done to stop this."

"I know," says Oren, fighting to keep back the tears. "But that makes it feel so much worse. Can't I do something? Anything?"

"sure you can, sheriff," says Anders, his eyes suddenly gaining a little intensity. "you kilt the spook and his clay men, dint you? and before i forget, or before i...go..." he takes a rattling breath. "leo. my brother. we were runnin' and i fell and i dint see. is he okay, sheriff? did he get away okay?"
No. 84596 ID: ab04d4

rolled 2 = 2

1= tell the truth
2= lie

The machine shall decide because I can't.
No. 84597 ID: af3e6d

Two cliche ways to go here. The first is to look dejected and tell him the truth, the other is to lie and let him die happy. Either way, it's only proper to just start failing at choking back tears at this point.
No. 84599 ID: 632862

He should already know the answer to that question, based on what we said already.

Lie to him anyway.
No. 84601 ID: f98e0b
File 125972063248.png - (185.67KB , 800x600 , 74.png )

"He's safe, Anders."

"that's good. i... i um, think i should..."
He's quiet.
No. 84603 ID: 632862

Is he still breathing?
No. 84604 ID: d1210a

You let him die happy, there was naught more you could do.

You have a duty to do, sheriff.

Investigate the corpse, and keep the mace in hand.

Who knows, there could be more tricks waiting.
No. 84605 ID: d1210a

(By corpse, I mean the summoner, not the friend)
No. 84608 ID: f98e0b
File 125972138546.png - (231.29KB , 800x600 , 75.png )

Oren stands there for a while, then moves to the doorway and closes the curtain.
Anders is dead.
No. 84612 ID: af3e6d

Alright, now it's time to look around some more until Squires shows up with the doctor, at which point you'll need to let her know it's futile.
No. 84615 ID: f98e0b
File 125972169133.png - (251.42KB , 800x600 , 76.png )

He notes with no real surprise that the body of the mage is gone, leaving behind a bloodstained cloak, and, upon further investigation a small red marble with a black flaw in the center, which he takes.

He walks downstairs to wait for the doctor and the family and when he closes his eyes he sees the face of two boys who deserved better.
No. 84617 ID: 632862

Go out and kill that homunculus in the yard, if Squires hasn't done so already. Maybe snipe it from a window?
No. 84621 ID: f98e0b
File 125972212983.png - (22.18KB , 800x600 , 77.png )

The homunculi. Dammit, Oren, don't let your stupid depression fit keep you from doing your job. He heads to the basement to clear the rest out, finding them dark and vacant of any light, their master gone. That's good. Oren wouldn't be able to fight them by himself anyway.

He waits.
No. 84668 ID: b6aa45

Anywhere else we didn´ check?

We have time. Whats done is done, what happened happened. Time to do what you do, Oren Loper.
No. 84689 ID: 8a8213

Crush their heads, just in case.
No. 84705 ID: 107da3


That orb is probably necromancy and may in fact have an evil mind-controlling spirit in it. Too bad you picked it up already. Well, put it into a bag and place it somewhere safe.
No. 84825 ID: f98e0b
File 125977977037.png - (36.53KB , 800x600 , 78.png )

Maybe. But evidence is evidence, and Oren wants to get this marble to an arcanist. It may be the only way he can figure out who that mage was, exactly. He'll stick it somewhere safe back at the office.

Now there really ain't a need to do that. They're just soldier boys made of clay, now. Empty shells. The thought vaguely reminds him of something Squires was singing once, but he forgets what.
They're no threat.
No. 84826 ID: f98e0b
File 125977980068.png - (15.64KB , 800x600 , 79.png )

...fuckin' homunculi.
No. 84830 ID: f98e0b
File 125978157185.png - (61.81KB , 800x600 , 80.png )

The rest of the day is a sort of blur. Squires comes back with the doctor and Mr. Mervin and Mrs. Mervin. And Mr Mervin gravely shakes his hand while Mrs. Mervin just keeps asking, "Why my boys? Why mine?" And the doctor stands before the machine and tells Oren some of these wounds were a week old, and asks Oren what kind of a person would do this sort of thing. And Oren shows Squires the cloak but they can't find anything, and they speak in muted, sad, fearful tones but never about the kiss. And Oren can tell she is dismayed by the grisly body and she's crushed as he is that they couldn't do nothing for it.

And Oren doesn't know what to say to any of them.
No. 84831 ID: f98e0b
File 12597817966.png - (141.16KB , 800x600 , 81.png )

And now he's back in his office, musing on these things, when his phone rings.
The ID says Li-Li, which happens to be his pet name for Leah.
No. 84835 ID: d1210a

The one you think of with such... dislike?

Why are you coupled to her, again, if she does not make you happy?

Anyway, pick up now if you are ever going to, least chance she will be yelling because you were not picking up, all that.

Undertaker, are you there? In this form do you reside safely once more? The form of Squire, the one that moved, how did you make this so?"

No. 84837 ID: dda9dd

Let us hear what there is to hear.
No. 84842 ID: 43d730

Ten internets on "Your job is dangerous, quit and come lick my feet full time."
...Well, maybe not the second part.
No. 84845 ID: f98e0b
File 125978420250.png - (139.79KB , 800x600 , 82.png )

"Oren Loper."
"Hey, darling," says Leah.
"Hi, Li-Li," says Oren. He remembers she used to laugh when he called her that. "What do you need?"

"I was thinking it's around the time you could maybe swing around my place with a bottle of bubbly and we could, you know, be with each other."

Leah calls for this sort of thing every couple of weeks. Her general idea of romance is him hanging around her house drinking wine until they're buzzed enough to screw.

"I would, babe, but I still need to write some sort of press thing for what happened today. Did you hear? We found the Mervin boys, they were-"

"Can't the newspapers wait? They don't need to hear everything about you, Oren. Watch that ego of yours. Let's just have us some Us time."

Oren does not need to write a press release for the newspapers. It's already finished and sent off. What he does not want to tell Leah is that when he and Squires came back to the office, she seemed depressed and frightened. She's gone to the barracks. Oren doesn't think she should be on her own in an empty place outside of town all by herself tonight, somehow. She's there for him all the time, after all. Besides, it's still his turn to watch the office. Squires took a double turn last time while he went out to dinner with Leah and her parents.
No. 84846 ID: dda9dd

I somehow doubt you really feel like having some "bubbly and US time" tonight.
No. 84847 ID: 135d9a

Impart to her however you will that you've had a very rough day that involved a lot of blood and are thinking about turning in early for the night or something like that.
No. 84848 ID: f98e0b
File 12597868744.png - (137.22KB , 800x600 , 83.png )

Actually, truth be told, the half-kiss with Squires and the loss of both of the Mervin boys and having to tell their parents has left Oren lonely as hell. He don't want to skip out on Squires, though, especially when back there at the plantation there was...something. Oren doesn't know. It's all messed up.

"It ain't about the ego, Li-Li. It's about the job. Didja hear what happened to those Mervins anyhow? Leo was killed, and he was the lucky one. When we found Anders, he..."

"Oh, the job. Yep, I heard about the Mervins. This just shows that there ain't much you can do at that place anyway. People're gonna die, Oren. Always have, always will. And you think you can stop it by hangin' around a dusty office neglecting your girlfriend."
"You can't, Oren. I'da hoped today would have shown you that."
No. 84849 ID: 552969

People died in a very unpleasant way. Some very dangerous things were in town. If we don't get the info out fast, rumors will fly. There could be a panic. Your work is important.

You know, since you're going the whole "lying" route.
No. 84850 ID: 2cbe3e


Agree to at least come down for a quick drink
No. 84851 ID: 552969

Say something along the lines of "Maybe, but less will die with me doing my job." It might be wise to just hand up then. Ignore the digs about neglecting her, nothing good can come of reacting to that.
No. 84852 ID: dda9dd

And leave Squires alone? That doesn't seem quite right. I mean she did just save our life.
No. 84853 ID: 43d730

"You know, some of us do have jobs. I can't skip out without someone on duty, and Squires is out."
No. 84855 ID: f98e0b
File 125978891188.png - (139.91KB , 800x600 , 84.png )

"That doesn't mean I'm not going to do it, Leah. Because it's my job, okay? I can't skip out without someone on duty, and Squires is out."

"The office can wait, Oren. When was the last time someone woke you up for something there anyway?"

"This morning, Leah. Look. I don't like it and you don't like it, but there it is. The town needs me here."

"Bullshit, Oren. The office don't need you. The town don't need you. And I don't need you either, as a matter of fact. So if you aren't with me tonight, you can kiss the one thing you have going right in your life goodbye."
She don't mean it, Oren. She says things without thinking. Breathe, Oren.
No. 84857 ID: d1210a


Other than the sex, what do you like about her?

You don't seem to get along well, and you have a job she doesn't seem to be able to handle you having.

Plus, you CAN'T leave, Squires needs you. She saved your life and has been your partner all this time, and there is no way you will not be there for her.

Now put your problems aside, and go check in on Squires. Helping others is a great way to calm the nerves.
No. 84858 ID: 552969

She has a funny idea of what "right" means.
No. 84859 ID: 2cbe3e


Say something snappy, like 'sorry sweetcakes', as you hang up the phone in a hard-boiled manner.
No. 84860 ID: 436c16

Just tell her the truth.
Ending a job with two corpses and having no one to arrest does not makes you in the mood for champagne.

Thats the truth, right?

If she cant get that trough her head, sigh and hang.
No. 84864 ID: 135d9a


Maybe with a little passive aggression thrown in for good measure, since she's being so unpleasant.
No. 84866 ID: 552969

Just say "'bye" and hang up. It's not like you didn't know this would happen.
No. 84868 ID: 276781

She wants you all to herself, but she doesn't care about your wants.
Does she really care about you? She, who threatens to leave you at the drop of a hat?

You're too good for her, Oren. She doesn't deserve you.
No. 84872 ID: f98e0b
File 125979044683.png - (141.97KB , 800x600 , 85.png )

It was different when they met. Oren hadn't really had much of a feminine figure in his life except Squires, who is his best friend after all. She'd been friendly and witty and the sex, well, Oren hadn't actually ever done it before so he's not sure how good it was. It was fun, though.


"Right? You got a funny idea as to what's right, hon. Not getting that two mutilated bodies and no culprit to interview doesn't make me feel like dancing over to your place to get smashed ain't right, 'darlin'."

"Is that the way you're going to be, Loper?"

Oren hangs up.
He doesn't need this shit from her tonight. He doesn't need it. He can ignore the longing for skin on his and for breath in his ear and the feel of...
No. 84873 ID: f98e0b
File 125979047168.png - (137.48KB , 800x600 , 86.png )

god fucking dammit.
No. 84876 ID: 43d730

Two people have died, horribly, in front of you, and she expects you to cheerily drink, abandon your duties, and get laid later the same day.
Good god, how did you end up with this woman in the first place?
Cut off contact with her, be prepared for pressure from her end.
No. 84877 ID: dda9dd

Time to walk down the 70 Steps of Light Slumber and have a talk with Nasht and Kaman-Tha?
No. 84878 ID: d05bf5


I don't think this girl's done much of anything for you, boss. I might think she'd called with the intention of maybe making you feel better with this champagne and togetherness, but so far your description of her doesn't make me too hopeful, and her brushing off the situation, and the veiled attacks on you, seem to support that notion. She doesn't seem the type whose attitude can be improved, either.

Your call, chief, but I'd take the opportunity she's giving to break it off, even if she doesn't realize she's giving it. With her bein' your first, too... well, let's say it's unlikely that you've got the best you can get.

... None of this will really help make you feel better, I admit, but with this kinda situation I don't think there's much we can offer in that regard, anyway. Sorry.
No. 84882 ID: 276781

Go check on Squires. Make sure she's alright.
No. 84883 ID: 436c16

Total. Put a rock on the matter and check her. Shes your best friend; bros before hoes. Even if your bro is a she.
No. 84885 ID: f98e0b
File 125979198448.png - (137.09KB , 800x600 , 88.png )

Oren feels a little better about the situation after a bit. Who does that woman think she is, anyway? He should check on Squires. See if she's sleeping soundly. Her stereo's on, which is usually a sign that she's trying to get to bed. He's about to get up when he hears her voice from the other room.
"Young love. Beautiful, yes?"

"Hey, Squires. You alright?"

"Fine. What about you, Oren? That sounded a bit more pissed than usual."
No. 84886 ID: 436c16

"Well, I just blew off a chance to get drunk and laid to mope around because I got offended by how she treated me and my job."

Okay, dont say THAT, but thats the line of thought I am thinking of.
No. 84890 ID: f98e0b
File 125979300689.png - (141.56KB , 800x600 , 89.png )

"Just blew it with Leah."
"You two are going to break some kind of record, you know."
"I think this is it, Nessie. I'm quitting cold turkey. You should have heard what she said about our jobs."
"Lemme guess." she says. "Something about how a)it's meaningless and b) it's keeping you from licking her feet full time?"
"I speak Turbo-Bitch. Hey, Oren. Remember that time she barged in here and I'd left my lacy underthings on the desk?"
"She never let me forget it, Nessie."
"Heh, well..." she walks into the doorway.
No. 84892 ID: f98e0b
File 125979328778.png - (107.28KB , 800x600 , 90.png )

"Did you miss them?"
No. 84893 ID: 2cbe3e


"Could be"
No. 84894 ID: 436c16

I did o.o
No. 84895 ID: dda9dd

No. 84896 ID: 43d730

No. 84900 ID: 1831fc

Oh ho ho ho.

I'd suggest going for it, Oren. Hell, it's usually better when it's a friend.
No. 84902 ID: f21281

Do your best impression of unicodestare.jpg
No. 84905 ID: f98e0b
File 12597944992.png - (220.00KB , 800x600 , 91.png )


"Could be I did," says Oren. "Um. Squires? Is this going where I think it is going to go? Don't you think it's a little inopportune?"
Oren why are you saying this god fuck

"Oren Loper, today I took a trip to a haunted fucking mansion where I saw a couple of corpses, got straddled by a clay monkey thing with tiger claws, and shielded a magic cyclops in the face. I am relieved to be fucking alive. I want to tell the world. I want the mage in his fucking grave to know." She steps forward. "And I want to do it so loud he just might."

Oren recongizes the song playing on the stereo. Nymph's Jink by The Finesse.
I want you next to me, you can have it for free
who gives a fuck what anyone thinks
It's not love, it's lust, no, it's both at once
I believe that I have nymph's jinx

He clears his throat. "So I can forget about writing that there press release?"

"Just for tonight, the job, our problems, the whole world can go screw itself," she says. "And you, Sheriff, can go get the condoms and screw the deputy."
No. 84908 ID: af3e6d

You know what must be done. Godspeed.
No. 84910 ID: 135d9a

She makes a convincing argument.
No. 84912 ID: 436c16

So, we blew off getting laid.. to get laid?

In before awkward morning.
No. 84913 ID: f98e0b
File 125979531535.gif - (125.15KB , 800x600 , good-end-anim.gif )

((author's note: click the gif if you're okay with Viddersex))

And they're in Squires' bed and she's unhooking her bra and she's climbing on top of him.

Oren wonders if it will be better than with Leah. It is. Nessie is soft and tight and energetic and she does this thing with her hips that... wow.

About five minutes in, she stops for a second, pulls back. "Hey," she says. "When you sent me in through that window first. Was that to stare at my ass?"
"It was the tactical thing to do," he says. "And you kissed me, remember?"

"Yeah," she says, and grins. "I guess I did." She's laughing and Oren's laughing too. Because they're alive and they're together.
No. 84914 ID: f98e0b
File 125979534087.png - (31.68KB , 800x600 , endpart1.png )

And for tonight, that's enough.
No. 84916 ID: 1831fc


Told you it'd be better.
No. 84918 ID: dda9dd

It's always in the hips, innit ehh?
I imagine the undertaker will have a lot to say.
No. 84921 ID: f98e0b
File 125979676841.png - (118.46KB , 800x600 , extra1.png )

Nope. I'm outta there.

I've been in enough wet dreams to know what it means when they whip out the lingerie. And I imagine a psychic voyeur isn't exactly something Mr. Loper would appreciate.

Say, I imagine this would be a comfy chair if I could feel it.
No. 84922 ID: f21281

your eyes have really dimmed since we first saw you.

You tired or something?
No. 84923 ID: d1210a

So Undertaker, once you got let in to the material world, you can move as you please?

That was not my understanding of how the barriers between realms worked, I thought you were bound to a host....

Additionally, what CAN you do? You clearly did something with Squires, care to explain what it was?
No. 84924 ID: dda9dd

Was listening to some music and this seemed particularly appropriate.

No. 84925 ID: f98e0b
File 125979739524.png - (118.14KB , 800x600 , extra2.png )

Creatures outside their direct plains can't act directly on them without a host. Ever heard of ghosts, possessions, that sort of thing? There's your explanation. Ghosts are just the Spirit world's form of whisps. I'm of Dream, also a whisp on this plane of existence, which explains how dim my eyes appear to be. Also the tail. I do have the power to move around and enter some minds, mostly ones that are willing or helpless. Hence entering Nessie Squires, who was open at the time due to the mage's spell. I'm not bound to one, but finding another willing creature is difficult and I like to think I'm above invasive possession (one must have standards, after all).

Am I being too wordy again?
No. 84927 ID: d05bf5


Say, Undertaker, can you tell us... what are we?
No. 84928 ID: 436c16

No. 84930 ID: f98e0b
File 125979787563.png - (118.79KB , 800x600 , extra3.png )

I couldn't say. If you're of the dream realm, I've never seen you before. I imagine you are the little voices everyone has that speak to them occasionally and guide them.

Judging from the sighs, moans, and crying out of names going on in the next room, as well as from how all of Oren's innards are still in, I feel as if you are doing your jobs fairly well.
No. 84931 ID: d1210a


Is there a way to awaken you, Oren or Squires to other abilities? Teaching them dream magic, something like that?
No. 84938 ID: f373c2

Earlier, you said that each of the four realms had an associated magical discipline. How do they work?
No. 84942 ID: f98e0b
File 125980002452.png - (119.46KB , 800x600 , extra4.png )

A quick primer on magic, then?
First off: Magic is something you're born with. And most people know if they're mages because when they're born they usually come out with a flash of bright light, some sort of omen, that sort of thing. Weird but there it is. If Oren could command a facet of existence with a thought he would have found out by now. Anyone on any plane can be a mage of any realm. The power is amplified if you're in that particular realm.

Dream's magic is illusion. The power over minds and the ability to cause lucid dreams, that sort of thing.

Material has evocation. Power over the elements. Starting fires and controlling the winds.

Magic has enchantment, which deals in pure energy and force. They can also infuse normal items with arcane power. There's a big business for magic weapons.

Spirit is thaumaturgy. The ability to call upon spirits, deities, that sort of thing. Mostly they have to be willing to help out, but there are thaumaturgists who can force aid. Necromancers, for example.

Once you have one kind of magic down, it is possible to learn others but it's hard. That mage Oren fought used illusion AND thaumaturgy AND evocation. I've never really heard of anyone being able to do that. If he had been a warmage Oren would have been torn apart.

Something else to understand: No creature is completely one plane. Oren, Squires, and anyone else on the Materium, for example, are mostly material, but have a link to the spirit and dream planes (and magic, in some cases). I have a link to the material and magic planes. And so on.

And now, I think, I'll turn in for the night, if it's all the same to you. Dream creatures do sleep, of course. We just visit the realm of Magic instead of the realm of Dream.

Before I go... am I really a dork?
No. 84946 ID: 436c16


But we´ve seen dorkier.
His name is Oren Loper. He led a dorkish life, had a dorkish girlfriend...
No. 84947 ID: 1831fc


Yes, but that isn't a bad thing.

Also, I'd probably not let Oren know you were peeking in on him.
No. 84951 ID: d05bf5


Not really.

Though I suppose that partially depends on what definition of dork you're using. You seem to be using it in the sense of geeky or nerdy, knowing a lot of stuff. But hey, these are things that are useful to know, and you don't seem to have much else to do except learn stuff.
No. 84952 ID: f98e0b
File 125980080936.png - (66.76KB , 800x600 , extra5.png )

Thank you, fellas.
And good night.

"Hey (ahn) Oren, do me a favor?"
"Sure, Nessie. What?"
"Call me (ooh) Deppity?"
"Come ooon."
"Fine, deppity (ah) Squires."
"Thanks. That's sexy. Could you (mmn) neigh like a horse?"
"It's a joke, Oren."

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