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File: 1588152242507.png (321.89 KB, 1000x1000, TR - Sprig, the Collector.png)

 No.737700[View All]


The party have acquired new provisions and narrowly escaped the clutches of the sinister Parliament, an insidious cult that rule over Last Hearth with an iron fist. Doing so was not without its toll, however. Violet fell in the encounter, her soul bound to a peculiar doll called a Crucible. Reviving her is possible, but will require time, sacrifice, and preparation.

Meanwhile, the Oneiromancer has stolen the body of the undead elk Etrigan, though through Zunden's intervention he remained by their side, having become one with the Fate's Fortune. The repercussions of this remain uncertain.

Licking their wounds, the party have continued on, at last reaching a safe haven for them; a far-flung swamp town known as Withick. Here they have quickly made a new ally in the form of Sprig, a genteel, slightly eccentric purveyor of antiquities who has a personal vendetta with Lysander. He was eager to form a bond with them, and will aid them in their endeavours. As one with some knowledge of magic, he has promised to lift a spell that renders a map unreadable to them, a map which may, fingers crossed, point them to a hidden place where they can safely hide the terrible Cuckoo's Egg.

In return for this, Sprig has asked them to investigate an anomaly: an entire complex of mysterious ruins has manifested itself into existence in the nearby wilds. A not unheard of phenomenon in the Echoes. Sprig has asked them to go there, scout the ruins, and come back with their findings, along with any trinkets and curios they may find there.

Time in Withick has not been uneventful for the party:

Lilura has found a new home in the castle of Caer Portach, working as a bar maid.

Aegis has left the party to pursue her own personal goals; namely, finding a way to seal her debt with Ragalaseab, and kill Lady Grosvenor.

Hermodur has happened upon an old rival of his, the griffon Minerva Tyr. Formerly Ailuros' right hand, since the alicorn contender's defeat she has found herself in disgrace and become a bitter, penniless drunk. She does not know of Ailuros' ultimate fate, and time will only tell what the future holds for Minerva herself.

Norv has taken a break from following the party, currently pursuing his own fortunes in Withick. He has made the acquaintance of a local blacksmith, Roscoe, son of the bounty hunter Clawson, and delivered news of his father's death. Currently, he is assisting the gendarmerie with tracking a mysterious magical thief that has been targeting the market.

As for the others, they have embarked on their journey to the mysterious ruins, where who knows what awaits…

>Current party status:

>Zunden, Silver, Rabi, Hermodur: On an expedition
>Marisol, Aurora, Dawn: Accompanying the others
>Norv: Chasing a pickpocket
>Aegis: Off adventuring
>Purdue: Studying the stars with Sprig
>Violet: Playing with the chickens
>Ganzen: Chasing a butterfly on the deck
>Etrigan: Experimenting with his new abilities
1066 posts and 12 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.


"Curious. If she's able to see through the astral plane, she must be quite powerful. Do you think the Egg will be safe with her? Or should we consider another plan?"


"To be honest even that's a bit hazy. It's like the longer I spend here, the harder it is to remember things. …I may not show it, but I do appreciate having someone to talk to. I… I don't want to lose myself. …I don't know what'll happen if I forget everything…"


"It… could be, yeah. Even Black Pudding couldn't permanently take her out- just trap her in the body of something else. Though, if taking advantage of that meant hurting Zunden, I don't think I could do it." he says, hanging his head a little.


I remain silent for a moment. Sitting on my bed, I hunch over and fold my hands. "I don't remember if I told you, but I actually talked to him back in Witthick. Through you. I- I tried to contact him when Vi got hurt. I thought it could help me save her, but he didn't think it was interesting enough. Still, even then he wanted to make a deal with me. A favor for a favor. He'd give me some insane power, and I'd have to agree to do any one thing he wants in the future. I turned him down, but he seemed more amused than upset. I don't think I've heard the last from him." I sigh and hang my head. "Even worse was I seriously considered it."


"Yes, just so." He starts affixing the fence posts one by one. "How fascinating! I always dreamed of sharing such prestigious ancestry. Not that I'm ashamed to come from nothing, of course. But I wanted to be a good and honorable knight ever since I was small. My father told me many a story of the knights of yore, and I aspired to be like them. And, well, the rest is history. Unfortunately, SOME so-called knights use their titles as a badge to do as they please," he grumbles. "Cowards and bullies, no better than common brigands. They are no true knights. And it's because of such blaggards that I found myself here. But I digress."

The fence is more or less finished, little more than wire strung across wooden posts. It looks good enough to hold the chickens though. "Voila! What do you think? Is it to your liking? Shall I move it across some?"


He considers this. "Well, let's hope we can find this Black Pudding and negotiate with him. Do you think he'd come around? He seems like a powerful sorcerer in his own right."


''No its perfect, thank you Sir Gawain. So that is why you were banished then? You took the blame for other, less honorable knights?''


Purdue looks disturbed. "You were wise to reject him in the end. Next time we meet him, don't consider a single word he says. He will do and say anything to please himself. We're just playthings to him. This whole situation with the Egg is probably just another source of amusement for him. I shudder to think what may happen now he's free to do as he pleases."


His expression darkens slightly. "The order of knights I was assigned to wished to claim taxes from a local village. Extortion, of course. Demanding money from them under threat of losing protection. I objected. The situation… escalated…" He seems hesitant to continue. "I'm sorry. I'm sure you don't want to hear this knight's woes. Let's move on with other duties, yes?" He clears his throat, looking a bit insecure all of a sudden.


''I understand. We are all in the same place, I too was unfairly banished to the Echoes'' Aegis walks out of the room and makes sure to lock it, wary of Zunden's Balaur
''Is there anything you would like me to help you with? To repay the favor''


"Yeah. I imagine you're right." I sigh and flop down on the bed. "If it wasn't for the 'trapped in stone for centuries' thing then I'd probably be pretty jealous of him. He's about as carefree as you can get."


"Well… I hope so. Black Pudding at least seemed reasonable when we met him. Anyways… a little off-topic, but it's nice to see something in the Astral Plane that isn't hostile, or unnerving. It gets kind of weird sometimes… it's so muted, it feels a little… lonely, I guess?"


You look over the ingredients, comparing them to your notes. From what you've gathered, you could make three of the following, in any combination:

>Alacrity Draught: A potion that stimulates the sense and improves reflexes. Dodge rolls autocrit for the next 3 rounds

>Addersfang: A wicked burning poison. When applied to a weapon, on the next successful attack the target will take 1 hit/rd for 3 rds, or until helpless. Stacks with repeated uses.
>Pheromone Tonic: A potion that seems to attract baser animals. Useless if ingested, but when applied to something, will draw creatures to it over time.
>Aqua Vitae: A potion that closes wounds and cures all manner of ailments. Functions as per Heal when imbibed.
>Potent Redwater: A stronger brew of Redwater. Rupture gets a +2 and crits on 8+.
>Potent Midnight Oil: A stronger brew of Midnight Oil. Sleep Serum gets a +2 and crits on 8+.
>Potent Sightsbane: A stronger brew of Sightsbane. Blind gets a +2 and crits on 8+.


"I see. Though in my case, perhaps it was not unwarranted." He looks a bit hung up on it.

"Hm… I haven't finished setting up my room, actually. If you wouldn't mind, the work would go much faster between the two of us." He motions with a wing to one of the nearby rooms.


''Very well'' Aegis follows along
''Do you think about returning someday? To the Domain?'' She asks on the way


"Would that we were all so lucky," he remarks. As you lie down on the bed, Violet emerges from your pocket, looking around curiously. She seems out of the loop on what's going on.

"What do you think will become of us?" Purdue muses out loud, more to himself than to you. "Our company, that is. It seems we're on the cusp of the most dangerous stretch of our journey yet. …Do you really think we stand a chance against this Lysander? And the Oneiromancer?"


"It's good to have someone to talk to," Etrigan agrees, smiling slightly. "Doing all this work for the ship is… well, not tiring, but lonely, I suppose. I only really have the Servitors for company most of the time. I don't get to talk to you all often. …I suppose it's something I'll have to get used to once we hide this Egg," he adds, rather sullenly.

You hear Marisol nearby. "Rabi? Are you… Oh. Hm." You hear something getting put down, and her walking off.


I put my arm around Vi and hold her, gently stroking her back with the back of my claws. "Lysander I think we can deal with. Even as he gets bigger, I really think he blows more hot air than fire. The Oneiromancer, on the other hand…" I look up at the ceiling. "We don't know what he is, how his magic works, or pretty much anything about him. We can't even keep him out of our damn heads. Lysander and his group we can deal with, but O-man…" I shake my head. "Maybe. We'd actually have to learn a little more about him. I gave Etrigan a book on dream magic. I'll have to ask him about that later."


Finishing my notes, i fire up the brewery and fill the beakers for poisonmaking, a batch of Addersfang bubbling away shortly.

Leaning back, i start another on midnight oil, careful not to put myself to sleep from the fumes.

The final flask i retrieve the hand removed from the moat creature, setting it into a beaker to boil while checking the notes for confirmation on Aqua Vitae.


Rabi blinks as he hears someone say something, and looks around for Marisol. "O-Oh. Right, she's… here, but not here. Anyways- I'm happy to do this and hang out with you, while I can- a-and, there's no way I'm letting you get left behind. We'll bring you with us, somehow."


"Sometimes, yes. I miss my Genevieve dearly… And my sister, wherever she may be." He looks wistful. "But there's no way out. And if I were to return, they'd just put me back here. So, no sense in dwelling on that."

"Well, here it is!" You see he's made a good start already; his traveling bags are half unpacked, and the room lined with several suits of armor, some cooking utensils, spare clothes, and what looks like a collection of figurines. There's plenty more in the bag from what you can see; looks like he has a Bag of Holding, like Zunden. "If you wouldn't mind helping me organize, I'd be extremely grateful."


Violet comes a bit closer.

"Aye, he's an enigma," Purdue nods. "I can't help but wonder who or what he is. Where he came from. What he truly wants. I've never seen him myself. Only heard about him from the others. Have you?"


''I'll do the best I can. I wish I had the decorating skills of my brother, he loves to organize the house neatly''
Aegis rolls her shoulders and gets to it
''Tell me Master Gawain, what arms have you expertise in?''

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Nope. Just his nightmares. Some of the others have, but-" I let out a dry chuckle. "I guess being weak and unassuming has its advantages. No reason to want me on his side."


You craft all three potions with ease. Addersfang lives up to its name, a toxic green concoction with a runny consistency. It has a bitter aroma to it. The midnight oil looks much more vibrant and thick in texture than you're used to, and emits wisps of medium blue smoke on occasion. Aqua Vitae, or Water of Life, appears similar to the Mending Mix; a golden potion that fizzes and bubbles. Looks healthy. Overall, your potion crafting skills have improved greatly!


You float back to where Marisol is, catching the tip of her tail rounding the corner. On the table next to your slumped body, she's left you some tea.

"I can't think of how you'd do that," he says. "Don't worry about me. I accepted my fate a long time ago. You and the others will be spared. I'm ready for what may come." He smiles. "Besides. It's still a long ways off before we say goodbye. No need to dwell on that right now, right?"


Between the two of you, you manage to sort out Gawain's personal belongings quite quickly. You're done before you know it.

"Hm? Oh, I mostly trained in swordsmanship." He gestures at the far wall, where he's propped up a mighty zweihander; it's bigger than you are. "She's called Joyeuse, don't you know," he says proudly. "A gift from my, er, erstwhile lord. It's in better hands now."


"I see. I think I've seen him in dreams, too, but never face to face. Poor Zunden. She's had to deal with him - it - more than anyone here. I don't even know how we'll go about thwarting the Oneiromancer once and for all."


Rabi huffs a little and folds his ears back, before saying "I know it sounds dumb, but I just… I don't know. I don't want to leave anyone else behind."

He makes a mental note to thank Marisol when he wakes up. Gets up? Something like that.


''Thats quite the impressive weapon'' Aegis takes a couple of seconds to look between it and Gawain, as if imagining how he'd go about using it ''How long have you been in the Echoes? I imagine you must have gone through many battles with this sword by now''


Just fuckin kill me dude


Etrigan blinks, looking slightly surprised. "Thank you. Really. I… I appreciate that more than you know." He doesn't seem to know what to say when shown kindness.


"Yeah. Me neither." The Oracle would know. Wish I'd asked then, but it's not anyone's fault but my own. "Maybe we can find something somewhere, but that's like betting on finding a piece of hay in a needlestack. I can't imagine someone like him would just let information get out. The best I can think of is trying to get information about him from someone that worked with him before. There are other black pieces, but O-Man himself, Lysander and maybe the Gross lady are the only three I can actually think of. Pretty sure even if we try to pull it out of him by force Lysander wouldn't budge. And that's assuming he even knows anything."


"Oh, about three years. Still rather new. I haven't left the Heartlands much, really. I was planning on heading west to Woad Illica, but I suppose fate had other plans. What of yourself?"


"His list of allies is thin," Purdue concurs. "We'll have to think of something after we're done with all this. Hopefully this swamp spirit you mentioned will be able to help us. If she'd even be interested in such. Everything seems to be hinging on her hospitality, really."


Rabi smiles a little, before trying to reach up and pull Etrigan into a hug. "Of course. I know this sounds weird, probably, but… my family was never really related to me by blood, anyways. Well, aside from my parents, but…" he looks away for a bit, before continuing. "My sister and brother were ponies I found. It's just sort of normal for me."


''Once the Realms are secured, I will look into finding a way to return to my home and my family. Hopefully by then they will realize that I have been unjustly banished, and if not, well, I will find a way. That aside The Echoes are full of secrets and arts that are lost to the Domain, bringing those back for my family would be a huge asset''


"I seriously think she'll be open to the idea, especially after finding out it puts her swamp in danger too. It's been a while since she sent us back on our quest, but the fact that we'd even be coming back would probably be appreciated, even if she doesn't show it. We aren't the first she'd let go with the deal that we'd help her. That means that even though she'd been stiffed before, she still let us go. At the very least I think we can come to an agreement. I just hope that agreement can involve sticking to her swamp and not trying to kill Black Pudding. I get the feeling that might be the first thing she tries to get from us after we let her free."


Your arm goes straight through him. He looks a bit disappointed.

"Ah. …I never had much family myself. I was a street orphan for the longest time. There were a few who tried to take me in, but I could never stay in one place too long. I only really made a friend once I served under Captain Carabas in the war."


Rabi looks a little sad at that. He'll nod a bit, before saying "Funnily enough, I was about the same way. After ending up on my own, I was in the… worse parts of town. Eventually, when I got older, and found my brother and sister, I ended up moving us to a camp outside town a ways, around an oasis. It wasn't… perfect, but we were able to get by."


>Adding to that
"The War? I, ah… I don't think I ever did anything like that. What war was that?"


''And my time in the echoes are even briefer than yours. Only two months. I was lucky to have been found by the Drifters, otherwise it probably wouldnt have been more than ten minutes''


"I don't know much about nature spirits," Purdue remarks, "but they are fickle beings, if the legends are true. Much like with Discord, we should be wary of her. Her will is her own, after all. Who's to say she won't betray us and do something completely different?"


"Oho. Eager to return, hm? I was like that when I first arrived here too, but there really doesn't seem to be any way home. This place has existed for who knows how long. If there is a way, it would've been found by now, wouldn't it? I wouldn't get too confident about finding aught to return, my lady," he says gravely.


"Sounds pleasant," he smiles.

"The Dominion was always at war with one group or another," he says with a bit of a sigh. "In my time it was the Capricons. A kingdom of goats in the southern reaches. They refused to join and wanted to keep their independence. The Dominion wouldn't let them. They most likely ended up bending the knee."

"In any case, I was Captain Carabas' batman during the war. His assistant. A sort of squire, though he was no knight. It started off as just running errands, but we went into battle many a time. You're lucky you haven't had to. I wouldn't wish war on anyone."


"I guess we don't know she won't. But as far as I can tell it's our best option. But yeah. I don't plan on going in and just trying to chat her up or anything. We're going in with a mutually beneficial purpose. It'll still be dangerous, but…" I rub my eyes with the thumb and forefinger not stroking Vi. "Maybe we shouldn't all go in. It's not like having us all there would matter if we free her and she does decide to welch."


''I disagree'' Aegis says, not taking her eyes off the Zweihander ''With the help of Dawn we might have uncovered a way to return, or at the very least, a hint, a step closer to the truth. I have no doubt in my heart that there is a way to traverse to the other side, and as long as I live I will seek it''
She turns to Gawain, facing him with her usual cold emotionless glare ''I must return to my family, and fulfill my duty, this is my way''


Satisfied with my work, i unhook the flasks, transfer the poisons to the proper vials and go about cleaning out the equipment for later use.


"It was, yeah." he says, sighing a little and smiling as he thinks back.

"And, I definitely don't envy what you had to do. I'm sorry things had to be so hard on you, Etrigan. You deserve a lot better… so, I'll do what I can to make things here more pleasant." he offers a smile.


"Hm. I imagine we'll have to be forceful about it too. If she doesn't accept, this whole plan falls apart. We should have a backup plan in case of that."

He looks surprised. "Oh? Well, Miss Dawn does seem quite the magical adept. I suppose if anyone could make progress towards such a historic revelation it's her." He looks through you. "If what you say is true, then I'd be going back as well. I have promises to keep. As do you, I'm sure."

You finish your work and clean up the lab. The whole brewing process took most of the morning, but the results speak for themselves.

He smiles back. "Thank you. I'm just doing my part to see this through. As we all must."

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