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File: 1607486417477.png (4.97 MB, 2710x2125, The Choristers -- Tartarus….png)

 No.750229[Last 50 Posts]

>Last time, on HolyQuest…

>Amy, Cloak, Pryce

Salt maintains her steady and judgmental glare, even as you respond. "Finally… it seems that you get it. In the end, one Will shall prevail above the others; it is those who do not conquer, who shall be subsumed. Know that all those who enter Tartarus must understand this. And if they do not, then rest assured that they will."

Ignoring Amy's other question, Salt nods. "See to it that you pass along my question to those other members of your small army. Not for my satisfaction, but for their hope of survival."

Like Sulfur before her, Salt is engulfed in a small and dense cloud of gaseous salt, and then vanishes.


Gadds slowly turns his head your way as you make more suggestions. "…How about we take the 'expected' way down."
"Yeah," Busta says. "The Sons of God would have probably taken extra care to put up obstacles against demons that could just phase through walls and bypass all their more conventional traps and impediments. Whatever those things were, they won't be the last ones we face if we try that again."


Volkama jots down the entry onto his map, but then taps your head with his pen. As Spark gnaws on his hoof, he speaks. "Erm, young miss goddess, can't you simply bypass this lock with your dominion over physicality?"
"Or, failing that, bash it open, as your usual modus operandi," Deriva adds.


"I could do EITHER of those, sure, but if there's one thing I think this whole dungeon is trying to teach me, is that these games have rules for a reason. I don't want to break the 'game' they have set up until I don't have another choice, we could get the whole place caving in on us like with the last one."

"I know we'll need to think outside the box once we get to Tartarus, but I figure I should know the limitations of that box first before I can think outside of it, right? So for now, I'm gonna play by the rules. And if there was a key for one door, they'd probably hide another key somewhere else, right?"



>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]

>Snakeskin Cloak: 14 hits
>Homing Magic: 6 Spears [Fire]

Pryce watches Sulfer vanish, then looks around the remaining doors.
"I wonder what the last dragon will ask of us…"
Following Amy's line of thought from the last dragon room, Pryce walks up to the carpet, pulling it aside to see if there is a trapdoor.



"Mayhaps what what we are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve our goals. T'would be what I'd ask, if I was a cryptic dragon named after alchemical components." Leather notes, looking back, "If all routes will lead this way, perhaps we should wait for the others?"



"Well it's not like I dragged us beneath the earth for no reason. Do we even know if we can back? Or will our desire to go back disrupt our wills. Or does the way back not even exist anymore sense the dungeon is constantly shifting. I figured going straight below would be the most direct way to follow one's will. But we can put that to the test."

Shei-Sher waves his hoof and opens a dark corridor.
[1d10] dark corridor back to where they first went underground from.

"There a corridor from whence we came. If it actually goes there, then I guess I'm overthinking things again."

Roll #1 7 = 7


Volkama and Deriva don't quite look convinced, but they both nod. "Lead on, then," Volkama says, placing Spark back onto your head.
"Or, I suppose there's always the chance they may wish for you to make a key… but we'd be here all day if we let ourselves ponder the endless possibilities," Deriva says.

There is nothing under the rug. River and Zjetya cast careful glances about the room's other doors, daring not to touch them until they are thoroughly inspected.

See: >>740047


Correction: see >>750047



"If we can't find one, I'll make one. But we still have a bit of dungeon we haven't explored yet, right? Might as well give it a good look over before we miss something important."

[1d10] Shorthorns leads on down the hall, noting the hidden, locked trap door on their path on Volkama's map, and proceeds to look for anything of note Eastward down this corridor

Roll #1 4 = 4


"That would be wise, especially with Shei's location still unknown," Pryce says in agreement. "We can check which of these doors is unlocked at least. Maybe see if some of our group is on the other side."
Pryce looks to the Northeast door, examining it from a distance and giving it a dispel of magic.
>Unweaving [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Dark Corridor does not manifest. A few figments of darkness, floating in the air like scraps of dark cloth, appear for brief moments, but soon vanish.
"Teleportation effects falter down here…" Gadriel says.
"Well, not quite," Busta says. "Only ours do, it seems. There's no way it could be that easy."
Gadriel pauses to think, then snaps his fingers. "…What if we tried to go down with it?"


A grin incorrigibly stretches along Shei's face "Down? With the Subterranean whales you meam..? That could work. Did you want to ride inside it's mouth or ontop of it? Because if the latter I could fashion us a wicked saddle from my cape- seats for 3."



Amy frowns at Salt's words. "I think agree but for different reasons," she says as he disappears, not entirely sure what she means herself.

Then, she lightens up and says, "I'll see you at dinner later!"

Amy looks around to see where she can go from here. In particular, she inspects the walls and floors for anything hidden.

[1d10] to find any hidden paths

Roll #1 6 = 6


Leather tries a door that Amy and Pryce haven't tried, readying up a shot with his rifle to take out the locking mechanism if it doesn't open.

>Just checking, will Shatter next turn if locked.


After a time, you come to another cross-shaped intersection. A path extends to the North, but quickly bends to the Northeast. Another path extends to the East. A third path extends Southward.

Like threads falling away from a fraying garment, magical tendrils peel away from the doorway, and Zjetya and River back away in caution, keeping KP and the pets shielded between them. However, it feels like the spell yet lingers.

"If the purpose of this dungeon's defenses are to drag escapees down toward Tartarus, it would only make sense," Busta says, his voice tinged with trepidation.
"The biggest challenge will be keeping ourselves alive through the course of the trip. I doubt they really cared what condition the demon got sent back down in," Gadriel adds. "Whatever you think's going to be safer, I guess," he says by way of reply.

While Pryce examines the Northeast door, Amy sniffs about. She can discern that every door, except the Western one through which you just came, has some kind of enchantment imbued to it, but she cannot discern what. As Cloak tries the Southern door and finds it locked, Amy detects, at least, that the Southern door's enchantment is of the absolutely most potent.



Amy bounces over to the southern door and bites on the doorknob.

>Hungry Like the Wolf: Recharge 2; Instant; Spell: Bite into a magical effect, such as an enemy's oncoming spell, or a natural magical effect in the surrounding area, and devour it. This both neutralizes the effect, and allows you to roll that spell once for your own purposes, using whatever bonuses and modifiers that the original caster would have used, PLUS any of yours that are applicable. Using this skill is an Instant action, but the captured spell is whatever kind of action the original spell was (standard / automatic / instant / etc)(Witchcraft)


Roll #1 10 + 2 = 12


Coming upon the next cross-shaped intersection to the west, Shorthorns turns her head towards all three directions as she considers her options.
"If I'm reading this place correctly, the North path may take it to where Pryce and the others already looked. Let's see what the South way has to offer." Shorthorns says resolutely as she charges on down the south corridor
[1d10] Searching

Roll #1 3 = 3


Leather lowers the sniper rifle he was lining up when Amy bounces into his crosshairs, "Careful now, was aiming at that doorknob, don't want you dead as one."


"None of this is going to be safe at all. But if you guys are ready I'll send a ping for a whale."

"Gadds? you want to put the cover of darkness over us?"
>Asking if he wants to use Darkness that Can be Felt.



this is me



"Thas a goo wun," Amy says as she slobbers all over the door knob, her mouth full.


"They're all good ones."


As you bite onto the knob, a sudden rush fills your mouth, and you can taste, for a moment, the scaled and cold skin of a long and coiling worm.

>Gained "Grunt of the Warp Worm"

>Grunt of the Warp Worm; Automatic; Spell; An enchantment for summoning a Warp Worm, an invisible and intangible Worm of variable size, which most often grows to fit whatever space it currently occupies. When the Worm devours an often unwitting subject, they are warped wherever it is the Worm, or its master, might be pleased to release them.

Once you reach the end of the Southern corridor, you find another small room, and inside is a stairwell, leading downward.
"Further onward?" Volkama asks. "We'd risk losing whatever awaits behind that wall, however…"

River puts a hoof over KP's virgin eyes at this horrific display.

Busta and Gadriel shrug, and Gadriel spreads his wings, exuding a thick darkness about you…
[1d10+3[ DTCBF



Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5


Shei begins floating downward as he sends a pulse of his aura to feel out the whereabouts of another subterranean whale.

>ASTRAL PROJECTION: spell; you project your spirit, leaving your physical body behind as you send yourself to a distant location. While projecting, your body is unconscious and immobile, and you are unaware of anything that happens to it unless you are in its vicinity. Your spirit is intangible and invisible, but can still be detected by magic or other spirits, and it cannot manipulate or pass through physical objects. Wherever your spirit travels, you can hear and see everything around you in the physical world. Returning to your physical body is automatic.


Roll #1 2 = 2


You and Gadriel just sort of stand there like a pair of apprentice sorcerers, unfit of even the lowest of proper magus' titles, in oversized robes and mismatched wands, citing magic gibberish plucked haphazardly from four or five fake grimoires made specifically to deter novices such as yourself.
Busta shivers as he considers the imagery. "Say, that was a bit harsh…"


"So you want to taste the other ones or am I good to open some of the others? Figured we might as well do something while we wait for others to catch up." Leather says, watching Amy finish up.


"I'm still new to godhood! Give me some leeway" Shei stammers in agitation for the anxiety inducing narrator's bias.


[1d10] He tries again

Roll #1 9 = 9


"It goes even deeper? So there's a whole other level besides this one and the one above. We could be the first ones to explore it!"

As Volkama points out the possibility of losing what's behind the wall, Shorthorns tilts her head, "Why? It's not going anywhere, is it? Maybe the key to get around the wall at the western-dead end is somewhere down here and we'll need to double back?"


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 6 Spears [Fire]

Pryce looks over the doorknob, and playing it safe he attempts to untangle magic again on the Northeast door.
>Unweaving [1d10]

Pryce looks over to Amy as she bites down on one of the doorknobs, slobbering all over it.
"Amy, that isn't sanitary."

>"What's going on?"

KP asks as River covers his eyes from the sight.

Roll #1 1 = 1



"This door should be safe now," Amy says with a satisfied nod. She wipes the excess slobber from her lips.

She looks over at River covering Pryce's eyes. "What?" she asks in an annoyed tone as if she was accused of something.

"Also, just so everyone knows, at least THIS door was enchanted by some thing that teleports people wherever it wants. So, that's kinda scary."

Amy opens the southern door. "I might be able to just teleport us there, but I'm not sure where I can send us exactly."


>Pryce Dodge [1d10]
>KP Dodge [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 1 = 1


[1d10+2] River
[1d10+2] Zjetya

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5 / Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8


>Dodge due to Pryce failing us

Roll #1 6 = 6



[1d10] dodge

Roll #1 3 = 3


You project your subtle-body over your physical one, and draw out the same for both Busta and Gadriel via the Black Threads. They nod, sticking close as you descend as a trio.

>roll navigation.

"You see before you but a simple stairwell, but we have no reason to believe it differs from anything else we have seen in this dungeon," Volkama says. "That is to say, crossing that threshold may bring us afoul of another devious curse or enchantment designed to keep outsiders out, and Tartarus' demonic inmates in."

Before River can explain the heinous indecency of slobbering all over a doorknob to Amy, Pryce attempts to unravel the enchantment binding shut the Northeastern door – but the threads of magic that waver away from the door suddenly whip and leap with a sudden vitality, as if they were serpents, furious and ready to strike. They leap forth from the door, managing to bite at Amy, River, and KP – but Pryce too can feel the sting of hostile magic upon his chest, owing to his bond with KP. Each of those who have been struck start to shrink, their bodies twisting and curdling, limbs rearranging and skin transmogrifying…

When at last the horrific spectacle is done, Pryce, KP, River and Amy all find themselves turned into small birds, appropriately colored by what their original colors were.

River opens her beak to talk… but all that Cloak can hear is a pleasant tweeting.

As for Pryce, KP and Amy, they hear–


River's eyes widen, and her beak falls open, tears glistening at the corners of her eyes.

"…Can we keep them?" Zjetya asks, scooping up KP's bird form.


Shei-Sher continues explaining himself to the disembodied sensation of a peanut gallery as he descends.

"I guess it's also worthwhile to mention, that as an acolyte I never actually was inducted into the higher keys and initiation rituals. Life suddenly took over- And now I'm here! I kind of just stole all my power. But is that truly any different from what most high wizards of thee occult schools do anyway? If you ask me -eh -I -I don't know I think I came out fi-i-ine." He bleats the last word.


Roll #1 3 = 3



Amy looks down at her new body and tweets.

>"I wonder how it feels to lay eggs…" she wonders out loud. "It's not like Shei's fucking me enough, could feel nice…"

Then, she looks up at River's tweeting and tweets some more.

>"Alright fine, geez. Drink some piss and shut up," she says as she gives River a potion.

>Natural Remedy: recharge 1, ranged; Use an unpredictable tincture to fully restore a target’s hits to full and restore one wound, or removes status effects. Crit on 9+ restores 2 wounds, but crit fail on 2- deals a wound of damage.

>[1d10+4] Let's see if this counts as a status effect

Roll #1 5 + 4 = 9


KP scrambles back as the serpent trail of magic lunges for him, but isn't fast enough to avoid it. Pryce winces he feels the magic bite him as well, his horn glows to try and dispel it quickly but the shrinking and transmogrification break his focus entirely.

Pryce looks about as the room around them is far larger, momentarily panicking as he sees River and KP missing, until he sees his own new bird form, and then River's voice.
Pryce holds a wing over his beak in shock.

KP, as the two start cussing each other out, huddles back. When Zjetya scoops him up, he looks up at her with worry, then back to Pryce and River.


"Oh, an enchantment most fowl. We're fortunate it wasn't deadly, though they may find it rather humiliating if the others come in to find them all befeathered. I am fortunate to have been taught a prayer of magic nullification, or things might've really went, ahem," Leather peaks over at the birdified party and clears his throat at the sin he's about to commit, "tits up, as they say."

He muses, listening to them sing, "I take it we can't understand them, they certainly seem to be deep in conversation. It's pleasant."

Leather peaks around to make sure nothing else happened due the spell's effect.
[1d10] percep

Roll #1 10 = 10


Shorthorns thinks about the decision for a moment as Volkama explains the risks, trying to weigh her options… however, she stops herself, realizing that uncertainty is in and of itself the enemy when they'll delve into Tartarus.

"If I stay here double-thinking it, it's just gonna come back to bite me just like the circular room we met the others in! There's no time for doubt, no room for second-guessing. My path was chosen the moment I saw it, I'm going down and seeing what we find."

[1d10] Shorthorns says resolutely as she takes the first step down the stair-well.

Roll #1 3 = 3



Amy makes a series of quick tweeting sounds which might be interpreted as laughter.


"You know," Busta says. "Mudi mentioned something along those lines once. She always said that that was the point – the 'true path' of ascent was always found in deviating from the norm, contradicting the orthodoxy, slaying the old master. The traditional hierarchies were only ever there to deceive the unworthy into seeking after social status, while true mastery could be found by any old person stupid or intrepid enough to just go right for it."

As you descend with your companions, you can vaguely sense ripples in the astral interstice surrounding you, though whether they are engendered by beings far off or close, you can hardly tell. All you know is that they steadily increase in frequency as you descend.

River immediately flies up to where KP is, and gives him a big hug, keeping her beak shut for fear of traumatizing the little birdie.
You notice now that your clothing has turned into different colored plumage upon your bodies, while your equipment seems to have adopted a bird theme. River wields a twig instead of a spear, and Amy's bags have turned into bundles of sticks and leaves, and her potions are carried in hollowed-out acorns.

River desperately drinks the potion… but there is no effect. That can only mean that this change may very well be permanent, unless addressed through means that reach far deeper into the metaphysical and substantial realms.

Zjetya snorts. "Tits up…? Nah, that comes later tonight. ANYWAY," she says, biting back further coarse commentary and laughter. "Looks like Amy just tried to heal River, but nothing's happened. Maybe we'll have to find Shorty or Shei, they might be able to do something about it… barring that, we could always try to find one of the other groups for aid."

Volkama shrugs. "Well-said. Why, if we focus hard enough, we might even call the treasure to us."
"An option worth trying," Deriva says. "If you'll excuse me…"


As you reach the bottom of the stairwell, it is not an overlong one, and at its bottom, you arrive in the middle of another stone room, this one square in shape. A door awaits on each of its walls, in the cardinal directions.

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 6 Feathers [Fire]

KP hugs River back, looking concerned over the shouting from before. Pryce flies up, joining the two and hugging them both as well. He hops back, looking up as Zjetya as she summarizes the situation, and trying to ignore the coarse comment. It got them into this mess, but he tries once again to unweave whatever this curse is, starting with himself in case it gets worse.
>Unweave [Self] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Well Nooow I feel like shit being compared to Mudi, but -I appreciate what you're saying"

"Busta?.. Have you met my old Master?" Shei asks now that Busta mentions it.

At the same time Shei unfurls a length of chain from within his cape and begins whirling it in vertical spin, as he feels out the growing presence.

>phase aura

[1d10] one more aura roll to locate what's around them.

Roll #1 8 = 8


"You think so? That sure would make everything so much easier for us if just willing our way to the end worked, but something tells me Tartarus isn't gonna be THAT straightforward either."

As they make it to the bottom room, she looks around the square room, rubbing her chin. "Four more doors… this place is pretty big. We'll go west first, maybe there will be a way up to the floor above this one on the other side of that dead-end that was blocking us."


Roll #1 6 = 6


"Either way, it is another challenge. If one was to get turned into vermin or something similar in Tartarus, would that mark the end? I would not allow being turned into a finch to stop my quest, I'd simply learn to peck demons eyes out. I imagine it is a test of perseverance."



>"Shit. Didn't work. Sucks for you, cause I'm just fine," Amy tweets a laugh.

>Jhana of Uprooting Poison to turn Amy back to normal

>[1d10] if necessary
>+2 if it's a spell

Roll #1 10 = 10


HolyQuest: The legends, as recorded in the ancient scriptures…


The Holy Eastern Empire of Accorsia, in spite of internal disputes and divisions among its provinces, once stood as a testament of greatness to the world – a hub of wealth and magical and technological prowess, clearly beloved by its many gods. But, in the far western recesses of this shining empire, a council of fallen gods, cast out from that empire's pantheon long ago, fomented rebellion and ruin. Buiwong, weaver of spiders and fables, Cer'rog, keeper of birds and promises, Ba'drel, patron of cattle and wealth, and Vir-can, stampede of buffalo and might. Together, these fallen gods gathered dissidents and the oppressed from all corners of the empire, amassing an army that would usurp the old order and establish a new one. The Holy Union Church commissioned a band of adventurers – Sir Pryce, Leather Cloak, Glass Dagger, Shei-Sher, Gabriele, Sir Flow, and Evil's Punishment – to thwart, or at least slow, Buiwong's plans while the empire's many provinces could set aside their conflicts and mount a defense against this army of darkness.

Despite all efforts, the empire could not hold against Buiwong's schemes, as not only did he amass armies, he sabotaged the empire from within through conspiracy and corruption, goading the empire's eastern provinces into a civil war, thus dividing and crippling the empire's attempted defenses. His army broke through the empire's barricades on the western front, and even when the gods themselves sent their angels to stop him, they could not overcome Buiwong's newest recruits, five powerful adventurers of his own: the healer, River Spring, the archmage, Sardonyx Emblem, the dark paladin, Shining Light, the apostate monk, Tantra, and the strongest bounty hunter in the east, Septum Axis. Together with Gabriele and Evil's Punishment, who Buiwong had persuaded to join his side, they pushed to the heart of the empire, and destroyed the grand cathedral, Agape, the seat of the holy empire's power.

The destruction of Agape began what would later be identified as the end of the world.

As Agape was destroyed, so too was the Firmament: the great glass dome in the sky, separating the world of mortals from the world of demons. With its destruction, countless millions of demons flooded the world once more, free to scourge the earth as they had once done. Enraged, the pantheon of Accorsia, led by the Seven Holy Devas, initiated the Rapture, where they abducted great swathes of the world's population, taken from all nations and all peoples. These people would serve as the founding stock of the New Kingdom of the Living, that is, the new world that the gods would create; they were abandoning this one. Buiwong, who had craved his vengeance against the Devas since the moment of his exile, pursued the Devas, leaving his loyal followers to the chaos they had birthed. In that chaos, Evil's Punishment and Gabriele had perished, along with countless thousands upon thousands of others.




Over the course of the following moons, the remaining mortals of the world struggled for survival. Many perished for want of food and water, others fell prey to the untamed wilderness outside their kingdoms, or to the countless multitude of demons that made sport of hunting mortals. Still others were killed by their fellow mortals, often in disputes over supplies, or as a result of a blood libel against Accorsians, who were collectively blamed for the end of the world.

Yet in spite of these unbearable hardships, there were still those in the world willing to take in and protect those in need. Many of these lay on the western end of the continent; far away from the demonic invasion, they had had time to prepare. The western kingdoms were soon inundated with refugee caravans – those that managed to endure the trek through the continent's central badlands. In one of those kingdoms, the northwestern sheep kingdom of Zha Arlakane, Shei, Flow and Pryce found refuge, arriving six months after the fall of Accorsia.

In Zha, they met Amy Thest and Flaming Shorthorns, two souls who had not been hardened or embittered by the destruction of the world. Together, this small group of adventurers would spend the next several moons traversing the northwestern tip of the continent, helping those they could.

In Fantasia, the kingdom of the Fairies, they drove out the slave-driving Orcus, and found allies, one old and one new: River Spring and Blessings, acolyte of the demon-hunting Apostles of White. Blessings told them of her own personal hunt for the Witches of Gehenna: three powerful Witches who gathered demons and terrorized mortals for their own gain. As it turned out, Amy, bearing demonic powers of her own since before she could remember, had already killed one of these Witches – Azawakh the Cruel. Impressed, Blessings warned them of Vizsla the Kind, and Mudi the Young, against whom Blessings had a personal vendetta. Blessings would part ways with the party, going back to her own hunt, while they went north to help others whom Orcus had afflicted.




As they traveled north to Circadia, a kingdom enshrouded in eternal night, our heroes encountered Ecclesia, the Nation of the Penitent. Composed of Accorsian refugees and demon hunters from other fallen nations, this eclectic army was in the process of conquering all that they could, employing diplomacy, sabotage and holy violence in equal measures. It was headed by the Choir, a council of twelve judges, and their most powerful members. Amy and Flaming joined Ecclesia's ranks to get badly-needed medical assistance for free, and it was with Ecclesia's help that they explored Circadia. The kingdom was nearly abandoned, save for royal mad scientist Volkama and his wife, Deriva. The two had been made into half-demons by Vizsla, who was responsible for the kingdom's fall when she assailed it with her demons. After forcibly recruiting Volkama and his half-destroyed airship, our heroes spent a long and confusing night fighting through the dreadful abominations that now peopled Circadia's streets and castles.

During this time, they recruited many others: Spitshine and Onion, who had defected from the slave-trading gang headed by Banana Splitz; and the Voidlings, Observer and Yes Mare, two creatures from a dimension called the Void who had come to this world in search of knowledge and power.

At the end of the night, as the Ecclesian forces were overwhelmed by the city's endless demons, Ichimonji of the Choir sought to destroy the city with cleansing flames. But just before she could make the call, an unknown angel appeared, and razed the city while our heroes escaped.

After a brief stay at one of Ecclesia's strongholds, the town of Lilane, (where they recruited the mothpony songstress, Zjetya and bodybuilding bookworm minotaur, Rus Tea) our heroes went back to Zha Arlakane to report to King Lininas, only to find the mountain of Zha under attack by more angels. They learned that the angels had come from the ancient empire of Mariposa, which caused the King distress, as Zha and Mariposa had once been good allies. He commissioned our heroes to head west and see what had become of it.

Along the way to Mariposa's capital, Vitral, the polis of stained glass, there were many detours. First, they discovered the ancient Tower of the Traitors, a half-buried fortress belonging to the ancient demon hunting fraternity known as the Sons of God. It was there that they met once more with Blessings, as well as Wireframe, one of Buiwong's former servants. Amy battled with the fortress's petrified guardians, one of whom was the knight Hardspine, who entrusted Amy with the Garment of the Founder, a relic belonging to Princess Vinland, who had founded the Sons of God many millenia ago.

Before they left again, they also encountered Holy Hours of the Choir, who updated them on Ecclesia's progress in conquering the northwest. It progressed smoothly, despite many setbacks.



Next, in order for their airship to make it over the magical and magnetic fields that surrounded Mariposa (owing to a mineral in the earth called Witchbone), they needed to obtain sap from the Tree of Red Lacquer, prompting a journey through a jungle wilderness until they at last found the Tree at its center. It was there that Spitshine and Onion witnessed Banana Splitz's true cruelty, as he had subjugated a rival gang whom had conquered to the mercy of a zombie demon, turning them all into its undead thralls which it then used to try to destroy the tree.


At last, they arrived in Vitral, finding the great, walled capital in a state of utter ruin, but far from abandoned. The city was a stark contrast of two extremes. On the ground, the many districts were filled to the brim with demonic settlements, led by the six Demon Lords who commanded them through cruelty and might. In the sky high above, metal clouds covered the entirety of the polis. Within those clouds resided the Seraph Mirarcle, an angel who sought the world's Dissolution, alongside the Abaddon Metatron. Disguising themselves as demons, our heroes explored Vitral for many days and nights. They learned that, despite Vitral's takeover by angels and demons both, there remained a sizable population of mortals in its midst, as a slave caste belonging to demonkind.

As they sought a way to free the mortal slaves from the Demon Lords' grasp, they met Tantra once more, and discovered that Buiwong had not fared so well in his attempt to pursue the Devas out of this World. The Devas escaped this World by means of a great interdimensional portal, and sealed the portal just as Buiwong attempted to give chase. Buiwong was caught between this World and the Interstice that separates all Worlds, and thus was far more limited now in how he could affect this World. To this end, he recruited several new adventurers to enact his will: the bold buffalo warrior Little Journey, the silent terrorist Vortigern, and the cursed Dragon stripped of a name, and his peppy granddaughter, the demi-demigoddess Mocha. But, unlike before, this group of adventurers sought to aid our heroes, as they were all in the same boat as Buiwong, who needed the mortals' belief to sustain his existence, and thus now sought to save them just as our heroes did.

As our heroes now had basically a small army at their disposal, they split many ways and accomplished many things. They saved the mechanical prodigy Prisca, who had been made into a half-demon by one of Mudi's rebellious demonic servants who had his own agenda. As a way of apology, Mudi's follower, the fashionista Desert Lamp, agreed to take Shei to meet with Mudi. At the same time, Flaming and Amy tracked down Mudi on their own, and in the process made friends with Bosta, Mudi's newest demonic recruit. Bosta was quickly renamed Busta as a result of Amy's inability to remember names.



With our heroes gathered before her, Mudi announced her intention to save the world.

Her plan was fundamentally simple. All demons were bound by The Devil's Instincts, a compulsion to fight, flee or submit when confronted with a power that far outstripped their own. This compulsion allowed certain powerful mortals to command demons… but there were limits on how powerful a mortal could become. For all their power, Mudi and her sister Vizsla could barely control low-level demons. Thus, using her art of Lifedrain, a spell enabling her to steal others' power and store it as she wished, Mudi sought to artificially raise her own power far beyond its natural maximum – a process that would normally result in a mortal's body and soul being torn asunder. But, at the same time as she elevated her power, she would bathe in the waters of the Momentary Lake, which had the power to preserve things as they were, granting immortality and near-indestructibility. However, the Momentary Lake had been sealed away in Tartarus long ago by the Sons of God. Only with the Garment of the Founder could the Great Seal of Tartarus be opened, and so Mudi needed Amy's cooperation… to which our heroes agreed, despite their misgivings about entrusting the future of the world to a Witch.

But Mudi would be unable to leave the city, so long as the angels guarding it were still alive.


The battle against Miracle and her army of angles proved their greatest challenge thus far, requiring aid from the Demon Lords, and even another angel: Mirror Image, a paladin of the Union Church, now reborn and leading her own insurgency against demonkind. Mirror had been the very one to create Miracle – when she forced General Chorazin of Vitral, and her soldiers, to ascend using a piece of angel's flesh. Mirror had needed allies against the demonic invasion of Vitral, but Chorazin and her soldiers were unprepared, and had lost their minds in the process, turning against their creator. When it was apparent that she was on the verge of defeat, Miracle attempted to summon Metatron to her aid, but with the knowledge of her past, our heroes brought Chorazin's memories and personality back to the forefront of her mind. Witnessing the destruction she had caused in her mania, Chorazin willingly dislodged her own core from her body, which took her offline (without ending her life).

But, it was too late – Metatron had arrived.

Enough of the interrupted summoning had completed for Metatron to assume a physical form, but much of his outer armor had broken, as a result of it being incomplete. The armor rained from the sky into Vitral, carrying some kind of divine disease within. Metatron, believing that Miracle had perished, was surprisingly emotional, and nearly slaughtered our wounded heroes in his grief. Vizsla intervened with one of her spells, enabling our heroes to escape to the council chamber of the Demon Lords.

As they planned their next moves, explosions thundered throughout Vitral, as Metatron deliberately detonated the broken pieces of his armor in an attempt to destroy the entire city. Our heroes scrambled and began an evacuation effort, saving hundreds, if not thousands, of demons and mortals alike. For this, they would come to be known as The Saviors of Mariposa.


This summary shall be concluded at another time.


Last time, on HolyQuest…

The Saviors were in the midst of exploring the dungeon known as God's Entombed, built in ancient days by the Sons of God. Just as its name held many meanings, so too did the dungeon hold many purposes. It kept any would-be escapees from Tartarus trapped within it, and kept out unworthy entrees, while also training those worthy of entry.

KP, Pryce, River, Zjetya, Cloak and Amy were in the middle of the dungeon's fourth layer, having just been questioned by the Salt Dragon as to what they would do to their foes – both those wrought within Tartarus, and those who would be accompanying them, from among Ecclesia, the Witches of Gehenna, Buiwong's spiders, and the Light Brigade. After giving their answers, the Salt Dragon vanished, leaving them to deal with the room's enchantments – one of which turned Pryce, River and Amy into birds.

Flaming explored with Volkama and Deriva, and had just reached the fifth layer.

Shei was with Busta and Gadriel as the three attempted to find a way around the dungeon itself by projecting their subtle bodies through the dungeon's physical form. Unsurprisingly, the dungeon's astral defenses were perhaps more dangerous than its physical ones, as unseen entities swam about in the astral plane…



Amy and Pryce turn back to normal. Zjetya protectively hides both River and KP inside her neck-fluff, and the pair stay put. "Okay, I know we should probably put our healer back to normal, but can't we keep KP as he is?" Zjetya asks.

As you push the door, you find that there is no handle, nor lock, but the door does not budge when you push against it, either. You search it all over, and find a glyph, much like the glyphs you found dotting the walls and obelisks inside the Temple of Slipper. By your reckoning, it resembles some kind of small bird.

As you discover this, an ancient-looking treasure chest warbles into existence before you, like a mirage of some kind becoming clearer as the viewer approaches. Volkama and Deriva start with surprise. "My… the powers of imagination worked!" she exlciams.
"We do not know that for certain," Volkama says, examining the chest all over. "Could as easily be another trap."


"Not before the day that we found him in his Domain," Busta says. "Though, I had heard tell of him – only rumors – when I was in the Beyond, back before the Firmament gave out. You may not be surprised by this, but Western and Eastern demons had our own territorial disputes, and your Eastern demons had little love for us Westerners appearing before your sorcerers and channelers."

As you expand your Aura, Gadriel and Busta shudder. You are entirely surrounded, in the most literal sense of the word. Your subtle bodies are entirely covered, in every possible manner, by innumerable multitudes of tiny, peculiar entities, most of which are no bigger than small denominations of coin. They are so small and light that you can easily push through them, as one might push through water. The larger ones among them, large enough to see details in their bodies and faces, are grotesque and misshapen, like the most feverish nightmares of a dying soul. Only, like demons, which at least have some semblance of an aesthetic, these entities have no rhyme or reason about their forms, like half-baked discarded remnants of creation. This is made worse by the fact that they are not entirely visible, even inside your Aura. Each of them is wrought from visible vibrations, like ripples in water, only each of these ripples is some darkened neon color, mostly of hellish reds and rotted greens.

Busta and Gadriel panic, trying desperately to swim deeper and deeper to try to get away from these vibrational entities.

Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13


Shorthorns approaches the door's glyph, looking at the little bird upon its frame before taking a look up at her forehead, remembering the bird tattoo that sits upon her own skull. She smirks, "Huh… wonder if they know each other." She jokingly suggests before taking another look at the door before the treasure appears before them suddenly.

Surprised, she stares at it, before rubbing her chin. "It probably is, but we'll never know unless we check. I can take whatever this dungeon has to throw at me, you two get back. If anything happens, I'll make sure nothing happens to you." She says as she approaches the chest, cautiously looking for a way to open it while keeping an eye out for tricks
[1d10] Perception check

Roll #1 5 = 5



Amy stares at Zjetya for a moment with her head cocked.

After a long pause, Amy straightens back up and asks, "So, is KP going to be like, your son, or something?"


As you approach it, Volkama reaches out with his telekinesis, pulling back at your shoulders. "Hold! I sense much magical energy from the wood of the chest… but curiously, not from the iron that trims its edges, and the rim of the lid."

As you study the chest, you see that it should be possible to pick the chest's padlock without touching the wood, so long as one took care in how they opened it. Smashing it with your head would probably not be the safest method of opening.


"As we wait here, I do wonder if all paths are to converge on Salt after all. Perhaps it best to continue forward knowing that we will reunite anyways, as that seems more in line with the nature of the maze than waiting. If we were to get separated in Tatarus, would we wait around for others to reconvene, or trust that they'd find their way and not compromise the mission?"


Shorthorns looks at the chest angrily as Volkama points out how picking the lock will require finesse, and she looks up at her large frame and her bulky hooves/horns and gives a sad sigh. "Volkama, could your telekinesis do the trick? I hate to admit it but no way am I gonna be careful or steady enough to avoid touching the wood. I'm kind of… one of the missionaries from Hearthome had a term I liked… a 'Bull in a chineigh shop'?"

She focuses instead on her catalyst, and focuses on unweaving the chest's trap. "I'll focus on trying to make it less dangerous if you can pick it the lock."
[1d10] Unweaving

Roll #1 3 = 3


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 6 Spears[Fire]


KP huddles into Zjetya's fluff, sitting comfortably.
Pryce stands, looking himself over as he is back in his normal form.
"…Did it work?"
He says slowly and cautiously.
"Phew, good, I'm back to normal." He turns to the remaining pair of birds, looking down at River. "I know it was that curse, but I'm sorry for what I said."

He then nods to Zjetya, horn glowing as he focuses on River to return her to normal as well.
>Unweave [River] [1d10]
"It might be easier to keep watch over him like that, but this doesn't seem like the safest place for a bird."
KP looks up at Pryce from the nest of moth fluff, the elder mulling it over.
"He can stay as is, until it gets too dangerous to be that small."

Pryce glances over at Amy's comment.
"No, let's not think about children yet."

Roll #1 1 = 1


However far they swim they should tug Shei with them by the dark thread their tied too. Shei attempts something in the meanwhile.

"Can't say I'm well versed in demon politics. At least not in Accorsia, I was a small kid way back when."

Shei raises his hooves out gently as if wading through a pond. He uses Qi working to collect the the tiny incomplete wills of the many unfinished demon morsels.
>qi working
[1d10] to collect the little demons wills into a single bunch

He then makes the motion of plunging a dagger into the imaginary pond.
>Qliphoth: automatic, recharge 3; Sacrifice one or all of the minions under your control to heal yourself 5/5 H/W per minion sacrificed. The minion must have over 20% of it's HP to be a proper sacrifice. Can heal beyond character's Natural H/W up to a maximum of double their Wounds+2W. For Shei 13/14 H/W. This ability may require a Control roll at the DM's discretion. Can be used to heal allies and H/W gained may be distributed to up to Five allies at a time. I.e 1/1 for each of Five allies, 2/3 and 3/2 for each of Two allies, etc. This skill can heal someone from 0/0HW but requires a roll and both their soul and body are still present.
[automatic] to sacrifice the little unfinished demons

[Not sure if this would work. I just thought they resembled actual qliphoth (broken shells) and thought it'd be appropriate. Up to DM interpretation obviously]

"Although that makes sense you have heard of him. Him and the Ring of Theon made regular violations of the firmament in their quest for the beyond. And it was a little more than occassional I would see fettered demons roaming Firewood Manor. I was just asking because of all these parallels to people doomed by their ambition that was being made. My thought, this guy has to meet Crow-ley. But I guess you were there for it. Didn't catch you."

Roll #1 1 = 1


"Yes," Zjetya says, scratching KP's head.

As Pryce attempts to unweave the spell about River, the spell's threads become tangled, and in a flash of spinning light, Zjetya stumbles, as River falls out of her fluff… and becomes a chicken.

River squawks and pecks at Pryce's leg, while Zjetya leans back and laughs at her plight.


"That'd be my guess, after everything we've learned," Zjetya says, eventually calming down after the gaffe. "Getting hung up about others would probably disrupt your focus and resolution. Having faith that they'd be able to meet you at a common destination would be the better option."

The spell is too difficult for you to undo without risking some kind of backfire. Volkama eyes the padlock, reaching out with his magic. "Stand aside, I shall give it a try. Iron is known for its unfriendliness to magical signatures, curses, and malevolent spirits alike, so perhaps it shall be my friend once more…"


Indeed they are, good catch.

As you send forth your Qi in an attempt to tame the husks of Qliphoth, the ones surrounding you suddenly tense up, all pointing toward you, all those with eyes, or misshapen pustules of eyes, turn and focus toward you three. This lasts but a moment, before the terrible multitude scream and writhe, spasming in terror as they spin and rattle, turning a deep red as their smooth vibrations stab in every direction, becoming terrible spikes that stab into you at every angle.


>All lose 2 Wounds

As Gadriel and Busta spin and churn with mortal terror, your senses remain keen enough to notice a much larger vibration suddenly approaching. Faintly, a calming hum sounds from afar…


Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 6 + 4 = 10 / Roll #3 1 + 5 = 6


"Mayhaps it best we moved on. Lingering to remove enchantments only puts us at more risk in Tartarus, I do not think these rooms will be kind enough to stay stagnate in their risks. We can attempt to undo these curses as we move on, otherwise I think we'll further separate from the rest of the party." Leather says, motioning onwards.


Shorthorns grunts as the unweaving proves successful, but dares to take the risk of backfire as she moves forward to help Volkama however she can. She attempts to unweave the magic again, putting herself at risk if she needs to while still standing ready to safeguard the others.

"We'll only be making this one attempt," Shorthorns says to Leather, "If we cannot get it open, we won't linger on it. But I'm not gonna be the one to shy away from a challenge, and I'm sure Tartarus will have plenty to taunt us with."


>meant to message Amy, not Shorthorns



"Keeping people as defenseless little birds is also kinda dangerous, though," Amy says as she turns KP back to normal.

>Jhana of Uprooting Poison


Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5



"Also, isn't it kinda creepy to have a 'son' that is a child version of your lover?"


"Are we not defenses?" Cloak says behind his shield, "I'll put my life in front of them if need be."


Pryce looks down in shock as River is turned into a chicken. KP gives a small chirp of concern.
"R-Right, you and Amy should lead the way this time while I fix this."
Pryce pulls back his leg when River pecks him, picking her up in his hoof.
"Don't worry, you'll be back to normal in a sec."
He says calmly, clearing his mind from all this backfiring. His horn glows, attempting to untangle the magic again.
>Unweave [River] [1d10]

"Be nice Zjetya, I doubt you'd like it if these roles were reversed."
He comments as she laughs at the situation.

Roll #1 10 = 10



"Well we have to fix them eventually!"


"Did I not also say we can attempt to undo these curses as we move?"


"I can take care of fixing. Amy, since you can 'eat' these magic traps, you should clear out these doors so we can find the path forward. Besides, I trust Zjetya to keep KP out of harms way."


Volkama takes his time fiddling with the inner machinations of the lock, clearly apprehensive of a potential backfire. At last it's undone, but as the lock clicks, Volkama leaps back, and he and Deriva pull you back as quick as they can. The lid of the chest practically flies off as a torrent of magical energy flashes forth from the chest, turning the ceiling dark as pitch. The bricks smell burnt once the magic blast is done.

"Well… that should be the last of it," Volkama says. "Thank goodness for iron. Any takers for the treasure?"

Zjetya clicks her tongue as KP goes back to normal. "Amy, don't make it weird. KP's his own colt, you know! Err, at least, he will be once we figure out how to sever their sympathetic connection."

River scores several small hits into your hoof as you pick her up, though of course she doesn't peck so hard as to wound you. At last you turn her back to normal, and she sits atop your hoof, her hooves bunched up at her sides like the wings of a chicken. Clearing her throat, she hops back down to the ground and says nothing more of the matter.

"Alright, alright," River grumbles. "Cloak has the right of it. Let us be off before we invoke more curses upon ourselves. If there's any path before us that requires no doorways, that automatically has my vote."

>Choose direction


Shorthorns nods her head towards the chest. "This was your victory, Volkama, you picked the lock and open it where I would have just smashed it open and put myself at risk. Whatever's inside, it's yours. I think all the magic from the trap has used itself up by now, you should be safe to look inside."


KP sits at Zjetya's hooves as the curse is lifted from him.
>"Aww, I liked sitting in the fluff…"
He says, hopping up to his hooves.
>"I don't know if it can. Mr., uh, Calque, seemed to make it sound like a hostage thing when he used it on the big guy."

Pryce shakes his hoof from the sting of the pecks after River hops off. Unsure of how to make this better, he gives her a quick wing hug.

"Well, since the trap on that northeast door is gone," Pryce states, clearing his throat after all the trouble, "We should at least check what's in that direction."
He says, opening the door.



"There was a way Amy already cleared that I was about to fire at, it had some sort of worm magic within it. We should check to make sure the trap has not rearmed itself in the time it to remove the curses." Leather says, investigating the previously disarmed door.

[1d10] perception with Ecclesian training

Roll #1 4 = 4



Amy nods a follows.

"It's already weird, Zeta," Amy says with a little snicker.


Volkama nods, and cauutiously approaches the chest. He reaches within after some deliberation, and pulls forth an old and thick leather belt with a prominent and ornate golden buckle. You can feel the magic upon it, and Volkama spends some time studying its magical signatures… eventually, he turns and hands it to you. "Bah! It is of no benefit to me. You or Grand Voyage, or perhaps even Cloak, will find more use for it."

>Fortifying Belt; Relic; The DC to hit you drops to 0, such that even Critfails will succeed against you, but all damage taken is Halved before other effects.

>Description: An old belt that held in place the robe of a very bulky Son of God, and through its fame and fortune, inherited a portion of his sturdiness and reliability.

"Incredible," Deriva says. "I conjured that chest with but a moment of sheer concentration on the idea of 'bringing out the treasure behind the false wall above us.' An imprecise target of focus to be sure, but still it worked. Do you think we could get more treasure in this way?"

"YOU'RE WEIRD!" Zjetya protests.

River shudders, but accepts your hug. "'Tis such an unnerving thing to feel teeth in my mouth once more after having a beak… I wonder how griffons are able to speak so eloquently without teeth."

Having effectively dispelled the Northeastern door (by getting afflicted with its curse), you can safely proceed beyond it. You proceed for a short time down a corridor, before it bends East and continues onward… until it at last stops at a dead end.

River clicks her tongue. "I've no doubt this wall is a false one. The question is what it might hide."
"I wouldn't assume so," Zjetya says. "Could just be a means of frustrating would-be escapees, no?"


"ga-a-ahrrr" Shei growls in pain from the disobedient qliphoth

"Gadriel, Busta, I know I'm not the authority on this but could you stop fucking about and do something useful please?"

"Sounds like something weird is coming up. Gadriel, Busta, pop a heal for us. I'm going to absorb these broken shells.. If anything incredible happens I can inure us from all harm for a short while."

Shei-Sher forces his dominion over bastards over the broken shells
[1d10+1] controlling them

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10


Shorthorn looks at the magic, feeling its strength as she holds it in her hooves. She smiles, lifting her head up high as she puts it on around her waist, smiling as she seems to slide into it quite snugly. "Thank you Volkama, I swear I'll return the favor as soon as I can. I think I definitely CAN make a good use out of this."

She turns to Deriva, nodding, "It would seem so, I didn't even know you could do that! Let's keep it in mind for the rest of the dungeon. For now," she looks at the locked/knobless door blocking their way forward, and turning her eye towards the bird glyph. "Have you noticed any similar markings to this bird anywhere else so far? I haven't been keeping very careful track of if we've seen it somewhere else, besides maybe the Temple of Slipper."

[1d10] Memory, is this glyph anywhere else we've seen?

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Well the curse would've turned those who enter into birds, are there any locations meant to by flown up to?"

Leather looks around.

Roll #1 9 = 9



"I'm also kinky," Amy says with a smirk. "Is that what you want o be?"


"Hmmmm," Amy says as she looks around. Specifically, she looks up.

[1d10] to find a hidden way to go

Roll #1 7 = 7


"I imagine they've had some time to learn it. The size difference has me more thrown off, small enough to fit on a pony's hoof is far more vulnerable than I'd like."
Pryce says to River.

As they gather together, Pryce gives Zjetya a quick wing hug as well, not to leave either out.
When they reach the end of the hall, Pryce looks around the wall for anything that could open or show a false wall. But he then gets an idea.
"I can check. Sir Estuary wasn't able to touch me when I used this technique, so I should set off anything if it is dangerous."
Pryce's horn glows black, passing it's dark light over his body in a soft glow as he steps into subspace, and then peeks his head through the wall.
>Subspace Walker [Self]
>2 times per combat; Automatic; Hide yourself, an ally, or a medium-sized object within a Subspace pocket for four turns, or until they dismiss the effect. During this time, the target cannot attack or be attacked. If used on a sentient target, that target can now move through solid objects, barriers, etc within a short distance at will.


She leans in and whispers… "I already have you beat in that regard."

While hidden in Subspace, the colors of the world around you invert, like a photonegative, through Pryce would not know what that is. You peer through the wall, but see nothing, confirming that the wall at the end of this corridor is quite thick.

In front of the wall, you see a small narrow gap between some of the bricks in the hallway's ceiling. It's too small for anyone of your size to climb through, but it would not be too small for a tiny bird to fly up into. Zjetya and River look up into it. "Dang… wonder where that went," Zjetya says.
"Perhaps there may yet be time to revert that spell," River says. "Pryce, Fairy Castle entrusted you with her spellbook, no? Couldn't you skip forward some distance for a Weaving spell that could bring back that bird-curse?"

There were such glyphs in the Temple of Slipper, but back then, they served merely as decorations for large scenes in the hieroglyphic tales of the Sons of God inscribed into the rock. You can see that each door has an icon of its own; the North door has a mouse icon, the East door has a snake icon, the South door has a dog icon.

"Mice, hrm…?" Volkama ponders.
"Forget the treasure," Deriva says. "Don't any of you think we might be able to call forth the answer to a puzzle that stumps us with our will and visualizations?"

The mass of Qliphoth stop writhing and spasming as you manage to get them to calm down. Gadriel and Busta say nothing, but get to action.

Gadriel sprays himself with the healing mist from his wings' orbs.

[1d10+3] Heal

Busta looks downward at the oncoming vibrations, and flaps his fly-wings, sending forth counter-vibrations. You feel the approaching entity veer off-course, spinning away into the darkness.

"Let's go!" Busta commands, diving deeper as he sends wing-beats back toward the unseen enemy.

[1d10+3] Wind Element

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12



"Shei is making me lose my game…" Amy mutters in complaint.


"I got this!" Amy declares. Afterwords, she transforms into a roach/mouse hybrid and climbs up the wall and into small slit.

>>Obtain one quality of the target's body, along with any applicable Racial skill. You can then call upon any devoured quality freely, transforming your own body to reflect it.

I transformed into a roach/mouse hybrid before, but if you don't accept that as more than fluff, I'm sure I can climb the wall well enough as a mouse.


With just a pinch of willpower Shei seems to have the broken shells at attention "That was easy, note to self violate everything."

Shei raise his hoof in champion pose and balled fist. The mass of Qliphoth tear into raw magatsuchi as they are absorbed completely into Shei-Sher. The effects being duplicated in his Gadds and Bustaa as they notice viral energies being consumed by their spirit.

>Qliphoth: automatic, recharge 3; Sacrifice one or all of the minions under your control to heal yourself 5/5 H/W per minion sacrificed. The minion must have over 20% of it's HP to be a proper sacrifice. Can heal beyond character's Natural H/W up to a maximum of double their Wounds+2W. For Shei 13/14 H/W. This ability may require a Control roll at the DM's discretion. Can be used to heal allies and H/W gained may be distributed to up to Five allies at a time. I.e 1/1 for each of Five allies, 2/3 and 3/2 for each of Two allies, etc. This skill can heal someone from 0/0HW but requires a roll and both their soul and body are still present.


"Whatever you say Busta." Shei-Sher follows suit


>"Are you sure you want to be a chicken again?"
KP asks River as she suggests reweaving the curse.

Pryce pulls his head back from the wall as it appears to be a true dead end. He looks up as everypony else notices the gap, figuring that must be the path to take. Spreading his wings, he flies up, taking the subspace's ethereal trait to follow the path like he did following Sir Estuary through the debris before.


"Mice… kind of like yours?" Shorthorns points out, looking at the mice door with a peculiar look. "I have a tattoo like a bird, and I think Amy's not too far off from a dog. What could a snake mean though, I wonder?"

She turns to Deriva, nodding her head. "Give it a try, but if you can't I think we'd best go back up to the level above this. Maybe we'll find another clue somewhere else, but I feel like the glyphs they have here aren't a coincidence. Maybe if we brought Amy and a 'snake' down here too we'd get some answers."


"Well that's one who can make it down the path, I have no way of reducing my stature myself." Leather notes, looking back, "We could still try the worm door, for those unable to follow."


"Not a chicken, but – ah, Amy has it covered," River says as Amy turns into a freakish horror of a creature, though River and Zjetya are none too disturbed. "Let's see what she says, first," she adds for Cloak.

As Amy crawls up into the gap, she finds that there is a path before her now, which ends in a hole that one might drop down into. It appears there are no traps or impediments in this tiny pathway.

"Let's save that for a last resort," Deriva says. "The dungeoneers seem to have thought of everything here… should we overuse an easy method of passage, I am sure we'd invite another punishment down upon us."

Volkama takes one of his mice from their protective, enchanted pocket within his armor, and sets him down upon the ground before the door marked with the mouse glyph. The door shudders, and a smaller door, this one just big enough for a mouse, opens at its base. Volkama's mouse peeks at the door's gap, then steps back, his fur standing up apprehensively.

"Danger awaits beyond," Volkama translates, putting the mouse back into his pocket. "And it can only be approached if we are the creature marked upon the door. Don't suppose transformations are within your godly domain?"

With a terrible cry, the cloud of husks about you vanish – only for countless thousands more to flood the space about you, taking their place. Your absorption of their lingering vital essence brings you to 13/14 H/W

Busta sends a great current of astral wind back at the entity pursuing you, and you can feel its vibrations receding deeper and deeper away, until…


A calming hum murmurs from further below. Many voices echo in slow, arhythmic patterns. Busta slows his descent, as does Gadriel, as the two ponder where to go next…


Roll #1 5, 7, 1 + 5 = 18


Cloak nods, waiting patiently.



"Hmm. There seems to be some kind of tiny path here. I'm going to try to see where it goes and hope it gives me a way to open this wall up."

Amy crawls down the hole and clings to whatever wall/ceiling she can with her bug legs.

She looks around wherever this leads for some kind of mechanism. [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


As the mouse manages to open up the door, Shorthorns looks on in amazement, watching the brave mouse as he moves back from the door, smiling as she reaches down to nuzzle him with her nose. "You did great! Thank you for your bravery, little warrior."

She turns to look at Volkama, thinking about the question. "…I think so. I can make life spring from stone and brick, I should be able to arrange living things. Life is my primary sphere."

She takes a moment to collect herself, imagining her being that which she loathes most of all: even SMALLER than she already was. She pauses, turning to look at Volkama and Deriva sternly. "…don't bring this up to the others unless we have to, 'kay?"

[1d10] Life Sphere (Primary), turning myself into a mouse

Roll #1 7 = 7


Amy reaches the end of the path, and crawls partway down the wall, but loses her grip partway through, and falls off the wall, landing upon the stone. Thankfully, owing to her roachy body, she is unharmed. Pryce flies to the other side, seeing her land. The two can see that the corridor before them continues until it reaches a juncture: One path leads Southeast, the other Southwest.


Pryce enters into the open hall, stepping out of subspace, and seeing Amy fall from the ceiling.
"So it wasn't entirely a fake wall at all…"
Seeing it split at the end, Pryce walks down the hall, looking down the southeast junction.
"You check the southwest Amy. We shouldn't get too far from the others if this does continue deeper into the labyrinth."



Amy groans as she hits the ground in her tiny form.

"Hmm…" she says as she looks around and spots Pryce. "So, wanna see if we can like knock down the wall or something?"


The hum, it waxes over the static in his brain. And before it can become relaxing Shei understands.

"Ohhh… nooo…. We're in the feeding grounds and these things krill!"

Shei-Sher manifests a star of solar energy in one hoof. He shines it bright enough to avert the Qliphoth's direction.

[1d10] manifest a blinding solar star to divert any dark creature from coming over here.

He holds the star out in the torrent of broken shell's direction.

"Make a diversion! Get them AWAY from us! Just any idea you got. There's no stupid answers."

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Unless you can take out a foot of stone, I don't think we can knock it down easily."


You turn into a tiny mouse, your armor and clothing shrinking with you. You note that your colors are unchanged, and your fur still has the rough, fire-resistant texture that it normally does, instead of the fine fuzz of a mouse's fur.

"Hold!" Deriva commands after you shrink down. She approaches… and flips you onto your back, trying (somewhat successfully) to tickle you through your armor.

River and Zjetya keep up their guard as they wait, staying close to KP and Cloak. "How peculiar…" River murmurs, catching Zjetya's attention. "When was the last time we were properly attacked down here? Not since the Mercury Dragon's hands sought to disrupt us, no?"
"Expecting more guards?" Zjetya asks. "This place has been abandoned for centuries, hasn't it?"
"True…" River admits.

>10, 12

As you make your declaration, you see Busta get flung into the darkness, as an unseen force but grazes him – you and Gadriel are dragged along for the ride, temporarily knocked senseless as you share in Busta's sudden pain.

>All take 36 Hits of damage

Light flashes from your hoof, even as your consciousness reels and vision swims, and the Qliphoth churn as they attempt to swim away from you, only to, in the process, push other Qliphoth away, into your direction.

"There," Busta says, pointing as he tries to right himself. "A gap, between their energies… move! Move!"

[2d10+2] the two try to get up

Roll #1 3, 1 + 2 = 6



"Not with THAT attitude!"


"No, that's what I'm asking. Do you have a way to take out that much stone? When I tried to peer through it it was very thick."
Pryce responds flatly.

>"We'll be fine, Cloak is here. Nothing can get past him!"


Leather at River's point, "I believe the enchantment Amy disarmed would've thrust us into battle against an invisible enemy, meaning there are foes still guarding this ancient pathway. That being said, I most are tied to magical effects, or quite possibly could be constructs."


Shorthorns looks down at her new, mousey form, giving herself a twirl and reaching behind to pull at her newly elongated tail. "Huh… well, that's interest- WOAH!"

She turns to look up at Deriva and Volkama, giving a slight gulp. "You're all so huge now. I'm not sure I like this… but we have no choice."

As Devira reaches down, Shorthorns looks up curiously, wondering why she was asked to halt… but as her tickling begins, Shorthorns blurts out in laughter and falls on her back, using her newly ineffectual arms to push the offending hoof away. "BHAAHAAHAHAHAH! S-stop it, this is serious! Hahaha… t-this is why I didn't want the others to know!" She grunts in an annoyed tone, stiffing her chuckles as she wiggles away from Devira towards the door. "I-I'll be right back as soon as I figure out how to unlock it from that side, I won't be long!"


Pryce also checks down the Southeast hall.



"Hmmmm. All I can think of is this…"

>Prayer of Enlightenment to learn Return to Earth

>Return to Earth: recharge 2, spell; Bring things back to their natural state. Can return spirits to the afterlife and send unnatural creatures (demons, elementals, undead etc) back to their home plane. Only weakens stronger spirits and creatures, giving you +1 to all your actions against them until the end of combat.


Roll #1 2 + 3 = 5


The southeast junction ends with another wall. Before it lies a locked trapdoor in the ground.


>forgot fluff

Amy faces the stone wall and points a mouse paw at it, hoping the wall goes somewhere.


Not much happens, but since you're in no immediate danger, you can give it another shot.


Shei opens his cape and a chain shoots out in the direction Busta points. The chain flies between the gap in their energies and swings its to tie lasso onto something


[1d10] to lasso something, anything

if I'd have to roll to get up from helpless then let it be my roll to get up

Roll #1 1 = 1


Seeing the wall end in another dead end, Pryce walks back, seeing Amy try her spell.
"If River got to this side, she could open a corridor for the others…"
Pryce comments.



Amy makes a frustrated noise and gestures at the wall again.

>Return to Earth on wall


Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11


"I only hope we'll get to be the ones to initiate the battle if it should happen," River says. "I'd hate to be caught unawares by whatever guards these deeper levels…"

The wall between the two groups grumbles, as the bricks and mortar which constitute the wall shudder, and dissolve back into their constituent reagants, falling back into a heap before you. River and Zjetya cross over the heap once they find a safe way to walk across it. "Nice," Zjetya says. "Find anything good?"

The small door opens for you, as it did for the small mouse, and it brings you into a medium-sized room, one that surprisingly looks like it might have served some administrative purpose, rather than testing demon-hunters or keeping demons imprisoned. There are stone desks and chairs, and stone crates piled up high here and there.

As the small door shuts behind you, you hear the clicking of metal upon stone… and see a stone cat laying asleep atop a bookshelf. A key hangs about its neck.

>Shei 0/12 from most recent attack

In the violent churning of the Qliphoth about you, you cast out the length of your chain – and find it surprisingly hooking onto something. But, with a horrid pop, you can feel your shoulder wrench free of its socket as an immense force starts to yank you, Gadriel and Busta through the darkness, pulled by the chain and your shared bond. It's all you can do to stay conscious as the force tugs you deeper and deeeper through the abyss.

>Shei 0/10 from 2 critfails to recover

Gadriel and Busta stir, trying to right themselves in the astral darkness…



Roll #1 3, 5 + 2 = 10


>I just realized that, because of how I calculate damage, the only way that this item is even remotely worth using is if the damage reduction is improved from 1/2 to 1/4, all results rounded down as usual.



"Wow! I did NOT think that would work," Amy deadpans as she stares at the heap on the ground. She transforms back into her usual wolf-pony form. Then, she giggles and shrugs. "Cool!"

"Just more cave," Amy answers Zjetya, pointing toward more caves.


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 6 Spears[Fire]

Pryce steps back as the wall crumbles under Amy's spell, letting the others regroup with them.
"There's two more paths down this way. There's a trapdoor leading down to the southeast, and the other way I have not checked yet."


As Shorthorned Rodent moves into the relatively large chamber, she looks around, stepping lightly as her small size does a number on her usual bravado. She turns suddenly as she hears the door slam shut behind her, eyes opening wide as her eyes turn up to see the massive stone cat sleeping atop the book shelf. She looks at the key hanging around its neck, and as its monstrous size nearly gives her pause, takes a moment to collect herself, and recall she's been up against far worse. She snorts, "Hrmm… I think I see what I'm supposed to do here dungeon but, stealth was never really my strong suit…"

She clears her throat, heading towards the book shelf as she tap as she balls up her tiny, mousey fist to tap on the side of the bookshelf. "Ahem. EXCUSE ME! Mr. Cat?"



Leather steps over the rubble on small platforms of light created through Tsiba, looking out towards the cave ahead, "I suppose this could've been a solution whether or not we had shrunken down. Regardless, progress is progress."



"Yeah, who'da guessed that that spell would just knock the wall over? Kinda weird!"


>Last time, on HolyQuest…

"It looks like you reduced that wall to its constituent components, as they were prior to their construction," River remarks to Amy as she climbs over the rubble. "Brick and mortar have given way to stone, sand, mud and mason's chemicals."
"Hey, at least those Sons of God were good sports," Zjetya says. "Could've just as easily put up enchantments to prevent this sort of work-around for their weird puzzles."
River paws at the ground a bit. "I wonder how efficacious trying to go straight down with that spell might be…"

Zjetya and River look to the Southwest and Southeast. Just as Pryce said, at the end of the Southeast path, there is another wall, and a trapdoor in the floor. To the Southwest, the path continues for quite a while, so long that you cannot see the end of it.

"So…" Zjetya begins. "Which way, gents?"
"And ladies," River adds.
"Only lady I see here is you," Zjetya says.
"What…?" River deadpans. "What would that even make you?"

The cat's eyes shoot open, and an impulse shoots up from your mousey spine, causing all your fur to stand on end. In a flash, the cat leaps from the bookshelf, and lands without a sound, even as it is made of stone. Tail flashing and twitching, it eyes you with amusement, as if it cannot believe such prey would announce itself so boldly.



"Duh!" Amy says to River as if she's being dumb. "Zeta can't SEE herself!"

Then, Amy looks down at the ground, contemplating River's suggestion. Without saying another word, she gives it a try.

>Return to Earth on the ground!


Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6


As the chill goes up her spine, the primal instinct of prey fearing the sharped-eyed glare of a sharp-teethed predator permeates through every bit of Shorthorn's fiber: as a buffalo she is no stranger to the feeling of fearing a hunter. She backs up a moment, but her conscious nerve tries to collect herself: she is no mere mouse, and no stony house-cat is going to give her pause.

She steps back from where she shuddered before, trying to fight back the primal urge to huddle up with her herd for safety as she stares down the cat, lifting her mousey head high in the process as she activates her magical brooch, the Tikkun Olam, allowing her to communicate with beasts and animals…

"T-thank you! Sorry for waking you up from your nap, but I noticed you had a key around your neck that I think me and my friends need for getting through this maze. Could I ask you to give it to me?"
[1d10] Persuasion

Roll #1 5 = 5



Cloak preemptively stands near a party member without wings, ready to use Tsiba to catch one should the floor give way.


"Going straight down like that might not be the best, who knows how deep some rooms are."
Pryce comments on River's idea.

>"Why not check the other path? If ever path is going to the same spot, we could clear the way for the others!"

KP suggests as they mull over which way to go.
"It wouldn't hurt to check, at the very least."
Pryce adds, going too lead to the southwest.

Pryce looks back as Zjetya and River chitchat.
"Since she's a changeling, she must be a queen then."
Pryce comments.


>Spiritual Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Prr-hrr-hrr-hrr-hrr," the stonecat laughs. "Tis been nearly a Kalpa since I've been awoken by a visitor, and what do I find, but one who should come right up to me and ask for this key I guard. I don't believe this has ever happened, in fact… usually they break through the door, or try to sneak up on me. But I digress, prr-hrr-hrr."

It straightens up, extending a paw to bat at the space before you, coming just shy of striking you with its playful swipes. "Make an offer to me, if you would demand an exchange of goods. What is this key worth to you… say, a mortal? Odd…"

"I'm surprised you aren't more concerned about what that makes you in her eyes, Amy," River says. Zjetya fluffs up her fluff at Pryce's compliment.

Amy's spell carves out a rough-hewn stairway below you, about ten meters in depth, as mud, sand, and mason's chemicals flow down into the hole she creates. Still, there is more earth below you through which you will have to press.

As you head down the corridor, River and Zjetya follow at a distance, so as to be a midpoint between you, and Amy and Cloak, should something go awry… and good thing, because as you get about halfway down the corridor, a certain rumbling, from up ahead, stays your steps. It is no physical rumbling, but one in the aether, accompanied by a vague shimmering in the air before you. You see the vague outline and shade of some manner of portal, but it's shaped curiously, almost like the outline of an open maw.


Shorthorns tries a toothy grin, trying to maintain an air of confidence about her large prey. "Well, I'm not your usual adventurer, I guess. Trying to think of some ideas outside of the box. Besides, I'm terrible at sneaking, I would have never gotten close."

She thinks not to correct him on her being a 'mortal' rather than a god, keeping that ace up her tiny sleeve for now. "You want to make an exchange? Well, let's see…. what do cats like? Do you want a big scratching post, or maybe some milk? I'm guessing you don't get to leave here very often since the door is so small, if you want I could let you out!"
[1d10] Persuasion

Roll #1 3 = 3



"Wait… Yeah, what the heck, Zet-aaaaah" Amy starts to say as she processes River's, but as she does, her spell takes effect, and she slips down a few of the steps she just made.

However, she quickly stops herself. "Hey! It worked!" she exclaims excitedly. "Take that, maze!" she says, kicking the wall.

As she does so, she casts the spell again.

>Return to Earth to keep going!


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7


Leather peers down the hole and sees if there's anythin to discern while he waits for information on the hallway from Pryce and progress from Amy.

[1d10] percep

Roll #1 2 = 2



If there's one thing Amy is, it's fancy!


Roll #1 5 = 5


Shei is a ragdoll for this undetermineable force that pulls them away from peril. Shie tries to pop his joint back in place as he holds on.

[1d10] get up from helpless.

"Everyone okay?" He asks busta and gadds through the rushing pressure

Roll #1 5 = 5


"I am a construct of stone and magic, engineered to annihilate the worst of what my creators banished into Tartarus's endless panoramas," the stonecat retorts. "What material goods could you possibly bribe me with?"

"Obviously, a–" Zjetya begins, before pausing to think. "Well, I was going to address you by your demonic rank, but I don't think you've ever told us. What are you, exactly?"

Ancient earth and stone shudder away as Amy digs through the earth like a dog. Much of it turns back into volcanic soot, bringing to mind Easy's words many months ago about the Ashfall Mountains surrounding this region. After about another ten meters of progress, a shudder in the earth causes Amy's ears to prick up, and she leaps backwards up the stone staircase, knocking Cloak back on his flanks. At the base of the stairs, the earth cracks, and falls away, plummeting for quite some time before hitting the bottom. You can see that you have broken through to the next floor down, but there's a drop of no less than fifty meters awaiting you and the ground level below you.
"Everything alright!?" River calls from the top of the staircase.


Pryce pauses as he feels the disturbance in the corridor before him, taking a few steps back.
"Careful everypony, seems they had portals trapped in hallways down here too."
Pryce calls back to the others.
Cautiously, Pryce's horn glows in attempts to unweave the portal to open up the path beyond.
>Unweave [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


Busta manages to turn himself upward, even as he's yanked along, and reaches out to help you and Gadriel orient yourselves even as you're yanked along by the unseen entity.

>All have recovered from Helplessness!

"Fine, but where are we going!?" Gadriel shouts over the rushing pressure all about you.
"Wherever this thing pleases!" Busta says. "And I doubt we'll like to see the end of its path. Can't either of you control it!?"
"Maybe… Shei!" Gadriel shouts. "Extend the threads up the chain, I have an idea!"



"You mean like before I took a mortal body?" Amy asks conversationally as she continues to remove the ground. "Cause I'm pretty sure there's no rank for whatever the heck I am now."



"I found something!" Amy announces triumphantly. "It's a bit… place! Really dark. And really far down… I don't think I've eaten anything that can fly…"

Her tail wags excitedly as she talks, slapping Cloak repeatedly in the face where he sits on the stairs after she accidentally bumped him. She remains totally oblivious to this.


"…I guess that's a good question." Shorthorns asks aloud, tapping her mousey chin with her paw. "Well, if you don't eat and just sleep until there's an intruder for you to deal with, is there anything you'd want? Don't you ever get bored of just waiting around for something to pounce on? When was the last time you even left this place?"

[1d10] Persuasion to consider the thrill of adventure over sleeping all day

Roll #1 7 = 7



Leather sits patiently and tries to ignore the tail continuing to hit him in the face. "I can walk down and up and possibly ferry one of the wingless down on my back, should the path Pryce speaks of is trapped yet again."

He turns to Pryce, still being hit in the face with dog tail, "Any insight on the nature of the trap?"


"Far down, I expected as much. I can send a flare down after I remove this portal."
Pryce calls back to Amy's announcement.

"Only that it's an oddly shaped portal. Might be to make it harder to detect, but as long as we don't walk further than where I am it's harmless."


Shei pulls more thread out from himself and allows it to crawl to the other end of the chains

[1d10] roll if needed

Shei then commands the chains to retract so that they are pulled up to the body of the whale. [I think this is an automatic action]

Roll #1 1 = 1


>Spiritual Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7


The portal appears to collapse, the top and the bottom disappearing in tandem until they meet in the center, but the shimmering that surrounded the portal yet remains, and is now concentrated at the center, where you last saw the portal.

You can hear an unusual grunting coming from ahead…

"If I might bring forth my discussion with Blessings on demonology," River says. "She taught me the ranks: Wraith, Devil, Fiend, Helel, Heretic, Tormentor, Count, Marquis, Duke, Prince, and then, the Accuser, for there is only ever but one. Orcus was a Heretic, and it took all of us back then to defeat him. Now, after all we've been through… hrm. Where might you rank yourself?"

"We can take the pets and KP," Zjetya says. "Hey, wait, Amy, I'm sure you've eaten a bug at some point. Just use that transformation!"

You retract the chain, and send power up its length, but as it reaches its mark, you can feel something rattling the chain from further–

You barely catch but a glimpse of it, but a larger husk, some putrid facade of a hollowed corpse, hurtles past, and rakes its claws in your direction, shredding across – and through – your subtle body.

>Shei loses 6 Hits

Through the pain, you sense your connection to Busta and Gadriel shatter. Busta manages to grab ahold of you, but Gadriel, with a terrified cry, hurtles into the darkness.

Without a second thought, Busta lets go, launching himself after Gadriel. "I've got you!"

[1d10+3] Busta channels wind to encapsulate Gadriel.

[1d10+2] Gadriel reaches out to Busta's arm.

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6



Amy jumps as she hears Cloak talk. She quickly turns to see Cloak sitting there. She blushes slightly. "Oh. Hehe, sorry."

She extends a hoofpaw to help him up. "If you could help me down, that'd be awesome! I can make myself small if that'd be easier!"


"…Are you seriously trying to recruit me!?" the stonecat exclaims after a moment.


"Well I can't think of what else to offer!" Shorthorns exclaims, "You don't need anything like food or toys or wealth, and the only thing you do, from the sounds of it, is just sleep for years until something comes and needs you to swat it. What better to offer you than a little adventure? I mean, you don't have to go all the way if you don't want, it's going to get pretty dangerous, but don't you ever wonder what it's like outside of this little room? Even for just a little while?"


Roll #1 8 = 8



Amy puts her hoof-paw to her chin in contemplation. "I don't know… I mean, I have to beat the accuser by the end of this. So, wouldn't that mean I'm a prince?"

"-ess," she adds after a moment.


Leather looks unconcerned, "Any lessened weight reduces the chances of imbalance should some other curse or trap try and knock us over on the way down."

Standing up, the cloth wrapped earth pony looks to Amy to see if she wants uppies.


"No NOO!"

Shei lands his hooves standing upon the subterranean beast's body which his chain is lasso'd around. And pulls it from the shoulders, from the hips, with his mind. reeling in any force within his command. Growling bleating panick as he tries to steer the soul of the this thing to his command.

>Bohemian Purgatory: instant, Automatic: The chains produced by the God of Bastards and Kids are fabrications of the soul. As an Instant Auto action gabby's seal may be applied as an elemental attribute to Shei-Sher's manifested switch-cane for this combat. A successful Lasso with the switch-cane applies Gabby's Seal. Target's lasso'd with multiple chains receive psychic damage multiplied for each chain. Psydmgmulti=(damage*Chain#) Psydmg Multiplier for Targets with resistances instead downgrades the resistance for each chain lasso'd. 1 chain brings repel to Absorb, 2 chains brings Repel down to Null. With 2 chains required to revert Resist to Neutral. And a total of 5 chains to bring Repel down to Neutral. The number of chains increased after Neutral is reached does not effect the Attribute Relationship any further, Instead the Psydmg Multiplier begins after Neutral.

>CONTROL+1: Spell, attempts to take control of a hostile or neutral undead. More powerful undead may require a higher minimum roll. Also used to take control of a larger undead at recharge 2.

[1d10+1] control the whale

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


Pryce pauses as he hears grunting, looking back as the others prepare to venture downward. He faces forward, looking down the hall, horn glowing lightly to illuminate the path.
"Hello? Who's down there?"
He calls down the hall, unsure if it's a beast or one of their allies.
>Gilded Tongue: Passive; The DC for persuasion, bartering and intimidation-related rolls is reduced by 1. Folks will naturally sense your charisma at a glance and be more willing to trust you the first time you interact.

KP steps close to Zjetya as they all sort out how to descend.
>"Shouldn't we try to see first? What if it's like that last deep room with the big worms?"



Amy smiles and shrinks down into the form of a cute, pink/purple rat. A combination of the color and the fact that she still has some of her wolf floof makes the rat look almost cartoonish. She looks up at the comparatively giant Cloak and extends her little rat arms upwards as if to indicate that she wants up.


"That'd be cool!" little rat Amy squeaks excitedly in response.


Leather lifts Amy in one hoof, looking to his back and then to his satchel, "Any preference in seating arrangement?"

"I'm patient, go right ahead."


"No offense, but that might be a bit lofty," River says. "If I could suggest an analogy? You had a role in defeating Miracle, who held the rank of Seraph, the eighth of the choirs of angels. The eighth rank of demonkind is the Marquis, so… perhaps you may be likened to a Count, if not even a Marquis, after these last few days."

You bump into something as you approach, and through your spiritual senses, you can tell that it is cold and slimy, with bumpy, ridged skin. The grunting only grows louder, deeper and more of a threat, and you can feel it rumble your soul.

Zjetya and River look up as Cloak and Amy make ready for their descent. "Pryce?" Zjetya calls. "You got anything down there, cause we're making ready to descend down this way."

The last glimpse you manage to get of Busta and Gadriel is them grabbing ahold of one another, shielded by a swirling orb of razor-sharp winds, before the vast entity you've lassoed drags you further and further through this dark ocean. You yank and pull upon the chain to try to bend it to your will, but it obstinately pushes onward, with the lazy impertinence that only a monstrous predator can boast…

[3d10+4] mysterious rolls…

"Tch! Damn me…" the stonecat hisses. "All these millennia… and who should I run into, but one just like them. But I will not waste my time for one bound to die. I shall pull back the curse placed upon this room, and you shall reveal to me your true form, and make a sign of your true power, mortal, before I make my decision. What say you?"

Roll #1 4, 8, 2 + 4 = 18



Amy laughs. "I guess Shei would get jealous if you put me in a pocket."

"Just put me in your bag. I'm sure there's nothing TOO gross in there. And, if there is, I'll totally understand. You should see my own bag," she laughs.

Then, she looks down at her own rat body and realizes that she doesn't have a bag anymore. She thinks back. Her bag hasn't been on her for a while now. Come to think of it, her armor hasn't been visibly on her for a while now either.

"Am I absorbing things…?" she contemplates out loud. "COOL!" she concludes.


Shorthorns turns her head in confusion, "Like them…? Do you mean the Sons of God?"

As he makes his offer, for her to reveal her true form and make a sign of her power, Shorthorns lets out a sigh of relief. "Phew! I say it's a deal. To be honest being this small is kinda crazy unsettling, I much prefer being my normal size, if not bigger."

She takes a breath, focusing on her divine powers as a white glow envelops her mousey form, and she uses the Sphere of Life to reshape her back into her full, white buffalo form.

[1d10] Primary Sphere of Life

Roll #1 10 = 10


Shei sends 3 more chains to wrap around the leviathan creature.
>Spell Bleed: passive; You may cast any spell you know at multiple targets, but doing so increases the crit fail range to the number of targets +1
>3 more lassos

Shei bleats bloody fury as he compounds his strengths over the whale. Wheening and growling in a way a goat shouldn't.

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 10 + 1 = 11


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 6 Spears [Fire]

Pryce takes a few steps back.
"We should make it quick, there's something behind where that portal was and I don't think it's friendly."
Pryce says in a calm voice to not anger whatever this creature is further, walking backwards to rejoin the others and not facing away from the grunting sound.
>"Can you send a light down there?"
"No problem, but we should follow right behind it."
Pryce, once at the staircase, turns, throwing one of his flaming spears down into the hole to illuminate it. He then spreads his wings, ready to descend down after the others to protect the rear.
>Homing Magic (For throwing the spear down) [1d10]
>Flight [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 2 = 2


"Dried rations, bottles of ink, quills, and parchment both blank and filled. Everything else I keep ammunition-wise on bandoliers. The writing's for recalling these journeys to my future kids. Nothing 'too gross' in there."

Leather gently sets her in the bag.

"Understood, let's journey downwards."


>no roll needed unless it's a dodge i think



"Wow!" Amy says, as she roots around in the bag. "It's waaaay more organized than my bag! And smells WAY better!"

"I always DID like the smell of paper. I never really had much use for it, though. Not much to do with it when you can't read."


"It's a decent firestarter, but I would prefer it if you did not experiment with such in my bag." Leather muses, "Drawing too - pictures are much easier to interpret."



"Don't worry, the only fire I'd start would be in your pants," Amy laughs.

"I'm not really good at drawing either…" Amy muses as she looks at a blank piece of paper and contemplates vandalizing it.


Before you transform, the cat pronounces an unknown series of words, and you note a great weight leave the room, a weight you didn't even notice until confronted by its absence. With it gone, you easily revert back to your former radiance, power brimming in every muscle and bone. The stonecat steps back, pawing at the key at its neck, until the key comes off the loop on its collar, and falls to the ground.

"Prr-hrr-hrr-hrr, the very same. Quite like them, in all things except power," the stonecat says. "Fine, fine – I think I shall follow, even so, at least for a time. But I must ask – this is no place for the living. What compels you down here?"

The colossal entity shudders, and the whole of the dark ocean about you shudders with it, as you tug at the chains, at last eking your will over its – but even now, you can sense that you are but nudging it. Still, you work the chains until it turns about… but you've lost sight of Busta and Gadriel.

>Unknown rolls…



The fire spear practically dissipates as it falls down the steep, steep drop before you, vanishing into darkness. Zjetya and River hold KP and the pets securely as they make ready to descend.

You drop from the hole in the earth, and float downward as slowly as you can, fluttering through the darkness, until at last, you set hoof down onto the ground. You stand in a lightless space, able only to see your immediate surroundings due to Pryce's flame arm. Cool white marble stretches out at your hooves, but you see nothing in your immediate vicinity, neither beast nor sapient soul nor obstacle of any sort.

Roll #1 8, 3, 8 + 4 = 23 / Roll #2 8 + 3 = 11


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]

As they touch down on the marble floor, KP keeps close with how dark it is, unable to see anything that may be lurking.
>"A-Are we supposed to be down here?"
Pryce turns in place, trying to listen for anything that may be lurking, like the unknown force above. With no sign of anything, Pryce takes a breath, focusing his magic into his horn as it glows a deep red, building up a large font of magic to create a flame to light the room.
>Telekinesis [Fire] [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3


"Almost anything can be learned with practice, you cannot expect to know everything from conception. I know Glass has improved a good deal since she started practicing sketching."

Leather closes his eyes as vision is more of a distraction when surrounded by complete darkness, instead focusing his ears to listen for any movement or sounds identifying surrounding objects, such as dripping water or the like.
[1d10] more percep

Roll #1 3 = 3


"Listen to me great creature! I am the last lord of bastards. A paragon for your kind. Follow me and I shall grant you sight! A sense lost to beasts tailored toward darkness. Follow my command and you shall see as a equine sees. This is my oath to you."

Shei bares his soul to the creature and asks for an oath to be made.
>bargaining rolls

True as a god should, his visage appear immutable and consecrated.
>Princess Vinland's Opulence: Twice per combat; Automatic; Recharge 2 after effect ends; Sacrifice 1 Wound to negate all damage against you and your allies made this turn. Damage made next turn against you and all allies will be reduced by 3, minimum 1. Damage made the turn after that will be reduced by 2, minimum 1. Damage made after that turn will be reduced by 1, minimum 1. On the final turn, 1 Wound is restored to you and all allies.
[auto] preparing for whatever happens next

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 7 = 7



"I'd love to see her drawings some time! And… meet her too, of course!"


Amy hops out of Cloak's bag and then transforms back into a wolf pony. "Thanks! That was a comfy ride!"

"I'll scout ahead," she announces as she creeps forward quietly.

>Transparent racial to stealth in the dark


Roll #1 7 = 7


Shorthorns lets out a breath as she returns to her full glory, shaking off the unseen shackles of the magical weight keeping her form locked as she looks around the room with curiosity. The great white buffalo eventually turns her head down, smiling as he mentions they're only lacking in power. "Give us time, we're quick learners."

As he comments on coming along, she smiles at the thought, but when he asks what they're doing down here, her face turns more serious. "…I don't know how aware you are of what's going on up on the surface, but the Firmament has fallen. Demons roam our world n massive number and are threatening the lives and homes of mortals everywhere. We have a plan to quell their rampage and maybe even bring peace among us all, but it requires us delving into the pits of Tartarus. There is no other way to save our world, and so we do what we must."


making a note at 7/10 h/w now


err correction, 7/9 H/W


The entity offers no response. It is unlikely that a thing this far gone can even recognize anything beyond the most basic of stimuli, lesser even than the most base of animals.

As you send forth power to protect your allies, you sense it landing, and two dim lights, huddled closely together amid a sea of husks, mark the far horizon.

The stonecat tilts its head at you. "I know nothing of a 'Firmament,' and even less of this state of the world that you describe. You say that demons roam your world as if that is not typically the case."


As Pryce expands his flames, and Cloak his senses, you can see that you stand amidst the impossible: A garden. The marble path on which you stand is punctuated by vast swaths of rich soil, and flowering, fantastical bushes reach up out from them, their deep green leaves encrusted with soft, near-translucent bulbs of heavenly colors, glowing with a soft light as the light of the flame touches them.

Curiously – it is as the flame illuminates the scene about you that all of your senses can perceive it. Only now can you smell the soil in the earth, the greenery surrounding you. As you behold the soil, it happens to cross your minds that there must be some source of water – and it is as that thought passes that you can hear water running somewhere far off.

Zjetya and River set KP and the pets down, but keep them close all the same. "I can't see any walls," River notes. "And the spot from which we dropped seems so small as to be a planet in the expanse above us. Just how large is this chamber?"


"tch.." Shei steers again one last time

>spell bleed

>3 chains lasso



Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 2 + 1 = 3


failing again, Shei-Sher takes flight and follows toward the two lights.



"Oooh," Amy marvels at the gardens as she stands up straight, no longer trying to sneak around.

"Is anyone here?" Amy calls out as she starts rooting through the foliage.

[1d10] to find a new friend

Roll #1 4 = 4


Pryce stand in awe as the room illuminates, reveal an unbelievable sight.
"I don't believe it… A garden? How?"
KP looks around, keeping a close hoof on Hopper as the garden almost seems too good to be true.
>"It's almost like Regina's place."

Pryce steps forward to one of the bushes, horn glowing as he attempts to unweave any magic that may be in it, to see if these are real plants before them, or if they are trapped.
>Unweave [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


Shorthorns lets out a huff. "…well, it isn't. Or at least it wasn't when this all started. I don't know how much you knew of the original Sons of Gods but the thing they set out to do in the first place was seal all the demons on Earth away, and they succeeded in that centuries ago. Now they've come back and they've created just a whole bunch of problems, either just causing havoc for the fun of it or just trying to reclaim old homes that haven't been theirs in thousands of years. Whatever the reason, mortals are suffering, and it's only going to get worse if we don't get down to Tartarus and do something about it."


"I think it's dangerous to make assumptions that a maze like this should be expected to have clear rules, even that of the likes of walls. What matters to myself is pressing forward."

Cloak readies his rifle. "However, I could fire a shot out if you do not mind our position being more or less given away, if you would like elemental light to show where the boundaries, if any, are."


Steering the entity is no small feat, and you strain every bit of your muscles to try to steer its momentum back toward the dwindling lights, until at last you come in sight of them.

The sight is abhorrent – Gadriel is wounded, his subtle body marred by slashes and gashes, but Busta is far worse, covered with deep wounds, bearing by far the uglier injuries. He covers Gadriel with his body, holding him tight in a protective embrace. Swirling currents of light and magical wind surround them, and outside of that, swim grotesque, hateful faces, if you can even call them that, misshapen, deformed, all made of resounding vibrations of corrupt energies. Hundreds of them, from the size of gnats, to that of giants, whirl around Busta and Gadriel, waiting their chance for when the protections fail…

"Shei!" Gadriel calls as he sees you. "Busta's not responding!"

[1d10+3] Heal

"Know? I taught their recruits how to be small, how to be subtle, how to be as tricky as a mouse, and to cooperate like one," the stonecat retorts. "Though, I was a late comer. Soon after I was animated, the traitor, Lady Athena, emerged from Tartarus, coated in the blood of her fallen armies… soon after, Princess Wineberry dissolved what little remained of the Sons of God, and formed the Bene Elohim, seeking to remake her mother's ancient jihad. Prr-hrr-hrr, I got lost in my tangent. This Firmament must have been a later contrivance. You won't solve the issue just sealing it away, as the Sons learned the hard way."

Amy gets no response, and Pryce's spell has no effect upon the twinkling, star-like bulbs, nor on their fractal, mandala-like vines and bushes.

Zjetya shakes her head. "Don't waste the ammo, and don't think we're alone down here. Amy had the right idea, so let's keep a low profile until we have our bearings."
"What a curious thought, KP," River says, as if thinking aloud. "The dungeon thus far has had at least some light, due to ever-burning torches. Yet now we've no light. I wonder if we are not truly meant to be here as you say…"

In any case, there are paths radiating in every direction from your position, as you can see. North, Northeast, East, Southeast, South, Southwest, West, and Northwest.


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7



Amy heads north. "I wonder if this is like… Mercury's secret garden, or something. Hey, Mercury! We're in your garden!" Amy announces loudly.

She heads north, sniffing around for anything. [1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5


Shei directs the subterranean whale to feed on the qlipphoth in one direction away from him and his two friends so they aren't harmed.

Shei-Sher then hops off the whale descending to Gadd's and Busta's level. Without sparring a moment to talk Shei-Sher exercises his domain over the qlipphoth.

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


Pryce hums in thought as his spell has no effect on the plants.
"I can't tell if if these are dangerous or not. If this was not meant to be in the labyrinth, or an intended path for any invaders, it's hard to tell what anything here could do. To be safe, let's not disturb any of the plant-life."
>"They all look so nice though, I wish we could bring one back."
"…We can examine more when we found a way out."

As Amy goes off towards the north, Pryce looks to Zjetya and River.
"River, Zjetya, lean in close."


"Why didn't you teach them to be as tricky as a cat?" She asks the stone feline, snickering at the odd choice of words. As he explains the circumstances that came about after his creation, she nods as she takes in the new information.

As the subject turns to the Firmament, she sighs. "I agree. That's not what we're setting out to do, not unless it's a last resort. Sealing the demons away just made more problems when they inevitably came back, and honestly not all the demons are so bad I think I'd want them sealed away. But the ones that ARE that bad are going to keep destroying and killing innocent people and places unless we do something."

She smiles, "You know, if you taught a bunch of the Sons of God, we could really use your help. Have you ever been to Tartarus itself?"



"Mayhaps we best keep our voices down to keep the element of surprise- it's the best way to host a party after all."

Leather follows Amy North, similarlly tapping into his senses and paying attention to wherever light touches.

[1d10] percep

Roll #1 1 = 1


>Last time, on HolyQuest…

A great shuddering reverberates through the aether as the colossal entity drifts away, devouring a great and empty path through the husks surrounding you. The others trill and spike at your approach, but with a mere gesture, you freeze them in place. Wasting no time, Gadriel floats toward you, dragging the unconscious Busta with him.

Pulling another orb from his wings, he attempts to revive Busta with its sweet ambrosia.

[1d10+3] Heal

"Then I'd be out of a job," the stonecat retorts.

As you ask your second question, it twitches its tail. "Time, and time again. Do you intend to have me lead you down there?"


Zjetya tosses her mane. "River, you're playing your hoof with that thinking."
"By which, you mean…?"
"Even if you grew up on the streets, you must have grown up in an empire like Accorsia if you think that way. Tartarus is about the supremacy of the Will. Getting caught up on whether we're intended to be somewhere won't help us overcome it."
River scrunches up her nose. "Tch… no, you're right. But you must admit, it would align with the purpose of training for this area to give off the notion that one is not meant to be down here, so that trainees might strengthen their minds."
"Yup," Zjetya adds. "Ask forgiveness, not permission."

As you follow after Amy, what little light that emanates from the curious plantlife of the garden lights the way to the north. No traps impede your path, until you at last reach another circular area. Four rectangular marble pedestals arise from the center of the area, each one taller than the last. Embedded at the top of each pedestal is a wondrous mirror, polished beyond all defect, composed, seemingly of pure diamond. Black intersecting lines at the edges and running through the mirror give it an effect like stained glass. In each mirror, you see a knight in glorious armor, gilded like the sun, adorned in cloaks of deepest night. Weapons of crystal and moss hang at their hips.

At the edges of this circular space, there are only paths in the cardinal directions, but a strange, watery film covers them, preventing passage.

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11


"Fair enough!" Shorthorns says to his reply about being out of a job.

As he explains he's been in and out of Tartarus many times, Shorthorns' eyes open wide with excitement. "Really?! Then, would you be willing to tell us what you know about it, or how to navigate it? Any little bit would help."

As he offers to lead them down there, she pauses, before asking. "I think that'd be defeating the purpose of these trials, wouldn't it? This is meant to challenge it and prepare us for what lies ahead, having a guide take us through might be the opposite of doing ourselves a favor. I think we could really use you with us, as a teacher, but we will do our best to find the right way forward on our own."


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]

"Making the atmosphere feel wrong to make them focus their minds and wills harder… They really thought of every little thing to strengthen down here."
Pryce comments and Zjetya and River's thoughts.

As they lean in, Pryce's horn glows white, and he taps the tip of it against each of their foreheads gently, creating a triangle of white between them that slowly fades from sight.
>White Threads [Auto]
>Spell; Ranged; Automatic; Create a telepathic link between you and up to two other characters. This link's radius is half a mile long, and can only be blocked by magical or other supernatural effects, not physical ones. Cannot establish a link without the target knowing and accepting the link.

Did this work, I wonder? Pryce thinks, his voice echoing in their heads. Feels like it did. Now, if this place isn't as stable, we'll always be connected to each other.

Pryce follows after Amy's lead, looking over the mirrors as they reach the new opening in the garden. He looks over them cautiously, glancing at the paths blocked off as well, while KP looks up at the knights in awe.
>"These guys look so cool. Do you think this was were they stored their armor?"
"I don't know. This might be a puzzle of some kind. Maybe we have to move them?"


"The knights do have weapons, so if it is a puzzle, I expect a battle if we do things incorrectly, or possibly as part of the challenge. Would you prefer I set up in an advantageous position with my rifle, or start sleuthing out solutions to what is in front of us?" Leather asks, eying the mirrors carefully.



Amy wags her tail as she bounds up to the mirror on the shortest pedestal. She puts her front hoof-paws on it so that she can lean up to it and get a closer look. "Ooooh! Pretty!" she says with childlike wonder.

"I mean, it sucks as a mirror. I can't see myself at all. But, still pretty!"


[1d10] Amy always looks good!

Roll #1 7 = 7



Name fix.


You made a mistake, Zjetya thinks, adapting to the telepathy without missing a beat. Now I can annoy you two whenever I want.
Hrrrrmm!? River thinks, startled at the telepathy. Oh, dear. Are all my thoughts going to be on display now?
Got something we shouldn't see? Zjetya prods.

"That's what I hoped to hear," the stonecat says. "The Osmium in me would have me deny your first request altogether. But I can tell that you are not half the warriors the Sons of God were. Take no offense at this – over the millennia since the Bene Elohim fell, I have encountered many mortals seeking after the legendary treasures of Tartarus. From them, I have observed a strange decay of mortalkind. Across the board, regardless of race or sex, your kind seem to be getting weaker."

He blinks, realizing he went on another long tangent. "All of that is to say that I will answer your questions as I please."

One of the knights reaches through the mirror. Zjetya and River leap back, weapons drawn… but the knight just pats Amy's head, and pulls his hoof back inside, resuming his gaze out into the mysterious garden.



Amy flinches when the hoof comes out of the mirror. But, when he just pats her on the head, she closes her eyes happily and accepts the pat. Her tail wags even more vigorously than before.

She backs up from the mirror and says, "Thanks, friend!"


Shorthorns shakes her head, "None taken. I've heard nothing but legendary achievements of the Sons of God, even after becoming a god myself I would not doubt we have some catching up to do."

"Thank you. I guess then, if you'll answer this first question: what should we call you?"


Leather raises an eyebrow, "Hm, well they're not wholly malevolent, then. I fear I do not make as good impressions with mirrors though. The wrappings help, but I think it best not to attempt to receive headpats as well."


"I have had no need for a name, not then, and not now. Make one for yourself, if you must needs call me by something," the cat responds.



Amy light pats Leather's head with a smile.





"Thank you, Amy."


Zjetya and River glance about the area, relaxing slightly after the knight's friendly gesture. "A puzzle, hrm?" Zjetya says. "That's… eh, you'll have to take this one, River."

River rubs her hooves together as she examines the setup. "I see that all the diamond mirrors appear to be facing one another, but are also angled in our general direction, to the South. Perhaps you were right, Pryce, in that we might move them?"


"Well, if I don't give you a name, then Amy sure will, and I'm guessing you won't like what she has in mind."

She takes a few moments to think on a name for the wise stonecat. "I will call you Patience Stone, for your perseverance through all these years in waiting for your next adventurer to challenge. Ready to head on out or, do you need to grab anything?"


You would never annoy me, Zjetya. Pryce thinks. And, I don't know River. I haven't used this spell before, so I don't know what is and isn't shared.

Pryce glances as the knight starts to move from the mirror, readying his bow to fire, until it only pets and doesn't nothing more.

"It might be we'll need to make them face a certain path, though I feel that may be too easy. Then again, if this is an area to attain focus, it might be simple to teach us to not overthink."
Pryce comments. Following this thought, Pryce lifts the mirror of the knight who petted Amy, and moves it so it no longer faces it's opposing knight and instead faces the North path.



"Hmmm," Amy ponders as she looks around from Zjetya to the mirrors.

"Do you guys want a new view?" Amy asks the knights.

[1d10] for asking what the new friends want!

Roll #1 4 = 4


Unsure of whether the knights will take kindly to being moved or not, Leather crouches low and sets up near where light meets shadow, attempting to blend in for a future kill.

>Assassinate: Recharge 4; On success, blends into a nearby crowd or suitable hiding spot. Once hidden, can take an Instant action to instantly kill one target. On a failure, your cover is blown. On a critical blending roll, the assassination autocrits. A critical assassination roll does the job so neatly nobody even realizes the target died.

[1d10+2] Blending

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


The stonecat shakes his head. "As you can probably see, I tend to travel light, save for this," the stonecat replies, gesturing to the key at his neck. He gets up, stretches, then walks at your side. "Very well. This Patience Stone shall accompany you until I tire of answering your questions.

It seems that the door you entered through is the only door in and out of this room.

Is that a challenge? Zjetya retorts.

The knights do not respond to Amy, simply looking forward. When Pryce goes to move the diamond mirror of the friendly one, he realizes that the mirror is embedded in the pillar, and thus does not move. He instead pushes at the pillar itself, and finds that it slides as easily as a key in its proper slot. As it faces north, a watery film appears over the South path, leaving all four paths inaccessible.


Shei swings his his axe to cause the qliphoth the bleed. Magasutchi swirls out from the crowd of little demon critters. Placing busta's inert body among the teeming bed of energy.

His guitar lands in place and he begins playing

>Qliphoth: automatic, recharge 3; Sacrifice one or all of the minions under your control to heal yourself 5/5 H/W per minion

sacrificed. The minion must have over 20% of it's HP to be a proper sacrifice. Can heal beyond character's Natural H/W up
to a maximum of double their Wounds+2W. For Shei 13/14 H/W. This ability may require a Control roll at the DM's discretion.
Can be used to heal allies and H/W gained may be distributed to up to Five allies at a time. I.e 1/1 for each of Five allies,
2/3 and 3/2 for each of Two allies, etc. This skill can heal someone from 0/0HW but requires a roll and both their soul and
body are still present.
[Revive Busta from Death]

At the end of the beginning phrase, one by one the Malekhim step out of Shei-Sher's cape adding their part to the song.

"little dead bird,"
"son of day"
"you- where there is no winter"
"..no spring…"
"but here there is blood"
"here there is bread.. I command yee."

"Here is the blood"

"I will eat the sins"
"I will swallow your hearts"
"And you will be the soul.."

"Litttle, little biird…"

He shutters deeply, from the gut to throat



"Oooh! It looks like the weird barriers are being made by the mirrors!"


Using her divine powers, Shorthorns returns her form to that of a mouse and makes for the door, opening it up to return to Volkama and Deriva waiting on the other side. As she does so, she turns towards Patience Stone, pointing to the key around his neck.

"This DID count as passing your challenge, correct? Did I earn the key you're keeping around your neck?"


"I will remain near the shadows should something happen. Facing the mirror away from a path seemingly makes it inaccessible, what happens if all face the same path?"


A challenge should have a prize, shouldn't it? Pryce counters with confidence.

"If they all work the same, that is," Pryce follows after Leather. "Now, if facing the shortest one away from the open barrier closed it, does it flip the path's status then?"
Pryce says as he grabs the mirror again, turning it around so it faces the South path.


Busta doesn't respond to either of Gadriel's attempts to revive him, distressing him further and further, until at last you take Busta's form and make for it a garment of qliphoth.

At the song's conclusion, he gasps and rises, while all around him, a black and red storm wells, coursing through and around him along his body's leylines. He swings his head about, and upon seeing Gadriel, sighs and leans back – though his body twitches and spasms with bouts of minor pain.

"You…" Gadriel mutters, aghast. "You were dead?"

"I… I guess so. Apparently, these things hit harder against our subtle bodies than our physical ones," Busta says. "Armor would help littl–"

"Thank you," Gadriel says, bowing his head. "I'm… I'm sorry you had to endure that for my sake."

"Why be sorry?" Busta asks.

Gadriel stammers, evidently not expecting such a response.

"You guys are my friends," Busta says simply. "That's all there is to it."

When you come out, you see Deriva drawing a picture of you as a mouse on a roll of papyrus. One of Volkama's mice poses atop his shoulder to serve as a reference. They both look unsurprised that you're back and healthy, though they do note that you have a new companion.

"You haven't earned the key until you've taken it from me," Patience Stone says.

"How much larger will our party grow before the end?" Volkama asks.

What do I get if I win? Zjetya asks.

Once that pillar faces South again, all four pillars do, and thus, the watery barrier covering the Southern path disappears once more.

"Perhaps the differences in size are an aesthetic choice," River says. "I see no connection between their height and their connection to the barriers."


That depends. River, do you want to join in on this? He asks River.

"You were right Leather. All we need to do then is to decide which path we want open."



"It's when they all face the same direction that the barrier goes away…" Amy muses.

"What happens if you point them all in different directions from each other?"


"I was right about one single pillar, as you said, we cannot make assumptions about all of them just from the one."


"That is true, we've only tested one for certain."
Pryce responds to Leather. He looks to Amy as she suggests separating them all.
"It would let us see if they have individual effects. I say we give it a try."


Shei-Sher grimaces, constipated in his need to apologize.

"Busta.. Thank you."

Shei holds up his chain "Grab on. We need to go before I run out of length." The chain still tied to the whale

Shei waits for them to grab hold. He commands the chain to retract, pulling them toward the Whale.



"Do it! Do it!" Amy chants excitedly. Apparently, she sees Pryce as the laborer in this, now.


As she comes out to see Deriva drawing a picture of her as a mouse, she puffs out her cheeks, using her magic to restore herself to a full sized buffalo. "Devira, you better not show that pic to anyone!"

She turns to Volkama, "This was the guardian waiting for me inside. He's been around since the Sons of God were here before us, thousands of years ago, and even trained them! I asked him to come along and offer us whatever advice he may as we move on our way to Tartarus. I think we could really use his help."

As Patience mentions having not earned the key yet, Shorthorns turns her head, then puts out her hoof. "Give me the key. Please."


Pryce gives Amy a flat stare for a moment, then turns to the statues to move them. He moves the tallest so it faces East, the second tallest to face North, the third tallest to face West, and leaves the shortest one to face South.



Amy returns the flat stare with a gentle smile and an expectant wag of her tail.


I shall abstain until I am more confident in my capacity to control my telepathy, River thinks.
Sounds like she doesn't wanna distract you with any 'intrusive thoughts,' Zjetya thinks.
Correct. We've puzzles to solve.

"Nonsense," Deriva says. "This etching will only bolster the legend of the White-Hot Flaming Buffalo, the Shorthorned Dragon, who overcame the largest and smallest of trials for her people's sake."

Volkama and Deriva slightly bow their heads to Patience Stone, who flicks his tail. "Greetings to you, mortals."

Volkama raises an eyebrow as his mouse scurries back into his enchanted pocket. "I… assume you've some method by which you understood him? All I heard was a meow."

Patience Stone tilts his head, then places his paw atop your hoof.

You'll probably have to just take it.

Together, your group moves all the pillars to face different directions. You notice something peculiar happen this time.

To the North, and to the West, bushes grow from the surrounding groves, crossing over one another to totally block off those paths. Then, to the East, an unusual symbol manifests, a floating sigil of dark blue light, in the water barrier. It seems to resemble a wand, coated partly with moss. You note that the knights in the diamond mirrors had wands such as that.

"So, it seems they do have different properties," River notes. "If the second and third tallest pillars blocked off the barriers with grove, wouldn't that suggest that the barriers are permeable?"
"Probably not by us," Zjetya says.

"And thank you for reviving me," Busta says.

The two hold tight, silent as you reel them all in to the back of the colossal, drifting entity. You feel it moving upwards, and far away from where you were, though, it seems, without any particular destination. No husks come to assail you, leaving you peaceful travelers in the endless depths beneath the Earth.



Amy cocks her head in confusion. "If those two block off their paths with plants, then why wasn't the path blocked when they were both pointing south?" she asks as if someone can answer for her.


"I am no mage, so I wouldn't plan on heading that way. A shame none of large rifles." Leather notes,
"Perhaps one route is dedicated as the entrance?"



"Maybe they're like opposite-bushes!" Amy says excitedly as if that suggestion meant anything.


Alright then. Pryce thinks with a nod to River.
Well, if it's just me then, I could give you a conjuring of your choice? Or would you like to decide your prize yourself? He proposes to Zjetya. And what would my prize be if you can't annoy me?

Pryce notes the new effects from the individual statues.
"If the middle statues grow the bushes, then the tallest and shortest ones must interact with those in some way."
Pryce turns the tallest statue to face West, and turns the shortest statue to face North.


Shei undoes his cape and with a flourish fashions it into a luxury class felt saddle fit for a creature a giant as the one they're riding.

[1d10] making a whale saddle

"When I came back for you both, I expected to find you trapped in the earth, suffocating, with the black threads shorn. But it seem's we've come deep enough to finally reach the Sheol's penumbra. So while we ride leisure, Gadriel? Could see into your crystal ball for a path leading us to our interview with the captain? Or the closest entry from the dungeon proper."

Roll #1 10 = 10


Shorthorns blows out of her nostrils, "I don't know if people will remember it the same way you're imagining, Devira!"

As the two of them share a confused look, Shorthorns looks confused at first, before looking down at her brooch. "OOOOH! Right, sorry, sorry, almost forgot he was a cat… my brooch I got from the Temple of Slipper lets me talk to animals, but he says he taught the Sons of God himself! I can translate for now."

As he puts his paw on hers, she looks disappointed, but nonetheless gives the stonecat a good shake with her hoof and, gently, attempts to reach for the key with her hoof and gently tug the necklace off of the cat
[1d10] If opposition is met

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Perhaps different combinations produce different results," River hazards.

With the third tallest and the tallest both facing West… nothing happens. The bushes remain where they are. The same applies when the shortest and the second tallest face North.

"Okay, so," Zjetya says. "The grove statues override the water barrier, and the sigil statue. But, when all four statues face the same way, that path opens, and the rest become water barriers."

Yup. If I win, I get to wear the trousers for a day," Zjetya says.

"Do not underestimate the mass appeal of cuteness," Deriva says.

You successfully take the key, to the stonecat's apparent satisfaction, as he hops onto your back to enjoy the ride.

"Inform him of our gratitude then," Volkama says. "Now, let's be off."

Busta and Gadriel firmly put their feet into the saddle's stirrups, and lean back against the luxurious leather and velvet cushioning. They glance with curiosity at the cupholders, having not seen such strange technology in their days.

Gadriel nods, withdrawing his crystal ball…

[1d10+2] divination

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4


"I'm not seeing much nearby," Gadriel says. "We must be too far off to see without a sympathetic connection. Can you retrace our steps? We might get more that way."


"Brace yourselves."

Shei-Sher tugs the chain, steering the Whale to dive toward where they were going before.


Shorthorn does as Volkama requests, bowing her head graciously to Patience Stone as he hops up on her back. "Just a warning, I have a little baby dragon with me named Spark too. My head is his perch, so don't try and take it from him or he may get upset."

She looks at the key in her hoof, curious to what door it may unlock as she looks at the other, animal-symboled doors around her. "I was thinking of trying out all of these doors first, but I think I've had enough 'cute' transformations for one day, don't want to give Zevira more inspiration. Let's go back upstairs and see if this key works on the lock we found in the hallway above us, then if not we'll see if it fits anywhere on that dead-end hallway."



Amy touches one of the walls of bush to see what happens.


Roll #1 10 = 10


That all? Alright then. And if I win, hmm… then you will lead the next game of Witches and Wargs so I can try out the player's side.

"Hmm, maybe I was right the first time, they need to face proper paths…"
Pryce thinks aloud. He turns the tallest statue back to facing East to bring the symbol back. Then, he turns the second tallest to face West, and the third tallest to face North. Then, after that rearranging, he steps to the East barrier with the symbol and tries to put his hoof through the barrier.


"We also certainly could figure out what the wand symbol meant, and or the figures in the mirrors proper." Leather suggests.


"If my guess is right, then the symbol means we have the statue facing the correct path. The south was already open to let us in here, so it closing could be from us being in the middle of the puzzle and not related to their positioning, aside from the way we found them."


Upon hearing his name, Spark pokes his head out of the coinpurse you allotted for him to check out the scene. As he sees Patience Stone, his eyes widen, and he slinks out of the bag, clawing upward over your fur to get a closer look. Patience Stone waits there, until Spark approaches, and bats at his tail, which the cat obliges.

Deriva and Volkama nod at your direction, and follow you back as you proceed up the stairs, and find the locked trapdoor that you encountered earlier. "Take care for traps," Volkama cautions as you approach it.

The walls of grove do not give way at Amy's touch. They seem pretty sturdy, for plantlife. Then, with the second tallest facing West, and the shortest and third tallest facing North, the North and West are sealed by a wall of grove. To the East, that symbol of a wand reappears once more. The South, which has no pillars facing it, defaults back to the water barrier.

When Pryce puts his hoof through the barrier with the symbol of a wand, he finds that he can easily pass through it, as if it were just thin smoke.

Pryce… we're gonna have to expand that imagination. Clearly, River's the one to talk to!
"Hush!" River commands, pointing at Zjetya, accidentally speaking out loud in her annoyance. Amy and Cloak hear this plainly.
Zjetya grins.

After some time of drifting through the depths, Gadriel speaks. "Wait, wait, level us out, don't go any higher. Straight ahead… it's faint, but I think I've got him. Careful, there's more of those things between us and him."


Shei strains himself as he pulls the Whale to level out it's direction.

"If it gets too dangerous, go inside the saddle with the Malkhim. I'll take us where we need to go."


I can't think of much you wouldn't already agree to help with. Pryce responds. He looks over to River as she speaks aloud for Zjetya to be quiet.
Did you have any ideas?

As Pryce's hoof passes through the barrier, he nods with his idea confirmed.
"I was right, so we just need to match them to their right path," He says as he steps through the barrier entirely, just to confirm. "Though, those other two statues didn't work on the West or North path… so the short statue would apply to one of them then, leaving the last as a decoy?"
>"Maybe we gotta do each path in order!"
KP says, trotting over to follow behind his older self.


As she makes her way back up to the previous level, Shorthorns looks at Spark as he crawls out to investigate their newest hitchhiker. She smiles as he plays with Patience's tail, snickering as he plays with the aptly named patient stonecat. "He plays nice… most of the time."

As they head towards the locked trapdoor, Shorthorn takes the key she got from Patience, and moves to try and unlock the hidden compartment. "Always…" she says in response to Volkama

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6



"Are we going through the mysterious portal?" Amy asks excitedly. She follows Pryce if he does so.


"It's an open path, technically. It doesn't hurt to check it."


"Are you requiring any assistance, or shall I remain on overwatch?" Leather asks Pryce, continuing to watch passively.


"I passed through the barrier just fine, so I should be good."



"I wanna go too!" Amy says dutifully.


"Come along then. We shouldn't be splitting up here anyways."


River regains her stoic composure, leers at Zjetya, then back at you. "We will discuss this later."

As you turn the heavy key, rewarded with a heavy ker-CHUNK, you sense something amiss… and dart back on instinct. You see the key dissolve, turning into a smoldering mist, before vanishing altogether, destroyed by an unseen force that makes the air around you prickle like needles. Still, it dissipates after a few seconds, and the trapdoor opens slightly, signaling it's unlocked.

Busta and Gadriel nod, making preparations for a potential attack.

Gadriel buffs himself and you.
[1d10+3] Vision of Grandeur

Busta conjures small swarms of flies about himself.
[1d10+3] Homing Magic, Wind Element

>roll Navigation

As you step through the barrier, you see a path, just as you took to get to the last circular area. It is significantly longer than the one you took before, however, but still, nothing attacks or deters you along the way.

At last you reach the end of the path, entering another circular clearing in the garden. This one is far larger than the one you just left, however, and there are five exits this time: West, Northwest, North, Northeast, and East. The North path is significantly wider than the others, and in fact, has stairs leading upward.

So too, there are five pillars in the middle of the room, and all face toward you, toward the West. Because of this, you notice that one of the diamond mirrors in the pillars is missing a Knight. But that missing Knight does not seem to be lost. No, that Knight actually stands atop that empty pillar. They are a ram, and moss hangs from their horns, which, though wide, narrow toward the tips, until they resemble the moss-covered wands that the knights held at their belts. You note that this knight doesn't have a wand at his belt, but still has a curved, horn-like sword.

Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12


Shorthorns takes a steady breath, looking up to make sure Patience and Sparks weren't too rattled by the sudden movement, but lets out a sigh of relief. "THAT was close. Wonder what that spell would have done if it hit…" she shakes her head, "I'll use my unweaving magic next time, just to be sure. Come on," she says to Volkama and Deriva, heading through the trap-door to wherever it may lead below…

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 9 = 9


Pryce looks between River and Zjetya a moment.
"Alright then."
So, how about until we reach the gate to Tartarus for the challenge?

>"Whoa cool, there's more now!"
KP says as they reach the new circle. Pryce looks around the new set of pillars, and up to the ram free from it's own mirror.
"This is a good sign we've picked the right path then. I wonder then, if the tallest opens any path."
To test his theory, he turns pillar A to the wide North path, B to the East, C to the West, D to the Northeast, and E to the Northwest, if the others don't have their own suggestions.


"Hmm… is there a way to get the Ram's reflection into the empty mirror. I feel like that is closer to the solution than picking him up and tossing him in." Leather rubs his chin.


Shei plays a leisurely riff on his guitar

>Background Music: instant, stackable; the entire party gains +1 to all rolls for 2 turns, this effect is stackable for a maximum of +2; upon critical failure cancels all stacks of the effect, this skill cannot critically succeed. Effect duration of each stack refreshes after a successful use.


Roll #1 9 = 9


>Navigation roll


Roll #1 4 = 4



"I wonder what would happen if one of us stayed behind?" Amy contemplates.


You drop into the dark tunnel. It's devoid of light, but you can at least tell, through the bounce light from above, that it has two paths, leading west and east.

Sure, Zjetya agrees. Filly and gentlecolt, begin when ready.

As you ride onward, you sense great disruptions in the aether surrounding you, akin to being waist-deep in the sea, with waves rolling up upon you from both sides. Even without extending your aura, you can sense more of the colossal entities drawing dangerously near…

The ram gazes down at you as you discuss the best course of action, perfectly still in his calm.




Just want to reiterate what was previously said.


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]

My defenses are all ready. Bring your worst.

Pryce turns pillar A to the wide North path, B to the East, C to the West, D to the Northeast, and E to the Northwest.


"Trapped at that spot at best, and I'd rather not think of the worst."


"Do you believe it would help us further on our past to linger behind? It does seem in the opposite intent of trying to progress forward."



"But, if we're going to the same place over and over, if someone stays behind, they can watch it change. Or, if they aren't there anymore, then that means it's not the same place over and over. Either way, that's good to know, right?"


>Last time, on HolyQuest…

Pillar A, the tallest one, and the one atop which the Ram stands, does not move. B, C, D and E all move, however. The moment that B moves, even before Pryce finishes turning it to the East, the West path is covered over with a water barrier. Since C was already facing West, it doesn't have to be moved. When Pillar D faces the Northeast, that path is also covered with vines. The Northwest path, with E facing it, is instead covered with the water barrier. A and C are both facing West.

"Perhaps you have it backwards, Pryce," River says, though even she looks like she's still trying to think through it. "Perhaps matching the pillar to the corresponding path is not what we're after."


The song on his guitar accelerates into a ballad.


Roman architecture sprouts from darkness manifesting opulant forums and marble corridors to the backdrop of a starry night sky.
>>Shepherd's Tone: one effect per 6 turns, stackable, negates resistances; Divinity transposed through rock and roll. Play a song that invokes profoundly visceral effects upon all your enemies or allies on the field to either alter their behavior or status condition. When using this ability describe the effect and purpose and whether it is for allies or enemies. Based on the description of the effect and purpose the DM may attach any status conditions at his discretion. Player may describe environmental effects on planes where the environment is nebulous i.e. dreams, astral plane, chaotic planes, etc. This ability automatically succeeds upon feared targets and a successful roll will amplify the effect. As Psychic HP decreases in targets, effects of Sherpherd's Tone become more dramatic/severe. Can only be used for one effect every 6 turns. Any Status conditions remaining dispells after 6 turns. If the effected party surrenders due to this ability the behavioral condition is more permanent.

Shei dips a hoof into the aether stealing power from it.
>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3(minus 1); Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 1 = 1


Shorthorns looks around in the darkness of the tunnel, grunting as she tries to use her magic to produce a simple light source
>Dark Sphere, Secondary: conjure a little ball of flame that'll float besides her to cast illumination

After she prepares the light source, she looks down the west tunnel, stomping her hoof. "Let's check out this way first!"
>Going Left

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Then maybe it's something we can test if things repeat themselves. This is a different setting then the previous path, there are differences and the solutions do not appear to be the same."

"Opposites, then?"


As you attempt to sap energy from the dark entities surrounding you, you succeed only in drawing their ire, as dark waves of negativity spew forth from them, evil vibrations seeking to dampen your mood – or dissolve your subtle bodies, whichever the case may be. An arena flows into existence beside you, continuously generating twin paths at either side.

Busta sends his clusters of flies out at either side to chase off the dark colossi.

[3d10+3] Left Entity
[3d10+3] Right Entity

Gadriel augments the starry background, bolstering it into a powerful cloak of darkness.

[1d10+3] Darkness that Can be Felt

The terrible entities begin to sing in deep, near-inaudible tones to drown out your singing.


You conjure a floating torch-light, without the torch. Volkama and Deriva follow behind, with Volkama casting bubble shields over you and Deriva for safety. The underground tunnel winds somewhat here and there around support beams and the like, but at the end, you see another trapdoor, leading upward.

Roll #1 4, 1, 4 + 3 = 12 / Roll #2 7, 8, 10 + 3 = 28 / Roll #3 8 + 3 = 11 / Roll #4 3, 9 + 5 = 17


"It would, but we don't have any reason to think we're revisiting the same place."

"Opposites, maybe… The Ram can't be moved, so maybe the puzzle works around him."
Pryce turns C to face Northwest, and moves E to face West with A, pairing the tallest and shortest together.


Shorthorn looks up at the trap-door, raising her eyebrow as she is about to attempt to open it once more… but remembers the various magical traps they've experienced thus far, and pauses to try and cast an unweaving spell first. "Everyone stand back, this thing might be trapped too."

[1d10] Unweaving on the trap-door (then moving to try and push it open if successful)

Roll #1 9 = 9



"It's like… totally the same, but with different statues! Don't you want to know why that is?"


"Because it's a trial with harder versions of itself?"



"Right!" Amy says as if you're agreeing with her.


"So what is the issue then?"



"Good, so who's staying behind this time?"


When Pryce moves C to face Northwest, there is no change; it is covered with the water barrier. But, the moment he moves E, even before E reaches the West, the water barrier vanishes, only to be instantly replaced with thick vines. With E and A facing the West, the water barrier on the West path remains.

"Ah!" River exclaims. "I think I'm seeing it… the paths seem to be irrelevant for this. It seems the tallest and shortest pillars control the appearances of the watery veils, while those in the middle control the vine coverings…"

"Wh-what about the sigil we saw earlier?" Zjetya asks.

"Too early to say, if we cannot move this pillar," River remarks, looking up at the ram atop the immovable pillar A.

In your head, you begin to hear the yapping of a chihuahua. Roll for mental clarity.

You feel an enchantment come loose, and once it has come loose, the magical threads pulled away like an old garment, you push open the trapdoor, and Volkama and Deriva help you climb back up.

To the east, you see the brick wall which gave you much trouble before… but then, to the West, is another brick wall.

"A dead end, perhaps…?" Deriva thinks aloud.


"Wha… Nopony is staying behind, not until we see if we truly are repeating ourselves."



"Wha-" Amy responds, equally confused. "But, you just said there was no problem!"


As Shorthorns climbs up and sees the other side of the obnoxious brick wall from earlier, she grins triumphantly, only for it to fade when she turns to see the other brick wall opposite.

She frowns, but looks down to Deriva as she climbs to the top. "Why would they just make an empty section between two brick walls without putting anything in it? No way, there's GOT to be something in here. Help me look around…"

She says, looking about the room meticulously for anything strange like a loose brick or tile in the walls

Roll #1 10 = 10



"What if we just like… flew over…?" Amy asks, looking to see how high up the hedge walls go.


Leather rubs his chin, "Do you respond to questioning, Sir Ram?" Cloak asks, considering no one's really attempted to converse with them yet.


"Hah! Look at them try to out play me. Thee actual god of Rock'n roll."

Shei switches up the genre from shoegaze to schoolangst j-rock.

[1d10] to know Jibyini

The song waxes over affection for past love in a time of innocence. Shei plays the song to charm the living aether.

>>Shepherd's Tone: one effect per 6 turns, stackable, negates resistances;

[1d10] to charm the living aether in assisting them


Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 3 = 3


"Maybe the sigil isn't made by the statues, but is on the path itself. A simple marker to show the way, and nothing more." Pryce looks up at the Ram's mirror. "Maybe that's why this unmovable statue has no knight and is facing where we came in."
Pryce turns E to face North, up the stair path. He then moves B to face Northwest, and C to face Northeast, and B to face East.

"I didn't say there was no problem. I asked what the issue was with your concern of this being another statue trial."

Pryce holds a hoof to his head, feeling Amy is starting to wear thin on him if he's already hearing dog yapping.
>Mental Clarity [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3



"I just want to know if this is the same place we were just standing and we're going in a loop or not!"


As you tap about on the wall, you manage to clear the dust off of a brick, whereupon you notice a hoof-sized subtle indentation in its face. You press it, and the wall, starting with that brick, dissipates into dust. On the other side of that dusty hill, you spy a large stone treasure chest.

"…Shall milords and ladies request a hint?" the ram asks in a deep voice.

There is no change on the Northwest path once B and C both face it. The same goes for the Northeast Path, with both C and D facing it. When B moves to face East, the East path is covered over with vines.

With nothing facing the North path, there appears a water barrier to cover it.

Annoyed yet? Zjetya asks, The yapping stops – you've found the culprit.

You know with complete confidence that you are now fluent in Jibayini.

Although Gadriel fortifies your path against attacks, two waves of deep droning wash over you, and though Gadriel and Busta shout something, neither you nor they can hear any of the others. The entities shake as Busta's flies spread over them, but they seem intent on earning their kill.

The two entities lurch away, for a moment… then swing back, readying to slam into your ride from either side.


Gadriel shoots his crossbow to chase off the right one.


Busta sends a cloud of flies to pester the left one.

[1d10+3] Magic Bolt

Roll #1 6, 10 + 5 = 21 / Roll #2 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #3 3 + 3 = 6



"Ooooh! I like hints," Amy says to the ram.


Leather looks mildly surprised he got a responce, "I'm moreso curious as to your nature as Sir Pryce continues his experimentations. Are you construct or come upon this task some point in your lifespan?"


Shorthorns grins widely with delight as the stone wall falls away into dust, looking back excitedly at Zeriva and Volkama as she points at the chest, "HA! See, what did I tell you? One sec…" she says, slowly approaching the chest and preparing another unweaving spell, "Lemme make sure this one is safe too then we'll see what they were hiding in here…"

[1d10] Unweaving -> opening the chest if successful

Roll #1 6 = 6


Shei strungs his guitar hard, the vibration sends a command to the aether, to solidify into fortifications for their whale in the style befitting their surroundings.

[1d10] To transmute the aether into Roman armor for our whale

Shei continues playing and singing in jibyini… I think?
>>Shepherd's Tone: one effect per 6 turns, stackable, negates resistances;
[1d10] To charm the dark entities in the aether

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 4 = 4


"There's five statues now, and a staircase. Its safe to say we're not in the same area."

Pryce looks up as the ram speaks out, surprised it does.
"I thought you were just a statue…"
He mutters in thought.
>"Whoa, cool! Can you tell us what's up those stairs?"
KP asks.

Pryce turns E to face Northwest.

A little exhausted, but not annoyed. You'll need to do better than sounds with Amy around.



"You really think those things couldn't just grow out of the ground? With that kind of thinking, it's a good thing you're not going in Tartarus."


"We could mark them then, to see if they're the same ones in the next spot."


The vines surrounding the Northwest path recede, and a water barrier appears over it, as Pryce turns E toward that way.

"Something of both," the ram-knight says. "Though, to be more precise, I am the former – an architect of this puzzle from times ancient. Now, a hint as I had offered. You will not clear the way forward – any of the four ways forward available from this point so long as you cannot move this pillar."

He merely shakes his head at KP's question.

Busta and Gadriel gasp and brace for impact as the two colossi crash into the night sky barriers that you and Gadriel erected. The darkness comes crashing down around you, glimmers of stars and nebulae falling in great showers of light. The sides of the ornate stonework grind away, but you reinforce it, and your ride, with another great layer, in the form of a long tunnel through which your colossus may safely swim.

As you play, your cape flutters, and in a dramatic flash, fans out. Three shapes step out – unrecognizable, were it not for you knowing what was inside your cloak. The three malakhim have totally changed their looks. The triangle player wears flowing robes of dreamy sunset pink, while the violinist wears platemail of deep silver, adorned with mysterious, spike-like gems. The bassist is adorned simply, in a shawl of faded peach and blue.


They begin to jam.

[3d10+3] Inspire

Busta and Gadriel are stunned by the impact, and just try to cling on for dear life, as the entities come in for another strike.


Roll #1 1, 9, 8 + 3 = 21 / Roll #2 2, 8 + 5 = 15


>rolling ruse


Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6


>"Aw, worth a shot."

Pryce looks up to the Ram as he speaks.
"Four ways…"
He thinks a moment.
"Can you face North for us?"
He asks the Ram pillar.



"Well then, could you move this pillar please?" Amy asks with a simple smile.

>Mantra of Equality

>[1d10+4] DC-4

Roll #1 4 + 4 = 8


"So more held in stasis here - I presume not many visitors?" Leather makes small talk, given his party members are already asking more practical questions and considering the Ram likely doesn't get this chance too often, "Of course if the inquiries are of annoyance I can stop, I figure it's not often you get a chance to talk, unless those in the mirrors make for good conversation."


Inside the chest, you find a strange-looking spiked helm, woven of fur, bone, and metal… but mostly grisly, dark-stained bones, curling from the sides and from the top, into a double-pronged spike at the very top.

Volkama and Deriva look leery of it, sitting there on a velvet cushion. "Hrm… give it a try? Should it prove harmful, my bubble should at least dampen the damage."


"I cannot move it," the ram says, placing noticeable emphasis on the I. "For I am no challenger of this place, but a resident – no, not even that, no more than a wall, a switch, a trap, a brick in a wall. It will be you who must needs force me to move."

"As but a construct, an echo of a soul, I am no victim of the boredom or dread that plagues you mortals," the ram says. "Besides, I may sleep, and I may dream, as I please. I am not quite a guide, but if you should want for tales, or even small talk, I can oblige."

You hear a high-pitched buzzing in your ear this time. Roll for mental clarity.


Shorthorns looks down at the spiked helm, looking sadly at the dark-stained bones surrounding it on the sides. She pauses a moment before leaning down to pick it up, saying a prayer for whomever these remains belonged to.

"To whomever fell here long before, I hope your soul is at rest, wherever it might be. I ask for your forgiveness as I disturb your remains and take what was once yours, as I do it for the good of all those above on the surface. Be at peace…" she says as she reaches down to grab the helm, and uses a bit of her flame torch to light the remains, cremating them as is her practice.

If no magical effect takes place, she attempts to put the helm on her horns, replacing her thorny crown. "Hopefully they won't think to enchant the same trap twice over."



"So, wait, is it like, some kind of magic that makes the pillar not move?" Amy asks.


"So it's the same as before then."
Pryce says, horn glowing as he grabs the statue in his telekinesis, using his magical might to turn it North.
>Telekinesis [1d10]

His ear flicks at the buzzing, giving him a bit of a distraction as he tries to keep his focus.
>Mental Clarity [1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 6 = 6



"Force you to move seems a misnomer, if you're the architect of a puzzle, or the echo of their mind rather, I imagine the last thing you would have as a solution is force - unless you mean by means other than physical?" Leather counters.


Shei turns overhead in glee as his malechim make their appearance "Guys! You got your bodies back!"

Shei follows their lead and amplifies the playing. "We're going to break through that penumbra! And into the dungeon proper!"

His guitar strums further send vibrations to the aether, causing it to coalesce behind them and pump their whale forward with increasing velocity.

[1d10] using aether to go faster

Roll #1 1 = 1


>Amending to this post, she does NOT light anything on fire within the crate, merely speaking her prayer to the bones attached to the helm she weilds as she takes them from their resting place.


Volkama takes a moment to examine the helmet, and appraise its properties.
>Helm of the Offertory
>Effect: Recharge 3; Spell; Free Action; Sacrifice 2 Wounds to reroll any failed action, including critfails.

The stonecat flicks its tail as you pray to the bones. "A very devout soul you are. What is the state of religion in this world you're from, separated from mine by so many centuries?"

The ram does not move as Pryce tries to force him to. He shakes his head. "To put it simply, this pillar will not move so long as I stand outside it. If you wish to proceed, you will have to put me back inside by one means or another. What works for one situation may not work for another. And, one situation may have multiple solutions, some more efficacious, or clever, or brutish, than others. Use what you will – but keep in mind that I yet have a mind of my own, and my instructions were to not make it easy."

"Back inside?" Zjetya asks. "Are you normally not like this?"
"An echo I may be, but I am still a ram. We tend to find things – tall, narrow and peculiar things – to stand upon, rather than sit still."

The malakhim look at one another, and so too do Busta and Gadriel, in total confusion.

"One of them's done something to Shei," Gadriel concludes. "I didn't understand a word of that nonsense."
"It must be this droning," Busta says. "Some kind of effect on the mind. Drown it out as best you can!"

You realize you said all of that in absolutely flawless Jibayini. Total fluency. To the point that Equish is starting to fade from your mind…

Another collision from both sides knocks you and the other passengers to your knees, but the malakhim rise, despite their shaky hoofing, and try to out-drone the droning. Much of the architectural tunnel falls away from the impact.

>All lose 2 Wounds from the collision

[2d10+7] Terrify, Left and Right
[1d10+7] Mimic Sound to simulate the chittering cries of the husks, throwing the sound elsewhere.

[1d10+7] Gadriel tries to heal your colossus to keep it going until the end.

[1d10+7] Busta uses a banishing spell to chase off the Left colossus.

Roll #1 8, 9 + 7 = 24 / Roll #2 7 + 7 = 14 / Roll #3 8 + 7 = 15 / Roll #4 5 + 7 = 12


Pryce steps back after failing to move the pillar, scratching his ear from the buzzing.
"Back in…"
Pryce looks to Zjetya.
"Zjetya, can you shapeshift to look like the Ram and stand in front of his mirror?"


"If I may make a counterpoint to that idea, I do think the last thing we desire is to trap an ally inside a mirror if they are captured within through some form of magic. I do like the line of thinking, but I think it may be risky."

"Were we to break the mirror and to surround the area with shards, would he not be within a part of the mirror no matter where he stood?" Leather says quietly to the party, not wishing to discuss solutions with the Ram as cordial as he is.


Shei grimaces and says "Whoops, I'll fix that later…"

Shei breathes in deeply, and focuses. I'm not used to it he thinks. He thinks that he could consume himself if he brazenly exercises his power like he is. He strungs the guitar again.

[1d10+4] using the aether to go faster

>Go, Go, Go!: Once per combat; For the next 3 turns, you and all allies may take an extra action. On a natural crit, that's 2 extra actions.


Roll #1 6 + 4 = 10 / Roll #2 7 + 4 = 11


"He meant it literally?" Pryce says with concern. "Zjetya, hold off on that."

Pryce takes off his bracelet, attempting to conjure a small mirror.
"Let's try something a little safer."
He adds to Leather's plan.
>Hat Magic [Mirror] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10



"So, is it like magic or engineering that makes the pillar not move, though?" Amy asks again.


Shorthorn dons it upon her head, keeping wary of the bones that hang off it and keeping extra care to make sure they aren't tossed about carelessly. She looks to Spark, "Spark, I know it might be tempting, but please DON'T gnaw on any of these, okay?"

She turns around to look at stonecat, understanding him through her brooch as she responds, "There is one primary religion known pretty simply as the Union. Their faith was the dominant one in the country I came from, but there were other gods we worshiped. My tribe worshiped a buffalo god call Vir-can, and there were just as many like him. Old gods from the old world."

"Since the firmament fell, and the demons returned, a lot of the Union's been disbanded, but they still hold a strong enough presence. I don't expect you'd know who the Devas are, I think they only really came along after the Sons of God went into Tartarus and later broke apart."


Zjetya shakes her head. "I can only transform my body, not physical objects, and this guy's all in armor. Besides, I can't significantly increase or decrease my size beyond a certain point, and he's easily two of me."

The ram knight waits patiently as Pryce conjures a small mirror.

"Magical engineering," the ram answers Amy. "And less that it 'makes the pillar not move,' but more than the pillar cannot move without all the pieces in place. An inability, and not a restriction. 'Tis a key difference."

Spark seems more content to play with the stonecat anyway. Patience Stone flicks at Spark gently a while as you talk. "Such peculiar names, indeed… no doubt they collected titles just as the gods of these western lands did as well… I should wonder if any of those gods we slew here slunk off to the far east, and found purchase in your pantheon."

With terrible roars, the two entities harassing your ride are sent off into the interminable shadows, the aether rippling less and less as they disappear… though, you take no chances, and your colossus, still subservient to your will, hurtles along through the darkness to put as much distance between you and your would-be devourers as possible…

When at last a calm sets around you, the malakhim gradually relax, and Busta and Gadriel practically collapse with relief.

Hoof-bumps go all around.


Shei shakes his head and slaps his cheeks

[1d10] Learn to speak Equish

Roll #1 3 = 3


"Can you understand me now? How is this?"



"Right, like a bunch of gears that can't move because one of them is missing," Amy nods.


"So, what's your plan?" Amy asks Pryce.


Pryce steps in front of the mirror, levitating his own mirror to angle the Ram's reflection to appear inside his own pillar.
"Leather, try to move it now."

"If he needs to be in the mirror, then we'll put him in the mirror with his reflection."


Gadriel breathes a sigh of relief. "You sound like you're twenty drinks deep, but that's worlds better than what you sounded like before. Everything alright? I can try to undo whatever curse they worked on you."



Amy cocks her head and watches.


"Uhh yeah, yeah you try. hehe." Shei scratches his head in embarrassment.

"This is my doing actually. I charmed myself to speak jibyini. I like how the words are easy to rhyme."


"I imagine many of them did, besides us there are so many I could not even name them all…"

She pauses as he mentions having slew gods here before, curiosity biting at her as she makes her way back to the trap-door that led down to the dark tunnel below this one. "Hey, out of curiosity, does the name 'Buiwong' sound familiar to you at all?"


Leather attempts to move the pillar, but comments, "He may simply just move out of the way."


With a speed that resembles teleportation, the ram side-steps each time that Pryce attempts to angle his reflection into the diamond mirror using the small lone. The ram hops from pillar to pillar, then to the flowering bushes, and then behind the pillars.

"Apologies, but I am a bit sheepish of my appearance," the ram lies. "You'll forgive me if I am not keen to ponder my reflection."

"Rhyming? Is that what it's called…?" Gadriel asks.

"Enough of that," Busta says. He points forward. "I think we've found a port."

In the distance far ahead, you can see some kind of outline of a structure, deep within the darkness. It is constructed of many long and sprawling segments and clusters, a vast and decentralized labyrinth.

The stonecat shakes his head as he and your small entourage follow you back to the trapdoor, and down the dark tunnel. "I would bet that I would know not a single god of your pantheon by their current names. Mayhap if you knew any of their ancient names or titles, I could remember. Over what does he or she hold dominion?"



"Spiders and trickery, I think. DEFINITELY spiders, I could call his manner of 'trickery' a whole bunch of other, meaner words…" she says as she returns to the dark tunnel, seeking to continue to go to the west of this trap-door to see if she hits anything (and if not, to double back to the East)



Amy gigglesnorts. "'Sheepish'…"

Amy looks around, trying to find some sort of pattern to where he stands. [1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6


"And now my idea? If that doesn't work, I'd like to try something that involves playing with one of the water barriers, or anything else that can get us wet." Leather says to Pryce, motioning for him to throw the duplicate mirror on the floor or shatter it in another way, "Are you superstitious as to the breaking of mirrors?"


Shei furrows his brow at Gadd's quip. Before he can respond Busta speaks, but Shei gives Gadds a cheeky smile.

"Keh. Back to the labyrinths. At least there'll be a bit fewer deaths this time."

Shei pulls on his chain to decelerate the Whale as they close in on the port. Yielding gently as the Whale corresponds. He does the chain the moment they disembark.


Pryce turns back and forth, trying to get the Ram's reflection in the mirror, grumbling at his speed.
"Oh, I'm not superstitious. I'm more concerned with the glass scattered about with KP and the pets walking around.
Pryce hands Leather his mirror.
"All yours, I have another idea."

Leaving the mirror and reflections to Leather, Pryce takes out the Autonomous Chain, holding it out towards the Ram.
"Chain, bind that Ram to his perch."
>Autonomous Chain [1d10]
>An animated chain that can be given orders to chain up anything that it can wrap around, requiring a roll of 9 or higher to break free. Reassembles over a period of 24 hours if broken.

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Actually, could we have simply trapped the Ram with perspective? Our eyes are not opaque, we simply could look at both at the mirror and the puzzlemaker at the same time and we will have trapped his reflection in the mirror through the reflection of the surfaces of our eyes." Leather muses, before chuckling, "I may be overthinking things though."


The colossus approaches what appears to be a nexus of sorts, where you see a great many paths looping downward, in long and interlocking spirals, like some kind of gargantuan augur pointed straight for the heart of the earth.

Where all the paths meet is but a single room, inhabited by a lone figure. As you approach, the figure turns, leering through space itself, and the colossus you ride stops, nearly hurtling you and the other passengers off of its back. Even this unthinking thing will not approach that figure's gaze.

You reach the junction once more.

"Spiders… trickery…" Patience Stone says. "Many gods and goddesses ruled both. It's not as if there can be only one god presiding over one thing, but if they draw too close, or become too alike, one will be forced to devour the other, lest they be subsumed. It is likely he is the sole survivor of many such conflicts… or perhaps, even, an amalgam of many. Just as demons can fuse, and produce others, so too, gods."

As Amy tries to suss out a pattern to the ram knight's leaps, Pryce's chain lashes out, trying to bind around the ram. He's swift enough to leap away, but the chain is unrelenting, and the space you're in, ultimately limited. As the ram tries to leap over the pillars, the chain jukes him, wrapping around his hind leg and yanking him back to the ground. The ram manages to land on his side, drawing his sword with his free hoof, and holds it partly before his face.


"I wonder how well the mechanisms shall work with a substitute in my place," the ram says, less of a threat, and more of a genuine curiosity. "Let's find out."



Perception roll

Roll #1 9 = 9


File: 1611731171945.gif (1.4 MB, 540x280, Me and Da Bois.gif)


Last time, on HolyQuest…

Amy, Pryce and Cloak encountered a most peculiar puzzle in the dark garden, where each area of the garden (separated by high flowering bushes) held a number of rectangular pillars, each bearing a mirror, in its center. The number of pillars was the same as the number of paths leading out from each area. After some testing, they discerned that the key to the puzzle was the direction each mirror faced. It was not a matter of matching the correct pillar to the correct path, but rather, that different combinations of pillars produced different results.

It seemed that pointing every pillar toward one path would open it and close the others, while pointing the shortest and tallest pillars toward any path would cover it with a translucent, permeable barrier of water. Pointing the middlemost pillars toward any path would result in the path being covered over with dense bushes.

There was, however, one other key. Each mirror had to contain one of Vinland's knights inside. In their current area, one of said knights, a ram, stood outside his pillar. His pillar would not move unless they managed to get him back inside.

Shei, Gadriel and Busta continued through the dark spiritual trenches surrounding God's Entombed, with Shei bringing Busta back from the edge of oblivion after Busta sacrificed body and soul alike to protect Gadriel from a deadly attack. They were later beset by two gargantuan entities, which chased Shei's tamed colossus until at last, with the musical accompaniment of the transformed Malakhim, they were driven off.

Flaming, Volkama and Deriva went on a treasure hunt, at last able to get past the false wall that Flaming found earlier. They found a bone-encrusted helmet for their troubles.


"So he could be any number of old gods merged together as concepts came to overlap? Wow…" she shakes her head, "Gods are complicated. I 'really' hope I don't end up losing myself like that, I kinda wanted to just stay 'me'." She pauses to think about it, "Well, maybe I wouldn't mind fusing with a few but, that's a lot to think about."

As they reach the junction again, she looks north, noting it as the only direction they have not gone after finding treasures and trap doors to the west and east, decides to see what it may hold….
[1d10] PErception

Roll #1 9 = 9


Name fix


As you head north, you feel a sudden shuddering, which nearly knocks you and your companions off your hooves. Several quick rumblings follow, both around and ahead of you. Following that come the machine-gun creakings and clatterings of ancient clockwork. Then, at last, all is still.

"Another rearrangement?" Deriva guesses. She looks back. "Indeed it must have been – behold."

It appears that the junction behind you is now gone, replaced by an L-shaped bend to the east. Deriva then gasps, and looks to Volkama, who just stares at his incomplete map with a scrunched snout. "…It was bound to happen sooner or later," Volkama says, folding up the map. "What interests me more is how quickly that passed. 'Twas hardly the dramatic affair the previous one was."


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]

Pryce lowers his bow, a flaming arrow forming and ready to fire.
"I don't intend to let any of us fill that mirror."
He threatens.

Keep KP and stay away from his mirror, and out of it's line of sight. I don't know if he has control over it but I don't want to risk it.
He says to Zjetya and River through their mental link



"You have waited here an indeterminate amount of years to figure out such hypotheses, you can be patient and wait longer." Cloak remarks, making prayers to Hypomone to slow the Ram down.

>Fossilization: Recharge 3; Instant; Apply the debilitating effects of old age to the target, severely weakening all their abilities, increasing the damage they take, and decreasing the damage they can do. Effect varies by roll and enemy strength.

>Slow Down!: Recharge 3 after effect ends; Ranged; You can slow down time in a small radius around the target. The target of this power will take 3 fewer points of damage (minimum 1) for the next 2+1 turns.
[1d10] self

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 5 = 5


Shorthorns looks around in shock as the place already shifts around, then looking at Volkama with a forlorn look as he mourns the loss of his now painfully outdated map. "Aw shucks, Volkama… I'm sorry. I know you worked really hard on that."

She looks around the new changed layout, tapping her hoof. "Less dramatic is one way to put it… last time it threatened to make us start all over again if we didn't hurry up! But here it looks like it's letting us keep our progress. Why did it move around so quickly this time?"

She decides to keep the pace going north, then turns to ask Patience, "Do you know anything about the floating hands outside of this place that move the dungeon around?"


"Yes, Mercury's little creations, though all the dragons here make use of them to reorganize things," Patience answers.

"You mean, the other two we've met?" Volkama asks.

"Depends which ones you met," Patience continues. "Depending on how many there are of you, you might have run into only a small fraction of the dragons here."

"Well, we've met the Salt and Sulfur dragons so far," Deriva adds. "And a small army enters Tartarus now, including groups other than our own."

"You've probably stirred up a whole mountain of dragons, then," Patience adds. "Though, I imagine you'll probably be appraised by the same ones you've met thus far. They like to keep things nice and organized during the evaluations."


"There's more than just the two we've met so far?" Shorthorns asks surprised, keeping her pace going north up the L intersection. "It's hard to believe how huge this dungeon is, the Sons of God really didn't skip out on any details. So, the dragons are the ones controlling them then: out of curiosity, is there any way to take them out of the dungeon? Or are they stuck here? Something like them seem like they'd be really useful to have around."


I thought this fit the mood

With a gentle procession their whale laps through the many turns, grooves and crannies within the watery nexus. The crew indulging in what sights it may have to offer.

Until their ride stops abruptly, upon approaching the lone figure with the odd gaze.

Shei-Sher sets aside the whale's reigns and slowly, motions to stand on top of the saddle. Careful not to fall.

He covers his right eye, allowing only the eye replaced by Pupil to meet the lone figure's gaze.
This way, Shei-Sher allows a two-way appraisal between the two. So they may size eachother up as some kind of formality.

[1d10] Two-way Appraisal

"Ahoy. We're here to seek passage into Tartarus."

Roll #1 10 = 10


>(RACIAL)Evil Eye: passive; You come from a culture that’s mysterious, quiet and perhaps even sinister. Few understand you and some may even be unnerved by your odd appearance. If you score a natural Crit against an enemy in combat, they are paralyzed with fear and cannot take any action in its next turn. When a target is paralyzed by Evil Eye, you cannot proc Evil Eye on them again.

Would like it to apply



"Yeah! Learn some patience!" Amy says, unhelpfully as she dances impatiently for a resolution to this conundrum.


The figure, you recognize as Mercury. As you peer into him, you are suddenly beset with a deluge of information, as a sprawling diagram of the entire dungeon rushes through you. It is less a labyrinth, and more like a tangled, intricate nervous system, countless passageways and nexuses linking together, all to keep Tartarus entrapped. And this Mercury dragon, through he may appear a disparate entity, is but one neuron.

"Come then, dismount that miscreation, and answer my question," Mercury says, gesturing for you to approach.

Busta and Gadriel loosen their fastenings, making ready to disembark, as do your malakhim.

"I doubt that any of them would even consider the thought," Patience says. "They are far too loyal to our lost masters to step away from this, their final duty. Are you trying to create a dragon zoo?"

As he asks this, he tickles Spark with his tail. Spark sputters and snorts, spewing little fires from his snout.

You head north, and at last reach another junction, this one T-shaped, and splitting west and east. To the west, it is not long before you see a large hole in the dungeon's floor, seemingly newly made. To the east, you see a sturdy stone door.

Zjetya grabs KP, and River the pets, and zip around behind the pillars, as far from the ram as they can be.

"I've had my hypotheses, but I've need of a test subject," the ram says. "You'll do."

In an instant, he is upon you, a hairsbreadth away from Cloak, his head reeled back as far as it can…

[1d10+4] Blast: Intruders

And smashes his horns down onto Cloak.

Roll #1 4 + 4 = 8


Pryce is nearly taken aback by how suddenly the ram appears before Leather, even while chained. If it wasn't for the earlier display of speed, he might have hesitated. Pryce turns in place, the flames forming his foreleg burning intently as his magic grows, drawing back an arrow to fire into the ram's back as it tries to ram Cloak.
>Sallus [1d10]
Sallus: Instant; Recharge 5; Self-Buff; For 3 turns, your physical attacks deal an additional 2d3 damage on success, rolled by you at the time of the attacks. If any of these attacks are natural critical hits, they will Blind the target, removing one of their chances to act next turn.

>Shoot (Basic Attack) [Flare, DC5, Ranged] [1d10+1]

>Flare [Fire]: Bright flashes and loud bangs disorient the target, adding one stack of Flare when hit. When a target reaches 4 stacks, they are stunned that turn.

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 1 + 1 = 2


"Hypostasus, you have me confused." Leather retorts, dodging up into the air on pillars of light.

>A Vision of Grandeur: Instant; Recharge 1 after effect ends; Choose 1 ally. For the next 4+1 turns, you and that ally gain +2 to all rolls made against all enemies that target you, either with a normal roll, or an Instant roll-to-dodge attack, regardless of whether or not that enemy's attack is successful.

[1d10] Amy

>Tsiba: Passive/Auto-Instant; As an Auto-Instant action, you are able to jump between any of the different ranges in combat, except for Burrowed (ie, can move from Far (player) to Far (enemy), from Melee to Aerial, etc). As a Passive, this ability also enables you to jump multiple times in the air by solidifying light beneath your hooves and kicking off of it. If you can already fly, you can use this to gain +2 to dodge and other movement-focused rolls while flying. If used to evade an attack, make a roll. The DC for success is (Attack Roll -1). On failure, critical or regular, you take half-damage

[1d10] dodge

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 2 = 2


Shorthorns snickers as she looks over to Spark, reaching up to scratch one of the dragon's frills atop his head. "I guess I can see how you might think that. Don't know how Spark would do if he had to share all the attention!"

"But, I was actually referring to the hands themselves, you said they can be controlled? Is there a way to take the hands outside of the dungeon to use in Tartarus or are they like, built into it?"

Eying the hole to the west with curiosity, Shorthorns determines to turn left at the junction, and peer down into the hole out of curiosity to see if she can see the bottom.
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 1 = 1


"Oh. It's you again. Coming down." Shei announces congenially as he joins his brothers in disembarking and arriving before Mercury.

"Ask away." Shei asks as he leisurely strums from his guitar at a low volume.



Amy sees the attack coming for Leather and launches a potion at him ahead of time.

>Natural Remedy [1d10+4]

Roll #1 8 + 4 = 12



"Are we fighting or is this a part of the plan?" Amy asks, sounding concerned.


The ram's headbutt slams Cloak into the ground with such force that he bounces back up, narrowly saved from landing hard on his neck by the aerial platform created by Tsiba. A shockwave erupts from the impact, knocking Amy and Pryce back to the edges of the arena. Amy, though shaky on her paws, manages to toss Cloak a potion.

>Amy 1/7

>Cloak 28/7

Sallus succeeds, but your arrow doesn't even leave the bow before the ram leaps your way, then spins and kicks you across the arena, where you land in thornbushes.

>Pryce 0/4

The ram lands atop his pillar once more after the initial volley, glancing at the carnage wrought in this brief moment. Then, unbeknownst to him…

As Shorthorned peers down, she can see the beginnings of a battle in a most unusual setting, some manner of underground hedge maze. At its center can be seen some gargantuan shrine, with a light illuming from its center, though it itself is shrouded in what appear to be floating, murky waters. As she leans in for a closer look, Volkama and Deriva gasp, and back away – as the stones beneath her, at the hole's edge, give way…

Back down in the garden…

The ram leaps from the pillar, boots primed to stamp down onto Cloak where he lies, only for a buffalo – your buffalo – to plummet straight out of the sky onto his back. With a surprised yelp, the ram is slammed down into the earth, flagstones and mortar flying everywhere from the impact.

>Shorthorned 0/6

Nearby, a cat made of stone, along with Spark, lands from above.


"Tch, this was going to be a lot cooler with everyone here," Mercury gripes. "Who knew this batch of graverobbers would be so mobile?"

He clears his throat. "Anyway…"

His expression grows grave and dark. "If, in Tartarus, your situation were to be impossible, victory unachievable, and defeat absolutely certain, what then, would you do?"


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]
>Sallus: 3 turns

Pryce slides back on his hooves from the shockwave as the ram slams Leather. From bracing himself, he doesn't even notice when the ram comes and kicks him until he his the thornbushes. He groans in pain, taking a few breaths as he rights himself and shakes the shock off, while prying himself out from the brambles.
>Recover [1d10]

Roll #1 7 = 7



"I was not planning to begin with, only defending and dodging. Pryce seems to be our strategist." Leather replies to Amy, attempting the same prayers as before to slow down the Ram.

>Fossilization: Recharge 3; Instant; Apply the debilitating effects of old age to the target, severely weakening all their abilities, increasing the damage they take, and decreasing the damage they can do. Effect varies by roll and enemy strength.

>Slow Down!: Recharge 3 after effect ends; Ranged; You can slow down time in a small radius around the target. The target of this power will take 3 fewer points of damage (minimum 1) for the next 2+1 turns.
[1d10] self

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 3 = 3


"We would escape. And if we couldn't escape I would break the seal on my heart. A bit of a gamble but it would give everyone enough power to make a retreat. If that wouldn't work- well.. we haven't really talked much about our suicide pact but I would likely be the first to sacrifice myself." He pans back over to the malakhim behind him, in a beseeching gesture "Unless you guys would'a- you know-"

spoken with humor he doesn't actually mean to ask them to sacrifice themselves in tartarus for Shei.



Amy falls on her flanks from the force of the blast. Then, she gets up, wobbily and head shaking.

Then, Flaming falls from the sky.

"Heyyy! It's Shortyhorns!" Amy says like she's seeing a friend she hasn't seen in a while. "Welcome to the secret garden!"


Amy looks to Pryce for guidance.


"What the…" Shorthorns says aloud to herself as she looks down in the hole, trying to lean in as far as she dares without going over to see the battle stoking before her at the distant bottom in the hedge maze. "Who's fighting down there, do you two see this!?"

As the stone starts to tumble and give way, Shorthorns gasps, watching as the battle below soon starts to become much, much closer as she falls out from the ceiling to land on the back of a giant, ornery ram. The white buffalo gives a shout as she slams down hard onto the top of the ram, pile-driving it into the hard earth below as she clutches on tightly onto its neck. "AGGGGAAAAG!" She shouts out frantically, in a cry that could be mistaken for a battle-roar

[1d10] Huge attempt to get up at 1/7

Roll #1 2 = 2



"I don't know about you," the Trianglist Malak says. "But we're going on tour once the world is safe, so…"
The Violinist and the bassist Malakhim nod their agreement to leaving you out to dry.
"We'd… we'd have to escape, wouldn't we?" Gadriel asks, expression troubled as he considers the possibility. "But I'd find a way to get us out, without any more sacrifices," he adds with a pointed glare to Shei.

"And you?" Mercury asks, looking over to Busta.

"Your question…" Busta mumbles… "Something's off about it, isn't it?"

"Give me your answer," Mercury retorts.

Busta remains silent, and Mercury's frustration grows darker.

While Cloak is left on purgatorial hold, Pryce rises to his hooves, and River and Zjetya poke their heads out from amid the pillars.

"Flam– I mean, Shorthorned!" Zjetya says. "Don't move, you've got him right where we want him!"

Meanwhile, the ram, pinned to the ground, plants his hooves down, and struggles to rise…


Roll #1 2 + 4 = 6


After Shorthorns lands down hard on top of the Ram, the white buffalo looks around in confusion as she struggles to get her bearings straight, keeping a hold on the huge ram as she looks around at Amy and the others.

"Amy? Zjetya? What's going on here, weren't you on the floor abov-"

As the Ram struggles to get up, Shorthorns steels her determination, and tries to make it difficult as she shouts, "What's going on, who's this guy?!"

[1d10] Attempt to get up from Helpless

Roll #1 4 = 4



"He's just some silly guy who won't get in the mirror."


"Busta died for Gadriel's sake not even a few hours ago." Shei complains to Mercury "We clearly know what his answer is. Busta is a strong noble soul. It's just a shame his body is not equipped to house such a good soul."

But then Shei turns a glance to Gadriel "Though Gadds, when I found his corpse you were hidden underneath it. Why didn't I find you fighting to the death. Why hadn't you found a way out without anymore sacrifices then?" Shei asks Gadriel not angry, but with a heavy tone of concern.


"Won't get in WHAT mirror…?" Shorthorns asks as she keeps her hooves wrapped around the Ram's neck, "Is he part of the dungeon?"




"Realistically, we could all just try to carry him into the Mirror now that he's downed, even if he's twice as strong as one of us, there's four of us here." Leather notes, brushing himself off.



"Okey dokey!" Amy says before pouncing on the ram.

[1d10] to pounce

Roll #1 5 = 5


Gadriel grimaces as you recount his failure. "He… he grabbed me before I knew what was going on! I couldn't have fought back – I could have hit him!"

Busta disregards you, and instead fixes Mercury with a determined look. "I won't even acknowledge your question."

"Very well," Mercury says. A globule of mercury manifests at his side, and flies to the ground, taking the shape of a circle of ancient alchemical symbols upon the ground. "You two," he says to Gadriel and you. "Step here please."

The Malakhim band sidle on over to where Busta stands.

With a grunt, the ram manages to hook the tip of his horns under Shorhorned's back, and with a strained effort, he knocks her off of him. He spends a moment to catch his breath, before filling his lungs with air. Next, he bleats out an old chant of power. A moment passes, before you hear a rumbling far-off. Echoing through the darkness come sounds of hoofsteps coming your way, though it is hard to gauge their distance from the echoes off the underground walls.

River and Zjetya panic, holding their charges close. "Wh-what's the plan?" Zjetya asks.
"We can seal some of these paths with the pillars, can't we?" River says.

After the ram's shout, you leap onto his back, and he bleats again in surprise – and probably from how much his back must hurt right now. He storms off in a circle, trying to toss you from his back with a well-timed buck. Roll to hold on, instant, alongside your other actions.


Leather attempts to aide Amy, trying to jump on the ram.


>Fossilization: Recharge 3; Instant; Apply the debilitating effects of old age to the target, severely weakening all their abilities, increasing the damage they take, and decreasing the damage they can do. Effect varies by roll and enemy strength.

pin, earth pony's Tough

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 6 = 6


Shei-Sher steps over to where Busta stands, just behind the Malakhim. "We are one brotherhood. We will all pass into Tartarus."

Shei-Sher's glare meets his again

>Evil Eye: passive;

[1d10] only works on nat crit

Roll #1 2 = 2


"Again, WHAT mirror? If this is a challenge, I would do a lot better if someone told me the rules!"

Shorthorns lets out a pained 'ooof' as the powerful ram flips her over with his large horns. Landing belly first on the nearby earth, Shorthorns shakes her head free of distraction as she prepares to rise up to meet this opponent, before she hears the hoof-steps coming from the other way. "I'm not entirely sure what game you're playing here, but if you need me to fight a big, tough brawler like him, THAT'S something I can do." She prepares to stand up, eying the Ram with an intense glare as she prepares to bash heads. "Where's the mirror you need to push him through?!"

[1d10] Rise from helpless

Roll #1 4 = 4



Amy drinks a potion as she tries to hang on.

>[1d10+4] Natural Remedy

>[1d10] to ride 'em cowboy

Roll #1 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #2 4 = 4


Pryce climbs out of the thornbush, shaking off any bits still stuck to him.
"Flaming? What are you doing here?"
Pryce questions, seeing her on top of the ram. That is, before she is pushed off and it makes a call for help. As the sound of hoofsteps steadily grow louder, Pryce looks between their group, the pillars, and the ram.
"Quick, turn the middle pillars to block off the three northern paths! We came from the west so there should be nothing coming from there!"
He instructs, reaching into his robe to grab his lexicon.
"We'll deal with this one quick."
He flips through the pages, horn glowing a dark blue as he calls up it's illusionary magic, conjuring a shape of one of the knights, hoping a figure of authority will give it pause.
>Lexicon of the Moon's Dread [1d10]
>Contains illusory nightmares that can incapacitate a single target for Roll - 5 rounds. Can target up to ten targets as a Cleave roll, but increases Recharge by 1 with each additional target. Recharge 1 for 1 target. User determines the content of the Nightmare.

Pryce looks over to Flaming after she was flipped by the ram, horn glowing white as he attempts to freshen her up.
>Prayer for Deliverance [Flaming] [1d10+1]
>Instant; Recharge 2; Restore the target’s Hits to full, and give them +1 extra temporary Hit until the end of combat.

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8


"I came from up there!" Shorthorns says as she tries to get up, the white light glowing around her as she points to the hole in the ceiling. "Your turn: who's this Ram and why are you fighting him? Is he part of the dungeon?!"


perception roll

Roll #1 4 = 4


Amy gets tossed into the air, but heals herself on the way back down, numbing the pain of the shock of landing once more.

>Amy 15/7

Before the ram can get any respite, Cloak replaces Amy atop his back, and the ram nearly buckles, owing to Cloak's significantly greater weight. Grimacing but unwilling to give up, the ram knight swerves, trying to catch Cloak against the rows of thornbushes surrounding the arena.


At Pryce's orders, Zjetya and River turn pillars B and C to the Northwest and Northeast respectively, covering the paths over with vines. The hoofsteps continue to approach, and you can now hear the clanking of armor as well the closer and closer they get.

Mercury holds your gaze, and Gadriel joins you in staring back at him as you both hold your ground. But… eventually, Mercury shrugs. "Well, then. Go on, if you are able. The path is before you, and you have but to walk it."

He gestures before him, to the path which spirals down deeper into the earth, into the darkness below.

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7


Pryce looks up, seeing the whole they flew down through earlier.
"Oh, I hope nopony else falls through that…"
Pryce comments before looking back to Flaming.
"This is part of the dungeon, though we are unsure if it's intended or not. We've been following paths that we unseal with those pillars as a puzzle, each one with a knight inside it. We need to get this ram back in his own pillar so we can continue on."


Leather remains resolute in holding the ram down, trying to swipe a back leg under the ram's to cause it break bone or dislocate.

>Shatter: recharge 2, weapon; Breaks the target's defenses, opening them up for attack. Any attacks against a Shattered target crit on a 8+ for two+1 rounds. Can be used against inanimate objects or armor to break and damage them efficiently.


Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6


Shei bursts out into chuckles "Oh god really!? Thank you so much! You know I was actually a tad scared there for a moment. We'll try not to make any trouble with your boss. Again, thank you, thank you so much." He pulls forward, brings a hoof to the back of his head, and makes more gestures of gratefulness and nervousness.

"Let's go boys." Shei hails them to follow as he walks down the path pointed out to him.

Shei-Sher lets out a ping of his aura to feel all around his surroundings just as he embarks on the path.

[1d10] phase aura detection of anything hidden

Roll #1 1 = 1


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]
>Sallus: 1 turn

The sound of armor drawing close gives Pryce concern, hoping that blocking the paths will lower the knights they'll need to fight. He turns, watching Leather jump upon the ram as well. Seeing it buckle, Pryce sets his bow on his back, drawing out his Memory-Pluck. He spreads his wings, dashing forward to the bushes, landing in the path he sees the ram take. He widens his stance, bracing himself like a bull-fighter as he waits for it to draw close before swinging his blade up, aiming intercept the charge and flip the ram onto it's back.
>Swing [DC5] [1d10]
>Sallus Damage on Success [2d3]
>Memory-Pluck; Steals an opponent's skill upon a hit, enabling the user to use it while the victim can't. Normal success = 1 use, Critical = 2 uses. Once you use the skill, the skill goes back to the victim. You can hold the skill indefinitely to simply deny its use by the victim. You can only steal 1 skill at a time.
>Guarded: Reduces critical failure damage by half.

>Radiance [1d10]

>Radiance: Free Action; Dazzle and shine with your prowess. Generate [Roll - 5] sparks towards Will of the King. This can only be used in combat and only alongside another skill.

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 1, 1 = 2 / Roll #3 6 = 6


As Pryce explains the situation in full, Shorthorn shakes her head as she manages to recover. Taking her shield off of her back, she looks towards the pillars that have fallen to block the path of the oncoming hooves, and nods. "Got it! Let me take the brunt on this one now that I'm here, while I was going through the dungeon I found a few things that should help!"

Reaching down to give the belt that now surrounds her midsection a light squeeze, she nods, readying her shield in the direction of the hulking Ram as she tests its mettle against hers, ramming the 'Ram' at full speed with her shield in front of her horns to increase its battering power. "Come on, show me what you got!"
[1d10+5] Charge activated for +2 on Ram, +3 for All or Nothing
>All Or Nothing: Recharge 1; When all else fails, use your head. Autocrits. All failures count as critical. Can be used while helpless.
>Shield holds Magma, Fire, and Darkness elemental qualities
>Also contains 'Stunning': On a critical hit, causes the target to lose 1 action next round.

Roll #1 2 + 5 = 7


>2 is a critfail on Charge
Activating her new helmet's ability
>Helm of the Offertory
>Effect: Recharge 3; Spell; Free Action; Sacrifice 2 Wounds to reroll any failed action, including critfails.

Roll #1 10 + 5 = 15



As Amy falls off the ram, she contemplates her options. Might as well go with a tried and true tactic.

>Prayer of Enlightenment to gain Return to Earth


Pryce swings, but the ram ducks, then headbutts him aside, partly trampling over his legs in the process.

>Pryce 5/6

>5 Hits gained for Snakeskin Cloak

The ram manages to catch Cloak's bandages on the thorns of the foliage surrounding you, and Cloak is yanked from his back, caught in the thorns, his neck rocked back from the whiplash. Cloak manages to slip his leg under the ram's, throwing his balance off. In that moment, as the ram hurtles forward, Shorthorned barrels into him like a train into a wayward tumbleweed, knocking the ram into the air. When he at last comes back down, the ram bounces off the cobblestones, and lands again in a daze.

>Cloak 24/7

Zjetya manages to finish pushing Pillar C toward the North path, leaving Pillar A to point West, as it is immobile, and Pillar E to point east, leaving a water barrier over both pathways. You can hear the hoofsteps slow, and eventually pause… before they move again. They are close, and you can at last hear their directions – they're moving east and west. Zjetya and River group up near Amy, weapons drawn.

"Here, I thought he was going to try to get rid of us," Gadriel mutters.

Busta is silent, still in thought…

The path you walk is long and winding, continuing eternally in its spiral shape. The Malakhim produce a small glowing effect around their instruments to light the path. At least, nothing attacks you as you walk, and walk, and walk…

And walk…

And walk…

And walk…

And walk…



"Just stop!" Amy shouts at the ram as she casts her spell on him.

>Return to Earth: recharge 2, spell; Bring things back to their natural state. Can return spirits to the afterlife and send unnatural creatures (demons, elementals, undead etc) back to their home plane. Only weakens stronger spirits and creatures, giving you +1 to all your actions against them until the end of combat.


Roll #1 10 + 3 = 13


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]
>Serpentskin Cloak: 5 Hits
>Sparks: 1

Pryce grunts as the ram runs over his legs, thankful it wasn't worse in breaking them. Getting up, and seeing Flaming successfully topple the ram over, Pryce looks up to the mirror as the sound starts to shift.
"Quick, get him into the mirror!"
He shouts out, horn glowing as he attempts to lift the ram to face his mirror.
>Telekinesis [1d10]

With the sounds moving to the only two open paths, KP keeps huddled close to River and Zjetya.

Roll #1 6 = 6


After knocking into the Ram with all the force of a freight train to knock it up into the air, before watching it slam back down on the ground hard, Shorthorns affords herself the slightest of moments to feel pride at her accomplishment at having knocked down the noticeably bigger foe, but doesn't spend too long as she slams her hooves into the ground on her follow up, using her divine powers to summon for a growing wreath of vines to wrap themselves around the ram while also creating two long, thick tethers that slink off to the side.

"I'll wrap him up, use the vines to carry him up into the mirror up there!" She shouts to all available fliers (notably Pryce, River, and Zjetya) as she focuses on her divine spell to summon forth the green.
[1d10] Life Sphere Primary + Dark Sphere Secondary, making life grow from nothing to wrap up the Ram and create ropes to air-lift him up to the mirror

Roll #1 9 = 9



Brushing himself off and readjusting his bandages, Leather walks up pillars of light to just slightly below the mirror.

""I've got you, just get them up part of the way and I can toss them the rest of the way."


[1d10] slam jam, Tough

Roll #1 1 = 1


Amy weakens the ram with a well-timed blessing, slowing him enough that Shorthorned can hog-tie him with vines. Pryce passes him to Cloak, who goes for the dunk – but the ram twists at the last moment, causing his horns to bounce off the rim. In the moment of freedom, the ram hooks his horns around Cloak, and yanks him upward against the diamond mirror's face. A brilliant light flashes forth, surrounding Cloak. He can feel his movements slow as his body sinks, back half first, into the mirror, but his front half is still free, leaving him time to act.

Though weakened, the ram tries to wriggle free of his bindings.


At the east and west paths, though they are blocked by water barriers, you can see groups of light blue ghostly knights of various races. Though they do not approach the barrier, those in front draw their wands, and aim them at Amy and Shorthorned.

[2d10+2] vs Amy
[2d10+2] vs Shorthorned

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #2 8, 5 + 2 = 15 / Roll #3 10, 6 + 2 = 18


>activating Vanguard

"You have tried my patience, architect. Now kneel."

Pulling himself from the mirror effortlessly, Cloak's body sheds light as an pulse of energy fills the garden and slams into the ram and two of the ghostly knights.

>Phantasmagoria of Conquest: 3 times per Combat; Automatic; Sacrifice X hits to deal 4X damage and inflict a status condition (chosen when you learn this skill) on up to 3 targets.

>sacrificing 10 hits, (down to 14) dealing 40 to Ram,Ghost Mage Knight,Ghost Mage Knight

>(Status Condition) Delayed; For the next 2+1 turns, the results of any roll made by those affected by Delayed take place a turn after they would normally. Rolls to dodge or interrupt may be made at any point between this time.


Shei-Sher stops in his tracks "Guys I think we got jipped. In fact, I've been thinking about it and Mercury asked Gadds and I to step in that circle he fashioned. Meaning there probably isn't a physical means to progess from here."

Shei gets out a vial of his own mercury "Although. I got a good look into Mercury during our stare down. And what laid bare to me was the nature of this dungeon and the nature of him. I'm thinking our only way out of here is if I can recreate that circle he made. But it'll have to be a complete mimicry to the T."


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]
>Serpentskin Cloak: 5 Hits
>Sparks: 1

Pryce watches as the ram manages to twist at the last moment to just avoid getting sunk back into his mirror, and only to put Leather partially in instead. The other knights arriving as they raise their wands to fire in leaves Pryce conflicted. He reaches for the lexicon again, saving Leather is the first priority. Everything else can be healed. His horn glows blue as he conjures an illusion of the mirror to stun the ram to stop his struggling.
>Lexicon of the Moon's Dread [1d10]
>Contains illusory nightmares that can incapacitate a single target for Roll - 5 rounds. Can target up to ten targets as a Cleave roll, but increases Recharge by 1 with each additional target. Recharge 1 for 1 target. User determines the content of the Nightmare.

Roll #1 3 = 3


Shorthorns grunts as he manages to stick half-way out of the mirror, "Wow, he sure is a stubborn one. Shame he's not on our side, huh?"

As she sees the building magic glowing beyond the watery barriers, Shorthorns looks alarmed, moving to face their oncoming attackers as she lets out a shallow breath, feeling fire building up in her core reminiscent of her fight with Vortigern. "Looks like we have more company already. I'll keep them busy, hurry up and punt him the rest of the way!"

She moves towards the barriers, taking a heavy stance between them and Amy as she prepares to build up energy from their attacks.

>Ultimate Move: Stampede of the Inferno: Automatic. After activation, instantly create a flaming buffalo minion (ignoring minion cap) with 'Protect' equal to your Hit Total / 1 wound for each Wound lost since activation, up to a total of 3.

>Covalent Bonds: Auto Instant; Recharge 3; Ranged; Choose an ally. All damage they would normally take this turn will be applied to you instead. The most damage you can receive from using this ability is (Full Hits) + 2 Wounds.

>Targeting Amy to take her attacks for her

>Fortifying Belt; Relic; The DC to hit you drops to 0, such that even Critfails will succeed against you, but all damage taken is Halved before other effects.



"Just STOP!" Amy shouts. As she does, her body lets loose a wave of holy flames.

>Wrath: recharge 2, spell, ranged; Damage all nearby foes with a powerful blast, ensuring they cannot attack you on the next round; renders targets helpless on 9+. On crit you can kill or incapacitate weakened/dying targets.

>[1d10+4] on the group attacking Amy and the ram

Roll #1 5 + 4 = 9


Cloak wrenches himself free of the mirror, and his prayers are at last answered, as temporal distortion follows in the wake of the light, engulfing the ram and his summoned underlings. streams of keen magical darts fly forth from their wands, but they are slowed, and more of a dazzling sight to behold rather than a deadly attack. Amy then sends her wrath westward, the holy fire incinerating the spectral minions, and burning the ram. Meanwhile, Shorthorned prepares to protect Amy from the oncoming attacks.

Zjetya and River nod to one another, then jump upward, spin about, and dropkick the ram into the mirror.


"I think I heard something about the Capo when I was with Amy earlier," Busta says. "That he controls the final path forward, and that nobody enters without his permission… and, I wouldn't step in that circle without knowing what it was. Why didn't he ask me to step into it?"

"Yeah… either you gave him the exact right or exact wrong answer, I think," Gadriel says. "But, Mercury still holds dominion over most of this place. That circle still holds secrets, though we should decipher them before trying anything."

Roll #1 9, 2 + 2 = 13


With their final kick, the semi-conscious ram is engulfed in the mirror's light, despite his struggles… and before long, the light diminishes, leaving him behind the mirror. The other spectral knights dissipate, and Shorthorned tanks their hits.

>Shorthorned 5/4



Shorthorn grunts as she feels the magical blows impact against her shield and her furry hide… but opens her eyes with surprise as she looks down and sees herself still standing, albeit with smoke coming off of her from the blows.
"W-wow… this belt really does its job." She says as she tugs on the magical belt Volkama found, then looking to see where the spectral knights who attacked earlier used to stand, watching them dissipate in to nothing. She lets out a sigh of relief, and suspends her charging ultimate, the flames of the stampede leaving her with no one to defend against.

She looks to River and Zjetya after they knock the Ram in, stomping her hooves, "Great job you two! Way to sink him in! So," she takes a moment to stretch, wincing as she does so. "What was all that about anyways? Why did that Ram attack you, did you guys touch that mirror or…?"


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]
>Serpentskin Cloak: 5 Hits

Pryce watches as Cloak and Amy's attacks burn away the entourage of knights and darts breaching the ring, and the ram finally placed into the mirror by River and Zjetya's kick.
"It's finally done."
He sighs in relief.

>"That was so cool! You two were all in synch like acrobats!"

KP cheers from behind the cluster of mirrors to Zjetya and River, giving a small stomp of applause at their display.

Pryce puts his sword away, and steps up to the pillars. With the ram back in place, he turns the tallest and shortest ones to face north.

"It's part of this trial. We need to move the statues to open the paths, but one mirror was empty. When we attempted to force the ram in, he attempted to make one of us take his place instead."


Cloak walks down from his position near the mirror on pillars of light, offering a slight bow to Shorthorns. "It is good to see you again, it resisted upon Pryce casting a spell to put it in the mirror. I imagine there may have been a noncombative route, but the end result succeeded."


Shorthorns bows her head to Cloak, "Good to see you all again too, glad you're all alright. My journey through the dungeon's not been so bad so far, this is the first time I had to fight anything."

She turns to look at Pryce as he explains the situation, Shorthorns turns her head, a little lost on the explanation but seeming to take it in stride. "I think I get it. So he was trying to push one of you in there instead." She turns towards the mirror, "Well, with him in there, does this open up the path?"


"Right then. It doesn't hurt to bother trying. We make the circle and with some effort Gadds' prognostication will tell us if it's a dead end or not."

Shei gets to work lining out with some chalk the exact shape of the circle he recalls Mercury summoned. All the while he scat sings a tune for busywork.
With the chalk laid out Shei pours vials of mercury to stick to the outline. "Careful not to touch any of this stuff. It's toxic. Actually- The lot of you are metallic.. well still don't touch it."

Shei then strikes his horn with a piece of metal. It vibrates and sounds like a tuning fork and the circle begins breathing magical energy. "Right-o Now I'm going to need a little help. Shei instructs Gadriel, Triangle, Bass, Violin on imbuing the circle with their specific energy. With a wave of his hooves he assigns a tempo as if conducting an orchestra and then stops them.

Shei slings his axe over his frontside and strums hard for the final touch.

>replicating Mercury's circle
[1d10] meticulous group effort.

Roll #1 7 = 7


Last time, on HolyQuest…

While traversing the underground hedge maze of the dungeon, Amy, Pryce, Cloak and Pryce's entourage had to fight a ram knight in order to solve a puzzle. Shorthorned fell in partway through. They were victorious, and the ram was sealed inside his mirror atop the pillar they needed to turn.

Shei met at last the Mercury dragon, who guarded the final spiral path leading down to the lair of the Capo, but only the Capo themselves could open the door. Shei and his gang were caught in an infinite loop when they tried to proceed down the path, forcing them to consider a change of tactics.

A water barrier manifests over the northern path.
River and Zjetya offer a small bow after all the applause, but their attention is quickly drawn to the northern path.

"Like before, it may require all the pillars to face that way," River says.
"Already on it," Zjetya says, as she moves to adjust the other pillars.

River helps her, and eventually they face all the pillars northward. The water barrier is replaced first by the vines as pillars B and C face north, but at last, once D faces north, all pillars do, and both water barriers and vines vanish, and a sigil appears over the path. Unlike the previous sigil, which seemed to resemble the moss-covered wands of the knights, this one is far more complex…

Upon closer inspection, it appears to be an ornate and intricate mandala of stars, constructed of innumerable augurs. Surrounding the mandala, an overlay of criss-crossed nails.

At last, the circle manifests, charged with the wills and aether of those gathered. Gadriel withdraws his crystal ball, and holds it aloft.

>Speak With Stars; Spell; Twice per day; Automatic; You may ask a question to some force which is capable of providing an answer. You are guaranteed a correct answer, but the question must be answerable with a "Yes," a "No" or some small phrase.

"We wish to treat with the Capo so that we may enter Tartarus," Gadriel asks, as his aether trails sparks over the orb. "Will this magic circle before us take us there?"

Clouds of smoke and star-fire churn in the orb, until dark lines appear within. The lines shape into the letters – "NO."

"Figured as much," Gadriel says. "I can only do that spell so often, so I'd rather use it sparingly. Does anyone want to volunteer to step inside?"


"Looks like it," Pryce answers after River and Zjetya assist in moving the other pillars to open up the northern path.

Pryce gives a moment of pause at the new sigil, looking over the ornate design. Testing the path, Pryce puts his hoof through the barrier first to see if there is anything different this time.


You can pass through it, and back, just fine.


Shei smiles humorously as he thinks about the suggestion "For future reference, you should just say 'Does Shei want to volunteer.' "

Shei raises an arm as he flicks his wrist up and down. His dark corridor shuffles on and off next to Shei as he demonstrates his point. "Does anyone care to tie a cowbell around my neck incase I get lost?" Shei pauses for a response before entering the circle.


To begin with, Cloak investigates the masonry, seeing if there is anything amiss or particularly interesting with the path or sigil.

[1d10] investimigate

Roll #1 9 = 9


As the newest water barrier rises up, Shorthorns stairs at it, trying to get a sense of the puzzle as she watches the others move the other pillars into position. As they successfully do so, and the water barrier vanishes, Shorthorns heads towards the sigil'd path to take a closer look at the symbol.

"This looks different than the other symbols earlier. Have you guys come across any more traps like we did in that central room with the locked doors?"

[1d10] Perception on the sigil, have I seen this anywhere else in the dungeon?

Roll #1 7 = 7



"Wooo! Nice job, team!" Amy cheers.

Amy looks around. "Now what?"


Amy is Amy.


"Now, we continue on."
Pryce says, passing through the barrier and leading up the path north.


Nothing seems amiss with the mark, nor the path, which leads up to a great set of stairs, leading upward to a space surrounded and hidden from view by walls of the hedge maze. You are sure you have not seen it elsewhere in this place.

"I'd put a leash around you but that's more Amy's thing," Busta says.
The trianglist Malak does a rimshot.

You step into the mercury circle, and once you are completely within, the mercury rises up around you, forming a kind of tall cylinder – only to collapse in on you. But, rather than harm you, it simply leaves you in the dark for a moment, before the world fades in around you once more…

…When at last you can see clearly again, you seem to be in a small stone room, lightly furnished with floor-cushions, a wide and soft rug, and some incense burners. There is an exit before you, and behind you.

Volkama and Deriva fly down from above with their demonic alicorn's wings, and land near you in time to head onward after Pryce's example.




"Heyyyy! Where have you guys been?" Amy asks conversationally to Volkama and Deriva as she also goes through the portal.


Shei pings his aura to see if the room is as mundane as it appears. He even expands his aura just a bit beyond the confines of the room to sense if theres anything dangerous waiting for them outside.

[1d10] phase aura

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Traveling with Shorthorned," Volkama says. "Oh, you missed it, she was a mouse for a time, and befriended a cat."

A cat perched atop Shorthorned's head looks your way. "Hello," he says in a deep voice.


As the sigil may have suggested, in time, the northern stairway begins to turn in a spiral path, and the higher and higher it goes, the stranger the hedge walls surrounding grow. The crystalline dew-drops adorning the hedges appear to grow larger the higher you go, and yet, if you look up, or down, each one appears to be of uniform size. Anyone who gazes at them for more than a second will see more than their reflection within, but an altered reflection – each one bearing some key difference from your real selves. Amy sees herself in armor, Pryce in hunter's leathers, Shorthorned in missionary's robes, Cloak in the humble garb of a farmer. Other permutations shine in the lights beyond.

At last the spiral stairs reach a plateau – a round marble platform, with the sigil seen before comprising its etched design. A basin lies in the center of the platform, and paths surround it, each one separated from the others by hedges. Water barriers cover each path's entryway, yet there seems no available mechanism for altering this.


"Did you run into any of the alchemical guardians in your travels? Much like Sulfur, we met with a dragon named Salt who bequeathed us a question to ask the rest of the party."

Leather clears his throat, "I do not remember the preamble, but we were told to ask What is it that you will do to those who shall uncompromisingly stand in your way?"


You can sense powerful presences not far from you, both ahead and behind. The room does not seem to hold any traps nor other hidden mechanisms, but there is always the chance that the strong presences are overwhelming your aura.


"We found another room with trapped doors, and the Salt dragon.," Pryce answers. "Oh, that reminds me. It asked a question for us all."
Pryce turns to Flaming, then looking over to Volkama and Deriva as they fly down.
"When you go into Tartarus, you will be surrounded by countless friends and enemies, and even more enemies will come from the depths. What will you do when you are faced with one who stands in your way without compromise?"
He says, repeating the dragon's question.

Pryce leads ahead up the stairs, KP trailing right behind, knowing its one of the safer spots. Pryce looks around cautiously as the walls grow around them, almost to keep them encaged. KP looks on with wonder, moreso as they spot alters versions of themselves.
"Are these… other possibilities, or just illusions?" Pryce mutters aloud in thought as he sees himself, making him glance down at KP for a moment before shaking it aside to continue on.

>"What do you see?"

KP asks River and Zjetya, curious to what alter selves of them would appear.

When they reach the basin, Pryce looks to each path around them.
"I wonder if those were other paths up here…"
Pryce looks down at the basin, stepping ahead to it.
"No statues to move, so this must be our method to move on."
Pryce comments, pulling off his bracelet as he attempts to conjure some water to fill it.
>Hat Magic [Water] [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1


>meant to ping Shorthorns


Shorthorns nods in approval with Pryce's decision as she follows forward, wincing as she feels some of the aches and pains from the earlier fight building up. Curious if her divine power might grant her the ability to mend her own body, Shorthorns takes a breath and tries to use her power over the Sphere of Life to mend her injuries
>Primary Sphere: Life
[1d10] Healing

As Volkama tells Amy and her mouse-adventures, Shorthorns gaps, "VOLKAMA! I told you not to tell her about that part!"

As they head up the stair-way into the spiraling path, Shorthorns takes a moment to look at her reflection. She blinks in surprise at seeing her in the garbs of a Hearthome missionary, turning her head and adjusting her movements to see if the Missinary Shorthorns performs the same actions. "Woah… are you all seeing this? The reflection has me in Union robes!"

As they reach the peak, Shorthorns takes a quick look to the water barriers blocking the path, but spends a second more looking on her reflection as a nun of the Union, curious what such a path for her might have been like if she'd taken the missionaries that came to visit her tribe more seriously…

Roll #1 1 = 1



"Hey! I can be a mouse too!" Amy says, transforming into a rat. "Aren't I adorable!" she asks excitedly as she lifts up her arms, gesturing for someone to pick her up.


As they travel up the stairs, Amy looks at the reflection. Even as a rat, she still (presumably) looks like a wolf in armor. "Weird…" Amy mutters.

When they reach the top, Amy stares at the basin. "I hate puzzles…" she whines.


Shei summons a dark corridor connecting from here to where his party is (malakhim, gadds, busta)


Roll #1 5 = 5



"There's nothing wrong with being a mouse!" Rat-Amy lectures Flaming as if she said something offensive. "I bet you were adorable!"


Shorthorns grumbles as Rat-Amy lectures her, rubbing her leg with her hoof as she mumbles to the side. "I'm a mighty and powerful god now, I'm not supposed to be 'adorable'."



"There has to be a God of Cuteness!"


"Well it sure as stampede isn't gonna be me!" She shouts back, "I'm too tough to be cute."

"I-it was purely for useful purposes! There was a door too small for me to fit through and I wanted to see if I could do it. Turns out I can, no big whup."


"Depending on who they are," Volkama begins. "Likely am I to merely push them aside. There is only one I truly seek to kill."
"I concur," Deriva adds.

"Myself, still in rags, a pauper thin and emaciated," River notes grimly.
"…A knight of the Dragon Gods," Zjetya admits reluctantly.

"You should have bound me by a Contract!" Volkama warns. "Otherwise I am free to do as I please!"
As Amy transforms, Volkama produces one of his wizard mice from his pocket. "Close, Amy. This is a mouse, while you are a rat."
"And this is a frog," Deriva adds, pointing at Hopper.
Hopper croaks and leaps onto Pryce's head without warning. This throws off Pryce's concentration, and he instead conjures seltzer-water, which he splashes upon Shorthorned. This destroys her focus, and instead of healing herself, she turns into a mouse again.
Hopper then proceeds to his original objective, as he raises his staff of water. Water starts to pour from the orb atop it, filling the basin. When the basin is about halfway full, you can see sigils and murky figures beginning to arise within the water… but nothing more. Nothing changes, nothing develops, within the water.
"Hrm…" River says. "Well if this is a puzzle, we may be missing some piece."

Only dark vapors manifest before you, and the hairs on the back of your neck stand, as a powerful presence approaches from behind–!

"How'd you get in here?"

You turn, and see a fish-like dragon, with the head of a shark, and a body like a great catfish. It's floating there, and a mug of tea floats nearby. "Who let you in?" it asks again. Its voice is vaguely female.



"You can be cute and strong!" Amy objects. "Unless you think I'm not strong!"

Then, Amy lets out a huge gasp. "Or you think I'm not CUTE!?"


Amy falls into a fit of laughter as all the comedy ensues in front of her. Consequently, she turns back into a wolf-pony in the process.

When the water does nothing. Amy contemplates out loud, "Hmmm. That ram guy said that we had to put him in the mirror in all the puzzles. Maybe this water counts as the mirror? Maybe we need to go back and get him and put him in the water?"


Shei finds himself a tad nervous by the imposing presence. He tries to mind his manners.
"Mercury approved of me, but wouldn't allow my entourage so I forced my way in here. My name is Shei the late patron of Bastards and Kids. What do you call yourself?"

Shei looks like he isn't sure whether he should take a seat or not.


"Maychance, I do not wish to peer into the water and place my reflection in it, for belief in something similar to to what Amy suggests. I would also not recommend the addition of blood to the basin yet, that also seems particularly dangerous."

Cloak rubs his chin, "I wonder if the crystals bearing our reflections have any use for this puzzle."


"What? Oh no no, I think you're cute AND strong, but…" she pauses, realizing the hole she dug for herself. "*sigh*… okay you can be both, but just because you can doesn't mean you HAVE to."

Shorthorns concentrates on the divine powers she wields to mend her injuries, she suddenly spits out water when it's sprayed into her face. "Pghbhbhbtt!" She says through the spray as she surrounds herself with white light… and then shrinks down to the size of her mouse form again, blinking in surprise as she looks around at all of the sudden giants around her. She looks down and, recognizing her new mousey form, puffs out her cheeks, looking up at Amy as she laughs so brazenly at her.

"Grrrrrggggm…..!" She scurries along the ground behind the basin, hiding from Amy's sight. "You didn't see ANYTHING!" she shouts in her squeaky voice.

She looks up at the edge of the basin from its base, and asks aloud, "Well, that could be something… if the basin is reflective enough, maybe it DOES count as a mirror. But he's already stuck in that other one, right?"



"Awwwwww!" Amy coos when she sees Flaming Mousehorns. She gets down on her front hoof-paws like a playful puppy. "You're even cuter than me!"


"Put something into the–" River mulls, then gasps. "That's it!"

River flies over to one of the lights adorning the hedge walls, and experimentally tries to tug at it. The vine upon which it rests offers resistance, so Zjetya flies over and helps her pull, until at last they pull it off. The gem loses no luster as it's taken from the vine.

The two fly it over to you, where you can see the surface texture is more like a fruit than a gem; uneven, and squishy.
Zjetya transforms herself into a batpony as she examines the fruit-gem. "Hrm… Cloak's got a point. This whole idea is why some tribes think reflections are evil magic. Doppelgangers, and all that."
"But I don't think they're true reflections," River says. "When I behold the fruit, I only see myself, none others, and I am altered. What about you?"
"Well, same for me," Zjetya says.
"And the same here," Deriva says.
"So even if this basin is the 'mirror' of this section of the maze, then whatever this gem or fruit is – it's not us," River says. "…R-right?"

"I would be the Water Dragon," she says. "Well, if he threw down the mark that took you here, he was obviously trying to get rid of you. I guess he succeeded. This is a place far from the section that he guards."

She sips her drink. "You – you want coffee? Tea?"


Shorty keeps the bottom of the basin between her and Amy, going around it clockwise/counter as necessary to avoid her playful hoof-paws. "No I'm not! I'm… well even I'm not thick-headed enough to say I'm still terrifying, but I'm nowhere near cuter than you! I'm, at most… uh, endearing? Is that a word that means cute but not as much?"


"I take it he doesn't like me."

"Coffee would be nice." Shei's face brightens "Could I invite my friends they could all use a break."


"Us-es that could have been," Leather guesses, "If I am to guess, anyways. I will even wager more, ten bits if we will be able to see what our life could have been like when you place one in the bowl."


Still in her mouseform, Shorthorns climbs the basin up to its edge ass he looks at the fruit that River and Zjetya pull down from the vine, or 'gem' as it would appear to be. She moves over to it, sniffing it curiously. "That's a gem? I've never seen a gem you can EAT before."

As the others ask what reflects they see, Shorthorns looks over towards the hedge-walls again, now (presumably) seeing her as a mouse missionary. "Just me as well. So," she nods, "I think your logic makes sense, River. It's not like we got much to lose, so I say let's put it in the basin and see what happens!"



"I don't care what you call it, I just want to eat you up!" Amy coos as she playfully pounces around the basin repeatedly, trying to catch Flaming.


"Sooooo we have to find something that reflects us as if we look like the ram?" Amy asks as she continues to prowl around the basin.


"PLEASE do not put it that way!" Shorthorns shouts back as she continues to run circles around the basin, playing keep-away from Amy as she chases her
[1d10+1] >Speed roll

"By the way…" Shorthorns asks, "What do you two see in your reflections? I see myself as a nun or something for the Union, I looked just like the missionaries that used to come to the Climbing Fire lands to preach."

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11


"In one I was it appeared I was a farmer, which admittedly fit my fur pattern far more than my current career." Leather says, pulling back some bandage to show off some particularly unstealthy green fur.



As Flaming proves her mousey speed and makes a good point at the same time, Amy stands back up. "Really?" she asks, cocking her head. "I just looked like I was in armor. Hmm…."

Amy grabs the fruit and looks at her reflection in it.



"Whaaaat? No way! You can like… hide in fields. And treetops… And… and… watermelons!"


"Perhaps, but shades of green lend ineffective in the cities and towns I frequented the most. The bandages are multipurpose anyways, as was seen in the gold room."


"Huh," Leather explains as he reveals his green fur, "I guess I could see that, though with only having met you recently I never would have guessed."

Seeing that Amy has, thankfully, stopped chasing her, Shorthorns takes a moment to catch her tiny breath as she looks up at her, "Armor? Hmmm…."

"Well, I think the other part of the reflections is, they show you's that could have been if you'd made different decisions. If I had accepted the Union and the Devas when I was younger I could see myself growing up to be a missionary. Was there an option for you to be a farmer instead of a warrior, Leather? And, Amy, can you think of any choices that would have led to you becoming a knight?"


The Water Dragon nods. "I'll get it prepared. Follow me, and I'll put you back where you were so you can grab your companions."

She floats back down the south hall, gesturing for you to follow her. You seem to be in a small, yet cozy lounge, located in some hidden place of the dungeon. Other dragons mill about, representing different alchemical symbols and components. They seem to be on break, for they read scrolls, play board games, and sip calming drinks.

Water leads you to another small room which appears to belong to her, judging by the furnishings. Inside is a pool, which takes up most of the space in the room, and has a clear glass bottom.

"Swim to the bottom, and you'll be back before you know it," Water explains. "Anything you don't want getting wet, leave here."

Amy sees that she wears the armor of some of Ecclesia's highest-ranked champions, those who fight on the front lines of the war effort… a far cry from the mass-produced armored jackets worn by recruits, the Choristers and the Spooks.

Volkama produces a clean cooking knife from his travel bag. "Do you think the risks outweigh the rewards? Or shall I cut open this fruit and see what it may do?"
"Hrm… if we're trapped, we still have our small army," Zjetya proposes. "Someone would eventually go looking for us and get us out, I'm sure of it."



"It looked kinda like the Ecclesian Armor," Amy contemplates. "But, like… I can't ever see myself joining them. I mean, I know I was technically a part of them. Or I am… But, not really…"



"Maybe it's like… if I never got possessed."

Amy cocks her head at her own words. "If I never GOT possessed? Huh… I guess I really DO have Amy's perspective."

"Wait! The fruit is showing me things for what AMY could have been. I mean, there's no way a full on demon would have ever joined Ecclesia!"

"Could… could we use that somehow?"


"I feel as if I'd have had to been born in a different place if it had been since childhood, my parents were clothier and clergy in a city, not rural. Perhaps it would like to suggest I settled down with Glass Dagger after the Firmament was broken. I very well could've never reconnected with what remained of the Morte Legionem and joined the Ecclesians."


"Stranger things have happened too, who knows what an alternate Ecclesia could have been. There could've been more like I that don't wish to make such hasty assumptions."

"Perhaps we should cut open one of the less dangerous seeming fruits first, such as the one where I am a farmer. A workhorse doppelganger could prove less difficult to quell than a warrior or priest, should one be summoned."


"Well I couldn't really see myself joining the Union when the missionaries came to my tribe, but, I could see how that path existed, I guess? Maybe that's what it's based on, is something so radical but still possible?"

As Volkama holds up the knife, Shorthorns takes a moment to think on the action, but thinks quickly remembering the rules of the dungeon punishing indecisiveness. She nods, "Cut it open, I can't imagine they'd make this 'gem' so squishy and fruit like if it wasn't meant to be cut or peeled like one. We'll be ready for whatever comes our way, so I say we go for it." She says resolutely, crossing her mousey arms and nodding her head.


As the tone shifts to comfy Shei begins lightly strumming on his guitar as he follows Water through the lounge.

"Wow, there's a whole community in this dungeon isn't there. I can't imagine where you get things like coffee and tea so far down here."

>"Anything you don't want getting wet, leave here."

"That's fine. I've been in the water a lot as of late. If you can call it water. Well thank you for the coffee and showing me the lounge. Before I go I was wondering, just how far away is the lounge from Mercury's domain?"

Once Water answer's Shei he lets himself in the pool gently so he doesn't make a splash and starts swimming down, pushing water with his wings.


Pryce frowns as he hears what River sees.
"That's a version of you you never have to worry about again," He says to help lighten her spirits.

KP looks up to Zjetya as she says her.
He mutters, remembering their conversation of her friend.
>"Well, it's just a vision. No need to dwell on it, right?"

Pryce stumbles as Hopper hops on his head suddenly, looking to Shorthorns as he spills the seltzer on her, and she transforms.
"Sorry, Flaming…"

Pryce looks to Zjetya as she transforms into a batpony to examine the fruit.
"Does it feel strange being a bat after being a moth so long?"
He asks genuinely.

Pryce looks back as the others surmise the fruits hold the key.
"Now it comes to our reflections… Maybe this is a rejection of other paths to teach us to be focused?"
He muses as the decide to cut one open.


"Right," River says. "The divergences keep piling up."
"Hrm…" Zjetya says. "Wonder why it's fixated on your mortal portion. You'd think it'd show you two visions – one for your mortal side, and one for your demonic side. Aren't you mostly the demon, now?"

Zjetya shrugs. "We changelings wear a lot of disguises. If you get hung up on weird contrasts, it'll just throw off your transforming ability."

Volkama nods, and cuts the fruit. A sweet-smelling sap pours out, mingling with the water in the basin, thickening it. As the level of the mingling liquids rises, the colors within start to clear up. A ring of varying hieroglyphs surrounds the outer circle of the liquids, and they solidify into a gem-like texture and shape, suggesting they are to be pressed. In the waters, you can see more clearly that the dark and murky shapes were, in fact, the other members of your small army. You can see the other Saviors, even glimpses of the Ecclesians, and the Witches of Gehenna. However, no figure appears for more than a second in the rapidly-shifting liquids.

"Perhaps one of these can sharpen the image, focus it?" Zjetya asks. She munches on a piece of the fruit, now that enough has been poured into the basin.
"They… they appear to be in the dungeon. Is a scrying basin truly all that's up here?" River asks.

"If we all manage to stop arguing and work together, we can transmute anything," Water says. "Tea and coffee are small potatoes in comparison to gold. Even gold gets boring after you have too much."

As for your second question – "Not too far, but both are far enough away from God's Entombed for safety purposes, and for maximum room for Mercury's reconstructions."

After you reach the bottom of the pool, the world darkens… when the light at last comes back, you find yourself with Gadriel, Busta and the Malakhim again. The five appear to have been discussing what to do about your absence, but when you reappear, it ends.

"Whoa, you're soaked," Gadriel says. "Did he banish you to an ocean or something?"



"I guess… it depends on what you mean by 'mostly'… My perspective definitely feels more like the demon. But, I guess that's just because there's… more of it? But, I'd like to be Amy. I guess maybe this reflection is saying that I AM mostly Amy…"

Amy tears up a little bit before rubbing her eyes.


"Oh! I wanna try some of that!" Amy says as she grabs a fruit from the vine for herself and munches on it.

[1d10] for yum! (And hey, maybe some more dumb luck solutions!)

Roll #1 5 = 5


Shei arrives with a tray of 5 cups of coffee. "The employee lounge. Also these are for you." He brings the tray closer so everyone can get a cup.

"When your done put the cups in my cape. I said I'd return them before we head into Tartarus. So as it turns out this is the right way. But at least now we know where the lounge is. Carry on!"

Shei leads the way down the path.. again. But this time with coffee.


Shorthorns, still in mouse-form, grumbles as she looks up at Pryce. "Watch where you're spraying that stuff from now on! Of all the times for me to lose my focus…"

As the fruit's pulp falls into the basin, and murks it into a sort of 'scrying' device that shows so many brief glimpses of the others through the dungeon, Shorthorns looks down with delight, giving a thumbs up (a new experience for her) with her paws up at Volkama and Pryce. "Good idea! I think it's trying to show the whole dungeon now."

She looks at the various flashing images, thinking. "Well, it's showing us a bunch of images, maybe it just needs us to focus on one?" She puts her paw into the water, thinking of one buffalo and one buffalo only.
"Voyage… Voyage… Voyage…"
[1d10] Thinking of Great Voyage

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Anyone got ten bits." Leather muses, "I know not more except the dangerous option of adding blood or the like to the basin. It's never a good idea to add blood to an alter though."


"I suppose that's true, though I imagine some contrasts would be odd back to back like that."

Pryce looks into the basin as they pour in the sap, watching the murky shapes change through those that entered with them.
"A scrying pool? That can't be all, there has to be more."
He looks to the gems that formed along the edge, and to test, presses one when he sees a glimpse of one of the groups of their friends.

When Zjetya takes a bite of the fruit, Pryce looks up with worry.
"Zjetya, are you sure that's safe to eat?!"


"I'll make sure to watch my aim, and my pets, in the future," Pryce apologizes. "If it makes you feel better, River, Amy, and I were turned into birds by a trap earlier, so you're not alone in the odd forms."


The group take their mugs, offering their thanks as they sip it.
"Why'd he send you to a lounge?" Gadriel asks.
As you walk even further down the augur trail, you at last see light from below… but when you come within sight of it, you see Mercury floating in the final gateway before the lair of the Capo. You look back up, and see that you are on one of many spiraling pathways that lead to this liminal space from higher up in the dungeon.
"What-ho! Here, I had hoped to be the first to the end," a voice says.

You look ahead, and see Sir Gegenschein, of the Choir. Accompanying him is Doctor Galton, Living Saint Zoantharia, and their Spooks: Lion, Viper and Monkey. They are on the path opposite to you, floating there in the darkness.

Zjetya swallows her bite, then smirks. "Only one way to find out. It tastes kinda like mango, or maybe that's the batpony talking."

You leap from the platform onto the nearest fruit hanging from the garden walls, and bite right in. It's at first tasteless – until the very moment that a thought enters your head about what fruit 'should' taste like. Then, it tastes just like what you imagine. If, and should, your imagination shifts, then so too does the taste.

As Shorthorned imagines Great Voyage, the scrying-pool clears, and you see Great Voyage, traveling with Mocha, the Dragon, Vortigern, Septum Axis, and Tantra. They walk along a steep downward path, moving in a spiral motion, across ancient stonework.

As Pryce pushes one of the buttons, Voyage hops with surprise, as a floating spiral of light appears beside him. You look up, your attention caught by a gleaming in your peripheral vision. One of the water barriers nearby is gone, and you can see a spiral of light at the end of the path it was obstructing.

"No mere scrying basin, but a master key of sorts!" Volkama exclaims. "We can catch up with any of our fellows with this."


Shorthorns chuckles, looking up at Pryce. "R-really? You were all turned into birds?" She snorts, "Okay, I guess at least I'm not the only one then. How'd you all change back?"

As the spiraling light appears in the pool in the basin, and then she sees it behind what used to be the aqua barrier, she smiles widely, "OR, they can catch up with us too!" She takes a moment, and shouts directly into the pool as loud as she can

"HEY, VOYAGE! This is Shorthorns, can you hear me?!" she shouts into the water, curious if it transfers sound as well as sight.



"Hmm… I expected grapefruit," Amy says out loud. Then, it starts tasting like grapefruit!

"Ooooh! There it is!" Amy says, her tail wagging. She takes another bite, passively comparing it to other fruits, then realizing it tastes like those.

"Woah! It tastes like whatever you want it to!" she concludes far too easily.

Then, a terrible idea occurs to her… She thinks about indecent things and then takes another bite. She smiles and savors the flavor.

"Hmm," Amy thinks with a full mouth. She walks over to the basin and spits in it to see what happens.

[1d10] to see something new happen!

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Alright, pass some over then."
He says to Zjetya.

When the pool clears, and a portal opens, Pryce peers down.
"Could we regroup everypony with this? Or… should we regroup with this? This could be the only way out of here."
Pryce dwells on this, looking off the edge of their plateau, wondering if there's a door to venture deeper into the dungeon with this.
As Flaming calls out to Voyage, Pryce starts to think of Spitshine and Sugar, wondering how those two are faring in this dungeon.

"I was able to use the Unweaving technique we learned to break it on myself and River. Not sure how Amy got out of hers."


"Hmm, I have no good wordplay situation. We will go pun-less. Shall we tarry on?"


wordplay for the situation*


"The Other dragon there said He probably wanted to get rid of me. Mercury probably doesn't like me.. Okay, I was antagonizing him from our first encounter but all's fair in love and war. I hope we can at least get along as maybe cheeky and adversarial rivals." He responds to Gadriel

As Shei descends the spiral pathway he gawks all around him, seeing the Ecclessian group regard them from their respective path.

"Look at that! We out paced Ecclessia. Raise your cups boys!" Shei commands for everyone to raise their cups in victory. Shei raises a coffee cup and calls toward the Ecclessian group "Ho! We even had time to visit the lounge. Had we known you would be here we would have stopped by the giftshop too."


Spitshine and Sugar accompany Sir Freischutz, Sir Ichimonji, and Sir Holy Hours, along with their Spooks: Anzu, Fox and Rooster. Rooster appears to have been shrunk by some spell, most likely his own, to avoid crushing the dungeon structures designed not for elephants.

Volkama cuts you some fruit, and indeed, it tastes like mango. Then, like any fruit which you imagine after the first bite. River tries herself some. "Mango? More like apple, by my estimation."
"Well aren't you just a traditional horse," Zjetya teases.

Lightning strikes you from above.

Voyage and the others look into the spiral curiously, then Voyage peeks his head in. "Hey!" you hear suddenly, and you look up, in the direction of the spiral on your end. "I'm guessing you're the ones behind this?"

"Don't you have enough of those?" Gadriel asks.

"Well, we had a shortcut," Busta admits.
"All is fair in a competition, regardless of what's at stake," Gegenschein says. "Though if you've any more… is that coffee I smell? Well! If you've any more, I'll drink to your honor."
"That sounds so good right now…" Doctor Galton says with a sigh. "I've been going without for the war effort for so long."
Zoantharia remains silent.
"Cream and one sugar," Lion says.
"Just sugar for mine," Viper adds. "Three sugars."
"I'll have a cuppa," Monkey says. "If you have it."


Correction: Onion is also with Spitshine.



Upon the tingly sensation of being strike by lightning, Amy looks around curiously. Her hair stands up, going all frizzy. "Alright, sheesh! Sorry, universe!"

Amy looks up in the direction of the voice. "No, I think we're in front of it, actually. Or… Around it, I guess? There's not really a way to be behind a circle, is there?"


Pryce chews on the fruit, tasting the mango as Zjetya described, "Huh, it is mango. Wonder if these were all just enchanted then." But then, as River mentions apple, he finds it changes to apple. His eyes widen in surprise. "It tastes like whatever you think it is, I think."
>"Oh, I wanna try! If this can taste like whatever we should grab a few to take with us!"
KP chimes in.

Seeing Spitshine, Sugar, and Onion travelling safe with the others, Pryce feels relieved. He pressed a different gem this time, looking to open another portal.

Pryce looks to the spiral as Voyage calls in.
"Looks so. We found a scrying pool that can connect to whoever else we think of."


"At least mine was technically by choice," she says looking down at herself, "It's part of my new powers I've found out, I can change how I look. I needed to fit through a small door earlier and, I tried this. I can change back whenever I want, with a little concentration…"

As Voyage sticks his head in, Shorthorns looks up (still in mouse form), waving at him instinctively "Hey Voyage! Yeah, we found something REALLY good here!" She says, tapping the rim of the pulp-filled water gently to send a small ripple through it.

"This basin lets us see everyone in the dungeon just by thinking about them, and not just that but apparently," she motions towards the buttons, "Let's them come to us too! This is amazing, we can go anywhere in the dungeon now I bet." She turns her head, "How's your side been coming along? We found a few really useful items down here too!"


Leather initially refrains from looking into the scrying pool as of concerns of over security of Ecclesian compounds, Leather thinks to ponder over the next location the party will be heading to head to Tartarus.


>"Don't you have enough of those?" Gadriel asks.
"I'll have you know he asked you to step in the circle too Gadds."

At the commotion of everyone asking for coffee Shei gestures frantically with his hooves "Whoa, whoa -slow down. You're making me feel bad. That was all the coffee but- hay! I have a fridge full of goodies in my cape -that's not sarcasm- How about before we finally open the Big Door we all pitch for a pot luck. It'll be like a last meal but less foreboding."

After more regards from the Ecclessians Shei turns to address Mercury "Is there any prelude to this before we meet your boss?"


The Ecclesians nod their assent.

Mercury growls. "Look… just find a place to wait. I'm only going to ask this question of mine once more, so I'd like to have you all here as a group. First it was her, then this group, and now you're all just showing up in chunks."
"Terribly sorry for the inconvenience, chap," Gegenschein says. "We've no issue with having an intermission before the finale."

Voyage stares at you. "When'd you guys meet a talking mouse? Where's Shorthorned?"

"Great! I have a feeling we're almost out of here, so you think you can use it to round up any stragglers?" Voyage asks.

You see Anzu and Freischutz immediately draw their guns as the portal opens, but Holy Hours raises his hoof, and they back away. He takes a step toward the portal, then vanishes.

"How good to see you all again," Holy Hours says. He now stands adjacent to Cloak, with no indication of how he got there.
Volkama says nothing, but Deriva nods in greeting. River and Zjetya are a bit shocked by his sudden appearance, but Zjetya salutes smartly.

The image in the basin changes, but the portals still remain open. As you try to see what lays before you next, you behold only darkness – but a darkness that moves, softly, quietly, in subtle ripples, like hair stirred by a soft comb, it moves.



As Voyage asks where they met a talking mouse, Shortyhorns gasps, looking down at her mousey form as she grumbles. "Oh, dangit, can'tbelieveIforgthfrmgmrrggg…."

She grumbles, before using her magic to try and transform back into her buffalo form
[1d10] Sphere of LIfe

Roll #1 9 = 9


Last time, on HolyQuest…

Shei spent some time chilling in a lounge where all the alchemical dragons – including several the party had not yet met – rested whenever they were not on duty. He brought back coffee for Busta, Gadriel and the Malakhim. Once he was back, they met Sir Gegenschein's group, whereupon Mercury complained about you all appearing in groups. First, it was someone he only addressed as her, then Shei's group, and now, Sir Gegenschein's.

Shorthorned, Pryce, Cloak and Amy ascended the tower that lay beyond the northern path of the garden, where they encountered a large bowl, in the midst of several branching paths, all filled with water barriers. They filled the bowl with water, as well as juice from one of the many large fruits growing on the garden walls nearby, in whose reflections, they saw alternative versions of themselves. The fruits seemed to be filled with potentiality itself; this was corroborated when they ate the fruit, and tasted whatever it was that they wished to taste.

They used this to locate the Spiders, as well as the second of the Ecclesian groups, led by the Choristers, Sirs Freischutz, Holy Hours and Ichimonji. Sugar, Spitshine and Onion accompanied them. The bowl enabled them to create portals to where these groups were, allowing them to link up before reaching the end.


You are, once more, a buffalo. Voyage steps forward through the portal in surprise, followed by the rest of the Spiders. "Oh, hey," Voyage says. "There you are! Why were you all mousey just now? That's hardly like you."
"What a terrible pun," the Dragon says.
"Can you turn others into mice, or just yourself?" Mocha asks. "I wanna try."



"Be wary, darkness stirs with life from within the portal. I attempt to scry what our next challenge might be in this dungeon, and a moving shadow stirred to life." Leather says, backing away from the scrying pool and readying his rifle in case something leaves.


>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]
>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]


"We should be able to. Looks like we can focus on anypony we want."
Pryce answers to Voyage.

When Anzu and Freischutz draw their guns, Pryce is concerned, getting ready and expecting a hail of bullets from the portal. When Holy Hours stops then, then suddenly appears by Cloak, Pryce turns, shocked at the appearance.
"And good to see you, so quickly," Pryce comments, looking back to the portal. "It's just us, you all can come on through!" Pryce shouts through the portal to Spitshine, Sugar, Onion, and the remaining two Ecclesians.


As she manages to transform herself back into a white buffalo, she sighs, looking at Voyage with barely hidden annoyance as he makes his joke about her being mousey. "What? I'm allowed to have different moods. Maybe I felt like being a little mousey!" She snorts, "And, m-maybe I just happen to forget before transforming myself back."

As Mocha asks if she can turn others, she pauses to think. "Hmm… I'm pretty sure I can do it to anyone, I've only done it to myself so far but I can't really think of why I can't do it to another. You wanna try it?"

"Shadows moving in the dungeon…?" Shorthorns asks, moving closer to the pool to get a better look. "May have something to do with the hands we saw moving stuff around, but they're not really a challenge so much as… well, builders I guess. It must be an enemy the Sons expect us to fight, can you see where they are relative to us?"



Amy jumps and turns around when Holy Hours suddenly takes everyone by surprise. She gets down low to the ground and starts sniffing around him, trying to figure out where he came from.

[1d10] to discover his secrets!

Roll #1 9 = 9


File: 1614134714866-0.png (337.93 KB, 761x805, Sir Freischutz.png)

File: 1614134714866-1.png (262.09 KB, 743x861, The Anzu.png)

File: 1614134714866-2.png (278.47 KB, 708x747, Sir Ichimonji.png)

File: 1614134714866-3.png (252.08 KB, 804x815, The Fox.png)

File: 1614134714866-4.png (288.97 KB, 665x815, Sir Holy Hours.png)

He smells like very fine and rare cologne, but also, as though he's been messing about with old, dusty clockwork machinery; the combination of scents is a peculiar blend.

He takes a step away from you as you start to sniff the ground. "How charming."

"Yeah, can you make me into a big ol' dog?" Mocha asks, clacking her spidery legs together with excitement.

Voyage smirks, then steps forward and bumps noses with you. "Have your fun while you can, because I doubt we could use mice more than powerful buffalo in Tartarus."

Freischutz, Anzu, Ichimonji, Fox and the shrunken Rooster step through the portal, keeping Onion, Spitshine and Sugar safely between them. They put away their weapons once it's you – apart from Rooster, who has no weapons to speak of.

Anzu and Freischutz look around the strange arena with awe, while Ichimonji is quick to approach, greeting both Shorthorned and Amy with a hug. "Never did I expect to see recruits like you come into such power. Seems not long ago that you entered our provisional base, with Amy all bloodied and beaten."
"Und I did not expect zhe hunters who slayed Orcus to now take on the powers of Hell itself," Freischutz remarks. "So vhat's zhis you've come across?"
Rooster eagerly looks at the darkness that stirs within the basin, but… nothing emerges, neither from the basin, nor from any portal. Eventually, the image turns back into that of murk.


File: 1614134742560-0.png (569.94 KB, 1358x1298, The Rooster.png)

Rooster's here too


"How's your journey through the maze been?" Pryce asks the group, though mostly Spitshine, Sugar, and Onion, seeing if they're okay.
>"Did you guys find anything cool?"
KP adds in.

"We found a scrying pool that connects to others we focus on. This wasn't part of the maze proper, so we think it might've been a rest or training room of some kind," Pryce answers Freishutz.

When the pool doesn't react to Rooster, Pryce steps over. "Wonder if it's tied to the trial, or whoever came first." He looks around, seeing the group they have so far, and then thinks of Shei while looking into the pool, wondering where he gotten off after he split when they were venturing to find Amy through the orb trial.



Amy wrinkles her nose at the aroma. Even without the machinery, the scent of the cologne would have been enough to set her off.

Then, when Holy Hours (obviously sincerely) calls her charming, she stands upright in a flash and smiles. "Thanks!" she says happily, her tail wagging. She follows that up with a simple declaration in a happy tone: "You smell weird!"


When Ichimonji hugs Amy, she happily squeezes Ichimonji as hard as she can before letting go after a few seconds.

Then, she looks around at everyone. Worry comes across her face. "So many people showed up suddenly… But still no Shei… Has anyone seen him?"


With all the Ecclesians here, Leather offers head bow to each, specifically greeting his two direct superiors. "Sir Holy Hours, Rooster. I am glad to see you all in good health. Have you interacted with any of the 'guardians' of these lower reaches of the maze? We have come across two or three now, all named after alchemical components. They appear to be in control the challenges we face to some degree."


Shorty gives a confident laugh, "Well, not if that mouse is every bit as strong as the buffalo! Which it will be, because it's me!" She says, giving a triumphant stomp of her forehooves. She snickers, "Maybe I should turn you into a sparrow, and see if you're still so tough!"

She looks to Mocha, nodding her head. "Uh, sure! I can give it a try. Any particular reason why a dog?"

As Ichimonji appears, Shorthorns is caught by surprise, having had a chance to see her briefly before entering the dungeon but not given much time to interact then. She looks at her for a moment, about ready to say something before she's enveloped in a hug, startling the divine buffalo. She quickly eases into it however, feeling a swelling sensation of pride as she hears Ichimonji's praise.

"I… I'm honored to do you proud, Ichimonji. I couldn't have gotten this far without the start you gave me with Ecclesia. I hope to make everyone who's helped us all get this far proud."

As she turns to look at the scrying pool again, she says, "Is this everyone who entered the dungeon? I figure we could all compare notes and see what we've all learned so far, if anything, about how it operates."


"The Ecclesians let us keep a few things here and there," Sugar says. "But they confiscated all the good treasures."
"They'll trust us with guns, but not cursed artifacts?" Spitshine scoffs. "What a letdown."
Onion now possesses an ornate, and very old-looking harp, with his guitar slung over his back. "They at least let me sneak off with this."

Freischutz nods. "If ve veren't on a time limit, I'd love to give zome of zhese a vhirl. Too often did we brute force our vay through obstacles in seeking to get zhrough in a timely fashion."

"And you smell… used," Holy Hours replies.

"Yes, we have encountered the dragons of Water and Lead," Holy Hours responds. "I assume that you also had to contemplate their questions."

"I had to leave behind my guard dog with my family when they went into hiding," Mocha says. "Plus, I wanna be fluffy."

"I bet I'd make a cooler animal than you, any day of the week!" GV boasts.

"As do I, my dear," Ichimonji says. "As do I."

"We're still missing the Witches of Gehenna, and the Light Brigade," Anzu says. "But I doubt the former would have anything to say to us. We can start our discussion anyhow – we'll update the Light Brigade at their reporting time."

As Pryce concentrates on the pool, you see Shei, Busta and Gadriel in a wondrous strange place. They appear to be standing in darkness, with only the stone path beneath them as a reference for their position in space. The path is one of many, and each path curves upwards and downwards through the darkness in a spiral pattern, with all the paths meeting and merging into a single ramp, leading downward. On a path across from them is Sir Gegenschein, Doctor Galton and Living Saint Zoantharaia, along with their Spooks – Lion, Viper and Monkey.

"Hah," Anzu says. "Not a scratch on the lot of them."
"THAT'S OUR TEACH FOR YOU," Rooster bellows.
"And this can take us right there, can't it?" Fox asks.


"FLuffy huh? Well, okay, but don't be surprised if Voyage gets jealous if you turn out even fluffier than him. OH, and, uh… Amy might get excited at having another dog in the group."
She uses her divine powers over life itself to transmorgrify Mocha…
[1d10] Transforming her into a dog using Life

She turns to look towards Voyage, grinning, "You really wanna bet on that? You can do this too, right?"

She nods towards Ichimonji, "I won't let you down. I won't let anyone out there down."

She turns Anzu, "Wait… Amy's right, there's no Shei here either! Oh no, I really hope he hasn't gotten himself into too much trouble on his own."

She turns to look towards the pool as Pryce concentrates on it, sighing in relief. "Well, that doesn't look so bad, they're just in another challenge." She takes a deep breath
"HEY SHEI! CAn you hear us?!"

Roll #1 7 = 7


"It's a good thing they aren't letting you have anything cursed. We've seen some terrible magic on our way down." Pryce comments.
>"Wow, lucky! So what'dya find?"
KP asks Sugar, then looks up to Onion.
>"Cool! Does it Sound good?"

"We've had to rush too, the dungeon nearly shifted apart a puzzle while we were still in it. They don't leave you much time to think down here."
Pryce comments to Freischutz.

Pryce looks into the pool, seeing Shei and the others in what looks like darkness.
"Where are they? Leather, is this the shadow you saw?"
He looks over to Fox, nodding.
"Us to them, or them to us. Hard to tell which is the better option."


"All due respect, Sir Pryce, it is hard to distinguish one darkness from another."
"Yes, though not those that you met. Salt and one other - I do not have Rooster's memory."


At mercury's snippy tone Shei shrugs and decides not to touch this one. He steps away to find a place to sit down. Crouching down to sit cross legged as he unpacks some things from his cape.

A pouch of praymore, white orchids from regina's garden, jinseng root, a stick of cinnamon, and a vial of dark matter. He shuffles the items into a pestle and mortar, grind away as they emit a clinking sound against the porcelain. He shreds ginseng with a grate and crumbles a morsel of cinnamon as he goes along.



Amy's jaw drops when Holy Hours so blatantly insults her. The shocked expression is mixed with amusement. She giggles, but her mouth still hangs open.

"Holyyyyy shit!" she exclaims before bursting out into laughter. "That was SO mean!" she says, not sounding particularly insulted by it. She is, in fact, more impressed.

Then, she gets closer to Holy Hours and smiles. "I think you're just jealous," she says quietly.


"Shei!" Amy shouts excitedly when she sees him. Her tail wags as she hops around like a rambunctious puppy.

Without a second thought, she jumps into the basin.

[1d10] to blue skadoo

Roll #1 8 = 8


"Fair enough. It doesn't look like they're in danger, so it must not be it then."


"Still needs a little fine-tuning," Onion says. "I don't rightly want to play too much until I can have Volkama appraise it."

Freischutz nods. "Mezhinks zhat's zhe idea. It's not as if Tartarus vill offer you any more time zhan this dungeon to ponder your choices. Act, razher zhan be lost in zhought."

Mocha turns into a tan husky, and excitedly runs about a bit, testing her movement on four, instead of eight legs. She turns to Amy, and barks repeatedly.

Voyage clacks his horns against yours. "Anytime! Name your animals!"

"Nothing in this world or another could arouse envy within me," Holy Hours says. "Not when I have my family."

The Ecclesians flash-step back as water and fruity pulp splash everywhere, soaking the Saviors. However, Amy remains where she is.

Zjetya bows her head to the gathered Choristers. "Forgive my friend here. I'll get us moving again."

Zjetya reaches out and taps one of the crystallized sap buttons, and another portal manifests, this time between Sir Gegenschein's party and Shei's. The two groups look up with interest as the portal manifests, and Sir Gegenschein doesn't delay in sticking his head in, much to Zoantharia's annoyance.

"Sulfur was the first one we faced," River says.
"The three fundamentals, then," Holy Hours notes. "I wonder what portents we may draw from whom the others saw…"

Gegenschein pokes his head out through the portal, and smiles as he sees you. "Hoohoo! Hello there! Shei, come and get a look at this."
"Quit screwing around and get in here," Holy Hours says.
"You don't know if that thing could close at any moment," Ichimonji scolds.
"I trust you all to save me if something should go awry," Gegenschein says, muscling his way through the portal to enter. "Saviors, Spiders," he says in greeting.


Pryce looks over as the new portal opens and Gegenschein pokes his head through.
"Looks like that's the last of us. How has your journey gone?"
He asks as he comes through the portal.



"Hey! That was a pretty good bark!" Amy says, patting Mocha on the head.

"Kinda stereotypical and offensive, but still good!"


"Is Shei there!?" Amy asks excitedly as she bounces up and down, waiting for the portal to either be clear or for Shei to come through.


"Any interesting works of trapmaking on the way here? I do believe our highlight was sailing across a room filled with accursed gold that turned any that touched it into more of itself. Perhaps the designers playing on the typical alchemical pursuit of transmutation." Leather chuckles lightly.


Shei-Sher looks up from his pestling, to Gengenschein admiring what looks like a portal. He stands up whilist still pestling away.

"huh.." Shei walks around the portal, leaning his head forward as he gets a good look at it and then sees his friends on the other. "Rightoooo. I was wondering by when your lot would finally catch up to us. How does it feel to know your better half got their bronze medal. Does it sting! Does it buuuurrnn." Shei makes an over pained gestured clenching his eyes as he fools around. "-Oh hi Holy Hours. Good to see you." He breaks the wild mannerisms to greet Holy Hours.

"Say- can I walk through this?" Shei attempts to walk through the portal


Shorthorns opens her eyes after concentrating on her latest miracle, opening them to look at the tan spider-husky that she'd just created. As she barks at Shorthorns, she chuckles, reaching over to look over Mocha. "Hehehe, happy, I'm guessing? I have to admit, you ARE pretty fluffy…" she says, reaching a hoof up to pet Mocha before pausing,
"Uh, do you mind if I…?" She asks before petting

As Voyage meets her challenge, she grins. "Alright, we'll make it fair: you name mine and I'll name yours. You go first!"

As Amy jumps into the portal-pool and splashes everyone, Shorthorns spits up some water and shakes her head, "Gah! I uh… I don't think it works that way, Amy. The portals for the others open to the SIDES here!"

As Gegenschein pokes his head in, she smiles as she looks at everyone. "Okay, so, does that make everyone except for the witches. And no casualties it looks like so far, so that's good. We should probably split up again after this, but it's good to have a moment to get our bearings straight."

"You sure can! That's how everyone else got in here… starting to get pretty cramped, hehe."



"That's confusing! Why are there so many steps!?" Amy complains.


"Catch up!? As if! We went down! We're closer!"


"Closer to your tail maybe! We're broadcasting from the Capo's own chambers door."



"Ooooh! Really? Tell him that he's going to love his dinner! I made the menu myself!" Amy says proudly.


"Shei, good to see you're in one piece. How was your travel?"


"It's only one extra step! You go through the pool by going through one of the mirrors, that's just one extra step!"


"A bit easy, if I must be honest," Gegenschein says. "The others made me journey with two healers, yet they had the luxury to deal as much damage as me against our foes."
"You needed it," Holy Hours says. "Given your reputation for being captured, or getting lost, anything of the sort down here could have meant your death."
"Alas, all I found was light exercise."

Mocha whines and sniffs you. Amy can tell, from her years of experience as a hound, that Mocha wants a treat.

"We encountered the classics of trapdoors, traprooms, darkrooms and pressure plates," Fox says. "But the highlight was definitely that mashup of freeze tag and capture-the-flag."
"We could learn some lessons here to increase troop morale and interest during training," Ichimonji says.

"A gopher!" Voyage declares.
Behind him, Tantra doubles over with laughter, as does the Dragon. Voyage doesn't take notice of their mockery at all.

The rest of Gegenschein's crew, as well as Busta and Gadriel, enter the portal, stepping onto the circular platform.

"A most unusual place…" Gegenschein notes with awe. Doctor Galton, upon seeing the fruit, flies over and plucks one with one hand, taking a bite.

"Fool!" Freischutz protests. "What of poison?"

"I'd taste it anyway," Doctor Galton says after swallowing her bite. "I can hardly get a chance to research the oddities found down here if I shy away from every little risk, don't you agree?"

"The possibility of swallowing ancient poisons, a small risk…?" River repeats.

Monkey softly chuckles. "Please, relax. The Doctor only seeks to impart her boundless good cheer. We'll need it."



"That makes no sense! How do I go through one thing by going through another thing!?"


"I already ate some of the fruit," Amy says to the naysayers. "It tastes good! If you want it to taste good, anyway."

Amy then grabs a fruit and gives it to Mocha. "Hey…" she asks with concern to no one in particular. "Is Mocha broken?"


"I am no diviner, but I do not believe Doctor Galton will be done in by a fruit." Cloak chuckles, offering his two cents, "We have already had some of our own try the fruit themselves."


"It is good to be cautious in unknown territory, even if it does feel boring."
Pryce comments to Gegenschein's recounting.

"That didn't stop Zjetya or Amy," Pryce comments to River.


Shei continues rubbing his pestle and mortar as he continues inside the portal to the other side with Gegenschein.

"Oo-o-h, I see you'll make dinner for the Captain but have never cooked for me." Shei steps forward and hugs Amy to his waist with one arm. Sliding his pestle into his pocket.
"Are there any other men you've been bargaining meals with I should know of?"

Shei states from his position hugging Amy "Five stars! Everyone died. And I'm finally in a better place…" Shei turns his head around to look at his surroundings "It's getting cramped in here."

"Griffons come from a long line of poison imbibers!" Shei remarks on Griffon stereotypical drinking habits as Gegenschein's friends caution him about the fruit.


As Mocha whines for a treat, Shorthorns laughs, reaching through her bag to grab some of her provisions. "Alright, alright, settle down…" she says, before her eyes open wide in concern.
"Uh… Mocha, I'm just making sure, you're still 'you' in there, right?"

Shorthorns cries out indignantly, blushing as he picks her animal for her. Snorting, she smiles
"Alright, alright… I'll be a gopher. And youuuuuu-" she says, eager to take her revenge.
"You have to be a duck!" She thinks a water-fowl would be appropriate for the former Sinking Rain.

"Don't worry, we already tasted the fruit. It doesn't seem to have any lasting effects, or at least no bad ones. It's mostly used to make the scry-ing pool work, I think."

She cracks her neck, "Hmm… I'm not extremely tired, but we HAVE been adventuring through here for a few hours. Do you think the dungeon will punish us if we take a break here for a while to catch our breath and heal our injuries? After that last fight I'm kind of feeling it. Plus it'd give us time to look around for where those shadows are coming from that Leather saw."

"I… I don't know! Isn't that how Dark Corridors work? You go through it and it's like going someplace else, the pool just shows you where you end up. Like… oh, like a telescope! Just, a really good telescope."


"Sounds like it went well," Pryce says, looking around. "This place probably wasn't meant to gather too many I imagine."



Amy tackles Shei when he comes through the portal and gives him a big kiss on the lips. Then, mercifully, she climbs off of him.

"I didn't do the cooking! I just chose the meal!" she objects. "You really want ME to cook? Why would I do that when you're sooooo much better!?"

"Also, are you really jealous?" she laughs. "It's not like I bartered… other things."


"It would be like if Dark Corridors worked by going in something that ISN'T the Dark Corridor!"


>Why would I do that when you're sooooo much better!?"
"So I can be lazy." He smiles boyishly

>"It's not like I bartered… other things."

Shei swats Amy head with one hoof, not too hard but firmly "Bad. And I want a list of names. Now. -On second thought I don't let you out much. Just point to the man in this room. Who is it."


He says the last of those words as if he were cursing.



Amy points to Holy Hours accusingly. "He said I smell… used…" she says with dramatic sadness.


"Okay but… gaaah!" Shorthorns groans in frustration. "Okay, so, it's like… the pool is like a painting. The painting can be of a real place that you can take a dark corridor to, but you can't go to that place *through* the painting. That's what the pool is like."


"Woof!" Mocha answers.
She then leans in. "I'm just getting into character, relax!" she whispers. "Not often you get to be a dog. Now hand over the treat!"

"A du–" Voyage gasps, before trying to regain his composure. "Fine, I'll be the bravest and the boldest duck. You ready… Count of three, we'll transform. One, two…"


Once the others attest to the safety of the fruit, Galton flies over, and the others take turns cutting some slices for themselves. You note that all the Ecclesians take much larger portions than one might expect; with power like theirs must come a significant appetite.

Galton nods to Shorthorned's suggestion. "I haven't had the chance to sit and get to know most of you, anyway. All I know is your reputations and your names, but not really you as people. Let's have a potluck!"

"Now, here?" River asks. "But this dungeon can't have been cleaned in–"

Before she can finish protesting, Fox, Anzu and Lion are already setting out blankets, while Galton and Gegenschein bicker lightly over what to serve everyone. Freischutz plucks down another giant fruit-gem to supplement the rations.

Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11


"This area is a lot cleaner than the rest of the dungeon, likely because it was sealed off," Pryce comments as River speaks up about the cleanliness.
You're not that bothered by dirt, are you?
Pryce asks through the mental link he set up between Zjetya, River and himself.

>"Don't worry, Hopper can help wash everypony's hooves off, right Hopper?"

KP adds in for anypony who might not like to carry dungeon dust onto their food.


By dirt, hardly. By millennia-old gravedust, quite, River responds.
We all ate that fruit no problem, Zjetya says. Lighten up, we should be good.
Hmph, 'lighten' up, I'll bet you'd like that? River says.
Absolutely, Zjetya says with a wink.

Hopper hops down to your side, and the Ecclesians start to line up to have their hooves and claws cleaned before they eat.


If the dust and grime were an issue, we'd be feeling it by now walking around, especially after that gold room. Pryce comments, stepping in line to wash his hooves off. At least this spot is far cleaner than any other part of the dungeon.


River harrumphs. Make sure you take care anyway after all of that fighting and handling of strange statues we did.


Don't worry, I will. I'm not one to let manners slip. Pryce assures, then glances down at his flaming leg. I wonder if this even get's dirty, or if it just burns itself clean…
Despite the thought, he still washes it.

KP, after cleaning up, gets an idea, hopping up and prodding Pryce in the side.
>"Hey, can you make a grater?"
"A grater?"
>"Yea! I wanna try something!"
"Sure, just be careful not to cut yourself."
Pryce takes off his bracelet, conjuring up a grater for his younger self.
>Hat Magic [Grater] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


You make a grater.



>Conjure Weapon: Bow [Flare, Ranged, Single, +1]

>Homing Magic: 5 Spears [Fire]

KP lifts up his Windigo's Chilling staff, giving it a spin as he freezes up a slice of the fruit. Then, taking the grater, he shreds it up to make a choose-your-own-flavor snowcone.


Last time, on HolyQuest…

As both the Spiders and the Ecclesians arrived at the top of the tower in the underground garden, Doctor Galton proposed they have a last-minute potluck before confronting the Capo, the last obstacle they would have to overcome before entering Tartarus. They'd just have to invite the other Saviors, the Witches of Gehenna, and the Light Brigade before they could have everyone there.


>"He said I smell… used…"

Shei flashes Holy Hours a look of betrayal and confusion. He drops Amy mid-hug without any indication. She probably falls to the floor, and if she does Shei doesn't notice. He makes a war path to Holy Hours

"HOO-O-OOLY HOURS! By what virtue do you get off calling my Beloved a used piece of meat. I've thought of you as kith and this is how you introduce yourself to my special somepony."


Shorthorns lets out a sigh of relief as Mocha whispers to her, moving up to pet her behind the ears as she wags her tail. She whispers back, "Okay okay, just wanted to make sure I didn't do too good a job, hehe!"

As she asks for a treat, she frowns, "Uh… hold on, maybe Spark won't mind if I let you have one of his?"

Shorthorns stomps a hoof and nods towards Voyage, "And I will be an even braver and stronger go… gopher… gods," she says shaking her head, but grits her teeth. "Alright, 'three'!"
[1d10] Transforming into a gopher

Roll #1 4 = 4


"Communion certainly seems appropriate before a matter of great importance, I agree." Leather nods, turning to River, "We could scrub down the tile if you so desire, I do not mind a little manual labor."


"We will make no headway in Tartarus by lying to one another," Holy Hours says. "She informed me I smelled strange. I informed her likewise."

Mocha rolls onto her back and wags her tail as she expects her treat.

While Great Voyage becomes a mighty and colorful mallard… you become a little potato-like blob of fur and fat that approximates the figure of a gopher.
GV leers down on you from above, his beak turned upwards in a smug grin. "Pathetic."

As the Ecclesians observe this manifestation of shaved ice, they start to line up, procuring cups from their bags so they can get some. The Spiders form up behind them, doing likewise. Gegenschein, who is up first, produces also a handful of coins. "How much do I owe you, good sir?" he asks KP.

River sighs. "Well, as long as there are blankets…"
"Blessed blankets," Ichimonji chimes in. "Even if we must eat in Tartarus, we shall have no concerns over contamination. I cannot say the same for if you choose to eat the food of the dead, however. Fables hold that to be a surefire way of ending up imprisoned."

"Say," Zjetya says. "If there's no objections, I'm gonna try to invite the rest of our group here."
"You think it wise to bring over the Witches of Gehenna as well?" River asks.
"I think that Mudi would be very sore if she learned she was being left out…" Busta says. "But, then again…"

You recall Buiwong's words from after Amy's ascension – his plan to defeat Mudi, by gaining her trust and friendship…
…all for the sake of betraying her.
Doctor Galton looks over at Busta… as does Mocha.

"Come now," Doctor Galton says. "You can't leave out one of our brave allies."
"How else are we supposed to unify if we can't even break bread together?" Mocha asks.


Shei-Sher picks up a large stone from the floor and begins squeezing it in one hoof

[1d10] To actually squeeze blood from a stone

He does this while holding intense eye contact with Holy Hours

Roll #1 1 = 1


Shorthorns digs through her saddle bag quickly before engaging in her challenge with Voyage to pull out a peppermint (from Spark's horde), offering it to Mocha IF she rolls over.

Following this, Shorthorns uses her divine powers to shapeshift herself into her rolley-polley gopher form, looking down at her pudgy mass in dismay while Duck Voyage looms over her. She grunts, leering at him. "Y-you're just mad cause I'm fluffier than you now, but looks aren't everything!"

True to a gopher's role, she starts to dig, and proceeds to use her magic to carve out an elaborate series of tunnel right into the floor of the structure they climbed up to get to the scrying-pool
[1d10] Digging

Shorthorns pauses for a bit, contemplating the suggestion to bring the witches, before nodding her head. "I agree with Mocha. It's not fair to leave them out. Look to see if you can find them in the scrying pool, then let's invite them over for a break."

Roll #1 10 = 10


"A shame this dungeon likely has no natural game, I did take interest in hunting game for the carnivores and herbivores during the later months after the Firmament's breaking."

He takes to the scrying bowl, before pausing, "I would not be surprised if the Witches of Gehenna would have charms to prevent scrying, I wonder how strong the maze might be and if it can circumvent this." Leather peers into the scrying table, hoping to be a voyeur to the actions of the witches.



"Yeah!" Amy says from over Shei's shoulder. "You tell him!"


"There's a HUGE difference between saying someone smells strange and saying that they smell like-" Amy glances at Shei. "You know!"


As everypony starts to line up, wanting to try KP's fancy treat, he happily starts to freeze up more fruits to prepare more.
KP asks, as if the concept is foreign to him.
>"We're all friends, you don't owe anything!"
He says as he prepares a cup of shaved ice for Gegenschein.

"That is a good point. We wouldn't want any assumptions of deception to linger if we gathered all but a few. Let's get the last of them."
Pryce says in agreement, working with Zjetya to get portals open for the rest of the army that entered. He himself curious on what Sir Estuary has been up to during this all.


Holy Hours doesn't even blink as he holds your glare.

As you try to crush the stone, a cactus's worth of sharp pains radiate from your hoof, and you drop the stone involuntarily, as blood gushes from your hoof.

"Shishishishi!" the Fox laughs. "That's one way to do it…"

You dig all the way to the base of the tower. Duck Voyage leers down at you from the top. "And what good is that, when I can do this?"

He leaps into the air, flapping his duck wings, and dive-bombs down toward you, as if you were no gopher, but a juicy looking fish.

[1d10+4] basic attack

"A kind-hearted lad!" Gegenschein declares with a laugh. He then gives Pryce a coin. "But ensure he learns the value of quality service and goods."
Each Ecclesian and Spider also give Pryce a single coin for the shaved ice. A nice allowance for KP, perhaps.

Zjetya nods, and steps up to the scrying pool. She closes her eyes to concentrate…

First, she focuses on all the other Saviors. Scattered though they are, they seem to be doing alright, if a bit beaten up and weary from their travels and inquiries from the other alchemical dragons. Soon – Observer, Yes Mare, Blessings, Wireframe, Box, Mirror Image and Chorazin arrive in the tower's peak by portal.

"Huh, where's Flow…?" Zjetya asks.
"Oh, he and Renee wanted to hang out with their old pals, I think," Gadriel says.
"Got it, the Light Brigade," Zjetya says.

She concentrates again, this time conjuring the scarred demon hunters called the Light Brigade – with armor to rival even Cloak's. Out from the portal step Sir Estuary, Flow, Sister Renee, Zophie, Gjenganger, Eligos, Vitalya, and Hope.

Zjetya steps back, rubbing her head. Busta steps up. "Here, let me take over," he says, and Zjetya gladly obliges.

Busta looks at the murk of the scrying-pool, pausing before he speaks.


As he speaks that word, the pool's image immediately flashes to that of Mudi the Young, looking up at the ceiling. Beside her stand Vizsla the Kind, Hurricanrana, Supper of Crows, and Desert Lamp. Busta presses the button, and a portal opens up in the corridor nearby. Without hesitation, Mudi walks towards it…

… And walks out onto the top of the tower, joining you.

"Busta," she says. "I thought I heard your voice."

Busta nods. "Yeah. Didn't want to leave you out."

Mudi looks over at the Ecclesians sitting down with their shaved ice, while Vortigern and Ichimonji pool together their more substantial foodstuffs.

"I see…" Mudi says. "Th-thank you."

Roll #1 1 + 4 = 5


"Aaah!" Shei holds his wrist dramatically "Can you see it now! Holy Hours! Do you see how you wound me."

Hunched and cradling one arm in the other as it spills blood magnanimously onto the floor. Shei continues to guilt Holy Hours.
"First he abuses you Amy and now he draws blood among friends. Do not fault him Amy. He clearly resents us for having found love."



Amy maintains the glare as well. At least, until Shei's hoof starts bleeding. Then, she breaks character and grab's Shei's hoof. "Oh my goodness! Are you okay!?" she asks with concern.

She pulls a potion out of seemingly nowhere and shoves it in Shei's mouth. (Not actually rolling because there's not actually any damage.)


"Hey! Everyone's here now!" Amy says happily. "I see you're doing alright, Moody," Amy says, giving her a hug.


"I will."
Pryce says with a nod, looking over with a smile as KP whips up the desserts for everypony.

>"Hey guys, we got snacks!"
KP shouts over to the portals as they open up to bring in the rest of the groups, making each of them a cup of shaved ice too.

Pryce steps to Zjetya's side after Busta takes over for her, putting a wing around her for comfort.
"You alright?"


"Wait! I'm just ki-" Shei endures the potion lodged into his mouth.


Shorthorns looks up and smugs a big, toothy-grin with her gopher teeth up at Voyage as she looks down at her master-piece, before gasping in surprise at seeing him dive into the hole at full speed. She narrows her glare, ready to meet his challenge head on. "Well rule number one of hunting, Voyage: be careful when you enter your prey's home!"

She quickly uses her magic to cover up the hole leading to her, making sure Voyage hits a (soft) dirty wall on impact instead of her

Roll #1 7 = 7


"Hmm, what else is there here to serve, all I have brought are dried fruits."


"Yes, I see. But time heals all wounds."

As Amy tries to administer her potion, she, in actuality, puts it back to… wherever it was that she just got it from. The rock flies back into Shei's hoof, as does all his blood. He and Amy walk all the way back to where they stood. Amy falls to the ground (as she did when Shei dropped her), then bounces, without impact, right back into Shei's arms.

.ssendas citamard htiw syas ehs "…desu …llems I dias eH" .ylgnisucca srouH yloH ot stnoip ymA

Before you can make sense of it all, Holy Hours is sitting with his companions, enjoying his shaved ice.

Zjetya rubs her head. "Yeah… just a lot of people to keep track of."
"Just imagine how many more we'll recruit once we're done here," River says.
"They'd better not recruit any Umbrals down there…"

With a considerable "BONK," Duck Voyage splats right into the dirt before he can dive-bomb you. With miniature ducks flying around his head, to symbolize his dazed state, he turns back into a buffalo, and rubs his head. "Hmph. I know a mage who would make mincemeat out of a gopher like you anyway. Just be glad I didn't recruit him into all this nonsense."


"Save your rations," Galton says to Cloak. "As I might have mentioned before, we have agreed to provide the food and drink for this expedition, as well as some small excess from which we will serve this potluck."

True, as she says, she and Viper produce from their bags of holding quite a many rations of dried and salted foodstuffs – meat for the omnivores, and fruit and vegetables for the herbivores. With Vortigern's help, they start to distribute the food to all gathered – first, to the Light Brigade, then to the Saviors, then at last, to the Spiders and to the Witches of Gehenna. Tantra and the Dragon manifest a small shrine to Buiwong, at which Galton lays his share of the potluck's food.

Uneasily, Mudi sits at the perimeter of the potluck, while Vizsla confidently sits with the Ecclesians. She tosses a flirty smile towards Hope, who simply stares back. Though his face is stoic, his eyes betray murder. Hurricanrana sits with the Spiders, while Supper of Crows looks like she doesn't know where to sit. Desert Lamp takes a seat near the Saviors. Busta comes and sits beside her.

"Anyone care to say a few words before I bless the food?" Gegenschein asks.



Amy blinks as she processes the reversed events. She sees Holy Hours has left.

"Yeah! You better run!" Amy says, shaking her hoof paw Holy Hours comically.


"If I eat blessed food, will it hurt me?" Amy asks, genuinely concerned.


File: 1615348127833.jpg (15.56 KB, 422x237, Shei&AmyNow.jpg)

Shei spaces out for a bit, only after a moment does he realize what just happened. He squints his eyes menacingly toward Holy Hours as he speaks to Amy.
"Oooo-o-o-oh That bastard. Don't you worry Amy, we're gonna get him."


"A blessing over a meal is usually different from the process to create armaments such as holy water. They involve completely different prayers, with prayers before a meal usually being focused on good health rather then keep evil at bay."


"It's hard to say on that, who knows if they'll run into old friends of Amy's."
Pryce comments on the Umbral recruitment.
KP levitates up a bigger serving of shaved ice for Zjetya.
>"Here, this should help the headache!"
He also carries one for River and Pryce as well.

As everypony gathers for the potluck, Pryce takes a seat between River and Zjetya, while KP goes to hang out with Spitshine and Sugar and the pets. Pryce also takes a few treats out for Lockjaw as well for behaving through the dungeon so far.

"Only that it is good to see we have all made it through this labyrinth in one piece thus far."
Pryce says as Gegenschein asks for words before the blessing.



"If he's a bastard, shouldn't that be good for you," Amy laughs.


Amy stares at Leather as he explains. A moment passes after he's done speaking. "I wonder what holy water would taste like to me," she wonders aloud.


"Good question, a strong alcohol burns on it's way down, I wonder if it's like that without the alcoholic effect."


As the dirt-wall comes up and Voyage's dive-bomb is stopped in its track, Shorthorns peeks her little gopher head out of the hole to giggle at his expense. "You know, if you're gonna hunt like a duck, you really should at least try to have gotten me to turn into a fish or frog at least. Silly."

She stays a gopher, pushing up her fur as she laughs. "This is really fun, actually, I didn't know being other animals could be so… weird, but neat!"

Shorthorns transforms out of the hole to join with the others for the potluck as it begins, looking around as she realizes she has no food of her own to contribute. She sees if she can masterfully create fruits as she does vine, trying to grow a few barrel-fulls of corn for everyone to munch on
[1d10] Sprouting corn.

She looks at Mudi out on the edge, feeling quite apprehensive of her after their previous exchange but, swelling with confidence in her newfound godhood, nods at her to try and join with the rest of them. "No, please go ahead Gegenschein, thank you for offering your blessing."

Roll #1 10 = 10


"Ba-a-ah. Doctor Galton, I can't let Ecclessia take all the glory. Especially since it was my idea to have potluck."

Shei steps out to a clear flooring and drapes his cape to the side. He slowly pulls it backward revealing the contours of a fridge behind it. Then Shei Swiftly pulls his cape revealing the fridgerator. "Triangle, Bass, Violin, put down your plates you'll be helping me cook."

>"Anyone care to say a few words before I bless the food?"

"Why not Mudi? Her drive is what brought us here in the first place isn't it?"


"A father never loves all his children." Shei shakes his head.



"Spoken like a true god of bastards," Amy nods her head sagely.



"Getting drunk off holy water sounds fun!" Amy laughs. "Like, the ultimate irony!"


"Perhaps so ironic that it loops back around to being unironic, is partaking in holy matters the ultimate sin for demons?"



"Nah," Amy says dismissively. "Getting drunk is a sin or whatever to them. Using holy water to sin is just like a big 'fuck you', and that's hilarious."


"But does distilling holy water remove it's holy properties - I forget if there has been experimentation in holy fire bombs before."


Zjetya gives KP a quick hug, and he feels something strange also – her fangs scratch the top of his head, pleasantly, like how a comb might feel. Lockjaw happily munches on his snack, while accepting some head-pats from Fox and Anzu.

Voyage sticks his tongue out at you as he falls silent to listen to the potluck's opening words.

Corn manifests from between the gaps in the tower's stones, and Shei's band of Malakhim collect some to help cook some side-dishes for the meal.

Then, as Shei prods Mudi into giving some words, Gegenschein nods, and all eyes turn towards her.

Mudi frowns, then looks at Vizsla. Vizsla nods, gesturing for her to rise, and she does, looking like she lacks the confidence with which she presented her plans of world salvation some small few days ago. But, as she stands, the crystal ball atop her staff glows, and light flashes from it. As the light fades, several wisps of dark smoke, lit by glowing eyes, manifest beside her.

The Shades.

Blessings stands with a snarl, reaching for her sword-handle, but Mudi meets her gaze evenly. Grimacing, Blessings slowly sits back down.

"It might surprise you to hear that I'm not accustomed to giving grand speeches," Mudi says. "But I do intend to thank all of you for having prevailed thus far, and having put your trust in… well, if not in me, then at least in my plans. Frankly, it's a bit early for me to be saying this, as we have one final trial awaiting us before we can pass through the Great Seal. But… all of us gathered here today carry the hope of all mortalkind and demonkind upon our shoulders. A terrible burden to bear, isn't it? But one that only we are fit to carry."

"Hear hear," Gegenschein adds. "And may I add, the burden has found no worthier champions than all of us."

He grins, and extends his claws for Mudi to shake. Despite his hand being large enough to crush her head, she turns and accepts his shake.

Gegenschein turns back to you. "Now, how about some lovely music for atmosphere?" he asks. "Will all the musicians gathered please gather here."



"I was thinking, like, if it just gets demons drunk because it's poisonous to demons. Then, it would even be more ironic because it's a sin that only demons can commit using the exact that that's supposed to hurt us."



Amy smiles when she sees people getting along.

"Well said, Moody!"

When there is request for music, Amy dutifully produces Lumpet and steps forward.


Shorthorns smiles as she looks at all the growing corn, greedily grabbing at one as she thinks to give it a taste to see how well she can make it. "Wow… I better not let the Clan know about this part, otherwise they'll never wanna harvest again!"

She nibbles on her corn before she sees the Shades popping out of her ball, looking to Blessings as she imagines the reaction she'll have to seeing them again. Remembering the tragic story of the shades, Shorthorns looks at them with trepidation as she hears Mudi begin to speak before Gegenshchein.

As she finishes, Shorthorsn can't help but smile at the encouraging words, not having really expected them from the witch. And it takes everything from her to stop herself from frowning, knowing what they were planning for her in Tartarus itself. She stomps a hoof in recognition of her words, "Here here!"

As they offer music to accompany the picnic, she looks over towards Shei, curious if that guitar he acquired as part of his transcendence was just for show or not.


"Unless it will the songs being performed are hymns, I will respectfully pass."

Leather sits down and begins to write an account of the events of the maze thus far.


KP laughs as he feels the fang scratch.
>"Heh, that tickles!"

Pryce looks over as Mudi stands to give a few words. When the shades are summoned, he does frown a bit, conflicting in if she's using them for confidence or support.
After she finishes, KP stomps his hooves in small applause in politeness.


"Music? Cooking? The rest is more demanding than the dieing. bah. What to do, what to do…" Shei crosses his arms and clenches his eyes in thought "I've already committed to the cooking. Despite this, everyone know's who the real musicians are." He talks to himself.

Shei-Sher opens his fridge, and begins alchemizing replicas of his packed fridge. Meat, veggies, lots of varieties of things for the dish he has in mind.


[1d10] replicating food

Roll #1 1 = 1


"Oh!" Zjetya says, retracting her fangs. "Sorry, didn't mean to have those out."

You turn yourself into a loaf of bread. Immediately, Fox runs over and picks you up. "Who's ready to break bread?" he asks the gathered warriors, motioning as if he were about to break you in half.

Ichimonji bonks him on the head with a sheathed katana, and he, grumbling, sets you back down.

Rooster, Gjenganger, Chorazin, Onion, Vortigern and Zjetya gather up front where directed by Gegenschein. Then, so do the Malakhim, once the initial preparations are made for the meals. And, at last, one of the Shades floats over as well.

>roll DC 8 spiritual perception

Rooster toots his trunk once, and with a puff of smoke, a full one-elephant-band harness and rig appear on his back and sides, complete with timpani, pipes, chimes, tambourines and cymbals. Other instruments appear before Zjetya, Vortigern, Chorazin and Gjenganger, while Onion tunes his guitar.

Meanwhile, Gegenschein bows his head, and floats a small distance overhead, his hands raised to bless the food and drink of which you are about to partake.



[1d10] spiritual perception

Amy plays a nice accompaniment with the music. Though, she gets a little into it. Which either results in stealing the show or embarrassment.

[1d10+1] for best trumpeting!

>for some reason, I seem to remember Amy getting a +1 to music playing as a result of some practice

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 3 + 1 = 4


"It isn't easy being a comedian." Shei says to fox, choosing not to admit the imminent terror he felt about being snapped in half.

[1d10]Flee bread-dom, return to goat

Roll #1 7 = 7


[1d10] spiritual perception w/ Ecclesian training

Leather continues to calmly write about his encounters, waiting patiently for the meal to first be blessed.

Roll #1 4 = 4


Shorthorns looks through the food being put out on the blankets laid by Ichimonji, picking a spot and letting out Spark to go out and stretch his wings / socialize with everyone as she calls Patience Stone and Voyage over to join her, putting the food down on some nice clean plates on the blankets as she gets ready to listen to the show. As she sees the massive elephant put on so many instruments, she opens her eyes wide, whispering to Voyage, "W-wow… You think he's really good with THAT many instruments?"

[1d10] Spiritual Perception

Shorthorns whistles loudly before Amy's even begun to play. "Wooo! Go Amy!"

Roll #1 8 = 8


>"You can retract those?"
"You can retract those?"
The Pryces say in unison, followed by a shared look.
>"Ah, no talking until somepony says your name!"
Kp says, cutting him off. Pryce opens his mouth, but the triumphant expression on KP changes his mind, closing with a shrug as he relents. KP then looks back to Zjetya.
>"Don't apologize, that felt nice!"

KP and Pryce looks up as the musicians gather up, watching in surprise as Rooster makes a full band on himself, and then other instruments for the rest.
Pryce's eyes shift to the Shade that floats over, still concerned over them being brought out.
>Spiritual Perception [1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2


As you observe the Shade, you can discern a distinctive and peculiar shape in the mists comprising what remains of his soul… robes, filled with roots, twigs, and a flower crown, and some kind of stringed instrument… this Shade appears to be an Earthsinger.

Gegenschein finishes his whispered prayer, and at last, brings his hands together in a single loud clap, after which they remain there in a gesture of prayer. The Ecclesians mimic this gesture, anda fter a moment to catch on, the Spiders, the Light Brigade, the Saviors, and, finally, the Witches of Gehenna all repeat it.

"Amen!" Gegenschein declares. "Now, no further fanfare! Let's eat!"

Rooster cues the band with his trunk to begin their play. Looks like they'll have to eat later. Gjenganger plays a magitech keyboard, Chorazin wields a mighty horn, Onion has his guitar, Vortigern a violin, Zjetya her voice, the Malakhim their triangle, bass and violin, and the Shade his peculiar stringed instrument.


A tune with groove, mixed with a splash of funk, fills the dark garden. Amy… is alright. Just alright. Perhaps that is a worse outcome than abysmal or incredible.

>Feel free to speak with any NPC or PC at your leisure. This can continue for as long as the players wish.


"Agape!" Gegenschein declares. "Now, no further fanfare! Let's eat!"


Shei tries again with the fridgerator's contents. Grabbing hold of the edges with both hooves focusing. He makes some grand gestures as no one pays him any mind and finishes with actually exercising his will.

[1d10] making food, making food lalala

Roll #1 4 = 4



Amy stops playing to join the rest in eating. She grabs whatever meat there is and chows down in the nearest free seat to Flaming.

"I was just kinda getting in their way musically," Amy says between bites. "I guess that's what I get for not practicing more."


You make a small helping of seconds. Hopefully not too many of the gathered are big eaters, but the Ecclesians have already proven that they are. Even now you can see them putting away great portions of food with little trouble.


Shorthorns takes a look at the Shade as it moves up besides the group, playing along side them as they all provide their food with a great deal of merry accompaniment. As she nibbles on a sandwich and slurps up some tea to go with it, she looks towards Blessing, flickering he ears down as she remembers the unfortunate circumstances between her and Mudi.

She turns to Voyage and asks, "Hey… do you think with our powers, we could… is bringing the dead back to life something even a god can do?"


Leather gets up to serve himself a somewhat sizeable portion of food, approaching River. "Do you mind if I sit and talk? I know we have been allied for a little bit now but I am curious to hear about your time since the fall of the Firmament. We have all had to walk strange paths."


Pryce brings his hooves together after the Ecclesians, with KP following shortly after.

As the music begins and the food is good to eat ,KP goes over to Spitshine and Sugar with his snacks.
>"So what was your part of the maze like? We had a ton of puzzles to go through."

Pryce, meanwhile, enjoys the music, and takes a bite of food, content. And then looks to River, still abided by the rules of jinx KP pushed on him.


Shei-Sher slams the fridge shut
"Vexing, whining, Damnable evocations! I command yee! On the dominion of Bastards and Kids! Let loose your vaults heaven!! Give forth larders for dragons! Thee Excess of kings! Let Mithrus' leg's quake, Stir Sedroth to blush, Give us a taste of life and Death!"

He sets back in a stand and points his hoof as though commanding lightning to strike. He demands the fridge pour out tremendous stores of food


Roll #1 2 = 2


Voyage shakes his head with a frown. "No, not under most circumstances. Lord Buiwong… came up against this problem many, many times in the past. A god can reincarnate someone as a demon, or an angel, but not as they once were. Or, you could try to force a soul back into its own body… but death irrevocably damages body and soul both, and it only lasts a short while."

River nods. "One of my good friends, Buiwong tried to bring back with that method… alas, it was all too brief, before he was gone again. But, it is strange… I have heard that the truest art of necromancy – a genuine resurrection – is an art open only to mortalkind. I do not know why that would be the case, when it be forbidden to gods."

River nods, scooching over to provide you room. "Of course. I will tell what I can."

"A lot of puzzles for us too," Sugar says. "We ended up helping more than we thought we would. it seemed like we kept getting stuff that couldn't be solved with any kind of combat. Miss Anzu and Freischutz were getting really annoyed toward the end there."
"Well, not entirely," Spitshine adds. "We had a share of combat too. My guess is that the dungeon figures out what you're good at, somehow, and what you're not so good at. Then it pushes you to get better at the weaker stuff."
"Ooh, same with us," another voice says. It is the Lion, who, in a fashion similar to Amy, is an earth pony at first glance, only he has the mane and paws of a lion. "But… I don't know if it worked right in our case. Me and Gegenschein pretty much… stomped our way through most of it."
"I'd almost had those math puzzles solved," says the Monkey. "Until you lot got impatient."

You make some sauces and condiments. Vizsla comes over, providing buckets of ice cubes. "For the drinks," she says by way of explanation.

Even the buckets are made of ice!



"Resurrection like with all the old memories and everything?"


>"Really? Huh. We had a a room of cursed gold, and a ball game, and a room of trapped doors. But I think we were all good with sports, and moving around traps…"
KP mutters in thought.
>"Do you think the dungeon was calling us impatient?"


Leather bows slightly and sits next to River, eating with pauses to speak, "I was curious as to the philosophy of Buiwong and their teachings from before these times - the world is not as strictly black and white as I once saw it, I mostly wish to come to terms with my past and better learn from those I interacted with."


Shei mock coughs "Ahem. Vizsla- you love torturing yourself. Have you ever considered becoming a god."

Shei-Sher begins setting up the ingredients, fire and a hobo stove. When the Malakhim come to help Shei shoos them away "Ba-ah, go eat, go. I have this covered."

He begins making stir fry, just enough to serve the people playing music. And to also feed The Bodhidharma in his lantern.

>Please don't make me roll for cooking


"Exactly like what I was thinking," Shorty answers. "Just the way they were before they died, not as something else that just looks like it."

"I see…" Shorthorns says as she looks out at the Shade again. "The only thing that could pull it off is a mortal, huh? I guess I missed the boat then. I was… kind of hoping with all these new powers I'm learning about, maybe I could do something for them too. For both Blessing and Mudi's sake, but, I guess if it were that easy they'd have done something else for them. It'd make the way going forward easier too knowing we could fight death itself."

Shorthorns frowns, "Sorry to hear that about your friend, River. I hope their soul is at peace now, at least."


"As do I," River says.
"Ecclesia is in possession of two of the five living beings in this world capable of performing a perfect resurrection," Monkey mentions off-handedly. "Under the right conditions, that is."
The others nearby blink in stunned silence.

"Why would I?" Vizsla dismisses. "I really can't think of anything I would gain from divinity, especially when I have my own beloved god… perhaps we may see him anon."

You cook some excellent stir fry (describe at your leisure).

Lion thinks about it for a moment. "Hrm… it could just be trying to get you to loosen up before the main event. After all, that all sounds pretty fun."
"Fun, but dangerous," Anzu says. "Some last-minute unwinding could have been the aim, but a reminder of what awaits, to temper your mirth."
Blessings looks over at Pryce, arching a brow as she notes his prolonged silence. "What's got your tongue, all of a sudden?"

"Philosophy and teachings, eh?" River repeats. "It was hardly what you'd call scriptural or doctrinal, nor even coherent or non-contradictory. A paradigm of strength and the will, above all else. Perhaps his aim was to be as antithetical to the Union as possible. Any who had the will and the power could make his own world, or so they claimed. It was hardly individualistic, however. Buiwong never eschewed the strength of the masses; like all gods, he depended on them, and so he made the outcast and the fringes of Accorsian societies his people. Dissident sects, the unorthodox, the marginal… those at the bottom of the Accorsian hierarchies, he sought to bring together… and put at the bottom of his own hierarchy, with he and his pseudo-allied fallen gods at the top."

She pauses to have some of her shaved ice. "That's all very general, I know. Was there something specific I could elucidate?"


KP thinks on their interpretations of the games.
>"Yea, that makes some sense. All the dragons so far have basically wanted us to be super focused on the mission… So having a little break before you can't have any distractions sounds like good prep."

Pryce looks to Blessings as she comments on his silence. He opens his mouth, then shuts it. Instead, he points to his mouth, then over to KP.


As Monkey mentions there are people in Ecclessia fully capable of performing a full resurrection, Shorthorns is likewise stunned, taking a break from listening the the performance to look at Monkey. "R-really?! Who? How, what 'conditions' would they need? I guess it has to be insanely difficult, right, have they done any before?"


Last time, on HolyQuest…

Every member of the Tartarus expedition team gathered for an impromptu potluck and meet-and-greet so that they could all get to know each other before the final struggle to bring peace to the northwest.

"Oh, he's got you under a curse, does he?" Blessings asks, though you're unsure how genuine she's being. "Don't worry, I can exorcise it."

She draws her sword handle, but instead of its ghostly, spectral blade, a small flame emanates from the opening. "Now, then, Pr– hrm?"

Blessings stops when River takes hold of her arm. A deliciously evil smile spreads across River's face.

"Oh, dear," Blessings says. "Now that, I can't exorcise."

"So long as body and soul are both present, it is possible," Monkey says. "But, I only brought it up because it was relevant to your conversation just now. We'll be discussing it in more detail just prior to our entry into Tartarus, so I'll hold my tongue until then. Watch this space, as they say."
Voyage clicks his tongue. "Ending it on a cliffhanger, I see…"
"To keep the reader coming back, you must always leave them wanting more," Monkey answers.


Shei chops up some bell peppers and chime. He makes a sauce from oyster juice, milk, and cumin and douses the stir fry in it. Moving the wok over his hobo stove to flip beef, bean sprouts, celery and potatoes into the air.

The food sizzles delightfully each time it lands back on the wok.

"In mine, and I imagine most people's upbringing you're under the impression the gods are something ascendant of mortals. -Better put that mortals are descendant from divinity I know.." He says the last sentance as though to correct himself. "but then I look at Mudi, and I look at Pryce, and I look towards people like myself. And I wonder how the heavens does not quiver in fear. How the gods and angels can dream peacefully, knowing there are these teeming hordes of mortals. If just willing could twist their spirit into a lance to rival longinus. And I think again what stops all of mortalkind from upending the cosmos and sending the tides of fate back on the divine. And then I think again that Mortals are not above or below anything, but something of it's own species and with my own inkling of godhood I only feel more as a servant to the teeming hordes than I do their master -Servanthood, which has always been my occupation.



Amy mulls over this information as she passively chews on some food. "But, like, how would that work? Would you just be like a talking baby?"


Pryce raises his hooves, ready to mime his way to clarify it's not that serious of a curse. But when River stops Blessings, Pryce looks to her as if he's been deeply betrayed. After a pause, he nods his head, in a sense of understanding no help is to be found here. He stands, walking over to Zjetya when the musicians break to eat. He gives her a nudge, gesturing to his mouth.

KP snickers after River stops Blessings from saying Pryce's name.
>"Wow, that was a strong play River."


Shorthorns lets out a breath, "Well, you succeeded: I absolutely do want to hear more. I guess i'll just have to wait until we get closer to the entrance," she pauses, looking around before whispering, "Can you tell me 'why' you'll be discussing it in more detail then, at least? Does it have something to do with Tartarus?"


"Collecting the disillusioned and those put down by the then existing hierarchy and uniting them to replace the tyranny of the 'big shots' and flip the tables, I can see why ponies would attach to his beliefs. I cannot speak ill of his idea of flipping the hierarchy of being contricitory and marginalizing a different class of people in exchange without noting my own contradictions between my actions and the beliefs taught by Hypomone. While they certainly were not one of the most popular of the gods themself, I know they prefered I would've waited before deciding to make enemies of Buiwong."

He pauses as well to eat, letting there be a pregnant pause. "What you went through, really. I want an understanding of stories from all sides of things."


"A servant, eh…?" Vizsla repeats. "How appropriate then, that you sought divinity, and obtained its spark. That's what your gods are after all – slaves to the last of them. An unsuitable horde of slaves hold the keys to the heavens in this age. So, I've never cared for them. You might say I am more admiring of the classics. Small wonder that this age's gods conspired to drag the old gods from their astral thrones, and turn the old majesties of the heavens into naught but a decadent riot."

She shrugs. "Yet, you think those slave-gods do not cower from us? Answer then, why those who still reside in this world remain in their heavens – and why so many other gods fled with your empire's Devas."

"Because it is in everyone's interest to know of a failsafe in case they perish," Monkey continues. "You wouldn't want their focus and will to be swayed by fears of death, lest it endanger the whole mission. Now, let me enjoy my shaved ice."

"That's reincarnation," Lion says. "Resurrection is just getting back up after you died, as if all that blood was just tomato soup and it was all for pretend."

Zjetya sits with Vortigern and Mocha, eating some fruit, and yet her voice continues to fill the area. You see that all the musicians have, in fact, stopped playing in order to go get food, yet the music continues. Their instruments float there in space, playing automatically. Most likely, another of Rooster's powers.

"Hungry, hon?" Zjetya asks. She spears some fruit on her fork, then holds it up to feed you.
Vortigern and Mocha laugh.

"A magician like him needs to be good at improv," River says. "And the audience always loves when a performer acts with restrictions. Makes things interesting."

"How far back should I go?" River then asks. "From street orphan to mad doctor, to world-destroyer, to world… I cannot say that I am worthy of the title 'Savior' or 'redeemer' or anything like that, just yet. Not until it is accomplished. Even then, the credit will go to you folk. Well, pick a time period."


Pryce looks at the instruments, peculiar that they continue with nopony playing. Though, after Rooster's introduction when they met before, it's not surprising he would have a power like this.
When Zjetya assumes he's hungry, Pryce shrugs, shaking his head. He gestures to his mouth, points over to KP. Then he points to her mouth then back to his.
When Vortigern and Mocha laugh, he rolls his eyes.

>"Yea, this would get real fun back when I was travelling with my family. Well, except for whenever Clear got jinxed. He was the silent type already so he had no issue with it. He'd even flip it and make it hard for us to [i]un/i]jinx him."



"Oh yeah, didn't Pryce say he did that one time?" Amy asks conversationally.


Shorthorns nods to Monkey, "Okay, okay! I'll elt you get back to your treat, I could use some myself."

Standing up from the blanket, she heads over to wherever some more sweet, dessert-ish items could be found, thinking she use a bit more sugar for energy. "Not having to worry about dying 'would' be a plus… though, now that I'm a god, I wonder if I can really 'die' die."


"Nor do I think you are worthy of the title of world-destroyer, River. If you are to say your role was as significant to garner the role, then so too could you label the prior existing pantheon all as world-destroyers now, if you forgive my sacrilege." Leather chuckles, "Again, I have been trying to eschew the binaries of blame as of late. While I have no experience myself, many of my brothers and sisters in the Legionem had similar upbringings or lack thereof, so you have my sympathies. How does one erm… become a 'mad' doctor as you say?"


"Vah!" a chuckle bursts from Shei. He begins serving the food he cooked on individual plates for those playing music.

"Then maybe I was more wrong than I thought and the many divinites ran for the hells as soon as the firmanent broke. Knowing there was nothing to imprison us now save for Metatron. Would I like to know…" He sighs "It's that exact servantness is why I'm likely not going to return from this expedition. If I could, I lend my case for Mortality's spiritual individuality and help them to master themselves. I don't have as puerile dreams of domination like you or your sister over there. But the new world will need a guardian for bastards and kids."

Shei takes a bell out from his cape and rings it "Food's ready! Something special for everyone playing music! C'mon on and rest!"


>Ran for the hells
Ran for the hills


"So you wanna kiss, huh, babe?" Zjetya asks. "Well don't be shy, just come and take it."
"You're so meaaaan!" Mocha laughs.
"She's just getting started," Vortigern observes.

"Clear?" River asks.

Every Ecclesian looks your way, from Anzu to Living Saint Zoantharia.

Lion blinks. "Say again?"

River snorts. "For economic reasons. In my youth I lived in alleyways and city outskirts, condemned districts and ghettos. The pack of outcasts I ran with had copious need of medical assistance, and so, following our break-in of the city's chirugeon's guild, I learned their healing arts myself. Of course, when learning any magical art, there are always bound to be mishaps and mistakes – much more dramatic in outcome when one is practicing healing magic. A few limbs not set right, an ear twisted this way or that… of course, normally the chirugeon's guild would settle such matters in a court of law. But, because I was not affiliated with their guild, they couldn't stop me – not through typical means, of course. When I ignored their cease-and-desist letters, then came hired thugs. When I eluded them, they went after my reputation. To be fair, much of their stories about me came from true events… of course, magnified several times over through hyperbole."

Vizsla pauses, then laughs, and laughs some more after that.

Only after her cheeks are full red from the laughing does she stop.

"Oh… oh, dear. What a coincidence."

As another course gets served, the expedition members line up, organized by faction, to get their helpings. Pretty much all the food served earlier is basically gone, the plates all but licked clean.



"Yeah, I'm pretty sure I remember someone saying something like that once…"


Amy licks the plates clean.


Holy Hours approaches, and hands you a caller conch.



Amy takes it and looks at Holy Hours with confusion.


As Shorthorns grabs a few sweet-cakes to tide her over with a healthy supply of cream and sugar, as well as grabbing a few more treats for Spark and Mocha-Husky, she turns and looks at all the Ecclesians staring at Amy.

"Pryce said he did it once…? I'm not sure I've heard that. Does this have something to do with the Ember?"


Shei's face slightly goes wry as Vizsla's laughing rubs him the wrong way. He stands quickly "You may be my elder but I'm not above hitting a woman." He snarks as he interprets her laughter at his expense.

But then Shei-Sher is overwhelmed by the folks crowding his mess station "Hay! Hay now- Meals were made for the musicians here! -baa-a-a-ah whatever I don't care." he fidgets his hooves at them but inevitably Shei gives in the appetite of the teeming masses.

He hurries to prepare a plate for Bodhidharma and puts it aside for him. Sitting the Angel's Witching lantern somewhere scenic beside his plate for him to eat.



"I never remember details. I just remember asking someone once why he has wings."


"Answer it," Holy Hours commands. "Because I called it."

Cruel snickering comes from the many Spooks. All the Choristers lightly bop their respective Spooks over the head at such a childish display.


Leather also parties in the mild, morbid mirth, snickering, "Nor was I especially on the side of the law as an assassin, so we are kindred there. Making ends meet far surpassed the highest of scruples, and I am sure the people who you treated came to you not out of your coercing but because they were not able book or afford the more traditional medical services. Mad would be a misnomer, untrained was fair. So you were offered a way out of this infamy then, or were you… indoctrinated? That's not an especially good word but I'm failing to find a better one so apologize. Perhaps recruited?" He mumbles, before clearing his throat, "Recruited in a different matter or situation?"



Amy looks down at the conch in confusion.

"Kinda symbolic," Amy shrugs. "Cause you obviously haven't called it."


Pryce's face flushes red, clearing his throat from Zjetya's statement. He opens his mouth, mime-ing out silent speech. He then points ot KP, then draws an X over his mouth. He then points to Zjetya, then points to himself while mime-ing speech again.

>"Oh, that's my oldest brother. He liked to do all those mind tricks and such, like reading and guessing. That's what made it so hard sometimes, cause he'd always know what you're about to say."

KP listens on as River tells Leather about her past as a mad doctor.
>"What were some of the stories?"
He asks curiously.


Vizsla rolls up the sleeves of her kimono. "Square up, bitch."

"Vizsla!" Mudi shouts. "Stop that, we're going to be working together, what good will it–"

Vizsla completely disregards her sister's ongoing protests.

"Simply imprisoned, once an official bounty was put out, and competent bounty hunters came a-looking. My only regret was that I could not get the price any higher before they caught me. But, as for indoctrination – I don't know what their plans were. They failed to do anything more than capture me, for someone broke me out soon after I'd been apprehended – Sardonyx Emblem. Do you recall her?"

"C'mon, love, I'm not a psychic, what's on your mind?" Zjetya continues.
"She's just spelling it out for him now," Vortigern observes.

By the time you make your retort, Holy Hours is already back in line. The Spooks, despite the disciplinary measures applied (Gegenschein had to bop Rooster), are clearly still amused.

"Sir Pryce," Gegenschein says as he takes a plate from Shei. "Once you are quite finished eating, I believe Doctor Galton would like to ask you a few questions."
"Most certainly," Galton says. "Please, cease that game and come sit with us."
Eventually, the expedition members are back sitting where they were, having gotten their second plates.

Voyage takes an extra plate, and sets the plate down in front of Buiwong's makeshift shrine. The plate that Shei put in front of the Bodhidharma is already empty by the time he looks back at it. Gegenschein seems to have taken an extra plate, as well.

River pats your head. "I'd prefer not to recount them."

You notice that Supper of Crows is still standing, with both her first and now her second plates stacked up with each other. She hasn't sat down this entire time, you realize.


River blinks. "Only now do I realize how precious little I know of Pryce's old family. How… how fare they, do you know?"



Amy bounces over to Supper, who she doesn't know basically at all. "Hey! Why aren't you eating?" she asks with concern.


"Many of my memories are vague, but I recall at least one encounter. Go on?"


She looks like she's on the verge of tears.


Shorthorns flattens her ears, looking at Pryce. "Sorry if we just got you into some trouble, Sir Pryce: I really was curious myself but I didn't think it'd cause a stir like that."

As Voyage grabs a second plate of food, she looks at Buiwong's shrine with slight contempt, but does a great job of hiding it as she takes her plate over to sit with him. "Did you make that?" She asks, pointing to the shrine.


Shei hurries back from setting the plate for Bodhidharma and see's Viszla in fighting pose. Shei snaps his hooves and instantly appears in gi pants and a black t-shirt with torn sleeves displaying the words 'Fight Club' on it's chest

"What the hell is it with elderly witches and martial arts!" Shei says incredulously as he readies into a fighting stance

Shei's cape flows upward and then splits into two wings slamming the the air beside him. Shei jumps into the air and tests a hoof strike toward Mudi's chin.
>(RACIAL)Highlander: passive; You naturally adapted to the conditions of mountainous areas. Cold damage is reduced by 1 (minimum of 1 damage). Rolls affected by Goatcraft are automatically successful in mountainous terrain. Your attacks made from high ground receive a +1 bonus.
>(RACIAL)Griffon Flight: Griffons can fly, and have a +1 bonus to divebomb attacks from high altitude. This is about as taxing as running at full speed.


Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3


Pryce sighs. He points to his mouth, draws his hoof over his throat, then points between their mouths frantically.
When Gegenschein says his name, Pryce turns. "Questions? What of?" He asks, seeing a second serving of food has been prepared. He looks back to Zjetya, silent a moment.
"…Were you playing dumb or doing that on purpose?"
He asks, before getting food before it is all taken and joining Galton for the questions.

KP smiles at the head pats.
>"Any nice stories from your past then?"

>"He hasn't seen then since he left to train as a knight. But! I know they're ok. We used to travel all over, so they would've gotten to somewhere safe real quick."
KP says with confidence, despite it being clear he has no idea how they are.


Meant to say he hits Vizsla's chin


"Got me in trouble for what?"
Pryce asks with concern.



Amy is completely taken off guard by the welling of tears. The sudden influx of emotions causes Amy to tear up as well.

"Oh my goodness, what's wrong!?" Amy asks, giving Supper a hug.

[1d10] for good hug!

Roll #1 6 = 6


"It was she who recruited myself and Shining Light to join her and Tantra in Buiwong's crusade. Of us, only Tantra was a true believer, and him, only for the divine violence. As for the rest of us, our aims were purely cynical and self-centered, but it was what we had to do to survive where we were."

"Yup!" Voyage says. "Carry it wherever we go. For him, taking an incarnate form is a bit like being on fire from the left side of his face, all the way down. It's been like that ever since the Devas defeated…"

The shrine smolders with black flames.

"Err… escaped from his divine wrath," Voyage quickly corrects.

The shrine stops burning.

You punch clean through Vizsla's face, all the way out the back of her neck… only for copious blood to flow down your arm, as your veins are shredded by razor-sharp fragments of ice.

>Shei loses 10 Hits

With half a face, Vizsla grins, and raises her hoof to your side…


Hope stands, as does Hurricanrana, and Volkama. All of them have their eyes glued to the battle.

"River let me in on what happened," Zjetya says. "If I'd had it my way, you wouldn't have said another word until you got it out of me."
"Is that what this 'Monster Island' game is about?" Vortigern asks.

"You and Pryce," River says, tickling KP's ribs with her wing-tip. She looks on with concern about Pryce's lost family, but only nods. "Then, I will have faith as well."

"The nature of your death and resurrection," Galton says. "You know, saying that to the wrong person would get you headhunted by some very unsavory characters indeed. It's a good thing you've made friends with us, indeed. So, tell me – how came you by this miracle?"
Chorazin laughs.

"I – I don't know how I got myself wrapped up in this whole mess… Viz– Vizsla just came to me and said they wanted my help but before I could ask what was going on I was already fighting alongside them and all my demons were getting stronger and that just made them want my help even more and… and… I don't even know anyone here… I'm tired… I wanna go home… I'm allergic to people…"

Supper talks through her sniffles.

"Th-there there," Mudi stammers. "Amy, why don't we sit over here?" she asks, getting up and going slightly down the staircase of the tower to get more room away from the fight and all the other expedition members.

Roll #1 4 + 8 = 12


"For mentioning what Amy was talking about. It seemed to make everyone in Ecclesia a little shocked, I'm hoping they're not going to, you know, interrogate you about it or anything."

Shorthorns smirks as she sees the shrine light up in black-flames as Buiwong clearly takes issue with Voyage's exact 'phrasing' of that statement, before turning to him and nodding her head in understanding. "I see. That's neat. I never would have thought to carry around an idol of Vir-can. If I had, maybe I could have asked for his blessings more often."

She sits down besides him, looking at the shrines. "…do you think buffalo will make shrines for us too? And like, pray to them and everything? Would we hear it?"


Shei pulls out his arm from Vizsla's face very disturbed at the tearing pains coming from his arm as he slides it out.

He looks at it, wrist to fist covered in blood and cuts. And He looks at her with an expression that says -really?- And then begins laughing comically "Fair skies Vizsla, I expected you to cheat, but I didn't expect you to cheat that much."

Shei-Sher throws her a disabling strike to her Stomach, knocking the time right out of her.

>Can I Borrow This?: Instant; Recharge 3(minus 1); Ranged; On success, you steal 1 of the target's chances to act next turn, completely stunning them if they can only take 1 action per turn. Next turn, you can use this stolen action in addition to your normal ones.

[1d10] To punch the time out of her

Shei mostly imitates a fighting form he's glanced off Flow. He attempts to block her jab to his side.

"Fine be it, I will conquer with only my hooves! Serving you the ultimate defeat." He says as he struggles

Roll #1 7 = 7 / Roll #2 2 = 2


Leather nods slowly, "What are your thoughts on the gods? Your personal beliefs and faith rather? Now and then both if they've changed, I'm curious."


File: 1615953281347.png (72.43 KB, 339x321, cheeky.png)

[forgot to post this]


"You two are truly dastardly," Pryce says in a light tone when Zjetya reveals the plot. "I almost feel bad that Gegenschein stepped in before I could get you to spill."

"No, this was me being jinxed by KP," Pryce explains to Vortigern.

Pryce takes a bite of a biscuit, having picked more basic and filling foods from the second spread.
"Oh, that," Pryce says, sounding relived when Galton rebeals it's about his resurrection. "Don't worry Flaming, it's fine."
Pryce looks back to Galton. "When the Rapture happened, things looked grim up on Providence and Prominence. In desperation, I jammed the Ember of Jalandhara onto my horn to try and absorb it all. It… didn't work out at all. From what I recall, it erased me entirely. I can't even describe how I came back from that with only a burn to show for it," Pryce says, pointing to the black ring on his horn. "There's really not much to it. A miracle is the only way to describe it."

KP laughs as River tickles him.
>"And Zjetya!"
KP adds in.




Amy keeps holding Supper gently but with a tight grip. Until she says that she's allergic to people, then, Amy lets Supper go and looks at her. "Wait, like literally?" she asks with concern.

"Yeah, let's go over here with Moody," Amy says to Supper. "You know Moody, right?"

"And, my name is Amy by the way. I don't think we've actually met. But, you know ME now! That's good, right?"

"What's your name?"


"I suppose I'm… still sorting that out. The things we saw at Regina's tower in particular… they made me question what a god is, to begin with, much less if they are truly a thing of worship. Were you there for that?"

"If their faith was genuine, I would imagine so," Voyage says, drifting off in thought. "Hey… can you imagine what hearing a prayer's going to be like? All those… all those private fears and wants."
"Get ready to hear some beautiful and dark things," Tantra says. "Just think about everything we've prayed for."

Gegenschein looks over at Holy Hours, who nods. "It's going to get ugly in a moment. She knows no restraint," Holy Hours says.
"Then proceed."
"Time has stopped," Holy Hours says.


For an instant, everything stops. Then, in the next, you and Vizsla are standing apart. Hurricanrana holds her from behind, his arms hooked around hers to keep her from moving. Vizsla struggles, kicking at the air as she plainly wishes to continue the fight… but both her wounds and yours are completely gone.

"Hrm… if this is what you get up to, I'll have to show my husband as well," Vortigern says. "He's always had a thing for sport and mischief."

"So, it isn't something you can do on command, nor invoke for others?" Galton asks.

"Yeah, you can't leave me outta this!" Zjetya teases River.

"I was getting to– EEEEE!" River squeals, when Zjetya starts to tickle her too.

Supper stammers through every one of your questions, unable to answer a one. Yet, you continue to ask them. It's not as if you intend to talk over her or ignore her (unless of course, that actually was your intent). It's more like – you ask, then continue to talk, as if her stammering was an expected and acceptable answer, thus prompting the next question. It's a bizarre phenomenon, one you only seem to grasp when thinking about it after the fact.

"S-supper of Crows," she says, eventually. "It's what everyone calls me."

"I had no idea your recruitment was like that," Mudi says as she gestures for Supper to sit (which she does, stiffly and awkwardly, as if falling). "Did… did you still want to go home?"

"N-no, it's fine…" Supper says. "It's not like I have much better to do. Plus my demons wanna go in too…"



Amy frowns. "Tartarus isn't a place you go to because 'you have nothing better to do'. ANYTHING is better. Take it from me. I spent 2000 years there."

Amy's own voice wavers as she says that last sentence. She spaces out for a second, but presently recollects herself. "I don't want to scare you worse. You're so amazing and brave for coming here, but…"

Amy looks around at the dinner happening nearby. Then, she looks back at Supper. "Not everyone here is actually going INTO Tartarus. Some are going to fight the demons that come out and make sure they don't get by. You wanna help them with that?"


Shorthorns turns to Tantra, nodding as she considers it. "When we met Shei's teacher, Crowley, he looked like what I imagine the worst case situation for a god can be… being to enveloped by a concept, taking TOO much in, and having to burden all of it because that is the role of a god, to shoulder everything."

"When we visited Fantasia, we told them that they could place their faith in us as gods, but the reality of what that all means… I can only hope I'm ready for it. I want to be the kind of god to be able to answer every single prayer I hear but, I know that's not possible."

She sighs. "It's just a big deal when you really think about it, having shrines like these. So," she says, "when you're finally having people whisper to you by their bedsides, do you think you'll still pray to Buiwong too?"


After more stammering, Supper finally stops crying, at least briefly. "N-nah, if nothing else, the pay's pretty good…"
"Vizsla…" Mudi spits with a glower. "My apologies that my sister took advantage of you so."


"You've never heard of Jinx before? Huh, I thought it was a common game," Pryce comments as Vortigern mentions bringing the concept back home.

Pryce shakes his head.
"Unfortunately not. It was an exception to even my situation. Even so, the Ember is all spent up now."

KP laughs as Zjetya gets into to turn the tides on River. He too jumps in, tickling River as well.
"Yea, we're all a family now. No leaving anypony out!"


"I did not attend, as I felt I have no place in pursuing that line of… empowerment. I have a wife and children on the way, while I do not doubt belief can empower people in supernatural ways alongside ritual and the like, my place is firmly put in the mortal realm." He nods again, "But I understand, it is a mark of wisdom that you do not blindly believe one thing or another."


>Edit first line
"Oh, I could loan the rulebook if you want for a bit. It's pretty easy to get the hang of," Pryce offers to Vortigern.


Shei is confused for a second before noticing Holy Hours intervened again. He looks over to the Ecclessians and then Hurricana, not feeling awkward but impotent about the situation. He doesn't bother walking over to Vizsla, thinking her group might interrupt his intent wrong.

He instead says to Vizsla and Huricanna from his side of the room. "Hay.. We were only playing our games. -This is probably a good time to cut it. The victory is yours Vizsla- awful sorry Ecclessia had to make things weird."

Shei-Sher walks away from the debacle, finding himself to find a place by Amy, Mudi, that the Supper of Crows girl he hasn't met yet. As he sits he apologizes to Mudi "Sorry for provoking your sister. I was being cheeky and it got out of hoof."



"Maybe we could talk to her and see if we can get her to pay you for fighting the demons instead?" Amy asks Supper as she glances at Mudi.


"eeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" River squeals, thrashing. The Light Brigade clears out to avoid having their plates kicked away as River struggles. Needless to say, she is unable to answer any more of Cloak's sobering questions.

"He may have trouble reading the common script, but he never got bored whenever I would read to him," Vortigern says. "My thanks."

Galton nods. "Oh. Then, you'll have nothing to worry about. I would imagine you'd have already been sought out, if it was something you could do by your will. Carry on, then!"

Vizsla snorts as Hurricanrana eventually lets her go, scornfully glaring at the Ecclesians. They do not seem perturbed, either by your words or her gaze, but the Light Brigade have all turned to face Vizsla, staring her down in kind.

"Not one of you is more than a stick in the snow," Vizsla scoffs. "You'd not last a minute in the Coven."

When Shei comes on over to sit with Amy, Mudi growls again. "You should have hit her harder. I trust you're no longer hurt?"

Supper of Crows just stammers for a bit. But eventually – "No… I'll go in with you guys. It'd just be awkward staying up here when I came all this way."

You note the Light Brigade glancing over this way.

Cloak notices that Shorthorned might be a better subject for the discussion of godhood.

Tantra shakes his head. "Nah, it doesn't work that way, far as I can tell. Gods can't pray to gods. It's a privilege, a power, and a burden reserved for mortals alone."
"Figure I'll be too busy with my own prayers to pray to another, anyway," Voyage says. "Hrm… wonder if gods ever get lonely."



"That's dumb," Amy says flatly. "There's a lot of really nice and fun and strong people not going into Tartarus who are here right now. Like Pryce. And, he's one of the coolest and strongest people I know! You can be like him!"

>Mantra of Equality [1d10+4] DC-4


"Why did you punch Vizzy?" Amy asks, completely unaware of what just transpired.

Roll #1 2 + 4 = 6


"Hehehe" Shei giggles "I should assume all the Sisters of the Coven are so sassy. I honestly enjoy Vizsla's company I'm very comfortable with her. Had I gotten into a fight with anyone else I know it'd be difficult to talk to them again. But with vizsla, it's easier. I know shenanigans like this are not so serious."


"Anytime," Pryce responds.

"Have you been looking for somepony who could do that?" Pryce asks Galton, feeling there must have been a reason for them to ask so quickly after Amy and Flaming mentioned it.

Pryce looks over, hearing River's squeals, and seeing the tag team of tickling that is causing it. He steps over, looking as if he is going to stop it to give her air. But, a familiarly evil smile comes to his face.
Pryce's hooves come down, making it a tickle trio.


Shorthorns nods, "Right…" she says, looking at Buiwong's shrine once more as she contemplates this.

"We're the only gods we have to pray to now. And we're both going to need to believe in ourselves as much as we can, so that others can believe in us too. I think, that's what it means to be a god: to have as much faith in yourself as your followers do."

"Well, gods can't pray to other gods, but I don't think anyone said they couldn't have friends." She smirks "Or, family."


Shei notices Amy talking to Supper of Crows and Shei bothers to introduce himself "Hi, my name's Shei. Amy's boyfriend."



Leather sneaks his way into the conversation, given his previous conversational partner has been overtaken by a tickling-induced laughing fit. "Ah, that only emboldens my personal choice to remain rather mortal. Just because you cannot pray to other gods, doesn't mean us mortals can't keep up contact with you. I don't imagine it's totally isolated, at the very least."


"Perhaps, but…" Mudi mutters. "With her, even I have never been able to tell. I don't think I'll ever know."

"Wh-who?" Supper asks, before Hope of the Light Brigade walks over.

"We are prepared to double any offer Vizsla made you to just stay back," Hope says.

"Uhh, umm, err, uhh…" Supper stammers.

"And if you're in need of friends," Vitalya says, coming over. "We'll put in a good word for you with the Vermillion Corps, Ecclesia's mercenary division."

"Nnn– uhh, n-n-n– no, no, I have fr–" Supper chokes.

"And," Zophie says, as she slithers over. "Repentant demon tamers such as yourself can find penitential salvation from Ecclesia without need of joining the ranks."

Supper basically curls up into a ball at this point from the social overload.

"Of course," Galton says. "Only we mortals are capable of performing true resurrections, a feat forbidden to gods, demons and angels alike. Across history, each time a soul capable of wielding that power appears, the heavens and the earth overturn themselves in the hunt to claim them."

"Noooooo!" River cries. "L-L-Lockjaw, help!"

With a snort, Lockjaw butts his head into KP's ribcage.


River then tries to counter-tickle Zjetya.


"Funny thing," Voyage says. "Mortals, demons, angels, even gods, needing faith."
"If there's anything I've seen to be true, across all the lands I've walked," Tantra says. "It's that nobody can get by without it. Not a one of us. So let's be sure people who believe in us are putting their faith in the right place, yeah?"


Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 3 + 2 = 5


Shei Stands upright to speak forwardly on Ecclessia offering Supper to stay back home. "The gall of Ecclessia, poaching after someone's comrade with gold. Tempting her with what? Status amongst strangers? The girl is living the height of her life exploring the world beneath all worlds! And you think you can tempt her to betray her fellows. I for one would welcome your company here Supper of Crows -that's your name right?- in the contest of wills."

Shei says to chastise their behavior.



As Lockjaw jumps in to River's defense, Pryce, in one smooth motion, catches Lockjaw like he was a football and gently flips him over, laying the deviljho on the ground on his back.
"Keep him busy," Pryce says to KP, who nods in response. KP hops over to Lockjaw's side, giving the mightly lizard some bellyrubs.
>"You were feeling a little left out, weren't you Lockjaw?"

"You can't get out of this that easy River," Pryce says as her attempts for help failed. "Or, you either." Pryce says, as he spreads a wing under Zjetya to bring her under the tickle assault as well for a twin attack on both of them.


Without even a roar of protest, Lockjaw completely forgets his defense of River and lays there, contentedly slapping at KP with his tiny forearms as he's showered with affection.

"Fwaaaah!" Zjetya cries as you start to tickle her. She manages to harmonize her cry with the part that her voice sings in the background music. With Zjetya now on the back hoof, River gets up to get her ticklish revenge. Not to be outdone, Zjetya grows her fangs again, and sinks them right into the sides of your stomach.

[1d10+2] River v. Zjetya
[1d10+2] Zjetya v. Pryce

Hopper bounces away, grumbling at this tomfoolery.

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6 / Roll #2 9 + 2 = 11


Pryce tries to turn as Zjetya goes to turn the tables, lifting his hoof from River to keep Zjetya subdued under the assault.
>Tickle Counter [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9


You reach out to stop her, but Zjetya barrel-rolls, and scrapes her teeth against your ribs. They do not scratch or damage your skin, and you can feel the aetherial buzzing of magic upon them. This defense against damage does nothing to mitigate their tickling, however, and you fall, unable to resist her further. Brutally, she scrapes her fangs against your skin, tickling you until your mind blanks out. Between your tears, you see River in a slap-fight with Zjetya's wings as the latter beats back the former's tickling assault.

"Reminds me of our early days," Galton says to Gegenschein.
"If by that, you mean yesterday, then yes," Gegenschein answers.


Pryce falls back, not expecting the feel of fangs to be pleasant in anyway, leaving him off guard to the tickle tactic.
"Tha-a-a-a-t's not fair!" Pryce stammers out through his laughter, finding it difficult to concentrate through it. With River fighting back on her end, Pryce takes the opportunity of Zjetya being in so close to him. Pryce brings his hooves backs for a grapple, holding Zjetya in to leave her wide open for River's revenge.
>Grapple [1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4


Zjetya slaps back your grab attempt, then River, smirking, nods at Zjetya, who nods back. The two turn about, then plop themselves down onto your side to keep you pinned and at their mercy, as they pause to catch their breath.

Meanwhile, KP sees Hopper talking to a spider.


In the momentary pause, Pryce catches his breath too, looking up as they both join forces to pin him down.
"Well… I guess… you two won this round…" Pryce says between breaths.

KP looks up and over to Hopper, pausing in his play with Lockjaw.
>"Be careful Hopper, I don't think he's a good influence."
KP says, just a tad distrustful.


"Get used to saying that," Zjetya says. "Can't beat fangs like these."
"Not unless we had some of our own," River says.
Zjetya blushes. "You'd… want your own?"
"Sure, they seem handy enough," River says. "Why not?"

The spider, as you can see, has a small wizard's hat. As you approach, Hopper grunts, but continues to sit with the spider. Mocha in particular looks offended. "What makes you say that?" she asks.


"I wanted to ask earlier, I didn't know you could retract those," Pryce comments. "They also felt a lot softer than I thought they would."

>"Isn't that Buiwong? Or, like a part of him. I don't know how that works."

KP questions as Mocha chimes in.


"Normally they're not like that," Zjetya says. "I covered them with my magic so you wouldn't get hurt. Normally they're meant for fighting, or for scratching against a hard changeling carapace. Against flesh, they'd normally cut, or even gouge, so obviously I wanted to avoid that… for now."
"Setting aside that last part…" River says. "Seems a simple enough feat to transform our teeth into fangs. I'm sure some magician here or there has a spell for it."
"There's another way, but… best to discuss it later, with a smaller audience," Zjetya says.

"No," Mocha says. "Buiwong has his own spiders for that. As a mortal, you lack a divine spirit, and can't distinguish those spiders from ordinary ones. He could act through those spiders, just as he could act through me, but then, you'd be able to perceive the power that builds up there."

Some of the spider's friends come over, as does Lockjaw, as the unintelligible critter meetup continues.


Pryce gives a nervous laugh at the last comment of Zjetya's, looking back to River.
"Well, we already got turned into birds, so there'd be transformation magic for that somewhere."
He looks between the two of them, thinking.
"I think you'd look pretty good with fangs," He adds on to River.

>"Oh, my bad…"
KP says as Mocha clears up the situation. He watches as more gather, and Lockjaw joining in too.
>"I wonder if this Beast-Mastery stuff can teach to talk to animals. I wanna know where he got a tiny little hat like that down here."


"Thanks, but I wonder if it would be difficult to speak with those things extending over my lower lip," River ponders.
"It wasn't any trouble for me, but then again, I grew up with them. You might have to relearn a few phonemes," Zjetya says.

"Oh, I made that," Mocha says. "My mom helped me to practice all levels of knitting, from the smallest to the hugest."


"It'll probably be quick to pick up, like speaking with those fake rubber teeth," Pryce comments, then start to think. He slips off his bracelet, and conjures up a pair of fake fangs, handing the result up to River.
>Hat Magic [Rubber fangs] [1d10]

>You did? Cool! I wish I knew that before going to the pet store, I could've got a full matching set for the three of us."
KP says with amazement.

Roll #1 4 = 4


"It'll probably be quick to pick up, like speaking with those fake teeth," Pryce comments, then start to think. He slips off his bracelet, and conjures up a pair of fake wooden fangs, handing the result up to River.


"You can get pretty far believing in yourself, but I've got at least three back home who have the strongest faith in me. Hoping to be back before two of them are born." Leather says, stretching before relaxing.


Shorthorns sighs, "It has occurred far too soon for me to say for sure, and my powers have been an incredible boon so far… but I hope that I do not come to regret my choice later either."

"Though, if it results in the demon threat being dealt with and the world being saved, I imagine I won't. I would give up far more than just being mortal to save it."

Shorthorn nods in agreement with Tantra. "Absolutely. I can't expect many to have faith in me as a god if I do not even have as much faith in myself."

She looks at Buiwong's shrine again. "Do you think 'he' minds? If you're a god now, same as him, that's like… losing a follower, isn't it?"


Last time, on HolyQuest…

At the precipice of the Abyss, the House of Death, the Maw of the Unknowable God, Tartarus itself, champions gathered, bearing powers and weapons to rival the heroes of old. Each one had come to wage war to save their world from irreversible destruction – from the devouring of mortalkind by demons, and from the Dissolution of reality itself, overseen by Metatron and his angels.

These champions proceeded to have a potluck.

River sticks the fanged dentures into her mouth, then clacks her teeth a bit, before spitting the dentures back out. "Bleurgh… I'll wait for the transformation magicks to try fangs."

"It's something he's no stranger to," Tantra says. "His followers have perished every day since the day he was known as a god… to say nothing of how poorly they have fared in this broken, abandoned world."

In a hushed voice, Voyage adds – "He's been experiencing the lives of his fallen in his dreams… even I've been pulled into them now and then in his darker days."

Supper has pulled up the hood of her robe over her face to assist in her hiding.

The Light Brigade look down at her for a moment, before Vitalya glances at Hope. "Yeah… I think we're trying to dissuade the wrong Witch."

Hope is silent as he studies Supper, before Vizsla glances over.

"No, no, you should continue," she says. "Don't underestimate a mare identified – by demons, no less – as one of Mortalkind's Strongest. Certainly not someone you would ever wish to fight."

"But that's irrelevant," Mudi says, glaring at Vizsla. "Because there isn't going to be any fighting between us, is there, sister?"


"…well, that's something I can kind of relate to, at least. I've been having some disturbing dreams too, lately, with Vir-can and the buffalo."

She sighs. "So, at least he's used to losing followers… I still don't think I feel sorry for him but, that has to be getting harder. If I lost someone as loyal and strong as you, Voyage, I don't know what I'd do."


"I have heard of assassins dreaming of those they've killed as the mind's way of processing remorse, but dreaming of followers that believed in you till the day they died seems far more impactful. No matter the god or goddess, I can imagine that can wear on one's mind. I am sure they have different ways of coping, healthy or otherwise." Leather nods somberly.

"Your life is your own, do not worry too much. You did not have to twins on the way, but you will have the responsibility of having children of your own, in a different sense."


"Begone- Shoo. No soliciting." Shei flaps his hooves at them in dismissive gesture. "Boorish of you not to consider us Lords and Ladies of virtue. Here's some trading cards, now get."

Shei-Sher gives Hope a stack of trading cards bound by a rubber band. At the bottom of the deck facing up is a card with portrait of the God of Bastards and Kids. In the character description is details on how to summon Shei-Sher. Though it's probably useless in Tartarus.

When Mudi says
>"Because there isn't going to be any fighting between us, is there, sister?"
Shei-Sher shrugs his hooves up, balancing them up and down like a scale "eeeeeh" remarking his indecision on that part.


"Ohohohoho!" Vizsla laughs at you. "What's that indecision I can smell, kid? Fighting or surrendering, killing or sparing, you must be sure, lest Tartarus devour the lot of us when space becomes unstable in response to your indecision."

Hope examines the cards for a moment, then turns to Supper. "What if I give you these?"

"Um…" Supper says, peering with one eye out from her furled hood. "…Tempting offer…"

Vizsla sneers at Supper. "You! What did I just say!? Mere cards are not worth invoking my kindness."

Mudi bonks Vizsla with her staff, but the Kind Witch just ignores it. Mudi then bonks her repeatedly.

Tantra and Voyage nod solemnly.

"Then…" Tantra says, broaching the next topic. "I hope you two will understand that, on top of everything else, these dreams of our lord's should signal also his resolve."

"Yeah," Voyage adds. "No matter what, for the sake of those who, without doubt in their hearts, give their everything to him in their devotion, Buiwong doesn't plan to give up or settle for a half-measure in Tartarus."

"I trust our meaning is clear," Tantra concludes.


Shorthorns blushes, rubbing the back of her head, "…I'll make sure to take care of all my followers like they were my family, for sure, but… I hope I can still have, you know… a-actual children too, someday."

"If you didn't have a mate and kids to go back to, do you think you'd have taken the choice?"

Shorthorn nods in agreement. "I think so. No matter how many you lose, or how things don't go the way you planned, you have to keep moving forward or else everything you lost along the way will have been for nothing, right?"

"I'll keep charging on too. Till I don't have any breath left in me, and then a few more miles after that."



"Yea, they take up a lot of space. Even for a short costume or act it's not that great."
Pryce then looks up to Zjetya.
"I am curious, too. I knew changelings could shapeshift, but I thought that was personal, not a school of magic."

>Relinking the KP response


Cloak pauses, but then chuckles and shakes his head, "I know not what I'd be the god of - I'm rather comfortable embodying patience in the name of Hypomone rather than further muddy the pantheon by becoming a god of assassins or the like. I certainly do not think of myself as the archetypal assassin regardless." Cloak nods along with Shorthorn's want for an heir some day, "I cannot say I had the same desire, but I would do it all again knowing that we have lived past our first end of the world."

"No matter the actions of the past, it is the actions of the present that best define one's character, mortal or otherwise." Leather responds.



"Everyone leave little Crowsy alone!" Amy shouts at everyone crowding her. "Just give her a minute to figure out what she wants! Geez!"


Shei is looks on concerned as Mudi repeatedly bonks Vizsla, although decides not to intervene. He thinks for a moment why doesn't she morph her flesh to avoid the bonks "Your lot are walking one way and my lot are walking another, I'll have to wait and see where we converge." Shei-Sher looks to Mudi "You may have everyone else in my brigand convinced of your kindness -but I still harbor suspicions. Just the same for every one of you."

Shei points to the light brigand and moves his hoof around the room to refer to the whole of Ecclessia. "At one point we'll reach our immutable differences and then our conversation with fate can begin." He turns his tone to more congenial next "That doesn't mean we can't have a nice pot luck and remain as friends despite possible opposition."

Shei turns briefly to Supper "Really you like them?" He says referring to the cards.


Shorthorn shakes her head, "I do not even know what I am the god of yet, and I've already ascended!" She stomps a hoof, snorting. "I… just hope it comes to me, sooner or later. I could be the god of stampedes, I was saying I really liked the sound of that earlier."

She blushes as you mention her desire for heirs. "Uh n-n-neither do I! I mean, right now, I-I'm not saying I want any now either!" She says, letting out a breath, "I mean, I am pretty sure I should wait a long time for anything like that. I was just thinking, you know… it'd just kind of happen one day. Don't know how, it just… kinda would. Now I'm worried if it won't because of what I am now."


"Not quite," Zjetya says. "It's in our blood, for sure, just like unicorns with their telekinesis. But, both telekinesis and shapeshifting can be accomplished, just with much more difficulty and intermediary steps, by other magic."
"Quite the scholar, are you?" River asks.
"Eh," Zjetya says. "Just learned what I had to to get by."

"I doubt I'll have time, considering I'm going into Tartarus," Mocha says. "But I can have someone get that going for all of you. Oh! Hrm… grandpa could squish me with a newspaper if he knew I was offering this… if I asked my mom, could you keep her location a secret?"

"Well, how rare are they?" Supper asks, fanning out the cards. "That affects my answer."
"Oh my," Chorazin says. "You'd get along swimmingly with someone we met not two days ago."

At Shei's declaration of the truth of the potluck, tension electrifies the air as the Ecclesians, the Witches, the Light Brigade and the Spiders all seize one another up. And though they are not present, all gathered can sense the quiet looming of the Demon Lords' presence pressing in from the sides…

"Well-said," Gegenschein eventually answers. "Come now, there was never any hiding it."
"Of course not," Mudi agrees. "We all wish to save the world, but we could be no more different in every other respect."
"We can still cooperate toward a better future," Voyage adds.
"I certainly hope so, at any rate," Hope concludes.



Amy nods in agreement with everyone. "If everyone was the same, then everything would be boring," she says in response to Mudi in particular. "We don't need to be the same to get along. Heck, we SHOULDN'T be the same. Getting what you want all the time just makes you into a bad person."

"No one knows that better than me," she adds with a laugh.


As Shei outright speaks of everyone's path walking their own way, Shorthorn likewise looks disturbed, her tense expression at risk of divulging critical information to those who probably shouldn't know if it… However, as Gegenschein breaks the ice, Shorthorns looks at them, and lets out a slight sigh of relief

"I guess, better to get it out in the open BEFORE Tartarus than inside of it. Who knows what that'd do to our paths if we were as focused on keeping ourselves as secretive from each other as possible… you can't find your way if you're distracted."


"That is a good point, though I imagine there's a lot that changeling magic can do that others can't," Pryce adds to their scholarly talk. He then looks between the two mares, noting that both still sit on him to keep him pinned from their mighty battle.
"So… truce?"

KP nods, drawing a hoof over his mouth like a zipper. Then, after a moment, he pulls his hoof back to unzip his mouth.
>"Is she a spiderpony like you too, or a normal pony?"
He asks curiously.

"We've all came here together, traveling through this dungeon and even feasting together. Despite the differences, we all know the greater risk and can unite to focus on that."
Pryce adds after a moment of silence when the tension rises.


"Yes, from my personal experience, it certainly does just kind of happen. Let us hope, if it does so for you too, that it does not require the end of the world as we know it as a catalyst."

"I am not a fan of the dramatics of this one in particular, but there is the saying of 'Keep your friends close and enemies closer'. If we are to think of each other as anything less than friends, let us have time to get close." Leather belly laughs.


"Vaa-a-ah! Come now. This isn't something to pout over." Shei-Sher tries to save the mood "A truely rare moment as this. Prophecy as annointed us it's saviors. Cast the most extreme of it's patriots into opposition to decide the outcome of everyone's lives. Gods, peoples, and worlds. Yet we are able sit down with one another and break bread- I love it!"

Shei begins to stir with passion as he speaks to everyone present now "This is what true friendship is! Rivals, and conspirators, spies, and allies plotting eachother's death but still celebrating life! I won't ever die a coward, or from natural causes, I won't dissipate into obscurity. Mudi will kill me, Gengenschien will kill, Perhaps my own party will decide I must be dealt with. And there is no greater honor than to be sent off. Knowing that there was no ill will, but simply that it must be done. I am brimming with pride and happiness to play this game with people I admire. I- ba-a-ah." His emotion overcomes him a moment "Born a slave, even if to an eccentric master. I never had thought I could live up to such a glorious life. Yet I know! I've arrived here because I lived a life with love! And so have you all."

"And- bah- I'm sitting down now." Shei-Sher sits down beside Supper and Amy now.


Shorthorns chuckles. "Let us hope so. By the time I am ready to have a kid, I would say I'd have just enough apocalypses for one life time. Though, it does sound like it's a really good way to meet ponies, huh?"

She chuckels. "Well… if you don't mind my asking Leather, how did you meet your mate?"


"Did you hear something?" Zjetya prominently asks River.
"Just a cute mare talking to me," River says.
"Jeez, you've certainly warmed up to the idea!" Zjetya gasps.
"Yes, how can I not, when you are a phoenix?"
"Ugh, can you get any cheesier?"

Mocha withdraws a pendant from her tunic, and opens it. Two portraits (shrunken down with magic) lie within.

On the left, is an old and faded portrait of a small zebra family. The father is clothed in a heavy cloak and wide-brimmed hat, while the mother is clothed in a ritzy, rich garb, and no small amount of jewelry. Between them stands a young zebra drider filly, carrying another drider, this one practically a newborn, swaddled in her arms. By the older filly's smile, KP can tell she's a proud older sister.

On the right, is a newer portrait of another family. The mother is a zebra drider mare – the older filly from the first picture, judging by the smile – while the father is a bulky, scarred earth pony stallion, a rugged adventurer, wearing his armor even here. Between them stand six pony driders, all with the same salt-and-pepper manes as their mother. The one standing at the back, clearly the oldest, is Mocha, as a teenager. The family has also got some rather large wolves standing guard beside them.

"That's my mom in the second picture, and that's her carrying my aunt in the first picture," Mocha says. "Currently, they're in hiding, under Buiwong's orders… he really had to argue with my grandma before she agreed."

"Hoo-hoo-hoo," Gegenschein laughs. "You'd make a fine Ecclesian, Shei. A Horror at minimum, a Spook, even, perhaps. Let's shed off all talk of truces and agreements and differences and all the like. I'd despise a world where 'friendship' is thought of as being free of conflict, free of fists and bloodshed. As far as I'm concerned, there's no reason we couldn't still be friends. Friendship negates nothing, embraces everything. It'd be a criminally boring world otherwise. Small wonder why our Accorsian epics of the gods filled their every page with deceit and bloodshed, passion and betrayal! Even the gods reject such placid harmony!"

As he speaks, his muscles bulge, and veins show beneath the fur. He grips his crucifix as if he were ready to swing it across the room in a moment.

"I'd call you all friends, if you'd like. And then I'll draw a gun on you, just as you make ready to sword me."

"…Perhaps you understand how we Witches think after all," Mudi mutters. "Not that we are a conventional Coven by any means. Despite our key difference from other Covens, that's just how we are."

"You people are crazy!" Hurricanrana laughs. "I like it! Who wants to be my bestie!?"
"You people are crazy…" Supper mutters. "C-can I remain an acquaintance for now? I'm not ready for your kind of friendship just yet."


Shei smiles reticently, pleased with his impromptu behavior being so well received.

Shei nudges over to Supper with his own deck of cards "Sure thing, but you're my best acquaintance for now. So these aren't very popular yet. Buiwong only started minting them for me a couple days."

He shuffles through the cards showing each detail as Shei readies to show Supper how to play.



"You all use too many words to say exactly what I just said," Amy bemoans.

"I only like it when Shei does it," she adds as Shei sits next to him. She embraces him and rubs her cheek against his cheek.


Pryce lies there a moment, flat in expression as he feels deja vu in being ignored. Seeing the way it's going to be, he rolls his body a bit under them to attempt to sit up, and scoop them up, River in his fire foreleg and Zjetya in the normal one, and re-sit them at his sides.
>Lift [1d10]

KP looks at the family photos.
>"Wow, you have a lot of bothers and sisters!"
KP says, seeing how many kids are in the second picture.
>"Oh, so… is that Buiwong there?"
KP asks, pointing to the zebra in the left photo.
>"…Why are they in hiding?"

Roll #1 9 = 9


Shorthorn raises an eyebrow at Gegenschein as he laughs. "Huh…? Uh… I mean, I would love for us all to get along despite our differences, but that's… kind of, really weird friendship."
"You'd really pull a gun or sword on someone you'd call a friend? Climbing Fire's are no strangers to combat, and we love to strengthen our bonds through our head-butts, but isn't what you're describing a little closer to… well, enemies trying to get along?"


"Relax, relax, this communion was not a binding pact; you are free to define relationships between each other as however they consent to being defined as."

Cloak grins, "Aha, me and Dagger met in the Morte Legionem, the assassin guild that had connections in our city. We were teamed up due to my connections in faith to Hypomone and her skilled assassin work. She rubbed off a lot more on me than I did on her."


Shei hunches over a bit shy about his display "Eheheh, thanks." He smiles warmly. The expression is nostalgic of how he used to be.


"Then these will be beyond rare…" Supper thinks to herself. "That'd really give my collection an edge over everyone else's… wait, wasn't I offered these to leave? What if I just… don't…?"

Vizsla looks on with fury as Mortalkind's Strongest Demon Tamer is interested more in expanding her hobby than thwarting the other factions who stand against the Witches.

Hope shrugs and goes back to his food as Supper of Crows pulls out large codexes from her bag. In each one, various cards are sealed with protective enchantments against the papyrus of each page. Seems she collects from a wide variety of games.

Zjetya and River gasp and squeak like ducks as you pick them up and fly over everyone, quite literally flexing on the competition. Not to be outdone, Gegenschein and Volkama soon join you, each of them carrying their own wife on their broad, muscular shoulders.

"No fair!" Box says. "If I'd known we were doing a wife-off, I'd have brought Regina!"
"Weren't you just on your first date?" Blessings asks.
"Yeah, but I know she's the one!"
Blessings sighs. "If only I could find someone like that…"
"If you survive, I'll introduce you to my brother," Mocha says.

"He is definitely exaggerating!" Anzu says, stomping one hoof. "That is not how gun safety rules go!"
"Neeeeerd!" Fox shouts at Anzu.
She snorts, and before you can blink, you're already seeing the smoke trail from her gun.
However, Fox cuts the bullet, holding a katana in one of his four tails.
"To continue Anzu's point," Viper says. "Sir Gegenschein means that the bonds of friendship cannot be sundered by mere conflict. If two friends share a true agape love, then nothing, not even opposing goals, not even death itself, can break their bond. Thus, from his perspective, there is no reason why we Ecclesians cannot befriend the Witches of Gehenna, despite our obvious differences in how we think the new world of peace must be governed."



Amy continues to embrace him. She rests her head on his shoulder. "I'm glad you're not yelling at me for hugging you," she says as she soaks in the moment.


"Do whatever you WANT to do," Amy says to Supper. "Don't do it because someone's going to give you something or because it gives you an edge over someone. If those are the things you want, then those are good reasons to do it. But, only if it's what you WANT."


Leather watches the wife carrying and grumbles, "Could've carried mine around if I wasn't worried for the two on board.."


"Yeah, that's him," Mocha says. "You know that his true form is the Spider, and it's commonly accepted that his 'mortal form' is that of a zebra… but it wasn't always that way. He used to change his mortal form like you or I change clothes, always picking whichever form was best for the scheme or the trick he was pulling… but that all changed when he met my grandma. A thief, who dared even to steal from the gods themselves… she was the first, and only mortal, to pull a trick on him. So, he had no choice but to fall in love. He sticks to the zebra form these days to be more like her."

As you ask why they're in hiding, Mocha frowns. "It's a dangerous world out there in the best of times, and he's the god responsible for ending it. Even before all of this, he made them go into hiding for their own protection, knowing what people would do to them if they found out they were his family. He couldn't have something like a hostage situation on his hooves. If it was his own family on the line, he wouldn't be able to handle it. Even a schemer like him has things he love, things he can't sacrifice, things he can't endanger."


"So you met through your work," she nods in understanding. "And, how did you go from being battle-mates to being… you know… 'actual' mates? Was it the Rapture?"

Shorthorn yelps as she hears the bullet ring out across the room, getting ready to pass into a battle stance and join the fray in an instant as she scratches the stone floor… but, as Anzu and Fox laugh it off, she looks down at herself, feeling equally giddy to join in some light hearted combat as she lets out a laugh at the situation.

She turns to look at Viper, listening to her intently as she explains how the bonds of friendship can be forged even across different sides of war. "…I knew friends could fight and still be friends, but, everyone I like to fight with still always had the same goals as I did, more or less… you really think it's possible to be friends with those who side against you? On the other side of something much bigger than just a duel or a fight, a war?"

She flattens her ears, sitting down to think it over. "…Vortigern and I had a really harsh fight just before coming in here, and, I like to think we're all still friends just the same. But, to go so far as someone like…" she thinks of a certain spider-god, before squashing the thought.


"Wife-off?" Pryce repeats in surprise, "We're not quite there yet… And this wasn't meant to be a competition." He comments, thrown off by the term, and the others joining in with their own mates. Even still with the distraction and fluster, he doesn't set River or Zjetya down.

>"Huh. That must get confusing, changing your form all the time."
KP comments in thought.
>"Well that's not right, they didn't do anything about this! They shouldn't be under threat if ponies are upset at Buiwong."
He says with his childish naivety.
>"Though, it is good to hear he does have a nice side at least."


After Shei-Sher displays that the cards are standardized for playing with most other cards as he lays them out and shows different spreads "They're mostly a collection of the entities I've met thus far. In the descriptions there's hidden details on how favored rituals or how to enact conversation."

As Shei can see Vizsla is staring daggers at him he takes out a spare deck from his cape "You can put away the death glare. I'm not poaching anyone's companion today." Shei-Sher hands Supper a spare deck "I keep a lot of spares. Just be sure to show them off, and use them. I want the word to spread."

He says all this while very apparently oggling Supper's card collection.


"We had… trouble defining our relationship and it was a little.. bumbling at times. We were 'partners' in a work-sense and a bit more than friends but- yeah. Once everything went down sat down and talked about our feelings towards each other and we both loved each other and didn't want to die just as coworkers. Of course we sort of, y'know, consummated that thinking we would die in the coming weeks but here we are now with two kids about to pop out."


"Oh yeah- right." Shei responds absently. He seems much more engrossed in playing cards with Supper.


"The most famous and moving tragic epics of our nations are premised on that very idea," Viper says. "Even to this day, whether the genre be romance, war, exploration, mystery, or comedy, that pattern has borne fruit in myriad stories."

"Yeah, lots of stuff isn't fair," Mocha says. "But, he couldn't keep me down, since I'm the strongest out of the bunch. And the most stubborn."

Flow slithers over, except he's being carried by Renee. The same reversal plays out for Hafaza and Observer, who looks quite content with being carried by his mare. Spitshine carries Sugar around, though he looks like he's taking good care to not harm her, being still young and awkward. Then, without warning, Shorthorned is struck by a sudden question of whether or not she does have buffalo wings after all, as she's lifted into the sky by none other than Great Voyage, who flips her onto his back.

"…What even started this?" Deriva asks.
"I'm not sure," Galton says. "I believe Gegenschein just saw Pryce goofing around with his harem and wanted to join in."

Supper's earlier anxiety seems to have largely faded now that she's met someone with a common interest. Already she's commenting on optimal strategies, synergy, and so forth. Vizsla snorts and steps off, but not before remarking to Mudi that the latter ought to invest in such diversions if they turn out to be as popular among demons as they are mortals.


KP asks with fascination.
>"How strong are you?"

Pryce isn't quite sure how to respond with the growing trend, while also getting a strong feeling to not back down out of it either.
"Hold on, a harem is a bit of a strong word to put on this. Right?"
He says in defense of Galton's comment, looking to Zjetya and River to back him on the topic.


With a mild harumph, Cloak gets to writing about the group's meeting with sketches far exaggerating the number of ponies and others being wifestacked, figuring it will make for a good full page art when he converts the journals to a picture book.


"She doesn't know what she's missing." Shei comments as Vizsla derides their game at her departure.

"I'm going to regret saying this. But when I was making trading cards, I thought I was one of the first. Just where are all these distributors from?" Shei picks up one of Supper's cardx appraising it with his evil eye.


[1d10] to admire the enchantments imprinted on the card

Roll #1 1 = 1


Shorthorns snickers at the 'consummated' part, "G-gross… but, I guess that'd make sense. Already said you loved each other, I guess… you know-"
She shakes her head, still snickering. "I also wish it didn't take the end of the world to make it happen, but, I guess you have to look at the silver linings every once in a while. Do you think you and her ever would have if it never happened or, not sure?"

Viper's words strike a chord with Shorthorns, thinking over how friendly she could be with one she considered not just an ally who had different philosophies or goals, but one who stood in opposition. "…well, I do like the witches. It would be nice to still be friends with them even if we're not… not on the same side."
She snorts. "You know, maybe I just need to give them a good headbutt to get a feel for how it works out, but I feel like they'd turn me into a frog or something."

Her thought process is interrupted as she suddenly finds herself lifted up into the air, gasping loudly and yelping as she's flipped up on to Voyage's fluffy back. "V-voyage?!" She says, looking around as he brings her into the 'wife off'. She blushes, somehow trying to make herself look small as she leans down to whisper into Voyage's ear, ("D-don't you think it's a little early to be competing in this? What if you give away we K-I… K-I-Z…E.. you-know-what the other day without even getting married?")



Amy lets Shei go. "Really? You're ignoring my snuggles for a card game?" she asks, annoyed, giving him a glare of disappointment.


Amy watches the card game that is apparently better than snuggles.


"What I'm not ignoring you. We're-" Shei now turns head to look at Amy "We're doing our thing."


There is no pause in Leather's next response, "Oh yes, one hundred percent. Patience is, y'know, my thing. I wanted to make it a little more special than, yknow-" His speech quickens, "Hookingupintheruinsofatownafewroomsawayfromdeadbodies and all.."



"The thing where you ignore me?" Amy asks, crossing her arms. "I'm familiar."


"Hoo in the what… huh?" Shorthorns repeats, clearly not catching that last, speedy sentence. However, she shakes her head, trying to focus on the initial point. "A-ah, well, that's good too. I'm sure you would have become mates one way or another, but in my opinion you shouldn't wait too long. You wait too long, you're at risk of missing your opening. I think you were wise to get right too it when you were both sure of it"


As you reach out to take a card, Supper gently reaches out, and places her hoof on your wrist – and your arm completely immobilizes. Try as you might, you cannot push forward or pull free; your arm is held fast, even to the shoulder.

She stares at you with a scrunched face and puffed cheeks. "Please do not touch my cards, please."

"The strongest," Mocha says, ruffling KP's mane. "And since I'm a demi-demigoddess, that puts me above even Mortakind's Strongest over there."

Hurricanrana looks over as he hears an implicit challenge in the air.

"Technically correct," River says.
"At least he didn't call us concubines," Zjetya adds.
"No, no," Galton says. "There's no way he'd have given his blessing if you were mere concubines and not wives."
"Of course not," Gegenschein adds. "If there was even a hint of rank or status between you, I'd condemn you like heathen barbarians."

"Like I said to Shei just now," Vizsla says to Flaming. "I'd like to see you try. Only, we'd better do it elsewhere, lest the wet blankets you call Ecclesia interfere again."

"The nose-bump?" Voyage asks. "You mean, this?"

In front of everyone, Voyage bumps his nose against Shorthorned's.

"Whoa, whoa!" Tantra snaps. "There are children here!"
"How scandalous," Desert Lamp notes.
"Downright indecent," Ichimonji adds.
Mocha covers KP's eyes, and Onion does the same to Sugar and Spitshine.
"Vulgar!" Box adds.
"Have some decorum," Living Saint Zoantharia says.
"I'm trying to eat here!" Blessings chimes in.
"I don't get it," Zophie says.
"You two need to relax," Lion says.
"Get a room," Viper comments.
"I think they're doing a bit," Gjenganger says.
"What an immodest generation," Sir Estuary says.
"I can't believe you," Mirror Image says.
"If only my husband were here," Vortigern sighs. "He'd love this nonsense."
"Haven't any of these people heard of the rule of three?" Vitalya asks.
Chorazin is too busy eating, so she just makes a thumbs-down with her wing.
"I think we're running out of characters," Renee says.
Those who haven't spoken so far just nod out of consideration for the text limit.


>"Well I gotta see that! I don't think I ever saw a spider fight before."
KP says to Mocha's boast. He looks over at Hurricanrana as she points him out.
>"…I don't know who that is. Is he really the strongest mortal?"

"I, uh… Well, thank you for the blessing, but harem still feels like a bad term for this. I'd call it a three-way relationship. A triple? I'll figure out a good term."
Pryce responds, a bit flustered with all the relationship talk of wives and concubines.

>"Huh, what's going on?"
KP questions as Mocha covers his eyes suddenly.

Pryce looks around as everypony exclaims over the indecent act.
"And I thought our reception was rough."


"Mortalkind's Strongest Demon Hunter," Mocha explains. "All things considered, a pretty narrow category. But considering the title was awarded by reader votes in a publication run by demons, I wouldn't discount it altogether."
"Howdy," Hurricanrana says, offering a wave. "Want an autograph?"

"Three of a kind?" Viper suggests.
"A sleight?" Galton asks.
"Ein triple kill, vith zhe love-god's crossbow," Freischutz says.