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File: 1618707103826.jpg (722.56 KB, 1280x1717, 1546161690358.jpg)

 No.755503[View All]

Last time, on Anno Castra…

A long discussion unfolded between our explorers and "Mendicant Rudolph," assuming that was his true name. The dissident priest who unleashed a startling manifesto about the bleak future facing Ironcastle was, after all the panic and unrest he caused, a rather unassuming figure, not particularly unusual, nor even memorable. He maintained that everything in his manifesto came to him in a startling vision, which also included the zero-day virus that he used to forcibly download the manifesto to every Magicomp in Ironcastle.

This was an impossible feat, according to the Lux Deorum, as Rudolph had no background in technology whatsoever. They completely discredited his story about receiving it all in a vision, divine or otherwise, and maintained that he had to be working with a group of fellow terrorists and malcontents who wished only to stir up chaos in Ironcastle. However, Rudolph proved that he had information he could not have possibly accessed otherwise: He knew that the party had spoken with Godspeed. Just as this seemed to lend credence to his story about visions, he uttered a still stranger thing… that events that had unfolded in Ironcastle were also unfolding in other Castles as well, from ancient historical events such as the rise of the Brotherhood of Flagellants, to the schism of the Charismatics from the Abbey, to the development of mutually intelligible languages across Castles, despite there being no methods of communication between them, and the massive distances that separated them.

Before they could question him further, the DLs furiously dismissed the party, and took them away, back to the baggage claim area of the Ramparts. Many more hours than they had perceived finally caught up with them, and they had to get a ride from Rockfall back to House Titanite.
851 posts omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.760981

>>760980
Taking that as an invitation to help, Zamrud gets up (tenderly), and walks his way over towards the glow, not getting to close as he gets a look at the object itself to see what it might be and how best to handle it.

 No.760982

>>760980
"Do any of you have any skill in hacking and disabling computer security?" he asked as he looked to the others with a slightly annoyed sigh.

 No.760983

>>760980
Billy nods his head, and decides to look for something stick like to push the thing, not caring much for the exact quality of the materials he perused around the area.

 No.760984

>>760978
"I am as well. I would feel awful if I hurt any of you severely- I will endeavor to be more careful in the future, Good."

>>760979
"Mmm, perhaps we will have a chance to try it, yes. And the sensation was thoroughly unpleasant- my head still aches."

>>760980
>Looking around to find something! [1d10]
While looking for a chunk of rebar, the griffon states "If you are concerned, I could always grab it."

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.760985

>>760982
"I only have a rudimentary grasp of cyber-security, I'm afraid. Perhaps someone in Ride or Die's squad has more expertise in hacking." Zamrud suggests

 No.760986

>>760983
>>760981
It's some sort of glowing, compound ore, made of sections of black, angular material, and green, rounded material, about half and half each. Zamrud and Qhapaq are quite sure they've not encountered anything like it. However, after Billy scrounges up a long, bent bit of chassis from the terminal that La Senorita destroyed, he gets a better look at the ore. It strikes him as something similar once seen in the Arcanum…

>roll knowledge


It looks like the neon glow isn't the only thing inside this recess. You see a rolling mechanism at the base of it – basically, this recess is much like a filing cabinet. However, the mechanism is too rusted to operate.

>>760985
>>760982
"Ah, you called?" Assembly asks. "What appears to be the trouble?"

>"Please select all planeponies to continue," La Senorita explains.


"Plane…pony?" Assembly repeats. "Perhaps… an Old World race? Err, that's besides the point. One moment, Good, I'll see what I can do."

 No.760987

>>760986
"Hmm. At the least, if it has value, it will be easy to free. This cabinet appears to be stuck, but I think we can still open it easily."

 No.760988

>>760986
"Thank you." he said as he took a seat for a moment, leaning on Senorita "I sometimes see why ponies and other castle dwellers turn to drinking to alleviate stress."

>>760984
I am a tough one. Zamrud less so. so if you do go crazy again, just aim for me."

 No.760989

>>760986
Zamrud takes a heavy look at the green and black artifact, crouching down to inspect it more closely. "Curious… I don't believe I've seen anything quite like this. Looks to me like some sort of magical ore?" He suggests, before noting the turning mechanism.

"It appears to be a means of storage, there's probably more in other compartments. Though that'll be difficult with the gears as rusted shut as they are, we'll probably have to dismantle it entirely."

 No.760990

>>760986
Billy taps at his chin with his other hand. Thinking that maybe his friend has mentioned something or another before to help him recall what he should know.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.760991

>>760988
"No, no- I would prefer to aim for myself, if anything."

 No.760992

>>760988
>"Alcohol dependence – no laughing matter – please – consult your doctor," La Senorita splices, giving you a serious look (even with her immutable robotic face).

Ride gravely nods. "And I am sure any of us would be also willing to listen and render what aid we can."

>>760990
>>760991
>>760987
>>760989
Billy hands Shikiki the piece of chassis, and she uses it to maneuver the ore closer to the beige hardware rectangle. You see now that the rectangle has opened up like a toolbox, and is empty inside. Shikiki drops the ore into the box, and carefully shuts it with the other end of the chassis, the end which did not touch the ore. She then starts to mess with the control panel again.

As all this goes down, Billy thinks back to one of the research projects that Key Keeper showed him, following a new initiative for improved relations with the changeling fiefdoms of Ironcastle.

>anyone can roll knowledge for more info on that; DC 4 for Zamrud, Billy and Good as it concerns Ironcastle history. DC 6 for Qhapaq and Grutar


In any case, this ore that Shikiki just slid into the rectangular thing she called a 'Unit' rather resembles a type of ore submitted to the Arcanum by one of the cooperative changeling fiefdoms. Apparently, that ore is quite superior to others in its capacity for channeling magical energies, and Key Keeper was rather enthusiastic about its potential to prompt a new phase of Magitech development.

 No.760993

>>760991
"I am simply trying to be realistic
about the nature of you being possessed my friend."

>>760992
"Petty annoyances are not a sign of alcoholism." he said clicking his tongue gently in annoyance before sighing "But the care is appreciated."

 No.760994

>>760992
>[1d10]
Qhapaq tries to think on it more, but he's not too sure if he'll know anything… but! He does watch them pull it out and store it away with interest. "What exactly is it, anyways? Do you have any idea?"

>>760993
"Fair enough. Thank you, Good." Qhapaq says, bobbing his head in a short bow.

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.760995

>>760992
Scratching the his curly hair on his chinny chin, chin. Billy consults his memories on history and other knowledge key keeper has allowed him.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.760996

>>760992
>>760990
As Zamrud sees Billy tapping his chin while Shikiki works with the mechanism that now contains the ore inside of it, Zamrud taps on the goat's shoulder to grab his attention. "Something about this ring familiar to you, Billy?" He says, taking a guess at what he might be thinking.
>Will roll after he shares the lore about the changelings

 No.760997

>>760996
"Ahh, I was just thinking about what my friends have told me before about this metal before, that bar I just handed over is arcanum from the cooperation with the changelings." Billy brings up his thoughts.

 No.760998

>>760997
>>760992
"So you're familiar with this metal." Zamrud responds with surprise. "And it has something to do with the changeling fiefdoms…?"
[1d10] Rolling for Knowledge (DC 4)

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.760999

>>760992
[1d10] Knowledge DC4 for the groups sake

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.761000

>>760998
Billy nods his head.

 No.761001

>>760993
After some time, Assembly looks back up from his comp and disengages his universal connector cable from the machine. "As expensive as it was, I am glad I invested in the Old World adapter set for this cable – I've gotten much use out if it lately. Now, we're set to plug La Senorita back in."

La Senorita plugs back in, and gets to work. Following another period of waiting, the terminal's screens briefly flicker out, then load back in. Like before, three options are visible.

>Project Log directory

>Schedule of Experiments
>Test Chamber Control Menu

Indeed, the thing in the test chamber forced Qhapaq to lie about the options…

>>760994
>>760995
>>760996
>>760998
As Zamrud recalls, changelings have always been a part of Ironcastle's population as far back as recorded history can attest. However, their societies – which were never officially acknowledged as 'kingdoms,' only fiefdoms, lest their claim to royalty supersede the Iron Crown's – made a point of being separate from Ironcastle society as much as possible. They did not participate in the caste system of the Strata, and kept separate economies, a separate family of religions, and separate institutions of learning, socialization, and so on. However, their race's dependence on emotional harvesting kept them from truly separating from the rest of Ironcastle, and kept other Ironcastle societies from truly welcoming them.

Before his retirement, the previous Iron King (the father of the current ruler, King Ischyros) began a new wave of ecumenical measures to welcome changelings to join Ironcastle society proper, which actually made headway where previous attempts had failed. One of these measures were joint research projects in the Technicarum, Arcanum and Orchard Layers, where changeling magical and mechanical technologies were tested for their potential in improving existing ones.

Hence, Billy and Key Keeper, belonging to the Sage Stratum, saw an ore in those research projects that greatly resembled this one… what it's doing in the Outlands remains to be seen.

Shikiki presses a button on the control panel, and the rectangular storage unit starts to shrink down via magic, until it's no bigger than a wafer. She pockets the wafer and stretches. "Okay, your guys's's's's's turn now."

 No.761002

>>761001
Good very quickly went for the Project Log looking for whatever the hell was in that tube.

 No.761003

>>761001
"Hmm… fascinating technology. Does it work off the mutation you have, or is it a separate function entirely?" He asks, tilting his head to the side. "And, our turn? Ah… oh! For, ah, looting."

 No.761004

>>761001
>>761000
"I see…" Zamrud says, looking again at the ore before Shikiki presses the button to remove it from their sight.
"Changelings have always been part of IronCastle, though they've stood out in their preference for isolation. Despite joining under our King's banner, they prefer to keep to their own traditions and laws as much as can be allowed, so they've never particularly mixed with the overall population."

"Though, that changed to some degree with the previous king's policies bringing in a number of Changeling researchers and scientists in for joint projects. Now that you mention it, I think I recall this bauble being related to those projects after all. Could this spire have been part of a former Changeling society…"

As the cabinet shrinks down and Shikiki pockets the entire thing, Zamrud looks rather deflated with his ears pressed down. "Well, that's a rather convenient means of carrying off everything in the lab, isn't it?" He sighs, but shrugs and pushes on.

>>761002
>>761001
"Well, I'm interested in seeing whatever can be gleamed from our assailant. Good, I assume Assembly was able to make this device user friendly?"

 No.761005

>>761003
"Huh, I guess so? Though it doesn't feel quite right after it seems that the others have gone over everything." Billy mumbles.

 No.761006

>>761004
"He did indeed. I am currently trying to pull all the data I can on it."

 No.761007

>>761004
"Changeling society? Hmm… maybe that is what this is."

 No.761008

>>761002
As you quickly learn, it's a very rough translation that La Senorita provides, owing to her tenuous grasp of modern Castle Equish, and the insurmountable chasm between it and whatever the Old World ancestor of Castle Equish might have been…

However, over the course of about a dozen log entries, you piece together a loose narrative of events. The author of the logs alludes to being in some kind of military installation, complains about a desert heat… desert? But, there are wetlands not far north of here…

That aside, there is an account of peculiar meteor showers, precipitated by
'unfitting aerial phenomena'… It's not clear what that describes.

Following the showers, the research team recovered various findings from the meteorites – most notably the thing in the test tube. When initial experimentation proved that the thing possessed some degree of sentience, and could even interpret basic commands, more time and money got poured into the installation for further research into it.

A later entry conveys the author's private bafflement at one of the directives from their superiors – to see if the thing, now codenamed a 'daemon', could be ordered to summon more of the 'aerial phenomena' which precipitated its arrival. However, it sounds like the experiments were successful – and the meteorites that followed contained a variety of materials. A grainy picture reveals that the ore that Shikiki just looted was among these materials. The author notes that the other materials were an almost random assortment of junk – some raw materials, others antiques from by gone ages, still others just literal garbage.

The final log entry is incomplete, but the author seemed a little distressed at the daemon's growing propensities. No longer would it simply wait for stimuli before it would act. Rather, it had begun to act of its own accord in the tube – and some researchers found themselves inexplicably imitating its actions.

>>761003
>>761004
>>761005
"Just a coincidence," Shikiki says curtly. Sounds like she doesn't want to divulge too many secrets about either the tech or her mutation.

As she scampers off to the side, Ride starts to do some stretches, and glances your way as he does. "I discussed it with my team – we're going to be traveling light as we've still not reached our mission's true Zone Of Operations. You're welcome to loot if you see fit, but don't forget you're going to have to carry all that you run off with, and we've still a ways to go."

 No.761009

>>761008
"Interesting… it appears as if that thing… and the other things here… fell from the sky itself." he said to Zamrud.

 No.761010

>>761008
>>761006
>>761007
As the research notes reveals a semblance of the history that has surrounded this place, Zamrud's eyes widen with shock as he turns to look back at the empty tube. "It was inside a meteorite? Are they suggesting this thing came from the void itself?" He says as he contemplates the very implication of such a thing. "This 'daemon'… if it is a Dreaded One, could that ultimately be where they ALL spawn from? This creature could have even been a progenitor of their kind."

He looks over the notes again, scratching his chin. "It had the power to summon more meteor showers, but it appears as though the possession ability it did not pick up until later in its life cycle. A mutation, perhaps?"

He looks through the logs to see if they kept samples stored anywhere else in the facility. "I'm tempted to see if there's even a sliver of it left we could take back to Iron Castle. Provided it's not to risky, the things we could gleam from this 'daemon' could be of immeasurable benefit."
[1d10] Searching on storing samples

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.761011

>>761009
>>761008
Good decided to go back in and look for… anything interesting the group could salvage or otherwise loot for themselves.

 No.761012

>>761008
Grutar had begun to make his way back to the group, finally after he had done quite a bit of searching and remaining alone so his smaller stature could sneak past things or fit into tighter spaces.
>General area search
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.761013

>>761008
Billy without much on his mind or much to do decides to follow Grutar's and Zamrud's example in roaming around the room in a search.

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.761014

>>761008
"I think I am satisfied with the… ah, unintentional looting I have already done- the mutation is more than enough." He remarks, gesturing to his wings.

>>761010
>>761009
"Hmm… fascinating. What else did the terminal have to tell, if I might ask? If this is a precursor to dreaded ones, that is surprising- I would expect more to group here."

 No.761015

>>761010
>>761011
>>761012
>>761013
With some tinkering, a dash of elbow grease and a drop of headlight fluid, Grutar manages to wrench open the sliding cabinet that stored the other recovered meteorite materials… sadly, the results are mostly disappointing. The majority of it is literal garbage… plastic containers, discarded wrappers, and other bits of trash. The researchers still seem to have treated these materials with the same delicacy with which they treated the ore sample, putting each on its own labeled display plate.

However, one thing does catch Grutar's eye, at the back… a weird little stuffed doll. It almost looks like a bear, but with exceptionally long legs, and no arms. Though its eyes are just black buttons, they have a curious gleam.

 No.761016

>>761015
Good continued to hunt through the computer for any hints as to any better loot that may lay deeper within the facility.

>>761014
"From the looks of it, they used the Daemon to try and summon more of them… and it worked, and even more meteorites fell."

 No.761017

>>761015
"Oi! I found this little doll back here, like someone mutilated it or somethin'! These rare n' collectibles in any way?" Grutar calls out to the others, grabbing at the stuffed doll to pull out and show off.

 No.761018

>>761017
"I am unsure if I have seen anything similar to it before, and you never know what these lands have in store, especially in here. Does Senorita have any kind of information on it?" Billy asks out loud.

 No.761019

>>761016
"Mmm… very unsettling, yes. I suppose we will have to remain on watch for even more of these then, yes?"

>>761015
"Wuite a good deal of trash- I suppose people are likely to put trash everywhere." Qhapaq notes, shrugging a little. "At least we have found good information."

 No.761020

>>761014
"That's all we can tell at a glance. It was probably miraculous Assembly and Senorita could even get us this much information, this computer is probably falling apart."

>>761016
>>761014
"Ah… of course. This 'deamon' arrived on some sort of meteor from the void, and the researches had it summon more searching for material. But if it summoned more meteors, then of course that might bring more 'daemons' along for the ride… and thus, we have a possible origin story for the bane of the Outlands. Remarkable, the history alone here might be worth more than anything we could pick up and take with us."

>>761015
>>761012
As they look through the rest of the cabinet thanks to Grutar's heavy handed approach, Zamrud sighs with disappointment as they seem to find only junk. "Hmmm… your efforts were much appreciated Grutar, but it seems as though Shikiki might have made off with the lion's share."

As Grutar points out the doll he found, Zamrud takes a look at it. "An… odd little doll, isn't it? Someone forgot to give it arms." He rubs his chin. "And, here of all places, that's a little unsettling isn't it?"

 No.761021

>>761020
>>761019
"Such is the hubris of those who came before."

 No.761022

>>761016
Well… yes and no. While poking around through the project log, you find a map of the facility – complete with a handy 'you are here' marker…

…However, the map doesn't resemble the facility as you know it now. The map's layout is entirely different from what you've encountered so far. The corridor of doorways doesn't appear on the map, and in fact you should have gone through more twists and turns than you did in order to get to this room. It's like this room got grafted into the rest of this structure, or perhaps vice versa.

>"File corrupt – question mark?" La Senorita speculates.


No, no signs of that… but from the discrepancy between the map and the territory, and the assortment of collected materials, to the story of the Daemon's arrival in the facility itself, this whole setting is quite jumbled.

>>761018
>>761017
>>761020
>"Analysis – cute," La Senorita informs.

>>761016
>>761017
>>761018
>>761019
>>761020
The Haegyl Outcasts look a bit disappointed to have exhausted the facility's treasures already, but start to pack up nonetheless, having collected some of the materials themselves. Shikiki does look pretty content, having at least made off with some potentially valuable ore despite losing out on a mutation.

"Well, uh…" she says. "We're gonna make ourselves scarce now."

She tosses you a few business cards advertising peculiar sequences of codes. "If you're ever near a Haegyl camp, ask for the 'Net password, and then navigate to these codes. You can catch all my streams there."

"Even as Outcasts, they're hosting you on their own Intranet?" Assembly asks.

"They don't… necessarily know that they are," Shikiki says with a smirk. "Don't be a Casshole and snitch on me, now."

"Language!" Ride admonishes.

"Anyway, uh, thanks for your help with getting into this weird little joint," Shikiki continues. "I guess you earned that mutation…"

 No.761023

>>761022
Good grumbled "I suppose it's not out of the question that the Daemons and the materials from the void could have altered this place."

He looked to the others "Should we leave or push in deeper?"

 No.761024

>>761022
>>761020
>>761018
"Looks like I'm gonna need to give it new arms and see if it's worth anythin'. Maybe I'll donate it for trot for toys foundation or somethin'" Grutar says as he looks for anything like tags on the doll.

 No.761025

>>761022
Billy grunted in response. "Honestly expected something more." Turning to grutar. "I hope you enjoy it."

 No.761026

>>761020
"Mmm… that would explain a lot- though, calling meteors from the sky sounds quite dangerous… even if we find little physical things of value, the history is good."

>>761022
Qhapaq looks at the code and tucks the card away- he's unlikely to memorize it, so he'll simply keep it on him for later. "I, uh, will not be a Casshole. Or snitch. I promise, I did not intend to be mean." He remarks, bowing his head a little. "And, you are welcome. I will try to not squander what I stumbled into." He says, ruffling his altered wings slightly. He'll stick out a claw to shake, not sure what the 'proper' thing to otherwise do would be. "Sorry about the musicbox."

>>761023
"Such things could happen? Altering the building, I mean? Curious."

 No.761027

>>761022
>>761023
As they seem to be at a lack for treasure (minus one fairly creepy doll), Zamrud sighs and looks over at the Outcasts as he catches one of Shikiki's business cards, looking it over as he offers a smirk. "We'll be sure to keep you in touch. In the end I think this venture was profitable for everyone. If we find ourselves with an Intranet connection out here, I'll be sure to check in and see how it's going."

As Good asks if they're leaving or should go in deeper, Zamrud pockets his card. "I know we're on a time table, but, I feel it'd be prudent to investigate as much as we can. The history alone would prove advantageous to bring back to IronCastle, or imagine if we found a sample of the Daemon." He looks over at the erroneous map however, looking confused at the lack of the hallway we entered. "Strange though… why is the facility so different in its memory?" He works on a possible idea, but decides to first search if there is another room to access *without* going back in the hallway.

"Senorita, do me a favor and download everything you can from the Project logs. This information should return to IronCastle if at all possible."

>>761024
>>761022
Zamrud smiles, "A good idea. I'm sure someone would appreciate a rare find such as this. Though, I think we should test it upon our return just to be safe. I imagine it belonged to one of the researcher's children, but I wouldn't want to risk it containing some element of the Outlands that could prove harmful to the Castle."

 No.761028

>>761026
"Agreed, the history is easily as valuable as any artifacts we might take back with us. If the 'deamons' really are the progenitors of the Dreaded Ones, if they truly come from the void, I'm certain every person in the Abbey will throw themselves at the chance to analyze this."

 No.761029

>>761027
We could come back after we remove the tree as a threat." Good suggests as he stood up "I doubt this place will go anywhere."

>>761026
Considering how little we still know about these creatures… it's not too far a stretch."

 No.761030

>>761024
There's a little tag on the back with Old World writing upon it. You can't read it, but perhaps it's the name of the previous owner.

>>761027
There's the other door across from the corridor of doors, but it hasn't been opened yet, and remains locked.

>>761023
>>761024
>>761025
>>761026
>>761027
Shikiki frowns as Qhapaq brings up the broken music box again. "Tch…"

She fidgets a little, then tosses something to Qhapaq – he catches it on instinct. It's the music-box.

"Bring that back to me fixed or you're never getting your mask back, Aya," she grunts. The Haegyl Outcasts look shocked that she's letting anyone, let alone Qhapaq, even touch the music-box.

In a huff, holding back a grimace of confusion and regret, she flips around and leaves, and the Outcasts follow fater her.

>Paused


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