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File: 1638223244379.png (4.82 MB, 2577x3350, HolyQuest - The Spiders.png)

 No.757873[View All]

At last, the final sight of all those staying upon the surface of your World is engulfed by the interminable darkness.

The Great Seal rends the earth with a deafening quake, as it slides nearly shut, open only by a hairsbreadth. The Loyal Kerberos, ten thousand Umbral Hounds strong, holds one end of Shei's Black Thread in one of his mouths. It is for that reason that the Great Seal has not been shut entirely.

Members of each faction procure a variety of small light sources to aid in grasping the shifting, unpredictable stuff that became darkness upon your perceiving it. The presence of the light, conceptually implying a "darkness that must be lit," renders more of the chaotic stuff into darkness, that is then lit. Fortunately, all that seems to be around you now is a cavern tunnel, as long as it is broad and tall.

The other factions are silent as they walk, tensely keeping weapons at the ready. As you go with them, a nauseating vertigo wells up from within. It feels like gravity's shifting to be before you, as if you were walking down a vertical surface. Although you do not fall, your bodies scream warnings at you that every step could send you hurtling into the chaos ahead, or perhaps, "below" you.
269 posts omitted. Click reply to view.


"hay" Shei snaps his hoof in quick succession right in front of Amy's face "A person can't help but look, but no touching." It's said with importance to the topic. Shei wants to be on the same page with Amy.


Shorthorns spares a look towards the tall, flame-headed individual, watching him warily as he stops to observe their group. As Voyage mentions seeing him previously, she turns towards him, whispering quietly, "Where did you see him? On the way here through the dark road?"

"The Abyss sounds like as good a place to start then as any. Can you point us in its direction, which part of the city is it in?"



"There's something to be said about death and taxes here." Leather responds to Amy, then turns and looks at the figure, "We could explore around and figure out our options first as well, as we know little of what 'Heaven' has to offer yet."


>replace first line with
"Yeah, I thought it sort of looked like a bunch of lines that were struggling to form a picture of some kind. I guess 'Thread' is as best a way to describe it as any."

She pauses as the flame-headed figure looks at them, and she turns to whisper to Voyage: "…is it just me or is he staring?"



"And now the death is as often as the taxes," Amy jokes.


Amy stares at the flame-headed demon suspiciously. But, her mind is too distracted by the voice in her head.

>Does the DC-4 apply to defending against other people's social rolls?


"Hey… Keep an eye on me…" Amy says, sounding distracted and not quite right.

Roll #1 5 = 5


"Hm? And what's that supposed to mean. I shouldn't have to keep tabs on you Amy." Shei continues on thinking she's making a remark on their relationship.


>"We would not lead…"
Voice… voice…? What voice are you talking about…?

And once again, she forgot the voice, but not the advice it had imparted.

"If you've got urgent business, best not to keep them waiting," the boatswain says to Cloak. "Come, at least let me show you where I'm docked."

The boatswain bids you follow from the bar, outside and down the side of the building again. Taking a left, he takes a short walk through an open part of the city, where the buildings are constructed around a great and vast pit, a yawning maw, that makes the Abyss its throat.


Long wooden bridges stretch out into the pit, and there you see the boatswain's vessel. It is, to be plain, a patchwork of metal and flesh. Most of its hull is wrought from inflated, balloon-like sacs of various cuts of skin. Many hands can be seen among the balloon-like parts of flesh. Many are posed like a thinker rubbing their chin in thought. Others are clasped together in gestures of prayer. Among the hands, in fact – are faces.

"That's… Worship," Voyage breathes.
"Served me well for many years. She's a fine craft," the boatswain says.
"What's your fee, boatswain?" Flow asks.
"I think I can cut you folks a fair deal," the boatswain says. "But depends how far we go."


Shei shrugs, and boards the boat, finding a seat that doesn't make him too squeamish.



Amy blinks a few times and shakes her head. "Nevermind… It's gone now, I guess…"


Amy holds a hoof out, stopping Shei.

"That didn't answer the question… What's the fee?" Amy asks, narrowing her eyes.


Shorthorns gasps in understanding as she hears the Boatswain explain his business, and nods to the flame-headed demon with excitement. "OH! I apologize Sir, I didn't realize you were showing us the way to your ship to get us across the Thread. Thank you for helping us,"

As he escorts them out to the great, open pit in the city, Shorthorns looks down at the unending depth within, a great deal of unease at the sheer depth of this endless void. "What a sight… there isn't a whole this big or deep in all of Accorsia. The next level's down there for sure."

As the boatswain introduces his great ship, Shorthorns turns her attention to Voyage as he speaks its name. "You know his ship?"


"If our boatswain wishes to make his bargain after our drop off that's his prerogative to set himself up for disadvantage."


"Is there any price for boarding?" Leather asks, waiting for an answer before continuing.


>"Nevermind… It's gone now, I guess…"
Shei looks at you impotently, his concern seeming to shed away with confusion as he exits the conversation for another.


"They called him a Worshipper," Voyage whispers. "His vessel is Worship. What other method would someone use to get across Abyss? Down here… belief and will are reality. What else is worship?"

"Well, how about this, then?" the boatswain – a Worshipper – continues. "It sounds like you Undefiled will be out and about quite a lot. First ride's on me, if you lot agree to let me take you around on future trips, at my aforementioned discount rate."

He extends his hand, revealing his cyanotic flesh to the elbow. Eight fingers, and all without flaw or detect, not anywhere on his skin. "What do you say?"



Amy eyes the boatswain for a while longer. Then, she turns Shei and herself around so they can whisper without him listening.

"Are you able to alchemize bones?" she asks him quietly.


Shei remains seated with his arms crossed, eyes closed as is trying to meditate. He abruptly responds to the Boatswain's offer "Your offer is too generous!" With the short staccato meaning to halt "Take this apple as a gift. And we will take your proposal on the grounds of friendship rather than business. I expect to be making a lot of money while visiting the first layer. A crew and their conveyor should have a good relationship."

An apple rolls out of Shei's cape for the Boatswain to pick up and enjoy.


"Not without considerable effort I don't feel like investing."


he says this while remaining seated, eyes closed, arms hugged crossed tightly. Seemingly impatient though something about his position looks like he's holding onto himself.



"Well, you know how he got the materials for that boat… right?" She whispers before turning back to the boatswain.


"I DO like more friends," Amy says in a suddenly far more friendly, happy tone.

>Mantra of Equality: Recharge 2; Instant; Soothes a hostile target, making them more likely to listen to what you have to say, and unable to target you next turn.

>[1d10+4] DC-4

Roll #1 7 + 4 = 11


Leather remains silent, not wishing to continue to questioning, feeling it would aggravate the sailor.


Shorthorns nods in understanding of Voyage's explanation. "Yeah… that's a pretty fitting name then. In which case, we better hope it works hard."

As the Boatswain offers his deal to the group, she looks around with the others to guage their reactions, she offers a shrug as Amy and Shei at least seem to go along with it. "Do you make this offer to every Undefiled that comes through or are we special?"


Shei opens eyes only to turn his head and give Amy a face that just says -That's Rude!- all over it


Amy can sense that she may as well be talking to a corpse.


>Null: Mind

Yet he takes the proffered apple, and without care for it having rolled across the fleshy floor of his boat, he lifts it to his flame, and part of it burns away. "What can I say? When I looked at you, I could tell we could be friends, just as these two have said… So what's giving the rest of you leaden hooves?"

Flow and Voyage glare at Shei and Amy as if they're insane.
"Friend or no, a worker should not be defrauded of his wages," Flow grunts. "Honest work deserves honest pay. Before we get on this Worship, we should make sure we can afford the trip."
"Yeah… no need to rush so quickly out of town," Voyage adds. "We're not from Paradise… we'll need to earn some bones first."


"We will earn money." Shei remains cross armed and seated, his eyes still closed. "The umbral will hire us for work and we will collect our first payment as freelancers. I cannot guarantee it, but it's what I set out here to do. If we are going to survive in Tartarus we require connections and money."


"The secretarial Umbral, I am delivering this pizza to- that is." Shei clafies.


Shorthorns nods in agreement with Voyage. "Yeah, the first ride might be free, but we wanna at least make sure we can afford to pay him for a trip back first before we go out there." She turns towards the Worshipper, bowing her head. "We'll except your offer, but we need to make sure we have the money to pay you regardless in case things change. Way I hear, they do that a LOT down here."

"Maybe you know if there's anywhere to get… 'bones'… to trade?" She says as though having to force out the last few words. "We have some gold if they exchange that for anything here."


"Gold is likely the store of value in Tartarus. If we pay him with a gold coin we may be paying too much. And you burden our humble Worshipper with a currency that isn't easily exchanged."


"I'm used to destabilizing power structures for money, I wonder how desired that is down here, given the whole difficulty with fully assassinating someone might be."



"We could just kill some bad guys," Amy offers her input nonchalantly.


"Limited, considering the decentralized nature of Tartarus. If someone is hoarding money, violence seems far more effective here at remedying a depression than it as on the overworld."


"I Really REALLY, want to have this conversation with the Secretary before anyone else can but in. Expediency is prime as far as I am concerned. We're lucky to have made it to the Hanging Port first."



"Do you think he'd take payment in sex…?" Amy asks, glancing at him.

"I mean, if we end up stuck with nothing else to pay him with…"


"This deal's not going to last forever," the Worshipper says, a snarl creeping below his voice. "You can't expect me to just wait on your behalf. I already told you the money's little object, if you take my deal. Otherwise, the Hanging Port is far off. You'll not get there soon without my aid."
"We'll be quick," Flow says. His hooves stray near his swords. "We're Undefiled after all. Wouldn't be hard for us to gut and de-bone someone."
The Worshipper pauses at Flow's barely-unspoken threat.


In an abrupt coarse of movement Shei-Sher slaps Amy across the face. His eyes open, glaring on you as they hold back wetness. Shei is obviously hurt Amy would even joke about that. At least, he hopes it was a joke. He says nothing, but the look on his face says it all.

"STOP! STOP PLEASE!" Shei shouts at his indecisive party. He is clearly irritated "You are making this far more complicated than it is. I want to be on good terms with the man most able to provide us conveyance through Tartarus and you are making him nervous about our friendship. We will figure out. Worshipper please take us, I grow angry and impatient." Shei says with a kindled vigor that demands cooperation

[will make social roll if prompted to convince the npc component of the group]


"Wh– hey!" Voyage gasps.
"Damn it kid–!" Flow hisses, but bites his tongue before the rest of the sentence can come out. He's drawn his sword – and it's turned on Shei.



Amy looks a little annoyed that Shei would slap her over her point. But, to put a more obvious point on it, Amy says, "It's okay, I'm used to having to do bad things to help you out of stupid deals you rushed into."


Amy is ready to go.


Shei retreats to his cross armed seated position. Closing his eyes.
"You would draw your sword on a fellow in a den of savages. You would soon find yourself becoming one of them. You all act weak when you are so strong. We are gods. People expect more from us now. What careless fear and avarice you throw around by being indecisive when you are so powerful. It is our responsibility to act the part."

He opens the eyes to stare down Flow "When I say I have a plan. It means we aren't acting without thinking. Will it trouble you so much to trust your comrade."

[1d10] Leadership roll

Roll #1 7 = 7


Shorthorns makes ready to argue with Worshipper once more before he hears Shei slapping Amy, gasping before hearing his outburst about making things too difficult and looking between him and the barge.

After a few tense moments, Shorthorns glares heavily at Shei, not saying anything but letting out a very irate snort from her nostrils as she scoots past him. She looks up to the Worshipper. "Very well. We accept your offer. We're in a hurry too anyhow, so let's just make this EASY."


Shei pays you mind in silence. Too hurt and busy to say anything more while keeping his composure.


"You're goddamn right – I'll do damn near anything to keep my comrades alive. Even if that means drawing my sword on them when they're on the verge of suicide. Now come, and see. Boatswain!" he calls. "Give us passage. We accept your deal."
"As I knew you would," the Worshipper says.
Voyage fumes, but has fallen silent.

The others climb abord the Worshipper's vessel, in silence. The Worshipper sits at the back of the boat. Rather than steer, or paddle, the Worshipper merely stretches his hands out to the sides of the boat, curling his perfect, smooth fingers over the edges of the boat, kneading and peeling at the flesh of the hull. The faces of its surface hum a discordant tone, and the boat lifts off, and sinks, pointing downward into the darkness of the Abyss.


Shorthorns still fumes silently herself, looking towards Voyage as he seems to share similar thoughts to her about the situation. She looks at the Worshipper almost as sternly, but does not shout or deride him as she steps onto the fleshy vessel. As it begins to lurch off, Shorthorns tries to think of something else to lessen the tension of the situation between the party, aware that such divisiveness could lead to their doom.

"…this ship, it is almost as though it is a living creature itself. Is it?"



"Well, this IS a lot better than walking!" Amy says happily, despite the uncomfortable tone the conversation took.


"That's probably how it works," Amy comments, shockingly astutely.


As they submerge into the darkness yet again Shei lets out a shudder. His form for a moment blurs out as if your eyes were unfocusing on him. But he holds himself tight and continues a breathing meditation the Bodhidharma taught him. He exhales frimly and breathes in gentle. The blur shrinks back and focus in, creating a thin halo around Shei's body. This halo isn't his aura, but his selfhood wanting to expand erratically just being contained by Shei's concentration.

Shei breaks the silence while still holding his meditation "Amy I am sorry for striking you. When you suggest such things it hurts me more than you know. And I don't know if you are joking. Please think of me when speak like that."



"I think I made my point," Amy says flatly.


"I can understand why what she said made you upset, Shei." Shorthorns offers. "I do think she should think about how that can hurt you. But you slap my sister again, goat-boy, and I will ram you down… WHEREVER the sun doesn't shine on this thing."


a moments pause passes as Shei finds the words to express himself. His blurriness increases briefly as his attention is taken away from it, but soon his form refocuses "Amy, I love you. To me our bond is sacred. This bond lives spiritually and physically. If you paid my debt with your body.. I don't know what would happen. I would regret everything."


Once more, the Abyss gladly welcomes you, and all gathers together in the darkness…


And just as before, you are guided by a Thread, thin and indescribable though it may be… yet when there is nothing else you can perceive, save for those miniscule iotas of its light, still you can retain some sense…

It is perhaps thanks to that that, when there is nothing else– you can hear the buzzing, and the bubbling.

Beyond you, an eerie purple haze, odorous and sticky, luminates the misty bayou beyond. Bugs of unknown species dart about, naught but silhouettes. The darkness below has given way to a churning cauldron of humid swamp. Fog gropes its way across your skin. Things brush overhead, caressing your eyes and ears.

Flow and Voyage grimly say nothing, while the Worshipper hums his sailing tune.





"Then, don't do things you would regret," Amy says just as flatly.

Then, she looks to Shorthorns. "You don't need to be mad. Thank you, though."

"Now, let's all stop using names, again, please."



Shei awashes with remorse when Shorthorns addresses, merely because it increases the wound he inflicted by hitting his beloved one. "I know.." Is all he has to offer as his head increasingly hangs low.

Shei opens his eyes to offer Great Voyage a pitiable look that is just asking help me out here please. As apparently Shei is in the dog house now for his outburst. To clarify its the sort of look someone offers when they're asking for you say something to help.


Once opening his eyes Shei's attention is taken to the purple haze of a swampy climate coming into view. This seems like somewhere outside the hangor port. Shei-Sher takes the tartarus Chalice from his cup to get on line with the Secretarian Umbral he was tasked for delivery.

[1d10+1] contacting the Secretarian Umbral.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

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