No.757873[Last 50 Posts]
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.
Shorthorns turns back, willing herself forward after one last respectful bow towards the mighty Kerberos, guardian of Tartarus, and pushing on with her group consisting of Amy, Shei, Flow, Leather. As they hold on to their 'light' that dispels the mysterious darkness surrounding them on all sides, Shorthorns keeps an eye out on the other parties, questioning aloud as they all walk in silence in the straight vertical drop of a cavern, she asks
"Even now, I can only imagine what it must be like in there. Do you think we'll be separated by Tartarus itself as soon as we arrive, or will we be able to split on our own terms?"
>>757873https://pastebin.com/jbpPAusX>sheet not yet updated to autumn's standardization of skills
Leather mumbles prayers to keep himself grounded as they walk ahead, shield held in front of him and muttering only barely audible.
Amy slowly treads forward, poised like a dog on the defensive. Her hair stands straight, giving her a poofy, but fierce appearance.
As they progress through the vertical tunnel, Shorthorns looks over to spot the blue buffalo travelling along side them, roving over towards him quietly so as not to break the tension in the air.
"Psst… Voyage, I… I had something I wanted to ask you."
None answer Shorthorned at first. Voyage, however, seems to be concentrating, his ears twitching, as if trying to pick up a faint, far-off sound.>>757920
Voyage gives a small start, but quickly represses it. "Hmm?" he grunts.>>757919>>757916>>757917>>757918
On and on the nauseating tunnel goes, and the deeper you walk, the more that the nauseating vertigo adds to it a sense of turning, of a slow and subtle spinning. Even when you stop, even if you try to lean against it, always it feels as though your bodies are being turned anti-clockwise by a force you cannot place, a force just outside of your reach…
Just as the sensations begin to reach intolerable levels, you realize that the colossal tunnel in which you walk is tapering off, ending in the shape of a funnel, or perhaps, a root. There is, ahead of you, a small stone opening, just large enough for a mortal to stoop through…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwnGlUhgNnw
The hole deposits you upon a cliffside, the ground below dusty and frigid… you see now that it is not earth, but some peculiar metal that you stand upon. Before you stretches a valley of metal and stone, dotted by towering silhouettes, garbage heaps miles high.
The "cliffside" upon which you stand is the slanted roof of a long and rectangular structure, the likes of which you have not seen before. Everything sags and leans, collapsed long ago. It is as though some giant had uprooted the cities of a forgotten, now-mythical age and tossed them carelessly about. To Cloak, the feeling is reminiscent of Vadahara, and its own ancient citadels.
Shorthorns leans in closer to Voyage as they walk along, not treating it as a private conversation but still speaking quietly. "Have you decided who you're going with once we split up in Tartarus? Cause… you know… I was thinking, you and I usually make a really good team… and, it'd be nice to know you're safe especially, right?">>757921
Shorthorns strains her thick head against the encroaching vertigo as they walk through the infinitely long, dark tunnel to their awaiting nightmare, before the opening of the small hole ahead finally gives her reprieve knowing the entrance is near. As they leer into the wide, barren junkheap filled with metal and twisted stone of collapsed buildings, she looks around, mystified by it.
"Is… is this a city? It looks kind of like Mariposa and Cicadia, bigger even but, everything's tossed around."
Shei-Sher shutters as his sensations brace against their uncompromising environment. Leering his back forward he crawls under the stone opening, nearly cutting himself when landing upon the hard floor below.
The dim wastes ahead remind him of his little time spent in sheol, though this place is much more dim. "The scope of our adventures are eerily coming into view." He remarks toward the scene.>>757919>>757921
Shei takes Amy's hoof to help watch their step among the ramparts.
"I find making assumptions about this place the first step towards disaster. Without heavy psychic protections, who knows if our thoughts about the location may change how it works.">>757921>>757922
"I can work with cities, plenty of good positions for cover if needed. On the down side, there are plenty of places for cover if needed by the enemy."
The spinning is practically familiar to Amy - as familiar as anything in Tartarus could be. It's like a welcome home - almost nostalgic if she didn't feel the dread in the pit of her stomach.
Once the spinning stops, Amy looks to Shei.
"Where are we going?" she asks, her voice slightly shaky. >>757922
"Could be stuff that someone tossed in here at some point," Amy suggests. "We're basically in the world's dumping ground."
"Tartarus is said to be a dumping grounds of sorts. I see the world didn't have much use left for these dilapidated dynasties. The corpse of cities past their time in sun.">>757925
"Umm.." Shei looks about himself, not entirely sure himself "Down? In as straight forward a manner as possible? This place gives me nausea."
"…perhaps you're right. Tartarus is no place for a wandering mind." She takes in a deep breath, calming herself. "I'll stay focused. Whatever happens, we'll deal with it as it comes.">>757924>>757926
"It's also a mess to find our way through. I don't see a lake anywhere, do you?">>757925
"It does sort of look like a city of junk and trash but, where'd it all come from? Surely not from our world alone."
"I was going to go with Buiwong and everyone else," Voyage says. "It's… actually pretty important to me that I stay with…"
He pauses and listens again, ears twitching. After a pause, he looks conflicted. "Are you… sure?" he asks, but doesn't sound like he's talking to you. "Why all of a sudden…">>757922>>757923>>757924>>757925
Tantra pauses, his ears perked up. For a moment, he looks confused, then nods. "Okay, yeah… yessir."
He smirks, clears his throat, and thunders up to the forefront of the group. "Alright, my little ponies and friends! With his usual spokesbuffalo occupied, my Lord Buiwong has tasked me quite suddenly to relay certain information to you all."
Voyage gasps. "Wait, I was in the midd–"
"Per the writings of the Anathema Scripture, one navigates Tartarus Anchor-to-Anchor. One concentrates upon their destination, translated approximately as an 'Anchor,' and walks through the ungraspable sea of chaos filling Tartarus, until they at last reach that destination. We have already discussed splitting into small, like-minded groups to avoid chaotic happenings begotten by a lack of psychic cohesion, or worse, psychic conflict.
"Anchors provide a small degree of local stability. If we all agree to concentrate on the same destination, we will be able to meet up with one another along the way at these Anchors, in spite of traveling separately."
"Yes," Mudi says. "Despite Tartarus's chaotic nature, there are still a few trappings of order to it. Or else we would not be able to speak of the Ten Layers and other divisions. By traveling in the same 'direction,' so to speak, we may even be able to reach one another between Anchors in an emergency. Still, it's best to keep our meetings to these Anchors."
Shei raises a hoof "I spoke about this with my group. We plan on heading toward a place called the Hanging Port. If none of you have a destination in mind, it could be as good a start as any location to test our bearings.">>757928
Shei finds a reprieve to saunder over to Flow "Flooooow, what do you say to some good ole fashioned Flow and Shei adventures. Flow and Shei forever, huh? we have one more spot in our group you would fit right snug into."
"Well, I guess we DO have to get down from here first," Amy giggles nervously.>>757927
Amy shrugs. "I think you shouldn't ask questions like that in Tartarus. You'll never find an answer.">>757928
"So, let's go deliver that pizza!" Amy declares happily as if that's the obvious conclusion of what was just described.
"I see, well as Shei said, we do have a destination in mind, so we'll be focusing there."
Shorthorns appears somewhat disheartened for the briefest of moments as he mentions he was going to go with Buiwong's entourage, as he mentions it being important to him she almost relents. However, as he asks her if she's sure, she nods her head. "Well… yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm pretty sure. it's just… well, I think I might have a hard time concentrating if you're not close by, and, I figure that might be dangerous. Plus, I mean, we're definitely lacking for muscle on our side. Only one buffalo," she chuckles, "But… if you can't…">>757928>>757931
As she finds herself interrupted by Tantra's announcement, she looks over in his direction, paying close attention as he explains the nature of the anchors and how to find their way to it in order to meet up again. "I think I get it… then, what's the first 'Anchor' we'll be meeting at, what should we focus on? A particular scene or location in mind?">>757930
Shorthorns nods. "Mmm, a good point. Still, it's just incredible isn't it? There has to be more trash here then there are all the cities I've ever seen."
Amy smiles. Almost like she's showing off her home town. "Well, get used to that. There will be plenty of it," she laughs.
Flow laughs dryly, an odd thing for a goo. "Was there any doubt I'd join you, friend? I've had my fun catching up with Hope, but I've a feeling the fighting will be fiercest with you all.">>757932
"Oh, I was talking to–" Voyage begins, but then looks aside again, his ears straining to hear something that you cannot. He goes cross-eyed for a moment, caught between two speakers who wish to have his ear.
Eventually he takes a deep breath to focus himself, then looks back at you steadily. "Yeah," he says. "I'd be glad to join you. But first things first, I'll need to talk to Tantra for a bit. And if I'm going with your group, you'll need to give our group one of yours. Oh, how about Wireframe? She was part of our cultus.">>757929>>757930>>757931>>757932
As Shei suggests accompanying your pizza-delivery imperative, it looks like the others accept it.
"So," Ichimonji says. "I take it we just pick a direction and walk?"
"Right," Tantra says. "As long as we aren't at an Anchor, reality is as malleable as your imagination. It doesn't matter what way you head out, long as your intention and mind are focused."
"We've a vast city to leave behind, then," Vitalya says. "Let's get going."
"Wait," says the Dragon. He pauses, listening for something. "Any of you who have teleportation or other forms of long-distance movement, try them now. I want to see something."
Amy looks to Shei. "Can you still make dark portals?"
Shei-Sher smiles, relieved he may have one last sordid adventure with his oldest of pals>>757935>>757934
"Oh right- let's see about that." Shei flourishes a hoof to conjure a dark corridor, both ends in close proximity for everyone to see.
"My mode of transportation is short with my walking on air, so I doubt it'll do what you're wishing to test."
Shorthorns looks to Voyage weirdly as his ears seem to straight, causing her to turn her head sideways as she tries to gauge just what is going on with her bullfriend. "Voyage, you're acting funny, is everything okay?"
As he turns around on joining them, Shorthorns smiles, bowing her head, "Ahh… t-that actually makes me feel a lot better Voyage, thank you. I was kind of hoping we could do this together, you… I-it's just gonna feel right, you know?" As he says he needs to talk to Tantra first she nods, "Absolutely. I can talk to Wireframe too, make sure she's okay with it.">>757934>>757931>>757933
"Well, I guess that makes sense. Alright, I guess we just get moving on to this Hanging Port. Though, question," she turns her head, "What's a pizza again?">>757933
Shorthorns looks excited, "Wait, do you… are you remembering something about this place?"
"Not THIS place specifically," Amy says. "All the memories are sort of a blur. And, that's not just because it was a long time ago or traumatizing. Tartarus just IS a blur."
As Shei conjures a Dark Corridor, you all suffer through a gruesome and peculiar sound that is equal parts grinding and squelching. Shei involuntarily stumbles, and he notes that the portal of the Dark Corridor, the one he conceived of as "the exit," is considerably closer to him than where he intended to put it."
As Cloak asserts he likely won't be affected, Holy Hours clicks his tongue. "Do not be so sure," he says, gesturing some distance away. Freischutz and Anzu are some distance down the length of the fallen building, and both appear to be trying to not slouch or stumble. It's clear they just tried their advanced flash-step technique, only to end up unexpectedly weary from the effort.
"So," the Dragon continues. "Even at Anchors, it seems Tartarus does not take kindly to moving vast distances in a hurry."
Blessings nods. "It sounds aligned with what I have read… don't ever go alone, even when you are at an Anchor. If not enough people are observing something down here, it all falls apart, and you'll cast yourself into chaos.">>757938
"Oh, Buiwong's been yakking my ear off, moreso since the others stayed behind…" Voyage says as you ask what's wrong. He silently listens to your following words, his expression grave as he picks up what's unsaid. "Yeah… you can put your trust in me. Don't worry. Our tale is going to end in victory."
Amy nods at Blessing. "It's why demons stick together down here. Even if they want to kill each other, it's still better than… the crazy stuff this place does."
"Speaking of which, I'm kind of surprised there aren't more demons around… Usually they used to crowd around the entrance on the off chance it ever opens…"
Shei nearly falls backward as the awkwardl close exit portal sends his footing back. His ears folding back as he grabs at them even closer to his face when the corridor makes the revolting noise. "Not as intended! Not at all."
Shei steps up to his portals to get a good gander at them, to see if they look weird in any way "Well, I suppose that settles the question on dark corridors then."
Soon after he follows his respective group down their respective stretch of desiccated cityscape.
The others suddenly look around at this observation… but just as Amy said, there are truly no Umbrals to be found around here…
"If that's the case," Blessings says, turning to Amy. "…There might be something here now that's keeping them away. Does that sound about right?"
Shorthorns smiles at Amy, "Still, it feels familiar? Like somewhere you used to live? That's great! That actually sort of makes this easier, like… we're visiting an old home of yours.">>757940
"Ah," Shorthorns says, recalling Buiwong's ability to speak through one's mind. As he picks up on her meaning, Shorthorns smiles again, leaning forward to lightly but firmly bonk her white-furred head against his skull. "I know I can. And I know it is. Just would be all the better to make sure we're together when it happens, huh?">>757940
As the dark corridor experiment ends in failure, Shorthorns looks to the others. "Well, that's unfortunately, but definitely not unexpected. No way Tartarus was gonna be that easy. And who knows, maybe the Dark Corridor can still do useful things for us, there's more than one use for them I'm sure."
"Fair enough, I'll step with patience. I'm used to it." Leather nods back to Holy Hours, bemused that even the short distance is so taxing.
Amy shrugs. "You're probably right. But, who would have added that? When was the last time anyone even opened the door?">>757945
"Kinda…" Amy smiles slightly. "But, It's not really the kind of home you ever WANT to come back to…"
"Someone on the inside who would not want it opened," Blessings says.
Once more, the vast expedition team set out, sticking together in a tight group down the side of the slanted tower. Eventually you reach the bottom, where the foundations of the tower jut out, twisting and bent and broken like the roots of an uprooted plant. It is the same everywhere you look, stretching onwards for miles in every direction. Most of the airspace is just as crowded as the ground; towering plates of earth and metal stab, criss-crossing through the sunless sky, glowing with a strange un-light. The plates seem to be host to totally different building materials and architecture from the rest of the city, perhaps suggesting their origin in another time, and another world.
"A thought," Vizsla begins. "If I may propose it. We spent most of our day exploring God's Entombed. Soon most of us will need some sleep. If this city is so peculiarly devoid of Umbrals as it seems, would it not be prudent to find a place to rest anon?"
"Maybe not, but, it's still a home. Good or bad, there's history there. I'm not old enough to remember, but my parents used to tell me about bad places our ancestors needed to migrate from. I thought it'd still be nice to see where our paths have tread in the past.">>757948
Shorthorns keeps close to the collective as they make their way carefully down the side of the tower, using her powers to shape stone to make foot-holds for whoever it'd help (as well as to test her abilities in this new hostile environment). As they reach the bottom where the gnarled 'roots' of the metal building shoot out, Shorthorns climbs atop of one of them to get a look at the dismal scene around them. "Exploring this place first seems like a good idea before we push forward, give us one last chance to get our bearings. Does anyone know if anything will attack us if we stand too still for too long?"
"I may feel just as entombed as God's chosen if I spend a night in this rubble. But then again, it may be the last peaceful sleep we have before truly setting hoof into Tartarus. The thought of camping out one last time does linger attractively to me."
Shei speaks allowed to anyone who's listening, apparently discombobulated from this entire experience. Though they haven't even made much head way yet.
"I don't mind, I rather like exploring ruins too. Who knows if we might find something interesting from another world or timeline that was dumped here. I doubt only empty buildings were brought down here, there are plenty of inanimate things that have value too." Leather shrugs, scoping over the ruins with his rifle to see if there's any location that looks particularly cool.
[1d10] scoped perceptionRoll #1 7 = 7
Cloak takes a scoped survey of the area. He notes that, scattered amid the vast ruins of a mishmash of ancient cities, there are a great many statues of mortal beings. Many races are represented among them, but whatever their race, they are all of towering proportions, standing head and shoulders above any mortal of your day and age. They seem almost like the more personified iconography of the gods of Accorsia, perfected bodies clad in finery just as much as they are armor. Another peculiar detail about them is that the statues are all in far more dynamic and unconventional poses than what a stone-worker might usually take on for a commission. Almost all of them seem to be in the middle of battle, weapons and magic captured mid-strike. Even the plasmic and ethereal effects of their spells are captured about them in stone.
Freischutz, having recovered from her earlier weariness, studies a nearby statue through her rifle-scope. "Zhink zhey're a good place to camp out?"
"I can't imagine why anyone on the inside would want that…"
Amy looks around as Viszla makes her suggestion. "It's just so weird…" she thinks out loud. "Why would there not be anyone here?"
Then, an idea pops in Amy's head. "If there's no one here, then maybe there's a reason we shouldn't want to stay here too…" she says, looking around at everyone.
"Where else, than a camp under the wing of greater men before us." Shei agrees with the location for their camp. Trailing off with a skip, he seems particularly eager to gather a closer look of the statues' artistry.
"Well," Vizsla says. "Anyone who doesn't have the gumption to spend the night here can get on with their journey, since we're traveling separately anyway."
"But who knows how far away the next Anchor is?" Anzu asks.
"And," Lion begins, "How are we to know if the group that stays behind is going to reach the same Anchor as the rest of us?"
"Just a risk we'll have to take," Vizsla says nonchalantly, earning leers from the others.
"Long as they don't come to life. At the very least, it's an easy thing to spot to come back to, maybe in a ruin nearby just to put some space between a falling stone hoof and sleeping bodies. Could still use it as a rendezvous spot and respective groups could wander as they desire while knowing there's a safe place to rest to come back to."
As Amy brings up a fair point, Shorthorns says to the others, "Amy may be right… if there's a reason no one's here maybe that means it's not safe to stay here. But," she says to Amy, "We don't necessarily know NO ONE is here yet. Let's check out the statues at least, it couldn't hurt. If there are people there, we can take that as a good sign as it's a place to rest. It does sort of look like a place where you'd get good cover, huh?"
"If people are here, that's kinda just as bad…" Amy contemplates out loud. Then, she shrugs and says. "I guess if everything sucks, we should just rest whenever we feel like it."
Leather and Freischutz stay somewhat overhead, directing the expedition team through the shattered and wreckage-filled streets. They take care to make sure they see the others and that the others see them, having learned after Freischutz's earlier scrape with the dangers of not being observed by many.
Eventually, they reach the nearest statue, a titanic rendering of a minotaur, decked in armor of a style far foreign to yours. He wields a great hammer, and he is mid-swing, mid-stride, his body nearly a blur of motion, captured so eerily perfectly in stone, midway through a strike that looks like it could pulverize the slabs of earth sticking up all around you. His expression is one of unquenchable fury, a near-blind hatred kindled by unjustifiable wrongdoing… his eyes are fixated on a far-off, unseen target.
"…On second thought," Vizsla says. "Let's make camp a bit further out from this one's shadow."
"They've arrived, let's move up." Leather notes to Freischutz, feeling comfortable being partnered with another sharpshooter.
Shorthorns looks towards Amy, finding herself divided between the options of finding people there, or not. "It doesn't hurt to check out either way. If there's people there it'd be good to know what kind we can expect here in Tartarus."
Reaching towards the massive, imposing statue of the minotaur above, Shorthorns can only stare in admiration of the imposing figure, finding respect and awe of his brutal might overpowering any sense of dread as she leers up at it.
"Why?" She asks Vizsla as they suggest moving further away. "He seems quite powerful, like he'd protect us from anything that'd come our way doesn't he?"
Amy laughs. "Maybe now you guys can see why I'm so 'reckless'," she says the word mockingly. "I'd much rather get ambushed and know what I'm up against than just be scared of what's around every corner. That's the way Tartarus is."If one thinks about it, then they'd realize that Amy was still reckless loooong before she regained her memories of Tartarus.
You and Freischutz hop ahead through the air, carefully combing the perimeter for any sort of presences or entities. However, in all the vast city, there are none other who live and move, besides you two. Few and far between, you espy statues like those you have seen thus far, depicting some ancient champion. No two seem to have the same style of armor, though all seem to be of comparable stature and might.
"Scope ist clear," Freischutz notes. "It's… vell, far from mein expectations. I suppose ve should be grateful, ja? Vhat do you zhink?">>757975
"Or, he could take our heads off if he proves to be more than mere statue," Vizsla says.
Galton raises her claw as others open their mouths to suggest other courses of action.
"Hold, you lot," Galton begins. "Why don't we take the council of one who has been down here before?"
She turns to Amy. "Well, how about it? Do you think we should make camp here or be on our way?"
Amy shrugs. "Like I said, it's gonna suck either way. Caution isn't gonna help you much. Might as well rest when you feel like it. And, we're not gonna be able to feel like it if we leave the anchor. At least if we leave ourselves vulnerable now, then we will know who is around to attack us."
Shei considers Vizsla's comment with an sense of disappointment "If these statues animate themselves in the dead of our slumber to pose an attack, I will demand the destinies to wrack me with turmoil that could at least keep me entertained. Such an irredeemable cliche. In fact, I may as well tempt the fates and assign myself some demise forthright- so we can move on from the tepid scene."
Shei's cape rises to split into two wings that flounce upon the ground with great force, blowing wind before him as he launches himself toward the Minotaur statue, Axe posed he deigns to cleave the Statue in two.
>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>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.
[1d10+2]Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
"I'm in agreement. If we're gonna be ambushed, might as well be while we're awake instead of when we stop to rest, right?">>757978
Shorthorns takes another long look up at the statue above, turning back to Vizsla. "You think it might be? More than a statue, I mean. What else do you suppose it could be, alive?">>757980>>757979
"It is also the closest statue we've found. I wouldn't mind checking out some of the other ones just to get a look, it's a BIG city."
Knowing Freischutz has his back with her rifle, Leather sticks to keeping his shield up, "I am in my element among buildings and ruins, so I am not complaining so far. I was born and raised with rooftops and sewers as my domain, so I vastly prefer this to vegetation."
He looks at the material that the buildings are made of, investigating the makeup of any bricks or metals or glass out of mild curiosity, "It is not all foreign, worlds or eras beyond our own do have their similarities it seems. I wonder what certain aspects and traits all civilizations eventually converge to. Surely there must be some constants."
"Vith zhe Anomalies pouring in zhings from other Volds, I have often vondered zhat myself… do you zhink you may encounter a doppelganger of yours, vere you to enter another Vorld?"
"Ooh," Anzu says. "I sure hope so. I bet my doppelganger is quite skilled and successful, whatever her passions."
"I… I am sure meine does not have such an impressive gun collection as meine own," Freischutz says, her voice awkward and unused to casual banter. Anzu politely laughs and nods, sparing her Chorister from social awkardness. It is a pleasant distraction from the imposing surroundings.>>757984>>757980>>757982>>757981
The axe makes a bonking sound as it collides with the statue's head, but nothing happens beyond that. Shei does not even score a crack upon the stone.
The others watch Shei and the statue quite carefully, evidently expecting him to be rent apart by some vengeful beast of stone, but the statue remains inert and inanimate.
"I like it," Sir Gegenschein says. "Why not make camp here?"
"Apart from your reasons being simply to contradict me?" Vizsla sneers.
"Now now," Ichimonji interjects. "The both of you are beautiful young ladies."
"Ah, you think so?" Gegenschein asks. "I do try my best."
"But I am in agreement with Vizsla," Ichimonji continues, rolling her eyes. "Pressing onward without rest is simply foolhardy. Guards shall be posted throughout the… hardly can you call it 'night' down here, but through our hours of rest nonetheless. I suggest a guard from every group should stay up at each shift."
"You make it sound like we don't trust each other," the Dragon says with a laugh.
"I wonder what gives me that idea," Ichimonji retorts.
Shei hasn't given up apparently. The axe swings back into his guitar grip and a mighty *RANG* is strum from his instrument.
>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.
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session; Forge a small- to medium-sized object out of a natural elemental source, such as water or earth. If this object is a weapon, it carries the elemental properties* of the material it was made from and is +1 quality on a critical forging roll. Objects made with this skill disappear after a few hours. If this skill is used to make Bits or fake documents, they are obviously counterfeit upon close inspection. Keys made with this skill work just as well as their real counterparts, but break after being used. Forging an object requires access to an amount of source material equivalent in size to the desired object.
[1d10] to ensure the alchemy roll gives a +1 on successRoll #1 2 = 2
/ Roll #2 6 + 2 = 8
/ Roll #3 7 = 7
"Shei, what are you doing?" Amy asks in an amused tone. "The statue hasn't done anything to you. Don't be mean to it."
"I have made many choices in my lifetime, so who knows what variations could be found in another world. There could be a Leather Cloak that is well respected tanner or haberdasher, were I to follow my other parent's hoofsteps."
Leather smiles politely to Freischutz, "I am sure yours is the greatest across all worlds, indeed.">>757985
"Settling in a ruin nearby allows us to use the statues as a returning point for exploration's sake, while allowing us to be distanced enough should they start to stir for any reason. I say we claim a ruin a couple building's distanced."
Shorthorns nods towards Ichimonji, "Then I'm in agreement too. We can afford to take a look at one or two more statues to find one that suits us best for defending ourselves over 'night'. I'll volunteer for the first watch from our group, as well.">>757986>>757987
As Shei keeps hammering away at the giant statue's massive head, Shorthorns turns towards him along with Amy and suggests, "I bet he's trying to show off for you, feeling intimidated by such a mighty looking minotaur standing above us."
Shei hits it harder, but still nothing happens. The others start to back away, and you get the implacable feeling that Shei might want to reconsider this course of action.>>757988
"Ach, I am so lonely," Freischutz mutters.
"Now's not the time for an existential or marital crisis, Sir," Anzu reminds her.
Freischutz flies over to the rest of the group. "If ve are going to make camp, Cloak und I shall find us a better place avay from zhese statues, provided zhe goat does not provoke one into attacking us."
"I don't know…" Hurricanrana says. "If I was an inanimate statue, I think I'd have woken up and pulverized somebody hitting me with a guitar by this point!"
"Y-yeah, we're probably fine to move on…" Supper says. You note that she is already dressed in pajamas.
"Well, look at the size of it. Shei might be a god now too but hitting something that big, maybe he doesn't even notice it. If I were that big and I were taking a nap, I'd think it'd take something much bigger to wake me up."
She shrugs, "Assuming it's even alive, I still think it may just be a statue. But I can go help you and Cloak find a campsite if I can be of any help."
"Do you think you would befriend yourself, would they have the same interests and personality?" Leather muses, stifling a laugh as a thought crosses his mine, "Or mayhaps more than befriend?">>757990
"And if I were an animate statue, I hold the strategy of however many lifetimes and wait to catch a large group at guard when they're possibly splintered into camps." Leather responds back to Hurricanrana, "Patience and caution in foreign lands brings better results."
"This statue had the very nerve to haunt me!">>757989
"I AM THE MIGHT MINOTAUR!" Shei Bellows>>757990
Shei brandishes another skyward strike, the whir of air being sliced sounds as his axes flies straight onto the Statue
[1d10+3]Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12
"I AM THE MIGHTY MINOTAUR!"
Amy giggles. "You don't have to show off for me, Shei. Besides, showing off with violence is kinda a bad idea in Tartarus…">>757990
"I doubt the statues are gonna hurt us," Amy says as she notices a lot of people feeling scared of them. "Heck, they might be the reason no one is around. Which would be good. Maybe…"
"Anyway, if we're gonna rest, let's just rest here, already.">>757993
"Are you okay?" Amy asks with a laugh.
Leather places his shield between Shei and the statue,
"Calm yourself, child." Leather says, tanking the hit.>Protect: Statue
Shorthorns shakes her head at Shei's continued bravado, and then looks to Amy with a smile. "Actually I think it's cute. In the Climbing Fire tribe, the guys would compete against each other for the attention of the girls all the time. A statue probably isn't something to be concerned about stealing you, but still, I think it's bold of Shei to challenge something a thousand times bigger than him for you."
Renon's Experiment/Electric *Vector Guitar
Vector: All attacks with this weapon have greater knockback, sending the target away from you based on how much your roll exceeded the DC.
>Mortal Inheritance: passive; the effect and usage of switchcane, witching lantern, sefer yad, cloudsmithstaff, book of beasts, cloak of beasts are now racial abilities and spell tagged. [Lantern is still required for Chorazin's Miracle]>passive; effect and usage
>Precise Switch Cane of: *Gravity and *Time [Spelltagged]
Using gravity element
[making a crater with this strike]
"You don't get through Tartarus by showing off," Amy rolls her eyes.
"Ach, gods–!" Freischutz gasps, considering a more ominous possibility. "Vhat if mein doppelganger… ist ein stallion!?"
"Sir Freischutz, Cloak, I think we best keep clear heads while down here," Anzu repeats, getting annoyed.
"I vonder vhat he… nein, nein!" Freischutz hisses, and splashes herself with water from a skin. Clearly the thought has not yet left her mind.
Anzu gives you a withering look.>>757993>>757995>>757996>>757997
Before Shei can make his final attack – perhaps in more than one sense – Cloak leaps in front of the strike, and absorbs it with his shield, a small shockwave erupting from the site of impact. Cloak skids away, but comes to a halt and holds his ground, despite the nerve-thrilling ripples coursing through his flesh.
>Damage and Vector push Negated by Vanguard.
The eyes of the minotaur statue now look at Shei.
Taking heed of this, Ecclesians, Witches, Light Brigaders and Spiders alike have begun to move elsewhere for a campsite, leaving the Saviors to deal with this mess.
"Compose yourself!" Volkama orders. "Sir Cloak, offer not your own health for this foolishness! Boy, has the darkness already enshrouded your mind!? What are you doing fighting something inanimate, when we have not yet even faced our first Umbrals!?"
"I had no plans to shed my own blood for this statue, forgive my action appearing to look as if I would ever." Leather bows slightly to Volkama, flashing Anzu a quick knowing grin before dusting himself off.
Shei lands before the statue and points, announcing a reply to Volkama's question "Aha! but it is animate. It's eyes moved"
Shei-Sher projects his aura outward to encapsulate the entire party and the statue. His aura illuminating the spirit of the statue, illuminating it's voice and mind or whichever resource it has to communicate a voice.
>PHASE AURA: Your body sheds light in a small radius of 5 meters, in a color you choose when you learn this skill. All creatures in this range cannot turn invisible or become hidden, creatures already hidden or invisible are made clear, and incorporeal beings and lingering magical effects and wards manifest a visible shape. Effect persists roll minus five turns (six lasts one, seven lasts two, etc.)
"How do you do minotaur. I've placed a spotlight on your spirit so you might speak. What is your occupation in this place? What name did this realm we find ourselves in, once have?"Roll #1 4 = 4
As the eyes of the massive statue move in the wake of Leather blocking Shei's latest assault, Shorthorn's hairs stand on end, staring upwards at the colossus with shock.
"It… its eyes DID move, I almost can't believe it! It really IS alive!"
As Volkama shouts up at Shei, Shorthorns joins in, "SHEI! If that thing's moving after all, then that changes things, knock it off before I come up there and knock it off FOR you!"
Amy waves at the statue. "I'm sorry! My boyfriend is dumb!" she says to it in a friendly but apologetic tone. She waves in a vigorously friendly manner at the statue.>>758003>>758001
"He's probably here to stop people from fighting, stupid," Amy rolls her eyes at Shei.
Forgot to roll for being friendly.
>[1d10] DC-4 normal social roll>>758004
"Which is an even BETTER reason to not attack it," Amy points out.Roll #1 9 = 9
"I'm not dumb! I just get excited." Shei complains
The statue offers no further reaction.
"Unlike you, I have something to do down here!" Wireframe snaps at Shei. "So don't go endangering that just because you're subject to violent outbursts!"
"If we let them get too far ahead, they'll take the good campsites," Gadriel says, tugging at Shei's arm. "Let's go. Just because something has horns doesn't mean you have to play horns with them, alright?"
"Besides, my horns are bigger than the both of yours!" Rus Tea asserts. "If you're going to fight anyone, fight me! …Preferably once we are out
Shei scratches the back of his let down by the outcome "Harumph, I really thought he might speak to us. You're right we best be going. Sorry about that." Shei pays the statue no further mind as he resorts to following his companions to a likely camp site.
Shei scratches the back of his head, let down by the outcome
"If the statue wanted to have a conversation with us, he would have said 'Hello'. There's a saying back in my tribe, I think it goes something like… 'Don't wake the Sleeping Dragon without good cause'. If he doesn't feel like talking to us, then that's that."
She shoots up along Rus Tea, waving the others along. "Come on, we've bothered Sir Minotaur enough. Let's go check out the rest of the city."
"Aha, patience prevails again. Let us start our search."
Leather goes broken window-shopping for a nice ruin to settle up in to for the night.
[1d10] searchRoll #1 6 = 6
"And, dumb people get excited easily!" Amy retorts. "I should know!">>758008
"What do horns have to do with this, Rusty?" Amy asks with a laugh.
"Might I add- Leather, I commend your profound respect for the arts in lending your security to such a beautiful statue. It would've been pretty remorse to have destroyed such wonderful piece.">>758013
"Maybe excitement only causes smart people to do dumb things. Allie was prone to bouts of excitement just as much as I am.." Shei thinks on that for a moment "Hm, there's a cautionary tale in there."
"All of us who have horns, when we see each other, feel the urge to lock those horns in combat! You would not understand it, hornless one! Horr horr horr.">>758009>>758011>>758012>>758013
By the time that you catch up with the others, they have already found a toppled structure, perhaps some manner of exchange or bank, that is the least damaged out of those buildings in the area. They have split themselves up into distinct camps, setting up tents and bedrolls in tight circles, evidently feeling no communality or comradery despite their shared mission.
Hurricanrana, Holy Hours, Gjenganger and Tantra look like they're staying up, being some of the few to have not established their sleeping arrangements just yet.
"I'll take our first watch," Busta offers. "If nobody else wants it."
Shei rests his hooves at his temples to imitate horns in a mocking gesture as he joins Rus Tea in her mocking gesture toward Amy "Horr horr horr."
Amy puts her hoof-paw to her chin in thought. "Hmm. I guess I should have said that stupid people let their excitement control them?" she says as if it's a question.>>758015
Amy stares at Rus for a moment. "I guess it's like wanting to hug people in a way…">>758016>>758015
"Well if you want to hug that badly, then we can find a place to sleep together," Amy says with a wink.
"I presume not only will we require watches that view out into the ruins, but also those to watch over the camps and make sure all continue to be perceived. We know not what could happen if we all are to stop being seen." Leather makes mention.
Shorthorns nods her head in agreement with Rus. "It's true. These horns were made for greeting one another by testing one's strength and bravery. You wouldn't find a bison out there who doesn't greet their own with a good head bump."
She jumps up to lock her horns with Rus Tea, knocking her head into hers in a friendly matter. "Of course, for you soft no-horned ponies, I learned to hold back a bit.">>758015>>758018
As the camps start to be set up among the various seperate groups, Shorthorns raises her hooves, "As I said, I can volunteer to take the first watch for our group tonight."
"I would be amendable to that" Shei says with the warmth of a genuine smile. He looks forward to sharing a bed with his girlfriend after the day is done. "Although, I can't really sleep so I may just wait for your to start snoring before I return to my work.">>758015
From within Shei's cape he retrieves a small crate of wine. It's the same wine he made at Fantasia some days ago. From blueberries raised in y'dryth's light, alchemized a mixture of dark matter, food of the gods. He has been duplicating bottles of the stuff ever since, though the hard part in it's creation is the glassmaking for more bottles.
"If there are any among you that don't sleep, perhaps you'd like to join me in some wine making?" Shei sets his crate of wine down by a disserviced Lamppost where everyone can see him and be within earshot.
Amy glares at Shorthorns jealously as she steps between her and Shei. "Well, then you're not allowed to bring those horns around my boyfriend," she says as she continues to glare.>>758020
"You can't or won't?" Amy asks with concern.
"Well. I-. never really needed sleep…" Shei spoke in a voice that was much tinier than his personality. Trying to excuse himself.
Busta nods as Shorthorned offers to take the first watch with the fellas. "Okay, I'll take watch after you." He begins to make his camp along with the rest of your group.
"Oh yeah," Wireframe says. "Shorthorned, I heard you and Voyage talking about me earlier. Something I missed?"
"Thanks for watching out for us, guys," Amy says with a thankful, vigorous wave of her hoof-paw. She then proceeds to find a soft spot on the ground to curl up on.
[1d10] to find comfy place>>758022
Amy looks at Shei while she searches for comfort. "That… doesn't sound right…" she says suspiciously.Roll #1 10 = 10
Shei shrugs and begins setting up his workplace. A collection of vials are soon laid out. The crate of wine bottles, He burns a jasmine incense as a nicety to his work place.
Shei begins by preparing the glass for making bottles. Using his godly powers to stir nearby concrete into sand with a staff he has on hand.
[1d10] turning concrete into sand>>758024
"I'll share a bed with you tonight. I will." Shei says in a more chipper tone, to assure her that he will be keeping company with her whenever she decides to sleep for the night.Roll #1 5 = 5
"Might I suggest three watches of two per watch? Lets the watchmembers have someone looking over them too."
Leather looks back in the direction of the statue, "I could share Shei's watch."
Amy smiles at the chance to snuggle. "I'm just surprised that this hasn't come up before."
"Amy I haven't slept a single night on the ship. I have always been busying myself with projects during that time. As a practitioner of the occult, I needed to find some time away from our adventures to keep up with my studies. Just as well- When do you think I had the time to practice my dance routine for our contact ritual with Crow-ley."
Shorthorns chuckles, shaking her head. "Hey, locking horns doesn't mean THAT kind of hello, either you know! Would you really think I'd try to steal Shei from you?">>758023>>758026
Shorthorn nods in agreement with Busta to take the first watch, then turns to look to Cloak as he offers his suggestion. "I think that sounds like a good idea. In which case, I could share with Busta on the first watch.">>758023
As Wireframe approaches her, Shorthorns nods, "AH! Yeah, actually I did want to ask you something Wireframe, if it'd be okay."
"Well… I was thinking, would you be okay if you and Great Voyage switched groups? I was thinking about what sort of abilities might help everyone and, well, I think ours is lacking a little in raw muscle like Voyage." She says, trying to down play her clear biases
"No wonder you're constantly getting into so much trouble…" Amy ponders. "You probably could have explained that back when I asked you to stop doing things behind my back and keeping secrets.">>758029
"Have you SEEN the size of his horns?" Amy says as if that's a response.
Shei manages to make a decent enough spot for you all to sleep in relative proximity without having to endure cold stone and uneven terrain. It looks like the other factions are making do with their own supernatural provisions to make more habitable campsites. Busta nods. "I was already planning to be up. Shorthorned, how about we talk with the other guys on the first watch about where they want to set up?">>758029
Normally, this is where the short-tempered and anti-social Wireframe would make some crass or abrasive remark. However, she just shrugs. "Okay. So, I'm going with Buiwong's group then?"
"Correct," Voyage says. "I don't believe you ever met the higher-ranked members of the cultus, did you? I can introduce–"
"No, no, I'll be fine," Wireframe says, her voice oddly calm. "I'll handle my introductions. You all make sure you get to the next Anchor alive, though, alright?"
"Uh… sure, we will," Voyage says as she walks off. "Odd… she's not usually like that, is she?"
"It seems to me like she's one of the only people here doing the right things and not being confrontational," Amy comments as she takes the comfiest spot for herself.
Leather has little to add, instead checking out the rubble for any neat signs of language or symbolage given this may have used to be a bank.
[1d10]Roll #1 2 = 2
"Amy?" Shei looks to where you've curled up on the ground "Are you going to sleep so soon? You want to help me with wine making? You can drink some." Shei asks, a little begging for the company. He had hoped someone from ecclessia or the witches would be enticed to help with wine-making.>>758031
Shei sheds his aura again to serve as a nightlight. Not 5 meters, but about 1 foot around his body he projects a warm glow to serve as light for his workplace and a night light for the camp.
>PHASE AURA: Your body sheds light in a small radius of 5 meters
Shei-Sher begins scoping up sand in a bucket and with only using his hooves manipulates the sand particles to become glass. As he works his hooves he molds the glass pieces into the shape of a bottle. He repeats this process for some time, making multiple bottles as preparation for the wine making.
[1d10] making glass bottlesRoll #1 7 = 7
/ Roll #2 8 = 8
"Oooh! Drinking!?" Amy says excitedly as she hops back up.
Shorthorns grins widely. "…Voyage's are bigger.">>758031
As Busta agrees to stay up with her, Shorthorns nods her head in agreement. "Sure, I'd be okay with that. Best to coordinate with them all while we can.">>758031
Shorthorns prepares herself for Wireframe taking the request poorly, but is equally surprised when she goes along with it so well, looking at her as she moves along. "T-thank you, Wireframe, I promise we will. You make sure you get there too, alright?" She says in gratitude, before looking to Voyate.
"…no, that went way better than I thought it would. I'm sure she would have gone along with it eventually but, not that easy. Maybe she's being more easy-going cause of how dangerous things are…? Or do you think something else is up."
"kehehe, I knew you would like to." Shei presents you with a finely corked bottle of wine "It's very special stuff. A concoction made from dark matter and essence sourced directly from the Ember of Jalandhra. Also the base is blueberries. I like to watch my stock grow so as of recent I've been duplicating the wine and storing it. One day I'll have labels and a proper logo for the vintage."
There is some etched graffiti on what may have been a foundational stone for a pillar, but it is in a language you cannot decipher.>>758032>>758036
"I guess I'm just too used to hearing about the contrary from Buiwong," Voyage says. "She said earlier that she has something to do down here. Did she ever tell you what?">>758032>>758033>>758034>>758036
There is a quiet discontent as the rest of your group sets up their campsites. It does not take much in the way of perception to tell that they miss the other half of their allies already. They make idle conversation about rather inane, forced topics – anything to clear their minds of their allies upon the surface World.
As Shei prepares some wine bottles, the malakhim peer out from his cloak. "Shei, we were thinking…" the trianglist begins. "It's going to be crowded with Flow and Voyage and all of us in one group. We'd best join the others to even things out a bit."
Flow, sitting nearby, nods to this assessment.
Shei a bit startled when he feels the malekhim file out of his cape. "Yes, I had thought to bring this up too. I just hate to break up the band during our opening appearance at Tartarus."
Shei picks up a bottle of wine from his crate and gives it to the Malechim "Find a group then with a vacancy for you three and give them this. A little alcohol helps everything go down smoother."
Shorthorns' eyes light up, and she lowers them in slight disappointment. "Oh my… n-no, I don't. Actually, in all of the days we had leading up to this, so many things happening… I might have let it slip, but she did say that. I have no idea what she means though. Do you think it'd help to ask or, is that not really something she should share now that she's here?">>758038
The quiet of the camp lingers, at the static sounds of tinnitus seeps into Shei head again, intensifying in place of lacking stimulation. He tries to ignore by murmuring to himself quietly, but the constant droning noise makes the calm impossible for Shei to endure. Nonetheless he keeps to his work trying not to draw notice to his disability.
After several buckets of sand Shei has a row of 6 glass bottles. Taking bottle of wine he uncorks it. Shei carefully taps the bottle ring a tone. Soon it beings frothing and duplicating it's contents.
Shei begins pouring the overflowing wine bottle to fill his other empty glass bottles one at a time.
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant
[1d10+2]Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
Amy says little about the Malechim choosing to go with another group. She eyes them with some discontent, but says nothing else.
Her mood is uplifted when she sees the wine pouring. She bounces with excited enthusiasm, waiting for a bottle to be handed to her. Yes, an entire bottle.
Leather sketches the graffiti as the others deliberate.
"Think of it this way," the Trianglist says as he walks off with the bottle. "Splitting up will let us cover more ground for music sampling.">>758040
"Well… I don't know. I think you may have traveled with her longer than me. I knew of her, back in the Empire, but hardly spoke with her until recently. If it sounds like something emotionally charged, be careful," Journey says. "Like Anzu said, it's best to keep a clear head down here.">>758041>>758043>>758042
You make some wine. Feel free to describe its scent, taste, weight and so on at your discretion. This attracts the attention of the gentlecolts who are staying up for the first watch – Holy Hours, Hurricanrana, Gjenganger and Tantra. Though they stay near their respective camps to keep an eye on their groups, their interest in the wine is apparent.
Shorthorns nods. "Right. That's part of what I feared most about asking her to go with Buiwong's group, was since she hadn't known them as long as she had us…. I'll keep a level head, but I owe her enough as a friend to make sure everything's okay."
She softly nods her head towards Voyage's, bumping her horns lightly against his, smiling before she goes to track down Wireframe.
"I wonder if I should try drinking using my artifact. It is a chalice after all." Leather muses.
Amy continues to bounce shorter and faster hops until she approaches the point she is practically vibrating with impatient excitement. Still, she is a good girl and waits until she is handed her wine.
>>758045>* That's part of what I feared most about asking her to go with Buiwong's group, was since she hadn't known them as long as she had us
"That's part of what I feared most about asking her to go with Buiwong's group, was since she'd been traveling with us for so long and hadn't been back with them."
It smells like a bouquet, scintillating notes of bright flavors penetrate the nose, the faint sweetness seducing the nose to a heavier body. When imbibed the exotic tastes are noticed in bold, a robust blueberry flavor liquored in a delicate oil like sample imparted by the dark matter which transmits mahogany flavors onto the tincture, the flavor transforms as the aftertaste is a soft, sweet bubbly reprisal of alcohol. Best served during spring, at formal gatherings, weddings, meetings with dignitaries, or celebrating the purchase of land. It is a drink with a very noble genre of tastes associated to it as any fine wine drinker might notice. The alcohol content is 16 percent.>>758041>>758042
Shei smiles to Amy, excited to see her excited. He gives her a bottle "The best part about wine is sharing wine."
Shei nudges his head in the direction of the ecclessians watching Shei make wine. "Let's give them a proper greeting."
Shei piles the 5 bottles of wine into an empty crate>>758044>>758047
Shei walks over to the colts staying up for the first watch, in a dopey voice Shei imitates to say playfully in jest "But does he keep all the wine to himself?"
And then speaks normally "No the Goat doesn't keep all the wine to himself." He hands them a bottle "Enjoy."
"What does the artifact do?" She asks, happy to see another friend lend him company.
Wireframe looks up from her tent and bedroll as she sets them up, wearing an expectant look as you approach.
The fellas on first watch start to pass out goblets with some of Shei's wine poured in, giving him the first toast.
"Aha, I believe I was able to use it to collect the blow of an attack headed towards you during our last multi-headed encounter. Once the chalice is full I must imbibe that same damage that was headed your way, but I imagine it also functions as a normal chalice as well.
>The Chalice of the Centurion: Relic; Recharge 3; Automatic Instant; The holder of the chalice can designate a target at any point during their turn. This turn, they will take all damage meant for that target. All damage taken through this effect is the original value of that damage; it cannot be modified by any factor, such as Attribute Relationships, Crits or Critfails, damage negating effects, etc.
"OBVIOUSLY the best part about wine is drinking it," Amy says with a grin before throwing back a third of the bottle. When she puts it down, she lets out a satisfied sigh. Then a hiccup.>>758052
Amy raises her bottle to the toast and chugs more of the wine happily.
Shorthorns approaches her as she sets up her camp, taking a brief respite from her watch duties to speak with her. "Hey Wireframe. I hope you don't mind my catching you before you rest for the night."
She steadies her breath, steeling her nerve. "I just wanted to make sure you were really okay with switching places with Voyage. It's okay if you don't want to either, and it was a sudden change. If you have any disagreements, it's best to face them head on and not let 'em linger, is what I think."
"A cup is a cup I suppose." Shei pours you some wine to fill your chalice>>758054>>758053>>758052
"To good food, good wine, good music, and good health." Shei raises his goblet to clink with everyone else's cups at the toast.
He leaves the rest opened wine bottle in the company of the first watch to enjoy.
After the toast and the drink, Shei picks up his crate of wine and heads over to the Ecclessian camp to offer them a bottle.
Leather sips from the Chalice of the Centurion, morbidly curious of it'll affect him adversely.
"No, it really is fine," Wireframe says. "Sure, I might have traveled with your group longer, but I fought for Buiwong long before meeting any of you. I fit in with either group."
Her assent seems sincere, but… a buffalo's intuition does not steer
her wrong. Is it for the reason she has given?>>758053>>758054>>758055>>758056>>758057
After it's established that the wine is not poisoned or simply poor-tasting, some food accompanies it, but the drinking is minimal, and the eating light. Mostly, the other groups keep quiet and to themselves, trying in their various ways to ease their minds into sleep. But in this place, with this mission, it will be long before any of them are able to relax enough to rest.
>Pause, timeskip available next session when chosen
Filling some downtime, Leather fetches some burnt section of ruins usuable enough to make some rubbings of the grafitti he saw earlier ( >>758038
), documenting the foreign language to pass the time.
Shorthorns does not leer too hard at Wireframe, not wanting to come across as too judgemental or mistrusting. But, all the same, her divine gut tells her something is up, and she dares to push a little further.
"Wireframe… I don't mean to be acting all flip-floppy on this, I would like if if Voyage could come with us, but I just need to be sure: there really isn't any reason you wouldn't be okay with that? Sorry if I'm way off here but I just… my stomach's telling me there's a reason you're not."
You record the message, though there may be no way to interpret it in the future, lest you come across more discarded wreckage from its World of origin.
When Shei has had his fill of good mirth he picks up his crate of wine, the sound of clinking glass accompanying Shei's departure "I'll take my leave then. Enjoy the watch."
Carrying the crate of wine in both arms Shei-Sher makes his way toward the Ecclessian camp, the ambient glow of his aura indicating his presence without disturbing anyone's sleep, as to let them know that he isn't intent on sneaking by them. Shei-Sher looks for someone who is awake to gift the wine to.
Wireframe shrugs and shakes her head. "What? Regretting your choice already? Does he smell or something? Look, we're all getting to the same place. What difference would it make if I'm in one group or another?"
She hesitates, then goes on. "Besides… my goals probably align with theirs better…">>758181
Lion, Viper and Doctor Galton have taken the first watch, it seems. The others, even the owl griffon Sir Gegenschein, have taken to sleep.
"Ahuhuhu," Galton says as you approach. "Lucky us for staying up. If it's poisoned, I'm afraid I have bad news."
"I find it hard to believe he would offer poison to assassins, Doctor," Viper says. "It's a rather banal gift."
"Don't be a downer," Lion says. "Some poison would hit the spot right now."
"What?!" Shorthorns shakes her head, "No, no, he smells fine!" She pauses, a light hint of red appearing on her cheeks as she lowers her head. "Uh… not that I, you know, keep track or notice that or… whatever…" She coughs, clearing her throat as she tries to get back up on topic.
"…if you don't mind me asking, what ARE your goals? I think you're right, the first thing we learned about navigating Tartarus is to stick with those who are thinking about the same path, but I don't think it does any harm to tell each other what those pathes are."
[1d10] Social Roll
Roll #1 2 = 2
Roll #1 9 = 9
Wireframe openly laughs as Shorthorned talks about Voyage's smell, yet she can tell it is not derisive, but supportive.
She hesitates again as you ask about her goal. Her eyes narrow, and she leans in conspiratorially, her voice low. "Well… the revival of Lord Buiwong, of course. The power Mudi has will be enough to restore him somewhat, at least until he can get his body pieced back together."
For a changeling… she's not the best at keeping secrets. She's hiding something. You can feel it.
The copious amounts of wine Amy has already drunk hit her hard as she starts to stare off into space.
"Isn't wine like *hic* already a poison?" Amy asks as if she's saying something profound.
"I'm talking like… poison
poison," Lion says. "The real stuff, not the watered down junk for sanitization and anesthesia and lame things like that."
Amy stares at Lion for a few seconds, as if she's contemplating important life-altering things. Then, she looks to Shei and asks, "Shei, can you give me some poison too?"
"Careful now, I take pride in the wine I make." Shei-Sher warns "Bah- I deserve more credit, had I meant to poison the entire Ecclessian camp you would not see me carrying it in crates. You wouldn't sense anything at all in fact. But I simply mean to get the lot of you tipped."
Shei gifts the small group of ecclessians on the first watch a bottle of wine. and sets another wine bottle aside for the spooks and light brigade "You are a rather large group, try not to drink two bottles in one day."
Shei-Sher pops the corks off the wine bottle he's gifted them and pours it into a cup he sits between them all. With a touch of alchemy he converts the tincture into a deadly toxin
>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;
[1d10+2] turning the cup of wine into wine flavored deadly toxin
"For the brave soul that enjoys they're poison a little too much."Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
"Suuure! What's the harm!" Shei says maddeningly, not wishing to say no to Amy but also not wanting to hurt her.
He abides by her wish and fills another cup with wine, with a touch he converts its contents into wine flavored deadly toxin.
[1d10]Roll #1 6 = 6
Shei serves a round of poison for everyone present, and they raise their glasses in a toast, then have a sip.
>Lion, Viper, Doctor Galton>Absorb: Poison
The three look at their glasses again after the wine is gone. They don't look impressed.
"Well… thank you," Galton says. "I do wonder if the Witches shall partake."
Shorthorns allows a few chuckles as well to alleviate the tension in regards to Voyage, letting out one last humorous snort before turning back to the topic.
"So, reviving Buiwong… I guess that makes sense with how long you've been with his group. And, it makes sense, but…" this time, she DOES lean in a little hard, trying her best to give her impression of the 'stern eye' she's learned from the likes of Vortigern or Ichimonji to try and get her point across. "Is that really all of it…?"
[1d10] The StareRoll #1 4 = 4
Amy watches as they drink the poison, her tail wagging. An amazed expression is written on her face. She looks down at her own bottle of poison, contemplates for a moment, then shrugs.
"Everyone absorbs poison, when you think about it," she says before downing the glass of poison.
[1d10] to safely (?) drink poisonRoll #1 1 = 1
"Should they not, they will have one delectable bottle of wine taking up their inventory. Far be it for me to rescind a gift!" He says with a mote of pride in his voice.
After they share a drink or two and some conversation Shei-Sher takes his leave again from this watches' camp and heads for where he believe the witches keep their camp. His aura still giving off a small ambient glow as a courtesy for his arrival.
He comes toward the witches bearing a half fill crate of wine.
[1d10] perception?Roll #1 5 = 5
True, but that doesn't make it a good idea. You're not even halfway down the bottle before retching it all back up, some of it even getting onto Shei, as a burning, screaming pain ravages every cell of your body from stomach up.
>You lose 2 Wounds
Through bleary, burning eyes, you see Galton looking over with interest, then she raises a hand. At first it appears to be a limp-wristed gesture, but her talons are flexed out, and upon their tips is a peculiar silver mechanism, some kind of fashionable gauntlet mixed with stomach-turning medieval medical tubing and pipes, and needles at their tips. She holds her hand out there for a moment, then lowers it. A few moments later, you feel yourself recovering.
>Amy has temporarily gained Null: Poison>>758195
There, beneath another statue, this one of a knight, captured at the moment they are brutally slammed into the earth, armor dented and weapons shattered, you see the camp of the Witches. It is bare bones, and cold, for no fire warms it. Supper of Crows, Hurricanrana and Desert Lamp are keeping watch. Impossibly, it seems, Vizsla and Mudi have trusted them enough to fall asleep around them.
Wireframe meets your stare with even steadiness, and even a bit of insulted dignity. She puffs her chest out and looks down at you from the bridge of her nose. "Whaddya mean, 'all of it'?"
Shorthorns' brow wavers for a brief instance, realizing she may have crossed a line with her friend and realizes she may be risking going against her own advice of avoiding conflict with her comrades. Still, the buffalo senses she's in for a pebble already, and doesn't back down as she meets the stare head on.
"I MEAN I think there's somethin' else. If it were really all about reviving Buiwong I feel like you would have gone with them in the first place, right? But you agreed to go with us instead, even though we're as far from that spider as it gets, and you were a little hesitant to trade with Voyage. So… is that really it?" She says, lightening her tone a bit so as not to seem too aggressive. "I feel like there's somethin' you wanna say, and I want you to know you can say it to me. I won't be mad or nothin'."
[1d10] PersuasionRoll #1 8 = 8
Though Shei expected such a reaction from Amy is still all the same startled. He frowns softly as he notices some vomit had splashed on his pants. He takes a hoof and strokes Amy's back, a modest effort to comfort her. He hardly reacts when Galton retrieves her contraption to he aid Amy, not expecting the Doctor to do any harm.
"An adequate response but clearly I make a mediocre poison if it cannot arouse the tongues of connoisseurs. I think I'll work on this." He tells Lion, Viper, and Galton with a stoked admiration for their sense of good poison. It's shortly after this Shei holds Amy's hoof and they leave the camp for the Witch's camp.>>758197
Shei arrives close enough to the three keeping watch for them to clearly see him. He puts the crate under on arm and his other arm shakes a bottle of wine in front of the so it's swishing is audible "Some wine to improve morale?"
Wireframe grimaces, and at last, she breaks away, looking downward. "Look… thanks, and all, but… I– I can't tell you. Not while you wear that Ecclesian jacket. Not while you hold loyalty to them. I'm really serious when I say that I could be a danger being in your group. I didn't think about it, since I wasn't planning to go with you or Amy, and Zjetya being gone, but… it's better that I don't get too close to Ecclesians."
[1d10] Persuasion x 2Roll #1 5 = 5
"Hell yeah, brother, bring it here!" Hurricanrana says, keeping his voice low enough to not wake the seemingly-sleeping witches.
"Am I old enough to drink?" Supper thinks aloud.
"We're… in the underworld," Desert Lamp says. "I don't think there are many laws to be concerned with. And aren't you a demon tamer?"
"Hey, hey, don't be so sure," Supper says, puffing out her cheeks. "Everyone thinks that demons are lawless and chaotic, but there are some rather well-defined rules they follow. The same with Tartarus itself. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a rigorous legisla–"
"Alright, alright," Desert Lamp says. "The answer is no, but do it anyway."
Shorthorns frowns, looking down at her Ecclesian jacket, rolling a hoof over one of the sleeves as she lets out a sigh. "…it's just a jacket."
She looks towards Wireframe. "I mean, I do consider myself a member of Ecclesia, proudly so. But my first loyalty isn't to their organization. It's to my family, my clan. A clan you're a part of, Wireframe." She moves up, putting a hoof on her shoulder. "If there's anything dangerous about anyone being in any group, now more than ever, I think it's a good idea to know about it. And I swear, no matter what it is, cross my heart and may I jump in the gullet of the Dragon, I will not tell them what it is if you don't want me too." She says, hoping her promise is enough to convince her>>758202>Will use the roll I already did
She gulps, then just blurts it out.
"I'm… planning to fight Sir Freischutz."
"Bah- Hurricanrana, you already had a share of the wine" Shei says, having drank with him just a bit ago with the first camp he shared wine with "Oh- okay, take a cup." Shei quickly relents in offering the minotaur a cup of wine, purely of the grounds of he enjoys drinking wine with folks.
Shei observes the conversation with Supper and Lamp "And a taaall glass of No for the lady." Shei emphasizes, as he pours out -indeed- a tall glass of wine for Supper.
Soon enough everyone has their cup filled, Shei sighs with good grief "I'm tired of saying the toasts. You give us a toast Lamp."
Amy vomits violently multiple times. Just when it seems she is done, she comedically vomits one last time.
"Oh wow… That was TERRIBLE," she laughs weakly.
She pulls out a potion, and drinks it.
>Natural Remedy [1d10+4] Roll #1 2 + 4 = 6
Merryflower Root [1d3]Roll #1 3 = 3
"Is this the Amy Thest patent method for sobering up?" Shei asks in jest.
"I don't really think other people should try this method," Amy groans, as if that answers the question.
"I wouldn't say terrible, but not his best work," Viper says.
You heal yourself of your missing wounds, undoing whatever organ-melting damage was wrought by the poison.>>758206
"To knowing the laws and breaking them," Desert Lamp says, and the three drink.
Hurricanrana nods with approval, while Supper twists her lips with distaste. Desert looks indifferent; wine is wine after all.
Shei feels a twain in his heart as he sees Supper curl a lip at the taste and he is compelled to investigate. "Noo.. I brew this tincture from a cosmic order of ingredients. The alchemy is with a chemical accuracy. Do you not like the dark matter additive? Is it too sweet?
As she admits to wanting to fight Sir Freischutz, Shorthorns looks at her, turning her head. "Oh… well, that's kind of surprising. I didn't know you two had history. Feels like there's actually a lot of us who wants to fight some of the others when you think about it…"
"That explains why you were concerned about Ecclesia though. But why do you wanna fight Sir Freischutz?"
"I don't get how you guys like… DO that…" Amy groans, somewhat incoherently.
"People drink this stuff!?" Supper asks, aghast. "Willingly?"
"Ooooh, like you would not believe," Lamp says, draining the rest of her glass.
"I'll tell you when you're older.">>758214
"We are very practiced," Galton says.
"Part of it's training," Lion says. "And part of it's jackassery."
"You two and Fox are all quite fond of outdoing one another," Galton says.
"Regrettably, we all have nothing on Rooster," Viper adds.>>758213https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyqNtJSQvZo
"She's… one of the last survivors of the raid that destroyed my Hive," Wireframe says. "Back when the Accorsian Empire stood… back even before I joined Buiwong's cultus. You see that metal lower jaw she wears? I was the one who tore off her flesh and bone one."
She then gestures to her glasgow smile, stitched nearly ear to ear.
"And she was the one who shot me through the face, trying to get me off of her."
She looks over at Freischutz's tent, where the Chorister presumably lies asleep. "She has to recognize me, she has to know I'm going with you all… I never wear disguises around mortals. But she hasn't said a word to me, doesn't even react to my presence. No glares, no double-takes, no avoiding my presence… and to be honest, I don't feel much a compulsion to hide from or confront her, either."
Shorthorns looks towards Freischutz, trying to stem the tide of her newfound anger for the Ecclesia leader knowing what she did to Wireframe. A wave of empathy washes over her. "For what it's worth, I can understand that. One of the reasons my clan foolishly through our lot in with Buiwong in the first place was how the Empire treated our clans…" she sighs. "I'm sorry to hear about that, I didn't know."
She nods. "I swear I won't speak a word. I don't know why Freischutz hasn't said anything to you about it yet but, maybe it's be cause she knows how big the stakes are. I don't mind if you want settle the score with her… it sounds like she deserves at least that… but I just ask you remember the primary reason we're here. We have to stop the demons, one way or another. Do you think your duel will get in the way of that?"
"You guys sound like you'd be fun to hang out with," Amy laughs, recovering from her painful experience.
[1d10] Perception rollRoll #1 9 = 9
Shei takes breathes in relief when he realizes Supper simply isn't accustomed to wine. He swirls his bottle and uses something Crow-ley said to him when Shei had his first taste of wine. “I am the Snake that giveth Knowledge & Delight and bright glory, and stir the hearts of men with drunkenness."
"Mortalkind has always delighted in exploring the unknown, especially with our sense of taste. To imbibe deadly poisons, to taming grievous monsters, in a monastery far away right now a monk inflicts himself the bloodiest flaggelations without making a peep nor frown. Why do we do the things we do indeed, the only real answer I could give you is -you grow accustomed to the taste."
You sense Wireframe tensing, her eyes narrowing, even her heart beating ever faster as she makes ready to hide again, behind another half-truth, though whether it is to you, or to herself… her gaze catches yours, and she sighs.
"I… don't know.">>758219
"Hahaha, right on, little dude," Hurricanrana says. It is unclear if any of that registered with him, yet he assents, tastefully finishing off his drink.
"I don't feel any smarter, more delighted, glorious or stirred up," Supper says. "Do I need more for it to work?"
"Probably, but let's not start the expedition with you hung over," Desert says. "Give me her share, Shei."
Shorthorns looks at Wireframe as she feels her heart beating faster and faster. The young buffalo goddess bows her head, and reaches forward to pull in Wireframe into a hug, to help calm her nerves.
"And that's okay." She holds the hug for a bit, before adding on, "You have time to figure things out. When the time comes, I have faith in you to do what's right."
She accepts your hug, and you feel slight tears in your fluff. "Thanks… I'm gonna get some sleep too. Wake me when it's time for my watch, alright?"
"Hah! that is the share" Shei points to the single bottle of wine he gave them. "Try to leave some for Mudi and Viz. I want them to try it."
Shei finishes up his chalice of wine before asking "Will you follow us to the Hanging Port once in Tartarus? I'd feel more comfortable consorting with the Umbral secretaries knowing Supper was there to play delegate.
>ready for timeskip
Shorthorns nods, as she holds the hug for as long as Wireframe needs it. "Sure thing, I'll come get you. And… thanks again, for telling me. I promise, I won't breathe a word of it to anyone."
>Ready for time-skip as well
Desert Lamp's disappointment is immeasurable, and her day is ruined. She curls up into a ball. Hurricanrana corks the bottle and sets it by Mudi and Vizsla's tent.
"I'm pretty sure Mudi wanted us all to hit the same destinations," Supper says. "So, yeah."
"Wait, how old are you, anyway?" Desert Lamp asks.
"I'm glad you asked," Supper says. "I'm>>758224>>758223>>758221>>758217>>758178
At last you retire for sleep, with each group picking no small number of representatives to keep watch over the sleepers through the semblance of night, or as near as your bodies' rhythms can tell. Those who keep the watch in successive hours idle away the time with quiet conversation to quell their nerves, while those given leave to sleep endure no small number of intrusive wonderings about this strange un-realm…
When at last you wake again, your sleep only barely restful, you find that a spartan group breakfast is in progress.
>You get one (1) breakfast post
As per the norm, Amy doesn't stir from her slumber until barely any food remains. Then, she greedily eats up whatever remains.
Leather eyes his other sniper counterpart to see if there'll be another gift of ammunition before the groups depart, but makes no mention as not to look a gift pony in the mouth.
Shorthorns awakens with a yawn, throwing off her warm blanket as she shakes off the aches and cracks in her stiff body, stomping her hooves in place as she gets ready to go get breakfast before starting up a morning stampede-run around the campsite to get her exercise in. She moves over to the site of the lofty smells coming in from the group, looking around to find Voyage in particular as she grabs her share of fried veggies wrapped up in double tortillas and sits besides him.
"Mornin'. Just to let you know, I worked things out with Wireframe. She's still good for the switch. You good on your side?"
Shei and Amy unravel out from under Shei's cape. As they had spent their sleep on a bed of Shei's own making with the extra dimensional realm inside Shei's cape all to themselves.
As Shei can see the myriad of groups waking up he gathers intuitively it's breakfast time. He straps on an apron from his wardrobe and begins duplicating ingredients from his fridge and then serving up breakfast for himself, the Bodhidharm, his malkhim, and any on lookers jealous enough to ask for a plate.
Freischutz provides 5 more bullets of the following types:
Voyage doesn't look like he slept too well. An Ecclesian has apparently proffered him a double ration of coffee, judging by the mug with the Ecclesian emblem sitting at his side.
"Yeah… ready," he says, blinking away sleep. Bags haunt his eyes.>>758226>>758227>>758228>>758229
Following breakfast, you break camp, and the groups, large as they are, trudge through twisting streets, over hills of crumbling buildings, across bridges of fallen monuments. Hours pass, uncountable, indistinct, yet no force rises to confront you, and no conversation arises as the many factions focus on keeping an eye on themselves and one another.
Until, at the last, you see it – the end of the world.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE3oGBJZviQ
The strange material under your hooves – asphalt, as some Worlds know it – leads the way to a shattered bridge, whose surface is marked with faded lines of yellow and white, and treaded black smears. The bridge extends into the shapeless, shifting un-darkness of Tartarus's expanse. To where? Why, to anywhere you want, apparently…
"Let's proceed one by one," Mudi says. "We shall go first, if there are no objections."
"Not from us," Gegenschein says.
Tantra shakes his head, as does Observer.
Mudi continues. "We have agreed to make the Anchor called the Hanging Port our first destination, is that right? Shei, what can you tell us of this place? The more we know, the better we'll fare, as I understand it."
"The only details I was privy to during my conversation with the Umbral was small chit chat in the background, offerings of coffee and the busying of employees. It sounded much like an office. In exchange for information I have been obligated with delivering a pizza to an Umbral at the Hanging Port. In his words he assured me that preparations are made to direct our party to the Hanging Port once we enter Tartarus." This is all the information Shei has.
Amy dances nervously as they hang out near the edge of an Anchor. In the middle of Mudi's sentence, Amy winces and shout-whispers at her, "What are you DOING!? Are you TRYING to get us killed!?"
Mudi arches her brow at you. Many others start to look your way.
"Don't say names near the empty places!" Amy says, pointing to the abyss nearby, as if that should be obvious. "Or in them, obviously," she adds.
Shorthorns keeps a very careful eye on Voyage as they traverse through the ruined city that sprawls around them in all directions as they push their way to the very edge along the odd black smudge that marks the road leading to it. She keeps her eyes across the others as well before they reach the long, shattered modern bridge leading into the unknown darkness that would become their paths.
As Mudi suggests one group going out at a time, Shorthorns agrees quickly. "Yeah, that works fine with me. I volunteer our group to go first, we'll scout ahead since Shei had the idea of using the Hanging Port-">>758231>>758234
As Amy shouts at Mudi for using a name, Shorthorns covers her lips quickly as she looks between them. "Uh oh… is that a rule?"
Leather bows and thanks Freischutz quietly, knowing the two both don't like to make a scene, keeping the interaction courteous and brief.>>758234
Leather raises an eyebrow, staying quiet to avoid any other faux paus.
"I mean, there aren't really RULES here. But… you can like… HEAR names out there. I've heard it's because names are supposed to catch your attention. But, things don't really work right out there. So, it catches EVERYONE'S attention. You DO NOT want that."
"I thought that would be obvious?" Amy says, cocking her head at everyone.
Somehow, you get the feeling that you will have to pay for this by being a wingpony for her theoretical male self. A complex and detailed feeling, but you get it nonetheless.>>758231>>758234>>758232>>758235>>758236
Mudi pauses, evidently realizing her error far too late. She withstands the gazes as the others look back to her. Though their expressions are even, the taunting and questioning is all too palpably just under the surface… a ripple of realization passes through you, and through the others as well. Here, at the edge of an already tenuous concrete reality, emotions and intentions are plain to one another, palpable and contagious…
But whether those emotions were genuine from Mudi's onlookers, or imagined, projected in her moment of self-consciousness…
Mudi composes herself, and the feelings subside. She turns to face the unending unreality. "Then let's go… be safe."
"Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, and all that," Vizsla says.
Hurricanrana, Supper and Desert silently nod.
With that, Mudi sets her hoof out into the Abyss, her eyes carefully trained upon her steps. She stumbles forward as her hoof finds purchase in the void much lower than where she was expecting. She takes another step, only this one lands much higher than the first. With a grimace, her walking turns into a kind of peculiar climbing, as her hooves land in seemly random places at first… but some steps in, she manages to achieve something of an even pace, if perhaps only because of her imagination.
The others of the Witches of Gehenna follow suit in time.
>What If: Automatic; Once per Day; You may switch out your talent for a different one. This effect lasts 24 hours, and can be manually disabled prior to the time limit.
as a reminder this skill has refreshed by now
>Talent: Timid; +1 to actions when not involved in combat. Does not apply to social rolls e.g. Intimidate, persuade, etc.>>758237>>758230
"Oh that is quite shit! Then is there a conspiracy of demons after my name?"
Shei steps forward close enough the edge of the street but with setting foot into the un-darkness. He charges the sound of static he always hears into a pick on his hoof and then strums his guitar. To send shockwaves of static non-sense noise to clear out the void.
[1d10+1] to clear out the recent utterance of Shei's nameRoll #1 9 + 1 = 10
"From hence forth I will be exclusively using silly names to address you all. You may call me Kid Rock, Restless Angst, Mommy Issues, or any other appropriate moniker will do." Shei says, as apparently using our names in the void is not an option.
You blot out the utterance of your name with noise. Somehow, you feel like a part of you has come back.
Almost immediately, you feel a small part of yourself fall away.
"It doesn't really matter whose name it is. It just matters that a name was said at all. If a word is meant to catch attention, it will catch attention. So, she's probably more of a target than you, right now. SHE was the one trying to catch attention.">>758240>>758242
"So, the nicknames are just as bad!" Amy shouts, jumping up and down in a panic as Shei blurts out like 5 names, nonsense or otherwise.
"God Damnit!" Shei announces, as he has to clear out the names again.
[1d10+1] Clearing out names is degauss for the soulRoll #1 7 + 1 = 8
This time, you feel nothing different.
"You prooooobably shouldn't say that either…"
Amy considers it for a moment. "Yes," she nods. "Just don't ask someone to do it. They just might."
"Try silence," Flow hisses, apparently wary of even saying "I" and "you" now.
Shorthorns turns her head lightly at Amy's logic. "I guess…? I mean, I follow what you're saying but, if we're not even allowed to call out each other's names in Tartarus it's gonna get confusing.">>758238
Shorthorns shrugs at Mudi's apparent faux pas, shaking her head as she approaches the edge of the bridge. "It's alright Mudi, I apparently didn't get it either."
As Mudi first steps out onto the bridge that is the abyss, Shorthorns offer her a bow of her head. "Be careful, and we'll see you all at the Hanging Port!"
She watches the Witches follow in time, watching them along the uneven footing as she looks towards her group to follow next. "Let's let them get a bit of distance ahead of us, then let's dive right in."
"That's probably wise."
>it's gonna get confusing
Amy grins. "Hey, now you're getting it!"
Then, Amy winces when Flaming uses Mudi's name. "SERIOUSLY!?"
Leather muses the thought and finds it agreeable, positive feelings returned in kind, along with the feeling of being fortuitous the two are more in touch with their emotions to require very little words.
Shorthorns winces, "D'OH! Sorry Amy, it's just such a-…" she blinks. "DANGIT!"
"Okay, you guys are officially starting to freak me out…" Amy says, looking very stressed.>>758253
"Thank you, for being so good at this," Amy says, looking to Cloak.
The other factions start to slowly back away from you, while the other half of your party start making gestures desperately urging silence.
The Abyss waits.
"Hm?" Leather turns, having gotten used to tuning shouting out.
"Okay okay okay… so the trick is just to try and not speak? For the whole time?">>758256
She looks towards Flow and Voyage, nodding her head in understanding as she looks towards the others and prepares to make their journey into the mighty, dark Abyss of tartarus. "Right. Quiet… as a mouse…"
"You're just doing a good job of being safe. I just wanted to say thanks.">>758258
"I mean, you can speak. Just don't be stupid," Amy snickers.
"Anyway, I guess we should be going…" Amy says as she takes a deep breath. She steps out into the abyss.
[1d10] for balanceRoll #1 2 = 2
"Give me a quick reminder, anything else on the do-not-do list besides naming names?"
Shei looks back to every, a smile of chagrin before coming up ahead. With all the ruckus they've made it's obvious they're next.
With a flare of his cape they turn into wings and launch Shei into the air, he takes flight forward into the darkness. With one hoof he salutes everyone below "Later."
Shei plays a short song as he hails his departure, he says "Remember the Hanging Port. Continue remembering until reached."
He takes the initiative with leading the group.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yhi3p31NRqo
"Oh thank you, it's not in my profession to blab." Leather smiles.
Amy thinks as she walks. "If you see a parasite, run. They're scary. Super scary. EVERYONE is scared of them. Which makes them even scarier because people are willing to do ANYTHING to destroy the parasites."
"They'll destroy themselves, they'll destroy anchors, they'll destroy you. Just them being around makes everything way scarier. So, run away."
Roll #1 7 = 7
You step into the unreality before you, your steps at first uneven and rocky, just like M– just like her… just like that person's. Step by step, the "ground" evens out, though each step requires deliberate intent, and even concentration, as though you were learning to walk all over again. It feels like nothing is underneath, nor above, nor anywhere about – and you realize now that though you are breathing, that your muscles and organs are pantomiming the act, nothing enters nor leaves your body.
What must be happening to your flesh…?
Oi. Best not to think about it. Goos don't breathe either.
Yeah, it's probably… huh? Was that y–
…Further and further, the Abyss continues. Eternal, empty and complete…https://youtu.be/wtbIUN6gh-w……… ……………. ………………….. …………….. ……………………………. ….. ……. ………. …………… ……………………………… …………….. ………………. ……………………………………. ……….. …………. ?……………… ……… "………." …………… …………… "………..""…………?" "……"…………… …………… ………… ………….. ………….. …………… ………… …………. …………. ………….……………….. ………………. ……………..………. — ……. -….. —-. ———-……… ?—— ——–….. —-. ….. ———….. ———–………———-——– ———-___ ———————___________ —-________ ———- ___________–________—– —-________ ——–___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________ ______________________ _______ __________ ___________________ _________ _____ ___ ____________ —-→"… ….. s… t….""… w….. ..h…..a.. ?""S… ..w…..h…. ….sai… ou…. see……. hat?""Jus… ahea… of…""…ere's… a… line…"
Amy continues, never forgetting the Hanging Port.
Shei's Evil eye flashes a vacillating rainbow of colors as he appraises what is possible up ahead.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9
He stops in place as he gives his appraisal, only continueing to move when finished with the Hanging Port in mind
This is so weird… feels kind of like I'm walking through… nothing? There's no air but I don't have trouble breathing. It's like… okay, stop, don't let your mind wander. Don't think about ANYTHING but the Hanging Port. Hanging Port, Hanging Port… shoot, why wasn't I listening more closely when Sh… when the goat was talking about it?
Does it count if I think his name in my head? Surely that'd be okay I mean, it's just in my head. Maybe I can ask real quick…"..y …., d..s .. c..n. .f . .u.. .h..k .h. .a.e .. m. .e.d?"
Huh. Did they hear that? That sounded really quiet…
Leather ignores the chatter in the void, not wanting to be distracted towards his destination.
…Through the darkness ahead, a line trawls out, blank and colorless against the void. It is composed at first of intermittent dots, then of close-together dots, which in turn blend into thin dashes, until they too combine, becoming long lines. It leads you for a time, regardless of what direction you face, for an interminable time.
At last, the line splits into many pieces, at first becoming dots again, then dashes and lines. The dots and dashes and lines begin to trace out a semblance of a road, one-bit, all blank and void. Onward the road leads, and after following it for some time you see its destination – a far-off city.
The road-lines behind you split again and again, moving up ahead of you to form more and more details of the featureless city so far off. It is a stratified city, built upwards and downwards as much as east and west, or as near to any of those directions as one can be down here at least. Its platforms and structures seem oriented whichever way they please, gravity being naught but an old habit.Paused
Shorthorns maintains her focus on the road ahead, or rather the lines that appear to make up this road. She puts her focus on anything in particular she can hold focus to, working towards one goal fervently so as to avoid falling off this path of endless void.
As the city comes into view, one whose buildings stretch up and down and left and right, Shorthorns saves her many questions for now, focusing only on the city ahead and thinking the name of the port.
Shei-Sher glowers underneath his brow. The brunt of his tinnitus has assailed him for the journey. Begrudgingly holding in a weight of static wearing thin at his senses. Enveloping him entirely in a dull pain of numbness that accompanies the feeling of pins and needles. It feels as though he is a blur in motion. His thoughts ever so singular as his only measure against the spiritual tinnitus which urges his being to disintegrate into the un-darkness around him as shedding layers of unfocus.
Leather remains vigilant, certainly not planning to be the first to attempt speaking in the void or even just exiting, sticking solely to trudging forward until someone says otherwise.
"Ooooh! This place looks fun!" Amy says with her tail wagging as she looks around at the buildings not going the right way. "I want to climb one!"
When at last your hooves touch down onto the relatively concrete reality of the Anchor, you feel a kind of tangibility, a peculiar weight, come back to your flesh and souls, a weight that had been missing following your disappearance into the Abyss. It comes as perhaps no surprise that the folding, geometric city has no small number of structures and roads that cross over your heads, and below your hooves. Gravity here is just as variable as the buildings, for many peculiar figures walk about and fly here. The vast majority have bodies that are so diverse and clashing in their form and color that to describe them adequately would require pages and pages. None approach you – whether this is deliberate or accidental, you cannot tell.
None of your allies, save for Flow and Voyage, have made it to this destination along with you. The two remain silent on this point.
"Do you think we could like… walk on the side of one of them?" Amy ponders out loud as she jumps (most likely pointlessly) at one of the buildings with an apparent force of gravity in a different direction.
"I imagine it's less about thinking if you can, and moreso just doing it." Leather says, then pausing, "Though I'm a bit hypocritical if I say I imagine."
Leather follows suit, not attempt to experiment, just doing so with confidence whether the result makes him look foolish or not.
Shorthorns touches her hooves down on the platform, already getting vertigo from looking in any given direction as she looks around the vast number of buildings, jutting out against gravity in all ways outwards.
She looks around, noticing the others aren't here with them, and she claims, "We must have set out on a different path from the others. I don't see a sea, so this can't be any kind of port, right?"
"Maybe the water went away," Amy suggests non-chalantly as she continues to do pathetic hops up at a sky scraper.
As Shei nears the city he feels himself come more into focus like as if the totality of existence viewing Shei was putting it's glasses on to focus on him. This deep pressure within him that exerts itself in every direction pulling his body into blurriness finally dies down and as he lands onto the City he finds his mind and body are in a manageable order once again. The feeling being a very sobering one, Shei shutters as he comes into view with the rest of his party.>>758710>>758711>>758713>>758714
"Very well." He says shortly, and crossed arm as if hugging himself. "I want to beat these debutant sorcerers to the lead before the rest of our entourage have a chance to lay their crummy dogmas on my dealings. I'll have no bargain that endures the half measures of wisdom." He raises a hoof pointing into the air as a flourishing gesture to his point
"I'm pretty sure an escort was meant to be sent after us upon our entrance."
Having gotten a feel for underworld modalities of movement, you begin to walk up the sides of buildings, merely by your will. As you do so, you nearly end up bumping into the denizens of these buildings, who use any aperture, regardless of its design, be they doors or windows or other portals, to enter and exit the buildings in question. A glance into the closest of these apertures reveals the interior of some form of gambling hall. Many drinks are served, and smokers puff out haze that has a particular weight, and sinks to the ground like a prowling beast.
A strange game is being played upon a stage– it seems to be equal parts performance and argument. Two groups of three combatants stand against one another, vocalizing an unknowable song, wresting the melody and harmonies from their opponents by way of shouting and interrupting – though you cannot understand the language.
Perhaps a patron may know where you are…
"I have no idea what you just said," Amy deadpans. "So, I'm pretty sure that means we're doing good!" she nods in conclusion.>>758717
Amy wags her tail as she looks on at the gambling hall through the window.
"Man… I wish I knew what kind of money they need… Getting kicked out of places like that because you don't have money sucks."
>Vestigial Sunlight: Recharge 1; Spell; Roll to hear insight, whispers of guidance and fleeting thoughts from those who have come before you in similar situations. Roll number determines the quality of advice.>[1d10+2]
>Yes, I am indeed looking for guidance on how to get money to gamble away!Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5
Shei snaps his hoof tips (snapping your fingers for equine folk)
Shei's party suddenly, and intuitively find themselves able to understand and speak the local language
With that taken care of Shei mozzies on to the nearest person resembling a bar keep. He leans himself on the island table as he asks "Hoy Barkeep, where can a tourist find a traveling agent or perhaps an address book to consult?"
Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6
"It definitely wouldn't be the craziest thing we've seen so far.">>758716
"So, you think this isn't where the first group ended up?">>758717
Shorthorns walks up the side of a building, relying on this world's arbitrary gravity fields to keep her steady as she looks around and notices the locals around. "Hey, what do you know… there ARE people down here." As they notice the gambling hall, Shorthorns, unfamiliar with the concept, slowly walks in after the others as she looks around at all the loud, obnoxiouly noisy machines and creatures shouting.
"What sorta store is this?"
"The concept of this port may be more loosely defined than being next to water, I won't make any assumptions as not to be dragged elsewhere." Leather shrugs, following the others.
"Ba-ah, We're painfully impoverished for a crew of demigods. Lay out your hoofer flags Amy. The true reason for our visit is to get a job."
A chthonic and divine voice whispers sublime advice…>"Just kill them.">>758721>>758722>>758720
"…Woah, gnarly," the barkeep says, double-taking at the sight of Shei. A singular appendage, that might be likened to an eye, bulges out of the barkeep's head – for emphasis. "Since when do the Undefiled come this far up into Heaven? I doubt you'll find what you're looking for up here, there's not much to look at in these parts. But, there should be some Worshippers among the crowd here. Ask around. I doubt they'd risk trying to rip off an Undefiled."
Shei pulls his pockets inside out "The inside outs of your pockets.." He scratches his face "That reference is better used on someone else. I forget you neither read or wear clothes… Often."
"Not a bad idea. In fact, given how every side of it sort of gives out to the void, it's almost like every part is a port if they travel by air-ship.">>758725
Shorthorns turns her attention to the one-eyed stalk pulling itself out of the barkeep, raising her eyebrow as she approaches. "Heaven? I thought this was Tartarus. And what's an 'Undefiled'?"
"You can tell?!" Shei says as the barkeep remarks on him being an undefiled "What gave it away?" He said he was a tourist, but he could be a tourist from within tartarus.
"Wow, voice, that's rude," Amy responds to the voice only she can hear.
[1d10] to get a response>>758725>>758723
"Hah…" Amy giggles, bemused. "They think Shei is an Undefiled…">>758726
"Oh… I thought it was a sex thing…" Amy says, sounding somewhat disappointed.>>758727
"Undefiled are demons who haven't died too many times," Amy explains. "Or, at all."
This explanation is, quite notably, probably not very useful.Roll #1 10 = 10
Instead of pissing someone off by staring at directly at people, Leather instead decides to glance at what's being used as currency here, seeing it's material and any insignia if it's minted.
[1d10] casual perceptionRoll #1 9 = 9
Shei blinks really hard at you, stupefied by Amy's talent for perverting everything.
Amy smiles innocently at Shei and blinks rapidly in response.
>>758729>"Perhaps, but evergreen wisdom.">>758729>>758727>>758728
The barkeep looks blankly at Shorthorned, a peculiar tongue-like appendage sliding out from underneath the lid of its eye-stalk to keep its putrefying eye nice and moist.
"You really must be from far down… the First Layer we call Heaven – for what else could it be in comparison to what lies below, as close by as the Second Layer? In times past, demons called this Limbo – but all the stories of the Anchors below agree: We were born in Paradise.">>758731
At first they appear to be small tablets, but the familiar timber of their clatter and roll tells you that this currency is made of bone. The different denominations are distinguished by size and marking, though you don't know if the larger or smaller are more valuable.
"That makes sense for you, but what about me? I was never a demon at all.">>758735
Shorthorns cringes at the tongue sticking out to rub the eyeball. "Blegh…" she says audibly, sort of forgetting her manners for a bit.
As he explains how this place came to be known as 'Heaven', she nods. "Huh… well, I guess that would explain it. Is this whole city 'Heaven' or is it just one city?"
"We live in a society, voice in my head," Amy admonishes the mysterious advice-giver.>>758736
"I'm pretty sure everyone comes back as a demon in Tartarus."
Amy puts a hoof-paw to her chin in thought. "I don't know what would happen to a god, though…"
"Neat." Leather muses to himself, taking to draw the bone tablets, mostly interested in documenting their travels, "Wonder if there's any usefulness in making a travel guide."
"Teh teh teh teh." Shei tries to stop your sentence there "Well don't say that outloud. What- you want us to stand out?>>758735
Shei splits off a bit from his group to fill into the crowd. He watches the folks with his Evil Eye, giving it short scans of color as he appraises for a Worshipper.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2
"Undefiled stand out," Amy states to Shei matter-of-factly.
"Being a virgin is one thing, being a targeted virgin is another." Shei protests
Amy stares at Shei for a moment, clearly trying to figure out what he just meant. Then, she laughs.
"Oh, no no no. Undefiled are called that because they haven't died. Every time you die in Tartarus, your body and soul separate, but then they just fuse back together. But, doing that messes you up. Each time, you don't quite come back the same. Which is why people here look…"
Amy looks around at the others in the gambling hall. "Well, virgins," she snickers. "Undefiled are beautiful. Definitely not virgins. That's not why they're respected… mostly. But, it IS how you tell apart an Undefiled from… these kinds of demons."
"This place is but one leaf on a tree in Paradise," the barkeep says.>>758739>>758738>>758737>>758736
A sudden commotion breaks out from the stage, as one of the teams of three falls to their knees, or closest equivalent, obviously defeated in that strange contest. The victors accept their applause briefly, then turn to the conquered, and collect their prize. Flow and Voyage grimace, but force themselves to remain expressionless, as the victors, with little more than the diligence of a merchant counting out change, pick apart the bodies of the losers, pulling them limb from limb to check the contents inside. Grotesque organs and misshapen bones are the main interests of the victors, and they distribute them roughly equally between themselves. Dark puddles of thick, pudding-like blood stain the stage, to the barkeep's annoyance. When the vivisection is done, the victors push the remnants of the losers back together – and the mutilated bodies, robbed of their contents, shuffle off backstage on hands and knees.
With a grunt, the barkeeper comes 'round with the most mundane of tools, a mop, and goes to clean the filth. >>758741
As the crowd settles from that grisly display, your eyes settle upon a tall and ghastly biped, his head a white flame, and his body all clothed from the neck down in stitched rags. His gaze meets yours, and he approaches.
"Was it you, sir, asking for a boatswain?" he asks, his voice creaking and tried by much past shouting from his work.
"I sensed as much, sure. I was making a play on words. Describing ourselves as virgins since we have never been killed in Tartarus"
"Ooooh… I get it when you explain it like that! So, it's like I'm a demon, who ISN'T a demon yet."
She turns her head and thinks for a moment. "In which case… yeah, gods might be tricky.">>758744
Shorthorns is about to ask another question before her attention is swiftly drawn to the sheer carnage on the stage, gasping loudly as she sees a trio of demons is mutilated and torn apart for their innards right in front of everyone cheering… only for those same mutilated body parts to shuffle off together, looking at them drag themselves off in bits and pieces as she tries to stomach the urge to hurl.
"What… what kind of game is THAT?"
"The currency here, apparently it's made of bones. Since the loser seems to have survived, I imagine it was a contest with an agreed upon wager." Leather notes, continuing to add to his writing.
"Yeah, I got it," Amy laughs. "But, I'm pretty sure most Undefiled would take that as an insult. I certainly would have," she laughs.
"Although…" Amy puts her hoof-paw to her chin in thought. "I guess sometimes sex and dying kind of go together in Tartarus…">>758744
"Ooooh! THAT'S why the voice said kill them… That makes sense, now!" Amy says, barely affected by the demons being ripped apart.
"Huh… Is it weird that I feel somehow at home here?" Amy asks no particular companion around her.>>758746
"Pretty much everyone here is a demon already. They're just demons who haven't died yet.">>758747>>758746
"They would have agreed to it, even if it DID kill them. Heck, it may HAVE killed them. Demons up here have died so many times, it barely means anything to them anymore."
Briefly before Shei found his worshipper his attention stolen by the casual crunch and snap of flesh on the stage "Oh what the fuck." is voiced from Shei.>>758744
Shei meets with the worshipper and inquires "A boatswain?" He scratches his face briefly pndering. "I have a job that needs to be settled. This umbral is a secretary, he might have sent an escort after me but I don't where I could let them find me."
>>758748>"I guess sometimes sex and dying kind of go together in Tartarus…"
"Didn't need to know that." Shei says in stark horror.
"You thought I was rough with you before!" Amy says with a laugh.
"Well it has inherent monetary value, so I assume there's always meaning there."
"Well-" Shei points his eyes up in a dreamy sort of way "If every umbral in tartarus was a sex crazy demon puppy that wouldn't be so bad."
"They use BONES for money?! That's… th-that's awful." She shakes her head, remembering the old teachings of the Climbing Fire. "The remains aren't meant to ever be touched AT ALL, much less used for bartering!">>758748
"…I guess it must have its perks, not being able to die if you live down here. Still, imagine living with that kind of stuff every day."
"Yeah, I guess if you live, you get to keep your bones…" Amy contemplates the nature of life and death and money.>>758753
"Wait until you meet other Undefiled," Amy laughs again.
"But, I DO like to think I'm pretty, even among Undefiled," she says in a similarly dreamy voice. "The crystal pony body really added to my complexion too," she says, looking at her crystaline fur happily.
>>758748>"We would not lead you astray," the voice adds.>>758748>>758747>>758746>>758749
The tall and gaunt flame-headed figure pauses, and without a clear view of his face (if he even has one) you cannot tell why.
"Well," the figure says. "If you are waiting for an escort, there's no better place to look than the Abyss. You will surely find the Thread out there, and we'll sail onward to your destination."
"So that's what we saw…" Voyage mutters. The flame-headed figure briefly turns, and Voyage cuts off his words.
"That is better than nothing I suppose. We'd most appreciate you showing us how you do things up on the first layer." He said 'we'll sail onward' so Shei gets the notion this Umbral is offering his assistance.
If he is, then he lets the Umbral lead the way and show them how it's done.
"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?">>758757
"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."
>>758760>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.>>758757
Amy stares at the flame-headed demon suspiciously. But, her mind is too distracted by the voice in her head.
[1d10]>Does the DC-4 apply to defending against other people's social rolls?>>758759
"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.
>>758764>"We would not lead…"
Voice… voice…? What voice are you talking about…?>"a…s…t…r.."And once again, she forgot the voice, but not the advice it had imparted.>>758764>>758763>>758762>>758758
"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. https://youtu.be/B_A9JWf6_q4
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…">>758766>>758768
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.
>>758769>"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?">>758772>>758770>>758769>>758768
"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.>>758778>>758775
"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-4Roll #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.
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.>>758799>>758793>>758791
"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.">>758799
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 rollRoll #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.>>758810
"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.>>758808>>758806>>758803>>758793
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.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_7C8oN2klY
"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.
[Last 50 Posts]
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