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"Are we supposing there's a little teapot somewhere in this valley we gotta find?" Hurricanrana says, tilting his head. "Is it perhaps short and stout?"

"No more singing, please," Desert sighs.

"Actually…" Mudi says. "In Tartarus, the will is supreme… It's even true at an Anchor. You saw how people suffered when they used techniques to move great distances without being seen, like the Ecclesian flash step. Oh! And we all had to agree on what we saw before we could even enter the anchor!"

"Oh no…" Desert groans.

"The singing probably helped us get this far!" Mudi extrapolates.

"No, no, no–!" Vizsla complains.

"We gotta sing to find the tea ingredient!!!" Mudi declares.

The Paper Trail shrugs.

"R-right?" Mudi asks, losing all her momentary bravado.


As a unit, with paces in sync despite the disparities in height and length, the Ecclesians move out, following behind the Paper Trail.


"Take it from someone who has spent more time down here than you–" the Witch says. "Anything you hear claim to belong to or be from 'God' is not to be believed. Best not to overuse that word. An Anchor may be safe enough, but in the Abyss – tantamount to suicide. What you encountered was most likely an Umbral who became overmuch obsessed with that thing, and began to hallucinate a theosis."

>Shei and Flaming

"Cursed?" the Witch repeats. "Is that what they're saying?"

She scoffs, then full-on laughs, like it's the only funny thing she's heard all day. She shakes a ratchet at you. "My Craft is in the mechanical arts. I put no curse on any one of them.


"People like them… don't need any curse from anyone. They are curses unto themselves. Curses unto one another… you get me?"

The others ponder this in silence.

She looks at Flow. "But, it is true I got into a dispute with the royals. Must be the genesis of this rumor. Why do you ask?"
54 posts omitted. Click reply to view.



The red cape on the floor flies up as Shei is shot out from beneath it. Though not high enough to hit the ceiling. "Huh- He rejected my call. First time that's ever happened." Shei says only momentarily concerned.

He turns around to the group, wearing his cape like a blanket over his head "How long was I gone- are we done here?"


Leather prays before his meal, trying to maintain the practice of breathing by letting each verse be punctuated by a breath in or breath out.


"I will not," the Witch says. "I've my own reasons for remaining here, be it at this Anchor, or another."

She offers no elaboration, and her face is without expression. You sense she has been set on this internment long before you ever came about.

Your allies find no further reason to remain in the impatient Witch's abode, and so, give her their thanks and goodbyes. She is curt, but not overly rude in her responses; it seems she is no more immune to the torments of eternity than the people of this painted world.

You soon have stepped back into the outside world, still as beautiful as it was before… yet now that you know the truth, a sticky air of falsity presses upon the land.

After poking through the bushes for a bit, you see a collection of stones, gathered together in a kind of haphazard altar. Atop it is a wooden bowl, and inside, about two handfuls of small, orange shapes. They appear to be leaves of pure amber, but their form is fuzzy, and indeterminate. The colors dance between shades of auburn, gold, and orange. It is like what someone may see, dozing off before a fireplace while under a heavy blanket, with winter chills unable to invade the home. Their presence is as comforting as it is tiring. You reckon you'd best not look at them for too long, lest you fall asleep.

As you eat, Holy Hours forgoes his food, and opts to fiddle with the strange, pixelated object that the Paper Trail directed you to collect.

"Guesses, anyone?" he asks aloud.

The others shake their head, apparently to mean that they're busy chewing and too polite to speak through it. Yet their eyes suggest they don't welcome having to talk about work on their mandated breaktime.



"This definitely looks like something that'll put someone to sleep!" Amy declares as if they found the thing they were looking for. She picks it up and shows it to everyone else, wagging her tail like a retriever.


With Shei returned from within his own cape, Shorthorns takes leave of the Witch's home and presumably is relieved when the 'camera' of her perspective shifts back comfortably into first-person.

As they head outside, she looks to the others. "Okay, so I think before we present this plan to the King and Queen, we should make sure it's really doable." She turns to Shei and addresses him, "You're sure we have everything we need? Or 'could' at least given the other witches help? I want to know how hard we're gonna have to work so we can tell their majesties"


"Do you think we will have to will ourselves to pass this as well?" Leather wonders out loud, slipping out the moment as the concern struck his mind. He clears his throat, realizing it's less than appropriateness during communion, and tries to think up any sort of response to Holy's question, "Certainly not sugar, though it is cubed like sugar is served with tea."


"We could test right now if you so wish." Shei responds promptly. He draws a separate black thread and attaches it to the lantern. The other end of the black thread is connected to nothing else, simply hanging out in one direction.

>(outdated version)Black Threads; Spell; Ranged; Recharge 3(minus 1); Create a tether between two targets. What happens to one target (damage, status effects, intimidation, persuasion etc.) will also happen to the other. Killing one target does not kill the other.


"And that's all there is to it. Assuming Bodhidharma's awake at this hour. Best we test if physical matter can pass through. I vote we suck in Supper since she's the smallest person in the group." Shei adds

Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4


You weren't gone for very long, but the atmosphere is icy when you return. However, the peculiar artifact's atmosphere of warmth seems to ease the tension. The others look over it– Vizsla seems disgusted. Mudi's expression is near-blank, but you sense a kind of longing in her eyes as she beholds it.

It has much less of a pronounced effect on Hurricanrana and Lamp.

And as for the Paper Trail, it gives you a thumbs-up.

Supper scrunches her snout as she examines the thread. "…Age before beauty," she retorts.

Rooster gives an amused bleat, and steps back. Seems he's not volunteering either.

"Oh, I already tested," Fox says. "And that's affirmative."

The others leer, though they appear far from surprised.

"If it'z anyzhing ve can comprehend," Freischutz hazards. "I believe it to be ein little slice of mundanity. Zhe compassionate one did not interfere, neither vhen zhe serpent tried to flatten us all into paste, nor vhen I shot back. Something about zhat realm either disinterested her, or precluded her meddling."

Hours ponders this notion… and looks to you. "Catch."

He chucks you the object.



Amy smiles with pride as she gets a thumbs-up from Paper-senpai.

"Alright, so I guess we should head back now. And, this time let's do a song that celebrates coldness more! Gotta be fair to everyone, you know!"


As Shei looks for a volunteer to test it, Shorthorns without any hesitation steps forward.

"I'll volunteer. I was the one pushing to help the royal family and to get this idea rolling. If you need someone to make sure it's safe, I'm your buffalo. If anything goes wrong I'm probably more than tough enough to survive anything that happens too."


"Please Shorty, you're far too large, muscular, and intimidating for a good test subject. You'll break the wire or cause Bodhidharma acid reflex. No- We need someone; small, impossibly cute, expendable, someone who's only in it for a paycheck." Shei-Sher very visibly darts his eyes back and forth at Supper, to her expense.


"Mundani tea." Leather nods, fetching the object and holding it up to his eyes for a close inspection, "The location seemed devoid of any sort of outside meddling, our protection only from the valley's effects only lasted some seconds or minutes at most, I imagine it would just be a void to her prying."


"If that's all there is to do here, then let's be off," Vizsla says. Without waiting for input, she begins to head toward the surrounding darkness of the Abyss.

"Hold it," Lamp interrupts, to Vizsla's annoyance. "So, what'll it be?" Lamp asks.

"What will what be?" Vizsla deadpans.

"Your walkin' song!"

"Oh for the love of–" Vizsla groans. She sneers as she feels all eyes fall on her in expectation… then she sighs. "Fine. I'm sure you're familiar with it. It's called, 'Let it–'"

Hurricanrana, Mudi and Lamp gasp in shock. "For real!?"

"Interrupt me again and Tartarus will freeze over!" Vizsla snaps. "'Let it Snow!' Not whatever you were thinking of!"


Supper's snout continues to scrunch so much that one might reasonably worry of it collapsing into a black hole.

"Don't worry," Rooster says to her. "He was describing me to a 'T'. Observe."

He lets out a bleat, and in a puff of smoke, he vanishes. At the center of where he stood is a beetle.

"Perhaps," Hours says. "There's no reason to believe the tea's effectiveness would diminish if a little piece of that object were to go missing. You're a patient sort. See if you can't chip away a sliver."

The Paper Trail, which had been leaning on a nearby wall, stands straight up, and looks at you.


Leather nods dutifully, "By Saint's behest."

Leather takes a long time to study the strange object, tapping at points of it to find a point of weakness or resonance that'd chip off a small piece.

>Shatter: recharge 2, weapon; Breaks the target's defenses, opening them up for attack. Any attacks against a Shattered target crit on a 8+ for two+1 rounds. Can be used against inanimate objects or armor to break and damage them efficiently.


Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7


Shorthorns blushes as Shei compliments her so thoroughly, clearing her throat and trying not to appear too flustered. "Oh… well, I guess I understand if I'm way too strong and big for the spell to work here. But then, who do you…"

As Shei looks heavily at Supper, Shorthorns feels her discomfort and is about to interject before Rooster steps in to save her, transforming himself into his beetle form. Shorthorns smirks, looking at Shei while waving at the Rooster beetle. "That small and cute enough for you?"


With a little caution and care for the eldritch object (and its potential effects on you), you experiment with it for a time, until you find a promising corner. A few keen taps of a utility knife later, you have broken off a piece of the thing, be it mineral, device, or foodstuff… When you set the small piece aside, it develops a pixelated aura, just the same as the larger. Somehow, the two pieces feel equal in their diminishing effect upon reality.

The Paper Trail zeroes in on your location, inspecting your hoofiwork with a silent glare…


Shei-Sher continues to tease the situation as he seems insistent on having Supper do it. He seems to scratch his chin amid deep consideration for Rooster's offer "I don't know… What if we lose the beetle?"


"None of the object has been left behind, has it not?" Leather notes to the Paper Trail, "A sugar cube with a granule broken off will still be the same once put in the same cup."

Leather offers the two pieces back to Holy Hours, as they requested it broken in the first place.



Amy looks between her friends with a confused look on her face. "What did you think she was going to say…?" she asks them slowly.


"What if you lose me!?" Supper squeaks.

"Come now!" Rooster clicks, his sheep's mouth now replaced by mighty beetle mandibles. "I am not here for simple parlor tricks! Those come later! Now run the experiment lest we be forced to clash horns!"

The Paper Trail, if it even hears your words, seems to disregard them. It examines the two pieces… but, perhaps taking notice of the two's equal distortion upon the surrounding space, it steps back. You feel something of a lingering gaze upon you and Holy Hours, until it dissipates.

Hours takes the two pieces, clearly storing them separate from one another. He nods his thanks to you.

"You know, that one famous song!" Lamp says.
"I had heard it around Fantasia here and there, in past months," Hurricanrana says. "But they disabled those magitech speakers the last time I was in town."
Mudi clears her throat, and whispers… "The snow glows white–"
"Don't you even think about it," Vizsla snarls, apparently sensitive to the lyrics even at a distance. "'Tis an unseemly and dreadful composition."


Shorthorns can't help but take a little fun in teasing Supper, but she soon enough puts her hoof down. "Alright, that's enough fun for now. Shei, can you work with Rooster or not? I figure this should be small enough."



"OOooooooh!" Amy exclaims in sudden understanding.

"That song would be perfect for you!" she says to Viszla. "Of course, I like both songs, and they're both perfect for you."


"What tribulations did you all face on the way to the gates to Tartarus, might I ask? There was an interesting mix of puzzles and battles on the way." Leather brings up, now that talk of the artifact has lulled.


"Aye aye- haha, I've had my fill. I'll work with Rooster on this." Shei-Sher boyishly chuckles as he seems satisfied with his detour into teasing Supper.

With the Black Thread attached to the lantern and the other end attached to nothing else, simply hanging out a few yards away from them. Shei-Sher brings forth his Lantern and begins sucking the Beetle into the lantern for Bodhidharma to pass through the practice thread.


Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8


"You know me not, if you think that," Vizsla says, as your group proceeds. "Consider it. In the former, the snowstorm is 'frightful,' and traps the singer and his lone companion in a cabin, with dwindling rations and a dying fire. Driven to despair, the singer gives into his fate, and calls for yet more and more snow and ice to entomb himself and his companion."

She says all that like it's the highest of praise. Then, she scowls. "While in the latter, the singer is tramping about, flaunting her obvious denial of the facts of the situation, desperately coping with her absolute isolation – and failing. Bleugh. Not me at all."

Hurricanrana and Lamp exchange doubtful glances.

Vizsla's musical rant helped pass the time, and you soon draw near to the edge of the Anchor. The Abyss is not far off…

"Much the same as you," Monkey says. "We faced riddles and mechanisms that gave our more combat-oriented personnel quite the run for their money."

Fox grunts. "Hey, hey, nobody warned me there would be calculus involved. I studied my algebra, but for a secret society thousands of years old, there sure was a lot of advanced problems they left behind in their headquarters."

Anzu shrugs. "Our language and mathematics are based on foundations handed down from generations past. I didn't find it so surprising. They were like cool games."

"Math games?" Fox scoffs. "Cool? Nerd."

She goes for her gun, and him his sword, but they don't quite feel like fighting on breaktime.

With a battlecry, Rooster-beetle flings himself into the Black Thread, spiraling about as he disappears into it. About half a minute later, he tumbles out of the other side… and falls to the ground.

His body lays inert, and lifeless.

Supper's jaw hangs open in shock.


Shorthorns watches in tense anticipation as Shei weaves his magic with the beetle, watching him spinning the black thread and seeing Roster go into it.

However, as Rooster pops back out, lifeless and still, her eyes open wide, and her ears flatten.

"Rooster…? Rooster, if you're playing around this isn't funny…" She looks to Shei, longing for a quick answer


"Maths, I learned enough with trajectory and distance, but I cannot same I'm the model of a modern mannered mercenary or some sort." Leather shrugs, looking to Fox and Anzu. "Do you think our lady overseer's hold has control over battles in these spaces between spaces?"


Shei-Sher scratches his head. "I'm not entirely sure- how? that happened? Maybe an artifact of it's original design interfering?"

He sets his Lantern down "I'll give Bodhidharma the how do you do, see what he did with the soul. Should only take a sec."

Shei sits cross legged and prepares to AP into the Lantern.
[1d10+1] astral projection

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5


"Anchors are said to be safe, but…" Anzu says.

"Zhis is qvite zhe tiny Anchor," Freischutz says. "You two, stow it. Don't risk finding out zhe unpleasant reality zhe hard vay."

"Yessir…" the two sigh with disappointment.

Realizing now that I forgot that Anzu and Fox can't be in the same area for this exact reason but we're going with it.


Rooster-beetle flips right-side up before Shei can head inside. "Gotcha!"

"I'm going to swat you…!" Supper threatens.

"You'll need more than the newspaper to squash me, I'm afraid," Rooster says. "Forgive my humor, but you'll agree 'twas quite the opportunity for a joke. That aside, the experiment succeeded, as you can see."

"Maybe I'll take up bug collecting…" Voyage mutters to himself.



"I see 'Let It Snow' more like it's a song about how beautiful snow and cold weather can be. Especially when you have someone to snuggle with," she says as she wags her tail. "But, I like your interpretation too. It's definitely 'you'."

"But, I see 'Let It Go' as more like a song about someone deciding that they don't care what other people think about them anymore. They've finally decided that they are okay with who they are. And, if other people don't like that, they can just stay over there. It's empowering! And, that reminds me of you!"


Vizsla gives you a glare, like she wants to skin you and turn you into a rug… which she would then install in a cabin rented out for the express purpose of trapping the occupants inside with a deadly snowstorm.

When the Abyss comes into view, your traveling companions halt, and look at the cinder-like leaves you procured.

"Let's focus on meeting with another group," Mudi suggests. "Whoever's done with their ingredient. Or, whoever might be close. Any objections?"

Lamp and Hurricanrana shake their heads. Vizsla is too busy fuming over music theory and death of the lyrical author to contribute.


Shorthorns snorts out her nostrils and her white face starts to turn an angry red as she says to Supper, "Not if I stomp him flat first…"

As Rooster indicates it was a success, Shorthorns temporarily lets go of her anger to simply ask, "So it did work? You can send people back to the surface out of Tartarus with this? How hard was it?"


Shei-Sher is mildly amused, he's about to open his mouth and almost nearly says he was worried there was something wrong with his lantern. But then the culmination of his life's previous embarrassments shout at him not to say such a thing.

You're supposed to be worried about Rooster in this situation, Shei, jeez.

"Aha, Yeah I suppose I deserved that one. Good on you, Rooster." Shei tries not to sound like he caught himself in an awkward moment and makes chitchat instead "Say, can you transform into other manner of creatures?"


"Aught to take up chess." Leather muses, turning to start his drawings for Mudi.



"What? You don't like the idea of being your own empowered person?" Amy asks Viszla, cocking her head. Concern is evident in her tone.

Then, she nods to Mudi. "Good idea."


"I figured as much. The size doesn't necessarily matter either. I was just having a gaff at Supper." Shei says casually.


"There are many interpretations of what it means to be 'empowered,'" Vizsla bites back. "And whether separation from others is a worthy price to pay."

You recall her being… an oddly religious Witch. What was that divine name, again…?

>roll to recall…?

"I've got marbles, if zhat is close enough," Freischutz says.

Holy Hours shudders.

"Afraid you'll lose your allowance again?" Living Saint Zoantharia asks.

"It is budgeted frivolity money, not an allowance," Hours corrects. "But wagers against snipers in a game of marbles are an ill-advised investment. But now that I've got a sharpshooter in my corner…"

"I can," Rooster says, becoming a sheep once more. "But now is not the time for such things. We must make for the palace of the draconic royals, no?"

Voyage and Supper nod in agreement.



Amy asks the Vestigial Sunlight for the name of Viszla's deity.


Attribute: Buff
Tags: Spell
Effect: Roll for a Hint from those who have been a situation such as yours before.
Duration: N/A
Recharge: 1

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5


"Right- But I demand a battle royal of party tricks during our next juncture with lunch time!" Shei beams with enthusiasm with the suggestion, flinging his guitar about as if readying a rapier, to the aching strain of his wrist to do so.

"Lets be on our way. With some luck I can still play a gig today."


Shorthorns nods in agreement with the others. "Yep, I think that should be enough proof to go off of. Let's see if we can settle this disagreement between the King and Queen once and for all."

Shorthorns leads the way towards the castle, looking ahead to see if there's still a massive line of people trying to help the Princess.


"You want to see party tricks? I think I might have an idea for juggling beetles…"


"Did not the Morte Legionem bring marbles into popularity in the early days of the Ecclesiachy? I have been playing since colthood." Leather raises an eyebrow.


Shei flicks Shorthorn's horns "You insult me with your plebian sense for party tricks. We are the pigmy foam of God stuff, we can do a little better than juggling."


Something about the flecks of minerals in the nearby dirt catches your eye… azure and translucent… the words, "Ice Age," come to mind.

Though you are not yet at the Abyss, something about it… seems to tremble. Those words may best be left for another time.

Falling silent, the others step into the Abyss once more.

"Yes," Hours says. "But I came to Ecclesia through the priesthood, not the order of assassins. I always had more of an affinity for games of strategy more than dexterity."

"Mere excuses," Freischutz scoffs. "If you haff need of schooling, I simply require a tutor's fee."

Hours rolls his eyes.

As you plan out some cantrip competitions, you make your way back to town, where you see the tent of the Somnists in the distance. The crowds have greatly thinned since the last time you were there. Your chances to petition the royals there could be fast slipping away…


"I guess that's true, but after that stunt Rooster just pulled I REALLY want to do something with juggling beetles. Or elephants…." she says with a hint of soreness in her tone.

As they see the last of the Somnists in line, Shorthorns snorts in frustration. "Uh oh, it looks like they're almost finished. I don't know if they'll just let us stand in line again and even if we did they wouldn't like us telling everyone about Tartarus out in the open."

She looks at the castle, smirking as she says, "I think we should wait for them inside the castle itself! Lot more private that way, right?"



Amy stares at the words for a moment. Then, she shrugs and moves on. She enters the Abyss, hoping to find a friend.

[1d10] for friend finding!

Roll #1 9 = 9


"A good shooter bowled violently now will always be better than a perfect shot planned for weeks. Marbles is all about the moment to moment, not a grand strategy." Leather remarks.


"I offer a fair warning. I am exceedingly socially inept. I'm sure that's no mystery to anyone here. In that spirit, I also nominate Shorthorns as group captain and general spokesperson. Congratulations Shorthorns."

>"I REALLY want to do something with juggling beetles"
Shei chastises Shorthorns "You will turn my organs inside out and you will like it."

"We have no guarantee they will allow us an audience once the time to petition are finished. And the use of force is not an option. We may end up causing wide spread panick or outrage with our allegations. But our message being received is at least more certain than seeking audience afterward."


Following Shei's nomination of Shorthorned, the others look to her with interest as to what she may propose for the plan of (rhetorical) attack.

As the Witches of Gehenna venture forth into the Abyss, a small storm of marbles brews, within the space of an Abyssal flower.

…Some time later, following a rigorous discussion of marble theory, history and strategy, the Ecclesians freeze and fall silent, directing their eyes to the Abyss. Figures appear in the distance, regaining shape, color and form…

"Well well well," Fox says, once the figures step between the outermost petals of the great, white flower. "Are you the genuine articles, I wonder?"

Mudi waits until the flower's petals fold back in around them, shutting off the gateway to the Abyss, before she nods. "As real as you lot are."

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