No.762858[Last 50 Posts]
"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.https://youtu.be/C9ESv2NzKkw
"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?"
As the Witch explains her expertise is in mechanics, not curses, Shorthorns nods. "We actually came to that conclusion ourselves. There's no actual 'magic' affecting the princess, on either her body or her spirit. So we know you didn't actually put a real curse on her."
Shorthorns flattens her horns. "However, we know she definitely started acting so distant and unable to sleep at all after she met with you. We were hoping you'd be willing to tell us more about what happened, we are trying to find a way to help her."
"After…?" the Witch repeats, then sighs. "Rumor-mills have it backwards. When the Princess's insomnia began… I was among the first few whom the royal parents called for aid."
"The insomnia preceded your encounter?" Rooster asks.
"Correct," the Witch says. "I told them I was not a doctor, but still they summoned me. The others they called for aid had prescribed no end of mediocre remedies, but I knew they would be of no use."
"Your diagnosis, then?" Flow asks.
"The Princess's insomnia is itself a symptom of her discontentment," the Witch says. "Her discontentment with her parents' relationships, with each other, and with her."
"Small wonder, hearing them argue as they were," Rooster comments.
The Witch nods.
Leather silently mouths a prayer to Hypomone as the holy troupe marches, realigning himself with his own identity as continues to regain his sapience.
Shorthorns frowns as she thinks back to her brief exchange with the draconic king and queen, looking to Rooster. "They DID seem pretty short with each other. They wouldn't stop fighting the whole time."
She turns back to the Witch. "Wait, did you tell the King and Queen this… and they instead blamed it on YOU?"
Into the Abyss once more, and its near-absolute annulling of all your senses… just as times before, your body protests this nihilation, warning you with needles upon your skin, a burning in your gut, lightning in your spine, anything at all to remain feeling yourself…
Some indeterminate time later, you behold a great light, far ahead, and above you. Not gold and warm like sunlight, but faintly azure, and cold.
"No, they blamed eachother for quite a while," the Witch says, then laughs. "They didn't blame me until after
I started shouting at them too."
"And they didn't roast you like a hotdog!?" Supper gasps.
"They might have," the Witch says, then taps the machine behind her. "Had I not had my trusty steed here. But, in any case, the rumors spread and mutated. My involvement was to be more of a secret, but it's hard to keep a secret when you're arguing with a voice that can be heard across countrysides."
Leather squints, making sure his companions are with him, not wanting to proceed in foreign, demonic lands and risk being forgotten by being alone.
Shorthorns nods in understanding. "I see. I apologize for accusing you earlier, I didn't know the whole story." She says with a quick bow of her head, before raising it once more to speak.
"Still, it's kind of hard to imagine the princess being this distraught and unable to sleep just because her parents fight. Mine fought all the time and it never bothered me!" She rubs her chin, "Though, it's probably different when buffalo do it. Bumping heads is part of culture, it's probably more fun for them than anything."
"Yes!" Amy declares excitedly. "It'll keep up in tune with each other. Literally!"
Voyage bumps his horns against yours to demonstrate.
"It was not always so," the Witch says. "At first they were harmonious, and only now have they become so unhappy. So too is the Princess distraught and insomniac, for she knows how well they used to get along. Very unlike buffalo of your country, indeed."
"If I may cut in," Flow says. "We need to resolve the Princess's sleep problems. What do you suggest?"
"Depends how much time you've got," the Witch says. "Why, mortals from the surface world, is this so pressing to you?">>762865
The others are of a mind with you, and proceed closer, until the great light looms closer. Something strikes you as you approach; though you are not yet close enough to touch it, you can feel your senses revivifying. Previous times you approached Anchors, you felt numb and nulled until you stepped onto their solid reality; now, the light rejuvenates you, even at a distance.
Its source is a towering bulb of a flower; near-white in petals, azure in sepal and stem; these latter two extend downward into the Abyss for a great distance unseen. The light it radiates comes mostly from the petals, and mixes with the rest of it to produce a cool pale light. The coolness is a kind of relief, like entering a shaded shelter from summer rays.>>762867
Vizsla hisses with fury at the suggestion. Desert has resigned to her fate, while Hurricanrana is already thinking about what to sing.
"It's possible, anyway…" Mudi mutters, now deflated. "But if it fails, we can always try something else. So, what do we sing?"
"I think it'll depend on what kinda vibe we want to give this tea," Hurricanrana says. "If we need to put the Vestal to sleep, then… something cozy, yeah?"
As Voyage bumps his horns against hers, she smugly grins at him and delivers the same force back against his horns to make a satisfying *clonk*. "See? It's fun to fight sometimes!"
As she explains how the parents used to get along, Shorthorns considers the situation. "Hmm… well, if the King and Queen fighting are why the Princess can't sleep, then we don't need to cure the 'Princess', but the King and Queen then. I'm guessing you wouldn't have any clue as to why they no longer get along?"
As she asks why the matter is so pressing, Shorthorns thinks back and seems to recall Mr. MOOLAH didn't want the details shared with third parties so easily, but surely there wouldn't be any harm in explaining their need for the ingredient itself. "We're looking for something that can put someone to sleep really fast. We figure if we solve the Princess' problem, we can take some of whatever they've been trying to use on her to help her sleep."
Leather is distrustful, but his greatest desire is cohesion above all, and waits to verbalize it until they're out of the Abyss.
"I don't really think that we can have a fun time while singing a lullaby together…" Amy ponders.
"If we sing something fun, I'm sure we'll find some tea that the Vestal will want to drink, right?"
"Hmm…" the Witch says. "A rather innocuous-sounding request. It's no ordinary sleep aid you're after if you're poking around in Tartarus for it… you got here through the power of your will. If you were in search of a mere physical ingredient, you'd have been brought to any of the endless marshes and meadows in Limbo, where medicine more potent than anything on our surface world grows… there's something about this situation
that drew you to this place.
She leers at you. "I know an incomplete story when I hear it. It was an incomplete story that caused the Sons of God to fall apart… and Princess Wineberry to fall into total despair. I may be a slacker, and I hate hard work… but I hated seeing her expression of pain even more. Tell me the full story – as a member of the Bene Elohim, I am witness to many things you do not know.">>762871
"Hmm…" Hurricanrana hums. "It might be summer on the surface, buuuuuuuut…"
Vizsla's ears twitch with alarm. Hurricanrana smirks at her.
"No," Vizsla says.
"Go on, tell me it's not your favorite!" Hurricanrana says.
"I will freeze you to death if you even whistle a bar!" Vizsla growls.
"I repel the Ice attribute!" Hurricanrana retorts.
It's true – he does.>>762870
The Ecclesians look about one another, sharing your suspicion, but despite their trepidation, they get a little closer. Soon enough, without even having touched the flower, you and they feel normal as before. You can see from here that the flower's petals have gaps between them, permitting you to enter if you so desire.
The Paper Trail goes on ahead, stepping past one of the petals inside. Hours looks back to the others for their thoughts.
"What song, what song?" Amy asks as she bounces with excitement.
Shorthorns looks to Rooster, Crow, Flow and Voyage, looking for confirmation.
"…I hate telling lies, so I can't say we're telling you the full truth of it. But I'm sorry: I don't think we're allowed to tell you everything. The one we're doing this for gave us a pretty big warning to keep it to as few as people as necessary, and we gave them our word. I can't break that."
She bows her head, "Please, will you help us even if we can't tell you why we need it?"
Leather plans his speech carefully, wanting to be as succinct as possible "At once?" Is the sentence he chooses to craft.
"Three months of winter coolness, and awesome holidays~," Hurricanrana begins. Mudi and Desert hurriedly grab Vizsla by the shoulders to keep her from stampeding him.
They look busy – this might have to be a duet.>>762874
The Witch's eyebrows arch. "…Sounds like you've been speaking to one of the would-be Lords of Limbo, or perhaps one of his spokesmen. Even worse than opening up Tartarus to scavenge for miraculous or cursed goods. Well, that would track with your recklessness…"
"Lords of Limbo?" Supper asks, her interest piqued. She almost sounds like she recognizes the term.
"If you aren't going to share your full story with me, then I won't share that full story with you," the Witch says. "However… I can tell you some options for dealing with the insomnia, as I see it."
Flow nods. "We'll consider your proposed trade," he says, then gestures to the ladder. "May we step back to discuss the matter?"
"Make me some tea while you're up there," the Witch says. "Kettle's in the cupboard somewhere.">>762876
The others nod, and ready for the signal. Hours raises a hoof, then flings it forward – mark.
As a herd, you all rush past the outermost petals… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpVmwlE3ZTE
There isn't much to speak of inside the gargantuan flower. It is the size of a small manor, and full of light. Only at the very top, where the petals meet, that a small aperture remains, where the Abyss can yet be seen.
The Ecclesians search about with every sense, trying to find threats…
Every gun in the flower snaps toward the source of the sound. But, it's just Anzu bouncing on one of the anthers. There are very many of them, each the size of a bed, and very plush and bouncy.
"Stop zhat now!" Freischutz orders. "Vhat if zhat contains toxic spores?"
"We all absorb Poison to begin with!" Anzu says.
She has a point – they do.
"Besides, use all your senses," Anzu continues. "Nothing here's a threat, I don't think."
"You're definitely not thinking if you start playing about before we can confirm that," Hours says. "Fan out in pairs, and inspect this place. Meet where we entered before three minutes pass."
Shorthorns nods in agreement with her terms. "I understand. Again, sorry, but, we gave our word. If you feel you should keep something from us in turn, I guess it's only fair. So long as we can help the Princess."
As she offers to make tea, Shorthorns sighs, "Well, I would say yes but I'm told you shouldn't drink or eat anything that comes from Tartarus. Is the tea from around here or is it something you brought in from the surface?"
is a threat, our existence is not welcome." Leather says as he sticks close to his Chorister, filling in for the position of his team-swapped Spook, "Patience and caution begets safety and security."
Amy excitedly begins to sing Winter Wrap-Up.
[1d10] for singing qualityRoll #1 6 = 6
You're simply adequate
at singing. At this rate, Hurricanrana's going to outshine you.
"Winter wrap-up, winter wrap-up!" Desert sings, joining in even as she strains to resist Vizsla. "Let's finish our holiday cheer / Winter wrap-up, winter wrap-up! / 'Cause tomorrow spring is here! / 'Cause tomorrow spring is here!"
Here comes the second stanza. Mudi, gripping her staff in her teeth, points it at you, giving you a mismatched pair of pegasus wings. Well, pegasi are mentioned in this part, aren't they?>>762880
Despite the full-on inspection (with Anzu begrudgingly ceasing her bouncing to aid the inspection), no threats are found.
"Let us be on, then," Hours says.
"Hold up," Anzu says.
"You have a concern, soldier?" Hours asks, his brow wrinkled.
"I do," Anzu says. "When's the last time any of you ate or drank?"
"As Buiwong explained," LSZ says. "The body experiences no need for food, drink, sleep, nor most other base biological functions while in Tartarus."
"Exactly!" Anzu says. "There's no way that's good for us psychologically. What if we're down here so long our bodies acclimate, and we just forget how to breathe or digest once we're out of here? Why don't we set up camp here awhile and practice all those base biological functions?"
She rethinks that proposition. "Most of them, anyway."
Hours looks frustrated, but LSZ nods. "I support the notion. Set up camp, and I'll set about establishing barriers and wards."
Hours looks frustrated. "Sir Freischutz, surely you agree–"
Freischutz is busy setting up a comfy looking campsite.
"Already!?" Hours gasps. "I thought I was fast."
"You have to have fast hooves to hold the title of Freeshooter," Anzu brags.>>762879
"I make it myself," the Witch says. "If I had any interest in coming back topside, I would fully be able to. So, don't worry about the tea."
Flow nods and heads for the latter, before stopping to look at the others. "Do any of you object to Shorthorned handling the discussion?"
"No, but I'll be present here," Voyage says. "Oh, can you put extra sugar in mine?"
"Not if I have the lot of it!" Rooster says, heading up.
"No fair, I want some too," Supper gripes as she follows.
Amy is too wrapped up in the jolly music to be tied down by something so petty as lyrics!
She pulls out Lumpet and starts playing it to accompany the music.
[1d10] for Lumpet playing!Roll #1 9 = 9
"AH! In which case, yes, thank you for the tea, I'd love some." She says graciously to their host, following her up the ladder as she mentions, "If you could add something a little spicy like cinnamon to mine? I like it hot."
As she's trusted with the proceedings, Shorthorns nods to the others. "I'll do my best, but if any of you have anything to add feel free to jump in, I could always use the help."
She waits for tea to be served, and looks to the Witch to see what suggestions she might have on helping the Princess' parents.
"Err on the side of caution on names yet, mayhaps," Leather taps Hours, turning to the rest, "I dislike camping in this unknown oasis before
we have actually searched and scouted. Is not food eaten three minutes from now the same as food eaten now?"
Hurricanrana practically tumbles down into the ravine when you bust out an incredible trumpet improvisation on the melody. As Desert belts out the chorus again, even Mudi gets into the spirit a little.
"L-little critters hibernate
Under the snow and ice,
We wake up all the sleepyheads,
(But quietly and nice)
We help them gather up their food,
Fix their homes below,
We welcome back the southern birds,
So their families can grow!"
While Desert repeats the chorus, Vizsla looks aghast as she realizes she's up next for a verse. She's looking about for a place to escape… now's your chance to stop her–And perhaps learn her resistances and weaknesses.>>762887
Hours snorts as he realizes his potentially deadly error. "Gegenschein has worn off on me… the fool would love this place, perhaps even to his death. You are right. Our wills have brought us to this Anchor for some reason or another. If there is no lurking danger, then there may be a lurking gain. There may even be a tea ingredient here."
The Paper Trail, which had been lounging until now, shakes its head, and points to the bag in which Hours put the pixelated thing.
"No ingredient, then? Another purpose awaits," Hours says. "Let's redo the inspection and compare notes.">>762886
"As I see it, there are three options," the Witch says. "Force her to sleep; enable her to sleep; free her to sleep."
"The first only technically solves the problem; concoct her a mixture that, despite the arguing of her parents, will aid her in getting rest. This is the fastest method. The second cuts to the heart of the problem's progenitor; get her parents to stop arguing. This is the most time-consuming method. The third leaves the problem aside altogether; find a place the Princess can live without having to worry about her parents."
Replace "Gegenschein" with "That birdbrain,'"
Shorthorns considers all three of the options before her laid out by the Witch. "…yes, I don't think I see another choice beyond those three. Either she sleeps in spite of the problem, we solve the problem, or we ignore the problem all together and leave."
She ponders in thought. "I… I don't have a particular attachment to the Princess, or this place. We're here on an errand, more or less, so I guess that means we should just take the fastest solution. But…" she sighs, "It… it doesn't feel right. My head tells me we shouldn't bother with every single problem we come across in Tartarus but my heart says I can't just use them to fix our problems and still leave them with theirs. Taking the easy, fastest path isn't the best if it leaves you with regret."
"And I don't like the idea of asking her to just run away from her problems, either. I did that, in a way, and while I can't say it hasn't lead to some good things, I can't say that I don't still regret it a little. If her parents fighting hurts her this bad, then they're important enough to try and help."
She takes a deep breath. "So let's do the second plan: get her parents to stop arguing. Do you have any idea why they started in the first place? If it hurts the Princess this much then things must have been much better before."
"If we truely wish to compromise with the restseekers, let us practice breathing exercises as we explore. In, count, then out. A walking meditation."
In, and out, Leather reminds himself of the breathing he's neglected; not for need of oxygen, but as one does to hone their senses during meditation. Leather spends his time investigating the floor and cracks which reveal the Abyss beyond.
[1d10] investigimigateRoll #1 9 = 9
As you meditatively breathe, the first few breaths are unnerving, for you inhale and exhale nothing – until the void about you becomes air, in response to your will.
The texture of the flower is like hewn stone, as is its durability, and yet it remains as flexible as a vivacious young shoot. You recall the stem descending down into interminable void. One must wonder where the roots are planted, be it somewhere in Limbo, or even further below.
A secondary sweep confirms that there are no hostile Umbrals in the vicinity, and an assessment of your inner and outer health indicates that no infectious spores or parasites make residence here, either.
Between the cris-crossing filaments of the flower, you notice an outline of a shape… but the filaments are too close together to see what it may be. Given the flower's apparent health, you should be able to move them without damaging the flower itself.>>762892
The Witch nods. "My turn again for a question. When you entered this painted world, what was your assessment of the town and its folk?"
"We didn't talk to them too much," Voyage says. "We just got the gist of the festival from them. Seemed… weirdly normal, otherwise. I had heard the Sons of God had put even whole towns and cities down here, but they took in stride, huh?"
The Witch nods. "And I'll bet the inhabitants did not look like most other Umbrals you've seen."
"…What do you mean?" Voyage asks.
"I'm saying – the people of this world, save the King and Queen, are in total ignorant bliss of their situation," the Witch says. "Only I, the King, the Queen, and probably the Princess, know they are trapped in Tartarus. This knowledge is what has thrown their family into bitter disarray."
Amy grins and grabs Viszla by the shoulder, she starts singing looking at Viszla expectantly to join her.
Hopefully her smile and enthusiasm is infectious enough to melt even Viszla's heart.
>>MANTRA OF EQUALITY
Effect: Counts as a Critical Hit of the Mind Attribute; Target cannot harm the User, except with AoE Actions, next turn
Duration: 1 Turn
Recharge: 2 Turns>[1d10+4] DC-4Roll #1 7 + 4 = 11
"Eh- I thought so at first. When the strange entity de-escalated the lie I became gullible.">>762889
"There is a fourth option" Shei-Sher cuts in "Imbue the Princess with the inner strength to solve this matter on her own. As Sabuul sent guides may impart wisdom and courage through dreams. We may be able to do the same for her. I might be biased because I never got to finish my bed time story, but I'm more inclined towards helping people become able to solve their own problems. As a bonus- we save ourselves time."
Vizsla growls and squints, tugging at her hair as if the whole affair were painful on all levels, physical included.
In a single breath, she hisses:
"No easy task to clear the ground plant our tiny seeds with proper care and sunshine every one it feeds apples carrots celery stalks colorful flowers too we must work so very hard–"
Hurricanrana, Lamp and Mudi then rush in, squeezing around her. Vizsla rages and thrashes, but they sing,
"It's just so much to doooo!"
Time for you to bring it on home.
Shorthorn's eyes widen as the witch explains that the town's populace is blissfully unaware of where they are. "Wait, what?! They don't know they're in Tartarus!?"
Her ears flatten, "Woah… I took their acting normal as just being at peace with living here, Tartarus has people living normal lives in it… giving a very broad definition of 'normal', at least. So I just assumed they were all used to it."
"So, let me get this straight: most of this town has no idea we're all in Tartarus, but the King and Queen found out and THAT'S what's driving a wedge between them? How did they take it when they found out?"
"'Badly' would be one hell
of an understatement," the Witch responds. "The King and Queen spend most of their magic, with the aid of the dowager queen-mother, to inhibit the townsfolk from asking too many questions. I would hazard a guess that they never interrogated you on your sudden arrival in town, what countries or villages from which you hail. Am I wrong?"
"No… that's all on the money…" Voyage says.
"The population has remained the same as it has ever been here," the Witch continues. "With neither the elderly dying, nor young ones being born. All are preserved here, without aging, without hungering, without questioning. Life continues as normal, only with the aid of such necessary illusions. The Royal Family has been torn to ribbons, pondering what they are to do about this.">>763203
"I much doubt that the Princess is capable of that," the Witch sighs. "But I've been wrong before, so very, very wrong. I'd be glad to be proven wrong again."
Shorthorns frowns, thinking back to their initial arrival in the town.
"Just like a painting… it only stays still. It's beautiful, but it doesn't change, doesn't ever grow… suddenly our arrival here makes a lot more sense. This place is practically frozen in time!"
She shakes her head, "No wonder the King and Queen are so upset. I can only imagine how much they might argue about how to fix it, *I* don't even know what to do about it!"
"There.." Shei waves his head around as is mulling something over he is dreadfully apprehensive about sharing "is a solution to such a dilemma."
With some chagrin Shei starts as he scratches the bag of his wavy haired head. He addresses the party in saying this. "AS preparation if I had to kill anyone I know or- say you die non-explicitly. I asked the Bodhidharma in my lantern about the logistics of transiting souls from the lantern to the Overworld. It would require and conduit and a vector. That conduit is a thread tied between me and Cerberus, the vector is the small crack in the Tartarian gates allowing the thread to pass through. The macabre part is I do not know if one has to be close to death or actually dead in order to transit the person through the lantern."
The Witch listens close to Shei as he hints at a plan to ferry the souls of this world out of Tartarus.
"…Or, more fundamentally, whether such a soul might be intercepted on its way out," the Witch cautions. "A mortal, pure and undefiled by Umbral corruption would be as bait on a fishhook, on its way back to the surface."
Rooster steps in. "Evacuating an entire false world out of Tartarus, though a commendable goal, may not be something we can accomplish at this juncture."
"Make note, I will be investigating the flower further, if I might have a spotter watching me from a safe distance." Leather says as he continues his slow breathing, gently plying the filaments to sate is curiosity.
Shorthorns looks at Shei with hope in her eyes, not truly understanding the weight of the task but finding it commendable all the same. "You could really do that?! We could take this whole town out of Tartarus and put them back in the real world?"
As Rooster explains how it may not be feasible, she nods, "I assume it's a lot more work than just that, BUT we don't necessarily need to do all the work right now. We just need to share this plan with the King and Queen! If they know there could be a way out of here, it may give them enough hope to stop arguing with each other, and then the Princess would be happy again."
Monkey clears his throat, then nods for you to proceed, as he observes.
As you pick through the filaments of the gargantuan flower, you see, piece by piece, a great stone statue. It depicts a diamond dog clad in armor of a most elaborate and ancient metalworking style. At his side sits a club surely wrought from the femur of a great monster, or perhaps a demon – also depicted here in stone. The statue is remarkably similar to those seen blocking the entrance to Tartarus, yet interred here, some unknowable "distance" away. Like those, it is beyond lifelike, as if capable of springing up for battle at no more than a word…
"Phew- commendable! I expected at least a spook to chastise me for suggesting we massacre a Kingdom to save their souls. But it's like the Bene Elohim says. I don't have a guarantee they could be ferried safely without a team chaperoning the line. That is something beyond the means of our small party."
[I can't remember if we can fit entire people through the lantern, body and soul, or just the soul.]>>763211
"If Mudi and her sisters, and Gengenschein and his inner circle agreed to lend a claw, it could probably be possible, it's impossible to be so sure. Something for down the line I suppose. Hah! get it, down the line -eh. You don't have to feign laughter.""
"Stonework, or mayhaps a sealed warrior. I wonder it's significance within the flower, if any."
Leather sits down to sketch the visage merging from the filaments of the flower, trying to sense any magic from the statue itself, though not at all being trained in the manner.
[1d10] untrained senseRoll #1 7 = 7
"Hold on a tick! -haha -I do have something. A gift of many gifts, if the god's can still hear me down here." Shei unfastens his cape as he speaks and drapes it up into the air, the color and fabric of the cape transform into a mirage of many faces and symbols belonging to the god's of the Overworld.
Shei is displaying this ability. When Shei first got it, it was fluffed as a scene of many gods visiting Shei in a dream offering him gifts.>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.
"I was told should I ever need assistance I could ask for it. By their power I could have a limitation shed away or be transformed into something greater in a small part. This is worth at least consulting with my spidery patron." Shei-Sher again suggests.
knowledge roll>Talent: Timid; +1 to actions when not involved in combat. Does not apply to social rolls e.g. Intimidate, persuade, etc.
[1d10+1]Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
Amy goes back to playing Lumpet to accompany the final chorus of the song.
[1d10] for lumpetRoll #1 2 = 2
There may be, but if so, it is overshadowed by the ambient energies of the flower… but then again, you didn't sense anything from the statues near the entrance to Tartarus, either. You reason that, if this be more than an ordinary statue, it being dormant for so long would dampen the ambience of a magical signature to the point of imperceptibility.>>763217
If the Black Threads can transmit damage and physical maladies, with the exception of physical death, that means they can transmit physicality. Therefore, no matter how unpleasant, a living being could be transmitted along a connection made by the Black Thread, without needing to be dead, or necessarily
dying in the process. Though, if it is intercepted… that's another story.>>763213>>763211
The Witch shrugs. "Go then, and present your case. But do take a bit of tact in how you do it. This place has been down here for quite a long time, as you can tell. Telling someone, without proper buildup, that their millenia-old existential torment may end sometime soon, is like to be met with disbelief, mockery, anger… many things before joy and peace.">>763218
It all sort of falls apart toward the end as you try to riff out another solo. At least, to them. In your mind you are spitting absolute fire through the trumpet, so much so that you wonder why the thing has not melted. You carefully ignore that the others are singing louder and louder. They are definitely not attempting to drown you out.
The last note of your rhapsody finally fades away… the others look at each other with sweat dotting their brows.
"Now why would you sing that song!?" Vizsla sneers at Hurricanrana. "It is about ending
winter, not prolonging it! No such childish rhyme could ever be enjoyable to me, much less my favorite!"
Hurricanrana shrugs as Vizsla leers him down.
Shorthorns nods at Shei's suggestion. "I think we can do it too if we put our backs into it, but we have to be practical. If it takes too long that we'll miss the Tea Party, there won't be any way we can actually do it. But we can let them know it's possible if we really think we can pull it off, and then it might help the Princess enough for us to take the sleepy stuff we need!"
As the Witch recommends using tact, she nods her head. "Yeah, I think you have a good point. We won't just go charging in and blurting it out, and we definitely won't get their hopes up falsely. But this sounds like the best way to get rid of their family feud. Even if it isn't, freeing a whole town from Tartarus can't be a bad thing, right?"
[1d10] for perception
"That's true," Amy nods in agreement with Viszla. "You should be more considerate of your song choices, Typhoon."Roll #1 9 = 9
"Bah- I was only about to suggest violence as a better means of persuasion. But I remember again a force which punishes such confrontations.. Nevertheless! I'll be gone for a moment to seek consultation my patron."
Shei-Sher wraps himself in his cape and begins walking away from the group, somehow defying physics, it appears as though he is walking down stairs as the cape eventually falls flat onto the floor.
[1d10+1] Going to go speak with Buiwong.Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6
"As inert as my mundane senses can figure anywho. Fine enough, the weight on the side of caution lessens and the scales start to tilt towards the side of that of having a rest. It is all inspected twice over now, surely."
"Hey now, it was a great choice!" Hurricanrana says. "It really brought out the magic of friendship in all of us."
Vizsla's sneer suddenly drops, and she backs away from Hurricanrana. And Mudi, glowing as she was with satisfaction at a song well-sung, turns pale. The two look at Hurricanrana, Desert Lamp, and you with silent suspicion.
But before anything can come of their withering stares, you smell something, amid the nearby bushes… something warm, and… orange. Not citrusy, like the fruit… but still… you can't get that color out of your mind when you behold that scent…>>763223
There is no response from Buiwong. He must have consciously rejected the outreach– he and the Spiders must be presently occupied.>>763220>>763223
"Indeed," the Witch says. "I suppose that concludes your business here, then?"
Your allies look about for confirmation, sensing the Witch's impatience for you to get gone.>>763225
"Quite so," Hours says, with an approving nod.
You see that the Ecclesians have gathered in a loose circle, sitting on small cushions as they break out the no-bake trail snacks. You have your own supply, made by Doctor Galton herself, as the others' are. She heeded carefully all their particular dietary restrictions and tastes, and yours were no exception.
Amy follows the smell as dogs do.
[1d10] to do as the dogs doRoll #1 8 = 8
Shorthorn watches Shei as he suddenly disappears beneath his cape, letting out a short sigh. "Right, we HAVE to be reasonable about it. If we start a fight, whether it's us or them who starts it, the Curse will affect us."
She turns to look back at the Witch, nodding in agreement. "No, that's everything… except just one last thing. You're from the real world too, right?" She asks. "If we can make this work, if we can take everyone out of here, including you, can I assume you'd be up for helping us?"
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.>>763232>>763229
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.>>763227
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. >>763233
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 addsRoll #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. >>763240>>763237
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.>>763239
"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. >>763250
"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.
[1d10+3]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!">>763400
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. >>763401
"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.
[1d10+1]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…>>763407
"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.>>763408>>763405
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 projectionRoll #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.>>763415>>763412
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…?>>763423
"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…">>763420>>763421
"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.
Effect: Roll for a Hint from those who have been a situation such as yours before.
Recharge: 1>[1d10+2]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.>>763433
"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.>>763431>>763429
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.>>763435
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.">>763437>"I REALLY want to do something with juggling beetles"
Shei chastises Shorthorns "You will turn my organs inside out and you will like it.">>763437>>763435
"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."
[Last 50 Posts]
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. >>763438>>763439
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."