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File: 1669073838950.png (733.19 KB, 1410x555, Buiwong Cut-In Final.png)

 No.762858[Last 50 Posts]

>Amy
"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.

>Cloak

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

>Shei

"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?"

 No.762859

>>762858
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."

 No.762860

>>762859
"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.

 No.762861

>>762858
https://pastebin.com/jbpPAusX
Leather silently mouths a prayer to Hypomone as the holy troupe marches, realigning himself with his own identity as continues to regain his sapience.

 No.762862

>>762860
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?"

 No.762863

>>762861
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.762864

>>762862
"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."

 No.762865

>>762863
Leather squints, making sure his companions are with him, not wanting to proceed in foreign, demonic lands and risk being forgotten by being alone.

 No.762866

>>762864
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."

 No.762867

>>762858

"Yes!" Amy declares excitedly. "It'll keep up in tune with each other. Literally!"

 No.762868

>>762866
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?"

 No.762869

>>762868
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."

 No.762870

>>762868
Leather is distrustful, but his greatest desire is cohesion above all, and waits to verbalize it until they're out of the Abyss.

 No.762871

>>762868

"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?"

 No.762872

>>762869
"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.

 No.762873

>>762872

"What song, what song?" Amy asks as she bounces with excitement.

 No.762874

>>762872
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?"

 No.762876

>>762872
Leather plans his speech carefully, wanting to be as succinct as possible "At once?" Is the sentence he chooses to craft.

 No.762877

>>762873
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZEFJ8Bu66jg

"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…

"Woo-hoo!"

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."

 No.762879

>>762877
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?"

 No.762880

>>762877
"This realm 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."

 No.762882

>>762877

Amy excitedly begins to sing Winter Wrap-Up.

[1d10] for singing quality

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.762884

>>762882
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.

 No.762885

>>762884

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

 No.762886

>>762884
"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.

 No.762887

>>762884
"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?"

 No.762889

>>762885
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."

 No.762891

>>762889
Replace "Gegenschein" with "That birdbrain,'"

 No.762892

>>762889
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."

 No.762893

>>762889
"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] investigimigate

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.762896

>>762893
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."

 No.763202

>>762889

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

Attribute: Buff
Tag: Instant
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-4

Roll #1 7 + 4 = 11

 No.763203

>>762858
"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."

 No.763204

>>763202
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.

 No.763205

>>762896
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?"

 No.763206

>>763205
"'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."

 No.763207

>>763206
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!"

 No.763208

>>763206
"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."

 No.763209

>>763207
>>763208
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."

 No.763210

>>762896
"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.

 No.763211

>>763208
>>763209
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."

 No.763212

>>763210
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…

 No.763213

>>763209
"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.""

 No.763215

>>763212
"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 sense

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.763216

>>763213
>>763211
>>763209
"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.

 No.763217

>>763209
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

 No.763218

>>763204

Amy goes back to playing Lumpet to accompany the final chorus of the song.

[1d10] for lumpet

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.763219

>>763215
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.

>roll perception

 No.763220

>>763219
>>763216
>>763213
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?"

 No.763222

>>763219

[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

 No.763223

>>763220
>>763219
"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.

>Astral Projection

[1d10+1] Going to go speak with Buiwong.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.763225

>>763219
"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."

 No.763226

>>763222
"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.

 No.763227

>>763226

Amy follows the smell as dogs do.

[1d10] to do as the dogs do

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.763229

>>763223
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?"

 No.763230


 No.763232

>>763226
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?"

 No.763233

>>763226
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.

 No.763234

>>763229
"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.

 No.763235

>>763234

"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.

 No.763237

>>763234
>>763232
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"

 No.763239

>>763234
"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."

 No.763240

>>763234
"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.

[1d10+1]

"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

 No.763243

>>763235
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.

 No.763245

>>763243

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!"

 No.763246

>>763243
>>763240
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."

 No.763247

>>763246
>>763243
"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.

 No.763250

>>763243
"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."

 No.763252

>>763245
"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!"

"Oh…"

>>763246
>>763247
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.

 No.763395

>>763252
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

 No.763396

>>763252
>>763247
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?"

 No.763397

>>763395
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…

 No.763399

>>763396
>>763252
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?"

 No.763400

>>763397
"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.

 No.763401

>>763252

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.

 No.763404

>>763399
>>763396
"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."

 No.763405

>>763404
>>763399
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."

 No.763406

>>763404

"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."

 No.763407

>>763404
"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.

 No.763408

>>763404
>>763405
"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

 No.763410

>>763406
"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.

 No.763412

>>763410
>>763408
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

 No.763414

>>763410
"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?"

 No.763415

>>763410
>>763412
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

 No.763416

>>763414
"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
"HAH!"

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.

 No.763418

>>763410

"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!"

 No.763419

>>763418
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.

 No.763420

>>763415
>>763416
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?"

 No.763421

>>763416
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?"

 No.763423

>>763416
"Aught to take up chess." Leather muses, turning to start his drawings for Mudi.

 No.763424

>>763419

"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."

 No.763426

>>763420
"I figured as much. The size doesn't necessarily matter either. I was just having a gaff at Supper." Shei says casually.

 No.763427

>>763424
"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.

 No.763428

>>763427

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

>>VESTIGIAL SUNLIGHT

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
>[1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.763429

>>763427
>>763420
"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."

 No.763431

>>763429
>>763427
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.

 No.763432

>>763429
"You want to see party tricks? I think I might have an idea for juggling beetles…"

 No.763433

>>763427
"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.

 No.763434

>>763432
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."

 No.763435

>>763428
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…

 No.763437

>>763434
"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?"

 No.763438

>>763435

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

 No.763439

>>763435
"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.

 No.763442

>>763435
>>763437
"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."

 No.763444

>>763442
>>763437
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."

 No.765087

>>763444
"Feels like we haven't seen them in a while, a lot longer than we likely have actually been out. A quick reminder about using names, before we all converse again," Leather notes to the approaching and current parties, feeling the moment opportune to prevent slip-ups with re-greetings.

 No.765088

>>763444

Amy cocks her head to one side at Fox. "Why wouldn't we be real?"

 No.765089

>>763444
As she's nominated as group captain, Shorthorned Dragon takes in a deep breath, trying not to let the pressure get to her as she thinks up a plan.

"Okay, we need to show the King and Queen, in PRIVATE, that it's possible to leave Tartarus using the trick Rooster just showed us. We need to do it in private and I doubt they'll be willing to entertain us if we just stand in line with the somnists again, so I say we go into the Castle itself and wait for them there so we can talk things out with them."

She looks at the foreboding castle again, "So, the tricky part is figuring out which room is the King and Queen's, and how exactly to get in. I'm sure I could use my powers to make a hole and close it up again, but I don't know if that'll draw any attention. Does anyone have any ideas for how we can sneak in without even the gards seeing us?"

 No.765090

>>765089
>>763444
Shei-Sher holds up another black thread. In response to Shorthorned Dragon's question shei asks "There is something I could do. Bit it's a tad invasive is it not? I wager there'd be an immediate quarrel, should the King and Queen find us in their private chambers unannounced."

 No.765091

>>765088
"Well, consider an apple," Fox says. "Now, take a bite of it. Do you still have–"
Collective groans rise from the Ecclesians as Fox haphazardly steers your question into an ontological quandary.

>>765087
"Hmm…" Anzu ponders. "I wonder how long we could get away with using nicknames. Gestures, perhaps?"

>>765087
>>765088
As the Witches of Gehenna make themselves comfortable, the Ecclesians scoot away from the entrance, to give them a little more room – and to make sure all of them remain in their field of vision.

"Your Paper Trail led you here," Holy Hours observes. "I trust this means you've secured your gift for the tea party."
"Oh yeah," Hurricanrana says. "I only wish we could go get more. That was fun!"
"How nice," Freischutz deadpans.
"Any luck on your end?" Mudi asks.
Holy Hours nods, but doesn't show off the ingredient the Ecclesians secured.
"Now all that's left is the last piece…" Desert Lamp says. "And we can, quite literally, get this party started."

>>765089
>>765090
Great Voyage clicks a horn against Shorty's. "Since when are we the type to sneak around…?"
"Hmm…" Supper mutters. "We – or, rather, I – could also bring them to us, but I'd need an idea of where they are– the more accurate, the better."
Rooster, still a beetle, opens his shell and flies about. "Would anyone care to join me for reconnaissance?"

 No.765092

>>765090
>>765091
Shorthorns takes Shei's words into consideration. "Hmm… they may panic when they see us at first but if we can calm them down quickly and explain why we're there I'm sure they'll listen. Better than they would to just another bunch of people in line."

To Voyage, she shakes her head, "I know, it's not exactly what buffalo DO, we're not built for sneaky but we can't just go barging in there either, we'll scare them off and maybe even make them think we're bad guys. We have to be smart about it."

As Rooster flies about, Shorthorns rubs her chin, "Now THERE'S one idea… what if we all snuck into the castle as bugs?"

 No.765093

>>765091

"If I eat an apple, I still have an apple. Some of it is just inside of me now," Amy states simply.

>>765091

"What else do we need?" Amy asks, her tail wagging enthusiastically. She doesn't have a single concern with the fact that she forgot.

 No.765094

>>765091
"I'll take voyeur over trespassing." Shei obliges Rooster's offer and transforms into a small spider with tiny goat horns, flying on a strand spider silk made from his cape.

The transformation is as gruesome as it is quick, as without a puff of smoke or obscurity to the magic Shei's body condenses, the sound of bones snapping and flesh re-knitting itself sound in the span of a couple seconds.

DARK.III LIFE.II
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.765095

>>765091
"Knowing this place, it seems like a good way to overwrite our original names or something similarly unideal." Leather shrugs, "At least it teaches good eye contact."

>>765091
"I like as few steps as possible, if we can. I rather like having higher cognition."

 No.765096

>>765091
With a miniscule soprano voice, Shei speaks in bolsterous triumph over his new form "Let's gooo! My mind feels so clear after Supper gave me the googly eyes. I only want for something menial to do as I think! There's so much to think about, while clarity is so fleeting."

 No.765097

>>765095
>>765093
"But at what point is–" Fox continues, before dodging an overhead kick from Anzu. "Istheapplenolongeranappl–" he rushes out, before other Ecclesians rush to duel him. You get the sense they've had to endure this concept from him many times over.

>>765092
>>765096
>>765094
"Catch!" Rooster commands. With a small puff of smoke, he produces a little trinket on a small cord, which he throws to Shorthorns. She hooks it onto a horn, and before she knows it, she too has joined the buggy crew, two beetles and one spider strong.

GV leans down to inspect the bugs. "Okay… just don't fall into any traps or veer too close to any strong light sources."

Supper nods. "We'll need you at your full strength for the bug-fighting tournament later."

>>765095
>>765093
Living Saint Zoantharia speaks up. "Our ability to plan an attack – or rather, a tea party – is held back by the fact that we know too little of our target's hiding-spot. 'Twould behoove us to scout the target's location ahead of time… but doing so may risk giving away our intentions."

The Paper Trail who guided the Ecclesians turns its head toward LSZ.

"…You've kept your peace 'til now," LSZ says. "Have you something to say?"

Red lines scrawl across the crumpled sheafs that comprises the Paper Trail's noggin. The lines form words:

"Questions? / Inquiry / Information / Limited / Questions?"

 No.765098

>>765097
"Put me in coach! Put. Me. In!" Shei shouts to Supper in his tiny squeaky spider voice. Shei zips around in circles, aloft on his strand of spider web.

"Let us gangpress our enemies into allies, and peer pressure our allies into immigrants!"

 No.765100

>>765097
Shorthorns looks down at herself as she sees her formerly divine, white-coated body is shrunken down and suddenly takes on the hues of many rainbows, her new carapace glistening in the sun as she turns around on six legs to survey herself.

"Ooooh, look at me! I'm so pretty!" She says in a bit of indulgence, watching her shimmering shell. "It reminds me of the rainbow crow from my clan's old stories, so cooool…."

She manages to stop gushing as she clears her throat, expanding her back to try out her new wings (not that she has much experience at flying, as she quickly tries to learn how to balance)

"W-we won't!" she shouts up to Voyage as she struggles to maintain her altitude. "Okay, let's go in and find the King and Queen's bedroom, if we're lucky we might catch them in there. Supper, Voyage," she says, looking up to her two normal sized companions. "Keep an eye on them from out here as best you can, if anything about the situation changes find a way to let us know."

 No.765101

>>765097

Amy giggles at Fox's antics. "Maybe we're all apples," she goads him on.

>>765097

Then, Amy cocks her head at Zoantharia. "Why do we need to know where she's hiding, Zoro? Won't she come to us?"

 No.765102

>>765097
Leather rubs his chin, "Hmnn.. Well, since MISTER MOOLAH seemed short on time, or perhaps more accurately short-coming with it. Now would be a good time to hear a more detailed report on what his company knows about the target's realm." He makes sure to match the demon's bombastic inflection for mentioning it's name.

 No.765103

>>765100
>>765098
Supper just looks down at Shei as if he were speaking three, or perhaps four different languages.

"I don't quite get it, but… well, you asked for it."

She looks off in the direction of the painted world's castle town, producing a plumb line from her pocket for depth gauging purposes. "Got it," she says, then looks back down at the three bugs.

All at once, her pupils split, fanning out into black spirals that fill the entirety of her eyes.

"La Chute."

You fall.

Colors and darkness streak upward around you in a nauseating stream. Everything inside, from your stomach to your lungs to your very veins, rushes upward. A force yanks you down through ungraspable grotesquerie, until a surface of cold water breaks upon you–

In the very next instant, you stand upon solid stone. Gone without a trace is the dread feeling of falling, a distant memory fading. You look up, and see that the three of you have been dropped off right in front of the dragon's castle. It's even larger now that you're bugs, and it was hardly a small construction before.

With a blink, and an awkward cough, Rooster spreads his wings to fly for a window.

>roll for dragon-searching


>>765101
"Guess we really are what we eat after all!" Fox says.
"I vould not mind being rock candy, I zuppose," Freischutz admits.

>>765101
>>765102
The red lines shift across the crumpled paper, forming disjointed sentences across the folds and ripples.

"A paradise / Impossible / Of / Non- / Sacred geometry
"Collage-style / Mosaic / A logic / peculiar to / her
"Divided into / Districts
"Boundary / Village / Plaza / Market / Orchards / Boundary"

 No.765104

>>765103
Shei-Sher emerges belly side up and in a stir of sensations. His spidery limbs instinctively grasp a thread from his thorax and knit a parasail by their rythmic twitching.

Shei catches a draft onto his webby parasail and begins drifting away to scale the castle.

rolling to find what was it we were searching for?
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.765105

>>765103
>>765104
Shorthorn's newly compound eyes feel like they're about to melt out of her eye-sockets as the new scarabuff falls through madness due to Supper's spell, screaming wildly as she beholds the horrors in nearly 360* vision


After they're deposited out in front of the castle, Shorthorns is practically frozen with terror for a few moments, having to be prodded once or twice by her companions in order to get her abdomen moving again. "What… that… d-do I even wanna know what all that was?"

She said as she tries practicing her newfound wings and flying up after Rooster, looking down at Shei as she also looks for a window. "Shei, you sure you should be a spider? I think wings would have been better for you on this mission."

[1d10] Searching for the King/Queen's bedroom

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.765106

>>765103
"Would a party be hosted in all of these districts? Or just familiarize ourselves with one?"

 No.765107

>>765105
"…My stature now matches my attention-span." Shei-Sher says without ego nor resentment. As if he were freed from the vicissitudes of life, Shei says this and glides away on his parasail.

 No.765108

>>765103

Amy stares at the squiggling lines being produced across the Paper Trail's face.

Then, she says with a deadpan expression. "I don't know how to read…"

Then, she shrugs. "Do the voices in my head have any ideas?"

>>VESTIGIAL SUNLIGHT

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
>[1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.765109

>>765108

>[1d10] for insight


Amy has no intuition.

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.765110

>>765105
"La Chute," Rooster says. "One of the loyal demons of Mortalkind's Strongest Demon Tamer– along with L'Etranger, et La Peste. I think this makes me one of the only Ecclesians to have experienced its power… and probably the only one to have lived! Hahaha! I survive another day to be a menace."

Though he's a beetle, something in your mind's eye tells you that Rooster now wears a terrible smile.

>>765104
>>765105
You fly up to the western end of the third floor of the castle – or so common sense would tell you. What appears from your perspective to be the third floor is in fact but a high window, in a gargantuan room. It needs to be so large, to hold the dragon King. He, alone in the bedroom, is fuming over documents. Scrolls, papyrus, codices, and the like. Many torn-up, burned and crumpled bits of paper are scattered around, destroyed by his frustrations.

As large as this bedroom is, it seems to have been built to accommodate two dragons. Yet now, it houses only one. The Queen must be elsewhere.

>>765106
>>765108
>>765109
Amy remembers with certainty.

In an instant, she remembers.

The Vestal will be in the Village. But, it's best to host the party in the Orchards. Yet, the Plaza and Market shouldn't be overlooked– useful trappings will be found there.

In an instant, she forgets.

Such notions of remembrance are just as instantly gone.

All that remains is the certainty of that knowledge, of the Orchards, and the Plaza, and the Market.

As all of this unfolds in Amy's mind, the Paper Trail asserts to Cloak that the Vestal was last observed spending most of her time in the Plaza.

 No.765111

>>765110
"And are the any additional rules to the mosaic that have been observed? Best practices in transportation between them or additional caveats like the threat mitigation?"

 No.765112

>>765110
Shei-Sher is driven by primeval sensations. Compelled by his spidery nature Shei casts a web at one corner of the room and begins spinning his web to create a nest. The webs are made from the threads of his cape, so it appears lush and velvety red.

[1d10+1] for spider nest making

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.765113

>>765110
>>765106

"We should hold the party in the orchard," Amy says with casual certainty. "The Vestal is in the village, but she likes the orchard. She'll come to us if we have the party there."

 No.765114

>>765110
>>765112
As they roll up to the window, Shorthorns leans up against the tremendous glass as she peers at the dragon king waiting inside.

"There's the King, but no sign of the Queen… Hmmm…" she pauses, thinking to herself, "We could start off by talking to the King alone. Given he and the queen argue so much, it might make it more difficult to explain ourselves if they're together to start. If we present it to just one of them first, and let them show it to the other, think that'd work in our favor?" She asks her two companions, not quite sure if it'd be better to speak to them both at once or one at a time.

 No.765115

>>765113
>>765110

"Hm, well the writing said she's recently spent her most time in the plaza, but I do like the prospect of a party in an orchard. Geometry permitting, it's easiest to watch over: Just put my Spook up a tree and paint his nails red." Leather grins.

 No.765116

>>765115

"Why are you painting his nails?" Amy asks curiously.

 No.765117

>>765116
"So he can hide in a cherry tree, of course."

 No.765118

>>765117

"Why not just paint his nails the same color as the leaves?"

 No.765119

>>765118
Well have you ever seen an elephant with painted nails in a cherry tree before?"

 No.765120

>>765111
"Movement / Between / Districts / Always / can she / See
"Never / a / Discourtesy / shall you / show / to a / Villager
"Else / shall she / Plant / you"

>>765113
>>765115
"It would be most difficult to get Rooster up a tree," Hours says. "But that'd not stop him from trying."

Freischutz, glancing between the Paper Trail and Amy, tilts her head. "In zhe village? Vhat makes you so sure? Zhat isn't vhat zhe Paper Trail said."

>>765112
>>765114
Rooster waits quietly, perched on the window-sill as Shei starts putting together a decent web across the span of the great room. You'll still need some way of getting the dragon to look up at whatever web-based message you're going to convey.

 No.765121

>>765120
Shei-Sher begin knitting together a thicket of web strands that make a short sentence across the web. When Shei finishes the web reads 'Consult with the goat.'

Shei-sher is too engrossed in his spidery nature to do anything else. He leaves the rest up to Flaming and Rooster.

 No.765122

>>765121
>>765120
Shorthorns looks on as Shei finishes weaving together a message using his silk to show to the King, not doing anything to stop him or change the message as she tries to roll with her plan on the fly.

"Okay, I guess that'll work. Now we just need to get him to notice it…"

Shorthorns enters into the great room and flies directly above the Dragon King, perching herself upside down on the cieling. Thinking of a way to get him to look up and at the spider-web Shei created, she uses her Sphere to transmute a small part of the ceiling from stone into water, making it drip slowly but noticeably down on the Dragon's head as though a leak had sprung on the floor above. Hopefully, in doing so making him catch sight of the web message

[1d10] Sphere of Dark: Transmute stone to small, dripping water on the ceiling

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.765123

>>765119

Amy stares at Cloak with a stupefied expression for a second. Then, she giggles. "Now I HAVE to see it."

>>765120

Amy shrugs. "I just… know."

"But, we should check the plaza and the market first. There's good stuff there," she says before hopping off in the direction that she assumes is the market.

[1d10] to market, to market, to buy a fat hog

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.765124

>>765123
"That's the thing: if you haven't seen it before, now you know it works." Leather taps his cloth-wrapped head twice with his hoof.

>>765120
"The pachyderm is capable of most anything if it would aid a party, that I know for sure."

 No.765125

>>765121
>>765122
The dragon King refuses to move from his suitably large desk as the water drips… but within a few moments, the repetitive sound at last elicits an angry snarl from the King, who glares up at the ceiling, not noticing the message in his annoyance. He spreads his wings, and at first looks like he's about to fly straight through the web– but Rooster buzzes overhead, stalling his ascent. Flames swirl around the King's exhaled breath, but as Rooster zips back up to the window, he crosses the path of the message, and the King's rage finally settles on it.

"The goat… so, he's to blame for this once again," the King snarls, and tramples toward the exit of the bedroom.

>>765124
>>765123
The Ecclesians hold fast, while Amy bounces toward the edge of the colossal lotus-flower offering everyone respite from the Abyss. Mudi follows, and then do Desert, Hurricanrana and a reluctant Vizsla.

"We will continue our game of marbles here until the rest of the party guests have arrived," Hours says.

"That's great, didn't ask," Vizsla sneers.

"D-don't be rude," Mudi grumbles. "You were making such progress. I thought the singing cheered you up."

"Did someone say singing!?" Hurricanrana, Desert and Anzu exclaim at once.

Vizsla seethes like a cat subjected to a bath.

>Paused

 No.765163

>>765125
>>765121
As the King storms from the room in a literal blaze, Shorthorned Beetle flutters away to a discrete part of the cieling to avoid his attention. After he leaves, she breathes as sigh of relief.

"Well, that definitely got his attention." She says to Shei the Spider, looking at him and his woven message. "Guess now we should head outside so he can find you, but be careful: he seems pretty mad now."

 No.765164

>>765125

"Look at it this way, Vizzy! You get to prove how much better you are than them by being silly and STILL winning!"

 No.765165

>>765125
>>765163
Shei-sher leaps off his web, floating down to Shorthorns with his silk parasol. "It all seemed like such a good idea at the time. But somehow I am not looking forward to this encounter."

 No.765166

>>765164
"Yeah, Vizsla," Hurricanrana says. "Why couldn't you have stayed calm for once?"

"Instead of flying off the handle?" Anzu follows-up.

"Don't you join in with them!" Vizsla sneers.

"I hope you're happy!" Fox adds.

"I hope you're happy now~" Mudi sings.

"Even at the edge of the infinite void…" Vizsla grumbles, as she leads everyone into the Abyss.

 No.765168

>>765166

Amy grins and bounces up to Vizsla. "Though, I can't imagine hoooooooooow~" Amy sings her heart out as she gestures to Vizsla to join in.

"I hope you're happy right…"

[1d10] to get Vizsla to join in
>dc-3 from Compassion

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.765169

>>765163
>>765165
Outside in the palace court, the King accosts the random guards unlucky enough to have gotten patrol duty today, evidently shaking them down to see who among them knows of Shei's location. Though, obviously, none of them do.

>>765168
"…Feeding ambition isn't out of character for me," Vizsla admits.

At last, a breakthrough…?

>>765168
Though, you're not quite able to get her to sing any lyrics before you and your entourage face the oblivion of the Abyss again. Words fade, then thoughts, then sensations, as your very beings dispel themselves, to evade the gaze of God…





After time immeasurable, a faint image disrupts the endless void– a pinprick of light, turning in a near-imperceptible rotation…

 No.765170

>>765169
>>765165
"No going back now, Shei," Shorthorned comments, raising a little insectoid leg to pat him on the shoulder. "Don't worry. I'll have your back."

Shorthorns takes flight using her wings, grabbing Spider-Shei and flying him towards the exit.

"Let's meet the King outside, don't want it to seem like we're intruders in the castle. I'm sure he'll find us out there pretty quick."

 No.765173

>>765169

"It's a good song for you," Amy says jovially before turning toward the darkness.

>>765169

When the small point of light appears, Amy wordlessly and confidently approaches it.

 No.765174

>>765173
As you approach, you see that the rotating light is, in fact, a colossal doily, the size of a wall one might see around the capital of a great kingdom. Radiant, as if glowing from within, yet all the same made out of lace. The closer you see, the more you see the patterns of the lace; mandalas of rosaceous patterns, roses within roses in circular formations. The outermost layer turns counter-clockwise in a gentle pace, and each successive layer turns opposite to the one surrounding it.

The radiance and the turning makes it hard to see through the doily, but you can see some kind of garden beyond it. There is no visible entrance, but far to your right, you see where another doily intersects with the corner of this doily at an obtuse angle. They probably surround the inner space in some manner of trapezoidal shape.

 No.765176

>>765174

A doily is still just a doily, even if massive. Amy reasons that she should be able to move through it, like curtains. She goes straight into the doily.

 No.765177

>>765176
Operating like a cat [you likely ate one at one point], you squeeze into a gap of the lace, despite it pulling back your fur and ears, all while spinning, until you at last flop out onto the other side. The others follow your example with more or less grace, as you gather your senses once more.

You are in the road of an outer garden which traces along the boundary set by the doily. The street below you is broken up, and in disrepair, and – perhaps more striking – made of an unfamiliar material. It feels a bit like papyrus, only more solid, less flexible, a little more coarse, and all of a single pastel color. The greenery of the garden are wrought from a similar artificial material, though thinner. The branches and stems of the bushes are covered with a synthetic fuzz, and their cores are comprised of yet another material, this one very hard, yet flexible. Almost like metalwork, yet no mineral you've encountered is like it.

The road extends northwest, and southeast, then bends eastward near where the other doily you saw intersects with it.

Above you, impossibly, is a sky. Cotton tufts fill the air, upon a backdrop of soft green paint– you can see the brushstrokes from here.

 No.765183

>>765177

"Pretty!" Amy declares happily. Her tail wags as she pokes her hoof-paw at the strange substance on the ground. She giggles with delight at its curious texture.

"This is nice and all, but it looks a little too gardeny…" Amy contemplates out loud. "I guess the market must be… this way!" Amy decides as she heads down the road in the northwest direction.

 No.765184

>>765170
>>765169
Shei-sher allows Flaming to grab him by his limp unmoving legs, as the enthusiasm has left his body. "Take me! cosign me to whatever fate has in store. This is my just desserts for having left Allie's side." Shei stews in melodrama, but the mention of Aliester's name in his mouth catches a pause from him "Hm.. Allie.. you know to our efforts, even if we are a might bit goddish. The sight of an ornery father figure never ceases to intimidate me."

 No.765193

>>765183
You follow the road, as does your entourage. Sturdy paper crunches beneath your steps. Not a bit of dirt, nor gravel, nor stone can be felt.

The road winds and turns, before it comes to a juncture. Beyond the juncture lies a vast market, with three of the juncture's branching paths running through the market, lined by stalls and booths on the sides. Much traffic is there; many umbrals of myriad chimeric configurations have come to trade. You do not see any Undefiled among these umbrals.

A low wind blows, constant, droning, monotonous, the only thing stirring the stuffy air.

>>765184
>>765170
As the Dragon King interrogates the guards, the Queen pokes her head out from a castle window, berating the King for his noise. In retaliation he shouts back, and their eternal argument rekindles once more.

 No.765195

>>765193
>>765184
Shorthorns is about to fly their way back outside so the King can speak with them there, rather than in the castle where they might be seen as intruders, only to wince as the Queen sticks her head out of the window and begins arguing with the King once more.

"Ugh, there they go again! It's now or never, if we don't get the King's attention now he'll forget all about you."

She flies down, carrying Spider-Shei along as they plant themselves a short distance from the King.
"Okay, someone undo the transformation, change us back!"

 No.765196

>>765193

"Wow," Amy says, her tail wagging. "I didn't expect to see so many people here. But, I guess that makes sense. It's pretty safe in a place where you can't fight."

Amy does some people-watching. Something she learned from her time in Tartarus was to get the general vibe of a place before interacting. She wants to see if people are avoiding each other. Or, are they living more carefree lives with connections to other people?

[1d10] to people watch if necessary

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.765197

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WCnl1VTEeg

>>765195
As you hold Shei-Sher by his limp legs, the joints of his legs curl up as his body goes stiff and hallowed. Shei's spidery eyes turn up with no pupils as though you are holding a corpse.

>>765193
From the sky a sound emanates. Like clacking like the dangling of chains, the dainty trickle of metal links, from up high they echo like the queitist storm. Like thunder whispered from far away, beyond the stormy clouds which pile together. Darkening the bleak realm in marose and maroon greyed hues.

The chain leak out from the heavens, dangling on high. Some fall fast, while other drop slowly. Pile-ing into rolls of chain onto the floor. And if you were to peak further, you could see from up there many doll like figures in the distance dangling by chains. Equine shapes which dangle from the chains.

Shei-Sher descends from a break in the cloudy sky. Playing upon his axe strings. Lead on his wings, chains outstretch from him as if he were a puppet himself for some marionnette far beyond his dwelling.

"Last night I dreamt somebody loved me"

A single life sized mannequin falls before the hooves of the king and eeks out words which knock on the inert wood "The presence"
"You are in the presence"
"The God of Bastards and Kids"

[1d10+1]

>>Shepherd's Tone: one effect per 6 turns, stackable, negates resistances; Divinity transposed through rock and roll. Play a song that invokes profoundly visceral effects upon all your enemies or allies on the field to either alter their behavior or status condition. When using this ability describe the effect and purpose and whether it is for allies or enemies. Based on the description of the effect and purpose the DM may attach any status conditions at his discretion. Player may describe environmental effects on planes where the environment is nebulous i.e. dreams, astral plane, chaotic planes, etc. This ability automatically succeeds upon feared targets and a successful roll will amplify the effect. As Psychic HP decreases in targets, effects of Sherpherd's Tone become more dramatic/severe. Can only be used for one effect every 6 turns. Any Status conditions remaining dispells after 6 turns. If the effected party surrenders due to this ability the behavioral condition is more permanent.


Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.765198

>>765196
The air is tense. Discussions among the people are terse, and as strictly business as they can be. Absent is the haggling so common in other marketplaces; the faux combat of barter cannot be heard anywhere. The traffic moves at a crawl, and the people keep an obvious vigilance not to bump one another, glancing this way and that with each step.

 No.765199

>>765198
Shei-Sher continues singing his song, playing his guitar. As he slowly descends into the presence of the King and Queen.

 No.765200

>>765199
Shei lays his head low, throwing back the bangs of his hair. Swinging flourishes of hoof strokes on the guitar strings.

"No hope, no harm
Just another false alarm"

"Last night I felt
Real arms around me
No hope, no harm
Just another false alarm"

"So, tell me how long
Before the last one?
And tell me how long
Before the right one?"

 No.765201

>>765200
>>765197
>>765195
Shei's storming entrance dampens the argument between the royals. The berated guards, already stressed by the crossfire of words between the King and Queen, form up around them, despite being so much smaller. As for the King and Queen themselves, they fall into a brief silence, as they size up Shei among the sturm und drang.

Shorthorned, Voyage and Rooster return to their normal forms, as they approach from behind Shei. Moments later, Flow and Supper of Crows fall into the scene, transported by La Chute.

Shei has wedged open the window of opportunity but a little… you sense this slim chance may be the best you'll get to knock some sense into the two.

 No.765202

>>765198

Amy frowns and sighs. "Yeah. I guess that makes sense. Being so strict just makes people nervous… I guess it's better than other places, in Tartarus, though."

"Hmmm. I wonder what's so special around here…" Amy wonders why her intuition lead her here. She looks for further guidance.

>>VESTIGIAL SUNLIGHT

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

>[1d10+2]


Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.765203

>>765197
>>765201
As Shei puts on a terrific performance to draw all attention to their arrival as they transform back from bugs, Shorthorns is about to berate him for making things too flashy before she sees it DOES successfully distract the King and Queen from their ongoing argument. Instead, she simply elbows the godly goat of rock-n-roll and says, "Hey, that actually did the trick! Nice work… but, maybe cut back a little next time, alright?"

She sets down in front of the King and Queen, approaching them and bowing her head humbly, "Your Majesties, I apologize for the pretty loud entrance, but we have something to tell you I think deserves your utmost attention. I would request if we could speak privately within your castle, if you would be willing to have us."

 No.765204

>>765203
>>765201
Shei finally touches down, hooves stepping onto the floor.

Flaming Shorthorns elbows Shei mid performance. His bangs go over his eye as he pauses for a moment to tell you "You're cramping my style Shorthorns."

Shei-Sher hobbles forward while singing the last of his song.

"The story is old - I know
But it goes on
The story is old - I know
But it goes on"

Shei-Sher's body falls apart into chains. As he were made from chains from the start.

>Jhana of Malleable Flesh: Spell, Recharge 2(minus 1): You can escape from any physical binding or grapple by moving yourself freely through space in a radius of three meters in any direction. During this time, you are considered intangible for the purposes of moving through physical obstructions, unless said obstruction is larger than your three meter radius. This ability naturally has DC - 2 and stacks with other bonuses.

>Passive: You can contort your body into any shape with ease; this reduces the DC of Helplessness Recovery by 1

>DARK.III LIFE.II


[1d10+1]

As a wave of chains encircling the area like a tide. Shei's voice speaks from within "Lost. They are lost. Forsaken from the living lands. Bastards.. They are beautiful.. as bastards.."

The puppets continue to drop down onto the floor from the above. They vascillate in seizure like spasms as they sing.

"It, goes on
And on..
Oh it, goes on
And on.."

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.765205

>>765202
You remember, once more– just as the umbrals here are innumerable and varied, so too are the goods on display, brought here from other Anchors, along with many different kinds of currency.

You do not see any weapons, nor any kind of food, be it animal, plant, or fungus. However, you do see bits of furniture, and decorations, made of wood, stone, cloth and the like. Being wrought of natural materials, they clash against the oblong and synthetic materials which compose this Anchor.

As you recall–

>from the [Q#@$% time–


>from the q32*&O4] time–


>from [……………………..]


catching the Vestal off-guard will be vital.

And again–

So soon after you recall, the very notion of this remembrance is gone.

Left only is the idea of catching the Vestal off-guard with an aesthetic composition of picnic furniture.

 No.765206

>>765205

Amy spots a shop selling real furniture in this artificial environment. "Oooh! Wood!" she says with enthusiasm as she hops over to the shop.

"Hiiii!" Amy says as she approaches whatever vendor may be selling things. "I'm looking for enough picnic benches to feed all of my friends for a party. Can you help?"

 No.765207

>>765204
>>765203
The royals keep their focus on Shei and his odd display. As he dissolves into chains, the royals watch him with a reptilian glare, and fire looms at the backs of their throats. Yet, Shei can swear he catches snippets of lyrics muttered in reply by the King and Queen… something about strangers, waitin'… or, letting the days go by…

Shorthorned's interruption catches the attention of the royals but faintly.

"You would presume to dictate our movements, intruder?" the King barks. "Speak your petty words and be quick about it, here and now, or you shall be removed, one way or another."

You note Rooster and Voyage shifting their balance, clearly making ready to shield you if this should go awry…

 No.765208

>>765207
Shorthorns looks around at the guards, aware that they, unlike the royal dragons, are not aware they are trapped in Tartarus. A secret she thinks they'd appreciate her preserving.

"It is a sensitive matter, one I think is only fit for your ears alone. I do not wish to divulge more than you'd wish me to, but I were to say it like…" Shorthorns pauses, trying to think of a way of being subtle. Not her strongest suit.

"You two feel 'trapped'. I know you do, it's a great deal of distress, but we know a way out! If you'll just hear us privately, your majesties."

 No.765209

>>765206
The umbral hawking furniture is clearly perturbed by your energy and your hopping. Each bounce elicits a wince, and your greeting invites a wide-eyed stare. With an appendage made of mismatched tentacles, they fidget the corner of the corduroy hat.

["H-how many friends you have?"] they ask in the umbral tongue.

Vizsla sneers at the question, while Hurricanrana and Desert consult the math.

"Twenty… siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiix…" Desert says. "…Call it thirty to be safe."

["Six tables, then…"] the umbral answers. ["How are you paying for this?"]

Vizsla and Mudi look off to the side, feigning distraction.

 No.765210

>>765207
Their song reaches Shei. Though faint, though the words come up hushed behind the fire in their throats. Shei can sense the faintest touch of the familial.

Shei-Sher's body reintegrates from the chains, seeping out from the tidal wave of chains like a yoke from an egg. As he changes songs playing now

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5wVZwdHmRY

"DON'T STOP BELIEVING!" Shei cries out, less than a god, more than a mortal. He is a creature possessed by other people's song.

"for a smile they can share the night`" He shakes his head engrossed in playing his axe.

The mannequins strewn across the castle yard sing in unison "it goes on and on and on and on!"

Shei-Sher speaks out toward the King and Queen. Eye to eye he shouts to them, his voice behind teary stranded "If you were to smote me! Would you do it whilst holding hands!? Could YOU NEVER LOOK BACK! As you burn a laser corridor into the heavens"

 No.765212

"PAYING for it?" Amy asks, only just now realizing that that would be a part of this transaction. "Uuuuh…"

Amy puts her hoof-paw to her face as she contemplates her options. "Would you like to come to our party?"

>>MANTRA OF EQUALITY

Attribute: Buff
Tag: Instant
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-4

Roll #1 2 + 4 = 6

 No.765214

>>765212
>>765209

I lost my reply numbers!

 No.765217

>>765208
>>765210
"He's gonna get himself killed out there…" GV mutters. You sense him inching closer, but then, you hear Rooster:

"Hold it. He may very well be onto something…"

The King and Queen are so baffled by Shei's continued dramaturgy that they continue to watch him. Briefly their eyes flit toward one another, yet neither moves to reduce him to a burn mark on the flagstones.

With their ire temporarily disarmed through confusion, the royals consider Shorthorned's proposal…

The Queen turns to the guards. "Be off with you!"

The King snarls at his authority undermined, but he does not contradict the Queen's words. The guards hesitate, but hurry away.

The Queen then looks back to the entourage with an impatient sneer.

>>765212
The umbral continues to fidget. ["W-wh… what? Is this happening right now or something…? Where are you even going to hold it? Shipping's e-extra. Rate depends by the Anchor."]

 No.765218

>>765217
An answer is not given to Shei-Sher by the King and Queen, without being engaged with Shei-Sher discontinues his song and instead disintegrates into chains once more.

>DARK.III LIFE.II


[1d10+1]

Chains remained strewn all along the courtyard. Yet they are no longer moving, to anyways watching Shei's parade are clearly aware that every length of chain is his person mind and body.

The mannequins attached by the chains still bubble up solitary words now and again, in hushed tone. Whispering "On… and on.." intermittently.

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.765219

>>765218
[typo]
To anyone watching Shei's parade

 No.765220

>>765217
>>765210
Shorthorns watches Shei's performance with tapping hooves, unaware she was even grooving to the music he played as she appreciates not only the beat, but the effect it has on captivating the King and Queen and making them listen to reason.

As they finally call the guards away, Shorthorns lets loose a sigh of relief. "Gratitude, your majesties. I won't waste any more of your time."

She steps forth, proudly holding her head high to address the massive rulers with authority. "We know this is Tartarus. We know because we are visitors to this painted kingdom, we're from the world above trapped here as well."

She looks between them, "The circumstances of your imprisonment I can only imagine how tough it's been on you, but it's not only affecting the two of you! It's hurting someone close to you, as well…" she says, hoping she hasn't just crossed a line but feels it necessary to appeal to their emotions

 No.765222

>>765220
>>765217
An inert mannequin laid upon the floor speaks up to correct Flaming in Shei's voice "Not trapped.. We move freely through the worlds."

 No.765223

>>765217

Amy giggles impishly at the store clerk. She smiles sly and cocks her head. "Extra, huh? Is there something you had in mind?"

>regular persuasion roll

>[1d10] DC-4

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.765224

>>765217
In case the king does anything to harm the manequins. Upon closer inspection one would notice they are all mannequins resembling citizens of the kingdom. There is no magical connection or quality to this fact. It's merely superstitious in aesthetic.

 No.765226

>>765223
Even the others look nauseated as the umbral's face contorts through a tumult of emotions. Confusion. Revulsion. Horror. Fury. Pleading. Then, self-suppression, as he tries to go back to a blank face.

["S-six picnic tables. They're yours. Take them and g-g-go. Just stop talking. Please."]

Before you can interject, the umbral hurries away from the stall counter, and signals to the workers in the back, who scramble. Their expressions of suppressed worry suggest they have heard your innuendo.

"Hmm," Vizsla says, unconcerned for the distress. "That's the seating taken care of."

"Up next, ambience," Hurricanrana adds. "Desert, let's you and me rustle up some tablecloths, yeah?"

"I think we should spring for a record player, or would that be too much?" Desert suggests.

>>765220
>>765222
The very mention of Tartarus enflames the royals' ire, and they teeter over Shorthorned, flames billowing about their mouths. Yet she continues, undaunted, as her allies stand astride her.

"Dare you not to drag the Princess into this!" the King orders.
"You think we have not noticed!?" the Queen adds. "Unless your next words are those of a solution, you will keep them inside your empty head."

 No.765228

>>765226
At the moment the Queen speaks the chains littered around the castle grounds zip out at break neck speed. As if something dropped a pulley on the other side of the sky, as the chains unfasten and stretch towards their anchors in the sky.

There are many chains now connected to the earth of this land and stretching on toward the clouds as anchors. There is a deep yawning sound of metal straining as it keeps a hold of the earth.

Shei-Sher walks out from behind a single chain. As though he were standing behind it somehow the entire time. Like in cartoons a large creature could hide its entire body behind a lamp post.

[1d10+1]

"I can pull you back up." Shei says, soberly. He speaks plainly to them now. While presenting in his regular, unadulterated Goat form.

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.765229

>>765226

"Awww. I feel kinda bad for him…" Amy says with a little frown on her face.

But, then she smiles at Vizsla. "And you thought acting friendly wouldn't get us anywhere," she says before sticking her tongue out at her playfully.

>>765226

"We should ABSOLUTELY get some music!" Amy says excitedly. "Nothing brings a party together like some music!"

 No.765235

>>765226
>>765228
Shorthorns is noticeably intimidated when the dragon lords tower over her, more so of reverence than fear, but she stands her ground, noting that mentioning the princess at least appears to have done its work in making them pay attention.

As Shei demonstrates on their behalf, Shorthorns nods and approaches, "There is a way to bring those trapped in Tartarus back to the surface, we've tested it. It won't exactly be easy to do it to an entire kingdom, but if you're willing to work with us, I think we can help you save your people."

 No.765237

>>765228
>>765235
The Dragon King and Queen fall silent, yet their withering gaze does not falter. A tense silence persists, and sweat is visible upon Voyage and Rooster's brows…

Then, the King and Queen share a glance. It is the first time you've seen them look at anything without animosity. They look back to you, and the King speaks.

"You will perform a demonstration, here and now, of this method. Using one of your number as a live subject, of course."

 No.765238

>>765229
"Friendly? Looked more like a threat to me," Vizsla retorts with saccharine fake glee. "Perhaps you're learning a thing or two from us after all."

Mudi, meanwhile, pokes around at the furniture stall some more. You see some old and ill-maintained gramophones in the back.

Naturally, the next endeavor is to pick a suitable location.

 No.765239

>>765237
A laugh stifles out from Shei-Sher "Hah… Hahahah" Shei laughs at the king "Skeptics- skeptics to the very end. Your lack of faith is what segregates you from the world of rules and boundaries. And I have seen this story play too many times before."

Shei-Sher takes his lantern out from his cape. And he tugs at an invisible thread which connects behind it into the heavens above. As he pulls on it, light glints from it making it visible "See this thread? This thread goes all the way back to where you want to be. Imagine that my chains are the thread. And in fact, they are going to be the thread after the proper process."

>>765237
>>765235
"Shorty I'm sorry-" Shei calls out to you "Can you be my guinea pig one last time and show them how it's done."

Shei-Sher manifests a second Black Thread out from the lantern. A short thread that just dangles out into the empty space next to Shei.

"I only need you to jump into the lantern. Like last time."

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.

For making the dummy thread for the demonstration.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.765240

>>765237
>>765239
Shorthorns nods in agreement with Shei. "Of course. Convincing the King and Queen was my idea, I'll gladly take the responsibility!"

As Shei-Sher manifests the thread, she looks to the King and Queen as she bows her head, "Just observe, your majesties, what you're seeing I swear is no trick."

With that, she leaps into the lantern with no hesitation, eager to prove their experiment a success (and herself a little curious about what it's like to return to the surface)

 No.765241

>>765240
>>765239
Shei transports Shorthorned through the Black Thread, and but a moment later, she drops out onto the other side, some fifteen meters away. The trip was brief, yet dizzying, akin to floating upward through tumultuous water, unable to maintain a sense of balance or direction. Her limbs feel like jelly, nearly collapsing beneath her weight, as her senses restore themselves. Yet, she also manages a return trip, returning to Shei's side.

The King and Queen lean their heads toward one another, discussing in low tones. Perhaps this alone could be counted a breakthrough, that they are talking to one another, rather than shouting at. In time, they turn back to you, and the Queen is the one to speak.

"What are your demands in return for this… service?" she asks, her voice terse, perhaps barely holding back a warble.

 No.765242

>>765241
Shei-Sher looks to the King and queen. The words come up bitterly in his throat. "Worship, Sacrifice, commitment. These are the things the world of rules and boundaries requires from those who wish to be bound to it."

Shei-Sher steps forward the King and Queen as he explains, though he explains he feels the throes of something greater than him take hold and make his voice hollow. "We all have a chain. It is not an undesirable thing. A chain which binds us to the laws of physics, a chain which binds us to our friends and family. A chain which binds us to the spirits and gods we worship. You have disregarded those things. And as you shed your chains, the world has nothing to hold you with. Your descent is sourced from your desires. But if your desire is to return to Y'dryth. Then there are things you will do. Not things you will do for me, or in exchange for a service. But things you will be doing forever. Are you okay with that? Is that something you want?" Shei-Sher asks them in earnest.

 No.765243

>>765241
As Shorthorns makes the journey briefly in and out of Tartarus, she feels the dizzying sensations but struggles to maintain a clear picture of where she is wanting to go, knowing a firm mind is essential to traversing Tartarus. Upon her return, she lets out a breath of relief, happy to see their method can work consistently.

As the King and Queen ask for what they want in return, Shorthorns nods. "We understand you have a special, powerful tea you give your daughter to help with her sleeping issues? We need as much of it as you'd be willing to offer in exchange."

>>765242
>>765241
She roughly nudges Shei, "We do NOT need sacrifices!"

 No.765244

>>765243
Shei snaps out of it for a moment, into his sober, real voice "Not all sacrifices are blood offerings. Sometimes the only thing a person needs to sacrifice is his time and effort."

 No.765245

>>765238

Amy pouts to Viszla. "I don't know why he was so scared of my flirting. I THOUGHT that I look pretty…"

Then, she spots Mudi near the gramophone. "Good find, Moody!" she says as she leaps over to her in one bound. She hugs both Mudi and the gramophone. "Let's bring this all to the garden. We'll have the best picnic ever!"

 No.765246

>>765242
>>765243
Deep irritation is obvious on the royals' faces as Shei castigates them for their misdeeds.

"You have not even a hundredth of their power…" the King growls. "And yet, you speak as one of the Bene Elohim did, just as… upon the eve of our own banishment, following our defeat… they presumed to approach and LECTURE US!"

His rage boils over, and he spits a blast of fire through the sky, nearly nicking the castle. That the guards tense, but don't flinch, suggesting it is a common occurrence.

"IF you can guarantee passage for EVERY living thing in this realm…" the King continues. "We will agree to your… shall we call it, praxis."

>>765245
"There can be only one thing they would fear at this Anchor," Vizsla muses. "Miss You-Know-Who. Umbrals and outrageous, unreasonable personality types go together like bread and wine. So, evidently this local believed your proposition to fall within the… prohibited categories of behavior, despite it not being obvious how or why she'd reach that conclusion. Take that into consideration going forward."

As you come in for a hug, Mudi is busy having the gramophone loaded onto a cart. Mudi winces and dodges your hug, rushing to stabilize the gramophone so that it doesn't fall. "Well… we can set it up, but we shouldn't let ourselves be seen before everyone's ready. We don't even have all the ingredients yet."

 No.765247

>>765246
>>765243
Shorthorns nods to the King and Queen, but before making any promises, swiftly pulls Rooster, Crow, and Shei to the side to address them in hushed whispers.

"Alright, we've pulled it off twice without any issues… IS there any reason we couldn't do this for everyone in the kingdom? You guys know more about how this works, if there's even a single shred of doubt you may have there may be issues with too many, we should let them know now."

 No.765248

>>765246

Amy nods at Mudi. "Then, we should go to the plaza. I'm pretty sure we'll find something good there."

Then, Amy stares at Viszla with a blank expression for a moment. She slowly blinks. "Is going together like wine and bread a good or a bad thing?" Amy asks curiously.

 No.765249

>>765246
Shei-Sher is not removed from his calm. He speaks matter-of-factly "Though I am small. I am a part of something much greater. I am the chains.."

Shei-Sher's corporeal body reduces into chains again, as they reel out and fasten toward another chain. And as though the slack released from a pulley, all the mannequins in the sky dropped with their chain attached to them.

Before the King and Queen falls a mannequin for each of them and a third one. Both mannequins are identical in their image. And the third mannequin obviously represents their daughter.

The implication is that every mannequin that has fell from the sky is a mannequin belonging to the likeness of every citizen in this kingdom.
And then Shei-Sher's disembodied voice speaks.

"Take your mannequin with the chain. From the highest rooftop of your house you shall make a pulley with the doll. From the chain, you will pull the weight of your doll off the ground until it reaches your rooftop. Each day, Worship me in this way, so you may know the burden I carry. And for every person who should be saved they shall do the same with their own mannequins. And should your daughter fail to pull hers, as her father you take on her labor. And should her mother fail you shall do the same. And for every citizen of the kingdom they will delegate matters as such. But when the fathers of your country's children are unable to pull the chain, as their king you will step forward and carry their weight just as well. In exchange the God of Bastards and Kids pulls on the fetters for the sunken kingdom and drags them up toward the world of the living. But for every child, man or woman who neglects the chains for a day, they shall find themselves a day's distance short of reaching the surface. This is the Oath I spaketh onto you."

>Shei-Sher makes an Oath with the King and Queen. Do they accept?

 No.765250

>>765248
Vizsla blinks even slower. No matter what, she must always mock you, it seems. "No matter how great the differences are between the innumerable civilizations of our world, at some point, the lot of them always manage to stumble upon the same two inventions: fermented drinks, and grain-based foodstuffs. Lots of interesting things in history books; perhaps you might crack one open one of these days."

Mudi finishes hooking up Hurricanrana with the gramophone cart. He and Desert go with the furniture-stall staff to stage the benches in the gardens; presumably, they'll find you in a bit, as you make your way toward the plaza.

>>765247
>>765249
The King and Queen silently fume; to have been imprisoned by the Bene Elohim indicates their internment here has been for upwards of 2,000 years. The fury that can boil over such an unthinkable time is not so easily abated, especially not by miracles. Perhaps it will never subside.

Yet… the royals nod, and take the mannequins with an impromptu ceremonial air. "As the King of this land," the King says. "I accept this charge, and this oath."

"As the Queen of this land," the Queen echoes. "I accept this charge, and this oath."

A soft, near-imperceptible pulse can be felt in the air, as the oath is bound.

The Queen looks to Shorthorned. "Wait here awhile, I will see to my daughter. When I am back, I will have that which you have requested."

 No.765251

>>765250

"Sure!" Amy responds to Viszla, wagging her tail. "If you're read it to me! Sounds fun!"

Amy follows her nose to the plaza.

>[1d10] for nose following


Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.765253

>>765250
>>765249
Shorthorns nods in gratitude to the Queen as she makes the oath with Shei. "Thank you, your majesty. That is all we will need from you."

She pauses, looking towards Shei as she asks him, "I realize we're supposed to be acting more like gods now, but is asking them for such devotion really necessary? Is it so the thread will work better in letting them get out of Tartarus?"

 No.765255

>>765250
Shei-Sher comes falling out of the sky, as he is seen sliding down a chain that connects from the heavens to the earth. In Shei's hoof is his lantern and thread which connects back to the world of the living. As he slides down the chain he weaves the thread into the chains.

>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.


"IXIS I AM CALLING UPON YOUR GIFT NOW. IF YOU HEAR ME. PLEASE GRANT ME ASSISTANCE!" Shei-Sher cries out skyward.

>Talent: Grants the Aspect Ability, Alchemy the passive to be applied at a macroscopic scale, as long as the ingredients are within contact of the evoker.


>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.


Shei-Sher combines the properties of the thread with the properties of the chains, connecting the chains all the way back to the door to the land of the living.

[1d10+2]

>>765253
As Shei-Sher is no where to be seen, instead a near by mannequin lying on the floor turns its head as it rolls over and speaks in Shei's voice for a moment "To be honest it just feels natural." Before going inert.

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

 No.765258

>>765255
>>765253
"Obviously," the King interjects. "This work will not be done anytime soon. And we will need to inform the people of what is to come. For your part, you must be off from here. Take leave of this place, as quickly as you had arrived."

The Queen returns, with the Princess in tow. Her expression is still distant, and shy, but as you can see, not nearly as troubled. The burden that left her with a deadened countenance before has raised, if but a little. The Princess carries an ornate box, smelling like herbs. She draws near to Shorthorned, and presents it to her.

"I was… told to give this to you…" the Princess says, unable to meet Shorthorned's gaze.

>>765251
You follow an eastbound road out of the market toward an imposing wall. As you walk, you grasp what the Paper Trail meant by 'non-sacred geometry.' Not one structure or fixture native to this Anchor is even, as if it was all made with ballpark math. Roofs and doors don't fit quite right. Roads are uneven. The proportions of things in the sky, perhaps the most 'natural' things about, are all off. Even the 'sun', which you can gaze upon with no trouble, is misshapen, like a rough clay wad that was dropped into golden paint for a haphazard arts-and-crafts project.

Past the gate guarded by tall tin soldiers, past papier-mache storehouses and playset inns, you see the town plaza. Businesses surround a janky trapezoidal courtyard. Apartments are stacked willy-nilly atop them, mainly held up by long, rough-cut wooden stringers, and, at times, a great heap of the kind of kipple that accumulates on desks.

 No.765313

>>765258

"I like this place…" Amy muses aloud. "It's… silly. Not really EXCITING, but there's already too much excitement in Tartarus. Some silliness is good."

Amy looks around at the businesses in the courtyard. She wonders if any of them might hold something nice for the picnic.

 No.765314

>>765258
Shei-Sher finishes the operation and lands somewhere near the party again.

The black thread has been combined with the chains holding up the lands.
Shei-Sher reconnects a new black thread from one of the chains back to the lantern to extend the connect back to bodhidharma again.

>black threads

[1d10]

"And presto- I'm all about done here then."

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.765316

>>765258
Shorthorns looks to the princess as she is brought forth by the king and queen, and though she shares a look of concern for the young dragon, she smiles slightly as she sees her face is not as troubled as it once was. She feels it better to continue to let the rift heal naturally, but she prays it will continue to do so long after they've left.

She bows her head in gratitude as she presents the ornate box to them, stepping forth to take the box of promised tea with all the gentleness she can muster. "Thank you, princess. We're grateful for this, extremely grateful. We promise, what we hope to achieve with it will return your generosity."

She pauses, looking up to the king and finds a moment to address privately, "Before you make plans, you should know… are you aware of what's happened on the surface over the last few years?"

 No.765317

>>765314
>>765316
The Dragon King shakes his head to Shorthorned's question. "We will require quite the refresher on the political landscape of the surface world."

"An ample opportunity to redraw the political map ourselves, this will be," the Queen adds.

"Oh, good…" the Princess grumbles. "You can go back to fighting the neighbors instead of each other."

As Shorthorned takes the box, she can sense a special presence about it. A kind of power, or perhaps more accurately, a blessing. It does not seem to have come from any conscious source, but the feeling is soothing, and tranquil, an atmosphere conducive to restful sleep. Perhaps a result of the great undoing of this familial conflict, born from and borne by the Princess's gratitude.

 No.765318

>>765317
Shorthorns's hair stands on end as she accepts the box, surprised at the sheer feelings of gratitude coming from it. Perhaps one of the perks of being a god, she surmises, may be this new found empathy for the feelings others cast towards her, but her smile widens as she looks at the shy draconic princess, and she holds the box with as much reverence as a holy relic.

She looks to the king and sighs, "It is not good. There is so much that has happened in just the last few years it's all I can do to summarize it like this: the Firmament has shattered, and demons overflow the land. Mortals are fighting for their very lives against a horde they cannot hope to defeat, and angels threaten to destroy it all as the situation worsens. That is why we are here in Tartarus, to find a way to stop the demons all at once and save the world."

"Our task may yet take some time, so if your people manage to return before we finish our task, you should be prepared for what awaits you up there." She says, very specific to say 'when' they finish their task. Not 'if'.

 No.765319

>>765313
There are plentiful shops open today. Most of them seem to be junkmongers, a class of merchant most common in Tartarus. Their wares, befitting the environment, consist of a haphazard collection of odds and ends, the sort of things that are often lost from bags and boxes, and replaced rather than found. There are also patisseries and delis in a section of the plaze more dedicated to food. The main goal of your visit here may be to coerce the Vestal into drinking the tea, but making it look natural and unsuspect will take some work.

 No.765320

>>765319

"How do they sell any junk around here? There's junk just sitting around like… everywhere," Amy ponders out loud.

But, her nose distracts her from her thoughts. She smells food. One might think that she'd be drawn in by the deli. But, tis the smell of sweets which draws her in most.

[1d10] to find the most delectable sweets from the nearby patisseries

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.765321

>>765314
mulligan on this roll [1d10]

>>765317
>>765318
Shei approaches Shorthorns and the princess "Peace is a tenuous thing-" He scratches his cheek "But you should at least find that among loved ones. Sorry, I never got finish your bedtime story Princess."

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.765322

>>765320
"They must have a pretty different concept of value down here," Mudi says. "Different ideas about trade and economics have probably filtered in from all sorts of worlds."

As you take lead once more, your nose brings you to one of the eclectic tenements, the ground floor of which appears to be the bakery. As you enter, you see that it's a fusion of sorts, equal parts bar, cafe, and, oddly, antique shop. There are seams in the walls, jumping from wallpaper to brick to wood, giving the impression that this unit was made by mashing together many other establishments. The clashing aesthetics would give most others a headache, but it hardly seems out of place in this Anchor of the Vestal's.

Upon the countertop, you do not see any obvious purveyor, only a coil of brown fur.

>>765321
>>765318
"I am not familiar with this term, 'angel,' nor the 'Firmament,'" the King says. "But it sounds much the same as it did the last time we were up there. The last we were up there, the mortals had gained the upper hand, driving back both the demons, and our imperial aims. Perhaps the people of this era are not so illustrious as those who condemned us to this degraded existence…"

Rooster chuckles. "I like their style."
Flow smirks.
"With all due respect, your Majesties," Great Voyage says. "If we've managed to reestablish peace by the time you get up there, don't expect that the survivors of the surface world will quietly accept more subjugation."
"I wouldn't dream of it," the King retorts, saccharine. "We'll be on our best behavior."

 No.765324

>>765322

"It's almost like they're just sorta… running shops to copy life instead of actually live," Amy responds to Mudi.

>>765322

"Oooh! What a fun idea!" Amy says as she looks around at the shop, wagging her tail. "Just mash the stores together and do it all!"

Amy pokes the ball of fur softly. "Are you the owner?" Amy asks curiously.

 No.765325

>>765322
>>765321
Shorthorns' eyes widen in response to them not even hearing of angels before, but she shortly realizes after what the Witch had told them: they'd been here for quite some time, after all.

"Well, just as well you should know then how the world's changed up above. It'll probably have a lot more in store than I can even begin to tell, but I hold faith you and your people will live happily in the sun once again."

She turns to look to the others as she holds up the box of tea, "I guess that's mission accomplished for now, right?"

 No.765326

>>765322
>>765318
Shei seems pleased with the conversation. He mentions to Flaming "Right then, are we obliged to return to Mister Moolah now? I think I've lost my way after this bender."

 No.765329

>>765324
"Ah…" Mudi says. "Trying to provide a sense of normalcy, then…"

She sounds like such a thing is a familiar thing for her.

>>765324
The wad of fur unravels, turning into a particularly long and serpentine mustelid – a sable.

The fur on the back of your neck stands on end. No imperfections anywhere on its body. This one's an Undefiled.

And this Undefiled just so happens to be rolling about on the countertop, apparently having a spike in energy after being woken up.

"Nnnnnnnnnnnnyes," he says, as if having needed to deliberate on the question. "Is it for here or to-go?"

>>765325
>>765326
"We're to meet with the others," Rooster says. "By now, they've probably procured their tea ingredients. It's all coming to a head."
"Oui…" Supper agrees. "I wonder if the Witch will want to know how we did."
"Something tells me she already knows," GV says. "But a little visit to show our thanks wouldn't hurt either."

 No.765331

>>765329

"Yeah! That's a good way to put it! You're better with words than me, Moody. But yeah, I definitely get wanting things to feel normal when you're stuck in Tartarus."

>>765329

"Oh… hi!" Amy says slowly and cautiously as she realizes she poked an undefiled. She definitely just expected it to be a demon comprised of incomprehensible fur and nothing else. She takes a moment to contemplate whether she should be on guard. But, then she remembers where she is.

"Hi!" she says again in an even more friendly tone. "To-go, I guess? We need something sweet for a picnic!"

 No.765333

>>765329
Shorthorns turns to Voyage and nods in agreement. "Yeah, we owe her so much for giving us this lead. And who knows, maybe she'll want to help them return to the surface, or want to know how we did it? At the very least, I'd also like to say goodbye before we take off. We might never see her again, otherwise."

 No.765334

>>765331
"A picnic…" the Undefiled says. He goes toward a sink, and washes up. Good hygiene, for an umbral. "Is it going to be a large order? Have a look at what we have on display."

Befitting the shop's eclectic appearance, the goods are quite a mismatch: In a buried icebox, bottled ale and mead share a shelf with jars of mushroom extract, jelly, spices and hot sauces, and "coffee" made from at least 11 different kinds of plants. The baked goods are somewhat more coherent, if not in their color and their shape, but in their composition– bread and sugar.

Mudi's face nearly smushes into the glass of the display case, while Vizsla leers on from afar.

>>765333
"The Witch rejected the offer to return to the surface wholesale," Flow recalls. "Perhaps she will move on elsewhere."

"She would certainly project that impression… but somehow, I doubt it," Rooster says.

 No.765338

>>765334
>>765326
"In any case, we should at least return and let her know about the updated situation as well as our departure. I'd also like to thank her for helping us out in general, so let's go see her one more time. Then, we return to MISTER MOOLAH."

She says, nodding affirmatively as the white buffalo starts trotting off towards her home

 No.765339

>>765334
>>765329
>>765338
"Witch?" Shei turns his head puzzled "What witch- Oh.. The former Bene Elohim. Don't call her a witch! Have some manners. She's a living piece of history. Even in the gut of Tartarus she keeps oaths with the Sons of God."

 No.765340

>>765338
>>765339
"Witch with a capital W," Great Voyage says. "I think she'd be more offended if we didn't use the term."

As Shorthorned suggests going back to Mister Moolah, the Paper Trail, which had been quietly following this whole time, raises a finger, and shakes its head.

"No…?" Rooster repeats. "Ah-ha-ha, things are coming to a head. Time is money, after all."
"Hm?" Supper asks. "Traduire, s'il vous plaît."
"The others have gotten their shopping done," Rooster surmises. "The Paper Trails are quite the attentive and communicative spies. Well, am I right?"
The Paper Trail nods.
"They're sending out info through the Abyss…?" Voyage mutters.

As this unfolds, you head back toward the Witch's hut. As you reach the countryside, your perspective rises from your bodies once more, just as it did when you first set off in search of her. You see her hut, some great distance away.

 No.765341

>>765339
"OH!" Shorthorns exclaims, not even realizing her own offensive way of referring to her until Shei called it out. "I guess you're right, that is a pretty rude way to refer to her, I didn't mean disrespect… it's just, she never gave us a name, you know? She's just 'The Witch', it's all anyone's called her so far and 'Bene Elohim' is kind of a mouthful."

>>765340
She turns back to the Paper Trail as it shakes its head, looking at it with confusion as Rooster clarifies. "If the others have gotten their shopping done, then why is it shaking its head? If everyone has all the ingredients all that's left is to put this party together, isn't it?"

She asks on her way to the Witch's hut, now fairly used to the sensation of her perspective leaving her body to look upon them like one would characters on a story book.

 No.765342

>>765340
Shei says to Great Voyage "I can't be so sure, it feels as though I'm calling a chef a pastry boy. But I'll take your word for it. I haven't much sense anymore for decorum."

>>765340
>>765341
"Bah I think the little buggers are ushering us along." Shei remarks on the papertrail hurrying them along. "Company time- Company Ti-i-i-me. Yes I'm in good company and I'm spending my time." Shei languishes his comment at the Papertrail.

 No.765343

>>765342
>>765341
"Going back to Mister Moolah would take too long," Rooster says. "The Paper Trail– no, *Moolah* would rather we get this show on the road, throw the party even without his explicit go-ahead. The benefits of putting the Vestal to sleep would be great…"

"…Great enough to risk communicating from afar," Voyage says. "Even across Anchors, letting the messages pass through the Abyss."

"Exactly," Rooster. "The reward vastly outweighs such a grave risk."

The Paper Trail does not gesture in response, but stares down Rooster. It hardly bothers him, and he returns to his elephant shape [where before he had still been a beetle for the fun of it].

As you reach the hut, you see that the Witch sits on the porch in a rocking chair. Near her is a tall pot of bitter-smelling tea. With a snap of her digits, more cups and saucers float out from within, and set themselves on the table by the pot.

"He's right," the Witch says. "I take my title with a capital 'W'. Anything less, and I'll take the capitals out of your names, too."

"Wh-what about, la Sorcière?" Supper asks.

"Acceptable," the Witch replies.

"I'm more worried about what that threat entails," Voyage ponders.

 No.765344

>>765342
>>765343
Shorthorns smiles towards Shei as the Witch insists she be called by her 'honorific' as a Witch. "See? She LIKES being called the Witch!"

Shorthorns approaches the sorceress pony with a grateful bow of the head, "We wanted to stop by and thank you again for your help. I'm happy to report that I think things are going to change for the better with the royal dragons now. We were even able to get the special tea we were after, and they have a plan to work towards now instead of just blaming each other."

She tilts her head, "We were going to be heading off soon, and I was wondering… the King and Queen are planning on taking everyone out of Tartarus soon now. You planned on staying, I know, but are you going to stay here even when everyone else is gone or, what were you going to do next?"

 No.765345

>>765343
As they traveled outward into the boonies of this anchor, Shei had some time to think. And became startled to realize his thoughts seemed more clear, his personality more intact. And wondered for the cause of this. His ability to trace after conversations again felt refreshing. And he was thankful for the moment of clarity.

Shei greets The Witch, with his hoof raised "Well met Witch. Surely, Y'dryth suffers without your presence. Should you ever like to return, all you may do is tug at my chains and I will send for you.. in time."

>>765344
"Right- right- my bad." Shei digresses

>>765343
>>765344
"For some time now I've the inclination to say- has anyone thought about implications for tranquilizing the Vestal?"

 No.765346

>>765345
>>765344
"You should have worked a miracle before I bothered to pay off my mortgage," the Witch grunts. "Well, it's not like I can leave just yet, anyway. I'm going to have to stay and keep watch on this little evacuation. There are beings – not just them, but forces, and phenomena – which take a great interest in the movement of anything in and out of Tartarus's depths. I'll have to stick close, lest someone or something come skulking around. So, I suppose I should be annoyed that you've given me more chores to do."

"You have our sincerest apologies, dear WITCH," Rooster says with a bow.

"Just the 'W' will suffice," the Witch snorts.

>>765345
"Another 'w' word," the Witch says. "Namely: War."

 No.765347

>>765346
Shorthorns can't help but afford a chuckle. "Well, sorry for the good news then. But, thanks a ton for looking out after them. We'll be needing to leave soon ourselves, but I hope we get the opportunity to see you again while we're still in Tartarus."

As she mentions 'War' in preparation for tranquilizing the Vestal, Shorthorns flicks her ears. "Do you mean there might be some out there who would want to stop our tea party? We've met a few people in Tartarus who want to put a stop to the limitations she puts on our ability to defend ourselves… but I'd understand if there are some who like how her powers discourage violence."

 No.765348

>>765346
Shei chuckles slightly when the Witch mentions she'll stay to watch over things. Shei takes notice of Rooster's bow "Now that I am bound to an entire nation state. I don't have the previlege of bowing to just anyone. But I make this exception on their behalf." Shei bows to the Witch and flourishes his arm to his breast as nobles do. "Thank you for watching over them all this time."

Shei then comments "War- sure. But I was more thinking. Y'dryth. He sleeps in our kalpa. Did the ilk of the underworld put him to sleep as well? I wonder what he did when he was active in Tartarus. If the Vestal is a world itself, its harrowing to think that we'll send a universe to its dark age. But I suppose all things have their cycles."

 No.765350

>>765348
>>765347
"Just the opposite, my dear," the Witch says. "The Vestal's slumbering is just what these would-be warlords are waiting for. I'd reckon they'd help you, were they not so afraid of a failed plan turning into an absolute disaster for themselves.

"This is the First Layer– LIMBO. For some, that term suggests an idea of stability, tranquility, perhaps stagnation. That's true enough, as of the Vestal's arrival from the Seventh Layer– VIOLENCE. But prior to that, this state of 'Limbo' was the result of perpetual, and constant upheaval. Those who styled themselves the Lords of Limbo thought it was quite the pastime, fighting for control of Anchors. Their wargaming has come to a sudden and frustrating end. To them, the Vestal is but an overprotective marm, come in to confiscate their playthings after the game got too rowdy. Of course, if she leaves the picture, the fun begins once more. They can go back to clubbing each other's heads in with sticks, as bored children are wont to do all across time and place."

>>765348
"Who… ah, that's the name He is known by now. Well, after what He'd been through, no wonder he wants to take a siesta. He sleeps of his own volition, though I suppose you could credit His time in Tartarus for the exhaustion. It's not my story to tell."

 No.765352

>>765350
"Ah, a tad comforting to know about Ydy- takes his naps of his own accord. All the same, whatever lives inside the Vestal- veh- I can't imagine. We're under contract, no choice but to press on."

Shei-Sher, takes from his cape a deck of cards and passes it along to the Vestal "Here to pass the time. It's all the rage in the overworld these days."

It's Shei's own brand of trading cards. A deck containing depictions of all the demons, angels and spirits he's ever appraised.

[I'm ready to leave whenever shima is ready.]

 No.765353

>>765350
>>765352
Shorthorns' eyes open with realization when the Witch spells out what'll happen when the Vestal's asleep.

"You're absolutely right… the Vestal's rules make surviving here a hazard, but it also must keep so many forces in check. When the only thing stopping violence goes to sleep, of course the first that'd happen is violence!"

Shorthorns rubs her head, "Grrrggh… we can't turn back now. Indecision will get you killed in Tartarus. Still, I wish I'd thought of that sooner. We're going to leave Limbo in chaos once we move on."

 No.765355

>>765353
"Bah- Fuck Tartarus. I'm talking about the Vestal itself." Shei exasperates "Presumably it is a being on par with Y'dryth. That's an entire universe of actual life we are doing who knows what to, by putting it to sleep."

 No.765356

>>765352
The Witch looks over the cards. "Hmm… these are… decently competitive. Could use a little draw power."

"That's what I said," Supper adds.

>>765353
>>765352
"Chaos, perhaps, but not through any doing of ours," Rooster says to Shorthorned. It's not a tone you've heard him use before… somber, consoling. "They choose the way of violence, and they're only held back by the threat of an even greater violence that they can't hope to match. Most people are down here for a reason, after all. Can't get too concerned about blood that's not on your own hooves. All we can do is get what we came for, and move on."

After some quiet reflection, the others add their silent assent.

"Have some tea before you go," the Witch says. "You'll want the energy for what's to come."

>timeskip available

 No.765358

>>765356
>>765355
Shorthorns breathes a sigh of relief, "For that most part, I'm sure that's true, people are here in Tartarus for a reason. But what about people like the Princess, or her family? This place is in Limbo and if we didn't just give them a way out, they'd be at the mercy of whatever warlord or bully set sight on this place the moment the Vestal isn't around to stop them anymore. Still, it's like I said… we can't turn back. I only pray what we'll accomplish in the end will be worth any damage in the end."

As the Witch offers them tea, Shorthorns nods in agreement. "Thanks, I'm suddenly finding myself REALLY thirsty, especially after so much talk of tea. Have anything spicy like cinnamon?"

>Ready to time-skip

 No.765361

>>765356
Shei stands with a bemused expression "I would like you all to know, the more critics I discover who have something clever to say about my deck. The more my chagrin mounts for ever thinking I was first to make trading cards."

Shei lets out a tired sigh and directs his humiliation at the Witch "Seriously now how old are you? They had cards when the Gloom Empress still had an empire?"

>ready to time skip

 No.765363

>>765361
>>765358
"If there's anything people like more than clubbing each other on the head with sticks, it's playing with cards and figures," the Witch says cryptically.

After you've had your tea and given the standoffish Witch your regards, you make for the edge of the Abyss. You leave behind a people given a newfound hope… and take with you an ingredient that may very well spark war within Limbo, returning chaos to this false, so-called 'Heaven.'

>Paused

 No.765486

The journey of these Tartarus-bound was to soon reach its turning point.

In order to reach their sought destination – an Anchor known as the Momentary Lake – they sought the guidance of MISTER MOOLAH, representative of Belphecorp. Although anyone could theoretically reach any destination in Tartarus by exerting their force of will on the Abyss, our heroes learned that this Layer, LIMBO, was fought over by a number of factions. The overwhelming force will of the leaders of these factions – the so-called 'Lords of Limbo' – disrupted free travel within LIMBO. Our heroes would need Belphecorp's corporate aid in order to get where they wanted to go.

But to secure Belphecorp's help, they would need to pay a price. That price being the suppression of the Vestal of Peace, an otherworldly umbral who hailed from VIOLENCE, the Seventh Layer of Tartarus. The Vestal could not be stopped through any conventional methods. Rather, she needed to be appeased, and lulled to sleep, via the means of a surprise tea party held in her honor, with tea made from very special ingredients home-grown in Tartarus.

Of course, our heroes discerned that the reason Belphecorp wanted the Vestal out of the picture was the Vestal's Layer-wide prohibition on violence. Although not omniscient or omnipresent, the Vestal could sense violent acts taking place nearly anywhere in the Layer, and could inflict incomprehensible suffering on the offending parties as a means of deterrent. Naturally, if the Vestal was out of the picture, the stalemate that the Lords of Limbo were in would at last be broken, and the Lords would be loosed to wage their eternal war once again.

Still, such problems were for the realm of Tartarus to worry about. Once they could navigate Tartarus as they wished, our heroes could make their way to the Momentary Lake. And it was there that our heroes would not be concerned with the machinations of any would-be king of hell… but rather, with their very traveling companions.

 No.765488

>Amy
"A picnic…" the Undefiled says. He goes toward a sink, and washes up. Good hygiene, for an umbral. "Is it going to be a large order? Have a look at what we have on display."

Befitting the shop's eclectic appearance, the goods are quite a mismatch: In a buried icebox, bottled ale and mead share a shelf with jars of mushroom extract, jelly, spices and hot sauces, and "coffee" made from at least 11 different kinds of plants. The baked goods are somewhat more coherent, if not in their color and their shape, but in their composition– bread and sugar.

Mudi's face nearly smushes into the glass of the display case, while Vizsla leers on from afar.

>Cloak, Shei, Shorthorned

While waiting for the others, the Ecclesians produce a number of games. Marbles, backgammon, mahjong, poker, and more. These assassins lack no means of killing time… but even that gets wearisome.

Just as the Choristers are dreading starting up yet another round of "Settlers of Huoli," they sense a disturbance in the Abyss surrounding the colossal lotus-flower which protects them. Grateful to the gods, the Ecclesians stand at attention. The outer petals part, and then the inner petals, granting passage to none other… than their allies, led by Shei and Shorthorned.

"Well, well," Sir Holy Hours says. "If you're here, that should be the last of the ingredients, I take it?"

 No.765489

>>765488
"Oh, already?" Leather turns, having been resetting the board for yet another play. Patient to a fault, the stallion has been unphased by the lack-of-sleepover,
>>765361
>>765358
"Care for Settlers of Huoli?" the wrapped assassin asks from his position, either oblivious to the other Ecclesian's weariness or perhaps committing to a bit with his expression hidden beneath his wrappings.

 No.765490

>>765488

Amy joins Mudi in smooshing her face against the glass to get a look at the baked goods. "Oooh! These have gotta be the best treats in all of Tartarus!" Amy exclaims excitedly.

Then, she looks up at the cute umbral. "We'll definitely need a lot of sweets. There's gonna be a lot of us…"

"But… how much will that cost?" she asks with concern in her tone.

 No.765491

>>765488
As Shorthorns steps beyond the threshold of the Abyss into the Lotus, she gives her head a good shake as she clears oblivion. "Moooooaah, ooh that is still going to take some getting used to, that feeling…"

As Holy Hours greets them, Shorthorns nods and shows the carefully wrapped bag of tea the Princess presented them. "Yes, we have done it! The most powerful sleeping tea we could find."

>>765489
Shorthorns nods in Leather's direction as she arrives as well, "Good to see you again, Sir Cloak!" As he asks her if she's up for Settlers of Huoli, Shorthorns turns her head to its side and looks at the board. "Is that some sort of game? I don't think I've played that before, who's winning?"

 No.765492

>>765488
>>765491
"It's a game indeed: building settlements, roads, and armies - we just finished our.." Leather pauses to count for a bit, "I think that was game twenty three? I suppose we've been here longer than we thought."

He looks around to the rest of the Choristers, "Who was keeping track of wins again?"

 No.765493

>>765488
Shei-Sher follows the line of thought with his group towards the Lotus. And eventually finds himself landing upon the rest stop where he is pleasantly surprised to see the others. The last bits of his head and limbs feel as though they are encased in clay as he waxes them off the strips of oblivion beyond the Lotus head.

Shei-Sher waves to Sir Holy Hours and excuses himself.

>>765491
>>765491
"Hooooy." Shei greets Leather "Our last patch of node was a sope opera." Shei exasperates.

"Say- I've been needing to say hi to ole Bodhi. You two mind watching the Latern and I while I meditate."

Shei sits down with the lantern in his lap and begins astral projection into the Bodhidharma's abode.

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.765494

>>765493
name fix

 No.765495

>>765493
>>765492
>>765491
>>765489
"Riichi!" Anzu declares–
–provoking Holy Hours's eye to twitch. "That's Mahjong, not Settlers… I should never have taught you either game… I have never suffered such a streak of losses in all my years!"

Despite Anzu's winning streak, Monkey is the champion of Settlers, coming in the lead with 10 wins out of the 23 games, the rest being divided mostly evenly between the others.

"While I would love another victory," Monkey interjects. "Perhaps this is something we can use at the tea party. You see, Amy's group was already here, and has gone on ahead to prepare our seating. By this time, they should be nearly ready, I imagine."

>>765493
Once more, you slip from this world, and arrive at the outer gates of the temple grounds within the Bodhidharma's lantern. The demon guards, presently occupied by reading written works, wave you through and unlock the gate.

>>765490
"Depends on your currency," the undefiled stoat says, gesturing to a vertical placard on the wall. From top to bottom, the placard lists a myriad of currency symbols accepted here. You've seen quite a few of these in your time in Tartarus, and many more that you have not yet seen. Another placard nearby, though you cannot read it, holds the most recent conversion rates.

Vizsla, at least curious, holds up a number of Quetzals – the currency still in use in the western half of the continent, even after the diminishing of the Mariposan empire. The Stoat's eyes gleam. "Oooh, vintage. Haven't seen that in a while. You're… not from around here."

"I'd wager you must not be, either," Vizsla says. "Make your choices, Amy, I will pay for it."

 No.765496

>>765492
>>765493
Shorthorns looks at the current display of the board with some light confusion, noting all the buildings and lines set up as well as the cards everyone's holding so close. "Hmmm… I don't think I'm very good at building things but I always love a new game! I'll pick up how to play as it goes along, I'm sure, can I have a turn next?"

>>765495
As Monkey concludes it's about time for them to arrive at the party, Shorthorns flattens her ears in disappointment there is not enough time for another game. "Ah… well, if that is the case then I don't think we should keep Amy waiting, she's not very good at waiting. You're sure we have everything, do we all know the plan? I know the goal is to get the Vessel to try drinking this tea we got but I'm not sure if all we need to do is give it to her or if we need to do something sneaky."

 No.765497

>>765495
Shei thumbs the demon guards 2 bits as a tip and proceeds to Bodhidharma's temple.

As Shei is stepping upon the stepping stones that line a path to the entrance he calls out "Oyyy! Boddhi I'm feeling more in one piece this time. You've any thoughts on that -Cos, I'll skip the prelude. I'm having a billion thoughts on the subject."

 No.765498

>>765495

Amy stares at the board with a (falsely) knowing nod. "Yes… I understand…" She says slowly as she slowly leans into Mudi.

"I can't read," she says in a sort of stage-whisper to her.

Then, Vizsla pulls out some money. Amy bounces happily. "You're the best, Vizzy!" She readies a leap to give Viszla a hug.

[1d10] to hug

Regardless of success and wherever she ends up, she eyes the selection of sweets and chooses the closest approximation to a strawberry, vanilla cake (large enough to feed many), several dozen of whatever is most similar to chocolate chip cookies, and several dozen assorted donuts of varying levels of bizarre.

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.765499

>>765495
"Hmm." Leather nods, "I suppose that's a better use of time." He gets about cleaning up, preparing to leave.

 No.765500

>>765497
"I have zero thoughts on most things," the Bodhidharma's disembodied voice echoes from the main temple. A misty form descends from the shingles upon the roof, coalescing in the form of a robed equine youth, who balances atop a walking staff in a reclining position. "Having a billion is… more than I would advise."

>>765499
>>765496
Monkey nods. "Once everyone has gathered together at their chosen destination, we will formulate a plan… or rather, an agenda for the social function, I suppose. Fun and games will naturally be a part of it, to get the Vestal into the spirit of the party, and to get her in the mood for tea."

The Ecclesians get ready to approach the edge of the Abyss once more, breaking down their camps.

>Timeskip available


>>765498
You hug at Vizsla, but all you grab is a hoof-full of snowflakes– she's side-stepped you. A heaping pile of snow drops onto you from above, smothering you.

Once you dig your way out of the snow and back up to the counter, you choose a number of near-approximations to palatable cookies. Owing to Tartarus's dark nature and even darker palates, most of these near approximations are actually quite far-out. A few of the pastries even move, and a couple of them won't stop making snide remarks.

Vizsla sneers at the final price tag, but follows the conversion rate board and doles out the proper amount of coins. "Don't mistake this for charity. I'll send you the invoice, with interest."

 No.765501

>>765500
Leather nods, musing out loud, "I wonder if I will need to have my rifle stored away before this party, do you think being armed implies an intent to later use it? I do not know unconcealed carry laws of their domain. I at least have plenty of training with my shield regardless."

 No.765502

>>765500
>>765499
Shorthorns nods in understanding to Monkey. "Got it. I doubt everything will go so smoothly but we'd all better make sure we're on the same page so we don't step over each other's hooves. I know we got the tea but I need a reminder, what was everyone else getting?"

As he mentions there will be games to get Vestal in the mood for a party, Shorthorn's ears pop back up. "OH! Maybe we can get her to play that Huoli game after all then?"

>Good for time-skip

 No.765503

>>765500
"Ah nice, very jhana of you mate. Not quite my style. But I respect it. -I am bounded to an entire kingdom's worth of souls. By these chains." Shei metaphysically pulls heaps of chains out from his cape as he gestures. And puts stuffs them back it, resounding much metal clinking.

"I think the nature of what I am and what is happening to me is becoming more apparent. Shei steps aside to a knoll on the hill to over look the airy expanse of Bodhidharma's domain "or a chain I become more lucid. For a boundary I am more singular. My sanity increases as I am bound to others."

Shei remarks with some indignation, shame and annoyance accumulates in his voice. He turns abruptly to Bodhidharma
"Poetic right?! It's just like when I was a kid! except-" His shoulders slouch as his excitement digresses "The gods do well to test every man."

 No.765504

>>765500
>>765502
>A timeskip is fine by me as well.

If we gotta go anywhere, I expect Flaming to carry Shei's body with his lantern.
You can stuff Shei's body and lantern in his cape, and carry it all like a grocery bag.

 No.765505

>>765502
>>765500
"A game with less directly hostile actions might prove better in her domain, like a game that arranges letters into words or an interpretation game," Leather thinks outloud, "Unless we want to bore them by having them win any game we play."

>ready for timeskip

 No.765506

>>765500

"I'm sure I'll be able to afford it eventually," Amy says with a confident nod. "You know I don't like taking things without giving back!"

"Now, I think we've done a pretty awesome job preparing for this picnic! Let's head back to the others!"

"I hope you guys are ready for a cuh-razy good picnic!"

 No.765507

>>765503
"All too true," the Bodhidharma says, adjusting his reclining posture without so much as disturbing the posture of the walking staff. "Whatever form the chains may take later, you can expect these connections to pull, even to yank and choke, both yourself, and the mortal upon the other end. The hardest feat, it seems, is for two who are bound to permit their bond simply to hang slack… simply to float at ease with one another."

>>765503
>>765501
>>765502
You and the Ecclesians step into the formlessness of the Abyss once more, with Shei's lantern stuffed away for convenient recovery later…





After time immeasurable, a faint image disrupts the endless void– a pinprick of light, turning in a near-imperceptible rotation.

As you approach, you see that the rotating light is, in fact, a colossal doily, the size of a wall one might see around the capital of a great kingdom. Radiant, as if glowing from within, yet all the same made out of lace. The closer you see, the more you see the patterns of the lace; mandalas of rosaceous patterns, roses within roses in circular formations. The outermost layer turns counter-clockwise in a gentle pace, and each successive layer turns opposite to the one surrounding it.

The radiance and the turning makes it hard to see through the doily, but you can see some kind of garden beyond it. There is no visible entrance, but far to your right, you see where another doily intersects with the corner of this doily at an obtuse angle. They probably surround the inner space in some manner of trapezoidal shape.

>>765506
The undefiled stoat selects some other employees of the shop to load up your massive order on a number of carts. They wheel out the carts to the street, following you as you follow your recollections, as to the location of the inner garden. Your path takes you toward the far eastern edge of the Anchor… in the direction of a great brick wall.

It is a sizeable wall, both quite tall and quite long, sectioning off this entire region of the Anchor from the rest of it. Only a solitary gate breaks the monotony of the brick. It is not locked, and a film of dust covers the cold black metal. The dust is disturbed around the latch, which has been left undone, indicating that someone was here recently– Hurricanrana, Desert and their helpers.

 No.765509

>>765507
"I'll cut the ice. It sounds like you're trying to convert me Boddhi. And all be honest- I'm all ears. oh no- you know what I'm even more than that." Shei produces a chain and holds it out in his hoof as the chain reels out metaphysically from his back and Shei walks up to Boddhidharma.

"Could you bind me by a chain Boddhi. This looks like the way to go. I'm not going to bitch and whine about vicissitudes of fate. I asked to be a God. I intend to be one. I'll be asking everyone to make me bound by a chain. Everyone that matters to me."

 No.765510

>>765507

"Lets see what kind of setup we have here…" Amy says as she nudges the gate open.

 No.765512

>>765507
Cloak quietly takes in the strange environment, not nearly the first to enter but following the fractal patterns along the wall with his eyes.

 No.765513

>>765505
Shorthorns turns her head, "I thought you said that Settlers game was more about building, is that not non-hostile?"

>>765507
Shorthorns looks on at the bizarre surroundings of the Vestal's world, looking around at the massive doily and taking in its very elegant patterns as they protect her inner-sanctum. "This is pretty weird… it looks almost like a gigantic, really fancy cloth is surrounding the place."

As she seems to note where an entrance lies, Shorthorns nods and leads the charge, trotting over to see if there's an access there

 No.765514

>>765513
"You're still amassing armies and can steal resources from one another through the use of a robber baron, I certainly have seen enemies made playing the game."

 No.765515

>>765509
"I'm flattered," the Bodhidharma says, taking the end of the chain with a lazy half-bow. "Times are coming when we – even we enlightened ones – will want something to which we can hold on tight. Whatever happens to either of us, trust that this chain will hold fast."

>>765513
>>765514
You find that the outer doilies are rotating slowly enough that, with a little grace, you can slip through the strings and step onto the other side. Even when you are touched by the doily, there is thankfully no effect or damage to you. Fitting, for this place, perhaps.

You are in the road of an outer garden which traces along the boundary set by the doily. The street below you is broken up, and in disrepair, and – perhaps more striking – made of an unfamiliar material. It feels a bit like papyrus, only more solid, less flexible, a little more coarse, and all of a single pastel color. The greenery of the garden are wrought from a similar artificial material, though thinner. The branches and stems of the bushes are covered with a synthetic fuzz, and their cores are comprised of yet another material, this one very hard, yet flexible. Almost like metalwork, yet no mineral you've encountered is like it.

The road extends northwest, and southeast, then bends eastward near where the other doily you saw intersects with it.

Above you, impossibly, is a sky. Cotton tufts fill the air, upon a backdrop of soft green paint– you can see the brushstrokes from here.

>>765510
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaiGRM-OABA

Immediately, you see a landmark upon the eastern horizon: A towering pair of gargantuan trees, intertwining around each other in a corkscrew pattern, cresting a mighty hill. Besides the twinning, the trees are connected by a number of limbs. Some appear to be stabbing from one tree, into the other. Others seem like the attempt of one tree to embrace – or choke – the other, for they squeeze about where they meet.

About halfway up the hill, halfway between you and the trees, you see the distant figures of Hurricanrana, Desert and their helpers. The helpers seem to have removed the benches from the carts, and an argument looks to be brewing between them.

All in the field surrounding the spiral-trees is a garden, full of much smaller forestry. Bushes, vine, brush, and fern. This is the only biological plant-life you have seen so far in this Anchor. And with it, the only soil, the only rock. Yet there is no smell of vivacity anywhere. Despite being of a more natural material, everything here is just as stagnant as beyond the brick wall.

 No.765517

>>765514
"Ah… in that case, maybe a calmer game then would be a good idea after all. I'll get a chance to try this Settler game later, I'm sure."

>>765515
Shorthorns looks around at all the hoof-crafted scenery, bouncing up and down on the papyrus road and looking up at the cotton-cloud sky above. "So weird… this place all looks like it was made by hoof, like little arts and crafts with stuff you'd find lying around your home… but not like any I've seen." She looks up at the cotton-cloud again, and giggles as she prods Voyage. "Reminds me of you." She says pointing up at the fluffy faux-cloud.

She looks around, trying to see if there are any trace of Amy and her company being here yet

 No.765518

>>765515
"Ooooh! Thank you Boddhi!" Shei-Sher is about to wrap his arms around Boddhidharma before realizing the awkward orientation "Cripes mate, I can't hug you when you're like that. In any case, the food will keep coming, the wine will continue to pour. In sum, this is more like a formality don't you think. Haha! Oh have I told you I plan to open my own catering business- hm? bah I'll talk about it later."
Shei speaks with levity and a fast pace. He gestures his hoof as if to throw away his previous line of conversation. And then props his hooves at his hip as if to say its time to get down to business.

"Now show me where you keep the thread! The big one. The one that goes back up top."

 No.765520

>>765517

"It certainly is creative looking, even if the design isn't particularly for me." Cloak nods at Shorthorn's observation.

>>765515
Less specific of a search than Shorthorns, Leather looks about for signs of other living creatures at all.

 No.765521

>>765515

Amy lets out a small sigh. "I guess I was expecting too much from Tartarus. But, I guess it does kinda have a nice dreary vibe going on. It's pretty in its own way!"

Amy tries to keep upbeat with a tail wag.

She makes her way over to where the arguing is ensuing over picnic benches.

 No.765523

>>765518
He hands you the thread. "Leaving already? I warn you that the attempt would take more time than you have to spare."

>>765517
>>765520
GV chuckles as Shorthorned points out the buffalo-like cotton ball cloud. "Heh, yeah… oh, check out that one, doesn't that look like you, Shorthorned?"

Indeed, there's a cloud that resembles her.

"That one's kind of like Sir Gegenschein," Ichimonji observes.

Indeed, there's a griffon-like cloud, too. Gegenschein squawks as he admires the likeness.

"And…" Supper says. "That one's… m-moi…?"

There… seem to be a disconcerting number of clouds that look like you and your allies…

>>765520
None. Whether vegetable, animal or mineral, there is truly nothing living near you, along this artificial road, in this artificial countryside. Even buzzing gnats and chirping birds, this artifice lacks.

However… you do spy an approaching magical construction. Wrought from folding paper, it is a miniature of a pony. You recognize it from briefing. This is one of Mudi's creations. A couple of astute Ecclesians place hooves upon their guns, seeing it approach, but the construction stops short, and waves. Then, it beckons, turning around.

"An escort," Holy Hours notes. "The time is near…"

>>765521
"Ah, there you are!" Hurricanrana calls, waving as you ascend the hill to where they are. The flea market guys stand off to the side, looking ready to head back down the hill.

"What's all this?" Vizsla scowls, gesturing at the benches, which have been unceremoniously parked on the hill. The slant of the hill would make sitting on them now an uncomfortable affair.

"I know, right?" Hurricanrana says. "I totally wanted them to set up below the base of the trees. That'd be a sick backdrop! But, apparently, that's where… you-know-who spends her time."

A hush descends over everyone, and the umbrals wince as Hurricanrana even hints at the presence of… well… of the Ve… you-know-who.

"We haven't seen her," Dessert says. "She may not even be home right now… surely just moving the benches up there wouldn't be an issue?"

Mudi suddenly looks southwest. "The others have just arrived… it's almost time to get things started."

 No.765525

>>765523
>>765520
As Voyage points out the cloud that sort of looks like her, Shorthorns looks around for it. "Oooh… hey, yeah, you're right! Especially now that I'm all white now, that does sort of look like me…"

However, as the number of familiar figures grow amongst those clouds, Shorthorn's bemused smile slowly turns to a concerned frown. "Y-you're right, there's Shei there… and Rooster, I think? That's uh… that's suddenly way more weird." She turns to look at the others, "You think she's been watching us? This whole time?"

She turns and notices the construction of Mudi as well as it arrives, letting out a breath. "Too late to turn back now either way."

 No.765526

>>765523

"I feel like that would make it the ideal place for her to have a picnic, then. If it's the place she likes most, we gotta eat there!"

"I mean, why would she get angry at us for having a picnic, anyway!?"

It's unclear if Amy means that ostensibly or if she's genuinely forgotten why they're doing this.

 No.765527

>>765523
Shei pauses for a moment and thinks it over "Hm.. correct you are." Shei scratches his chin as he continues the thought.

"What if I sent- like.. a tone. Like a frequency. An arbitrary ping that to overworlders sounds like… it's beckoning- It would have that efficacy. And it's slightly annoying too. Completely meaningless as a sound for any outworlders in the void that might hear it."

Shei pauses a moment and then trills his tongue a few times "brrrt brrt- brrrt brrt-" He he looks to Boddhidharma "Yeah?"

"Righto, then." Shei-Sher sends a signal through the thread to the overworld. Reaching the first contact operating it.

[1d10]
DARK.III
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lTO2svZoMA

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.765529

>>765525
>>765523

"Well just like everyone else here I'm just here to party with no ill intentions, so whether that was the case what would it matter." Leather winks to Shorthorns, though he does not look up to confirm whether or not his likeness is in the clouds.

"Let's follow the guide and not accidentally do or say anything that could set off any security or clause that may hamper any partying."

 No.765530

>>765526
>"Right… outsiders," one of the employee umbrals says. "Look… basically nobody ever goes in here, unless they want one of two things. Maybe, depending on how you look at it, only one thing."

>"To try and attack… her… or to stop," the other umbral finishes. "We were under the boss's orders to follow you… we even went past the gate even though we didn't want to, but this is just insanity."


Desert raises a brow. "Did I hear you right? Stop as in… 'stop attacking her'?"

>"No, stop as in stop," the umbral repeats. "Because when she attacks… no, you can't even call it an attack… when she acts, everything about you stops."


>"It happens to everyone who goes past that gate," the first umbral warns.


>>765527
Somehow… you get the sense that Kerberos certainly received the signal… and chose to ignore it. Perhaps one of his less-attentive hounds was on thread-holding duty at that moment.

>>765525
>>765529
You follow the papercraft construction for quite some time, giving you a period to contemplate your options for this tea party…

Your path takes you toward the far eastern edge of the Anchor, in the direction of a great brick wall.

It is a sizeable wall, both quite tall and quite long, sectioning off this entire region of the Anchor from the rest of it. Only a solitary gate breaks the monotony of the brick. It is not locked, and a film of dust covers the cold black metal. The dust is disturbed around the latch, which has been left undone, indicating that someone was here recently– Hurricanrana, Desert and their helpers.

 No.765532

>>765530

"So, what you're saying is that we're already past the point of no return, anyway. So, it would be silly of us to stop now!"

"Besides," she adds, wagging her tail. "I'm sure she wouldn't appreciate all this arguing. So, let's just go put those tables at the top of the hill so you can go home."

>MANTRA OF EQUALITY

Attribute: Buff
Tag: Instant
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-4

Roll #1 3 + 4 = 7

 No.765533

>>765529
Shorthorn's ears perk up at Leather's words, and a slight grin returns to her expression. "Ah… right, of course! Obviously, that's why I'm here too. We're just going to have a party, there's nothing weird about that, hehe…" she says, clearly not very use to keeping up a facade but appreciating the idea of a good cover.

>>765530
She follows the papercraft construct to the humongous brick wall on the far side of the doily, looking towards the dusty gate and its unlatched lock. "I'm guessing this must be the place… and that other guests have already arrived."

She turns to look towards the others, "Everyone ready to party?"

 No.765534

>>765530
"Many walls. What is the need for fortifications if there is no attacks? Decorative, perhaps…" Leather muses, continuing on.

 No.765536

>>765530
Shei is seated on the grass as he waits head in palm for an answer. But after a few minutes his call connects to nothing.

"Why did I expect a dog to set up their voicemail." Shei quips "hmm. Even though.. Cereberus is a very good dog." Shei-Sher transmutes the thread into a chain "He may hold a chain too."

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

>>current talent from What If aspect ability
>>Talent: Grants the Aspect Ability, Alchemy the passive to be applied at a macroscopic scale, as long as the ingredients are within contact of the evoker.
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.765537

>>765536
You feel the lightest of tugs as the thread transmutes. Seems a chain is suitable for a hound as powerful as Kerberos to play tug-of-war with.

>>765534
"She'd probably like Settlers then!" Anzu says.

>>765533
>>765534
With silent nods of affirmation and quiet resolve, your allies form up to move through the gate.

Immediately, you see a landmark upon the eastern horizon: A towering pair of gargantuan trees, intertwining around each other in a corkscrew pattern, cresting a mighty hill. Besides the twinning, the trees are connected by a number of limbs. Some appear to be stabbing from one tree, into the other. Others seem like the attempt of one tree to embrace – or choke – the other, for they squeeze about where they meet.

ll in the field surrounding the spiral-trees is a garden, full of much smaller forestry. Bushes, vine, brush, and fern. This is the only biological plant-life you have seen so far in this Anchor. And with it, the only soil, the only rock. Yet there is no smell of vivacity anywhere. Despite being of a more natural material, everything here is just as stagnant as beyond the brick wall.

>>765532
>>765533
>>765534
As Amy prevails upon the anxious furniture-tent employees to cooperate, the rest of the group soon approaches.

"Very silly," Gegenschein says. "Almost as silly as trying to balance a teacup on a slanted bench, like so. Why place them here?"

As he gestures to the benches, which have been abandoned on the slope of the hill, Vizsla nods. "Right, we were just addressing that. We'll be moving them up. Or, rather, the help will be. But, since we're all here at last, now's the time for us to draft a party agenda."

Cloak can sense the potential for triple entendres… perhaps even, quadruple?

"Shall we review what we know so far?" Mudi prompts.

 No.765539

>>765537
Shei giggles playfully at the gentle tug.

"That leaves one last article of business." Shei poses dramatically, in a way that has probably never been seen outside of Regina's most outlandish mangas "MALECHIM I SUMMON YOU!!"

>LIGHT.VI DARK.III

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.765540

>>765539
>>765537
I'm gonna mulligen because I don't want to take too long with this.

Shei-Sher stands back upright, and jerks himself back into the dramatic pose again. This time with more oomph

>LIGHT.VI DARK.III

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765541

>>765537
"Perhaps, I may even be over-worrying interpreting intended game actions as 'attacks' altogether - we could see if it fancies her anyways, we do have quite the collection."

Approaching the others, Leather acts on his senses, "Agenda reveal party? I didn't know she was expecting."

 No.765542

>>765539
>>765540
With no response to either of your dramatic flourishes, you are forced to walk off in search of them. You find them outside of the temple's outer walls, in the shade of one of the decorative pagodas some way down the road, attempting to decipher the rules of mahjong with a number of dusty, yellowed rule-books.

"Oh, there you are boss," the violinist says. "You call?"

 No.765543

>>765537

"Thanks, guys," Amy says to the hired help with a playful wave as they (presumably) start bringing the benches up the hill.

"Feel free to stick around for the picnic if you want. And, if you don't feel free to take a donut for each of you. They look really good!"

>>765533
>>765534

Then, Amy turns to Cloak and Flaming. "GUYS! I got DONUTS!" she announces with intense enthusiasm.

 No.765544

>>765543
"Any custard filled?" The wrapping around about where Leather's eyebrows are raise in interest.

 No.765546

>>765544

"Probably!" Amy says with the most enthusiasm anyone has ever given to such a non-committal answer.

 No.765547

>>765542
"Aaahh come on guys!" Shei throws his arms up "It doesn't matter how dumb I look doing the poses. If you just follow through the crowd will think its cool. It's the consensus that matters."

Shei chances a quizzical look as he notices the books "Mahjong..?" But he shakes his head and catches himself before he derails. "first. a favor. Second. band practice"

"But first the favor. We're band mates. And I'm unequivocally the band leader -so.. I think I owe each of you this." Shei-Sher retrieves the ends of 3 separate chains from his cape and holds them out toward the Malechim.

 No.765549

>>765537
Shorthorns takes in the sight of the garden, taking in the smells and very much appreciating such a serene, natural scene. "It's beautiful… this might be the prettiest place in all of Tartarus!" She looks up at the trees, noting how they almost seem to be fighting one another as they intertwine. "Even here there's violence, though…"

>>765537
>>765543
Shorthorns sees all the others that have gathered around, excited to see so many familiar faces. None more so however than Amy.

"AMY! We got TEA!" She says, racing over to reunite with her adoptive sister. "It was amazing, you should have seen it! It was like a fairy-book story, with a castle, and there was a royal family, but they were all dragons, and another Witch who's been here since the Sons existed… and we turned into bugs!"

 No.765551

>>765549

"Another witch?" Amy asks with interest. "What was her name?"

 No.765552

>>765551
"Witch." Shorthorns states simply.

 No.765553

>>765552

"Seriously?" Amy deadpans.

 No.765554

>>765541
Gegenschein doubles over, his laughter so wheezy and breathless that it is completely inaudible.

>>765547
The malakhim take their chains and conjure their instruments, all of them looking quite relieved to no longer have to practice mahjong (while each being too proud to admit he was stumped by the game).

>>765541
>>765543
>>765549
"Where is Shei?" Mudi asks.
"…Busy," Flow answers after some deliberation.
"Riiiiiight…" Mudi says with a grimace.
"Worry not," Flow says. "He'll intuit what we decide here."
"And if not, it's his own fault," Vizsla says. "Now, let's begin.

"This tea party has one objective," Vizsla says. "For the… guest of honor to imbibe a bespoke blend, only one of its kind in all of LIMBO."

She avoids direct mention of the Vestal's name, and skims the unpleasant details… just in case the Vestal can hear.

"A most generous present," Gegenschein agrees. "We'll need to set the mood, lay the groundwork."

"We brought ambiance," Hurricanrana says, gesturing to the phonograph among the benches.

"Refreshments, courtesy of myself," Vizsla says.

"And of course, the decor was my doing," Desert adds.

"My!" Gegenschein says. "I suppose we'll have to run entertainment, lest we just be dead weight!"

"We've plenty of fun diversions," Holy Hours says in the driest and boringest tone ever.

"I'll be in charge of those," Anzu squeaks, peppy as ever.

"But," Monkey says. "Let's not forget MISTER MOOLAH's advice."

"Right," Ichimonji says. "Whatever you do, above all else…"

Yes, you recall…

Do NOT speak with the Vestal.

This is not to say that you cannot move your mouth, and produce sounds…

But you are speaking at the Vestal, not to her, and certainly not with her.

For, whatever the Vestal might be…

She is certainly not like any of you.

That thing is as different from umbrals, as umbrals are from mortals. Therefore, the gap between her and you cannot be measured.

That thing can make words, but they are void of meaning. Do not listen to them, and do not execute their instructions.

The less you hear of her, the less you see of her, the less you think of her, the safer you are. As safe as you can be in her presence, that is to say.

The Vestal must be appeased to sleep, and the sooner the better. Suppression of the Vestal is the first, last and only objective here.

And…

MISTER MOOLAH neglected to mention this, but Shorthorned, Shei and Flow learned that the Vestal is from the Seventh Layer – VIOLENCE. The way things from there fight… is probably worlds different from anything you've encountered so far.

So, if this goes wrong… well, there's probably no point in coming up with a contingency plan.

Especially given how that umbral described the Vestal's counterattacks.

Everything would simply… stop.

 No.765558

>>765553
Shorthorns merely offers a shrug. "I thought it was weird too but I'm sort of remembering it's a bad idea to use your name too much in Tartarus. Still, she could have been a little more creative, huh?"

>>765554
As everyone mentions having gotten all they could possibly need to get a proper party going, Shorthorns looks around at all the decor, refreshments, and treats offered. "Then… I guess all that's left to do is get this party started, then? I'm sure the 'guest of honor' will arrive before long, especially if we make it clear how much fun we're having, right?"

 No.765559

>>765554
"Did we all recall that just now?" Leather asks, rubbing his chin as he thinks of games that require very little interaction with one another. "Musical chairs… perhaps setting up a scavenger hunt… ooh, that jewel merchant game has no trading with one another or proper interaction. Just first to 15 points."

 No.765560

>>765554
"Oi, oi, oi" Shei gestures befuddlement "What we're going to play out here? Outside? We need acoustics friends, set up, stage, decorum. And I've the gumption to say neither of us have any experience performing on set."

Shei calls out to Bodhidharma "Boddhiii It fine with you if we have band practice in the dojo?" Shei requests practicing inside the temple.

 No.765561

>>765559
>>765554

"Oooh! I like games! I haven't heard of that last one, but it sounds fun! A scavenger hunt sounds like the best, though! I like finding things!"

"Who would do the hiding, though?" Amy asks, looking around to everyone.

 No.765562

>>765561
Hiding things would be the best, I don't think you want to be found by them if I am recalling all of this all at once correctly."

 No.765563

>>765560
You get back into the lantern, and find the malakhim down the hill from the dojo, getting set up. The reasoning is twofold: you're going to be playing in an outdoor venue, so you should practice outdoors as well. And, the Bodhidharma doesn't want the noise to annoy him, so you have to be far away from the temple.

The fellas noodle by way of warming up.

[3d10]

>>765558
>>765559
>>765561
The workers from the marketplace reluctantly load up the benches and chairs back onto the cart, and start to make their way up toward the crest of the hill. The colossal intertwined trees loom overhead, their branches and leaves concealing the Vestal.

As you ascend nearer to the peak of the hill, there is no visible path. You've little choice but to step upon grass and stray flowers on your way up. A reluctance is obvious upon your allies' faces. Perhaps this may be considered 'violence'…? Yet, the marketplace workers continue onward, and no misfortune befalls them. The plant-life trampled by your steps rises back up in a plastic way, unharmed by your steps… preserved perfectly by an artificial means.

In time, you crest the hill. Myriad flowers cover the plateau, absolutely even and symmetrical in their distribution, across the circular peak. The great roots of the two intertwined trees stretch up out of the dirt, and the shortest of these roots is taller even than Rooster. It is here that at last you can smell a faint aroma, coming from the bark of these trees. Nothing else, not the flowers, nor the grasses, carries any other kind of smell. There is no breeze to stir this stagnant air, yet the upper branches of the trees sway, animated by some other unknown means. The trees shiver, locked as they are, in mutual choking.

The Vestal remains unseen, as the workers, silent and deathly pale, remove the benches from the carts yet again. The workers wince and suppress gasps at every little noise from the struggle to unload the benches, as if even so much as a pinched finger or strained muscle might portend retaliation…

Roll #1 1, 6, 4 = 11

 No.765564

>>765563
Shei-Sher is pulled to and fro as they decide where to set up and on their line-up. Shei relates certain chords and musical pieces from periods they can relate too. But for the most part Shei expresses "But don't mind the details. Its math rock. Crunch the numbers, go with the flow -that's worked for us so far."

[I can take care of the rolls]

[4d10] "3, 2, 11, 8!" Shei announces his math rock time signatures

Roll #1 2, 1, 8, 1 = 12

 No.765565

>>765563
>>765561

"We could perhaps decide upon some harmless trinkets in which to hide about to prepare this treasure hunt if you like the idea of it. If we all hide one and restrict ourselves from seeking the specific object we hid, then I imagine it'd be rather fair."

He stays well out of the way of the workers as they move about, giving them plenty of space, "And if we hide objects far enough apart, I imagine it would be quite the workout collecting everything, especially if everyone contributed a hidden object. We might need refreshments afterwards."

 No.765566

>>765563
Shorthorns looks on as everyone works while walking on eggshells, fearing even the slightest provocation or even halfhearted hint of aggression could trigger the Vestal's wrath. She attempts to use her Life Magic to help them along, summoning helpful vines / branches from the lush flora around them to offer assistance. Surely, the Vestal would not be opposed to plants choosing to lend their aid?

[1d10] Life Sphere (Secondary)

>>765565
"I think that sounds fun! I could try to make a stone figure using my magic to add to the search?"

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.765567

>>765565
>>765563

"Oooh! Does anyone have any gemstones we can hide? That'd be fun to seek!"

However, Amy is then distracted by the scene coming from the tree. She starts sniffing closer and closer to it, trying to identify it. It just being a typical tree smell is perfectly acceptable.

 No.765568

>>765567

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.765569

>>765564
The malakhim are probably going to require a refresher course on advanced arithmetic if they're going to pull off this 'math rock' sorcery you're attempting.

>>765566
You summon your will, and your command over Life itself, yet a strange stillness suppresses your power, and you conjure nothing, under the weight of this stagnation. This stagnation is more than mere emptiness, it is a choking, denying weight.

>>765567
These… Trees…

…Although you're not a demon of letters, you sense there is something wrong about using lowercase letters to write about them. Letters and words themselves, for however limited they can capture most things, cannot convey even a tenth of what these TREES are. They convey life, yet their presence portends death. They convey knowledge, yet their presence negates it.

But, you will not have to worry yourself about them until later. These are not of LIMBO, nor even VIOLENCE… rather…

Involuntarily, you step back, and something repels this strange trance from your mind, leaving you only with an instinctual aversion toward being too close to the… "Trees."

>>765565
>>765566
>>765567
Once the workers are done, they rush off, moving as quietly as they can toward the gate of the garden without so much as a goodbye or seeing if you'd offer a tip. Hurricanrana pulls a jacketed record from his bag, and goes over to the phonograph that Amy had negotiated for earlier.

"Alright," he says. "Once we're ready for the party, I'll put on the music. Should be a pretty obvious sign to start! Just gimme the go-ahead once you're all set."

The others nod, pulling out their party favors from their bags.

>You are free to direct how the tea party will be set up, and the general agenda of events. Coordination and cooperation is highly encouraged. Once ready, signal to Hurricanrana to put on the phonograph.

 No.765570

>>765569
"Forget the numbers focus on the sound. We need to get our set tighter. Too many bars that are out of sync. We all follow on Bass's rhythm, but Triangle keeps the pace. Lets do it again."

Shei-Sher harnesses the dhyana in his horns and projects his vibe to his fellow bandmates.

[4d10]

Roll #1 3, 8, 3, 10 = 24

 No.765571

>>765569
>>765565
>>765566

Amy's ears go back as she finishes sniffing the tree. "I don't like that tree," she declares in a sort of muted tone.

Then, once the phonograph starts getting set up, Amy says, "Alright, everyone! Dancing over, there," she says as she points her hoof-paw at the area around the phonograph.

"If you wanna eat, go over there," she says, pointing to the picnic tables.

"And, if you wanna have a scavenger hunt, come over here!" she says, point down at the ground in front of her. Though, she looks to Cloak to ensure that that last bit was alright by him.

 No.765572

>>765571
>>765569

Leather nods to Amy pulls out quill and paper. "I can make a list of what everyone's planning to hide, and make copies for every player. We can't just go hiding objects and then not knowing what we're looking for. The more participants in hiding something, the bigger the game. I'd love some assistance from my Ecclessian comrades, Witch associates, or the like. I'll make a master document first, then get to making copies once everyone's told me what they plan to hide."

 No.765573

>>765571
>>765569
Shorthorns shivers as she tries to summon the plantlife to come to the aid of the workers, feeling the sheer pressure of the Vestal's presence making it difficult to focus on such things. She looks up at the intertwining trees with no small look of apprehension, as she directs her attention to Hurricanrana and Leather

She raises a hoof, "I'll put in something for the scavenger hunt, then should I start making the tea now or wait until the party's started? I wouldn't want it to get cold before it's time…"

[1d10] Using Dark Sphere to create a stone buffalo miniature to add to the scavenger hunt

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.765574

>>765573
"No need to rush the tea, though I personally think it'd be more palatable as iced tea after a little fun excursion of treasure hunting. Do think it'd still it make for a good refreshment in that form?"

 No.765575

>>765570
You're getting closer. Addition and subtraction's there, but multiplication's a bit off.

>>765571
>>765572
>>765573
Desert Lamp starts to unload the dessert rack. "There's a joke in there somewhere," she says, as she sets out the various Tartarian pastries on the table. (Although Amy might be able to eat these, owing to her past time in Tartarus, the others may find themselves a bit more reluctant to do so…)

Shorthorned pushes against the suppressive weight, and makes four small buffalo trinkets and figurines to contribute to the scavenger hunt. Freischutz and Anzu each contribute a baggie of rock candy, Ichimonji offers an assortment of Jibayini coins – denominations of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12. Galton adds an assortment of five old wax seals, a record pried off of documents uncovered during their westward exodus. And, finally, Mudi magicks up twelve origami figures, each one depicting a different sort of adventurer.

All in all, this gives you 29 objects to hide for your scavenger hunt.

 No.765576

>>765569
>>765573
>>765572

"Ooooh! That was cool!" Amy says as she marvels at Flaming so easily creating a statuette.

Amy, for her part, produces Lumpet the Trumpet from the nothingness that is her shapeshifted saddlebag.

>>765575
>>765574

"OH!" Amy suddenly exclaims excitedly. "Vizzy! You should hide the stuff! You're good at that sort of thing!" she has decided, seemingly arbitrarily.

"Hide them wherever you want, but they have to stay in this garden."

 No.765577

>>765575
Shei-Sher fiddles with his guitar a bit, while giving everyone a few minutes to cool off in between songs. "Viola-" Shei addresses one of the Malechim "On the part thats confusing for you, just do a solo and we'll back you up. Meet the 50th bar on the down-beat and change to 11/8s. Everyone else, get it tighter and more blues notes but still- keep the pace."

[4d10] They do it again.

Roll #1 2, 3, 9, 9 = 23

 No.765578

>>765577
"We're close. It's coming together. A little more practice."

 No.765579

>>765575
>>765576

Leather gets to writing these down with accurate descriptions as not to imply subterfuge, looking up to Amy's suggestion of one individual hiding the objects, "Well if have a few people hiding the objects, we can cover more ground instead of only hiding it in one area at a time. Split up and really spread 'em out, y'know?"

He only gets to work making copies of the master scavenger list once everyone's done contributing.

 No.765580

>>765575
>>765574
As Shorthorns creates the miniatures to add to the scavenger hunt, she nods in agreement with Leather, "Oooh, I didn't think of that. I almost always drink my tea hot but that makes sense, something cold after games would probably be more refreshing. Either way I'll wait till it's almost time to drink to make the tea, hot or cold it'll be better fresh, right?"

>>765576
>>765575
As Amy offers her praise, Shorthorns blushes and shakes her head, "What? Noo, that was nothing, I-I just kind of made whatever popped into my head. I did get some good inspiration for miniatures from when I played that board game with Regina, um… shoot, what was it again? The one where we pretend to be adventurers in a dungeon?" She says, asking Voyage directly recalling he played it as well.

 No.765581

>>765580
"Witches and Wargs!" Great Voyage says. "Say, that's a pretty cooperative game, could be a good friendship builder for the… for– y'know. Though it's a bit wordy, and a bit long… maybe if we make a return trip through here."

>>765576
>>765579
>>765580
"Me?" Vizsla asks, reaching for the trinkets. "Why, I'd love to. I can make it really interesting that way."

"Now, now," Mudi says. "No funny business and no traps. We're sticking to the items they gave us. Supper, come and help us, will you?"

Supper whines, as social pressure falls on her to set up a good game. Yet she doesn't have the will to refuse Mudi's invitation.

The three divvy up the scavenger hunt prizes, with Vizsla no doubt scheming additions of her own…

 No.765582

>>765581
Shei-Sher is determined. He showers his band mates with praise for their small improvements and issues apologies for the last minute band practice. But many fates rest on the quality of their first gig. He tries to keep attitudes light hearted so no one gets burnt out.

[4d10]

Roll #1 9, 6, 3, 2 = 20

 No.765583

>>765581
Shorthorns taps her chin at Voyage's suggestion. "It was pretty fun, but I don't know… it seemed kind of complicated to set up, would anyone be able to run it the way Regina did? I wouldn't be able to like, come up with an adventure on the spot or anything."

As the others prepare the scavenger hunt, Shorthorns decides to take a look at the tea she acquired from the princess - not yet to make it but to know in advance if it required any sort of special preparations for when it came time to brew it she should be aware of.

 No.765584

>>765581
Leather looks pleased enough starting to make copies of the scavenger list with Amy's addition making 30 items even. "Hmm, well there's the extent of my ideas for games. We could something along the lines of a square dance or something…"

Leather looks about for the elephant in the room, Rooster, you know your way around parties and you're so light on your feet - do you know any good dances to teach and perform as a group that don't require a partner?" An idea starts to form as he taps his head, "Well hey, we could even make a game of that too - whoever could last the longest. Endurance dancing."

 No.765585

>>765579

"Yeah, but Vizzy can go everyone all at once!" Amy says, exaggerating her abilities.

>>765580

"Oh… I think I was unconscious for most of that…"

>>765584
>>765581

Amy nods in at the witches hiding things satisfaction. "I can't wait to get started! Did I mention I'm good at finding things?"

 No.765586

>>765583
You look at the tea ingredients. You have the satchel of leaves given to you by the dragon princess, as well as two other strange ingredients, gathered by Amy's group, and by Leather Cloak's.

The first of these appears to be a coal of sorts. It's a glowing, rounded blob, about the size of your iris. You could swear that it lacks texture and form altogether, more like congealed warmth and light than anything else. Just looking at it puts you in a relaxed state, as it drifts between shades of sunset orange and gold.

The second of these is a stark contrast to the first. It is a floating, dark grey… shape. It defies stability, seeming to change shape each time you look at it, no, more than that, each time your eyes move in its presence. A small cloud of lesser shapes swirls around the central mass, obscuring its true form. Yet, as you stand in its presence, you feel your supernatural power weakened. It conveys an oppressive, consumptive, mundane air, in other words.

As for preparation… Perhaps you might mix them together, then steep them with suitably hot water, as one would for normal tea?

>>765585
>>765584
"Of course," Rooster says, lowering his voice as he did around the dragon royals. "It will require a contentious group to follow my instructions, of course. Amy, might I count on your help to wrestle this crowd into obedience?"

>>765582
You sense the malakhim getting rather anxious. A combination of boredom with repeat practice, and the pressure of a looming performance. You may wish to wrap this up soon and go with what you've got, lest they burn out early.

 No.765587

>>765586

At first, Amy looks downtrodden to not be a part of the scavenger hunt. But, she's happy at the prospect of getting people having fun.

"I don't like that wording, but I'd be happy to help liven things up. Just tell me what to do, Booster!"

 No.765588

>>765586
"As diplomatically as possible." Leather reminds Rooster, "The only true wrestling in the end should be the social-faux-pas-of-not-participating-in-the-festivities… off the top rope."

 No.765589

>>765585
"If we do get a game going, you should totally sit in! I thought it seemed pretty weird at first but you get into it, I had a lot of fun. Voyage can help you with your character like he did mine."

>>765586
Shorthorns gazes at the bizarre components to the tea for a bit longer, almost feeling lulled into sleep herself between the sheer warmth and comfort provided by the first ingredient and the overwhelming fatigue and weakness overcoming her looking at the second. She shakes her head clear of distracting (and compromising) thoughts as she puts the ingredients away, feeling it would indeed be best to save them for right before the tea is served, to preserve potency.

She puts the tea ingredients in a safe spot at the table where refreshments are to be served. Hearing mention of a dance, she turns her attention to Rooster, approaching the elephant excited. "Did I hear something about dancing?"

 No.765590

>>765586
It might not be up to par with what Shei expected, but what they have is good enough. Shei decides it's better to pack things up on a good note before he exhausts his band mates.

"That's a wrap. You guys did great. I think what we have here is a fair deal for our first gig. I'll see what I can put together for the venue. But I want everyone to rest a moment before it's time to play."

With that Shei-Sher exits the lantern.

 No.765591

>>765587
>>765588
>>765589
>>765590
Rooster grumbles, looking at the phonograph longingly. "If only I could show you with the proper musical backing! Yet, I fear we may invite our guest before the confetti is all packed and the party favors are all set if we were to do so…"

"Well," Doctor Galton says, casting her eyes over the grounds. "The food's been set out, the scavenger hunt's been prepared, we've games in spades, the floor is cleared for dancing…"

"And look who came out of his cave to join us!" Gegenschein says, gesturing at Shei.

Everybody looks at Shei for an uncomfortably long time.

"I dare say…" Galton says, to break the silence. "I'm certainly ready, at least. What say the rest of you…?"

 No.765592

>>765590
>>765591

"Hey! Shei does music stuff, right!?" Amy says excitedly. "Would that be better music, Booster?"

 No.765593

>>765591
>>765592
>>765589
>>765588
Shei is caught in a furcuffle of awkward tension "Hay don't look at me like that!" Shei points a hoof toward everyone "I'm an up and coming business owner, I'm in a band, and I make time to talk to my mother. -And that's more than any one of uuuuuuuh" He points his hoof around before landing his pointing cleft on someone deserving of Shei's ridicule.

Shei points at Shorthorned Dragon "-than You can say. Get a job Flaming."

 No.765594

>>765591
"I am rather tapped of ideas, I'm surprised I came up with anything at all. If we were to Skip to the beginning of the party, I feel as prepared as I can be."

Leather moves his bandages over his eyes, ready to hand out scavenger hunt lists blindly as to avoid exposure.

 No.765595

>>765591
Shorthorns looks around at all the festivities arranged, and nods to Rooster. "Decorations, guests, games, scavenger hunts, dancing, food, beverages? Hard to think of what else a party could possibly need! I say we go for it!"

>>765593
As Shei emerges from the lantern at last, she is about to give him a small earful about coming out JUST in time to not help with the preparations, before he points at her specifically. "What? A job? I have a job, it's called 'saving the world'! What's your job?"

 No.765596

>>765594
>>765595
>>765592
>>765593
"Aha!" Rooster exclaims as Shei appears. He looks to Amy. "We should get you a gun!"

Freischutz arches an eyebrow.

"Because your aim-y is always sharp!" Rooster concludes.

The Ecclesians just stare at Rooster in silence, with the exception of Gegenschein, who wheezes with laughter. Yet that one laugh seems enough for Rooster to evade embarrassment.

As Cloak goes around to pass out scavenger hunt lists, everyone takes theirs folded, pocketing them so as not to accrue an unfair advantage. Murderers, crusaders and ideologues they may be– they play honestly, at least.

The Malakhim get set up to play, at Amy's suggestion, and Hurricanrana hovers his hoof over the arm of the phonograph, ready to draw…

 No.765597

File: 1704775593359.jpg (151.63 KB, 1200x800, image.jpg)

>>765595
>>765596
"I make shit happen." Shei says curtly as he steps ahead to a nice area of flat grass that isn't being used and raises his hooves up to break from the earth a venue suiting to Shei's newfound grandiosity

Shei recreates the Dalhalla Sweden open air venue.

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

>>Talent: Grants the Aspect Ability, Alchemy the passive to be applied at a macroscopic scale, as long as the ingredients are within contact of the evoker.

[1d10+2]

Shei raises his guitar calls out rivers to pour into the large basin he made surrounding the concert hall
>Staff of the Cloudsmith: Roll to change the weather in the local area to rainy, cloudy, stormy, or clear. Can store one weather pattern that is not on this list in its orb for future use

>DARK.III

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.765598

>>765593
>>765595

"Hey, Shortyhorns had a job when I first met her! We were lookouts together on a big wall!"

"She can't help the fact that she's fallen on hard times and lost her job!" Amy says ignoring that the same could be said of her.

>>765596

Amy also stares at Rooster quietly after his pun. Then, she lets out a single chortle of laughter.

>>765597
>>765596

"Ooooh! Now THIS will be a dance!" Amy says as she claps her hoofpaws together excitedly.

 No.765599

>>765596
"Honestly someone aught to hand me a pair of scales and I could make a convincing Justice." Leather muses to himself under his eye wrappings, waiting patiently.

 No.765601

>>765598
"That's the thing about Buffalo. You live on a reservation once, and the reparation checks never stop, no matter where you live."

 No.765602

>>765599
>>765598
>>765597
As Shei starts to rock out, he in his reveries bumps into Hurricanrana. Now, Hurricanrana is far too heavy with muscle to be moved physically by the tiny goat. But, his intelligence, on the other hand…

"Is that the signal?" Hurricanrana asks. "You know what– I like the energy, this is the signal!"

Cutting right through the nervous tension, Hurricanrana lowers the phonograph's needle to the record, and he turns the crank. From the mouth of the horn, a warbling melody rises…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pRYn0ZjlFo

>instrumental / looped version

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6E4abY4Ug0

The malakhim quickly try to play off Shei's blunder with improv, playing off the phonograph's music as an accompaniment. As for the Ecclesians, they try to smooth over Shei's movements by getting to dancing themselves, leading the way to the cleared space among the roots of the so-called "TREES."

If one were to glance skyward, to the tops of these two "TREES," tangled and strangling one another… one might see…

 No.765604

>>765598
>>765598
Shorthorns nods in agreement as Amy stands up for her defense, but looks at her as she then seems to 'confirm' she's jobless. "I didn't 'lose' that job, I quit! Because there was more important stuff going on I could help with! And you lost your job too, remember?! You came with me!"

She turns to look at Shei, "E-either way, we have jobs! It's just not something we get paid for or anything but we still have work to do, see?"

>>765597
>>765596
>>765602
As Shei starts up a concert to entertain the Vestal, and Rooster starts up the phonograph, Shorthorns looks to see as everyone getting into position, and proceeds to do her part by joining in the dancing with everyone, practicing out any steps Rooster showed them beforehand but, naturally, eventually devolving into her aggressive, customary Climbing Fire tribal steps as she stomps around the dance floor.

>She takes a look upwards, to see if anything is happening with the entertwining trees

 No.765648

>>765602
Shei soaks in a moment of chagrin as he bumbles around the dance floor. He sees his Malechim get into the swing of being a ballroom quartet minus him. "A prudent move, but now my momentum's gone."

He swings out his axe into both hooves and starts playing acoustic "I can raise a concert stage any time. Opportunities come and opportunities go- to and fro- to and fro." Shei bustles his way past the dances to join the Malechim.

 No.765649

>>765604
>>765602

"Hey, Shortyhorns!" Amy says excitedly. "Stop staring at trees and party with us!"

She says it in a pointed manner as if she might have some additional reason to say it that she hopes Flaming will pick up on.

 No.765650

>>765604
"Don't you lump Amy in with your type. She's a strong independent demon wolf mare. She's a representative of the people. A political partisan!"

>"E-either way, we have jobs! It's just not something we get paid for or anything but we still have work to do, see?"

"That's very convenient for someone with a work history gap in their resume."

 No.765651

>>765650

"Like YOU have a job, either!" Amy points out.

 No.765652

>>765651
"I am an aspiring artist -thank you!"

 No.765653

>>765652

"If you're aspiring, doesn't that mean you aren't one yet?" Amy asks, putting her hoof-paw to her chin thoughtfully.

 No.765654

>>765604
>>765648
>>765649
As Shorthorned's gaze brushes against the tips of the trees–

–In
an–
–in
stant–

Another presence stands among you.

>Shalt thou acknowledge it, or shalt thou not?

 No.765655

>>765649
>>765650
>>765654
Shorthorn's gaze leers up for a moment, before the call of Amy's warning calls her back to reality. Her eyes open wide, remembering MISTAH MOOLAH'S warning about acknowledging the presence of the Vestal, and she quickly brings her head swinging back down, pulling herself into a dance as she berates herself for so quickly forgetting an important rule.

"R-Right! Sorry, yeah, was just daydreaming a little! I'm good to dance, let's go!" She says, quickly ignoring the presence she felt a moment before and avoiding what could be obliteration.
>NOT acknowledging the presence

Instead, as she dances with Amy and Shei, she smugly looks over at Shei as she nods in agreement with Amy's observation. "Yeah, I don't think 'aspiring' is a job either, is it?"

 No.765656

>>765652
>>765654
>>765655

"Can someone aspire to aspire?" Amy continues to ponder aloud, getting more and more off topic.

 No.765657

>>765655
>>765654
Shei-Sher neglects acknowledging the Vestal. Instead keeping up the banter with Shorthorns. Shei winks at Shorthorns as he notices her attention drift off toward the vestal. "You have to put in the hours doing freelance work until you can collect dues. Just you wait- after tonight's gig you'll be hearing about Shei and the Malechim all over Tartarus. Posters, merchandise, t-shirts, It's all in the works."

>>765656
"I don't know are you ableableableable?"

 No.765658

>>765657

Amy slowly blinks at Shei.

"Huh?"

 No.765659

>>765657
>>765655
That's the trouble with avoiding something, isn't it?
In order to not acknowledge something, you must, at least to some extent, know where it is.
It's not the same as invincible ignorance.
In knowing where something is, in order not to acknowledge it, that little sliver of the thing's existence lives inside your mind.

Out of the corner of your eye– a smear of color. It rises from the dance floor, back up into the trees. Yet, your other senses disagree with your vision. Your kinetic sense asserts that the colors descended the tree, that the end point stands among you. Your spiritual sense is keeping quiet– it wants no part of this.

>>765655
>>765656
>>765657
Rooster trumpets along with the phonograph, a little improv on the melody. "To the dance floor, my little ponies and friends."

Words catch in his throat. He's composed, yet even he realizes something has joined you. Could even that count as–? Best to not even think about it.

"After me, now!" Rooster says. He performs the first few steps of a dance, then gestures to you. Music like this might inspire someone to dance with a partner. But, for obvious reasons, that would not be a good idea.

 No.765660

>>765659
Shorthorn notices the smear of color in the corner of her eye, and wills herself to ignore it, pulling her attention away and focusing only on her allies and the beat as she moves to join Rooster's dance group as he plays on the phonograph.

She watches Rooster dance, and begins to follow his hoof-steps as closely as she can. She's tempted to ask Voyage to join with her, but realizes inspiring 'partners' would have its drawback as she tries to mimic his movements

[1d10] Following Rooster's lead

>>765658
>>765657
>ableableableable
"Don't listen to him Amy, he's just trying some of his fancy jargon to distract you from his being a jobless bum!"

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.765661

>>765658
"I think you might be disable-ableableabled"

>>765659
Shei-Sher rejoins the Malechim "How you gents doing? I think once we break for our first intermission I'll set the stage."

 No.765662

>>765660
"That does it! You don't get a t-shirt flaming!"

 No.765663

>>765659
Leather up until this point has kept his eyes bandaged over giving out scavenger hunt lists to keep things totally just and fair. He has remained as such even as music has started, just in case there were stragglers. This continues for the time being until he has ran out or until the first song is over.

 No.765664

>>765661

"But, why so many ables?" Amy asks, thoroughly confused.

>>765660
>>765661

"You're right! It doesn't matter how many ables you have if you're only aspiring to them in the first place!"

>>765659

Amy watches and carefully follows the dance motions. Grace is not one of her natural qualities.

[1d10]

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.765666

>>765660
>>765661
Even as you move, turning your head and eyes this way and that, a sensation remains in your peripheries– diminished, but not gone. Your senses turn against one another, arguing about their contradictory inputs; is it here? There? It draws near. It is far away. It shakes. It is still. It empties. It is phenomena.

The stream of internal sense-perception threatens to rage into a rapid.

>roll to quell the tide


>>765663
>>765660
>>765664
The ice breaks gradually among the Ecclesians. But, even those who aren't naturals find their skill in dodging, jumping and running affords them a box of tools from which they can draw to dance. Rooster, a patient teacher, keeps the dance simple enough to start, but steadily adds more twists and complexities, to steadily incline the level of challenging.

>roll for dancing


>>765661
"Righto, boss," the trianglist says. "Let us groove for a bit though, 'Cclesia might want us to sign on if they like us."

 No.765667

>>765666

"Where did you learn to dance so well?" Amy asks Rooster as she attempts to follow his movements.

"Is it offensive if I say that I'm surprised an elephant can dance so well?"

[1d10] to dance

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765669

>>765666
If it seems everyone's collected scavenger hunt lists and the first song is done, Leather navigates himself to the sound of Rooster's instructions, keeping off the path to travel there to not run into anyone. He unbandages his eyes once he's sure he's oriented himself towards the elephant.

[1d10] blind off-path navigation
[1d10] dance

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.765670

>>765664
Rolling to quell
[1d10]

>>765664
"Ableableableableableable" Shei continues

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.765671

>>765667
>>765666

Amy may not be naturally graceful, but she IS naturally thoughtless. As can be seen by her racist remarks.

[1d10] for thoughtlessness

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.765672

>>765662
"Good, you'd probably over charge me for it!"
>>765664
"I guess you can call him an aspireable!"

>>765666
Shorthorns continuously tries to push the uncertain presence out of her mind, trying to ignore it lest she invite danger on all the people here
[1d10] Quelling the tide

As she concentrates mainly on her dancing, following Rooster's heavy hoof steps - if someone as big as he can manage this, why can't she?

[1d10] Dancing

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 7 = 7

 No.765673

>>765670

"I swear, every time you disappear, you come back weirder," Amy laughs. "Are you okay?"

 No.765675

>>765673
"Our last jaunt, I fixed a broken family and sang a wee tired lass my life story. It was cathartic. I'm a person in progress and that's alright."

 No.765676

>>765675

"That sounds nice. I'd like to hear about more of it later," Amy says with a smile.

 No.765677

>>765672
>>765671
>>765670
>>765667
>>765669
"Come on, Amy," Rooster says. "Racism isn't funny– almost being racist is! Refine your technique."

Before this thought can sink in, Amy already finds herself occupied by the singular act of dancing. The rhythm becomes her, infusing into muscle and bone, gait and posture. She rides the wave, even leaping up onto her hind paws so that her forepaws can wiggle in the air.

Then, one of Amy's paws collides wit–

Amy obliviates her mind. Absolute jhana. Neither stinging paw, nor the 嘀攀猀琀愀氀 register.

>>765672
>>765670
>>765669
Yet the rest of you hear the collision. A hearty thunk of bone colliding with bone. Then comes the–

Shei quells his thoughts, allowing sensation and phenomena to arise, and pass, without attachment. The shade of disaster leaves him, once more…

>>765669
>>765672
There is a light sniffling in the air. The unmistakable beginnings of a cry, from a sudden whack to the head. You perceive this sniffling, and it lingers in your minds. Each individual phoneme, you can still hear, on loop, echoing– the visual equivalent of one mirror facing another.

>roll to quell the growing sensation


>>765670
>>765667
Tension grows in the air– now would be a good time for a distraction.

 No.765678

>>765677
Leather continues to dance, as nothing of note has happened other than the party.

[1d10] required roll
[1d10] dance

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.765680

>>765675
Shei stymies a befuddled look of embarrassed emotions on his face, as of late he's too accustomed to putting on an unserious veneer

>>765677
"Boys I feel it -the winds are changing direction. This is our time." Shei-Sher skips forward past the dance floor and takes an unused outstretch of land mold into his concert venue.

Shei recreates the Dalhalla Sweden open air venue.

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

>>Talent: Grants the Aspect Ability, Alchemy the passive to be applied at a macroscopic scale, as long as the ingredients are within contact of the evoker.

[1d10+2]

Shei raises his guitar calls out rivers to pour into the large basin he made surrounding the concert hall
>Staff of the Cloudsmith: Roll to change the weather in the local area to rainy, cloudy, stormy, or clear. Can store one weather pattern that is not on this list in its orb for future use

>DARK.III

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.765681

>>765677
As Shorthorns continues dancing along with the beat, her ears prick up at the sounds of sniffling, and more so than any moment before, she has to truly fight the desire not to turn and look. Somehow, even something as terrifying as the Vestal, the sound of soft crying pricks at Shorthorn's heart and the part of her she's dedicated to protecting others flares up, wanting to console them. Knowing the danger, however, Shorthorns tries to do so in a roundabout way, hoping this alone doesn't trigger anything she'll regret

"Come on everyone, happy faces! You're bound to step on a few toes or hooves here and there, but that's all part of the fun of dancing! Don't let it get you down!" She says, oddly out of character and inspirational but hoping the words reach whoever is sniffling… whoever they are.

[1d10] Quell the sensation

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765683

>>765677
>>765681
>>765680
>>765678
>>765677

Amy only knows dance. She is so caught up in her own rhythm that she starts to do a massive spin on her hind paws. It might be a sight to behold.

[1d10] to distract everyone with dancing

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.765684

>>765681
Oh, the words do, alright… and so do your eyes. One possessed of your moral fiber finds it near impossible to ignore the sounds of imminent crying, especially that brought about by a whack to the head– brought about by VIOLENCE.

And, the image reaches your mind before your head can even finish turning.

And, present perception and memory are at one another's throats. Your mind cannot tell whether you have just now looked at the Vestal, or if you have been looking at her, ever since you turned your eyes to the top of the so-called "TREE." It's like something forces it, retroactively, into the archives of your mind– revisionist history.

And, the Vestal before you is too close to perceive it all at once, requiring the eyes to move. That which ends up in your peripheral vision shifts and turns. What color is that? What texture is that? Is that apricot, or peach? With each guess that your senses take, it comes true. Every figment of imagination, every association of thought, becomes true and outdated each second. And that's just with the thoughts that make coherent sense.

And, the Vestal is a kaleidoscope of an entity. Textured like paper, then yarn, smelling like dust, then as sweet as rot, every description here today, gone tomorrow. In the past, some have referred to her as female, yet its physiognomy, race, gender, height and width, are just as effervescent.

And, the Vestal blinks. None of its many eyes has a stable number of irises. Each frame of its movement lingers in your mind, a bit like the optical illusion that is conjured by a flip book. Yet each frame real, simultaneous, eternal.

And, its mouths open– perhaps to speak? perhaps to eat? perhaps to–

>>765683
>>765681
>>765680
>>765678
Hailing every angel and saint he can think of, Leather Cloak busts it down in the midst of the dance floor. Perhaps not what you'd think of as being typical for this kind of music, but the sheer skill, the audacity, the technique and the finesse, refute any kind of objection anyone could possibly raise. Amy follows his lead, though not quite at his level– and the Ecclesians join in, really, really trying hard not to show the sweat on their brows. Vizsla tries to sneak away to the snack table, but Mudi turns her staff into a cane, and hooks her in. Everyone's going to have to work together to salvage this.

>>765681
And the Vestal looks on, so dumbstruck at the skill that her sniffling pauses.

 No.765686

>>765684
>>765678

Amy stops her spinning and watches Cloak as he absolutely busts a move. Her dizziness kicks in, and she falls over. But, she continues to just be in awe of Cloak's moves.

"Wow!" she exclaims. "With moves like those, I think it's time for a new tune!"

 No.765687

>>765686
Leather nods in agreeance to nowhere in particular.
>>765680
>>765681
"Any chance you've got one about love, kid?"" Leather says to Shei, frozen in place from his last move since the last song, evidently pointing his hoof to the sky.

 No.765688

>>765687
>>765684

> second meant to be GM/Shei, not Shorthorns/Shei

 No.765836

>>765684
Shorthorns feels frozen, stuck still as a deer suddenly caught in the light. She can't bring herself to turn away from the entity she sees anymore than she can bring herself to understand what she's looking at, he brain already feeling like it's struggling to keep up with the idea of *it*.

Feeling she's stuck, Shorthorns can only try to steel her mind, using all the powers of godhood she's obtained to try and recognize on that is far beyond gods as gods are beyond mortals.
[1d10] to understand

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.765837

>>765687
>>765684
Shei turns about face, in expression of abject surprise for how hard Leather is styling on him and everyone in his vicinity.

He asks Shei if he can play a love song. With that coy look, Shei can't help but feel shown up

"You're really going on and make me play oldies mate. Fine, Crowley plays enough records."

"Boys!" Shei calls out to the malechim "I'm all you need, The Divine Comedy. BOSSA NOVA!"

Shei puts away his guitar and grabs a microphone stand. From where no one is quite sure. But if I'm pressed for, I'll make an alchemy roll to justify it.

>Background Music: instant, stackable; the entire party gains +1 to all rolls for 2 turns, this effect is

stackable for a maximum of +2; upon critical failure cancels all stacks of the effect, this skill cannot
critically succeed. Effect duration of each stack refreshes after a successful use.
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.765838


 No.765839

>>765836
The misty synesthesia of the entity before you gradually coalesces, folding into as definite a form as may be possible. Her skin is wrought of thread and fabric. Marble, coiling ribbons of hair– miles long, floating as if in water. Her form is lanky, thin… and serpentine. Her body extends all the way back up and around the so-called "TREES" which stand in the midst of the garden. The cloth scales on her sides and belly rise and fall, and innumerable limbs protrude from beneath, touching gently, compulsively, at everything nearby– feeling, weighing, measuring, grasping. The word "Vestal" feels incomplete to you now… as haphazard a tag as any for describing this fragment of existence.

>>765837
>>765687
>>765686
>>765836
Shei and his band join in, making the most of the opening cut by Leather. Even those struggling to dance– mainly the Witches find themselves able to cut loose and improvise, learning as they go. The air's tension lessons, just by somewhat.

All the while, the Vestal lingers in Shorthorned's vision, as she approaches the dance floor. Unbeknownst to the dancers, her hair and limbs glide among them, pawing that which is nearby with a simple fascination.

 No.765840

>>765839
>>765837
"I figured you'd have one of your own making, though I certainly can work the oldies. This is an endurance dance after all, we'll be here for a while working through the greatest hits."

Leather Cloak grooves to the change in tempo, necessity for showmanship subsiding somewhat but feeling in their element as their dance turns less bombastic and closer to Rooster's instructions to help guide onlookers gained back to the program. He still feels the urge to be conversational, if Shei isn't absorbed back into playing music now.

[1d10+1] Shimmy

"Have you been in love before?"

Roll #1 1 + 1 = 2

 No.765841

>>765839
>>765837

Amy does more bouncing than dancing. "That's why I love you, Shei! You always know how to wow a crowd!"

She claps her hoof-paws together as Shei sings fantastically.

She joins the witches in their dancing. "I see you're having fun now," Amy says to Viszla with a smug look.

[1d10] to do the dancing good

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.765842

>>765839
Shorthorns pays half a mind to the party going on, still trying to enjoy herself lest she distract the Vestal's attention from it by not having a good time herself, but as she manages to take hold of her thoughts and paint a picture of the Vestal, Shorthorns can't help but be in awe of her, having never seen a being so vast and all encompassing as her entire presence surrounds the world they party in.

Wondering if she can maintain her composure as well as her concentration, Shorthorns sees if she can read the Vestal's face, getting a feel for if she's enjoying herself so far with the party
[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765844

>>765839

Taking note of the sloppy start, Leather ensures a safer start to the dance again, invoking his protective prowess.

> VANGUARD

 No.765848

>>765844
>>765842
>>765841
>>765840
For the faintest moment, gravity seems to fail. You and your allies rise, pulled off the ground by a subtle force.

Shorthorned, who looks on at the Vestal, can see the true cause of this disruption. The Vestal coils about the dance floor, and slithers within it. Dozens of cloth limbs reach out, each as long as it needs to be to take hold of its target. Every guest of the tea party, she has taken hold of, pulling them aloft like mere dolls, even the colossal Rooster. More eyes – marbles of every color and pattern – peek out from beneath the Vestal's cloth scales, scanning and appraising. Her lips purse, then part, opening from the center of her mouth… all the way along the sides, something glisten–

>Vanguard invoked


Each of you drops back to the ground, having been raised up no more than an inch or so… the disruption was brief, yet long enough to leave an impression– a perception.

>roll composure


Like a sinew strap pulled to the edge of its elasticity, Shorthorned sees that the Vestal has recoiled backwards, retreating up the "TREES." Her back is arched, marble eyes wide and spinning, like a spooked creature.

 No.765849

>>765839
reupping this if success plus 2 next round

>Background Music: instant, stackable; the entire party gains +1 to all rolls for 2 turns, this effect is

stackable for a maximum of +2; upon critical failure cancels all stacks of the effect, this skill cannot
critically succeed. Effect duration of each stack refreshes after a successful use.


[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.765851

>>765848

Amy giggles at the bizarre sensation. "That was kinda cool…" she says, shrugging it off. Not as if it didn't happen, but as if it wasn't something bothersome.

[1d10] for composure via acceptance

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.765853

>>765848
Nothing has happened, so Leather continues to dance, acknowledging that Shei may be too wrapped up in performing to meet his small talk.

[1d10+1] ten sided die
[1d10+1] dancing

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6

 No.765854

>>765848
Shorthorns feels the earth fall beneath her, but she still keeps her eyes trained on the Vestal, gauging her reactions as she sees something has apparently 'startled' the Vestal.

[1d10] Regain composure

>>765853
>>765851
>>765849
Taking her attention briefly off the Vestal, she returns to the dance floor, trying to dance as though everything is normal and happy, to try and draw the Vestal back in.
[1d10] Dancing
"I hope you guys are done warming up, because I'm really going to tear up this floor now! Mooo!"

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 3 = 3

 No.765856

>>765854
>>765853
>>765851
>>765849
Even the Ecclesians can't completely conceal the brief disturbances that strange levitation invoked in their souls. The Witches too have lost a little of their enthusiasm. They take to stretching, getting water, even stepping away for fresh air– though none is to be found in this stagnant place.

Shorthorned tries to revitalize the party by moooo-ving into the space Cloak was dancing in, but to all outside onlookers– she's looking upwards, at the TREES, and convulses.

>>765854
"嘀攀猀琀愀氀"

An unintelligible clamor, murky with static, fills your ears. The source, or more accurately, the speaker, you see… is the Vestal. Her mouth moves, splitting all around the back of her head. Her words… were those words? Were they an observation? Were they a command? How shall you–

>roll to disentangle yourself. bonuses can apply from the intervention of others

 No.765858

>>765856
Leather Cloak hasn't been informed of any changes to the plan or observations of others, and so keeps to the endurance dancing. It's a party after all.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765859

>>765856
Shorthorns keeps dancing, trying to throw the fun back into the party, but as she grooves to the party her ears no longer hear the music Shei plays, but the sounds of the Vestal echoing to her. In a moment, she feels like she's starting to be overcome by the gutturals of the impossible being, and tries to bring herself back to the music, to make this thing think that NOTHING can draw her more than the music she's dancing to, and so the Vestal should be more interested in the song

[1d10] to disentangle

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.765860

>>765856
>>765854

Amy sees Flaming convulsing and frowns. "Shortyhorns, you want some water?" Amy asks with concern as she thrusts a cup of water in her direction.

[1d10] for distraction

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.765861

File: 1705982047034.jpg (8.13 KB, 225x225, download (1).jpg)

>>765856
Shei is rocking and rolling, and shucking and jiving, and caterwalling and whoopsie daising, all over the gazebooguloo. When he feels it. He feels the divine spark of inspiration reach within and tug at his soul.

"This… THIS IT." he tells the malechim through clenched guitar playing.

From an outstretche of land Shei-Sher excavates a stadium concert hall into the ground, where water fills is pools around and natural vegetation elapses in a vision like the birth of Venus.

Shei recreates the Dalhalla Sweden open air venue.

>I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;

>>Talent: Grants the Aspect Ability, Alchemy the passive to be applied at a macroscopic scale, as long as the ingredients are within contact of the evoker.

[1d10+3]

Shei raises his guitar calls out rivers to pour into the large basin he made surrounding the concert hall
>Staff of the Cloudsmith: Roll to change the weather in the local area to rainy, cloudy, stormy, or clear. Can store one weather pattern that is not on this list in its orb for future use

>DARK.III

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 3 = 7 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5

 No.765863

>>765861
>>765860
>>765859
>>765858
With a little water, Amy helps revitalize Shorthorned, who just manages to ride her convulsions enough to shake herself free, back to a more familiar reality. Though, that quickly changes as Shei raises up new scenery from the very ground, forcing Leather to bail out and roll across the ground to try to avoid. He loses a bit of control over his momentum, but Monkey steps in to catch him like a runaway kickball.

"Hmhmhm… perhaps the dance has run its course," Rooster suggests, dancing around the subject. "Anyone up for the scavenger hunt?"

Somehow… Shorthorned suspects that Rooster is not the only one who wants a new diversion. Could that have been what that sound meant…?

 No.765865

>>765863

"Yeah!" Amy exclaims excitedly. "I can't wait to show you all how good I am at finding!"

Without waiting for an official start, Amy starts sniffing the ground for hidden things.

[1d10] to find the hidden things!

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.765866

>>765863
Leather catches his footing and thanks Monkey, once again bandaging over his eyes and hand out the illustrated scavenger hunt lists to any that didn't previously have them. "A fine idea - it'd be good to split off and make our own fun in the hunt."

 No.765868

>>765863
>>765860
Shorthorns is suddenly taken out of it all, her attention torn away from the TREES as she suddenly sees the cup of water in her hooves.

"Huh?" she asks aloud, looking around as though to wonder who put the cup of water in her hooves. As she looks at Amy, she blinks again, shaking her head clear as she tries to quickly recover herself, downing the water greedily.

"AAAAH! Yep, that was just what I needed!" She says, trying to keep her energy up. Feeling a similar sensation to what Rooster seems to be, feeling the message behind that earlier screech made clear, she nods in agreement.

"Yeah, I think it's time for the scavenger hunt! Is it with teams or everyone looking by themselves?"

 No.765870

>>765863
The shrill clear of a microphone coming to life sounds through stadium speakers as Shei deftly emerges from the concert stage "Testing.. Testing.. 1. 2. 3." Shei says in the low purr, like the characture of a seasoned rockstar or like Jimmy Hendricks.

"Thank you for coming TartarFest, in the year of our lord 784, Kalpa 6. 2. 1. 7."

Shei-Sher produces a scroll from within his cape and lets it unfurl as he read it out loud. The scroll comically long as to roll onto the floor.
"Today's lineup we have for you ladies and gentlecolts.. World's End Girlfriend -that's my band-
World's End Girlfriend
World's End Girlfriend
World's End Girlfriend
World's End Girlfriend
Kids Bop with the Ecclessians
World's End Girlfriend
and World's End Girlfriend"

Shei looks back to the Malechim "How you guys feeling on time? We need an intermission?"

 No.765871

>>765866
>>765865
>>765868
Amy sniffs out the 12-pence Jibayini coin that Ichimonji hid (to the latter's shock and chagrin, for she believed it hidden better). Now in a rush, the others get to hunting.

>Everybody participating roll twice for scavenging


>>765870
"Yeah," the trianglist says. "Don't make us sit out of the scavenger hunt!"

The other two have already snuck off, leaving their instruments on stage as they peel out across the grass to find things.

 No.765877

>>765871
Shei-Sher neglects to participate in the scavenger hunt. Instead he busies himself with preparing the venue to be show ready. Shaping and reshaping certain parts to carry the acoustics better. And manifesting luminous baubles to project lighting. At one point he considers making a fog machine too but doesn't know if he'll have enough time to make dry ice out of oxygen.

DARK.III
[[1d10]]]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.765878

>>765871
Shorthorns looks on in shock as Amy already sniffs out one of the rarest/more well hid items, and grumbles as she sets to work on herself.

"I think using a really keen sense of smell is grounds for cheating, just so everyone knows!"

[1d10]
[1d10] Searching

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.765879

>>765871
Leather Cloak waits to hear most of the seekers clear out out the immediate vicinity before starting an internal countdown of another ten minutes after that, really making sure all stragglers have been accounted for with giving out sheets. It's only fair.

 No.765880

>>765871

"Don't feel bad, Itchy," Amy says with a proud wag of her tail. She pokes her nose with her hoof-paw. "My nose just knows."

She then goes back to sniffing for scavenges to hunt.

[1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.765881

>>765879
>>765878
>>765880
Amy ends up with a bit of rock candy, and one of the coveted buffalo figurines. Shorthorned comes away with a wax seal. As the others dart about, they breathlessly laugh, call out their findings, and taunt those less fortunate in their findings. The Ecclesians are quick to catch up on Amy's early lead– but they're good enough sports not to trounce everyone too quickly.

>roll again!


>>765878
As you hunt about, invariably your gaze moves away from where the Vestal perches in the TREES. Yet even as you do, the Vestal remains in your vision. Something splices the image of her upon the TREES into your field of view, no matter which way you face, as if you'd developed another eye, whose purpose is naught but to behold this… thing.

>>765877
>>765878
As Shei tries to smarten up the equipment upon the stage, he finds that his work is… transient. Each time he turns one way or another to focus on another improvement, he realizes that the one he just made has reverted, or disappeared altogether.

>>765878
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G_DfhL8XP0

In the blink of your new "eye," the Vestal has extended down the TREES. She coils about the stage, and her head extends into the stage Shei conjured. She looks within, weighing and gauging the various equipment upon it. As Shei makes each of his changes, the Vestal curiously touches the changed object… and it reverts, or else vanishes altogether. The shape of her mouth, the widening and contracting of her eyes… it all suggests a playful amazement at all of it… as it all remains in her mercy.

 No.765882

>>765881
>>765880
Shorthorns looks at her wax seal she found proudly before noticing Amy managed to score one of the buffalo figurines. She waves her seal at Amy, "Hey Amy! I'll trade you my seal for one of your statues!"

As she continues to hunt, Shorthorns tries to keep *that* in her peripheral vision only, daring not to lose herself by gazing at her again. Still, while trying to keep her focus off of *it* to avoid being pulled in, she tries to gauge if it is having a good time at least, which she seems to be based on the reaction to Shei's stage, but she doesn't appear to be engaged in the scavenger hunt yet. Trying to make sure *everyone* has fun and participates, Shorthorns increases her energy and tries to find the remaining objects with even more vigor

[1d10]
[1d10] Searching

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.765883

>>765882
>>765881

Amy's answer is simply to stick her tongue out at Flaming playfully. She then dives back into the ground to search for more items.

[1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.765884

>>765881
Taking off his bandages, Leather seeks a table to set the remainder lists down, and gets to halfheartedly seeking some of the items himself. He doesn't put too much effort into it, as he would prefer if the scavenger hunt not get done so soon.

[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.765885

>>765881
"Wha- the Ffbt! It's like building a sand castle!" Shei smashes a small bench onto the floor out of frustration "Doing a sound check!"

Shei takes out his guitar and plays a short riff to test the scene

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ag9ZF7w_cE

>SHEPHERD'S TONE

Attribute: Buff/Debuff
Tags: Ranged; Mind; Ignores Mind ARs except Repel
Effect: Target either party or enemies; Apply a custom buff to party, or a custom debuff to enemies; Automatically succeeds on fearful enemies, and a successful roll bestows an Autocrit; Can only apply one effect every 6 turns
Duration: 6 Turns Max.
Recharge: N/A

>>Pitch

Causes those in the current area to be overcome by feelings of playfulness and friendliness

[1d10]

"Oooooh. That felt goooood. Okay, just one more time -yeah."

https://youtu.be/dfNT0DPSYiE?si=uvkNVeR-TpTik6F7

>BACKGROUND MUSIC

Attribute: Buff
Tags: Instant
Effect: Party gains +1 for 2 Turns; Stacks to max of +2; All stacks lost upon Critfail; This Skill cannot Critically Succeed; Duration refreshes with each successful use.
Duration: 2 Turns or until Critfail or Dispelled
Recharge: N/A

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.765886

>>765883
>>765882
>>765884
>>765885
Shorthorned finds a buffalo figurine of her own, as well as an interesting little crystal marble. Amy comes away with a wax seal, as well as one of Mudi's origami figurines– it must be some kind of fighter, as it's got arm-moving papercraft action! Fortunately, Cloak finds another origami figure, so they can duel. His looks like some kind of monk, very appropriate.

A choked, discordant twang breaks the noise of simple play. Shei has begun to float upward, out of the stage. Given his recent ascendancy, this is perhaps not so strange… but what is strange is his complete immobility, mid-strum of his guitar. Likewise, the strings of the guitar are paralyzed, frozen in their distortion from when Shei played them.

>Shei is unable to act until freed, but must make Mind-based resistance rolls until he is.


>DC for this turn: 4


The other guests look Shei's direction– not directly, keeping him in their peripheries, perhaps silently contemplating how– or should– or if they even can rescue him.

>>765882
She's got him. Crawling back from the stage, the Vestal holds Shei aloft. Perhaps more than a half-dozen arms make a flat platform upon which he stands, captured like a figurine. She does not appraise him, the way she did before, but rather exercises a delicate touch. You realize it is in imitation of the way that others have held their loot from the scavenger hunt. She intends to participate as well.

 No.765887

>>765886
>>765884
>>765877

"Ooooh!" Amy says as she admires the impressive papercraft she found. She playfully has the origami figure do karate chops in the direction of Cloak's origami figure.

However, she is quickly distracted by the unpleasant sound of Shei's guitar. Her ears flap back, and she looks in Shei's direction.

"Hey, Shei," she says as she uses the papercraft arm to make the figurine wave at Shei. "That's a weird song. Can you play a better one?"

 No.765888

>>765886
In Shei's mind the song he was playing is still playing. As though he has not even noticed his circumstances

[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.765889

>>765886
>>765887

Leather looks back at Amy, and takes the time to pull out his list and start crossing out the trinkets he's seen other party goers already have collected. He doesn't want to be looking for trinkets that someone already found.

 No.765890

>>765886
>>765888
Shorthorns smiles at first glance as she obtains a buffalo figurine of her own, happily looking at the craftsmanship before, out of the corner of her eye, she sees that the Vestal HAS began participating in the scavenger hunt… and has selected an item that was most certainly not among the list of things to collect.

Looking down at her figurine, she gets an idea as she moves up to the stage. "You know, I wasn't sure what I thought of your music at first Shei but I think it's growing on me, you're doing really good!"

She whistles innocently as she puts her buffalo figurine under a chair, and then looks away from it, keeping it in her peripheral view at the same angle as the stage… hoping that the Vestal might get bored of one particular prize and spy the other she's just conveniently hidden nearby…

[1d10] For trying to entice *that*

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.765891

>>765888
"䨀漀栀渀"

The sound of the lovely music begins to… encode within your mind. The notes, the chords, the vibrations beneath your hoof as you strike them– each sensation turns into another one altogether, just as one passes a secret message through a cipher to discern its true meaning. The acrid odor of scorched metals. The image of grain planted in fields. The vertigo of a ruptured inner ear. Numbers, coordinates, axes, planes, spaces, spaces, spaces spaces spacesspacesspaces

>roll again, DC 5


>>765887
>>765889
>>765890
>>765888
As Shorthorned slips the figurine back into the pool of goods to hunt, the others watch on in dread silence… until the chair tips over, falling onto the grass. The buffalo figurine floats into the air, taking its place next to Shei. He's still trapped, but the Vestal has, quite literally, picked up what Shorthorned put down.

"Y-yeah…" Mudi says. "Let's let Shei keep playing. We've still got more treasure to find."

"And… trade!" Gegenschein gasps, struck by an idea. "We can't start the trading until we've got all of it."

The other Ecclesians look a bit confused. Trading isn't typically part of scavenger h– then, they get the picture.

 No.765892

>>765891
From within Shei-Sher's soul something slips out, and something else drifts back in, within its place

>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.

[disabled]

Resist roll again!
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.765893

>>765891
Shorthorns winces as she sees the buffalo figure now floating up in the air, alongside Shei… seems the Vestal wasn't eager to put down EITHER of her collectibles yet, and Shorthorns clicks her tongue as she tries to think of something else…

As Gegenschein is struck by the inspiration to trade, however, Shorthorns' ears pop up, thinking she's on to something. "Oh, yeah, I'm all good for trading! Let's get back to looking…" she says, hoping she might be able to find enough goodies to trade with the Vestal for Shei back

[1d10]
[1d10] Scavenging!

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 4 = 4

 No.765894

>>765891
Leather gets back to searching after updating his list, still intentionally slow.
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.765895

>>765891

"Okay, Shei!" Amy says a little awkwardly after being ostensibly ignored. She motions a salute with her papercraft doll. "You keep doing your thing. Love you!"

Then, she goes back to the hunt. She will not be outdone by all these… not dogs. She eagerly looks, specifically now looking for more papercraft origami.

[1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10 / Roll #2 1 = 1

 No.765896

>>765892
That encoding which has already taken root remains in your mind, but at least, it remains stagnant for now. Although you cannot perceive it, you float through the stagnant Tartarian air, dragged along by your captor. This keeps the pressure from growing any worse than it already has.

>roll again, DC 5


>>765895
>>765894
>>765893
Slowly but surely, Cloak's tally finds that about half the scavenger hunt items have been rounded up, with his recent acquisition of the 4-pence Jibayini coin pushing things over the halfway mark. Amy too finds herself with another papercraft figure. You could have a proper adventuring party now–

"䰀椀琀 吀栀椀猀"

Amy, unbeknownst to the wolf-demonness herself, floats into the air, taking her place next to Shei and the buffalo figurine. Another shudder passes through the tea party guests, as the tension rises.

Supper of Crows whimpers, falls to the ground, and starts combing the grass, obsessively looking among the little rocks and specks of soil for something unseen. Hurricanrana goes over to help her, but it is clear she looks for nothing.

"D-double time, everyone!" Vizsla blurts out, her tone uncharacteristic. "I-I'm getting hungry."

>>765895
>begin making mental resistance rolls each turn. DC starts at 4

 No.765899

>>765896
Shorthorns gulps as she sees that Amy has now officially joined the list of collectibles, wondering how long it'll be until *that* mistakes them all for being part of the game.

"R-right! I'm gonna find them all so quick there won't even be any left for the rest of you to find!"
She gets to work, trying to look in odd-ball or unorthodox places the others could have hid it in an attempt to gather enough to catch the Vestal's attenton when it comes to trade.
[1d10]
[1d10] Scavenging

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.765900

>>765896
Given everyone's close proximity, Leather figures those in the area have probably been found compared to those further away. Following this line of logic, Cloak looks further away from the crowd.

[1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765901

>>765896
A different sound begins growing like a seed inside Shei's mind. That all too familiar sound. Shei's spiritual tinnitus

Resistance roll
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.765902

>>765896

"What?" Amy looks around. Or, at least, she tries to. But, her perception has stopped. "She tries to move the arms on her papercraft, motioning as if it is looking around for something. Of course, all of this may just end up not happening.

"Who turned off the… everything?" she asks aloud.

Then, a sudden realization dawns on her. "Oooooh!"

"THAT'S why Shei ignored me! Well, now I don't feel so bad," she concludes with a satisfied nod.

Maybe. It's hard for her to tell if any motion or word she's saying or doing is actually happening. Still, she is happy her boyfriend did not ignore her intentionally.

[1d10] for resistance in satisfaction

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765904

>>765899
You scoop up two more papercraft figurines, a paladin and a shaman. These are quite expressively designed, to convey such specific vocations by their appearance.

At Vizsla's direction, the Ecclesians ramp up their pace, dashing this way and that to grab the remainder of the props. Leather's sudden elevation into the air only hastens their pace. Desert Lamp and even Hurricanrana himself grow antsy. There's a growing risk of everyone acknowledging the Vestal at this point.

>>765902
>>765901
>>765900
"䤀渀 琀栀攀 戀攀最椀渀渀椀渀最 眀愀猀 琀栀攀 圀漀爀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 圀漀爀搀 眀愀猀 眀椀琀栀 䜀漀搀Ⰰ 愀渀搀 琀栀攀 圀漀爀搀 眀愀猀 䜀漀搀⸀ ㈀ 嬀愀崀䠀攀 眀愀猀 椀渀 琀栀攀 戀攀最椀渀"

everything points everything named is all to everywhere else as every every is when unto name names that every now is every with and all and this their there name and then this and is not that which is not

…From out of the incomprehensible, a soft tone sounds. A high, constant pitch… more importantly, it serves as an "anchor," to which you can hold onto. You gather the pieces before you. The shape of their fragments suggests the way they were together, before they broke. Even if you can't restore them, they can at least connect again.

And, just as anything once broken cannot be made the same as it was when it was first whole, so too does your vision of reality have a new… addition.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfYz4le6YV4

On a featureless background, you float, able to move once more. Near you is a… pony…? She has wolf-paws, goat horns, and… seems to be as strong as an earth pony. Her mouth hangs open, and her eyes are wide, unblinking, and shades green, sclera and iris both. She's just staring at you.

 No.765985

>>765904
The sound within Shei grows louder. The rushing cacophany of false waterfalls. Like static being ran through fine tubes forever. The infinite at odds with the finite. A flame at the bottom of the ocean, gasping for air.
As the Vestal has taken control over Shei-Sher it too realizes a contract with him. For all things forsaken fall within the domain of Bastards and Kids. A metaphysical chain begins to form between the Vestal and Shei-Sher. What is a god to do but answer their prayers

It is in that moment a brief glimpse of the past skips over Shei's memory. Like a pebble skips over the still pond sending ripples.

>"You float."

>>Previous session Reference to Shei's answer to Y'dryth
https://arch.b4k.co/mlp/thread/30363395/#q30364801

Shei grabs hold of the chain "VESTAL!!!! LISTEN TO MY SONG!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VvS7lkI1l0&t=214s
Shei's eye shimmers with golden colors, they vacillate wildly. As so does the vibrations of Shei's entire appearance. Just as with looking upon Y'dryth, as with looking upon Fairy Castle at the Kindling. Shei-Sher's appearance shifts between the many faces of all those who believe in him. The fallen dragon kingdom, the angels, the gods, Kerberos too, and all of Shei's allies. His visage foggy and hard to see. But if you were to focus hard enough, you could perhaps witness the young kid from long ago within.

>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.

>>Connecting Shei-Sher and the Vestal

[mechanics; Shei protects himself from abstracting out of existence as the Vestal consumes him, by creating a symbiotic connection between the Vestal. For whatever Vestal takes, Shei takes from the Vestal as well. Transforming all the same as well as everyone in tow of the chains.]
[The sound Shei transmits is audible to everyone nearby]

The metaphysical chains buckle as they hang taut onto the final strands of Shei's mind as the rest of him transforms in order to not cease existing.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.765986

>>765904
>>765985
This applies

(RACIAL)Evil Eye: passive; You come from a culture that’s mysterious, quiet and perhaps even sinister. Few understand you and some may even be unnerved by your odd appearance. If you score a natural Crit against an enemy in combat, they are paralyzed with fear and cannot take any action in its next turn. When a target is paralyzed by Evil Eye, you cannot proc Evil Eye on them again.

Although, I have no idea what the implications are.

 No.765987

>>765904
Shorthorns looks at her prizes eagerly, excited at her growing collection but internally fearing it may not be enough to grab the Vestal attention to trade for her friends. Paying no heed to her captured allies for now, Shorthorns doubles her efforts along with the Ecclesians, looking for as many of the collectibles as possible that might entice the Vestal's attention

[1d10]
[1d10] SCAVENGING

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.765988

>>765985
Exploratory, Leather tries dancing to himself in this void, seeing if busting it down would improve the situation.

[1d10] sure why not boogie

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.765989

>>765985

Amy looks around in confusion as all the stopped becomes gone. She experiences even greater confusion as she realizes she can move again. Then, she notices the new… pony?

She cocks her head. "Hello there," she says inquisitively. "My name's Amy. What's yours?"

 No.765990

>>765989
The person before you is visibly amid something that is shocking it to his core. He turns his head over to you. With that fog of many different faces glossing over it. And you see one face you recognize. Shei the kid pays Amy a smirk. That same kid she saw some time ago in a dream, on a sofa. Fighting for something strange and mysterious if she can recall.

>previous session reference

https://mlpg.co/q/res/735981.html#q738424

 No.765991

>>765990
>>765989

"Are you awake now, or were you still sleeping. Seems like a question to come back to pretty often. Was I acting, was I not -mistaken that there's any difference."

 No.765992

>>765990

"Hey…" Amy says with concern. She reaches out to Shei, but is afraid to touch him in case something weird happens. "You okay? You look… broken?"

>>765991

"That's a good question," Amy nods sagely. "Is it really possible to do anything without acting?" she rephrases the question as she puts a hoof-paw to her chin in thought.

 No.765994

>>765985
>>765988
>>765989
As the Vestal holds the three of you in this undefined space, her gaze, as slow as a droplet of water, pivots in the direction of Leather. He attempts to recapture the jovial mood of earlier, dancing to a rhythm now unheard. His moves and gyrations… seem to be giving way to something less conscious… more like involuntary spasms, twitches, like those of a test subject succumbing to something beyond their comprehension…

Only for Shei to direct focus to himself. Leather finds himself once more in control of his body, as the Vestal's head swivels back. Shei transfigures, again and again, as the embers of his godhood burn with a nascent power. He manifests his chains, which veer toward the Vestal– and freeze, holding fast. The Vestal looks upon them, as one might look upon a character from an unfamiliar language.

But for an instant… her blank smile, as artificial as one sewn onto a doll… tilts– like a smirk.

The chain continues forward, released from its sudden paralysis, and touches the Vestal, whereupon it disappears. Her smile reverts, returning to its earlier simplicity.

"吀攀猀琀椀渀最 琀攀猀琀椀渀最 漀渀攀ⴀ琀眀漀ⴀ漀渀攀ⴀ琀眀漀… t e s t i n g t e s t i n g… o n e t wo… one-two… five-a-two-four~…"

>>765987
As you recover the "Bard" papercraft figurine, you realize that the scavenger hunt's winding down. Not only is the mood dampened, there's something else that – perhaps against their better judgment – has gotten the Ecclesians' attention. They look upwards, keeping the scene in the sky in their peripherals… and in your own, you see three– no, four shapes descending… three, you recognize. Your allies…

 No.765996

>>765994
Seeing the mood has dampened, Shorthorns tries to keep the spirits up to avoid the Vestal's mood dampening (and potentially making things worse) in response. "You guys might as well give up now, I'm gonna have the rest of them here in just a minute! I'm really on a roll here!"

She says as she continues to search, "Hey Rooster, do you remember how many we hid again?"

[1d10]
[1d10] Scavenging to pick up the remaining pieces

Roll #1 2 = 2 / Roll #2 1 = 1

 No.765997

>>765994
>>765992
>>765986
Leather clears his throat rather suddenly, "You know, I've done a lot of dancing recently, I'm really thirsty. Does anyone have anything to drink? Nothing summoned, just in their packs ideally."

 No.765999

>>765992
Shei-Sher's form stays on the visage of the kid for a moment "You once said that if you had the ability to stop people without killing them, then you could do anything. That is what this thing can do."

The Kid gestures to Amy's dress "Do you still have your Lumpet? Can you play it for me?"

 No.766001

>>765994
Shei-Sher grabs from within his cape a cup of wine. Somehow you sense from inside the cup something essential to existence. Perhaps its the ingredients.

"Can you play an instrument?"

>>765994
"Vestal." Shei calls out to it again "That sound is my song. I hear it all the time. It makes me go mad. But when I hold up this guitar, I can turn the sound into something else." Shei-Sher begins playing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjxAnOco4Ro

Out from the nascent form of godhood, the visage of Shei's bandmates come to life for a moment as they play upon their respective instruments. And so does Bodhidharma, keeping them at temp
>using the band practice roll >>765582
[20] Using this roll for Shepherd's tone

>SHEPHERD'S TONE

Attribute: Buff/Debuff
Tags: Ranged; Mind; Ignores Mind ARs except Repel
Effect: Target either party or enemies; Apply a custom buff to party, or a custom debuff to enemies; Automatically succeeds on fearful enemies, and a successful roll bestows an Autocrit; Can only apply one effect every 6 turns
Duration: 6 Turns Max.
Recharge: N/A
>PITCH: The effect causes everyone that hears it to gradually become more and more tired. Until finally falling asleep.

>(RACIAL)Restless: passive; The founders of coffee drinks and rumored to never sleep, goats always seem to have much more energy for a creature of their size. While you and your kin neither confirm nor deny the rumors, you do have an unnatural tolerance to sleep magic and effects. You are completely immune from skills such as Sleep Serum or Knockout as well as magic meant to put you to sleep and are no longer required to rest for the night on long journeys (although your companions will probably keep you)


But it is not enough. The practice was mediocre, even if the song is true and full of passion. Shei-Sher needs help playing


>Light.IV Dark.III Life.II Death.I

[1d10+1] the effect is in the following description.

In the previous area where the scavenger hunt takes place. Those participating eventually find instruments hiding around, and clues set about by Shei. Hinting them to listen to his song and play with him.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.766002

>>765994
>>765997

"Oh! I might have something for you!" Amy says happily as she reaches into her… nowhere. From the side of her body, she conjures a vial that she keeps her potions in.

"Um… This should be a good one…" she says, uncertain.

>Natural Remedy

>[1d10+4]

>>765999

Amy nods. "That's true. It's too bad it doesn't understand…"

Amy then produces Lumpet. She starts to play it.

[1d10] for good playing

Roll #1 8 + 4 = 12 / Roll #2 10 = 10

 No.766004

>>766002
The face of Shei-Sher and then the face of Kid, and the many faces of Shei's growing self look at you with glee and a triumphant smile as you play. "Do you like this song? this sound is what I feel. Its my only way of making sense now."

 No.766005

>>765996
"About thirty…" Rooster says, only half-listening. By now, pretty much everyone has stopped pretending to go along with the scavenger hunt. They're trying to get as good a view as they can of the descending figures, while acting as if they're just casting a halfway-glance.

>>765997
>>766002
"Right this way," Doctor Galton says, as approaches Leather. She leads him toward the table, where Amy begins to pour him something with a honeyed smell. She casts her appraising apothecary's eye over you, checking you for signs of injury, physical, mental or spiritual. She flicks her head at you, asking you for a sign of your welfare.

>>765997
>>765996
>>766001
>>766002
With the scavenger hunt informally ended, Shei and Amy then resume the music. The Ecclesians and Witches, in a rare moment of unity, are spread out in a circle around the Vestal, trying to appraise the situation while saying and doing as little as they can to the transformed Vestal.

"O-h!" the Vestal gasps, and the gathered party suppress their involuntary starts.

"D-on-'t l e t m-e i n t er-r u p t wh-a-t y o u'-r-e d o i n g. Pl e-a s e… d-o g-o o-n," she says.

But the Ecclesians and Witches, having already decided on their course of action, began moving even before the Vestal could finish speaking, completely ignoring her as MISTER MOOLAH had impelled you. They go for the scattered instruments.

The Vestal, for her part, frowns, as if genuinely hurt… surely this too lines up with what MOOLAH had said. An act… right?

The Vestal paces around, still frowning. It doesn't seem as if the music's doing much in the wake of that rude reception your "allies" gave her…

 No.766007

>>766005
"Well Of Course! Performers don't regard the audience. They regard the performance. Pay attention to me Vestal! I'm the one whose song I want you to listen to! Won't you listen to my song please! There's no one that can listen to me anymore!" Shei-Sher shouts with heartfelt gratuities of passion as he head bangs and digs into his performance.

Continuing to play
>Shepherds Tone
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.766008

>>766005
Shorthorns stops in her hunt as well while the rest of the hunters proceed to dare a partway glance towards the ominous presence above them. However, as the Vestal's voice rings out - no longer obscured and undecipherable and overwhelming, but crisp and clear as almost any voice she's ever heard.

She looks around as the others ignore the Vestal's presence all together, and though she knows every warning from her allies and MOOLAH warn her NOT to engage with the Vestal, to not even acknowledge her presence, the hurt in her tone sounds all too real to Shorthorns. Surely, if she's having a bad time, she may not wish to continue the party…

Shorthorns clears her throat, backing away from her allies as she looks around nowhere in particular, but clearly trying to capture the Vestal's attention. "Hmmm, I think I got enough to trade now! Does anyone want to trade some of these prizes with me? I found some good ones if anyone wants to traaaade…?" She shouts out, still not eying the Vestal directly but keeping her in a half-ward gaze to see if she takes her invitation.

 No.766009

>>766005
>>766002
"Thank you, I think it's important to stay hydrated whenever you do extraneous activities. If I'm not spending time dancing, I'm definitely hanging around the punch bowl." Leather states, chugging the brew.

 No.766010

>>766004

"Too much Tartarus for you, I think," Amy says with a laugh like a parent commenting a child who has eaten too much sugar.

>>766005
>>765997

"Oh…" Amy says as Doctor Galton looks her over. She looks down at the concoction she is pouring for Leather, nearly dropping it in the process. "I guess I just… forgot where I was for a second…"

>>766009

"I agree," Amy nods.

>>766005

"They're just doing what you said," Amy says to the Vestal, unable to tolerate a frown. She gives the Vestal a smile, then gives her one of the papercrafts she found in the scavenger hunt. Amy then plays with her own papercraft in front of the Vestal with a little grin on her face. She does her best to hedge between playing NEAR her and playing WITH her.

 No.766012

>>766009
Galton nods. Her beak does not move, yet you hear a near-imperceptible whisper from her.

Stay here. Something may have happened to you I can't perceive without a more thorough spiritual examination. Report anything else strange that happens to you from now on.

>>766009
>>766007
>>766010
>>766008
The Vestal scoops up the papercraft that Amy gave her [the Alchemist], while Amy plays with the Necromancer one. Then, the Vestal goes over to where Shorthorned playfully bandies the idea of trading with someone.

"O o h! O-o-h!" the Vestal says, holding up her hoof and jumping like a student eager to be called upon in class. "I w i l-l t r a-d-e."

The Vestal looks at the buffalo figurine, and the Alchemist papercraft she just now got. Then, she puts those two away in a similar hammerspace fashion to Amy.

"I h a v-e t-hr-e-e t-o pu-t u-p fo-r t-r-a d-e," the Vestal says.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G_DfhL8XP0

"T-h a t o n-e, th-a-t o-n e, an-d t-h-a-t o-n-e," she says, and points, in turn, at Amy, Cloak, and Shei.

Doctor Galton narrows her gaze and glares in Shorthorned's direction…

 No.766014

>>766010
>>766012
>>766009
>>766008
Shei-Sher continues playing even though the Vestal has moved on from him. It seems though despite playing, Shei-Sher is keeping up with his surroundings.

He hopes for Flaming to look his way. And she does. He nudges his head to Leather and Amy. As if to say. Trade for them. It seems Shei is fine where he's at.

>continuously rolling until Shepherd's tone is up

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.766016

>>766012
>>766014
Shorthorns' smile widens as she hears the Vestal is ready to trade, eagerly grabbing out the Paladin, Bard, and Shaman figurines she's collected thus far. As the Vestal points out her friends, she almost immediately takes upon the deal, but is given pause as she catches sign of Shei, giving her a signal. She raises her brow at him and mouths 'what are you doing' to him, but honoring his wishes, points to ONLY Amy and Leather.

"Hmmm… I think I really only want those two, if *whoever* has them would like to take… a Paladin and a Bard? I also have a Shaman or a Buffalo if you want those…" Shorthorns offers, holding up the Bard and the Paladin into the air while keeping the Vestal still only just out of side.

 No.766017

>>766012
"As far as I'm concerned, I'm here to party until I'm worn out, and then I'll take a long nap. If I'm going to be a dad, I better learn to get rest earlier in the day. Can't stay up partying all night." Leather says, not responding to anything.

 No.766018

>>766012
>>766016

Amy cocks her head. "I'd say I'm probably worth a buffalo figurine," she says with a conclusive nod.

 No.766019

>>766017
>>766016
>>766014
>>766018
The Vestal sticks her tongue out to one side, and paces in place with her hybrid body as she thinks – or at least, pretends to think.

"H-mm-m… De~al!"

Two instants pass.

In the first instant, Amy and Cloak are gone. Utterly gone, disappeared.

At the same time, there stirs, all around, a great buzzing noise, and a cavalcade of fluttering shapes through the air, like leaves and tattered flower petals, tossed by a fall wind. Though they can only be seen in those two instants, the little shapes seem to be some manner of letter, symbol, or character, countless kinds and shapes without number.

In the next instant, Amy and Cloak have reappeared, apparently none the worse for wear to an outside observer. Disoriented, to be sure– but it's only with a quick self-ceck that the two of them ascertain that they're not missing anything, physical or spiritual, despite their disappearance from all perception. By the esosteric laws of Tartarus, their disappearance should have meant their annihilation… yet they're still here.

The Vestal then looks at the buffalo figurine and the paladin papercraft, now in her possession. "Tha-n-k s," the Vestal says. She glances at the necromancer papercraft, still in Amy's clutches, and readies the paladin to fight her.

 No.766021

>>766019

Amy smiles. "Paper dance?" she says as she starts making her papercraft do some epic dance moves.

[1d10] for epic dancing

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.766022

>>766019
>>766021
>>766017
Shorthorns looks on in utter shock as Amy and Leather seem to vanish into nothingness, but as they suddenly reappear before her, and her Paladin / Buffalo papercraft ascend up to the Vestal's grasp, she breathes a deep sigh of relief, glad to have the others out of her grasp… save for Shei, that is.

Shorthorns shouts, "Good trade!" before looking to Amy in particular, whispering "By the way, I think you're worth way more than just a Buffalo figurine, but I didn't want her to know that."

She looks to Leather and Amy, "Are you two alright?" She whispers, not trying to sound panicked and distract from the fun. "Do you know what Shei's up to? He didn't seem like he didn't want to leave you-know-who."

 No.766023

>>766019
>>766019
Shei-Sher continues head banging, corkscrewing, lawnmowing, and scissor shimmying as he plays a song so hella it could shatter heaven.

>continuously rolling effectives while the others do stuff. Got 2 more turns on Shepherd's current song.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.766025

>>766022
>>766019


"I haven't been told otherwise, I've just been hydrating after wearing myself out." Leather responds to Shorthorns.

 No.766026

>>766021
>>766022
>>766023
>>766025
While the Vestal makes her papercraft play and dance with Amy's, you see the Ecclesians and Witches moving about in the background. They convene at a table, looking intently at the ingredients you procured, near-silently preparing to turn that peculiar collection into a palatable enough tea.

"She-i," the Vestal repeats as Shorthorned speaks. "T-ha-t's r i g h t, hi-s n a-m-e i-s… Shei-Sher… w-h-at's he doi-ng t-hat f-o-r?" she asks, gesturing to his reveries on the stage. "It's k-in-d o-f ann-oy-ing…"

Her use of your language grows clearer, more intelligible, the more she speaks… moreover, she's gotten Shei's full name now… and apparently finds him displeasing.

>pausing

 No.766053

>>766026

"He'll get better," Amy says absent-mindedly as she continues to make the papercraft do various poses.

>[1d10] to lighten the mood


Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.766054

>>766026
Leather Cloak mingles with Ecclesians watercooler style, purposefully oblivious. "I think musical chairs would be out of the question, maybe a bingo game? Good intermediate wind down between bigger ideas."

 No.766055

>>766025
Shorthorns sighs, "I've just about given up trying to figure out what's going on in that goat's head. But at least he usually seems to have some kind of plan… even if it doesn't always make sense."

>>766026
As the others begin making the tea - the tea that will, hopefully, pull the Vestal into the deep slumber they're all hoping for - Shorthorns has to suppress a gasp at hearing the Vestal begin to speak so much more clearly. She feels all the more tempted to try and communicate with her, to try and reason with her, but she internally reminds herself to stick to the plan they set at the very beginning.

As she voices displeasure with Shei's playing on the stage, Shorthorns tries to think of a way to make it seem more appealing. "Uhhh…. oh, hey, i-it's my favorite song! MOOOOOO, play it Shei, come on!" She says, quickly charging her way up in front of the stage and starting to dance again, hoping a very cool buffalo doing some slick moves in front of his performance might make it seem more fun

[1d10] Do the Shorty Sorty

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.766056

>>766026
Shei-Sher finishes his set early. Guitar screeching to a halt amid solo, stopping as Triangle and Bass give Shei the downbeat.

Shei tries to let his voice ring out through the ampitheater "Thank you, Thank you. That song was called. I made it up myself. We'll be taking a quick intermission be sure to grab some drinks, I know you beautiful folk get parched swallowing my sick licks. We'll be back when I say so, cheerio my foes."

Shei-Sher turns behind him to his Malachim, whom he just assumes are there, because why wouldn't they. He passes out bottles of water from his cape "It was a good first set, It was good. Don't let the critics throw a spanner in the works. We've got this posh."

 No.766057

>>766055
You catch Shei off guard with your impromptu dancing "Feh! Where was this when the set was rolling."

Shei plays something quick and groovy for Flaming out of consolation. He already put down his electric guitar so he grabs an acoustic from who knows where. And the Malechim instinctively swap acoustic instruments as well from Shei's cape.

https://youtu.be/uRnqp0g23pk?si=oWyVfybYwsSQ1Eub

While Flaming is in range he quickly scrawls some writing in cursive onto a notecard and stuffs it in a clinch of her clothing.

 No.766058

>>766054
"Bingo, hmm…?" Ichimonji repeats, ears twitching with interest.
"Absolutely not," Holy Hours says.
"Tch," Ichimonji says. "What, because I'm here?"
"…I didn't say that," Holy Hours says.

Bingo carries too much risk, he means. For, if the Vestal were to be the one to secure a 'bingo'…

"Even when I rig the games, I don't always win!" Ichimonji protests.
Monkey scoffs. "That's because I counter-rig those games."

That's the other risk. Ichimonji, like many old-timers, takes bingo deathly seriously.

"Hmm," Anzu says. "No mahjong… no old maid… I don't like that game anyway… maybe musical chairs isn't so bad an option. Ooh, or we could do marbles, too! Would work up a powerful thirst! Whaddya think?"

>>766055
>>766053
>>766056
As Shei, Amy and Shorthorned take over with keeping the Vestal entertained, they meet with a new obstacle. In an abrupt turn, the Vestal sets her papercraft figure on a nearby toadstool, and gets up to wander about. Invariably, she walks out of your line of sight. Yet, you can all still see her. For Shorthorned, it is much the same as it is before. She sees the image of the Vestal's moving form, the image being centered in the crown of her head, as if another eye were planted there.

Yet for Amy and Shei, when the Vestal moves out of their field of view, they can see her with even more eyes than Shorthorned. They can see the Vestal wandering about, and they see not just her, but the scenery surrounding her. This vision layers itself atop that which they can see through their physical eyes, giving rise to great disorientation.

The Vestal rubs at her eyes, grumbling with annoyance.

 No.766060

>>766058
"I don't want to be sat on during musical chairs, mind you I have training with Rooster so I can withstand most seating, but weight isn't my worry. Velocity would be my concern with marbles… Winner-less Cards Against Ponykind would be interesting."

 No.766061

>>766057
Shorthorns keeps dancing down, trying to see if her dancing along to Shei's admittedly VERY upbeat and jovial acoustic set can help improve the Vestal's perception of the thing, not wanting to earn her ire.

As she dances though, her eyes open up wide as she feels something enter her clothing, turning around to look at Shei, "HEY!" she says, about ready to give him a solid headbutt for pulling a move on her, but as she notices he just stuffed a piece of paper in there she lets out a sigh and takes it out to read it, discreetly, as she catches her breathe briefly from the dancing.

>>766058
Shorthorns focuses on reading the note as she takes a short break from dancing, sweating profusely through her white fur as she gets the sense that her dancing did not do much to improve the Vestal's mood. She focuses on her perception of her, even after she's passed out of her line of sight, like a permanent fixture in her gaze as she looks over the notes, "Maybe lay off the tunes a little Shei…" she says, grumbling as she looks to see what he's written…

 No.766063

>>766058

Amy rubs at her own eyes as she feels disoriented from the vision.

"I'm getting tired," she announces to the group. "I need something to drink."

Amy looks for something to drink.

>[1d10] to get a drink


Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766065

>>766061
Shei continues playing as he observes Shorty and realizes or rather remembers… she can't read "Oh cripes.. she's one of the indigenous peoples."

Shei-Sher briefly lets his acoustic guitar hang slack, dangling from the strap on his neck. As he waves his hoof around "daaahh.. ngh deeehhh. hrmmn!"

He sharply arcs his back backward, as he points a hoof tip at flaming. His other hoof grabbing at half his own face "I CURSE YOU WITH LITERACY!!" a lightning bolt briefly zaps into Flaming's brain

LIGHT.IV
[1d10+1]
Directly transited into the gelatinous fulcrum of Flaming's understanding was the complete lexicon, syntax, grammar, vocabulary, and formalization marked as standard by the Union Church for proper Equish since the past 10 years.

Shei-Sher thought this was more convenient than speaking to her.

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.766066

>>766058
Shei-Sher notices through the other side of his perception that the Vestal is struggling with her eyes. Shei can cleary map out the caution in his head. It may be harmless or it could be dire. If Shei closes his eyes will he be able to open them again?

He already gave his note to Flaming, so the rest is up to her if he's going to play this gambit. Shei-Sher closes his eyes to ease the pain in the Vestal's eyes.

 No.766067

>>766061
The note reads;

'Take your paper doll and show the Vestal it's supposed to be used as a teddy bear to sleep with. Pretty Please.'
-sincerely
Bastards & Kids

 No.766068

>>766060
>>766063
Amy, smelling the beginnings of tea being brewed, wanders over toward Cloak and the Ecclesians. The Vestal by this point has made it over some distance toward the picnic tables. Thus, Amy's able to position herself a little to keep the Vestal in her field of view, and thereby ease the strain on her eyes by eliminating the second vision.

"Cards Against Ponykind, huh…" Monkey repeats.
"They released a new edition of that, actually," Anzu says. "Cards Against Mortalkind. It was supposed to come out around the time we went down into Tartarus. It's more inclusive, but… I thought being offensive was the point?"
"Nerd says what?" Fox asks.
"Wha–" Anzu starts. She goes for her gun– but the Vestal's head turns her way, and Anzu smoothly transitions that quick-draw into scratching her flank.
"Ahem," Gegenschein interjects. "Back to the subject at hand. Before tea is served, we'll need one last game to idle the time. But it must be something everyone can play. Nothing with words, for our… literally challenged friends."

Literally, he means Amy. But figuratively, he means the Vestal. One last distraction before the final move in this game can be made.

 No.766069

>>766068
"I'm too used to games with winners." Leather laments, "Charades would be the non-literary counterpart, but I don't care to watch some individuals play."

 No.766071

>>766068
Shei doesn't notice anything. He opens his eyes and instead walks over to the picnic tables and sits next to the Vestal.

Shei closes his eyes again, as he mimes the motions for sleep. Even coaxing his muscles to fill with that familiar stillness.

 No.766072

>>766065
>>766067
>>766068
Shorthorns looks over the letter as she unfolds it, her eyes squinting down in confusion as she closes her eyes and grumbles.
"How do I keep forgetting that I can't read!?! WHY can't ponies just use pictures instead of these random little letters?"

She looks back in surprise as she sees Shei fire off a lightning bolt at her, causing her to gasp in surprise, "SHEI! What do you think you're-"

She lets out a grunt of pain as the lightning bolt imparts the overwhelming knowledge of the Equish lexicon into her very mind, wincing as she suddenly sees film reels play in her head educating her in blinding speed. As it finally finishes, she lets out a gasp, taking a few hushed breathes as she glares heavily at Shei. "Sheeeeiii…." she growls, before she takes another look at the note, her eyes widening in surprise as she can suddenly read his letter.

"I… I can read… I can READ!" she says, almost to eager and starting to read it aloud, "Take your paper doll and show…"

She stops herself in her excitement, keeping in mind the rule *not* to focus too much on the Vestal, and instead gets to work, going for one of her paper-buffalo crafts as instructed with Shei's new plan in mind

 No.766073

>>766068

Amy chooses NOT to position herself such that she is looking at the Vestal. Instead, she elects to just try to work with the double vision.

"Hey!" Amy says to Gegenschein. "'Challenged' is a little offensive."

As she says this, she reaches for something to drink, which is likely a very challenging effort given her current vision.

>[1d10] to definitely successfully grab a drink


Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.766076

File: 1708398988059.webm (1.1 MB, 700x1122, 1687688185433308.webm)

>>766073
As you reach out in the general direction of the tea-preparers, despite the double-vision, Doctor Galton deftly slides a porcelain cup of water into your hoof, so as to keep the Tartarian tea away from you. "The tea's almost ready. Just a bit longer. Actually, could you gather everyone together? We'll want to make sure everyone gets a share."

>>766069
>>766071
>>766072
>>766073
"Hmm…" Gegenschein thinks. "If we can't decide on a final game, perhaps another form of entertainment. Ah, hold it. You Saviors have a penchant for the performical, don't you?"

"That's not a word… but they did put on a stage play for a festival not long ago," Mudi attests. Only a few days ago, but it feels like quite a long time now…

"Perhaps with the music on hold, a little theater can tie us over until tea-time?" Gegenschein suggests.

The Vestal goes to sit at one of the tables, tapping her hooves without rhythm on the boards. She notices Shei and Shorthorned approaching, so her attention is upon them.

 No.766078

>>766076
"As long as I can play myself, Tartarus seems like a dangerous place to be someone else, with identity on the line." Leather requests.

 No.766079

>>766076
Shei-Sher remains seated next to the Vestal he waves his hoof up and down at the Ecclessians "I'm on my break, right now."

 No.766081

>>766076
>>766076
Shorthorns, as Shei's note instructs, quickly runs up to grab one of her big Buffalo paper-crafts she made for the scavenger hunt. As the others start to play their game, Shorthorns gives a short yawn,

"AAaaah… I'll catch up with you guys in just a second, I need to rest my eyes a little. All that dancing tired me out a bit."

She takes her buffalo close to her fluffy white chest, and curls up on the grass near where the others are drinking and playing their game. She curls up into a little buffaloaf, cuddling the papercraft tight as though it were one of the old dolls she played with as a younger calf. She closes her eyes, and tries to make herself look as comfortable as possible
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.766085

>>766078
>>766076

Leather spends some time thinking, "Or maybe safer to play an archetype rather than true identity. Something that is myself but not all-revealing."

 No.766086

>>766085
>>766078
"Right," Mudi agrees. "Don't wear anything more than a half-mask."

>>766079
"AH," Rooster says. "DON'T LET US BOTHER YOU THEN. BE SURE TO THANK YOUR LOCAL UNION REPRESENTATIVE."
"We still need to come up with a less confusing term for them," Holy Hours observes. "The Union's already taken."

>>766081
"H a-u!" the Vestal cheers, sighing at the adorableness of the sight. She leans over, almost falling out of her seat at the bench, and reaches out to pet your head. "W-h oa!" she gasps, almost falling out from how far she's leaning. She props herself upon her elbow and scooches closer so that she doesn't fall again. Then she continues to pet you. You've got the adorableness down, but she's not exactly sleepy, more excited by the sight of this cute thing. You may need the others to seal the deal.

>>766085
>>766078
>>766079
"If you need props, I can make some!" Mudi suggests, really getting into it now. Vizsla has no energy to contradict her at this moment.
"But what to perform…" Desert asks.
"Antipone?" Fox suggests.
"That one's kinda boring…" Anzu says.
"Well, if we go by Cloak's suggestion," Galton says. "There's the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe we can do."
"Yeah!" Lion says. "I can play myself, we've got at least two Witches, and so we'd just need a Wardrobe!"

 No.766109

>>766086
>>766076

Amy takes a sip of the water in a dramatic, noticeable way to make the act understandable, even to an idiot.

Then, Amy nods at Galton's request. "Can do."

Amy then proceeds to head in a direction where most people will be able to hear her, Flaming included. However, with her vision the way it is, she might still have a hard time with this.

[1d10] to walk normal

"Hey everyone," she says loudly while trying to keep her balance - but not LOOK like she's trying to keep her balance. "The food and drink is almost ready!"

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766110

>>766086
"Better than the other theater piece involving Lion, I don't want anyone playing a character to be perceived not having a heart of brain. While I can sing, my profession has usually been involved being unseen. Perhaps I could be a stagehand."

 No.766111

>>766086
Shorthorns' hair feels like it stands on ends as she feels the overwhelming presence of the Vestal suddenly right on top of her, and she resists the urge to open her eyes as she feels herself being… pet?

For some reason, the sensation is not as terrifying as she might have believed it. While the notion of being pet in and of itself is somewhat embarrassing, Shorthorns can't help but feel somewhat comforted by what should in all honesty be a harrowing situation, but the affection isn't entirely unwelcome.

If it helps the cause of getting the Vestal to sleep, Shorthorns swallows her pride and leans into the role, curling up more with the little paper-craft as she tries to give the sensation of fatigue or weariness to the otherworldly presence currently enamored with petting her.

[1d10] It's not like I'm trying to be cute or anything, baka

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.766113

>>766086
Shei-Sher peaks an eye open, unnecessarily as he is probably still sharing vision with the Vestal. He witnesses the uncomfortable sight of Vestal petting his comrade. IF she were petting someone illiterate, savage and animal like Shei might have been able to called the scene cute.

"Hmm." Shei wonders. He thinks to himself, I need to convince this girl I'm teddy bear material. Can't have her thinking only pets have plushies.

Shei begins petting the Vestal's head in return.

 No.766114

>>766111
>>766109
>>766110
>>766113
No matter what direction you face, nor whether your physical eyes are opened or closed, you can see – through your involuntarily-opened third eyes – the Vestal continuing to pet the Shorthorned Dragon. The Vestal, it seems, is pretty well-distracted by this point. The Ecclesians try to hurry with mixing up and brewing the esoteric Tartarian ingredients, even as Amy bumps her way through the gathered.

However– when Shei comes over to pet the Vestal, he only gets one pat in before he begins to float, and is forcibly moved away a distance across the hilltop. The distance is just long enough to be mildly inconvenient.

>>766110
"YOU'LL NEED ONE OF THESE, THEN," Rooster says, and hands you a glove.

>>766109
>>766110
>>766111
>>766113
"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe…" Vizsla repeats. Disdain is plain in her voice, but with the Vestal now in a good mood, Vizsla doesn't rain on the parade.
"Don't care for the religious themes?" Gegenschein scoffs.
"On the contrary, I am religious," Vizsla says. "I just want a stageplay where the ice queen wins for once."
"Spoilers…" Hurricanrana grumbles.

Rooster and Mudi start to conjure some quick props they'll need for the tea-time entertainment, and they appropriate the stage that Shei summoned earlier for their… well, their stage.

 No.766116

>>766114
>>766110

"I think Cloaky was referring to the one with the cowardly lion," Amy says, suddenly entering the conversation. Her disorienting perspective means that she's involved in all conversation!

"You know… the Wizard of… something?"

 No.766118

>>766116
"Hogs," Galton auto-completes. "And we would need more pigs for that one."
"Boar isn't part of the Ecclesian zodiac," Monkey says. "Otherwise one of us might have been able to fill that role had it become our code name."

 No.766119

>>766114
>>766113
Shorthorns starts to pick up that her plan to try and make the Vestal appear sleepy is starting to backfire, and now is outright distracting her from the others trying to get her to take the tea they'd so carefully prepared for her.

She opens a single eye and looks at Shei, trying to send subtle signals as to what she should do or if she should try to stop with Operation Teddy Bear as she doesn't dare move and risk making the Vestal upset

 No.766121

>>766114
Shei-Sher feels a familiar feeling as he's placed upon the hilltop. A feeling he's been accustomed to all his "What is this.. this- right. I'm being looked down upon. Well- that could be a step forward."

He steps out from the hilltop, and at the very first step Shei trips and tumbles down the hillside.

Ignoring his shared vision he witnesses the other groups are using the stage he built for their play. Shei gains a small sense of pride and an idea.

"Hmm" no one has prepared for the Vestal a bed. Surely, this must be something like a bedroom for the Vestal. Shei thinks.

Shei picks another plot of land and begins weaving his magics to make her a grandiose princess bed. With curtains, and plushies, an pillows upon pillows, and thick blankets and could hug you down. And he makes the bed the size of an acre. Fashioning it straight from the strange material of this plane.

I Dream of Alchemy+2: Instant; Thrice per session;
[1d10+1] to make the bed

Dark.III [1d10+1] to do this at such a large scale.

Roll #1 8 + 1 = 9 / Roll #2 7 + 1 = 8

 No.766122

>>766118

"OOOOOOOOH!" Amy suddenly exclaims loudly in realization.

"THAT'S what those weird names are about!"

 No.766124

>>766122
Ichimonji looks annoyed. "They explained all of those in the training… manuals…"
"Which… Amy… can't…" Anzu continues.
"………..read," Freischutz concludes.

>>766121
Only the nature of this Anchor, so filled as it is with the tchotchkes and kipple of home life, could permit such an immense bed. Yet you begin your work, taking the artificial material in the field all around you to aid your construction of this vast bed.

>>766121
>>766119
>>766122
As Rooster and Mudi prepare the opening scene, a few of your party look about for Shei.

Dessert goes to the edge of the hilltop, where Shei had tumbled down. "He's down there. He's, uh… building something."

Dessert looks to make sure that the Vestal is distracted with Shorthorned, then she mouths the word 'bed'.

"Just start without him," Vizsla commands.
"Who's going to play the satyr?" Mudi asks.
"Eh, depends which version of the script we're going with," Galton says.
"Obviously it's going to be the family-friendly one," Ichimonji asserts.
"Alright just leave him down there," Mudi says.

 No.766126

>>766124

"All this book stuff is positively insulting," Amy says in mock-indignation.

"I'm happy to know that Rooster's parents didn't hate him, though!"

With the conversation of who is playing what role, Amy pipes in. "I'm starting to get curious about this satyr character…"

 No.766127

>>766126
"THEY MIGHT HAVE!" Rooster says. "I NEVER KNEW THEM!"

 No.766128

>>766124
Shorthorns relaxes as she leans into the Vestal's pets, doing her best on her part to keep the all powerful entity soothed and complacent as the others prepare a show for her to watch.

Having an idea to help get the Vestal thirsty and in the mood for some tea, Shorthorns uses her magic to create a small, crisp, clear pool of water near where she lays down, the buffalo taking on the briefest of movements from her comfy apparent slumber to conjure a drink to quench her thirst before returning to rest

[1d10] Creating a clear, clean hole of water to drink from using Dark Sphere

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.766130

>>766124
Shei puts together the bed, easily molding it together as if he were working with clay. From the fabric of this world he fashions well knit plushies in the likeness of everyone present to pile up along the pillows. He lingers a bit to enchant the bed with a spell.

So the sheets will stay forever fresh and crisp, and the mattress will never mottle, the pillows forever fluffed.

DARK.III
[1d10+1] Giving the bed permanency, because things made with alchemy don't tend to last forever.

>>766124
>>766126
Shei-Sher finishes up and hurriedly gathers to where he's been hearing his name called.

Shei arrives by Amy and Rooster panting, having ran over here "*huff* somebody ring for me?"

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.766132

>>766128
You make a little personal puddle of water. Being that it's of your creation, born from your fledgling divinity, it should be safe enough, a loophole through the traditional warnings against partaking of the food and drink of the land of the dead. And, the dirt adds flavor that you just don't get with water from a skin.

>>766130
>>766128
>>766126
After heading back up the hill, Shei rejoins you as the Ecclesians and the Witches put on a somewhat ramshackle rendition of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Meanwhile, Galton and Ichimonji turn to you, signaling to the four tea-pots on the tray. One tea-pot is set at an angle from the other three, in obvious disharmony. With the infusers removed and hidden, it seems this is how you will know which one is exclusively for the Vestal.

 No.766135

>>766127

"Hey! Saaaame!" Amy says with a smile and a wag of her tail.

Then, she sighs wistfully.

>>766130
>>766132

"It's time to eat, silly," Amy says to Shei, looking in the complete wrong direction.

 No.766136

>>766135
"T-there's food?" Shei says with a twitch of nervousness

>>766132
Shei gather's around the bench for tea time. He returns to his seat but asks the Vestal "May I sit here?" Shei gauges her attitude toward him this time.

 No.766137

>>766132
>>766132
Having 'woken up' a little bit, Shorthorns decides to partake in her drink (the dirt mixed in builds character and strong buffs) and watches the show put on by the Ecclessians and the Witches. She barely follows the plot, far more concerned with the Vestal's mood than anything else, though she does try to at least sort of pay attention as to not diminish all their efforts. When drinks are finally being served, Shorthorns makes a point of taking a particularly big gulp of her self-made water, trying to entice the Vestal to take a drink from the offered tea

[1d10] To make her quenchy

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.766139

>>766136

"Maybe?" Amy says, looking around as if she hasn't seen exactly where the table is.

 No.766140

>>766137
>>766136
>>766135
The Vestal glances at the pool of water that Shorthorned's making look quite appetizing. She reaches down to have some herself – by which I mean, dear reader, that she extends her neck from her upper torso, adding vertebrae, muscles, nerves and flesh in real-time as necessary to reach the pool. But then, Shei gets her attention by sitting nearby. Just as it seems she's about to cast him away again, she sees the tea.

Ichimonji and Galton, realizing that the Vestal's attention has now fallen upon them, start to pour out tea into porcelain cups.

…This is it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYQH4UjGuvY

Everyone who isn't performing on stage makes their way to the table, patiently awaiting their tea and their pastries. There are treats from the surface, taken from the Ecclesians' personal rations of sweets, that your companions take. Everything from Tartarus, they must not eat. The Vestal can have those ones Amy procured from the patisserie down here… it may even increase her appetite.

The Vestal's neck retracts, and the excess length folds into her shoulders and torso, her body reconstructing itself in gruesome waves beneath the skin, as she decides the extra neck length is no longer necessary. As this unfolds, her hoof-tips tap on the table as she waits to be served.

 No.766143

>>766140
A sudden cold of sheer terror washes over Shei for a moment as he realizes the Vestal was about to cast him away again. But then she is distracted.

Cautiously, Shei seats himself next to the Vestal without paying her any attention. He contemplates for a moment.

I've failed in this matter. Shei thinks. The Vestal considers me a possession, and I've bound a chain with her. But I do not receive the Vestal's affection. I haven't been able to approximate the relationship a God has with their follower. And so what is left now? Shei contemplates.

 No.766144

>>766140

"I hope everyone likes the pastries I got for them!" Amy says happily as everyone sits down to eat, blissfully unaware of the fact that no one wants to or even CAN eat them.

She cuts a slice of cake. Then, she takes the rest of the cake, leaving the slice.

"Tea, please," she asks for some tea while putting her cup out in front of her. She dare not pour tea herself in her current visual state.

 No.766146

>>766140
>>766143
As Shei thinks to himself, he finds himself going through the motions of tea time. Something nostalgic of when he was much younger. He plated some sweets and served them to the Vestal as he once used to do for Aliester Crow-ley.

 No.766147

>>766140
Shorthorns looks on in grotesque shock as the Vestal stretches her neck abnormally to drink from the same pool, suddenly finding her own thirst suddenly quite sated as she lets her enjoy the puddle all her own. She returns to her comfortable, apparent 'slumber' at the Vestal's side to try and make her more at ease when they bring out the tea.

She gulps, now only waiting with baited breath as she sees her waiting to be served her tea. She looks around, trying to see if there is anything that could possibly be of concern, but hoping dearly that all that's left to do is let the Vestal drink the tea and this will all be over…

[1d10] Anything to watch out for?

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.766151

>>766144
As you try to take the whole cake island (or at least most of it), Ichimonji casually picks up a knife, and her wrist flicks. The cake on your plate splits into an extremely equitable amount of slices, which she starts to distribute to other plates.

"The most important part of theft is getting away," Ichimonji says sagely.

>>766143
For a moment, it seems that the Vestal's half-looking your way. And, as the gloomy contemplation of godhood – and what it means to fail as a god – comes to mind, you feel a gentle pressure on your head… as the Vestal pats it.

>>766144
>>766146
>>766147
At every seat, a tea-cup is poured, and a slice of cake is served. They're all on the far side of the benches and tables, so that you can watch the show as you eat. Of course, one might say that the performers are watching you, even more than you are them, given what's about to happen. Galton and Ichimonji put out a place for the performers, although they keep their share of the cake and the other tea in their respective containers, to keep them fresh.

"A round of thanks is in order, methinks," Gegenschein says, smiling at Ichimonji and Galton for their work. He raises his glass, and the others do as well… including the Vestal. Several of the partygoers thank the two ladies in advance.

"And, of course," Gegenschein continues. "Cheers to a successful expedition!"

"Cheers!"

All at once, the seated knock raise their cups, then bring them down and take a sip.

And then

–as all eyes turn

a voice–

–speaks

"That was a lot of fun," the Vestal says.

Her tea-cup is still full.

Completely untouched.

She looks at her reflection within it… somewhat forlorn. Without looking up, she speaks again.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC0mFHN7r2c

"So, what's in this?"

 No.766192

>>766151
https://youtu.be/AoO-hv6FkJw?si=x6V3je79oMo0wR47

"Stop it Allie- I-.." Shei involuntarily utters. The Vestal's touch catches him during a memory of his master. Shei stops himself before saying anymore. He looks to the Vestal as she pats his head. And something of a revelation unfolds in Shei's mind

Is she comforting me? How could that be.. Shei thinks as his eyes turn to the features she adopted in their presence, goat horns, wolf paws, an earth pony figure.
She might be a reflection. She reflects everything she comes in contact with. That's why violence is met with her obliterating curse. Thats why the Tartarians warned us not to talk to her. They don't have a soul, they don't have empathy. They're reticular psychopaths that evolved language by mimicry of fallen worlds. Of course they'd find nothing but despair trying to talk to her. She'd reflect all their manipulation. But in us.. what she's reflecting right now is Empathy. She is trying to understand us. She is comforting me from my crestfall. She understands that tea cup has something special for her, because its teapot is spaced away from the other teapots. There's no other way, than if she was reflecting how we use empathy to stay on the same page without talking aloud. Its something Demons are unable to do without the assertion of fear and violence. Cooperation.

Another memory gleams through Shei's cognition. When they last saw Allie. Shei contemplates upon what he said was the source of his failing. After all, all his worshipers were mere posers feigning adulation in place of worship. If Master Crow-ley were here, he would probably tell me to approach even a matter like this with sincerity. Approach with the one word he can no longer bring himself to say anymore.

Shei-Sher casually reaches for the Vestal's tea cup, taking it in his hoof. "Silly Vestal-" Shei chuckles, and speaks in a tone as if he were talking to a beloved younger niece "did you forget to drink your tea while you were drinking your tea?"

Shei drinks the tea in the Vestal's tea cup, and sighs a satisfied sound "Foof! That's a good tea."

The Black Thread, represented as a chain between Shei and the Vestal is still connected. Shei drinks her tea knowing that if he is made to sleep so will she.

And secondarily, Shei tries to comfort the Vestal in return. Hoping he can communicate to her that she doesn't have to go through this alone.

 No.766194

>>766151
Leather yawns, realizing that lapses in time unaccounted for is probably a sign of tiredness despite the setting, and decides he's tired.

 No.766195

>>766151
Shorthorns panics internally as Vestal does not seem to take the tea offered to her even during the toast. And when she asks what's in it, it takes everything in Shorthorns collective of willpower not to wince or otherwise give any sort of sign that something is amiss. She looks around to the others, trying to keep in her role as a soft, comforting source of buffalo fluffiness to entice the Vestal to sleep after she takes her tea, but isn't sure what can be said to alleviate her concerns.

As she watches Shei-Sher reach for the Vestal's tea, and takes a sip of it, she winces, praying that he knows what he's doing as he consumes a powerful sedative that was meant to put a god amongst gods to sleep.

 No.766200

>>766151

"Theft?" Amy responds, cocking her head with a frown.

>>766151
>>766192

Then, Amy sees Shei drink the tea. For the first time throughout all of this, she has to suppress a reaction. She still thinks that this is what is best for the Vestal, but that doesn't mean that she thinks that this is what is best for Shei. But, the deception must go on. Amy sits silently and watches, firmly believing that Shei must have SOMETHING up his sleeve.

 No.766202

>>766200
>>766195
>>766194
>>766192
At the very moment that the liquid touches Shei's mouth, a most peculiar… "explosion" of static engulfs him entirely.

…There is neither force, nor impact, nor even heat to the burst. Yet, "explosion" is the closest word that comes to mind when you behold it. For, from a central point, a massive pulse of glowing shapes blasts forth. Although the blast is brief, you can see that the lights are disparate, and square in shape, like mosaic tiles. Each tile seems entirely different from all the others. While most of them are blocks of pure color, others contain letters, or numbers, or even smells, tactile sensations, sounds and even the impulses of intrusive thoughts.

In the next instant, the "explosion" has dissipated. Shei sits just where he was before. Yet he has not tasted the tea. You can see that the tea remains in his cup.

The Ecclesians and Witches, pretending not to notice, desperately keep up the tea-party pantomime they had been doing up until this point.

The Vestal awaits a response, with an unamused expression.

 No.766205

>>766202
Leather doesn't (try to [1d10]) react, that's what tea's supposed to do.

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.766206

>>766202

"That was cool," Amy laughs at the bizarre occurrence. "How do you feeling, Shei?"

 No.766207

>>766202
>>766202
Shorthorns stares at where the static explosion 'engulfed' Shei, fearing the worst for a moment as she wonders if the tea itself had some kind of terrifying effect. However, as he seems to return the exact next moment, all of the signs of the explosion dissipated and Shei still there safe and sound, she lets out a sigh of relief, hoping that the Vestal still isn't catching on.

As the Vestal looks up, still awaiting an answer, Shorthorns gives a tired sounding yawn (still trying to put the Vestal in the mood) "I hope you all enjoy that tea!" She shouts to everyone, still being cautious not to directly address her. "I got it in a beautiful castle from a royal family of dragons! I bet it has a bit of spice to it, but don't worry it smelled delicious when I smelled it earlier." She says, hoping she's being not descriptive enough to not clue in the Vestal while still answering her question.

[1d10] Subtle Buff!

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.766211

>>766206
>>766202
"Hmm. It's a bit thick." Shei complains. And then apologizes to the Vestal "Sorry lady. Here." Shei grabs the teapot, he pours out another Tartarian sleep tea into a new teacup. Placing it elegantly upon the plate he lands the plated teacup elegantly before Vestal.

"I'll finish this one up." he gestures to the teacup he sipped from previously "You know it's a bit hard to tell where the cup ends and the tea begins it's so thick." Shei makes a parlor trick of his godly affinity. Instead drinking up the porcelain around the tea and crunching it in his mouth before backwashing it back around his teacup. "Needs more sugar."

DARK.III
[1d10+1] An attempt at making the Vestal laugh.

Roll #1 6 + 1 = 7

 No.766214

>>766211
>>766207
>>766206
>>766205
As the Vestal watches Shei eat the teacup itself while leaving the sleeping tea intact – perhaps less a feat of divinity and more of a goat's peerless capacity for eating anything – her expression cycles between confusion, disbelief and disgust.

"Wh a t th e…" she mutters, relapsing for the moment into her earlier, shakier cadence of speaking.

The Vestal looks over at Shorthorned, and then at the others, who act so nonchalant about the whole matter. She scratches her head. "Ar e y o u r e al-ly as-sa-ss in-s…?" she asks. Of course, none respond, and the Vestal's expression becomes troubled once more.

 No.766216

>>766214
"You said ass." Shei sips furiously and loudly from his teacup

second go making the Vestal laugh
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.766217

>>766214
>>766211
Seeing the Vestal seemingly put off and confused by Shei's antics - understandably, in Shorthorn's opinion - the notion that she's becoming confused and thrown off by his behavior does seem to be key in getting her to lower her guard, and so Shorthorns, seeing what Shei is trying to do, decides to laugh first and loudest, as Shei bites his tea-cup whole,

"MOOOHAHAHAHAHAHA! Shei, if you wanted something to eat, we had snacks!"

[1d10] Totally normal hilarity at work here

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.766218

>>766214

"Assassins?" Amy responds with a genuine laugh.

"That's like the complete opposite of what I want to be."

[1d10] for not technically a lie

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.766220

>>766214
Leather snacks, as assassins tend not to answer those sort of questions.

 No.766222

>>766220
>>766218
>>766217
>>766216
"D i-d t-he y s-e nd a co-m-e-d-y tr-o-u p e t h-i-s t-i me?" the Vestal asks, between the short, stilted laughs of one who wants to be polite at something presented as funny – though perhaps not aligned with one's personal comedic tastes.

Rooster, unable to help himself, manifests and then honks a clown horn, and the Vestal arches her eyebrow.

>>766218
But as soon as Amy speaks, the Vestal's head swings her way, and her neck adjusts afterward to catch up. "S-o y o u c-an h e-ar me. C ou-l-d I g-e-t a-n ex-p-l an-a t i-on?"

 No.766358

>>766222
>>766218
As Shorthorns hears the Vestal directly address Amy - a result of her hearing assassins - Shorthorns starts to panic, and tries to think of a way to recover from this situation and try to regain the air of dubiousness they had before they had the Vestal's overt attention.

"What? No, Amy, I said 'family of DRAGONS', not 'as-sas-sins'," she explains, hoping the near rhyme would be enough to throw the vestal off the trail. "They were really nice, nothing at all like that!"

[1d10] Deceive!

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.766359

>>766222

"I don't understand…" Amy says, remaining vague enough to maintain conversation without being too direct. Conceptual nonsense like this comes naturally after a few hundred years in Tartarus.

She also may or may not be looking away from the Vestal. It's hard to tell when her vision has an overlay of the Vestal wherever she looks.

 No.766361

>>766222
Upon the Vestals inquiry, Shei-Sher swings up his axe and cuts the tea table in half. He falls backward onto it and begins playing "Allow me to explain."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyH6bnt56mU
"So many heartbreaks.. so little time.. Too many tragedieees~ -Too many crimes.."

Shei-Sher sings and strums his guitar. On a cue only known to him and the Malechim, they are noticed to drop trays of dry ice into the large pools of water beneath the stage venue Shei created earlier. A fog ascends upon the scene. As Shei-Sher plays his song the dense fog takes on a shape and color. Many figures are painted out in cloudy forms as they engulf the stage, where unceremoniously there was still a Narnia play being presented.


These figures made out in the fog are made in the likeness of those known to everyone present. Some are larger than life and some are life sized. Those who had fallen and those who have perished. For Shei is the image of Gabriele and Crow-ley. For Flaming, are Buffalo from climbing fire tribe. For Pryce are Rising Tide and various paladins from his Order. For Amy there is Princess Wineberry and various trysts of her past. For Leather Cloak there are no visions of lost ones but instead the mirage of his Wife and prospective child in her arms. And for the other saviors, the Ecclessians, the witches, the spiders and so on, Shei-Sher has lifted a memory of sorrow from them and makes it an image in the fog for the Vestal to appraise as their story.

>SHEPHERD'S TONE

Attribute: Buff/Debuff
Tags: Ranged; Mind; Ignores Mind ARs except Repel
Effect: Target either party or enemies; Apply a custom buff to party, or a custom debuff to enemies; Automatically succeeds on fearful enemies, and a successful roll bestows an Autocrit; Can only apply one effect every 6 turns
Duration: 6 Turns Max.
Recharge: N/A

Pitch: Convey to the Vestal Our story of woe and triumph that has led us here.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 7 + 1 = 8

 No.766364

>>766358
>>766359
>>766361
As Shorthorned deflects again, and Amy drifts off, the Vestal's cheeks puff out. "O-h-h-h, c o m-e o-n… I th-o u gh-t th-e-y c o ul-d h-e-ar me th-a t ti-m-e… w-hy ca-n't t-he-y e-ve r he-a-r m-e?"

The party guests back up as Shei starts chopping up tables and conjuring shapes out of dry ice fog.

"O-h j e e-z," the Vestal says. "T-h i-s o-ne's a pu-p-pe t s-h-ow di-r-ec-to r t o-o…"

Nevertheless, she kicks back onto the chopped-up table. The Ecclesians keep their faces away from the show, and also away from Shei… they resume sitting at the other, unbroken tables, and put the tea at the table closest to the Vestal. She does not partake of the tea, but she does reach for the pastries. However, her arm isn't quite long enough, and she can't really reach. She's paying much more attention to the fog-puppet show than to where she's reaching…

…Might this be your chance?

 No.766366

>>766364
Shorthorns looks on at the Vestal as her arm reaches for something to eat, seeing a moment that the party could potentially use for sneaking the tea into her grasp. She maintains her current position, hopefully using her very sleepy and cute demeanor to continue to lure the Vestal into a desire for sleep, but she takes the moment to active one of her holy powers, giving the others the chance they need to pull this off successfully without the Vestal's notice

>Commandment of Harmony: Once per combat; Automatic; For 3 turns, you and all allies may ignore all Recharge periods, and the DC for all rolls is reduced by 2.


(Making it easier for someone to sneak it into her grasp)

 No.766369

>>766366

"You missed," Amy says as the Vestal fails to grab her drink. "Here you go, friend," Amy says as she puts the tea made especially for the Vestal, Vestal's tea (the tea?), directly into the Vestal's grasp.

[1d10] for friendly help!

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.766370

>>766369
>>766364
Shei-Sher continues playing and Singing, as the multicolored fog rolls in. He sees Amy attempt to move the tea cup into the Vestal's hand and instead hoodwinks her with subtle magics.


>Light.IV Dark.III Life.II Death.I

[1d10+1] to imbue the tea with sliver of Shei's soul and make it into a living creature that expands out of the tea cup. Make it a tea familiar, in the shape of a small elephant.

Shei also casts haste onto the entire party

>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.

[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 4 + 1 = 5

 No.766373

>>766370
>>766369
>>766366
As Amy tries to pass the tea to the Vestal, her grip is unsteady, and the Vestal's absent-minded grabbing bumps the porcelain cup right out of Amy's paw. But just as the tea falls out of the cup, Shei notices, and transmogrifies it into a more solid shape… although, with his focus on the performance, he doesn't quite manage the elephant that he's looking for; instead it just becomes a gelatinous lump.

"W-as t-h-at wh-a-t yo-u wa-n-t-ed m-e t-o d r i-nk?" the Vestal asks, squinting at the shape. "I-s th-a-t a gi-ra-f-fe?"

The miserable slime contemplates the impermanence of existence.

>Go Go Go succeeds!

 No.766374

>>766373
Shorthorns winces as the cup is knocked out of Amy's grasp, only to be turned into the fleshy abomination that now stains the artificial grass beneath them. Shorthorn can't help but fight back a gag as she looks at the squishy "giraffe".

"Oh, s-silly Amy, you know you should be more careful! You're probably worn out from all the partying so far…" she says, giving out another yawn as she continues to try and make the Vestal interested in sleep. She gets up from her comfy spot, and walks over to the table. "Here, I'll go pour up some more tea…" looking for the special tea-blend to whip up another cup for her to discretely hand over to the Vestal

 No.766376

>>766373
>>766370

"Sorry, friend," Amy apologizes. "I'm having a hard time seeing right now."

"At least Shei stopped it from spilling…"

Amy looks around. "That WAS Shei that transformed it, right?"

 No.766378

>>766373
Alarm bells ring in Shei's mind. At least he won't be remorse about killing something cute. The mere sight of this disgusting thing he made causes him to stutter off key for a moment. But he continues singing til the bloody end

Shei-Sher holds up his axe as she sings vaingloriously "TOO THE RESCUUUEEE!!~"
And swings it onto the new life he made. Ending it's lie quickly and sacrificing all the contents of its being to be consumed by Shei. It's essence spills out and absorbs into Shei-Sher.

>QLIPHOTH

Attribute: Buff
Tags: Automatic
Effect: Sacrifice X Minions to Heal 5/5 H/W per sacrificed Minion; Can overheal the Target's Wounds to (2W+2); Healing can be distributed to allies freely; Can Resurrect a dead ally if body and soul are present and fewer than three days have passed since their death.
Duration: N/A
Recharge: 3 Turns

[AUTOMATIC] 5 wounds + 13/6 HW = 18/6 HW

At the moment of sacrifice, Shei-Sher breaks a sign made upon his soul. The signature of Gabby's seal on his back glows and tears apart.

>BLACK ARIA CATECHISM

Attribute: Buff/Debuff
Tags: Automatic
Effect: Pay half your Current Wounds as a Cost; Subject all Enemies to the Magatushi Overload Status Condition; All Allies benefit from Dhyana Beatitude and Qi Enlightenment Buffs;
Duration: X Turns equal to number of Wounds paid
Recharge: N/A

[The description isn't entirely accurate. You can decide by either moving close to Shei or away if you're going to soak a bunch of magatsuchi or a bunch of Dhyana.]

full description in here: https://pastebin.com/tZcwtyju

[This is what Shei-Sher does to prevent himself from possibly dieing from absorbing the tea. So he's allowing the excess magatsuchi to spill out of him]

 No.766381

>>766374
>>766376
>>766378
The Ecclesians, Witches, and your other gathered allies back away from Shei as he drinks down his very own transmogrified creation– comprised of the very tea you conspired to give to the Vestal.

Needless to say…

Any tea concocted with enough potency to subdue an Undefiled Umbral who was once imprisoned upon Layer Seven: VIOLENCE…

…Would instantly swallow whole a mortal born and raised outside of Tartarus.

Shei flops to the ground. All his powers and special effects fade away. The Malakhim turn in shock, and everyone else's attention soon follows– as their eyes land upon Shei's lifeless body, sprawled across the stage.

The eyes of the Vestal widen.

 No.766382

>>766381
>>766378

"W-wait, what just happened!?" Amy asks, horrified and confused. In her hazy version of what passes as vision right now, she missed the moment Shei drank the tea. But, any loyal doggo girlfriend could never miss her own boyfriend falling over in such a manner.

"Why? What? How? I don't understand! Shei, what are you doing!?"

Amy trips her way over to him. "What happened!? What did you do!?" she asks as she shakes his body. Tears well up in her eyes.

 No.766383

>>766381
>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.

Let my sacrifice count at least! Shei still has a chain tied to the Vestal.

from this post
>>765985

 No.766385

>>766381
Does this work?

>ASTRAL PROJECTION: spell; you project your spirit, leaving your physical body behind as you send yourself to a distant location. While projecting, your body is unconscious and immobile, and you are unaware of anything that happens to it unless you are in its vicinity. Your spirit is intangible and invisible, but can still be detected by magic or other spirits, and it cannot manipulate or pass through physical objects. Wherever your spirit travels, you can hear and see everything around you in the physical world. Returning to your physical body is automatic.

 No.766386

>>766381
>>766382
>>766383
Shorthorns' eyes widen at the sight of Shei outright swallowing the creature - composed of the most powerful sleeping agent known to Tartarus - and passing out entirely, not at all like what had happened before when Shei seemed to merely be pulling a trick on the Vestal.

She quickly moves over to Amy's side, looking over Shei's unconscious form. Any attempt at subterfuge to deceive the Vestal is forgotten as mounting worry grows on her face, looking over at a tearful Amy as she looks over the sleeping goat.

"T-this… this isn't good…" she mutters to herself, trying to think of someway, anyway, to pull Shei out of it. She focuses on her holy powers, trying to stir Shei's mind awake with her tertiary and weakest sphere, but her only hope at this moment

[1d10] Sphere of Light to awaken Shei's mind (still DC-2 from Commandment of Harmony)

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.766387

>>766383
Your mind floats in dark waters. Words, concepts, memories push by you like so much driftwood. Impulses cling to your fur, soaking the skin beneath. It takes all you have, but you reckon that a goat's restlessness… hmm… there the thought goes, floating away…

>>766385
You try to rise… but as if imprisoned by a demon of sleep paralysis, you remain inert. Your physical eyes remain shut, but those of your spirit wrench open, aided by Shorthorned's power. You see the inside of your eyelids, pink running with violet capillaries. It's a struggle to push your spirit even an iota out, to see the others gathering about you.

The restlessness of a goat is just about the main thing keeping you alive. Perhaps it shouldn't… death, after all, remains the boundary keeping you on this side of godhood… perhaps power awaits on the other side…? No… grim talk, that. A flash in the dark waters reminds you of Flow, and his warnings about casting your life away too easily. You see him among the crowd. His face is set, but horror is in his eyes. If you manage to survive this, you will probably not survive the ass-kicking he's got in store for you.

>>766382
>>766383
>>766386
"aa…" a voice ekes out.

It's the voice of the Vestal.

"aa, aaa, aa… aaaa… aaaaAAAAAAA最愀椀渀AAAAAAAAAAAAAA最愀椀渀 愀AAAHHHHHHHHHHHRRRRRRRRR愀最愀RRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYQH4UjGuvY

A mosaic of lights explodes over her form. They glimmer, the way that rain glimmers in sunlight during a sunshower, each drop a kaleidoscopic microcosm within its refracted light. As the mosaic washes over her again and again, you see countless other figures, standing where the Vestal stands, thrashing and screaming, just as she does.

"Aga渀 愀in, AG最愀椀渀AIN!!!" the Vestal screams, her words distorting along with her. "Just WHAT could be so important in all of LIMBO that you people CAN'T HELP BUT KILL EACH OTHER OVER IT!?"

>>766382
>"So… this one failed."

You remember this knowledge… and instantly forget it, once again.

>Paused

 No.766456

>>766387
Fuck what did I expect. I had a plan to save myself, but it looks like I came up short this time. If I could just open my eyes aaahh.. Flow.. Sorry mate. Wait if I die here, does that mean I'll become a god.. Wait no- then I'll reincarnate. I can't do that. I'll forget what I was here for! No I don't need that. I'm supposed to die here so the world won't need a god of Bastards and Kids. Dammit this death isn't right. Don't you all know the world doesn't need me around! It really shouldn't! I can't die like this! Not like this!"

Who's that screaming.. Someone's crying. What do they want… They want everyone to stop fighting..? Hay- that's what Amy and I are here for. I'm not dead yet. Make an oath to me. I'll stop them. I just need a little more pep and I'll go forthright. Make an oath to me -I'll get up -I'll stop them! I'll stop them! I can do it! Make An Oath To Me!!

>Shei's mind screamed within him, but his body did not listen.

 No.766457

>>766387

Amy says nothing. She just hyperventilates as she watches Shei's unmoving body. When the Vestal starts spazzing out, she watches that as well. But, she doesn't have to move her head to look at it. Amy's vision is still filled with her sight. A million things she thinks to do, but all of them don't work in her head. Shei is the planner. Amy just does. She tried to make plans to stop Shei from doing something like this. But, in the end, Shei was still a step ahead.

She realizes that that was also a part of Shei's plan. She can't save him without also saving the Vestal. A burning hatred wells up within her toward Shei. She resented that hurting her like this was this important to him. She hated that she was impressed by and respected this move on Shei's part. But, the game wasn't over yet. Hatred and love are not opposites. They are two halves of the same thing. Even in her anger, she still continued to look for a way out.

She watched the Vestal to see if Shei's plan was even working. If not, she had ways to maybe pull him out. She just needed a chance…

 No.766458

>>766457
Shei opens his eyes just barely and he sees. Amy. He sees Amy crying.

What am I doing.. I'm going to die and I'm still trying to win.. You don't always get to win. This was good enough right. They can take care of the rest from here. They're all pretty great -yeah.. Yeah. She is..

If I'm going to die -I just.. need to do one last thing. Just one last thing before I bow out.

>Control (Self)

[1d10+3] to sing one last song
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50a6j16Y-80

Shei-Sher reaches up a hoof and caresses Amy's face "There have been other people in your life You have had other lovers, so have I. You have talked very sweetly. You have felt very deeply. You have shared many stories. With the ones who came before me. There have been other people in your life. Did you change theirs the way that you changed mine? And without them, anyhow- Would you be who you are now. And would you even want me In your life?.. But in the greater scheme of things, just think of all the might-have-beens. There is no you, there is no me when set against eternity. And jealousy is just an urge to rule over the universe. It is worthless and destructive and always counterproductive.. There have been other people in your life. You have had other lovers, so have I.. And, eh, blah blah blah." Shei has ran out of the energy for anymore sweet lyrics.


"Amy.. -I messed up really bad. But.. Will you still marry me. Will you marry me Amy Thest." Shei asks Amy to make an oath to him.

Roll #1 6 + 3 = 9

 No.766459

>>766387
Shorthorns gasps as she takes her head away from Shei's, looking on at his prone, listless body as she shakes her head, "I-I can't hear anything… h-he's already so deeply asleep, I can't-!"

She gasps as she watches the Vestal start to violently react, shielding her eyes from the bright display of light that washes over her as he form thrashes and screams. She thinks to apologize to her, to tell her this was the only way forward… but to do so might risk compromising their position, and even now as the Vestal rages, Shorthorns steels her nerves and tries to ignore her hallowing cries of anguish.

She mutters 'I'm sorry' under her breath, all she can muster for the pitiable cosmic being, and turns her focus back to Shei. As he starts to move again, lifting his body up to cup Amy's face, she looks on silently as he imparts what may be his last words, silent and contemplate as her eyes well up with tears.

"S-shei…?"

 No.766460

>>766456
Amid everyone gathered around you – all your enemies and allies, innumerable competing aims, united however thinly by a common goal – you feel another presence, like so many hands, ready to reach out and take you. Buiwong… the love of Crow-ley… the Black Thread held by Kerberos… the blessing of your mother… the gratitude of the kingdom of dragons, hidden in the painted world… the avaricious maw of death and distorted reincarnation of Tartarus… the kindling of your own godhood… Before you can even get to any kind of afterlife, you may very well be torn apart by everyone seeking a claim on your body and soul. Even among the gathered mourners, you sense these desires… most strongly, from Sir Gegenschein, and Mudi the Young.

>>766458
>>766457
"Th-the talisman!" Anzu shouts. "Shei, use the talisman! It's the only way to keep from being claimed by Tartarus!"

"I am inclined to agree," Doctor Galton says.

Vizsla scoffs. "He doesn't need your paltry little lifesavers. He may not be a Witch, but he keeps up with one quite well. I'm sure he's accounted for this."

"Careful," Mudi growls. "That almost sounded like a compliment."

>>766456
>>766457
>>766459
"It's always the same," the Vestal says, stifling a yawn. "So many people send someone or something here to try to take me out. All so you can go back to fighting one another without me ruining the fun, isn't it? So which one sent you?"

Your companions keep their eyes on Shei, struggling to hide their reactions to this sudden change for the cogent on the Vestal's part.

"I've tried being distant… I've tried being close…" the Vestal continues.

Perhaps– the incomprehensibility of such disparate beings goes both ways. For as mortals struggle to discern the aims of the gods– perhaps gods may struggle to understand mortals.

 No.766461

>>766460
"eeeuuuuggh.. The vultures come to roost." Shei-Sher groans as it seems he cannot even propose to his darling in the sweet eve of death.

>>766460
"Nooo.. Vestal- It can be different this time." Chains spill out from Shei's tandem like many innards. He says to those surrounding him "Go on. Take a chain from me." Shei prompts everyone.

"I am the God of Bastards and Kids after all. All things fallen away from Y'dryth, fall into my domain. Take a chain from me secure peace in the first layer. And when you find those who wish to bind themselves to one another. Make a chain for them. So they may be reminded not to hurt one another."

Shei gives a side-eye glance to the Vestal "We do this.. and would youjust close your eyes already.. You and I have drunk the tea after all."

>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

[1d10+1]

Shei-Sher reveals all the metaphysical chains around him and connected throughout Tartarus and to Y'dryth's creation. And everyone might take notice a chain bonded between Shei-Sher and the Vestal.

"I am saved by those who covet me. As I covet them."

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.766462

>>766460
>>766461
Shorthorns stifles a sob as Vestal asks who sent them, and why they did this to her. She somehow feels her pain in being unable to interact with mortals… or even divine beings like them, her being so beyond their scope. She felt pity for her from the start, but only now in the wake of their actions - and what it has cost in Shei - does she truly start to feel for how lonely an existence the Vestal must feel.

She struggles to find the words - the stalward young buffalo goddess caught between looking on as Shei beings to slip away from them and the guilt of their actions in how they brought it about, but as Shorthorns is about to stammer out an answer, a pitiful and worthless response or justification for what they just wrought, she's brought out of it as Shei, still slipping away into his eternal rest from the tea they procured, asks of them all to take on a chain.

She steps forward, and takes one of the chains, biting back her sorrow, "Shei… w-why… why did you have to drink the tea?!" She grasps the chain tightly, and briefly considers choking him with it, "W-we had a plan… y-you didn't have to do this… please, there might still be time! Break your chain with her, m-maybe we can still save you!"

 No.766464

>>766462
"No taksey backsies…" Shei smiles a bittersweet smile at Shorty

 No.766465

>>766458
>>766460
>>766459

Amy simply cries as Shei sings, taking all the words in. She closes her eyes and sobs, but even as she closes her eyes, her vision is still filled with the Vestal - that odious thing that she lost her love for.

When Shei asks Amy to marry him, she doesn't understand what he means by this. Marriage in general has always been a foreign and confusing concept to her. It wasn't that she didn't understand monogamy. It was the bizarre supposed holy devotion behind it. She already saw herself as devoted to him. But, claiming devotion to him now as he died, it seemed… meaningless.

But, Amy knew better than to think that Shei did anything meaningless. On some level, she could feel the greedy entities clawing at Shei's divinity.

Then, she realizes that she doesn't want them to have him. And, that's the point of this holy oath.

Amy leans down to kiss Shei. "I promise, Shei," she says with a smile and tears welling again in her eyes. "You will always be mine. And, I will always be yours."

Then, she kisses him. And, as she does so, she takes a piece with him.

>Princess of Hunters: Recharge 3; Spell: Permanently steal any one skill from a target, gaining it for your own use. You do not gain the target's roll bonuses along with the skill. In order for a skill to be a valid target for stealing, the user must fulfill three conditions. 1: You must know what skill you want to steal. 2: You must have seen that skill used before. 3: You must know of the target's motivations and desires.

>[1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.766466

>>766465

>>Shepherd's Tone: one effect per 6 turns, stackable, negates resistances; Divinity transposed through rock and roll. Play a song that invokes profoundly visceral effects upon all your enemies or allies on the field to either alter their behavior or status condition. When using this ability describe the effect and purpose and whether it is for allies or enemies. Based on the description of the effect and purpose the DM may attach any status conditions at his discretion. Player may describe environmental effects on planes where the environment is nebulous i.e. dreams, astral plane, chaotic planes, etc. This ability automatically succeeds upon feared targets and a successful roll will amplify the effect. As Psychic HP decreases in targets, effects of Sherpherd's Tone become more dramatic/severe. Can only be used for one effect every 6 turns. Any Status conditions remaining dispells after 6 turns. If the effected party surrenders due to this ability the behavioral condition is more permanent.


Taking this ability, to be clear.

 No.766467

>>766465
>>766462
>>766461
The Vestal's head snaps in Shei's direction as he acknowledges her openly. There is a sense in the air of tension snapped, a trap sprung. Yet the Vestal now lacks the enthusiasm.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MX1hS7PwgRU

Solitude and alienation distort one's capabilities to interact with those who are quite unlike one's self. One might begin to think of oneself as being truly separate from someone else– to begin sorting existence into hierarchies, "higher" beings distinct from "lower" ones. Perhaps this… was where the Vestal failed. To foreclose connection and communication themselves, to take it upon herself to be the ultimate deterrent, the ultimate violence, all in the pursuit of stopping violence altogether… such was her failure. Naturally, MISTER MOOLAH, and all the other contenders for dominion over LIMBO, would never consider this. It took someone who could play outside the paradigm she set up to beat that crooked game.

But the price of victory… absolute.

As you and your allies take the chains… darkness begins to close in.

The lights upon this performer's stage are growing dim.

 No.766468

>>766464
>>766467
Shorthorns grips the chain in her hoof tightly, as though making sure it was held as steadfastly as she could would mean Shei wouldn't slip away. But even as optimistic as Shorthorns could be, she held little hope that such a notion would stop the powerful sleeping concoction from sending Shei off into a permanent slumber, along with the Vestal.

She sniffs, the sobs coming more openly, "I… I feel like I never understood you, Shei…" she whimpers, tears starting to flow down. "Y-you were always so weird… you did and said the strangest things, a-and you keep doing stuff like this… just acting without thinking, and expecting us to pick up your mess…"

She wipes at her eyes, but the tears won't stop coming. "I-I got mad at you so often for being so reckless, for not listening a-and just doing whatever you wanted… but I admired that too. You were smart, smarter than I could ever hope to be… maybe the only reason I never understood you was because I was too dumb too, but I know you were always doing what you thought was right. You never did anything with the intention of hurting us, a-and maybe you kept it all to yourself because you didn't want us to get hurt… I loved that about you, you know."

She chokes back a sob, "Way back when we first met, you taught me so much about how people from outside my tribe acted, I thought you were weird but I also thought you were funny, and nice, and really, REALLY smart, in your way. So please…" she cries, "Please don't go! Please don't go Shei, please! I'm not ready for you to go, we can't do this without you!"

 No.766471

>>766467

"Life isn't anything without struggle…" Amy says with a heavy sigh. "You can't know what happiness is without having first felt sadness. You weren't protecting anything. You were just stopping people from living. And, that's worse than death."

"But, I guess that was the point, huh? If they can't live, then they can't die. Death is… horrible," Amy chokes on her words as she looks down at Shei's dying body. "It's horrifying, and painful and…"

She trails off as she lets out another long sigh. "But, we wouldn't have life without death. That's the thing you don't understand. That's the thing you CAN'T understand. You don't have life or death. You just… don't get it. You wanted us to be like you."

Then, Amy turns to face the Vestal directly, the two visions she has of her becoming one. Despite the tears in her eyes, she gives the Vestal a genuine smile. "I hope you had fun today. I really do. I wanted to make this a party that you would enjoy. I wanted you to see all of us happy and be able to share in it. I wanted you to see what life is before…" she lets out another sigh. "Before you lost it."

"If you feel pain or sadness now, just know that you couldn't have felt that without the joy you felt today. I know it's confusing… I don't think we get it either. But, it's beautiful. Maybe it's even beautiful because it doesn't make sense. I've spent this mortal body's entire existence trying to understand why I love it so much."

"I don't know if you'll be able to think wherever you're going. But, I hope you can. I hope you can think about this day and long for another like it. But, even more than any of that, I hope that I can save you one day so we can give you another like it. But, next time, we can make it even better."

 No.766472

File: 1712026468346.png (1.44 MB, 745x919, wew.PNG)

>>766466
>>766465
The hoof Shei presses upon Amy's cheek as they kiss, now slips away, lightly touching her coat as he falls away. Where his hoof touched Amy's hoof, there now appears a ring. A ring made from a bundle of many tiny chains.

>>766468
Shei looks on at Flaming, with half-lidded eyes. A quiet humor in his face, as though he's been holding in a joke this whole time. But when he speak, his voice is warm and appreciative of Flaming "I loved being stupid with you.. My fondest memories are all when I was allowed to be stupid.. I loved it all.."

>>766467
Shei-Sher's leans back upon the floor that will soon make his grave. "O-oh.. B-by t-the way.. Ha ha.. Ha" He stifles a laugh, as Shei seems to want to go out with the comedy he started. "Ecclessia- I could resurrect people without a sacrifice the whole time- hah hah!" he laughs and chuckles "Lies of omission hooo! ha ha.. ha… ha……. ha.." He rolls his head and Shei chuckles himself softly to sleep.


The Moment Shei breathes his last breath is apparent, by when he finally dies everything kept within is cape falls out, producing a mound of junk beneath Shei-Sher. His resting place being atop a small mound of all his possessions.

Frivolity of Kings: Extra Dimensional Cape with ludicrous inventory function
[ceased function]

>>766465
>Book of Beasts: A small book full of blank pages. When the user draws a picture of a creature on a page and tears it out, the creature comes to life as a loyal minion with full 4/4 H/W and a single skill from any class. There are 30 pages within the book.

Many small paper creatures come running out of Shei-Sher's cape. They come up to Amy carrying a small obsidian idol of a throne. They urge her to take it.

>An effigy of Pravda's throne (for summoning the Demon Lords of Vitral)


>>766467
At this point the Malechim may understand to retrieve Bodhidharma's lantern from Shei-Sher.

 No.766475

>>766472
>>766471
>>766468
The Vestal of Peace, narrow-eyed and pouting, listens to everything Amy has to say, in spite of everything. For the Vestal, who toyed with those who tried every method possible of slaying her, being so totally thwarted by a "toy" could not be anything more than the greatest of disgraces…

Yet, perhaps owing to the calming effects of the tea…

"Not the tea," the Vestal answers– though to who, you can't tell. "I guess… I really did have fun here. Even as dumb as you all are. I thought you were all just a bunch of weirdos and jerks at first."

The Witches and the Ecclesians can't help but look off to the side for safety.

"Don't blame me…" she yawns. "When that's all I got coming up here for who knows how long, sent by the… whaddya call it? Everyone who wants to be… Lord of Limbo. You're gonna have to play with them next now. But I guess… I don't have to supervise that. Just be sure to have fun. I hope it's all worth it. Oh and… thaaaaaaaaaanks…"

She draws out the last vowel with obvious reluctance. Then she looks in the direction of the bed that Shei conjured earlier, vast and fluffy. "I'm gonna knock out… so just wake me when you're in the neighborhood… oh and you have to do all the tidying-up around here. Or else she'll get annoyed."

"She?" Gegenschein hazards to ask.

"Tsk… long story. You'll run into her… sooner or later," the Vestal answers. She double-takes at you, squinting as if she saw something that was here one second, gone the next. But, not finding it again, she puts the thought away. Long pajamas and a night-cap manifest upon her.

 No.766477

>>766475
>>766471
>>766472
Shorthorns has few words offered for the Vestal… right now, all she can see in her eyes is her friend passing away right in front of her. She looks up at the pitiable, all-powerful entity who had simply desired for peace - a notion she herself has come to admire so deeply and so longingly, a far cry from the brash, trigger happy buffalo she once was. Climbing Fire culture revolved around being the biggest and the strongest, but now more than ever, as she sees what is happening to Shei, peace is all she could ever want or ask for.

She chokes back a sob, still gripping the chain that Shei provided them all. "I-I loved it too… so please… can't we just keep being stupid together? For a little while longer?"

As Shei finally starts to drift off to sleep eternal, Shorthorns lets out a sob openly, "Shei… you big dummy… please…" but sees that he is already breathing his last. Knowing the last words he'll ever hear from her must come now, Shorthorns bursts out, "I love you, Shei! You were my brother, and I loved you, no matter how stupid you got! Wherever you go… remember that!"

She starts crying openly, still gripping the chain tightly and crying like a calf less than half her age as the Vestal takes her long-awaited and needed rest, leaving the mess of this realm of Limbo to others without her interference. Shorthorns can barely utter an apology to her as well, for what it was they had to do, finding herself unable to stop crying and sputtering with Shei's passing as he breathes his last.

 No.766480

>>766475

Amy smiles. "Cleaning up this mess is what I came for. You did a good job. Now, get some rest. I'm sure she'd say the same."

>>766472

Amy laughs at Shei's final words, an amusing bit of playful spite to the holy people Amy barely cares for.

As Shei breathes his last, Amy pulls her head back and points her snout at the sky. She lets out a loud, unearthly howl full of all of her sadness.

>Shepherd's Tone: one effect per 6 turns, stackable, negates resistances; Divinity transposed through rock and roll. Play a song that invokes profoundly visceral effects upon all your enemies or allies on the field to either alter their behavior or status condition. When using this ability describe the effect and purpose and whether it is for allies or enemies. Based on the description of the effect and purpose the DM may attach any status conditions at his discretion. Player may describe environmental effects on planes where the environment is nebulous i.e. dreams, astral plane, chaotic planes, etc. This ability automatically succeeds upon feared targets and a successful roll will amplify the effect. As Psychic HP decreases in targets, effects of Sherpherd's Tone become more dramatic/severe. Can only be used for one effect every 6 turns. Any Status conditions remaining dispells after 6 turns. If the effected party surrenders due to this ability the behavioral condition is more permanent.

>[1d10+2]

The world around them warbles with her howl as the howl itself takes on an echo effect.

>I will let Voyage describe what happens


Roll #1 7 + 2 = 9

 No.766481

>>766477
>>766480
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CLltCSDnY0

When the Vestal's hoofsteps finally recede into the distance, there is a brief silence. Infinite, simultaneously, eternal. And in the next instant…

A metallic chiming rings out– the melodic rattling of black chains. Shei's body dissolves into those chains, collecting in the grasps of all who would receive him. As Shei dissipates, a great peal of power flows out from Amy.

https://youtu.be/xpZgquy8Wh4?t=5

Beneath the shade of the Trees of Good and Evil, a small campus is built by a miracle. Stone paths, gardens of sand, a central pagoda atop a raised patio, with an offeratory-box before it. This, the first shrine of the God of Bastards and Kids– it's far from home, but nonetheless, it shall mark his apotheosis.

Despite their own affiliations, the Ecclesians and Witches exchange a look. They follow after your own allies, who wordlessly approach the shrine, taking in Shei's memorial in silence. In turn, each of them approaches the offeratory box, each one giving a coin or some other valuable, and a hushed word.

 No.766484

>>766481

Amy smiles as she sees all of her allies paying Shei respects. Then, Amy approaches the shrine herself. Atop the lip of the offertory box itself, Amy places the two papercraft dolls that she found in the scavenger hunt. She positions them such that they are hugging, and leaves them that way. Once she is sure that they are secure, she takes a step back and gives a satisfied nod.

 No.766485

>>766481
>>766480
Shorthorns continues to bawl even as Shei's body dissolves into chains, gripping onto it tightly as she wails openly for the loss of her brother. Wordlessly, loudly, proudly crying like a child without shame as a send off for the idiotic, brilliant, cowardly, courageous, utterly befuddling and profound God of Bastards and Kids.

She pauses momentarily as her cries are interrupted by the tremendous howl coming from Amy, the wolf's piercing cry taking her out of her depression for a few brief moments as the awesome power taken from Shei gives way to a shrine… the first memorial of many to be made to Shei-Sher. She still sniffles, weeping openly as she watches the beauty around them gather with the paths and gardens. She notices the others, seemingly far more composed, begin making their way to the offertory-box to give him their final blessings.

Shorthorns walks slowly over to the box, and presses her hooves together, summoning forth a bit of clay and earth of deepest red. Having proven somewhat skilled in her crafts earlier, she makes a goat - a near perfect replica of Shei-Sher as the young goat back when they first met, what feels like an eternity ago. Recalling his innocence and kid-ish charm, Shorthorns also etches in words to the base - the final gift Shei gave her of the written word and Equish language

>"Shei-Sher, God of Bastards and Kids."

>"Beloved Clan Brother and Husband, Brilliant Maniac, Perpetual Pain in the Butt, and Dearly Missed For All Time"
>"Rest in Peace, Forever Unchained."

And places it within the box, weepily bowing her head in remembrance.

 No.766486

>>766485

Amy puts her hoof paw on Flaming's opposite shoulder. She pulls her in for a tight side hug.

"What does it say?" Amy asks softly, referring to the words that Flaming put on the statuette.

 No.766488

>>766486
Shorthorns sniffs, pulling herself tightly into a full-blown hug as she wraps her hooves around Amy's soft coat.

"Sh…Sh-shei-Sher, G-God of Bastards and Kids…"
"Beloved Clan Brother… and h-husband," she chokes up, "Brilliant maniac… perpetual pain in the butt… and dearly missed for all time."
"Rest in peace… forever unchained…"

Shorthorns gulps and keeps sobbing, "It's stupid… I-I just put down whatever came to mind first, I-I should have thought it out more first…"

 No.766489

>>766484
>>766485
In silence, you depart from the hilltop shrine, and head a little down the hill as well, in the opposite direction that the Vestal went. For even if she's gone off to sleep, there's little need to risk disturbing her sleep.

The Malakhim, Shei's bandmates, are still here, having gathered up all his possessions using the cloak as a bindle.

"Not to… take away from the moment," the trianglist says. "But obviously we're sticking the journey through with you all."

The bassist and violinist nod as well. "Only thing is that now," the violinist continues. "Our connection to the surface world is gone too. Kerberos will probably be keen on shutting the gate again with Shei's thread gone."

"Fret not," Doctor Galton says. "That's what the talismans are for."

"Mmm…" the bassist mumbles.

Vizsla turns toward the base of the hill.

There, you see the three Paper Trails, who guided you here, on Mister Moolah's orders. In perfect synchronization, the Paper Trails bow to you, before turning and heading off.

"Off to deliver their report, I presume," Vizsla says. "Now Belphecorp will hold up its end of the bargain."

"When word gets out across LIMBO about the Vestal…" Mudi mumbles.

"It's all going to come crashing down," Flow answers.

"Let's let the future's concerns belong to the future," Gegenschein says. "We haven't even toasted Shei yet. Let's hold a toast without tea, shall we?"

 No.766491

>>766488

Amy squeezes Flaming harder as she reads it out for her. The words make her start bawling into Flaming's shoulder.

"No, it's perfect," Amy whines at Flaming's objections to her own words. "I love you…" she chokes out the words as she squeezes Flaming so hard that she might choke the life out of her.

>>766489

Once they have gotten the hug out of their system, Amy heads toward the Malakhim.

"Could I have the book and the little throne?" Amy asks somberly.

>>766489

"Dealing with the demons is why we came here. This doesn't change anything," Amy says with grim determination.

 No.766493

>>766491
Shorthorns cries harder into Amy's shoulder, and hugs her back, not at all minding the strength with which she is held, "I love you too… I'm so sorry Amy, I-I know… you REALLY loved him, I know how important he was to you… I hurt so much right now I can't imagine how much more it must be for you…" she says, crying openly into Amy's withers.

>>766489
As all the others pay their respects and offer a toast in honor of Shei's memories, Shorthorns hiccups and tells them all, "Ju-just a bit… I'm sorry, I need just a bit before I can do all that…" she says plainly, trying to fight back the encroaching sadness in spite of the victory they've earned.

 No.766496

>>766491
The Malakhim hand over the book and the throne.

>>766493
>>766491
Your companions give you some space, grouping up among themselves to discuss and make plans for the period of wait that shall follow. Leather Cloak gives you a quiet and respectful nod, but remains at the ready near Holy Hours. Vizsla, Mudi, Desert and Hurricanrana keep a similar distance.

It's little wonder to what they're thinking… With the Vestal now out of commission, an assassination attempt – or an "unfortunate accident" – is now all the more possible, however ill-advised it would be.

Flow, for his part, keeps you company. His hat is kept low, his expression stoic, but his gaze distant.

 No.766497

>>766493

"Honestly… so much has happened at once, I don't really know what to think… I know he's…" Amy chokes on her words for a moment.

"I know he's gone, but with everything that just happened… Honestly, at least I can say that he died doing something good. And, he didn't unexist himself."

"I'm not saying good bye to him because he's not gone. Not forever. He's a god now. And, I've finally found some gods I can believe in," she says with a smile and a ruffling of Flaming's mane.

 No.766498

>>766496
>>766496
Shorthorns offers another sniff, trying to dry her eyes but still staining Amy's coat with her tears. She keeps her in a tight hug, shuddering as she struggles to calm herself down. "T-that's true… I know it is. I-if there's one thing we've learned through all of this is that nothing is ever really the end… Shei IS a god now, and he'll always be remembered."

She sighs, offering one last tight squeeze. "I just… I thought we had more time. I really thought he'd make it to the end with us, I really did… I was so mean to him, sometimes, but I really thought he was amazing! I hope he knows that…"

 No.766499

>>766497
>>766498
The Ecclesians split their forces, with Freischutz, Ichimonji, Anzu and Fox going into town, and the others poking about in this gated garden area. The air remains stale and stagnant, but you can now feel the minute stirrings of a faint breeze…

 No.766500

>>766498

"Of course he knows that, silly!"

"I definitely thought he'd make it to the end, too… I was waiting for him to do some stupid sacrifice… I just didn't think he'd do it so soon."

Amy trails off, tears well up in her face again.

Then, she forces another smile. "But, worrying about what to do about Shei is a problem for after Tartarus now."

>>766499

"Anyway, we should go back to MISTER MOOLAH, now," Amy says with the appropriate amount of enthusiasm.

 No.766501

>>766500
>>766499
Shorthorns finishes the last of her sobs (for now), pulling herself from Amy's embrace and wiping at her eyes.

"R-right… he wouldn't want us to linger on him. Not when there's still work that needs to be done…"

She looks over at the Vestal, now sleeping peacefully with their mission successful. "Shei gave up his life so no one else would have to, so we could put the Vestal to rest, and finally move forwards towards the Lake… I won't let his sacrifice be wasted, I won't!"

She turns towards Shei's monument one last time, offering it a sincere bow and prayer. "Shei… I promise, one way or another, I will see you again, and I swear I will make you proud of us until that day comes."

With her last respects paid, she joins alongside the others, nodding along with Amy. "Right… we should let MISTAH MOOLAH know the job is done… and he'd better appreciate what it took to do it or I'm going to make him WISH the Vestal was still around to keep him safe…"

 No.766502

>>766501
>>766500
Vizsla shakes her head. "Us going is unnecessary. I questioned the Paper Trails before they left. They're going on for our sake, at which point they will return to us, both to confirm the Vestal's continual sleep, and to satisfy their end of the Contract to which they are bound."

Gegenschein chuckles. "It seems we now have ample time to…" he says, then spins his head around to where the remaining Ecclesians remain. "Hurry up and wait!"

The other Ecclesians groan at the dreadful phrase, the bane of any industrious government worker – and the blessing of the lazy ones.

"You guys wanna learn some mahjong while we wait?" Anzu offers. The Witches back away slowly.

Galton looks toward the town. "You can also aid Freischutz and her entourage in ascertaining the social climate of the town, how it may change with the Vestal's repose."

 No.766503

>>766502

"You know, I've always seen people playing Mahjong, but I've NEVER understood how it works. Please explain!" Amy says, wagging her tail in excitement at the prospect of playing.

 No.766504

>>766502
Shorthorns steals a glance towards the sleeping Vestal, her ears flattening as she again laments that someone who only wished for peace had to be their enemy.

"Thank you, but, I think I would like to take this time to pray… both for Shei, and for the Vestal." She says, looking again at the slumbering entity. "It's a shame what we had to do to her… she did it in the wrong way, and she had no ability to understand any of us, but all she wanted was peace. That isn't such a bad thing to want, these days."

 No.766505

>>766503
Before you know it, Anzu's set up the board and pieces on one of the picnic benches. Monkey and Lion attempt to sneak away, but Anzu catches them by the collar, forcibly conscripting them into the tutorial game.

>>766504
>>766503
Galton seems to have a reply ready for Shorthorned's sentiments, but remembers herself. The Ecclesians are accustomed to brutality and the suppression of the self… but some, such as Galton, are not completely without compassion for those unlike themselves. With a gentle word of respect, Galton leaves the two of you in peace to deal with your emotions as you will.

>timeskip available

 No.766507

>>766505

Amy enjoys definitely learning how to play Mah Jong (she doesn't learn a thing) and loses track of time as she does so.

>timeskip

 No.766510

>>766505
>Ready for timeskip
Shorthorns spends her time in a rare hobby - meditation. Not something those of her clan oft practice, being more action/fighting oriented, but Shorthorns takes her time to pray and to focus her mind, thinking of all she's lost and all she's gained through this party's events.

She weeps for Shei a little more still - tears that she isn't convinced will ever stop in their entirety - but more at peace than she was thanks to Amy's soft words. And she prays for the Vestal, respecting her mission above all else. Shorthorns can hardly remember a time when she was younger where she was not at lease a little preoccupied with violence to some degree. It was etched into her warrior clan's upbringing and culture, was the constant stampede and struggle against nature and beast and foreigners and change. But now, after years of suffering under the demons running rampant above, after all she's lost to violence however justified, Shorthorns can't help but feel herself wishing more and more for what the Vestal wanted - peace.

 No.766513

>>766510
The metaphysical chain given to you by the God of Bastards and kids rattles as you pray at his shrine. When you pray for peace you feel it rattle with an urge to be used.

 No.766515

>>766507
"…So if you and another opponent declare 'Pon' and 'Chi' at the same time, Pon beats Chi, but honestly I'd just be more amazed at the crazy coincidence than anything," Anzu says. "But anyway that brings us to Kan if you like to live dangerously, and Ron if you want to be a little bitch…"

>>766507
>>766510
Thus begins a cycle of simulated "days" at this Anchor of the Vestal's. Your companions settle into a pattern of following the bell-chimes of the town below the Vestal's garden, for lack of sun and moon to tell the time. You ration your food and water as ever, despite your lack of need in Tartarus. The normalcy helps stave off tedium and boredom. There is a little anxiety among the others as they wait for the Paper Trails to return… both the Ecclesians and the Witches keep a culture of paranoia, and they cannot but suspect treachery… But Umbrals are Umbrals– they are bound by the Contract, and must inevitably return.

Should you venture into the town below, you will find that life continues somewhat… normally. All things considered, they did not pay the Vestal very much mind while she was awake. The Vestal seemed to be to them how a surface town would regard a local deity– something kept in the background, paid some reverence, perhaps taken for granted. Although some are troubled at the idea that she will not consciously watch over LIMBO, those who are more faithful remain convinced that they are safer near her than they would be elsewhere.

Still, you hear also of outbursts of violence on this Anchor. Disputes now allowed to escalate… Vengeances, unsatisfied with lip-service "forgiveness," now quenched with knives in the dark, glass bottles smashed over heads… your companions, for their part, maintain a cautious distance. But, the worst and most unjustified of the offending Umbrals had a certain tendency to vanish without explanation after their outbursts…

So it goes.

>

>
>

After quite some time encamping near Shei's shrine, the ever-present breeze has cleared away the stale air surrounding the TREES. And, just as the wind takes away, so too does it give. Gegenschein, having taken the night watch, whistles for the camp to hear. You have guests… the Paper Trails can be seen at the gate of the wall which surrounds the Vestal's garden.

 No.766518

>>766513
As she prays and feels Shei's remaining chain start to rattle, she jumps with a start, looking down at the small chain link in her possession as it shakes. Knowing a sign when she sees one, Shorthorns feels out the chain, trying to remember how Shei made use of them…
[1d10] Analyzing the chain, can it be used for a catalyst

>>766515
Shorthorns takes her days slowly. She is still recovering from the loss of Shei, but moves on, knowing he of all goats wouldn't want her to linger over his death. She still visits his memorial daily, as does she with the Vestal, contemplating the very nature of what it is to bring peace and how, exactly, the Vestal failed where she could succeed. She does not entirely cut herself off from the others, engaging with them as they are her friends and comrades, but they notice she's a little less rambunctious and outgoing than before. Especially when she hears the rise of aggression around her, already noting the loss of the Vestal and how it's affecting all of LIMBO.

Finally, one night as Gegenschein keeps watch, she is awoken by the alarming whistles. Notification that MISTER MOOLAH's paper trails have returned. Shorthorns rises, ready to meet them with the others, as she stifles a yawn from being awoken at this hour…

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.766519

>>766518
You notice the single visible chain connects metaphysically to a longer link of chains. Likely connecting all the way back to Shei-Sher. If you apply magic to it like a catalyst, the chain visibly duplicates chain links, extending out the physical chain.

 No.766522

>>766515

Amy spends much of her time learning games taught to her by the Ecclesians. She also does her best to get as many of the witches as she can involved in the game playing as well - especially Mudi.

At first, she was upset and disturbed by being forced to try to live a normal life in Tartarus. But, she was even more disturbed by how easily she fell back into the groove. Perhaps it was due to the relative calmness of this Anchor, but then it still was never quite right even here. The lingering desperate weirdness of Tartarus always plays with the mind. But, Amy got used to it - arguably the first sign of losing sanity.

When the Paper Trail returns, Amy is more than ready to get up and get out of here. "FINALLY," she declares as she goes out to greet the living paper. "What took them so long!?" she asks as if she doesn't already know how little sense Tartarus makes.

 No.766524

>>766522
>>766519
>>766518
"YOU have my DEEPEST no-pologies," declares a voice greasy enough for palms and the gears of industry alike. As the Paper Trails open the gate, a towering figure walks through. It's hard to tell whether being outdoors makes him look bigger or smaller, but you once again see the zoot-suited corporate magnate of Belphecorp: MISTER MOOLAH himself.

"We had to go on a bit of a COFFEE run," MOOLAH says, gesturing with a broad arm. Through the gate, flanked by paper trails, a vast and familiar entourage follows: Buiwong, and his Spiders. The mercenaries of the Light Brigade. And, those Saviors who accompanied you into Tartarus… out of the last number, Gadriel pushes his way through the crowd. Although most of them wear solemn expressions, Gadriel's is twisted with grief as he sprints up the hill. The Ecclesians and the Witches offer chilly greetings to the others who follow, as they let Gadriel up.

 No.766526

>>766519
>>766524
Shorthorns looks up to Mistah Moolah as he arrives, flanked by none other than Buiwong and the rest of the Saviors. She means to address Moolah right away, but is taken by surprise as Gadriel - Shei's constructed brethren - immediately pushes through, his face twisted with grief as he makes way to Shei's memorial.

Her face furrows in sorrow, wanting to offer Gadriel solace for his loss, as they all had felt, but feels at this moment he is best left to grieve for his brother alone, in peace. Instead, she refocuses her attention on MOOLAH, moving forward to approach him.

"As I'm sure you can tell by now, it's done. The Vestal is asleep, forever. We accomplished our end of the deal, at tremendous sacrifice I might add."

 No.766530

>>766526
"NO great act of progress was EVER accomplished without tears, sweat and a whole LOT of BLOOD," MOOLAH retorts. "But I can assure you this NOBLE sacrifice will NOT be forgotten. Once we have Shei's likeness copyrighted, we'll begin printing COMMEMORATIVE MERCHANDISE right away."

Great Voyage furrows his brow. "Do we get free samp– I mean, you're not doing that to our friend."

"I wouldn't be too quick to write off the idea," Buiwong says. "The attention economy's a fitting means of feeding a god, and a growing one like him's gonna have a mighty big appetite."

"So, he's escaped, right?" the Dragon asks. "Not trapped down here in– hmm, what Layer would he be? LUST? GLUTTONY?"

"Wouldn't say, 'escaped' precisely," Buiwong says. "But nothin' to worry about nonetheless."

>>766526

 No.766534

>>766530
Shorthorns grumbles, "To be honest, I'm not sure I could put it past Shei for that to NOT be what he would have wanted…" he says, still finding MOOLAH's quick attempt to capitalize on their friends death more than a little distasteful.

"In either case, you will hold on those plans for now. Right now we have our mission ahead of us. Shei gave his life to see it done, so let's get to it."

 No.766535

>>766524
>>766530

"I agree that it's important to get Shei some attention," Amy nods at Buiwong.

"Which is exactly why I don't want him to have anything to do with it," she adds, pointing to MISTER MOOLAH. "I don't get what a copyright is, but I do know that he's in charge of Shei's popularity, it won't be what's best for Shei."

 No.766536

>>766535
MOOLAH shrugs. "You can kiss goodbye to your share of the royalties then."

"Hmm?" Mocha asks. "He was a prince?"

>>766534
>>766535
"But OF COURSE!" MISTER MOOLAH affirms to Shorthorned's objection. He checks three watches upon his many right arms. "Right on time too – time to get DOWN to BUSINESS and fulfill our CONTRACT."

Buiwong rolls his eyes. "Might wanna siddown for this part, kiddo…"

"As promised, BELPHECORP LLC, LTD, PhD… etc, etc, as payment for services rendered, will escort [ENTER SIGNATORY NAMES HERE] to the agreed-upon designation: The Momentary Lake. There is, as [SIGNATORIES] will understand – IF THEY KNOW WHAT'S GOOD FOR THEM – is that there is a bit of a… PROCESS involved in securing the aforementioned transit."

Flow glowers with distrust.

"Indulge me in a LITTLE context," MOOLAH continues. "LIMBO, of all the Ten Layers of Tartarus, is quite the desirable real estate for those Umbrals who harbor aims of one day returning to the surface world for their own PETTY AMBITIONS. This is one of the reasons why LIMBO is home to Umbrals who hail from several other Layers of Tartarus – like the Vestal, who hails from VIOLENCE.

"Additionally, there are many Anchors within LIMBO which are particularly desirable, not just for the sake of acquiring territory, but for the wonders contained within. And as you've no doubt experienced, heroes from the surface world, one's force of will is the key by which one may travel to and from Anchors within Tartarus… But what happens when someone of an exceptionally powerful will – and who has subsumed the wills of innumerable other beings beneath their own – desires to keep others AWAY from an Anchor, to hoard it all to themselves like a LIMITED EDITION COLLECTOR'S ITEM?"

Great Voyage's eyes widen with sudden understanding.

 No.766537

>>766536
Surprisingly insightful of her, Shorthorns seems to pick up on the same hints Voyage is, and she asks Mister Moolah

"You're saying that someone or something is blocking passage from here to the Momentary Lake? The same way we will ourselves from one anchor to another, someone can use their will to STOP people from going there?!"

 No.766538

>>766536

"I don't know what that means, but you can be sure that I'm not going to stop talking about and showing off Shei wherever I want however I want."

>>766536

None of this is really news to Amy. She's already tragically aware of how Tartarus works. What she's more interested in is the fact that Moolah is explaining this at all like it's solvable.

"Do you have a way to fix it?" Amy asks with interest.

 No.766539

>>766538
>>766537
"Introducing the contest of the LORDS OF LIMBO," MOOLAH says. "Something of a war-game to its contenders, but for LITTLE, ITTY-BITTY guys like you, it's just war; blood and guts, shattered bones and septic shock included. Fortunately for you, BELPHECORP has amassed its power and influence to stand as the newest contestant for the throne of TRUE LORD. With the Vestal – the last stop-gap against the contest of LORDS – FINALLY out of the picture, we can get on with what we'VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!

"You won't need to assure BELPHECORP'S total victory – that wasn't in your Contract – but in order for BELPHECORP to deliver you unto the Momentary Lake, you will have to help us capture the Lake in the first place, after which you may use it as you please. Hell, take it with you on the way out, a LITTLE SOUVENIR!"

Buiwong nods. "While you've dealt with the Vestal, the rest of us've been beefing up Belphecorp's power – and scouting out their competition."

"Our strategy is going to be one of MATCHMAKER – pitting the other LORDS against one another, to let them do the heavy lifting for us. The contenders this time around," MOOLAH says, "Include – but are not limited to…

THE SERPENT ASPHODEL, native of LIMBO.

THE STORM KING, who traveled here from GLUTTONY.

BELPHECORP LLC, LTD, PhD, ETC. – would you guess we're from AVARICE?

LORD GROGAR, who fought his way out from the Layer of WRATH.

LORD TIRAC, once imprisoned within VIOLENCE, but following his most recent escape from Tartarus, he was put back within a special Anchor of LIMBO.

Finally… we're hearing some rather chilling reports that the SONS OF PERDITION have made their way here… from the land of TREACHERY.

>Amy can roll knowledge twice (take better) for more info on these characters

 No.766540

>>766539

Amy has surely heard these names before. But, whether or not she actually took the time and effort to commit them to memory is another thing entirely.

[1d10] [1d10]

Roll #1 1 = 1 / Roll #2 6 = 6

 No.766541

>>766539
Shorthorns grumbles, "All that, everything we've done and lost, and we're still a million miles away…" she lets out a sigh, shaking her head, "Shei, God of Bastards, give me the strength to deal with this nonsense…"

She looks up to Mistah Moolah, "Who currently has control over the Momentary Lake? We should focus on them first."

 No.766542

>>766540
By now you've heard plenty about Belphecorp… The Storm King is a new one, as well. But Grogar, and Tirac are two that nobody would want to cross paths with. Cruel, brutal, and with the power to back it up, those two are rumored to have set records for how often they've broken out of Tartarus… if even half of those rumors are legitimate, just about anything would be preferable to fighting them.

Well, with the exception of the Sons of Perdition… distorted, disordered traitors, all. They're probably the cornerstone of Belphcorp's strategy of sabotaging, dividing and conquering. Every one of them, a bringer of misfortune, snake-eyed dice, plans brought to ruin by one-in-a-million probabilities… even the thought of dealing with them is like trying to take burning coals in your bare hands to strike your opponent.

As for the Serpent, Asphodel… it's something of a misnomer to say that it's a "contender" in this war. Asphodel is an Undefiled, but may be as close as an Umbral can get to a simple animal. A colossal wyrm, Asphodel subsumes Anchors into itself, just as an honest beast will find and eat food. Those Anchors it takes, it wears upon its back, until the time that they are discarded, just as a serpent sheds its skin – thus the epithet. Asphodel is ordinarily docile, you've heard, but if attacked, is a capable fighter. You suspect it has brewed a powerful appetite, if its hunt has been disrupted by the Vestal. But you and Shorthorned are perhaps uniquely suited to coaxing Asphodel to help you.

>>766541
>>766540
"Per the last report," MOOLAH says. "The Lake is currently under Lord Grogar's control, although that information could be outdated at this very moment. Surely by now the Vestal's influence has waned, and experimental outbursts of bloodshed proliferate across LIMBO."

"So what are we waiting for?" Great Voyage asks.

"A little division of labor," MOOLAH answers. "Each group of ours will pick a Lord to make our target, after which we will scheme to pit them against one another, so as to pry the Lake from the grasp of Grogar – or whoever might have it right now."

 No.766544

>>766542
"So you're suggesting we split up again, huh…" She contemplates, looking around at all those gathered. "With everyone here now, how many do we have in total? I heard at least six different Lords we have to deal with, it sounded like."

 No.766546

>>766542
>>766539
>>766544

Amy listens to the names with growing apprehension. Her memories of Tartarus make her more and more uncertain as to how she's ever going to become strong enough to tame these heavy hitters.

"We could throw like half of those names at Asphodel at once, and I still think it would win. I think we could just point that thing in the direction of the other competitors and that would work just fine."

"Heck, even if it DOES die, that's just one HUGE problem taken care of. Fighting really strong guys is hard, but it's easier than fighting a really massive… thing. Even if the thing is not as strong, it's harder to hurt."

"I'm confused, though," Amy looks toward MISTER MOOLAH. "How does this get us closer to the Monumental Pond?"

 No.766547

>>766546
>>766544
MOOLAH smiles with waning patience at Amy. "The Momentary Lake offers a form of immortality altogether preferable to what comes standard issue to all Umbrals – true, godlike immortality, incorruptibility, invincibility… so I've heard. I actually LIED THROUGH MY GOLD-PLATED TEETH earlier. You can't take it with you."

"We'll only need it for a moment," Mudi interjects.

"But anyway," MOOLAH continues, totally ignoring the tiny Witch. "It is little exaggeration to say that it is one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in this neck of LIMBO. Grogar – or whoever holds it now – will not give it up lightly, not unless we can turn his focus away from holding the territory long enough for it to fall out of his control. It takes a lot of brain power to deny access to an Anchor. If we can just tip the balance out of favor for whoever currently holds it, we'll be able to swoop right in and color it like this is a damn map game! This is WAR! And you know who profits the most from war? THE INVESTORS WHO SIT BACK WITHOUT GETTING THEIR HANDS DIRTY!!! Ahem. Hence our strategy."

MOOLAH stops to consider your appraisal of Asphodel. "You're not wrong – but the same could be said of both Tirac and the Sons of Perdition. We're going to want to keep tabs on those two most of all."


>>766544
>>766546
The factions before you can be categorized as such: The Spiders, the Ecclesians, the Witches of Gehenna, the Light Brigade, the Saviors, and Belphecorp.

Of the Spiders, these are their number:
Buiwong
Mocha
The Dragon
Great Voyage
Tantra
Septum Axis



Of the Ecclesians, these are their number:
Gegenschein
Galton
Freischutz
Ichimonji
Holy Hours
Living Saint Zoantharia
Lion
Viper
Anzu
Fox
Rooster
Monkey
Leather Cloak
???
???


Of the Witches, these are their number:
Mudi
Vizsla
Hurricanrana
Desert Lamp
Supper of Crows
???



Of the Light Brigade, these are their number:
Hope
Vitalya
Gjenganger
Evil's Judgment
Zophie
Eligos



Of the Saviors, these are their number:
Flow
Volkama
Deriva
Blessings
Chorazin
Busta
Gadriel
Observer
Hafaza
Rus Tea
Wireframe
Mirror Image
Box
The three Malakhim



Of Belphecorp, these are their number:
MISTER MOOLAH
The Paper Trails
And likely others of whom you do not know.

>You can elect to change up your party composition now and assign these faction groups to manipulate the LORDS OF LIMBO as you see fit.

>These assignments do not have to be 1:1. Multiple factions can be chosen to deal with a single LORD, and LORDS can also go unassigned.
>You can also elect to have the DM select the matchups instead.

 No.766549

>>766547
Shorthorns narrows her eyes, "Based on our numbers and the LORDS we're targeting, it looks like we should have about a half dozen teams with around eight or nine members apiece."

She looks around, trying to judge who would be best to take with her at least as they consider how to group up. "I want to go after Grogar if he's the last one we think was in control of the Lake. I'd like Voyage to go with me for certain… and Gadriel too." She says, wanting to speak to the golden construct after Shei's passing. "Rus Tea, Sir Flow, and Leather are also good company but I want to make sure our teams are split evenly."

 No.766550

>>766547

Amy consults the voices in her head that she's only vaguely aware of for advice.

>Vestigial Sunlight

>[1d10+2]

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

 No.766551

>>766549

"Not you TOO!" Amy says when she hears Shorthorns emphasizing random words like a certain business tycoon they know.

 No.766553

>>766551
Shorthorns looks at her, "Huh, what'd I say? LORDS?"

 No.766554

>>766550
The voices – for once – are… contentious. You picture the lot of them looking over a sheet, like a party of adventurers lost on their way may argue over a map. They really, really, REALLY do not want to deal with Grogar. At least one of them is a little curious about the Storm King. One of them won't shut up about TIRAC and insists on pronouncing it in all caps… some…how. Another two vote in favor of Asphodel, but they vote with the fake enthusiasm of one who wants to get on a mild roller coaster, in order to get out of the really big tower drop one.

One of them, a gloomy, macabre sort, is possessed by a certain fascination with the Sons of Perdition… knowing that that broad path leads to destruction. Though perhaps this one voice is not alone in her fascination. You sense that MISTER MOOLAH shares that fixation with the Sons… and the calamity that follows in their wake.

An instant later, you forget each of these contentious inklings.

>>766549
>>766550
Great Voyage grumbles indecisively, while Rus Tea, Flow and Leather are more resolute. Flow goes up the hill to retrieve Gadriel.

 No.766556

>>766547
>>766553

"YES," Amy says before groaning. "GREAT, now I'M doing it!"

>>766554

"Alright, I have some ideas!" Amy announces, taking up a bit of a leadership role - after all, she IS supposed to be a leader.

"Fighting strong guys is scary, but fighting annoying guys is worse. It's not hard to figure out how to fight Tirac or Grogar. It's hard to DO, but that's still not as hard as figuring out how to fight an anchor-sized monster or some guys who always just seem to make things… work."

"Shortyhorns, you and I should go with the rest of the Saviors to lure Asphodel into attacking whatever anchor has the Sons of Predation. Either of them dying is GREAT for us."

"I think the Spiders and the Witches should team up and go learn more about Grogar. The Ecclesians and the Light Brigade should do the same with Tirac. The goal should be to get them to fight each other. Two strong guys fighting each other is good for us. It'll make any fight with them afterwards easier."

"Anyone have any other ideas?" Amy asks, concluding her shockingly coherent plan.

 No.766558

>>766554
>>766556
Shorthorns listens closely to Amy's plan, trying to think if she has any reasonable objections.

"Hmmm… if Grogar is one of the stronger ones, I guess it WOULD be better to deal with those that might be more tricky and less straight forward. Or getting those ones to fight the strong guys first so they can deal with it one way or the other."

She nods her head, "Alright, I don't have any problems with that! Let's go after this 'Asphodel' then as our first LORD."

She pauses, "Huh… why AM I putting so much emphasis on that word?"

 No.766560

>>766558
>>766556
"An astute plan!" Buiwong congratulates you. "But one small edit, I must make. You see– I don't think the Light Brigade have ever gotten to work with the Witches."

Hope's head snaps toward Buiwong and Vizsla, his eyes burning with murder. Vizsla casts an icy leer over Buiwong and Hope.

"Oh…" Buiwong murmurs, smiling with sweet, false innocence. "Am I wrong…? Perhaps you haven't gotten to work together recently. All the same, it'd be good to touch base after how much time we've spent apart. Switch my group with the Light Brigade."

Gegenschein taps his chin. "Ah… am I to take it that a god of the Union, my homeland's beloved pantheon wishes to journey with me? A high honor indeed, divine one."

It's Buiwong's turn for irritation, as he narrows his eyes at Gegenschein, as he mentions the Union. But, he holds back, at the last moment. You know him well enough to pick up on that. "…You pecked the words right outta my mouth, birdbrain. My forces and yours shall deal with TIRAC, while the Light Brigade and the Witches handle Grogar."

"Is there a reason for this switch?" Mudi asks.

"I just think TIRAC sounds like a cooler guy to fight," Buiwong scoffs.

"The truth, for once, if you would," Vizsla growls. "Do you know something about this… Tirek, was it?"

"Oh, you caught me," Buiwong says. "I bought the strategy guide, and really it sounds like I've got the skills to exploit TIRAC's weaknesses. No spoilers, but you shouldn't have too much trouble with Grogar, so don't worry."

Vizsla nearly explodes with rage at Buiwong's continued flippancy… but she tilts her head instead, apparently… noticing something. "I see… I appreciate your input. Fine, then."

Hope, having calmed down as well, nods. "We'll accept this arrangement."

>>766558
"Too much emphasis on the word, huh…?" Great Voyage mutters, but it sounds like he's talking to himself more than anyone else. He continues to hem and haw, pacing about.

 No.766561

>>766560
CORRECTION

In Buiwong's dialogue, change every instance of TIRAC to Tirek. Have Vizsla use the word TIRAC instead.

 No.766562

>>766560
Shorthorns looks between Vizsla and Buiwong as they argue, growing impatient with their bickering but taking a calming breath, seeking inner peace as she lets them resolve their differences.

"If you're both in agreement, I have no issues with either of your targets. Just be careful… every one of us is necessary and I do not want any more loss than what we have already." She chokes up, feeling odd at having to express this at BUIWONG of all people, but for now her old grudge seems so distant in light of what's at stake. "We'll handle the Serpent on our end."

 No.766564

>>766560

Amy narrows her eyes as she watches this interaction take place. She may be dumb, but even she can see the obvious hole in Buiwong's argument. He could have just as easily asked for the groups as they were arranged be sent to the opposite targets.

Amy shrugs. "I didn't really have a reason for which groups would go to which lord," she admits. "So, if Booeywong says he has a way to mess with Tirac, then I say the Spiders and the Witches should go to Tirac and the Light Brigade and Ecclesia go to Grogar."

"Does that work for everyone?" Amy asks. As she does so, she looks directly at Vizsla. She gives Viszla an intentionally strange look to indicate the significance of her choice. She trusts Viszla's distrust of Buiwong. If Buiwong has some plans, then she trust Viszla to sus them out.

She hopes that Viszla picks up on this.

>[1d10] to hint at Viszla

>DC-4 because of Compassion and Gilded Tongue

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766565

>>766562
Buiwong bows. "Your wish is my command, godling. And the same to you."

>>766564
>>766562
Vizsla blinks at Amy, then back at Buiwong and Hope. Her expression is blank, but in that blank sort of way that only someone like Vizsla can manage. Buiwong, looking back at that withering blank stare, hunches forward with an exasperated frown. "Don't tell me you're going back on your agreement," he sighs.

Vizsla just keeps staring, blank-faced at them. She turns slightly, catching Gegenschein in her field of view. Gegenschein, normally so unflappable, shifts a little where he stands. Galton looks a little jealous. Normally only she gets to use that on Gegenschein.

Hope looks like he's just done with this shit.

"You already agreed to my plan," Buiwong reminds Vizsla.

She keeps staring.

"The strategy guide's pretty fool-proof…" Buiwong argues.

She keeps staring.

Buiwong groans. "Fine, fine, if that's where you wanna go eat tonight… Spiders and Witches get Tirek and the Light Brigade and Ecclesia get Grogar."

Everybody looks equally pissed off with this arrangement. Except Vizsla, who smirks and snorts.

>>766562
Great Voyage stampedes about the hillside garden in his woes.

>Paused

 No.766571

>>766564
>>766565
Though she tries not to be petty about it, Shorthorns can't help but deride some enjoyment out of seeing Buiwong squirm as Amy expertly negotiates Vizsla going along with him to keep him in check. "Good one," she whispers to Amy with a slight giggle, approving of her decision.

As they seem to have their team and destination set, Shorthorns looks on as Great Voyage stampedes around the hillside. She turns to Amy and the others and says, "I'll be right back…" and moves to run up to Voyage to check on him

 No.766572

>>766571
>>766565

"Thanks," Amy says with a smile to both Flaming and Vizsla.

Then, she adds to Vizsla in particular, "I trust you to not trust him."

 No.766574

>>766571
Great Voyage stampedes another loop as you approach him, as it takes him the extra distance to skid to a halt lest he crash into you. Yet he barely even looks at you for the first few moments, as he's still busy thinking. "Great Voyage… something about that name just isn't sitting right with me. It's not really rolling off the tongue… I don't know, I feel like something about it's cramping my style. Voyage, voyage… you think Great Journey might sound better? Is it too late to change back? This isn't gonna throw off my godhood, is it?"

>>766572
"Way ahead of you," Vizsla says. "I haven't been trusting any of you since the very beginning."
Mudi sighs. "Here I thought we were making progress…"
"I'm more of an authoritarian if you can't tell," Vizsla retorts.

>>766572
>>766571
As the battle plans are drawn up, you look over your allies and realize that, despite the recent loss, you still have quite the fighting force at your disposal. You will likely want to take only a small number of allies with you in your pursuit of Asphodel. Furthermore, you note that nobody's been assigned to keep tabs on the Storm King – or upon your "benefactors" at Belphecorp. It may be worth allocating numbers there too…

>choose up to 4 NPC allies to come with you to Asphodel. Assign others to the other factions, or leave the remaining assignments to the DM. See above for the list of availabile allies.

 No.766575

>>766574
Shorthorns tilts her head in confusion, "You're having doubts about your new name?" She shrugs, leaning into him and offering him a short nuzzle. "I still think it sounds heroic! Ambitious, even. But, if you aren't sure about it, I think 'Great Journey' sounds pretty heroic too… are you feeling alright?"

>>766574
>Suggesting Busta/Gadriel in addition to Observer/Flow

 No.766576

>>766574

"And that's why I also trust Buiwong to not trust you," Amy says with a friendly smile.

"Not that I think that either of you would do anything bad. I just think the people who don't trust each other will get along better than the people who trust the people who don't trust them."

>>766547
>>766574

"Alright, so I picked the saviors to go with us because they're one of the smaller groups. It's kind a bad idea to have a lot of people against Asphodel. But, now I'm realizing we have too many. So, I think it should be me, Shortyhorns, Flow, Observer, Blessings, and the weirdo," Amy finishes off the list pointing at Gadriel, as she still has yet to remember his name.

"The rest of the saviors should go with Bephelcorp," she instructs the rest of them. "Make sure they get to where we need them to be by the end of this," she says, giving Volkama and Rus Tea in particular a significant look when she says this.

[1d10] DC-4 to get them to understand her meaning

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.766577

>>766575
"Great Journey…" he repeats. "Yeah… yeah, I like that!"

He bonks his horns into yours, then shoulder-checks you, jutting his head down to the base of the hill. "Race you!" he declares. Looks like that's all it took to break his malaise.

>>766576
>>766575
As you hash out your selections, the saviors gather about about you. Nobody raises any objections to their selections. Gadriel is still too crestfallen to react much to being simply called "the weirdo," but he does manage to force out a lifeless nod. Flow, normally not one for outpourings of emotion, stands close to him, and hits him with a subtle nudge. Gadriel looks over, then returns the push with muted gratitude. Further, Volkama and Rus Tea take note of Amy's subtle inflection. Now these two are generally more inclined toward more outrageous expressions of opinion, but with the agents of Belphecorp being so close, they settle for mere knowing flicks of their eyes.

Speaking of Belphecorp, MOOLAH makes an obnoxious show of checking each of the watches worn upon his excessive quantity of arms. When all is said and done, your allies split, and Volkama goes to inform MOOLAH of their intent to reinforce his number. MOOLAH nods, but adds, "I HOPE you don't think you're getting PAID BY THE HOUR. LET'S GET A MOVE ON, PEOPLE."

MOOLAH spins about and begins leading the way to the boundary of the Anchor. Your allies converse among one another, catching up with what little time together they have before they must split apart once more. Gadriel is the last to leave, casting a forlorn glance at Shei's resting place, before closing the gate behind you all.

 No.766578

>>766577

As everyone leaves, Amy gives Gadriel a light hug. "I know how you feel," she says, tearing up a little bit again. "But, this is not good bye, I believe that."

 No.766579

>>766577
Shorthorns grins, "Great Journey it is, then!"

As he shoulder checks her, she oofs and glares at him as he dares her into a race, smiling as she is challenged. "Were it so easy…" she says before giving chase, intent on overpassing him as they reach the others

>>766577
As she meets up with her group, she takes special notice of Gadriel - feeling he may need family more than anyone else right now with Shei's passing - but focuses on the prsent as MOOLAH calls for everyone to get moving. She focuses on the anchor ahead… but does give Shei's memorial and resting place one final glance, bowing her head in reverence.

She looks down to the chain in her tunic, feeling a bit of herself with each link she adds using her magic, and holds it close to her chest. "Look out after us, Shei…" before turning towards the Anchor, and joining with the others.

 No.766580

>>766579

"I'm happy you're honoring him…" Amy says with a smile.

"But, PLEASE remember the no name rule!" she gives Flaming a bop to the head.

 No.766581

>>766580
>>766578
Gadriel forces himself to return the hug, mustering what little strength he has in his wings at this moment. "Yeah…" he mutters. "Let's… make sure the world that Shei's gonna watch over is a world we can be proud of."





Moolah leads you to the edge of the Anchor which the Vestal had made her bachelorette pad. The doily-like mandala of light surrounding the Anchor, encasing it from the darkness of the Abyss, is now fading, and shall soon be gone. At the edge of the Anchor, where cobblestone roads meet the eternal darkness, there are several vessels wrought from enchanted paper awaiting you, shaped like a variety of vehicles. Some are more easily recognizable, such as boats. Others are of a foreign design to you, but with some examination, you discern them to be distant relatives of the magitech airship– you, dear reader, may suspect that these are paper planes. Still others are even stranger, vehicles of war hailing from worlds with technologies far different from your own… now dropped into Tartarus, thrown out like so much trash.

"All aboARD, all aboARD," MOOLAH calls. "Please keep all appendages INside the vessels at all times."

Rooster, sighing at the lack of accomodations for his size, transforms himself with a puff of smoke, out of which emerges a huge rooster. Cloak looks over, then rolls his eyes. You sense he is contractually obligated to do this – he clicks his tongue and nods. "Nice."

It seems that the exact vessel you choose doesn't exactly matter, so long as you're with your travel group. Each paper vessel has a Paper Trail sitting at the helm.

 No.766582

>>766581

"We will," Amy responds resolutely to Gadriel.

>>766581
>>766579

Amy happily boards a paper airplane. "Come on, this one looks fun," she says to the others enthusiastically.

 No.766583

>>766580
"Oooh!" Shorthorns grunts, rubbing the top of her head, "Okay, okay! I-I thought it wouldn't matter since he's… well, you know…"

>>766581
Shorthorns looks on at the many vessels, all made from MOOLAH's enchanted paper, and can't help but be impressed with the designs as she steps onboard the nearest vessel. "Amazing… looking at these ships you'd think they'd fold or crumple immediately, but I know better than to underestimate anything down here."

 No.766584

>>766583

"That's even worse!" Amy says enigmatically.

 No.766585

>>766583
>>766582
Although Observer and Hafaza are rather reluctant to part from one another now, they do so, boarding their own vessels. Flow looks a little skeptical of the paper airplane, being of an aqueous form, but the paper is quite sturdy, and is not weakened in the slightest. Once everybody's aboard their paper vehicle, MOOLAH gives the signal, and one by one they are cleared for departure, pushing off into the Abyss, all in different directions. You notice, as you sail forth, that it takes far longer now for the omnipresent darkness to subsume your thoughts and senses underneath its obliviating weight. Even as the darkness presses in on you, you feel the focused thoughts of your mind persisting, as you concentrate – Asphodel, Asphodel… something about this paper plane must be facilitating this. It's not a stretch to imagine these vehicles to be a valuable resource… perhaps MOOLAH has truly come to see you as a worthy asset to risk the investment of this tech.

But such speculation must wait– for your mission is far from over.

>

>
>





The senses flicker back to life, one by one… yet no Anchor is in sight. All are silent aboard the paper plane, your allies not risking even the slightest word, lest they draw unwanted attention.

https://youtu.be/QIwHNJHA5_o

Yet something wavers here and there, about you, in the darkness. Like a wave of water, turbulence of a sort, imperceptible to all but the spiritual sense… another wave, then yet another, quicker than the last one. The trajectory of the paper plane wavers. The Paper Trail at the helm plays a delicate balance, keeping parallel to the turbulence as he can, while still trying to move onward… could something be trying to push you away…?

 No.766586

>>766585
Shorthorns steels herself as they pass through the Anchor, feeling her entire existence threaded through the needle once again. Only this time, when she regains her senses, she looks around, still seeing herself aboard the paper craft as she looks around for signs of their arrival.

"What happened? Are we here already?"

She looks around, her hairs standing on end as she surveys the darkness, feeling the presence here that threatens to lash out at them from beyond their gaze. "You all feel that, right? Is that… the one we came here for?"

 No.766633

>>766585
>>766586

Amy sniffs the not-air as if she expects something to happen. She remains absolutely silent for now.

[1d10] to sense the (hopefully) unforgettable sense of Asphodel's magatsuhi

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.766634

>>766586
>>766633
You calm yourselves, and hone your senses and intentions unto Asphodel… and soon enough, a hazy, heat-shimmer mirage forms in your minds, half from imagination, half from that which you sense, out there across the illusory distance of the Abyss. A mountain having taken flight, islands shackled by vertebrae and tissue, a continent swimming through the night…

But four pulses thud out, dull drumbeats that threaten to shred the very drumskin, one-two, one two! Waves of turbulence fractal across your vision, like cracks in shattering glass! Asphodel vanishes into the distance with each one, further and further– and with a final and dreadful crash, an irresistible current yanks your vessel from its course!

https://youtu.be/Ms97rMiyH3g

The Paper Trail pulls up on the paper plane's controls, narrowly pulling you out of a nose-dive over a hellish battlefield. Armies clash and it's impossible to know how many. There are those armored in the skulls of rams, the horns curled and gnarled, slamming themselves against those in armor resembling bulls, burned brass and skybound horns. All around you, an immolated land fans out, like a painting tossed into a fire. There is so much smoke all about that you can no longer see the Abyss on the horizon. The Paper Trail frantically twists at the controls, dodging air-blasts, catapult stones and bodies flung into the air.

"These armies…" Blessings mutters. "Surely they belong to the would-be Lords!"

"I'll try to sense if any of them are here!" Gadriel yelps.

Busta doesn't chime in, instead focusing on shielding the paper plane with gusts of wind.

 No.766635

>>766634
Shorthorns looks down on the raging armies below, lost in the sheer scale of the hellish conflict as the war wages beyond her line of sight and the smoke fills the air and threatens to blow them out of the sky.

"I see the loss of the Vestal is already being taken advantage of! These Lords sure didn't hesitate to commence with the fighting now that she's asleep…"

She looks around, preparing to summon flaming ethereal buffalos to act as a shield if needed as she shouts to the Paper Trail, "Look around for a safe spot to weigh anchor! We'd best see if we can find a spot to wait this out or at least get a sense of where our target is!"

 No.766636

>>766634
>>766635

Amy can't help but giggle with some excitement. "It's just like the old times," Amy says with some glee. "Just the Saviors on a weird adventure."

"I definitely miss our flying home, though… We should try to find a place to land," Amy agrees with Flaming.

[1d10] to spot a safe place to land

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.766637

Shrieking sounds arc high overhead like a volley of arrows, and the roar of thunder announces their murderous fall. The thunder-blasts send untold numbers of rubble, soldiers and others into the sky. Time and again, you mistake other sounds for these arcs– the final terrors of the native inhabitants of this Anchor, cut as abrupt as all the others.

"Absolutely not!" Blessings says as you suggest landing, forced to shout simply to be heard over the tumult. "Keep making for Asphodel, we can't get tied up in this!"

Gadriel shudders. "But– but… maybe we should… I think one of them's… here…"

"Which!?" Busta asks.

"I don't recognize them, but they've got power off the charts!" Gadriel shouts.

You see a blasted plateau with a dried lakebed, apparently holding no strategic value, as the armies avoid it. Perhaps there…?

 No.766638

>>766637

"There's SOMETHING pulling us here," Amy points out. "I don't think Asphodel has much reason to be pushing us away. Which means someone wants us here. Or not there. Either way… we should find out what's up."

Amy sniffs for magatsuhi in the direction of the lakebed.

>[1d10]


Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766639

>>766636
Shorthorns thinks back to the times she saw armies of angels and demons clashing on the surface world above, from the safety of the Weather Factory that took them all over the land, and Shorthorns can't help but feel a little nostalgic herself.

"Yeah… really does feel like old times. Hope we can do more to stop the fighting now though…"

>>766637
"I don't even know if we can see Asphodel through all this smoke, can you?! If we stay in the air we'll be shot out of the sky before long. I think we should take our chances over there," she says, pointing to the dried out plateau, "It'll at least let us get our bearings straight and feel out where to go without having to dodge all this!"

 No.766640

>>766639

"Remember, that's why we're here. This fight… and all fights that demons cause will be stopped when we win. We don't need to stop this fighting now."

 No.766641

>>766639
>>766638
Blessings ponders this for but a moment, then nods, ever decisive even now. "Okay. I trust you. Let's go then."

You prod the Paper Trail, and despite its own obvious trepidation about staying here, it flies down to the lakebed as a preferable alternative to being in the sky during all this.

Gadriel's face turns blank. "waitwaitwaIT STOP I CHANGED MY MI–"

As the Paper Trail lands, Gadriel's eyes fix on the source of his anxiety. There are two figures near the rim of the lake, going from tree to tree. They've got tools both primitive and advanced, some you recognize – shovels and picks – and other technologies you don't. One of them appears to be some kind of magitech dowsing rod?

The first figure is very tall and muscular, clad in armor befitting his satyr blood. The other is stout and round, a miserable looking thing, enduring the tall one's beratement and orders.

"Him?" Blessings whispers.

"I… I thought he was further away until just a second ago…" Gadriel mutters in confusion.

"We're all here now," Busta says. "Let's focus. What's the plan?"

 No.766642

>>766640
She nods her head. "Right… I have my eyes on the prize now. We'll stop all of this insanity at its source."

>>766641
Shorthorns turns to look at the muscular, grand satyr along the rim of the lake, looking towards Gadriel with a look of confusion. "Him? Should we be worried, who is that?"

As Busta asks what's the plan, Shorthorns breathes a sigh of relief. "We're out of the crossfire and can focus on finding the Serpent. Everyone concentrate and see if we can pick out a source…" she says, trying to get a sense of the great presence she felt before to see if they can find a waypoint towards their goal

[1d10] concentrating on the source of the will they felt poking at them before

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.766643

>>766641

Amy stares at the two figures intently. She doesn't recognize them. Or, at least, she doesn't think she does.

"Is that one of those Brothers of Predation?" Amy asks, unsure.

[1d10] to see if there's any memory to be jogged

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766644

>>766642
There's far too much going on right now for you to process all the conflicting chaos and noise.

>>766643
"Impossible to tell from here," Blessings says. "The Sons of Perdition are said to shapeshift. But, the air around them is extremely uncomfortable. Simultaneously hot and humid, yet frigid, and icy."

>Both

As you size up the two creatures, the small one happens to look away from the tall one, following some horrible insult. When the small one looks up again, his eyes fall on you, and he nearly falls backward from surprise. The tall one notices this, then looks at you as well. He has white fur, gray skin, and eyes– something's odd about the eyes. You can't tell quite what color they are, but they are neon.

"Oh, that's handy," the tall one says. "Ah, hello there! You mercenaries? Wouldn't happen to be looking for a job or something would you? Nice reward in it for youuu!"

"We keep running into businessmen down here…" Busta observes.

 No.766645

>>766644
Shorthorns grumbles as her attempts to focus on Asphodel is disrupted by the two creatures calling from below, but as her attention is drawn to them, she can't help but get an idea.

"Not exactly mercenaries, no," she shouts down below, "But we are in the middle of something we could use some help on, could exchange favors! Are you two locals to this plane by any chance?"

 No.766647

>>766645
>>766644

Amy says "Hiiii," and waves her hoof-paw when in a friendly manner when they are noticed. However, when Flaming unexpectedly takes charge of the negotiations, Amy shuts up. Being the one who usually handles this sort of thing, Amy nods and concludes that Flaming is doing a fine job of this.

Instead of taking point as the main negotiator, Amy elects to get some info as the eccentric sidekick.

"My name's Amy Thest, by the way," she says in an 'overly-friendly' tone as she steps forward. She gives the tall satyr a slow, lingering size-up. "Who are you and why don't I know you yet?" she asks in a tone that suggests she's impressed by him.

 No.766649

>>766647
>>766645
"Moving on already…?" Gadriel mutters with encroaching despair.
The tall fellow doesn't seem to notice this, and simply slicks back his hair, and makes an impromptu juggling trickshot show of popping a breath mint into his mouth. "The Storm King, at your service," he introduces himself. "Unfortunately I've been far too busy as of late to make times for the treasures of Tartarus such as yourselves, but– there will be plenty of time to make up (and make other things) when I'm the rightful Lord of Limbo once more."

Blessings' eyebrows flick.

"Unfortunately you don't get to my stature without making the most jealous enemies around. One of them has made off with a certain weapon of mine, placed a seal upon it, and even hid it away. I've narrowed it down to somewhere in this neck of the woods – and I even played the armies of Grogar and TIRAC off each other to do the big weeding for me. Think you could help us track it down? I've got cash, credit– or an IOU from the returning Lord of Limbo himself."

 No.766650

>>766585
>>766647
Shorthorn gives a weird look at Amy as she appears to flirt with the Storm King, and an even more perturbed one as the Storm King flirts back, but the small white buffalo rolls her eyes and shrugs it off as she focuses more on the task at hand. Knowing the Storm King is one of the many Lords of Limbo vying for the top spot

"So that was your handiwork?" She says, looking on at the distance with the warring forces of Grogar and TIRAC going head to head. "Well, we could help you track it down - we're actually looking for something in this realm as well. We seek the Serpent, Asphodel. We were trying to sail to him on this vessel but now with all this fighting going on, we can't focus on anything at all above all the violence. Would you happen to have a direction you could help point us in?"

 No.766652

>>766649

"Oh… wow…" Amy says with a small giggle as she's genuinely taken off guard by the Storm King's flirting skills. Then she realizes who she's talking to. She bops herself on the head with her hoof-beans.

"Oh! You're THE Storm King!?" she says, laughing at her own ignorance. "Wow, I guess I just have naturally good taste."

>>766650
>>766649

"Do you know what pulled us here, or was it just your magnetic charm?" she adds with a wink.

>[1d10] to draw info out of the Storm King

>DC-4

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766653

>>766652
"Well I can't deny that I always get what I want, and I am quite good at helping others get what they want too. Our interests, clearly, are mutual."

That's key… exaggerated or not, he had a large role in pulling you here to this Anchor, away from Asphodel.

>>766650
"Asphodel?" the Storm King repeats. "You're not going to find him around here. Too much distortion from all the clashing wills of the armies. TIRAC and Grogar aren't here, but they've exerted so much force on their underlings that they transmit their Lords' will with them. But anyway, how about this: when I get my weapon back and unsealed, I'll help you push on from here and escape toward Asphodel. And I will throw in this too: for every one of my competitors I cut down to size, I'll give you all another hand in your own endeavors."

Busta, Blessings and Gadriel share skeptical glances over these ambiguous terms…

 No.766656

>>766653

"Actually," Amy says, stepping closer to the Storm King with a flirtatious smile. "I'm going to be honest with you because I like you. The others probably don't want me saying this," she gives the rest of the party a glance over her shoulder.

"But, we're just trying to get Asphodel and the Sons of Perdition to kill each other. We're not even out to get anyone to win this war. Asphodel and the Sons are just scary. We figure that this chaos is the perfect time to kill two birds with… two the same two birds. Tartarus will be better off without them."

"So yeah, our goals align… like a lot. So, helping us helps you… A LOT. So, let's skip the whole 'favor for a favor' thing and just get down to helping each other? Surely the big, strong Storm King doesn't NEED his weapon to get us where we need to go to find the Sons and Asphodel?"

Amy gives the Storm King puppy-dog eyes.

>[1d10+4] Mantra of Equality

>DC-4

Roll #1 8 + 4 = 12

 No.766658

>>766656
The Storm King leans back. "Ah. Nope, I just can't agree to those terms, not even for eyes as beautiful as yours."

Eyes…

"If we're going by your concerns, everyone in Limbo is better off with this weapon back where someone can keep an eye on the thing. Having it fall into the wrong hands – or have it be in no hands at all for too long – is a lot worse than the Sons of Perdition running around, or if Asphodel gets an appetite."

An absolute rejection of your will… just how strong is this guy? He doesn't look that strong…

 No.766659

>>766653
>>766656
Shorthorns thinks over the Storm King's offer… while they're in this battlefield, it's difficult to find their way out any which way, much less to Asphodel. In which case, forming an alliance with the Storm King - a temporary one at least, seems most beneficial.

As Amy is upfront with their end-goal in making the various factions fight - and not entirely not out alignment of the Storm King's own goals, at that - Shorthorns thinks she can work with this angle, and nods as she goes along with Amy.

"Amy's right! I mean, surely a big… uh, STRONG… big guy like you could help us find our way to them, so we can get them off of your own back, right?"

[1d10] Shorthorns tries her own puppy-dog eyes as she winks at the Storm King

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.766716

>>766658

Amy pouts. "Fine," she says, sounding dejected.

"Hey, maybe once you have your weapon back, you'll see your well to helping us pit Asphodel and the Sons against each other?" she asks with a hopeful tone.

>[1d10] for some manipulation

>DC-4

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.766717

>>766656
>>766658
Shorthorns pouts in response to her feminine wiles once again proving fruitless. She whispers to Amy, "Why that does it only seem to ever work when you try that and not me?"

As the Storm King pushes his own deal again, Shorthorn tuts, "Well, it sounds like we can't get going where we're going until TIRAC and Grogar's armies finish their battle here in any case… so I suppose it only the only way forward is to help you find your weapon so you can resolve this conflict."

"Going by that, am I to take it if we help you take down TIRAC and Grogar, you'd help us take on Asphodel directly?"

 No.766718

>>766717
>>766716
"Mmm, I'll see what I can pen into my schedule," the Storm King says. "I'm usually booked out through the week but if you all can find my weapon, I'll have my secretary work his magic."

The ugly little hedgehog next to the Storm King shudders in dread.

"What is this weapon we're meant to find…?" Busta asks. "You haven't described it."

"Oh– you'll know when you see it, believe me," the Storm King says. "Here."

He pulls a shovel from his pack and hands it to Busta. The hedgehog gives out extras for those who want them.

"It's in this area," the Storm King continues, sounding certain. "If he knows what's good for him, my source will have provided me the proper intel. Check the holes around here for a guide on how deep to dig."

 No.766719

>>766718
Shorthorns takes a shovel from the little hedgehog like creature, turning to look up at Storm King. "It's buried?"

"Any magical traps or enchantments to worry about, or is it just really hard to find?"

 No.766720

>>766717

Amy smiles at the dejected Flaming. "What's the matter, Shortyhorns? I thought you LIKE not being cute," she says before sticking out her tongue.

>>766718

"Oh, you came to the right cute wolf-pony-thing," Amy declares when she's told it's time to find a thing in a potentially arbitrary location.

Amy starts sniffing the ground in an ever-widening circle pattern until she's found a spot she's confident in.

>[1d10] to 360 no-scope


Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.766722

>For both
"Well if it *is* trapped just holler in pain or alarm or some combination of the two and I'll swoop in to your rescue."

With a wave, the Storm King heads to the southeastern bend of the lake, leaving you to it. You see that the northeastern area is fairly well-dug already, with holes about one-and-a-half times the length of the shovel in depth. Just deep enough to make climbing in and out of the hole inconvenient… doubly so, for when you are in the hole, you must soon climb out, unable to enter a proper flow state of digging.

Now, dear reader, one might be inclined to try the northwestern area, for it has not been dug at all so far. But, Amy's senses suggest she should go back to the northeastern bend of the lake and dig further, and so she leads her allies that way, among a precarious route of holes and trees and bushes and uneven, rock-strewn ground. Still trusting her instincts, your allies follow along.

 No.766723

>>766720
Shorthorns puffs her cheeks in annoyance, "I do like not being cute, but I hate it more when I WANT to be cute and no one thinks I'm cute! I can be cute if I want to be!"

>>766720
>>766722
Shorthorns, knowing better than to discount Amy's impeccable sense of smell and direction so far, follows her to the southeastern bend, shovel in hoof as she walks along and starts to look for a place to dig.

[1d10] Digging a hole using the shovel, not her powers (yet)

As she digs, she whispers to Amy, out of earshot, "Okay, just so we're on the same page… we don't trust this guy, right?"

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.766725

>>766723

Amy shrugs. "I trust everyone until they give me a reason not to."

>>766723

"You'll always be cute to me," Amy says as she tossles Flaming's mane (or lack there-of). "But, you're not the same kind of cute as me."

"That's… not necessarily a bad thing," she says as she looks off into the distance as if she's having some sort of flashback.

>>766722

Amy's nose knows the way. She looks around at the holes already dug. She ponders to herself (and fate itself) if maybe someone just didn't dig deep enough.

>VESTIGIAL SUNLIGHT

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
>[1d10+2]

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

 No.766726

>>766723
>>766725
Your allies spread out in a very little radius, unwilling to risk an ambush or other trap for the sake of this sketchy Storm King fellow. They find what few spots there are left to dig, and set about giving test pokes to the ground with their shovels.

Amy senses that this endeavor could take all day, building up exhaustion, sweat, grime, and a lack of care for one's physical appearance in the effort required to dig a hole. But if that industrious, hardscrabble approach is taken, you'll never find it at all.

For this weapon is for someone unnamed, yet very specific. Even if you dug up its exact location, you'd never see it, should you not be the one for whom it is meant.

Now is not the time to dig, unless it be in the pursuit of aesthetics. To find it, Amy can sense, you will need to achieve a moment of perfect beauty in the very act of searching for this weapon.

 No.766727

>>766725
Shorthorns looks at Amy pensively as she looks off into the distance, taking a moment to let her think. "It's… silly, I know, but ever since I started… well, getting to know Great Journey… I kind of don't mind being called *that* kind of cute, I guess. Or at least, I'd like to know he thinks that about me. With you it seems to come so naturally, I'm a little jealous sometimes."

>>766725
She nods. "Fair, I guess…I'm a little more skeptical. I mean, our end goal is trying to take ALL of these competitors down one way or another anyways, right? Shouldn't we be prepared for if we have to make sure he doesn't get the leg up on the others he wants?"

 No.766729

>>766727

"I don't think Great Journey wants the kind of cute that I am. He definitely seems to prefer your brand of cute. And, that definitely seems to come naturally to you," she adds with a smile.

"It definitely wasn't always natural to me… Either of me. Even WITH all of my demon memories back, I still can't remember all the way back to the - I don't know what to call it - beginning of me? 2000 years of Tartarus will do that to you. But, Undefileds are feared and respected in Tartarus. If you haven't died, you're good at SOMETHING. I don't remember if I was actually Undefiled or not, but you can tell an undefiled by how good they look. Every time you die, you get a little more… wrong. So, if you haven't died, you still look good."

"I don't remember when exactly I picked up on the fact that I could use my looks to trick people into respecting me. But, I've had thousands of years of practice."

"But, I think it's the Amy in me more than any of that that makes me so good at it. As Amy, I had no one. I was a mortal kid alone in the world. I had to learn real fast how to manipulate people into giving me stuff. And, when I got older, I learned more tricks. It… wasn't great. I'm not proud of it. But, it's a funny coincidence that pretty and cute are even more attractive on a nice person."

>>766727

"Or he could help us," Amy suggests.

>>766726

Amy squints as this realization comes to her. "We're never go to see it like this… We need to get… creative…" she says to everyone.

 No.766730

>>766729
Blessings scoffs, and knocks some mud off the end of her shovel. "Don't tell me you're already tired of this."

"Well I am…" Gadriel complains.

"What's the plan?" Busta asks, as prepared as ever, and yet also tired of digging extremely inconvenient holes.

Yet for the one who hid this weapon, that inconvenience was their very goal.

 No.766731

>>766729
Shorthorns chuckles, "Well, while we're being honest, I actually kind of thought that was a great trick. Using your looks to get what you want, it's so… not buffalo, so indirect, it doesn't come naturally to us. But it's an impressive skill all the same. Plus, just knowing someone thinks you look pretty… I hadn't really thought much of it before, but that was before I cared about looking pretty for someone. Now, I'm more jealous than ever."

"But, you think Journey doesn't want me to be the same kind of pretty that you are?"

>>766729
>>766726
Shorthorns grumbles well into the first few holes. She isn't going to use her powers over Dark Sphere to move the earth, not yet - she wants to keep as many aces up her sleeve as possible for Storm King just in case, but as Amy declares they need to think creatively, she turns her head.

"Creatively? How so?" She looks around. "If anyone has any big attacks, I guess we could blow this whole area away in one go but I'd worry about damaging the thing we're looking for."

 No.766733

>>766730

"WELL THAT'S TOO DAMN BAD," Amy suddenly shouts at Gadriel when he declares he's tired of this.

After a pause, she says, "I'm sorry. I'm not really sure what came over me there. It just felt… right."

>>766731

"Trust me, it's not always a good thing for people to think you're pretty… Especially demons."

"But, I KNOW that Journey thinks you're pretty! He's got a buffalo heart like you! He thinks all the big strong stuff IS pretty!"

Then, she smiles. "But, you're in luck. If you wanna look and feel pretty, I can help with that. Doing something beautiful in a buffalo way is exactly what we need right now!"

>>766731
>>766730

"I can't really explain it, but I just know that if we want to find this treasure, we're going to have to do something big. And, it's going to have to be beautiful."

 No.766734

>>766733
>>766731
Gadriel looks down as you shout at him. Small tears drop into the grass beneath him. Blessings puts aside her shovel and pats him on the back, giving you a shocked and confused look.

Busta pushes onwards. "Beauty… hmm, it's one of those types of puzzles, is it? Okay, how do we, uh… be-autiful? I am a fly demon, not a bee demon."

"I think I have some spare makeup with me…" Blessings offers as she comforts Gadriel.

 No.766736

>>766733
>>766734
Shorthorns' eyes widen as Amy suggests what they need is something beautiful in a big, powerful buffalo fashion right now.

"I can definitely do big! I guess I'd call it 'beautiful' too but, that's a little more subjective I guess… but I'm gonna give it a try all the same!"

"I have my Retribution of the Dragon, it's definitely big and flashy. If you all pile on your attacks at me all at once, I can release it all back combined with some of my own in one big move. Think THAT will work?"

 No.766737

>>766734

"No, no, no," Amy says as she realizes she really hurt Gadriel's feelings. "It was a joke! I didn't mean it! I'm sorry!"

>>766734

"Observer, weren't you, like, supposed to be discovering the true meaning of beauty or something?"

>>766736

"That sounds awesome! And, what's more beautiful than cool stuff that gets you what you want!?"

 No.766738

>>766737
>>766736
"I already discovered true beauty in Hafaza, but you summoned me here without her," Observer retorts, much to Flow's amusement.

As Gadriel calms down, Blessings and Busta get to thinking. "Well…" Busta says. "As long as you can direct your counterattack away from us, it should be fine."
"And don't attract attention from the battlefield below!" Blessings cautions.

 No.766739

>>766738
>>766737
Shorthorns nods, taking a deep breath in preparation. "I can direct it however I want… I don't know if it WON'T get the attention of the armies, but that's just gonna have to be the risk we take if we go big in any case."

"I'll aim it towards this whole area and sweep it clean in one big charge. Just everyone get out of the way once I'm ready to unleash it."

Shorthorns closes her eyes, and summons a white, fiery aura that begins to coat her like her bleached fur were suddenly lit aflame

>Ultimate Move: Retribution of the Dragon: Spell, Recharge 4 after effect triggers; After three turns, for every attack that has hit Flaming, combine the total amount of damage dealt by each enemy's attack. This total is released towards a single enemy, or split evenly between multiple foes. (IE, 10 hits to 1 enemy, or 2 hits to 5). Critfails don’t count toward the charge of this spell.


[1d10+1] Activation

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.766740

>>766738

"And, is there anything that you've learned from her that you can apply here?" Amy retorts to Observer.

>>766738
>>766736

"Alright, does anyone have anything we can use to like… contain the damage we do? Mirry is right, I'd like it if we didn't attract the attention of the demons fighting."

 No.766741

>>766740
"Mirry?" Blessings repeats. "…Probably wouldn't be wise to call me that in front of Chorazin."
Flow shakes his head. "She was cracking jokes about the ordeal soon after she recovered."

>>766740
>>766739
"That pink, indigo and violet are the greatest of color combinations," Observer says. "Shorthorned, do see if you can make your counterattack share that color scheme."

The others, seeing Flaming charing up her defensive power, arm themselves, albeit a little reluctantly. Only once Shorthorned gives them the final go-ahead will they launch their attacks, cutting, blasting and bashing away at her defensive aura to build up the power she needs for an elaborate and colorful display of wondrous lights and strength!

 No.766742

>>766740
>>766741
"Huh… I never actually thought about changing the colors before, but I think I can do that! Our clan's shaman used to throw different sorts of rocks into the fire to make different colors come out, so if she could do it, so can I…"

She braces against the oncoming waves of attacks from her allies, feeling the pain and damage build up as her sturdy, godly body takes the worst beating it's taken since arriving in Tartarus. But she holds fast, steadying her stance and letting their magic and powerful blows flow into her her like fuel onto a raging inferno. Until, at last, once her move has hit its limit, she lets out a deafening war cry as she releases all the pent up flames and power in her small form out like a cannon, a massive dragon of pink, white, and violet flames that looks remarkably like Spark shoot up and light up the lake with its grandeur. The dragon swoops down into the dirt field littered with holes, a massive blast burning away all the earth until nothing but a smoking crater will be left in its wake!

"Everyone, moooooooooooooove!!!"

 No.766743

>>766741

Amy laughs. "Okay, fine. I'll admit, that was not one of my better nicknames."

>>766742
>>766741

Then, they get down to business. Amy, for her part, goes full wolf form and blasts Flaming with holy fire Wrath.

When Flaming says it's time to move, Amy runs behind Flaming like a kid who just lit a firework.

 No.766744

>>766742
>>766743
Everybody scatters and scrambles as the dark rainbow light show comes down to its explosive conclusion. The shockwave sends your allies tumbling ass over teakettle, but much like Shorthorned, they've toughened up enough (not emotionally) that they're able to roll with the fall, and pick themselves up without major injuries. Dust and smoke fill the air, and as you wait for it to pass, everyone cleans and dresses the damage Shorthorned took by way of thanking her.

When all is clear…

There floats before you a shape.

You've heard it described as a weapon.

One of the most common weapons is the sword.

So it is… that a sword floats before you. The tattered remains of a wooden storage box and oiled cloth drift away in the breeze.

The sword… looks rather ordinary at first glance. Straightsword, not too long nor too short. Rather utilitarian at first glance, but not something a Lord of Limbo might want as his signature weapon…

Your allies approach with caution. As you do, you see more of the sword. The details fill in – as if remembering they should be there.

A golden jewel sits in the pommel of the sword. And an inscription runs down the length of the blade. Amy remains illiterate. But Shorthorned, with her recent gift from Shei, can decipher this peculiar script. The inscription reads–

TO THE FAIREST ONE

 No.766816

>>766744

Amy giggles with sheer delight as the plan comes to fruition with destructive results.

As the dust settles and the blade is revealed, Amy notices the definitely totally indecipherable inscription on the blade.

"I wonder what it says," she ponders aloud as if there's no way anyone could answer.

 No.766817

>>766744
>>766816
Shorthorns coughs through the dust and smoke that fills the air, shaking her coat free of debris as she looks around the newly formed crater. "Cough cough… HA! How's *that* for something big and beautiful? I can't remember the last time I saw an explosion that huge!" She grins, somewhat proud of her accomplishment.

As she looks on at the unusual sword floating in front of them after the smoke clears, she looks on at it with confusion. "Huh… is that the weapon? It must be, right?"

She notes the inscription along the blade, and as Amy asks what it says, Shorthorns (with her newly granted knowledge of all languages) reads it aloud, "It says, 'TO THE FAIREST ONE'… huh, the fairest one? What does that mean?"

 No.766818

>>766816
>>766817
Blessings inspects the rags of the oiled rag and wooden case that contained the mysterious weapon. "Lingering enchantment, very faint now… I sense a seal, and some manner of concealment… well, at least we know you're strong enough to brute force through that sort of thing."

"Someone hid it," Busta says. "Though the Storm King never mentioned who…"

Gadriel studies the sword with some apprehension. "Is that thing giving anyone else the creeps now?"

 No.766819

>>766818
Shorthorns snorts a puff of steam through her nostrils, grinning and feeling quite proud of herself once again. "Good to know! Though really it wasn't just all me, that move uses all our strength and combines it. So, really, it's good to know that all of our might combined can force our way through enchantments like this."

As Gadriel studies the sword, she nods, "Yeah… it's hard to say what but something is off about it. Almost like… the sword is altering itself somehow when I look at it, but exactly how I can't pin down. It's disorienting to look at…" she turns to look at Gadriel, "Any clue what it does?"

 No.766820

>>766817
>>766818

"The fairest? What does it mean by that? Like the person who cheats the least?"

 No.766821

>>766820
"Yeah, it could mean the most honorable or honest… but fair can also mean 'beautiful' or used to describe lighter tones?"

 No.766822

>>766819
>>766820
Busta folds his arms in thought. "The Storm King suggested it had some kind of mind of its own and needed supervision."

Blessings nods. "That sealing enchantment I sensed might not have only been to conceal its presence from outside inspection, but to keep it from escaping."

"The fairest one…" Gadriel repeats. "I guess that's not an invalid interpretation. It's not exactly hanging from a string over someone's head… but you know, another meaning of 'fair' is beautiful. So it belongs to the most beautiful one… or maybe it's meant to kill the most beautiful one."

Flow chuckles. "Hard to believe it belongs to that guy, then."

Observer looks up and down the length of the sword. "It *is* something I would offer to Hafaza… but not on account of her beauty. Rather, its strength. This is more than a mere weapon… but its powers, it hides even from me. A strong-willed, defiant thing, this is."

Blessings grimaces. "Should probably watch what we say in front of it, then."

 No.766823

>>766822
As Gadriel mentions how it's meant to possibly *KILL* the 'most fairest one', Shorthorns audibly gulps. "Oh… I guess that's an interpretation I hadn't considered, but… yeah, that's a possibility…"

She looks around the group, taking a sigh, "Well, none of us are getting anywhere just looking here and staring at it. Only one way to really find out what it does." She says, steeling her nerves as she moves to approach the sword. She reaches out a hoof, slowly at first to see how it reacts (not grasping it jsut yet)

 No.766824

>>766822
>>766821

"Ooooh! The prettiest!? The timing's so perfect! We were just talking about being pretty!"

"But, I wonder what kind of pretty the sword likes… Hmm… Mr. Sword, what's your type?"

>Vestigial Sunlight to determine the sword's type

>[1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.766825

>>766823
As your hoof draws near, the sword tilts through an unseen force, lilting lazily to the left, just out of reach. Should you attempt to touch it again, it will simply turn the other way, a bit like a metronome.

>>766824
An aquatic kaleidoscope invades your vision, churning format and form, dimensions and shapes, synesthesia swirlings of noise and kinetics. Buzzings mutter, echoes resounding off concrete from wasp-wings and hopfsteps, reverberating half-imagined. …this has a very good sound and sound system for a lot to the moment of a lesser level and then it would have to the moment of a year and then I have only with the same one that you have to be in the office for the next two days or maybe you will simply have only one day that you will simply be a little bit of a good idea to the moment of being able and not just out for the same reason you are not going to get a new one and summer sunlight will simply turn the world across…

In a word, chaos, chaos – and this doth be the love of the sword, whose name is

 No.766826

>>766825

"Ah yes," Amy nods sagely at the absolute chaos. "I know exactly who your type is."

As she comes to this conclusion, Amy reaches for the sword, for it is made for her. She knows this absolutely.

[1d10] to have sword

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.766827

>>766825
Shorthorns makes a few more attempts to nab the sword as it floats just out of reach, snorting an annoyed grunt as she holds off on her efforts. "Well, it's definitely not going to come easy… bet if I jump it when it least expects it I can grab it though."

>>766824
>>766825
Before making any such attempt to grab it though, she turns to Amy as she asks the sword, genuinely asking her, "Is it saying anything to you?"

 No.766828

>>766826
>>766827
The both of you hear a sword sliding into a scabbard.

Gadriel nearly jumps out of his skin, as his head snaps to face–

"My thanks," the Storm King says.

You see him standing in your midst, and your allies spin to face him. You have him and the wretched little hedgehog thing surrounded, yet only the latter one seems distressed about this. The Storm King, who appeared out of nowhere to be here, is quite at ease.

"I was wondering where this thing got to. Frankly I expected much better from my old nemesis than this. But perhaps he anticipated that I would anticipate a more advanced method of concealment. The perfect hiding spot, too obvious. Thus a weaker hiding spot would be the true perfect spot. Ah, but then I would calculate that, and anticipate it as the true perfect spot… so on and so forth. So just toss the damn thing anywhere…? Ah, but I've more pressing matters to attend to."

Giving a deep bow, the Storm King smiles to you. He then retrieves from his pack a slip of papyrus and a quill pen, and starts to write on it.

Deep in suspicion for his cryptic words and instantaneous appearance, your allies say nothing to the Storm King or his miserable sidekick, who's near to hyperventilating.

 No.766829

>>766828
Shorthorns turns back in surprise as Storm King manages to sheathe the sword into his scabbard. "OH! There you are, snuck up on me…"

She looks at the sword again as the Storm King writes on his papyrus, raising her brow as she questions his motives. Part of her was remiss to let Storm King actually regain his weapon, but recalls Amy's words on trusting someone until they give them a reason not to trust them, and calms herself, though still keeping on guard.

"No problem. Mind if I ask, what is up with that thing? It's a very weird weapon, we were trying to figure out what the inscription meant. Do you know?"

 No.766831

>>766827

"Yes, but it sounds a little confused right now."

>>766828

Then, the Storm King appears. She turns to face him, but doesn't move away from the sword. She looks from the Storm King to the sword.

"I don't think the sword wants to go with you," Amy says in a helpful tone, merely pointing out the problem with the situation.

"It says that it's for the fairest. And, I mean, you're totally handsome, but I don't think I'd call you PRETTY."

 No.766832

>>766829
The Storm King whips the sword out from the scabbard, and in the process, slices clean off the hair on top of the hedgehog's head, earning a cowardly yelp from the sad little plus-one. The Storm King reads the sword.

"I think it means, TO THE FAIREST ONE," he says.

"We were hoping you'd define your terms," Flow answers.

"Ah, but I have," the Storm King says. "An IOU, as payment for services rendered."

He cuts up the papyrus sheet into many small pieces, and hands one to each of you.

"If you need a favor, simply bring all the pieces together, and I will come to your aid, until I have paid back your efforts here, parts, labor and union-mandated breaks included."

>>766831
"Listen," the Storm King says, eyes narrowing even as he flashes his trademark smile. "Beauty is subjective. Especially down here. Have you not heard the ancient wisdom: don't yuck someone else's yum? Perhaps for an undefiled, your tastes are difficult to reconcile with others'."

 No.766835

>>766832
>>766831
As Amy brings up how the sword doesn't want to go with Storm King, Shorthorn's concern rises but points out, "Are you sure, Amy? I mean, it just floated away from us but it went right to his scabbard."

She looks up at the Storm King, taking her piece of the papyrus and putting it in her satchel. "Thanks. So, am I to assume now that you have your weapon, you're going to do something about TIRAC and Grogar's armies fighting here?"

 No.766836

>>766832

"Okey dokey," Amy says with a shrug. "By the way, I tried asking the weapon what its name is, but it got all confused. What IS its name?"