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File 144330932724.jpg - (218.02KB , 740x740 , 0001.jpg )
672949 No. 672949 ID: 397dd3

This town blows.
Expand all images
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No. 672950 ID: 397dd3
File 144330936644.jpg - (278.19KB , 740x740 , 0002.jpg )
672950

Also, I’m absolutely positive this tavern is watering down their mead. I’ve had better sap water than this shit.
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No. 672951 ID: 9ddf68

looking for work or are you waiting for something to happen?
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No. 672952 ID: 39f669

Nice hair.
Why are you sitting around in here, if the booze is swill?
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No. 672953 ID: 2a8e5b

dump watery mead on worldweary barkeep. demand refund
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No. 672957 ID: 3663d3

hey there knife-ears
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No. 672958 ID: 3bc92d

Time to leave town, then.
>>
No. 672960 ID: cdec48

Start talking to NPCs, find titular quest.
>>
No. 672963 ID: 22f977

What type of a knife-ear are you?

You look kinda small for an elf. A halfling?
>>
No. 672967 ID: 0fc976

Start a bar fight for your own amusement.
>>
No. 672969 ID: 6e8e45

consider ear piercings
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No. 672971 ID: 397dd3
File 144331200475.jpg - (179.49KB , 740x740 , 0003.jpg )
672971

>looking for work or are you waiting for something to happen?
I guess the latter. The only reason I’m here is ‘cause Thorn has some business in town. Something about a “wizard’s guild” or whatever. Said they might have another lead on that lost family heirloom he’s looking for. Every freakin’ town seems to have a guild or something in it though, so I don’t know what makes this one any more special than the last fifty we’ve been to.

>Why are you sitting around in here, if the booze is swill?
Unfortunately for me, this is the only tavern in town. And it’s not like I’m gonna go with Thorn and listen to that “academic magic” bullshit or whatever wizards talk about. I’m not exactly a people person.

Hell, I’m not exactly an anything person, if we’re being honest.
>>
No. 672972 ID: 397dd3
File 144331214118.jpg - (198.47KB , 740x740 , 0004.jpg )
672972

>dump watery mead on worldweary barkeep. demand refund
I would, but Thorn was very specific that I didn’t cause trouble. Even though, you know, he’s the one that’s gotten us kicked out of more places than I have. Because he’s an idiot.

Plus, I plan on dodging on the tab anyway.

>hey there knife-ears
>You look kinda small for an elf. A halfling?
Bingo. Please save all short jokes for never.
>>
No. 672973 ID: 9ddf68

so what's your stick? You the sneaky steal-y guy, ranged combat guy, meat shield, what?
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No. 672974 ID: 22f977

>Please save all short jokes for never.
Well, I think that being not-tall is sometimes very, very useful.

Scan over the other patrons. There might be something amusing happening behind you.
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No. 672975 ID: 22f977

Tell us. How did you get these scars?
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No. 672977 ID: 3bc92d

>Please save all short jokes for never.

Why?

Are you... short-tempered about that sort of thing?
>>
No. 672978 ID: a19cd5

>>672972
go outside and find a prostitute or children to heckle then, sitting around here drinking swill is probably the least interesting thing you could be doing with your time.
>>
No. 672980 ID: 22f977

>>672977
CARLOS!
>>
No. 672982 ID: 2a8e5b

would you say your patience is running.....short

also yeah we wanna know how you got those scars
>>
No. 672984 ID: 401f23

if you're not gonna drink anything then go for a walk in town - windowshop for weapons and what not. What are your hobbies and interests? maybe you could buy or steal something nice.
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No. 672993 ID: ad936f

>Plus, I plan on dodging on the tab anyway.

Are you a criminal by occupation? Perhaps a conman or thief? Or are you just a scumbag of poor moral character? Were you planning on doing that since you came here, or did you wait until you felt slighted by the proprietor to decide to ignore the rules which allow society to function?
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No. 672997 ID: cdec48

Ditch tavern unless it's been agreed upon as your meeting place.
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No. 673017 ID: 149da0

So what do you bring to the party? Who else are you working with besides Thorn? What can you tell us about them?
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No. 673022 ID: 0fc976

I have a quest for you! Go into my basement and slay the giant rats down there. I will give you three copper and some lint from my pocket as a quest reward.
>>
No. 673036 ID: a6f913

clearly the solution is for you to find an overarching quest line that mirrors thorn's heirloom quest so that you will also have something repetitive to do on these visits. think hard. any scores to settle? goals to achieve? other heirlooms to find?
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No. 673037 ID: 397dd3
File 144332008868.jpg - (166.97KB , 740x740 , 0005.jpg )
673037

>so what's your stick? You the sneaky steal-y guy, ranged combat guy, meat shield, what?
>Are you a criminal by occupation? Perhaps a conman or thief?
>So what do you bring to the party?
Thorn calls me a “ranger”, whatever that means. I’m guess I’m just really good at nature stuff. Tracking, animal handling, that sort of thing. I make sure we both don’t get killed. Mostly Thorn though. Guy would walk straight off a cliff if he saw a cool butterfly.

>Who else are you working with besides Thorn? What can you tell us about them?
It’s just us.

Thorn is...well, to put it bluntly, Thorn is an idiot. I mean, he’s smart, don’t get me wrong. He is a wizard and everything. There’s just a different between being smart and knowing how not to get yourself killed. He lacks in that last department.

>Were you planning on doing that since you came here, or did you wait until you felt slighted by the proprietor to decide to ignore the rules which allow society to function?
Alright paladin, get off your fuckin’ high horse. You wouldn’t pay for this shitty mead too if you could taste it, no matter what bullshit god you serve.

>Tell us. How did you get these scars?
>also yeah we wanna know how you got those scars
Guess you could say it’s an occupational hazard? I get cuts and crap all the time from dealing with wild animals or pathfinding through a forest...I honestly don’t remember where the scars came from. Probably an owlbear. Those fuckers are the worst.
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No. 673038 ID: 397dd3
File 144332012137.jpg - (167.00KB , 740x740 , 0006.jpg )
673038

>Are you... short-tempered about that sort of thing?
>would you say your patience is running.....short
Glad to see we have some fuckin’ bards here tonight.
>>
No. 673039 ID: 397dd3
File 144332020981.jpg - (210.41KB , 740x740 , 0007.jpg )
673039

>if you're not gonna drink anything then go for a walk in town - windowshop for weapons and what not
>Ditch tavern unless it's been agreed upon as your meeting place.
Thorn just said he’d find me once he’s done. Truth is, I’ll probably find him first. This town is pretty small, and it’s likely that bumbling moron will cause enough of a commotion that you’d have to be absolutely sloshed not to notice him (and that’s certainly not gonna happen with what they’re serving here).

I make a path through all of the other patrons and head out of the tavern unnoticed. Despite the sun being out, there’s a crisp chill on the air, and the sign for the tavern--a weathered wood relief carving that reads “The Bronze Unicorn”, complete with a roughly hewn profile of a horned horse--creaks loudly on the rusted hanger above the door in the early fall wind. We’re pretty far north now, way farther than I’ve ever gone before. The cold’s not an issue though: nights in the forest would chill you right down the bone. This is child’s play.

There’s a general store across from the tavern, and an armory further down the way. On the outskirts of town is the tower for the wizard’s guild: likely where Thorn is.

I don’t have much gold on me: maybe nine or ten pieces. If I do buy anything, it’s going to have to be small and essential.
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No. 673040 ID: 22f977

Are you about to walk into an elf-dwarf tandem? Don't do that. It'll cause a scene you really don't want to get involved in.
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No. 673041 ID: e6fcea

thirty feet of rope and a ten foot pole.

What do you have currently as far as gear and equipment goes? And Thorn, since you appear to be as much his friend as you are his caretaker?
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No. 673042 ID: 85aa87

before we go shopping can you let us know what you have on you so we don't suggest buying something you already have?
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No. 673043 ID: a6f913

yeah, an inventory check is in order! plus as much of thorn's inventory as you can recall. unless we have a cool meta interface that lets us see the whole party's inventory.
>>
No. 673049 ID: cdec48

Check inventory.

Buy dildos, they are a worthwhile investment. Food and ammunition is also good.
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No. 673062 ID: 397dd3
File 144332464143.jpg - (226.49KB , 740x740 , 0008.jpg )
673062

>And Thorn, since you appear to be as much his friend as you are his caretaker?
>friend
Let me make something abundantly clear. Thorn and I are not friends. I am not anyone’s friend.

End of discussion.
>>
No. 673063 ID: 397dd3
File 144332467882.jpg - (118.59KB , 740x740 , 0009.jpg )
673063

>before we go shopping can you let us know what you have on you so we don't suggest buying something you already have?
>plus as much of thorn's inventory as you can recall.

Besides my leather armor and clothes, I currently have on me:

-3 healing salves
-9 gold coins
-A crossbow with ample bolts
-A single acorn
-2 small throwing knives
-A water canteen

As for Thorn...it’s honestly a crapshoot as to what he’s carrying. Besides his robes, he should still have a couple healing salves I gave him, as well as a bedroll and miscellaneous essential traveling gear (I don’t carry any of that stuff because, well, frankly, I don’t need it). He’s also at least pretty good about not misplacing his spellbook.

There may or may not still be a squirrel that like, lives in his hat or something. Don’t ask.
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No. 673065 ID: a6f913

what's the acorn for?

we should get rations for when we're done with this town. besides that i guess we can just poke around and see what the store has to offer.
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No. 673070 ID: 3663d3

has throrn's hat-squirrel been hiding nuts on you?

anyway, you are missing the standard collapsible 10 foot pole. is important.
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No. 673071 ID: 265534

>>673062
>I am not anyone’s friend.
Well, your barber clearly didn't like you. You need to learn to fake being cordial to others so they don't fuck up your head.
>>
No. 673082 ID: 149da0

>Let me make something abundantly clear. Thorn and I are not friends. I am not anyone’s friend.
Well that's boring. Why wouldn't you want any friends?

>what's the acorn for?
For dealing with the hat-squirrel, if necessary.

>list of preparedness
You left out an important detail: what spells does Thorn know? What kind of mage is he?
>>
No. 673083 ID: e53541

>I am not anyone’s friend.
Well allow me to play Crawling on the worlds smallest violin.
>>
No. 673118 ID: 85aa87

maybe get a none throwing knife just encase you get into a situation were someone get's close to you... plus I'm sure you'd be able to sneak a knife into place a lot easier then a crossbow.
>>
No. 673131 ID: cdec48

>>673063
Dildos, some dry goods for eating (diet can be supplemented by hunting/gathering), nondescript rock that turns out to be a plot-critical item.
>>
No. 673132 ID: 869c77

>>Thorn and I are not friends.

Bullshit. You survive 50+ towns of wandering with a bumbling wizard, there's no chance you don't actually like having the company around.
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No. 673134 ID: a107fd

Get some rope and a grappling hook. Never know when you might need a bit of rope. It's got a million uses. Fall down a chasm and it becomes a ladder, sneak up on somebody and it becomes shackles, or a weapon even quieter and less messy than those knives.
>>
No. 673137 ID: eb76f9

>>673062
Watch out, you might cut yourself on that edge.

Face it, if you cared nothing for Thorn, you would have let him walk off whatever proverbial cliff and then collected whatever was left on him to sell.

Buy a dagger for your close-combat needs if its within your price range.
>>
No. 673149 ID: ad936f

So what is your actual job, where did you get those nine gold coins? Are you a thief? A mercenary? A murderhobo? A guy-who-keeps-an-affluent-wizard-from-throwing-himself-off-a cliff?
>>
No. 673176 ID: 397dd3
File 144337853711.jpg - (157.12KB , 740x740 , 0010.jpg )
673176

>Well that's boring. Why wouldn't you want any friends?
>Watch out, you might cut yourself on that edge.
>Face it, if you cared nothing for Thorn, you would have let him walk off whatever proverbial cliff and then collected whatever was left on him to sell.

Look, it’s nothing personal. It’s just...this is my job, you know? Conflating it to anything more would be stupid. I guess you could say Thorn hired me to be a guide, though the pay really isn’t regular…but it’s not like I have anywhere else to go at this point. We just make do however we can. Sometimes we’re lucky and find abandoned camps and scavenge whatever we find. More often than not we’re doing odd jobs as we jump from town to town.

>what's the acorn for?
I don’t suppose it’s really “for” anything. It’s from one of the trees from the forest I used to live in. Just a nice way to stay grounded, I guess.
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No. 673177 ID: 397dd3
File 144337865869.jpg - (217.00KB , 740x740 , 0011.jpg )
673177

I pop into the general store across from the tavern. It’s much less populated in terms of people, and the inventory is as varied as anything. Since this is a small village, they don’t have dedicated shops for apothecaries and the like, so it seems like it all fell here.

The shopkeep waves me a polite greeting and I quietly acknowledge her with a simple nod. The shelves behind her are packed with all sorts of supplies: there are potions that I can’t even begin to identify lined up on one side, likely concoctions courtesy of the wizard’s guild. In addition to that assortment, there’s also a good stock of basic survival gear: rope at 1 gold a yard, ration packs at 2 gold each (each pack can last five days), and a simple dagger at 5 gold, more suited for clearing brush and forest debris than actually functioning as a weapon. There's also what appears to be a small magic charm for sale at 2 gold. The shopkeep says she doesn't know what it is, that some traveler pawned it off to her a couple of weeks ago.

Rope certainly is always useful, the rations are debatable: they’ll be good in a pinch, but I’m a pretty well-versed in living off the land, as they say. The dagger’s not in bad shape, and is probably the best option in terms of what I can afford right now. Anything down at the armory would be out of the question.
>>
No. 673179 ID: cdec48

>>673177
Dagger, bullshit magic charm, two yards of rope.
>>
No. 673180 ID: eb76f9

>>673179
I'd argue that barely two meters of rope have no purpose, but...it's for a halfling.
>>
No. 673181 ID: eb76f9

Can Thorn identify magic items? If you think he can, don't buy the charm without him giving you an appraisal.
>>
No. 673183 ID: 066a87

Some strong cord can be essential, some fine line and fish hooks, a couple of needles, and a fire piston. The fire piston will be the most expensive item, since they require some precision in their manufacture.

Instead of a dagger, a knife suitable for whittling with would be more appropriate. If it comes with a marlinspike or proper awl, even better.

I think that would round out a minimum equipment survival kit with what you have already, miss.
>>
No. 673186 ID: a6f913

that rope seems really expensive. we should probably skip it - i bet we could find something else to use for cheaper.

knife sounds good, come back for the charm if you can bring thorn with you to make sure it's for real.
>>
No. 673187 ID: 149da0

>It’s just...this is my job, you know?
Hey, nothing requires you to be friends with your co-workers. It's the not being friends with no one that's concerning.

>acorn
Hey, things can be for sentimentality. That's valid.

>>673177
Get dagger. A tool is always useful in wilderness survival, even if it's not particularly combat oriented.

Not sure we can buy enough rope to actually be useful unless we blow all / most of our gold, which doesn't seem a good idea. And since the shop-elf is trying to make a profit, we can assume whoever sold the charm and actually knew what it did was willing to let it go for a single piece of gold. Doesn't sound that useful.
>>
No. 673194 ID: 39f669

Grab the magic trinket, and one ration pack. Anything else isn't worth the money.

Also, what is that hairstyle called?
>>
No. 673203 ID: 33a8d5

>>673186
and the hairstyle is called an undercut
>>
No. 673529 ID: 397dd3
File 144349411318.png - (325.66KB , 740x740 , 0012.png )
673529

I decide to at least get the dagger. The throwing knives I have are good for whittling or cutting food and small things like that, but it might be good to have for a larger predicament, even if the edge isn’t very sharp at the moment. I can sharpen it crudely next time we settle down to camp if I can’t afford or have the time to get it properly sharpened in town.

I also grab a ration pack, for Thorn if anything else. Now, my inventory consists of:

-3 healing salves
-4 gold coins
-A crossbow with ample bolts
-A single acorn
-2 small throwing knives
-A water canteen
-A sort of dull dagger
-A ration pack
>>
No. 673530 ID: 397dd3
File 144349414143.png - (238.19KB , 740x740 , 0013.png )
673530

The “magic” charm (at least according to the shopkeep) is pretty unassuming. It seems odd that she’s selling it for only two gold: the gem itself is probably worth a sizable amount alone. Even if it isn’t magic, I might be able to sell it at whatever next town we stop at for a good profit. Either the shopkeep doesn’t know what she has, or is just trying to unload it, which might be worrisome.
>>
No. 673531 ID: 397dd3
File 144349417921.png - (318.57KB , 740x740 , 0014.png )
673531

Thorn could appraise something like this, be able to tell if it’s really magic or just a nice piece of jewelry. That is, however, if he finishes with whatever fuckall he’s doing with the wizard’s guild before the shop closes, because I certainly don’t plan on staying here overnight. And knowing how chatty he likes to get means that’s probably not likely. Who knows when I’ll actually meet up with him again.
>>
No. 673533 ID: 397dd3
File 144349423582.png - (329.49KB , 740x740 , 0015.png )
673533

As if to answer my question, a resounding explosion shakes the foundation of the shop, sending bottles and other items crashing to the ground.

I’m sure that’s a good sign.
>>
No. 673534 ID: 3009b4

Deals too good to be true usually are. Sucker's probably cursed somehow. Although if that curse could be lifted it might be really powerful or at least worth a fortune!
>>
No. 673535 ID: 9ddf68

so do you think that village is under attack or just the wizard's guild blowing up again?
>>
No. 673539 ID: 149da0

>>673530
Impulse buy! Grab the charm, slap down the gold and then go investigate that explosion.
>>
No. 673556 ID: a6f913

snag it and go! if it's horribly cursed at least it'll give us something to do. also thorn is probably currently causing more trouble than a necklace could no matter what, so...
>>
No. 673565 ID: 066a87

>>673533
Ah, explo-sition, the best kind of exposition
>>
No. 673644 ID: bdc831

Take the stupid charm, pay for it and run in the opposite direction of wherever the explosion originated from.
>>
No. 673709 ID: 89941a

Take the charm of questionable magic potential. It might be a cursed MacGuffin.
>>
No. 673710 ID: 869c77

Buy the charm, wrap it in cloth or something and pack it away. No wearing it until you've got it ID'd.
>>
No. 673822 ID: a107fd

>>673710
Yeah, if it's probably cursed don't even touch it with bare skin until you're sure what the deal is.
>>
No. 673945 ID: 2eeb65

Are we a girl or a boy?
>>
No. 673961 ID: 3ab69d

Let's be ambiguous!
>>
No. 673962 ID: 2a7417

Toss the gold for the amulet on the table, grab it and a few "damaged goods" from the fall as well.
>>
No. 673966 ID: 88960e

>Are we a girl or a boy?
Chestbumps: >>673037
>>
No. 673976 ID: 2eeb65

>>673966
Maybe it's a family heirloom tucked under our coat, that will save us from a deadly arrow at an especially dramatic moment?
>>
No. 674074 ID: 397dd3
File 144366526703.png - (384.31KB , 900x740 , 0016.png )
674074

To hell with it. I chuck two of my remaining four coins at the shopkeep and get the hell out of dodge. Even if it is cursed, that sort of stuff usually doesn’t activate or affect you ‘till you put it on. I’ll just be sure not to use it until I know for sure. Or rather, until Thorn knows for sure. If he can know anything for sure.

Judging by the shopkeep’s reaction, explosions aren’t a common event in this town, even with the wizard’s guild so close to the town. She’s too shaken to even notice that half of her merchandise has either been destroyed or mangled in the damage from the shockwave. Potions from broken bottles start seeping through the shelves and onto the floorboards, some turning them wild colors of bright purple and green, others eating right through the wood. I don’t want to think about what’ll happen if any of those mix.
>>
No. 674075 ID: 397dd3
File 144366531050.png - (360.08KB , 900x740 , 0017.png )
674075

Outside is pure chaos. The drunken revelry from the tavern has turned into sober panic as patrons and shopowners alike spill out onto the ruined cobblestone street. Debris spike through the path haphazardly: brick and mortar, likely flung from the wizard’s guild tower.

There seems to be no casualties, thankfully, just a lot of rattled townsfolk. There’s the occasional confused shout, but mostly it’s just a dazed murmuring that rises and falls in volume with the wind.

I think it might be best if I just meet Thorn outside of town. This has nothing to do with me. We’ll just meet up on the edge of town and be on our less than merry way--

“hyaciiiiiiinth”

I hear a shrill yell in the distance, quickly gaining in volume as its owner runs as fast as his gangly legs can carry him down the uneven street, manically flailing his arms and almost losing his oversized hat in his frenzy.

Just pretend I don’t know him. Just don’t look. Don’t make eye contact. I’m sure it’s just any other fleeing wizard from the guild.
>>
No. 674076 ID: 397dd3
File 144366534086.png - (379.29KB , 900x740 , 0018.png )
674076

“HYACIIIIIIIIIIINTH”
>>
No. 674077 ID: 397dd3
File 144366535843.png - (395.74KB , 900x740 , 0019.png )
674077

Oh, fuck.
>>
No. 674078 ID: a6f913

looks like you're back on the clock.

collect lanky charge, get out of town before townsfolk figure out enough to form an angry mob
>>
No. 674080 ID: 149da0

...he melted the tower? Great.

How exactly are we supposed to the accident-elf out of town before he's lynched or something? If nothing else, he's responsible for massive property damage.
>>
No. 674084 ID: e114bc

That your name? Maybe you should get ready to run, too.
>>
No. 674090 ID: e59994

!! >>674078
>>
No. 674093 ID: 0fc976

"I don't care what stupid thing you did. Figure out what this amulet does."
>>
No. 674099 ID: 729986

Uh, how good are you at convincing people to do things. Because if you can get these people to rush to the wizard tower to help put out the flames before they start pointing fingers.
>>
No. 674101 ID: 89941a

Ah~ Wizards.

Never a boring moment, huh?
>>
No. 674142 ID: 3c1d45

Give him exactly ten seconds to explain himself before kicking him in the shin.
>>
No. 674405 ID: 066a87

>>674077
Hyacinth is a very nice name.
>>
No. 674519 ID: 397dd3
File 144384296485.png - (405.42KB , 900x740 , 0020.png )
674519

Thorn skids rather dramatically to a halt in front of me. Despite being backed by the foreboding light of the half-collapsed and burning wizard’s guild tower, he still looks like a massive dweeb in his huge floppy hat and robes that seem a size too big, even for a tree like him. I grit my teeth and steel myself before he even gets a chance to open his mouth.

“You have ten. Seconds.”

Thorn inhales deeply. Here we go.

“Alright um so I was asking the wizards at the guild if they would have you know maybe seen the family sigil or know anything about my great great great great great great grandmother since she made the goblet and all and they didn’t really know anything about it but then they started talking about these cool potions that they’ve been working on and they said they might have found a formula to cure acute wormswood rot which is very important because you know we’re having a wormswood shortage since it’s been so dry lately BUT I told them that they had their formula wrong and it would make the potion unstable and would likely cause a catastrophic reaction instead of curing the rot and they asked me to prove my conclusion and one thing lead to another--”

He gasps loudly, out of breath.

“So you blew up the wizard’s guild,” I intone flatly.

Thorn scratches the back of his neck and looks sheepishly down at me. “I didn’t mean to.”

That’s the thing about Thorn. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’ve stuck through this mess where others would have bailed by the second town: he genuinely means well with everything that he does. I don’t think he has a single cruel bone in his body, to be honest. Sure, he’s a walking disaster and we’ve been banned from more taverns and cities than I can count (and this one is probably gonna be another for the list), but despite all of that, he’s got a good heart.

A good heart that the townsfolk will likely tear out of his chest as he’s basically destroyed half of the village.

I rub my temples exhaustedly. I've got a lot of questions: if he's got any new leads, dealing with this amulet junk, but first thing’s first: we have to get out of this town, preferably in one piece. There’s the main entrance we came in, probably packed with fleeing townsfolk, or the option of doubling back to the wizard’s guild and trying to steal away into the neighboring woods. It’s likely there’s fewer people there, but with the lessened risk of angry mobs, there’s the heightened risk of burning to death. Between those two options, a wide array of possibilities.

“Any thoughts?”

Thorn’s sheepish look just becomes more pronounced. He’s not gonna be any help with this one.
>>
No. 674521 ID: 0ed6e9

head for the woods. You're a ranger so the trees should be a welcome change of pace and he's an elf so he should feel right at home... Just don't let him try to start the camp fire later and now that I think about it try to keep him from using any fire magic in general until you're in a less flammable area.
>>
No. 674522 ID: ad936f

Go through the woods, your husband is a wizard so he should be able to protect you from the fire.
>>
No. 674523 ID: 0fc976

Flying carpet? Broomstick? Run out of town on a rail? What are we looking at for getaway vehicles, here?
>>
No. 674524 ID: 0f1c4d

Woods. Fire doesn't really chase you down like angry people do.
>>
No. 674542 ID: 149da0

>I told them their formula was unstable and would blow up
>they asked me to prove it
>So you blew up the wizard’s guild
Sounds like he just blew it up a little ahead of schedule. They were gonna do that anyways!

>That’s the thing about Thorn. Maybe it’s one of the reasons I’ve stuck through this mess where others would have bailed by the second town: he genuinely means well with everything that he does. I don’t think he has a single cruel bone in his body, to be honest. [...] but despite all of that, he’s got a good heart.
D'aww. And you're a softie too, ain't ya, sticking by him.

>death by mobs or death by fire
Fire. Easier to outrun, doesn't hold a grudge, and the wizard can maybe stave it off a little with an ice or water spell, if you yell at him too. (Which will probably just cause more property damage, but you don't care at this point).

>what else do
Toss him the charm at him without giving him time to think, ask if he can tell what it does. While he's absorbed, lead him away.
>>
No. 674572 ID: 89941a

Tell your knife-eared friend to lose the hat. People are going to be looking for wizards.
>>
No. 674582 ID: e2eb5f

Into the fire we go. The less people you encounter, the better. And maybe you could help a survivor or two to mitigate the ire they have against the two of you.
>>
No. 674587 ID: cf91e4

>unstable
>asked me to prove my conclusion
Wouldn't it have been better for him to demonstrate that outside the town walls and away from valuable wizard documents and volatile wizard reagents? Better now though then when they try to mass produce it.

Woods is better; get him to keep his hat and robes close so they're less likely to catch on fire.
>>
No. 674633 ID: 39f669

To the woods! But he need to take his hat off and bunch up his robes, so there's less of a chance of him catching on fire.
>>
No. 674792 ID: a107fd

Does Thorn have any magic that would be useful for fire suppression? If it was legitimately not his fault, you might not get banned from this town. Townsfolk might not be angry at all if you're visibly helping them minimize damage and clean up the mess.

Start shouting at people to fetch buckets, pass them back and forth in a line from the water supply to whatever's on fire. Single out specific individuals for specific duties to break through panic and bystander paralysis. During a crisis, the least confused person is in charge by default. You've been through more crap like this than most, so that could be you.
>>
No. 678078 ID: 397dd3
File 144530891628.png - (446.54KB , 891x733 , 0021.png )
678078

Whelp, out of the frying pan and into the fire, I guess. Wish it wasn’t so literal, but honestly, I’ve been through worse.

“Alright, Thorn.” He immediately jolts to attention. “Hope you have some fire-prevention spells prepared.”

“What? Where are we going?”

I soundlessly thumb over to the forest next to the now-aflame wizard’s guild tower. “You’re gonna have to loose the hat and hike up those robes though. People are gonna be looking for you. And you’re not very…” I eye him up and down quickly, all six-some feet of gangly arms and legs. “Hard to miss.”

“Loose the hat?!” His attention suddenly turns into panic. “But Fidget is in there!”

Well, at least that answers the question about the squirrel.
>>
No. 678079 ID: 397dd3
File 144530895346.png - (283.20KB , 891x733 , 0022.png )
678079

Thorn protests for a couple more seconds before the noise of the town gradually turns from unorganized chaos to slightly organized anger and discontent, and we high-tail it out of the soon-to-be-rioting city center, hat and all. Despite the flash and bang of the initial explosion, the epicenter isn’t all too dangerous: most of the debris has settled, and now it’s just the smoldering remains of the tower and its surroundings.

This is working out better than expected. We’ll just steal away into the forest, chill there for a while until everything settles down, then just take the main road out to our next destination, maybe set up camp on the road. Piece of cake.
>>
No. 678080 ID: 397dd3
File 144530897790.png - (445.92KB , 891x733 , 0023.png )
678080

“Halt! Criminals!”

Shit.
>>
No. 678081 ID: 397dd3
File 144530899965.png - (416.98KB , 891x733 , 0024.png )
678081

Behind us stands a wizard wearing cutoff robes and a short cape: each wizard’s guild has their own robe in order to distinguish them from others. Even though I haven’t really seen any of the wizards from this area, judging by her angry expression and the fact that she’s actively casting at us means she’s probably a wizard from the guild here. The one that Thorn just destroyed.

Behind her stands a small, angry mob of other wizards and villagers alike.

The cantrip energy between her hands grows larger as she speaks.

“You will pay for your crimes against this town and it’s guild!”

Double shit.
>>
No. 678082 ID: 3663d3

"what? we're under arrest for your wizards getting the formula wrong?"
>>
No. 678085 ID: fbc59e

"What did this idiot do exactly?"
Might as well hear the story. It'll be good for a laugh...A score of years or so down the line.
>>
No. 678088 ID: a107fd

Quit trying to pin your own negligent arson on us. Thorn says he followed the guild's instructions exactly, and I wasn't even involved.
*conciliatory I'm-not-holding-any-weapons hand raise*
How about this? As proof of good faith, we'll help you contain the fire, like we were already about to before you started shouting. Then after the situation is stabilized you can bring in some neutral third party, and have a proper trial. Justice instead of mere brute vengeance! And on a more practical level, those crimes will be paid for in cash or skilled labor instead of just blood.
>>
No. 678225 ID: 88960e

So... I'm gonna assume hitting her with a knife throw before she gets that spell off isn't an option.

>“You will pay for your crimes against this town and it’s guild!”
Yes, pay burning in the fire he started! It's only fitting! *keep running away*
>>
No. 678229 ID: cd369a

>>678082
Seconded.
>>
No. 678239 ID: 2a7417

I think you can run faster that she can throw that ball of fire. She'll have to lay off the fire spells once you reach the forest. Make sure she focuses on you by taunting her. "This town's mead is the real crime! It's so watered down you should be using it to put out the fires!"
>>
No. 678253 ID: 43f06c

>>678229
thirded
>>
No. 680733 ID: 397dd3
File 144642635705.png - (467.70KB , 891x733 , 0025.png )
680733

Normally I’d keep my mouth shut in situations like these--instinct dictates flight over fight personally, and gods know I’m not the most tactful of people. Maybe it’s the water-mead, maybe it’s just my exhaustion with this crap, but I can’t help myself.

“What did this idiot do, exactly?”

The wizard’s cantrip fizzles with her own break in concentration--obviously, she wasn’t expecting any backchat. Either we were going to roll over like good little lawbreakers and let ourselves be arrested, or make her give chase and subsequently obliterate us. Her binary thought process didn’t take into the account myself: an outlier in most situations.

“What did he do?” she haughtily repeats, the magic energy fluctuating with her rise in anger. “Isn’t is obvious?”

Because apparently I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, or maybe because I just like seeing her squirm, I continue.

“What, the explosion?” I scoff, and I can sense Thorn getting fidgety behind me. Guy couldn’t play poker if his life depended on it. That probably explains why we got kicked out of that tavern in the last town. “So we’re under arrest for your wizards getting the formula wrong?”

This is obviously not the right thing to say: her seething anger suddenly shifts into boiling rage, accompanied by the light show of her prepared spell sending uncontained sparks in every which direction. “The formula doesn’t matter!” she practically screams. “Our guild--our town is destroyed because of you!”

The crowd has grown behind her, ready to strike at a moment’s notice. “You have two choices,” she says, attempting to control herself in order to maintain her position as leader of the mob. “Either you surrender yourselves immediately, and be subjected to the full extent of the law--” at her pause, her stance becomes determined and the spell sparks wildly-- “or I destroy you both for your actions where you stand this instant.”

Well, those don’t sound like good options at all.
>>
No. 680734 ID: 3663d3

POCKET SAND!
>>
No. 680737 ID: d47f77

Pursue this line of thought. It's obvious that she doesn't want to have the formula mentioned. Implicate the local wizards in this mess as much as possible. Imply that they're shifting all of the blame on outsider scapegoats for their own gross incompetence, negligence and disregard for safety of non-wizard folk.

Seriously, what moron builds a wizard guild INSIDE a settlement?
>>
No. 680738 ID: 12b273

>Our guild--our town is destroyed because of you!
This is really why high energy / high yield magical experimentation / manufacture isn't supposed to be conducted inside population centers. Isolated mage towers are more than a tired cliche- they're practical safety consideration. Did you guys ignore the zoning rules or something?

I like how this is keeping her off guard and making her spell unstable, but unless you can take advantage of that break in concentration to cheap shot her before we run, you're just stalling.
>>
No. 680739 ID: 5ad4a7

You should probably run away.
>>
No. 680743 ID: 0fc976

I think continuing to stand here sounds like a bad idea!
>>
No. 680746 ID: 0f1c4d

>>680737
This. She wants to scapegoat us, so lets scapegoat her instead and turn the mob against her.
Say: If Thorn here was some sort of evil death wizard would he be here talking to you instead of throwing fireballs or something? No, what destroyed the town was clearly here all along: the dangerous formula you want to cover up the existence of. Even as your try to blame us you stand there with unstable magic oozing from your fingers.
>>
No. 680770 ID: ad936f

But we didn't do anything, it was your wizards who screwed it up, this would've happened eventually whether Thorn was there or not. Hell, considering it was going to happen anyway, we've actually done you a favor here, now you can get to rebuilding and finding a working formula sooner. We aren't going to just roll over and get punished for your own peoples' mistakes, and I don't think you actually want to murder two people and probably get injured in the process. so, uh, can we go?
>>
No. 680842 ID: a107fd

I'll take the "fair trial" option, if only to stop you throwing more unstable magic around. So, now that we're under arrest, can we get back to helping put out the fire?
>>
No. 685136 ID: 397dd3
File 144812718681.png - (425.69KB , 891x733 , 0026.png )
685136

“Fair trial”? Are you out of your damn mind? I don’t know what experience you have with these tiny-ass villages that are basically run through martial law, but I’ve had more than my fill of them, and let me tell you: at best, we’ll both be hung at dawn. At worst....well, let’s just say this. I’ve been through at worst. I’d rather not again.

Plus, what in seven hells makes you think that Miss Can’t Even Control a Simple Cantrip is gonna be an accurate portrayal of justice? I’d trust her as far as I could throw her. Which, given my stature, well, you get the jist.

Despite the fact that he’s shaking like a leaf, Thorn leans down and whispers into my ear.

“Th-that’s not anything dangerous, Hyacinth,” he stutters. “It’s-it’s just a fancy light show, I don’t think she can really do anything with that.”

Good. That, at least, makes what I’m about to do a lot less reckless.

“You think you got enough in you for a light show like that, Thorn?”

He wrings his hands together tentatively. “I-I-I can try.”
>>
No. 685137 ID: 397dd3
File 144812726573.png - (312.86KB , 891x733 , 0027.png )
685137

I put on my best “charismatic bard” impression and turn my attention back on our hotheaded wizard pursuer. “Last time I checked, having a wizard’s guild this close to a village is a pretty big risk, isn’t it?” She’s probably sending sparks flying at this point, but I continue on anyway. “I mean, really, you were just a ticking time bomb at this point. I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner.” Beat. “Th-the explosion....I mean. My associate here may have...expedited the process, but I don’t think that warrants this reaction. In fact, I think...uh...that, you are the one at fault, when it comes down to it. Right?”

No one says a word. The smoldering flames produce a cacophony of sound in the painful silence. The wizard’s spell fizzles before becoming specks of light and ash. This is good, right?

“Are you fuckin’ serious?”

Ok, this is definitely not good.

“Plan B,” I hiss at Thorn through gritted teeth. “Plan B Plan B PLAN B
>>
No. 685138 ID: 397dd3
File 144812729963.png - (439.33KB , 891x733 , 0028.png )
685138

Thorn flings a dazzling array of lights behind him as we haul ass away from our potential murderers. Behind us is the murmur of confused townsfolk and the adamant swearing from the wizard, shielding her eyes from the sudden burst of blinding color. If I was paying more attention, I’d likely be hearing her curse our names or swear she’ll get us and make us pay for our crimes, or some tropey bullshit like that.

Instead I focus on keeping up with Thorn’s wide stride in our frantic escape. My view of the back of his head reveals a terrified squirrel peeking out from under his floppy hat. Poor little guy. Bet you didn’t expect the ride of your life when you befriended the walking hair puff.

See, you don’t have to make the short jokes, I’m doing all the work for you.

We run until we reach a fork in the path. To the left, the forest, and the initial plan. To the right, the path continues into a valley, and likely to a neighboring village or town. Behind us, an angry mob, one pissed off wizard, and what remains of the explosion-wracked town. Decisions, decisions.
>>
No. 685153 ID: a22f87

left sounds good, if we go right then the mob would probably follow and try to get the next town to join there mob, the woods are nice and if you know what you're doing perfectly safe and perfect for ditching an angry mob.
>>
No. 685154 ID: 5d5fc8

Valleys are not good terrain to abscond into, and the people in the other village might help those in this one.
>>
No. 685162 ID: 86cfc3

You can lose them easier in a forest than another town. It's your element.

That, and if the other town seems a mob coming their way after seeing the light show from the tower exploding in the distance, they're very likely to muster some kind of a defense. They have no idea if the next town was attacked, or blew themselves up, and they'll be looking to protect themselves. That could potentially go very badly, for you, or for a lot of people. And we have no idea if they'd listen to or side with these people based off past history.
>>
No. 685182 ID: 0fc976

They're expecting the forest, go for the valley.
>>
No. 685223 ID: 612806

Go to the forest, try and hide.
Worst case scenario, they start burning trees.
What spells can Thorn do by the way?
>>
No. 691548 ID: 397dd3
File 145186383307.png - (923.02KB , 891x733 , 0029.png )
691548

Maybe they are expecting us to vanish into the forest, but hey, sometimes expectations are made to be fulfilled.

With one quick motion, I direct Thorn and his panic toward the treeline, the mob hot on our trail. As the foliage thickens, I dart ahead of him and lead the way through the forest, my instinct and tracking skills taking over ahead of his frenzied flailing. In less than five minutes of darting under branches and over bushes, the commotion behind us is replaced by the quiet hum of the rustling trees and our own heavy breathing.

Hey, when I’m good at something, I’m good.

Thorn slowly emerges from a prickly bush he tripped over. “A-a-are they gone?”

“Yeah. Lost ‘em. Sounds like most of them returned to town.”

He picks himself up and untangles his robe from the vines, resulting in various tears in the loose fabric. “Haha! Nothing I can’t fix!” He dusts the dirt off the now-shredded robe and smiles broadly.

I swear, nothing could break this guy’s stride. I guess now’s a good time to regroup as any.
>>
No. 691551 ID: 397dd3
File 145186401495.png - (915.73KB , 891x733 , 0030.png )
691551

[CHARACTER INFORMATION: HYACINTH]

Strength: 12 (Base state 14, -2 from race [halfling]), +1 modifier
Dexterity: 18 (Base state 16, +2 from race [halfling]), +4 modifier
Constitution: 10, +0 modifier
Intelligence: 12, +1 modifier
Wisdom: 16, +3 modifier
Charisma: 8, -1 modifier

CLASS: Ranger

ALIGNMENT: True Neutral

INVENTORY:
-3 healing potions (Potion of Lesser Healing)
-1 light crossbow with ample bolts
-2 throwing knives
-a blunt dagger
-an acorn
-a water canteen
-a “magic” amulet of unknown origin or enchantment
-2 gold

SPECIAL SKILLS OF NOTE:
-Tracking (Ranger skill)
-Low Light Vision (halfling attribute)
-Animal Affinity (Ranger skill)
-Multilingual: common, halfling
-other unknown skills

>>
No. 691552 ID: 397dd3
File 145186403882.png - (909.22KB , 891x733 , 0031.png )
691552

[CHARACTER INFORMATION: THORN]

Strength: 10, +0 modifier
Dexterity: 14 (Base stat 12, +2 from race [elf]), +2 modifier
Constitution: 12 (Base stat 14, -2 from race [elf]), +1 modifier
Intelligence: 18, +4 modifier
Wisdom: 8, -1 modifier
Charisma: 14, +2 modifier

CLASS: Wizard

ALIGNMENT: Lawful Good

SPELLS:
(Thorn can prepare up to 4 spells a day at this time; as he grows in skill, that number can increase. Thorn can also only prepare spells that he has collected in his spell book.)
-Dancing Lights (creates a dazzling light show)
-Mending (repairs a small object)
-Mage Hand (creates a telekinetic hand that can move something up to 60 lbs)
-Magic Missile (basic offensive spell)
-Cure Light Wounds (basic healing spell)

INVENTORY:
-book of spells
-3 food rations
-set of extra robes
-squirrel companion

SPECIAL SKILLS OF NOTE:
-Low Light Vision (elf attribute)
-Multi-lingual: common, elven, orcish, undercommon, sylvan

>>
No. 691553 ID: a22f87

well find somewhere to set up camp and then get wizard to look at the amulent we bought
>>
No. 691554 ID: 8679fe

hmm okay. so we don't have a map, but do we know in general where we are in relation to surrounding cities/towns and geographical landmarks?

also, give that "magic" amulet to thorn and see what he can make of it.
>>
No. 691555 ID: d0868f

>>691553
Yup, keep moving, look for a good campsite.

Preferably not a common campsite along the well used paths, in case anyone is still searching for the same reason.

>>691552
Pff, I'm half surprised he isn't chaotic. (Although I suppose it's more about intention than outcomes).
>>
No. 691610 ID: 0fc976

>squirrel companion
Did you mean:
>4 food rations

Keep moving until you are tired of moving. getting as much distance between you and the town as you can is the priority.
>>
No. 691918 ID: 397dd3
File 145204948164.png - (923.36KB , 891x733 , 0032.png )
691918

I sigh and stretch, my legs aching from our unexpected sprint. Judging by the throb seeping into my bones, we must have made our way several miles into the forest before we lost them. Adrenaline will do that to you.

Judging by the chill starting to creep into the air and my own exhaustion, nightfall is likely soon. There’s no way we could make it to a nearby town in time to stay at an inn (or more likely in a stable with the horses, since we can’t afford shit), and there’s no telling where the nearest road is from this deep in the forest.

“Come on.” I start to lead the way north, stepping over the bramble Thorn had just earlier ungracefully fallen into. “I think there’s a clearing up ahead. We can make camp there.”

“Camp?” Thorn squeaks out. “I-in the forest?”

Without turning, I shortly respond. “Would you rather make camp on the roadside where the rioting villagers lead by that two-bit wizard can kill us in our sleep?”

He slouches and starts trudging behind me, defeated.
>>
No. 691922 ID: 397dd3
File 145204970313.png - (892.19KB , 891x733 , 0033.png )
691922

Time passes quickly, and before I know it, we’ve set up a meager campsite in a small clearing among the depths of the forest. Thorn sits on his bedroll, mending his torn robes with a needle and thread he must have ferreted away somewhere in his pack, while I cook our meal for the night on a tiny fire (anything larger would attract too much attention to our pursuers, if they are indeed still after us)--two scrappy and lean rabbits I managed to catch earlier.

Despite the density of the forest itself, our surroundings lack the quiet activity of wildlife that I expect from from a place such as this. Maybe they fled due to the proximity of the wizard’s guild--magic and its effects usually set animals on edge. Regardless, I suppose it works in our favor tonight--I doubt we’ll be disturbed by much else this deep in the forest.

I don’t show it to Thorn, but it does freak me out, if I’m being totally honest.

Thorn hums a tune with sporadic melody while he stitches away at the tattered fabric, and I can’t help but be a little proud of him--he’s still not entirely used to the rough and tumble life on the road, but months ago he would have been utterly terrified of setting up camp on a roadside, let alone deep in the wilderness.

Suddenly, it all comes back to me--in the rush of our escape, I had completely blanked on my previous purchase.

“Hey, longears,” I call out to get his attention and then toss the amulet I bought at the general store to him over the fire. “Got this on the cheap before you blew the town up. Thought it might be worth somethin’. Any idea what it is?”
>>
No. 691924 ID: 397dd3
File 145204983057.png - (828.62KB , 891x733 , 0034.png )
691924

Thorn tucks his needle and thread into the folds of his robe before gingerly turning the amulet oer in his normally-fumbling hands, a slight pout across his face as he inspects the intricacies of what initially appeared to be a simple single-jeweled pendant. His fingers pass long ancient runes etched into the golden rim surrounding a smooth gem, its color ever-changing in the flickering firelight.

I have to give him some credit. Even though he might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, he really is nothing to laugh at in terms of his art.

Minutes pass soundlessly, the crackle of the fire filling the gap in conversation, and I turn my attention back to not burning our meal (though, by the size of the rabbits, there’s really not much to burn), before Thorn jolts me out of my reverie.

“Hyacinth?” His voice is quiet and hesitant; he’s looking up at me, sheepish and--honestly--a bit pitiful.

“Yeah?”

He looks down again and scuffs his shoe absentmindedly in the dirt, sending a small spray of dust to the side of the fire. “Um...are you mad at me?”
>>
No. 691933 ID: d0868f

>“Um...are you mad at me?
*shrug* Nah. Not really.

Running from an angry mob is kind of a pain, but they kind of deserved what they got if their response to "that's really dangerous" was "prove it".
>>
No. 691938 ID: f56624

A little, but not much. shit happens.
>>
No. 691957 ID: 99ca2b

Not really. Kind of used to you screwing things up. Birds fly, grass grows, you screw up. It's part of nature. Can't get angry at nature.
>>
No. 691964 ID: 5ad4a7

I'm not mad, just disappointed Yes.

How did the explosion even happen?
>>
No. 691968 ID: a22f87

not mad, annoyed. But then again I'm always annoyed so don't dwell on it. If i was mad at you you'd know, I'm not much for that passive aggressive bullshit.
>>
No. 691969 ID: 066a87

But if they're not mad, how can they have angry make-up sex?
>>
No. 691978 ID: 8679fe

.........no. but u gotta understand that this kind of thing gets exhausting, you know?
>>
No. 692321 ID: 397dd3
File 145231117696.png - (850.30KB , 891x733 , 0035.png )
692321

I pause before answering. Despite the chaos that the last few hours have been, I honestly can’t say I’m mad at Thorn. Sure, a typical person might be pissed that his actions got us ungracefully run out of yet another town, but I’ve never really been one for towns to begin with--in fact, I spent more than half of my life in isolation, so any sort of town scenario isn’t really normal for me. At this point, weekly village destruction seems to be the status quo.

“Look,” I finally reply after what feels like an uncomfortably long silence. “I’m not angry--” his ears perk up a bit-- “but I can’t say that I’m not a little tired of this.” He slouches back down in guilt. “It’s, it’s just exhausting, yeah?” I stop for a moment, attempting to formulate my thoughts in a way that makes sense outside of my own head. “We go from town to town, usually not peacefully, and I don’t feel like you’re making much headway in finding...whatever you’re looking for.”

Thorn doesn’t reply, his shoe now tracing a small circle in the dirt. So fidgety. I think it would kill him if he sat totally still.
>>
No. 692322 ID: 397dd3
File 145231122440.png - (910.91KB , 891x733 , 0036.png )
692322

“I, um, I might have another lead,” he finally responds, not lifting his gaze from the ground. “It’s a long shot, but a long time ago my family had some kind of involvement with the Royal Family...some of their belongings ended up being stored in the Archive, and I might be able to find what I’m looking for there. Or, at least, find out what happened to it…”

Thorn trails off, the eager enthusiasm that I’ve grown accustomed to these past few months absent from his voice. It’s hard to tell if something is wrong or if he’s finally just formed an awareness for the fact that you shouldn’t shout in a forest, especially after being pursued through it.

“Hyacinth, if…” he starts again but still doesn’t lift his head, “if you don’t want to come with me anymore, that’s ok. I know I’m not the easiest traveling companion…” He sets the amulet down on his tattered robes and wrings his hands together, searching for the right words. “If...if you want to…”

What he wants to say is “if you want to go home,” but we both know I don’t have that anymore.
>>
No. 692324 ID: 61fd94

>>692322
>“if you don’t want to come with me anymore, that’s ok. I know I’m not the easiest traveling companion…” [...] “If...if you want to…”
I'm not leaving you in the lurch, Thorn.
>>
No. 692326 ID: a22f87

If I didn't want to travel with you anymore I would have abandoned your ass long ago. Trust me, if I was angry you'd know. Beside I have nothing better to do so I can tag along. It may not be easy to travel with you at time but it is interesting.
>>
No. 692328 ID: 99ca2b

"Might as well. I got no plans. Still better than nothing I guess"
>>
No. 692339 ID: cf91e4

Ehh, keep following him. You want to see him succeed, and you have to be by him for that.
>>
No. 692393 ID: a107fd

Dodge the uncomfortable subject as if it never appeared. "If I want to see how you manage to accidentally burn down the Royal Archive, I'd better keep up the good work until we get there. And I will."
>>
No. 692398 ID: e06504

>>692393
oh my god
>>
No. 697543 ID: 628856

Keep going, he may be a fool at times, but he maybe he just needs a little direction. Besides, if Thorn didn't trust you and need your help probably would have just told you he was going on alone. The question is, do you think YOU can trust him as a companion?
>>
No. 697546 ID: 5ea852

"And leave you unsupervised? Thanks, but I'd like the world to still be in place tomorrow."

Say it in a forced, whimsical manner.
>>
No. 697574 ID: 8679fe

>>697546
yeah let's say this
>>
No. 700605 ID: 397dd3
File 145507148188.png - (833.97KB , 891x733 , 0037.png )
700605

I quietly listen to his nervous stuttering, his offer to travel alone, watching his hands fiddle anxiously with the chain of the pendant as he waits for my reaction, his legs crunched up to the edge of his bedroll.

Not once has leaving him ever really crossed my mind. Maybe it’s because it’s free entertainment, maybe it’s knowing that Thorn wouldn’t have lasted three days let alone three months without my knowledge and guidance...maybe it’s because at this point, I really don’t have any other place to go. He’s a charismatic enough guy, for sure, but he probably would have taken one step into a forest and fallen into a ravine, with his luck.

As much as I know, the Royal Archive is housed in the capital, about a week journey from where we are now. Imagining Thorn on his own in a huge city like that...I shudder involuntarily at the thought. Not that me being there would totally prevent any disaster, but at least I’d be able to usher us from certain demise.
>>
No. 700607 ID: 397dd3
File 145507154160.png - (943.96KB , 891x733 , 0038.png )
700607

“And leave you unsupervised? Thanks, but I'd like the world to still be in place tomorrow.” At this, he immediately relaxes, laughing mostly out of embarrassment, but a little out of relief as well--while he was offering solo travel out of kindness, he knows as well as I do his chances of success alone. “Plus,” I feel an uncomfortable, almost wolf-like grin spread across my face, “if I want to see how you manage to accidentally burn down the Royal Archive, I’d better keep up the good work until we get there. And I will.”

Thorn continues laughing, not entirely sure if I’m joking or not. I’m not too sure myself, to be honest.
>>
No. 700612 ID: f56624

>>700607
now kees
>>
No. 700618 ID: 5ad4a7

>>700607
Did that thing glow before?
>>
No. 700623 ID: 2315e6

Look at the ring, it's glowing.
>>
No. 700626 ID: cc46be

HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUG HUwait is that thing glowing?
>>
No. 700646 ID: 02422f

>not entirely sure if I’m joking or not. I’m not too sure myself, to be honest.
It's best not to question such motives too closely, and just take credit later when one turns out to apparently correct.

>Did that thing glow before?
Laughter triggered illumination?
>>
No. 700669 ID: a22f87

>>700607
Me thinks the reason you don't leave the big doofus is because you've grown attached to him. He's basically become your little bigger brother.

Wait, why is his thing glowing?
>>
No. 700673 ID: 5ea852

>>700607
>magic shit glowing
TAKE COVER!
>>
No. 700732 ID: 8679fe

>>700673
yyyyeah let's. drop the ring and take a few steps back, at least. we have no idea what it does.
>>
No. 708936 ID: 397dd3
File 145790956723.png - (865.96KB , 891x733 , 0039.png )
708936

It takes a moment for me to realize that the amulet--its chain entangled in Thorn’s spindly fingers--is now glowing wildly, the only other point of light in our camp besides the crackling fire.

“Um, Thorn...is...is that supposed to be doing that?”

“Is what supposed to be doing what?” he chirps, clueless as ever.

Wordlessly, I point at the pendant dangling from his hand, now quivering and pulsing with energy as the light grows brighter and brighter.
>>
No. 708937 ID: 397dd3
File 145790961846.png - (928.53KB , 891x733 , 0040.png )
708937

Thorn looks down and yelps with shock, sending the amulet flying toward the treeline as he frantically attempts to distance himself from the suddenly active necklace. There goes my theory that he might have actually known what he was doing for once.

The amulet lands with a soft thunk sound onto the cushioning grass, the glow from its gem becoming more blinding with each passing second.
>>
No. 708938 ID: 397dd3
File 145790964225.png - (967.30KB , 891x733 , 0041.png )
708938

Laying open on the grass, the amulet starts to shake violently, sparks of magic appearing and disappearing in thin air. Suddenly, the color of the grass surrounding the pendant starts to fade, blades of grass wilting sullenly and turning black as char. As the nature around the amulet seems to die, the jewel upon the pendant continues to glow brighter, until all of the grass within a two foot radius of the pendant has been sucked dry--ashen and lifeless.

Unceremoniously, the amulet stops shaking and the magic sparks subside as quickly as they appeared. The gem now glints and swirls with a multitude of colors.
>>
No. 708939 ID: 397dd3
File 145790966654.png - (949.15KB , 891x733 , 0042.png )
708939

Well, that was a thing that just happened.
>>
No. 708940 ID: 34dbe0

okay so definitely let's wrap it up in a piece of cloth and Never Touch It With Bare Skin Ever. i mean, we don't even know if cloth would be enough, I guess - if you have any kind of containers or a pocket inside a bag or something that will keep it absolutely sequestered that would be ideal. also ask thorn if he's ever seen anything like that.
>>
No. 708941 ID: 02422f

>casting identity triggers a death trap
Well Thorn's bad luck continues to impress.

So... it's a cursed trap? It sucks the life out of anything near it?

Could you tell what it just did, Thorn?

Keep your distance, toss something green into the circle of death. See if it's still active.
>>
No. 708942 ID: fd2c28

so thorn... any idea what just happened
>>
No. 708944 ID: 7e4e9f

It's got words on it did it always have words on it?
>>
No. 708945 ID: f5e25e

oh neat, looks like it's charged. pick it up and attempt to use it with no further investigation.
>>
No. 708947 ID: 5ad4a7

Maybe one of you managed to speak a trigger word to activate it? If you can remember exactly when it started glowing, go back over your conversation to see if anything you say activates it again.

Or maybe it was something he touched on it that turned it on?
>>
No. 708948 ID: 40fe3b

Welp, you probably unleashed a Dark Lord or something upon the world.
>>
No. 708949 ID: f6442a

Wow, and you had that around your neck. It's going in a pouch now, one that you can throw very far away very quickly.
>>
No. 708950 ID: 99a64d

LOL bury it and run
>>
No. 708991 ID: 397dd3

for some ooc explanations of recent events: wham bam disthread http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/95266.html

also i post other fetch quest related drawings in there! and i'll prolly post other clarification things in there if need be

>>
No. 709564 ID: 008615

How good is Thorn's knowledge arcana/read magic? If the amulet is safe to touch have him do this to figure out what it does.

Shit one of your use magic device skills is high enough maybe we could use it for... What ever it does (as long as it's safe to use)
>>
No. 711028 ID: 397dd3
File 145876484188.png - (869.41KB , 891x733 , 0043.png )
711028

I’m the first to break the unsettling silence after the pendant stops its overdramatic light show. “So...Thorn.” His name hangs in the quiet of the forest. “Any idea what just happened?”

Thorn shrugs, shaking his head. “I-I have no idea. I’ve never...I’ve never seen anything like that.” He pauses, trying to wrack his brain for some sort of explanation. “T-they say that druids and rangers, that they get their magic abilities from nature, you know? But, uh, well, this would seem counterproductive, wouldn’t it? They want to preserve nature, not destroy it.”

I eye the still pendant. “Wait, if druids and stuff get their magic from nature, then where do you get your magic from?”

“Uh. Different nature?”

Fair enough.

While I have the urge to just bury it, pretend we never saw the damn thing and be on our way, I can’t help but feel a morbid fascination with the perhaps-cursed necklace. I almost reach out to grab it before recoiling back reflexively--even though it no longer seems active, there’s no telling what it could do, even if I am wearing gloves.

Carefully, I perch over the circle of dead grass, plucking some fresh clippings off the ground next to me. Thorn hovers over me, expectant and skittish.

One by one, I let the blades of green grass fall into the ashen circle…
>>
No. 711030 ID: 397dd3
File 145876490992.png - (850.78KB , 891x733 , 0044.png )
711030

...and watch as they settle among the dead grass, unaffected.

Well, guess it’s not a weird death vortex anymore? At least, not right now.
>>
No. 711031 ID: 397dd3
File 145876493462.png - (877.15KB , 891x733 , 0045.png )
711031

Delicately (with Thorn nervously jittering behind me the whole time) I pick up the pendant by the chain with my leather-gloved hand, taking extra care to make sure the swinging amulet doesn’t touch anything.

“What are you going to do with it?” Thorn asks.

I stare at the swirling colors in the gem on the amulet, and feel a shiver creep down my spine. First the seemingly abandoned forest, and now this. Nature, I know. It’s wild and unpredictable, but it’s my wild and unpredictable. This...whatever it is, though...it makes my stomach churn.
>>
No. 711040 ID: a22f87

I think we should take it with us just because I feel like it would be a bad idea to leave a curse pendent in the middle of the woods less some kid comes around and picks it up. Plus if nothing else we could pawn it for some quick cash if we ever need it.
>>
No. 711043 ID: 34dbe0

yeah, if anything we have a responsibility to hang on to it so that nobody inadvertently gets hurt. we bought it, we have to deal with it, even if that just means taking it somewhere more responsible to dispose of it.

where's the closest town that would have some kind of guild or something where we can get an appraisal?
>>
No. 711044 ID: 02422f

>What are you going to do with it?
I don't feel comfortable leaving it here. Littering dangerous magic is gonna end badly for anyone who stumbles across it, or maybe just the wood-life nearby.

I'm sure as hell not wearing it though.

We'll have to keep it till we can dispose of it properly. Or until we know what it is.

*peer* Can you tell... is it more magic-y now? Did it just kill those plants, or did it suck the life out of them? (Following Thorn's train of thought, maybe instead of earning power from nature like a druid, this is for taking power from nature? For someone who doesn't actually care about nature).

Wrap it in fabric so no one can touch it by accident. Take note of how big the circle of death is, when you go to sleep you want the package with the amulet inside it at least that far away from you, so if it goes off by accident, you don't wake up dead.
>>
No. 711046 ID: 2a7417

Talk to it.
>>
No. 711052 ID: 0c7bf6

>>711046
Ok so it's unlikely anything will happen but I really wanna try this.
>>
No. 711059 ID: 401f23

Let's recreate events (and keep throwing arms at the ready)! It seemed to glow when you were happy, right? Maybe that's a factor.
>>
No. 711073 ID: 08ed3a

Yeah take it with you for now, an important question to ask is how did some lowly shop keeper in some backwoods town come to possess it? We obviously can't go back and ask the shop keep. If you feel daring you can try putting it on although I wouldn't do that unless you are really certain about it.

For now stow the amulet somewhere safe and out of sight for now. If Thorn can't tell what kind of magic it is we should try and find someone who can.
>>
No. 711089 ID: 99a64d

Bury it, and run.
Have you not heard the stories? Holding on to cursed shit never works out. And it is cursed, does "death aura" sound like a blessing to you? Destroying it Is likely more effort than it's worth. Keeping Thorn out of trouble is hazardous enough, let this batch of bullshit be someone else's problem.
>>
No. 711618 ID: a107fd

Find a long, reasonably straight branch and tie the amulet to one end so you can carry it more than two feet away from your body.
>>
No. 711918 ID: 397dd3
File 145920432076.png - (843.93KB , 891x733 , 0046.png )
711918

“I don’t feel comfortable leaving it here,” I say, keeping my eyes locked on the swaying pendant, watching for any chance of further activity. “Plus, I bought it, I have to deal with it for now. I’m not the kind of person to leave messes behind for other people to clean up.” I grip the chain tighter as Thorn nervously laughs beside me. It wasn’t meant to be a dig at him, but now it seems to almost exclusively describe our traveling relationship so far.

I look up from the pendant at Thorn. “Does it seem...different now? Like...more magicky, or something?”

Thorn peers carefully at the amulet. “I’m not sure,” he finally says. “But there is one thing I could try--”
>>
No. 711920 ID: 397dd3
File 145920437912.png - (893.72KB , 891x733 , 0047.png )
711920

“Helloooooo? Mr. Magic Amulet thing?”

I stare speechlessly at Thorn, who has crouched down in front of me and cupped his hands around his mouth to funnel his sing-songy call directly at the center of the pendant.

“Thorn.”

“Are you more powerful now? Did you have a good meal? Helloooooo?”

“Thorn.”

“Your gem is certainly very colorful! Have you been working out?”

“THORN.”

He perks up suddenly, his feathered hair bouncing. “What?”

“What the hell are you doing?”

His ears droop at my unamused monotone. “It...it was worth a shot.”
>>
No. 711923 ID: 397dd3
File 145920448923.png - (859.12KB , 891x733 , 0048.png )
711923

I sigh as a I grab some fabric shreds from Thorn’s robe (torn to smithereens from our earlier hasty escape) and start wrapping it around the amulet. “Well, we can’t really go back to the shopkeep and ask how she got it, unless we want to get murdered.” Thorn mills around behind me as I fold linen over the swirling colors of the pendant’s gem. “I know you mentioned wanting to head to the capital next, but is there any place closer where we might be able to learn something about this, or at least get rid of it safely?”

I can’t help but think about what he said about druid magic, how it serves to bolster nature, not harm it. Could this be for taking that power, made by someone who doesn’t care about who or what gets hurt? If so, I can’t let it get into the wrong hands--I don’t have much, but I have these forests. I can at least stand for that.

It’s quiet while Thorn wracks his brain for our possible options. “There’s Winterhelm to the north, about a ten days’ journey from here. They’re remote, but their guild is rivaled only by the capital themselves. My teacher always said that every magical breakthrough, one way or another, could be linked back to the wizards in Winterhelm.” He starts nervously picking at the freshly sewn hems in his robe as he continues. “Falcrest is on the way to the capital, about halfway there--an eight days’ journey east, give or take. Their guild isn’t as prestigious, but it is a larger city. And of course, there’s always the capital itself.”

Now entirely wrapped in cloth, I grip the amulet solidly in my fist, and can’t seem to shake the unease from my stomach. More people means more chance of finding someone who might know what this is...but it also means a higher risk of running into its progenitor, or at least someone who would misuse it. Winterhelm might have experts, but it’s a detour that would add at least three weeks to our journey to the capital.

Thorn looks up at me. “It’s up to you what we should do though. You’re the pathfinder, after all.” He smiles warmly.
>>
No. 711939 ID: a22f87

Winterhelm
even if they don't what to make of this thing it would still probably be better to leave it with them as their isolation plus actually teaching their wizards how to use magic wisely (hopefully) should let them actually be good care takers for the thing. Plus if thorn fucks up again you don't have as many people to run away from and since they're so far out of the way it's unlikely you'll ever have to go there again.
>>
No. 711942 ID: 0c7bf6

Winterhelm, they seem like they have the most experience and may even know the origins of the amulet. Also less of a chance of running into someone who might try to steal the amulet.
>>
No. 711950 ID: 8eb496

I am in agreement, winterhelm sounds the best. We might also find someone there with a bit extra muscle who would be willing to help out there, it sounds like a place where one might find some barbarians or warriors.
>>
No. 711952 ID: 02422f

Might as well stick to the route. See what you can learn in Falcrest.
>>
No. 711954 ID: 90f3c0

Falcrest. Winterhelm seems like too much of a detour, even if their guild is more renowned.
>>
No. 712176 ID: a23d67

Winterhelm, bitches!! \o/ GET HYPE
>>
No. 712177 ID: 8fdc35

go go gadget winterhelm
>>
No. 712281 ID: 1cfff7

Head to Falcrest, there's no reason to add that much time to your journey.
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No. 712606 ID: f6442a

Take it to Falcrest, less prestige means less intrigue.
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No. 712630 ID: c43722

Head to Falcrest. That way if things don't pan out there it'll only be another eight days journey to the capital and the best chance to determine what the heck this amulet is. Otherwise it'll be a long detour north to Winterhelm then back around to the capital if things don't pan out up there.
>>
No. 712632 ID: 737d5c

To Winterhelm. If this thing turns out to be really bad news, like some sort of a mana bomb, it would be better to be the farthest from the capital as possible.
>>
No. 714587 ID: 397dd3
File 146007908520.png - (892.43KB , 891x733 , 0049.png )
714587

It’s by no means an easy decision...I mull it over for sometime as we dig into the meager meal I prepared (Thorn is less enthusiastic about the tough meat, but he’s gotten better at dealing with it than when we started this journey). Falcrest or Winterhelm. I take another bite into the leather skin of the roasted animal. Falcrest or Winterhelm.

Thorn doesn’t say anything else, doesn’t attempt to sway me either way. For some reason, this seems unlike him.

My eyes periodically dart back to linen-wrapped pendant (now sitting in the center of the dead-grass circle), watching for any potential movement or activity. Throughout our meal, however, it is motionless and silent.

“I can’t just let this go, Thorn,” I finally break the silence, previously only filled by a lackluster fire crackle. “If you think there are experts in Winterhelm...then I think that’s the best option for us, despite how long it’ll take.”

His eyes light up with unexpected enthusiasm. “Great! I’ve always wanted to visit Winterhelm! This is so exciting!”

I raise an eyebrow at him. “You’re not upset about the detour? I mean, your lost family heirloom and everything...”

He quickly waves away may concern with a huge smile plastered across his face. “The archives aren’t going anywhere! The heirloom has been lost for years, a couple extra days won’t change much. Plus, when will I ever get to travel the world like this again?”

Thorn does have a point--once wizards establish themselves in a guild, they don’t usually move around much, too consumed by whatever research they dedicate themselves to. I look back at the amulet, still quiet and innocent-looking enough.

Winterfell it is then.
>>
No. 714588 ID: 397dd3
File 146007912204.png - (942.58KB , 891x733 , 0050.png )
714588

We finish up our meals and I clean up around the fire, discarding the makeshift spit and clearing any leftover scraps of meat from the game I caught. There’s really not much else that can be done tonight--Thorn idly studies his spellbook, presumably preparing spells for tomorrow. Unless there’s something I’m forgetting, I might as well turn in for the night as well.

(Currently, Thorn can prepare four spells a day, and can only prepare spells he’s collected in his spellbook. Thorn currently has these spells:

-Dancing Lights (creates a dazzling light show)
-Mending (repairs small objects)
-Mage Hand (creates a telekinetic hand that can move something up to 60 lbs)
-Magic Missile (basic offensive spell)
-Cure Light Wounds (basic healing spell)

Thorn can prepare multiples of spells, and once he uses a spell, it’s gone for the day. What spells should Thorn prepare?)

>>
No. 714603 ID: f6442a

2 Cures, Mending and a Mage Hand.
>>
No. 714608 ID: a22f87

well we're on the run and still kinda close to the town we just burned down so I'm going to go with
1 Dancing Lights
1 Mage Hand
1 Magic Missile and
1 Cure Light Wounds

I mean most things we have are things we can carry so if something breaks we can always mend it later and with dancing lights and mage hand we can create distractions to avoid people who we'd rather avoid and we grab magic missile and cure wounds just incase things don't go so smoothly.
>>
No. 714667 ID: 93244f

2 cures, 1 magic missile, 1 mend
>>
No. 716108 ID: 760f00

2 Cures, magic missile and mage hand
>>
No. 719346 ID: 397dd3
File 146171370669.png - (704.90KB , 891x733 , 0051.png )
719346

(Thorn has prepared:

Cure Light Wounds (2),
Magic Missile (1), and
Mage Hand (1).

He will have these spells until he uses them, or until next evening, when he can prepare a new set of spells.)


Thorn settles into his bedroll, his lanky legs scrunched up under the knitted fabric, and he falls asleep almost instantly. I stay awake for a while longer, watching the last embers of the fire flicker out of existence. For a moment, I don’t think about our journey, or the amulet, or the road ahead. In the dying light of the flames, a pang akin to homesickness swells in my chest. Maybe it’s this forest in particular, the eerie silence of it, that makes me think of the place I once called home.

I shake the ghosts out of my head before they get any chance to take hold, lean against the felled log, and slowly drift off into sleep.
>>
No. 719347 ID: 397dd3
File 146171372466.png - (902.12KB , 891x733 , 0052.png )
719347

Morning arrives after a restless night, and surprisingly, Thorn is up before me, dutifully rolling up his bedroll without any prompt. I blearily blink the sleep from my eyes and wince as my stiff legs crack when I stand up from the forest ground. Thorn jumps a little as I move before warmly smiling at me.
>>
No. 719348 ID: 397dd3
File 146171375739.png - (906.57KB , 891x733 , 0053.png )
719348

“Good morning!” he chimes, and I involuntarily close my eyes from his volume. “Did you sleep well?”

I grumble back a response before helping myself to a breakfast of dried meat (was this from three or four nights ago? Who knows). The sun is only barely peaking over the treetops--a long day of travel is ahead of us.

Thorn is more restless than normal, eager to start our journey north to Winterhelm. He feeds Fidget a few stray acorns idly.

Having never been in this area before, I have no idea how thick this forest is, or how safely we can travel through it. We could return to the main road and hit a couple of smaller towns on our way--it might be a good strategy for us to get some extra coin and provision before venturing too far up north. Of course, we could always trudge our way through the forest and hope for the best. And that’s only two of our possible options.

I bite my lip as I deliberate a plan that has the least likelihood of getting us killed.

sorry for the repost! goofed up thorn's spells
>>
No. 719353 ID: a075ba

>>719348
Maybe go through the woods for a bit, just in case any people from the last town might be on the road? In a day, or half a day, or something, you can cut back to the road, assuming the coast is clear.

Small towns should be reasonably safe, so long as Thorn doesn't start any more riots.
>>
No. 719383 ID: f6442a

For today, or half the day anyway, follow the road from the forest.
>>
No. 719391 ID: 34dbe0

agreeing with half a day in the forest, then small towns!
>>
No. 719445 ID: 861db5

>>719353
I second this, be sure do a knowledge nature check while in the woods to make sure we don't run into anything we don't want to.
>>
No. 719501 ID: 2fbd33

i'm with >>719353 !
>>
No. 744415 ID: 397dd3
File 147217554167.png - (947.51KB , 891x733 , 0054.png )
744415

It doesn’t make any sense for us to leave the forest so soon--there’s no telling if an angry mob from the village might be waiting for us the minute we hit the main road. A more reasonable and cautious plan is to follow it from the shelter of the forest, at least until we’ve made some distance. But facts are facts; we’re going to need to stop in civilization sometime before traveling too far north. Thorn tells me that there’s a small fishing town down the main road: even traveling through the forest for half the day, we should reach it by nightfall.

“Seems like our best bet,” I offer to Thorn.

He simply smiles and nods enthusiastically. Sometimes I wonder if he’d walk into a cave of bears if I told him to.

We get rid of the remains of our ramshackled camp--brush away the ashes of our fire, clean up any debris we might have made--and I carefully pick up the linen wrapped amulet from the circle of dead grass (where we had left it last night). I warily stick it in my satchel.

The only remaining evidence of our stay is an imprint of Thorn’s bedroll, and the unnatural circle of blackened grass from the incident last night.

I clutch my bag tighter and we head into the thicket.
>>
No. 744416 ID: 397dd3
File 147217557589.png - (842.65KB , 891x733 , 0055.png )
744416

The oddest thing about the forest is that it looks normal enough. The trees are healthy, there’s no sign of disease in any of the plant life..except there are no animals to be found at all. It’s like everything just...up and left. Migration might be an explanation for some of it, but for an entire forest to be empty...there’s something missing from this puzzle, that’s for sure.

We retrace the previous night’s hectic path through the forest and soon find the main road once more. From our spot, we can see the wizard’s guild in the valley, still smoldering, smoke spiraling into the pre-dawn sky.

“You fucked up so badly yesterday,” I observe.

Thorn shifts nervously and lets out a tiny laugh. “Y-yeah.” He scratches the back of his head, thin and boney fingers intertwining through his mass of curls.

We turn away from the site of his latest disaster and start on our way.
>>
No. 744417 ID: 397dd3
File 147217559922.png - (890.55KB , 891x733 , 0056.png )
744417

Hours pass uneventfully, the sun making its slow and arduous journey across the sky as we trek through brush and thickets, having to stop every other moment to allow Thorn to untangle his robes from stray branches.

“Um, so,” Thorn starts at some point through our walk. “H-how are you?”

Oh gods. He’s doing the small talk thing again.
>>
No. 744420 ID: 34dbe0

"same as i've been for the last few hours. you?"

is the forest still animal-less in this area?
>>
No. 744433 ID: 3abd97

>Sometimes I wonder if he’d walk into a cave of bears if I told him to.
Bears might be easier to placate, bypass, or subdue than an entire mob at once. And a cave is a defensible position that would constrain the number of mobsters who can reach you at once!

>It’s like everything just...up and left.
Is it possible they were driven away by the amulet? Maybe it has some kind of aura or presence that scares animals away, and the radius is a lot bigger than the kill-circle we saw in the grass.

>“H-how are you?”
*Snort* Typically, that's something you should ask when you've been away from someone a bit, or you see some sign their condition has changed.

I'm fine, Thorn. I've rested, I'm not tired yet, I'm curious and nervous about the thing we're carrying, and I'm wondering why there are so few animals around here.
>>
No. 744507 ID: 9439d6

>"H-how are you?”
"... Short"

But yeah for real ask him if he's seen any animals other then his pet today. Or if he feels anything weird.
>>
No. 744520 ID: dfdb1e

>>744420
If the absence of animals were a reaction to the amulet I would expect the squirrel should be acting strange. Beside, as an experient ranger Hyacinth should be alert enough to notice whatever clue an wild animal would follow.
>>
No. 746635 ID: 397dd3
File 147320719689.png - (926.00KB , 891x733 , 0057.png )
746635

Look, Thorn’s...social graces aren’t the best. I mean, mine aren’t great either (seeing as how I grew up...in a forest), but he tends to do this “poorly prompted small talk” thing every time he thinks I’m upset at him. He probably thinks I’m still pissed about yesterday (I’m not, honestly. I don’t really give a rat’s ass about some bullshit town we pass through), so he’s trying to start some inconsequential conversation to make sure I don’t want to shove him off a cliff or something.

“Short,” I quip out after a few terse seconds of dead air. He doesn’t react, not quite sure what to make of that. I crane my neck up to look at him and continue, still deadpan, “It’s a joke, Thorn.”

“Oh!” He starts, shocked, his smile fading from his face, but it quickly returns--wider, more relieved now. “I didn’t--you normally don’t--haha, you really had me there for a second there, Hyacinth.”

I’d hate to admit it, but it’s good to see him relax a little. Makes things feel more normal again.
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No. 746636 ID: 397dd3
File 147320721831.png - (884.82KB , 891x733 , 0058.png )
746636

“But seriously,” I start again, “haven’t you noticed...all of this?” I grasp for the right words, and instead just motion to our still surroundings. Not even a bird chirp interrupts--only the crunch of grass from our steps fill out the eerie silence of the forest.

“There’s nothing here. Nothing!” I feel heat flood my chest as my last word unexpectedly turns into a yell--this really has been bothering me more than I’ve let on, even to myself. I clench my fist and try to control my voice so not to betray emotion--the last thing I need is to set off Thorn with even more worry. “I mean, even if it was migration...the season’s not right…” I trail off, lost in thought.

Thorn is silent, waiting patiently for me to finish. He at least picks up on that nuance.

“Have you seen any animals, Thorn? While we’ve been here?”

He perks up. “Fidget is right here!” As if on cue, the squirrel pokes out of his long curls.

My eyelids droop in disappointment. “Besides Fidget. Cause, you know, we brought him here with us.”

Thorn reflexively cocks his head to the side, deep in thought. A silent minute passes before he responds; I can almost hear him recounting the previous night. “No, now that you mention it, besides those two rabbits you caught for dinner, I haven’t seen anything.”
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No. 746637 ID: 397dd3
File 147320725976.png - (817.73KB , 891x733 , 0059.png )
746637

Maybe it’s just paranoia, but suddenly the bag on my side feels heavier, as if it’s dragging me down. I straighten my back and grip the strap reflexively. “Do you think...do you think that amulet has something to do with this?” I ask him.

Thorn scratches his chin. “It’s possible...like I said, I’ve never seen or heard of any magic like what we saw that amulet do last night, but I wouldn’t rule it out. The forest seemed to be barren before we came here though, unless you saw something else?”

I’m almost surprised by his observation: despite how much of a bumbling goof he can be, he’s still quite intelligent. And, he’s right--all of the animal tracks are old, save for the rabbits’ last night, which were almost impossible to find to begin with. A shiver runs down my spine. The sooner we’re out of the forest, the better.

Should I…

A] Ask Thorn about _____ (determine subject)
B] Think about _____ (determine subject)
C] Continue through the forest to the next town
D] _________

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No. 746653 ID: dfdb1e

Ask him about magical influences to wild life. It will be useful to know whatever we can about the nature of what we are dealing with, determine if there are signs animals can detect but you can't or aren't attuned to, and it can be a nice interception of both your interests. Whatever you elaborate in an internal monologue will probable be done better with his help and he IS your friend after all.
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No. 746655 ID: ba506f

maybe when thorn blow up the tower it scared most the animals away. I mean it was pretty noticeable.

anyways ask Throne if he can sense any odd magic from these woods themselves. Maybe the wizards tower had some magical waste or something they just dumped in here from time to time that makes the local wildlife scarce.
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No. 746952 ID: 3abd97

>B] Think about _____ (determine subject)
Think about sex- no dammit brain, I'm busy being freaked out and worried!

Move on to C.
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No. 746996 ID: 71d443

>>746655
What if the rabbits we caught had some kind of magical mutation then? Are we gonna grow an extra finger on our head?
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No. 746997 ID: e6dceb

>>746653
:o
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No. 747043 ID: e984de

If it's from before you came here, if could still well be the amulet. It was in a shop in town, after all.
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