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912160 No. 912160 ID: 7816e7

Chapter 7

First thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/860238.html
Previous thread: https://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/891196.html
Wiki: https://tgchan.org/wiki/Moot_Point

The air today is thick in Moot Point. Fog creeps through the streets, rising into alleyways as if the harbor itself was making an effort to fill the city. On the far cliff above, Augustine Moot looms; her sword lit with a powerful magelight lantern to warn sailors of the rocks below.
267 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
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No. 919658 ID: 91ee5f

>>919569
Write down everything you can, Casey! Pretty sure once we Send the spirit of the Bargast, the rest of the undead on its back will also disappear and take all of this valuable info with them!
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No. 919660 ID: 7816e7
File 154899485443.png - (199.71KB , 700x700 , 7-54.png )
919660

One thing that we’ve struggled to understand was: what caused the conflict in the first place?” Casey sighs, “Fey courts indicate a number of legal reasons, but they cite personal contracts that were lost at the end of the Wild Age.”

“Ahh, I was just a footman at the time, but I remember it clearly...” He closes his eyes and waves a hand, leaving little spirals of mist in its wake. “It began when a group of bedraggled travelers arrived at the doorstep of lord Hekal. They revealed themselves to be fey, members of the court of Stone of Six. One of them was clad in royal finery, his tongue sealed with a brand of glowing fire.”

Casey gasps, “A devil?” She chews at the end of her pencil with excitement.

“Indeed. I had heard of them, but never before seen one.” Opinel smiles wistfully. “I never had imagined a creature could look so proud, so defiant in defeat.”

“Wh- what’s a devil?” Gabe interjects.

“A fey lawbreaker”. Answers Casey, her voice low and quiet, “They’re marked with a sealing spell which keeps them from speaking a lie and then banished. Other fey are forbidden from helping them: if they’re caught, they can be branded or killed. According to legends, devils can be incredibly dangerous.”

“Why’s that?”

“They aren’t bound by fey codes or laws, existing on the fringes of society. They have no allegiances and even with the sealing spells in place, they’re considered untrustworthy and wild.”

Opinel nods. “That’s what I thought, too. But this man... There was a fire in him. A beautiful righteousness that gleamed like the edge of a blade.” The knight’s voice trails off, his mind lost in an ancient age.
>>
No. 919670 ID: b1b4f3

>>919660
What did he say?
>>
No. 919672 ID: 094652

>Compelled to tell the truth and then exiled
Honestly, that's a recipe for disaster. The best tricksters learn to tell lies by weaving their version of the truth to make others speak the lies for them. Preferably those in power. And by exiling him without supervision the fey forced him into a sink-or-swim survival campaign that he succeeded with a grudge.

Yeah this did not end well did it.
>>
No. 919684 ID: 3ed3c3

>>919660
And? Speak, man! Speak!
>>
No. 919685 ID: 91ee5f

>>919660
Let me guess, your master made a deal with the devil, didn’t he?
>>
No. 919694 ID: 83bf07

What tales did he tell?
>>
No. 919720 ID: a9af05

>>919685
That seems to be what's going to happen.
>>
No. 919723 ID: df5c09

The way Sir Opinel wistfully trailed off kinda gives the impression that that devil had a hell of a lot of charisma and charm that left a deep impression in Sir Opinel. Was that it?

What was the name of this devil, and what did he do to be banished, bound and branded a devil? Knowing his name will make historical investigation a heck of a lot easier later.
>>
No. 919766 ID: bad12e

>>919660

Nate ...? Is that you on the left?
>>
No. 919772 ID: a2cac9

>>919766
unlikely, nate's been dead for over 2 years now
>>
No. 920206 ID: 7816e7
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920206

“What happened then? What was he exiled for?”
The soldier’s mind snaps back to the present. “Oh, right! He introduced himself as Rodwin of Sixstone; duelist of the High Court and brother to High Warden Morgrain. He was the warden’s sword, standing in for his kinsman when settling affairs of honor. He claimed that he had been drawn away from Morgrain’s side under the false message that his wife was deathly ill. He claimed that his younger brother, Hewn had arranged for him to be removed, and used the chance to challenge the Warden’s honor. Forced to duel for himself, the warden was slain and Rodwin was imprisoned for dereliction of duty.”
“Hewn, the new ruler had him branded and condemned to death in order to secure his position. However, a small group of loyalists secreted him out of the castle and over the border, into our lands.”
>>
No. 920207 ID: 7816e7
File 154942187138.png - (114.63KB , 443x600 , 7-56.png )
920207

Casey’s scribbles intensify and she looks up as she turns to a fresh page. “What did your leader do?”

“Lord Hekal considered this. He had little patience for the rules and traditions of the fey courts. The old warden had been a good neighbor and an ally in conflicts before, and Hekal knew his words to be true. He also knew that protecting the warden-in-exile would be dangerous, but a powerful card against his opponents; even if he was branded as a devil.”
“Hekal decided to give him sanctuary, keeping him close at hand. Over time, Rodwin became a trusted advisor, despite the protests of those around him.”

“He trusted a devil over his own advisors?” Casey stares, blinking away amazement. “Why?"

"It was his nature..." Sir Opinel shrugs. "Lord Hekal was born to defy the expectations of the world. He was lowborn, but defied the nations of the world to build his kingdom. And when he was slain in battle he defied the Fates by returning from death. He saw... a kindred spirit in the exiled fey."

Opinel sighs, “However, whether it was because of fear or jealousy I do not know, but members of the court sent word to the Sixstone halls of Rodwin's presence. The fey immediately called for him to be returned to their lands and executed: a demand that Hekal rebuked.“
>>
No. 920208 ID: 465a14

>>
>>
No. 920216 ID: 8f36f1

Mana check. How's everyone doing?
>>
No. 920219 ID: b1b4f3

Fey court politics sound pretty cutthroat compared to what we know about Fey. Or maybe times have changed. I mean, devils can't lie, so shouldn't the Fey have exiled his brother once they heard this testimony? Did they not give him the chance to speak? Or maybe his wife being deathly ill wasn't an acceptable excuse? Maybe he left out some crucial details. Like maybe he was imprisoned as a formality, then broke out of prison and tried to murder his brother, which was what really got him exiled. To "secure his position" implies an illegitimate reason, but it could be very legitimate.
I guess this is why you don't trust devils. They are forced to speak the truth, but not the whole truth. You can deceive without lying, and it's especially easy if the person you're talking to knows you can't lie.

So anyway I'm guessing the Fey declared war.
>>
No. 920225 ID: 3ed3c3

A bloody and terrible state of affairs all around. Might it be asked what this tale has to do with the current situation? Is Hekal the master of the beast?
>>
No. 920227 ID: 91ee5f

>>920207
>"Lord Hekal was born to defy the expectations of the world. He was lowborn, but defied the nations of the world to build his kingdom. And when he was slain in battle he defied the Fates by returning from death. He saw... a kindred spirit in the exiled fey.”
Lord Hekal was an undead?!
>>
No. 920249 ID: df5c09

>>920227
...Yes, he was. Lord Hekal was a Vampire Lord and this barghast was his, up until his defeat and destruction. I thought this was said earlier.
>>
No. 920253 ID: 77a760

>>920219
Was there ever a place where mentioning "court politics" and "cutthroat" in the same sentence wasn't redundant?
>>
No. 920373 ID: 7816e7
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920373

“And then?” Casey stops, her pencil tip itching to record further.

“War.” The soldier shrugs, his armor clanking and shedding ice. “Not war as you know it. Magical warfare, fought on distant plains and under strange suns. Battles waged in dreams and reflections, armies made of earth and fire clashing as old allies were drawn into the conflict. The scars left on the kingdom were... enormous.”
>>
No. 920374 ID: 7816e7
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920374

He flashes another crooked grin at the Binder, “Speaking of scars, that’s when I earned this...” He points to the sutures that appear to bisect him vertically. “Got caught in a mirror maze. Nasty spell, not a good way for a knight to die. My lord was kind enough to give me another chance to find a proper death. Still looking too.” He says with a wink.

Behind him, two massive hills loom overhead. One of them twitches and the guides realize that they are looking at a pair of ears.
>>
No. 920375 ID: b1b4f3

So is this it, then? Do we talk to the ears?
>>
No. 920378 ID: 96aa63

>>920374
Thank you for your guidance. Where from here?
>>
No. 920390 ID: 864e49

>"chance to find a proper death. Still looking too.” He says with a wink
We could give you a little death.
>>
No. 920412 ID: 10c408

>>920390
Perhaps later, long after the barghest isn't going to utterly crush moot point under it's paws.
>>
No. 920427 ID: df5c09

>My lord was kind enough to give me another chance to find a proper death.
So what would he consider a 'proper death?' I'm guessing falling in honorable, glorious battle defending his Lord and comrades against a worthy opponent, but it could be otherwise.
>>
No. 920726 ID: 7816e7
File 154994922573.png - (219.32KB , 700x700 , 7-59.png )
920726

Sifr claps the warrior on the back with a frosty clang. “I hope you’re not in too much of a hurry there. There’s much we’d like to learn from you lot, would be a shame to say goodbye so quickly. Let’s sort out this business first...”

Opinel barks a laugh, “Good to hear it! I look forward to it, hunter. Come, we draw close to what you seek.” He beckons into a low, root-lined tunnel braced with irregular stone slabs. Chunks of ice placed at head height glow with a strange frozen fire, illuminating the passage as they descend.
>>
No. 920727 ID: 7816e7
File 154994922935.png - (236.25KB , 700x700 , 7-60.png )
920727

They crawl deeper, entering into a round, root-covered chamber far below the surface. The center of the room is dominated by a large, gnarled tree trunk, growing out of a circular pit built into the stonework. Opinel steps to the edge and looks over. "I believe what you're looking for is down there…"
>>
No. 920730 ID: b1b4f3

>>920727
Looks like a dryad.
Can we climb down there instead of portaling? It'd save some mana.

Let's go say hello and ask why he is traveling so far from his home.
>>
No. 920731 ID: 094652

>Insert Disgaea Wake Up Protocol Here
>>
No. 920732 ID: 10c408

>>920731
We don't have enough prinnies, weapons or throwable people for that.

See if you can't use the tree root near Opinel to climb down since it appears that the individual we need to chat with won't be able to rotate their head at all.
>>
No. 920733 ID: e7848c

Is there stairs or do we have to use a portal? Everyone be on your best behavior.
>>
No. 920774 ID: 864e49

Welp time to fuck a tree.
>>
No. 920785 ID: 91ee5f

Time to climb down and talk to them. No portals because Gabe should save what’s left of his magic just in case he needs to Send someone.
>>
No. 920805 ID: a9af05

>>920727
Let's go talk
>>
No. 921020 ID: 7816e7
File 155012381934.png - (197.52KB , 700x700 , 7-61.png )
921020

Casey gives the others some help with her binding spells, allowing the party to drop safely into the pit. They cautiously approach over a knotted carpet of roots and examine the trunk.

Gabe squints and tilts his head. “Its... a dude!”

Grown into the body of the tree is the undeniable shape of a person. His head is bowed slightly under the weight of long, curling horns that twine themselves into wood. The face glowers with an unreadable expression that seems ancient and tired.

They look to one another for answers. Kol asks, “What is it? A dryad?”

“No... I’ve met dryads before. They’re more... insect-like: they have a whole hive-culture-thing going on. This... I feel like I’ve heard about something like this somewhere, but I’m not sure where.” Casey thinks, opening her notebook and flipping through pages.

“Do you think he can hear us?” Gabe stares at the impassive face nervously.

“A good question.” Sifr nods and steps forward. “Perhaps we should find out.”

He approaches the petrified figure and drops to one knee, lowering his eyes and extending a theatrical hand. “Please, excuse our intrusion good sir. I am Sifr Bardo, Spirit Guardian. My compatriots and I have come to beseech you: please direct your steed, this mighty barghast away from the city before you. Your presence is a danger to the people below.” He remains kneeled, his eyes closed and head bowed.

Nothing happens.

After several moments nothing continues to happen. Sifr stands up. “Spite me. I was hoping that would work... Well, I’m open to ideas.”
>>
No. 921021 ID: b1b4f3

Knock on the wood? Use Spirit Form to go inside the tree?
>>
No. 921022 ID: 91ee5f

>>921020
>After several moments nothing continues to happen. Sifr stands up. “Spite me. I was hoping that would work... Well, I’m open to ideas.”
Maybe his ears are covered with wood and that’s preventing him from hearing us? Or he can hear us, but he just doesn’t have a way to respond to us, since his mouth is covered with wood?
>>
No. 921024 ID: add027

>>921020
He's probably asleep. How do you wake a tree? Wrap it in blankets?
>>
No. 921025 ID: b1b4f3

...hamadryad? Treant?
>>
No. 921026 ID: b1b4f3

There are myths about people being turned into trees... like Cyparissus.
>>
No. 921029 ID: 3ed3c3

>>921020
...Is he...dead? I mean, I know it's unlikely, but it would explain everything. The guy was guiding the barghast when suddenly BAM! he croaked.
>>
No. 921030 ID: 91ee5f

>>921029
That’s a possibility.

Does anyone in the group have the ability to detect if the tree guy is still in ther3 or if he’s just a shell with no spirit?
>>
No. 921031 ID: 51f21c

>No response
... So, are you going to hump the tree, or are you going to hump the tree?
>>
No. 921033 ID: 2007b6

>>921021
Set up some sort of safety-net ward first, just like in thread one. If nobody's home, maybe you can just possess the boss's empty shell and steer the bargast toward a less populated area manually.
>>
No. 921060 ID: 7f0aac

>>921020

Bet that's our fey buddy we learned about.
>>
No. 921085 ID: df5c09

>>921060
Maybe, though he had more than two horns. Could be one of his entourage, or it could just be some other goat guy. If Sir Opinel is still around he could be asked who this is and, if applicable, was.
>>
No. 921142 ID: 37b5ac

Try spirit form? See if you can speak to them on a spiritual level
>>
No. 921277 ID: 78f3e0

Is he made of plant matter or has he been sitting there so long the tree grew around him?
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