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File 154346483395.png - (172.98KB , 1000x641 , 7-1.png )
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.
Expand all images
>>
No. 912161 ID: 7816e7
File 154346502381.png - (223.13KB , 700x437 , 7-2.png )
912161

Miki’s door jingles as the Guides stop by. Little tendrils of mist follow them inside like inquisitive fish, dissipating in the warm bakery. “Hey Miki!” Kol hails.

They saunter up to the counter, taking a look at the surprisingly sparse selection on the shelves. Miki bustles up with a couple of hot loaves on a tray and plops them into a rack. “Hey guys,” She huffs, a frustrated flame curling out of her nostrils. “Sorry, I don’t have much today. My flour shipment never came in! I’m trying to stretch what I have until it gets here.”
>>
No. 912164 ID: 91ee5f

>>912161
If this fog doesn’t lift, then she’s not going to get that shipment anytime soon. In fact, she’s probably not the only shop that’s suffering from missed shipments due to the fog.
>>
No. 912167 ID: 298905

Oh no! How will we get our hands on some toasty buns now!

... Seriously though would you like us to go investigate what happened or something? We've been making a lot of friends lately and we need a full stock of little sandwiches and cupcakes and things for if anyone comes over.
>>
No. 912173 ID: b1b4f3

>>912161
Fog must be keeping ships from landing. I think we should go out and see what we can do to help. Though I'm honestly not sure we can. A portal at sea won't be stable enough to send shipments through.
>>
No. 912175 ID: 05ebc7

Yeah, I suspect the fog is causing a bunch of issues with people's plans for the day. Might not be too big of an issue, hopefully, if people have a mind to stay in because of it.

>>912167
I doubt there's really much we can do here; I mean, it's weather. Can't really affect that too much, I think.
>>
No. 912191 ID: 094652

Okay, has she tried experimenting with alternative carbohydrate substitutes?

Cricket Flour might be too much of a stretch, but how about a sack of potatoes? They have many uses. One time I saw them sail a ship - erm don't ask

Just... don't substitute milk with... you know what I mean.
>>
No. 912198 ID: 91ee5f

>>912175
>I doubt there's really much we can do here; I mean, it's weather. Can't really affect that too much, I think.
I mean, we do know of someone that can help with that: >>/questarch/888604 , Flashing feathers Joyous blue of the perfect sky, who I hope has a shorter name now and has learned modern English so there’s no language barrier. Although, we don’t know where he went after we freed him, unless he’s staying with Mr. Ochre or Mr. Ochre knows where he went.

But even if we did find him, I’m not sure if he’d want to help, since the last time he helped people, he got trapped in a pot for a few thousand years.
>>
No. 912211 ID: eeb7d9

This isn't good. This will not only hurt Miki, but all of those who receive goods from the port. We need to find out what is going on and fast. There must be someone that could help us.
>>
No. 912213 ID: e1d580

The weather in a port is.... foggy

This must be the work of... AN ENEMY STAND!!!

Quick time to run around trying to accomplish a mundane task and fail in increasingly comedic fashions
>>
No. 912253 ID: a62780

>>912161
That sucks, the fog can't be doing any favours for travel in general.

Still! fine company, a warm building and the smell of freshly baked goods will help keep your spirits up until it dissipates.
>>
No. 912281 ID: d887c0

For all that the team's managed to handle, they still can't change the weather. I mean, we could be paranoid and say it's something supernatural in nature like a weather spirit or something, but it's much more likely that this is nothing more than some mundane inclement weather. All the same, if Miki needs any help around the bakery, then I see no reason to deny her call for help.
>>
No. 912329 ID: 7816e7
File 154355475141.png - (162.00KB , 571x600 , 7-3.png )
912329

“Weird, do you think this fog has anything to do with it?” Gabe asks.

She nods, “Probably, even trying to scry in this weather is hard. I can’t imagine theres many boats willing to sail into this soup.” She adjusts the bun on the back of her head, “I do hope everything’s alright...”

“Do you think Mr. Ochre and Flashing Feathers might be able to help?” Casey wonders. “A coatl should be able to lift the fog.”

Miki sighs, “They went traveling together while workmen finish up the aerie. I wouldn’t know where to contact them.” She shrugs, “Just my luck, right?”

Kol scratches his chin, “Well is there any way we can help?”
>>
No. 912330 ID: 7816e7
File 154355475553.png - (147.57KB , 600x600 , 7-4.png )
912330

“You know, there just might be.” Says a voice. The guides swivel, finding a figure draped in a long traveling cloak and a shaded by broad brimmed hat.
>>
No. 912331 ID: e0ca8d

Check carefully for the jungle jangle of spurs, and say pardner a lot. Squint and ask who this varmint who they are.
>>
No. 912335 ID: 91ee5f

>>912330
“.....would you care to elaborate on that?”
>>
No. 912352 ID: 83bf07

Usually western types get blown in with dust, not fog. What brings ya?
>>
No. 912358 ID: 438a42

>>912330
Ask if he knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.
>>
No. 912376 ID: 094652

How many gallons of hat are you selling?
>>
No. 912391 ID: d887c0

Hey there, stranger. What brings you here?
>>
No. 912392 ID: eeb7d9

You know what is going on? We would much really appreciate any help.
>>
No. 912403 ID: e6a046

Compliment them on a perfect dramatic entry.
>>
No. 912429 ID: 7816e7
File 154362499280.png - (111.47KB , 600x600 , 7-5.png )
912429

"And who are you, stranger?” Kol asks, prompting a chuckle from the visitor.

“I know I haven't visited much, but to call me stranger?" The hat is swept aside with a flourish, revealing the face of Sifr Bardo, Spirit Guardian. “Is that any way to speak to your own blood? Good to see you, lad.”

“Uncle! What’re you doing here?”

“Hunting a beast, my boy. I need your help.” His bushy brow furrows as he leans in conspiratorially. “Trouble is afoot.”
>>
No. 912430 ID: e1d580

>>912429
So we need a sock and a shoe?
>>
No. 912431 ID: deec6e

Express willingness (and exuberance) to go along with your cool uncle.
>>
No. 912432 ID: 91ee5f

>>912429
Express enthusiasm at the chance to do something with your cool uncle! Then express nervousness at the thought of embarrassing yourself in front of your cool uncle!
>>
No. 912435 ID: d887c0

Just a guess: it's related to the fog somehow? Or it's using the fog to its advantage?
>>
No. 912439 ID: 094652

>Hunting a beast
"Do we get to @#$% it?"
>>
No. 912478 ID: e0ca8d

"hey, we're all here and ready to help."
>>
No. 912541 ID: 10c408

"it's the fog, isn't it? Something's increasing the fog to blanket the entire town."
>>
No. 912707 ID: 7816e7
File 154377298426.png - (140.45KB , 700x582 , 7-6.png )
912707

“A beast?!” Squeaks Miki, “Did something eat my flour shipment?”

“No, thats quite unlikely. However, I do believe it is responsible for the miasma permeating the city. I would like to enlist your aid in dealing with the situation.” Sifr bows his head arthritically.

The three Guides exchange a glance and Kol speaks up, “Sure! What are we dealing with?”

"It’s rather delicate to explain, but our best bet is to start somewhere we can see the city."
>>
No. 912708 ID: afdebc

>>912707
Time to portal to that big mountain with the statue, then.
>>
No. 912710 ID: eeb7d9

A portal could be useful.
>>
No. 912711 ID: 10c408

portal to the very top of Augustine Moot's head, nothing can possibly go wrong with a view like that.
>>
No. 912715 ID: d887c0

>>912707
Let's head up to the statue. You can see for miles up there.
>>
No. 912867 ID: 438a42

>>912707
Kol: Recall how basically all of your past encounters with beasties have ended (y'know, with one of your entourage boinking said beastie).

Now realize this means you're going to have to pork a monster in front of your Uncle. Or possible with your Uncle.

You're welcome!
>>
No. 912868 ID: 985f67

>>912707
I guess we're about to learn if the lewd apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Or however that goes.
>>
No. 913047 ID: 7816e7
File 154398426305.png - (95.14KB , 600x553 , 7-7.png )
913047

Gabe shrugs, “I have a beacon placed up on the point, I could Gate us there. Take care Miki! We’ll be back after we bag a beast!”

“Madam, a pleasure to see you again...” the elder Bardo doffs his hat and leads them into the misty gloom.
>>
No. 913048 ID: 7816e7
File 154398426771.png - (116.48KB , 600x571 , 7-8.png )
913048

Miki shivers, erupting into a squeal, “So cool! There was a Spirit Guardian in my shop!”

Somewhere in the back, Raithe calls out, “Wait, what? There was?”
>>
No. 913049 ID: 7816e7
File 154398427296.png - (177.16KB , 800x571 , 7-9.png )
913049

A crack of light and thunder later and the figures step out onto dewy grass. The hem of Augustine’s stone dress extends vertically above them, cutting the ocean breeze into little eddies. Gabe huddles against the wind, raising his voice a bit, “So what are we looking for?”
>>
No. 913051 ID: 91ee5f

>>913049
>Gabe huddles against the wind, raising his voice a bit, “So what are we looking for?”
I think it’s obviously that giant thing over there at the top of the picture! O_O
>>
No. 913052 ID: b1b4f3

>>913049
Jesus christ what the hell is that
>>
No. 913054 ID: 055cbc

2 o clock high there, boyo
>>
No. 913055 ID: d56460

>>913049
I hesitate to say this

but

that may not be possible to fuck
>>
No. 913056 ID: e1d580

Smh don’t all of u know to pay attention to the thing inside the red circle? Idk why we want a featureless white void but it sure is our target now
>>
No. 913057 ID: afdebc

>>913049
I'm guessing its the giant wolf on stilt legs. just a hunch.
>>
No. 913059 ID: 06fdc0

>>913055
woah now, don't underestimate the powers of horniness
>>
No. 913063 ID: d887c0

>>913049
I spy a BIG BOY off in the distance.
>>
No. 913065 ID: df5c09

Turn your head to the right and look to the horizon and you'll get part of the answer you seek, Gabe.

What in the name of the Fates is that creature? It looks like a gigantic... fox? Coyote? No, no, not lanky enough... A-ha! It's shaped like a maned wolf! ...But what is it, actually? Uncle Sifr, a explanation, please?

And poor Gabe could do with a warmer outfit in his wardrobe. The dear'll catch a cold wearing that shorts-n-mini-cloak getup in this weather! ...Maybe Kol and Casey could hug Gabe to keep him warm.
>>
No. 913075 ID: 62fa98

>>913055
Sounds like quitter talk
>>
No. 913080 ID: e0ca8d

>>913063
LARGE. How in the world would we stop that?
>>
No. 913091 ID: 298905

Hey, Sköll! Still tryin' to eat the sun, buddy? Did you actually do it this time or are you just covering it up for a while? Getting annoyed with the chase, maybe? Don't want to look at it? That's cool, but could you not do it here? Maybe go back to Járnviðr for a while? That'd be great! You'd probably be more comfortable!
>>
No. 913132 ID: a62780

>>913049
I uh, notice that while the nephew looks to some huge creature, the uncle looks offscreen.
for some reason the latter worries me more.

that said; unless that's a known giant statue or spirit thing that everyone knows about already then yeah we should totally be concerned why such a thing is on the horizon.
>>
No. 913134 ID: 094652

I say we use portals in its eyes and make it think it's not walking straight into the ocean.
>>
No. 913149 ID: bad12e

>>913049

> Leggy Pupper
> Prolly a GIANT MISTY MANED WOLF

But does it smell like weed haze
>>
No. 913189 ID: 7816e7
File 154405945129.png - (100.53KB , 700x500 , 7-10.png )
913189

A growing anxiety gnaws at them from somewhere within the endless grey. Kol's finger points uncertainly, "Wh-" He starts, not believing his eyes, "What the fuck is that?"

They follow his gaze and once they see it, they curse quietly. Something on the horizon is moving, each slow, loping step bringing it closer to the city. Its shaggy back cresting as high as Moot Point itself, hunched as though there were not room enough for it under the sky. Giant eyes flash in the mist, piercing the gloom and striking dread into their hearts
>>
No. 913190 ID: 7816e7
File 154405945540.png - (126.51KB , 644x700 , 7-11.png )
913190

Casey’s voice answers him with a gasp: “Bargast...”

“Correct.” Sifr nods sagely.

“The-they’re harbingers of doom... Oh Minerva...” Casey stammers, her knees feeling weak.

Sifr huffs, “Nonsense. They’re creatures just like you and me. Once upon a time, vampire lords rode them into battle, turning them into weapons of terror. But otherwise very little is known about them.”
>>
No. 913191 ID: 86eb65

Well we should go ask it what it is doing in the neighborhood and see if it needs anything.

Would rather get off on the right foot with it before assuming it has some horrible agenda.

Still need to be very careful though.
>>
No. 913192 ID: 10c408

"...We're not hunting that, are we? Or... is it looking for something else in the city that we need to find first? before it starts crushing buildings?"
>>
No. 913193 ID: 91ee5f

>>913190
“Does that mean there’s a vampire lord on its back right now?!”
>>
No. 913196 ID: eeb7d9

I can't bang that! Or can i?
>>
No. 913199 ID: b1b4f3

>>913190
>little is known about them
...Okay, let's go talk to it.
>>
No. 913201 ID: d887c0

>>913190
Okay. So, it's just a FUCKING ENORMOUS animal and not a supernatural doom machine. Good to know.
So, what's to be done? Lure it away from town before it stomps all over it?
>>
No. 913202 ID: b1b4f3

...what does it eat?
>>
No. 913209 ID: 10c408

>>913201
History called, it would like to remind you about them being used as giant doom machines by vampires.

I mean really. We don't know a lot about them beyond what's established but even if they are peaceful they're also really big and that's a danger to everything smaller than it and this one doesn't appear to be stopping.
>>
No. 913211 ID: b0354c

Let's pool our knowledge on this thing. Can they cross rivers?
>>
No. 913240 ID: e0ca8d

>>913209
Also, legends aren't necessarily nonsense. It could very well be a horrifying premonition of doom. Or it could be coincidence that a lot of doom happens around them.

Still, how do we get one to leave?
>>
No. 913241 ID: 094652

Step 1 - Attempt to solve conflict diplomatically
Step 2 - Nurse injuries
Step 3 - Portals through the legs
Step 4 - Cauterize wounds
Step 5 - Begin sex sequence with giant dog dick

Simple enough, what's all the terror for?
>>
No. 913252 ID: 10c408

>>913241
It's a third the size of the city itself. The statue everyone is on? Smaller than it.
>>
No. 913298 ID: 2007b6

Well you're not going to be able to do anything from way over here. If the one thing we actually know for sure is that it's possible to ride the giant doom-dog, let's portal over onto it's back, and we can figure the rest out as we go.
>>
No. 913377 ID: 7816e7
File 154423751685.png - (102.44KB , 700x500 , 7-12.png )
913377

“How is this possible? I thought they were all gone!”

Sifr’s fingers twist at his mustache, “Evidently not. From what I have heard, there are still a few living in the far north; where the boundaries between worlds are weaker.”

“Well then, what’s it doing here?” Casey stares in disbelief as a monstrous paw sails silently over an entire hill.

“Precisely what I intend to find out.” The Medium nods, “We must find its intents and, if possible, convince it to leave the city in peace before it sparks a panic.”

“And if we can’t?” Kol tears his eyes away from the Bargast long enough to question his uncle.

“Then, I’m afraid, my fellow Guardians and I will be asked to... deal with it.“

Kol and Casey share a glance and they nod, “What do we need to do?”

“Get me on top of it. As close to the head as possible... discreetly.”
>>
No. 913378 ID: 7816e7
File 154423752073.png - (99.37KB , 600x562 , 7-13.png )
913378

As one they turn to Gabe. Still slackjawed by the immensity, he murmurs “Maaaan, what does it even eat?” Realizing himself, the Sender blinks and refocuses. “We’re going to ride that thing?”

“That’s what I’m hoping, yes. With a minimum number of Gates. I worry they will end up will attracting its attention ”

Gabe squints, his tongue lightly clamped between his teeth as he concentrates. “Impossible to tell how big it is like this... Maybe...”

He sticks his hand out into thin air, summoning a spacial pocket and withdrawing a heavy, leatherbound tome. Cracking the pages open, he flips through pages until he finds a map of the area surrounding Moot Point. Red lines of energy lattice their way across the paper and Gabe whistles, “Wow, its bending the ley lines around it as it walks. That gives me some idea of the distance but I’m still not sure about the height.”
>>
No. 913381 ID: 908948

>>913378
Can we get a vecor and plant someone in it's path? Maybe on a high ground or landmark?
>>
No. 913386 ID: b1b4f3

>>913378
You could use trigonometry to calculate its height, knowing the distance and having a visual reading on it. Measure the angle between its feet and its head, then take the tangent of that angle and multiply it by the distance from here to its feet.
...that requires a precise measurement though. It moving shouldn't matter too much since its height is a constant, you just need the distance and angle to be measured at the same time.
>>
No. 913389 ID: df5c09

You could theoretically get it in one Gate if you got a surveyor up here. They'd have the equipment and know-how to find the height, distance and angle of a spot right over the Bargast's head. However, it'd take time to Gate down, find one, hire 'em or convince 'em to come up here, Gate back up, wait for 'em to setup, then wait more for 'em to take their measurements and do the calculations.
So, how long until the Bargast passes the point of Guardian team intervention? Probably not long enough to execute this plan.

Second idea is opening targeting mini-Gates very high over the Bargast, adjusting position 'till one is right over its head. Then drop something glowing or otherwise visible from a far distance through and measure how long it takes to land on the Bargast's head. From that calculate based on gravitational acceleration to find the rough distance from the targeting mini-Gate to the Bargast's head. Subtract how high up you can safely fall from that distance and open a Gate that far down from the targeting mini-Gate.
May not be a viable idea due to opening too many Gates over the Bargast. How good is it at sensing Gates?

Third idea is to think over everyone you know in Moot Point, or that you can summon from farther away, that might be able to help you here. Y'all wouldn't happen to know someone who can magically accurately eyeball angle, distance and height, do ya?

Also, if you're making rough calculations, error on the side of extra height, since the Bargast will definitely notice if a Gate slices its flesh.

And when the Gate is open, could Casey create a aura tentacle long enough for everyone else to slide down it to the Bargast? Then she could hook the end of the aura tentacle over the edge of the Gate and lower herself down.

>>913386
>It moving shouldn't matter too much since its height is a constant...
Except its walking across terrain that isn't flat, so there will be variation. But if it's slow enough, and the measurements and calculations can be done fast enough, that won't matter.
>>
No. 913401 ID: d887c0

>>913378
You could try comparing it to the surrounding geography or look up historical accounts on Bargast dimensions.
>>
No. 913402 ID: b1b4f3

>>913389
Yeah the terrain isn't flat but we know where the terrain is, right? My understanding is that Gabe sends portals at points relative to other points, so he'd just have to place a portal X above the ground where X is the height. Uh, plus some room for error of course.

I wonder if either of our Fey friends could help here? Maybe Nixxy? We could summon her.
>>
No. 913424 ID: 2007b6

If you've got a topographic map, and the range, it should be possible to approximate height by comparing to the known-and-visible dimensions of surrounding hills and valleys. Open up a pinhole gate, peek through it to confirm (like you did for the ship >>/questarch/878705 ) then slide it vertically (like you did at the start of thread one >>/questarch/860241 ) to tweak if necessary, and finally expand the gate to person-size.

Can Casey's binding magic be used as a parachute and/or shock absorber? A relatively long fall might not be too much of a problem if you'll be landing in thick soft fur, then sticking like a cocklebur on impact.
>>
No. 913461 ID: df5c09

>>913424
>Can Casey's binding magic be used as a parachute and/or shock absorber? A relatively long fall might not be too much of a problem if you'll be landing in thick soft fur, then sticking like a cocklebur on impact.
...Or, could Miki's boyfriend Raith help us here? We've seen him levitate, but if he can glide or fly and would be able to carry at least one person at a time, then open a Gate way up above the Bargast and have him ferry the group down. We'll need fireproof clothing or counter-fire magic for him to carry people, right? And there's the question of whether the Bargast will immediately pick up on a Salamander flyin' around near it. And multiple trips raises the detection chance too.

...Wait, is the whole group even going? We just assumed that, but Sifr only said "Get me on top of it. As close to the head as possible... discreetly." That sounds like he's going alone, which makes sense with the "discreetly" part. It's also in line with Casey, Kol and Gabe not being quite up to the level of traipsing across a Bargast's back. Who knows what kind of giant parasites live in the fur and on the skin of a giant creature like that.
>>
No. 913607 ID: 7816e7
File 154446938415.png - (146.58KB , 700x500 , 7-14.png )
913607

“Hang on,“ He sighs and stands up, brushing the dew from his shorts. He makes a few passes with his hands and opens a gate before disappearing through. A moment later he returns wearing a scarf and carrying a dark, wooden box. He strides over to the base of the monument and sets the box down carefully. Twin latches thunk open and the case opens on quiet hinges. Inside is an instrument of stunning precision and complexity, milled from gleaming brass and cushioned in a bed of velvet. “Haven’t used this thing since the Academy: my Grandparents had it made for me.” The Sender's fingers trace over the polished metal with an uncharacteristic reverence, gently lifting it out of its cradle and giving each lens a polish. "It helped with training and assignments, but kind of hard to use in the field: too scared I'm going to break it." He props the theodolite up onto a monopod, which locks into an upright position as a built in stability charm takes effect.
>>
No. 913608 ID: 7816e7
File 154446939356.png - (49.58KB , 700x437 , 7-15.png )
913608

Gabe eyes the creature in the distance. According to the leyline map, the bargast is roughly 2.2km away. From experience, he knows that the base of the monument sits at 256m above the harbor, and the statue itself is 130m tall. The hill nearest the bargast is roughly 30m tall according to the map. A quick check through the scope gives the target area roughly 5 degrees of inclination over his position. Fortunately, the titan is moving slow enough that he has time to take measurements from one or two other positions.
>>
No. 913609 ID: b1b4f3

>>913608
Tangent is opposite over adjacent.
2200*tan(5 degrees)=200 (one significant digit due to low-precision degree measurement, base answer is 192.4750598)
200+256=456m for a single measurement.
Note, this is the measurement at the 2.2km mark. I'm not sure where that 2.2km ends in this diagram. Also, of note is that the diagram is squished horizontally, do not trust the diagram(NEVER trust a diagram when it comes to proportions).

Gabe could do another round of math at the top of the statue and at the base of the cliff. The base of the cliff should be a better position in general since the angle measurement will be bigger and thus more accurate. Two digits would be a great improvement.
>>
No. 913610 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, hang on, where does the height measurement start at, and where are its feet? The height I just measured uses the base of the cliff as a 0 point. It may not be standing at a spot perfectly horizontal to the base of the cliff. If its feet are roughtly at the height of that hill, and we want its feet to be the 0 point, subtract 30m from the height. So, 426.
>>
No. 913611 ID: 65c9b9

>>913608
puppo is 448.47 meters~ tall. using TRIANGLE MATH we can Tan(5)=X/2.2(1000) to find the answer. (1000) is to change KM to Meters.
>>
No. 913612 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, in the likely scenario that all measurements round to 200m+256m due to significant digits, it might be safe to average out the three unrounded measurements?
>>
No. 913615 ID: 65c9b9

>>913611
2208.40 meters is the hypotenuse. which is important if your making a gate from here. though you may want to shove 50 to 100 meters off the distence so you land closer to the head meaning you would wind up with 2133.70 meters to get an easier time getting to talk to it.
>>
No. 913632 ID: 2007b6

>>913609
>Gabe could do another round of math at the top of the statue and at the base of the cliff. The base of the cliff should be a better position in general since the angle measurement will be bigger and thus more accurate.
If there's limited time for measurements, and bigger angles are better, how about reducing the range uncertainty while we're at it by portaling over to the peak of some hill near the beast? Known horizontal distance on the map lets us triangulate, hopefully narrowing the margin of error for range to less than a hundred meters.
>>
No. 913644 ID: 8269f3

ain't that like pemdas or some shit
>>
No. 913654 ID: b1b4f3

>>913632
Yeah, going closer would give a very precise measurement. Unfortunately I think that's what we're trying to avoid here? If we pop a portal near the beast it will notice. Maybe there's a middle ground where we can get a lot closer but not so close that it will notice? Also I'm not sure triangulation will help very much since we're measuring a vertical line. Triangulation is what you use when you're looking for a point on a plane.
>>
No. 913656 ID: b1b4f3

Okay instead of using significant figures here let's assume the error is +/- 0.5 degrees.
2200*tan(5.5 degrees)=211.8
2200*tan(4.5 degrees)=173.1
So the range of height we have here is 429.1m to 467.8m. 448m is right in the middle as expected.

Thinking about it a bit further, being at the base of the cliff is slightly WORSE for the measurement like this, because that 1 degree range covers a larger distance when you're looking up or down at an object. The most extreme example is looking at an object at an almost vertical angle. 89+1=90 which is infinite height. A smaller percentage change in the angle does not equal a smaller percentage change in the arc.

So it'd actually be better to take a measurement from the top of the statue! But only slightly, as the effect won't be pronounced at this distance. Getting closer will give us a bigger angle but the distance to the object will be shorter, resulting in overall better precision.
...wait, do we even have to do the measurement from the ground? Can't Gabe just look through a portal with his instrument to get a measurement off it? So long as he knows exactly where the portal is, it should be fine.
OH HEY if he can do that, then let's take a measurement from 450m up! If we get an angle of 0 then we know that's the correct height.
>>
No. 913680 ID: 769498

If gabe says any nerd junk kol better call him one and give him a playful noogie.
>>
No. 913876 ID: 7816e7
File 154467388994.png - (86.06KB , 700x500 , 7-16.png )
913876

"Be right back!" Gabe announces over the rush of the wind. He opens a gate and steps through; a moment later the onlookers see a pinpoint of light appear on the shoreline, followed by a distant thunderclap from the top of the monument.

Gabe reappears and hands off the theodolite to Kol while he scribbles on a notepad. "Done. Our friend in the distance is roughly 450 meters tall." He beams, looking rather pleased with himself.

"Melek fucking Taus…" mutters Kol.

"Well done lad!" Gabe earns himself a clap on the back from Sifr, "Can you get us there?"

The Sender's smile fades a bit as he realizes what's being asked of him, "Woof…" he looks queasy.

"Woof, indeed."

He nods and takes back his surveying instrument and stows it back in its box. "Okay, Case: be ready to grab anybody in case we… well…. Just be ready, okay?"

She gives him a thumbs up, "You got this, Gabe!"
>>
No. 913877 ID: 7816e7
File 154467389395.png - (109.22KB , 700x500 , 7-17.png )
913877

The Sender nods and steps back, “Okay, get ready...”

Gabe tears open a gate and the four of them rush into the blazing disc one after another.

They emerge with a short drop: finding themselves standing in what seems to be a forest. Thick, black trunked trees stretch into a canopy of fog, while a pale mist curls around their ankles.

“Is this...?” Kol whispers. As if to answer him, the ground beneath them shifts and the forest sways
>>
No. 913879 ID: b1b4f3

>>913877
Ah, good. That was a very precise measurement of angle after all.
Also wow this thing is big. I suppose we're going towards the head of the beast, to speak into its ear?

I already see one frightening risk: making it itchy. Don't irritate its skin, you don't want it to stop for a scratch.
Also watch out for giant parasites.
>>
No. 913884 ID: e7848c

How close to the head did we land?
>>
No. 913897 ID: 91ee5f

>>913877
How close did you get to the head? And do you know which direction the head is so you can go over there?
>>
No. 913898 ID: 094652

>Melek @#$%ing Taus
I would pay to see that!

Also, DO make it itchy. I have yet to see the non-sentient animal that continues walking while scratching itself. Target any boils or infected hair follicles for extra effect.
>>
No. 913904 ID: 65c9b9

>>913877
Gabe make a portal above the furline and get your bearings and if its not too troublesome get a gate closer to the head if you can
>>
No. 913949 ID: d887c0

>>913877
1) Make a beeline for the head. No time to waste.
2) If the bargast is essentially a giant animal, then keep your eyes peeled for giant parasites like fleas.
>>
No. 914036 ID: 7816e7
File 154484046303.png - (104.86KB , 700x500 , 7-18.png )
914036

Casey looks down at the ribbons of mist curling around her legs, then in the endless stretch of trunks surrounding them. “So which way do we go?”

“Our best bet is to find the head...er... which way is that, lad?” Sifr turns to the Sender.

“Um... it was coming towards us soooo: that way.” Gabe points behind them and sets out into the fog. The others follow and as they do, they feel a gentle shift of inertia confirming the direction as the bargast plods forward.

The surface leads to a gentle incline, and they find themselves at the top of a rise. Gabe leans against one of the black pillars and stops them. “Hang on a sec...” He reaches into his inter-spacial pocket and pulls out a pair of thick socks. He sits down to pull them on and nearly disappears from sight. Gabe stands up, legs safely ensconced in wool and realizes the others are staring, “What? This thing is freezing! You might not have noticed but I couldn’t feel my toes.”
>>
No. 914040 ID: d887c0

>>914036
You're too cute, Gabe.
>>
No. 914042 ID: b1b4f3

>>914036
The beast is cold? Shouldn't it be warm, being a living animal? Maybe it's already dead, and is being piloted by a vampire, just like the old days. Is there any way we can check if it's still alive? Listen for a heartbeat perhaps?
>>
No. 914043 ID: 91ee5f

>>914036
If you wore more clothes, then you wouldn’t have that problem in the first place.
>>
No. 914044 ID: 094652

>This thing is freezing
Does that mean an obligatory walk-and-@#$% scene?
>>
No. 914047 ID: 10c408

thick socks and other winter gear for everyone else. No exceptions. We don't want to get frostbitten or worse while travelling on it's back.
>>
No. 914065 ID: 2007b6

>>914042
Normal living animals aren't so big. If you somehow stacked fifteen blue whales vertically, nose-to-tail, they wouldn't reach up to this bargast's shoulder. Square-cube law says there's no way it's made out of ordinary meat and bone. Even trees don't grow more than about a hundred meters high, and that's without the mechanical stresses involved in walking around! This thing's obviously heavy-duty magic, through and through, so it makes as much sense as anything for it to be magically cold to the touch. In fact, that actually helps to explain the fog.
>>
No. 914089 ID: 83bf07

>>914036
Nice stripes, lad.
>>
No. 914094 ID: deec6e

>>914042

Or maybe it is a vampire itself and is draining heat/life by way of touch! Maybe all of this cold mist stuff is an extension of that - just its way of slowly sapping a little bit of vitality out of everywhere it goes!

Or maybe bein' cold is the way Bargast are, the interaction between its cold body and the local clime is what's causing the mist and the real reason it's coming this way is because it ~finally~ spotted something that was recognizably humanoid - the statue and its light!

Get ye head-wards so we can find out.
>>
No. 914098 ID: bad12e

>>914036

Pocket socks are going to be the next big thing.
>>
No. 914109 ID: a62780

>>914036
Good call Gabe, no point getting frostbitten, or more likely falling over at an inconvenient time due to numb feet.

So vampires used to 'ride' this?
Did they have like a platform to stand on or were they actually big enough to not be totally obscured by its fur like this?
>>
No. 914233 ID: df5c09

Well, then, how 'bout Kol carries Gabe piggyback as well so Gabe's poor footsies can warm up a bit more on the way. Now, anyone else here having literal cold feet issues?

Ask Sifr what the game plan is for when the gang reaches the Bargast's head. How's Sifr gonna be communicating with it and what're the dangers we may face if things go sideways?

And better hope this Bargast doesn't have fleas or other parasites 'cause they'd have to be equally gigantic. You don't want to have to fight those as well.
>>
No. 914335 ID: 7816e7
File 154509257435.png - (114.05KB , 700x500 , 7-19.png )
914335

Casey reaches below the mist, running her fingers over the surface. "Fates, That's cold! It explains the mist, at least. But no living creature should be this cold."

"It feels different from Adrian," Kol squints, unsure of how to describe it, "That felt like it was sucking the life out of me, this is like ice."

Sifr nods, "This is old magic, something only a powerful vampire could have cast. There's something up here as well: I can feel it."

"A vampire?" asks Casey

"Nothing that strong, but stay alert just in case."
>>
No. 914338 ID: 86eb65

If its not a vampire it might be another type of undead that has borrowed this friendly doggo to make a trip.

If there is someone riding then its visiting town for a reason. Lets go politely ask what they need.
>>
No. 914347 ID: b1b4f3

So, a vampire turned this Bargast icy, but that isn't what's riding it? Could they be someone who found this poor creature and wanted to get it help so they steered it towards Moot Point?
Some kind of ice nymph? Or... this guy is big enough to be considered a mountain. Maybe there's a Yeti here? Or some kind of snow spirit... Yuki-onna?
Other mythological figures associated with the cold, and winter time: Jack Frost, Old Man Winter, and St. Nick/Krampus.

Anyway, we just have to keep heading forwards and keep an eye out. Optimally we'd track down the mysterious presence before talking to the Bargast, but if it proves elusive maybe the Bargast will be talkative enough to explain on its own?
>>
No. 914349 ID: a9af05

>>914335
Sifr said he wanted to get to this things head so he could talk to it, right? Wouldn't that imply that this creature is intelligent?

It's possible that it may be able to understand speech and we can just ask it what it wants or if it's injured and looking for help, we can ask how we can help.

The only problem I see is that it can understand speech, but is unable to communicate with us.
>>
No. 914371 ID: e7848c

>>914335
Watch for movement, folks!
>>
No. 914437 ID: 7f0aac

>>914335
>There's something up here as well: I can feel it.

Look for tiny green sprites rolling spheroids of dandruff.
>>
No. 914438 ID: 91ee5f

>>914335
Try not to get frostbite!

Does everyone know the signs of hypothermia? If so, make sure you guys let each other know if you start to experience any of those symptoms!
>>
No. 914471 ID: df5c09

Any of you lot got magic that could blow away the mist so you can get a clear view of where you're walking or to possibly reveal someone or -thing hiding in it? Casey, could you shape your binding magic into, like, a fan-like paddle and wave it around?
>>
No. 914474 ID: 7816e7
File 154518290835.png - (104.13KB , 700x429 , 7-20.png )
914474

“Alright, we better keep moving.” Casey stands up, reorienting herself towards the creature’s head, “Keep an eye out for movement.”

They pad along through the icy forest, tracing fingers over the black trunks as they pass. Gab swivels around, keeping pace while facing backwards, “Hey, you don’t think this thing has fleas do you?”

Sifr chuckles, “Fleas, indeed. No, I have my theories. But I highly doubt we’ll find anything living up here.”
>>
No. 914475 ID: 7816e7
File 154518291240.png - (76.96KB , 600x501 , 7-21.png )
914475

“Gabe?” Casey watches as his smile slips away, “Are you okay? You’ve gone pale...”
>>
No. 914476 ID: 7816e7
File 154518291645.png - (51.54KB , 600x428 , 7-22.png )
914476

“Something just moved,” Gabe whispers, “Behind us.” They turn to look and see only fog curling where it was recently displaced.
>>
No. 914479 ID: daffb0

Keep an eye upwards!
>>
No. 914481 ID: d887c0

Form a circle and get ready. Keep your eyes open, and watch the skies. Whatever this thing is, it won't catch you unprepared.
>>
No. 914493 ID: 91ee5f

>>914474
>But I highly doubt we’ll find anything living up here.
That’s what I’m afraid of. If we don’t find anything living up here, then we’re probably going to find some non living thing up here!

>>914476
>Something moved!
Look up!
>>
No. 914497 ID: e7848c

Circle up! Get ready!
>>
No. 914500 ID: c3a631

Eyes up and backs to each other!
>>
No. 914639 ID: 7816e7
File 154536765140.png - (137.91KB , 700x500 , 7-23.png )
914639

Their gazes flicker back and forth through the fog, looking for signs of movement. Sifr’s eyes trace upwards as a shadow passes overhead. “Move!” He shoves Gabe aside and dives for cover.
>>
No. 914640 ID: 7816e7
File 154536765413.png - (150.05KB , 500x700 , 7-24.png )
914640

Kol and Casey roll suddenly as something large, heavy and very flat comes crashing down between them. The sound of grinding stone reaches their ears as the creature reorients itself and turns to face them.

Sifr mutters, “Well, spite me. I guess it really does have fleas.”
>>
No. 914641 ID: e7848c

>>914640
Stone fleas? Adapted gargoyles? Either way, everyone get on your feet and be ready to move.
>>
No. 914644 ID: 65c9b9

>>914640
Gabe be ready to use a gate if the fleas try to make a meal out of you and your friends. keep moving to the head
>>
No. 914648 ID: 094652

I bet if we cracked the giant flea open and planted any eggs we find deep throughout the bargast it would die from maggot infestation.

The only problem would be destroying the whole infested corpse quickly without causing long-term air pollution or a horde of angry giant maggots.
>>
No. 914649 ID: b1b4f3

>>914640
Casey should bind it. Then anyone can deal with it.
>>
No. 914652 ID: 4c908d

Flea golems? Maybe they're here as sentinels to protect the bargast's back. What do those etches on it's sides mean?
>>
No. 914658 ID: b1b4f3

Oh, actual hostile things we need to beat up means Kol might want to use that bauble.
>>
No. 914659 ID: 91ee5f

>>914640
I don’t think anyone here has any sort of combat abilities. Except for Sifr, the guy who we were told managed to beat multiple vampires at once.

.....and Gabe if he wants to attempt using his portals to cut it, but he should probably save his power in case everyone needs to make an emergency exit, so maybe he shouldn’t try cutting it with his portals.
>>
No. 914726 ID: 7816e7
File 154545243595.png - (158.08KB , 800x371 , 7-25.png )
914726

The giant parasite lowers its head, aiming to leap at Gabe. Casey flings out her hand in response, the binding spell around her wrist glowing as it activates.

The flea launches forward, but stops with a sickening crunch as its hind legs are locked in place. The remaining momentum tears through the creature’s carapace and sends splinters of rock in a thousand directions. It heaves itself violently against the spell in mindless protest, kicking up chunks of frozen turf.
>>
No. 914727 ID: 7816e7
File 154545243904.png - (122.75KB , 700x675 , 7-26.png )
914727

Fascinated, Kol picks up a chunk of stone spalled off of the creature and examines the surface. Although faded and worn, a sigil of the three fates is visible as well as the words “Here lies Eustice Parv-“
>>
No. 914731 ID: b1b4f3

>>914727
It's made out of gravestones?! That's metal as fuck. Is this a vampire's construct powered by the souls of the dead? Do we have to Send this thing? What would that do if we were wrong?
It keeps targeting our Sender, but maybe that's just because he's in front of it.
>>
No. 914749 ID: 2007b6

Easiest way to mission-kill the tomb flea might be cutting it's legs off on one side with a small portal. What are our rules of engagement on this one, Sifr? Still trying to minimize portal use for stealth reasons? Say, would it be possible to muffle the portal thunderclap with binding magic?
>>
No. 914758 ID: 83bf07

If this thing is made of tombstones, where are the bodies?
>>
No. 914785 ID: df5c09

Call out to Sifr that the flea is made of tombstones and ask if he's heard of a creature such as this and how to disable or destroy it. It doesn't have the souls of the buried locked up it it, does it?

Gabe ought to keep moving and see if the flea keeps turning to focus on him. If so, then he may be targeted as a Sender. Keeping the Bargast's giant hairs between himself and the flea would be a good idea.

>>914749
Yeah, that sounds like a good way to disable the flea, if a portal won't bring down even more unwanted attention. But if a portal would, then perhaps Casey could do the same by wrapping a bind around the base of all the legs on one side, then "twisting" it like a rope so it constricts and pops the legs out. Alternatively, she can bind the body, loop the bind around one of the giant hairs to anchor the base of each of the legs in turn and winch the bind in to rip the leg out.

Is there anything Sifr or Kol could do against this stone flea? Could they knock whatever magic or souls are powering it out of its body?
>>
No. 914809 ID: bddb0f

>>914758

Ewww, extra-creepy lollipop!
>>
No. 914890 ID: 7816e7
File 154560498168.png - (132.57KB , 700x500 , 7-27.png )
914890

"Hey, guys! Its made of-"

"In a second Kol!" Casey clenches her fist. The bound construct seethes in her grip, the unnatural stresses tearing its body apart. "Gabe, go ahead and cut it!"

The Sender backs up in the face of the creature's savagery. "Are you sure? I-its not alive is it?"

Kol waves the chunk of stone, "It's made of gravestones! Go for it!"

"O-oh, okay!" Gabe opens his palm and arcs his brings his arm down like an axe. There's a flare of light and thunder-
>>
No. 914891 ID: 7816e7
File 154560499303.png - (142.61KB , 700x500 , 7-28.png )
914891

Followed by the sound of rubble collapsing.

Casey's binding spell fades and the tomb flea's legs crumble to the ground. The guides cautiously approach the monster's remains, applying probing toetips to confirm its defeat. "Where did all of these gravestones come from? And what happened to the bodies?"

As one they turn to the Spirit Guardian, who twists his moustache between his fingers as he thinks. "I have a theory about that. Have any of you ever heard of a genius loci?"
>>
No. 914892 ID: a62780

>>914891
They're like, the spirits of locations or sentient locations themselves right?

They're weird, I remember that much.
>>
No. 914893 ID: daffb0

The spirit of a place. Very common in animistic and shamanistic mythologies, not unknown in others either. I mean we already know a couple of fairies, and some of their kind take up that sort of role now and then.
>>
No. 914896 ID: b1b4f3

So, a graveyard could take on a sort of collective spirit of death? Odd form to use. Maybe it's symbolic. A parasite on top of a giant warhound... war feeds death? Or war feeds grief? Graveyards are places not where people die, but where people grieve. And bodies rot, I guess, but I think a spirit of a location would be more interested in the visible and the emotional. The corpses are out of sight.
>>
No. 914913 ID: d887c0

>>914891
A genius loci (plural genii loci) is the protective spirit of a place. They are often depicted in religious iconography as a figure holding attributes such as a cornucopia or snake.
Why such a creature would take such a shape and be on a bargast is beyond me.
>>
No. 914968 ID: 83bf07

So a better question is, where did this come from?
>>
No. 915035 ID: df5c09

It's a place that's taken on a spirit and intelligence of its own, right? Don't remember what things can cause that to happen, though.

Is Sifr thinking that a graveyard turned into an genius loci, uprooted itself and, what, wanted to go on vacation so it rode a bargast down south?
>>
No. 915129 ID: 7816e7
File 154587495310.png - (127.06KB , 600x600 , 7-29.png )
915129

“Its a type of spirit, right? The ‘spirit of a place’.” Casey tosses the chunk of broken marble aside, “Are you saying this bargast isn’t a creature, its a place?”

“Correct again, Ms. Leander. I believe that this is a burial mound: a barrow. From here, a vampire lord going into battle could carry an entire army of dead warriors, ready to be raised for combat. The psychological impact alone of facing such a force would be overwhelming.” His voice is an awed hush. “Still, to animate a mound of this size would require an enormous magical energies, and a spirit of considerable power.”

“But what’s it doing here?” Gabe asks. His mind reeling with the thought of undead hands clawing free of the frozen earth and dragging him down. He shudders and blanches.

Sifr shakes his head uncertainly, “That, my lad, I cannot answer. But, if there is a spirit or some kind of intelligence bound to this place, it must have its reason for travelling so far south."

His ear twitches as sound reaches it; the distant crunch of feet across frozen earth. “We best keep moving. We may have drawn attention to ourselves.”

Feeling the chill of fear at their heels, the four mice scurry into the fog, trying to stay close and following the steady march of the bargast’s progress. Uncertain of the distance traveled, they run blindly away from their pursuers.
>>
No. 915130 ID: 7816e7
File 154587495774.png - (69.03KB , 600x332 , 7-30.png )
915130

Suddenly, they find themselves in a clearing. They slow, casting their eyes around in every direction and looking for threats. As they do, Kol trips over something and lands heavily.
>>
No. 915131 ID: 7816e7
File 154587496257.png - (116.43KB , 700x700 , 7-31.png )
915131

He pushes himself up as the fog begins to thin. “Uh... guys…”
>>
No. 915136 ID: e7848c

>>915131
Hornets' nest. Try to minimize contact with the ground. That means getting up, Kol
>>
No. 915137 ID: b1b4f3

I think Sifr might need to run interception here if a whole bunch of grave-fleas come out. He should be more combat-ready than our rookie group.

This also might be where the spirit is, as... well, the main graveyard would also be the place you'd control the bargast from, right?
>>
No. 915165 ID: 91ee5f

>>915131
Is this a, “Move slowly and try not to disturb the graves” situation?

Or is it a, “Move as quickly as you can to get out of here” situation?
>>
No. 915167 ID: c18c89

Soo... the genius loci of the fecking killing fields?
>>
No. 915205 ID: d887c0

>>915131
An entire graveyard's worth of undead.
A ready-made horde.
This bargast isn't a siege weapon.
It's a troop transport.
>>
No. 915224 ID: a62780

>>915131
No, wait, this isn't the barghast anymore.

At least not the giant wolf version, the 'fur' is gone and the landscape is changed.

Kol I think you are in contact with the genius loci and can see it in it's original form.
Remember it is a graveyard you're dealing with; be quiet, be calm, be respectful of the dead interred within.
>>
No. 915390 ID: 7816e7
File 154605771250.png - (155.82KB , 700x543 , 7-32.png )
915390

The four adventurers square up, back to back, eyes watching for movement. “Alright, easy now. Everyone stay calm.” Sifr whispers.

Kol shuffles sideways with the group, “What’s the plan?”

“There’s a big stand of trees on the far end. I suspect that's the ‘mane’ of the beast, let’s make for cover there.” They nod in agreement and slowly make their way through the maze of marble.

Gabe shivers as cold and fear drip their way down his spine, “Man, I wish Miki had come with us. I could definitely do with some of her sunshine.”

Without warning, a headstone keels over, nearly landing on his woolen feet. Everyone jumps, freezing up and watching to see if it moves.
>>
No. 915391 ID: 7816e7
File 154605771634.png - (205.03KB , 700x700 , 7-33.png )
915391

Slowly, they breathe a sigh of relief and chuckle, realizing it’s inanimate. The laughter dies on their lips as the ground rises and a head emerges; blinking eyeless sockets to regard them with patient curiosity.
>>
No. 915393 ID: 83bf07

"Return to your rest, friend."
Someone check that headstone for a name.
>>
No. 915415 ID: b1b4f3

>>915391
Uh... so this is a ghoul? A lesser spirit occupying a vampire's victim?
It's not attacking, so ask it what's going on here. Why is the Barghast traveling?

What are spirit guides supposed to do with ghouls? Should we offer to Send it, or do we have to banish it? In the latter case this is going to be a problem because there are likely a lot of ghouls here...
>>
No. 915421 ID: 438a42

>>915391
"Sir, are you aware that your gravesite is infested with giant horse-sized fleas?"
>>
No. 915430 ID: bddb0f

If we go by the theory of these being ancient defenses/on-hand soldiers left by the Vampire that made the place, that might be a (very bored, if it can get bored) sentry of sorts. It might be waiting for a codeword or signal. Maybe you need to do some action. Something a vampire and its minions would have an easy time doing.

It's blind guesswork as to what I'm afraid. We could try everything from "the password is password" to giving the response very slowly, and spend precious seconds edging towards the forest in the hope that it will wait for the response to end before raising a fuss about the intruders.

You could just try staying silent. It poked its head up at the nervous laughter, not the tombstone falling over, so noise might be what triggered it.

Or you could try laughing harder. If it's got half a mind and popped up to see what was so funny, I bet you could keep it distracted if you kept entertaining it.
>>
No. 915432 ID: daa216

Name him Gary and take him along with you for the adventure.
>>
No. 915444 ID: daffb0

... An old man with a big wound?
>>
No. 915484 ID: 2007b6

"Please excuse us, didn't mean to disturb your rest, it's just that this bargast is headed for a populated area. We're spirit guides, you see. Sooner you can direct us to the, uh, captain or whatever, sooner we'll have that all sorted out."
>>
No. 915486 ID: df5c09

Apologetically right the headstone and hope that that sends the dead back to slumber. Otherwise, if this one turns hostile and others start popping up, Gabe's gonna need to be ready to open a emergency exit Gate into the treeline for the group.
>>
No. 915567 ID: bad12e

>>915391

Apologize for disturbing the poor guy, ask if they could use some help righting their grave, and perhaps what the quickest way through would be.

I mean, it's only right to treat them kindly, seeing as they're stuck in a hole.
>>
No. 915903 ID: 7816e7
File 154640019785.png - (166.87KB , 700x579 , 7-34.png )
915903

Casey extends a hand and flexes her aura. A ghostly tendril snakes across the frozen graveyard, wraps its self around the fallen stone and heaves it upright. “Um, sorry about that, we didn’t mean to wake you.”

The ghoul clacks its jawbone back and forth for a minute, fitting it back into position. Its beak creaks open and expels a foggy cough before answering, “Quyte alryght young maidyn. I thought it the work of they grayve beasts. Long hath they covyted thyne marker-stoyn, finest among our lord’s collection. I thank thee for returning it. What maye this humble servant to ayde thee in turn?”

“Actually,” Casey squats on the balls of her feet getting closer to eye-socket level, “Our city is in the path of the bargast. We need to stop it or turn it away. “

The ground heaves some more and the ghoul shoulders itself halfway free from its plot. “I thought it had grown warmyr, a most-“ his ashen skin tightens in an undead parody of a smile, “grayve occurrence. I know not what hath drawn it so to thys place, but should it stay, I feare the fyres binding it togethere maye wyther.”
>>
No. 915906 ID: 094652

Is there any known method to lure the barghest in a specific direction? Who was the beast's original master?

... Also what gender
>>
No. 915911 ID: b1b4f3

>>915903
Maybe that's what it wants. All things must die in time, perhaps the barghest has decided it's time.
Ask how best to reach the barghest's head to speak with it. Does he know how to avoid the grave beasts? Or is there another way to communicate with it?
>>
No. 915932 ID: 83bf07

>>915903
We can't have this carrier dropping it's payload on the city. Do we need to keep this thing alive until it moves on?
>>
No. 915950 ID: 91ee5f

>>915911
>Maybe that's what it wants. All things must die in time, perhaps the barghest has decided it's time.
I wonder if Gabe is prepared to attempt to Send the Bargast? Or do we need to get a more experienced Sender to help?

And if Gabe can successfully Send the Bargast, he may end up getting another promotion, like he did when he Sent Adrian.
>>
No. 915955 ID: 9b7f98

Would his lord be available for visitors?
>>
No. 916162 ID: 7816e7
File 154657228297.png - (154.87KB , 700x662 , 7-35.png )
916162

“If that happens, it would be catastrophic! We need to get it out of here. Gabe, could we send it?” Casey asks, already knowing the answer yet looking for a gleam of hope.

“What, all of it?” Gabe scrubs at the fur on his head in exasperation. His eyes keep darting back to the ghoul in nervous little twitches. “I mean... its over a kilometer tall! It would take… the entire Sender Academy working together to make a gate that big!”

“Right- “ Casey nods, “We need to move it then. Is your Lord here? Can we talk to him?”

The ghoul, Norman if the headstone is correct, coughs a boney cackle. “Long synce gonne I’m afrayd, love. Challenged and beatyn by hunters such as yourselves; done the grace of an honorable enyd. The spyrit of the place lives on in the great buryal chambyr. You’ll need descend into the ears to fynd it.”

“Is there any way we can avoid the grave fleas?”

“Blind to all but the light of living fyre, they seek mana and that alone. That and a fine headstoyn.” He squints possessively. “They are not the ones you should feare. There are servants of my Lord that never slumber, honoring his memory even still.”
>>
No. 916166 ID: b1b4f3

>>916162
...watch out, he could be referring to himself, and it looks like he's grabbing a rock. Ask who he means, for clarity's sake. Other ghouls?
Obviously if he tries to bash someone with that, give him an honorable end by lopping off his head.
...that kills ghouls, right?
>>
No. 916167 ID: b80d6d

>>916162
So wanna bone
Do the graveyard smash
Experience the little undeath
Fuck
>>
No. 916168 ID: 094652

Ask him if he knows where you can learn to make your own grave fleas. If you can build your own army in a resource field that should turn the tide.
>>
No. 916172 ID: d887c0

>>916162
You mean no harm to the beast or to any creatures that dwell upon it, living or otherwise. If you can settle this peacefully, then that would be ideal. Any help he or any others would be willing to contribute would be welcome.
>>
No. 916202 ID: 83bf07

>>916162
Are any of those said spirits nearby?
Casey, keep the gravestone in the air. Could be useful.
>>
No. 916240 ID: 86eb65

Well we mean your lord no dishonor. We just want to find out what his mount/house wants.

So what do you think we should do?
>>
No. 916249 ID: 06fdc0

is boney, uh, doing anything later?
>>
No. 916252 ID: b1b4f3

Please do not flirt with the corpse.
>>
No. 916254 ID: afdebc

Flirt with bird bones.
>>
No. 916268 ID: 2a75be

Flirt with the corpse.
>>
No. 916680 ID: 7816e7
File 154690046973.png - (163.18KB , 700x700 , 7-36.png )
916680

“We just want to talk to the spirit, not to disturb your Lord’s rest.” Casey explains, “Is there some way of getting past them?”

The corpse thinks about this for a moment, pulling himself out of the earth and dangling his legs in the grave. “Perhaps... A loyal servant such as myselfe myght speake with them and arraynge passage. I would go, but I feare leaving my stone to be pilfyred by those thyving fleas.”

“Well, what if we brought the stone with us?” Casey extends her binding spell again and heaves the block into the air.

“A-aye, I suppose.” He admits, clutching bony fingers together, “Be careful with that...” He looks back and forth across the misty hillside, “We best be quick then: The scent of magicks will draw attention.”
>>
No. 916690 ID: b1b4f3

>>916680
Well you heard him get a move on.
>>
No. 916698 ID: e7848c

>>916680
I hope Norman can keep up! If Casey has to carry him too, she's going to get worn out real quick.
>>
No. 916702 ID: a9af05

>>916690
This
>>
No. 916954 ID: 7816e7
File 154708582385.png - (174.88KB , 600x426 , 7-37.png )
916954

A crash from somewhere in the distance reaches their ears and they break into a run. The mice find precious little traction on the frosty ground. Their forced to slow their retreat lest they slam into the marble memorials. Norman hobbles to keep up, his spindly legs still stiff from unknown ages of disuse.

There’s a squawk from the ghoul as a stone flea lands in front of him, cutting him off from the group.
>>
No. 916956 ID: b1b4f3

>>916954
Kol, take the gravestone so that Casey and Gabe can kill the flea.

Or maybe that'll take too long and it's time for the elite in the group to flex some muscle?
>>
No. 916960 ID: e7848c

>>916954
Casey, grab its legs and spread em before it jumps again. Gabe, clip it.
>>
No. 917115 ID: 2007b6

Magic use is drawing aggro, so keep it to a minimum! Kol, you're the brawniest in the group, grab the headstone and see if you can lug it around without spending any mana. Sifr, give Norman a piggyback ride to speed things along.
>>
No. 917116 ID: a9af05

>>917115
Sounds like a good idea!
>>
No. 917118 ID: df5c09

Gotta cut the magic down, but not before saving Norman. Casey'll put the headstone down for a moment while she magic grabs Norman to yank him out of danger. Then each of the party'll grab a corner of the headstone to carry it, Casey sits Norman on the headstone and y'all skedaddle. His dessicated ass can't weigh that much, right?
>>
No. 917265 ID: 7816e7
File 154725816222.png - (272.24KB , 700x700 , 7-38.png )
917265

“Casey, can you lock it down?” Kol turns to face the beast, his feet slipping in the frozen loam.

“I gotta put this down first!” The Binder gently lowers the gravestone, “Gimme a second!”

“Don’t droppe it!” Comes a desperate cry from the other side of the flea.

“Gabe? How about you?” Kol asks.

“Running kinda low on mana!” He admits, “Lots of gates this morning! I can do it but I need a clean shot!” As he speaks, the titan swivels, sensing the flow of Casey’s binding spell.

“Allow me to provide you one, then.” Sifr’s cape and hat are cast aside and he rotates his shoulder joint with a creak.

The Guardian’s eyes go blank and his muscles stiffen. For a brief moment, he blurs as something under his skin ripples and snaps back into place. Sifr lunges forward, closing the gap between himself and the grave beast impossibly fast and delivers a strike against the stone flank with two of his knuckles.

The flea is immediately lifted off its feet and hurled into a rather impressive tomb, which explodes in a crash of marble. With a groan like a millstone in pain, the construct flips itself upright, shedding broken slabs and scored with a spiderweb of cracks.

"Tch," Sifr grumbles, rubing his fist, "getting old…"
>>
No. 917267 ID: b1b4f3

>>917265
Damn Sifr what kind of technique was that?
Kol needs to learn that shit.

Gabe, get ready.
>>
No. 917300 ID: d887c0

>>917265
Sifr has that Street Fighter shit on lock

Gabe, carve that stone bug a new one.
>>
No. 917308 ID: 83bf07

>>917265
PSYCHO POWAH
Now, before it reorients itself!
>>
No. 917329 ID: 864e49

Sutando!!

Now while its stunned.
>>
No. 917901 ID: 7816e7
File 154760198208.png - (202.49KB , 700x539 , 7-39.png )
917901

Sifr shouts a command, “Now! While its stunned!”

Gabe seems to come to his senses and shakes his head, “Oh! Right!” He waves a hand horizontally in the creature’s direction and a gleam of light flashes. The stones grind to a halt before slithering down into a pile of rubble, cleanly bisected top to bottom.

“What was that technique, gramps?” Gabe asks the elder Bardo.

Sifr rubs a knuckle and raises an eyebrow at the comment, “Body puppetry. Lets you take complete control of your body, bypassing the natural self preservation instincts that limit your strength.” He twists his neck with a crackle of cartilage, “Bit rough on the joints though.”
>>
No. 917902 ID: 7816e7
File 154760198801.png - (95.13KB , 700x700 , 7-40.png )
917902

There’s a crash from somewhere in the fog and he nods “Lets keep moving. Get to the trees!”

They hustle as fast as Norman’s joints allow them, watching as the pines loom overhead and blot out the steel grey sky.

“Hey, Kol. That puppetry thing, can you do that?” Gabe huffs, his breath ragged from running so much.

“Yeah! I did it at the dodgeball match! Its a fundamental power for Mediums.” They thread themselves in a loose line between the hulking tree trunks. The forest here is knotted and twisted with age, its dark spires clustered together like the ribs of a cathedral.
>>
No. 917926 ID: d887c0

These tight quarters are actually pretty advantageous. Those fleas won't be able to pull off any bullshit aerial attacks like they have been.
Keep pressing forward. Be careful not to lose track of each other.
>>
No. 917938 ID: 91ee5f

>>917902
>“Yeah! I did it at the dodgeball match! Its a fundamental power for Mediums.”
Then why didn’t you do that and help Sifr punch the giant rock bug?!
>>
No. 917957 ID: 83bf07

>>917902
Wait guys, instead of wasting Casey's mana and drawing the fleas to us, can we stick the headstone in Gabe's pocket dimension?
>>
No. 918123 ID: 7816e7
File 154777705606.png - (147.41KB , 700x500 , 7-41.png )
918123

“Hang on...” Casey skids to a halt. “They’re going to keep chasing us as long as my binding spell is active. Gabe, do you think you could fit this thing in your spacial pocket?”

“Oh...” He stares off into space as the realization dawns. “Oh, yeaaaahh.” A flash of red light and a clap of thunder later, and the headstone is gone.

The old crow frets, his bony hands wringing, “It- It is safe, then? I will see it returned?”

A skeletal hand touches Gabe’s shoulder and a ripple of discomfort zags through his fur. “Y-yeah dude, it’ll be fine. I can give it back when we’re done.”

“Very welle. I have throwne myself in with your lotte, and I will trust you.” He beckons, “Come, we approach the head!”

The ground slopes downhill at a worrying angle, rolling sickeningly as the Bargast stalks ever closer to the city. The party does their best to clamber down in a controlled tumble, grasping at clusters of branches and resorting to undignified butt-slides to keep from falling head over heels.

As they slide to the bottom, the sound of running water is heard. Casey stops, finding herself at the edge of a thin brook, its surface laced with mist.
>>
No. 918124 ID: 83bf07

>>918123
Knight. Catch your breath, everyone. They might not act until we approach.
>>
No. 918129 ID: 094652

Your undead guest is a civilian of this town. Let him talk to the knight first.
>>
No. 918132 ID: b1b4f3

Tell Norman it's his time to shine.
>>
No. 918134 ID: 864e49

>the edge of a thin brook
OF WHAT! We're literally on a giant dog where is this "water" coming from?!
>>
No. 918138 ID: b1b4f3

>>918134
It's not actually a giant dog, it's a section of land that's been animated via a dog-shaped spirit.
>>
No. 918140 ID: 91ee5f

>>918123
>resorting to undignified butt-slides to keep from falling head over heels.
Everyone check your butts to make sure your clothes didn’t rip when you slid down the hill.

>Knight
Hey guys, there’s a knight on the other side of the river. What should we do?

>>918132
I think we should have him stand behind us as he talks to the knight. You know, just in case the knight attacks, we’ll be able to intercept before he reaches Norman.

>>918138
Yes, but if the land is separated from the ground and is walking around, then where is the water coming from?
>>
No. 918213 ID: 2007b6

Follow Norman's lead, he'd know the protocol.

>>918140
>if the land is separated from the ground and is walking around, then where is the water coming from?
This thing's hundreds of meters wide, with an irregular surface that's not immune to erosion, it's been unnaturally cold and exposed to the elements for centuries, and is currently moving through humid air near a coastline. Only real new information the presence of a small waterway gives us is that a bargast's main body structure isn't porous enough for all the accumulated rain and dew to flow straight down through it.
>>
No. 918370 ID: 7816e7
File 154795686931.png - (148.52KB , 700x700 , 7-42.png )
918370

Casey trails her tailtip through the water. “Where’s this coming from? And why isn’t it frozen?” She hisses through her teeth as the shock of cold ripples up her spine.

“It be more than mere water. It is a symbol: alle who crosse must be granted safe passage by our lord, lest the land itself would cast thee out.” Norman croaks, his jaw wobbling loosely as he talks. “Now, beholde: The guardian of the river!”

Through the mist they spy a figure clad in fullplate, an arming sword held before them. It stands as immobile as a statue, frost gleaming from between its greaves.

A voice booms out, echoing against the trees. It sounds deep, ancient, and surprisingly cheerful. Nevertheless, the intent is clear, “Who goes there!

Gabe gives their guide a bit of a nudge, “Care to introduce us?”

The figure shambles forward, his hand held high. “Hail, brave defender. I am Norman Wayne, servant of our lord, the great kinge under the earth, his grace Hekal. I bring with me four travelers from the lande below, wishing to speak with the spirit of this place.”

The metal clad warrior nods, ice crackling on its helmet. “And you speak for them?

“I do,” replies Norman. “They have carried my stone, guarding it against danger.”
>>
No. 918371 ID: 7816e7
File 154795687451.png - (130.09KB , 700x500 , 7-43.png )
918371

Very well. They carry your favor. Let us have a challenge!” The knight pulls itself free of the frost, taking up its sword and clanking over to a stand of trees.

With a single backhand swipe, the blade cleaves cleanly through the broad trunk of a pine. The massive tree groans and slowly begins its long decent to the forest floor. Crashing against the far side of the stream, the wood splinters and bends awkwardly: forming a crude bridge over the running water.

As the noise settles down, the guides peek out from behind the safety of a tree, finding the warrior balanced on top of the fallen trunk and holding a pair of staves. “Who among you shall offer challenge?
>>
No. 918372 ID: b1b4f3

>>918371
Kol! Time to practice your puppetry.
>>
No. 918378 ID: e7848c

>>918372
Agreed. Sifir probably can't take a hit like Kol can. Step up, Kol.
>>
No. 918407 ID: 91ee5f

>>918371
>”Who among you shall offer challenge?”
Considering this looks like a physical challenge, that automatically rules out Casey and Gabe. That leaves Kol and Sifr.

Normally, I’d say Sifr should go in, since he’s got years of experience. However, due to his earlier complaint about getting old, I think he’d be in danger of hurting himself if he attempted this challenge.

So that leaves only one person capable of doing this. Let’s send in Kol and hope he’s got what it takes!
>>
No. 918441 ID: daffb0

Kol. And since he's facing a knightly challenge, methinks for luck he needs a token bestowed by a fair lady.
>>
No. 918455 ID: a9af05

>>918371
Send in Kol.
>>
No. 918700 ID: 7816e7
File 154828620935.png - (175.04KB , 700x500 , 7-44.png )
918700

“I’ll do it.” Kol takes a running leap, tucking his feet as high as they’ll go and landing on the bridge. He stands and faces his opponent. The knight tosses one of the staves in his direction and he snatches it out of the air.

“Kol! Kol! Kol! You got this!” Chants Gabe as he pumps his fist in the air.

The armor clad guardian bows, and Kol nods in reply. He squints, trying to size up his opponent, applying the skills learned following the Path of the Medium. He might as well try to read a brick wall. The soldier seems genuinely enthused to be challenged in combat, but doesn’t display the hunger for victory that a warrior normally exhibits.
>>
No. 918706 ID: 10c408

Kol, your stance is all wrong for this. Your lead foot is in the same direction as your back foot. You are also hunched down and forwards. If he's smart and fast he's going to jab his staff forwards into the empty air behind your exposed back and then just push you right off the log because you've given him a hell of an opening.

Correct your posture and get ready to deflect any strikes.
>>
No. 918707 ID: 3ed3c3

>>918700
Play defensive. If you can't get a read on him, then be ready for anything.
>>
No. 918710 ID: b1b4f3

He might not want to win. He might just want to have fun. So have some fun with it.
>>
No. 918717 ID: c1212a

He's wearing heavy armor, you're not. If you can mess up his footing he'll be in the drink real quick.
>>
No. 918730 ID: 83bf07

>>918700
Better be quick about fixing your stance or this soldier will take two steps and topple you. You're broadcasting unsteadiness right now, if he jumps on it, make him regret it. Be ready to dodge.
>>
No. 919013 ID: 7816e7
File 154846874435.png - (184.31KB , 700x700 , 7-45.png )
919013

Kol steadies himself, taking a defensive stance and waiting for his opponent’s first move.

The knight scoots forward and finds his distance, before lunging forward in a clatter of armor. His staff clacks soundly as Kol parries: once, twice, and again. The attacks are fast exploratory pokes; testing the Medium’s reactions and skill.

Nevertheless, Kol feels an uncanny strength behind them, and decides he needs to force the attacker back. He counterattacks, aiming low, trying to sweep the knees. The guard hops back with a clank, out of range. From within the helm comes a happy sigh, as if savoring the moment.

Kol smiles, “Been a while, eh?”

“It does this soldier’s heart good to feel the pulse of battle. My heart may not beat, but it sings for this moment, friend."
>>
No. 919015 ID: e7848c

>>919013
Wonder if this is a battle of stamina. See how long you can make this last for him. Play it safe but don't be afraid to push forward.
>>
No. 919017 ID: b1b4f3

Can't win a battle of stamina against a dead guy. He's definitely in this for the thrill of the fight though. Amp up your attacks gradually, make a show of it.
>>
No. 919020 ID: bad12e

>>919013

Well, best we help him enjoy it, eh?
>>
No. 919021 ID: 10c408

Hmm. On the one hand, he's likely going to win a battle of endurance. On the other hand, he's probably a whole lot lighter than you, Kol. And as such, will probably be somewhat easier to stumble off the log.

And giving how bad his hands are positioned for playing defensively..

keep up being defensive for another moment, then go aggressive and switch it back to being defensive for a few blows then rinse and repeat. You should be able to force him to give you more ground than you'll lose on each exchange and eventually he'll have no more ground to give and just fall off the log.
>>
No. 919038 ID: 3ed3c3

>>919013
This is a pretty big deal for Kol, too.
Dueling a Death Knight on the back of a bargast to save the town from imminent doom.
This is the sort of thing that legends are written about.
>>
No. 919132 ID: 7816e7
File 154856026605.png - (163.08KB , 500x700 , 7-46.png )
919132

“This is pretty cool for me too.” Kol nods, slapping a jab away with his staff. “But there's a lot of people counting on me to stop the barghast before it reaches town.”

There’s a slightly metallic sigh from within the helmet. “Yes, well, I suppose it can’t be helped. We best stop playing around then.” The soldier attacks, chaining together a flurry of blows at the Medium.

Still on the defensive, Kol paces backwards. The weapons clack and echo through the forest as the pace builds into a frenzy, neither side able to gain the advantage. A forward lunge passes through Kol’s guard and-

Passes through him.
>>
No. 919133 ID: 7816e7
File 154856027230.png - (200.01KB , 700x700 , 7-47.png )
919133

Kol’s body ducks, his spirit puppeteering him from above. He thrusts forwards and knocks his opponent off balance with a clang. There’s a splash as the soldier’s helm is lost to the icy river. The figure staggers back, its gaunt face all stitches and broken teeth. “That's the spirit!
>>
No. 919134 ID: 83bf07

"No, that's my spirit!"
Sweep the leg, but be ready to catch them.
>>
No. 919150 ID: 3ed3c3

Sweep the leg. No mercy.
>>
No. 919163 ID: b1b4f3

>>919133
Move faster, hit harder! Push your body. Maybe you can get some more clothing damage in.
>>
No. 919206 ID: ac10e5

This IS a good time to be aggressive, but try not to lower your guard, either. He's better at this than you, you can't give him a moment of weakness to exploit.
>>
No. 919221 ID: 094652

Wave your spirit butt in his face.
>>
No. 919223 ID: a9af05

>>919206
I agree
>>
No. 919290 ID: 7816e7
File 154871414576.png - (167.42KB , 500x700 , 7-48.png )
919290

"No, that’s my spirit!" Kol follows up. He presses the advantage and sweeps low, taking the knight's legs out from under them.
>>
No. 919291 ID: 7816e7
File 154871414952.png - (111.92KB , 600x459 , 7-49.png )
919291

A series of sorrowful clanks and a splash later and the soldier sits up, water pouring out of their armor. "Ahh, I suppose I left myself open for that." Legs splayed in the stream, they slap their head to dislodge water from an ear. "You stand at attention for two hundred years and its no surprise the joints get a little stiff. Well fought young man." The stitched-together warrior shakes the wet from their hair and nods. "I suppose you've earned an audience with the spirit under the hill."
>>
No. 919297 ID: 91ee5f

>>919291
Make sure you bow to your opponent as a sign of respect!
>>
No. 919306 ID: 3ed3c3

>>919291
Be respectful. Thank your opponent for a good fight before proceeding.
>>
No. 919353 ID: 864e49

Help him out of the river.
Then help him out of his clothes.
>>
No. 919358 ID: e7848c

Well thought. Give him the respect he deserves.
>>
No. 919359 ID: caf1de

Casey tell him he's cute
ask if he can cum with us
>>
No. 919392 ID: df5c09

Ask the knight what their name is.

>>919353
But use the staff to do so. Otherwise clapping hands to freezing cold wet metal gauntlets will get said hands frozen to said gauntlets.

Oh, and also use the staff to fish their helmet out of the water and return it to them.

>>919359
Ah, but they have their orders to stand and guard the crossing here and a sense of duty strong enough to do so for two centuries. They aren't gonna abandon their post just 'cause we gave 'em a compliment and asked 'em to travel with us.

We could promise them that we'll ask their superior, presumably the spirit under the hill, to permit them to at least move about their guard area freely. That way their joints won't get all stiff again.
>>
No. 919396 ID: a9af05

>>919291
Bow to your opponent.
>>
No. 919430 ID: 7816e7
File 154881953130.png - (60.99KB , 600x491 , 7-50.png )
919430

Kol hops down to the bank and offers his defeated opponent a hand up.

“Much appreciated. I am Sir Opinel. Guardian of the barrow.” The knight extends a hand and half-heaves himself out of the mud.

“Kol, I’m a Spirit Guide.” The Medium winces as an icy cold hand claps into his palm. It's not the searing, mana-draining cold of lichfire; merely the chill of a very wet, very dead person in plate mail. He braces himself as he helps lift the waterlogged soldier to shore. “You okay?”

“Nothing needing to be sewn back on, which is a blessing. Well fought, champion Kol. Let us not delay, I sense the barghast draws close to what it seeks.” Opinel takes up the discarded sword, and sheaths it with a clank. He starts off into the forest ahead, half-turning to guide them.
>>
No. 919431 ID: 7816e7
File 154881953630.png - (129.37KB , 700x599 , 7-51.png )
919431

Norman catches Gabe by his scarf. He clears his throat, “Ahem. As faitheful servant, I approach no further unless I am summoned. I shalle remain here, but…eh, w- would you mind...?” He cocks his head towards the ground, looking to Gabe for help.
>>
No. 919432 ID: 094652

"Sir, your social cues are falling on dead ears. Mine are big, round, and alive."
>>
No. 919435 ID: 91ee5f

>>919431
I think he wants his gravestone back.
>>
No. 919436 ID: b1b4f3

Yeah he wants the gravestone, I presume he's going to dig himself back into his grave.
>>
No. 919439 ID: 6a6833

Give his gravestone back, carefully, and if he seems like it maybe help him dig himself back into the ground? Actually ask him if it's fine to leave it here, or if there's a particular nearby spot that would be better or safer.
>>
No. 919442 ID: b1b4f3

Digging takes time we don't have.
>>
No. 919445 ID: df5c09

He wants his gravestone back? Sure, if that's it. You just need to find suitably level ground to stand it up on end as it comes out of the portal. And thank him for sticking his neck out and guiding your group. Oh, and he's not gonna have trouble with the grave fleas tryin' to nab his gravestone out here, is he?
>>
No. 919455 ID: 83bf07

Give it back and ask if he has a preference where. Under a tree, maybe?
>>
No. 919468 ID: bad12e

>>919431

Yeah, let's pop it back out and plunk it down for him. It's a rather lovely spot, after all, and I think he'll have a nice, long, well-deserved rest here.
>>
No. 919568 ID: 7816e7
File 154890818106.png - (165.35KB , 700x700 , 7-52.png )
919568

“Oh! Sure, no problem.” Gabe makes a few signs with his hands and a section of earth sinks into itself. A shower of dirt appears out of the air next to the freshly dug grave. “Is this okay, out here in the woods?”

“Oh, yes. I have long wanted to finde a place less crowded. This will be quite restful. I feel much safer with Sir Opinel stationed nearby.”

The sender gives one last gesture and and Norman’s headstone drops out of its spacial hiding place.

“Thank you kindly! Best of lucke hunters!” Norman cackles, settling down into his new home.

Gabe shivers and hurries to catch up with the rest of the group.
>>
No. 919569 ID: 7816e7
File 154890818528.png - (190.71KB , 700x700 , 7-53.png )
919569

As he draws closer, its apparent that the other Guides are getting a history lesson. “And this I earned in battle at the Cresswary bridge, cleanly severed by a footman for Lord Carver.” Opinel points to stitching around his ear. “Full five hundred men they threw upon us. Still, we held the line as our Lord had ordered.”

Casey’s eyes sparkle with interest. Her notebook open and pencil blurring, she works to jot down everything the soldier says in scribbled shorthand. “This is amazing! We have fey accounts of the Warden’s War but very little from the side of the Vampire Lords!”

“Our stories are written upon our bodies; unforgettable and eternal.” The knight smiles and reveals a mouth like a ruined cemetery.
>>
No. 919579 ID: 3ed3c3

>>919569
Continue pumping Opinel for info as you proceed.
>>
No. 919581 ID: b1b4f3

Holy smokes the mass of historical knowledge here! If we can get the barghast to stop without harming it or its denizens this will be a great boon to historians.
Ask him if that's likely to be possible. Does he have any idea why the barghast is moving?
>>
No. 919584 ID: 094652

Ask him why they were fighting in the first place. And you want three answers:
1) Why HE and the other grunts fought
2) Why the Vampire Lords claimed they should fight
3) What physical assets that his Lord "totally assured him were not important compared to the first two answers" were at stake?

Also you'd like a description of a regular day on the job. And you want details. Every tidbit of how things actually worked back then is scientific research that used to be overlooked or falsified, now in your hands.
>>
No. 919651 ID: df5c09

Just to double-check what Norman said, ask Sir Opinel what the full name of the Vampire Lord who was his master before he or she was defeated was. It was Lord Hekal, right?

And after their Lord's defeat, what became of the command hierarchy here? Who's in charge of whom? Who commands the barghast? Did their Lord's orders die with 'em or do any still stand that they follow? Are they still bound to serve the Lord, if they ever were before, now that the Lord is gone? How free are they to act on their own will? And what has he and the other followers of his Lord been doing since their Lord's defeat?

What does Sir Opinel remember of how he came to be a follower of his Lord, and what can he tell of the day his Lord fell? What were the circumstances that led up to the Lord's defeat?
>>
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!
>>
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
File 154942184861.png - (169.43KB , 700x560 , 7-55.png )
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
File 154959236793.png - (220.95KB , 700x627 , 7-57.png )
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
File 154959237223.png - (140.73KB , 700x700 , 7-58.png )
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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