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File 131577974982.png - (263.09KB , 600x913 , ch 6.png )
347642 No. 347642 ID: aaa0df

Previously, Before the Storm
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/227246.html
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/262261.html
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/281675.html
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/296192.html
http://tgchan.org/kusaba/quest/res/308967.html
Expand all images
>>
No. 347643 ID: aaa0df
File 131577986936.png - (256.73KB , 900x572 , 639.png )
347643

"No, please wh-"
"Ssssshhhh, resst now~"
>>
No. 347644 ID: aaa0df
File 131577992884.png - (263.39KB , 900x572 , 640.png )
347644

*crack*
"Till we all wake in glory... to sleep, to dream."
>>
No. 347645 ID: aaa0df
File 131578000342.png - (236.97KB , 900x572 , 641.png )
347645

"...and such dreams... my love... such dreams I have seen."
>>
No. 347646 ID: aaa0df
File 131578010850.png - (196.61KB , 900x572 , 642.png )
347646

"..shall we all see?

Hark!"
>>
No. 347647 ID: aaa0df
File 131578024088.png - (199.19KB , 900x572 , 643.png )
347647

"Who goes?... who sees... who peers upon I -?"
>>
No. 347648 ID: aaa0df
File 131578050304.png - (174.45KB , 577x584 , 644.png )
347648

"Rekel! No.. no I'm not, never. Never mad."
"Shhh no, no. It's okay, you are safe. It's okay."
>>
No. 347649 ID: aaa0df
File 131578066017.png - (178.89KB , 791x448 , 645.png )
347649

"Mother... I..."
"You were dreaming, you've been sick all night, feverish. You should eat. The doctor thinks you were poisoned by that... that thing."
>>
No. 347657 ID: 1854db

>>347649
Was that a dream or a memory?
>>
No. 347665 ID: 07416a

>>347657
I think it was a vision. "Who peers upon I?"

In the meantime, rest. Again, call for the inquisitor and Lucidia. Residual possession is a possibility.
>>
No. 347782 ID: cfa804

So I'm guessing that was your crazy brother that we've heard so much (or so little) of? Were you actually THERE during any of that or were you off at school? If it's a memory it suggests you were there, but if it's just a dream... well i can understand you having dreams/nightmares about this, especially recently with what's been going on. Did they manage to get a sample of whatever it was you puked up? what they think 'poisoned' you?
>>
No. 348496 ID: 6b6016

Sounds like a memory to me. You should lie back and rest, maybe piece this shit together.
>>
No. 349601 ID: d69a2f
File 131621555401.png - (305.95KB , 900x630 , 646.png )
349601

I feel warm, perhaps feverish, but my mind feels clearer now, I don't... remember every remembering that before? How could I have 'remembered' that?

"August, why did you call, call 'his' name?"
"A dream, a nightmare I think, I don't remember it but I remember so clearly... that doesn't make any sense does.. it?"
"You were so young then, and we kept you away from the danger, at least we tried, we never knew... knew i-"
My mother's voice catches for a moment, the thought of my eldest, now dead, brother's sudden treachery and madness an ever present haunt to her.
"It was only a nightmare. I've been having a few, since the fae were here."
"They?"
"My... condition may... may make me more sensitive to their energy... their presence, if you called Lucidia, or Feurchelle... perhaps..."
"Hush, hush, eat. The Inquisitor was already poking around here almost as soon as they brought you in. He was who inspected you and deemed it a 'bad reaction'. Dear Lucidia was by almost as soon, she would have stayed by you still had we let her but I thought you would do better with some air than a crowd of people. I can still watch you yet. Eat... now sleep~ you need your energy back.~"
>>
No. 349622 ID: d69a2f
File 131621808202.png - (200.59KB , 900x630 , 647.png )
349622

I manage to drain the broth she gives me and am soon filled with the warm contentment of being safe and held. Letting my mind fumble its way over the knowledge presented to me.

That fae, does he still haunt me? Surely they will not wait forever to discover my secrets, or to avenge my injury to their comrade. Yet, what was that the Inquisitor said, 'entering the realm of dreams is usually antithetical to their power?' Howso? What could that mean, and if so, then why is he an exception?

Someone is looking for Larcen de Scarlette; the famous highwayman, immortal folk hero and gentleman thief. My father claims to have killed 'a' Larcen, but this 'new' Larcen it seems is a peer and old school friend of mine. Some secret apprenticeship? A simple case of exploiting a legend? Something stranger still?

What secret do Sperenze guard so well? Who are their secret allies and what is the source of their Matron's unnatural vitality? Was that agent who assaulted me truly one of their own? Why in the pleasant haze of laxity does my mind linger for a moment or more upon the teasing thought of the Sperenze princess?

For a moment more I linger and then turn to the darker matter of my own family's skeletons. Rekel, the eldest of my father's sons, he was the first among Tertarus' litter. The brightest star among us, nigh sure to be our leader, until it was discovered too late that somewhere, somehow he had fallen. Taking his litter sister and many others with him, only to meet his own fate in the grip of Terterus.

As to my father, he has unsurprisingly named him the heir to the throne of Merbioullant since the recent births have yielded Terterus heirs of his own. My loyalty now sworn it is now tested to go forth as an instrument of the family's will, to hunt down and bring back one who has injured both our capabilities, and our honor. In this task I am given command of my youngest brother and his master, as knight and squire.

Sirius, was that truly Sirius, or the figment of my drug addled mind? He said he needs help, for me to meet him... somewhere, something cove? In a fortnight? What's a fortnight anyway, I 'should' know that one...
>>
No. 349632 ID: d69a2f
File 131621929640.png - (367.79KB , 900x630 , 648.png )
349632

I start awake to be greeted by the impassive visage of a familiar kobold. Staring... impassively from behind those cold, cold lenses.

Just...staring...

"Are you... just...

"..."

The faintest twitch of a whisker, and perhaps an indrawn breath the only sign of acknowledgment, as though she were peering through my skin, looking past me.

I'm not even wearing a mask, has she no decency!? No... just a kobold doesn't have to... but she wears a mask... I...

"Are you just going to stare at me all day?"
In the voice of a child far too serious for it's age she answers.

"Sir, it is evening. You have lain in bed all day and I am to watch you for the night."
"I don't really think that is necessary, I feel a lot better already."
"That was not a part of my orders."
"But-
"..."
>>
No. 349641 ID: d69a2f
File 131622061290.png - (198.96KB , 900x630 , 649.png )
349641

Deciding that I've had quite enough laying around being stared at I excuse myself to her protest and bid my family thanks and a farewell (albeit over a meal) that I may better attend to some matters in my own house with a promise to 'take it easy' and visit over the next week.

While making my way back home I notice a persistent hanger on and decide to test my returning fitness just a bit.

"You really don't have to keep watching me now."
"My orders do not preclude your state of health nor location. I am to account for all of your actions till morning."

"Oh come now, this is taking it just a bit far."
"My observation need not interfere with whatever you may wish to do. Please do continue on with little regard to my continued presence."

"This is ridiculous... stop chasing me.
"You are the one determining our parallel velocities sir."
>>
No. 349645 ID: d69a2f
File 131622131041.png - (146.19KB , 526x630 , 650.png )
349645

Slamming the door behind me I finally re-enter my domicile to be greeted by Baldrekgus leaping to me and clinging to my clothes as he blurts out.

"OhMasterAugust,gottaguestandI'vebeenbusycauseTrechrejrabeensickandyoubeengoneandthecleaningandthegardeningandth-"

"Ahhh August~ So good it ez to be seeing hew, persued so by de womans if my ears did not deceive, but such it ez our life, no? Dis life ah gentlemens who are how deh say 'tres magnifique'? But enough about us, tell us now, ow goes otherwise, princely compatriot?"
>>
No. 349648 ID: 07416a

>>349645
YOU are receiving death threats on his behalf. He needs to tell you what he stole. Now.
>>
No. 349649 ID: b6edd6

"Got attacked physically by a mutated thug, attacked psychically by a fae, and learned that we might all be doomed in two weeks or so.
Such is life.

About that thug, he was inquiring about you. Are you acquainted with any unnaturally muscular fellows who own weaponized umbrellas?"
>>
No. 349651 ID: 1854db

>>349645
May as well be honest here. And tell him we got assaulted by someone looking for him!

Hey, what was with that kobold? Steelsplinters is so much more... mature than we are used to. Why is she different? Is there merely more than one breed of kobold around? She wouldn't give a straight answer, and it's nagging at me.
>>
No. 349710 ID: 84b916

>>349651
The other Kobold? Can't recall her name, but he was singled out from birth nearly. While she can associate with other kobolds she was not raised among them, and is essentially an eloquent-ninja-doctor-chemist-modern-major-general by way of training from hell from the best The Family has available.
>>
No. 349995 ID: 252e1b

>>349648

Man we know what he stole, the fucking Sperenze crown jewels. And I applaud him for it, that was totally awesome.

The spy was on a fishing expedition, nothing more.

The hyperbaric chamber is possibly indicative of a cache of high-tech medical technology, possibly related to the Matron's longevity and fertility. Best to ask what else your friend there saw while he was deep in House Sperenze holdings. He might have seen the answer and not recognized it.

Oh, and a fortnight is two weeks. So you've got a time limit, but it's not an unfair one.
>>
No. 350203 ID: cfa804

>>349622
You bring up a lot of problems/issues here, and while certainly now it seems that Larcen here is the most immediate concern it might be more helpful were more of our voices intent on addressing more than merely the current situation. See if there's some way to knock out more than one bird with one stone, as it were.

I think it'd be important to discover whether or not this guy is truly as well-intentioned and friendly towards you as he seems or whether it's just some mask he's put on and which he might drop at any time and become Serious Business and sticks that knife in your throat. I mean, if we assume that your father killed his 'master' or made some attempt on HIS life, well then such a matter could be rather sensitive, and if he's at all as competent as his reputation would have you believe, it wouldn't be entirely prudent for you to treat him as your childhood friend. Treat him instead as the person he's become and see if anything of your friend remains in this new entity.

Make some small talk and see where his loyalties lie and whether or not you can trust him. Maybe you can help each other? After all, your family is rivals with the Sperenze and if Larcen mucks with their plans it helps you out, perhaps you can offer some help in return. I mean perhaps you already have in dispatching someone that's been sent to find him. Maybe he can help you out some in a way that'll also get him out of Sperenze's sights for a while... I mean, the hunter was here in your town, where Larcen turns out to be, suggesting that they're quite close on his tail. Perhaps he could help you out in this matter with Sirius? I mean, from what it seems like, you need to go to this place "Nenetor Cove," and you've 13 days left to get there, and depending on whether you know where it is and how long it takes to get there, you might need to take a family plane to get there. And you might need backup. Any dealings the fae might have in this matter probably originate with something Sirius has done, is doing, or plans to do, so we can expect their presence to muddle the waters... It could be quite useful to have Larcen around, and as a famous thief surely he's got a large band of like-minded miscreants he can order around, right? It'd probably be easier to stay low-key for Sirius were you to use some 'outside help' rather than turning to the Sauterelle miltia or something.

But on that note, what about this mission to your family? It doesn't seem to be of great importance nor necessitating too much immediate action. If worst comes to worst you can always ask your father to send someone else to do it. But for all we know it might be close to the Cove where you're supposed to go help/meet Sirius, and maybe your little brother and his Knight Master could be useful as well.
>>
No. 351326 ID: d69a2f
File 131666869619.png - (256.01KB , 900x630 , 651.png )
351326

"I've been kept quite busy of late, please, come to the dining room, I would love to talk about it."
"Be taking a seat by de window if hew are not minding, hmmmm? More dan a bit busy ourselvs dez times."
"Well, I've been assaulted a few times, at least once by the fae, but most startlingly and recently by someone who I believe was looking for you, I suspect it was an agent of the Sperenze."
"Ahhh doz Sperenzes, almost, almost dey are making more trouble dan was worth for me. Hew see, as soon as I am returning to camp, we find everyone, dead, slaughtered meat rotting in de brush. Spending last week almost laying low und keeping out a sight."
What did you stea-erh take from them? What did you see? Because that agent had a very sharp umbrella pole and I had a rather closer inspection of it than I wanted"
"Was just some jewelry and tings, few artistical peices und such hew, know? But... if I had to guess it was the matron ooh she is such de woman hew know? Thighs like a velvet vise, such skill und fire... ahh. Like dose women like wine hmmm? A pity really tiz... but a she, you see tis almost frightening, someting... powerful, strange about her. Almost, sacred strange hew know? She would wish-"
>>
No. 351327 ID: d69a2f
File 131666885027.png - (266.72KB , 900x630 , 652.png )
351327

"What was dat?"
"What, I didn't hear an-"
"Hush, I tink... staying here."
>>
No. 351328 ID: 2ad775

That was just your tag-along kobold friend hanging around above the window he was sitting at. Don't know where she scampered off to now though.
>>
No. 351334 ID: d69a2f
File 131666947040.png - (242.57KB , 900x630 , 653.png )
351334

>>349995
Yes, and if he does know he might not know to tell me, I'll have to spent some time asking him subtly about their holdings.
>>350203
Well, Larcen 'is' on the run, so if he wishes to really on me, I could certainly use the extra manpower in the coming weeks it seems. That is, if we can truly trust him anymore given the life he has chosen.
>>349651
I thought I had mentioned something about different kinds of kobolds once. Very, diverse
>>349710
Well, some are singled out for their resemblance to Verhimen to various ends... some less savory than others I imagine. However, I suppose there would be some... alienation there. Belonging in neither world? Entirely too competent for one, but not capable of ent-
>>351328
Damnit
"Wait, hold up, I think it's her."
>>
No. 351337 ID: 35e1a0

jeez, she is a sneaky one. wonder how she will spin this.
>>
No. 351340 ID: b6edd6

It being SteelSplinters implies that Lucidia is having you watched. It might just be to watch for another fae attack, but in that case she could have told you...

Also, it might just be a change in lighting, but that painting behind you seemed to change its image a bit.
>>
No. 351343 ID: b6edd6

Oh wait, she already did tell you she was following you.
>>
No. 351346 ID: d69a2f
File 131667021309.png - (287.27KB , 900x630 , 654.png )
351346

With a fluttering not unlike some gray night owl I see a lithe for dash low to the ground and dive under the table as Larcen slides out of the kitchen and begins waving his sword about.
"Oi, tink hew got on ov doze ninja type kobold ting under yer funishings, gimme a broom soz I can bop it on it's noze und stablish sum dominance for it breeds and we have dozen of the things sneeken round the corners n like!"
"Woah, woah hold up, it's the girl from earlier, okay. It's okay.
"Whut, really? I didn't guess ye fer..."
"It's not like that!"
"It's not like that!"
"Ey, I'm not gunna judge iffen yer inta that sortat thing, really."
>>
No. 351347 ID: 35e1a0

just facepalm and tell him to sit down. and tell her to have a seat as well, since we can't lose her may as well keep her in the open.
>>
No. 351351 ID: 252e1b

So you got a decision. How much do you want Lucinda to know? Because whatever Steelsplinters knows, so will she.

I can't imagine Lucinda will be very pleased that you're friends with someone almost as disreputable as we are, but there's nothing inherently wrong with associating with a skilled thief. Especially one who trusts that you're not out to screw him or leave him hanging. Such people make valuable agents.

Fancy yourself your brother's spy master, August? You could start here and do quite well for your family's intelligence gathering capabilities.
>>
No. 351357 ID: a2fa74

>>351327
There was a rat on the window next to him.
Specifically, a white-furred rat with an orange or gold mask with blue eyes.
Get out of there. Your home should be safe for the two of you, and your friend from school can cleverly disguise himself as your friend from school.

You're going to want to reach an understanding with him, by the by. Something where you'll grant him some measure of protection and safety in your lands so long as he's not a problem locally, and if he happens to find or find out interesting things on his travels you'll see if an equitable exchange can be arranged.
You know, the basic "We'll turn a blind eye and keep out pursuers as long as nobody here is making a fuss, and we'll pay you for cool shit" deal.

This is an easy arrangement; if somebody sends in assassins to kill him, you kill the assassins and raise a fuss about people sending assassins into your lands.
If people send in investigators you have to acknowledge then you'll get him a head start.
You tell your guards that you don't want them chasing ghosts and witnesses be damned if he's not causing trouble then he's not here.
>>
No. 351359 ID: d69a2f
File 131667138521.png - (253.55KB , 900x630 , 655.png )
351359

Larcen sheaths his weapon and we all sit down like civilized beings for a moment.

"So is she, erhm, safe?"
"I am only here under specific and direct orders concerning Sauterelle. Your private matters do not concern me."
"Ohhh~ A liddle miss serious here hmm?"
"She's only watching me for tonight."
"A task made easier if he would take his allotment of prescribed rest."
"Hmmm vell de bedside manner is jest a bit cold I tink, but den vhe are de intrudur here no?"
...
"Anywhoooo~, dis person attacking hew? Someone looking for me no doubt. Perhaps we can be questioning him yes, no doubt he would shed more light"
"Oh damn, I completely forgot, the body!"
"Body?"
"Ah, well nevermind on de questioning den I suppose."
"Oh damn, it's just been sitting at the icehouse. Nobody knows about it. I think... yet? Aside from those two workers... and probably the manager, and whoever they have working stock there... ect ect."
"Well, hew have nice garden yes?"
"I don't even know... we need to go find get it or... something."
"I will not be touching it."
>>
No. 351363 ID: 35e1a0

get some bolds to help you dig a pit for it.
>>
No. 351364 ID: 35e1a0

you could also throw it off the cliff.
>>
No. 351365 ID: a2fa74

>>351356
Turn to steelsplinters:
"I wouldn't expect you to, but since you're going to report at least that much to Lucidia you should know he approached me outside of town and tried to murder me. He was a professional assassin, not some drunken lout."

Next time you're alone with Steelsplinters tell her you respect her relationship with Lucidia, and that it's a thing of beauty you wouldn't dream of harming. Further, that if Steelsplinters opposes you courting Lucidia then you'll seek to prove your worth and gain Steelsplinters' approval, and you would like to know where to start.
>>
No. 351379 ID: 35e1a0

>>351365
*whap*
sorry, that one assumes a protective relationship means LOVE.
>>
No. 351709 ID: 1e3433

Use the skin to make leather, meat for a nice dinner, organs go to the dogs or bolds and grind the bones to make fertilizer. Really sends a 'don't fuck with me' message.
>>
No. 351710 ID: b6edd6

>>351709
Don't be silly. Cannibalism is unsanitary.
>>
No. 352176 ID: cfa804

Well with all that it looks like the secret's all but out. But why exactly do you need to deal with it right away? I mean it's being preserve, right? Deal with it later. Or just send your kobold to tell them that on your orders it's to be thrown to the pigs or something. They'll eat anything, foul beasts.

On another note... I think it's about time you asked Larcen why he's here. I mean, it's not exactly a casual visit, and he's not exactly just an old friend anymore. He's less useful as 'backup' if he's alone rather with a gang (express condolences by the way, despite the fact that he doesn't seem too torn up himself), but furthermore he might have the idea that HE was going to YOU for help.
>>
No. 353009 ID: d69a2f
File 131708678028.png - (340.19KB , 900x630 , 656.png )
353009

>>351351
>Fancy yourself your brother's spy master, August? You could start here and do quite well for your family's intelligence gathering capabilities.

For a moment the thought sticks in my mind whilst I throw on an old robe... I am accustomed to the information buisness after all? how far could I take it? What minor magic I know could certainly give me a unique and unexpected edge over many competitors, a more glamorous profession to be sure than that of a mere scholar.
>>
No. 353010 ID: d69a2f
File 131708703867.png - (88.79KB , 350x425 , 657.png )
353010

>>351365
...

are you suggesting something rather... unconventional about their relationship? I mean, I would think all of the voices would have been clamoring to tell me such sensationalist secrets were there such proof.

Besides, even were it true I'm certainly not going to just confront her about it now, especially if as you say, she distrusts me so.
>>
No. 353023 ID: d69a2f
File 131708802223.png - (258.89KB , 900x630 , 658.png )
353023

However, while we make our way to the chillhouse I do stress that he attacked me first and was almost indubitably dead or near so via electrocution before I snapped his neck regardless.

The chillhouse is an sort of community refrigeration and ice supply buisness, while the family fortress was upgraded in my father's reign to have it's own cold cellars most of the townspeople still rely on this establishment to provide their cold storage or ice. Myself and Sirius included, indeed this isn't the first time we've stored a corpse here for later examination, the anatomical sciences being a part of my curriculum.

"Ahhh ello Prince Sauterelle, here to pick up dat ahhh 'delivery' from earlier yes? Do be telling dose assistants yours to be bringing back the spare key for your cell da? Don maka me be chargyah for nother one no no no... wouldnot do for sucha customer"

"I'll keep it in mind next time I see them. They make have kept it to see if they could nick themselves a cold bottle or some extra meat and cheeses."

"Da, yeh cannot be trusting dese help anydays, too much mercenaries an such... just working for money, no honor, no caring 'tall. Always gotta watchem close."
>>
No. 353035 ID: d69a2f
File 131708923289.png - (207.35KB , 585x482 , 659.png )
353035

>>351709
I'll consider the pelt idea, but, to EAT him? What exactly do you take me for, a Northcoaster or one of those Whitepeaks clans?
>>351710
Exactly, who knows what unseemly diseases I could catch, splalders, echoshakes, ockrot or some horrid protein disorder.

"So, hew are quite sure dis ez right cell, eh?"
"It's the only one I own. What do you mean he's not in there? Check under the carrots."
"Couldn't be concelen 'sassins we'd worry about under dat pile of vilted veggiz, sure he ez not in barrel?"
"That's stuffed with pickles, has been for ages, I keep meaning to give it away to someone, but it was a gift from one of my uncles."
"Dey holden et for ransom, mayhaps?"
"Hold a body for ransom?

Larcen just shrugs to this and turns back to inspect the icebox.

"How dead was he?"
>>
No. 353047 ID: c5488f

Being struck by lighting then getting his neck snapped I'll say he's dead twice by normal standards. Either he's something special or his body has been stolen.
>>
No. 353048 ID: b6edd6

>are you suggesting something rather... unconventional about their relationship?
Its just that one guy who says that. He is... like that at times.

>"How dead was he?"
"He was struck by lightning while trying to attack, and I snapped his neck to put him out of his misery."

I notice what looks like a blood trail in the entrance to the room. I recall that blood dripping from a moving body splatters in a way that allows you to approximate their direction of movement.
>>
No. 353061 ID: b6edd6

Specifically, with with slowly dripping blood, the spatters are mostly spherical with some spines extending in the general direction of travel (the drops become less spherical the faster the body was traveling).
>>
No. 353070 ID: 1854db

>>353035
Oh you have GOT to be kidding me. Tell him he is surely joking and the body is still there, where we left it. If not, we've got a corpse thief around here. I would guess this wasn't a solo mission, then. Whoever his friend(s) is/are couldn't have snuck in here that easily, surely?
>>
No. 353142 ID: a2fa74

>>353010
No proof yet, but keep an eye out for signs of it.

Either way, she feels you threaten her position with Lucidia. If you could give her some assurance that she has no cause to consider you a threat then she might turn in your favor.
I expect she thinks you see her as a lesser being at best, so the simplest course of action would be to talk this out with her:
Explain that Lucidia is going to marry somebody eventually because it is expected of her.
Tell her you would rather count her as an ally than as an opponent.
Ask what she fears would happen if you and Lucidia become close.

Then (and this is the important part) swear to not do what it is she's afraid you'll do. As-in an on-your-family's-honor swear.
Being treated like an equal by a first-class citizen is a major honor for a second class citizen, and being offered a fair deal with it is a powerful thing.
Just make sure to offer to have your oath witnessed by somebody so she doesn't need to worry about you betraying her; Lucidia would be best.

If this is as simple as not wanting to give up her position (and with it her place of power and respect) then that is an easy thing to give her and would likely earn you her loyalty. Rather than being a possible end to her position you would be a guarantee of it, and so she would turn her efforts from pushing Lucidia away to pushing her to you.

Have you any objections to this idea?

>>353035
"Struck by lightning, then snapped his neck."
>>
No. 354010 ID: cfa804

So the guy who watches over this place saw the two guards enter with the body, right? But i'm sure he would've mentioned someone leaving with it. Is there a back way someone might have taken it? Or perhaps someone else was on duty when it was taken? Perhaps on some orders? Is there, like, a list someone might have to sign-in and sign-out whenever coming in or out here?
>>
No. 354794 ID: a6313a
File 131752954832.png - (219.30KB , 585x482 , 660.png )
354794

"He was hit by lighting for assaulting me with a metal umbrella, on an airfield during a lighting storm. Then I broke his neck, just to be sure. I am fairly sure of his mortality"
"Sounding vhery dead to us."
"Well, dead bodies don't bleed that way."
"Ehhh, Blud?"
>>353048
"Yes, yes, this 'is' blood!"
>>
No. 354804 ID: a6313a
File 131753022926.png - (325.97KB , 900x630 , 661.png )
354804

We gather the rust colored stains it to get a good look and scent of it.

"How fresh would you say? About a day or two?"
"Mmm sure, mehbeh bit longer, hard to tell being cold.
"Can you get a good scent on it? Working with chemicals so much has made mine just a bit..."
"Worken wiff drugs? Thought hew were to be one of dose arkertect types or somat? Yeah, sure smellz familiar... hew know. I tink dis guy, eh was ah... how hew say, clipped? Hew know, dis guard servant sorta fellow for de Matron."
"A eunuch? Well yes, then he 'could' have a unique smell, I suppose I never noticed, I just thought he was an old stranger. Anyhow, the architect thing never ended up going through. I'm a... sort of general scribe."
>>
No. 354815 ID: a6313a
File 131753066319.png - (351.28KB , 900x630 , 662.png )
354815

"So, books, maps and tings of such natures? So why deh drugs?"
"Chemicals, I do some occasional chemical and physiological studies"
"Ooooohh~ Dats what dey call it? Sounding like mah kind of buisness heheh?"
"I... *Sigh* it's a lot less entertaining than you imagine I assure you."
"So, dat mask is it actual-"
"Yes, it just does that. It's a gift, magical, but it doesn't really 'do' anything."
"Got it."
>>
No. 354825 ID: a6313a
File 131753227954.png - (259.17KB , 900x630 , 663.png )
354825

"Got what?"
"The scent trail, kobolds have disproportionally better noses than Verhimen, in fact on a mean samp-"
"Yes, yes, moving on scribro, trail is hot."
We follow her to an old door in the back of a dusty back passage, the floor shows several foot and tailprints and we bring the operator to inform him of the theft.
"So, someone stole from yeh boi?"
"We'll we arn't sure, now, those workers, did you see them leave? They brought the body in yes?"
"Yeah, they got it covered up inna wheelbarrow an jest needed the keys fer it, looked legit enough... well, okay, fer 'that' sorta buisness yeh know? Never bought back the key though, didn't see em leave."
"What's down here?"
"Oh, yeh know... stuff... I mean, aint been down in a few months, it'sa back way goen into the 'old' passages. Not xactly safe yeh know, and the bois, say it's ahh jest a bit haunted, yeh know, probably jest creaky and snufflen bolds about n such."

"Well, what do you say?
"I'd rather not if you please sir. My job is only to see you safe tonight, 'not' go traversing about in old tunnels."
"I'm intereigued..."
"Intrigued?"
"Iz vhat I said, no? Neverless, ghosts an games inna dark, nerer scaring us on hot trail."
>>
No. 354834 ID: 1854db

>>354825
Where do they lead? Perhaps we can simply head them off.
>>
No. 354880 ID: 84b916

>>354834
This seems sensible, though its likely these are old mining or ventilation tunnels.

See if you can't get the person you're chatting with to send off an errand boy or summat to make sure that someone knows where you've been off to. I find it likely you may get lost or attacked
>>
No. 354898 ID: a2fa74

>>354825
"My apologies for making your work difficult, but I'm sure you understand how I can't let a would-be assassin escape."
>>
No. 354937 ID: b6edd6

Perhaps more important than catching the agent himself is finding out whether or not he knows his way around the tunnels.
If Sperenze assassins can know they way around the tunnels around your city, it is time to collapse or wall off some entrances.
>>
No. 355223 ID: cfa804

Well luckily none of your species has any difficulty with darkness. Still, considering the labyrinthine nature of the tunnels we've seen thus far, it'd probably be best just to track them by scent straight, rather than trying to guess which way they (whoever we're tracking) might have gone. We might also ask Takkaya if she's made any contact with the (if i remember correctly) Tunnel Boiz while she and Lucida have been in the city.
>>
No. 356493 ID: a6313a
File 131796331536.png - (181.65KB , 599x554 , 664.png )
356493

>>354880
Yes of course, a notice of sorts where I intend to be, I've been going missing more than enough the past weeks. I write up a quick note explaining that I am surreptitiously investigating a possible security breach to my storage over the past few days and that if I am not above ground by morning to send guards into the tunnels to track us down.
"Can you ensure this letter is delivered to the fortress?"
"Oiy, gotta job fer yeh little lady."
"But pappaaa.~"
"Don't papa me liddle lady, now go put on something nice, you're gunna be visiting nobility, don't you want to do something for the nice prince here?"
"Doesn't look much lika pri-"
"Shadup, and go get something nice on, shouldn't have been running around down here anyhow."
>>
No. 356503 ID: a6313a
File 131796575596.png - (324.02KB , 883x575 , 665.png )
356503

>>354937
>>354898
"Takkaya, you don't need to come with me if you do not wish to. I'm not your master and thus cannot press for your services. However, your senses are superior to ours and I would greatly appreciate if you wished to help. This theft represents a worrying breach in my family security which I cannot allow to go un-investigated immediately"

"You also lack the authority to countermand any of my previous orders. I will accompany you, if such remains your plan."

"Und zhe plan our princely companion?
>>
No. 356504 ID: a6313a
File 131796583648.png - (193.10KB , 711x630 , 666.png )
356504

"We descend."
>>
No. 356508 ID: a6313a
File 131796655896.png - (234.43KB , 900x630 , 667.png )
356508

>>354834
>>354880
I have read maps of old human cities and villages, seen ruins. From them I can gather a fundamental difference between their architectural style, and ours. Human cities 'can' be mapped.

Verhimen cities are part fortress, part warren and parts ruin and mines. The kobold tunnels alone make the shallow depths into more a giant anthill than anything else, but the vast sewage, air circulatories, escape routes, secondary and tertiary escape routes, flanking tunnels, antisapper gaps, artillery shelters, smuggler's dens, root cellers, paved-over defensive trenches, traditionalist homes, all added to the fact that most of the oldest verhimen cities are almost invariably built into the ruins of someone else's even more ancient settlements make such an endeavor beyond the sketchiest outlines a nearly insurmountable task.

If I knew where all of these tunnels could lead, it would need to be my sole profession.
>>
No. 356512 ID: a6313a
File 131796721568.png - (236.59KB , 900x630 , 668.png )
356512

We are fortunate in that Larcen has brought a little tool of the adept smuggler, thief, and other such secretive types, a hotwire lamp. The dim radiance of the glowing wire is just light enough to illuminate our own surroundings, while remaining little more than a spark in the dark to distant observers.

We come to a crossing where the scent s weak and try to decide on an appropriate path.

"I think I see some light up ahead this way."

"Strong scent this way, kobold scent, very strong."

"I feel... a draft of cold air on my whiskers, perhaps an echo... something ominous, brooding."
>>
No. 356592 ID: 35bcde

>>356512
Your thingy seems most worrisome. We should check out the kobolds later though.
>>
No. 356618 ID: 1854db

>>356512
Light is most likely to lead us to our quarry, but uh... why is there a kobold scent down here? We were following a Verhimen.

If the scent is strong, we should find out who is there. We might be able to get some info. Since the scent is very strong then it's unlikely it will take long to find the source.
>>
No. 356782 ID: cfa804

>>356618
We're not following a Verhimen, we're following a Verhimen CORPSE and whoever took it.

The light Larcen sees could be anything or anyone with business down here. The way you're heading could be anything or nothing, and no offense but you've got something of a habit of imagining things that don't exist. The way we SHOULD go is the way Takkaya says, as SHE's the one with the scent trail.
>>
No. 356813 ID: a2fa74

>>356512
Kobold scent. She can pump them for information about what's happened in the area.
>>
No. 356995 ID: b0bfee

You're probably best off following the Kobold scent. Since the scent is strong, the source likely isn't too far away.
>>
No. 357369 ID: 2b479f
File 131830392155.png - (203.73KB , 900x630 , 669.png )
357369

We follow the kobold scent and soon enough it grows warm and powerful enough for even my nose to track easily. It mingles easily with other scents, smoke, fermentation, mold, stale air, meat and molasses, wet pipes, and brick dust. It has been too long since I have relied on senses other than sight and the faintest inklings of magic I can gather.
"Hew tink kobold thieves?"
"Maybe, maybe not, still they know more down here that you or I."
"Hush, hear something?"
>>
No. 357372 ID: 2b479f
Audio Blues_Violin.mp3 - (2.35MB - 64 kbps - 22.05 kHz , Blues Violin.mp3 ) Length: 5:08
357372

Low at first, and rising as we advance the sounds of music unsteadily meanders through the dusty halls in the way a drunken wasp navigates a mirror chandelier. Perhaps out of tune, or played only in minor keys the sounds notes feel slapped together onto the sort of lackadaisical nonsense rhythm feeling like nothing so much as the boards on a neglected fence.
>>
No. 357387 ID: 2b479f
File 131830579130.png - (205.15KB , 900x630 , 670.png )
357387

We come to a junction in the path and find both a bit of light, and the source of the playing.

We peer carefully around the corner for a moment before Larcen murmurs.
"Ahhhhh... Mehgustah, l'amore... bueno... mubueno..."
"Oh... I..ahuh-
"Erm"
>>
No. 357388 ID: 2b479f
File 131830594742.png - (255.14KB , 900x630 , 671.png )
357388

The sounds of music and muted clink of glasses echo from beyond the shutter doors, an amorous couple steals a few moments of passion upon the far wall the act to which we are in variously awkward states of voyeur.

Do we advance, or... is this perhaps a bit outside of our search? Some manner of underground kobold establishment? I cannot even speak more than a few words in broken kobold.
>>
No. 357402 ID: a2fa74

>>357388
Tell SteelSplinters you're curious if any of the revelers have heard or smelled anything relevant, but they are quite clearly drunk.

Say it's her call whether she wants to ask around or go back and check another lead, and you trust her experience.
>>
No. 357410 ID: 1854db

>>357388
You can't, but Takkaya can. Maybe you should give those two some privacy for a bit before you check out this establishment though.

...then again that runs the risk of them going further than sloppy makeouts while we're waiting and uhhhhhhhh perhaps simply interrupting them long enough to go into the establishment would be LESS rude. Also I'm not sure we have a lot of free time.
>>
No. 357626 ID: cfa804

Our objective is to find who stole our corpse, correct? So unless you think that these bolds did it or that they have any information as to who DID, I think we picked the wrong path. We COULD have Takkaya press them to see if they've seen anyone carrying/dragging a verhimen corpse, but I doubt they'd appreciate it. I think we just chose... poorly.
>>
No. 357630 ID: b6edd6

>>357626
Seconding this. It would be a helluva club that continues partying when corpse/mutilated mutant travels past.
Questioning drunken kobolds would probably just burn time.
>>
No. 357750 ID: 779413

Forget the kobolds. Questioning them is a waste of time. Retrace your steps, follow a different lead.
>>
No. 358067 ID: 2b479f
File 131857094304.png - (205.18KB , 900x630 , 672.png )
358067

I turn back to Takkaya and whisper my misgivings as Larcen keeps watch.

"Thinking we took the wrong turn back there, you wouldn't want to go question them would you?"
"Me? This excursion is solely your folly."
"Yeah, well I can't really speak ko... I mean. They probably haven't see anything lately anyway. Let's go try one of the other paths"
"Ahuh, you're making the decisions here."
>>
No. 358068 ID: 2b479f
File 131857147770.png - (140.24KB , 900x630 , 673.png )
358068

"Besides... if the body had disappeared into the bowels of a shady eating establishment I wouldn't be 'too' concerned. But they would have taken the actual foodstuffs I had long before that, and wouldn't be partying if they had seen a..."
>>
No. 358069 ID: 2b479f
File 131857215667.png - (161.53KB , 900x630 , 674.png )
358069

You too, we're already late on the trail, no time to watch kobolds."
"Aaah merci, Twas but admiration for de style of fellow romanceer. Learn few tings hew know?"
"Later, now, mysteries."
"Awww, but, de are de less stimulating."
"Wasn't aware a man of your caliber and skill was ever in such need of stimulation."
"Ahhh Touche~, allons y."
>>
No. 358070 ID: 2b479f
File 131857241392.png - (216.99KB , 654x630 , 675.png )
358070

We return to the crossing to chose a new path, my hope of actually discovering what happened to the body slightly blunted by the growing possibility of this task simply being too involved for such a small team with little enough patience or interest in the matter.
>>
No. 358073 ID: 35e1a0

try that voorish sign. if he was animated after death perhaps he left a magic trail of residue?
>>
No. 358075 ID: 1854db

>>358070
Go to the light. Which would be straight ahead now.
>>
No. 358166 ID: cfa804

>>358073
Are you seriously suggesting he ought to openly do some magic right in front of these two?
>>
No. 358169 ID: 35e1a0

>>358166
it's a hand sign. he can play it off as thinking.
>>
No. 358355 ID: cfa804

>>358169
If he can, then great. If he can't be covert about it, I'd say take the path to the right. August's our main man and he's more sensitive to the things that might be more relevant to larger schemes, so I think the path where he 'felt' something might be a better way to go than following a light that may or may not still be there.
>>
No. 358510 ID: 2b479f
File 131874302961.png - (284.33KB , 811x630 , 676.png )
358510

The Symbol of Voors? Yes I do suppose it is fairly covert for how useful it can be. Barely more than an gesture, a meaningless motion to the uninitiated.
"Erm, hold up now, let me think about this a momment."
Well, then, let us see, what there is to see.
>>
No. 358514 ID: 2b479f
File 131874365425.gif - (372.68KB , 654x630 , 677.gif )
358514

I breath in the musty air, centering myself in preparation to lower my natural defenses, the armor that locks my people's power in, as well as it blocks the enemy's.

I see...
>>
No. 358518 ID: 2b479f
File 131874404496.png - (316.65KB , 811x630 , 678.png )
358518

"I-AAahhhhuu...ah... erm."
"I was under the impression we were trying to be stealthy?"
"I didn't yell, nobody yelled."
"Yeah, but, vhat vas all dat 'Aahhhuhh' ting about?"
"I... erm, had a bit of a headache."
"uhuh."
"A very sudden headache, stress related."
"Ahhh Augoust hew tink too much, we jest tek mah path ehh? Go on an find dat light ehh?"
>>
No. 358519 ID: 1854db

Ooo...kay. So, definitely straight forward and my god, what is so important over to the right that there are spectral guards there? Looks like that spell lets you see ghosts briefly, and gets their attention as well. So don't use it in a graveyard.
>>
No. 358520 ID: 35e1a0

or to the left. depending which way you came from. and yeah, i am guessing those are what made that passage feel odd.
>>
No. 358522 ID: b6edd6

It wasn't that horrifying a sight. They weren't betentacled or rotting or anything.

Fortunately, the passage flanked by the phantoms does not seem to be the one we want. Assuming the left is where we came from, it seems that our 'friend' is regenerating at a somewhat worrying rate, shifting from dragging himself to waking unsteadily. If we fight him again I advise dismemberment.
>>
No. 358523 ID: a2fa74

>>358519
The important thing off to the right is something which has command over the dead.
You know, the sort of thing that can make a frozen corpse start walking and bleeding.
You know, exactly the sort of thing we are looking for.

Lead the way, August.
>>
No. 358524 ID: 35bcde

>>358518
Back off, get out of sight. Set up the same kind of thing you used to drain the fae- A generic rune structure? You intoned "Tchecteck athisiro metineta" before. An Ocular Pentacle of the Flaming Frond would not go amiss, if you believe these are demons.

Once you are prepared, attract their attention and draw them into the trap. I highly doubt they are prepared for a Vehrimen sorcerer.

Be prepared with the The Runeword of 'E' if you fuck this up.
>>
No. 358556 ID: cfa804

The real question about the 'ghosts' is whether or not their attention is still on you. I mean, assuming they were always there, they clearly didn't bother you before and so they MIGHT only be able to perceive you as long as you perceive them, but it ALSO might be that they didn't think you worthy of their attention or think of you as a threat until you cast the spell, and now that you have they might be moving into position to sink their ghostly claws or weapons into your tender backside. Since you dropped/lost the spell it's impossible to know unless you, like, move back a bit and do it again and see whether or not they've moved or are searching for you or whatever. However I don't think it's safe to linger where you are OR proceed without knowing just whether or not those ghosts have any intentions towards you.
>>
No. 359543 ID: fada1f
File 131908921474.png - (194.67KB , 900x630 , 679.png )
359543

>>358519
>>358520
>>358522
"Forward, now!"
My body tries to both lock up in fear and stride forward resulting in an action somewhere between a stumble and a hop.
>>
No. 359544 ID: fada1f
File 131908930967.png - (217.39KB , 900x630 , 680.png )
359544

Which is easily converted into a most assuredly non-nonchalant and professional looking tuck and roll.
>>
No. 359551 ID: fada1f
File 131909060988.png - (225.97KB , 576x573 , 681.png )
359551

"August... hew feelen hokay?"
"Yes I erm, tripped, lots of loose bricks and stones about.. probably a few bones to boot, haha."
"To be honest, I would not blame you for needing some more time to recover after you have been so ill."
"I tripped. I am fine. We are continuing."
>>
No. 359552 ID: fada1f
File 131909063618.png - (219.92KB , 576x573 , 682.png )
359552

...
>>
No. 359554 ID: fada1f
File 131909076492.png - (227.54KB , 576x573 , 683.png )
359554

"Hokay.
"Sure."
>>
No. 359557 ID: fada1f
File 131909108648.png - (236.96KB , 561x630 , 684.png )
359557

>>358523
>>358524
>>358556
Before we continue I again use the symbol. I can see only one of the ghastly haunts standing vigil still, the other having seemingly taken leave, or evaporated into the ether.

The phantom continues to regard me impassively in the cold manner of the dead until the vision flickers and fades.
>>
No. 359558 ID: 35e1a0

so, it went to inform... someone.
>>
No. 359561 ID: 1854db

>>359557
Yep, there's someone in that direction they report to, and they now know that a mage is around. Your cover's blown, but considering that whoever's controlling those guards is powerful indeed, that PROBABLY won't become public knowledge.

Any idea what could be controlling ghosts in such a manner?
>>
No. 359689 ID: cfa804

Well the main question is whether or not, when you activated the symbol the second time, he was looking at where you were, or were you USED to be. It'd indicate whether or not you're only visible to him when you can see him, or if he can always see you. If they're only aware of you when you're aware of them, then you can proceed reasonably unmolested, as for all intents and purposes you're invisible to them (though not necessarily to whatever the other one's gone off to 'warn'). However, if they're aware of you even when you can't see them, and now they KNOW that you can see them (when you try at least), things could be very... difficult. Is it possible you might be able to bluff Larcen and Takkaya into believing that you have a device on your person that allows you to (sometimes) see that which is not apparent to the naked eye, and that you can use it on them so that they can see what you saw? This, of course, assumes that you CAN use the symbol of Voors on them to give them the same vision. While they both trust you to a degree, it'd be better if they were more informed as to what's going on and what threats may await them. If nothing else, you can claim that your mask allows you glimpses of things that don't normally work (Because you're a verhimen perhaps) and thus pass off being able to see such things without revealing that you personally can do magic.
>>
No. 360290 ID: 49e0ab
File 131939619915.png - (186.85KB , 900x630 , 685.png )
360290

>>359689
Assuming I even knew how to extend this magic to someone else it would be multiples of difficulty above the standard in order to even penetrate another Verhimen's magical armoring.

There's little way I could make 'that' subtle, especially in front of Takkaya, I could believe that in the service her mistress she has been exposed to enough spellcasting to recognize it as such.
>>
No. 360303 ID: 49e0ab
File 131939732591.png - (314.53KB , 900x630 , 686.png )
360303

>>359558
>>359561
I stand awkwardly for a moment, considering my options, the idea of being stalked by phantoms doesn't appeal to me, but I don't know if they could even 'do' anything to us.

"So, we goen? Tought dis vhas the right way in de first place"
"I ahh, well I uhm... down the other path."
"Had bad feelens? Something we might wanna avoid no?"
"I think I saw a ghost... plural ghosts. Down that way."
"Tought we vhere looken fer a body, not ghosts? Besides old tunnels like dis, meybe old spiruts walken about yeh know, or silly kobold wiff bedsheet's more like."
>>
No. 360304 ID: 49e0ab
File 131939744328.png - (317.00KB , 900x630 , 687.png )
360304

"It is somehow colder this way."
"Ez should be drafty hew know, sign of... erh... circulations, fresh air an good constructioning eheheh."
"Actually I think you might be standing in one of them"
"Oh... okay."
'AH ah really, vhell den no need for de disturben of dead types hew know, vhery rude an such, mehbe whe just be goen ehh? I mean, really vhat are we gunna do about some ghostes, vhe should be ah... lettign dem be yew know. Never bodder anyone."

He raise a good point, even I know that essentially all of my spellcraft is of a warding nature rather than an offensive one. I suspect I even smell some worry off of him, Takkaya by contrast seems as un-phased as ever, despite her status as the 'least' spiritually armored among us.

Either way I don't want to wait here anymore, We should chose a path now, before we have either been well guarded against, or we lose the trail.
>>
No. 360310 ID: b6edd6

I think it was the passage that was to your left when you used the Symbol the first time. The one with the green trail going down it.
>>
No. 360314 ID: 35bcde

>>360304
Yeahhh, hokay let's just avoid the undead for now.
>>
No. 360577 ID: 1854db

>>360304
Just do what we came for. We have no reason to go investigating that oddness; if anything we should simply report it to people who are better equipped to handle it.
>>
No. 360742 ID: cfa804

Hrmm... I'm loath to abandon such a mystery, but then this world seems to be full of things I want to investigate 'later,' even that stupid kobold bar. Or whatever it was. So let's go down the path that Larcen's set on and we'll have to remember about this bit for later, possibly alert your local ghostbusters.
>>
No. 361568 ID: 6ba7db
File 131977718827.png - (191.19KB , 582x630 , 688.png )
361568

We take the 'light' path, leaving the ghosts to the ghosts, for now. Their mere existence and awareness an unsettling question in the back of our minds.

As we continue down the path, fired brick eventually giving way to crumbling reinforced concrete; rough, gray, and sorrowful. Each step drives the accumulated dust of what smells like centuries between our toepads.

These are old ruins of man.
>>
No. 361573 ID: 6ba7db
File 131977775696.png - (152.31KB , 900x630 , 689.png )
361573

Spotting the light Larcen extinguishes his hotwire lamp. We exchange glances and silent gestures, not daring even to breathe too deep, or too long.

Who or whatever is up ahead moves very deliberately, very carefully by the sound of it, their tread muffled by the soft, chalky dust coating the ground. The scent has returned stronger here, even I can catch it now with few other scents to mask its presence.
>>
No. 361581 ID: 6ba7db
File 131977889352.png - (190.48KB , 900x630 , 690.png )
361581

Even in this dust those footsteps are too light, too careful for a half dead brute, that is no lowlander.

"You there, come out, identify yourself."

Larcen rests his hand on the hilt of his blade, I've not yet seen him use it, or even draw it. I don't even remember him being a particularly good fencer in school. Regardless, that is no delicate foil or saber. It is a heavy, chopping thing, almost crude in its intent, a strange choice in armament for a 'Legendary Rogue.'

The light moves.
>>
No. 361586 ID: 6ba7db
File 131977945648.png - (228.20KB , 900x630 , 691.png )
361586

The light turns.

"No, take that light away this instant. I... command it!"
"Ohdammit."
I try to pull my hood over my eyes while Takkaya crouches behind me and breaths a low indrawn hiss.
>>
No. 361587 ID: 6ba7db
File 131977950426.png - (16.69KB , 900x630 , 692.png )
361587

...and light clicks off.
>>
No. 361588 ID: 35e1a0

be ready with another voors if you think you feel something about to touch you, should let you see in the dark for a moment.
>>
No. 361599 ID: 35bcde

>>361588
No, the side effects are... Not good. Is it possible to adapt Thor's Thunderous Thingamabob to a flash of light instead of force? Or something else that would have that effect? Level the playing field.

Turning on the arc light would be disastrous if they have a ranged weapon, allowing them to pinpoint you, but having them with far better night vision atm is almost as bad.

If you cannot adapt the spell, grab them both and run away without getting scattered.
>>
No. 361727 ID: 35bcde

>>361587
Shuffle the other two behind you. Set up a Thor's Thunderous Thinamabob in the ground before you. Retreat in a group from it slowly. When you HEAR someone approaching where you think it is, activate the rune.
>>
No. 361732 ID: 1854db

Have Larcen light his dimmer lamp so you guys can see.
>>
No. 361762 ID: cfa804

Has it occurred to anyone that whoever initially provided that lamp has done exactly what August said? Well, not so much in the way of announcing themselves, but they DID turn off the light.
>>
No. 362549 ID: 6ba7db
File 132003629062.png - (2.95KB , 300x245 , 693.png )
362549

Darkness, complete and sudden, we are vulnerable.
"Back, get back."
I hiss under my breath, I can feel Takkaya behind me, trying to yank me back by my robes.
"Move sir, NOW!"
Larcen's coat rustles to my left and I feel the sand and dust shift under my feet. Just on the edge of my perception, I hear breathing, a snuffling and a shuffling towards me.
>>361727
>>361599
I try to adapt something, perhaps if I can strip it down some and use you as a focus... it just needs to be quick.
>>
No. 362554 ID: 6ba7db
File 132003764610.png - (286.89KB , 900x630 , 694.png )
362554

I feel the rune trap snap into action. There is a loud crack a sudden flash and a cloud of thick dust fills the air.
"AAAHHaghhhaghh!"
More voices suddenly join the shouting from farther down the halls.
"OH hell was that?"
"Fire just fire!"
"I can't, what if I hit hi-"
"Up dammit we need light!"
>>
No. 362558 ID: 6ba7db
File 132003785859.png - (354.07KB , 900x630 , 695.png )
362558

The tugging at my back suddenly becomes a forward shove, throwing me to the floor with some violence as my bodyguard-for-an-evening tackles me before the telltale thump and hiss of a gun report.

The coughing voice cries out hoarsely from somewhere above and in front of me.
"Stop, STOP! Hold your...*cough*"
>>
No. 362565 ID: 6ba7db
File 132003866560.png - (231.00KB , 900x630 , 696.png )
362565

"If anyone so much as twitches a whisker I will give him gills."
...
"Really?"
"She means bleed him dumbass."

She, isn't really trying to pull some kind of standoff on my damn back is she?

"Take note that I *cough* object to my use as a bargaining chip... besi-*cough isn't that a prince you are standing on?"
>>
No. 362568 ID: 1854db

>>362565
I wonder where our friend went? Endeavor to get her to step off your back so you can move on your own.
>>
No. 362572 ID: b6edd6

Has anyone told you what a security nightmare your city design is? If so I feel it still needs retelling.

Say:"So if you planned to find me here but are not here to shoot me, than what do you want from me?"
>>
No. 362879 ID: f80f15

>>362572
Geez, it's true, innit.

Get up and keep a watch on your surroundings. Don't let anybody sneak up on you and be ready to move behind cover or out of the way if anybody makes a move. Hear them out, I guess.
>>
No. 363036 ID: 1854db

Hey August, is the hostage Inquisitor Feuéchelle? Or some other draconic kobold?

Wait a second those guys back there aren't wearing masks! That's not as strictly observed with your rivals, is it?
>>
No. 363112 ID: cfa804

>>363036
(looks like in the profile-shot they're missing their headgear but they've got them in the overhead shot proceeding it; probably an artistic error)

Hmm... it COULD be the Inquisitor, which would raise some interesting questions. Unfortunately you're not in much of a position to do anything right now, seeing as you're being used as a footstool? Just make sure not to reveal that you've got a third person (Larcen) about. Perhaps he can shift the odds further in your favor.
>>
No. 363715 ID: 6ba7db
File 132047322923.png - (145.23KB , 723x630 , 697.png )
363715

>>363036
>>363112
"Takkaya, please don't kill the Inquisitor right now, it's more trouble than it could be worth."
"His actions indicated a hostile intent, or at the lest a desire to intimidate."
"Oh, I was right, that IS you August isn't it. I have words for you, what have you done and how did you do it?"
"If that wasn't the least specific interrogation ever I might come to think-that you thought-that we weren't taking this encounter seriously."
"I'm serious."
"Good for you, then stop playing games of flashlight in the dark."
"Dannadraje tannaktoru keketrhe."
"Drahanaj"
"Just just get off my back... literally."
>>
No. 363730 ID: 6ba7db
File 132047532217.png - (225.28KB , 900x630 , 698.png )
363730

She removes herself and props Feuéchelle up by a wall, steel knife glimmering coldly under his chin the whole while. I move to pick up the Inquisitor's light and better illuminate our predicament.
"Now, you two, don't move, what are you doing down here?"
"Whatever."
"We've been running from that damn corpse monster you had us playing around with, until we ran into the Inquisitor OBVIOUSLY. What did you think?"
>>
No. 363736 ID: 6ba7db
File 132047674359.png - (272.12KB , 900x630 , 699.png )
363736

She removes herself and props Feuéchelle up by a wall, steel knife glimmering coldly under his chin the whole while. I move to pick up the Inquisitor's light and better illuminate our predicament.
"Now, you two, don't move, what are you doing down here?"
"Whatever."
"We've been running from that damn corpse monster you had us playing around with until we ran into the Inquisitor, what did you think?"

”Oh, it’s you morons, what have you done with that body I told yo-“
”Are yew jest dense, we jest said, it bit us and chased us down here before we could lock it in the room”
”But… oh dear-!”
>>
No. 363737 ID: 6ba7db
File 132047710591.png - (270.70KB , 900x630 , 700.png )
363737

"Sooo~ des here dose bodysnatchers hmmmm? Yes, could almost be recognizing, but perhaps we too are experienced in such... ehhh?"
"Oh... it's just... you."
The Inquisitor speaks up at this point again.
"Really, you expect me to believe you were stowing some kind of zombie in your cold-cellar and didn't suspect a thing? How stupid do you really take me for, I hear a lot more about the sort of things you get up to that you might suspect 'Master' de Sauterelle."
"He was hit by lighting and I broke his neck just to be sure, there's no way he should have gotten back up."
"Was feral, but clever, like a beast or somethen."
"What was it exactly you did to me August? I'm going to want an explanation for that!"
"So... walking dead fellow, guess we gotta be doing someting bout dat hmmm August?"
>>
No. 363743 ID: 1854db

...it bit one of them? Aren't zombies usually infectious? Also there was an... extended echo there for a second, right before you turned on the lantern. How odd.

If it's not an actual zombie, this could be rejuvenating magic or technology they have installed in people they send out on missions. We did see some sort of machine of note when we were poking around in their base, didn't we?

Uh, as to the Inquisitor's questions... Tell him it was just a bit of flash powder, nothing to be concerned about. Also tell him that you came down here trying to find the damn corpse after it went missing, noting the trail of blood right outside your icebox and having your assistant follow the scent. Honestly, if it was some sort of zombie you made, you wouldn't have snapped its neck right in front of the people manning the desk! If they would, perhaps, agree to an alliance, we could track the missing corpse further, and put it to rest for good.

Oh, and... you might consider bringing up the ghosts you saw with the Inquisitor in private. Whispers, perhaps.
>>
No. 363748 ID: 453e62

>>363743
how do we explain seeing the ghosts?
>>
No. 363749 ID: 453e62

also yeah, check the wound to make sure there is no magic zombie-infection going on.
>>
No. 363799 ID: b6edd6

Tell him "It was like a lesser version of your trick back in the elves' room, effectively little more than flash powder, certainly nothing lasting."
There is no sense lying to the inquisitor (he already knows we have some magic), but this way we can still be discreet with regards to everyone else.

And yes, we should ask him if he would assist us in tracking down and containing this creature.
>>
No. 363802 ID: cfa804

Surely you've done this sort of thing before, right August? I mean, storing bodies to be dissected or whatever, right? If so, you should be able to use such examples as precedent for your actions this time, showing that they're nothing out of the norm.
>>
No. 364350 ID: 9668c5
File 132071247861.png - (306.15KB , 900x630 , 701.png )
364350

>>363749
>>363743
I've never heard of one becoming a zombie by being bitten, I thought that was vampires, or was it ghouls? Still, not a good idea to leave unchecked.

"Let me look at that wound, you never know with these kinds of things."
"It's fine really I have it bandaged up and the bleeding’s already stopped just a fle-"
"Let me look at it, now."
"Okay okay, fine..."
"So, hew around old rhuins often?..."
"It smells okay, not rotten but that's his scent on it alright, the wound's already clotted up well."
"Ssshff.. just.. be careful it's still tender, sort of, pressed the meat back in you know?"
"You'll want someone to look at that, at least put some iodine or alcohol on it."
"Yeah, the body, it just, rolled over in my arms and bit down hard, I started beating it about the head to let go and I don't know how I got loose but he chased us back down here... we were wandering around in the dark until the Inquisitor found us an-"
>>
No. 364355 ID: 9668c5
File 132071438392.png - (242.07KB , 900x630 , 702.png )
364355

"Oh yeah, Takkaya, you can put down the Inquisitor now."
"Kay."
*cough*"Good, my nose was starting to itch holding that back, just remember that before you think about sticking blades in my face again."
"I will."
"Now then..."
"That 'trick' was akin to your little flashpowder display back at the elves' quarters, as for the body, I never expected it to get back up. I simply use unwanted corpses in my studies."
"Mmhph anatomy I'm sure..."
"Yes."
"Well then what do you plan to do about it?"
"Kill it again? Seems the logical enough."
"We'll have to find it first!"
"Six noses track dez scent easy nough... whell, five anna half...
"Hey!"
but boldes count for half again more, meybe?"
"Drajjan kekulahara."
"Nennekjurrgra"
>>
No. 364362 ID: 9668c5
File 132071592389.png - (128.28KB , 659x506 , 703.png )
364362

”Anyvhay, should totally be teaming up now… is good tinking m’yes?"
I sidle up to the Inquisitor as Larcen proceeds to smoothtalk to two guards into accompanying us.
”So… what is this place?”
“An old storage depot I suspect, nothing of worth anymore as it’s been stripped down over generations, simply a nice, quiet place.”
”Well, I don’t want to worry the other two, they’ve had enough trouble on my part, but… I believe I may have seen some apparitions, spirits or something of the like back in the tunnels we came through, ghosts… of Vehimen”
“Really? That is interesting. There are frequent reports among the kobolds of ‘presences’ primarily ignored or dismissed by insensible Verhimen. I am regularly called to perform wardings, exorcisms, or provide some charms to workers in the area, but the problem is a lingering and pervasive on this side of town. Pervasive enough to be a ‘quiet sector’… an avoided path.”
”Could it be related to the body?”
“Possession of a corpse? Possible, if unlikely, we would need to know more. So…. who ‘was’ the body? If you knew.”
>>
No. 364409 ID: 1854db

Wait, you mentioned vampires? This guy could be one! He may have bitten the worker to SUCK HIS BLOOD! Maybe.

As for WHO he was... uh... well, a member of the rival family, to be certain. Looking through our memories... he shared that odd accent with a high-ranking member that we caught a random glimpse of. Might've been the same person.
>>
No. 364412 ID: b6edd6

He is suspected to be an agent of the Sperenzes. He accosted you outside with rather pointed questions about an acquaintance of yours and an even more pointed spear disguised as an umbrella.
>>
No. 364884 ID: cfa804

Well i'm sure you can exercise your own discretion as to what to tell him and what not to tell him, but unless you really want to get this guy as a solid ally or friend, our top priority should be less about giving HIM information and more about getting information FROM HIM. Like, how long they've been down here, what he knows of the layout of this place, what they've found thus far and where they've already explored, plus any unusual signs that might bear further investigation.
>>
No. 365177 ID: b7bf27
File 132107974327.png - (279.38KB , 900x630 , 704.png )
365177

"Some kind of spy I think... he threatened me with a weaponized umbrella on the airfield, and learned why one keeps one's head down in a thunderstorm."
"and you know nothing more of him?"
"Well, we suspect he's a eunuch... hey, he couldn't be some kind of vampire could he?"
"I've... never encountered a vampiric Verhimen, although, I suppose it's possible."
"What about a ghoul?"
"Human only."
"Really, becasue I read once that-
"Wait, hush up, what was that?"
>>
No. 365180 ID: b7bf27
File 132108058520.png - (131.42KB , 566x630 , 705.png )
365180

We hear something, a groan and shuffling of feet in dust, perhaps a tail sliding over loose stones.
"Over there..."
>>
No. 365185 ID: b7bf27
File 132108138875.png - (93.67KB , 900x547 , 706.png )
365185

"Hell..."
There, swaying, slowly shuffling, ears twitching at odd angles while the rest of it seems to hang as if from a line drawn through the nose. I can hear it breathing drawing in laborious, wretched breaths through a distorted windpipe.

We stand transfixed by the sight, save the Inquisitor who begins to hum and fiddle with something clicking in his pockets.
>>
No. 365187 ID: b7bf27
File 132108160120.png - (230.39KB , 802x630 , 707.png )
365187

"FUCK IT UP!"
The silence is split wide by the thundercrack and hiss of an incendiary shell lancing through the darkness.
>>
No. 365188 ID: b7bf27
File 132108184605.png - (116.43KB , 900x547 , 708.png )
365188

"Did she hit?"
"Can't tell the glare."
"Shit"
"Missed, adjust sights for-"
"dammit this thing doesn't have sights!"
"Well, I usually don't go cracking my 'expensive' shells at unknowns"
"Well... what the fuck?"
"Suggestions anyone?"
>>
No. 365189 ID: 453e62

simple, CHARGE! it may be unnatually tough in that normal wounds wont kill it but dismemberment should still render it harmless. then just need to figure out how to get rid of it's animating force.
>>
No. 365190 ID: b6edd6

>>365189
>Charge a melee enemy when you have ranged weapons and can make trap runes
Seriously?

Discreetly use the Symbol of Voors. As well as wanting to locate him, we want to be able to cross-reference whatever is animating him is with the other strange forces that we will likely come across.
>>
No. 365193 ID: 453e62

>>365190
you want to use very obviously powerful magic in front of an INQUISITOR? you even more crazy then me. and yes, using ranged weapons is good, but being up close when you use them makes it near impossible to miss.
>>
No. 365195 ID: 1854db

>>365188
Wait! It's STILL THERE. Or it was an illusion. There's a small outline visible still.

There's magic afoot. Consult the Inquisitor.

Keep in mind that this thing seemed uncoordinated. You should be able to track it via sound. Or scent? I wouldn't trust your eyes any longer.
>>
No. 365228 ID: b6edd6

I guess you are right about the others seeing the rune, though the Inqusitor is the only one who we are least concerned about seeing our magic. Remember, we have already told him (after the green-eyed fae's attack) that we can see magic and killed the fae thing with its own sorcery (though we have downplayed our power).

We can still use Voors though; that one is just a gesture. (If we do that we should wait for a second or two between using it and poiting out where he is if we do locate him.)
>>
No. 365308 ID: cfa804

Hmm... the shot is incendiary and makes a flame but while we can see the faint outline of the zombie (or whatever he is) he's not illuminated like he should be. So either he's, like, absorbing the thermal energy and the light it gives off, or something very odd is happening. Still, there are far too many columns and avenues of escape he might take... We need to close in and make sure he doesn't get away.
>>
No. 366582 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132176791412.png - (196.90KB , 900x547 , 709.png )
366582

"Move up, and hold..."

They quickly obey whilst Takkaya and the the Inquisitor hang back flanking me. I prepare the Symbol of Voors.
>>
No. 366590 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132176817510.png - (131.94KB , 527x518 , 710.png )
366590

The others glow with a dim, blended radiance, the manifestation of their spiritual resilience, but he... no, IT... his field shifts and chatters like a swarm of insects, something underneath trying to break out... in places stronger, in others weaker. Aberrant. Abhorrent.... Wrong.
>>
No. 366595 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132176837440.png - (197.92KB , 900x600 , 711.png )
366595

"I hate it... loathsome... powerful... how dare it defy my noble will. How dare it stand there, denying my kill. How dare it make me feel so...so...
>>
No. 366602 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132176857448.png - (169.54KB , 900x346 , 712.png )
366602

"ANNIHILATE IT!"

My vanguard springs into action, ready to carry out my will, I will NOT be denied!
>>
No. 366606 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132176869811.png - (85.70KB , 782x600 , 713.png )
366606

*twitch*
>>
No. 366621 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177000753.png - (236.63KB , 900x600 , 714.png )
366621

Like a lazy spring falling down a flight of stairs, or a tensed willow switch being released the body both sways and snaps into action.
>>
No. 366622 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177004953.png - (256.38KB , 900x600 , 715.png )
366622

>>
No. 366624 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177015934.png - (275.92KB , 900x600 , 716.png )
366624

>>
No. 366626 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177029580.png - (222.08KB , 900x600 , 717.png )
366626

"Oaaahhhhh!"

The creature flings off it's now flame enshrouding garments as an entangling trap.
>>
No. 366627 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177034619.png - (241.05KB , 900x600 , 718.png )
366627

... and leaps overhead to assault the gunner.
>>
No. 366628 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177041673.png - (193.56KB , 900x600 , 719.png )
366628

"Arr! Yew git fu-"
>>
No. 366631 ID: 453e62

yell "FIRE!" he needs to shoot now or never. and YOU need to lay off the voors for now. think you have seen too much of the ether too quickly.
>>
No. 366633 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177072239.png - (227.36KB , 900x600 , 720.png )
366633

*twack*

"BACK OFF MONSTER, YOU WANT ME! AND IF YOU WANT ME-"
>>
No. 366634 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177082084.png - (217.97KB , 900x600 , 721.png )
366634

"YEW GET IT!"
*RUNCH*
>>
No. 366635 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177102767.png - (210.25KB , 900x600 , 722.png )
366635

The body trembles for a moment... rattling the crumbled concrete so loudly I can hear it over our the heaving breathing, and moans of the battlefield... over drone of the Inquisitor's insistent mumbling.

Then, with the sound of a rubber band snapping it flings Larcen off and into the opposing pillar.
>>
No. 366638 ID: 4ae7b5
File 132177134707.png - (217.83KB , 900x600 , 723.png )
366638

It creaks out of it's hole in the masonry... shards of ancient concrete and rusted reinforcers dotting it's dusted fur... it reaches for Larcen's collar, ignoring us.

I can feel Takkaya sway a bit backwards beside me... almost into me.

The Inquisitor still drones on, resolutely fumbling with his rosary, but even his breath seems more earnest... worried.


What now?
>>
No. 366643 ID: 453e62

think we can move on to more blatent power. only two ideas spring to mind, that thing we did in the elf dream world where we absorbed it's magic, would return it to a husk. and using the whistle.
>>
No. 366676 ID: 1854db

I feel as though if its tendons were cut it might well be disabled.

Also, it dropped the gun. Perhaps you can retrieve and use that.
>>
No. 366747 ID: b6edd6

The gun seems like your best bet, as a close ranged attack seems inadvisable because both Takkaya and the Inquisitor seem likely to be preparing attacks of their own.
>>
No. 366801 ID: a2fa74

>>366638
Grab the gun, but don't fire it.
Forget hiding your magic, you go and beat that thing down with whatever magical powers you have at your disposal. Dispel that shit!

If the inquisitor gets upset then tell him you've been using magic for good. If he remains unconvinced, point out you also have a gun now.
>>
No. 366803 ID: 35bcde

>>366638
Larcen had a sort of magical armor on and is incredibly strong. The zombie is reaching for his collar. I think, maybe, we should stop it from getting whatever it is it wants. Tell Takkaya you need to stop it from grabbing his collar. Prepare the Thunderous Thingamabob to see if we can disorient it again.
>>
No. 367089 ID: cfa804

Okay considering how quickly he basically DODGED A BULLET (though these certainly aren't normal incendiary rounds... we need to later ask the inquisitor what they are) and took out our more physically-inclined companions, I'm gonna say physical confrontation is definitely something we want to AVOID. And even if he DID drop the gun, I don't think we ought to run all the way over to him and hope we can pick up the gun (we don't even know if it's loaded or not) and use it against him. Rather, let's HOPE that the inquisitor hasn't lost his sanity and is casting a spell. So what we need to do now, frankly, is distract him long enough for him to finish cooking up whatever it is he's got going. We can't let him kill Larcen either (and who knows, maybe our other companions aren't dead/unconscious and will rejoin the fight. I doubt Takkaya has any sort of moves she can use on... whatever this guy is, now, but perhaps we can bluff? Do you have anything you can perhaps point at him, pretend it is a wand of vast power, and threaten him with 'another' lightning bolt?
>>
No. 367609 ID: 4bdd79

>>366676
>>366747
The gun is a grenade launcher. Are you really sure firing a grenade at close range is the best course of action?

Use the Thingamabob to stun him, then slash a few tendons to disable him.
>>
No. 367611 ID: e3aff6

>>367609
Well it is more of a firebomb than a grenade, but your point still holds.

Still, we should try not to run in front of the enemy when the Inquisitor (who we know has at least some magic) is doing what looks like chanting and making hand gestures.
>>
No. 367612 ID: 0d7a83

Would it be possible to attack one of the leaking aura spots shown by the Symbol of Voors with magic? Obviously it's risky, but this thing is probably going to take more brute force than you have to physically destroy it.
>>
No. 370147 ID: 79586b
File 132315508301.png - (259.47KB , 900x600 , 733.png )
370147

The gun seems a poor bet, assuming I could even reach it before being apprehended.

I'm not sure I can pull the power 'out' of it either, or even target whatever force is keeping it alive... becasue that thing, is very much alive. No dead verhimen would have the latent thaumagathemic field up so long after death, even, or especially so in the case of reanimation.

Takkaya apprehensively tries to shrink away from me when I turn to her, but I grab a hold of her and whisper my plan, to which she dumbly nods in acquiescence.
>>
No. 370149 ID: 79586b
File 132315564580.png - (219.15KB , 900x600 , 734.png )
370149

I would not use her as a distraction. No, I think it more fitting of my abilities and my person to be the distraction myself.

Seeing our own preparations the Inquisitor puts away his rosary and pulls a revolving springun from his coat.
>>
No. 370151 ID: 79586b
File 132315605760.png - (153.44KB , 649x600 , 735.png )
370151

Each of us spring forward wordlessly, nothing but breath and the sound of footpads in thick dust to herald my opening strike.

I lash out furiously at it's chest, keeping the light in it's squinting eyes to disorient, to distract... to blood my blade.
>>
No. 370153 ID: 79586b
File 132315688913.png - (229.11KB , 900x600 , 736.png )
370153

I draw it away from Larcen's prone form, backpedaling and weaving to keep out of it's grasp, it seems wearier, heavier than before with it's flighty pirouettes of careless devastation.

Not slowed enough to miss me forever though... a glancing blow finally connects, rattling my teeth before I feel it tugging at the mane I let grow too long.
>>
No. 370163 ID: 79586b
File 132315789096.png - (180.10KB , 900x600 , 737.png )
370163

"Ο αιώνιος Θεός,"
*CHOCK*
"Οποίοι είναι οι μόνοι μας ρολόγια,
Και τους κανόνες τις παλίρροιες και καταιγίδες,"
>>
No. 370164 ID: 79586b
File 132315833571.png - (181.88KB , 900x600 , 738.png )
370164

Να είστε συμπονετικοί στους δούλους σου,
Να μας διαφυλάξει από τους κινδύνους!"
*CHOCK*
"Ότι μπορεί να διασφαλίσει στον τομέα των ανδρών!
Αυτό μπορούμε να το ρίχνει έξω απατεώνες!"

The corpse-beast shudders, roars and flings us at the offending little kobold with the nasty gun, the Inquisitor calmly sidestepping as a matter of routine while continuing his methodical chanting and firing.
>>
No. 370168 ID: 79586b
File 132315859543.png - (204.84KB , 900x600 , 739.png )
370168

*CHOCK*
"Αυτό μπορούμε να αφαιρέσουμε την ασθένεια!
Ότι μπορεί να θεραπεύσει με φλόγα και σιδήρου!
Είθε όλοι μπλοκ whichs το μονοπάτι να αφαιρεθεί,
μπορεί να το-"

I hear a loud crack and another roar of pain as the beast twists and punts away this annoyance.
>>
No. 370170 ID: 79586b
File 132315888282.png - (166.72KB , 900x600 , 740.png )
370170

I recover myself before it draws near again-
>>
No. 370173 ID: 79586b
File 132315908663.png - (266.13KB , 900x600 , 741.png )
370173

-springing both trap and signal. Predictably it withdraws, hopping backwards from the unexpected, albeit minor, explosion of ionized dust, light, and grit.
>>
No. 370226 ID: 79586b
File 132319778753.png - (3.60MB , 900x600 , 742.png )
370226

Takkaya makes short work of the ankle tendons and I leap up to take advantage of it's helplessness, lashing with my blade upon it's torso as I bring to mind the 'Ocular Pentacle of the Flaming Frond'.

If we cannot break it's body quickly by brute force, nor easily draw out it's power, then perhaps drive out whatever presence or dark device lurks within it's shuddering shell.

Line by line I lay it down, as I've done so before in dust, wax and parchment, but never in a medium of living flesh... the outer lines are the easiest... but the details...
>>
No. 370227 ID: 79586b
File 132319785881.png - (269.43KB , 900x600 , 744.png )
370227

With startling suddenness Takkaya looses a pained, and stifled cry, and the corpse-beast lunges against me with a groan, snatching at my forearms and reversing the blade in my bloodsoaked hands towards me. I try to force it away as I feel my back meets a pillar, but I was trained a scholar, not a soldier-grenadier or knight fit to match the obscene musculature such a monster.
>>
No. 370229 ID: 79586b
File 132319856311.png - (221.89KB , 900x600 , 745.png )
370229

It's distorted face, skull now perched on what resembles more a twisted stalk than a neck, leers up at me as I'm forced slowly up the wall. I was so close, if only I were stronger, or faster, I could, with but another cut, finish the Pentacle or... even resist...

I can feel it's fetid breath, flecks of foam and blood standing out on it's lips and nostrils as it leans in, the scents of blood, raw flesh, rotten peaches, milk and sour musk...

It gurgles, or chuckles... and licks it's teeth.
>>
No. 370236 ID: 1854db

>>370229
Knee to chin.
>>
No. 370238 ID: a00394

Finish that rune as soon as you're able, you may need a distraction first however.
>>
No. 370239 ID: 26cd4c

>>370238
Finish it how? With his mind? He's kind of being forced to stab himself with the impliment which he'd need to use to finish carving it.
>>
No. 370244 ID: 453e62

use your other hand and put us on it, maybe we can distract it long enough for you to finish.
>>
No. 370245 ID: b6edd6

I think you should kick its torso in the side while shifting your weight to the side, in an attempt to destabilize it. Its mangled foot-stalks seem like they would be much less stable than actual feet. If you can get your back off the pillar you can move away from it or to a more favorable position.
>>
No. 370264 ID: 0d7a83

>>370229
August, it's got hold of your arms, not your hands.
Drop the knife.
Then totally catch it with your tail and finish the pentagram off because that's a thing you can do right :V
>>
No. 370316 ID: a2fa74

>>370264
Or just use your rat-like toe claws to finish the job.
>>
No. 370331 ID: cfa804

Dropping the knife is a good idea, especially since it keeps you from getting stabbed. If you can find and pick it up with your tail do that, and if you can finish the rune QUICKLY, do that. But if you can't, it might just be better to stab his tail, maybe he'll drop takkaya. Also continue to push against his chest with your legs. I don't want him biting you or opening his mouth and you seeing that it's a gateway into the lovecraftian abyss.
>>
No. 371231 ID: a2fa74

>>370229
OH! By the way, we have an idea that could stop Lucidia from going blind and make you quite wealthy and famous in your own right, but it requires the services of a chemist with some industrial strength lab equipment.
Something to toss on the 'to do' list after this corpse is dead.
>>
No. 371267 ID: 79586b
File 132357819411.png - (187.06KB , 900x600 , 746.png )
371267

The beast forces my arms, and I drop the blade.
>>
No. 371269 ID: 79586b
File 132357831950.png - (112.02KB , 708x600 , 747.png )
371269

To be plucked up by my waiting tail.
>>
No. 371276 ID: 79586b
File 132357876206.png - (302.32KB , 900x600 , 748.png )
371276

To finish the waiting sigil and finish our struggle...

At first it's as if he doesn't even notice, his foetid breath filling my lungs as it extends it's reptilian headstalk and snaps it's teeth, centimeters from my own neck. I earnestly press him away, knowing how tenuously my life hangs here.
>>
No. 371278 ID: 79586b
File 132357907369.png - (355.26KB , 900x600 , 749.png )
371278

The beast tumbles like a load of bricks, a thrashing, bloody load of bricks perhaps.

For a moment or more it tears at itself, trying frantically to remove the sign of it's undoing, to no more avail than to rip itself open and collapse in a steaming mess.
>>
No. 371286 ID: 79586b
File 132358006679.png - (285.80KB , 891x600 , 750.png )
371286

The remainder of the week proves to be, fairly uneventful by comparison.

The Inquisitor, of course, seized the remains and an unsustainable rumor was started about an encounter and destruction of a changeling spy by our hands. His personal opinion however, was rather less assured, declaring to me that this matter warranted further investigation into 'exactly' what, or who this monstrosity was.

We all were in some way shaken up by this battle, but the worker 'Loric' suffered the worse of it, with extensive burns leaving him hospitalized for at least the week, Mariana, his mate, had some teeth cracked and a nasty headache when she awoke. The inquisitor and Takkaya walked rather more gingerly than usual, but otherwise are in good health.

'Larcen' however, presents a problem, he recovered well enough with little more than a day spent whining and wine-ing about it bed. For now I've been keeping him around the house in some of my old clothes telling the family he is an old friend of mine, I've mentioned and noted nothing more of his unusual strength.

Lucidia finds the whole matter a very exciting and heroic story... those parts I elect to tell her later over a picnic anyhow. My family also takes note of the matter and seems to have ramped up security.
>>
No. 371294 ID: 79586b
File 132358065217.png - (158.51KB , 792x404 , 751.png )
371294

Soon enough, the week draws to it's inevitable close. I've opted to leave on my father's buisness on the same day as her... albeit not the same aircraft.

I'm still, wary of her, but I suppose I must put some thought to the idea of our mutual future. It feels 'cliche' to think that I'm not very good with farewells... but I'm really not.
"August... you will of course, come to see us this summer, will you?"

>>371231
And it seems my necklace of mysteries has conveniently awoken from it's slumber... I guess?
>>
No. 371298 ID: b6edd6

A pity we missed the chance to have 'Larcen' list the important people he has robbed recently, particularly which ones would send agents after him. If the Sperenzes were indeed the ones who sent the creature, that would mean that they have more than just advanced medical devices at their disposal.

I think you should half-jokingly reply "Well I might be a bit tardy from digging out of a pile of Fey, but I'll try to be there."
>>
No. 371304 ID: 453e62

not our fault, apparently the sign messed with our systems.
"of course, what kind of man would i be if i didn't visit?"
>>
No. 371306 ID: 1854db

>>371294
Wait wait dammit we missed the chance to get her that eye protection! Uh uh uh... is there a delivery service? We could mail them to her later.

I'm still not sure if they should be goggles or fitted lenses in a mask. If the latter, it'd probably be best to send more than one in case the first gets lost/stolen/broken.

I don't see any reason why you shouldn't visit. Question- did anyone investigate those ghosts?
>>
No. 371323 ID: b6edd6

Whats this about eye protection?
>>
No. 371342 ID: 1854db

>>371323
She's albino, and thus has less UV protection in her eyes. She'll go blind in about 20 years or so without shielding.
>>
No. 371397 ID: a2fa74

>>371294
We weren't asleep; you used a dispelling sigil, and we're linked to a magical artifact.

Hug her, and promise you'll visit as soon as you've fulfilled your obligations.
Also ask her to give your regards to Steelsplinters, and tell Lucidia you'll rest easy knowing she has Steelsplinters keeping her safe.

>>371306
Goggles, since they're much harder to break and easier to fix. She can wear masks over them, although goggles themselves might be enough for social needs.
Also, we need a chemist to handle the Zinc Oxide coating. We don't know any chemists that could do that.
>>
No. 371418 ID: b6edd6

Well that would be good to tell her, but it wouldn't involve invention. Tinted lenses appear to already exist; Takkaya has some in her mask.
>>
No. 371452 ID: 1854db

>>371418
Er... really?

Then why isn't she wearing any? August, have you ever asked why she doesn't wear eye protection? If this wasn't a problem because the tech or medical knowledge wasn't available... then maybe we're approaching the subject completely wrong.

ANYWAY

She looks down. Often people in this situation try to reassure the person they're saying goodbye to. That they won't be separated for long, or that they can still communicate in some manner.

I do think you should tell her you'll visit. Be a gentleman. Kiss her hand if you feel that's not too intimiate.
>>
No. 371484 ID: a2fa74

>>371418
Tinted lenses? Yes, those exist.
Coatings that filter out specific bands of radiation? That's MUCH more difficult.
>>
No. 372740 ID: 79586b
File 132400615884.png - (244.22KB , 875x476 , 752.png )
372740

>>371452
I kiss her hands and try to reassure her.
"It won't be long before we meet again I'm-"
>Lenses? albanism? zinc oxide? glass? goggles? money? inventions? chemistry?
I take a moment to try and absorb the information and thoughts streaming back through my head.
"I-I might be able to... perhaps if I can get something together, actually... you wouldn't happen to have any goggles?"

"Goggles... August? It started talking again didn't it?"
>>
No. 372755 ID: 79586b
File 132400918656.png - (323.95KB , 900x600 , 753.png )
372755

I nod and she draws in close, I respond and hug her to my chest.
"It is, we are just concerned... for your vision, all the light outside. It could eventually-"
"August, I know, I'm not- While I can do so, I enjoy the light, but hold little fear of inevitable night. I cannot, but August, that thing... I worry about you and it now. It's dangerous.”
"Lucida, I just wanted to make sure you are okay, it was suddenly worried and-"
She sighs, and shudders in my arms for a moment whilst I caress her hair.
""Everything is angles August, everyone... is angles. A blade is but an angle applied, the paths are not straight and what light to be seen is obscured in the heat. Even curves... an infinity of angles. So why do you wear the roadmap to your heart, written in angles for his reading?"
"Lucida, stop it. Now! I 'will' see you this summer. Still, we both must part ways, our separate angles to intersect again. Both of us have our duties to be attendant to."
...
""I'm sorry... I just."
"Shhh shhh~, it is okay, just breathe. Breathe and smile, cry if you must, but smile. I won't send you off with frown, what could be thought of me then?"
I hold her for just a bit longer, till she seems calm again.
>>
No. 372760 ID: 79586b
File 132400970910.png - (235.39KB , 509x598 , 754.png )
372760

"Eheh Augoust I vhas...
"La-
I catch myself before I let slip any name, he's been staying on as 'an old school friend'.

Oh... am vherry sorry. Oh ello lady, vhe are... erh, Augoust introducing us mehbe?"
>>
No. 372878 ID: 1854db

>>372760
Stick with your story, unless you aren't comfortable with lying to Lucia. I suppose she's leaving today, so it could be less of an issue?
>>
No. 372972 ID: 1737f4

Larcen's something of a womanizer isn't he? I'm not sure if it'd be a very wise thing to do to introduce him to Lucida. Plus Lucida's not exactly someone you want to be lying to. And there's the consideration that she might figure things out by herself anyway. However, since you've said your farewells and Larcen seems to be better, maybe you ought consider taking him where you're going? After all, he does owe you for taking out that monstrosity, considering it was after him. At least, the guy was back when he was 'alive.' Speaking of, we need to be sure what your plans are. You've got your duty to attend to with your father's mission, but Sirius's message seemed much more urgent and potentially life-or-death, so if you have to pick one or the other I'd help out Sirius. But if you have time for both...
>>
No. 373477 ID: 79586b
File 132427859136.png - (288.81KB , 742x573 , 755.png )
373477

Hmmmm, he is a womanizer, but she's leaving only momentarily so he can't be too much trouble in that respect, also likely they would also meet regardless eventually by mutual association.

"Larcen, my good school friend, come, please meet Lucidia de Sauterelle. A lady of title and first cousin on my father's side."
"Ahhhh! mahlady, tis gud to meet more of family, sucha fine an delicate reprzentation of des nobles too.~"
"Lucidia and I have been close friends since childhood, and we've been visiting and... courting."
"I, ahh, vhell den milady, an ow as de country been treaten hew?"
"Quite fairly, I- oh my... you do have such strange eyes, gold tossed upon the sands of the shattered shores at sunset.."
"I- erhm... all de better for de beholden of such beauty as valks de earth."

Okay, awkward...
>>
No. 373478 ID: 79586b
File 132427876362.png - (293.68KB , 900x600 , 756.png )
373478

Fortunately however, Takkaya's sudden interruption diverts any further awkwardness towards their immediate preparations for departure.
>>
No. 373497 ID: 79586b
File 132428227940.png - (276.06KB , 656x600 , 757.png )
373497

...and so, with some fanfare, Lucidia and entourage are bundled up warmly and readied for the skys, the civilization and refinement of the homelands.

That comment about his eyes though, I didn't even recognize him at first becasue...
"Vhell den, shes seeming lika nice ghel, fancihen a leddle 'old family breeden' in your futures hmm Augoust?"
"Our family branches have been considering drawing closer again, suffice to say, there are various parties with a vested interest in our relationship progressing smoothly to a mutually satisfactory arrangement. So, we are getting to know the other again, having grown now since we were last frequently together."
"Baaah leaven eet for hew with taken to write a book vhen simple 'mehbeh' would be sufficing, so, is all set to go, what did hew pack?"

>>372972
I have roughly nine more days until my appointment at what I believe is Nenetor Cove.. which by some older maps is currently situated in the awkward little coastal kingdom of Rotolamentolo, bordering the 'Peak of Dispute', our current destination. Now then, what did I pack? I do hope I got everything we should need.
>>
No. 373498 ID: 1854db

>>373497
I wasn't aware yellow was an unusual color. Can you think of an explanation?

No idea what you packed, man, we weren't awake then. Find out and tell us, and we can suggest things.
>>
No. 373529 ID: 1e3433

There are quite a few diseases linked with yellow eyes.
>>
No. 373595 ID: 453e62

checklist:
all your magical doodads and trinkets.
more rope
two chunks of wood that can be fitted together.
flash powder
>>
No. 373667 ID: 252e1b

If I recall correctly, you need to dope common soda-lime glass with cerric oxide to turn it into a very good UV filter with acceptable visible spectrum performance.

Hm. You'll need a UV standard to measure against, too, when you're testing formulations. An easy one is to use a chip of diamond and put an electric current through it. Diamond is a natural UV light emitting diode. A low voltage battery won't do, use your house mains, you want at least 60 volts. The UV light won't be visible, but you can fix that by using a solution of quinine. Quinine is very optically reactive to UV and will absorb the UV light and re-emit it in the visible range.

If you prefer, instead of a light emitting diode you could use a mercury gas lamp. Evacuate a glass tube such that it is as perfect a vacuum as practical, and then fill it with mercury vapor. Run a high voltage electric current through it and you have a UV lamp.
>>
No. 374189 ID: 1737f4

I'm PRETTY sure our main concern right now is NOT on Lucida's eyes. That can wait for quite a while. Our main objectives are to accomplish this task August's father has given us, and then to back up Sirius. I'm really not sure of the distances involved and how long it'll take to get from one place to another, but we should bring as much advantageous to our cause as we can.
Larcen's definitely someone we ought to bring, considering how much he owes us and how much he might profit from getting out of the country for a while. Your kobold manservant might be useful as well, if just to have someone to hand you your gun or whatever. Sirius's message mentioned things that sounded like he wanted you to bring a lot of guns (or prepare for foes having a lot of guns) which suggests a large enemy... so whatever favors you can call in and reinforcements you can get your father to send, perhaps as an 'advance' for services rendered (even to family) would be advisable.
>>
No. 375165 ID: 79586b
File 132488541202.png - (235.52KB , 627x555 , 758.png )
375165

Larcen and I wander indoors to work on last minute pre-flight preparations. He wrapping his feet against altitude chill (protesting that boots make him itch) whilst I check our supplies for anything I might have missed: Clothes, Knives, Pistol, 5 Shells, Larcen's Sword, Compass, 76 Silver Tears.

>>373595
Trinkets and Doodads? Check...

Rope? Check...

Flash Powder? Check... good idea to cover for an magic, regardless of actually finding a chance to utilize it.

Wooden Chunks? Perhaps you mean a wooden board, or some wooden blocks? I suppose we could pack something like that, but to what end?
>>
No. 375167 ID: 79586b
File 132488708906.png - (236.51KB , 600x600 , 759.png )
375167

>>373667
We do manufacture some glasses out here, I could ask around, see if any of the craftsmen are familiar with such. Cerric oxide... never heard of it, should ask a chemist.

What about impregnating the lenses with gold, assuming some loss in optical clarity perhaps? Gold sharing lead's quality of being 'radiatively resilient' while lacking any possible toxicology problems.

>Diamond Diodes...
Erh, a diode is something like a more advanced thermionic valve is it not? Those fashioned of diamond sound like an exotic 'Old World' treasure, wouldn't a simpler-
>mercury vapor
Ah, a Cleansing Lantern, yes, I could get one of those easily enough. It would not surprise me if Sirius already owns one.
>>
No. 375169 ID: 79586b
File 132488812018.png - (294.80KB , 643x597 , 760.png )
375169

>>373498
>>373529
Verhimen coat coloration generally ranges from dusty tans and golden, to an almost greenish hue of black endless shades of gray being most common (especially among those of highlander blood.)

Our eyes are most often shades of brown, green, or blue, with the rare albino pinks and crimsons making up a not insignificant minority of some families. Yellow, or should I say amber, is not unheard of, but generally does indicate some illness, perhaps a lineage disorder, poisoning, or simply heaving drinking and drug us.

Needless to say, it therefor does not hold a healthy association for us, although it 'is' a trait, mentioned once or twice in passing song or rhyme, of Larcen de Scarlette. Although there goes the legend that it's the reflected sheen of his treasures gained.
>>
No. 375279 ID: 79586b
File 132495247422.png - (408.78KB , 900x600 , 761.png )
375279

"Sir Weldendon, brother."
Ahh, I do hope this day finds you better than when last we joined company?"
"Hello big brother, come to join us on a fight or flight?"
"Something like that, thought I do hope not simultaneously, Knight Weldendon has briefed you some yes?"
"Some, yes."
"What of it you need to know boy."
"Please, meet an old schoolmate of mine, Larcen, and of course Baldrekgus..."
>>
No. 375280 ID: 79586b
File 132495260832.png - (511.58KB , 900x600 , 762.png )
375280

>>374189
Our airship is a smaller freight/passenger model, technically able to be crewed by Kurtail and Sir Weldendon alone. However, after informing my father that I suspected there to be some trouble in reacquiring Sirius he send along four more Verhimen vanguards alongside ten combat-hardened kobolds.

My father doesn't fancy the idea of losing such a valuable asset as a friendly magus, even a frequently drunken one.
>>
No. 375282 ID: 79586b
File 132495335675.png - (428.09KB , 622x600 , 763.png )
375282

Sir Welendon lays out the plan he's arranged before me, he accounting for our detour to the 'Peak of Dispute' as Kurtail, Welendon, Larcen, and I separate from the main investigative group while in Sealucid territory and take a fast train to the Peak (as the humans in residence apparently both distrust kobolds and demand a clear airspace.)

After either spending most of a week in fruitless investigation, or having actually aquired the treacherous mechanic and his ill gotten gains, we hop on another train through the kingdom of Rotolamentolo down to the coast and meet up with airship and crew, to lay in wait for 'anything unusual' at the cove.

Upon finishing his short spiel he meets my gaze and asks quite seriously if I have any questions, suggestions, or modifications for his considerations.
>>
No. 375284 ID: a2fa74

>>375167
Yes, that would be one way to describe a diode.
With time and resources we could tell you how to recreate almost any ancient wonder. UV-protective glasses are a minor practical application of this information.
>>
No. 375319 ID: de7eea

An issue occurs to me. When we capture the mechanic, he is likely to claim that we are attempting to kidnap him and steal his equipment. Were this to happen, safely using public transportation while carrying him would be quite difficult.
>>
No. 375351 ID: 1737f4

Uh, could you ask him to explain the map to us? Or, if you understand it, we don't, so could YOU explain it to us? Which places are which, what scale we're looking at, what the lines and rings mean, etc?

Also it occurs to me that if yellow eyes are part of the legend of Larcen De Scarlette, calling Larcen 'Larcen' in front of everyone is rather unwise. Call him by the name you knew him by in school. You know, his ACTUAL name.
>>
No. 375357 ID: 453e62

the fitted wood is for making runes upon. by making the symbols on them while it's whole and then splitting it into two, it makes a very quickly accessible rune without being whole all the time so no one can tell it's there.
>>
No. 375375 ID: 1854db

We started calling him Larcen and he didn't object- I think we'd better stick with that unless he tells you otherwise.

Might be a good thing to bring up in private? I dunno. Oh! We still need to experiment with that wand. If you have some spare time, try pointing it at a rock or something and activating it.
>>
No. 375442 ID: 252e1b

>>375167

Cerric oxide is also called Cerrium(IV) Oxide. Cerrium is the 58th element, part of the lanthanide series, also known as the rare earth series of elements. If you identify it to a chemist as the 58th element there will be no question about what you are talking about.

Your ceramic craftsmen are more likely to know cerric oxide as ceria, a white-yellowish powder added to glazes to help stabilize their colors over the long term (UV light can cause fading in certain types of glazes, and the ceria keeps nearly all the UV light from hitting them).

Gold would provide inferior visual spectrum qualities, and would eventually go opaque once it got warm enough, but if you can't find any cerric oxide, then photosensitive glass made with gold ions would be better than no protection at all.

Cerric oxide is really among the best choices.

Incidentally, gold-ion treated glass is useful for photosensitive plates suitable for high quality printing and image reproduction. Expose it to UV light, then use a heat treatment to make the latent image develop.

A diode operates by nature of its chemical composition. I chose diamond because it's easy to find chemically pure examples naturally. For other colors of light emitting diodes you will need a chemist to help you, but a diamond diode you could build yourself so long as you observed safe practices in working with electric current. It is literally as simple as building a suitable power supply and then putting the positive and neutral ends of the circuit on either side of the diamond chip (smaller is better here, actually, given the geometry of how the light is emitted in the first place). If you like, the entire assembly of circuit ends and diamond chip can be encased in a light-condensing glass, that you don't need to do so for the simplest application of this technology as a known UV standard.

I trust you're familiar with quinine. Bitter stuff, but optically a very reliable standard to measure against.
>>
No. 376353 ID: 79586b
File 132530342422.png - (218.77KB , 900x400 , 764.png )
376353

"Yes, but while I'm not familiar with the term quinine, spectral imaging plates via gold doping are a known matter among educated circles, as well as the use of mercuric gas 'cleansing lanterns'. Diode creation and other mecha-electrical miscellanea however are hardly my area of expertise I'll warn as the damnable Kirchoff Laws failed me out of Electrik Mechanics when I-

...

"Erhmmm."
>>
No. 376354 ID: 79586b
File 132530396074.png - (244.89KB , 900x400 , 765.png )
376354

Sir Weldendon clears his throat politely whilst I shake myself out of the reverie of thought back into the here and now.

"I'm sorry, I was just-"
"I've worked with your family for decades young master. I am... familiar with some of the eccentricities they are taken with. Indeed, if I recall this is your first possible 'command mission', a heady, albeit rather lately applied burden in my opinion. If you would prefer I can-"
>>
No. 376361 ID: 79586b
File 132530506284.png - (233.29KB , 900x400 , 766.png )
376361

Baldrekgus scrambles from under the cot and offers his services.
"Should get water bucket?"
"No, no.. really. No. Sir Weldendon, I notice this map is not labeled at all. Also, another issue, we could expect some difficulties in transporting the mechanic if using the public railways? Speaking of which, do we have a picture of him, at least a sketch?"
"Ahh hold on one moment.
>>
No. 376362 ID: 79586b
File 132530552307.png - (399.53KB , 622x600 , 767.png )
376362

"Ahh sorry, pilots. If you labeled the map with everything we could want there'd be no room for finden anything, so we just use overlays"

He slaps down and aligns a sheet of waxpaper with some labels, smoothing it out before withdrawing a photograph and some notes from his pocket.
>>
No. 376366 ID: 79586b
File 132530694929.png - (149.09KB , 556x597 , 768.png )
376366

"The lines are the most common routes and times, but the circles?
"Emergency Air Response Times from airbases participating in the Airspace Policing Accord. Green within 10 minutes, white within 20, and crimson within 45. Now, as to the picture.
"Hmm, looked vaguely familiar, he's Lagoan?"
"By dress, and by claim he's the disowned nobility of one of the noble families about The Lake, but that may amount to so much hot air."

"Mmmm, and what forces do we have arrayed? I imagine we want to keep the mission at the Peak low profile, hence the division of forces?"
>>
No. 376384 ID: 79586b
File 132531271414.png - (569.29KB , 900x1032 , 769.png )
376384

"Well, first there's, Viria. She's the type to axe you a question, I rather suspect she was a priestess of Mari until she found she just liked dismembering things more than keeping them together.

Tinnedul is big and quiet, he favors a retooled fairy bow he's aquired as well as well as grenades.

The Iotis brothers use long rifle repeaters, with a healthy does of bayonet. Clever sharpshooters, though it has more to do with their good teamwork than individual skill.

If we really needed to we could press on the services of 'Captain' Rylora, I doubt she would appreciate it as she is not a combatant but she's a good technical and can pilot fair enough.

The bolds are a fairly evenly mixed lot, two armed with sharptrips and another two with sturdy steel blowpipes. One is actually a freelance worker, a petty 'adventurer' we took on a few months ago after his close encounter with a rabid Otton.

The rest are a handful of Pekendrijus' more promising crossbow trainees under his direct supervision."


"And the locations?"

"I don't know much about this cove aside from it's location on a map... I wasn't aware of that area having a particularly steep shoreline so calling it a 'cove' maybe a misnomer. The peak is divided into heavily controlled interior, an old human fortress guarded with some nasty weaponry, the verhimen terrace city and the shanty strew foothills. Airspace is pretty tightly controlled as the the humans can be a bit paranoid of anything flying up from the south of them but aside from that the only demand that you use the 'special gates' when entering the city proper.

"Scanners to prevent Fae infiltrators, similar to their restriction on kobolds? Hmmmm, what other transportation do they have aside from the trains?"

I would suspect they may have a Helical platform at the summit but am unsure personally. Regardless 'we' almost wouldn't be cleared for it."

Hmmm, I suppose that covers everything I can think of, given the information, my personal feeling is to just approve the knight's plans, unless you see otherwise?
>>
No. 376449 ID: 1737f4

Hmm... I suppose if we have any intelligence as to the resources available to our target, as well as what skills or other assets he might possess, those would be useful. Also maybe a map of the Peak. Is it just a single city-state or is it an entire country type deal? Need to know how much area we'd have to hunt him down in.
>>
No. 376450 ID: 1737f4

Other than that, though, maybe you could ask to borrow one of those blowguns for your kobold manservant, disguise it as a walking stick or something, and get some tranq darts for it, so that you can incapacitate him from range before retrieving him. But other than that, it seems simple enough.
>>
No. 376542 ID: 40cb26

The term "nasty weaponry" is as concerning as it is vague. That is to say, "very". Ask what manner of nastiness is involved there, just in case.
>>
No. 376679 ID: a2853b

>>376542
In particular, list these possible types of damage:
>Massive holes in personnel and armor out of seemingly 'nowhere' (Snipers or long range armor-piercing sabots/railguns)
>Vehicles exploding from within (HEAT rounds)
>flashes or beams of light creating explosions (High power lasers)
>Big explosions from ground level (Artillery)
>Big explosions otherwise (Rocketry)
>Sudden pain, blindness or other inexplicable impairments mental or physical (directed microwave weaponry)
>Sudden and lasting semi-fatal or paralyzing illness (Toxic gas attack))
Talk about any known communications in or out, talk about usual radius for the 'death zone' in the air and on the ground, and ask if there's anything else we need to avoid doing that might make the humans target us.
>>
No. 376682 ID: 914844

>>376679
Don't forget magical armaments. They are already likely have this 'Helical Platform', which sounds like a teleporter.
>>
No. 376683 ID: a2853b

>>376449
On this note, is there a chance there might be local information brokers or bounty hunter that might be found?
We plan on doing the legal way first, at least to find him and confirm his location, but 'news' from a few 'locals' would be useful.
>>
No. 376685 ID: a2853b

>>376682
I didn't want to even get into magic, because that's a boatload of spiders I'd rather stay out of.
If you'd like to know why:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazilian_wandering_spider

I may be a spiderbro, but not all spiders are humanbros.
>>
No. 376692 ID: 914844

>>376685
Unfortunately, not getting into magic rarely stops the magic from getting into you.
>>
No. 376705 ID: a2fa74

>>376384
All those things we're expressing confusion over? What are they?

"Helical platform" holds most of my interest, personally.
>>
No. 377069 ID: 79586b
File 132555568853.png - (346.62KB , 900x600 , 780.png )
377069

"Helical platforms?"
"Ah, erh Helicles... you know, flying machines, big propellers, can land them on sturdy enough buildings."
"Ah, those things, yes, I've read about them and Sirius says he has flown in a few. What about these 'nasty weapons' that sounds concerning to say the least."
His descriptions paint me a picture of guardians clad in ancient armors taking watch from the shaded apertures of old stone and concrete edifices, of steel watchtowers slowly rusting and creaking in the sun except the city is disturbed at which they crackle to life over radio and electrical channels, building up to pour forth a torrid radiance of energy. Hollow eyed men and women with long rifles rivaling autocannons lurking behind high windows or parapets, or suited squads with cleansing lanterns and thermal lances lurking behind iron doors.
>>
No. 377073 ID: 79586b
File 132555771806.png - (290.17KB , 900x600 , 781.png )
377073

"Okay then, so causing trouble is not compatible with a long and healthy life, where should we expect to find our troublemaker then? Do we have contacts, something to narrow the search area?"
"Well, the city manages only the bare minimum of the land surrounding it, and the slums are surprisingly safe as most of the really 'heavy' buisness wants to benefit from the potential protection of the locals. If they catch you shooting or causing trouble for something no good reason they fine you and kick you out of town if you're lucky, or you spend a few months in a collar if you aren't."
>>
No. 377083 ID: 79586b
File 132555920226.png - (161.03KB , 615x528 , 782.png )
377083

"So, you are saying you have to go father up the mountain to get more dangerous buisness? What about mercenaries, or information brokers?"
"Anyone useful is going to be in the midtown, the slums being too easy for foreign powers to influence, while the fortress is not open to regular entrance. Thus anyone who would be in the market for communication or sensory array components would be there. As for mercenaries, almost everyone is going to be carrying a weapon, however smaller spring-guns, crossbows, or just some simple swordsmanship would be recommended for trying to cause trouble, and get away with it, unless you happen to be very good at explanations or running and hiding.

If you had the purse, patience and keep your ear close to the ground one should be able to acquire just a little bit of most anything our shared peoples could want, aside from possibly servants or faerie goods."


Well then, we could follow Welendon's plan, break off in Sealucid territory with the soldiers heading to the Cove in the airship while Larcen and the Knights accompany me to the Peak?

We could take some of the Verhimen with us to the Peak?

Try to get some sort of diplomatic finagling run through with the locals to try and track down and acquire our target with their help?

...or even hire whatever help or trouble my 76 Silver Tears could purchase on the streets to some end?
>>
No. 377113 ID: 316d2a

Wow, that is a lot of tech they have. It makes me wonder if they have actual manufacturing capabilities instead of just a stockpile.
You might want to ask how we found out about those. Do we have spies there, or did we actually fight them, or did they have some sort of military demonstration at some point?
>>
No. 377126 ID: 1737f4

Looks like we're done with info, time for decision making. While we're currently assuming that nothing changes by the time we arrive at the Peak, it seems to me that >>377113 makes something of a valid point. If these humans have an advantage in technology, they've got to get it and maintain it somehow. The verhimen we're after stole some piece of machinery from your family, yes? It may be that he plans to sell it to the people running the place, so trying to get buddy-buddy with them might be a bad idea. Better, I think, to try to make friends with the black market dealers, see if we can make a friend who might tell us who's selling our piece of equipment and where he might be.
>>
No. 378759 ID: 8bae5c
File 132614801110.png - (183.12KB , 712x524 , 783.png )
378759

"Hmm."
"Hmm?"
"Hmmmmm."
"Ahuh..."
"Well then, I approve your plan, we shall send the soldiers northward along the coast with the vessel after we disembark and take the trains."
"Very Good-"
"With the addendum that we contact with the local merchants, if the locals have such sophisticated defenses they surely need regular merchants for upkeep, repairs, replacement parts, ect... indeed, our device may have been acquired for just such a market. Thus we cannot expect much help from the prospective buyers, but the other merchants our target is in competition would find our intrusion much more desirable."
>>
No. 378771 ID: 8bae5c
File 132614930139.png - (260.92KB , 761x510 , 784.png )
378771

"Ahh, no honor among thieves as they say?"
"Let us hope not, honor is expensive and we don't have a purse large enough with which to pocket all noses involved."
"Yes needing lots of leather for that, maybe whole herd!"
"Erh, thank you Baldrekgus for your astute confirmation. Now, was that all Sir Weldendon?"
"Yes, I should be going. Must ensure your brother doesn't try piloting us all under a bridge, or heavens forbid, spot a troll and try to strafe it."
>>
No. 378773 ID: 8bae5c
File 132614974648.png - (222.67KB , 799x598 , 785.png )
378773

As for me, it being about midday, I think I'll curl up with a nice old text I get the 'nice cabin' to use for the duration of our short trip. Likely the captain uses it otherwise.

Now, let's see, 'Ancient Traces: Drawing Lines Between the Piltdown Digs and Austri-erh... Australian Archeology'.
>>
No. 378776 ID: 8bae5c
File 132615015270.png - (233.48KB , 799x598 , 786.png )
378776

Baldrekgus soon enough settles and curls up in blankets at the foot of the bed. It's so still this high up, the only sounds are the creaking of the wood, flutter of canvas, whistling of the breeze at the windows.
>>377113
*yawning*
"Mmm, spies, no... need. Allies... sorta. Probably make the stuff... Old fortresses farther north."
>>
No. 378777 ID: 8bae5c
File 132615028207.png - (257.05KB , 799x598 , 787.png )
378777

*pat*pat*pat*pat*Fwip*
>>
No. 378784 ID: 1b0f2f

>>378777

Suddenly an idea struck you and you sat straight up in bed!
>>
No. 378785 ID: a2fa74

>>378777
"You're terrible at being stealthy. You know that, I assume?"
>>
No. 378854 ID: 1737f4

BRACE FOR IMPACT
>>
No. 379577 ID: 818a6a
File 132642963136.png - (258.38KB , 711x591 , 788.png )
379577

"You're terri-"
*kthunk*
"AHHHHDAKKADAKKADAKKADAKKA!"
"Ppptthwha?"
"Man your stations, Moon Pirates Attacking! We must protect the Sybarite Shipment!"
Arrgg, get off, this is no time to indulge in your penny picture dramas! Especially not with real weaponry!"
>>
No. 379578 ID: 818a6a
File 132643003723.png - (208.93KB , 832x599 , 789.png )
379578

I move to roll Kurtail off when I spy the havoc he's wrought to my manuscript, my magnified annoyance punctuated with an indrawn hiss.

"Ssshit, look at what you've done. This book does not even belong to me!"
>>
No. 379579 ID: 818a6a
File 132643108171.png - (261.47KB , 799x598 , 790.png )
379579

"What?"
"Look at what your roughhousing did here!"

Kurtail shifts uncomfortably, ceasing his mock gunnery to consider the bunched and mangled pages for moment before turning back to me.

"You... can iron those out right?"
"That's not the point, this isn't my book, I can't return it like this."
"Who's is it?"
"Sirius, and he got it from..."

I flip to the back of the book in search of a dedication and find a faded library stamp.

"Erh... Ouroboros Anthologies... about 48 years ago... in September."
"I... guess you really wouldn't want to return it?"
"Well not like 'this'!"
>>
No. 379582 ID: 1854db

>>379579
48 years ago? I wonder if there are other copies? Mayhap we should stop by a book store about it. Unless of course the subject matter of the book is taboo...
>>
No. 379585 ID: b6edd6

He isn't going with you into the city, right? He seems rather young and over-energetic for a job involving discretion.
>>
No. 379791 ID: ec8060

August, lay off your brother. He's your little brother, he's family, and he's been a squire for this Knight for who knows how long. He came over because he's missed you, don't be a louse and make him regret trying to keep his big brother (though not as big as BIG Brother) in his life. I'm not sure what his equivalent age is, but try to make the effort to be less self-absorbed and think about other people, not just about your books and interests.
>>
No. 381246 ID: 818a6a
File 132710326930.png - (178.08KB , 499x597 , 791.png )
381246

>>379582
Not so much taboo, as esoteric, it is the transcription and collation of a few pre-Verhimen texts regarding some archeological finds of even more ancient, theoretically pre-human markings and tablets... this copy could be repaired I suppose, but I doubt there were a plethora of printings.

>>379585
I'm afraid he is. In order to hope to become a knight one must have begin training from one's youth to shape the body and instincts to excel in the most demanding of martial disciplines, his specialty being aeronautics and rocketry.
>>379791
I sigh, and remove him from my shoulder in an attempt to explain my frustration.
"I... don't mean to be a spoilsport, it is just... our family background, our secret histories, they are tied to such books, to their acquisition, their study, their preservation. I mean, even you collect those erh... graphic novels... you still do that, right?"
>>
No. 381252 ID: 818a6a
File 132710569569.png - (183.47KB , 499x597 , 792.png )
381252

"Yeah I do... but... August, that was the 'old' family. We, we are are the products of war, founded in conquest and fire."

"*sigh*... Mmmm, I suppose so."

"Uhm, we should probably be getting ready to land soon, I was actually sent down to wake you up. Oh and your friend keeps annoying Miss Rylora."
>>
No. 381257 ID: 818a6a
File 132710675948.png - (160.46KB , 499x597 , 793.png )
381257

"You coming?"
"Just a moment. Thank you Baldrekgus. Oh, and while I'm away, I want you to see if you can't acquire a nice sturdy blowpipe, I expect we will need all the firepower we can muster upon my return."
"Oh, yes master."

He leans in close while adjusting my collar and somewhat lowers his voice.

"Has walkystick wiff secretholes and stingingstiff darts."
"Erh, good, good. That is quite clever of you Baldrekgus."
"Mmmmm, yes, is veerrry goodclever."
>>
No. 381260 ID: 818a6a
File 132710864892.png - (249.70KB , 671x473 , 794.png )
381260

I give my brother's shoulder a reassuring squeeze as I pass him in the hold and shimmy up the command tube on my way to the cockpit. I am somehow unsurprised to find him sitting on the floor, in the middle of the room, only preserved from a lethal fall by a thin hull of aluminum and impact glass.

"Ahhah ello, come to see de veiw? Ez so nice up ear, de vields, rivers, sky an course, our lovely lady capitan."
"Gawd, get rid of em, e's a navigational hazard."
"I heard we were landing soon?"
"Yeah, if e'll stop with the shenanigans, not a momment's peace wiff e's follies round here."
"Folliez, oh see ow she ez vounding our image so, such barbs.."
"Just ignore him, he will be out of your hair soon enough, won't we?"
"Ahh, fearfuly spoke true, ez sadness heavy to leave sech fair golden forests. Still, mayhaps shall be visiten again?"
*harumph*
>>
No. 381261 ID: 818a6a
File 132710877756.png - (402.41KB , 894x582 , 795.png )
381261

"Well, we'll see 'bout that..."
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