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464906 No. 464906 ID: f433c3

Previously, Before the Storm

Expand all images
No. 464909 ID: f433c3
File 135079036025.gif - (432.19KB , 930x630 , 904.gif )

Morning, dawn, slit eyes against the glare. Candles spent... hours ago.
”It’s all… angles, infinite in curves. Contrast. Insulation… conducing,-erh-duction.

Talo diractric, zis aramak, tir aramak, vito tellium-

No. 464910 ID: f433c3
File 135079062380.png - (224.91KB , 707x630 , 905 copy.png )

” Hey August, Aaaaawwwgusssst.~

August! Soup got cold.”

Bhuhuh? No no Sirus not, not yet. Lines in seams.. still… iso-isolalating likely uhm. psyco..rythmetic diodes vis a…a…uhmm… those… textsss are...”
No. 464912 ID: f433c3
File 135079090757.png - (250.51KB , 804x499 , 906.png )

“Heyy, y-you okay? Get any sleep? Maybe want some help with those drawings?”
” Notta, draw. Is... Uhhnglerrrh.
No. 464914 ID: f433c3
File 135079173024.png - (289.71KB , 810x507 , 907.png )

Gingerly prying him from the table, autumn leaf papers rustle and shift under his charcoal spidersilk mane. I’ll never be privileged such, to grow one out. Lucky you kno-

One of my hands go numb and begins tingling like mad, distracted, he slips a little in my grasp.

”Uwup hold on.”

Lucky you little brotha’s been working out.

”Easy does it, rather not wake you up cranky with a kinked tail.”

The Lines begin to dance at the fringes of sight.
No. 464915 ID: f2c20c

...no touching.
No. 464967 ID: 4224e5

Did he make a hat
No. 464988 ID: 26a7c1

No. 465052 ID: f2c20c

I think it's just the fact that we're now being held by his brother... who I hope can keep a SECRET.
No. 466527 ID: 711bf4
File 135129615014.png - (240.42KB , 804x499 , 908.png )

I close my eyes, and clear my mind; send the Lines away.

> Did he make a hat
"Don't look like any hat I'd wea-"
>...no touching.
"W-What, touching who?"
No. 466529 ID: 711bf4
File 135129700612.png - (231.48KB , 899x630 , 909.png )

I awaken, on the soft sheets of the bed in a guest room of the wealthy yet regretful merchant Mister Peroquette. I have less than a week to find a thief before we must leave this city and take the train to the coast to rejoin the primary forces under my command. To wait for something to come, from the sea.

My youngest brother Kurtail, lays beside me idly reading some gazette or comic book.

His master, the Aerial Knight Sir Weldendon is surely nearby, he wouldn't leave his prized pupil far from his ham-fisted grasp.

My old friend Dessil Pasvert, now the fabled Larcen de Scarlette, is absent and likely drunk or otherwise incapacitated God-knows-where in the pleasure district.

... and I haven't had breakfast yet.
No. 466530 ID: 711bf4
File 135129710264.png - (210.90KB , 804x499 , 910.png )


No. 466532 ID: 711bf4
File 135129739531.png - (204.52KB , 899x630 , 911.png )

Kurtail blurs out of bed so rapidly he left the covers hanging, voicing an epithetic squeak of shock as he hits the floor

>I think it's just the fact that we're now being held by his brother... who I hope can keep a SECRET.

”What, how? What time is it?

”Almost fourteenhundred hour.”

”Oh. I’m a bit famished.”
No. 466534 ID: 711bf4
File 135129777016.png - (226.40KB , 899x630 , 912.png )

Kurtail pops back up, whiskers twitching carefully whilst he peers up at me with unshaded eyes.
”Big bro, you’re sorta scary when you’re like that. The girl couldn't even come in to clean up with all the papers around. Oh… and your heart whispers while you sleep."

”My heart, whispers?”

I must have reacted somehow as his eyes widen cautiously and he hurries to add. ”Don’t worry, I’m not gunna tell anyone.”
No. 466538 ID: f2c20c

He briefly came in contact to and connected with us while moving you to the bed. We didn't say anything to him of note- we're keeping secrets better this time around. There was something unusual in his thoughts, though. Something about the Lines, dancing? Is he sensitive to magic?
No. 466583 ID: 26a7c1

The rays of light from the windows got all distorted when he said that, which is why I panicked.
No. 466598 ID: a7d78b

(Hmm and here I was thinking we might have had the opportunity to swap to Kurtail on a more permanent basis. Perhaps I was too late to suggest as much)

Anyway, August, you need to calm down and try not to work yourself up into a panic or any other state of mind/body that leaves you worthless to everyone else around you. 'Working' yourself to exhaustion last night didn't do anyone any good. And as for some voices 'talking' a bit to your brother... Sorry. But you might want to give us a list of people that it might be somewhat permissible to 'talk' to if the need/opportunity arises.
No. 466662 ID: 710329

Everything's okay... just keep breathing... let the thoughts go for a moment. hold on to the moment... it will pass. Silence! Don't kill it!
No. 467956 ID: 711bf4
File 135181971049.png - (117.55KB , 548x518 , 913.png )

> Everything's okay... just keep breathing... let the thoughts go for a moment. hold on to the moment... it will pass. Silence! Don't kill it!

I believe myself exceedingly calm for someone just woken to the cries of alarm in his head... you arn't mocking me are you?

> a list of people that it might be somewhat permissible to 'talk' to

Sirius, that kobold of his, Baldrekgus, perhaps Lucidia or other members of the family if it is truly urgent.

You folks have yet to contact Jolienne yet, have you? I mean, she stripped me down to nothing so I am more than a bit surprised you didn't, of course, being as it was har-erh difficult to remember... would think you would have told me about that already though.

With no obligations till tomorrow's negotiation with the dragon I think I’ll opt for a more comfortable and forgettable common face today. I mumble a bit, stretch and dress; all the while letting Kurtail's statement hang awkwardly in the air, just until I've woken properly.
No. 467983 ID: 711bf4
File 135182289368.png - (183.70KB , 776x409 , 914.png )

>Lines... distortion... sensitive?
I've no idea what 'Lines' he could be talking about, Ley Lines perhaps? Mmm, think Sirius would have noticed and taken him aside if he'd had the gift.

Not to say I didn't do a certain amount of pressuring on my part, but he confessed my early architectural designs revealed "An undeshtaning af a prufound myshticle qualty, lika, like that shorta place that hums, but wiff silence," suspect now I may have plied him with a 'few' more drinks than strictly necessary beforehand.

>Working' yourself to exhaustion last night didn't do anyone any good.
Oh and on the contrary, I believe my prototypical 'Aether-Circuit Testing Rig' appears quite up to the task of computing an improved and portable 'thundertrap'. I just need a nice, secluded, structurally sound, preferably non-flammable site, and I'm set. Perhaps the gardens or quar-
"-re okay, right August?"
"Hmwhat? Oh yeah, yes it’s okay."
"...So... why does it talk?"
Saints, this is going to be another 'yer a dragon' things all over again, isn't it?
"Complicated, but I'd rather like to think everyone listens to their heart on occasion. Mine is just, louder than most, and possibly polyglottal."
I can't be sure if this answer satisfies him, but after looking thoughtful for a moment he decides to change tack.
"So do you want to go shooting, with Sir Weldendon and that Perroquette guy?"

I can't say I'm fond of shooting, it's loud, and I never practice enough to be much good at it. Would prefer to slink away and find a nice quiet place to complete this design, perhaps test out the wand some more. Although, this may be a sort of gesture, he ‘did’ apologize last night after all?
No. 468059 ID: b6edd6

Spending some time with your companions and family is a good thing, especially when one of them might be worried that something is up with you.
No. 468065 ID: f2c20c

Yes. Spend time with your team.
No. 468194 ID: bcda10

It wouldn't hurt to possibly learn something about shooting and thus not needing to completely rely on your less-than-stellar magical arts. Didn't you own a gun?
No. 474107 ID: 822137
File 135373070390.png - (340.37KB , 907x580 , 915.png )

Yes, I brought my pistol. A wheel-locked breach loader with reciprocating spark crystal, father prefers the crystals to spark grinders, said they; “Work better damp than the grinders, but don’t let your gun grow cold or the crystal will slip.”

I think he went on to add something about it being good philosophy to stay armed and fighting lest you lose the ability to do so. A funny thought given he’s probably been the most peaceable boarder prince in the last 5 generations. Probably why I’ve never used any of the armor shells, still two brightfire and a render round left too.
No. 474108 ID: 822137
File 135373085844.png - (200.32KB , 930x630 , 916.png )

”I hope you didn’t pay money for that tin can?”
”Why, what’s wrong with it?”
”Stopped making em, brass in the lock rings seizes up, bad metal or somethen.”
”The merchant said it was a Lagoan military helm.
”Maybe, just know they stopped maken em, an they look goofy.”
”The eyes are tinted for clarity at range”
No. 474110 ID: 822137
File 135373163376.png - (317.11KB , 929x514 , 917.png )

With squealing rubber and the enthusiastic whoops or concerned gasps of its contents a Salamander Carrier Truck slides to a shuddering stop in front of the gate. The gleeful boldness of the driver spurred on by the politely deserted, spacious roads in this part of town.

It's cargo takes a chance to loosen their bones and braced muscles before Weldendon calls out to us; ”Come on milord, we’ve been round this way twice, already. I don't know what he'll try next if you give him the chance.”

Should to remind him not to call us ‘milord’ in public around here, even among ‘friends,’ but I would hate to ruin his good mood now.
No. 474115 ID: 822137
File 135373353906.png - (248.58KB , 917x584 , 918.png )

”Miss Peroquette.”
“Glad to see you both coming ‘long. Can’t wait to see your skills.”
No. 474116 ID: 822137
File 135373420815.png - (209.12KB , 930x630 , 919.png )

I feel a sharp snap against my thigh and she curtly strides away. Was that her tail…?


...I wonder if my family, Lucidia’s has the old estate build up all in big block stone like thisplace, I’ve heard they have a library, and some sort of old mine, gardens, but these folks have a quarry right here, and everything is downhill from-
No. 474124 ID: 822137
File 135373779420.png - (186.65KB , 930x630 , 920.png )


”Got it.”
”Careful there, don’t want your gun to go off in the street do we?”
”I’ve got it. It’s not my gun it’s Sir Weldendon’s”
”Well then, just be careful we don’t want accidents, although I’m not sure if-“
”Okay, okay…”

Any other thoughts, things to remember for our day out?
No. 474132 ID: a8e26e

Don't forget your trigger discipline.
No. 474708 ID: e9bc2b

Please make sure not to shoot anyone in the face. And while you're at it, make sure that your brother isn't distracted too much by anyone's ass to initiate friendly fire.
No. 474715 ID: f2c20c

She smacked both your asses. Who was that woman? Seems like your bro might have a thing for her.
No. 476860 ID: 1a5bdd
File 135483642692.png - (192.39KB , 930x630 , 921.png )

> Don't forget your trigger discipline.

MY trigger shall remain sufficiently disciplined by a few practice rounds I hope. Unless you want me to burn out all my steel or cinders and just pay for ammo that hasn't been fuming in a box for a couple of years?

>Please make sure not to shoot anyone in the face.

Please have a little faith in me, I'm not 'that' horrible, I'm just not 'good'.

>make sure that your brother isn't distracted too much by anyone's ass to initiate friendly fire.

He's just a kid, and he's had stricter training than me at that. He's not going to go all Autumnal Fire just because some flitty common bred girls are about.

Okay, stance, exhale... and squeeze slo-
>She smacked both your asses.
No. 476870 ID: 1a5bdd
File 135484079289.png - (213.06KB , 930x630 , 922.png )

Woah woah whoah WHAT!?
He's only fifteen! What is she... almost thirty I'll bet?

> Who was that woman?
I don't know, one of Peroquette's sisters? I wasn't really paying attention, think she was at dinner last night or something. Seriously, she's right next to him now! All whispering and giggling while he tries to show off.

No, no, no, NO. I'll not have some cradle-snatching commoner in a cutdown corset cutting her claws into MY little brother. Regardless of how deep her family pockets are Kurtail does not belong inside of them!

Need to say something, defuse the situation, divert that train before it even get anywhere near the tunnel... or the station... or the water-tower... or...or some other suitably sexual metaphor.

How do I- how do we even approach that conversation? 'Oi yah bint! meathooks outa our kin!'

I don't want to upset Kurtail, and we ARE their guests so I don't want to offend our hosts, but that is just a little creepy.
No. 476876 ID: f2c20c

Maybe she thinks he's just short. Why don't you go over and ask her how old she thinks your brother is?
No. 476878 ID: 6be8eb

Well calm down, there's no evidence that she really spanked Kurtail's ass, just yours. It's quite probably she just brushed against him when she passed the two of you and that he was just flustered because he's not used to any sort of contact with females. Furthermore, she may be asking him about you right now, not actually displaying 'that' type of interest in HIM. I'm still not really that sure about how age-gaps and relationships work in your society; you'd be more knowledgeable in that area (though not from direct experience apparently). Just stay calm and try to deduce what's going on.

And don't shoot anyone.
No. 476887 ID: f2c20c

Yes, there is evidence. We witnessed it. Look at the image. It's not obvious, but it's there.
No. 476934 ID: 1a5bdd
File 135486856572.png - (314.17KB , 930x589 , 923.png )

>how age-gaps and relationships work in your society
He's too young, the gap wouldn't matter so much, but it's just, different stages of mind, of life. It's exploitative, it's why kobolds... it just shouldn't be.

>Why don't you go over and ask her how old she thinks your brother is?
Yes, I need clear this up, make sure before I make accusations.

I walk widdershins round the rim of the crater towards a spot where Kurtail and the Peroquette woman have joined up with a man from the truck and begun to shoot pop-up targets far downrange.

"So, uhhm, how is it going over here."
"If he keeps making shots like that I might be losing that piece."
"Oh, good. Hold up, come again?"
"Oh, we're just playing a little game, thought it might be more fun. They're making bets on their shots and I'm the judge~"
"I'm always up for a good round so I let your brotha borrow himself proper showpiece for the game, keeps it too if he’s outscored me by the end."
"Kurtail, arn't you a bit 'young' to be making serious wagers with 'grownups.' Your allowance isn't anywhere near... wait. What did you bet anyhow?"
"Quiet, concentrating."
No. 476936 ID: 1a5bdd
File 135486865416.png - (229.65KB , 809x530 , 924.png )

He doesn't have the authority to risk anything of his own, hell he doesn't OWN anything!
"I just want to point out that he can't-"
"Shutup, let em make his shot.
"Last minute wagers!"
"Can't beat my spread on the head, ride the central line at the heart, between center and dead center, right below her shot.
"...still concentrating"

Bugger, what I wouldn't give for some proper scrying right now, or even a little telekinesis ehh?
No. 476938 ID: 92d34d

Have some faith in your brother, the main reason you're at this range is to connect as well as improve your skills at firearms.
No. 476960 ID: 0f92d5

Yeah, being overly paranoid is going to be your enemy here. Just trust your brother to not make some huge mistake or bet he can't handle, and let him concentrate.
No. 477060 ID: 6be8eb

Following the suggestion of the other two, it might do good to SHOW that faith, maybe place a wager on your brother's success.
No. 477126 ID: 1a5bdd
File 135494321380.png - (241.78KB , 809x530 , 925.png )

"Sure, fine. He will hit the center, I bet 5 rounds on it."


"Hit! the board rocked."
"Yeah, but where?"
"I don't see an new hole..."
"Smoking, by the head."
"Ohhh~ Good job! He opened up one of your marks."
"What, really!?"
"Blew it away really, what's the diameter on that thing?"
"Twenty, it's nice, but I prefer the extra shots in my revolver."

Kurtail just shrugs as if he were somehow disappointed the target didn't explode into florescent sparks or go tumbling downrange at his accomplishment, yet still starts to subtly swagger down the line to a new set of targets.

"Could thread another five down the same but that would be a little boring, and you mightn't be able to tell with the wider hole."
No. 477132 ID: 1a5bdd
File 135494607561.png - (374.85KB , 930x589 , 926.png )

"Cheeky bugger arn't you? You shoot first this time and lets see if I can't put a round through one of yours ehh?"

I nudge the Peroquette woman aside for a word while the two contestants continue their verbal sparring.

"What, cashing out so early or was there something else you had in mind?"
"So, just how mature do you think my beloved 'little' brother come off as?"
"Hmmm oh he seems 'mature' enough to play a few games of chance if that's what you're talking?"
"I'm more concerned about the stakes to whatever little games you plan to play with him."
"Maybe you just don't show the desire, or the skill?"
"Exploitative way to regard people don't you think, like resources to be tapped? I wonder how that would reflect on your family."
"And you'd be mad not to have him competing professional by now, or is there something else botheren you? Something to prove... or are you just jealous~?"
No. 477136 ID: f2c20c

She seems oblivious to your line of questioning, or thinks he's older than he is. Maybe you should come out with it and tell her you're protective of your little brother and she seemed to be getting too flirty with him considering his age. Don't accuse her of doing it on purpose, but inform her of his precise age if it's not like, tabboo to do so or something?
No. 477526 ID: 6be8eb

August my boy, I do believe you need to learn how to communicate with people that aren't you. Not everyone is as well read or as well bred as yourself, so dancing around the issue you're attempting to subtly address may end up confusing people who aren't accustomed to such manners in dialogue. Learn to be direct, blunt, and simple when the occasion calls for it, lest you end up using a lot of words to say very little and have none of it get through. Kind of like what I'm doing.

She seems more or less the type that believes herself to be clever but ultimately isn't. She may be trying to get you jealous, but it's probably time to shut her down.

Also, not sure if you'd be in the right to claim your 'wager's winnings' from the human, since he didn't technically accept your wager before your brother took the shot.
No. 478004 ID: a519ea

Agreed, it's probably best to just be as direct about things here as you can.
No. 479583 ID: 6bce57
File 135580479121.png - (243.55KB , 930x630 , 927.png )

Okay, fine.

"I'm bothered by your flirting with a juvenile, he's my little brother, he's too young."
Her whiskers twitch at my suggestion and she whirls about brusquely whispering back to me before walking off.
"Sorry, just had a feeling he could use a little encouragement, maybe you woulda ended up nicer too?"
No. 479594 ID: 6bce57
File 135580822835.png - (213.33KB , 677x466 , 928.png )

She joins back up with the other two and smoothly shifts away from the confrontational stance she gave me.

"Nicer? You don't know me, he's my little brother."
A radio behind me blurts out some close chatter bookended by static, the curious scent alerting me to a new participant.
"Women, am I ri-HELL-"
The looming sec officer sways and shifts behind me, whipping a steel baton around his shoulders like a coiled spring, I try to twist and leap away as he growls something unintelligible through the mask.
No. 479595 ID: 6bce57
File 135580862463.png - (217.29KB , 790x542 , 929.png )

I feel the breath sucked from as I hit the ground, pull a wild shot in his direction and scrabble in the sand for distance before officer clambers over the short wall separating us.
No. 479599 ID: 6bce57
File 135580971651.gif - (590.95KB , 790x542 , 930.gif )

Panic grips and nearly paralyzes me as the officer reaches for his belt, they all carry shotguns here.

I fling myself away and tumble, with only sand and small bits of charred stone it becomes difficult to stop.
No. 479602 ID: 6bce57
File 135581044585.png - (417.96KB , 930x630 , 931.png )

I managed to gain a moment's breath, though the menacing man still pursues. Why arn't they coming? SHOOT HIM! SHOOT HIM!

I can hear his frenetic breathing, smell sweat, blood, and a maddening hatred.

"K-keep away! Stooop!"

The masked villain only hastens his descent into the shadow of the fae ruins. I try to reach for the box of rounds twisted up in my robe, he'll be on me! HELP!?
No. 479610 ID: f2c20c

What the crap?! Attacking in broad daylight, is he? Well. Don't forget about your brother. He has a rifle alongside very good aim.

Forget your pistol rounds. Just grapple with him as he comes, keep your foe still, and look to see your brother's line of fire. Make sure that when your brother fires, he doesn't hit you.
No. 479618 ID: e3aff6

Yep, an unloaded pistol is a waste of time in close quarters like this. You are better off grappling him or going for your knife. If you can get your knife out than go for disabling limbs instead of vitals; chances are this guy is no more susceptible to 'fatal' wounds than the previous two attackers.

Was that pool of water with twisted and dead trees in it there before the attack? We didn't get a good look at the firing range beforehand, and this might be like the dreamspace of the ribbon being.
No. 479744 ID: 6be8eb

(1st post)
Meh, I'm against grappling against someone with a weapon and potentially greater strength or technique than you. Use your legs, not your arms. Run and jump away, concentrate on being mobile.
(2nd post)
Whoops, forgot about that shotgun. But, still, there seems to be a lot of cover, and being winged at a distance by buckshot is better than taking it in the face point-blank.
No. 481927 ID: 51b924
File 135718498588.png - (218.04KB , 655x630 , 932.png )

Releasing the pistol in favor of the knife we jab upwards as he descends; into the leg joint, the femoral, the groin, anything to slow him down. The point skips out and away tearing open the cloth to show a peek of a green armor plate glinting beneath.

With a reflexively snarl we try and tear open his wrist, until the sealant ring locks up over my jaw and leave us both grappling in an awkward shuffle.
No. 481936 ID: 51b924
File 135718877866.png - (245.12KB , 930x630 , 933.png )

He whips his left arm around into our face at a bizarre angle, dropping us into a muddy tangle at his feat.

"OUR s-shadow, return IIIIIT!"

I tighten the tail around his leg when he tries to yank and drag us, not stopping for a moment the muffled, deranged babbling.

"KEY, we-WE will CUT IT from your hide... our ssssSSILVER KEY! HAHAHE-"
No. 481938 ID: 51b924
File 135718954732.png - (243.25KB , 930x630 , 934.png )

A heavy shell explodes into sparks on the steel helmet and we yank hard on his legs. The shuddering wreck of a man topples easily.
No. 481954 ID: 51b924
File 135719408867.png - (226.61KB , 682x590 , 935.png )

"Got him! Hurry we gotta go get-"
"What? Stop that we have to go help."
"You just shot an I-SEC officer, don't you even twitch or I'll-
"Woahwoahwoah, stop that, nobody's getting shot, it was just a practice round and his brother is-"
"Don't you move either, drop your gun. DROP IT!"
No. 481955 ID: 51b924
File 135719412426.png - (316.06KB , 930x630 , 936.png )

The wrecked man heaves about and gasps laboriously behind me as I work to untangle and gain some ground. Difficult... predict which way he's moving up close, lost peripheral vision in this thing.
No. 481966 ID: f2c20c

Take it off then, if you can do it quickly. Also, I think this guy is a reanimated corpse. His hands were BLUE. I also think one of his arms is broken, which lets it move at weird angles... wait, what's that on his hand now? I suspect that is not green armor plate, but a creature wrapped around his body controlling it.

He seems stunned now despite everything. If you can take his gun and either finish him or run away do so.
No. 481967 ID: 0006f5

is that water dangerous ? just move in any direction fast without regard if you cant take off your facegear quickly
No. 481979 ID: c33f8f

Grab his nightstick before you scurry away so he wont bash your head open if he catches you.
No. 482355 ID: ac6fac

Unless you do magic, which is probably a bad idea, you don't really want to be the one going through a physical confrontation here. I'd say your best bet is what's going on up top being resolved in a manner that's favorable for you. And since his arms are all wonky and ONE HAND SEEMS TO HAVE FALLEN OFF, I'm guessing he's not a legitimate security guard. If possible you could show everyone that by grabbing his mask and/or face and removing them, revealing whoever/whatever he is for everyone to see.
No. 485044 ID: 6fbd8c
File 135813573396.png - (362.07KB , 930x630 , 937.png )

>reanimated corpse
>take his gun and either finish him or run away do so
>Grab his nightstick before you scurry away so he wont bash your head open if he catches you.

Helmet, besides... it will have to catch me now to break my head open.

I pounce on the dazed form and wrest the shotpistol from it's holster. It struggles, grasping hold of my neck and slashing at me with a new pair of claws before I pull away and blast it.
No. 485048 ID: 6fbd8c
File 135813603406.png - (293.86KB , 513x610 , 938.png )

It howls in pain and rage through the mask before resuming its unnerving chatter. It's hand is still affixed... to my... throat.

Wheezing... vision begins... to blur.

No... not... this...
No. 485056 ID: 6fbd8c
File 135813621955.png - (298.21KB , 513x610 , 939.png )

Hot... barrel against the throat... angled... under.


No. 485085 ID: 6fbd8c
File 135814176259.png - (527.55KB , 930x630 , 940.png )

We drop into a crouch, just a moment to cough before leaping up and away as the corpse still struggles to rise from the sodden mess.

It shrieks behind me and there is a heavy metallic impact between my shoulders.

I land with a breathless thump, gripping a large stone as the smoke begins to coil from the grenade case tumbling back down on me.

We turn to face it; in the shriek it had uttered something comprehensible for the first time, my name.
No. 485089 ID: 6fbd8c
File 135814272891.png - (300.81KB , 644x628 , 941.png )

I look down; the wretched thing has heaved itself up and is trying to gain purchase in the mud with legs that cannot be legs. He reaches out to me, eyes wide with fear and hunger.

"Aaaaugust... August Sauterelle... LEAVE US LIKE THIS? No NO! WE MUST FINISH THIS! FINISH IT NOW! Return my key... you... you are NOT like others... WE are not like the others, we are the same YOU AND I... I.. won't live like this NO No so so so fragmented. SO FAR I CAME SO FAR...

No no no noooo sleep ...NONE... NO DREAMS... No more running no more of… of THIS! Don't... I CAN'T wait... we must COME BACK… DON’T FLEE… don’t you dare… We could deal OH YESSSssss I know I KNOW things. I know such things learnt with centuries of magicks.. those forbidden to both of us… We could… speak… exchange… yes… we must deal…

… or die… ARE YOU SO AFRAID OF ME!? SUCH COWARDANCE… such a coward that you hid here… you cannot run, you cannot hide YOU CANNOT HIDE… ANYWHERE!”
No. 485092 ID: 78c6ea

Poor guy. Just wants his key back. Why don't you give it to him already?
No. 485095 ID: ac6fac

No. 485098 ID: b6edd6

Hmm... This being seems different from the others we have met, but we have still not met enough of them for any clear pattern to emerge. His talk of dreams remind me of the first attacker, though from the opposite end of it.

Ask him if he has dreamed of the labyrinth and the green-eyed man, because you slew that man.
No. 485102 ID: f2c20c

What key? What is he talking about? I see its eyes, I understand what it's saying. This IS the same green-eyed elf-thing that used dream magic against you. You killed it in the dream world, and thus it lost the ability to dream. I think it did something to the poor security guard. Or maybe this is a disguise? I can't quite make out what's attached to the fake limbs- some sort of wiring?

At any rate, I'm not sure it planned to kill you. Maybe you do have a way to give it back whatever it has lost, and restore its mind.

One of the first things we should ask it is, why did it want to find out who your master was, back in your dream? We don't know what this thing's motivations are.
No. 485232 ID: b6edd6

Oh that's right, he does have the same eyes. I think you are right and I mus-interpreted what he was saying about dreams, so nevermind my previous suggestion.
No. 485336 ID: a519ea

You have no interest in his dark magics nor does it seem like you you have any idea what this key of his is. If he really had any desire to "speak," "exchange," or "deal" with you, he wouldn't have tried killing you in broad daylight.
I'd suggest leaving him at the bottom of this cliff but we can't be sure whether or not he has enough strength left in it to pursue, so you're probably safest finishing him off.
No. 486233 ID: 243728
File 135855995166.png - (299.83KB , 493x630 , 942.png )

Even if I knew what it was I...
Yes we see, the eyes. It IS him.
"The key, to your dreams?"
"Y-yes OUR dream."
"I don't even know how to do that, to return it to you."

"W-we could TEACH, teach you, it wouldn't be so hard... wouldn't... h-hurt."
"Didn't we start this 'relationship' when you invaded and terrorized the innards of my mind for... oh what was it again, information about my master? I distinctly remember something like that."
No. 486269 ID: 243728
File 135856518703.gif - (2.49MB , 930x630 , 943.gif )

"What was it you and your friends were looking for?"
"Not-t friends. No, not friends at all, not anymore. Cutpurses, breakers, brokers, bookers, hire-hands, sellsteels, soldsouls... bargain promises for gold. Silver Thorns. We have, They have... a list, a list of p-people."
"Who's list, Why? Who made it?"
"I... I don't know... the Court, court of the setting of the... of the set- of the set... of shining... golden... orange... bloody."

A violent tremor grips him for a moment and he almost slides back down into the puddle.

Tell me who they ar-"
"I... I CAN'T. I CAN'T. Bound. Resistance... The words cannot, I still. I cannot.. please, if... if I was more powerful. My shadows... my Key. RETURN US!"

We're not getting anywhere in this state. Maybe if we helped return this 'key' he would tell us more, or he might just start torturing me again. He really seemed to enjoy hurting me when he could.
I don't like him, no solid reason to trust him (not enough to learn whatever dubious secrets he has), he's some sort of disgusting fae-yeek abomination... and he doesn't even smell savory.

However, I trust you gentlemen, what is your final judgement? How do we go about this?
No. 486272 ID: f2c20c

It sounds like this thing is but a mercenary. A heavily magically bound freaky mercenary.

By making this deal, you are essentially hiring it. I think you should make sure it is bound to your service in some way by the deal. But be quick- if someone is watching now, the only thing keeping people from realizing this guy is a monster is that smoke grenade. It will need to restore its disguise before the smoke dissipates... but one of its false hands is destroyed now. Not sure how to go about fixing that.

Another concern is... how will you get the privacy necessary to learn from this thing? You are currently on a mission with others; you can't just abandon your team to learn "forbidden" dream magic. You'd need to set up some time and place to meet.

I kinda want to help the poor thing. It's been chasing you for many days now, half-mad from the wound you inflicted upon it, and has obviously abandoned its mission. It's not REALLY an enemy anymore, as far as I can tell. However, that is really up to you. Does it even have anything you want, aside from the name of the organization chasing you? Perhaps your master already knows that info, but if he does not, it would be very valuable information to him. Do you want to learn the forbidden secrets it has to teach? The knowledge could be dangerous, even corrupting, but it would no doubt be rewarding and useful.

I do not wish to influence your decision, only to help you avoid the pitfalls in either direction.

Obviously, if you refuse, killing it is the way to go here. It is not likely to just stop chasing you. I'm not sure how you would go about killing it, though. You shot it already, do you see any wounds? I believe the shotpistol would require a reload. Where's your pistol? It also needs to be reloaded... I fear that if you stopped to reload a gun, it would run, only to ambush you again later.
No. 486273 ID: 6dc5a6

This guy's loaded up with detachable limbs and horrific brain control. He's clearly desperate but I don't think desperation will break his compulsion. Shoot him in the face or throat, if you're willing to take the chance sever his spine at the base of the neck. If you don't want to take the risk fire the rest of your rounds into his face.
No. 486277 ID: f2c20c

What do you mean by horrific brain control?
No. 486284 ID: b6edd6

If he is too bound to even speak of his employers, how can we expect him to turn against his task against us? He must have a very good answer to this for letting him live to even be an option.
No. 486285 ID: 78c6ea

Return his shadows to him? Huh.

[Switch to the freaky zombie dude.]
No. 487300 ID: a519ea

I'm going to have to second this sentiment, unless he can do SOMETHING to prove you can trust anything he says; your safest bet here is to keep your distance and finish him off.
No. 493715 ID: 22b27c
File 136107699006.png - (433.61KB , 930x630 , 944.png )

Hmmmmm, might well see what he has to say to that.

"How can you convince me?"
"I don't even know you have such valuable secrets, and you certainly cannot teach me here. What can you show to make us trust your word, that you won't betray this contract."
"Yyeeesss, yes... I-I didn't want to show you. I could, I could give you this!"

I try to keep myself from flinching when he whips a sort of sparkling blade from... through the fabric of his jacket.

"A p-planerazor, sssharp, yes... hahahaaa yeeessharp enough to cut between this world, and... and, and the next. I would give. Come."

We stand, stock still, facing the other in the mixed panic of fear and hunger, the scent of smoke, dust and sweat hanging in the air as the grenade whistles out it’s last.

There is a faint shouting from over our shoulder, I twist one of my ears to hear it, eyes never leaving his hands-
No. 493718 ID: 22b27c
File 136107829983.png - (308.58KB , 493x630 , 945.png )

We twist and backpedal furiously as the hooked dart rips through our clothing, only 'just' tugging on the fur below before it's passed me.

We try to line up a headshot before the dead sound of an empty chamber reminds us; our own gun fell in the puddle at his feet, while any dry rounds I've left have won't fit the guard shotpistol.

I hear more shouting, closer now.
No. 493719 ID: 22b27c
File 136107884173.png - (425.24KB , 928x607 , 946.png )

I turn and lope away, wyrd-eye's impotent cries of rage fade to the sound of Sir Weldendon's voice calling out to me.

"-re you alright my boy? What's going on, saw you tumbling, but we couldn't tell what-
No. 493725 ID: 22b27c
File 136107994852.png - (316.62KB , 858x630 , 947.png )

I move to close ground and intercept his slide down the slopes.

"In the smoke! Hurry!"
No. 493728 ID: 22b27c
File 136108043864.png - (589.49KB , 800x963 , 948.png )

"a-amon tohexus marokteh valu, Amon" *glisshhlurp* "Tohexus" *gulp* "Marokteh" *sluurp* "Valuah... E-Ekotruel..." *gasp*
No. 493750 ID: 22b27c
File 136108435535.png - (314.58KB , 930x630 , 949.png )

"Hold up, I don't understand, we would've caught scent any fae. A city so large, he couldn't simply-
"Then not a proper fairy, a yeek, I don't care! Find IT. KILLLL IT BEFORE-"
No. 493752 ID: 22b27c
File 136108473008.png - (803.39KB , 800x963 , 950.png )

No. 493753 ID: 22b27c
File 136108481352.png - (282.65KB , 930x630 , 951.png )

No. 493766 ID: 22b27c
File 136108803378.gif - (1.13MB , 630x930 , 952.gif )

It drifts, it's feet... it's blades dangling just above the stormswept pool, held aloft by a personal tornado of smoke, blood and uncertainties... somehow it seems close enough to touch, but farther than a mountain tunnel.

I'm dimly aware of Weldendon shouting at me to run, to leave him to stall. The report of his gun next to me seems distorted, drawn out and echoed.

Should we run? I don't know if he can... stop? Can we? Anyone?
No. 493767 ID: f2c20c

Definitely run. It wanted you to not flee, remember?

It's cut off its own head, after eating some... thing and pouring a liquid on that odd sword. The only point of interest it holds now is that odd dial on its chest. We have no gun at the moment, so JET.
No. 493768 ID: 6dc5a6

Grab Weldendon and run, I don't think he's qualified enough to be a meaningful distraction. Hopefully your brother is still up on the ridge and can take more shots. If you want to take care of this guy you need to get your hands on those special rounds of yours. Do you think any of those bullets could disrupt his incantation? Perhaps the brightfire rounds?
No. 494263 ID: 89ba09

We have the advantage only in that his positioning is rather terrible. Being a rather obvious target in the middle of a firing range means that, hopefully, he's about to be on the receiving end of a sizeable salvo of gunfire. However, we don't know anything about it's capabilities,or even if gunfire would have any affect to it. So as noble a sacrifice it might be, your Knight's actions are rather unnecessary, so I'd suggest dragging him along, forcibly if necessary, as you make your way back up the slope as best you can. Try to avoid slipping and falling back down, and don't run in a straight line away from him if you can help it.
No. 494474 ID: b6edd6

You are have nearby allies with guns and in a town with guards wielding weapons from the Fey war, so grabbing your knight and staying out of reach of this guy looks to be your best strategy.
No. 494554 ID: 9ddf68

if you think you can get back up to the fireing wall before whatever he can finish whatever he is doing go for that, if not find some cover and get down.

also the ruins you were makeing last night do you think any of them might help you right now or did you leave them behind and if you do use them try and cover it up with a smoke bomb or something so the locals don't see you use magic
No. 500638 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354438576.png - (312.50KB , 930x630 , 953.png )


I turn and pull at his sleeve and we start hustling and scrambling back up the slopes. The air takeson qualities of jam or oil; sticky, jelled, greasy, all at once. The rushing of great winds fill our ears and nostrils. We shout to hear ourselves think, to force our breath onward.

"It moves too fast, if we can make that rise. We'll be-"

"Wish I still had my pistol, or that wand, don't even know what it does but I wish I had it too..."
No. 500640 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354462386.png - (430.27KB , 930x630 , 954.png )


Tendrils of dust claw at our vision and we press on and upward. I feel Weldendon jerked from my hand with a cry and a muffled shot as roaring cloud envelopes us.

Whirling whitewire and various visions splinter fractal fantasies, a glittering christree, doomed deifraction spitted sacrificially pon worlpaths yggdrasillic. The roaring relents... a calamitous calm... but also the the hiss kiss of bladetips snakeslip through rust and dust and we press on harder.

"-I would stab you with it, very sharp... I wish, I wish I had the phoenix egg, or a frostshot crystal, a strangling wire, or a magic sword, a regular sword, my knife! A heavy rock... ANYTHING!
No. 500641 ID: aa4e1a
Audio deep sounding siren - (1.89MB - 160 kbps - 44.1 kHz , deep sounding siren 1.mp3 ) Length: 1:39

>allies with guns

A sonorous siren’s wail works it’s way into our nightmarish tempest, an alarm. Someone’s seen our perilous predicament; muffled thunder joins it, reverberating off of the basin walls. We follow echoes, panting and struggling for distance till dust grows thin.
No. 500642 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354496807.png - (281.17KB , 565x630 , 955.png )

I leap into the daylight only to be met with the hiss and pop of gunfire; staggered, wavering as rounds kick up dust all around me.

>find some cover and get down

I slide into a shallow gulley to shield myself from the onslaught of pellets and shells. Trapped between a storm and the rain.
No. 500643 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354520592.png - (295.12KB , 846x630 , 956.png )

>receiving end of a sizeable salvo of gunfire.
No. 500644 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354534221.png - (505.52KB , 846x630 , 957.png )

>Hopefully your brother is still up on the ridge…
No. 500645 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354543249.png - (555.17KB , 930x630 , 958.png )

> that odd dial on its chest.
No. 500647 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354551507.png - (262.04KB , 930x630 , 959.png )

No. 500648 ID: aa4e1a
File 136354563524.png - (352.64KB , 930x630 , 960.png )


No. 500716 ID: aa4e1a
File 136357111168.png - (320.99KB , 930x630 , 961.png )

“Fffffair, not f-fair… not fair at all.”

No. 500721 ID: f2c20c

His weapon- that odd bone sword- is nearby. I wonder, could it be used against him, now that his dial is broken? Or would it result in something bad happening?

Well, we could just toss it away, and use that rifle as a bludgeon.
No. 500736 ID: 9ddf68

OK this asshole really needs to die now. find some kind of weapon and finish the prick off, then make sure Weldendon, your bother, and anyone else you might care about is ok.
No. 500742 ID: bf54a8

fill him with metal.need to cut off it's magic to really hurt it.
No. 500837 ID: 78c6ea

Maybe if we had met under better circumstances.
No. 500865 ID: 2a8a2a

Watch out for other gadgets up his 'sleeves', and don't expect his unraveled arm to be at all disabled.
No. 501193 ID: a519ea

Alright, considering all the other tricks this guy's pulled out it's still probably for the best that you keep your distance. Get the nearest gun and finish this guy off, then make sure that everyone is alright.
No. 504247 ID: 88f964
File 136527297765.png - (319.63KB , 930x630 , 962.png )

He twitches and I kick the metal cup into his face, lunging for the shotgun whilst his tendrils curl towards the crystal blade.
No. 504248 ID: 88f964
File 136527350833.png - (305.10KB , 930x630 , 963.png )

We hug the gully, snatching up the rifle as ribbons of flesh sorcery buzz overhead, brushing our ears. Back screams in pain... dust and fur clotting in the raw wound... keep moving... gain distance.
No. 504253 ID: 88f964
File 136527427617.png - (187.44KB , 930x630 , 964.png )

We pull around for the shot just up the slope. Wyrdeyes recoils in fear, too tangled in himself to dodge or strike back.

"No! Pl-p-plea-"
"No. Too late."

Gesturing wildly, his plea devolves into unearthly chatter. I pull the trigger.
No. 504259 ID: 88f964
File 136527770985.png - (196.05KB , 930x630 , 965.png )



He shrieks in glee, jerkily clawing his way forward while we fumble with the lever, frantically attempting to chamber a live round.
No. 504438 ID: ca0ad7
File 136537266493.png - (261.75KB , 930x630 , 966.png )

Our fingers, 'just' too large for the human mechanisms feel searing powder and the snap of sprung components, a misfire and Wyrdeyes falls like a house of cards. Armored plate and bone cleft free from the spreading tears spiraling through his confused flesh.

He did not scream, or shout, or wail...
No. 504441 ID: ca0ad7
File 136537288107.png - (243.05KB , 930x630 , 967.png )

…only sigh.
No. 504442 ID: ca0ad7
File 136537296124.png - (259.68KB , 930x630 , 968.png )

"Quite the tale. The others. How did they fare?"

Weldendon's sprained an ankle and bruised his tail, but he should be well enough by week's end.

Kurtail is entirely okay, can't say as much for the man he assaulted. Broke several fingers and dislocated his knee, likely as not plans to press charges."

"Hahah! Outrageous! Oh these passions of youth, done for her as much to save you I'll warrant."

"Her oh you mean Miss Peroquette, eheh yes I -hmm suppose we cannot discount that. There were scattered fractures and stitches all around. One fellow slipping in and out of stupor last I heard. Oh, and most swear there was a shooter of whom they haven't been able to find a trace!"
No. 504483 ID: ca0ad7
File 136538683485.png - (365.44KB , 930x630 , 969.png )

"Mmmmmm*smack*most unfortunate. Yes. Tell. They burnt the crater?"
No. 504484 ID: ca0ad7
File 136538687370.png - (334.36KB , 930x630 , 970.png )

"Erhhh our recollection of anything till the medic's was just a bit fuzzy, fantastic... something about... a vehimen king, empowering, or something... erh... Yes.

Yes, fairly sure they ARE burning out the crater, could smell the smoke from quarantine. Mister Peroquette said they do that every few years anyhow, but he also said we should probably take our leave before the city asks us to, or the council demands our presence for a deeper inquiry into the whole matter."

No. 504486 ID: ca0ad7
File 136538697049.png - (235.06KB , 930x630 , 971.png )

"Ahh well. Must be eager to conclude our transaction. Though I do hope you can take a moment more to share in some dinner before we settle to business. Your back will not trouble much I hope?

"Very stiff, but the pills numb it so I'll manage. Oh thank you m'am."

The girl smiles at me and steps back into the shadows where gentle harp music mingles with the breathing and movements of the others surely watching us.

A wave of whispers washes over my mind and I’m aware my own ‘assistants’ must have regained interest in watching me, their presence comforting in the darkness of the dragon’s tent.
"Good good, now. What did you tell the press?""

"The press?"

"Yes, this incident. All over the news, from the Sump Ponds of Reshyck to the Glass Gardens of the Diamond. Speculations. How much of it is you and yours. Don't tell me they didn't come knocking. Little respect for the wounded that lot.”
No. 504487 ID: f2c20c

We have some memory, still. It seems you got tazed by a man on a motorcycle. You were doing something with the Wyrdeyes' intact eye, I think, and he interrupted you. Do you still have it?

What DID you tell the press, anyway? I suspect it would be unwise to keep that from this man. He looks familiar... but I cannot place the face.
No. 504488 ID: 9ddf68

wait what... the fuck just happened? How long were we out?

anyways so it seems you finished off that one guy you has been doing his best to make sure your life was a living hell, well good for you, then after you offed him the real authority showed up and shot/tazzed you, then something happened, and then you left to come here and are now talking to the dragon or some kind of adviser of said dragon who has just told you that you are now in the spotlight of every news outlet that is big enough to have a name and will be hounding you and your friends to get a story, and unless I'm mistaken we still have yet to find that one prick that which is the reason we come out here in the first place. Did I get all of that right? It also seems we now have a time limit on finding that guy and since the media hasn't been beating down your door to get an interview with you it means they likely don't know it was you that was at the point of interest which means we still might have a chance to get this guy before he leaves town. Oh and since you're at the dragon's place now ask him if he has had any luck in finding that guy as it would really really suck to have gone though all of this crap only to get back home empty handed.
No. 504514 ID: 2a8a2a

>He looks familiar... but I cannot place the face.
I am fairly certain that is because he is the dragon.

>Oh, and most swear there was a shooter of whom they haven't been able to find a trace!
Sounds more likely than not that Wierdeyes found a new body to slip away in. I suppose permanent death was too much to expect of him after the first time he returned from it.
No. 505130 ID: 89ba09

Well first off, let me reiterate that we clearly 'lost time' insofar as us essentially hearing/seeing nothing between the time you killed the guy at the gun-range to right now at this dinner engagement, so it'd be nice if you filled us in with all that's happened, as completely as you can.

At this point you're almost certainly either celebrated or notorious, depending on how the local authorities see it. Either you were the one who ended a fae incursion, or you were the one who started it. I'm curious as to whether you were rewarded for your efforts, or curtly delivered a 'suggestion' that you and yours leave town soon. In either case, you're not very incognito anymore, so you'll probably need to make a move on your primary target quickly. Is this the reason for the dinner with the (maybe) dragon?
No. 507494 ID: 441b60
File 136677260118.png - (169.09KB , 930x630 , 972.png )

>'lost time'
Only a day, more or less, anyhow it's late afternoon and you did not miss much aside from some tiresome surgery. We're missing most of my mane below the neck now. I'm beginning to suspect you gentlemen must influence people into not noticing the orb, as nobody removed you.

Our host hasn't seen fit to confirm one way or the other; he was waiting within the appointed tent at the appointed time, judged it imprudent to pursue the issue. Likely theatrics, or showing off. Personally I would have imitated verhimen if I'd wanted to be so unsettling, or perhaps he likes exploiting the sense of authority humanity commands?

>Wyrdeye's new host?
No, NO! I refuse to believe it, he was not true fae, we smelt it, tasted.. no worms to escape. I killed him. He is dead now.

"Alright, Sauterelle au Merbioulant?"
"Yes, I just,it was a passing weakness."
"Eat. Take strength in my courtesy."
"You are too kind, now, where was I?
No. 507503 ID: 441b60
File 136677902602.png - (328.84KB , 756x516 , 973.png )

-ah, I do vaguely remember a man from the Post asking questions in Recovery. Told him we were ambushed and I killed some sort of enemy agent in the crater. It's a blur, people asking me the same things again and again and all I wanted to do was have a drink and rest."
"Your name?"
"My name? I.. can't remember I’d just had a LOT of stitches, but.. yes I imagine he asked..."
No. 507506 ID: 441b60
File 136677954789.png - (263.16KB , 930x630 , 974.png )

"Yes. Not low profile; too messy, too fantastic, too public. Your prey is not stupid. Nervous. Took flight, packed, and ran."
"But you found him?"

My host gives me a broad, toothy grin while shifting the conversation away back to lighter fare. I note his surreptitiously drawing a sleek, silver light from under the table and setting it in his lap with the air of a practiced showman until he's satisfied the table has been cleared.

"Girls. Please. Show the lordling our prize."

He illuminates a nearby box and they obediently set to work unlatching the front.
No. 507511 ID: 441b60
File 136678133691.png - (289.07KB , 930x630 , 975.png )

A bound and muzzled verhimen blinks at the light, snarling a little with each exhalation. He appears to match the picture, and the vague memories I have of the target.

"Eschrie du Moulont, in the flesh. That will be enough girls."

The ladies close the box again; followed by a loud thump and the creak of wood as his fury releases itself on the confines of his cramped cell.

"I say, not exactly what I expected, but it certainly saves the us trouble of binding him for transport. Shall I bring my men and just, come back tomorrow morning to pick him up or...?"
"Hand him over? Gratis? No. I think not. Certain others would 'pay' for him. SEC for one, they would put him in The Yard and make him break rocks for a few months. His family, even they would pay ransom for this troublemaker, regrettably he is only a fool, not an idiot."
No. 507522 ID: 4224e5

Balls. Paying for things sucks.
No. 507546 ID: 001618

ok then if this is his game then he's using this because he wants something from you, as for what I'm not sure but i have a feeling that he is about to ask you anyway or is simply waiting for you to ask his price... if we're lucky it will simply be money. eh, how much money do we have on us anyway otherwise we might have to get creative in getting more.
No. 507578 ID: f2c20c

I believe the deal was to "know all there is to know" about this guy. Has he decided to change that deal, hmm?
No. 507594 ID: 441b60
File 136684996919.png - (468.36KB , 930x630 , 976.png )

"This is a breach of your word wrym!"

"You only request knowledge. Location. I foresee being unable to accurately predict, thus, restrict. Of course, we may now discuss anything you wish to know, of him. That I shall fulfill."
" I need HIM, not the inform- Fine, you want to play extortionist? I've fifty Silver Tears in my purse. I'll buy him now and you can sleep on the money for all we care."

"You offer our tears? No! Not till I've heard any other bidders. Not unless you've a more interesting trade.

Something I'd be keen to learn, or possess. I hear the Sauterelle collect certain oddities, valuables, secrets. Lives are precious, what can you offer?"

He leans in and hisses below his breath
"...or will you repeat our last meeting? Strike back in your, condition?"

Arrogant beast, we cannot allow this reptile to grin and dangle our prize just out of reach; littering his speech in pregnant pauses like some melodramatic toad! Fifty is more than adequate for a second-rate criminal, this is personal, he wants us to squirm.
No. 507604 ID: f2c20c

He doesn't know how we did it. Hah. We could easily produce a repeat performance, as your physical condition has no bearing on our ability to warp his magic. Maybe you could taunt him into attacking your mind again, and we could reflect his power back onto him just as before. Or you could make a wager- instead of you attacking back, you could bet that you can outlast his power. We are capable of subtly dispersing a mental attack, which would win that bet.

Alternatively you could play this straight, and offer one of the unusual items we have acquired. What items do you have on you now? Did you keep Wyrdeyes' eye? Or you could share some knowledge about your magic.
No. 507609 ID: 9ddf68

so what is this guys interest in this crook? I mean he most likely didn't even know about his existence until we came here and he is most likely only holding him here because we deflected an unprovoked spell cast by this guy.

So he is either just really petty and can't stand losing even to something so small or he is doing this because we caught his curiosity and is try to learn more about us.

If it is the first that means we CAN buy that prick in the cage but we will probably get screwed over in price since he is just trying to make himself feel better about himself but if it is the latter then he doesn't give a damn weather or not we pay him he just wants to figure out how you (especially since you're from a race that is lousy at magic to begin with) overpowered a dragon. On that note you should probably keep our existence hidden from him as I don't really see any way of him knowing about us helping us at all.

Now for what to do try and haggle a bit, point out how a dragon with all of it's riches doesn't really need the money and you don't feel like playing games. Maybe see if he won't go for a magic trinkets you have around you (not us of course) or offer some of your spell knowledge (like your pre-existing rune thing you came up with last night). If all else fails just call him out and ask what he really wants from you and see where that goes.
No. 508061 ID: 882c94

You might argue that he's already learned something valuable... that just because he's a dragon doesn't mean he can overpower the will of someone like you. Then again, this is probably a power-play like >>507609 suggests, so such arguments would likely do little to help, and would likely harm. This is punishment, basically, for wounding his pride. So suck it up and do some groveling... maybe you can get away with losing less than you otherwise would be required to sacrifice.

Or you could propose a game or challenge. Since this IS being sprung on you suddenly after all. You win, you get the captive. He wins, he gets... whatever.
No. 508882 ID: be474e
File 136779261319.png - (175.98KB , 930x630 , 977.png )

>We could easily produce a repeat performance, as your physical condition has no bearing on our ability to warp his magic.

Tempting, it really is, but such contest may grant the opportunity he needs to probe our limits and discover HOW we've done that. If anyone were qualified to recognize and covet a magical space jewel it 'would' be a dragon.

>So he is either just really petty or...

"So, let us just clear this up, you do not actually CARE about that fellow; a single thief of a nest of thieves? It's not about the money either because your kind can just take a nap and wake up richer by investments.

Why not just tell me what you want from us, and we'll see if it is possible? "

"What I, want? Oh. I want many, many, things. A stronghold. People. Lands. A home. Even among us; there are the high, and the low."
No. 508900 ID: be474e
File 136780239860.png - (207.76KB , 930x630 , 978.png )

"You think we can help you with those 'requirements' do you?"

"Not 'you' specifically. You were, promising though. A noble, a prince, inheritor. We could both gain. My fires to scorch a foe unknown. Your kingdom to serve a dreaming home."

"So you're a snare, laying out out lures of wisdom and wealth, offering to lighten the 'heavy' burden of our own rule."

"Exaggerations. No, I merely suggest. Forge connections, lines and webs yes. The web is stronger than disparate lines and minds. Appeal to the mind, though the mind may remain free."

"What about those who fall prey to your 'appeals'?"

"Better to serve me, than our foes. You see?"
No. 508902 ID: be474e
File 136780250785.png - (189.22KB , 930x630 , 979.png )

"Only if I assume you're taking our best interests to heart."
"Friendship, devotion, trust, love. Things taken on faith.

>You might argue that he's already learned something valuable... that just because he's a dragon doesn't mean he can overpower the will of someone like you.
"Still shouldn't be such a surprise that I resisted. I was trained up as a scholar, a doubter. You cannot simply expect to simply overawe everyone who walks in here. Especially not Verhimen, we who refuse to fall to enchantments so easily as Man, Goblin, Beast and ‘Bold."

"Believe. I know this. Few will hear my words as eagerly as I hope.

However, NONE fling them back on me.
Mimicking. Reflecting. Mocking.
I am no fool. You CANNOT… do what you did."

No. 508913 ID: be474e
File 136780352994.png - (393.49KB , 930x630 , 980.png )

Perhaps it’s indicated we’re more equals than you assumed, or it perhaps it’s just a little trick you don’t know about yet, the unknown is a unsettling thing isn’t it?

Though I fear I cannot grant enlightenment about that today, I will offer you something else you may find of interest. You spoke truthfully in saying we Sauterelles have a fondness for the 'trinkets’ we find. So you must understand how it breaks my heart to be parted from any of them. Still, I did bring one to offer to such a, discerning customer as yourself; in exchange for the prisoner of course."

I don't think we should let him simply chose from what I have, he'd better recognize it's value than I would and could easily cheat us. I have the the platinum bladed Wand (the one I think woke up that slime beast), the archaotech Linespinner we purchased back home and lastly, the artifact Whistle Lucidia found in Sirus’ study. I still haven’t confirmed what either of the magical devices ‘do’ yet, we never even tried the whistle.

I'm unwilling to let him know bout my personal research, it's too telling, and it's mine!

Oh, I also brought my dirk and pistol, just in case we need to stop playing nice.
No. 508917 ID: f2c20c

Let's not attack the dragon. There is some truth to what he says.

Personally I cannot think of much use for the linespinner. It takes a lot of idle time to make enough line to use for anything, and that's time you would probably rather spend studying magic. It is a tool best used to develop high tech devices and construction projects. Let's offer it to him.

The wand and whistle are both Sirus' property, technically, aren't they? The wand may be dangerous but it could also be powerful if we can use it properly. The whistle is too much of an unknown to offer.
No. 508918 ID: de262c

The linespinner has some potential to be useful in the future. Keep it.

The whistle is a complete unknown. It may turn out to be very powerful. Keep it.

The wand nearly killed you last time you used it. I think it would make an excellent gift.
No. 508925 ID: 9ddf68

well truth be told the only thing you really own is the linespiner which sounds like it could be very useful if you ever plan to dabble in the technical side of things, or ever plan on trying to make some kind of construct. So unless you plan to do any of these things I think we should offer this up.

However the only thing we have that is magic that and is at least somewhat powerful is the wand and I have a good feeling that the wand would please our friend here so I feel that if you do want to go with something surefire to try and bribe this guy into giving us the prisoner that would be the way to go, we can just tell Sirus that the elves broke into his place trying to find him and that may have been one of the few things taken or something along those lines.

As for the whistle, well like you said we haven't a clue to what it does so I think we should at least get an idea of what it can do before we try and barter with it.

So in short if you want to give him something try the linespinner if you don't want to give away Sirus' property. If you don't care about that then offer the dragon the wand.
No. 508928 ID: 882c94

I've never liked the Linespinner. Seriously it's my vote for what gets sacrificed on the altar of this fellow's ego.
No. 508948 ID: 2a8a2a

I reviewed the slime incident ( >>/questarch/325303 ), and while the wand was involved with the creature, the creature itself seems to have sprung from a nearby box in response to the wand's use rather than directly from the wand. In other words, the slime seems to have been a side effect of testing the wand interacting with a room full of magic junk rather than a trap or such on the wand itself.

The linespinner seems like it could be useful, but I am not sure how much more useful it would be than just coming prepared with regular rope. (Extra strength cord is useful, but the thinness makes it seems like it would be a bit hard to use.) We should offer that instead of the wand if we can.

We should definably not offer the whistle. It seems significant that the whistle was in his spare coat pocket rather than in one of the many piles of miscellaneous items.
No. 515798 ID: 440b7f
File 137083627939.png - (167.27KB , 930x630 , 981.png )

I hand over the Linespinner.

"An old artifact which produces a very strong thread with only a crank of the handle."

He takes the device, turning it over in his hands as he inspects it. We can almost detect some hint of disappointment in his voice as he continues his assessment.

"Ah. Unexpected, from you I thought... nevermind. Shall soon know its worth. Dothos, here. Look at this. What you think of it?"

With a idle gesture he motions a human Dragon Thane from the shadows. The blond man blinks in the light, but moves to obey his lord, examining the linespinner with great interest.
No. 515802 ID: 440b7f
File 137083672074.png - (446.53KB , 930x630 , 982.png )

Observing samples of the thread produced, the man becomes visibly excited and whispers into his master's ear. I catch the outlines of words like 'tensile' and 'production’ whilst Gallugerrone's countenance shifts from disappointment through wonderment to a sly smile, the air growing perceptibly warmer as it does...
No. 515803 ID: 440b7f
File 137083676735.png - (394.83KB , 846x439 , 983.png )

"...from there we counter a sweeping advance with grenades from cover while flanking. Friendly cover fire is sporadic in an inferior force so one must remain moving. Low profile unless specifically elevating...
No. 515805 ID: 440b7f
File 137083680676.png - (405.32KB , 843x424 , 984.png )

"Oh, you're back, are we successful milord?"
"Did the dragon try to have you for dinner? Are his teeth huge and chompy? Does he keep piles of virgins and gold and deathly rowbits in there? Why couldn't we come? Are the Thanes really tough?"

"Something like... all of those things I'm sure. We managed to arrange a suitable trade."
"Really, what sort of terms?"
"Something I had in my pocket for our target, no hunting nor seizure required."

Weldendon seems impressed if slightly wary while Kurtail look at me dubiously
"What really? What did you have in your pocket?"
*sigh* "Oh some toy, I wasn't really using it anyhow. It's not really important I suppose. Come on, let's collect our prize and get off this damn mountain."
No. 515807 ID: 440b7f
File 137083690769.png - (375.95KB , 930x630 , 985.png )

Gathering our goods we bid farewell to Peroquette and Company. I take a few more painkillers for my back as Kurtail babbles cheerily in the background and Ser Weldendon listens dutifully to some pedantry of Sorrel Peroquette's. Clouds race across the sky as the shadows lengthen; it will likely be dark by the time we can find a train to that backwater cove whatever... I'll need to check my notes for the name again... but that isn't what bothers me.

Larcen has not returned since he went out two nights ago. I'm nervous to leave him here in the city without news; he seemed disappointed when I didn't join him then, but knowing the sort of trouble he's likely to get into and the security crackdown I don't know if it would be safe to contact him, if I even knew how to contact him.

Suspect I might also be missing a purse of coin… wonder if he'd know anything about that.
No. 515808 ID: 440b7f
File 137083696201.png - (370.58KB , 832x629 , 986.png )

I brood over these thoughts, vacillating between staying another night or not when a scruffy lowlander youth in a patched pair of overalls scurries up to me, distinctly out of place in such a well off part of town.

"Yew Master August?"
"Wha- oh, yes, yes I am."
"Gotta letter fer yah, gotta scale fer it?"
I reach into my coat and show him the steel piece, stamped from my family's own mint. Sadly one of the few coins the old family is still permitted to produce. He presses a lilac scented letter into my hand with Dessi-no, Larcen's handwriting scrawled on it.

I toss the piece aside and turn my attention to the envelope.
No. 515811 ID: 440b7f
File 137083713946.png - (100.98KB , 495x630 , 987.png )

'Sorry I am late. Crazy bizy rite now & ned litle mor times too do buisnesseses. Done worry, will cach up with u, make it worthe the trubble.

No. 515815 ID: 440b7f
File 137083726641.png - (116.06KB , 492x627 , 988.png )

Wouldn't think we both went to the same school would you? Still, I got a secondary tuition, he was pulled out and... apparently became some sort of actor/thief paramour.

I've really got to clarify with him how exactly that works.. people have got to see through that nonsense more often that not, right?

Oh, hey. There's a picture: ‘Rember! You optd outof this.~' but who are they and why-?
No. 515816 ID: 440b7f
File 137083733175.png - (92.80KB , 414x628 , 989.png )


Oh I see she... they… well that's... uhuhmmm.
No. 515819 ID: 440b7f
File 137083746757.png - (318.64KB , 930x630 , 990.png )

Just, put that away for now.

Now then, I do not believe we've forgotten anything, yes? Are you gentlemen ready to go find out what sort of trouble my master has gotten himself into?
No. 515824 ID: f2c20c

No. 515834 ID: 9ddf68

lets go for it

seeing how hectic things have been lately I start to get a little antsy if someone hasn't made an attempt on our life after a few days... makes me think they're saving it up for something big.
No. 515841 ID: e3aff6

About as ready as we can be considering how we don't have the time or resources to procure a rocket-propelled steamship.
Actually there is one thing. Would it be feasible to quickly get backups of the flares (assuming those are what are used) to call on that airspace policing agreement mentioned on the map?
There is a non-trivial chance that we will need mote than one airship on our side before this trip is over, and time would be of the essence in such a scenario.
No. 515845 ID: 01531c

>ready to go find out what sort of trouble my master has gotten himself into?

No one is ready for the sort of trouble your master gets into.
You ought to know that from experience!
No. 523923 ID: 423c9e
File 137360800203.png - (324.70KB , 930x630 , CH8END.png )

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