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File 145412712859.jpg - (265.88KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree_1a.jpg )
698163 No. 698163 ID: 3009b4

:: Reconnecting to Sami... ::

Sami: Guys?
Amy: I'm sure they're fine, Sami. You can't kill wild spirits.
Sami: Look, we don't know that for sure -- just nobody's succeeded yet. Everything dies eventually. Maybe twice in the case of the spirits.
Expand all images
>>
No. 698164 ID: 3009b4
File 145412733683.jpg - (290.51KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree_1b.jpg )
698164

The familiar forms of Sami and Amy are clear now. You sense that the rest of Amy's family is present as well.

Sami: I don't like this. Like I haven't even heard from Kome.
Amy: Kome is...
Sami: He's a nut that doesn't shut up. But it's been hours since we met the mayor and they've all been silent, even him.
>>
No. 698166 ID: 3009b4
File 145412742092.jpg - (331.46KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree_1c.jpg )
698166

Amy: Miss him?
Sami: ... yeah a little.
>>
No. 698173 ID: 3009b4
File 145412832568.jpg - (343.18KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree_1d.jpg )
698173

Suddenly everything focuses. The familiar smell of roasted meat and savoury spices of Skyia's kitchen snaps into view. Skyia and George are on the other side of the kitchen table, watching Sami cradling her Death Token in her hands nervously.

Sami: I just... something happened when I shook hands with the mayor. I felt it crawl up my back, and down my arm... and then all the spirits were quiet.

Amy: There was that Moxy person.

Sami: I don't know who this Moxy person is, other than she claims to be a Cat and that the spirits were fine, but something did happen and they had to fix something before we could talk again.

Amy: Sounded nice enough.

Sami: That doesn't mean anything. Especially coming from a Cat.

Skyia: Don't panic Sami, it does you no good to worry. I do know a little about demons though and I can tell you I've never encountered any that could beat the Cats.

Sami nods.

:: MESSAGE FROM MOXY LUNA ::
:: Hey guys! OK, if you want to talk shop a bit or find out what's changed, you can come down to http://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html. Basically all the kind of crap that's shopping about or doing stuff that Sami can't understand. Meantime, you're live again and Sami's worried about you. If she asks, I'm basically your new assistant -- that shouldn't worry her much. Don't worry 'bout spooking Sami too much now, she trusts you guys. ::
>>
No. 698174 ID: 02422f

Hey, Sami. We're okay. Even Kome.

Kome, say something Kome-ish so she knows we're really us.

Don't fret over the cat, she didn't do anything wrong. Curse broke some spirit stuff you'd get glossed eyes over if we tried to explain the details of, had to be fixed.

Uh, more importantly, what did happen after we went offline? I think a sneaky curse that had managed to hide on you jumped ship when you shook hands. Which could be... bad.
>>
No. 698176 ID: 8bb237

>>698173
>Especially coming from a Cat.
Okay that's just mean. I like the Cats. We had to ditch something, and Moxy helped. Turned out to be an exhausting ordeal is all. We haven't missed much, have we?
>>
No. 698177 ID: f28285

We are back! Sorry for the delay, we were busy fighting a curse spirit for a bit. Apparently the curse really didn't like the whole "shaking hands with the mayor" thing, so the mayor is probably cursed now. The curse is probably going to make him plot to kill you now despite his self interest otherwise.
In unrelated news, a new cat is hanging around who seems relatively helpful, so there's that.
>>
No. 698178 ID: 2ccbb3

Hi.

... Yeah, nothing like a hard disconnect. There's this sense that an addictive part of the world has just STOPPED. Then there's the worry that said part of the world might have had an aneurysm and died.

Glad you tolerate / appreciate / anything more than interest / whatever us. Back to business:

The HORRIBLE news is that the reason why we disconnected was because of a Trojan curse; their damage output is pathetic but they can slowly break down a Titan given enough time. Which they did. @#$%er must have mimicked one of us, which prevented the safeguard systems from kicking him out when you broke the 30G curse.

And now said Trojan curse is attached to the Mayor, and it will likely make a few snips here and there until the mayor himself is transformed into a giant demon portal, possessed by thousands of hungry zombie spirits, and lay waste to the town with death squads and eldritch technology and

well you know how this goes.

The good news is, that forced disconnection from your world usually means that whatever systems and rituals that we use to talk to you have been purged of hackers and curses. Best way to fix a soulless system is to replace it with a stored copy.

Well, since it's only been a few hours you just need to kidnap the mayor or do an exorcism or something VERY quickly.

... Also: Miss Amy, can you hear us now?
>>
No. 698182 ID: 15720c

>>698178
Actually, it's possible that what happened with the Mayor was Moxy was keeping an eye on him and noticed us. Our "Luggage" didn't like the idea of a Cat who would help us out, perhaps. Perhaps it was a Trojan, or perhaps it was what we were giving up.

To put it simply, think of that "Something" as a suit of armor, designed for us spirits to wear. One suit that we all fit into. Moxy helped us get out of it and into a new suit. She's also going to be mantaining this armor, though not without her own gain, as you may well expect from a Cat. (Still, I like Cats all the same)
>>
No. 698240 ID: 066a87

>>698182
The codpiece on this armor is huge.

Sami, I still want you to drink a pina colada one day. Wait, couldn't we help her imagine the taste of one?

That would be a great welcome back present!
>>
No. 698810 ID: 3009b4
File 145454751562.jpg - (318.10KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree2.jpg )
698810

>Kome, say something Kome-ish so she knows we're really us.

>Hi ... Yeah, nothing like a hard disconnect. ... ... Also: Miss Amy, can you hear us now?

Sami looks relieved: Yeah, that's Kome.

>Uh, more importantly, what did happen after we went offline? I think a sneaky curse that had managed to hide on you jumped ship when you shook hands. Which could be... bad.

Sami: I got that feeling too. Basically we made a deal to go back to the town and do research and we've got funding. If the curse has spread to the Mayor, I'm not sure what that will mean but he didn't seem to show any signs of worry yet. We went home and I've been trying to make contact with you all since.
>>
No. 698816 ID: 2ccbb3

>>698810
Things haven't been smooth on our end either. Actually, we were cut off from the regular channels for about two days. Not consecutively, but close enough.

So how is Amy holding up?
>>
No. 698847 ID: 15720c

>>698816
Suffice to say, spirits sleep weirdly.
>>
No. 698852 ID: 02422f

>>698810
Well, we might have a new priority. I'm not sure if we can leave a cursed mayor behind to cause who knows what damage while we go back into the red zone. We proooobably want to fix this, and soonish.
>>
No. 700641 ID: 3009b4
File 145508210612.jpg - (341.47KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree3.jpg )
700641

>So how is Amy holding up?

Sami: She's fine, just worried about me.

>Well, we might have a new priority. I'm not sure if we can leave a cursed mayor behind to cause who knows what damage while we go back into the red zone. We proooobably want to fix this, and soonish.

Sami: Well if it's anything like what I went through, it will be a lot of nightmares, flashbacks... it will kill his sleep and ruin his appetite. Being with Amy has given me my first break in years... I don't know how I survived as long as I did.

** MOXY has summarized the situation into a QUEST format **

Moxy: Hey guys. I got a message from Grace the Seamstress from when you contacted her awhile back. Things became high priority when she detected the curse getting loose on the mayor. Anyhoo, thought you all could use a bitta help figuring on what to do soooo... here it is! Aight, the short version is to save everything you need to keep the mayor away from Ronnalin ('cause the Curse is gonna try to push him there) and then break the curse in the town by 'bringing the essence of the children back'. Grace said that basically Sami will sense it and that it will 'pool where they died' or something. Otherwise the ghost mayor will go nuts and try to kill everyone's asses. OK? OK. You wanna talk more go to discussion as I am KILLING the flow here.
>>
No. 700650 ID: 02422f

>>700641
Sami we got... call it spirit-mail from Grace the redeemer.

She advises we can't cure the mayor without dealing with Ronalin first. And to break the curse on Ronalin, you need to return the 'essence' of the slain children to the town. It should be found near where they died, and you should be sensitive to it.

(Man, it's a good thing Amy helped you come to terms with your transformation, because it's likely underwater).

The curse will try to draw the mayor to Ronalin. He needs to be kept from getting back there. It's fortunate you made friends here- Skyia might be able to help contain him. (Or failing that, we could use the flute to lure him somewhere and trap him until we can deal with the source).

>I don't know how I survived as long as I did
Grace told us distance helps. As bad as it was, it would have been worse if your parents hadn't taken you as far away as they did.
>>
No. 700899 ID: 2ccbb3

>>700641
Looks like the curse acts like a brain fungus; it goads the host into moving into a specific position, then kills the host and uses their corpse to its whims. In this case, if the mayor makes it into the Ronnelin cell, he gets possessed by hundreds of wraiths and goes Durzy McDevourstein on everyone.

Yeah, I think Skyia should kidnap the mayor if he tries to leave town. At least he isn't taking in ghost residents by the hour. Yet.

First priority is to find or craft tools that will be appropriate for what you've seen so far. Wraith capture nets, golem hacking devices, soul jars, a grappling gun, some planks, portable hallowed ground, or whatever you can come up with that is doable and sane.
>>
No. 700922 ID: 2c4c23

We could tell the mayor (pretty much truthfully) that he can send his people to Ronnalin watch our progress if he wants but he should not come in person until we are finished because the curse remembers him. He will likely try to make a move eventually but reasonable fear will hopefully reasonably fear will at least deter him some.
>>
No. 708052 ID: 3009b4
File 145758125188.jpg - (225.92KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree4.jpg )
708052

Sami thinks it'd be best to leave restraining the mayor of Welser to Skyia. She also thinks Kome is a lunatic but that's nothing new.

Sami: I really don't think telling the mayor anything would be a good idea -- he's more likely to investigate just to see why I'm so concerned with him staying out of town.

Anyhow guys -- I'm all for returning the essence of my childhood friends back to my home town, but... did anyone say HOW to return the essence? Is it something I put in a magic bottle, is it a ghost I give directions to...

Moxy takes note of the question and fields it to Grace's messenger. Apparently the essence will likely take the form of intangible wisps of light that will need to be lured back. She can't offer any more help than that because Redeemers can just talk to them -- but Sami doesn't have that option. She did note that the wisps can't be forced back.

Sami: Right, so that basically leaves the Siren's Axe, doesn't it? I don't have time to learn how to play. The only alternatives I can see then are either to ask George to help us or to convince the Piper's ghost to assist in some way. I'm not thrilled with either idea -- I don't want to put any more people than I have to at risk and I'm not sure how much I want to rely on the ghost of someone I murdered.
>>
No. 708055 ID: 2ccbb3

>>708052
Just learn from both. Remember, this is a complicated art that uses a simple yet demanding interface; George can help you understand the music, Piper can help you understand the magic.
>>
No. 708190 ID: 02422f

>>708052
Ummm. Honestly, I'm not keen on working with the Piper either, but bringing more people into curse town with you seems like a bad idea. The bigger the group, the harder it gets to keep anyone safe.

Bringing along a retired adventurer or a parent on this kind of thing always seems like an invocation of their doom.

Wondering about alternatives: maybe our presence will open a line of communication you wouldn't otherwise have?

I don't suppose a recording or a playback is possible? If it were, George wouldn't need to come along to work the axe.
>>
No. 711069 ID: f562b1

>>708190
Well, you could ask Moxie through >>/questdis/97520 but I'm pretty sure the only thing we can do is make sounds, not actually use the Siren's Axe.
>>
No. 711719 ID: 3009b4
File 145906370777.jpg - (338.92KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree5.jpg )
711719

>Just learn from both. Remember, this is a complicated art that uses a simple yet demanding interface; George can help you understand the music, Piper can help you understand the magic.

Sami: I'm pretty sure they have a good understanding of both.

>Ummm. Honestly, I'm not keen on working with the Piper either, but bringing more people into curse town with you seems like a bad idea. The bigger the group, the harder it gets to keep anyone safe.

Sami: I think you're right.

>Well, you could ask Moxie through >>/questdis/97520 but I'm pretty sure the only thing we can do is make sounds, not actually use the Siren's Axe.

Sami: I don't understand what you want me to do there. Maybe it makes sense to you but it doesn't make sense to me. It's just a mess of runes that don't mean anything. But I don't really think you guys even make sounds.

>Wondering about alternatives: maybe our presence will open a line of communication you wouldn't otherwise have?
>I don't suppose a recording or a playback is possible? If it were, George wouldn't need to come along to work the axe.

MOXY chimes through the channel.

Moxy: No, Sami can't... she can't 'click links', OK? Basically if you put a picture or a video she can see it and even hear it, or if the link is simple enough the TEN will handle it, but other stuff doesn't work. We're not supposed to show her the store anyhow, it'll just confuse her.

Anyway... how to put this... the SOUND isn't what gives the Siren's Axe its power, the MUSIC is a medium for its influence. The Music won't work for you. It only works for the axe, and Sami lacks the ability to play it.

Sami: OK, so I have to work with the Piper. And I think the way to do that is to raise the money to pay his fee. I don't think he actually wants the money, I think it's just the principle. So that leaves us with HOW are we gonna get that amount of cash?
>>
No. 711722 ID: 1cebc8

Use the Mayor's new connection to the supernatural and goad him into transporting a HUGE pile of gold from one vault to another?

Maybe Skyia can use her connections to get a loan. But she's mortal now, so you and Amy would need to help.
>>
No. 711980 ID: 02422f

>But I don't really think you guys even make sounds.
Yes and no. We can with each other, but you're right that we're not really sending sound to you. Our link with you is mostly image and text.

>So that leaves us with HOW are we gonna get that amount of cash?
How much was his fee again? And could you put that in perspective- like, compared to someone's yearly income, or what the cost of living is week to week?

>where get the money
Well, let's consider possible sources of money.

There's the mayor. We don't know how much money he's got squirreled away, and we probably can't get to it short of theft, but it's something.

There's Skyia. I dunno if she has the funds to front you, and we've already asked a lot of her, but a retired adventurer and a fae dragon are likely to have more in the way of wealth than the average town-person.

There's the town itself. I don't know how much gold they have, but you could potentially use the flute to charm them into giving up their gold. ...not that mind control theft is the nicest thing. You might otherwise be able raise money from the townspeople, but I don't see how in such short time, in the large amount needed.

If you're willing to take the time to travel to a larger town or city, the piper's flute will get you past pretty much any mundane lock. We could clean out a bank vault! ...or just take out loan. And/or use the flute to influence someone into giving us a favorable loan you wouldn't otherwise have got.

There's Billy. You might be able to use that connection to somehow get some money out of the fae court he represents. Of course, dealing with the fae courts is a whole problem in and of itself.

You're able to travel underwater. You might be able to find a sunken ship or something similar to loot / recover gold from that's inaccessible to others. (You'd be dependent on local contacts for finding likely prospects to search, and I don't know what kind of travel time it would be to the nearest potential sunken pirate / merchant ship).

That's... pretty much all the sources of fast / large income I can think of available to you. They're pretty much all less then ideal in one way or another, but there you go.

>I don't think he actually wants the money, I think it's just the principle.
If that's the case, and "you can't take it with you" applies, that does give us more options. Being able to claim the gold and repay where we got it once the Piper is gone means a loan of some kind might be feasible. (Although, I don't want to bet he won't just poof away with it).
>>
No. 712034 ID: b7dfa3

We have promised the mayor we would get him the remaining golems in Ronnalin, but what about the land itself? If that were suddenly un-cursed, would that be valuable to someone willing to make an investment?
>>
No. 712035 ID: f562b1

>I don't understand what you want me to do there. Maybe it makes sense to you but it doesn't make sense to me. It's just a mess of runes that don't mean anything. But I don't really think you guys even make sounds.
Oops! That was me talking to 02422f, sorry. Spirit jargon, 'swhy it didn't make sense to you.

>but what about the land itself?
If we can find somebody on short notice who wants to invest, then I guess that's an option.
>>
No. 718128 ID: 3009b4
File 146122451982.jpg - (343.15KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree6.jpg )
718128

>How much was his fee again? And could you put that in perspective- like, compared to someone's yearly income, or what the cost of living is week to week?

From Nem's Quest, 1 Crown = $10K modern equivalent based on the earnings of a common person.

So the Piper's 130 Crown fee is the equivalent to $1,300,000 for a common person.

>There's Skyia. I dunno if she has the funds to front you, and we've already asked a lot of her, but a retired adventurer and a fae dragon are likely to have more in the way of wealth than the average town-person.

Sami: I... just don't know. If Skyia is mortal she might need that money.

Skyia: Are you talking to you spirit friends Sami?

Sami turns as Skyia slides by with a tray of hard-tack rations she's making in preparation for their journey. Seeing a serpentine woman in an apron baking rations strikes Sami as adorable.

Sami: Yes, we're trying to figure out how to raise the money to pay the Piper and put his spirit to rest.

Skyia frowns.

Skyia: The child murderer? The one who destroyed the families of an entire village? He deserves whatever torment he's suffering.

Sami: I know, I was one of those children, Ma'am.

Skyia: For Heaven's sake Sami, don't call me "Ma'am". I know you're trying to be polite but you're the lover of my only daughter. Call me "Mom" or you can call me "Skyia". We're clearly on familiar terms now.

Amy glances at Sami with a knowing look and smiles sweetly.

Sami: Sorry umm.... Ms. Skyia?

Skyia smiles and tells Sami that will do.

Sami: Even if you don't forgive him, I need to. He's dead, and if I forgive him and he's put to rest it's one more part of my life I can just move on from. Plus, he might be able to help me clear the curse since he's in the middle of it... just like me. You know the phrase 'I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemies'? Well... I wouldn't.

Skyia sighs.

Skyia: There's still a sweet girl underneath that rough looking exterior, isn't there Sami? That doesn't make me want to forgive the piper any more, but at your request I can lend you some crowns. I don't have as much material wealth as you might think -- most of my power comes from influence. After all, coin is how you make things happen when you don't have the personal ability to make people do things -- and I have the power, so I don't really need to horde the coin. But you might want to ask Billy Phooka for help. Neutral faeries tend to have a little cache for emergencies.

Sami brings up some of the other ideas.

Skyia: I advise against getting the mayor involved if he's inflicted by the curse too, it might just make things worse. We don't have any sunken ships near here. As to investments, I'm not sure.

Amy: I really don't like the idea of robbing the town. I don't think anyone would be willing to invest either, all they'd have is our word it was clean.

Sami: So it's all on Billy, is it?

Skyia: He could help Sami. But I can give you a few more crowns. I suspect that paying him is more for the sentiment than anything else at this point.

Sami: Well... OK. So I guess we're just taking making sure we've got everything before we make the journey back? Anything you want me to do with my ... in-laws here, or anything in town I should look for (besides seeing if I can hawk or trade some items) let me know now. I really don't want to add another 4-day hike to pick up extras and return.
>>
No. 718152 ID: 1cebc8

For starters, more ammunition for your pistols.

If you can find any one-time overshield wards that protect the user from a single lethal attack, buy them. One unlucky hit from a golem and you're panini.

Camping equipment and some sturdy walls to build a base. I'd suggest you fortify the upper walls of the church and the merchant's guild, let the wraiths roam the lower levels but prevent them from climbing.

And don't forget the cheese. In fact, get one of each kind you find at the market. You'll need to curry favor if you want to borrow Bill's bank.
>>
No. 718156 ID: 59a537

From what I recall, what Bill wants is mostly information, especially information on Skyia. It would be a good idea to ask her now what she is ok with us telling rather than having to guess later.

Aside from that I can't think of any other preparations we need.
>>
No. 718249 ID: a075ba

>>718152
Alternatively, Sami could look to sell the pistols. If she's not using them herself, they might be worth some coin.

>Skyia can provide a few crowns
>But you might want to ask Billy Phooka for help. Neutral faeries tend to have a little cache for emergencies.
Would it be reasonable to expect Billy to have over a hundred crowns handy, though? We're out of luck if we expect him to front most the costs, we get there, and he can't.
>>
No. 718252 ID: 59a537

>>718249
Actually we have the magic mirror, so we can ask him. Just remember that we made a deal with him not to tell anyone else about the mirror.
>>
No. 722815 ID: 3009b4
File 146309523742.jpg - (400.22KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree7.jpg )
722815

>For starters, more ammunition for your pistols.
>Alternatively, Sami could look to sell the pistols. If she's not using them herself, they might be worth some coin.

Sami isn't experienced with pistols as they're better suited weapons for officers and bandits. Plus she's not even sure if they'll be any use within town considering she gets attacked by unliving creatures. Her bow at least works for hunting.

Skyia explains that she will buy things from Sami since it will take time to find a buyer -- more time than Sami would want to waste. As Skyia has never fired a pistol she'd like to familiarize herself with the weapons just in case.

>If you can find any one-time overshield wards that protect the user from a single lethal attack, buy them. One unlucky hit from a golem and you're panini.

Sami just rolls her eyes.

>Camping equipment and some sturdy walls to build a base.

That will be taken care of by the scientific expedition they've arranged. The scientist's camp will also be Sami & Amy's fallback, set up just outside of town.

>Actually we have the magic mirror, so we can ask him. Just remember that we made a deal with him not to tell anyone else about the mirror.

Sami nods. She tells Skyia what she's going to do and she gives Sami permission to tell Bill her story -- she seems to trust Phooka. Not having much else left to do immediately she goes to Amy's room.

Amy follows and watches with curiosity as Sami says "Yuri Yuri" to the mirror and flickers to life. The reflection of Amy's room suddenly switches to Bill Phooka's face.

Phooka seems relieved to see her: Sami! How are you?

He notices Amy's hair as it tendrils around her.

Phooka: Skyia?

Sami turns sharply to Amy and glares at her for letting herself be seen when the mirror was still supposed to be a secret. Amy narrows her eyes and glares back in defiance; shouldn't she have a stake in this conversation anyway? They stare at each other until Amy breaks the gaze first and looks down sadly, causing Sami's expression to soften.

Sami: No, this is Amy. Skyia's daughter.

She turns the mirror towards Amy, who shrinks away from it.

Sami: She's also the first person to really teach me love.

Amy's face turns bright red. She shyly comes into view.

Bill Phooka's jaw hangs slack for a few moments before he grins broadly.

Phooka: You... you will tell me the story, please?

Sami smirks and asks if it's worth anything to him and Bill responds that it's worth a great deal. Sami explains that she's trying to raise funds to pay the piper, late as it may be. Bill cheerfully agrees to pitch if she tells him the story of Skyia and Amy, swearing that he has a cache of 50 crowns that is hers -- but he wants details.

Sami tells him the story of Skyia and George, with Amy filling in gaps in the story as required. Then she tells him how she and Amy met and how the idea of loving another woman went from a thrilling curiosity to a deeply warm and fulfilling relationship. Sami notices that Bill is entranced by the tale and as she begins on their foray into the river, his eyes grow larger and larger and the light around them shines brighter, and she pauses.

Phooka: Wait... why are you stopping?

Sami ponders if she should try to go into erotic detail, or stick to the feelings and skip over the steamy bits, and if she should see if she can wrangle anything else out of Bill in exchange.
>>
No. 722820 ID: 094652

You need the money, and we're not listening. Hold nothing back.

If you want anything else from him, then CHEESE. Ask him if he wants anything else while you're still in town, charge a 12% service fee for delivery.
>>
No. 722936 ID: 0d6c82

Go into as much detail as you are comfortable with.

>if she should see if she can wrangle anything else out of Bill in exchange.
Not in the middle of the story; that would be rude. We do have more to negotiate about afterwards, such as the cheese delivery.
>>
No. 724917 ID: a075ba

He sure doesn't seem bothered that there's someone with us on the call when we promised not to tell anyone about the mirror. (Although if we want to be picky, "showing" isn't "telling". But pedandic picky rules lawyering is a demon contracts thing, the fae are more about the spirit of agreements).

>Sami ponders if she should try to go into erotic detail, or stick to the feelings and skip over the steamy bits
That very much depends on how comfortable you are sharing those details in an attempt to win over / leverage someone else. What happened was very personal and intimate, and largely a positive change in your emotional well being. It's not worth coloring that with regret or shame if you feel like you're going to regret telling him later. There's certainly an advantage to sharing it if you're not bothered by it.

It's also not yours alone to share. At the very least you should look askance at Amy before continuing. Get some sign she's okay with it, if you're going to get steamy.
>>
No. 725995 ID: 3009b4
File 146424049341.jpg - (335.64KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree8.jpg )
725995

Sami goes into detail as to the events in the river, after she had recovered from her initial shock at transforming into something beautiful instead of horrid.

She talks of the way the kiss of another woman seems to flush heat through her lips and down her spine. The softness of Amy's lips and the way her touch filled her with intense longing. She explains of how dangerous it felt -- both intimate contact with another wooman and doing so in flowing water which had been forbidden for so long. She mentions how she climaxed in just a few minutes from Amy's nimble fingers and her forceful kisses. She goes into detail of lying back on the shore while water ran delightfully across her body while Amy's lips explored her new form, and how as the intensity grew she had a strong desire to return the favour and taste every part of her new lover.

What surprises Sami is that Bill is equally curious about the emotions and the mechanics of making love. Amy chimes in with her experience and the conversation shifts from one of intense eroticism to a discussion of sexuality and love based on the two young womens' differing experiences.

As they talk, Sami realizes that Bill's intense interest isn't of one seeking arousal but like a child learning about something new and fascinating. His questions seem to focus on the comparisons between sleeping with men as opposed to women for Sami, and upon knowing when she was gay when it comes to Amy. She makes a mental note to bring this up with Skyia as the former Unseelie woman seemed to have an 'understanding' of Bill.

At the end, Sami asks Bill about the cheese and he laughs and said after learning about Skyia it totally slipped his mind. He tells Sami that maybe she could become a writer and record her story. Sami replies that those kinds of stories are usually not considered proper literature and that she doubts she could get it published and Bill tells her that she'd be surprised. Amy glances at Sami with a curious sort of look -- like she just thought of something but is keeping it to herself. This interests Sami but again is something she'll have to inquire about later.

Bill promises Sami his cache of 50 crowns.

With Bill's promise, it means Sami now has:
50 promised crowns from Bill Phooka
30 crowns from the Treasury
28 crowns from Nick's stash in the Church
8 crowns from Skyia

It will give Sami 116 crowns. It's still short the 130 but it's very close.

It seems a ridiculous amount of money to give to someone who will never be able to spend it but if it quiets his spirit it will still be worth it.

Sami: I think that's everything we can do here, unless you have any other ideas?
>>
No. 726111 ID: f562b1

>What surprises Sami is that Bill is equally curious about the emotions and the mechanics of making love.
Makes sense. As a Faerie, he probably doesn't have a lot of experience in the fields of love and lust; half-fae are rare enough as is, and usually just end up getting more and more dilluted with each generation, after all.
That's hindsight for you, though. You don't always connect the dots until you've seen the line.
>It will give Sami 116 crowns. It's still short the 130 but it's very close.
With the goal payment in sight, maybe the curse will weaken enough to actually capture the golems; those pearls may sell well. No guarantee, but we can hope.
> I think that's everything we can do here, unless you have any other ideas?
All's good in my eyes.
>>
No. 726120 ID: 094652

Just 14 more crowns and you could break the curse. I'd recommend you take a loan now and get Ronnalin fixed...

Except with your luck, I expect that the curse has evolved into something worse or uncovered some secret of the Pantheon that is worse. Focus on learning how to convert the golems to your side, break down the houses for crowns, and beat the curse right before the mayor gets there.
>>
No. 726420 ID: a075ba

>As they talk, Sami realizes that Bill's intense interest isn't of one seeking arousal but like a child learning about something new and fascinating.
Makes sense, really. He's the curious alien, not the pervy voyeur.

>Sami replies that those kinds of stories are usually not considered proper literature and that she doubts she could get it published and Bill tells her that she'd be surprised.
>Amy glances at Sami with a curious sort of look -- like she just thought of something but is keeping it to herself.
I'm guessing Amy's thoughts suddenly went to her own collection of "literature".

>It seems a ridiculous amount of money to give to someone who will never be able to spend it but if it quiets his spirit it will still be worth it.
There's the small chance the funds might be recyclable after he passes on, but I wouldn't bet on it.

>14 coins short
>I think that's everything we can do here, unless you have any other ideas?
If we can't s scrounge up the last of the gold in town, we'll have to hope we can procure it somewhere in the cursed area.

You might be able to try working as a bard, although I'm not sure you could scrounge that much up performing in a small town.

If there's a bank, you might be able to get a loan to cover the rest.

...I wonder if we have any digital funds on FAE.net or the cat's network we could tap.
>>
No. 726450 ID: b7883c

Can't think of anything else to do in town, so I think its time to hit the road.
>>
No. 728517 ID: 3009b4
File 146542916749.jpg - (346.84KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree9.jpg )
728517

As Sami and Amy make preparations, Moxy eventually gets around to mixing Sami up a pina colada. Sami isn't very impressed -- she's used to strong, bitter liquors and it's far too sweet for her tastes. Amy on the other hand finds it delightful, even if she does drink it out of a mirror somehow.

On the day of departure they say good-bye to Amy's parents, load their gear into the back of one of the lab's wagons and begin the journey to Ronnalin. As this time they're using both wagons and beasts of burden, it takes little time to reach the city.

As they look out the back of their wagon, Amy cuddles up next to Sami and puts her head on her shoulder.

While Amy is relaxed, Sami's stomach is in knots. She's never had much to lose before, but that was before she met Amy. For the first time in a long time, Sami feels a terrible dread which only grows as they get closer to the cursed town.

Amy: Oy, Sami.

Sami looks over at her love.

Sami: Yes?

Amy: Squeez'n too tight.

Sami: Sorry.

Amy: Nervous?

Sami: Yeah.

Amy: Don't be. I know what I'm doing.

Sami is quiet and tries to give her a reassuring smile but Amy sees through it and frowns.

Amy: Have a little faith.

Sami is quiet.

Amy: Don't you believe in a god?

There's another long pause.

Sami: No.

Amy: Really? You're part faerie.

Sami: I know there are faeries and spirits and entities that are more powerful or knowledgeable than us. But when you ask if I believe in a god, in something that cares about us and will look out for us, I say no. If there was something like that, then all my friends wouldn't have drowned that day. The piper would have had a chance of heart, or I would have been further up the line, or would have moved faster to save them. There may be curses, ghosts, souls and spirits but we are all on our own and there is no one to care about us but us.

Amy looks at Sami sadly and strokes her hair.

Sami: Why, what do you believe in?

Amy: I believe in Love.

Sami: So do I Amy, I just don't ...

Amy: No, I mean there must be a being of Love. It's powerful enough that it made my mother give up her immortality, post and position. She could have lived forever Sami but she gave it all up and she's never regretted it.

Sami: Can you explain to me why this great being of Love would just let all those children die? Shatter the hearts of their friends and families, destroy a town, doom a foolish mayor to unearthly torment and lay a thick, malicious curse over everything?

Amy: Sami, if you had a choice -- would you be a happy, safe little puppet, happy because you were told to be happy and safe because happy, safe little puppets were all there could be, or would you rather be free even if it meant you could be miserable?

Sami frowns.

Amy: Love can't exist without freedom, and freedom means sometimes terrible things happen. You can't have it both ways, you can't choose your own path and feel real love and still be always safe and happy. I think that's why faeries become mortal when they fall in love; they trade in that security for something real. And that's why I'm here with you. I'm not going to sit at home, safe in my mother's protection, while you go out and possible get yourself killed alone. I need to be here with you to do my best to keep you safe, even if it means putting myself in danger. My mother understands that, and I need you to as well. Have some faith.

Sami: Faith gets people killed. Our preacher had faith, and he believed that we were being punished for turning away strangers just because we didn't know them, when our faith dictated we should have offered them friendship. The town *lynched* him. Where was this being of love then?

Amy: The town was angry and hurting, and that makes people do foolish things.

Sami: Why didn't this god make them stay their hands then?

Amy: Because that would be pulling on puppet strings and that's not something you do to someone you love. I'd never try to pull your strings Sami.

Sami raises an eyebrow.

Amy: Manipulate you.

Sami: I thought you were implying something else.

Amy smirks.

Amy: Sometimes faith is just putting the burden on worrying on something bigger than yourself so you can just focus on the things you need to, Sami. That's all I'm saying -- don't waste your energy on worry.

Sami: I'm not worrying, Amy. I'm just ... looking at all the angles so I'll have some sort of plan to handle whatever we might encounter.

Amy sighs and looks at Sami sadly. She gives her a reassuring hug and Sami returns it.

Amy: Oy, Sami. Squeezing too tight again.

Sami: Sorry.

Amy: I like how much you love me though.
>>
No. 728597 ID: 3adcf8

Just explain this is the first time you haven't been alone in a long long time and you're getting used to being afraid of more than just pain. The most you typically had to lose was yourself and now you have her and all the people who love her. You're just starting to be okay with yourself so it's a lot to get used to.
>>
No. 728614 ID: a075ba

>>728517
Whether or not there are any gods looking over us, well intentioned or not, you've got us lesser spirits looking out for you, at least.
>>
No. 728637 ID: 066a87

>>728517
>Moxy eventually gets around to mixing Sami up a pina colada

FINALLY! YES! AWESOME.

Amy is my favorite!
>>
No. 731674 ID: 3009b4
File 146677335407.jpg - (450.54KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree10b.jpg )
731674

The trip in to town is uneventful. The crew of scientists includes Dr. Korez, who despite his age is interested in seeing how events unfold now that Sami is back.

Sami and Amy are shown how to record observations in a scientific way. Sami takes to it easily while Amy is a little annoyed with some of the technical elements, especially since each instrument is stored in a black box with only a small window to read the results. It's explained that the black boxes will prevent biased readings, but Amy thinks it's just to hide how things work from her in case she were to go back to her mother.

The other items they're taught about are the sample kits. The kits contain a variety of materials -- some have papers, others vials of chemicals, and still others strips of metal. They're told to only record their observations as to how the kits respond to the environment, and that nothing happening being as important as something happening.

Finally, it's stressed again that these devices -- black boxes and kits -- COULD attract unwanted attention so the scientists suggest that they only carry one with them at a time and to only carry them during the day, just to be safe.

Dr. Korez: Avoid approaching the devices at night. This is hostile territory, so if any of these devices act as bait we'd rather not find out the hard way. Sami, since you know the town better than anyone else, please note any special sentimental significance to the location you drop a device off at.

There are four types of sampling kits (paper, vial, metal and powder) and three types of black box measuring devices (bell, bulb and needle). The scientists request that a location get at least three separate trials, and they note that each trial will require a fresh device from camp to avoid contamination of the results.


Sami and Amy now stand a distance from town and need to decide what to do. It is currently afternoon. The Piper and the Mayor will not be 'awake' until night fall.

Bill Phooka is available any time and they could visit him. (This will take until night fall at the least)

Alternatively, they could chat with Dr. Korez or the other scientists. (This will only take an hour or two, leaving plenty of daylight)

They could place a device or sample kit somewhere in town. (This will take until evening; they can return to camp before night falls or just stay in town and explore)

They could explore the town during the day.

Or do you have another idea?

Please note: The OCULUS AVATAR has been purchased from the TEN STORE but its form has not been decided on (see Quest dis). OCULUS will automatically scan spiritual elements if it detects them and will respond if scanning commands are given. You can also shift your POV to Oculus and direct its position. Oculus also provides SPIRIT VISION which will allow you to see the world in a different light. Finally, OCULUS has a MANIFEST ability that will allow Sami & Amy to see it if you require.
>>
No. 731676 ID: b2d501

Set up the first device in the church. We'll want to figure out why cursed hate-wraiths still go to mass.

Send the team to Bill's place. You don't have any spirit-based defenses set up, so you need to ensure that the scientists aren't all killed by a wandering enemy.

After you're done setting up the black box, scout out a new building. See if you can defend it until morning. You'll need to set up camps and bases so that you can investigate an area more efficiently, instead of a constant back and forth trip to get a single set of items each time from the scientists.
>>
No. 731698 ID: a075ba

>It's explained that the black boxes will prevent biased readings, but Amy thinks it's just to hide how things work from her in case she were to go back to her mother.
Without knowing the exact principles the devices operate by, I can't be certain, but both explanations are certainly plausible.

...I don't suppose Oculus can scan them? See past the covers? (We could even route the output to the mirror, if Amy is curious. A peek inside without voiding the factory seal!).

>what do
Personally, I'd like to set some devices up. Daylight is when we want to do so, and more that just fulfilling your obligations, it's possible we might learn something that will help you.

Also, daylight is the safer time to enter, and this will be your first time in the hot spot with Amy, or even two people. Better to do that in the best conditions we have.
>>
No. 731807 ID: b7883c

The church seems like a good place to set up a box, or the mayor's. Probably not the bridge yet, since we will be depositing coins there and if curses are pulled to it that could cause us more trouble.
>>
No. 735584 ID: 3009b4
File 146845067518.jpg - (462.09KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree11.jpg )
735584

>Send the team to Bill's place. You don't have any spirit-based defenses set up, so you need to ensure that the scientists aren't all killed by a wandering enemy.

Camp is set up outside of town and thus outside the range of the curse.

>...I don't suppose Oculus can scan them? See past the covers? (We could even route the output to the mirror, if Amy is curious. A peek inside without voiding the factory seal!).

Oculus (the TV-face creature) can in fact scan through the covers.

Oculus reports that the devices use SPIRITUAL SALTS in various states. It should cause the devices to react when there is a strong enough source of spiritual energy near by, but the devices aren't very sensitive so it will take a great deal of energy before they will detect anything -- Oculus doesn't trigger them despite being close by.

>The church seems like a good place to set up a box, or the mayor's. Probably not the bridge yet, since we will be depositing coins there and if curses are pulled to it that could cause us more trouble.

Our adventurers could set up a device in the church, but then they must decide to either return to camp or stay in town. If they return to camp, it will be evening. If they stay in town, they will have additional daylight to explore.

Sami notes that she still has to pick up the gold from Bill Phooka. They have enough time to set up a device and head to his place instead, but she figures he will want to entertain and it will be late night at least before they'll be able to head out, unless they rest at his place. She wants to know what you think they should do now so she can keep the scientists informed.
>>
No. 735592 ID: a075ba

>>735584
Oh, I like the TV-face look. That's cute. Almost looks more like an oscilloscope, with the sine-wave eyebrow.

...hey he still needs a public nickname since "Oculus" is a secure identifier, right? How about "Oscil"?

>what do
Let's set the thing up first, then go visit Bill. Manage social relations we might need before venturing into danger.

Whether you stay there seems kind of rude to plan without discussing with him, and sort of depends on how the evening goes, doesn't it?
>>
No. 735632 ID: b2d501

You can go to Bill at any time, but I guess now is good because he has weapons and supplies that your R&D team can use (for self defense, in case of wild animals or bandits).

>>735592
Sounds good. Map out the town (ruins and all) so that the scientists will have a better picture of where you place the black boxes.
>>
No. 735928 ID: b7883c

>>735592
That plan works.

>Oh, I like the TV-face look. That's cute
Agreed.

About those boxes, do nearby walls or such interfere with them? When we place them I am thinking we will want to hide them in small corners, under furniture, or otherwise in places where it would be hard for golems to get to and smash. (Do we have spares for if that does happen?)
>>
No. 736180 ID: 3009b4

>...hey he still needs a public nickname since "Oculus" is a secure identifier, right? How about "Oscil"?

Oculus's nickname is now Oscil.

>Sounds good. Map out the town (ruins and all) so that the scientists will have a better picture of where you place the black boxes.

Not necessary. Sami grew up here and has already explored a lot of it and she's already provided the scientists with a map. When she reports in she will note the location of the box and any activity she observes. The scientists have several sets of boxes -- some are designed to be one-use so they can identify potential hot-spots. There are sturdier boxes designed for observation, but this is risky as it involves staying in one location over a period of time until the box reacts so for now it's just a matter of planting one-shot identifiers.

>About those boxes, do nearby walls or such interfere with them? When we place them I am thinking we will want to hide them in small corners, under furniture, or otherwise in places where it would be hard for golems to get to and smash. (Do we have spares for if that does happen?)

Spiritual energy is not impeded by physical objects, so you needn't worry about that for now. The boxes they are giving Sami initially are one-use types, designed to break (much like older fuses) once triggered so they can identify potential hot-spots.
>>
No. 747287 ID: 3009b4
File 147352784566.jpg - (337.25KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree12.jpg )
747287

Sami and Amy head towards the church, and the trip is uneventful.

Amy: The church is oddly well maintained. What's with that statue?

Sami: A highway man hid out here and the curse made him think he was a priest of Faustia.

Amy: Faustia?

Sami: I grew up in the Faustian faith. It preaches friendship and community.

Amy: How do you feel about those beliefs now that you're an atheist?

Sami: Don't get me wrong, Amy. I think the core teaching is good and all, but Faustia sure as hell didn't come to the town in its time of need. The preacher was lynched for suggesting that the reason why she left our children to die was because we didn't offer friendship to outsiders. When I was a child I wondered if he was right, but now I just think she didn't come because she's not really a goddess.

Amy: Well, you're right. Faustia's one of the Pantheon but they're not gods, that's just the image they want to maintain.

Sami thinks about this as she sets up the black box.

Sami: OK, the device is set up. We should go visit Bill now.

Amy: Do you mind if I look around a bit first?

======================

1. "Sure Amy, but don't take too long. We don't want to be caught here at night,"
2. "Maybe tomorrow when we have more daylight,"
3. <Enter suggestion>
>>
No. 747295 ID: 094652

1. You kids have fun now.
>>
No. 747301 ID: 3abd97

>The preacher was lynched for suggesting that the reason why she left our children to die was because we didn't offer friendship to outsiders.
Hmm. Considering that all the bad stuff happened after the mayor stiffed payment to an outsider, she was technically correct.

>1. "Sure Amy, but don't take too long. We don't want to be caught here at night[.]"
It couldn't really hurt for her to gain an understanding of the layout here where the threat is relatively lower. But yeah, don't stick around.

And I'm going to assume she didn't mean solo. Splitting up would be a bad idea.
>>
No. 747521 ID: b7883c

>>747301
This. You can check things out for a bit but don't split up.
>>
No. 750314 ID: dfc4c7
File 147517851155.jpg - (359.72KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree13.jpg )
750314

Amy and Sami give the church a once over, finding nothing changed since Sami's last visit. They eventually reach the basement where Nick stored various items.

As Amy is investigating the place for anything Sami might have missed, suddnely the light is cut off by the door slamming shut, followed by the sound of metal twisting and cracking. Sami leaps to the stairs and puts her shoulder against the door. She tries the key Nick gave her and finds that the lock is jammed.

Sami: FUCK!

Amy joins her on the stairwell and they try to force the door open together, but even with Amy's exceptional strength the door refuses to give. They feel something pushing back against the door to thwart their efforts.

Sami: Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

Amy: Stay calm, Sami. Curse spirits feed off fear, anger, pain and guilt.

Sami: That's easy for you to say, you're not the one in the middle of this. You shouldn't have come.

Amy grabs Sami firmly, looks her dead in the eye and then bites her sharply on the ear.

Sami: OI! ... wh... why would you bite my ear?

Amy: Pain to clear your head. Biting your ear for confusion, to change your mind's direction. Worked, didn't it?

Sami: ... yeah, actually.


***** Oscil has provided the following situation report: *****

It's too dark to see clearly; switching mode to SPIRIT VISION .

I have SCANNED SAMI and her ANXIETY LEVELS are ELEVATED. The darkness and panic from the locked door have further elevated them to the point where others might panic, but Sami has enough experience to keep her head. Being of rational mind doesn't silence her FEAR, it just means she's repressed it -- but the CURSE is feeding off it.

It's very likely that something in this room triggered some sort of anxiety in Sami and this attracted the attention of CURSED SPIRITS.

The door is being held by CURSE SPIRITS; you can see them seeping through via SPIRIT VISION.

We are in a potentially dangerous situation; the CURSE will probably try to hold them until night. Going by the history of this particular CURSE, they will not likely suffer violence within the CHURCH GROUNDS, but that doesn't stop the CURSE from detaining them.

For future reference, Sami's ANXIETY LEVELS are now going to be monitored. Having low anxiety doesn't mean they're safe from the CURSE, but the higher her levels rise the easier it will be for roaming CURSE SPIRITS to detect her.
>>
No. 750322 ID: 3abd97

Don't panic Sami, you've been through uglier messes than this, less prepared and with less help. You'll get through this, and Ami too.

>ear-biting manipulation worked perfectly
Okay, we have to get a communication channel Ami can hear so we can help her plot against you. Not that she really needs the help from the look of things, but because that is too fun to keep out of. And because it's almost painful not to be able to compliment her on that.

For now just tell her she's awesome for us.

>what do
A phantasm of a light source would go a long way to lowering anxiety, and it might let them more clearly see and/or deal with whatever it was in this room that set off Sami. If we have the time, dealing with that first might lower Sami's anxiety, and be good for her, generally.

The door is being help shut by cursed spirits, but you might be able to force it open with the flute. The spirits aren't natural objects, but the door sure is.

If we're really strapped for options we could use the flute and DEATH to simply annihilate the door. The biggest concern there would be how narrowly we can target it. Amy's only half-fae, which means I'm not sure if she counts as natural, fae, both, neither, or only a partial match for purposes of magical instrument targeting. If we were going to risk this route, you would probably want to test if and how she's affected by something less lethal.
>>
No. 750409 ID: f562b1

You alright, Sami? We've got an eye on the door, but what else is down here? It seems odd for the curse to detain you in a place where you're safe, is it trying to keep something, or someone else company? If someone's spirit was trapped down here, it'll be worth it to check it out.
>>
No. 754230 ID: dfc4c7
File 147704201525.jpg - (311.20KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree14.jpg )
754230

>The door is being help shut by cursed spirits, but you might be able to force it open with the flute. The spirits aren't natural objects, but the door sure is.

The door is indeed able to be opened with the Flute; the result is far more explosive than Sami anticipated. The smell of rotten, splintering wood fills the air as the door is ripped from its frame and flung into the hall of the first floor. The sound is dreadful and both Sami and Amy brace themselves for retaliation, but it never comes.

Amy: Whoah.

Sami: It's not usually that dramatic.

Oscil notes that the Curse spirits have fled for the time being.

Sami: Let's get the hell out of here before they send the golems or something.

Amy doesn't argue.

>If someone's spirit was trapped down here, it'll be worth it to check it out.

Sami: No it's not, no it's not, no it's NOT.

>Okay, we have to get a communication channel Ami can hear so we can help her plot against you. Not that she really needs the help from the look of things, but because that is too fun to keep out of. And because it's almost painful not to be able to compliment her on that.

** Oscil reminds you that you CAN communicate directly to Amy via her mother's mirror. He relays the message to her. **

As the two girls exit the Church, Amy's mirror caws (literally mimicking a crow's call). She looks down and then intones "Mirror, mirror".

Amy's Mirror tones in a clear voice similar to Skyia's, but deeper.: The spirits wish you to know that "You are awesome".

Sami turns sharply.

Amy: It's just my mother's mirror. The spirits can communicate with us through them as well, remember?

Sami: Oh. (she takes a deep breath, clearly still on edge) OK. I've just never used a magic mirror, I didn't realize they'd talk.

Amy: Weren't you told faerie tales?

Sami: ... no, actually. Not in my family. Can, can we talk about this later? I really want to get out of town as fast as possible. Fucking... curse, fucking daylight curse.

Amy: Try to stay calm, Sami.

Sami's voice is shakey: I can't. I'm terrified something's gonna happen to you.

Amy: You keep talking like that and you'll wish it into being. We need to calm you down first. The Curse reflects those involved; is there any sacred places left?


Your move.

1. Go with Sami -- focus on escaping town before something happens.
2. Go with Amy -- focus on calming Sami down in a safe place first, if you remember any safe locations.
3. Suggest your own plan.
>>
No. 754245 ID: b2a153

The Merchant's Guild - That place is so fortified and warded that it protected those partially responsible for this entire cursed town. If the wraiths could tear it down in revenge, they would have a long time ago.

Or maybe they really are that gullible. Either way, it's not holy but it STANDS. Get there, deploy another black box, investigate stuff, and make your way back to the R&D base. Then regroup at Bill's and give him his damn cheese already.

Have Amy practice the guitar on your way out. It might stop more murdergolems AND it's soothing. Not sure which bands in our world manage to combine a flute with an electric guitar. I wouldn't recommend you play the duet just yet.
>>
No. 754255 ID: 3d2d5f

2. Sami's solution would solve the immediate problem but not address the root cause. She needs to be able to work with Ami and trust her to be able to function here without panicking to make progress. If you can't trust your help to actually do their job, it's no help at all.

Honestly, Ami has some of the same advantages Sami does (fae heritage, wild spirits helping her), she lacks the history and the specific weakness that leaves Sami more vulnerable to the aggression of the curse spirits, and I don't think this is her first Rodeo.
>>
No. 754384 ID: b7883c

If we need somewhere safe in town there is the place we met the Mayor's spirit. I am in favor of heading out of town during the day since that was our plan, but wherever we go it should be at a deliberate pace, not a rush.
>>
No. 759669 ID: e136ae
File 147946372655.jpg - (460.38KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree15.jpg )
759669

>Have Amy practice the guitar on your way out.

Amy doesn't know how to play it.

>2.
>If we need somewhere safe in town there is the place we met the Mayor's spirit.

Sami and Amy move through the city towards the mayor's place. As they walk, Oscil (OCULUS) begins to detect CURSE SPIRITS on the move. He tones a warning to Sami and to Amy through her mirrors. The cures spirits don't linger.

Sami: Amy. They're awake. We need to get out of here.

Amy: Keep calm, Sami. Negative emotions like fear just draws them out.

Sami tries to keep calm but her stomach is churning and she grits her teeth.

Just as they are approaching the entrance, Sami hears a deep, familiar rumbling.

Amy: What was that?

Sami: The Rook.

The Rook steps forward, each crashing step echoing through the empty streets of the dead town.

Amy: Oh shit.

Sami readies the Siren's Axe. She notices it has changed shape somewhat, but retains its unearthly light weight.

Your hacking avatar HAILEY (purchased at the same time as Oscil but she's not been active as her services haven't been required) recognizes the situation and materializes. She can attempt to fight the CURSE SPIRITS controlling the Rook, but it will cost you IP. There are 3-4 CURSE SPIRITS possessing the Rook and Hailey estimates it could cost 30-50 IP to defeat them, but they should lose effective control of the Rook if she can dislodge 2 of them.

Amy: Sami, we can't fight that thing.

Sami: I know. I dashed through its legs last time to get to the mayor's. I want you to stay back.

Amy: Sami, YOU can't fight...

Sami: They're after you.


Suggest an action.

1. Let HAILEY fight the spirits; Sami and Amy should focus on evasion and take cover in the mayor's place at the first opportunity. Note that your hacking avatar is vulnerable to curse spirit hacking actions, but she is coded to self-destruct rather than become compromised. Recalling Hailey from backup will cost 10 IP if this occurs.

2. Sami and Amy should run, and get out of the town as quickly as possible. HAILEY should focus on defending them from direct CURSE attack.

3. Sami and HAILEY should attack the Rook at the same time, hoping that the Siren's Axe will somehow disrupt the golem. Amy focuses on defence. Amy should attempt to take cover in the mayor's place at the first opportunity.

4. Sami and HAILEY should attack the Rook at the same time, while Amy retreats to a safe distance then disengage and flee the town.

5. Suggest something else.


Please note that if you choose to flee the town, also suggest a location to flee to -- the most obvious locations are the Piper's Bridge, the Camp, or Bill Phooka's place. Phooka's place will take the longest to reach, followed by the camp and then the Piper's Bridge.
>>
No. 759674 ID: 66014d

Want to find out if the mayor's place has rotten floorboards?

Alright Hailey, show us what you've got. Sami, try to take control of the golem, but don't take it on directly. Amy, focus on leading Sami to safety while she casts.
>>
No. 759826 ID: e136ae

>>759674
Sami can't control the golem. She's just going to see if the Siren's Axe can hurt it. She knows the guitar is magical and she knows it can be used as a weapon, so that's what she's going to try.
>>
No. 760192 ID: 3abd97

Damn. Didn't realize they could have that thing up and running in th daylight.

Dang it Hailey, why does your secret we can't use it secure name have to also be a normal name. That makes it harder to come up with an acceptable use-name.

I'm gonna call you Lemi. For Lemming. Since your combat style involves suicide runs. Good hunting.

>what do
I suppose if we're going to test the Siren's axe and what it can do, these are the best conditions we have to do so, since retreat is an option, it's broad daylight, and we don't have an inclement environment.

Option 3. Sami, you're authorized to attack, but this is a probing action to test the effectiveness of your axe. If it isn't effective, we're withdrawing and leaving our hacker to cover your retreat (option 1).

Sami, I suggest targeting the legs and/or joints in the legs. If you can damage it, even just restricting it's ability to move quickly / pursue would make escaping from it / avoiding it much easier if we can't finish it off.

Oscil, can you locate the power source or control system in that thing? An axe in the engine or brain, if the axe is effective, would likely shut it down. If you can't, just watch our backs, and keep the others from getting blindsided by other curse spirits.
>>
No. 760473 ID: b7883c

>>760192
This seems like a good plan. Seconding option 3.
>>
No. 760783 ID: e136ae
File 147985166836.jpg - (419.51KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChampterThree_16ShotsFired.jpg )
760783

Hailey: BAM BITCH!!

Being a spirit avatar, Hailey acts before Sami can step and fires a burst of concentrated BLESSING at the CURSE spirits controlling the golem.

>>760192
>Oscil, can you locate the power source or control system in that thing?

Oculus (broadcasting to you only): The CURSE SPIRITS are operating as both. The Siren's Axe may disrupt or focus their control, depending on Sami's emotional state. She is acting out of protection, and the results are difficult to predict given that the CURSE SPIRITS are partially built from memories of former protectors (parents), but their purpose is one of pain, guilt and loss, which is something Sami has been shaped by since childhood.

We have a 50% chance of attracting the Curse. If this happens, I will self-destruct rather than be taken by the CURSE; this will not harm the CURSE however and will cost you 10 IP to reboot my system after the danger is past, with scanning reverting to manual and spirit mode off-line.

If Hailey is attacked, she will attempt to fight back and will also self-destruct rather than being taken. Again, this will not harm the CURSE (we are not bombs) and reinstating her will cost 10IP. If we go off-line, Sami and Amy and possibly your TEN connection will likely be the next targets, but I estimate that if the CURSE attempts direct retaliation the ROOK will be disabled temporarily. Given the nature of the CURSE spirit, one may attempt to disengage to wake enough CURSE to reactivate the ROOK or other nearby golems.

>Damn. Didn't realize they could have that thing up and running in the daylight.

Normally CURSE is inactive during the day; sunlight severely restricts its sense of the physical world (sunlight effectively acts as VOID, preventing sight/hearing/etc). Sami's mental state must be 'loud' enough to have 'woken' some CURSE.

You should plan your next moves as Hailey's assault lands, based on if the CURSE ATTACKS US or attempts to continue to MANIPULATE the ROOK.
>>
No. 760808 ID: b7883c

>if the CURSE ATTACKS US or attempts to continue to MANIPULATE the ROOK
Basically whoever the curse focuses on goes for defense and avoidance while the other group attacks.
If the curse spirits turn their attention to spirit stuff that should give Sami more of an opening to attack them. In that case we should highlight their location if we can so she can better target them.
If the curse spirits go for physical stuff Sami should focus on staying out of its reach while we do spirit attack stuff.
>>
No. 762398 ID: e136ae
File 148046871880.jpg - (358.24KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree16.jpg )
762398

The sound of the CURSE SPIRIT popping is almost comical; very much like the sound of a cork being launched from a bottle of sparkling wine, following by an intense fizzing like a great deal of vinegar and baking soda being mixed together. White specks flitter and dance across your spectrum of vision like a befuddled swarm, no doubt interference from the reaction.

The other CURSE SPIRITS withdraw from the ROOK, causing it to fall to one knee, shudder, and then becomes still. They glare at the group before darting off.

From "Oscil", the voice of Alec Guinness with all his Shakespearean splendor glides across Sami's senses, and echos from Amy's mirror:

"The loss of a curse spirit has startled the rest, but they'll be back, and in greater numbers"

Hailey's ear twitches.

Hailey, to you privately: It's not all right to call me Lemi, by the way. I wanna cool name.

Oscil, still retaining its Alec Guinness voice and echoing across the Mirror: The curse spirits will strike like an angry hive. During the day, their senses are dulled but Sami's anxiety is like a screaming, glaring light in the darkness and Amy is beginning to add to it.

Sami grips Amy's hand forcefully: Let's get the fuck out of here. I outran these things once, we can do it again but we gotta move NOW!!

Amy hesitates.

Amy: Could we retreat to the Mayor?

Sami: We'll be trapped until sunrise, IF he's awake! C'mon Amy, let's move!

Suggest an action:

1. Go with Sami's idea -- run like hell.
2. Go with Amy's idea -- shelter with the Mayor.
3. Suggest something else.
>>
No. 762412 ID: 3abd97

The original plan was to visit Bill after planting the device. Hunkering down here and getting stuck doesn't serve that purpose, and is actively allowing the curse to derail our plans.

We are not "running like hell". We are making a planned withdrawal, after accomplishing our stated objective, and trouncing enemy interference when they tried to waylay us.

We won a battle and are now continuing our strategy for the war.

How you look at this matters, Sami. You can't let them get inside your head, that just gives them power. We did exactly what we set out to do, and bloodied the curse for its trouble. This is a victory, not a defeat, and is a reason to be confident, not afraid.
>>
No. 762420 ID: 79a07e

>>762412
Pretty much this. We did what we needed to go, let's get the hello dolly outta here- as INTENDED.
>>
No. 762495 ID: b7883c

>>762412
Yep.
>>
No. 762522 ID: 094652

The Rook is disabled! Look for a control panel or a weak spot and whack it with the guitar! Even if you can't damage it, keep looking; the scientists might figure something out with your intel.

After that, use the rooftops and flee back to the scientists. Remember, the vermin stick indoors and the golems breeze through solid brick like butter, and underground is not an option, so your best bet is to stick to the ONE level with the lowest concentration of enemies. Plus, more sunlight and vision.
>>
No. 767233 ID: 6ea81d

I highly doubt the rook has a control panel, it was a magical construct that was animated and had it's purpose twisted by curse spirits, not a roomba.

I vote for the planned withdrawal, but yeah, probably pick up the pace.
>>
No. 770777 ID: e136ae
File 148366806226.jpg - (393.85KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree17.jpg )
770777

>>762412
Sami: The fuck we aren't running like hell.

>This is a victory, not a defeat, and is a reason to be confident, not afraid.

Sami: When they're coming back with reinforcements we didn't win shit, we just slowed 'em down.

>The Rook is disabled! Look for a control panel or a weak spot and whack it with the guitar!

Sami: Not the time, Kome!

Sami breaks into a full sprint, dragging Amy behind her who is startled by exactly how fast the smaller woman's shorter legs can really move. Amy herself was clearly not ready to face a siege engine like the Rook and just lets Sami lead her through the streets of her childhood.

As they dash through the empty streets, Oscil cries out a private alarm to you.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: The curse is pursuing us and targeting AMY. I'm not sounding an alarm to them to keep Sami from panicking but I'm sure Amy will be aware of its influence soon. I detect two individual spirits.

:icon_haileymad:
Hailey: Lemmie shoot 'em! You guys cleared me for like 5 more shots.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Caution - Curse will become more agitated the more it is directly attacked.

:icon_haileymad:
Hailey: Pft, whatev. Well if we don't attack them directly we can either try to protect Amy or just boost her defences old-school style by screwing with probability -- something like 1 point per 5% of manipulation. ASSUMING they just don't go right after Sami instead.

Suggest an action:

1. Have Hailey attack directly. The first shot will cost 10 of your 163 IP, and the reaction will temporarily disrupt Oscil's scan and aggravate the CURSE, which means future attacks could be worse, and you may need an additional 10 IP to kill the other one.

2. Have Hailey try to protect Amy - she will use SPOOF on Amy and her Mirror; while SPOOFED you can't communicate with her directly but she should be hidden from the CURSE. This will cost 10 IP because Hailey lacks the resource to SPOOF Amy and her Mirror at the same time. She can also attempt to SPOOF Sami as well, but it will cost an additional 10 IP (since she will have to also SPOOF the Phooka mirror). This shouldn't escalate the CURSE's Attacks.

3. Boost Amy's resistance against the CURSE, at 5% per point. As per the old rules, each suggestor can use up to 5 pts (25% total). Hailey can contribute an additional 5 pts.

4. Do nothing and hope for the best.

5. Other (Please specify)
>>
No. 770792 ID: 094652

Hey Sami would you kindly get to cover

Kitty, Spoof attack
>>
No. 771338 ID: 3abd97

>When they're coming back with reinforcements we didn't win shit, we just slowed 'em down.
Campaigns aren't won by sitting in once place while they bring reinforcements down on your head. The way a small force wins against a big force is hitting them where they can, then melting away before they retaliate. You bleed you enemy to death, instead of taking them head on. And each time you land a hit and avoid retaliation, that's a battle won. Dodging an attack isn't cowardly, or defeat.

The idea that retreat or withdrawal is cowardly or a defeat is prideful macho bullshit, and it's doomed far too many people.

I know this might seem like pointless distinctions to you, or a silly military metaphor. But how you think about this literally affects the outcome. Fatalistically seeing defeat in victory only gives the curse more power. It's self fulfilling. You need to be able to see small victories for what they are.

Doing what you came here to do and getting out is mission success. Doesn't matter how much force is howling at your heels.

>what do
I say Hailey is cleared to open fire. If we're pursued, we might as well make our retreat a fighting pursuit.

Frankly, we already took the rook head on and won. I expect the curse is pretty aggravated already. Swatting a wisp or two will be an incremental agro bump on top of what should already be a pretty large spike.

...besides, we made a promise to look after Ami to Sami. And even if we didn't, Amy's pretty much the single best thing going for Sami's sanity, stability, and emotional health now. Amy gets defended with extreme prejudice.
>>
No. 772797 ID: 6ea81d

I would suggest Spoofing Amy. If you guys want to Spoof Sammy too, that works too, but right now they're after Amy.

I'd rather not throw more rocks at the hornets' nest than we already have.
>>
No. 772935 ID: e136ae
File 148470050167.jpg - (476.20KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree18.jpg )
772935

>Hey Sami would you kindly get to cover

:icon_samic31:
Sami: AMY! Get to cover!

:icon_Amyshock:
Amy: ... from what? Sami, I don't see anything.

:icon_samic31:
Sami: I can't see anything either but that doesn't mean nothing's there!

Sami takes up a defensive stance. Amy does too, but hers looks odd.

:icon_samic31:
Sami: Amy, what are you doing?

:icon_Amyshock:
Amy: Getting ready for trouble!

:icon_samic31:
Sami: You look drunk!

:icon_Amyshock:
Amy: It's the idea, what are we fighting?

:icon_samic31:
Sami: I don't know!

Amy notices Sami's axe shift its shape but she says nothing.

>Kitty, Spoof attack
>I would suggest Spoofing Amy.

:icon_haileymad:
Hailey: Spoofed! ... where the hell did CURSE go? Oscil?

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: They shifted domains. They are no longer physically present.

:icon_samic31:
Sami: Is Amy safe?

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: As long as she is SPOOFED she should be safe from directly curse influence. The problem being...

:icon_haileymad:
Hailey: ... I don't have the resources to do anything else while spoofing her. If they come out I can shoot them.

:icon_Amyshock:
Amy: Sami?

:icon_samic31:
Sami: ... you're fine Amy. I'm just chatting with our friends.


Please suggest an action.

1. Continue to Camp.
2. Continue to the Piper (his bridge must be crossed to reach Bill Phooka).
3. Deep-scan the area.
4. Deep-scan Sami (Oscil can do this while they travel).
5. ______
>>
No. 773053 ID: a107fd

Scan the area. Need to know whether the curse is actually letting us go, or circling around to flank somehow.
>>
No. 773116 ID: e136ae

Just a side note - I didn't misunderstand Kome's suggestion that Sami get to cover, Sami is just putting Amy's safety ahead of her own and telling her to get to cover instead.
>>
No. 773120 ID: f1fe20

Amy, climb onto one of the roofs and get behind cover. Then Kitty decloaks her and performs a deep scan. Everyone, stick to a wall and make your way to Bill, if you need to get out of cover just make sure you dart to another wall as quickly as possible. Stick to the rooftops unless you get spotted, they provide excellent stealth and defense but your enemy is one big demolition team with vermin climbing through the walls.
>>
No. 773965 ID: 3abd97

>It's the idea, what are we fighting?
>I don't know!
Curse spirits in pursuit. They went to ground went we turned to face them, though.

>Is Amy safe?
Safer than you, at the moment. We'd have to lower out guard on her to counter attack if the curse made a move on you right now.

>what do
If Sami's playing the role of bait, we probably need to physically separate her and Amy. Have Amy walking several paces ahead of Sami so if Sami is attacked, we can safely drop guard and fire on the curse without leaving Amy dangerously exposed.

3. Deep-scan the area.
I don't see a real reason not to be scanning for the curse that's hunting us.

>1. Continue to Camp.
>2. Continue to the Piper (his bridge must be crossed to reach Bill Phooka).
The plan was 2, and we should stick to that unless we're hard enough pressed that it's better to abort.
>>
No. 774239 ID: e136ae

>>773965
I don't see a real reason not to be scanning for the curse that's hunting us.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Deep-scan is time-consuming. I will have to scan every surrounding building, everything in every building, a short distance into the earth itself, the vermin infesting the buildings, the Siren's Axe (which is a complex item) and Sami. If we value speed we cannot value a detailed amount of information at this time. Scanning Sami herself is a complex operation even though we have her permission but at least we can do this while moving.

:icon_haileymad:
Hailey, accepting the nickname of "Kitty": If the Curse is hiding, it's probably in something alive, Oscil. Alive and associated with the Curse.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: That still includes a great deal of vermin and Sami herself and will till take several minutes.

:icon_samic31:
Sami: Fuck that, let's just move. I'm OK for playing bait.
>>
No. 774257 ID: 094652

Across the bridge! See if you can set the vermin and wraith pilots upon one another. Scanner, perform a basic search for vermin locations. Kitty, can you infiltrate one of the vermin-infested high-houses and attack any incoming golems from there?
>>
No. 774383 ID: 3abd97

Compromise as best we can. We keep moving, because there's no reason to make ourselves a target when we know curse reinforcements were inbound. Oscil keeps scanning as best he can while on the move, just in case. Start with Sami, just because if there's a curse hiding in or on her we're going to have to deal with that sooner rather than later, before they have a chance to do damage. Ami stays cloaked on point, and Sami plays bait a little behind, and Kitty will take a shot if it presents itself.
>>
No. 775295 ID: 54d288

yeah, scan and run, but scan amy when your done with Sammi, never know for SURE if we got the spoof up in time.
>>
No. 775496 ID: 54d288

You know, thinking back i don't think Sammi being scared is what caused the curse to lock them in the basement of the church; i think the CURSE was scared. Think about it, whats more opposite of Grief, Guilt, Sorrow, and even Greed? Then Love.
>>
No. 783562 ID: e136ae
File 148827326070.jpg - (323.84KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree19.jpg )
783562

Sami and Amy flee towards the bridge as Oscil performs a deep scan on her.

Sami's nervousness increases as the scan seems to take forever.

Amy: It will be OK Sami.

Sami doesn't reply. She just tries to keep focused on their task at hand. As they kick up dust, Sami can hear the vermin skittering around, just out of sight. She could always hear them in the village at night, the horrible, familiar sound going back to her childhood. Mostly inactive during the day, but at night she would hear them scurrying and searching, sometimes she'd wake up to feel one crawling over her. It made sleep difficult, because she'd always have that paranoid, unclean feeling of her safe place being under constant invasion by filthy creatures.

Those feelings had returned. She pushed them aside, she had bigger things to think about.

And then Oscil's scan finished.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Scan complete. Sami, I'm afraid you are infected.

She knew it. She could feel the curse crawling inside her, under her skin, behind her eyes, in her hair, everywhere.

Amy: Sami, stay calm. Don't touch me you're infected. We just need to get to the bridge. You INFECTED me. Once we're clear, we can deal with it, OK? YOU INFECTED ME AND THEY'RE CRAWLING INSIDE ME TOO.

Sami isn't stupid. She knows her senses are compromised. It still hurts. She needs to get to the bridge. Once they reach the bridge, she can drown Amy and live it all over again, just as she deserves.

Despite being compromised, Sami can still think of a few options.

1. Protect Amy. Get her to cross the bridge ahead of Sami; with Kitty spoofing her she should be safe from everything. Once Amy is safe, then deal with whatever the hell's gone wrong now.

2. Attack the curse. Kitty... might be able to keep her spoof going.
:icon_haileymad:
Kitty: Maybe? I have an idea but it's expensive. Like 50 IP expensive, and that's not even doing the shooting.

3. Hold Amy, give up and die together.

4. STOP IT: _______________
>>
No. 784271 ID: b7883c

1. Make sure Amy stays far enough ahead to be out of arm's reach if the curse makes a move. If we attack the curse here more might come while we are busy.
>>
No. 785028 ID: 3abd97

It's okay, Sami. We fought them off when they got to you before. We can get through this. You have more on your side than you did last time.
>>
No. 785061 ID: 094652

Take a deep breath, and focus on the bridge. Use your axe as a walking cane to search for walls. Kitty, keep an eye on Amy. Oscil, find the fastest route to the bridge that involves wide roads. Amy, use rope or what-have-you to keep a distant link to Sami, she'll guide you to the decontamination zone.
>>
No. 785102 ID: 54d288

I vote 1
-Private-
okay, so the axe is ramping up her fear, we need to take her mind off of it without distracting her to much. only idea i've got is letting her listen to this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWuPqD4s6Tw but im unsure if it will help or hinder. ill trust Moxxies judgement on this one.
>>
No. 786513 ID: e136ae
File 148917931413.jpg - (368.26KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree20.jpg )
786513

>>784271
Sami pauses and waits until she's sure Amy is safely ahead of her.

>>785028
She grits her teeth and resolves to beat this.

>>785102
Sami doesn't understand the lyrics and doesn't have time to enjoy it.

She's sure she can hear an animalistic howling, mixed with the scratchings of a hundred tiny limbs -- but no characteristic thump of a golem, so that's one less thing to worry about for the time being.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil (Private): The CURSE is using Sami to call the vermin towards her.
>>
No. 786530 ID: 3abd97

>Oscil (Private): The CURSE is using Sami to call the vermin towards her.
[To Oscil (Private):]

That... works for us, doesn't it? We're headed to the bridge already. If the curse wants to force us to replay pied piper, we can oblige and lead the vermin to their watery graves.

It's probably meant to be a traumatic invocation of Sami's past, but there could be something cathartic in turning it back around to do something positive with it.
>>
No. 786548 ID: 094652

Well, that's an easy fix. Switch to high-profile and run for dear life. Get the golems to chase you, and the vermin will scatter.
>>
No. 792377 ID: 54d288

running while fighting might be a good idea, don't want to get tired in the MIDDLE of a swarm.
>>
No. 794910 ID: e136ae
File 149186622594.jpg - (368.87KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree21.jpg )
794910

>>786530
>
That... works for us, doesn't it? We're headed to the bridge already. If the curse wants to force us to replay pied piper, we can oblige and lead the vermin to their watery graves.

Sami frowns and gets the flute. She knows how to charm the vermin and she's prepared to play piper, but she also remembers that once pulled from the grip of the town Nick regained his senses. The vermin might disperse, or being vermin they might still attack her -- especially the disease-carrying, blood-sucking Leapers. If Amy is on the bridge she might be placed in danger. At the same time, Amy might be charmed too if she's not prepared for the song.

1. Drown the vermin.
2. Let them go.
>>
No. 794915 ID: 3abd97

>>794910
Well, if they disperse, whatever. If they keep following you? River is safe for you, it ain't safe for them. You can lead them right off the bridge.

The biggest concern is getting Amy ahead of you, and making sure she doesn't get vermin ganked or drowned. In the worst case you could use your aquatic form to attempt a rescue, but it would be better to avoid that all together.

Are there measures we can take to prevent that? We don't seem to have very good selective targeting. (Although as part-fae, Amy might not count as a 'natural' creature to the same extent as the vermin).

Can we only cast phantasms on Sami? An auditory hallucination could potentially be used to shield Ami.
>>
No. 794929 ID: e136ae

>>794915
>Are there measures we can take to prevent that? We don't seem to have very good selective targeting. (Although as part-fae, Amy might not count as a 'natural' creature to the same extent as the vermin).
>Can we only cast phantasms on Sami? An auditory hallucination could potentially be used to shield Ami.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Amy is both vulnerable and more resistant to the pipe because while she is mortal, she knows its nature. Even if caught off-guard, she SHOULD be able to shake off its influence but there's no guarantee. Additionally, we cannot affect Amy as she is currently being SPOOFED which essentially prevents her from being directly targeted by any supernatural force. She is still vulnerable to area-affect applications and as phantasms rely on the beholder she is also still vulnerable to things like the pipe's music. Neither she nor Kitty can be found by the CURSE however as long as the SPOOF is active.

You will have to make a choice and deal with the consequences.
>>
No. 794944 ID: 581efd

Try to get the vermin to drink the river dry.

Then electric powers.
>>
No. 795504 ID: e136ae

>>794944
The flute charms, it doesn't command. While charmed people see what they want to see, and simple creatures are easily duped.
>>
No. 795515 ID: e136ae

>** I posted to the Sami Discussion Ten Store that has Moxy elaborate on illusions and charms if anyone needs it before making a decision. https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html **
>>
No. 795686 ID: 3abd97

>Show mercy and potentially get betrayed 'cause they're just animals too dumb to know they're being spared, or drown 'em and basically relive the whole thing over as the Piper. Amy might get attacked by the vermin, she might fall in to the river, you don't know. There's no safe or easy decision, you just have to go what you think is right.
Okay. So, in those terms, one point is easy. The vermin don't deserve mercy. They're vermin, and both a nuisance and a hazard to mortals. Cleaning up and/or reclaiming this town would require purging them in one way or another, and if we remove them now, it denies the curse a tool to work with. A point towards degrading and destroying their capabilities.

And... honestly I like the symmetry of mirroring what happened before. Reclaim it, redefine it, make it something positive. A moment of control instead of helplessness.

Do it, Sami. We're gonna let the curse throw the vermin at you, and you're going to drown them. Let the curse unwittingly help us clean up the town.

We don't know where Ami is, but she's cloaked and (hopefully) ahead of you. She's safe from vermin and the curse, for now. Call out to her- tell her what you're doing, and tell her to stay ahead of you.

We'll drop her cloak once we hit the water, so you can see her then, and use your aquatic form to pull her out if necessary.
>>
No. 795770 ID: b7883c

I feel like the curse is trying to draw some sort of parallel between the piper vs townsfolk compared to Sami vs vermin, but the metaphor doesn't really hold up to a close inspection. People are sapient where these bugs are not, can be negotiated with or threatened where these bugs can't, and weren't actively attacking the faeries like the vermin attack you. Drown the bugs.

> Call out to her- tell her what you're doing, and tell her to stay ahead of you.
Good point; the curse is messing with our senses but not hers. Warn her that the curse might make it look like we need help or something but we will be ok.
>>
No. 796077 ID: e136ae
File 149227400231.jpg - (380.73KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree22.jpg )
796077

>>795686
>>795770

Sami shouts out a warning to Amy and hopes she hears it.

She is not at all comfortable with this idea, it goes against her better judgement but she trusts her friends outside understanding and begins to play.

The CURSE doesn't seem to interfere as she leads the swarm to the river. The illusion is simple; one of the smell of food and shelter. The vermin instincts' betray them and they don't realize their folly until the river has swept them away.
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No. 796078 ID: e136ae
File 149227408652.jpg - (175.13KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree23.jpg )
796078

Suddenly a desperate choking cry echos out from down the river and Sami realizes she has made a terrible mistake.

She throws everything to the ground and dives in after Amy.
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No. 796079 ID: e136ae
File 149227423020.jpg - (146.25KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree24.jpg )
796079

The river is a deathtrap and the current far too strong. Sami is spent sprawling under the water; she thrashes and struggles to regain some sense of direction.

When she bursts through the surface for a quick gasp of air, she can hear Amy's horrified screams ...

... from the bridge.

She's been tricked.
>>
No. 796082 ID: 094652

DIVE! You can breathe underwater, so get to the bottom of the lake and grab onto something!
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No. 796084 ID: e136ae
File 149227439743.jpg - (189.12KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree25.jpg )
796084

Sami finds herself lost, dragged along the river current, bumping into her victims just like before... and she feels utterly defeated.

She lacks the rage to transform because she blames no one but herself for her folly.

The river's torrent slows down and part of it empties into a swamp.
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No. 796088 ID: e136ae
File 149227466514.jpg - (261.87KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree25b.jpg )
796088

Of course, you can't drown Sami. But the CURSE isn't intelligent enough to take that into account, it just knows that the sensation of drowning is something Sami still hates and fears.

It doesn't have the ability to realize that Sami will transform -- conscious or not -- to being drowned.
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No. 796099 ID: e136ae
File 149227677894.jpg - (238.98KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChampterThree26.jpg )
796099

The swamp is warm and full of life.

And the remains of life.

There are whisps here. Dozens. Not hundreds though.

Not even quite one hundred.

Whisps traditionally flit away from travellers and often lead them off course, but these whisps begin to draw near to Sami.

One in particular is brighter and more purposeful than the rest, and it eases in towards Sami like dandelion seeds using their silken sails on a gentle breeze.

It can't speak, but it emulates a feeling and memory.

"Forgiven".

Sami shakes her head in disbelief, but the whisp repeats its message.

"Forgiven".

The other whisps begin to move in closer and echo the sentiment.

Despite it being her greatest wish, Sami's been living with her guilt far too long and she fights what she's sensing. The sensation is like having a festering wound cleaned; it burns and it hurts and the flesh underneath is raw and throbbing but through the pain there is relief. Eventually she stops fighting.

"Forgiven".

It's Rosemary, the best friend that drowned with her so many years ago. Sami is sure of it.

Sami floats effortlessly in the swamp for what seems like hours, just staring at the whisps and listening to them repeat their message. Her consciousness drifts and she is lost in the moment.

It's not until some creature within the murks brushes against her skin does she snap out of it and realize that she has transformed back. The whisps do not leave, and their echos don't stop.

Then Sami hears Amy's scared but determined voice in the distance. The sound makes most of the whisps dance away deeper into the swamp, but the light that Sami is sure is Rosemary lingers.

"Never forgiveness needed, but you are forgiven".

Sami: ... was that her soul?

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: Welcome back Sami. Less what you might consider a soul and more like the spiritual equivalent to a last will. Opposite of Curse if you will; it is the want of the dead for their loved ones to be at peace -- but the whisp you identified as Rosemary had a Redeemer signature. It was likely a Redeemer who helped arrange a last message, should you ever stumble across it.

Sami: Why here, so far away from town?

Oscil: This is where most of the bodies were lost, the lingering elements don't stray far from resting places. The innocent usually try to avoid the trauma of the site of death unless they've nothing left and prefer their resting places or locations of tribute instead.

Sami: ... will I ever see her again?

Amy's voice echos out in the darkness.

Oscil: I suggest you focus on the living right now Sami.

Oscil needn't have reminded her, Sami returns Amy's call and begins to move towards Amy's voice.
>>
No. 796101 ID: 094652

Glad you're feeling better, Sami. Now, get to Bill's house and trade that cheese for a well-needed bed. But first:

Oscil, scan for treasure.
>>
No. 796106 ID: 3abd97

>tricked / utterly defeated
I feel obligated to point out you weren't defeated, not really. You cleaned the town of vermin, which is a step towards fixing things and denies the curse a tool to work with. You didn't accidentally endanger Amy with your magic, and even when you thought you did, you reacted swiftly and appropriately to help her.

I mean, if she had actually been in the river, you'd have saved her, and that would have been that, right? How can it be worse when she wasn't there.

The only thing that went wrong is the curse tricked you into the water when you didn't need to be there. And, well, you're a creature of the water. You accepted this.

Drowning the vermin and moving to help Amy were both actions that would have helped people. That's a far cry from lashing out in fear and confusion and anger.

>curse isn't smart enough to take the particulars of magical biology into account
Well that's useful tactical data.

Also apparently isn't smart enough to take the outside environment into account and/or it isn't aware of what lies outside town.
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No. 796251 ID: e136ae
File 149235289173.jpg - (243.44KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree27.jpg )
796251

>>796101
Oscil informs you that things tend to sink pretty deep into the swamp over time.

>>796106
You really can't argue feelings.

Sami calls out to Amy that she should wait for her on the shore.

Normally swamp travel is difficult, with sinking into the mud being an issue but Sami is calm and allows herself to uses the water alter her body and glides to the shore. Her legs are now coated in thick, smelly mud and she pauses to brush off some of the more persistent leeches.

As soon as Sami is on more solid ground however, Amy sprints over to her and embraces her tightly. Kitty (Hailey) and Oscil (Oculus) nod at each other.

Amy: Sami, Sami... don't ever do that again.

Sami: The Curse tricked me.

Amy: I know. Kitty was able to communicate through the mirror once we were across the bridge but she wouldn't open any "channels" until you were out of range -- not that it took long once the river swept you up. She MADE me gather up your belongings and take them across the bridge before she would lead me to you.

:icon_haileyshrug:
Kitty: Pft, like sending Sami down a river would do anything.

Amy: Are you OK?

Sami: Yeah... I think so. I took a tumble and I passed out for awhile, woke up in monster form. I found the children's souls, the ones that the piper drowned.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil bleeps across Amy's mirror as well into Sami's ear: They're not souls. They're spiritual essence, basically persistent feelings.

Sami: Whatever. Found Rosemary, my best friend as a kid. She told me she forgave me. They all did.

Oscil interrupts once again across Amy's mirror as well into Sami's ear: She also noted that you never did anything to need forgiveness.

Sami: Shit Oscil, you can be really annoying.

:icon_haileyshrug:
Kitty: He's a scanner, that's how they usually are. All details and definitions and splitt'n hairs.

Amy: Well, you're naked and you smell terrible. We need to get you some place safe as soon as possible.

Sami: Told ya, transforming wrecks my clothes. We will need to come back though. Oscil, can you... can you remember the way?

Oscil: It's... not really part of my function but basically I can track our way back through the whisp signature.

Kitty: That means 'Yes'.


Amy gives Sami her cloak and they make their way back towards Bill Phooka's home. It grows very dark and becomes very difficult to navigate. City people rarely experience the kind of intense darkness that comes with night travel in rural areas, but both Amy and Sami are used to it and Amy especially seems adapted to night time travel and Oscil acts like a beacon to help guide Sami.
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No. 796267 ID: 3abd97

>Oscil informs you that things tend to sink pretty deep into the swamp over time.
And attempting to loot the bodies of drowned children might go over poorly. Not that they would have had much to loot in the first place.

>She MADE me gather up your belongings and take them across the bridge before she would lead me to you.
We would have asked the same, honestly. Would have been bad if the curse found a way to get its hands on those instruments, for example.

>clothes wrecked by transforming
Hmmm. We should have packed spares. Or used different selection criteria. Looked for something loose, that comes off easily when you shift, instead of being torn, maybe.
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No. 796296 ID: b7883c

By the way, now that we are away from town it would be a good time to deep scan again to check whether Sami is still (directly) cursed.

>Hmmm. We should have packed spares. Or used different selection criteria. Looked for something loose, that comes off easily when you shift, instead of being torn, maybe.
I think spares would be our best bet, since transforming in water would likely lead to losing the clothes even if you remove them during.
>>
No. 796703 ID: 094652

>clothes wrecked by transforming
>Hmmm. We should have packed spares. Or used different selection criteria. Looked for something loose, that comes off easily when you shift, instead of being torn, maybe.
When Sami shifted, she grew spikes on each shoulder. Maybe we could look into Oculot fashion?

You think the scientists will hold up?
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No. 797095 ID: e136ae
File 149272045157.jpg - (424.64KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree28.jpg )
797095

Sami and Amy arrive at Bill Phooka's a few hours later. When the fae opens the way and greets them, he finds a shivering, dirty, swamp-smelling Sami wearing Amy's cloak and nothing else. He reaffirms his reputation as excellent faerie host and quickly ushers them in and shows Sami to the bathroom where she is fascinated and delighted by the fact that he has running hot water and a strange kind of soap that suds and foams with a soft floral fragrance.

Sami has her very first bubble bath ever. Once the initial grime is gone, on Bill's suggestion she draws a second bath to soak and relax in. He explains he will get a meal ready and that he looks forward to hearing about their adventures. He asks Amy how her mother is doing and Amy tells him she is doing well and is very happy with her mortal husband. Bill clearly wants to know more but is patient enough to allow Amy to tell him over dinner.

As Sami soaks, Amy undresses and slips in with her. She kisses Sami and wraps her smooth warm arms around her. One hand glides down Sami's chest and comes to a rest on her inner thigh.

Amy: How you feeling?

Sami: Good. Better with you next to me. This bath is amazing.

Amy: I love the bubbles!

Amy rubs her cheek against Sami's.

Sami: Soooo...

>1. Is it me, or does that pipe look like a penis?

>2. Do you think Bill will mind if a couple of young women make love in his tub?

>3. I don't really know if I wanna try to go back into town so soon, even during the day. Should we try to see if the Piper's spirit is active or just go back to base camp?

>4. Discuss and review recent events, getting Oscil and Kitty's analysis as well as Amy's, and then bring this up with Bill.

>5. Something else: _________________
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No. 797099 ID: 094652

>1. Is it me, or does that pipe look like a penis?
Why did you ask this? But to answer your question, it looks more like a worm.
>2. Do you think Bill will mind if a couple of young women make love in his tub?
You already know the answer.
>3. I don't really know if I wanna try to go back into town so soon, even during the day. Should we try to see if the Piper's spirit is active or just go back to base camp?
Base camp. You've had enough supernatural for a weekend. Detox your horror with scientific explanation.
>4. Discuss and review recent events, getting Oscil and Kitty's analysis as well as Amy's, and then bring this up with Bill.
You do that.
>5. Something else: _________________
Fruit pies. Cinnamon-flavored fruit pies. Served from Amy's chest.
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No. 797100 ID: e136ae

>>797099
It was meant as a selection for next action, not 5 things to reply to.
>>
No. 797127 ID: 2e80c7

I'm thinking 3 mixed with 4.
>>
No. 797154 ID: 3abd97

>>797095
Even Ami's hair is hugging her.

>>4. Discuss and review recent events, getting Oscil and Kitty's analysis as well as Amy's, and then bring this up with Bill.
Unless emotional needs are more pressing, going over what happened is probably smart. You two are new at working together as a team, and figuring out what works and understanding your enemy is important.

>penis
If that's a penis, it's got a painful kink.

>would he mind
Probably not, although given his apparent fascination with fae / mortal relationships, he might be interested in whatever you two get up to, one way or another.

>>797100
Commentary is irresistible!
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No. 797442 ID: 54d288

#2 THEN #4 at dinner with Pooka, get his thoughts too, Then #3 probably should learn how to play the axe, but a respite from the supernatural sounds good too; i guess ask Pookas thoughts on THIS aswell. Always good you bounce ideas off more heads.
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No. 797467 ID: e136ae
File 149288758705.jpg - (368.90KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree29.jpg )
797467

>>797442
The overwhelming influence for Review and Discussion from the other players kill most of the moment for romance for Sami & Amy.

** Discussion and Review of Recent Events **

Sami: Let's go over all the shit that we had to deal with recently. Amy, could you get your mirror so the spirits can talk to you?

Amy nods and reaches over -- her mirror is just with her pile of clothes.

So when we explored the basement of the church, the CURSE locked us in. I thought the spirits were inactive during the day.

Oscil: Daylight acts as 'darkness'. The spirits don't sleep, although they remember sleep but what they do is more akin to just being dull and inattentive than actually sleeping. Since you are still cursed, your anxiety over Amy's safety is what caused enough of a disturbance for them to become aware of your presence.

Amy: I'm sorry Sami, I shouldn't have suggested exploring.

Sami: It's OK Amy.
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No. 797471 ID: e136ae
File 149288843968.jpg - (360.16KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree29b.jpg )
797471

Kitty: Gonna guess that they hacked the door to jam to freak you out. You freaked, that gave them more power to keep the door jammed. You freaked out more, more power to hold it shut. Vicious cycle would have trapped you until you calmed down or they got help. The flute countered all that force so when it gave it was explosive.

Sami: So basically, any time I go into town we can expect to be attacked.

Oscil: Unless you can relax yourself first. You are still less likely to be attacked during the day, and certain places like the school are still probably safe.

Sami looks down in shame. She knows that everyone has tried to tell her to be calm and yet she's been incapable of controlling her emotions. Amy slips behind her and wraps her arms around her.

Amy: It's OK. You can't help it.
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No. 797476 ID: e136ae
File 149289052463.jpg - (367.06KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree30.jpg )
797476

Sami: What about the golems, like The Rook?

Kitty: Takes a LOT of energy to hack those things, and multiple spirits. One good blast and they clear out. Probably won't work so well at night since it will be a lot easier to get reinforcements. I haven't been online all that long but I got access to Kittipedia and it says a 10 year old Curse can recover pretty fast, so hit n' run is outta the picture. We'd run outta ammo way before the Curse did.

Oscil: I would suspect that we would definitely be attacked by golems if we enter at night.
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No. 797558 ID: 094652

We need a strategy for next time, key points to focus on exploring, and five different escape routes. Now that Kitty and Oscil scanned a few areas, can they draw up a map so we can get to work on pathfinding?
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No. 797574 ID: e136ae
File 149294722455.jpg - (335.12KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree31Kome.jpg )
797574

>>797558
>We need a strategy for next time, key points to focus on exploring, and five different escape routes. Now that Kitty and Oscil scanned a few areas, can they draw up a map so we can get to work on pathfinding?

Sami: Nice idea but I know the town better than anyone else and really we don't have a whole lot of options. The Rook can probably plow through anything in its path except the Church and School and that's only 'cause it won't, not because it can't. There's danger in the fields -- which are on the way out.

Oscil: I can attempt to scan for Curse activity but since the whole town is cursed, it essentially evades detection through sensory overload. Unless I attempt to scan specific objects or people there's not much we can do to detect trouble until it has manifested.
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No. 797575 ID: e136ae
File 149294727061.jpg - (368.10KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree31.jpg )
797575

Sami: What was the deal with the vermin? Did they want me to drown them?

Oscil: I am not sure. Cursed spirits often try to recreate the events that made them.
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No. 797576 ID: e136ae
File 149294741269.jpg - (358.77KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree32.jpg )
797576

Kitty: Could have just been strategic. Vermin are a lot easier to influence and they don't require power to animate. A few cursed spirits can control a lot of them, especially the grites.

Amy: I think you were given an opportunity. Maybe a test? I don't know if you passed or failed though.

Sami: I think it was just trying to drown me, being the only kid that escaped before.

(Feel free to interrupt at any time; as they discuss the situation the updates will continue on their own until a decision is required.)
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No. 797581 ID: e136ae
File 149295455679.jpg - (343.28KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree33.jpg )
797581

Amy: Speaking of which, you said you found the children's souls in the swamp?

Oscil: Essence of the lost children. Souls...

Sami: Stuff it, Oscil. Yeah. My best friend Rosemary left me a message, too. That I was forgiven.

Oscil: Also that you were never guilty, but since you needed to feel forgiven...

Sami: ... she wanted to know I was.

Amy: That's the power of love, Sami.
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No. 797582 ID: e136ae
File 149295472377.jpg - (339.84KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree34.jpg )
797582

Sami: Kitty, you have an opinion?

Kitty: Me? On what?

Sami: Any of this.

Kitty: Nah. I mean, it's a Redeemer hack to set something like that up and it's not a good idea to fuck with them.

Sami: Do you think it was really Rosemary?

Oscil: I...

Sami: You've said what you think repeatedly. I'm asking Kitty.

Kitty: Probably. Well, not HER but she must have lingered long enough to get a Redeemer to leave a message for you. I don't think she could set up anything like that herself. I mean it's possible but only if you know it's possible before you die, and even then you need to be really determined. You Rollish types don't trust spirits -- not while you're living -- so chances are she had help.
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No. 797586 ID: 6dc8e5

>>797582
It was certainly from her, meant for you.
How much would it matter to you if the lingering message from your best friend was from her spirit, or just an echo, or if it had been a physical note left for you? Asking genuinely curious, wondering where your head is at right now.

[private]
Oscil, how long would it have taken for the Redeemer to make it out there to the swamp? I don't think we really have a sense on how quickly they work, but Rosemary would have had to linger in some sort of coherent form long enough to both meet the Redeemer AND to recognize that Sami was going to suffer from survivor's guilt.
>>
No. 797594 ID: 3abd97

>So basically, any time I go into town we can expect to be attacked.
It's hostile territory, we knew that going in.

The question is how long we can lay low before drawing their attention or being forced to retreat.

This isn't a battle that's going to be won with brute force, but by licks. Dart in, do damage, dart out. Building up our understanding and exhausting their resources.

And seriously, Sami, don't beat yourself up for having emotions. No one can help that. Being aware the curse is trying to use how you feel against you may mitigate the effect somewhat, but short of drugging you to the gills or really invasive magics I don't think it can be stopped altogether.

>Unless you can relax yourself first.
Relaxation, huh. Maybe next time bathtub happy times should be scheduled before going into town.

>>797575
If there are patterns to curse behavior, we can potentially manipulate it to our favor. For instance, drowning the vermin left them with one less tool to use. I'm not thinking of other handy exploits off the top of my head, but presenting the curse with opportunities to recreate things, or fall back on old patterns, when it's actually disadvantageous for it, might help.

>>797582
I'd think the message was from her, at least. Any redeemer with any sense would have to know forging that kind of message would eventually backfire in an ugly, terrible way, and I doubt they'd have had the right information to leave the message without Rosemary in some form.
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No. 797671 ID: e136ae

>>797586
:ioculusalarm:
>Please refer to the Discussion section for background information in regards to the recently deceased and Redeemers.
>>
No. 797683 ID: e136ae

Reminder, the active discussion thread is at https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html.
>>
No. 797950 ID: e136ae
File 149314725748.jpg - (430.70KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree35.jpg )
797950

As Sami and Amy aren't really in the mood for sex after their reflection, they clean up and then Sami goes to a spare room where Bill Phooka said she could find something to wear.

There they find two silky dresses. Amy is extremely enthusiastic and Sami considerably less so; she's never really liked dresses, especially not fancy ones as they're so impractical. She hopes that Bill only expects them to wear this for tonight and not for travelling.

After dinner of... some kind of good but unusual fae food (neither Sami nor Amy recognize it) they have cheese and brandy and discuss their reflections with Bill as well as talk to him more about their romantic relationship. Amy and Bill start the conversation with excessive discussion of the dresses, their quality and sewing. It's not until Sami has finished an entire bottle of brandy by herself that they realize perhaps they've gone a little overboard on the discussion of fashion. Amy is indeed a seamstress as well as a town defender. It should be noted that the brandy is more mundane and has very little effect on Sami.

>>797586
Sami: One thing the spirits asked me is how much of a difference it would have made if the message took some other form. To be perfectly honest, I don't think I would believe anything like a note. There's still a nagging bit of doubt even with the emotion I felt because I've been manipulated so much so far. I mean, it's as good as it's gonna get in my opinion but I'm still only 99% sure it really was from her.

Bill: Understandable, although I can assure you that the swap is well outside the domain of the curse -- quite the opposite. The Swamp -- aside from the various creatures that live there -- is spiritually a safe place with the whisps. There used to be a hag by the name of Jenny Greenteeth that lived there. She wasn't opposed to children's flesh but there was some sort of taint to the bodies that were washed her way so she moved on to less troubled waters.

Sami: ... and she was a friend of yours or something?!

Bill: Reporting to me is mere a formality. I'm essentially a court clerk.

Bill is unable to shed any more light on the topic of the golems or curse strategy, but he is interested in the fact that Sami repeated the previous events.

Bill: So you drowned the vermin, just like the Piper did.

Sami: Think it was a mistake?

Bill: Too early to say. I think a lot of it will depend on how YOU feel on the situation. You should think about this, because when you approach the Piper again he will surely ask you about it. I will say that you probably made the Curse a bit stronger and temporarily less hostile. Remember, the Piper DID drown all the town's vermin -- it's the Curse's influence that has caused it to become so infested again. It will summon more over time.

Sami: So it was a mistake.

Bill: You were washed down into the Swamp where you found the essence of the town's children. It might have been a mistake but you have benefited from it. They key will be how you view your actions.

Bill gestures to a small sack of coins.

Bill: I have to tell you that I admire your willingness to pay the piper. We all know that the coins are utterly worthless to him, it's the gesture that counts and I hope it frees him and you.

He sighs.

Bill: Sami, I think you will lift the curse and then it will be time for you to leave. I never really thought much of the mortals around until they were gone, and you made me realize how much I really miss them. You and Amy especially have me rethinking a lot of things, even my political alignment. I would like you to keep the mirror, and maybe visit again from time to time. I know it's inconvenient. Maybe I'll be able to see your children some day.

Sami and Amy exchange glances.

Sami: Bill... we're both girls. We can't have children. You know that, right? You need a man and a woman to make a baby?

Bill tilts his head. Perhaps he didn't.

Bill: Faeries don't. It's easier that way but we don't.

Both girls stop a moment to consider the possibilities and ramifications but Sami shakes her head first and says that their first priority is to deal with the Curse. They thank Bill for his hospitality and he invites them to spend the night.

>If you have any questions for Bill you can ask them now before the girls retire for the evening. Then you should decide which they should do first:

>1. They should return to camp. The scientists might be worried as they've been gone all night and they may fear Skyia's wrath if they think something happened to Amy.
>2. They should pay the piper.
>>
No. 797968 ID: 547d10

Amazing dresses, you look ready to win a dance-off!

Amy, compliments. Also, try out a pigtails haristy-

Kitty, that 'joke' doesn't work here.

Is there a way we can give the scientists a communication relay like Bill's mirrors? Maybe some kind of receiver for the flute and the guitar.

>Pay the Piper now
Not until you have the entire stash of money. Someone among the scientists may be tempted to steal it and then your debt would increase.
>>
No. 798226 ID: 3abd97

>So it was a mistake.
Only if you see it as one. You gained something of value to yourself, and the curse traded available minions for ethereal strength.

As keeps coming up, the curse if affected by your feelings. So how do you feel about it? Can you feel success or empowerment over having reclaimed something that was done to you as something for yourself, and having found a message of forgiveness? Or do you feel defeated for being manipulated at all?

I will say there's no wrong way to feel. Even if the curse draws some small strength from upsetting you, you survived again, learned more, and will keep coming back until things are settled.

>what do
If we had a planned rendezvous with the scientists we should probably stick to it instead of leaving them to panic.
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No. 798302 ID: e136ae
File 149330557756.jpg - (353.71KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree36.jpg )
798302

>Amy, compliments. Also, try out a pigtails haristyle

Amy keeps her hair loose for a reason.

>Is there a way we can give the scientists a communication relay like Bill's mirrors? Maybe some kind of receiver for the flute and the guitar.

Sami: Scientists are really wary of fae tools, I doubt they'd go along with it.

>As keeps coming up, the curse if affected by your feelings. So how do you feel about it? Can you feel success or empowerment over having reclaimed something that was done to you as something for yourself, and having found a message of forgiveness? Or do you feel defeated for being manipulated at all?

Sami: Honestly, I feel drained. I've been dealing with a lot of bad memories I've been trying to keep buried. Spending time with Amy was wonderful but I dreaded coming back and having to face this shit all over again. I'm so tired that all I want to do is finish this once and for all and then deal with how I feel about it later. I think the worst part is THINKING I'm over something and then old wounds just open right up again later. It's just one thing after another. I am really dreading going back into town AGAIN but I know it has to be done.

>If we had a planned rendezvous with the scientists we should probably stick to it instead of leaving them to panic.

Sami: Two of you seem to be in agreement and I think you're right. We'll give the camp a heads up on what's happened and then go see the piper. I think we're close enough to the original total that he'll be satisfied.
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No. 798344 ID: e136ae
File 149332679971.jpg - (180.05KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree37.jpg )
798344

Sami and Amy retire to a spare bedroom for the night.

The bed is stuffed with something Sami is unfamiliar with; it's soft but firm with a sort of slow give. She pokes it curiously but Amy just flops down next to her and sighs.

Amy: Just relax, Sami. Not everything needs to be poked.

Sami rolls onto her back and then Amy drapes her arm across her and kisses her on the cheek, causing a familiar tingle to travel down her spine in a lackadaisy manner. She can feel Amy's love -- real love, not the frenzied passion she felt with her other lovers -- and while it is comforting it also scares her as she knows the two of them will be in danger again before long and she's not sure she could survive losing her.

Amy must be able to read her even in the darkness.

Amy: Don't worry Sami.

Sami: I can't help it. I've been alone for so long. Not... not that I haven't had companions but even with my parents, I felt so alone. Now I have you. And now there's things that are going to try to tear you from me and I hate it. I'd do anything to keep you safe.

Amy is quiet for a bit and just runs her fingers down Sami's arm.

Amy: I don't want you to think of yourself as disposable.

Sami: What do you mean?

Amy: You know exactly what I mean. You wanted to go back alone. You sent me on ahead. You had your guardians shield me and left yourself vulnerable. You think you don't matter, and that's it's OK if you get yourself killed and leave me without the only woman who's ever really loved me back. Stop it. I've been alone a lot longer than you have, Sami. You had the option of being 'normal'. You could be with men. I never had that.

Sami: Well, men never...

Amy: That doesn't matter, you still had the OPTION. I never did. All the women in Welser just live the lie and pretend to be normal wives and sometimes they seek me out because they know I'll keep their secret. But I'm just a release to them. I thought maybe I was just an experiment to you, like I was to them. Then you showed that you didn't care what anyone else thought.

Sami: It...

Amy: It's easier for you because you're not from Welser, I know. What about after we beat this thing, Sami?

Sami is quiet.

Amy: You're not sure if we can. You're thinking you're going to die here because you were supposed to, because you don't have any faith. I have faith. I believe we are going to beat this. And I want to think about what we're going to do once this is all done.

Sami is quiet for several moments.

Sami: I guess I'd have to bring you back to meet my parents.

Amy squeezes Sami's arm.

Amy: ...Really?

Sami: Well, yeah. I mean we're going to... well... you'd be my girl I guess. My uhh...

... husband-wife?

Amy bursts into a fit of giggles.

Amy: HUSBAND-WIFE? Really Sami?

Sami shrugs helplessly in her loss for words.

Amy: The Gaelish term is "Unoo-us" ("Unique Choice"). The "Off-mate". The socially
acceptable extra martial lover of the same gender.

Sami: Shit, I've gone all clopper now?

Amy: Don't be so rude. Also I'm going to tell you right now you BETTER NOT go find yourself a husband and think I'm going to be happy as the off-mate.

Sami: That never crossed my mind. Do they have a term when a person only has an off-mate?

Amy: It's generally not socially acceptable to only have an off-mate. Everyone gets expected to have children with only a few exceptions. Although if what Bill said is true...

Her voice trails off and she smirks mischievously.

Sami: What?

Amy: I would LOVE to have a child with you Sami. I'd love to see the looks on all those faces who told me that I'd never have children without a man so I'd better stop being silly. I'd love to a have ten children with you!

Sami looks at her incredulously and Amy just nibbles her ear in response, causing Sami to shiver.

Amy: My love, you need to relax.

Amy continues to nibble Sami's ear and then whispers something unintelligble into it. She moves down her neck and pauses to kiss her.


What shall you do?

1. Give them privacy and return in the morning.
2. "Assist" wordlessly (NSFW)
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No. 798348 ID: 094652

>>798344
>Disposable
You heard Amy; she NEEDS you, and she can't replace you. By definition, you're not disposable.

>Husband-Wife
Term for humans is Wife and Wife, and children call their parents Mother and Other-Mother.

>Kids
I'd suggest you adopt someone, but your world's population isn't in the billions so just grow a-

>Ten kids
Please limit yourselves. Remember, you're going to be in debt for a while once you literally pay the piper. Ten thousand years of history have shown that you need an appropriate (but not excessive) budget and a basic plan OR strategy, to raise intelligent children and not spoiled brats.

>Watch?
Nah, we have willing sources to acquire visions of debauchery from.

See you tomorrow, kids.
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No. 798399 ID: 3abd97

>You wanted to go back alone. You sent me on ahead. You had your guardians shield me and left yourself vulnerable. You think you don't matter, and that's it's OK if you get yourself killed and leave me without the only woman who's ever really loved me back.
Probably shouldn't address this till morning, but we can use the mirror to talk to Ami later: maybe Sami was thinking that, but we were involved in that decision and we weren't. It was risk mitigation- the curse is savvy enough to recognize it could hurt Sami by threatening a loved one or turning a loved one against her.

We shielded you because we judged it would be a hell of a lot harder for Sami to deal with you being cursed than if they hit her again. We needed her not worried for your safety. (And we had promised).

>1. Give them privacy and return in the morning.
>2. "Assist" wordlessly (NSFW)
I wouldn't object to a sex scene but stepping in to assist unasked and unexpected seems a hell of a lot creepier than incidental narrative voyeurism. (At least, if we're doing anything past using phantasm to holodeck up mood lighting and such).
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No. 798413 ID: e136ae

>>798399
AUTHOR NOTE:
It's an abstracted way of saying there'd be a sex scene ala Coxwette, with comments and suggestions having a chance of dictating what happens without the usual "Sami talks directly to you" interface. I mostly put it in just to judge TGChan interest.
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No. 798552 ID: 900be4

-Private-
defiantly give them their privacy, we're not here just watching the story unfurl, we're "helping", invested in the characters almost, maybe even exactly like they were real!
(on a side note, we know so LITTLE about how even THIS universe works how can we be sure they ARN'T real?)
They deserve their "alone time", as anyone who would want to be just for them does.
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No. 800019 ID: e136ae
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800019

The next morning, Bill gives Sami what he deems a more appropriate travelling outfit and a satchel of the agreed on gold. After the lovers briefly discuss a little more on the mechanics of love at Bill's request over breakfast, they head out to camp to report in. Dr. Korez and the rest of the crew are sitting by the fire. They've just cleaned up from breakfast.

Dr. Korez:: Sami! Amy! We were worried!

Sami: Yeah, I know. We're OK, it's just that there were complications.

Sami feels Dr. Korez's gaze on her outfit.

Sami: Said complications involved The Rook, my past, and being washed into the swamp.

The camp is quiet.

Sami: There's a friendly fae by the name of Bill Phooka who gave me a new set of clothes.

The camp resonates with understanding in the forms of comprehending "Ahhs" and muted chuckles.

Amy: I think she looks handsome!

There are more muted chuckles and a flash of irritation from Amy does nothing to silence it.

Sami: Handsome or not, this is only slightly less practical for adventuring than the dresses he sent us here with. I mean, it's really comfortable but I have a feeling it's gonna catch on something eventually.

Dr. Korez:: Do you mind if I ask if it's silk?

Sami: Feels like it.

Amy: Could be. Fae have a way with insects, they're easy to control.

Dr. Korez:: Just wondering if we could analyze part of it at some time. Also, what happened when you placed the device?

Sami: Placement went just fine. We put it in the church, figured it should pick up something.

Dr. Korez:: I hate to ask but...

Sami looks grim.

Sami: Yeah, I know. We'll have to go back to check on it. We have to go back regardless.

Dr. Korez:: Do you want an escort?

Amy: I don't think that would be wise, especially anyone's from Rollen. The Curse is much stronger than anything I've encountered before.

Sami: The tricks we've got for defence barely cover ourselves, I'm afraid we'd lose anyone else.

Dr. Korez:: Do you mind if I ask what tricks?

Sami pauses and looks at Amy. She nods.

Sami: I've got spirit guides. One of them can shield a person.

Dr. Korez looks excited, then glum.

Dr. Korez:: If they're here with you now, it means our devices are useless.

Sami: Ummm...

Oscil: He strikes me as having an open mind. You can tell him.

Sami: My one friend says that they should work, actually -- but our little spirits aren't enough to register on it.

That seems to cheer Dr. Korez up somewhat.

Dr. Korez:: Well, if you don't mind placing a few more, we can make some adjustments. Also if you don't mind me saying so, it doesn't do us a lot of good to have devices that can only detect something as powerful as Curse, not really. We'd prefer to have something that could maybe detect the presence of your friends.

Oscil: I'm afraid we can't offer much advice there -- it's like a deaf man trying to teach a blind man about colour. Too many gaps.

Sami: Anyhow, doesn't bug me what you want to do, we have our work cut out for us.

You may suggest retrieving specific gear or actions to do with camp now; otherwise Sami will change into her old outfit and she and Amy will head off towards the Piper.
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No. 800114 ID: 094652

Our primary concern is the absurdly high profile you have in relation to the curse - curse spirits can find you the moment you step in town, hijack the nearest golem, and pilot it directly though buildings just to flatten you.

We need an alternate strategy. Rooftops and tunnels don't work, because the curse spirits can hack you directly and affect your movement, causing you to lose balance or get lost. Could the scientists alter their black boxes somehow so that it sets off a jamming signal to prevent the curse from pinpointing your exact location? It doesn't have to be perfect, if you get more than one you can tie the other to a random vermin and let it scurry around to send multiple signals, forcing the curse spirits to split up or guess one at a time.
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No. 800230 ID: 634645

i cant remember if letting someone else hold your axe is bad or not. But if not let Amy carry the axe for awhile, it ramps up your emotions to extremes. Try to find anything else you can use as a weapon(other then the axe).

on a side note komes idea would be pretty good if these guys knew what they were doing, but im pretty sure even they admit they're guessing at the moment.
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No. 800329 ID: 3abd97

>Just wondering if we could analyze part of it at some time.
Don't see why not, though it might be rude to damage a borrowed or gifted outfit. We'd just have to be careful where they take samples from.

>We'd prefer to have something that could maybe detect the presence of your friends.
Well, they're welcome to try detecting us if they have the tools, but we don't have much practical advice as to how they could develop tools to do so.

I'm afraid practical concerns like dealing with the curse take priority over long-shot research goals, though.

Oscil, could we maybe make an emissions spike that would be easier for them to pick up, and slowly dial it down? Figure out where their lower threshold is.

>You may suggest retrieving specific gear
Do we have a cache of spar gear here at camp?

Nothing jumps to mind unless we want to bring one of their sensor things to see the Piper.
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No. 800835 ID: e136ae
File 149439567867.jpg - (205.05KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree39.jpg )
800835

>i cant remember if letting someone else hold your axe is bad or not. But if not let Amy carry the axe for awhile, it ramps up your emotions to extremes. Try to find anything else you can use as a weapon(other then the axe).

Amy's emotions will also be amped up. She's just been under a lot less stress lately.

>on a side note komes idea would be pretty good if these guys knew what they were doing, but im pretty sure even they admit they're guessing at the moment.

Sami, Amy and the avatars have to agree with you.

>Oscil, could we maybe make an emissions spike that would be easier for them to pick up, and slowly dial it down? Figure out where their lower threshold is.

:ioculusalarm:
Oscil: No, neither I nor Kitty have near enough power to direct such physical devices.

>Do we have a cache of spar gear here at camp?
Sami dropped her pack before jumping into the river which Amy retrieved. The camp has a variety of items -- food, tea, basic weapons -- but nothing Sami thinks would be effective against golems.

>Nothing jumps to mind unless we want to bring one of their sensor things to see the Piper.

That sounds like a good idea to Sami; she mentions it to the scientists and they are excited about the idea of testing it against a non-physical but non-hostile spirit.

Sami is happy to be back in her old clothes again; Amy is less thrilled but openly admits that Bill's outfit is completely unsuitable for adventure.

They head to visit the Piper's ghost, devices in tow. Better yet, giving the results to the scientists will be far less dangerous than retrieving the device from the church.
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No. 800838 ID: 094652

I just noticed your cheeks puffed out today, you seem calmer now. The others are too polite to say this, so I will: you really need to work on your calorie intake, when we see your jaw bones you look like Latchkey Catherine after five hundred grams of weed.

... Guys, that's your cue for the straight man retort.

But yes, be sure to place the black boxes in various positions and mediums - put one in the water under the bridge, one on the bridge, one where you leaped at Piper, etc.
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No. 800996 ID: 3abd97

>>800835
Don't worry Ami, you'll get to play dress up again. Sami's nature means she's going to be prone to wardrobe malfunctions.

>Better yet, giving the results to the scientists will be far less dangerous than retrieving the device from the church.
Well, presumably, we'll retrieve that one eventually. Clearing out the curse will probably require more trips to town, and in the worst case it can be recovered when the town is clean.
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No. 801945 ID: e136ae
File 149487917079.jpg - (435.98KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree40.jpg )
801945

Sami and Amy return to the Piper's bridge. As they approach, one of the black boxes they're carrying quietly puffs. The device has triggered; something that should make the scientists happy.

Oscil: The Piper is awake.

Sami knows. She drops the cache of coins in offering.

The air grows cool and the waters beneath the bridge churn while a shimmering in the air begins to take form.

The Piper: You've returned.

Sami: I've brought your tribute.

The Piper ignores it: How did it feel, Sami?

Sami: It felt wrong.

The Piper pauses and cocks its ghostly head to one side.

The Piper: Then why did you do it?

Sami: I was acting on advice from some friends. They hadn't steered me wrong yet. Not really.

The Piper: I did not expect this answer.

Sami shrugs.

Sami: It's the one you're getting. I knew the Curse was messing with me, and I know it can't touch my friends the way it does me. So I went with their advice, and I repeated the events of my childhood.

The Piper: What did you learn?

Sami: That the spirit of my childhood rests in the same swamp their bodies were lost in.

The Piper: I ... did not expect this answer.

Sami: How did you feel, when you piped us into the river?

The Piper stares at Sami curiously.

The Piper: ... I don't remember. Curious. Maybe I had hoped you could shed some light on why I did what I did, but ... you were just acting on advice? Quite the gamble.

Sami: In my heart, I felt I should have let them go. That even though they were just beasts, that they were just another set of victims of the Curse, and that they would have just left. My friends thought that the Curse was perhaps trying to draw a parallel between them and my people, but thought that it wasn't applicable because the vermin weren't sentient. But removing the vermin would weaken the Curses's resources, so that we should play along.

The Piper: Interesting.

Sami[/b]: Yes?

The Piper: I think I had similar reasons when I lead the children into the river, minus the curse. That they were not people, not proper people, and so it was just a more clever kind of vermin I was drowning.

Sami[/b]: And?

The Piper: I was wrong. I think your friends meant well but they were wrong too. You've strengthened the Curse by repeating the events. It might act less directly hateful to you but I think it will try to manipulate you again. I ...

The Piper looks at the gold.

The Piper: ... I will not allow this to happen. You are a good person, Sami. You are the only one trying to pay the debts. You paid the debts of those who ruined your childhood, and now you are working to pay my debt by lifting the curse. I cannot stand by and let you do this alone any longer.

Amy: What are you going to do, ghost?

The piper reaches into himself, and a sensation of pulling and wrenching seems to echo across the Sami's face. A sensation of pain that slowly reaches intensity, like pulling a tooth. It reaches a peak and almost with a pop, it is done and a wave of relief washes over both her and the spirit.

The Piper hands Sami a luminescent orb, no bigger than a pearl.

The Piper: It is all I know of the Siren's Axe. It is my memory pearl. Swallow it, and you will understand how to play. The Siren's Axe will sing to those of doomed form, and they will follow you.

Sami does as she's instructed, before Amy can say anything.

The Piper did not lie.

Amy: Sami?

Sami takes the Axe and feels its form shift. It's no longer so large or overbearing, and as runs her fingers across its translucent strings she feels it submit to her like she first did to Amy. Her eyes glow softly and she begins to play a simple melody. The sound of the guitar -- electric, amplified and distorted -- fills the air and seems to be coming from all around them. It sings beautifully.

Sami: I think we're ready.
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No. 801947 ID: 094652

This is going to be EPIC.

But first, preparations. Find a relatively strong Rook in a cluster of weaker golems, then sing a trojan virus directly into the stronger one. Take a few moments to rest, measure the amount of time it takes for the Rook to start thinking it's in the middle of a money spider nest, and hack the remaining golems as they defend against the Rook.

War on.
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No. 801968 ID: 3abd97

>>801945
Rock on, Sami.

Well, that neatly counters the rook and other golems, which were the curse's most fearsome remaining assets.

What's our next objective, though? The piper has been paid, and you can now more safely enter town, but what do we need to do to cleanse it further?
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No. 802109 ID: e136ae
File 149491365999.jpg - (240.88KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree41.jpg )
802109

>But first, preparations. Find a relatively strong Rook in a cluster of weaker golems, then sing a trojan virus directly into the stronger one. Take a few moments to rest, measure the amount of time it takes for the Rook to start thinking it's in the middle of a money spider nest, and hack the remaining golems as they defend against the Rook.

Sami: No, that's pointless.

>Well, that neatly counters the rook and other golems, which were the curse's most fearsome remaining assets.

?What's our next objective, though? The piper has been paid, and you can now more safely enter town, but what do we need to do to cleanse it further?

Sami: Don't you know? I thought you spirits of all people would recognize what to do next based on the nature of the Siren's Axe. It's more than just a tool to control the golems.

Moxy manifests, projected by the mirrors and Sami's coin.

:iconmoxy:
Moxy: Don't be too hard on 'em Sami. For you, this has been what -- a week? A month?

The girls are startled and cuss her out. After they recover, Sami answers.

Sami: I was in the cursed town for ... five days? It got hazy a few times. Then two days to travel to Welser, and I was there for a couple of weeks, actually. You lot were just gone for a bit. Couple of days back to town, and then we've been here a day. So almost a month.

Moxy: By my estimates, they've been with you around two and a half years.

Sami and Amy glance at each other as they take this in.

Sami: How do they not go mad?

Amy: Mother says that immortality changes you, that you forget things easily. It helps keep you sane. Maybe it's the same for spirits?

Sami winks at her: ... maybe not, considering Kome.

Amy smiles.

Amy: So you know what to do then?

Sami: Yes, it's very clear to me.

Moxy: Goodie! OK, one moment.

Moxy claps her hands and directs her attention to you.

****
:iconmoxy:
Moxy: OK guys, Sami knows exactly what she needs to do and instead of you convincing her to run around scanning everything or fighting stuff for nuthin, I'm gonna give ya a little hint. You should check this - https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/645426.html.

If you can figure it out, mebbe I'll give you somethin' special.
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No. 802113 ID: 094652

>How do you not go mad
We have other clients to talk to, and our own lives to focus on.

>Guess
Well, other than "go talk to the mayor", "rally the spirits", "loot the mayor's house again", "get @#$%ing high on magic", "get revenge on the curse spirits for sending me to hell over a matter of thirty gold", or "control the rook that's currently stuck underneath a rotting house", I don't have any creative ideas. Sorry.
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No. 802117 ID: 094652

Oh wait, are you going to activate this https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questarch/res/654357.html?
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No. 802260 ID: 6dc8e5

I mean, the list of primary curse anchors was The Piper, The Mayor, and The Sami. The Mayor is handled?, we just left the Piper, and Sami is always gonna be the last step.

There was a notion that a lot of the curse revolves around money, and to that end we were trying to get into the guild office before, but we couldn't because the door was strong. I suppose we now have the tools to solve that problem.
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No. 802327 ID: 3abd97

>How do they not go mad?
Believe it or not, this is one of things we do to avoid madness.


>Don't you know?
Well, both the axe and pipe have specific limitations on what they can effect.

>Note that the song requires a specific instrument depending if the intended targets are Natural, Automation (construct, undead, elemental, program), Faerie, or Pantheon. The infamous Piper's Pipe only affects Natural targets.

>In this particular case, the Pipe is limited to only impacting the "Natural" world -- it has no impact on fae, pantheon or cat elements.

>The Siren's Axe for example only works with Golems and the Redeemer network.

Specifically, it works on automatons and the redeemer network. That might allow you to act directly on the curse, but I'm not sure we've seen prior evidence cursed spirits count as automatons (though it does make a certain kind of sense. They are more energy-code than people) or that they're accessible via Redeemer networks.

>The mayor on the other hand is beyond consolation, and until he can forgive himself he will remain entwined by the curse
Grace the Redeemer seemed to cite the Piper and the Mayor as the two big remaining anchors for the curse. If things are really settled with the Piper, it's time to get the mayor to forgive himself. Or move on.

Which... again, I'm not sure the axe directly applicable to? I'm more reluctant to consider a still-sapient ghost a automaton. I suppose as a ghost in need of redeeming we might be able to access him through the redeemer network?

I feel like there's an intuitive assumption being made as to what the axe is capable of that's outside its defined functions.
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No. 803270 ID: e136ae

>Which... again, I'm not sure the axe directly applicable to? I'm more reluctant to consider a still-sapient ghost a automaton. I suppose as a ghost in need of redeeming we might be able to access him through the redeemer network?

>I feel like there's an intuitive assumption being made as to what the axe is capable of that's outside its defined functions.

:iconmoxy:
Moxy: There are two major clues. One is early in the thread I provided, and the other is in this one.
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No. 803273 ID: 094652

What, you're going to talk to Grace? I doubt that's right, she's likely at least fifty miles away even by fae gates and doing her own quest. She set up a relay station nearby, you're not going to bug her when you can just activate the statue in the graveyard... are you?
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No. 804107 ID: 634645

the Guitar seems to be limited to impacting the "Dead" world -- it has no impact on fae, pantheon or cat elements but it will impact artificial elements (golems), curse, and wayward spirits.
and Things became high priority when she detected the curse getting loose on the mayor. Anyhoo, thought you all could use a bitta help figuring on what to do soooo... here it is! Aight, the short version is to save everything you need to keep the mayor away from Ronnalin ('cause the Curse is gonna try to push him there) and then break the curse in the town by 'bringing the essence of the children back'. Grace said that basically Sami will sense it and that it will 'pool where they died' or something. Otherwise the ghost mayor will go nuts and try to kill everyone's asses. are the clues yes? i just cant piece them together ><
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No. 804110 ID: 634645

im not much of a rock listener, and im pretty sure the AXE is gonna be ALL about the rock.
So maybe im thinking of the axe to-much like the flute? Perhaps its got some songs that are freedom inspiring (breaking chains instead of adding them)?
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No. 805057 ID: e136ae
File 149609585081.jpg - (504.96KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree42.jpg )
805057

>>804107
>then break the curse in the town by 'bringing the essence of the children back'. Grace said that basically Sami will sense it and that it will 'pool where they died' or something.

Sami: Something like that, yes. Don't you understand, the "pool where they died" means the swamp, where their bodies were laid to rest. I sensed it when was washed down there and I was given a last message from Rosemary.

Amy: Sami?

Sami: We're going to the swamp. Now that I understand the Siren's Axe, I can play the song of Childhood to bring the wisps to me and have them follow me back to town.

Amy: Can they exist during the day? Can they leave the swamp?

Sami: I think they do and they can. If I can get them to follow me with the song of CHILDHOOD, then I can return their essence back to town -- it will give them back their children.

Amy: You're sure?

Sami: The only other thing I've ever been so sure of is you, Amy.

Sami begins to stride confidently towards the swamp, with Amy following nervously by her side. After a few hours they reach the edge of the swamp, and Sami begins to play.

To Amy, the guitar reverberates soft and gentle with acoustic sound, but along the spectrum of the world of the dead across the swamp, it is an amplified, powerful and irresistible call. Soon many wisps of light begin to bubble up from within the brackish water and move towards the source of the call, swirling and playing around Sami.

Sami then continues to play as she beings to walk towards town, Amy and whisps in tow.
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No. 805087 ID: 3abd97

So wisps are appropriate targets for the axe. I suppose they count as spiritual constructs?

>The only other thing I've ever been so sure of is you, Amy.
Ouch. I think we just got burned. Someone break out the spirit salve!

Good luck, Sami. Metaphorical fingers crossed.
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No. 805127 ID: e136ae
File 149612011905.gif - (1.05MB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree43.gif )
805127

The whisps follow Sami all the way back to town, but when they pass the threshold, something happens.
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No. 805130 ID: e136ae
File 149612140312.jpg - (586.10KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree43b.jpg )
805130

The sound of the curse being dispelled is like listening to the ocean, and feels like a pressure headache subsiding.
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No. 805149 ID: e136ae
File 149613073146.jpg - (441.29KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree44.jpg )
805149

At the time this happened, the mayor was huddled in his small dark part of the curse, clinging to the memory that Sami was alive tightly. Wave after wave of guilt would crash against him.

"The children are dead and it is your fault"
"The people are broken and it is your fault"
"The town is dead and it is your fault"

He clung to the thought that at least Sami was alive and fighting, the one thing he felt he hadn't completely ruined. It was the only thing that he had to remind him of who he once was.

When the whisps crossed the threshold, the first thing he noticed was a change in pattern.

"The people are broken and it is your fault".
"The town is dead and it is your fault".
"The people are broken and it is your fault".

He paused. Something was different.

"The people are broken and it is your fault".
"The town is dead and it is your fault".

What of the children?

"The town is dead and it is your fault".

"The town is dead and it is your fault".

What of the people?

Silence.

At first, he was scared -- he was surrounded by fear, guilt, pain, and anger, so it was only natural fear would rush to him at the moment of change.

No, nothing. Just silence. Glorious silence. But he didn't deserve this gift. Because of him, the children were gone. The guilt stubbornly clung to him.

Then he felt the presence of a contradiction. He could hear the children laughing and playing outside.

The mayor floated to the edge of his domain, and saw the sunlight streaming in the shape of door's frame. He vaguely remembered doors, because he had barred his before he hanged himself.

And suddenly he was outside. He knew he was outside although he couldn't feel the warm sunshine, he knew it was there. The children were there; he couldn't see them because his eyes had long rotted away but he knew they were there. He knew their names. Sami was there with the children. She must have convinced the Piper to bring them back.

He was forgiven. He didn't deserve it, but he knew it.

He felt overwhelming gratitude and blessed relief. He wanted to thank Sami, to thank the children, to thank the gods, to thank everyone for forgiving him and to share his blessing. His joy purified the world around him, reducing the curse to salt.

He let it all go, at last.
>>
No. 805150 ID: 094652

The children of this reality will remain dead, forevermore. They died with mud in their lungs and fear in their hearts. Nothing you do here will contradict this fact.

But in another reality, they all lived. In millions of other realities, actually. In some they were raped, and in some they grew corrupt and wicked, and in some they found love and in some they became heroes and in some they found a way to find their ways into other realities.

And in this reality, where they have died?

They have found hope.
It's brighter than the sun.

USE IT.

>>
No. 805151 ID: f562b1

>>805150
Uh, okay.
I think the Mayor himself managed to use that hope, though. Guess his emotions were strong enough to form a pearl at the center of his essence? Either way, I believe he faded with the rest of the spirits. That pearl may be gone or crumbled, or it may still be there, but I think the important thing to do is fetch the boxes, speak with the scientists, and speak with Billy.
>>
No. 805205 ID: e136ae
File 149620287832.jpg - (466.88KB , 640x720 , Sami_Chapter45.jpg )
805205

>>805150
Sami: You're just killing my moment, Kome.

Peace at last.

Sami feels clean, fresh and forgiven -- truly forgiven. She and Amy exchange joyful glances. They don't need to say a thing, they can FEEL the blessing in the air.

The spirit of the piper materializes before them. Sami smiles at him warmly.

The Piper: I am unbound but I could not leave without thanking you.

Sami: No, it's all right. You've lingered long enough.

The Piper: I was so wrong, Sami.

Sami: It's OK. We're all forgiven now.

The Piper: Forgiven yes, but my fae nature insists that I reward you somehow.

Sami: I'm planning on giving back all the gold, if that's what you mean.

The Piper: Nothing so meaningless as material things, Sami. I have to let it all go, but there's nothing saying I can't will it to someone deserving. Someone far more qualified to play Piper than I. My talents are yours for the asking. Even if you don't wish to have them, you can keep them should you ever need them later.

Sami: Thank-you.

Sami and Amy walk through the town towards the church. It's quiet and peaceful; the golems are motionless and retrieving the box is of no consequence. When they arrive back at camp, the scientists are all waiting for them anxiously.

Dr. Korez: What did you two do? Every single one of our detectors triggered in a rather explosive way! And by that I mean they popped.

He then sees the look on Sami's face.

Sami: Broke the curse.

The old man beams at her.

Dr. Korez: Amazing! So our instruments work? Oh what am I saying -- Sami, congratulations. You always were a gifted child -- I knew that before the incident, but this third event confirms it. How did you do it?

Sami explains everything and the doctor takes it all in stride, but it's pretty apparent what he's most happy about is the proof of concept for his research. He's more than ready to believe everything Sami tells him because it is what he wants to hear. It doesn't matter; Sami knows what she's done and her soul is light because of it. Feeling generous, she even hints to the doctor that the cleansing of the town may have left behind a residue that could be useful in further research.

Over the next couple of days, Sami and Amy escort the scientists around town and they note that the infestation of vermin and the feeling of danger have indeed passed. They gather some samples and then they prepare to return back to Welser; after all there's not much point in staying with all the detectors destroyed.

There is just one last thing to decide.
>>
No. 805206 ID: e136ae
File 149620412734.jpg - (400.34KB , 640x720 , Sami_ChapterThree46.jpg )
805206

Will you forgive the mayor of Welser?

Sami has not been the only one struggling. The mayor of Welser has not slept since the night he met with Sami and shook her hand.

His fate is not in Sami's hands, but yours.
>>
No. 805217 ID: e136ae

For those who need a summary of the Mayor of Welser's involvement, it was a note retrieved from the Redeemer database and added to the Sami's Quest Wiki. The Piper had originally come to Welser and charmed the vermin from it -- but instead of asking for the vermin to be killed, the mayor paid the Piper to take them to rival town Ronnalin.

The mayor of Welser did not knowingly set up the events in Ronnalin; he just wanted to weaken their position while strengthening his own.

However, since the Curse has traveled to him after meeting with Sami, now he is becoming more aware of his part on the disaster.
>>
No. 805224 ID: 7b95d9

>>805217
What he did was serious scumbaggery.

In an ideal situation he would have been arrested and tried, all that stuff. But as things are?

Meh. Afterlife's too short to hold a grudge. And you did help in the aftermath at least.

So get the fuck on outta here, Mayor. I say we ain't EXACTLY square, but your ledger's clear anywho. Goodness knows we've forgiven people for worse.
>>
No. 805228 ID: 094652

The mayor was ruthless. Guess what: that's normal. If he really wanted those people dead, he could have hired some of Piper's friends to play razor grenade hockey in Ronnalin, and they would have done it for kicks.

Piper was taking orders from someone higher to build a conspiracy from the ground up, and the Mayor's twisted plan was just what he needed to sabotage the Pantheon's ground in Ronnalin on pretense of gold, to prevent all-out war but with the environment restored.. ish.

The mayor was toying with powers he didn't understand because they were waving their dicks in his face. The fae and pantheon factions were fighting proxy wars, waiting for a strong leader with serious inexperience in superpower affairs to take the bait.

I can't blame the mayor of Wesler for being a little toad in the Great Game. But I highly suggest he step down, after the blow to his sanity.
>>
No. 805241 ID: 634645

Forgive. Let him know that this has ALWAYS been the price of greed, just that he was unaware of it, and to be a better person as mayor in the feature.
>>
No. 805272 ID: e136ae

FORGIVEN is locked in.

Epilogue to follow later; it requires a lot more illustration.
>>
No. 805307 ID: 3abd97

>>805206
Considering we're a bunch of spirits, and we've spent this whole time battling a bunch of curse spirits who couldn't let go of the past, our own refusing to release a grudge would likely have some ugly metaphysical implications. (The curse is dead! Long live the curse!).

Let's not put Sami in the position where she has to turn around and clean us up.
>>
No. 805449 ID: e136ae
File 149634584089.jpg - (256.69KB , 640x720 , Sami_Epilogue1.jpg )
805449

Epilogue...

Sami and Amy made one last trip to visit the mayor to tell him of their success. The mayor immediately requested her help, and Sami told him that the best chance for a cure would be to visit the town he helped destroy.

Upon returning, with your help the town forgave the last guilty party. Indebted to her, he left politics and joined the research team as a lab assistant, helping to finance the lab's restoration and working in Ronnalin for the rest of his life. His efforts and financial support helped restore the town.

Word spread; Skyia and George were now formally recognized by Welser's own government as defenders instead of oppressors (somewhat to her chagrin). While welcomed in town, they preferred to live on the outskirts where they'd continue to be less likely to be bothered.

The last of the former mayor's corrupt allies were expelled from town control (with his help) and while his replacement still answered to Skyia, she was an ally rather than just 'the devil they knew'.
>>
No. 805594 ID: e136ae
File 149642848555.jpg - (336.68KB , 640x720 , Sami_Epilogue2.jpg )
805594

Seeing them more friendly with the fae, Billy eventually started to socialize with the Welser community and realized how lonely he really was.

He became close friends with Skyia, who encouraged him to take more chances.

Eventually Amy introduced him to a boy who had become quite taken with his vibrant colours, and Billy finally began to get a real understanding of romance.
>>
No. 806380 ID: e136ae
File 149679021391.jpg - (355.46KB , 640x720 , SamiEpiloge3.jpg )
806380

Sami and Amy did eventually return to the Ronnalin graveyard to collect the reward promised by the Redeemers. They donated some to the restoration of Ronnalin's scientific centers.

Your connection with Sami pops in and out during this time, during which she is warned that your connection to her will be fading soon now that your work is done, but she is promised that you will likely meet again some day, when needed.

Then they began the long journey to meet Sami's family and assure them of her safety. Sami warns you ahead of time that she's going to omit your presence since you'd make her community nervous -- and her parents will have enough to take in with Amy.

When they arrive home, her parents are overjoyed to see their child not only back but actually SMILING. Sami's mom yanks Amy lower and forward to give her a big hug.

They immediately invite them inside so Sami can tell them about her adventures and her new friend.

Sami's Dad, Maxwell: We were so worried.
Sami's Mom, Yvette: Did you find your peace, baby?
Sami: I'm sorry, and yes I did. Dad, you've gone so grey.
Maxwell: Well, you know. Age. Stress.
Sami looks down: Worry.
Maxwell: Well...
Yvette: Don't add to the child's guilt, that's what drove her away in the first place. You look so much BETTER Sami. You look like you've finally gotten sleep.
Sami: I have. And Amy is probably the main reason for that.
Yvette: You're half-blood, aren't you sweetie?
Amy: Yes.
Yvette: Well, welcome to the family. You show it a lot more but it's not exactly something we hide that well either.

Sami goes over her adventures and meeting with Amy and her family, as well as the former mayor's involvement, the lifting of the curse and finally of the slow restoration to their former home town. Finally, she and Amy exchange glances and are quiet for a bit. During their silence, Sami's dad starts going into the details of the party they want to have to welcome their daughter home. They patiently wait for him to finish, but Sami's mom interrupts him.

Yvette: I think the girls have something to tell us.

Sami: Mom, dad... umm... yeah, there's something else about Amy besides helping me come to terms with my blood. I love her.

Yvette: Well, we could tell that dear. I mean, she...

Sami: Mom. I love her romantically.

Maxwell takes a deep breath and lets out a long sigh. He and Yvette exchange glances.

Yvette: Are you serious, dear? I mean, we knew about the boys. We heard the talk and I could tell.

Maxwell: How long has this been going on?

Sami: Honestly? Ever since we met.

Maxwell asks in a deep, serious voice: She hit you?

Amy stares at him horrified and then looks at Sami.

Amy: Your men HIT you?

Sami shrugs.

Sami: Used to. I felt I deserved it. Then I started hitting back, and hitting back harder. I liked it, but that was the end of the boys in town for me.

Just as seriously, Maxwell asks: Do you hit her?

Sami: No, never.

Amy: She's been the most wonderful person to me ever. Sir, I am my town's defender.

Maxwell smiles and sits back.

Maxwell: Young lady, how people behave on the job and how they behave in private are two entirely different things. Love makes you vulnerable, and love changes you. It's been the basis of the family's entire history.

Amy cocks her head to one side.

Maxwell: Yes, my side of the family. Jones was a cover-name. Now that we're a few generations in it's just as much a family name as anyone else's. Sami, this just isn't 'cause she's fae, is it? I mean, we always knew you were different, I just don't want you breaking hearts just because you gotta connection with someone just as different.

Sami folds her arms.

Sami: Amy does things to me that no man ever could, and not just on a physical level. She's the very first person that made me happy and that truly loved me. I never thought I'd ever find that. I thought the only people who could really love me were you and mom, and even then I wasn't sure if you could if you knew the truth.

Sami takes a deep breath and lets it out slow and measured.

Sami: I have... more secrets to share. I want to do this before you plan a party, OK?

Her parents look apprehensive but nod.

Sami tells them of her transformation and that she devoured the Piper.

Her father actually smiles wryly and her mother looks relieved.

Yvette: Oh sweetie, we knew that.
Maxwell: We didn't to discuss it unless you wanted to. You never did, and that bothered us but we didn't want to push the issue.

Sami on the other hand looks somewhat disappointed and a bit irritated.

Sami: Wait, am I the ONLY ONE who thought it was a big secret?

She huffs.

Sami: OK fine, Amy helped me transform again with the river to help me deal with things and instead I got really big breasts and webbed fingers.

Amy: And pink hair. It was cute.

Maxwell sighs heavily.

Maxwell: Well... then that's that. You're... uhh.... well... I guess we'll never have grandchildren.

Yvette sighs and looks disappointed.

Amy: My mother suggested it might not be impossible because Sami's heritage is from water-spirits? She told me I would have to carry the child though.

Sami's parents exchange glances.

Maxwell: I'm... not sure we should look that far ahead. It's enough to take in that our only daughter is queer for other girls...

Sami steps in sharply.

Sami: Just Amy.

Amy beams.

Maxwell: Still, it's enough. I'm not ready for the idea that you could literally play the father too.

Sami: I don't understand it either.

Yvette: All the same, not something to completely discard either.

Amy sighs.

Amy: Now you sound like MY mother.

Yvette: Oh! That's nice, I think we should meet. It would be LOVELY to speak with people who understand what we've gone through.

The thought brightens up Maxwell too, and Sami relaxes. She then presents her parents with a bag of crowns. They initially try to refuse but Sami insists. It's clear that the real gift for her parents is seeing their daughter back, happy and healthy.
>>
No. 806524 ID: e136ae
File 149681285906.jpg - (301.90KB , 640x720 , SamiEpilogue4.jpg )
806524

At the party that follows, Sami recognizes a number of faces -- a few of whom she slept with, but most of her former lovers either aren't invited or didn't show.

It's immediately apparent that the townsfolk are nervous around Amy, but they are polite and do their best to try to make her feel welcome. Sami winds up retelling her story several times and even plays some music for them on the Siren's Axe.

There is one party crasher, a man Sami hasn't seen in ten years. He is quiet, keeps to himself, and is basically ignored by everyone else. Sami locks eyes with him once -- he nods and then quietly leaves.

Amy asks who that was, but Sami's already out the door to follow him, but by the time she makes it outside he's nowhere to be seen.

She cautiously returns to the party and tells Amy she thought she saw someone she hasn't seen in ten years, the man who gave her the death token.

And he hasn't aged a day.

The next morning, there's a knock at the door. Sami is called by her father as someone named "Rekki" is here to see her.
>>
No. 806558 ID: e136ae
File 149681993549.jpg - (371.69KB , 640x720 , SamiEpilogue5.jpg )
806558

Sami: What do you want, trite?
Rekki: You're looking well, Sami.
Sami: What. Do. You. Want. Trite.
Rekki: I don't think I've done anything to warrant such hostility.
Sami: I saw you ten years ago. You haven't aged. You gave me the coin. You knew something was going to happen, and you didn't stop it. What. Do. You. Want?

Rekki sighs. Sami's parents and Amy stare back and forth between the two.

Rekki: I didn't have a choice, Sami. I did what I was told.
Sami: By whom?
Rekki: My employer. Same one who wants to hire you.
Sami: Yeah well I don't recall asking for a fucking job from him.
Rekki: I didn't ask either. You'll find out that he's got a knack for giving you a choice that's not a choice.
Sami: Did he TELL you what was about to happen?
Rekki: No.

Sami narrows her eyes at him. He shrugs helplessly. Her parents ask what's going on.

Sami: Ten years ago, this man approached me and gave me a death token disguised as a gold coin. He told me to keep it a secret and to not give it to anyone. Told me it was magic and it'd protect me.

Her voice begins to shake.

Sami: Soon afterwards, I'm the only survivor of the hundred children charmed into the river. You fucking son of a bitch, you KNEW.

Rekki holds his hand up as Sami begins to menacingly march towards him.

Rekki: No, I didn't. And that wasn't the event the coin was to protect you from.

Sami stops in her tracks.

Rekki: The wild spirits. When you returned to town.
Sami: Why give it to me THEN?

Rekki shrugs.

Rekki: I told you, I just do what I'm told. I don't have a choice. I mean I do, but the other possible choice is unacceptable. So really, I don't. Same thing applies to you.

Sami motions and the Siren's Axe flies to her hand. Everyone (including Amy) but Rekki is stunned.

Sami: If you think you're threatening me...

Rekki sighs and lowers his head. Every element of his body language and voice indicate he is not.

Rekki: No, no. I'm just saying... I'm... look. You know what you've been through, and it was terrible, and I'm sorry. I'm really sorry. But here's the thing. There are others suffering like that, and my boss wants those problems fixed, and fixed faster than the Redeemers can do it. You don't have to do anything Sami, but I have to ask you: Can you live with yourself if you don't?

Sami glares at him and says nothing. Minutes pass in awkward silence as they lock eyes.

Sami: Damn you, trite.

Amy puts her arm around Sami.

Rekki: I'm not saying you have to leave now, or that you don't deserve some rest. I'm just... letting you know that you'll be seeing me again and we'll have work to do.

Sami nods but doesn't say a word.

Rekki: I really am sorry, Sami.

The man leaves. Sami's parents gather around her and she knows she'll have more explaining to do. Amy just kisses her on the cheek and holds her.

Amy: It's OK Sami. I'll be with you. Have some faith. Or borrow some of mine, I'll have enough for both of us.

** Quest Complete **
** Connection Terminated **

Questions, critique and more for Sami's Quest available at https://tgchan.org/kusaba/questdis/res/97520.html.

Thank-you for reading!
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