You mount the Skyscythe Drake with a heart filled to the brim with vigor. Around you, the matte mists of the spirit world swirl and dance, obscuring your vision and taunting you with cthonic shapes flashed briefly in the distance. Your spear in hand, you bid the Drake to fly. You bearing: North. Your purpose: Destruction.You are the Totemist, and woe betide those who have evoked your wrath.Beyond the mountains that back your village, a threat has grown. A Tyrant of Iron and Flame, a being of untold destructive power. A threat to your Lord of Earth, the Stone Emperor. A threat to your village, which holds all that you love. A threat to your way of life, the only road you know.When you crest those peaks, it will be a black day for a Tyrant.But the peaks still lie before you, and as the shining serpent beneath you flaps its wings and rises into the veiled air, you steel yourself for the journey to come. This is your first physical trek into the World Without, and your resolve must be stronger than steel to survive the horrors lurking just beyond sight."Keep your eyes open, Totemist," your mount says to you as you surge forward into the mists. "The Stone Emperor's domain is no longer a safe place to tread with his powers diminished."
[[Previous Threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=totemThe Cast Thus Far / Binder's Log: http://pastebin.com/c5GFiw81Quest Twitter: @TotemistQuest]]
The mist is oppressive. You believe you're rising higher, but the cloying feel of the spirit world's air presses in on you from all around, a light but constant spiritual pressure that confuses your senses. You glance down to your guiding totem once every few seconds, making sure that you're still on the right path. As you rise the mists thin somewhat, and you can see the utter void around you. Gone are the familiar plains and peaks surrounding your home. You fly through an utterly alien realm, now.A keening moan echoes off of the mists, and it's impossible to tell how close or far the source lies."Is it what you expected?" Your drake asks you. "The spirit world. Is it how you envisioned it when your master took you under his wing? Such a dreary, seething place. It's no place for a mortal."
>>26584975Regardless, this is something I will and must master.
>>26584975"Eh I would get used to it after a while."
Woo, I'm on time!
You shrug. "I imagine I'll get used to it after a while. Regardless, it's something I must master, so it doesn't make a difference."The drake doesn't respond to you as you continue to soar through the mists. You keep an eye on the growing shape on your right, a strange bulge in the mists that seems to be travelling parallel to you."Ah, so you've noticed," your drake says. "You've been seen, Totemist, and that means you're being watched. If you have any sort of authority to tread upon the ground of spirits, now would be the time to show it."You consider the myriad items that give you such authority. Which will you offer?>[ ]The mark of the Stone Emperor on your palm. You are a Knight of Stone.>[ ]The spear in your hand. You are a Totemist, and you need no further permission to be here.>[ ]The runes beneath your skin. You're practically part spirit already.>[ ]Other
>>26585172The spear, were a Totemist first
>>26585172I'll go with spear as well
You twirl your spear in your hand, extending it point-first toward the entity hiding in the mists beside you. You keep your weapon leveled there, White Claw dangling serenely in the air, until the figure recedes."Was that wise?" the Drake asks. "To be so threatening on your first trip through the mists... you may attract unwanted attention."You flip your spear back into your palm, staring dead ahead with a determined expression. "It doesn't matter. I'm a Totemist, and I have every right to be here. Anything that says otherwise can take it up with me."Silently, then, you ride onward into the cold.---After what seems like an hour of flying, the mists finally begin to break. A familiar landscape unfolds beneath you, though you can't quite put your finger on where you've seen it before. Ruined towers of earth crumble into chalky piles beneath you, and rough beasts of spider-like dimensions roam the ruins in packs, hunting for some unknown meal."The remains of the Emperor's Domain," the Drake says. "A grand kingdom, once, if you liked rocks and the things that lived in them. Now? Just another ruin."
>>26585407Where's the emperor?
>>26585407Might want to explore that later, might want to look for some forgotten trinkets.And who knows I might make a home there for fun.
>>26585472hes chilling out in a mountain near our town, are you even paying attention?
>>26585500Yeah, but now we're in his domain in the spirit world, he should be here I think.
>>26585525He left because the iron tyrant wrecked his shit
>>26585407The Iron Tyrant has already come this close to victory?
>>26585557Oh right, got confused. So I think we need to look for the iron tyrant now. Stealthily though.
>>26585605The decline of the Stone Emperor was what enabled the Iron Tyrant to rise to power so close. The Emperor lost a lot of his power in a pact our master made to keep the village safe from the BBEG.
You there Diarca?
You frown. "Is the Emperor here, as well as in the material?" you ask, surveying the ruins below you. The drake shrugs one wing, winding its way in and out of a trio of crumbling towers."Perhaps, though I doubt you would find the Emperor here quite so reasonable. Much of his consciousness has been relegated to the Material. What exists here is just a fragment. A mad shard of earth, if you will."You open your mouth to respond when the drake suddenly pulls up short, coiling itself around the last tower and drawing its wings in close. You hiss in surprise, grabbing hold of his scales for balance."What?" you ask, looking around."Danger," it whispers back, golden eyes narrowed and flashing. "A corrupt earth spirit looking for its next meal."Moments later, a massive creature slithers its way past the tower you rest on. A centipede-like horror with an anguished boar's face, it sweeps its blind eyes left and right in search of prey. Your drake coils tighter to the tower, not daring to move an inch.>[ ]Attack (1d100)>[ ]Hide (1d100)>[ ]Other
Rolled 32>>26585965If someone as prideful as him thinks hiding is best, might as well at least try.
Rolled 22>>26585965Run the fuck away on top of our drake, get out of the spirit world and fight it in the real world.
Rolled 48>>26585965Time for the wheel of fortune!jump on its back and slice him in half all the way to its tail
Rolled 51>>26585965>hideHoly shit totemist quest! And its not two in the morning! Truly a wonderful day.
>>26585754There has to be a way we can bolster the Emperor back to health without having to release him from his pact. He might be weakened by it, but we presumably can still find a way to give him power from an additional source. We're a Knight of Stone now, we need the Emperor strong so we don't get tied up protecting him instead of doing our other duties. So what could strengthen him? What human action could reflect on the spirit realm enough to give a mountain spirit power? The rain spirits could be venerated by making a new stream, but how do you alter an entire mountain range enough to reinforce its spirit?
Rolled 78>>26586025Might not be in the real world anon.
Rolled 38>>26586083Well, even better.
>>26586099We can try hiding first and bolt if he sees us.Unless anyone feels like binding some spirits.
>>26586065We'd probably have to get a lot stronger then we are now, about as strong as our old master. The only way I see us strengthening his power is either binding some kind of incredibly strong earth spirit and raising some small mountains.OR we could try and relocate him, which is probably impossible.
Rolled 37>>26585965If the drake suggests hiding, I say we hide. He has too much pride to do so lightly.
>>26586013Agreed. Scythey the Drake (what? He said he didn't care what name we call him) is more afraid of this than he was of us. He did have his friends with him that time, but still... Let's avoid dealing with corrupt spirits more than we have to.Though what makes a spirit count as corrupt? Serpico was described as a corrupt water spirit, and he seems perfectly sane and good-natured. Is corruption a psychological issue or a physiological issue? Though those aren't necessarily distinct categories when we talk about spirits, I suppose.
>>26586157I wonder if giving him a portion of the tyrant's current domain would do it?
> 51You press yourself tight to the Drake's back, watching at the monstrous spirit snorts and snuffles its way through the air. For a heart-stopping moment it swivels to stare directly at you with its milky, crusted eyes, but it quickly resumes sweeping along the sky. You let out a sigh of relief, and your drake uncoils itself from the tower, dropping low to the ruins and resuming your flight."It will return soon," it says, flapping its wings to propel you through the dusty air. "We'll have to move quickly."You nod, glancing over your shoulder every so often. From the ground, a thousand arachnid eyes watch you make your escape. You are reminded, uncomfortably, of the spiders in the Emperor's throne room. Could these be the same beings?The drake takes you higher, leaving a question uncomfortably unanswered.Soon, you move beyond the ruins of that Earthen kingdom. It ends sooner than you expect, and without preamble you plunge back into the mists."We're past the point of comfortable safety," your drake informs you. "Keep an eye out.">1d100
Rolled 22>>26586340DICE AGAIN
>>26586373hnnnngI havent rolled that well in a while
>>26586373>94You keep your head on a proverbial swivel, casting you gaze to and fro in the hypnotic expanse of gray cloud. It's tough work. Every ripple and stir in a cloud could be a potential enemy, from your Drake's appraisal of the route to the north. Every whirl and eddy hides potential danger. You narrow your eyes and begin weeding out fluctuations from potential ambushes."Odd," your Drake says, as if reading your mind. "I've rarely heard of travelers progressing so far into the World without harassment. You aren't doing something, are you?"
Rolled 17>>26586340You know, it occurs to me that we might not have bound our totems properly for a battle on drake back. Vestus Sonitus isn't going to do us much good if the sound waves it produces harm our mount. But the only non-reactive armor that we know we can produce is Blessing of the Elder Turtle, and we want that fous for our boots. Well, there's the Fisherman's Wrap, but that doesn't seem to have much defensive advantage. Oh well. We'll just have to focus on not getting hit, I guess.
>>26586535"Perhaps unintentionally. Or maybe something is in my favor this day."
>>26586535"No. Hope it is just good luck, but prepare for something big none the less."
[/spoiler]Diarca I really hope you have a SotC fight planned for the future
>>26586535Well, we did bind our name away in shadows, and our blood is tied to the earth of our home, but those are probably minor distractions when it comes to direct observation instead of scrying."I have performed a few rituals of obfuscation on myself, but that's likely only keeping away the lesser spirits. We will have to keep an eye out for anything larger waiting for us."
>>26586634Given that the Iron Tyrant is supposed to be the size of a small mountain all by himself, and we were instructed by the Lord restrained to "tear down its corrupt body, plate by plate", I would be very surprised if we didn't have a Colossus Climb in store in the near future. Though really, when was the last time we fought something huge without riding on it at least briefly? Osyki's habit of binding everything he thinks looks cool means we climbs around on large monsters a lot.
Rolled 16>>26586767After we are done with this we need to go and bind another lightning tortoise. They have too many cool uses and We hold on to our boots like an adict holds on to his crack rock.
>>26586767Well, if he is really that big, the low orbital drop kick might be necessary after all.It'd be a hell of an opening maneuver, to say the least.
>>26586802Even more so now that we have wings, because >>26586808
Rolled 1>>26586808We have to do three things in order to kill him acording to he bound king.
>>26586767Yeah we always ride around on large animals, But weve yet to fight a HUGE animal like an island turtle or something
>>26586802I doubt we'll find another. That was the Elder Turtle, the grandest beast on the mountain. Ayren's notes don't mention the lightning horns, so either that was a mutation or they only get the lightning crystal if they reach a great enough age. So we'll probably have to find some spirit of mobility or air to bind to the boots if we want to free up the Lightning Crystal focus.
>>26586866I just did it so I wouldnt waste rolls
"Nothing that I'm aware of," you say over your shoulder. "The only thing hidden about me is my name. I don't suppose that would make a difference here, would it?""Perhaps," you Drake responds. "Names can be very potent or entirely useless here, depending on the entity and the context. There are no hard and fast rules. After all-"You throw a hand out, silencing your mount. A swirl of clouds above you bulges slightly, more than a natural current could cause without rupturing the fragile veil."Hard right!" you command, adrenaline spiking through your veins. "Now!"The Skyscythe complies, sending you spiraling to the right in time to avoid a lance of silver-green light. The light sears away the clouds around it, boiling away the very atmosphere of the mists, and you catch a flash of a humanoid figure receding into the clouds before the gap in the mists closes up once more. A wisp of platinum blond hair and a girlish laugh..."I guess I spoke too soon," you mutter, spear tight in hand.>[ ]Pursue>[ ]Flee>[ ]Other
>>26586880But we still lose our lightning kick.
>>26586880There were a few of lightning ones, we just went for the biggest
>>26586917"any idea what the FUCK that is?"
>>26586917Oh god, we need to get out of here!Panic!
>>26586945I must be misremembering that. I just checked the archive and you're right. I guess they're a subspecies, then. Well, that's good. Not only does it give potential for more awesome bindings, it also means we didn't murder a unique and beautiful creature for the sake of power. Just a rare one. Not a major priority for us, but you have to wonder what the Totemists of the future will do for Feral Bindings if all the great beasts get driven to extinction. A thousand years from now, some schmuck is going to have to Feral Bind like, a cow. He will be so embarrassed.
>>26587016I dunno man he could get horns or something could be sweet.And he will always have all the raptors and giant snakes.
>>26586964Its the chick from when we were talking to the bound king.We should run like fuck
>>26586917Return fire with Snakebite Aqua. And go into shadow wraith mode while we're at it. I really think that spirits would respond well to things that are fucking metal. A nameless specter of shadow and thunder riding a dragon through the skies of the Otherworld? That has to be worth something when it comes to getting attackers to back off.
You narrow your eyes. You've heard that laugh before. You stow your spear, drawing Snakebite Aqua from your back and priming an arrow."Let's get the hell out of here," you say. "We don't have time to mess around here.""Any idea what the hell that was?" your Drake asks you, banking hard to the left as it corrects its course once more."Maybe," you mutter, drawing the bowstring back to your cheek. The arrow in your bow writhes with living venom as you take aim at a suspicious cloud formation. "Keep moving, and get ready to drop altitude."The lack of response is all the acknowledgement that you need as the serpentine body beneath you tenses. You will your shadowy second skin to rise over your body, reducing you to a specter of shadows and mist in seconds. Interestingly, the disguise also covers your bow, transforming it into a wrought-iron spike with serpent's heads on either end.To your left, a cluster of mist begins to glow silver.>1d100 for reflexes. Optionally, 1d100 for counterattack as well.
Rolled 13>>26587160Dodge only. I'd like to get a look at it before I shoot it in the face.
Rolled 8, 24 = 32>>26587160LEAVE ME ALONE
Rolled 64, 47 = 111>>26587160I think that if she's already shooting at us returning fire is a reasonable thing to do.
Rolled 55, 22 = 77>>26587160Dice don't fail me now
Rolled 58, 72 = 130>>26587160rolls
Rolled 33, 43 = 76>>26587160So Nocturne's Embrace alters the appearance of our totems to a more thematically consistent look? Hell yes. What does that mean for the Edge of Dawn, though? When sunlight strikes the back of them they turn from flying wings to weapon wings, but now they'll be shrouded in darkness if we use them with the shadow skin. So would we get increased mobility at the cost of the solar blasts?
>>26587192>>26587201We dead now
>>26587236What if the change is not only thematic?
Rolled 93, 43 = 136>>26587160"Last warning before I come at you in earnest!"
>>26587203>64The world seems to move in slow motion around you as you hurl yourself off of your feet, diving toward the Skyscythe Drake's head. As you do an aperture opens in the cloud, a shining eye in the gray mists. You make contact with the Drake's head in time to force it downward a few critical degrees. A lance of light, silver tinged forest green erupts from the aperture, taking spiraling slivers of clouds with it even as it flash-boils them out of existence. You can feel the heat of the blast singe your back as your Drake adjusts its course, coiling and swerving to avoid the residual heat of the lance as it passes by. You turn you head to see a girl standing in the clouds on the back of a truly massive creature, an eight-legged creature with the face of a gryphon bearing her aloft. The platinum hair blows briefly across her eyes, and as the cloud swirl closed once more she reaches a gauntleted hand up to brush the strands from her eyes. She watches you with that striking green gaze, even as you bring your bow up to return fire.>47You loose the shaft of virulent poison from your bow even as you begin to roll to your feet. The arrow twists in the air, shedding drops of acidic green in every direction. For a heartbeat it looks as though the projectile will hit the mysterious girl.You see her hand come up, and the gem in the back of her gauntlet glow with an otherworldly light. A pulse of energy erupts from her hand, and your projectile is shredded in the air a foot from impacting her palm.The clouds twist closed once more, obscuring her from sight.
>>26587448Okay enough fucking around lets get the hell out of here
>>26587448Equip lightning boots and draw the spear. Dodge until she either makes a mistake and gets close enough for us to counter-attack her, or decides to leave us be.
>>26587448Ask for mercy, I doubt we can outrun her
>>26587516Let's wait until we're absolutely positive there's no chance for us to win here.
>>26587236That would be pretty great, actually.Osyki becomes the night.
>>26587448A rival totemist?Figured we wouldn't be the only one.
>>26587532It's easier to ask for a truce right now and not when we're about to die.
>>26587448How viable would it be to bind the Skyscythe to our cloak mid air for the duration of the battle? It would make us a much smaller target and more maneuverable. Probably not as fast, though.Likewise, if mid-fight re-binding is viable, swap Ykree to the amulet and Cordia to the bow. Then we have thermal vision to spot her in the mist and resonant fragmentation arrows. Much better for a ranged battle in the clouds against an enemy that can shatter projectiles before they hit.
>>26587448"May I ask why you are doing this?"
>>26587448Yell out to her "I would like to call a truce. I mean you no harm and I am quite confused as to why you're attacking me."
You whirl to the closed gap in the clouds, lowering your bow for a moment. Your shadow-mask recedes from your head as you open your mouth to speak, and you shout into the mists around you."Enough!" you yell, nocking another arrow. "Why are you attacking me? I mean you no harm!"There's a moment delay before a giggle echoes off of the clouds around you."Oh, Osyki," comes a voice from beside you, "Why should I give you a chance to use than silver tongue on me?"You whirl to find her standing beside you on the Skyscythe Drake's back, leaning in to stare you in the eye. Glimmering, crystalline green. Familiar, somehow...You take a step back, arrow nocked and ready."I've been warned about you, you know. The Totemist who thinks he's a master of negotiation. The one who sent a powerful Shard fleeing with its tail between its legs." She glances at the your hand, and her smile grows. "And a Stone Knight, at that. The titles just keep piling up, Osyki."
>>26588022"I prefer not to fight if it can be helped and I'm doing whatever I can to protect my people. Are you really any different?"
>>26588022How does she know our name? She must be fucking powerful.
>>26588022We need to ask thane about this. Now.
>>26588106Uh how about when we aren't actively having our life threatened?
>>26588123Isn't it easy speaking to our spirits? Especially since we are in spirit world? Or do we have to do the whole ritual thing?
>>26588022"Call me what you like, but I prefer to think of myself as Osyki the Prepared. And negotiation is a part of a totemist's job, isn't it?"
>>26588022"You seem awful eager to sample my tongue for someone so wary of it."Yes, I am implying implications.
>>26588022"So you're better at name binding than I am. How impressive. What does that have to do with you attacking me?"
>>26588022"I've never claimed to be a master of anything, much less negotiation."
>>26588022"And responsibilities with them. I string together some mildly pretty words I get called silver tongued, I pack a bag with rope, pitons, and herbs and I get called prepared, I need a spirit's power and I get called a knight, I protect my home and I'm called powerful. And thus I have titles to live up to, and they are far heavier than words ought to be. Though I was not aware that I was so well known outside of my little corner of the world. I'm not sure whether I ought to be flattered or worried.That being said, for someone so supposedly wary of my apparently famous silver tongue you do seem to be quite willing to partake in it. So, you already know my name, I don't suppose you'd mind telling me who you are and why you saw fit to attack me?"
>>26588142Well if he's not bound it would be easy. Unfortunately, he's bound to our shirt right now. What did you want to ask him though?
>>26588335Why she knows our name.
>>26588339Our master probably told her, she's probably friendly.
>>26588339Well she said she'd been warned by someone, and Thane said that he could not keep our name secret from something stronger than him. Thus it can be assumed that whatever warned her about us and told her our name is more powerful than us.Or she knew about us before we had our name protected.
>>26588370He would have valuable insight though
>>26588353Friends don't greet friends by shooting lasers at them. If she is friendly, then she's doing that whole thing where she attacks to test our worthiness or some shit, and should probably still be avoided. Well, I suppose we were asking for it. We haven't interacted with Walther in like twenty threads, we'd have to deal with someone aggravating to take his place sooner or later.
"And responsibilities with them," you say, slowly lowering your bow, though you do not release the arrow. "I string together some mildly pretty words I get called silver tongued. I pack a bag with rope, pitons, and herbs and I get called prepared, I need a spirit's power and I get called a knight, I protect my home and I'm called powerful. And thus I have titles to live up to, and they are far heavier than words ought to be."You see her eyes flash with interest, and she takes a step closer to you. You note that the glowing gem on the back of her hand has faded to an inert black."I was not aware that I was so well known outside of my little corner of the world," you admit. "I'm not sure whether I ought to be flattered or worried. That being said, for someone so supposedly wary of my apparently famous silver tongue you do seem to be quite willing to partake in it. So, you already know my name, I don't suppose you'd mind telling me who you are and why you saw fit to attack me?"She grins at that, raising her palms placatingly. "Now, now," she says, her tone playful. "No need to sound so accusatory! After all," she says, and with a twirling step vanishes on the spot.You blink, a little nonplussed at the abrupt end to her statement. You turn to see if she's appeared behind you again, only to run into a hanging vine.What?The vine hangs from a marble column. The column connects to the balcony that you stand on. The balcony hangs over a beautiful garden, the humid night air pleasantly chilled.A gloved hand takes yours, and turns you about on your heels. She stands there, her armor glowing in the moonlight, and she smiles winningly."After all," she continues, as though she had never left, "You were never in any real danger, Osyki."She leans against the railing, the moonlight playing softly over the locks of silky hair that cascade over her pauldrons. "Don't get so defensive. I knew about you long before you made that pact with your little shadow."(Cont.)
>>26588484"You-" you begin, but she cuts you off before you can continue."Yes. I've had my eye on you. After all, a Totemist to follow in Overwake's footsteps? You carry quite the legacy, Totemist. That's not why I took an interest in you, though."She steps closer, and the faint scent of perfume wafts on the breeze. The moon ripples in the air behind her, like light dancing over water."No, anyone with an eye for it can see the potential you've got. And hey, you've done some really admirable things so far! Fending off that Warden, talking down the Mother, even single-handedly dropping a Plate Worm! It's enough to catch a lot of peoples' interests, Osyki."She turns to look out over the balcony."You're making quite a stir, even in your little corner of the world."The scene shifts once more, this time with a noticable whirl of color. You stand on a marble floor, masked dancers moving in time with the music around you. It's a strange dance, feeling almost archaic. The girl stands before you, a butterfly's wings covering her features save for those striking green eyes."The question now," she says, extending a hand to you, "Is where you go from here. So, what will it be? What's next for you, Osyki?"
>>26588583For now? The tyrant that is ruining the land. Where the future will take me? Your guess is probably better than mine.
>>26588583"I will do what is needed of me in due time. I have a wealth of obligations and tasks to fulfill, first and foremost the pressing task of stopping the Tyrant before he reaches the borders of the realms i have swore to protect. But i have to ask myself, why the sudden interest?"
>>26588583"And yet you still have not told me who you are. One might even think you were intentionally avoiding the subject."Take her hand and follow the dance."Considering my line of work and the circumstances that I took up the position you are well aware that I have had little time to think of the future. There is always a matter of pressing importance that ought to be dealt with. But in the little time I have contemplated the issue I have found a few things I wish. I want to aid my village, my home, in growing, I want to keep my friends, family, and loved ones safe, I want there to be peace. There is also the matter of the trade deal which, should it go well, ought to aid in all of these goals. And I want to see more of the world, I want to see this strange, beautiful world in all of its splendor. I recently realized how small my corner of the world is and every time I go further from home than I did last time I marvel at the new sights, sounds, and smells, even the ones that are trying to kill me."
You frown, but you reach out to take her hand all the same."And yet, you still haven't told me who you are. One might even think you were intentionally avoiding the subject."You take her gloved hand in yours, and the two of you begin to dance. The steps seem intuitive to you, and the dance is flowing, if slow."For now?" you say, "The tyrant that is ruining the land. Where the future will take me? Your guess is probably better than mine. Considering my line of work and the circumstances that I took up the position you are well aware that I have had little time to think of the future. There is always a matter of pressing importance that ought to be dealt with."She watches you with unveiled interest as the two of you whirl apart for a moment, the come back together. You take her hand in one of yours, and place your other hand on her hip, leading her through the steps."In the little time that I've contemplated the issue, though, I have found a few things I wish. I want to aid my village, my home, in growing, I want to keep my friends, family, and loved ones safe, I want there to be peace. There is also the matter of the trade deal which, should it go well, ought to aid in all of these goals."She nods, seemingly expecting this sort of response from you. She keeps doing that. Nodding, as if you're following the script she's laid out for you with perfect meter and rhythm. You take a sudden step back, catching her off guard and spinning her into a dip."Most of all, though, I want to see more of the world. I want to see this strange, beautiful world in all of its splendor. I recently realized how small my corner of the world is and every time I go further from home than I did last time I marvel at the new sights, sounds, and smells, even the ones that are trying to kill me."(Cont.)
>>26588988She looks up at you, surprised, but clearly pleased. Her eyes shine with excitement and that same glowing green, and you note that the dancers in the room have all stopped their revolutions to stare at the two of you."I have to ask you, though. Why the sudden interest? If you've been watching me for so long, why is it only now that you're speaking to me?"You swing your arms up to put her back on her feet. She swings her arms around your head and clasps her hands behind your neck, holding your gaze. The room dissolves around you, and you find yourself standing on an unfamiliar beach. Purple sand shifts beneath your feet, and strange turquoise waters lap at your toes. On the cliffs far behind her, a strangely majestic castle sits perched precariously on a hanging cliff."A fair question, and one that I suppose I'll have to answer if I'm to spend any more time here," she says. She leans forward, pressing her forehead to yours. "The 'correct' answer would be to tell you that your potential has ripened enough that I felt comfortable approaching you, that speaking to you any sooner would have been like a lion stalking a lamb. My master would have me tell you that you're more useful to him now than you will be ever again, and that this is a final offer of sorts, but honestly?"Her eyes flutter closed for a moment, and when she opens them they're a stunning shade of blue, rather than the deep green of before."Honestly, I just couldn't bear to wait any longer."
>>26589106Oh shit. I sure hope her master isn't the Splinter
>>26589172Err, or the Magus. I forget which is which
>>26589106"...Have I just made a terrible mistake?"
>>26589184Magus is the big bad, Splinters are the pseudo-spirits he splits off to help him multitask.
>>26589106"I'm flattered but also somewhat concerned. A final offer is such an ominous term."
>>26589106"I suspect it is the Magus you are talking about."
>>26589106"Is this the sort of thing I should expect from now on when I visit the spirit world? This is only my third trip, and yet every time I come here I find myself having strange conversations with entrancing and dangerous women. I'm starting to notice a pattern."
>>26589106"If you tell me that your master is the Magus, I'm going to slam my hand into my face so hard as to ruin it forever.You wouldn't want to be the monster who ruined this face forever, would you?Would you?"
>>26589106"Well that is quite flattering. It's not every day that I get treated to such wonderful sights by a bewitchingly beautiful woman who tells me she couldn't wait to see me any longer. Though you have raised even more questions in my mind. Who you are? Who your master is? Me being useful to him in what way? A final offer? Has your master made offers to me before?I am going to have to know far more about this offer, you, and your master before I can even dream of accepting."
"Well," you begin hesitantly, "I'm flattered, but somewhat concerned. A final offer's a fairly ominous term, and I can't help but feel that I've just made a terrible mistake. It's not every day that I get treated to such flattery, though I'm beginning to notice a developing pattern in my trips to the spirit world. Is it common to be simultaneously buttered up and threatened by powerful, dangerous women when entering the realm of spirits?"She lets loose a giggle at that and releases you, twirling away from you."Common? Perhaps not for commoners, but it does seem to be a problem you have, Osyki."You sigh, holding up a hand, palm out."I'll be honest with you, I suspect that The Magus is the master you're talking about, and if I'm right I'm going to slam this hand so hard into my face it will be forever ruined. You wouldn't want to be the monster who ruined this face forever, would you?"You wait a beat in total silence, save for the waves lapping the shore."Would you?"There is a sudden breeze, and a wall of sand covers the two of you. When it fades the girl stands before you in a flattering dress, her gauntlet glowing bright. A long sword of blue crystal rests in her hand, and a mischievous smile plays about her lips. "I'll tell you what, Osyki," she says, giving you a curtsy. "We'll make it a game. If you can best me in a contest of skill, I'll tell you everything there is to know about my master. Identity, plans, the works.""And if I fail?" you ask, shifting your stance slightly.Her smile grows. "If you fail, I get to keep you. You accept my offer, no ifs, ands, or buts, and we ride off into the cloudy sunset together. It's a generous offer. What do you think?"
>>26589537sounds like a win win
>>26589537Nope! Our obligations are too vast and the protection of the town is too important for a gamble.
>>26589537"A contest of skill against someone who is pretty clearly my superior in every fashion imaginable? Why, what could go wrong?"
>>26589537"...It's not an offer at all, is it?"
>>26589537Stall for time.
>>26589537"I may not be a lamb anymore, but nor am I a lion as well, just yet, so you'll pardon me if I think that the odds are in your favor.Then again, you're currently holding a sword, and the idea that you'd just let me leave... unmolested, seems rather naive on my part."
>>26589537"I really have too many obligations to accept an offer like that. If you want a contest of skill, you'll get a contest of skill, but I absolutely will not betray my village."
>>26589537"Can you provide an unbiased third party to preside over the contest and dictate the terms?"
>>26589537"You must think very little of me, to think that my life and my pleasure is worth more to me than those who I've sworn to protect. I'd be a very poor totemist if I sold them out, no matter how great the price is."
>>26589537"A contest of skill you say? What do I think?I somehow doubt you would suggest this if you didn't believe you were going to win, either through knowing yourself my better at it or setting up the rules in such a way to grant you advantage. Even the environment is your ally in this, you have changed where we stand from a balcony, to a ballroom, to a beach with merely a thought. You have watched me for a long time, you know my weapons, you know my titles, and I do not even have your name let alone what you are. You have not even told me what the offer I would be forced to accept and forsake my obligations for is. You hold all of this from me and expect me to consider your offer generous? You expect me to consider you having set things up in such a way so you can attempt to own and keep me as generous? How am I supposed to believe that this truly would be a contest of skill given these obvious imbalances? How can I presume this to be a fair contest that I have any reason to accept should you be the one who sets the terms of the contest and not even inform me of them?What form would this contest of skill take? Combat I would presume. What restrictions would there be? What rules would be in place? How would victory be determined?If you truly wish for me to be yours so badly then you will give me answers to these questions and we shall work out mutually agreeable terms of the contest. Because while you may be able to kill me, you will never possess me against my will."
>>26589537"Madam, as always, your interest is quite flattering. But I'm afraid I simply can't take your offer. Unless the cloudy sunset leads to the Tyrant's Desert I can't afford to risk such a great diversion from my current course. The Iron Tyrant must be stopped before he advances any farther. Surely if you've been watching me for so long you know that I am a man of my word, and will not break from my obligations. If you wish to resume this conversation later, I would be agreeable, but for now I must decline."
>>26589537"I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I'm afraid that I must be rather boring when it comes to the subject of abandoning my village.Though I wish to see the world, I also wish to see my home grow and prosper, which it cannot do if the Iron Tyrant has crushed it.You clearly have more experience than me, and are cleverer and stronger to boot. And when it comes to charm, you're not half bad.Combining that you have no real reason to handicap yourself, I'd say that the contest would be superfluous."
You shake your head, letting out a slow sigh."You know, ordinarily I'd say no. My obligation to my village is too important to gamble with, and a contest of skill against someone that's pretty clearly my superior in this sort of thing... I may not be a lamb anymore, but I'm certainly not a lion just yet, so you'll pardon me if the odds seem, from my perspective, to be in your favor."You bring your spear around pointing it at her. Your face is set into a hard mask of determination."Then again... it's not really an offer, is it? You're holding a sword, and the idea that you'd just let me leave, unmolested, seems rather naive."To your surprise, her smile breaks into a frown. She waves her hand, and the sword disappears into the ether with a twinkle from her gauntlet."To think that you think of me as such an enemy already," she says, and she draws a hand to her chest as if she had been struck. "I'm not holding you hostage, Osyki. You're free to refuse. I just thought it might be fun."She turns, and her long gown draws a sweeping circle in the sand around her."If it alleviates your paranoia somewhat, I can assure you that the Magus is not my master. I wouldn't work with that psychopath if it cost me my life to refuse she says, speaking with her face turned downward. "But I suppose my presence here is just delaying you from your very important duties, so I'll deliver my message and be on my way."(cont.)
>>26589537"While the idea excites me, my duties make it impossible for me to even consider gambling. Perhaps another time, once I am more confident?"
>>26589826Whoops, offended the pretty girl.
When she turns again her eyes are that same shade of green, and you find yourself riding atop your drake once more. She stands apart from you in the mists, her feet planted firmly on the back of the strange winged monster once more. The gem in her gauntlet glows fiercely, and her armor robes her once more."The spirit you call the Iron Tyrant knows of your approach, Totemist, and he is amused. He wishes to inform you that he is not the monster your Emperor has painted him as, and that he awaits your arrival with great anticipation. He extends the offer of an alliance, should you wish to abandon your dethroned emperor for a partnership with real prospects."She gives a sharp whistle and her mount begins to break away from you. You see her look over her shoulder, eyes blue as the sky at noon, and smile sadly."I'll be waiting for you, no matter what," she says in that same fond, sad tone. "I hope we can be allies, rather than enemies."With that she fades away, her mount retreating behind the unknowable walls of matte gray mist.[[ Taking a break for dinner. Be back soonish. ]]
>>26589874Yup we better apologize later.I'd be bad to end losing an ally because of this after all.
>>26589884Oh well that doesnt make things any better
>>26589884...Interesting.I'd believe her, if we only had the Stone Emperor's word.But the Lord Restrained?That's quite different.
>>26589826"With respects, miss, you did not do much to assuage my fears. Your first move in this dance was a blast of slaying light, and every action since served to demonstrate that you were in a position of power over me. Suspicion is a natural response. If you wish to speak again, please just be straightforward in your greeting. It would make relations between us so much simpler."
>>26589924Like...>"The Iron Tyrant is a corrupt spirit, forged of chaos and quenched in the blood of a thousand thousand innocents. To stop it, you must utterly destroy it. Bury the Demon Pits, extinguish the Fellfire, and tear down its corrupt body, plate by plate. Should you accomplish these tasks, in the order I have given them to you, you will be capable. Whether you will be -successful- lies entirely on your wits. You must act, and act soon. The mountains hold little danger for its ilk now."Does NOT seem ambiguous at all.
>>26589924Yuphopefully if we manage to Kill the Tyrant he either decides to fallow us or simply not bother us.Having another full fledge totemist in the village would be nice.
>>26589884Ah, so she's a totemist in the employ of the Iron Tyrant. A knight of Iron, so to speak.Interesting stuff, but it doesn't change our mission. We took up an oath with the Stone Emperor, and the Lord Restrained has advised us to fight the Tyrant as well. Unless we find out that they have both clearly decieved us (Say, the Tyrant's realm is verdant woodland or some such), we won't break our word.Of course, if he is sending messengers then he clearly has manners, so we will most certainly see what he has to say, and *then* drop kick him from orbit if it is not to our liking.
>>26589884Damn it, I knew this was going to be what her deal was. Of course it can't be as simple as fighting a monster. So what, is it going to turn out that the spirit encroaching on the Ikrins is actually a completely different entity than the Iron Tyrant, and so the Lord Restrained wasn't actually lying to us or anything like that? Blerg. This will be complicated.
>>26589957She seems like the kind of woman who values freedom, probably won't be tied down to one guy.
>>26589985>>26590008He's probably the Spirit of Industry.It's Princess Mononoke time.
>>26590008I see no reason why the Lord Restrained would deceive us.He seems to be so far above us that we're insignificant to any agenda he might have.But I fear that if we bring it up, they're going to flat out kill us because we know the truth.
>>26589938Unless the Iron Tyrant that the Lord Restrained speaks of is not the same as the spirit attacking the Stone Emperor. It is entirely possible that the invading land guardian and the Iron Tyrant are separate beings that just happen to share a territory, and have been conflated by the Stone Emperor in his fear. Maybe the invader is trying to take over the Ikrins not because it has the Iron Tyrant's urge to destroy, but because it's desperately trying to get away from the true Tyrant.
[[ Gonna have to cut the quest short here for the night, family thing cropped up. I'll be running again on Wednesday, so we'll continue this again then. See you in a couple of days!Next time: The Tyrant's Domain ]]
>>26590792This was fun as always, Diarca. See you next time.
>>26590792Great fun as always Diarca. Was wondering when we'd finally be facing off against other Totemists (or at least something like one).By the way, anyone remember which thread we had a glimpse at the future of the quest? There's something niggling me about this girl and her relation to that.
>>26591075When was that?
>>26590086Like I don't get it.She was the girl we saw speaking to the Lord Restrained wasn't she?She smiled at us and disappeared?
>>26591075That would be in thread 16, if you're talking about the flash forward. If you're talking about Osyki's prophetic dream that's in thread 19.
>>26591075Oh shit, I know what's niggling at you. In the flash forward, the Captain of the Guard had the same black stone in her gauntlet as this mysterious person. Said captain was implied to be our sister, Aurora. Who has blonde hair and green eyes. Now I'm not saying our sister has traveled back in time. This could just be our cousin or some such who we've never met. But still. Ominous.
>>26591955That's true, the picture is even similar with the same file name. The flash forward also depicted a female Totemist that seem to know Osyki pretty well. Perhaps she gifted Aurora the gauntlet when Osyki sways her to our side?