>(Twitter)https://twitter.com/QM_Auri>(Previous Threads)http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Journal+of+the+Occult>(Character Sheets)http://pastebin.com/46DXX5zq>(Sophia's Journal)http://pastebin.com/fzbjzbay~There’s hardly any time to dissect the fact Philomena is able to speak to you before a large and heavy chest is flung at you with stunning speed. You deftly evade despite your surprise, and you can’t help but smile as the beast is finally revealed. “Did you find this power?”This time it’s an entire rack of weapons that you have to dodge. That’s not it, that cult in the undercity keeps their secrets closely guarded.“Was it forced upon you?” You ask, not even bothering to look at what she chooses to fling at you this time before dodging.Normally that would be the most likely case, but it somehow doesn’t seem right with the level of intimacy she has with her curse.“Could it be that you were born as you are?” You muse aloud.With a guttural roar, she fiercely lunges at you, quite intent on silencing you for good.Seems that you’ve hit your mark, and you barely have enough time to ascend to keep her from reaching her own.Intent on ending this fight as efficiently as possible, you move to seal Philomena’s lungs from expanding, only to sense that her unnatural hide prevents you from doing so.“This isn’t going to end well for you.” She growls lowly, following your flight with her dark eyes.You invoke your flame and split it off into several floating orbs. Her form is giving her quite an annoying amount of protection, and there doesn’t seem to be any easily accessible points of vulnerability. Her raw speed and strength make her difficult just to get away from, but now you’re intent on killing her.Time to make your move.[1/2]
>>42743197Your bolts of flame orbit Philomena’s body in a tight and controlled circle, before one by one, they all brutally crash into her left leg, flaying away thin slices of her hide. There’s too much distance between you and her for your flames to be truly effective, so you push in closer, and unleash another unrelenting wave at the same spot.She begins to stagger, but in a fit of pure rage, she surges high into the air above you and comes slamming toward you with stunning speed and force.With any chances of aerial escape cut off, you choose to teleport behind her in a hurry, landing unsteadily on the ground.The sound of heavy footfalls approaching you at a dizzying pace is your only warning as you try to take off a quickly as you can, but receive a glancing, but still heavy, blow to the side of the chest, instantly knocking the air from your body.You unleash a hissing wave of caustic flames to keep her at bay, as you suck air back into your lungs. The furious blue flow ignite several of the nearby bodies and washes over her completely.Thankfully it seems that the armor took the majority of the impact, and let you get away with just bruised ribs. The sticky flames clinging to Philomena’s skin have given you a brief respite among the howls.But your break doesn’t last for very long, as you spot a cluster of Disgur’s tendrils chasing afflicted soldiers in the distance. Your viscous flames seem to have caught Philomena off-guard, and now would be an opportune time to press the assualt. However, if Disgur happens to discover your fight, there certainly will be a number of bothersome questions to be answered after it's done.>Press the attack with your sticky flames.>Pull the fight away from Disgur’s tendrils.>Write in.
>>42743269>Pull the fight away from Disgur’s tendrils.>Try and call Izu mentally to come help out>Try and guide the fight towards where Izu is
>>42743453Seconding this.Hello auri!
Hello and welcome back, everyone!>>42743453>>42743498Strategic retreat and assistance.>Writing~
>>42743542For your ultimate goal it would incredibly detrimental if The Empress caught wind of your plans now, so you’re not going to take this chance.With the spurring motivation of several quick shots of your flames, Philomena is goaded into following you. It takes all your effort just to keep out of her reach, countless mindless soldiers do little to slow her down before the smashed into the ground, but at this pace, you’re safe and far away from the tendrils.Your advantage has been lost with this sudden retreat, and to do any significant damage to her, you have to get closer than you’d like. Unless…Izu immediately senses your need. “Bring her closer to the tent, I’m almost done with everyone here.”Even with the hulking threat of death close at your back, you can’t help but notice how strikingly different your priorities are right now. But, his purifying flames are all that you need from him, the finishing blow will be inflicted by your own hands.Philomena’s rage-filled dark eyes are still firmly locked on your body, as you approach closer to your own tent. Just as your tent comes into sight, she rushes forward and with a surge of energy, and her large fingers manage to wraps around a small number of your feathers.[1/2]
>>42744615NO NOT THE FEATHERSNOT THE PRETTY FEATHERSDON'T YOU DARE
>>42744615In a blinding wave of pain, you roughly crash into the thick fabrics of your own tent, and let out an uncharacteristic shout of pure agony. Writhing, and trying to collect your breath, you can only hear the heavy sounds of brutal impacts all around you.Once you collect yourself, you twist with all your might, and shakily cut through your tethers with your dagger, and stagger to your feet.Placing a barrier between you and them, Izu stares silently at Philomena, his small fists shaking with quiet rage. “That was a mistake….” He mumbles quietly, his face out of view.Philomena stares at him intently, entirely unsure what to do, but still intent on finishing you off, as she stares at you with a hate filled glance for the situation you dragged her into.“Izu, take down the barrier.” Your voice still trembling. He ignores you completely, and proceeds to envelop Philomena in a barrier dome hardly larger than her own body. He does this again, and again, each barrier getting smaller than the last, the intense pressure cutting into Philomena’s thick hide, causing blood to pool around the both of them.He’s intent on killing her, it’s what you wanted, but still you wish that it didn’t have to end like this.You stare at his small back, which seems to get larger with every passing day.>Let him finish her off.>Seal him, and finish her off yourself.>Write in.
>>42744650>Izu I still need to question her before she's dealt with. Contain your rage, it will be done soon enough. Besides how will you heal me if you sue up your strength killing her?
>>42744650>Seal him, and finish her off yourself.I still wanna confirm that she was the one who cursed our armor before we kill her.
>>42744650>Talk him down.There's still things we need from her while she's alive.
>>42744693>>42744701>>42744813Try to calm him down, but ultimately, keep her alive for questioning.>Writing~
>>42744854“Izu…” You immediately call out again, trying very hard to set aside your own fury. “Calm down, Izu. It barely even hurt.” He doesn’t turn to look at you, but he also stops trying to squeeze the life out of Philomena for the moment. “That’s a lie.” He shouts back with quivering breaths.You laugh softly. “Maybe, but it’s true when I say that we still need her alive, at least until we finish asking her a few questions.” You smile, even though he can’t see it. “Besides, how are you going to patch me up if you use all your energy killing her?”Izu quietly weighs your words in his mind, before finally dispersing the barrier between you and him, and releasing some of the pressure off PhilomenaYou approach him and ruffle his soft hair with your hand. “Like last time. Turn her back human.”With a small nod, Izu begins to channel his pale yellow flames into the barrier, surrounding Philomena in its purifying warmth.You watch as no matter how hard she struggles, Philomena’s body twists and reshapes, shrinking eventually back into her human form. As Izu removes the rest of his barriers, she barely manages to crawl a few feet before you place your boot on her back.You dig your heel into her bare flesh, pinning her to the ground. “This is high-quality armor you made for me, Philomena.” You twist your foot, causing her to yelp and spasm in pain. “It must really bother you that it kept me alive during our little fight.” She grunts as she still feebly tries to pull away from you, but a solid kick to her side stops all of that. “But this armor wasn’t always such a help to me. It came with such an annoying curse placed on it at first.” You flip her onto her back and rest your foot on her stomach. “We’re you the one responsible for that?”[1/2]
>>42745607She silently stares daggers back into your eyes, and even with a several solid stomps to her stomach, she doesn’t talk.“You’re going to talk eventually, you know?” You look around at the camp and see that most of the chaos has died down, seems that the other councilmembers were successful. “But, not here.” You turn and look back at your tent.“You two deserve each other.” Philomena states suddenly before a large amount of blood begins pouring out from her mouth.You immediately try to staunch the flow, but she easily bit through a most of her tongue, and bleeds out with a calm smile on her face.As little good as it does, you give her body another solid kick, before turning away from her. Izu rushes to snatch the crumpled feathers from her other hand.Taking only a brief moment to collect yourself, you tow her body to a tent far away from your own, throw in a few other corpses for added measure, and set the entire thing ablaze.~You return alone to the council for an emergency meeting. Virgil frowns at you when you enter. “You gave us orders and that was the last anyone saw of you. What was so important that you couldn’t help the rest of us?” He readies more questions, but The Empress holds up a hand to silence him. You take your seat to her right.>Remain silent.>Lie about trying to save Philomena.>Write in.
>>42745643>Remain silent.Maybe throw him a "are you serious we were being overrun" look.
>>42745736A flat stare showing he has no right to question us would be better.
>>42745643>Remain silent.Who else besides us was Philo referring to?
>>42745722>>42745736>>42745796>>42745797Like Philomena, a silent stare.>Writing~
>>42745871You settle more comfortably into your seat before slowly turning to Virgil and throwing him a flat stare so that he better know his place.He’s obviously more suspicious of your own actions, and given how quickly The Empress was to shut him down, he’s likely to have already reported his concerns to her. However, she doesn’t seem terribly interested in his theories at this moment.“What are the losses, Disgur?” She asks with no emotion in her voice.He stands and bows his head slightly. “They stand at approximately eight-thousand right now, but the true number is certainly higher than that.” She sighs and shakes her head. “What exactly prompted this attack?” The Empress asks with almost an imperceptible amount of fury building in her voice.You stand this time and start your report. “The scouts we sent ahead to Sluice Gate were captured by The Broodmother’s forces.” You slide a few strands of hair away from your face. “They were sent back, twisted and merged together with some sort of fragment of Carmina.” You point toward the exit of the tent. “It told us to turn back, and unleashed that upon us.”The Empress silently broods upon your words, before quickly standing. “Sophia and Disgur stay, everyone else... rest, and return here in the morning for briefing.” She orders.You watch as all the other councilmembers dutifully file out of the tent.“Justina.” The Empress calls out suddenly.[1/?]
>>42746786She flinches and turns back with concern clear on her face. “Yes, Empress?”The silence is tense as you can only wait to figure out what this is about.“You did very well in helping stauch the outbreak. Think on a reward, and report it back to me tomorrow.” She finally announces.Justina smiles at the possibilities. “I will! Thank you, Empress.” She leaves with a skip in her step, and inciting a small amount of suspicion within yourself.Once sure that the other councilmembers are out of earshot, The Empress sits, leans forward, and continues. “We’re going double our pace. We’ll force our way through what they have waiting for us in the Sluice Gate, and infect their entire force with our new weapon.”“But if we use it that early, there’s surely going to be detrimental effects on our own soldiers.” Disgur states, knowingly.“Once I tear the life from that festering tumor in The Maw, we need only a fraction of our soldiers to finish conquering the last plane.” She states boldly. This is certainly news to you. You’re pleased to hear about The Empress’s new plan, but are curious as to what gives her confidence that all of this will end in her favor.“Speed is of the essence.” She lowers her chin onto her hands. “That girl in Kyraen’Asils is likely to hear about our discovery, and then move to capture Impel, then subsequently cut us off.”She’s quiet for a long time before looking over the two of you. “We’re moving into a crucial part of my plan, one in which I need dependable leaders, and I can think of none other than yourselves.”[2/3]
>>42746832She’s quiet for a long time before looking over the two of you. “We’re moving into a crucial part of my plan, one in which I need dependable leaders, and I can think of none other than yourselves.”You make very sure that your pleasant smile doesn’t belie your false intentions.“After we clear through the Sluice Gate, I need one of you to return to Impel and assist Ali in holding off that girl’s army. The other will remain with me and assist me in using our new weapon to clear through that forsaken pit.” She breathes in and out slowly. “But it’s very likely that I will summon the both of you for dealing with…her.”“I will serve you wherever you best see fit, my Empress.” Disgur bows lowly.The Empress turns to you. “Then it’s your choice, Sophia.”So much to consider… Returning to Impel would put you at a very convenient location for sneaking into Kyraen’Asils and claiming that throne. After which you could pincer The Empress and finish her off along with The Broodmother with a sudden blow. However, there's much to knowledge to gain from using this new weapon, and you're still uncertain as to why The Empress is so confident with such a wasteful strategy.>Ask to be moved to Impel.>Remain with The Empress.>Write in.
>>42746902>Remain with The Empress.
>>42746902>Remain with The EmpressThis is a big choice. It totally is
>>42746902this is a hard choice damnit.If we go along to Impel, there's more opportunity to strengthen our own powerbase.But if we go with the Empress, we can sabotage whatever this new weapon is.For now, I'm leaning towards remaining with The Empress, because there's more opportunities to gain stuff from Control.
>>42746902>>Ask to be moved to Impel.
>>42746902>>Ask to be moved to Impel.We need to strengthen our powerbase before we move, this is the perfect opprotunity . Plus alli is there to help.
>>42747018The "new weapon" The Empress refers to is the being you have bound in the useless body.
>>42747078I guessed, but we still don't know how it works, and learning leads to Control, so.......has it ever been clarified exactly WHAT kind of learning Control looks for before rewarding? Like what about learning about oneself?
>>42747145Leaning about oneself works toward an upgrade, but the more upgrades you got, the more difficult it became to receive additional ones.
>>42746902Go to impel
>>42747018Okay, I need you to be very clear with what your answer is. Right now, I'm assuming that you're voting to remain with The Empress, but I want to be absolutely certain.
>>42747203Do we get an upgrade for taking care of Justina and that whole incident?
>>42747256>>42747145don't do it. Go for impel, we need to strengthern our powerbase before we move.
>>42747256Sticking with the Empress.As much as I WANT to go to Impel, I can't justify it when it won't actually increase the armies going against Usurper by very much. Aya's already fighting her.
>>42747268I'm not sure which incident you're referring to with Justina, but you are very close to an upgrade as it is right now.Remaining with The Empress.>Writing~
>>42747373I'm almost expecting that since we prefer to stay by the Empress' side she will send us to Impel.
>>42747745That would tell us more about the Empress than the original question would tell the Empress about us.
>>42747745>>42747815Maybe some other time in the future...>>42747373Once it comes time to show your true hand, you’d like to know as much as you can about what The Empress has in her own.“I will remain here with you.” You finally answer. “I went through the trouble of binding that thing, so I’m going to see its use through to the end.”“Then I will serve you as best I can from Impel.” Disgur accepts the outcome fully.She nods warmly at your answer. “Go rest, the both of you. There’s still work to do before we part ways.”The two of you bow one last time before obeying her order and leaving the tent. But as you leave your ears barely manage to catch something from The Empress, that you wonder if you truly heard it at all.“Thank you.”~You return to your tent to find Izu idly flipping through one of his books on the floor, but not actually taking time to read the words before him.You begin to remove your armor and return it to its stand. “What’s wrong?” His legs sway in the air above him, already indicating that he has quite a bit to say.“What am I?” He asks, with unknown emotion laced in his voice. That’s certainly a loaded question, and one that you’ve pondered yourself a few times. it really must be different when you’re wondering about own self. But, with all your thinking about it, do you actually have an answer?You finish removing the rest of your armor before you take a seat next to him. “You’re you, in the exact same way that I’m me.”[1/2]
>>42748220His brow furrows ever so slightly. “You’re very, very, very good at it, but I can tell when you’re lying.” His legs continue to kick without skipping a beat.You lie down next to him, and simply enjoy his presence for a few quiet moments. “You want me to be honest?”He’s silent, but you can tell he’s impatiently awaiting your answer.“I don’t know.” You answer, honestly. “Even with all this time I’ve spent with you, even with how connected our minds are, and even with how much I think about it. I don’t know. I truly don't.”He’s still quiet, but it seems that he’s accepted your answer to be true.“Then what do you want me to be?”The crystalline words appear in your mind and seem to linger for much longer than they should. But beyond them, two distinct thoughts appear, and you settle on the one you really want.>”I want you to stay as you are.”>”I want you to truly be your own person.”(No Write-in)
>>42748260>”I want you to truly be your own person.”
>>42748260>”I want you to truly be your own person.”He'd be a better Emperor anyway.
>>42748260>”I want you to stay as you are.”
>>42748260>"I want you to stay as you are."No evil end on my watch.
>>42748260>”I want you to truly be your own person.”>>42748285pretty much.
>>42748260>>42748260>>”I want you to truly be your own person.”
>>42748425“I want you to truly be your own person.” You let out the answer you really believe you want.Izu’s legs stop swaying for a brief moment before they resume once again with added speed. He energetically pushes himself up to his feet. “Let’s stop being so glum.” He smiles brilliantly and then tosses himself on the bed where he wraps himself in all the covers. He eventually pokes his head out. “You know, when we were playing dice earlier, someone bet me their Captain rank that I couldn’t win five times in a row.”“Really?” You laugh lightly, as you try to pull away at his cover shield. “So…?”“Captain Izu reporting in, Commander.” He tries to salute, but his hand is stuck in his own wrapping.“It would be Captain Matt.” You give up on trying to peel away the covers and instead knock him onto his side. “Plus, I don’t know how official it is to win your rank over a game of dice.”Izu can’t return to his sitting position so he chooses to slither across the surface of the bed. “You are the Pale Snake, I can be The Snake Under the Covers. Cover Snake.” He continues to wriggle.You burst into laughter at his unintentional double entendre. “Go ahead and call yourself that. I’m sure you’ll inspire fear in your enemies.”He throws his shield off him, his fantasy thoroughly ruined by you, and instead pulls out three long crimson feathers from his pocket.[1/2]
>>42749165“I was thinking about maybe attaching these to a helmet. Maybe around here…”He places the three feathers barely above his left ear. “You can tell people that you slayed a Caelumnite on your own.” You grin while you look at him. “Just don’t tell them that it was with your lame jokes.”“That wasn’t a joke.” He pouts, then places the three feathers gently on the nearby table, and lets out a long yawn.“You were busy today.” You turn back to the bed. “Fix this and then we’ll head off to sleep.”He crosses his arms. “I can’t anymore. I’m my own person now.” He turns away to hide the dumb smile he has plastered on his face.“Well then…” You begin collecting the covers yourself. “I suppose you’ll be finding your own tent to sleep in as well.”He snatches the bundle from your hand and dutifully begins fixing the bed as you watch.With the enormous Sluice Gate looming over the camp, hiding what lies beyond it for the future, the two of you lie down and fall asleep almost instantly.`
The underlying PANIC makes this all so much sweeter.
>>42749206Okay, that's where I'm going to end it for tonight. Looks like we're moving into the final fraction of the quest, just how large that fraction is... Anyway, as always, I want to thank everyone that played today! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the thread, and I will do my best to respond to them.If not, then I wish you a good day/night, and hope to see you again next time!>(Twitter)https://twitter.com/QM_Auri
>>42749265Ah yes, the final half
>>42749263I think so too, but maybe in a different way.>>42749300Or maybe the final 1/58th?
>>42749265SO how big is the repercussions of our choice with Izu is? How suspicious is Virgil? The Usurper? Or maybe the final 1/58th?we're that close to a Miasma or Aboretum then?
>>42749265Thanks for running Auri!
>>42749391Only a joke. The truth will probably end up lying somewhere between those two previously listed values.To answer your other questions: Depends on a lot of things, but I didn't allow a write-in, did I? Virgil is quite suspicious, but he doesn't have anything to your knowledge to back it up, besides a growing dislike. The Usurper appears to be the same as usual, if not slightly more friendly.>>42749415You're very welcome!
>>42749487Does anyone else know about Philomena's state?Does Sophia consider Izu her kid brother now?
>>42749265thx 4 runin budi gud thred
>>42749593Not yet, but come time for briefing tomorrow some questions are going to come up. I wouldn't quite say kid brother, but Sophia's impression of Izu isn't going to change overnight.>>42749594You're very welcome!
>>42749679Only reason I was asking is because that's how she's been treating him for a while, even if she doesn't realize it.
>>42749696What you say has truth, but I just added the uncertainty to reflect Sophia's, because of the circumstances of Izu's birth, and because of their close connection.
>>42749679Could we play off a giant mad monster trying to kill us? Pretending not to realize that was her power?
>>42749787That is an option that you could try if it comes to that, but there some other options that might further remove your involvement.
>>42749852Why did Philomena kill herself?
>>42749982That's a very good question, with numerous answers. But the most apparent answer is to save herself from a more horrible and slow death.
>>42750016She really hates Justinia and thought we were two peas in a pod didn't she?
>>42750099Perhaps, she was referring to two people after all. Maybe time will tell, or maybe not.With that, I'll be stepping out for the night. Until next time!