Time is such a fleeting thing, each moment in its gentle flow gone with but a passing thought. Yet in its silent march throughout the ages, it proves the better of all earthly things. Mighty forests spring forth from the dirt only to return to dust, castles rise from their foundations and crumble into sand, boys grow into strong men and those same men are then brought to their knees. Time was indeed a mighty and fickle mistress, leaving no one and no thing untouched in its passing.So it was that your friend, Phineas Farbereggar, a man once rich in resolve and fortitude, had come to lie exactly where you found him: stripped of rank and title and most of all hope, working out of the ruins of his family estate and alongside a gang of wanted criminals to earn his daily bread.“I have made drugs and poisons…,” he admitted to you grimly in a bout of impromptu confessions. “I have made things that could only ever cause harm to my fellow men and thrown aside my conscience in the process.”At the time, he had been hard at work slicing and stitching at your friendly pastor, trying to put back to rights what his previous decoction had turned so horribly wrong and removing countless pieces of shrapnel in the process.“I’ve no idea how he’s functioned with so many pieces of detritus left in his system,” Phineas mumbles, pulling a chunk of arrow head from somewhere deep inside the father’s torso and letting it clatter in a nearby tray beside the others, “nor how this hybridization has even taken place. Troll blood is toxic to humans. He should be dead.”“You better pray that doesn’t change, Doc,” Lucy quietly threatens from her nearby seat, the elven woman slowly sharpening her knife while eyeing, “because if it does, his won’t be the only cold body we drag out of here.”“Planning on leaving me behind then?” you demand, rattling gently as you click another few bone fragments back into place.She huffs in frustration. You just rattle all the louder. After all, you are Lee: bard, lover, fighter, more recently numbered among the walking dead, and informally declared spirit of vengeance, and you’ve no intention of surrendering your good spirits, despite your less than stellar condition right now. Of course, “less than stellar” is a much kinder way of saying hammered and pounded into bits, but again, attitude is everything, and despite recent complications, things had been going fairly well when you considered all the facts. You had put an end to a den of slavers, brought them to justice with no casualties, followed their trail to an unlikely old friend, and somehow then survived ten rounds with your friendly priest gone haywire due to a dose of a peculiar magical serum. And now you have nothing but time: time to heal, time to think, and most importantly of all, time to ask questions.> What to ask?>  What was that serum?>  What can you tell me about the slave trade?>  Other
>>360858>  What can you tell me about the slave trade?
>>360858>>  What can you tell me about the slave trade?
>>360858Before I forget, Welcome to RE: Animated round 9. For those dropping in for the first time, welcome to the tales of Lee Townsend, a recently re-animated skeletal bard on a quest to do some good and tie up some loose ends in his inexplicably extended time on earth.The backlog can be found here:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=re%3A+animatedAnd all announcements for the quest are posted to my twitter:https://twitter.com/bananon_QM
>>360858> Other"Whatever did happen to Rich? Did he go up in an explosion of fire and bat dung like we always thought he would?"
>>361096>>361269>>361803>>360858“Anyway,” you say as you experimentally wriggle your newly assembled foot, taking a small joy in the way the joints line up perfectly before realizing the toe should definitely be on the other side. “I imagine that you’re due for a much needed change in occupation after all this, Phineas, but before that, there were a few questions we needed to ask you, specifically with regards to a young Arachne who was supposed to have arrived at your residence today.”At that, you see the man stiffen, hands and surgical implements jolting slightly before he can compose himself. Still, seems there’s no harm done as he then calmly produces another fragment of metal before turning to you with a pleading look.“They were going to kill her, you know,” he begins quietly. “They were going to cut her up into parts and sell the pieces to the highest bidder like she was some sort of prize animal ready for the slaughter.”“Sounds about right,” Lucy mutters angrily. “There’s a dark market for that sort of thing, particularly for alchemist and spellcasters.”“I’m reminded of the tale of the goose that laid the golden egg,” you respond. “Something tells me that they’d have a far more difficult time getting silk out of her if she were in pieces.”“You’re not wrong, Lee,” Phineas admits, his hands steady even if his voice is not, “nor you madam. However, I fear from what I’ve heard, there were… ‘complications’ in that regard that had convinced the owners there was no more silk to be had.”“How so?”“You have to understand,” he pre-empts. “There are limits to what I know in all of this and in what they would tell me during our negotiations. You see, mages in my situation, apostates for lack of a better word, tend to receive unsolicited information from sellers who know they can’t go through standard channels. And given my laboratory’s focus on arachnids, it only stands to reason they thought I would have an interest.”He gives you a nervous, ashamed look before continuing.“I was the one who bought her, Lee,” he admits gravely. “I bought what by all reports was a small Arachne child with no intention of releasing her when she arrived. I may not have intended to dissect her in the end, but nor had I planned on becoming her salvation. I’m… I’m a monster!”“Now isn’t the time to start kicking yourself again,” you remind the man gently, seeing his composure slipping. “The girl was safely taken into custody days ago, away from all of this.””
>>361985“For that, I suppose I have you to thank,” he sniffles, “but as for the sellers, information was something they were always terribly cautious with. A note here, a message there, with precious little time with which to conduct our business. I fear that what I asked in the end would be of little interest to you, mostly to do with the girl in question: what they had been feeding her, how they had been keeping her, and when they had first noticed the hemorrhaging of her silk glands.”“Well, that doesn’t sound good…”“It isn’t,” Phineas assures you. “Men don’t tend to think much about spiders, save how to keep them from their homes, but in truth, they are delicate, exceedingly vulnerable creatures. The wrong temperature, the wrong humidity, the wrong diet or light exposure and they wither like leaves cut off from a tree. And what may be most delicate of all is their spinnerets, the endlessly complex organism that allows them to weave their threads. Just the smallest amount of damage may leave them unwilling to spin for weeks, but if they were pressed to continue even beyond that, to go weeks or even months through the pain…”“I think I get the idea, but how the devil did you become so obsessed with the damn things in the first place, Fanny? I don’t recall you being an enthusiast back in college.”“I wasn’t,” he admits. “Even to this day, I can’t stand the damn things! Yet, here I am, with a modified wine cellar full of them. Funny how life has worked out.” He chuckles for a moment at that. “The truth is, however, this may be my most legitimate research that I’ve done in some time, Lee, trying to find a way to create a new source of silk independent of the Arachne by farming their nearest cousins.”“Why not silk worms like a sane person?” Lucy questions, testing the edge of one knife before pulling out another.“Because the quality of the silk is not the same,” Phineas insists. “After all, there’s a reason that we aren’t hunting down mothkin in every village for their wares.”“I thought that was a matter of size,” Lucy comments.“Size and strength. Moths can weave countless layers to reinforce their cocoons, but a spider’s strands must capture a full sized meal with only a few. It makes sense there would be differences. They are also fare more resistant to predators and diseases.”“Especially when they’re the size of cats.”“You see, that was also my doing, another part of my research. However, I fear we are getting far from our initial point. To answer your question in short, Lee, I know little beyond my contacts with these two men and that the child was in poor health when she was due to be shipped.”
>>361992“So you’re a spider rancher now,” you comment, “but whatever did happen to Rich? Did he go up in an explosion of fire and bat dung like we always thought he would?”“He’s actually a teacher now,” Phineas chuckles. “Him of all people.”“My word, was no one thinking of the children?” you question.*Rattle-Rattle*> There is time for more questions.>  The girl is sick?>  How are you making giant spiders?>  Other
>>362000>  The girl is sick?>Can we cure her?
>>362000>  The girl is sick?>is it serious?
>>362000> The girl is sick?>  How are you making giant spiders?>  OtherSo, how good IS the silk you've gotten from your spiders?Look, we got some healing powder from a mothkin; maybe you can use it as a base to help the Arachne girl heal. I'm sure it'll go a ways toward making up for some of your misdeeds.
>>362017>>362066>>362144>>362000“Well, speaking of thinking of the children,” you say, cutting yourself off. “Some things really must come first. You mentioned that the child was ill. I need to know, is it serious, and if so, how can we help?”“It’s… complicated,” Phineas answers with a sigh. “Truth be told, I only have second hand accounts of anything that’s happened, and that taken on good faith. What I’ve heard, however, isn’t promising. As best I can determine is that they did not meet her dietary needs while chronically overworking her silk producing organs. This eventually lead to chafing and then tearing in one or more of them, which was likely exacerbated when they forced her back to work.“Time and rest may be enough to heal those wounds, but I fear that it’s by no means a given. At a minimum, she’ll want some sort of ointment and local anesthetic to prevent infection during the healing process. At worst, she may need surgery for any chance at a recovery. As I said, It’s difficult to decide the correct course of action for a patient I’ve never seen.”“Well,” you say, rummaging inside of your backpack and producing the bags of dust. “I just so happen to have some fresh dust from the nearby mothkin that might aid you in making a topical remedy. You could consider it one of your first steps back on the right path.”“Certainly,” he agrees, wiping his brow as he continues his work with the sutures. “It may prove difficult now that my lab’s been destroyed, but with an ideal base like that, I should be able to cobble something together to provide some relief. First, however, I need to finish administering to your friend before he wakes up.”“Before who wakes up, exactly?” a gravelly voice demands, Father Michael’s hand swinging up to grab Phineas’ arm.“Ah… so ‘s you, ye rat face bastard,” Michael laughs. “Did ye know it ain’t polite to go poking around in people’s insides without permission?”“Michael, wait!” you shout, just in time to prevent Michael’s other arm from stabbing a scalpel into Phineas’ temple. “He’s on our side now!”
>>362459“Well… fuckin’ fancy that,” Michael laughs weakly, falling limp the second his momentum falls off. “Still ain’t polite though… is it?”“I’m saving your life,” Phineas insists. “After the incident earlier, your system went into shock and stopped being able to keep track of all of these injuries you’ve been neglecting. You shouldn’t even be alive right now.”“I get tha’… a lot,” Michael chuckles morbidly. “Though I kinda thought this time was gonna be it… The fuck’d ye hit me with, ye shite…?”“A concentrated dose of FED,” he murmurs, his stitching hands working in a flurry now. “It’s an unstable mutagen I use on the spiders to make them larger and which kills just about everything else.”“If I turn into a giant spider… I’m kickin’ yer arse…” That’s about as much as Father Michael can handle before finally passing out again, body once more sinking flat onto the table.“So, uhm, Phineas,” you question timidly. “There isn’t any chance of him turning into a spider, is there? And certainly not a giant spider, spitting beams of light, right?”“Of course not!” Phineas scoffs. “Well, probably not… Then again, it’s not supposed to kill people, either, but science is a fickle mistress… Either way, it’s merely supposed to force a change in the target, to force them to evolve. Hence the name, Forced Evolutionary Decoction: FED.”“You found a way to make monsters evolve!?” Lucy demands.“What I seem to have made is a lethal poison that occasionally spawns anomalies on accident,” Phineas grumbles, “but, yes, that was the original hope. Normal spiders were simply too small for my work. I needed something bigger, more durable, capable of producing an abundance of silk. However, the results have been mixed…”“Why the hell haven’t you been focusing on that!?” Lucy shouts. “Fuck the spiders! You could be rich!”“Or I could bring down Armageddon on the world by opening Pandora’s box,” he fires back. “How many times do I need to say it? The serum kills more often than it does anything beneficial, and I’m half positive it drives the subject mad in the process. Hard to tell with spiders, of course, hateful little devils that they are, but there’s a definite upswing in aggression after transformation. There’s also the matter of if it even worked perfectly. Do we really want wars fought with monsters at the height of their supremacy with a mountain of corpses standing behind each one? I didn’t think so.”> So, that’s a thing… Response?>  You may want to burn those notes…>  All knowledge can be useful>  Other
>>362465> All knowledge can be useful"It's all in how it's implemented. Professor Baxter Stockman always said that. Whatever did happen to the crazy old coot, anyway? Last I remember, he was still in that contest with Professor Leo von Staaden on who could make the better mouse trapping golem."
>>362465>  All knowledge can be usefulwell, most of it anyway.Even a poison can eventually become a useful medicine, but you might want to just "omit" certain parts of that research if it ever becomes useful.
>>362465>>362497>>362720“Well, no need to go burning your notes or anything, Phineas,” you say. “True, this may not be something the world is ready for just yet, but all knowledge can be useful depending on how it’s implemented. Professor Stockman used to say that all the time. Whatever did happen to the crazy old coot, anyway? Last I remember, he was still in that contest with Professor von Staaden on who could build the better mouse trapping golem.”“Well you see, the beginnings of my notes actually came from him. After all, you can’t have a proper mouse trapping competition without proper mice for the challenge. He was the first to think about using lycanthropy to accomplish the task, of using the curse to set up a sort of dualistic state that would allow a properly threatened subject to transform temporarily. Problem was that they exploded about as often as they transformed. All things concerned, in light of early attempts, I suppose I’ve been making progress.”“Imagine it, Fanny. Some day you may be able to advertise your decoction as only slightly lethal! Like Mina’s cooking!”“You mean mouse-haired Mina? Well, there’s a story there I feel might interest you…”--You spend the next couple of hours talking your way down an endlessly expanding web of lost connections, discussing friends, family, academy incident and triumphs that had long been hidden in your post revival fog. It’s an interesting process of development as each little snippet of information seems to set off a bloom of other memories, names and locations snapping into place as the tapestry of your person is woven back from so many frayed edges.> Is there anything in particular you ask about or try to discuss?
>>362852>our funeralSeems that it was actually a nice affair, from what Phineas said about it, even if it was a closed casket on account of our body being unrecoverable. Our sister is in for a shock when she gets our letter.And has he heard of any kind of blight of silkworms? The mothkin seemed to be worried about it.
>>362852Ask about your family. Things didnt go too badly after we died , I hope. Or maybe I dont? Dont know how our relationship was with them beforehand.And did they at least get the bastard that did us in? Want to believe we at least took them down with us, but you know how it goes.
>>362903>Dont know how our relationship was with them beforehand.We already created our relationship with them.We tried to do our family name proud as a wizard, but our heart wasn't into studying, unlike our sister who upheld the family name by following in dad's footsteps as an archwizard.She was always getting on our case for being, in her eyes, a lazy good-for-nothing that needed to get his ass in gear to live up to the expectations of being the eldest son and older brother.>And did they at least get the bastard that did us in?That was really our own fault, for causing a cave-in and getting trapped in a foot locker, until the dungeon re-animated us.
Question: Couldnt he just feed silkworms this FED?Its not like they can be turned aggresive to any noteworthy degree, and if they are evolved then the silk should come up to par in the key areas.
>>362852>>362871>>362903>>363032“Well, I hope my funeral at least wasn’t a dull affair,” you note while patching one of your femurs back together. “I’d always hoped there would be more drinking than crying to go around, plus songs and barmaids with tremendous… ‘personalities’.”*Rattle-Rattle* You can’t help but laugh even if the elf is glaring daggers through you.“What can I say?” Phineas murmurs quietly, wrinkles showing his age clearly as he tugs the last stitches to finish his work on Father Michael. “I can at least assure you that there were drinks aplenty to be had, music, dancing… Your father spared no expense on the caterers.”“My father?” you question, piecing together the impression of the man so similar and yet so different from yourself. No. Maybe, he wasn’t so different after all. He was simply a more responsible version of yourself, carrying his grey hairs early and gracefully as he reared two chaotic children through their respective adolescences and managed the duties of his station. True, your sister had been a terror and your mother somewhat distant, but your father… You hadn’t realized until just now how much you missed that familiar face of his, the face of the man who bought you your first ale, taught you your first spell, or told you on your last parting that he was happy to see you following your dreams.“Lee,” you hear Phineas call. “Lee are you still there?”“He does this sometimes,” Lucy sighs. “Just leave him to it.”“Come now,” you snip. “I’m not geriatric yet.” With a snap and a jolt of pain, you reconnect the mended bone. “Now please, Phineas, continue.”“Well, as I was saying,” he breathes, clearly a bit uncomfortable with this topic. “There was food and drink, song and laughter. Richard and I even managed a little before all was said and done, reflecting on the good times and the bad and how even in death you refused to be forced into a bloody suit. However, the actual burial ceremony was a much quieter affair.“There were just a few of us on that plot, the sun shining like a beacon while the lot of us wept like children. Your mother, your sister, your father, Richard, and I plus a few of the surviving members of your last expedition. There were a few others who I can’t recall, but in that time, I could hardly register them. It was the last I would see of them anyway, of them or Richard before I slowly slid off the face of the earth. I didn’t want to be one more burden for them to deal with, after all, not after your passing.”“Have you received any letters from them since?” you question. “Anything at all?”“I’m afraid not, Lee,” he admits quietly. “That is when my window into their lives closed.”
>>363111“Well, nothing a letter and an indestructible suit of armor won’t cure,” you remark, seeing the odd look Phineas gives you and laughing. “Well, when they find out I’m still alive and didn’t come straight home, Sarah is likely to kill me all over again.”*Rattle-Rattle*“In any case, Phineas, it’s good to be at least a little more up to speed on everything, and sorry to have put the lot of you through that on account of what I can only assume was my own stupidity. However, on the subject of worms, it occurs to me: why not simply use silk worms for your FED? Sure, they aren’t as good as spiders by rote, but they are also far less likely to enter fits of carnivorous rage and all that. Seems like a winning proposition, especially if you consider that a bit of evolution may very well improve their silk quality.”“I had considered it, Lee,” Phineas admits. “However, there’s two matters that stood in my way. The first is that they’re life cycle is transitionary. You’d be as likely to evolve them directly into a moth as to get any use out of their larval state. The second is that even if I had the means to keep them developmentally stunted, the only silk worm specimens within a thousand miles are privately owned by the Morrison Trading Company.”“And those are presently suffering from a fairly nasty blight, if what I’ve heard from a nearby mothkin population can be taken at face value.”“A blight?” Phineas questions, distress running through his features and eyes widening. “My god, it all makes sense.”“What makes sense?” you ask.“The blight, the abduction-“ He stops to catch his breath. “A few months back, I had a set of prospective buyers ask me if I could supplement their silk supply with my own. When I explained the quantities I had available, they lost interest, of course, but as they weren’t forthright in their intended channels, it makes sense now.“You see, Arachne silk, spider silk, moth silk, it’s all still basically silk, and with proper chemical and magical treatment, no one could tell the difference. And for presumably months now, they’ve had this girl working, producing silk to the point of injury (no small task for an Arachne of any age) and have managed to liquidate all of it without raising suspicions. And since there’s been no sudden competition springing up to wrest Morrison’s place in the silk market, that means-”“They’ve been the ones selling the silk,” Lucy finishes.“It’s conjecture, mind you,” Phineas back-pedals. “Dangerous conjecture at that, but the pieces line up a bit too perfectly. Silk supplies dwindle and rather than upset the market, they acquire a new source and pass it off as the original. No questions. No mess. That is, unless they were to be discovered.”> The plot thickens…>  We don’t have enough evidence>  We need to tell someone about this>  Other
>>363114> Other"I know of some people that were involved, that might be able to answer some questions about this. Especially since Lucy was sent to wipe out the evidence of the arachne girl's silk production. I would wager that your employers can be traced back to the Morrison Company."Though...why NOT disrupt the market? As you said, they held all the silk production, with no competitors especially since the mothkin don't seem keen on selling their silk and some damnfool murderhobos pissed off the Arachne. The prices would have gone through the roof and what stock they did have they could sell off at eye-watering mark-ups."Or am I missing something here? Maybe something my sockets can't see? After all, my head's somewhat empty as it is right now."
>>363129>>363114“I know of some people that were involved in these operations who may be able to shed some light on this situation. If nothing else, since Lucy was sent to wipe out the evidence of the Arachne girl’s silk production, I would wager that her employers can be traced back to whoever is responsible. Assuming that ends up being Morrison’s, that still leaves a principle question, namely: Why NOT disrupt the silk market?“As you said, they hold all of the silk production with no competitors. The mothkin don’t seem keen on selling their silk any time soon, and some damn fool decided to piss off the Arachne, ensuring their prices will remain lofty for the next hundred years. Why not claim that there would be a shortfall, let the prices go through the roof, and then sell off their remaining stock at an eye-watering mark-up?“Or am I missing something here? Maybe something my sockets can’t see? Wouldn’t be surprising. After all, the space between my ears has been rather vacant these days.”*Rattle-Rattle*“It’s possible that the blight is even worse than they’ve let on,” Phineas muses. “To push them to these sort of depraved extents, kidnapping and extortion, perhaps they didn’t have enough silk to even make up their shortfalls with simple inflation.”“Not to mention,” Lucy cuts in. “If it’s a matter of money, you can bet your dick merchants don’t have ‘enough’ in their vocabulary. Somebody probably had the balls to hit up an easy mark and then the others just didn’t say no. Or maybe some enterprising low lives brought the option to them. Whatever the case, I wouldn’t expect to have a chat with my employers any time soon if I were you. I’d rather keep my ears, tongue, and various other important parts where they belong.”“But my point then is, why wouldn’t they do both?”
>>363322“Easy,” she says. “There’d have been too many questions. Hell, there’d be plenty of questions if they just claimed something resembling a major shortage was about to happen. It’s the hazard of selling almost exclusively to the upper crust of society, that when you make things inconvenient for them, they start asking questions: very loud, very obnoxious questions.“And let me tell you, if you tell them you’ve got a farm full of sick worms or worse, if they find that out on their own, you’re suddenly dealing with a losing proposition in trade, an inferior product that isn’t nearly underpriced enough to prevent people from making the transition to Arachne silk. They’d lose their shirts. Then, even assuming they pull through that mess with their teeth intact, they’d be facing a scrutinizing eye when they started pulling silk out of nowhere and claiming it was 100% authentic, non-disease ridden threads.”“It is true,” Phineas agrees. “The alchemical processing can make them more similar, but not identical, and if there was enough interest… That’s not even beginning to mention how many enterprising nobles might try to start their own silk farm and supplant the weakened, major supplier.”“Is that even possible?” you question.“Well, it wouldn’t be easy,” Phineas says, “but the theory is all there. And bear in mind, it takes one noble getting a startup on its feet before theirs is back up to snuff to tip the scales irreparably in their favor.”“So, a problem emerges that could potentially bring ruin to a large scale trading company,” you begin. “If they talk about the problem openly without a work around, they lose business at best and go out of business at worst. The only option then is to keep things quiet, but on this sort of scale… Is it even possible?”“Well, last I checked there was a rash of murders in recent months, specifically talking about the ones whose deaths were pinned on your medusa friend. Something tells me it isn’t a coincidence, and something else tells me those were just the murders they got sloppy with.”“That’s too far of a leap in logic,” you object. “Maybe some of them, but enough to argue a case, I doubt it.”“Well then, guess that leaves us a couple of options. Either we dig through the books and find out why the bodies have been piling up so high, or we pay a visit to the worm farm and figure out what’s been going down over there.”> What to do?>  It couldn’t hurt to pay them a visit>  It might be worth investigating some crime scenes>  We really don’t have time to solve this mystery>  Other
>>363325>  It might be worth investigating some crime scenesThat will give our alchemist friend here time to work on something to help the arachne. As far as the employers know, so far, nothing is wrong. if they ask about the guards, he can just say there was a problem with the giant spiders, and theyre layed up with poison.
>>363325> OtherLet's dig through the books. Phineas can try to come up with some ointments to help the arachne girl while we do some forensic accounting.
>>363325>>  It might be worth investigating some crime scenes
>>363411Seconding this, however, where are we going to go after we finish up at Fanny's place? So far, we need to take the kobolds home, send a letter to our family, and get back in touch at the ol' homestead to see how everything is going.
>>363894Aside from dealing with the Morris Trading Company, we need to go meet the Baron so that we can bring him to trial for negligence and dereliction of duty. Of course, we need to go pick up the rest of our group first.
>>363325>>363358>>363411>>363894>>363772So much to do with so little time. You’ve letters to send, wrongs to right, young girls to escort home, and proof to gather in dozens of different places. All of this sits on the table before you even get to the main course of dealing with the baron for his negligence, which was going to be no small battle in its own right. First things first, though:“How long do you believe it will take you to make a salve for the Arachne girl, Phineas?” you inquire.“Not long at all, Lee,” he responds, wiping his hands as he approaches the ruin of his lab. “It’s just a matter of finding the ingredients in the chaos. At that point, I could have it done within two to three hours.”Well, that likely wouldn’t prove enough time to do any investigation. At the least though, you could do to look at the map Father Michael was carrying around. A few moments later, you’ve fished it from the ruins his pockets, a well-worn map with markings of every single murder case brought against Cassandra at first. And, as per usual, when you really look at it with any knowledge of her character and capacity for violence, it seems only a fool would attribute the murders to her.Whereas your kind Lady dwells in the southeastern most corner of this territory, the murders are all seemingly diffused about the center, somewhere between 40 and 100 miles from her doorstep. A long way to go for a meal or a petty murder, to be certain. The real question for you now, though, is how far you can afford to travel looking for answers.“Michael would know best about who died where,” Lucy remarks, coming closer when she sees you pouring over the map. “However, I’m pretty sure we can tag certain sites as no goes based on their proximity to Thorinsdale.” She points to roughly the center of the murderous cloud. “Last I checked, that’s where the silk farms were being kept.”“Seems to be an awful lot of ground to cover for just us,” you comment, tracing lines and counting days.“Well, it’s not like we don’t have a few more willing volunteers we can pick up on the way,” she points out. “Ricky, Margy, Gal, and the kid bear checking in on, after all.”“And then of course there’s the kobold triplets who need to be transported three days south…”> Might as well make a list> Omit or reorder as you see fit>  Take the kobolds home>  Return to your allies>  Investigate the crime scenes>  Head to the baron’s estate>  Other
>>364765>  Return to your allies and once we're with them we can>  Investigate the crime scenesWhile we can start one the girls recovery, since the salve should be ready at that point.then we can work on getting the kobolds home, then working on the Baron, since the way this is going, for all we know he's in on the whole thing.
>>364765>>  Return to your allies>>  Investigate the crime scenesTime is important for this one>>  Take the kobolds home>>  Head to the baron’s estate
>>364765> Return to your alliesThe arachne girl needs her salve and her injuries tended to quickly, before they become permanent if they're not already.>  Take the kobolds homeCan't be bringing kids on this adventure.>  Head to the baron’s estateWe can't take too long on this.>  Investigate the crime scenes
>>365045>>364949>>364928>>364765“Regardless, however we end up doing this, more hands can’t possibly hurt,” you rationalize, giving your newly assembled leg a good twist as you snap it in. “Our first order of business then should be to return to Hastor, give the girl her medicine, and assess our leads, leaving the triplets with the church for a while longer.”“Maybe some time with a pack of nuns will teach those brats some manners,” Lucy chuckles.“Well, we’ll need to ask them, of course, but something tells me they won’t mind. Anyway, that’s as good a plan as I can muster at this point in time, with the intention being after we finish our investigation, we return them home and then head directly for the baron’s estate.”“Guess we’ll be taking off right after Sleeping Beauty over there wakes up then,” Lucy agrees, stretching her legs out from her chair and setting aside her whetstone. “Wake me up if skinny over there tries anything.”With that said, the elf goes quiet, breath soon falling rhythmically and her body limp even as her eyes remain wide open. Let’s face it, though, you’ve seen far more terrifying things within the past several days. So, you just leave her to her rest and go to join Phineas in the other room, the spritely man casually rummaging through piles of broken glass to retrieve beakers and test tubes for his impromptu work station.“You know, it occurred to me,” he says, not looking up from his work as he mashes and mixes various samples with mechanical proficiency. “Do you recall that back in the day you had tried to get me into the practice of illusions? Same thing could be said about Richard and his invocation, really, but you were the only one who went so far as to make a copy of his journal for me.” He laughs, patting a large tome to his side. “No doubt, this is fairly out of date, but it may help you in some way, and I’d be remiss not to offer you any advantage I could before you left.”“Not coming with us then?” you question, hefting the book in both hands and gently wiping the dust off the cover. “We might have use for another mage or another pair of eyes where we’re going.”“I’m afraid not,” Phineas answers sadly. “After all, I was never much of a field mage nor a warrior in my time. While my classmen were learning to polymorph horses into frogs and newts into dragons, I was more concerned with learning the seventeen different ways to mash mandrake. No, in the end, I believe my place is right here with my lab and my garden, making remedies for addicts and old men with an absolute minimum of iron and flint flying toward my head.”> Try to convince Phineas to go with you?>  Yes>  No>  Other> Also, roll 2d100 as you examine your old text book.
Rolled 84, 6 = 90 (2d100)>>365155>>  OtherAsk if he'll be ok here. Will the guys we're fucking with come after him here?
Rolled 36, 94 = 130 (2d100)>>365155> YesLook, Phineas, none of us knows spider anatomy as well as you. At least help us with applying the ointment and assessing the girl's injuries.
Rolled 99, 61 = 160 (2d100)>>365155>> Try to convince Phineas to go with you?>>  YesCome on, we need your knowledge.
Rolled 15, 36 = 51 (2d100)>>365155>>  No
>>365171>>365317>>365390>>365429>>365155> 99, 94“Listen, Phineas,” you begin. “I’m glad that you’re thinking about how to start making things right. Truth be told, I always thought you’d wind up as a sort of town apothecary wherever you wound up, and it suits you. However, I’m afraid that none of us know spider anatomy as well as you do. We wouldn’t know how to diagnose the girl’s injuries or even apply the ointment that you’re giving us when we got to her. “What I’m saying more than anything is that it would be nice to have you along, my friend. Warrior or no, you have plenty of information that could help us with what we’re presently about and, granted the amount of trouble I tend to get into wherever I go, will have plenty of opportunities to make up moral ground in conflict resolution. Above all, I’d prefer you not be here on your own if the individuals we’re about to take on come looking for trouble. In light of all of that, what do you say?”You can see the cogs behind his forehead turning as he thinks it all through, eyes absent as his hands never miss a beat. Reluctance, doubts, melancholy, then finally resignation as he lets out a sigh.“Two weeks,” comes his final answer. “That’s how long I can afford to leave the spiders before they exhaust their food supplies.”“Well, I suppose that will do,” you say, putting an encouraging hand on his shoulders. “It’ll be just like old times!”“I was afraid you were going to say that…”*Rattle-Rattle*--Pestles grind and beakers bubble, multicolored vapors floating through the air as your friend continues his work, but by now, you’ve found yourself once more engrossed in memories of the past. Of course, the journal you hold in your hand isn’t the original, far too few ale stains and ripped corners for that, but it’s your writing, your notes, your magnum opus of everything you’d bothered to learn during your time at university.And with each crudely scribbled note or humorous little figure in the margins, you continue to capture snippets from your past. Like the time you’d forced yourself to learn an extinguishing spell after your first failed attempt nearly sent the dorms up in flames or the modified magehand you’d created for tactile examination of ranged targets that you’d ‘never’ have dreamed of using for nefarious purposes. It’s a gold mine of information both practical and personal that draws you in with every turned page, engrossing you far past the dawn and nearly holds you fast through the sound of shouting in the other room.
>>365614“What in the bloody hell happened to me robes!?” you hear Father Michael demand, and that’s your cue to fold your book closed and once more return to your feet.“You mean to say you don’t recall?” you ask, as you begin walking into the room.“Recall what?” Father Michael demands, pawing through the scraps of his pastor’s vestments. “Last thing I recall properly was getting’ hit with a syringe full a’ hurt and hittin’ the floor headfirst. Doesn’t explain why now I’ve wearin’ ribbons.”“Well then, let’s start from the top…” you begin, quickly and concisely reviewing the exact list of things that had happened from the point where the syringes full of FED had been launched.“So yar tellin’ me that the daft bastard what shot me with mutant growth hormone’s one of yer mates from university?” Michael asks. “And that whatever bullshit was in the dart turned me into a 12-foot-tall, laser firin’ behemoth?”“That’s about the sum total of it, yes,” you agree. “There’s also the part where now we’re fairly positive Morrison’s is behind this entire operation.”“Well, normally, I’d say we found a big enough rock for the situation, but I ain’t in a big hurry to go back to meet the big man upstairs any time soon. Reckon he wasn’t too happy ‘bout the surprise visit yesterday, either.”“So you mean to say…”“Either that or it was one hell of a hallucination. Anyway, anything you can do with this pile of scraps, Lee? Just because it’s the way the gods made ye, don’t make it the way you should gallivant about in public.”As luck would have it, so much time spent mending wicker has given you a steady hand at correcting rips and tears in woven material. A little mana here, a little mana there, and a bit of hunting for missing scraps of cloth, and the father is soon back in his Sunday best.“Thank ye,” he says, stretching as he gets up off the table and walking over to Lucy’s chair.“Oi, Sleepin’ Beauty!” he yells, lightly kicking the chair leg. “Come on. We gotta get a move on.”“Unless you wanna figure out if this grows back,” she threatens, a lightning quick hand planting a blade against Father Michael’s crotch. “Fuck. Off.”“Well, good mornin’ to you too, sweetheart,” Father Michael laughs, carefully extricating himself from the situation before turning back to you. “Alright, lad. Let’s get this Phineas guy and get on the road. We’ve a lot of ground to cover.”--
>>365625You find Phineas in fairly short order still sleeping in his bed. After staying up most of the night talking and reorganizing his lab, it seems an early start is proving difficult for him. Unfortunately for him, Father Michael is a man of action, not patience, and he’s barely conscious before the priest is manually stuffing him into his traveling robes. Being the host, voluntary or no, your mage companion takes some time to make a light breakfast for the few of you before you are on soon to be on your way. It only then occurs to you that you may have forgotten something.> About that man in the basement…>  Lucy suggests killing him. It’s neat and tidy.>  Father Michael votes for sticking him in an empty spider cage for now. It’s ironic and hilarious.>  Phineas thinks he can whip up something to clear his memory, but he isn’t sure.>  Other. You’re the tie breaker.
>>365636>>  Father Michael votes for sticking him in an empty spider cage for now. It’s ironic and hilarious.
>>365636Feed him to the spider.That should keep them fed for a while.
>>365636>  Father Michael votes for sticking him in an empty spider cage for now. It’s ironic and hilarious.>other: memory alteration isnt necessary, just give him something to put him to sleep for a day or two. He'll wake up hungry and sore but better then the alternative.
>>365636> Phineas thinks he can whip up something to clear his memory, but he isn’t sure.
>>365636>>365663>>365675>>365722>>365853You spend a solid moment arguing about what to do with the remaining slave trader, taking each person’s suggestions into account before coming to your final decision. Taking him to the guards might cause unwanted complications right now that could easily see Phineas jailed. Letting him go could lead to him covering up his trails and disappearing. Killing him or stealing his memories would be a bit barbaric. So, you suppose that in the end…“Alright, Michael, we’ll go with your plan.”You might as well have told him that the yearly harvest festival was right around the corner from the way his smile threatens to split his face, and there’s a definite spring in his step as he heads downstairs to commence introducing the prisoner to his new cell. Phineas walks behind him in a much more controlled manner, muttering things to himself as they come along to the vaguely conscious slaver.“Mmf!” the man protests angrily from behind his gag, kicking about in outrage to little effect.“Now, now,” the Father admonishes. “Ain’t no use gettin’ upset just because the tables have turned around on ye, is there? After all, this is what you were about to subject the wee lass to, isn’t it?” The man begins thrashing all the harder as he’s lowered down into a cramped barrel. “Just the gods way of showin’ ye the error of yar ways, but I’ll tell ye what…” He carefully positions a clear lid over the still struggling man. “Ye behave yerself, and we might let you out in a couple years.”Nervousness turns into full blown panic as Father Michael lowers the lid and snaps it into place on the now rocking barrel, the man’s face turning red as he bellows up in desperate fury.“He’s lying,” Phineas corrects gently, looking down at the man with sympathy. “It should only be a couple of weeks until we return. In the meantime, however-“ With a wave of his hands and a burst of mana you see the form of the man in the barrel begin to distort and discolor, stretching and twisting then shrinking down into a much smaller, far more arachnid shape. “I would ask that you be patient.”The slaver turned tiny arachnid hisses in outrage as it begins scrabbling toward the lid, tiny legs plinking against the glass in a desperate rhythm.“The petrification on the crickets in the trough will wear off as the days tick onward,” Phineas explains as Father Michael inserts the feeding trough and places the criminal on the shelf with the other spiders. “With plenty of water and a little patience, he should be fine really. At this point, I’m far more worried about your friend though, Lee. Is she going to be alright?”Throughout the entire process, beginning to end, Lucy has been laughing like a mad woman, the slender elf now clutching her stomach to control her heaves as she watches the man’s desperate struggles.
>>366029“I’m fine!” she guffaws, stumbling as though punch drunk toward the still furious arachnid pawing at the glass. “Just fine.” With a hard index finger she then begins knocking at the glass. “Who’s got who on a leash now, bug boy?”, she demands, laughing some more before slamming her palm hard enough against the lid to send him skittering back into his clothing.“Are you quite finished?” Phineas demands.“Not hardly,” she fires back, casually strolling away from the terrified arachnid with an exultant look on her face, “but that’ll have to do for now.”“Alright, guess that’ll be that then,” Michael finishes. “Still say we should have left him human. A little case of the cramps never killed anybody.”--However, the deed was done and the road remained before the lot of you. With a last minute check to ensure everything had been packed away and that Phineas had what he needed, you took off into the midday sun with all due haste, intent on making good time to the temple where you had left the triplets.Thankfully, the gods of travel seem to be on your side in this case, watching over you and providing clear roads through the day and night as you speed along your travels as well as a safe camp to rest at until the first cracks of dawn see you off again.And so, you arrive on a cloudless morning, with the radiant sun shining down from overhead on the countless stairs that you are then forced to ascend. Just as well that the church of Orrin believed in forgiveness through prayer at their altars, because by the end, surely you all found yourselves in need of salvation from the curses you’d laid upon the gods of right angles and masonry.As for the pups, they prove less than difficult to find when you ascend to the temple grounds proper. A young acolyte is more than happy to point you in the direction of the High Priestess’ quarters and her maids just as prompt to escort you further inward into her lightly furnished abode. It truly is a bit queer after seeing the high temples of some divines in life. The lavish statues made of gold, the tapestries woven by a thousand hands hung from hundred foot ceilings, this place had none of it.And yet, maybe that was because all of that splendor had been reserved for the woman seated on a soft pillow further inside. With hair like gold and eyes like sapphires, the morning sun shining through her window seemingly wreathes her in its splendor, a crown of light for a beauty nothing short of divine. And from her lips come the most peculiar sounds, a song sung in a language you do not know with a soulful tenderness as she serenades the little ones presently napping on and about her lap, Nora’s ears twitching gently as she leans against her stomach.
>>366034“Well, would ye fancy that,” Michael says, his rough voice tearing the delicate atmosphere to shreds. “Was wondering where ye had gotten yerself off to Olivia. See ye’ve grown yer hair out since tha incident with the torch.”“Father Michael?” Those beautiful blue eyes swing upward and seem to pierce right through you as her focus comes back to the room. “Oh my, it’s been quite some time. Hasn’t it?”“Eh. Who’s countin’?” Michael laughs. “They’ve had me all over the place since the troll incident. Just glad they finally let ye plant yar ass someplace other than the daily grind.”“Father Damian passed on,” she says quietly, “and the temple on high needed someone new to see to its operation. I was honored.”“Oh, aye,” he says. “Reckon ye’d be the gal for the job. Lord knows, I’d wind up burnin’ a place like this to the ground within a month.”“You and fire really do seem to share a particular relationship,” she laughs.“Aye, that and trouble,” he agrees. “But speakin’ a trouble, I’m about to be makin’ some more of it with me and the lads here and we can’t be bringin’ along little ones with us. Think ye could watch the kobold lasses for a spell till we can get back around to gettin’ ‘em where they belong?”“We’d be overjoyed,” she says with an enthusiastic smile, turning a tender expression down to Nora’s resting head. “They’ve been absolute angels since they arrived.”“Oh really now,” you say. “Even the other two?”“Well, they were hesitant at first,” she admits, those eyes of hers now fully turned on you. “However, with a bit of encouragement, they’ve really been giving it their all! Still, I know that they want to go home soon, especially little Nora here. If you can’t otherwise make it back to us before, we may be able to make our own arrangements within two weeks.”> Your response…>  That would be lovely>  No. We’ll see this through personally.
>>366037>>  That would be lovely
>>366037> No. We’ll see this through personally."It's very good to keep ourselves to a schedule, or I'm sure we'd end up losing all track of time righting wrongs everywhere. And we need to be coming back this way in under two weeks anyway."
>  No. We’ll see this through personally.
>>366037>  No. We’ll see this through personally.barring unforeseen difficulties, it shouldnt be an issue. an most of our issues tend to be short and violent anyway
>>366307>>366283>>366089>>366071>>366037“We couldn’t possibly ask you to go so far out of your way on our accounts!” you insist. “Really, as fortune would have it, we’ve plans to be back this way within two weeks regardless. Phineas here will need to tend to his lab specimens, and we’re not about to veer so far from our set course to make that impossible. Honestly, for our own sakes, we’ll need to keep ourselves to a schedule, lest we lose track of all the wrongs that need writing across this blasted territory.”“Even in peace, there seems to be no rest for the righteous,” Olivia says with a giggle. “But very well, I suppose that I can ‘bear’ to keep these little ones a while longer until you return. You can consider it a promise. Still, if you would be so kind as to answer a small question of mine in return, I fear my curiosity has gotten the better of me. Namely, what brings an undead such as yourself to travel with one of our priests?”Her expression remains as bright as ever as she continues brushing one hand through Nora’s feather-soft hair, no hint of malice or contempt behind that pleasant smile. Yet, all the same, you feel inexplicably vulnerable in that moment, naked, like your armor had been stripped away and the gaze of the sun itself has been turned on you, piercing its light through your very soul.> What do you say/do?
>>366339"Oh, that. Well, Father Michael was caught up in some of the troubles he and his group were tricked into attacking a single mother, told that they were responsible for some murders that had happened around. Fortunately for her, and for me, the dungeon she had taken as a home activated its defenses and called me back from the afterlife in her defense."In my case, I wanted to do some good, pay off some old debts, and put right what had gone wrong. "Right now, we're off to see the Baron for trying to frame my lady for the murders, as well, she was the one responsible for eliminating a coven of vampires, a task that he should have done but didn't, and by law he is negligent in his duties and his title and barony is to be ceded to her."
>>366339>>366369>>366518>>366523“Well, you see my dear priestess,” you begin, realizing there’s no point in cutting things short. “Father Michael here was caught up in some trouble when he and his group of apprentices were tricked into attacking a single mother after she was falsely declared responsible for a string of murders toward the center of this territory. Fortunately for her, and for me, the dungeon saw fit to reanimate my skeletal remains and my soul saw fit to come along for the ride and then aid in her defense.“Things came to a bit of an impasse shortly thereafter, and with the mother and myself still left still alive, for lack of a better word in my case, I decided that it was only sensible that I spend the time I’d been gifted back on this earth to do some good, pay off some old debts, and put right as many wrongs as I dare.“As a part of that agenda, we were off to see the Baron for trying to frame my lady for the murders, and as I here tell, to settle her reward for eliminating a coven of vampires formerly on the property. It was a task he should have attended to, but didn’t, and by law his negligence would see the dungeon and surrounding territory ceded to her ownership.“Of course on the way, things have come up, and so we’ve found ourselves chasing a ring of slavers from distributor to seller, rescuing a few unfortunate wastrels along the way and doing what we can to see to their care. Needless to say, it’s been a rather lively unlife I’ve been living, and I’m quite far from done with it yet.”*Rattle-Rattle*“I see…” she says gently. “To have been brought back in such a state, so far from anything that was familiar to you, it must have been quite disorienting. Yet, nevertheless, you found a higher purpose rather than giving in to your misfortune. Such a wonderful thing to hear!She purses her lips for a moment, thinking before she continues.
>>367611“As Father Michael has no doubt told you, our church believes in sending restless spirits back sooner rather than later. There is no greater travesty than to be torn from the loving gaze of the gods and held here by unnatural forces.”“Well, I…”“But as you’ve said, you have things to take care of first,” she agrees. “And it is not my place to interfere with the will of the divines whose touch I can feel upon you along with… well, something else. I ask only that if the worries of this world should ever weigh to heavily upon you, you return that we may see you once again to your rest.”“I’ve already an accord with the good father so far as that’s concerned,” you explain. “Should I begin acting positively ghoulish or my jokes fall flat, it’s off to the afterlife with this pile of bones.”*Rattle-Rattle*“Don’t tempt me,” Father Michael cautions.“Well then, that settles things,” Olivia concludes. “Once again, pardon my questions and know that you are welcome to stay for however long you wish beneath our eaves before resuming your travels. I’ll also gladly answer any questions you may have, but I fear that soon I must be about my own duties.”> Do you have any questions?>  Touch of the divines?>  Something else?>  Depart immediately>  Other
>>367615>  Something else?The divines is probably the War Boys, but what is this other thing?
>>367615> Depart immediatelyNo time to waste. >>367653It's probably the magic used to bind us to this skeleton. We're some weird hybrid reanimated skeleton/golem.
>>367615>>  Something else?
>>367727It was a semi-rhetorical question Anon. It'll be answered eventually anyway
>>367615>>367735>>367727>>367653“We’ve a need to get back on the road shortly,” you emphasize. “However, I am curious about what you were referring to when you mentioned ‘something else’ affecting my spirit. I suspect the divine traces may be the mark of a blessing I’ve received recently, but I can’t say I’m aware of anything else that would cause a stir. Well, aside from whatever force binds my possession to this golem.”“You have received the blessing of the Brothers of Battle,” she confirms. “One of the members of our order, a paladin by the name of Jade, was once similarly bestowed with their mark. A shame she isn’t presently about. Else, she might have been able to help you grow more accustomed to your blessing in a much shorter time. Either way, I feel there’s something ‘different’ about your aura when it comes to the touch of the divine, like there’s another hand in play that I can’t quite place. However, I fear to offer guesswork lest it lead you astray.“As for the other mark upon your spirit, it’s a curious thing really, very purposefully and precisely carved into your very soul. Such marks aren’t common, needless to say, and can only be made by the most powerful of magic. What the purpose might have been behind it, I cannot say. I can only feel it surging beneath the surface, elemental and… incomplete from what I can tell. Perhaps in time, it’s mysteries will be revealed to you.”“Is that all?” you question.“That’s as much as I dare mention,” she says. “Half-truths can be more dangerous than lies, after all, and I’ve now told you all that I can know for certain.”“I suppose that will have to do for now,” you sigh. “Thank you, Olivia, for all of your help. With that, I believe we’ll be on our way.”With a courteous bow, you turn, making ready to leave. However, you hear the sound of shuffling robes not far behind, and turn to see Olivia tenderly laying Nora down before walking over to her desk.
>>367941“Before that, I’d like to give you something to assist you on your way,” she says, quill in hand. “These are dangerous times for one such as yourself, to be wandering these lands and making great waves. And should your intentions ever be called into question, I would like for you to show them this.”With a flourish, she signs her name on the document, folding the letter before embossing it with her seal, once on the inside, and then finishing with a wax stamp without.“You’ll also find a mail post in the town below. This second letter will inform them you are welcome to one of their short-range carrier birds for your own uses. Normally, they reserve a few for trips domestically with the harpies themselves only dealing with the longer and heavier deliveries. They’ll not miss just one in these parts.”“My lady, I don’t know how to thank you for all of this…”“You needn’t thank me at all,” she insists, gently placing the letters into your hand. “The gods, in their wisdom, saw fit to give us one another to ease us in our burdens. I am merely doing what I can with the station I have been afforded to honor that promise. Know that I am wishing you clear skies and safe travels upon your way.”“Wha’s goin’ on…?” a sleepy Nora murmurs, rolling about on the cushions as she rolls out of bed.“Nothing to worry about, dear child,” Olivia answers. “The gentlemen who rescued you were simply paying a visit. Come now, let’s you and I both get some breakfast.”With your business concluded, your troupe find themselves heading for the door, on to the post office and then the next leg of your journey. It occurs to you as well, while nearing the station, you may have enough coin to finally send that letter back home.> Send a letter?>  Yes>  No>  Contents?> Also, roll 1d10 for random encounters along your way.
Rolled 9 (1d10)>>367946>>  NoWhen we send it we should be on our way to visit, we still have a bunch to do first
Rolled 8 (1d10)>>367946>Yes>contents"Hi sis! It's me, Lee! Yes, I was dead, emphasis on the past tense. The method and circumstances of my reanimation leave me running errands and righting wrongs alongside a priest of Orrin. Don't worry, I'll be around to see you, but my current condition does mean you'll be the one the to carry on the family line."Tell her where we're going and that it'll be a month before we can even start going towards the old family estate.
Rolled 10 (1d10)>>367946>>  No
Rolled 2 (1d10)>>367946>  Nonot yet anyway
>>367962>>367988>>367992>>368059>>367946Hello, sister… No, too casual.Dearest sister… Still, missing something.So, I’m not dead by the way… Well, technically I am…The words just won’t come out right when you finally reach the post office. Honestly, how were you supposed to start this conversation or continue it… or finish it? Was it really the right thing to send this sort of information over a letter and then leave them waiting for weeks on end until you finally sorted out enough chaos to come their way? Would they even want you to come their way for fear of having an undead menace slowly stalking toward them?Questions, questions, questions, and no good answers. You’d never thought the strain of writing a letter would be enough to make your hands shake, and yet here you are, with an increasingly nervous looking harpy watching your ever twitch with growing unease. Finally, you just give it up.“I’ll pay for the stationary, but I fear I just don’t have the words at the moment,” you explain, and get an overly courteous nod as she accepts your coin.Afterward, you show her the letter and are lead to a cage out back and an assorted selection of… are those chickens?“They’re specially bred,” the small harpy assures you, motioning to the blue feathered avian. “I assure you, they’ll deliver wherever you need them to if you tell them a town you are familiar with.”“I suppose that will do…” you offer blankly, dimly accepting the first squawking menace that’s handed to you.“His name is Charles,” she notes. “I think he’ll do well on the road. Just… Just keep him safe okay.”“I assure you, no harm will come to young Charles,” you assure her, looking at the bird even now sizing you up with idle curiosity. “Whatever trouble we thrust ourselves into, our animals tend to stay a fair distance out of it.”She looks nervous at that, almost on the verge of taking the bird back from you, but in the end, she simply accepts the letter and lets you go on your way with chicken and open cage in hand.
>>368182Thereafter, the day’s travels are light and relatively worry free. You make excellent time on the roads with few obstructions, the skies clear and the sun above not overly harsh. Maybe there was something to that priestess’ blessing after all, or at least you dare to hope come the night when your companions need to dismount and rest.In short order, a fire blazes to chase back the gathering night. Food is then produced and divvied up with whatever fresh supplies you have being prepared for the cook pot. You only wish you had a phantasmal nose to smell the roasting herbs as the pot comes to a boil: sage, rosemary, and thyme, fresh picked tomatoes and peppers with hints of juniper and non-mail carrying chicken. It was a pleasure you were getting more used to denying yourself, but the lingering want still remained.Eventually, you get tired of seeing the eagerness in their faces and turn from the fire altogether, turning to the darkening twilight and taking a few paces off to practice some of your illusions. There was so much that you had uncovered in the past couple of days from your former life that you were eager to try with the illusory, tactical magehand being top of the list.So, with a false breath and a hum of effort, you begin trying to conjure your mana, attempting to blur the line between sensations long cut off and the magic that would take its place. It was something that went against the fundamental percept of illusion, to give in to your own masquerade, but it was vital to this spell, to feel without feeling, to accept your dream as reality while simultaneously reversing the principles of evocation and maintaining stable abjuration.You start with something simple, a leaf, trying to will yourself to feel its delicate, velvety underside, the smooth top, the fibers breaking as you bend it with the abjurant hand. And for a moment, you think you can actually manage it, actually feel at least a ghost of those sensations in your mind. However, you don’t get a chance to lose yourself much further before you see a trio of small figures come marching from the nearby treeline.At first you fear the kobold pups had followed you somehow, but no, these were smaller still. Diminutive and little more than a foot and a half tall, the serious expression on their elven faces stand in stark contrast to the fantastical wings sprouting from their backs. Pixies, you realize, defunct of their usual glamour, armored, and with bows strung but not drawn as they purposefully present themselves to you.“Hail!” calls the foremost one, waving unmistakably at you. “Would you and your companions mind sharing your fire for a spell?”> Your response>  Sure. The more the merrier!>  No. Seems like trouble>  Other
>>368189>  Sure. The more the merrier!Just decline if they try to give you any food or drink. which is probably not actually an issue for Lee
>>368189>>  Sure. The more the merrier!
>>368189> Sure. The more the merrier!Yell back to the camp, "Lucy! We've got guests coming to dinner!"
>>368189>>  Sure. The more the merrier!Do we in character know anything about pixies?
>>368374>>368305>>368264>>368243>>368189“Sure. The more the merrier!” you respond cheerily, waving them on as you turn back to the camp. “It’s not every day that you see fey traveling about the woods or bothering to say hello.”“Today has been far from typical, I fear,” responds the leader. “However, we’ll discuss that when we reach your allies.”“Very well then,” you concede, folding back a bush to reveal the fire. “Pardon my manners, but I’ve invited some guests to dine with us this evening.”“If I hear horns, I’m carving off their wings,” Lucy warns.“I’d like to see you try,” the pixie laughs morbidly, “but no, we haven’t come for trouble and we don’t consort with those parties at any rate. If we did, the quarry we’re presently hunting wouldn’t be half so concerning.”“Ah, what’s it about then?” Father Michael asks. “Did a pack a wolves piss on yer sacred trees or some such? We’d be happy enough to help ye settle up the matter so long as what yar huntin’ doesn’t walk on two legs.”“Well,” the pixie begins. “Our quarry does stride upon two legs, but something tells me our goals would align nicely with those of the human cloth. You see, we’ve been on the hunt since yesterday evening tracking a most peculiar visitor that came very near to our doorstep, a denizen of the lower planes to be precise.”“Ah, shite, demons this close to one of our temples?” Father Michael sighs. “What in the bloody hell is the world coming to?”“Perhaps a literal bloody hell if the beast isn’t dealt with shortly,” the pixie surmises. “From what we can tell of its movements, it’s one of their breed created specifically for hunting things down and not being caught, something which has made its movements particularly hard to track.”
>>368395“And if it ain’t lookin’ fer yer kind,” Michael finishes. “It’s probably lookin’ for ours.”“That would be our thoughts as well,” your guest finishes. “However, from what we can tell, it hasn’t been moving toward the nearest human settlements like you might expect.”“And that would most likely mean-“ Father Michael begins. “Oi, what’s with the panicked expressions on all of yar… Ah, bloody hell, it’s looming right above me, isn’t it?”From the shadows, it emerges without sound, a bare, monstrous skull adorned with tremendous horns and eye sockets that burn as though inset with hellish cinders. The rest of it lies in shadow, a hulking form that would dwarf a regular man equipped with long claws, a ridged spine, a mouth filled with sickle like fangs, and flesh armored in scales and fur. And with a howl that could freeze the flames of hell itself, it makes its intentions abundantly clear, extinguishing the cook fire in an instant before beginning its assault.> So much for your dinner party…> Roll 4d100 and propose a strategy
Rolled 68, 1, 47, 44 = 160 (4d100)>>368401Fey AND demons. This is just our lucky day isnt it?Make some light for everyone, this thing will definitely see better in the dark then us, so trying to be stealthy isnt worth the trouble. Try to attach the light to the demon if possible. other the that, play defence for the father. Holy man's our best bet vs a demon, and he's the best fighter besides.
Rolled 16, 2, 81, 45 = 144 (4d100)>>368401>>368435See if our divine mojo works on demons
Rolled 3, 38, 48, 26 = 115 (4d100)>>368401see if divine rip and tear works
>>3684351>>3684632>>3684953wtf? dice gods are having a laugh
>>368401>>368435>>368463>>368495> 68, 1, 81, 45Everything turns into a blur of panicked motions after that. The beast roars and your allies scream, metal ringing as its drawn from its sheath while you struggle to summon up the mana for a light spell. It’s a demon from the lower planes, a hunter. Leaving it in its natural environment was anything but wise. However, the major difficulty is that it knows that as well, and no sooner have you cast a life spell, then you see it glaring your way, Father Michael in both hands before it throws him at you like a projectile.Immediately, the light goes out as you both go tumbling end over end through the bushes, your helmet clattering somewhere out in the brush before you can regain your feet and go charging back into the fray, skull ablaze and sword drawn.To your credit, you definitely draw his eye with that, enough to where he simply backhands Lucy out of the way before charging straight toward you. However, though you bury your blade into his ramming visage, that does little enough to slow him down as his full weight comes crashing into your chest and sends you reeling. He seems intent on finishing the job with his claws immediately after. However, he finds himself distracted as a powerful light flares up from the back and a rain of arrows start bouncing off of his flesh.“Over here, you coward!” shouts the pixie, landing an arrow into his eye as the beast turns and drawing a roar of pain.With a puff of air from his nostrils and a stamp of his foot, you see flames rise from his coat as he prepares something diabolical. Unfortunately for him, he finds himself blasted with some sort of gooey explosive before he can take more than a few steps.“I. Am. Not. Getting. Paid. ENOUGH FOR THIS!” the elf shouts as she launches in, blades flashing in the magical light as she tears into the demon’s rib cage with abandon.However, your budding confidence is extinguished as the creature bursts an arm loose, grabs Lucy by the shoulder and then hurls her at Phineas who had chucked the bomb, the flames pulsing ever brighter as he begins stomping toward them instead.> What to do?>  Keep laying on the pressure (4d100)>  Something else
Rolled 50, 19, 56, 96 = 221 (4d100)>>368598>  Keep laying on the pressure (4d100)Well, this seems as good a time as any to try that Spike trick with the armor. Just spike ourselves all over and reinforce it with the blessing if possible, than keep it's attention on us so the rest of them can get some hits in. be a danger it can ignore, and also a harasser it cant get rid of without taking some damage.
Rolled 98, 4, 92, 75 = 269 (4d100)>>368598>  Keep laying on the pressure (4d100)
Rolled 27, 100, 86, 88 = 301 (4d100)>>368598>>  Keep laying on the pressure (4d100)
>>368619>>368625>>368638MUCH better this timeLee always seems to do much better after he gets knocked around first it seems.
>>368619I want to try this anon's idea
>>368598>>368619>>368625>>368638> 98, 100, 92, 96“Well, that’s probably not good,” you murmur to yourself, throwing all the power you can muster into your legs as you charge back up the hill.And immediately, you notice an all-too familiar sign of what’s likely about to come as the core of the demon’s being seems to be resonating with a hellish light, blades and spells doing nothing to slow its advance as it stalks toward the elf and Phineas. Time to look for a distraction.“Oi!” comes a shout from by the fire, Father Michael apparently a step ahead of you. “Soup’s on ye fuckin’ heathen!”With a roar of effort, you watch as tonight’s dinner, kettle and all, goes sailing directly into the back of the demon’s head, boiling soup erupting from its scalp with a sizzle before it turns around and begins coming back your way. By then you’re already charging its way, pushing as much magic as you can into your armor in preparation of what’s to come. Spikes come out of your hand along with a flash of light as you fortify the suit and fling yourself at the blinded beast, legs successfully trapping one arm to his torso as your hands bind his maw closed. After all, if he can’t open his mouth, he can’t-Your train of thought is somewhat thrown off when with his one remaining hand, he succeeds in punching through your armor and into the cavity beneath, a hellish heat immediately flaring up from within as he attempts to incinerate you. Immediately, one hand releases its grip to address the problem and force him back out. However, you can still feel the pain as the fire propagates within, lighting wicker ablaze as it flares through you. This was going to need to end quickly.The demon, seemingly of a similar mind, redoubles the efforts of his jaw muscles, metal warping, hinges shrieking as they pry your fingers apart and he releases a blast of hellish flames from within. Immediately, you can feel it, like the effect of Michael’s light piercing into your very soul. Yet, instead of numbness, it brings pain, a pain like nothing you have ever known before as a darkness tears at the fabric of your being. A moment of panic follows, a moment where you realize that this may be the end and the flames burst forth in all their fury.
>>368885It’s then that the armor starts fighting back.“Be it the flames of a demon or a god…” you hear a voice echo in your mind. “Be it the blade of a sinner or a saint! Lend me that blade which is tempered in hatred and I alone shall prove its master!”A gleam of silver shines amidst the roaring flames, an illusory crack twisting amidst the ruinous flames that coat your arm and fill it from the inside. Yet, at the bottom of that crack lies a well too deep to ever be filled, one that hungers for malice, and it’s into those endless depths that the mana the proceeds to plunge, leaving no heat for the body that was originally its target.You can hear the hum of the metal as it drinks its fill, see the shock on the demon’s face as what was meant to kill you only makes your life force stronger. For your part, you just try to hold on through the maelstrom, to not be swept along as the chaotic tide of the flames within surges for release.“Lee, I swear to the fucking gods!” you hear Lucy scream above the roaring demon, two blades stabbing firmly into its neck before it falls limp. “You and I need to have a talk!”She seems angry, and your still violently shaking as your armor seems to be trying to decide what to do with everything it just consumed.> Ability Unlocked: Flames of Retribution> What to do/say?>  So who wants dinner?>  Address Lucy seriously. She may want a pay raise or to be paid at all.>  Other
>>368889>>  Address Lucy seriously. She may want a pay raise or to be paid at all.She was already paid. We agreed to give her a portion of our profits and we aren't even getting paid for any of this anyway. But we should hear her out
>>368889>  Address Lucy seriously. She may want a pay raise or to be paid at all." I dont know what you expect, Im as surprised as you are!">  Othersee if you can nudge the armor along into using some of that extra power towards making itself more durable, and maybe complex. Kind of getting tired of everyone just busting right through it, thats like the opposite of what armor is supposed to do!..
>>368889>>368897>>368903“Go on, then,” you say, taking a seat on a nearby log. “I’m more than happy to hear you out.”“Lee, I-“ she stops herself short, shaking her head before continuing. “Look, I know I had my chance to make my big score back at the smuggler’s den and that I chose to give it away to save the other guys’ hides instead. I know that none of this is really your fault, at least not any more than it is mine for walking in on it, but… Well, I’ve been with you a little more than a week now and I’ve been knocked out, tied up, beaten, molested… Trust me, I’m not done with that fucking bug!... And today, I almost had my head bitten off by a demon. It’s just, I want to live to a ripe old age, you know, or at least make a decent living doing it.”“Well, I hear tell this type a demon’s bits go for a mint,” Father Michael says, kicking the corpse for the umpteenth time. “Ain’t exactly easy to summon.”“Which just raises more fucking questions!” Lucy shouts angrily before once again calming herself. “But if I’m being honest, Lee, I’m just not enough of a monster to keep up with you guys. I’m not a super-powered undead or a troll-blooded berserker. I’m just an elf who’s going to be sleeping off her bruises for the next couple of weeks. I just need some kind of assurance, you know, that if things go wrong I’m not gonna be left broken in a ditch on the side of the road somewhere or broke and bedridden in some out of the way shithole.”> What do you say?
>>369003She's right. Maybe she can be support like Michael's acolytes?Do the stuff we can't like running messages and escorting kids back to their homes?To be honest, she's right. Unless we can outfit her with magical armor and weapons, and have a steady supply of healing potions and regenerative magic, she's going to end up like how Lee first did; locked in a chest, buried alive, suffocating to death. Maybe we can send her back to our Lady's place and help around the dungeon until we get a baron's keep ready to be moved into.
>>369003>>“Which just raises more fucking questions!” Lucy shouts angrily before once again calming herself. “But if I’m being honest, Lee, I’m just not enough of a monster to keep up with you guys. I’m not a super-powered undead or a troll-blooded berserker. I’m just an elf who’s going to be sleeping off her bruises for the next couple of weeks. I just need some kind of assurance, you know, that if things go wrong I’m not gonna be left broken in a ditch on the side of the road somewhere or broke and bedridden in some out of the way shithole.”Well, at the very least, that was never in question. when you showed good faith, and came along with us, We understood that that was a pretty dangerous and rare thing to do in her circumstances, and we were ready to hold up our end in return. We'd quite literally be in pieces before we let any serious harm come to her while we could do anything about it, and if the unthinkable wer to happen and she were to become Injured to the point of debilitation, we'd absolutely do the utmost to see shes taken care of, whatever that may entail(healing, new career, whatever).That being said, With the good faith shes shown so far, there ARE other things you could do. Fighting isnt exactly necessary, even if you choose to stay on the road with us. You could always try helping us through this is some sort of non-combative capacity. It's not as if we dont have a lot of irons in the fire to spread some personnel around. for instance, considering the money talk, she could help with the selling off of all that stuff I think is probably still moving around.
>>369062Or, she probably has some contacts from her former occupation she can still rely on to get some information, now that we know somewhat what to look for. or scouting out those murder sites we're going to be looking into. The point is, if Lucy doesnt want to fight, she doesnt really have to. She can Tag out for Galblassa or Ricky when we meet back up or whatever.
>>369003>>369015>>369062>>369062>>369080It honestly hadn’t occurred to you until just now, how vulnerable Lucy was compared to the rest of you. You and Michael, you could be crushed, beaten, stabbed, shot, set on fire, and still keep coming back for more, but Lucy, a single swipe from an enemy blade and not enough time to react could spell the end for her. She wasn’t a novice with her blades, of course, but she also wasn’t, well to be perfectly honest, she wasn’t a monster like the two of you. Neither was Phineas, for that matter.“You need to understand,” you say at last, realizing that speaking from the heart will likely be better than waiting for your head to respond. “So long as there’s a spark in these old bones, I will never stop doing anything short of my best to keep you and everyone else I care about from harm. Even then, should it come to pass despite my best efforts, I will never abandon you. If you need medicine, a doctor, or a change of occupations, I will do my best to provide in whatever way I can.“It isn’t much, but it is what I can promise you without reservation. As for where things stand presently, much as I’ve asked Phineas to come along for his medical expertise, you needn’t fight in order to stand beside us. You have your wits about you, and they’re far from insignificant, Lucy. Gathering information, networking with contacts, even just helping sell off some of our aforementioned wealth to enable a profit will suffice.“Honestly, there are so many irons in the fire that it’s beginning to become difficult to see the flame for the metal. All I ask for now is your patience, until we get back in town and can properly sort all of this out. Can you at least offer me that much?”“I’m sorry…” she says quietly, ears drooping and eyes wet as she looks down at you with head in hand.“There’s no need,” you assure her. “Just try to tend to your injuries while the father and I try to get another pot of soup boiling.”“Already got that one settled!” Michael laughs. “Who’s in the mood for demon brain stew?”“I can provide a salve that will have you right as rain in an hour,” Phineas assures the elf, grabbing her by the shoulder and leading her away. “No need to worry.”“However, first there is a matter we must attend to,” interjects the lead pixie, pulling out a sword no larger than a knife and running its blade along his hand, grimacing before pulling it away, edge red with blood. “This hunt was beyond us,” admits one of his followers, committing the same actions.“And by our traditions, that means a debt is owed,” agrees the female, making for three knives.“We request you take these blades as a sign of our pact fulfilled,” the leader says, each then offering a blade to Lucy. “You seem to be the one keenest for payment. Then let these blades suffice.”
>>369211“May they always find their way back to you.”“May they always be sharp and shine bright while danger is near.”“And may you never find yourself without aid while an ally wears another,” the leader finishes. “With that, I wish you well upon your road. As ‘wonderful’ as the soup smells-““Might need more peppers to balance out the taste!”“I think our place is elsewhere.” With a bow, the pixies take to their wings and quickly vanish into the night, leaving nothing but a demon corpse and a few tiny arrows strewn about the clearing to mark their passing.Well, that was something.> What to do?>  Practice? With what? (2d100)>  Talk to someone. Who? About what?>  End it here for tonight.>  Other
>>369222did we ever know any healing spells? Can we actually use them?
>>369248Finally remembered to turn my trip back on.Anyway, generally speaking, healing goes one of two ways. Rarely, gods will bless clerics with the power to heal people of diseases and afflictions in a conventional sense, while high level alchemists and transmutation specialists can "cheat" in order to make the body transform into a healthier state. Phineas happens to have enough skill to pull those things off, given enough time and preparation. For Lee, however, it would take quite a lot of time and luck to learn those things. Just as it would take Phineas a long time to get even a fraction as good at Illusions as Lee presently is.
>>369222> Talk to someone. Who? About what?Our armor.So, Armor took that whole "Spirit of Vengeance and Hate" thing seriously, huh.
Rolled 50, 82 = 132 (2d100)>>369222>  Practice? With what? (2d100)Let try to get a little better with our reinforcement, particularly in keeping our body connected. All the scattering is starting to get embarrassing.
>>369334You know, on this note, We currently have a friend with a transmutation speicalty with us, and while transmuting your body miight have dire implications for the living, maybe a skeleton might not have such limitations?
>>369334>>369248>>369259>>369222I'll wait on a couple more rolls.
Rolled 47, 83 = 130 (2d100)>>369334This sounds like a plan. Here's another roll to support it.
Rolled 11, 24 = 35 (2d100)>>369334>>369222It'd be nice for us to pull ourselves together
Rolled 86, 29 = 115 (2d100)>>369222
>>369455>>369392>>369388>>369334>>369259>>369349Nothing to do now but enjoy some peace and quiet, you suppose. As the smoke settles and smoke from cooking rises, you just continue to ride out the waves settling inside your armor.“So you can talk?” you question aloud, taking your now recovered helm in hand and staring through its visor.Unfortunately, silence is your only answer, whatever bout of chattiness had possessed the suit earlier having thoroughly run its course.“Well, I suppose I didn’t need the extra voices crawling inside my head anyway,” you huff, clamping the helm back where it belongs and experimentally flexing your fingers.It had taken little enough time to repair them, even with the instability you can feel beneath the armor’s surface, but the fact that it had been so easily damage was an embarrassment. Honestly, if you had a copper for every time you’d been torn to pieces since you’d come back to life, you’d likely have more than enough to secure your elf friend’s retirement.The only thing to do then was to find a way to make the armor or yourself more durable, but how? No matter how you sliced it or shaped it, the materials they were made from were still the same, and solid steel could only do so much. You sigh as you remember what Yesh had told you, about how strength of spirit begat strength of body, how everything about you was connected through your spirit magic. However, even now as you attempt to will yourself to become more stable, you’ve no clue if you’re even doing anything, and you’re not precisely in the mood to ask Father Michael to try to disassemble you all over again.“I would recognize that pose anywhere,” Phineas muses, coming to rest himself alongside you. “Thinking again, are we? A dangerous sport for a spook.”“If I don’t rattle the attic every now and again, the spiders will get fat.”*Rattle-Rattle* You really hope there aren’t spiders in your head.
>>369521“Indeed. Well, I would imagine from the way you’ve been mesmerized by your armor this entire time that you’ve found yourself questioning its function in some capacity.”“It can’t have been that obvious,” you deny, looking up into your friend’s smug grin.“After watching you endlessly shuffle the plates back and forth with your thoughts, I believe I can,” he contradicts. “And in that regard, I’m afraid I’m finding myself terribly fascinated as well. You see, this armor in almost every aspect is a masterpiece of my chosen trade, something the likes of which I’ve never seen in all my years. To be able to change its shape with but a thought, even transform enemy magic into its basest form and take it into itself, it’s alchemy in motion, a work of art merely posing as a weapon.”“All well and good until someone rips it apart like wet parchment,” you sigh, once again flexing your hand.“Well, of course,” Phineas snorts. “It’s only steel, perhaps a statement from the artist in the sheer simplicity of its base elemental construction.”“But-““But you need a weapon,” he finishes. “Preferably one your enemies won’t tear to pieces every time you fight. You know, back in the day, I would have yelled at you for hours for not humoring me in the point of artistry, but I’d like to think with age comes some measure of wisdom, for one telling you up front that I believe I can solve this problem.”“Oh really?” you question. “What did you have in mind then, Fanny?”“Hellborn embers and holy light.Form an alchemist’s delight.Fused in the mornCome the death of nightDemons bewareAs you face your own bite”“And that is…?”“A simple mnemonic device for remembering the formula for quasi-Elysian steel,” Phineas explains. “Really not much to it, but I’ll need your armor and your cleric friend’s assistance in performing the rite.”--
>>369526In the end, Phineas winds up having a steady round-about discussion with the good father about the appropriate use of demon eyes in this situation, either as a garnish or a reagent. It provides quite a bit of entertainment as you disrobe, listening to them bandy back and forth. It almost takes your mind off of the utterly naked feeling you have without your armor. Beneath it all, what were you really, after all? You were just a skeleton, vulnerable, weak, and tiny, wound up in a ridiculous cage of wicker and covered in more healed over cracks than you could possibly count.Still, you manage to bear through it as Phineas and Michael conduct the necessary rites, taking a bowl filled with jet black powder made from equal parts demon bone and demon eye and chanting over it in something equal parts prayer and spell, sending it whirling it into the air and over the suit like a cloud. For some time, the tempest swirls above it, their voices growing louder and louder by small amounts until finally, a downpour erupts from within. Like stars of piercing white light, they fall in a quickening torrent, tiny bolts of light bombarding the suit in all directions as it rises into the air to meet them.It’s a breath-taking sight, really, to watch as the empty armor hovers beneath the ersatz cosmic storm, all the while its radiance building from the countless specks being embedded into every square millimeter of its surface. As the sea of stars above fades, it only shines the brighter, growing in intensity until finally, with a burst of light, the storm cloud above explodes and is cast away in the morning sun, the armor falling unceremoniously to the ground as its part in the ritual is completed.“Simple enough,” Phineas breathes, even as his breath comes in heaves and he wipes the sweat from his forehead. > Ability unlocked: Shimmering Aura
>>369531And I think that'll be it for the week, folks. I can feel myself slowing down a bit, and I think it's as good a time as any. Hope you all had fun.
>>369535 Thanks bananon, good session!