>Previous threads can be found at: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Ascent>Inventory list, character list, and synopsis, and held runes here; http://pastebin.com/3L0zZV2K>Also, new OP!You're standing on the beach, with a large circle of glass melted into the ground around you. Mal stays warily outside of the circle, while Steve stands perfectly still next to you, as always. A large chunk of blue stone sits not far into the entrance, where your minion had left it. The sky tints orange as the sun heads toward the horizon.High in the sky above the city, not far south from here, is an emerald fortress. It is buzzing with power, and lightning streams off of the tallest tower.Your spine thrums with power, and you smell the electricity.Mal shivers.<Oh, Kama.> He mutters, eyes wide.A voice, from far off, talks to you.~Get back here.~ Tarda's voice comes to you, worming into your brain. Just like it had once before, right after you'd gotten her out of her domain. ~This isn't good. This seriously is not good. He's calling a ritual, and Mudimuna isn't ready yet.~You can't respond, you know... So there's only one thing for you to do.You rush back to the village, Steve carrying the chunk of stone. Miriam is talking quickly with Dalton, pointing at the fortress in the distance. Tarda is standing next to Cromwell just outside of his tower, ranting heatedly. The caravaneer looks like he's about to bolt- but then he sees you, and the grand blue chunk of stone he'd asked for. His eyes widen."You have it? In a day?" He asks.
>>27917202"Yea, it wasn't easy though."
>>27917202"You might want to get out of here. Shit's about to go down."
>>27917202"This stuff wasn't easy to get but I got really, REALLY lucky!""Get to cover, that thing is dangerous!"
>>27917202"Were you expecting me to come back empty handed?"
>>27917202meet up with Tarda after dropping off the stone."Kaedri sent one of his personally controlled Remnants, I used every rune I have on it and I think his real body got hit by some sort of feedback, he was in a world of pain."
>>27917202<Steve, go wreck that castle.>
"This stuff wasn't easy to get." You say. You're still tired from using all of those runes at once."Were you expecting me to come back empty handed?""No, I just assumed you'd take a while to find it." He says.On your orders, Steve loads the crystal onto the caravaneer's rear wagon."Anyway, you might want to get out of here." You say. "Shit's about to go down."He looks up at the fortress in the distance."... I'll speed things up a little, then." He says. "Hey, 'Gene!" He calls toward E.E. "It's time for us to head back before some bad shit happens.""Gotcha." E.E says, giving him a grin. The two start preparing to leave.You make your way to Tarda and Cromwell. Silently, Mal follows, deep in thought."Kaederi sent one of his personally controlled remnants." You say. "So I used every rune I have on it, and I think his real body got hit by some sort of feedback. He was in a world of pain.""You used a time rune." Tarda says. "His consciousness probably doesn't like when two bodies have two different perceptions of time. And now he's pissed and he's going to wipe the town off the map."Then she turns to Cromwell. "How long until you figure it out?""A few hours. Four, maybe." Cromwell responds."Not good enough. The ritual is going to hit the moment the sun touches the horizon. Then we'll have our own little personal sun in our front lawn." She responds. Then she turns to you."I'm going to need your help." She says- and then shakes her head. "No, more like the other way around. I'm going to need you to disrupt the ritual.""How do you plan for me to do that?" You ask."Simple." She says. "I put you in a free-roaming domain, push you past his barrier, then pop the bubble. Then you're inside, and wreck havoc. He's not casting the ritual himself. It looks like he has the building doing it for him."
>>27917407"Uh, okay. How much disruption will I need to cause? Will I need to use the bomb?"
>>27917407"So just destroy as much of the thing as I can in as short a time as I can manage?""How do I get back down?"
>>27917407"Can't you just replace the 'me' part of that Plan with Steve?"
>>27917407"Can I use any of those crystals I found in the mine s for anything?"
"So, just destroy as much of the thing as I can in as short a time as possible?""Pretty much, yes." She says."How much disruption will I need to cause? Will I need to use the bomb?""The bomb will definitely help." She says. "We have no idea how strong it is, or how the ritual is designed. The most I can tell is that the top tower is the focal point. If you can't do anything else, set the bomb up near the top of that tower- the crackling one."You think about it for a short time, then turn to Tarda."Can't you just replace the 'me' part of that plan with Steve?""I don't think so." She says. "Steve isn't properly alive. The ritual I'm planning needs a living being. Cromwell doesn't count, either.""Alas." Cromwell says."But if you use Steve to start attacking the outer barrier, he'll have to worry about that soft drain on his power." She says. "So that's not a bad idea at all.""And how do I get back down?""Uh..." She says, thinking. "When you're ready to leave, call Rebel. She'll tell me, I'll send myself up there, then send you down, then send myself down. I think I could do that in... ten seconds. Maybe twenty or thirty, if it's harder than I expected."
>>27917565"Well, it's go-time, I guess."<Steve, my loyal friend. Please, attack that flying castle with as much gusto as you can muster.>
>>27917565we'll need to reload that cannon before we go, never know what might be up there.<Bro, I need to go up there and make some noise, if I don't make it back... I'll make sure the other ghosts don't bother you.> with a grin."Alright, let's do this."set Steve to attack.
"Well, it's go-time, I guess." You say, and turn to Steve.<Steve, my loyal friend. Please attack that flying castle with as much gusto as you can muster.>Steve nods, and then crouches.The ground quakes, and cracks beneath your feet as Steve kicks off, his body lengthening. Tendrils pour loose, and slam into the castle.It collides with some kind of barrier, blocking it from getting into the fortress proper, but the tendrils hammer on it nonetheless, screeching into it.<Bro.> You say, turning to Mal. You sling open your new cannon and load it with a slug. <I need to go up there and make some noise. If I don't make it back... I'll make sure the other ghosts don't bother you.><Got you.> He responds, with a nod.You turn to Tarda."Alright.""Alright." Tarda says. She tears off her cloak, setting it aside, and pushes everyone else away from you. With a heel, she draws a circle around you, and focuses. "Cromwell, are you sure this will work?""Relatively." Cromwell says. "The only way to find out for sure is to try it.""Take care, assistant mine." Tarda says. Her hands start crackling with power- just like the fortress above her head- and she slammed her hand into your chest.That's when things start getting confusing. Everything is dark and silent, a soundless howl reverberating around yourself. You shift your weight- and bump into someone else.A moment later, there's the rolling noise of thunder, and a very small, almost inaudible 'pop'.>Field too long!
>>27917874And you find yourself on long green tiles, well-polished. You get to your feet, and look around. You're in what looks like a long hallway made of jade, and on your right are the windows outside. You look- and see an eldritch, be-tentacled being made of teeth and anger and hate slamming itself against the barrier. Steve.You're inside, you realize. Your spine isn't tingling much, and you feel relatively fin-You leap aside, on pure impulse. Behind you, where you'd been a second ago, a blast of light slams into it, cracking the tile.You whirl around, and something floats there- a simple sphere, shaped like an eye. It reminds you of the defense systems back near the ruins, almost. Its eye starts to glow, and you leap aside again, a beam of light slamming past where you once were.You're going to have to fight your way to some kind of vantage point, it seems.>What are you going to do? And roll, of course.
Rolled 38>>27917891Shot it in the beam emission aperture with our steamsling after we dodge its next shot.
Rolled 82>>27917891we need to go up, and plant our bomb as near to the lightning tower as we can get.dodge it's beams, maybe shoot it with the steam sling and find a way up.
>Difficulty: 60. Success! Like, exactly! A single point lower and you would have failed!You spring from the ground, grabbing your steamsling and winding it as as you go. The eye lights up once more, and you lean out of the way as you sprint closer. The blast of light scrapes your ear, slightly, and you hiss in pain.Taking the steamsling in hand, you raise it the next time the flying eye lights up- and then you fire.The eye twitches, and trembles as the naga venom courses through its strange, magical system- and it explodes, sending small chunks of blue stone every which way.No wonder there wasn't much of that stone when the remnants came to give it to you. It was all here.You continue running down the hall, steamsling in hand, when the windows behind you start smashing open one by one. More of the sphere-eyes are pouring in, and you find yourself running around a corner to get away from them. You keep your center of mass low, steamsling in both hands, and run through the fortress.You stop for breath at the top of a set of stairs, but the eyes continue following you, as if they know everywhere you're going. You're starting to get a good picture of how it's structured, though."I wonder how you got in here." A cold voice tells you. You can't see the source of it at first.And then, wearing a simple robe, a man walks out in front of you. He has grey skin, white hair... And his eyes are as black as any you'd seen.He had no weapons at all... But you do recognize the voice. Kaederi."Do you mind explaining this intrusion?" He asks. Below and behind you, the swarm of eyes are crowding together, ready to burst up the stairwell on their masters' orders.
Rolled 92>>27918124"No."Shoot him.
>>27918124Go invisible, ignore him, head for the roof.
Rolled 18>>27918124"You're going to try and wipe out a village full of people whom I quite like, Of course I am intruding."Invisibility, hopefully it'll cause enough surprise and let us pass.
Rolled 75>>27918124not sure but I'll roll for the third number.
>DC: 45. Success!"You're going to try and wipe out a village full of people whom I quite like." You say. "Of course I am intruding.""The traitors? Yes, of course. It's my duty to wipe out -"He shuts up when he notices that you've somehow turned invisible.You fire a steamsling into his forehead, and he falls back, his arms and legs sloughing off into mud as he hits the ground.A doppelganger.You ignore it, and run through the now-monochrome halls, heading upward, ever upward. The eye-spheres, having seemingly lost you, buzz around confused.Eventually, you reach the rooftop, and after a quick looking around, see that nobody is up there with you. You shut down your cloaking device- it has 50% charge, it says- and peer over the edge of the rooftop.You're currently on one of the three lower towers. But from here, you can see a few ways to reach the highest tower. There are large, very obvious balconies strung across from tower to tower, with plenty of those buzzing eye-spheres peering through them. You're sure to get caught if you go that way, but it is the fastest.Then there's the large building on one side of the fortress. It's enormous, with a long roof. Two beings stand there on each eave- like golems, made out of that same green stone everything else is made of. That might be a bit slower, but you'll only have to deal with the two of them.And then finally, you suppose, you could go to the very bottom of the tower and go across the bottom. You can't see down there very easily from here, but it looks very cluttered with vines and plants, surprisingly. It'd take forever to get all the way down there and back up, but it might be the safest.> Balcony - Eyespheres, lots of em. Fastest path.> Rooftop - Two golems(?). Mediocre path.> Below - ???. Slowest path.
Rolled 47>>27918322>Rooftop - Two golems(?). Mediocre path.use our remaining Invisibility and then run past them.we need to be fast but to many eyes will be the death of us and Golems tend to be slower so hopefully they can't chase us very well.
>>27918322Top of tallest tower = focal pointWhy don't we just weaken the internal structure of the tallest tower, then place the explosive at the bottom/middle and collapse the thing on itself? I'm sure the wanderer has had a little bit of demolition/sabotage work before
You consider going to the rooftop and trying to use your invisibility to get past, but it looks too big- even at a full out sprint you wouldn't be able to get all the way past without getting seen.Same problem with the balcony, but hey... you'll be in danger either way, and you've no clue how long you have until the ritual is complete.You eye the tallest tower, watching power surge up the sides. You'd normally be able to figure out exactly where to place the explosive for maximum effect, but you have no idea what this material is- or even if it's shielded.You could likely place the bomb whereever... but you need to get there in the first place.With that thought, you spring off of the rooftop, tucking your legs underneath you as you land on one of the balconies.For a moment, all of the eyespheres twist and turn toward you, their eyes gleaming with power.You dive forward as they simultaneously fire, and turn on your cloaking device.This'll be fun, you think, as beams of light tear around you.>Roll for speed and dodging!
Rolled 47>>27918687please dice, please.
Rolled 11>>27918687last ditch attempt at a 100.
Rolled 88>>27918687and the last one.
>DC: 45. Success!Several beams catch your guardsman coat with glancing blows, charring it, but you have the pattern down. They aim, charge, and never correct their aim before firing. It's simple enough to wait for that subtle buzz in your spine before strafing to the side.It's almost like their designer hadn't thought much about them. Or hadn't tested them at all. You reach the other end of the balcony, near the largest tower, and leap around the corner as another barrage of hot, burning light tears through the hallway.Your heart is pounding, and the swarm is catching up. You're in the main tower. You sprint up toward the top of the tower and barely dodge out of the way as a silver longsword tries to decapitate you.You whirl around to see a familiar remnant- the same kind you'd killed a few hours ago. Long-limbed, gangly, with a silver sword. It's filled with energy.This time, however, it doesn't talk in Kaederi's voice.Instead, it howls, pouncing toward you with the blade.>As usual, what's the plan? Get past it, use runes, fight defensively, etc?
Rolled 81>>27918869Primarily focus on staying out of its sword range.Attack it with lightning runes when we have an opening.
Rolled 67>>27918869Dodge and see if we can incapacitate it with our lightning Rune and finish it off from there.we've made good time but with the swarm catching up, we need to finish this quickly.
Rolled 55>>27918869completion, again.
Rolled 93>>27918869Throwing it off the tower might be cool.
>GM Roll: 92>DC: 55. Success!You have to end this quickly. The eye-spheres are on their way, and you don't have the time to play with this guy.You leap back as it swings its sword, arm lengthening. It's hard to tell exactly what its range is, with the way its limb seems to grow and shrink on command. You quickly back away. Bringing up your spear, you knock away its next attack<Lightning.> You say, and slam your palm into it. With a blast of energy, the remnant falls back, twitching and deforming.You turn back toward the stairs and run. You don't quite care about fighting or destroying these things right now.What you do care about is getting to the top of this tower.Time passes, and you're getting dizzy, your lungs not quite recovered from your ordeal early this morning. But eventually, you can see the orange light of sunset. You spring up the last set of steps, and look around.You're at the top of the tallest tower in the entire fortress. There are strange runes and glyphs carved all over the ground, buzzing with power. Sparks of light dance around each of the glyphs, buzzing with power.Panting, you grab out your bomb and get ready to set it.~Wait!~ Tarda cries. ~Two floors down! There's a *study* there! You can get at his notes!~"What?!" You ask aloud. She doesn't seem to hear you.~If you get them, I'll... I'll make it up to you somehow. Fix your heart with a real one, or... or a lot of things! Blowing it up would be a waste, and we have at least thirty minutes before the ritual goes off!~> Fuck you, Tarda. I'm not risking my life for this. [Set the bomb and call for Rebel.]> Fine. [Set the bomb for a longer time, rush down toward the study.]> Other?
>>27919127"Fine! The things I do..."
Rolled 40>>27919127>[x] Fine. [Set the bomb for a longer time, rush down toward the study.]
Rolled 13>>27919127>[X] Fine. [Set the bomb for a longer time, rush down toward the study.]hide the bomb somewhere sneaky and out of the way, then, make haste.
>>27919127Disrupt some of the carved runes!!Just incase the bomb fails!
"Fine!" You say, and set the bomb. You drop it, and hide it behind one of the pillars at the top of the tower. Five minutes until detonation. Then you stab some of the unlit runes with your spear, and move on.You sprint down the stairs, and almost trip over the first eye-sphere. You smash it with your spearhead, and continue running down. They're getting more common as you travel down. You leap over what looks like a humanoid made of the same material, and sprint into what Tarda excitedly called a study.A study it is. Books sit along all of the walls, most hand-made, and none of them look easy or simple to carry.You turn back toward where the eyespheres were coming, and slam the door shut. According to your spine, they immediately start charging and discharging in order to melt their way through.They don't have hands, after all."How am I going to carry all of this?" You ask aloud."You aren't." Kaederi says. The black remnant you'd electrocuted before stood, oozing out from behind the desk.He isn't even trying to be congenial anymore, his tone furious. "You're going to die here, traitor. You come to steal my *notes*?"He swings his sword toward you, but you knock it away with your spear. Your hand jars- the remnant is *strong*.~I'm on my way!~ Tarda says. ~Hold him off!~>Hold him off! Rollan time! Or do you want to use runes?
>>27919127>Exabyte, how explosive is this bomb on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being a hand grenade and 10 being Hiroshima?
Rolled 54>>27919297Use time rune to slow him the fuck down!
Rolled 96>>27919297Insult him. Needle him."You know, I don't really get how the 17th wizard is suddenly in command of the entirety of Kystara. I doubt the other 16 Wizards in front of you would just let you take over. You were 17th for a reason."
Rolled 80>>27919297"Sssh, it is okay to be upset. I bet I would even be a better wizard than you."I'd suggest using the microcannon we got but it's too small a space I think. Just lightning rune again.
Rolled 88>>27919358yea what were there like 15 real wizards then 2 losers with political pull?
"You know, I don't really get how the seventeenth wizard is suddenly in command of the entirety of Kystara." You say. " I doubt the other sixteen wizards in front of you would let you just take over. You were 17th for a reason."The remnant gives you a too-wide grin."Because I was hiding this from them, of course. Like I'd let them stop me."He swings his sword from side to side. "I can't let anyone stop me. The kystaran nation is happy, like this. With my power, I've created a heaven. I just need enough power to help everyone, not just kystarans. Who are *you* to destroy this? Who are *you* to stop me?!"Then he springs forward. His blade whistles by your side as you lean out of the way, and then you speak in a low, humerous tone.>DC: 60. Success.<Time.> You say, balling up the energy in your palm. You shift your weight, and slam the Time into his side. An amorphous field of frost crawls around him, and he howls- very, very slowly. You watch, in slow motion, as the remnant drops the blade and holds his head, slowly leaning forward.You say a clever one-liner, and watch as Tarda appears from nowhere, amber disc in her hand."... I did say slow him down." She says, and giggles. She runs from book to book, touching each of them and tossing them into the ring. Soon enough, the shelves are completely empty."Here." She says, and shoves the disc in your hands. "Hold still."The next thing you know, you're in nothingness again, floating and drifting... And then you land on your back. You sit up, and look around. You're not far away from the village, it looks.A moment later, Tarda returns as well- and collapses, pale.She has a sucking, bright red wound on her shoulder, holding it with pale fingers.<Ow.> She whispers.
>>27919500Better put those medical supplies we bought to good use.<Don't pass out yet, don't you want to watch the fireworks?>
>>27919500break out those first aid supplies and stabilize the wound, then get her professional help."this will sting. I'll get you to a more capable doctor, just hold on a little bit."
>>27919500<How bad?><At least you'll have a cool scar.>
>>27919500"Shit, Miriam will be disappointed in you."
"Don't pass out yet." You say, taking out the medical supplies you'd bought. You're no doctor, but you know more than enough to stabilize her. It isn't actually that bad of a wound at all. You've survived worse without treatment. "How bad is it?""It hurts." She whines. You start to treat it best you can. "Hey, you don't want to watch the fireworks?" You ask."Yes!" She says.While you bandage her shoulder, the two of you look up at the jade fortress, the long-limbed monster that is steve clinging to the barrier on the side, swelling and angrily howling.The top of the tower is sparking, lightning running along, and it builds...And then bursts into firey red light, exploding. Layers and layers of more shields erect themselves around the explosion, doing their best to hem it in, but the power is unstoppable. Shield after shield collapses, barriers falling as quickly as they appear. The explosion suddenly stops... And then the shields fall, and you can see it again.The fortress now lacks a top tower at all."We di- owww." Tarda says, wincing when you tighten the bandage."You've never gotten hurt much, have you?""I stubbed my toe the other day, if that counts." Tarda frowns. ".. Well, we bought time. He was relying on the building to do the ritual for him. Now he can't do that anymore."
>>27919743"How much time do we have?"
>>27919743Is Steve still throwing himself against the barrier?"Let's get you to a proper doctor."Pick her up and carry to Miriam.
>>27919743"I'm sure he'll be delighted with that, he wants to put the entire world in to his little bottle."
>>27919743Fuck, we forgot to loot any cool things from the castle.
>>27919743I gotta say, Nystara has Kystara beat on cool shit.
>>27919812only the top tower got turned in to vapor, we might still have a shot if we manage to win.
"How much time do we have?""A year and a day." She responds. "Not really, but we have some time at least." You continue treating her, but her explanation seems to distract her enough from the pain. "The type of ritual he was using is kind of funny. Really difficult to use, and you have to do something stupid like drink in sunlight from dawn to dusk every day for a year and a day, or it can only be used once every hundred thousand years or whatever, but because he had that building, he could use raw energy to skip most of the steps and just kinda *do* it. He might have some more surprises, but he doesn't have the ability to do big rituals like that anymore. Not until he rebuilds it."You pick her up, and make your way toward the village. Still, endlessly, Steve crashes himself fruitlessly against the barrier."I did get some flecks of he made it out of, too. The stuff's kind of strange. I'll need Cromwell to take a look at it..." She babbles. Then she turns to you. "And you! You got me notes!"She beams up at you."Are you okay?" Miriam asks, as you make your way into the tavern."That asshole stabbed me in the arm. It hurts." Tarda whines again."Let me take a look." She says. She examines Tarda's wound, and then affixes you with a glance."You did this?" She asks. You nod. She sighs. "You'll be fine, Tarda. This guy did everything I was going to do. Not much for me to fix up. Rest a few days and you should be fine."Tarda nods, and relaxes. "Well." She says. "That's that then, right?"
>>27919876"Yep, that's it for the day. I didn't even get scratched, Miriam!"
>>27919876I think a round of drinks are in order.
>>27919876"Why does Kaedri keep coming at me with swords? Wouldn't it be easier for him to show up in person and lightning me to death?"
"Yep, that's it for the day." You say, and relax. "I didn't even get scratched, Miriam! I think a round of drinks are in order."Mal comes into the room, and gives you a wave.<Yo, Bro. You alright?><I'm alright.> You respond."Fine." Miriam says, and you find the three of you- Tarda, Mal, and yourself- with drinks. "You two did good. Thanks for stopping that thing from... whatever it was going to do.""Burn us all alive with plasma at the heat of the sun." Tarda says, and takes a drink. "Least that's what it looked like to me."Then, with a hand, she twists the amber disc. A thick notebook falls out, and she pulls it open, immediately engrossed in it."What is it you're reading?" You ask."One of the books that caught my eye earlier. Looks like all of these were written by Kaederi. This one's apparently about constructs and remnants."
>>27919876"my ear got a bit singed but other than that, not even a scratch!""By the way, you don't often see E.E carry around a person like that, what was that all about?""He mostly just tries to stab me and more times than I'd like, succeeds in doing so."
>>27920035"That is certainly useful, I'm a bit worried about my heart."
>>27920035"Anything interesting?""Oh, can you use those crystals for anything, Tarda? There was a lot of them stocked up."
>>27920035"How many books did you manage to grab?"
"Anything interesting?" "A lot. He's been researching on using soulforce to animate remnant constructs instead of lifeblood. Apparently you need a certain material to make them out of, though.""Why do you think he keeps coming at me with swords? Wouldn't it be easier for him to show up in person and lightning me to death?""Because that puts him at risk, probably. A wizard being somewhere in person is usually a bad idea.""Can you use those crystals for anything, Tarda? There was a lot of them stocked up.""I'll take a look at them after I'm done reading." She says, and goes back to the book."How many books did you manage to grab?"Tarda gives you the sweetest, most ecstatic smile you've ever seen in your life."All of them." She says, and giggles again. You sigh, shrug, and turn to Miriam."You don't often see E.E carry a person around like that. What was that all about?""That was because he wanted to 'surprise' me." She says, and sighs."He mostly just tries to stab me when he wants to 'surprise' me." You sigh again. "And more times than I like, he succeeds."She nods. And then sighs. "Hey, I'm sorry about sending him that letter and calling him here. It was just, um. Part of my position, to keep an eye on you."
>>27920281"It's fine, don't let it eat at you. We asked him to come here as well, to sort out a job for Mal."
>>27920281<We didn't get any sweet loot from the mines, bro. Wanna go raid them again tomorrow?>
>>27920281Since we're always using lightning runes, we should get Tarda to help us make a pistol with one of those crystals that shoots lightning.
"It's fine, don't let it eat at you." You say. "We asked him to come here as well, to sort out a job for Mal.""I didn't know he spoke Galdian.""Not well, but he does." You say. You turn to Mal.<We didn't get any sweet loot from the mines, bro. Wanna go raid them tomorrow?><Nah, we did get a bunch of those crystals.> He says. <And I doubt we'd find anything in there except more of those crystals, remnants and pickaxes.>"Yes!" Tarda yells, and turns to you. "I got it! I can fix you! But I need something first. I need the heart of a child.""What?!" Miriam asks."No, no, not a human one." She says. "But not a bird or something tiny either. Like a monster pup or something. Those have the lifeblood I'll need."
>>27920533"See now it just sounds like you're going to give me a monster heart instead of a remnant."
>>27920533"Is there anything nearby that fills all the criteria?"
>>27920533"You really need to work on your presentation, Tarda."
"See, now it just sounds like you're going to give me a monster heart instead of a remnant.""Oh, no no." She says. "I'm not going to give you the heart. I'm just going to use the heart as a... source of energy. It'll wither and turn into ash. It'll be a catalyst. I need it young, because those have more energy." She dumps her current book back into her treasury, and grabs out a new one."Is there anything nearby that fills all the criteria?" You ask."Dunno. My scrying hurts now, because I strained it so hard earlier. I think I remember seeing something in the caves when I was looking for my treasure. A trog egg would be good too, as would a kobold heart. Not sure if Gnomes even have hearts, so you could probably drag me the entire body in that case."She taps her chin. "And maybe if you find a jackolope cub, that would work too. It just needs to be freshly killed. Or still alive, if that's possible."
>>27920683"Dang, Mal and I took out a den like a week ago."
>>27920683<Hey, Mal, there any jackalope cubs around that you know of?>
>>27920683I'm almost tempted to say we wait and use Kaedri's heart but that's probably a really bad idea.
>>27920750That's a terrible idea.
>>27920683"How long will this heart regeneration process leave me incapacitated anyway?"
"Dang. Mal and I took out a den like a week ago.""Pity. Those would've been perfect." Tarda says. "I suppose I could also use that little blond girl... Just a joke! I'm joking. Mostly."Miriam fixes Tarda with a glare.<Hey Mal, there any jackolope cubs that you know of?><No. The jackolope that I controlled a few nights ago didn't have any cubs, and there weren't any other jackolopes nearby.>"... It'd probably be stupid to call monsters through the temple and hope one's a kid...""How long will this heart regeneration process leave me incapacitated, anyway?""Hm? Not at all. As long as it takes for me to use the ritual. I used it myself, once upon a time. It's safe and easy! It's just, um, never been tried before on someone without the talent."
>>27920849"That doesn't sound safe and easy."
>>27920849"I'm not going to end with traits from whatever monster I pick am I?"
>>27920849"Do you have any spare fish, Miriam? It'll be easy for me to get a Kobold heart."
>>27920849"Hmm, there's a kobold cub who's taken a liking to me recently. But I'd feel like a jerk if I killed it.Trog egg could work though."
"That doesn't sound safe and easy.""Well, uh, normally you're supposed to control the energies yourself, to how you're supposed to be, but you can't sense lifeblood or any of that without the talent. So I'll be doing that, with Cromwell's help. It'll be a real test of my ability.""I'm not going to end up with traits from whatever monster I pick, am I?""Nope! Not in theory."You tap your chin for a few minutes."There's a kobold cub-""They're called tads." Tarda says. "Kobold tads. Or polliwogs.""... There's a kobold tad who's taken a liking to me recently. But I'd feel like a jerk if I killed it.""You mean that kobold camp down underneath the temple?" Tarda asks. You nod. "Just take one that isn't the one that likes you.""Or a trog egg." You say, tapping your chin."You going down to the caves, then?" Tarda asks."Maybe...">Do you want to head down immediately, or do anything until then? Sunset's just started, so you do have some time.
>>27920849"As superwizard, what kind of heart would you recommend?"
>>27921012She already made her recommendations, and she said it shouldn't really make a difference what kind we bring her.Come on man, reading comprehension.
>>27921011Let's just go grab one of the kobolds. See if Mal wants to join.I don't think we're forgetting anything.
>>27921011"I dunno. I'm still kinda attached to this one."Give a shit eating grin.
"I dunno." You say. "I'm still kinda attached to this one."Tarda giggles at your expression, before going back to her book.You get to your feet. <Hey Mal, I'm going to go grab a kobold from the caves for a magic ritual. Want to help?><Sure.> He says. <I'm not going to let you have all the fun alone.>The two of you finish your meals, and get to your feet. You give Tarda and Miriam a wave, and then head toward the temple. The caravan's already gone, as are some of the farmers- they likely went far off to protect themselves. The two of you go down and into the catacombs, and then down deeper, into the caves. You wander through them, electric torch in hand, and hear a loud, angry glurk.You turn the flashlight off and creep ahead.<They're fighting.> Mal whispers. You crawl into the cavern, stealthily... And see a very large, very angry trog. It's being mobbed by kobolds, who keep pouncing at it, biting at it, and then puffing up and stabbing the trog with their spines.After a few moments, it collapses, unable to regenerate quickly enough to survive.The kobolds start prying at it, even the cub from before.
>>27921323Does the Trog have a heart? Does it have an egg? Are there any Kobolds nearby that we can grab without the others noticing?
You examine the troglodyte as the kobolds pry it apart, chewing chunks off. It doesn't have any eggs you can see, but you're not a monster biologist. It does have a heart, but you have a feeling that a trog as big as that can't be a child.Kidbold starts hopping around Mal, happy to get petted by the assassin, but you do see a particularly tiny tad sitting far away from the troll, peering around its mother at the troglodyte. It stares, eyes wide, and slowly trots closer to it.The mother doesn't seem to notice as its polliwog wanders off, closer to the troglodyte.This is your chance. You carefully sidle closer, and it stares up at you. Then, finally, it glurks and rams its head into you softly, as if in greeting. You hold out a fish you'd pilfered from Miriam on your way out, and carefully led it back out of the cavern. You catch Mal's eye, and he follows you as you lead the baby 'bold away.Just when you get to the exit, Mal arrives, and then the kobold's mother gives a loud, frenzied glurk.All of the kobolds stop what they're doing and turn to stare at you.The baby doesn't seem to understand what's going on- it's just staring at the fish in your hand.> Knock out or kill the baby and run> Be all 'whoops didn't even know he was following me'> Other?
>>27921532> Be all 'whoops didn't even know he was following me'Killing the child doesn't sit well with me. Let's stick with the Remnant heart for now.For all we know, we just extended our lifespan.
>>27921532>[x] Be all 'whoops didn't even know he was following me'
>>27921532Go find where that Trog came from and grab Egg.
Rolled 49>>27921532And why exactly do we give a shit about kobolds?
Somewhat awkwardly, you give the polliwog the fish, which he starts biting on gratefully, and you gently nudge him back toward the center of the cavern.There's a slight pause, and then the kobolds all go back to eating.<I thought we were about to get swarmed.> Mal says, pulling his veil back on.<Hey, you any good at tracking?><Am I! You're looking at a trained bashiki. I can track anything.><Mind helping me find out where that trog came from?><Sure.> He says. He pulls his veil off, and started examining the ground. <Come on. He came from this tunnel.>The two of you wander through the darkness, Mal's feline eyes easily picking out the path you needed to follow. You hid behind a rock as a large rock eater trundles on by, gnawing through the cavern wall, and then you continue going.Eventually, you reach a single large archway into a larger cavern. When you step in, the water goes down to your ankle- and it's warm, somehow. In the distance, you can see a small pile of green muck, small piles of eggs sitting there.One of the eggs are particularly large, and pulsing with bioluminescent light. That must be what you need.You take another step forward, and out of the water, a troglodyte springs out, roaring. Mal fires his musket at it, slamming it through one of its claws.This thing isn't nearly as large as that last one. This should be an easy fight.>Roll to fight! Also, vote for runes if you want to use them, or certain tactics (Aggressive, defensive, guard mal, etc).
Rolled 29>>27921766Shoot it w/ the elephant gun we got from the merchant.
Rolled 12>>27921766Steam sling should be adequate Aggressive
Rolled 50>>27921766Aggressive, put it down before it can get a head of steam going.
Rolled 69>>27921766>survive confrontation with the all-powerful wizard>get our shit kicked in by some underground frog.
>Nah, the KOBOLDS are frogs crossed with pufferfish and storks. Troglodytes, though, are humanoid, regenerating alligators.>DC: 45. Failure!You fire your steamsling immediately, shooting bolt after bolt into the trog's mass. It roars angrily as Mal fires a second and third shot- and then, finally, it dives back into the water before it emulates a pincushionYou relax, and reload your steamsling again, winding it to make sure it keeps its power.Quite suddenly, something snatches onto your leg- and there's a painful bite in your leg- and something WRENCHES you under. You go spinning through the water, tugged deeper in, when the whatever is wrenching you twists the other way around.You feel your kneecap loosen painfully, in a very unnatural way.<No!> You hear Mal snarl. He snatches your hand, and hangs on tight. With his other hand, he fires his musket again, catching the trog in the head. It recoils, backing away.The troglodyte lets go of your leg, and backs away. One by one, the long steel spears fall out of it, its wounds regenerating.It almost looks like it grins as it takes a step closer. You look up at Mal. His eyes are a bright argent.>Field too long!
>>27922061Something tears through the ceiling, and slams down onto the troglodyte. It looks almost like an enormous mouth attached to a long snake of stone, teeth gnawing and gnashing and chewing.A rock eater. They don't eat creatures, but they do kill them rath-Your leg suddenly burns, and you can't help but let out a strangled cry. Pulling up your pant leg, you take a close look at it. It's ... well, it isn't attached to your thigh by anything but skin. At least... At first. As you watch, the pain gets worse, tendrils of black pulling their way underneath your leg's skin. Painfully, they constrict your bones and pull them back into their rightful position.Just like your lung. Incredibly, incredibly painful regeneration.===The pulsing, bioluminescent egg in your hand is warm under your touch... And your leg is definitely not doing well. You can walk on it, but the more time passes, the more it's mutating. Black thorns are piercing through the skin, and your toes have... You don't want to look at them. They remind you of certain feral mutants.<... I'm worried, Bro. What's with your leg?> He asks. The two of you are in the catacombs, and your kneecap keeps twisting itself, your leg reorienting every few minutes.
>>27922087<At this point, I've given up trying to understand all the shit that goes on.>Why are failures so devastating in this
>>27922087<It's healing itself. And I use the term healing very loosely here.>
>>27922087ughmutation was the worst fuckin option
I get the feeling Exabyte sort of wanted us to fail so he could show this off before we healed it away.
>>27922153>It's part of the theme I was going for with this quest. >I originally planned for wounds to be able to get infected if not treated. So glad I didn't actually go with that.<At this point.> You say through your teeth. <I've given up trying to understand all the shit that goes on. It's healing itself. And I use the term healing very loosely here.><...Right.> He says. The two of you make your way up to Tarda's lab- and she gives you a wave."You got it!" She says, pleased. Then she looks down at your leg."... Ouch.""Yeah." You respond, panting. It surges again, and you hiss. The thorns grow another several inches, hardening into some kind of proto-carapace. Things continue to move underneath your skin. "Ouch.""Well... After I finish this, it won't be a problem!" She says. She scratches her nose. "Sit down in that circle... And before I get started."She grins confidently."Any of those scars you want to keep?"
>>27922268"Is this gonna reset my leg? You don't have to cut off all the mutating bits?""Um, um. The biggest and the baddest one."
>>27922268"Just the ones that make me more attractive."
>>27922268A thematically appropriate one. Didn't we have a scar from all those cultists we killed? Keep that one.
>>27922359Eh, go with this. It's like ordering the chef's special at a restaurant.
"Just this one." You say, when you touch the scar on your face."Right!""Is this going to reset my leg? You don't have to cut off all the mutating bits?"Her grin broadens."This is going to reset your entire body, Nathan." She says.You'd be creeped out by her sudden usage of your current name, if it weren't for your leg's thorns becoming a proper carapace, the thorns thickening and sharpening. You just fall back onto the circle, and try to focus on anything but the pain."Specifically... This is the ritual that made me look like I do now."She giggles, a sound that reminds you of bells. "It's never been done on a non-wizard before. It's a coming of age for us to learn this on our own."She leans over you."It wasn't just the notes of one wizard." She whispers in your ear. "But the notes of every wizard Kaederi's stolen from over the past sixteen years. You gave me the notes of *every* wizard." <This is your reward, Strelok.> She croons in kystaran.And then, blissfully, the pain stops.As did everything else. You drift, somewhere, as if in liquid. Eddies and currents whirl every which way...You lose consciousness.>End of session!>My twitter is at @futureexabyte>The IRC is #Exabyte on Rizon
>>27922525Thanks for running, Exabyte.
>>27922525So she just got everything she ever wanted? Most women would settle for giving a BJ.
>>27922525Does Mal ever just sit back, see all this shit happening to us, and wonder what the fuck he's got himself into?
>>27922859Every goddamn day.
>>27922920Mal's just here for treasure hunting, right? Seems like he got more than he bargained for already.
>>27922920Wait, are we immortal now?
>>27923674That's a good thing to ask if you survive the process.
>>27917874Anyone notice that she's calling Cromwell by his name, essentially elevating him to the respect that she gives actual wizards?
>>27924774Oh, and us now. Way to finish reading the quest myself
>>27924774It should also probably be mentioned that she also calls Projects- like Failure, Rebel, and Mudimuna by their names. Though not all of those are sapient.