(( Previous threads:http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=SoulQMTwitter:https://twitter.com/SoulQM Erick's inventory and Shards:http://pastebin.com/MxM1SNLw ))You might be far from home, but surprisingly, you haven't yet had difficulty finding a good meal. Using the surplus of income from your recent successes as a group, the hunters restocked their pantry with what manna Callestria has to offer. After a good night's sleep, you and the others appreciated a hearty breakfast of fruit, meat and eggs; they told you of missions past and beasts slain, and you shared, when asked, stories of the powers you have seen. Afterward, you retreated alone to the grass lot just behind the lodge, a fenced off area containing nothing other than a couple of clotheslines and Daeron's archery target.You've favored this location somewhat since you arrived here. Not only do you feel attuned to the outdoors in some way, having spent much of your youth honing your art in the forests and mountains near your homeland, but the few memories you have of this place—conversations with Sonia, Daeron, and Skeith—bring to mind thoughts of the friends you've made, and your responsibilities as a Shardkeeper.That, and it's quiet. It makes a good place to think. As you once spent many hours at a time studying your Master's notes alone, with little interruption beyond an occasional visit from Eisa, you are no stranger to time spent in meditation.With another day ahead of you, what will you do?>The situation to the east doesn't sound like it will hold much longer. Gather the party, and prepare for the journey to Imedagne.>Now's as good a time as any to take responsibility for the future. Take some downtime, and begin Sonia's training.>Seek out Andor, the historian. You wonder what he could possibly teach you about your art, not knowing of its existence, but you're curious nonetheless.>Recall information about (topic).>Other
Rolled 10>>31631189All hail Soul
>>31631189>Now's as good a time as any to take responsibility for the future. Take some downtime, and begin Sonia's training.
>>31631189Fuck yeah, time for Soul Quest. >Train Sonia
>>31631189>Arcadia yesterday>Soul today
>>31631189>Now's as good a time as any to take responsibility for the future. Take some downtime, and begin Sonia's training.Might as well get her started
>>31631861>>31631262>>31631514The Spirits of the world, forged of pure Soul, wield incredible powers, many yet unknown. Even the beasts and monsters that roam throughout are more closely related to this power than your race. You have it in your head that the ancient art you practice is what evened the scales; even in the absence of the Shardkeepers themselves, the gifts they left hidden among the rubble of civilizations destroyed by war were enough to protect humanity from the dangers surrounding them.According to Skeith, Shardkeepers replaced armies when the art became too prevalent in the old world, and the destruction they caused annihilated almost all of civilization and its history. Regardless of whether or not you trust the Venom Spirit, you can see this capacity within yourself and the power you now hold. A battle between you and Anise, Shardkeepers who still do not match the power your Master had when last you saw him, came close to leveling Callestria without a single victor emerging.You cannot, in good conscience, allow the practice of Soul rituals to make a resurgence. But also, you cannot take the art to your grave. You know Sonia possesses the spark, and would be able to learn; as such, you feel obligated to take her on as a disciple, and impart what relatively little knowledge you possess.“Oi! Erick! What 'cha doing out here?” As if on cue, the girl's singsong voice echoes from nearby. You turn to see her seated on the wooden fence next to the corner of the building. Amidst your thinking, you briefly stare blankly at her bronze eyes, her skin and hair brown shades reminiscent of desert sands; her appearance still reminds you of a younger Anise, from when the two of you were pupils. You remember being barely edged out in combat training by the girl, just slightly your senior, time and time again, then look back up, shaking the memories aside.>What will you say?
>>31631926"I was thinking that we could start your ShardKeeper training today. What'd you think? You up to learning a few tricks?
>>31631926"I'm just meditating. Would you like to join me?"
>>31631926"Meditating. It doesn't seem like much but being able to clear your head is essential for a Shardkeeper. Would you care to join me? Provided you can stand to sit still for that long, of course."
“I'm just meditating.”“Huh, meditating?” She tilts her head. The rituals to which you are accustomed require clarity of mind, achieving which might be particularly difficult for such a hyperactive individual. “Why's that?”“In order to perform Soul rituals, one must keep a clear head.” You stumble over another memory as your Master's words echo across your lips. “Take command of one's own spiritual presence, and reach out to latent power as easily as you'd use your hand. Through meditation, a Shardkeeper cultivates that state.”“Wha?” She hops down from the fence and leans forward, looking closely at you. “Where'd that come from all of a sudden?”“Something my Master used to say—in short, clearing your mind is essential to being a Shardkeeper. Would you like to join me?” You ask. “That is, assuming you can sit still for that long.”“Oh, easy!” She scoffs, taking a seat in front of you. “Of course I can.”Sonia takes a seat in front of you, eyes closed. At first, she grins, content that she might succeed at whatever arbitrary challenge you've set—then, she frowns slightly and begins to scrunch up her face, clearly frustrated. Without a tangible goal, you doubt she'll get anywhere; then, you spy the hilt of a sword fastened at her hip, and lunge forward, pulling it away from her before she can protest. Soul is palpable within, and it withdraws as you clasp the handle, as if withholding its aid or hiding its power.“Hey! Give that back!” She opens her eyes and reaches after the sword, but you raise it out of reach, then, with a step back, loose it blade-first toward the ground with a sweeping throw; it cleaves effortlessly through the dirt, embedding itself about halfway to the handle, tiny motes of faintly-glowing bronze dust bursting forth from fissures surrounding the impact.>Continued
>>31633054“If you're still interested in learning my art, you have an advantage that I didn't. You have an idea of what it feels like to bond with Soul.” You look from her to the sword, planted firmly in the earth. “You've endeared yourself to the spirit in this relic weapon, but it lends its aid as it pleases, does it not? Clear your head, and try to remember that feeling. When you use that spirit's power, it's in contact with your spiritual presence—which is akin to another part of you. Take control of that presence, and you can call on Soul without it calling on you.”There's a pause, as she looks to the sword. “Would you like to be my apprentice?”She nods.“Then join me in meditation. A Shardkeeper must be able to, at a moment's notice, exclude all things but one.” You take a deep breath. “Clear your head, and try to create the feeling you remember.”Minutes pass, in somewhat surprising silence. Sonia appears to be taking to the practice with unexpected resolve, and you realize that perhaps it's you who hasn't cleared his head in long enough.One by one, ideas come to you. What will you do?>The ritual of Shard formation forces Soul to take a physical form. One fit to become a Shardkeeper, then, should also be able to use the Seaward Ring—which you haven't even tried yourself. Let her practice with it.>Shardkeepers are hunters and warriors by trade, as well. Let's give it a minute more, then see what she really knows about combat.>Twice now, the Spirit within Sonia's blade has hidden itself from you. See if you can't get a closer look.>Contact Skeith. (Description)>Contact Ilyanas. (Description)>Attempt to reach out to Tregalis.>Recall information about (topic.)
Rolled 12>>31633105>>Twice now, the Spirit within Sonia's blade has hidden itself from you. See if you can't get a closer look.
>>31633105>Twice now, the Spirit within Sonia's blade has hidden itself from you. See if you can't get a closer look.We already know she's pretty good in a fight, and materializing Soul is too advanced for her first lesson, especially when we haven't tried the Seaward Ring out yet ourselves. Skeith would just ask us if we were sure this was wise and Illyanas...well, I admit I don't have as good a grasp on Illyanas' personality as Skeith's to guess what they'd say, but it's probably not too relevant to training Soul rituals. So it's either the blade or Tregalis. I can't see much point to communing with Tregalis, so let's talk to the blade. What are you, bronze bird?
>>31633105>>Twice now, the Spirit within Sonia's blade has hidden itself from you. See if you can't get a closer look.
>>31633105>Twice now, the Spirit within Sonia's blade has hidden itself from you. See if you can't get a closer look.ey bb want sum fuk?
>>31631189What is this madness? Soul Quest happening twice in a 7day space?The world has gone made!Love ya, Soulqm, glad to have you back.
>>31633105>Twice now, the Spirit within Sonia's blade has hidden itself from you. See if you can't get a closer look.I wonder if this has something to do with why we can't contact the turtle in Eric's bracelet.
>>31631926>Barely edged outHeh, you know, except that one time.
>>31633520That soul was very weak. However, it's been permanently bound into the bracelet by some means our master knew but we never learned, granting the inordinately powerful benefits we receive from it in exchange for not being able to recrystallize it.
You cast forth your presence, but the Soul eludes you—you won't let this happen again. Practice, you believe, has made this part of you stronger, and more stable. When you sought out Skeith, your projection could barely stand before his crushing gaze; your presence in Ilyanas's corner of the realm was much stronger, as was it also in the shadow of the Dark Lady. Now, excluding the world around you, you push your mind deeper toward the territory of the Spirit that hides from your approach, knowing that it can only retreat so far between the threads of your world.You land on your hands and knees in burning desert sand; a red-orange sun sinks slowly toward the horizon straight ahead, and though it beats harshly down on you, you are borne towards it. Your breaths are labored. Your skin feels dessicated, your tongue swollen slightly; you press forward, ascending the dunes as the sun falls over the hill ahead.A great valley lies before you as you crest the hill, and far below, in the distance beyond, you see a city of bronze on the edge of a great river. Then, the beating of great wings begins, summoning up a fierce wind that drags your foothold lower, the dunes beneath you eroding away. >Continued
A beast rises up in front of you, body silhouetted before the sun; it is a great raptorial bird, with a wingspan many times your height. It turns toward you and screeches, flapping wings strengthening the beginning sandstorm; its feathers are hues of gold, copper, and bronze, glinting brightly like similar metals. It wears armor shaped from pure, smooth sandstone. It wears a cuirass, to protect its ribcage and wrap around where wings meet body, and a massive crested helmet, like a celebrated warrior's.It cannot speak. It shows you an ancient culture that worshipped it, or a similar creature, as a god. Men, women, and children brought offerings to its nest among the dunes, to earn its favor, and protection from more malicious beasts. The sun falls beyond the horizon, but the night remains brightly lit as the city beyond begins to burn. It shows you that no beast like it survived the wars that destroyed the world. This powerful beast, or Spirit, lends Sonia aid either on account of her endearment, or perhaps because she, like it, possesses an affinity for the desert sands.You spit, grit between your teeth, as the beast lands at your side. It has nothing more to show you, and you nod, allowing this place to melt away from your mind.What will you do?>See previous update.>Other.
>>31634124>The ritual of Shard formation forces Soul to take a physical form. One fit to become a Shardkeeper, then, should also be able to use the Seaward Ring—which you haven't even tried yourself. Let her practice with it.>Shardkeepers are hunters and warriors by trade, as well. Let's give it a minute more, then see what she really knows about combat.>Contact Skeith. (Description)>Contact Ilyanas. (Description)>Attempt to reach out to Tregalis.>Recall information about (topic.)
>>31634124>>31634164Let's reach out to Tregalis. It's been a while, old friend.
>>31634124Practice combat with her
>>31633105>Attempt to reach out to Tregalis.
>>31634164>Attempt to reach out to Tregalis.I don't think we've ever really reached out to Tregalis before. And I'm not really feeling the other choices.We've talked to the other two plenty. She already knows how to fight. She needs to focus on meditation for now. And, we should probably experiment with the ring our self before giving it to her.
>>31634289We tried once, to see if we were capable of summoning him forth in a physical form. Alas, he wasn't powerful enough.He likely till has lessons to impart, though. In his own way.
Your concentration wavers, and you become lost in your own thoughts as your mind tumbles among the world of Soul. You refocus, and reach out to the presence of Tregalis. You feel this creature's particular Soul, accompanied by a soft rumbling and warmth in your bones. This time, however, you do not make contact to borrow power. When you and the Soul are in accord, you drag your mind further across the threshold.A familiar sight is before you, of the mesa just miles east of your home village. You remember Huntmaster Marsalis's mandate, that forced you to leave your life behind; you wonder what he might be doing now. The Soul that forges this space is weak. There is no sky, but only darkness above; beyond the mountain blades in any direction, there is likely nothing more than empty space. You take a step forward, looking at the plateau. It is a graveyard; the dried bodies of men and beasts litter the ground, amidst hundreds of broken spear shafts and arrowheads. Tregalis, the largest of the rock lizards, with a great horn unique among his kind, sleeps in the center of it all, and you approach him slowly.>Continued
He allows you to draw within arm's reach, and you look solemnly at his stony body, scarred from the numerous campaigns against him. Tregalis possesses a new scar now, however; a jagged, black tear across his eye. You reach out to touch it, but stay your hand as it crackles with arcing purple sparks. Wounds rendered by the influence of Calizan will not heal so easily.You stumble backwards, as the beast rises and roars; since you bound Tregalis, you have spent little time pondering his earthen Shard. What is the nature of this beast? He glares at you, and you feel his animalistic rage impressed upon you; you see the graveyard around you, reflected in his eyes, and feel a distant desire for forgiveness.What will you do?>Tregalis's actions were merely within the nature of beasts. You need not to forgive him, but to inform him that he has done no wrong.>Tregalis nearly killed you in your attempt to clear your name and avenge the deaths of many. He's on your side now, and you don't have it in your heart to forget what he's done.>Tregalis killed many—fellow villagers, close friends, and weaker members of his own species. But you are allies now; you must be in accord, and harbor no ill will.>Say something else. (Write-in.)
>>31634860>Tregalis killed many—fellow villagers, close friends, and weaker members of his own species. But you are allies now; you must be in accord, and harbor no ill will.
>>31634860>Tregalis's actions were merely within the nature of beasts. You need not to forgive him, but to inform him that he has done no wrong.>Tregalis killed many—fellow villagers, close friends, and weaker members of his own species. But you are allies now; you must be in accord, and harbor no ill will.>Say something else. (Write-in.)Well, we got off on the wrong foot, what happened was more like a misunderstanding than anything in the past.
>>31634860>>Tregalis killed many—fellow villagers, close friends, and weaker members of his own species. But you are allies now; you must be in accord, and harbor no ill will.
>>31634860>Tregalis killed many—fellow villagers, close friends, and weaker members of his own species. But you are allies now; you must be in accord, and harbor no ill will.>>31634937He's murdered a lot of people, and seemed to comprehend what he's done now. I'm willing to forgive him, but just dismissing it as something that shouldn't be forgiven leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
>>31634860>Tregalis's actions were merely within the nature of beasts. He has done no wrong.>Tregalis killed many- but we are allies now.
>>31634860>Tregalis killed many—fellow villagers, close friends, and weaker members of his own species. But you are allies now; you must be in accord, and harbor no ill will.>Hug the rock lizard>Tregalis's actions were merely within the nature of beasts. You need not to forgive him, but to inform him that he has done no wrong.
>>31634965Eh, we kill animals for meat. He killed hunters who tried to hurt him or his pack. "In the nature of beasts" is not derogatory, its merely a statement that he acted in accordance with his will. He could no more not defend his lair from invaders than you could not defend yourself from swarms of biting ants. Sure, maybe you fancy yourself able to endure such a thing, but in that situation you wouldn't actually be able to do anything except preserve your life.
Awww yiss, I'd forgotten about the writing times.
>>31635401(( I've taken longer lately because I've been waiting for more responses and writing a little bit more on average. Early criticism seemed to suggest that I often updated when doing so wasn't necessary. Which was true, in some cases. Now I make sure that what I write merits an update, which doesn't do much to help my already glacial turnaround time.Update ready. Posting... ))
“Tregalis.” You call out to the Mountain King, and he pauses to listen, spreading his feet in the dirt as if preparing to charge. “You and I are allies, now. You did things that we in my home village thought reprehensible... but you had your reasons.”“You killed many—my friends, and your brothers and sisters.” You stride back towards the beast, a few feet of spear shafts and corpses dividing you. “And then, to make matters worse, I killed you. Somehow, though, we have to leave that behind.”“Rest assured, friend. I harbor no ill will toward you.”Tregalis lowers his head, and you touch the scar across his eye. The power Maraja, Ilyanas, and the Dark Lady spoke of—you're certain it's real now. You pause, and continue. “It's up to us to protect one another, or else whatever could cause a wound like this might well be the death of both of us.”The beast looses an invigorating roar that echoes through the emptiness beyond this mountaintop. It fills your body with heat, and you feel the mountain beneath you shake. You clench your fist and nod, dismissing yourself; as you rise away from this place, warm waves of resonant Soul lap at your ankles.>In battle, summon Mountain King Tregalis by calling on his Soul.>While Tregalis's approximation is active in battle, abilities of equipment infused with his power will be limited.What will you do?>See how Sonia's doing; if she's still at it, you think you can call it a day.>See how Sonia's doing—it's about time for an introduction to combat training.>Contact Skeith. (Description)>Contact Ilyanas. (Description)>Recall information about (topic.)
>>31635506Hmm, interesting. So we can gain more from our shards from communing with them.>Contact IlyanasWe still know so little about her. Skeith we can understand, we know his motivations and nature and can trust him to be true to them. Ilyanas is liable to throw us through any number of loops.
>>31635506>See how Sonia's doing; if she's still at it, you think you can call it a day.
>>31635506I'm torn between contacting Ilyanas, and showing Sonia that she may be hot shit with that god-sword...but we've got training and experience on our side.
>>31635506>>See how Sonia's doing—it's about time for an introduction to combat training.
>>31635488It's well worth the wait, no worries.
>>31635727(( Thanks! Also, I love the hell out of this picture: >>31635656.Consensus?))
>>31635506>See how Sonia's doing; if she's still at it, you think you can call it a day.We can try out the ring
>>31635885I'll vote for combat training to break the tie.
Feeling refreshed, you take a deep breath, letting the world return to you a bit at a time, then open your eyes slowly, taking a look at your apprentice. Her eyes are closed, hands folded in her lap, and she is possessed by an uncharacteristic calm. Still, you can see in her breaths and minute movements that she has yet to find success.Learning to call on this clarity instantly will take time; it is something even you struggle with, as earthly things—the sound of the wind through grass, of distant city life, the taste of one's last meal, the thought of one's belongings, of hair and clothes, and thoughts of the immediate future or distant past—are not so easily excluded.She will learn more quickly than you did, though you can't say by how much. Until she learns, you will allow her to train with the sword before her, such that the god of the desert might steer her in the right direction.“Sonia.”“Mm?” She opens one eye. “Hang on, I think it's working.”“Yes,” You sigh. “But a Shardkeeper must call upon this clarity at a moment's notice.”“Aw, fine. What now?” She asks.What will you do?>Call it a day for now. You've got some more experiments to do yourself.>You've seen her in battle, but not quite enough. Suggest a quick test.>Other.
>>31636342>You've seen her in battle, but not quite enough. Suggest a quick test.I'm really tempted to do the old pebble test
>>31636342>You've seen her in battle, but not quite enough. Suggest a quick test.
>>31636342>You've seen her in battle, but not quite enough. Suggest a quick test.We need to learn more about how she fights, shardkeeping involves a great deal of combat.
>>31635913You didn't break the tie you created a tie>>31636342>Call it a day for now. You've got some more experiments to do yourself.I am disappointed that no one wants to check out the ring.
>>31636342lol there was a tie so you created another post where nothing happened and offered the same choice. I'm on to you.We've already knows how to fight. Why do we need to test something we already know?>Call it a day for now. You've got some more experiments to do yourself.
>>31636681>We've already knows how to fightShe already knows how to fightI can't English
>>31636430>>31636436>>31636447“Shardkeepers are also hunters and warriors by trade.” You say. “Now, I was planning on testing your combat aptitude. To see how much you actually know.”“How do you suggest we do that?”“...Huh.” Your Master had his ways of training you in the use of weapons, but you're not sure exactly what he'd have done without another disciple to pit you against during training exercises. “You could try to take me down?”“I could try,” She folds her arms. “But you're also twice my height. Besides, I've got plenty of combat... aptitude. Rebecca says I'm pretty scrappy.”“Right...” You pause.What will you do?>Suggest a training exercise. (Description)>Take a break, in favor of some experiment or Soul ritual. (Description)
>>31636800>Suggest a training exercise. (Description)I don't think anyone in this thread is a professional-grade swordsman, but let me try to look something up I guess.
>>31636800>Suggest a training exercise. (Description)100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 squats along with running 10 km every single day.OrHave her try to track us through the city
>>31636800"I am twice your height, and you are pretty scrappy. Fights aren't usually fair though, and particularly the girl that came after me on the dragon won't care. She's had years and years of training in fighting, too. Now tell me this, have you ever had any formal training, and how long have you had used that sword?"I'd wager that she relies pretty heavily on the sword and the spirit inside it for guidance in combat. She needs to learn how to be a fiersome fighter (in a trained fashion, not some street-urchin viciousness) without it.
>>31636800Eh, if no one can think of a good training exercise then let's have her try to use the Seaward ring. It'll give us a better sense of whether she has a touch of Soul in her, and allow her to get a handle on extending her will onto artifacts.
>>31637102...Yyeah, going to second that because I have no idea what to do for a training exercise other than sparring.And sparring with her would just end with us beating up a little girl. Which would teach her lessons eventually, but I don't really want Erick to be the sort of guy that beats up little girls.
>>31637133Wait she's a little girl? Da fug?
I don't even know why people voted for combat training in the first place. It's obvious Rebecca has been training her. In all honesty Rebecca is probably a better combat teacher than Eric is.
>>31636999“Well, it's important to note that fights aren't usually fair. Anise—my Master's other apprentice, the dragon rider—for example, won't care whether or not it's a fair fight, and she's had even more combat training than I have. Tell me this: how long have you used that sword of yours?” It stands to reason that she relies heavily on her relic during combat; feats of agility like those she's showcased should be impossible for someone of her age and strength.“Since I... found it!” She smiles.You sigh. “And you haven't had a day of formal training, I imagine?”“Rebecca used to teach me stuff.” She retrieves her blade from the earth, hefting it onto her shoulder. “But I guess I dunno how to actually fight.”You shake your head, making a mental note to ask Rebecca exactly what she taught. You've made friends with a strange bunch of creatures, haven't you? “We'll take to it later, then.”“Alright. Now what?”What will you do?>Use the Seaward Ring on Daeron's archery target.>Perform some Soul ritual. (Description)
>>31637337>Use the Seaward Ring on Daeron's archery target.
>>31637337>>Use the Seaward Ring on Daeron's archery target.
>>31637181(( Not terribly, but she's about fourteen years old, and a little short of three-quarters Erick's height. Age-wise, Erick is about 19, Rebecca is about 28, Daeron is in his early thirties, and Grato in his late forties or fifties. Someone posted some pictures like seven or eight threads ago that I didn't realize I liked until later. ))
>>31637335>>31637337Ha, I beat you by 4 seconds
>>31637430>Someone posted some pictures like seven or eight threads agoThat was probably me. I have a bad habit of posting character art in quest threads. But my hard drive went kaput a while ago so I probably don't have it any more.
>>31637420>>31637370“I've got some practicing to do myself.” You look at the Seaward Ring, wrapped around the fourth finger of your right hand. The wood-carved band is bound tightly by blue quartz crystal, and cerulean light washes through the grain as you focus. Blue light flickers in your palm, but not cohesively, and you cannot force it together.“That's the...?” Sonia asks, wandering closer.“The Fangworm's Shard.” You respond. “I've never used an Infusion quite like this.”It takes about another thirty seconds of lateral mental movement to get the artifact to respond. Soul gathers into droplets of mist, then into a light fog, before dispersing. You grumble a bit, then shake your head, clearing your thoughts. Briefly, you call to mind memories of the great Fangworm's ability; forcing Soul to take form, you can match that power. You feel moisture in the palm of your hand, and droplets swirl up into a twisting orb of water. Though small, it rotates quickly, and grows larger, currents ripping across the surface.You urge it forth, and it twists around your body like a long tendril, then, at once, launches itself free of your grasp. Like an arrow, the liquid projectile lurches across the grass lot and hits the archery target dead center, exploding into a cloud of boiling steam. You look closer; the canvas has been cleaved through completely, and the wood foundation abruptly collapses about a second later.Yeah, now it's time to call it a day.(( Archiving. Will stick around for a bit if anyone's got questions, but I don't have a whole lot more writing in me. ))
>>31637724Thanks for running.
>>31637724We really need to find some sort of archery target wholesaler. This is the second time we've destroyed one testing infusions. And it's only going to get worse once we get Daeron an infused weapon.